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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 83, September, 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 14, No. 83, September, 1864" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. XIV.--SEPTEMBER, 1864.--NO. LXXXIII.


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 and footnotes moved
to the end of the article.



THE CADMEAN MADNESS.


An old English divine fancied that all the world might go mad and nobody
know it. The conception suggests a query whether the standard of sanity,
as of fashions and prices, be not a purely artificial one, an accident
of convention, a law of society, an arbitrary institute, and therefore a
possible mistake. A sage and a maniac each thinks the other mad. The
decision is a matter of majorities. Should a whole community become
insane, it would nevertheless vote itself wise; if the craze of Bedlam
were uniform, its inmates could not distinguish it from a Pantheon; and
though all human history seemed to the gods only as a continuous series
of mediæval processions _des sots et des ânes_, yet the topsy-turvy
intellect of the world would ever worship folly in the name of wisdom.
Arts and sciences, ideas and institutions, laws and learning would still
abound, transmogrified to suit the reigning madness. And as statistics
reveal the late gradual and general increase of insanity, it becomes a
provident people to consider what may be the ultimate results, if this
increase should happen never to be checked. And if sanity be, indeed, a
glory which we might all lose unawares, we may well betake ourselves to
very solemn reflection as to whether we are, at the present moment, in
our wits and senses, or not.

The peculiar proficiencies of great epochs are as astonishing as the
exploits of individual frenzy. The era of the Greek rhapsodists, when a
body of matchless epical literature was handed down by memory from
generation to generation, and a recitation of the whole "Odyssey" was
not too much for a dinner-party,--the era of Periclean culture, when the
Athenian populace was wont to pass whole days in the theatre, attending
with unfaltering intellectual keenness and æsthetic delight to three or
four long dramas, either of which would exhaust a modern audience,--the
wild and vast systems of imaginary abstractions, which the
Neo-Platonists, as also the German transcendentalists, so strangely
devised and became enamored of,--the grotesque views of men and things,
the funny universe altogether, which made up both the popular and the
learned thought of the Middle Ages,--the Buddhistic Orient, with its
subtile metaphysical illusions, its unreal astronomical heavens, its
habits of repose and its tornadoes of passion,--such are instances of
great diversities of character, which would be hardly accountable to
each other on the supposition of mutual sanity. They suggest a
difference of ideas, moods, habits, and capacities, which in
contemporaries and associates would amply justify either party that
happened to be the majority in turning all the rest into insane asylums.
It is the demoniac element, the raving of some particular demon, that
creates greatness either in men or nations. Power is maniacal. A
mysterious fury, a heavenly inspiration, an incomprehensible and
irresistible impulse, goads humanity on to achievements. Every age,
every person, and every art obeys the wand of the enchanter. History
moves by indirections. The first historic tendency is likely to be
slightly askew; there follows then an historic triumph, then an historic
eccentricity, then an historic folly, then an explosion; and then the
series begins again. In the grade of folly, hard upon an explosion, lies
modern literature.

The characteristic mania of the last two centuries is reading and
writing. Solomon discovered that much study is a weariness of the flesh;
Aristophanes complained of the multitude and indignity of authors in his
time; and the famed preacher, Geyler von Kaisersberg, in the age of
prevalent monkery and Benedictine plodding, mentioned erudition and
madness, on equal footing, as the twin results of books: "_Libri quosdam
ad scientiam, quosdam ad insaniam deduxere_." These were successive
symptoms of the growing malady. But where there was one writer in the
time of Geyler, there are a million now. He saw both health and disease,
and could distinguish between them. We see only the latter. Skill in
letters, half a decade of centuries ago, was a miraculous attainment,
and placed its possessor in the rank of divines and diviners; now,
inability to read and write is accounted, with pauperism and crime, a
ground for civil disfranchisement. The old feudal merry and hearty
ignorance has been everywhere corrupted by books and newspapers,
learning and intelligence, the cabalistic words of modern life. Popular
poetry and music, ballads and legends, wit and originality have
disappeared before the barbaric intellectuality of our Cadmean idolatry.
Even the arts of conversation and oratory are waning, and may soon be
lost; we live only in second and silent thoughts: for who will waste
fame and fortune by giving to his friends the gems which will delight
mankind? and how can a statesman grapple eloquently with Fate, when the
contest is not to be determined on the spot, but by quiet and remote
people coolly reading his speech several hours or days later? Even if we
were vagarying into imbecility, like the wildest Neo-Platonic
hierophants, like the monkish chroniclers of the Middle Ages, like other
romantic and fantastic theorists who have leaped out of human nature
into a purely artificial realm, we should not know it, because we are
all doing it uniformly.

The universe is a veiled Isis. The human mind from immemorial antiquity
has ceased to regard it. A small cohort of alphabets has enrobed it with
a wavy texture of letters, beyond which we cannot penetrate. The glamour
is upon us, and when we would see the facts of Nature, we behold only
tracts of print. The God of the heavens and earth has hidden Himself
from us since we gave ourselves up to the worship of the false
divinities of Phoenicia. No longer can we admire the _cosmos_; for the
_cosmos_ lies beyond a long perspective of theorems and propositions
that cross our eyes, like countless bees, from the alcoves of
philosophies and sciences. No longer do we bask in the beauty of things,
as in the sunlight; for when we would melt in feeling, we hear nothing
but the rattling of gems of verse. No longer does the mind, as
sympathetic priest and interpreter, hover amid the phenomena of time and
space; for the forms of Nature have given place to volumes, there are no
objects but pages, and passions have been supplanted by paragraphs. We
no longer see the whirling universe, or feel the pulsing of life.
Thought itself has ceased to be a sprite, and flows through the mind
only in the leaden shape of printed sentences. The symbolism of letters
is over us all. An all-pervading nominalism has completely masked
whatsoever there is that is real. More and more it is not the soul and
Nature, but the eye and print, whose resultant is thought. Nature
disappears and the mind withers. No other faculty has been developed in
man but that of the reader, no other possibility but that of the writer.
The old-fashioned arts which used to imply human nature, which used to
blossom instinctively, which have given joy and beauty to society, are
fading from the face of the earth. Where are the ancient and mediæval
popular games, those charming vital symptoms? The people now read
Dickens and Longfellow. Where are the old-fashioned instincts of worship
and love, consolation and mourning? The people have since found an
antidote for these experiences in Blair and Tupper, and other authors of
renown. Where are those weird voices of the air and forest and stream,
those symptoms of an enchanted Nature, which used to thrill and bless
the soul of man? The duller ear of men has failed to hear them in this
age of popular science.

Literature, using the word with a benevolent breadth of meaning which
excludes no pretenders, is the result of the invasion of letters. It is
the fort which they occupy, which with too hasty consideration has
usually been regarded as friendly to the human race. Religions, laws,
sciences, arts, theories, and histories, instead of passing Ariel-like
into the elements when their task is done, are made perpetual prisoners
in the alcoves of dreary libraries. They have a fossil immortality,
surviving themselves in covers, as poems have survived minstrels. The
memory of man is made omni-capacious; its burden increases with every
generation; not even the ignorance and stolidity of the past are allowed
the final grace of being forgotten; and omniscience is becoming at once
more and more impossible and more and more fashionable. Whoever reads
only the books of his own time is superficial in proportion to the
thickness of the ages. But neither the genius of man, nor his length of
days, has had an increase corresponding to that of the realm of
knowledge, the requirements of reading, and the conditions of
intelligence. The multiplied attractions only crowd and obstruct the
necessarily narrow line of duty, possibility, and destiny. Life
threatens to be extinguished by its own shadow, by the _débris_ kept in
the current by countless tenacious records. Its essence escapes to
heaven or into new forms, but its ghosts still walk the earth in print.
Like that mythical serpent which advanced only as it grew in length, so
knowledge spans the whole length of the ages. Some philosopher conceived
of history as the migration and growth of reason throughout time,
culminating in successive historical ideas. He, however, supposed that
the idea of every age had nothing to do with any preceding age; it had
passed through whatsoever previous stages, had been somewhat modified by
them, contained in itself all that was best in them, was improved and
elevated at every new epoch; but it had no memory, never looked
backward, and was an ever rolling sphere, complete in itself, leaving no
trail behind. Human life, under the discipline of letters and common
schools, is not thus Hegelian, but advances under the boundless
retrospection of literature. And yet this is probably divine philosophy.
It is probable that the faculty of memory belongs to man only in an
immature state of development, and that in some future and happier epoch
the past will be known to us only as it lives in the present; and then
for the first time will Realism in life take the place of Nominalism.

The largest library in the world, the Bibliothèque Impériale of Paris,
(it has been successively, like the adventurous and versatile throne of
France, Royale, Nationale, and Impériale,) contains very nearly one
million of books, the collected fruits of all time. Consider an average
book in that collection: how much human labor does it stand for? How
much capital was invested originally in its production, and how much
tribute of time and toil does it receive per annum? Regarding books as
intellectual estate, how much does it cost mankind to procure and keep
up an average specimen? What quantity of human resources has been
originally and consecutively sunk in the Parisian library? How much of
human time, which is but a span, and of human emotion and thought, which
are sacred and not to be carelessly thrown away, lie latent therein?

The estimate must be highly speculative. Some books have cost a lifetime
and a heartbreak; others have been written at leisure in a week, and
without an emotion. Some are born from the martyrdom of a thinker to
fire the genius of a populace; others are the coruscations of joy, and
have a smile for their immortal heir. Some have made but the slightest
momentary ripple in human affairs; others, first gathering eddies about
themselves, have swept forward in grand currents, engrossing for
centuries whole departments of human energy. Thousands publish and are
forgotten before they die. Spinoza published after his death and is not
yet understood.

We will begin with the destined bibliomacher at the time of his
assumption of short clothes. The alphabet is his first professional
torture, and that only ushers him upon the gigantic task of learning to
read and write his own language. Experience shows that this miracle of
memory and associative reason may be in the main accomplished by the
time he is eight years old. Thus far in his progress towards book-making
he has simply got his fingers hold of the pen. He has next to run the
gauntlet of the languages, sciences, and arts, to pass through the epoch
of the scholar, with satchel under his arm, with pale cheek, an eremite
and ascetic in the religion of Cadmus. At length, at about twenty years
of age, he leaves the university, not a master, but a bachelor of
liberal studies. But thus far he has laid only the foundation, has
acquired only rudiments and generalities, has only served his
apprenticeship to letters. God gave mind and nature, but art has
furnished him a new capacity and a new world,--the capacity to read, and
the world of books. He has simply acquired a new nature, a psychological
texture of letters, but the artificial _tabula rasa_ has yet to be
filled. Twenty obstetrical years have at last made him a literary
animal, have furnished him the abstract conditions of authorship; but he
has yet his life to save, and his fortune to make in literature. He is
born into the mystic fraternity of readers and writers, but the special
studies and experiences which fit him for anything, which make a book
possible, are still in the future. He will be fortunate, if he gets
through with them, and gets his first volume off his hands by the age of
thirty. Authors are the shortest-lived of men. Their average years are
less than fifty. Our bibliomacher has therefore twenty years left to
him. Taking all time together, since formerly authors wrote less
abundantly than now, he will not produce more than one work in five
years, that is, five works in his lifetime of fifty years. The
conclusion to which this rather precarious investigation thus brings us
is, that the original cost of an average book is ten years of a human
life. And yet these ten years make but the mere suggestion of the book.
The suggestion must be developed by an army of printers, sellers, and
librarians. What other institution in the world is there but the
Bibliothèque Impériale, to the mere suggestion of which ten millions of
laborious years have been devoted?

Startling considerations present themselves. If there were no other
_argumentum ad absurdum_ to demonstrate some fundamental perversity and
absurdity in literature, it might be suspected from the fact that Nature
herself gives so little encouragement to it. Nobody is born an author.
The art of writing, common as it is, is not indigenous in man, but is
acquired by a nearly universal martyrdom of youth. If it had been
providentially designed that the function of any considerable portion of
mankind should have been to write books, we cannot suppose that an
economical Deity would have failed to create them with innate skill in
language, general knowledge, and penmanship. These accomplishments have
to be learned by every writer, yet writers are numberless. They are
mysteries which must be painfully encountered by every one at the
vestibule of the temple of literature, which nevertheless is thronged.
Surely, had this importance and prevalence been attached to them in the
Divine scheme, they would have been born in us like the senses, or would
blossom spontaneously in us, like the corollal growths of Faith and
Conscience. We should have been created in a condition of literary
capacity, and thus have been spared the alphabetical torture of
childhood, and the academic depths of philological despair. Twenty-five
years of preliminaries might have been avoided by changing the peg in
the scale of creation, and the studies of the boy might have begun where
now they end. Twenty-five years in the span of life would thus have been
saved, had what must be a universal acquirement been incorporated into
the original programme of human nature.

Or had the Deity appreciated literature as we do, He would probably have
written out the universe in some snug little volume, some miniature
series, or some boundless Bodleian, instead of unfolding it through
infinite space and time, as an actual, concrete, unwritten reality. Be
creation a single act or an eternal process, it would have been all a
thing of books. The Divine Mind would have revealed itself in a library,
instead of in the universe. As for men, they would have existed only in
treatises on the mammalia. There are some specimens which we hardly
think are according to any anticipation of heavenly reason, and
therefore they would not have existed at all. Nothing would have been
but God and literature. Possibly a responsible creation like ours might
have been formed, nevertheless, by making each letter a living,
thinking, moral agent; and the alphabet might thus have written out the
Divine ideas, as men now work them out. If the conception seem to any
one chilly, if it have a dreary look, if it appear to leave only a
frosty metallic base, instead of the grand oceanic effervescence of
life, let him remember how often earthly authors have renounced living
realities, all personal sympathies and pleasures, communing only with
books, their minds dwelling apart from men. Remember Tasso and Southey;
ay, if you have yourself written a book that commands admiration,
remember what it cost you. Why hesitate to transfer to the skies a type
of life which we admire here below? But God having wrought out instead
of written out His thoughts, does it not appear that He designed for men
to do likewise?

And thus a new consideration is presented. The exhibit of the original
cost of the Bibliothèque Impériale was the smallest item in our budget.
Mark the history of a book. How variously it engrosses the efforts of
the world, from the time when it first rushes into the arena of life!
The industry of printing embodies it, the energy of commerce disperses
it, the army of critics announce it, the world of readers give their
days and nights to it generation after generation, and its echoes
uninterruptedly repeat themselves along the infinite procession of
writers. The process reverts with every new edition, and eddies mingle
with eddies in the motley march of history. Its story may be traced in
martyrdoms of the flesh, in weary hours, strange experiences, unhappy
tempers, restless struggles, unrequited triumphs,--in the glare of
midnight lamps, and of wild, haggard eyes,--in sorrow, want, desolation,
despair, and madness. Born in sorrow, the book trails a pathway of
sorrow through the ages. And each book in the Parisian library stands
for all this,--some that were produced with tears having been always
read for jest,--some that were lightly written being now severe tasks
for historians, antiquaries, and source-mongers.

Suppose an old Egyptian, who in primæval Hierapolis incased his thought
in papyrus, to be able now to take a stroll into the Bibliothèque, and
to see what has become of his thought so far as there represented. He
would find that it had haunted mankind ever since. An alcove would be
filled with commentaries on it, and discussions as to where it came from
and what it meant. He would find it modifying and modified by the
Greeks, and reproduced by them with divers variations,--extinguished by
Christianity,--revived, with a new face, among the theurgies and cabala
of Alexandria; he would catch the merest glimpse of it amid the
Christian legends and credulities of the Middle Ages,--but the Arabs
would have kept a stronger hold on it; he would see it in the background
after the revival of learning, till, gradually, as modern commerce
opened the East, scholars, also, discovered that there were wonders
behind the classic nations; and finally he would see how modern
research, rushing back through comparison of language-roots, through
geological data, through ethnological indications, through antiquarian
discoveries, has rooted out of the layers of ages all the history
attendant upon its original production. He would find the records of
this long history in the library around him. In every age, the thought,
born of pain, has been reproduced with travail. It did not do its
mission at once, penetrate like a ray of light into the heart of the
race, and leave a chemical effect which should last forever. No, the
blood of man's spirit was not purified,--only an external application
was made, and that application must be repeated with torture upon every
generation. Was this designed to be the function of thought, the mission
of heavenly ideas?

This is the history of his thought in books. But let us conceive what
might have been its history but for the books;--how it might have been
written in the fibres of the soul, and lived in eternal reason, instead
of having been written on papyrus and involved in the realm of dead
matter. His idea, thrilling his own soul, would have revealed itself in
every particle and movement of his body; for "soul is form, and doth the
body make." Its first product would have been his own quivering,
animated, and animating personality. He would have impressed every one
of his associates, every one of whom would in turn have impressed a new
crowd, and thus the immortal array of influences would have gone on. Not
impressions on parchment, but impressions on the soul, not letters, but
thrills, would have been its result. Thus the magic of personal
influence of all kinds would have radiated from it in omnipresent and
colliding circlets forever, as the mighty imponderable agents are
believed to radiate from some hidden focal force. He would trace his
idea in the massive architecture and groping science of Egypt,--in the
elegant forms of worship, thought, institutes, and life among the
Greeks,--in the martial and systematizing genius of Rome,--and so on
through the ecclesiastical life of the Middle Ages, and the political
and scientific ambitions of modern times. Its operations have everywhere
been chemical, not mechanical. It has lived, not in the letter, but in
the spirit. Never dropping to the earth, it has been maintained as a
shuttlecock in spiritual regions by the dynamics of the soul. It has
wrought itself into the soul, the only living and immortal thing, and so
the proper place for ideas. Its mode of transmission has been by the
suffusion of the eye, the cheek, the lip, the manner, not by dead and
unsymbolical letters. It has had life, and not merely duration. It has
been perpetuated in cordate, not in dactylate characters. Its history
must not be sought away from the circle of life, but may be seen in the
current generation of men. The man whom you should meet on the street
would be the product of all the ideas and influences from the
foundation of the world, and his slightest act would reveal them all
vital within him. The libraries, which form dead recesses in the river
of life, would thus be swept into and dissolved in the current, and the
waters would have been deepened and colored by their dissolution.
Libraries are a sort of _débris_ of the world, but the spiritual
substance of them would thus enter into the organism of history. All the
last results of time would come to us, not through books, but through
the impressions of daily life. Whatsoever was unworthy to be woven into
the fibres of the soul would be overwhelmed by that oblivion which
chases humanity; all the time wasted in the wrong-headedness of
archæology would be saved; for there would be nothing of the past except
its influence on the immediate present, and nothing but the pure human
ingot would finally be left of the long whirlings in the crucible of
history. Some one has said that all recent literature is one gigantic
plagiarism from the past. Why plagiarize with toil the toils of the
past, when all that is good in them lives, necessarily and of its own
tendency, in the winged and growing spirit of man? The stream flows in a
channel, and is colored by all the ores of its banks, but it would be
absurd for it to attempt to take the channel up and carry it along with
itself out into the sea. Why should the tinted water of life attempt to
carry along with it not only the tint, but also the bank, ages back,
from which the tint proceeds?

As the world goes on, the multitude of books increases. They grow as
grows the human race,--but, unlike the human race, they have a material
immortality here below. Fossil books, unlike fossil rocks, have a power
of reproduction. Every new year leaves not only a new inheritance, but
generally a larger one than ever before. What is to be the result? The
ultimate prospect is portentous. If England has produced ten thousand
volumes of fiction (about three thousand new novels) during the last
forty years, how many books of all kinds has Christendom to answer for
in the same period? If the British Museum makes it a point to preserve a
copy of everything that is published, how long will it be before the
whole world will not be sufficient to contain the multitude thereof? At
present all the collections of the Museum, books, etc., occupy only
forty acres on the soil, and an average of two hundred feet towards the
sky. But even these outlines indicate a block of space which under
geometrical increase would in the shortest of geological periods make a
more complete conquest of the earth than has ever been made by fire or
water. To say nothing of the sorrows of the composition of these new
literary stores, how is man, whose years are threescore-and-ten, going
to read them? Surely the green earth will be transformed into a
wilderness of books, and man, reduced from the priest and interpreter of
Nature to a bookworm, will be like the beasts which perish.

The eye of fancy lately witnessed in a dream the vision of an age far in
the future. The surface of the earth was covered with lofty rectangles,
built up coral-like from small rectangles. There was neither tree nor
herb nor living creature. Walled paths, excavated ruts, alone broke the
desert-like prospect, as the burrows of life. Penetrating into these,
the eye saw men walking beneath the striated piles, with heads bent
forward and nervous fingering of brow. There the whole world, such as we
have known it, was buried beneath volumes, past all enumeration. There
was neither fauna nor flora, neither wilderness, tempest, nor any
familiar look of Nature, but only one boundless contiguity of books.
There was only man and space and one unceasing library, and the men
neither ate nor slept nor spoke. Nature was transformed into the
processes and products of writing, and man was now no longer lover,
friend, peasant, merchant, naturalist, traveller, gourmet, mechanic,
warrior, worshipper, but only an author. All other faculties had been
lost to him, and all resources for anything else had fled from his
universe. Anon some wrinkled, fidgety, cogitative being in human form
would add a new volume to some slope or tower of the monstrous
omni-patulent mass, or some sharp-glancing youth, with teeth set
unevenly on edge, would pull out a volume, look greedily and
half-believingly for a few moments, return it, and slink away. "What is
this world, and what means this life?" cried I, addressing an old man,
who had just tossed a volume aloft. "Where are we, and what about this?
Tell me, for I have not before seen and do not know." He glanced a
moment, then spoke, like a shade in hell, as follows:--"This is the
world, and here is human life. Man long enjoyed it, with wonderful
fulness and freshness of being. But a madness seized him; everybody
wrote books; the evil grew more and more; nought else was an object of
pursuit; till at last the earth was covered with tomes, and for long
ages now it has been buried beyond the reach of mortal. All forms of
life were exterminated. Man himself survives only as a literary shadow.
Each one writes a book, or a few books, and dies, vanishing into thin
air. Such is life,--a hecatomb!"

But even if it be supposed that mind could survive the toil, and the
earth the quantity of our accumulating books, there are other
difficulties. There are other imperative limitations, beyond which the
art of writing cannot go. Letters themselves limit the possibilities of
literature. For there is only a certain number of letters. These letters
are capable of only a certain number of combinations into words. This
limited number of possible words is capable only of a certain number of
arrangements. Conceive the effect when all these capabilities shall be
exhausted! It will no longer be possible for a new thing to be said or
written. We shall have only to select and repeat from the past. Writing
shall be reduced to the making of extracts, and speaking to the making
of quotations. Yet the condition of things would certainly be improved.
As there is now a great deal of writing without thinking, so then
thinking could go on without writing. A man would be obliged to think
out and up to his result, as we do now; but whether his processes and
conclusions were wise or foolish, he would find them written out for him
in advance. The process of selection would be all. The immense amount of
writing would cease. Authors would be extinct. Thinkers could find their
ideas stated in the best possible way, and the most effective arguments
in their favor. If this event seems at all unlikely to any one, let him
only reflect on the long geological ages, and on the innumerable
writings, short and long, now published daily,--from Mr. Buckle to the
newspapers. Estimate everything in type daily throughout Christendom. If
so much is done in a day, how much in a few decades of centuries?
Surely, at our present rate, in a very conceivable length of time, the
resources of two alphabets would be exhausted. And this may be the
reason and providence in the amount of writing now going on,--to get
human language written up. The earth is as yet not half explored, and
its cultivation and development, in comparison with what shall some time
be, have scarcely begun. Will not the race be blessed, when its two
mortal foes, Nature and the alphabet, have been finally and forever
subdued?

This necessary finiteness of literature may be illustrated in another
way. An English mathematician of the seventeenth century applied the
resources of his art to an enumeration of human ideas. He believed that
he could calculate with rigorous exactness the number of ideas of which
the human mind is susceptible. This number, according to him, (and he
has never been disputed,) was 3,155,760,000. Even if we allowed
a million of words to one idea, according to our present
practice,--instead of a single word to an idea, which would seem
reasonable,--still, all the possible combinations of words and ideas
would finally be exhausted. The ideas would give out, to be sure, a
million of times before the words; but the latter would meet their doom
at last. All possible ideas would then be served up in all possible ways
for all men, who could order them according to their appetites, and we
could dispense with cooks ever after. The written word would be the
finished record of all possible worlds, in gross and in detail.

But the problem whose solution has thus been attempted by desperate
suggestions has, by changing its elements, nullified our calculation. We
have been plotting to cast out the demon of books; and, lo! three other
kindred demons of quarterlies, monthlies, and newspapers have joined
fellowship with it, and our latter estate is worse than our first.
Indeed, we may anticipate the speedy fossilization and extinction of
books, while these younger broods alone shall occupy the earth. Our
libraries are already hardly more than museums, they will soon be
_mausoleums_, while all our reading is of the winged words of the
hurried contributor. Some of the most intelligent and influential men in
large cities do not read a book once a year. The Cadmean magic has
passed from the hands of hierophants into those of the people.
Literature has fallen from the domain of immortal thought to that of
ephemeral speech, from the conditions of a fine to those of a mechanical
art. The order of genius has been abolished by an all-prevailing popular
opinion. The elegance and taste of patient culture have been vulgarized
by forced contact with the unpresentable facts thrust upon us by the
ready writer. Everybody now sighs for the new periodical, while nobody
has read the literature of any single age in any single country.

How like mountain-billows of barbarism do the morning journals, reeking
with unkempt facts, roll in upon the peaceful thought of the soul! How
like savage hordes from some remote star, some nebulous chaos, that has
never yet been recognized in the cosmical world, do they trample upon
the organic and divine growths of culture, laying waste the well-ordered
and fairly adorned fields of the mind, demolishing the intellectual
highways which great engineering thinkers have constructed within us,
and reducing a domain in which poetry and philosophy, with their sacred
broods, dwelt gloriously together, to an undistinguishable level of
ruin! How helpless are we before a newspaper! We sit down to it a highly
developed and highly civilized being; we leave it a barbarian. Step by
step, blow by blow, has everything that was nobly formed within us been
knocked down, and we are made illustrations of the atomic theory of the
soul, every atom being a separate savage, after the social theory of
Hobbes. We are crazed by a multitudinousness of details, till the eye
sees no picture, the ear hears no music, the taste finds no beauty, and
the reason grasps no system. The only wonder is that the diabolical
invention of Faust or Gutenberg has not already transformed the growths
of the mind into a fauna and flora of perdition.

It was a sad barbarism when men ran wild with their own impulses, unable
to control the fierceness of instinct. It is a sadder barbarism when men
yield to every impulse from without, with no imperial dignity in the
soul, which closes the apartments against the violence of the world and
frowns away unseemly intruders. We have no spontaneous enthusiasm, no
spiritual independence, no inner being, obedient only to its own law. We
do not plough the billows of time with true beak and steady weight, but
float, a tossed cork, now one side up and now the other. We live the
life of an insect accidentally caught within a drum. Every steamer that
comes hits the drum a beat; every telegram taps it; it echoes with every
representative's speech, reverberates with every senator's more portly
effort, screams at every accident. Everything that is done in the
universe seems to be done only to make a noise upon it. Every morning,
whatsoever thing has been changed, and whatsoever thing has been
unchanged, during the night, comes up to batter its report on the
omni-audient tympanum of the universe, the drum-head of the press. And
then we are inside of it. It may be music to the gods who dwell beyond
the blue ether, but it is terrible confusion to us.

Virgil exhausted the resources of his genius in his portraiture of
Fame:--

    "Fama, malum, quo non aliud velocius ullum:
    Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo:
    Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras,
    Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubila condit.

     *** *** *** ***

    Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.
    Nocte volat coeli medio terræque per umbram
    Stridens, nec dulci declinat lumina somno."

What would he have done, had he known our modern monster, the
alphabet-tongued, steel-sinewed, kettle-lunged Rumor? It is a sevenfold
horror. The Virgilian Fame was not a mechanical, but a living thing; it
grew as it ran; it at least gave a poetical impression. Its story grew
as legends grow, full to the brim of the instincts of the popular
genius. It left its traces as it passed, and the minds of all who saw
and heard rested in delightful wonder till something new happened. But
the fact which printed Rumor throws through the atmosphere is coupled
not with, the beauty of poetry, but with the madness of dissertation.
Everybody is not only informed that the Jackats defeated the Magnats on
the banks of the Kaiger on the last day of last week, but this news is
conveyed to them in connection with a series of revelations about the
relations of said fact to the universe. The primordial germ is not
poetical, but dissertational. It tends to no organic creation, but to
any abnormal and multitudinous display of suggestions, hypotheses, and
prophecies. The item is shaped as it passes, not by the hopes and fears
of the soul, but grows by accumulation of the dull details of prose. We
have neither the splendid bewilderments of the twelfth, nor the cold
illumination of the eighteenth century, but bewilderments without
splendor, and coldness without illumination. The world is too wide-awake
for thought,--the atmosphere is too bright for intellectual
achievements. We have the wonders and sensations of a day; but where are
the fathomless profundities, the long contemplations, and the silent
solemnities of life? The newspapers are marvels of mental industry. They
show how much work can be done in a day, but they never last more than a
day. Sad will it be when the genius of ephemerality has invaded all
departments of human actions and human motives! Farewell then to deep
thoughts, to sublime self-sacrifice, to heroic labors for lasting
results! Time is turned into a day, the mind knows only momentary
impressions, the weary way of art is made as short as a turnpike, and
the products of genius last only about as long as any mood of the
weather. Bleak and changeable March will rule the year in the
intellectual heavens.

What symbol could represent this matchless embodiment of all the
activities, this tremendous success, this frenzied public interest? A
monster so large, and yet so quick,--so much bulk combined with so much
readiness,--reaching so far, and yet striking so often! Who can conceive
that productive state of mind in which some current fact is all the time
whirling the universe about it? Who can understand the mania of the
leader-writer, who never thinks of a subject without discovering the
possibility of a column concerning it,--who never looks upon his plate
of soup without mentally reviewing in elaborate periods the whole
vegetable, animal, and mineral kingdoms?

But what is the advantage of newspapers? Forsooth, popular intelligence.
The newspaper is, in the first place, the legitimate and improved
successor of the fiery cross, beacon-light, signal-smoking summit,
hieroglyphic mark, and bulletin-board. It is, in addition to this, a
popular daily edition and application of the works of Aristotle, St.
Thomas Aquinas, Lord Bacon, Vattel, and Thomas Jefferson. On one page it
records items, on the other it shows the relations between those items
and the highest thought. Yet the whole circle is accomplished daily. The
journal is thus the synopticized, personified, incarnate madness of the
day,--for to-day is always mad, and becomes a thing of reason only when
it becomes yesterday. A proper historical fact is one of the rarest
shots in the journalist's bag, as time is sure to prove. If we had
newspaper-accounts of the age of Augustus, the chances are that no other
epoch in history would be so absolutely problematical, and Augustus
himself would be lucky, if he were not resolved into a myth, and the
journal into sibylline oracles. The dissertational department is equally
faulty; for to first impressions everything on earth is chameleon-like.
The Scandinavian Divinities, the Past, the Present, and the Future,
could look upon each other, but neither of them upon herself. But in the
journal the Present is trying to behold itself; the same priestess
utters and explains the oracle. Thus the journal is the immortal
reproduction of the _jour des dupes_. The editors are like the newsboys,
shouting the news which they do not understand.

The public mind has given itself up to it. It claims the right to
pronounce all the newspapers very bad, but has renounced the privilege
of not reading them. Every one is made _particeps criminis_ in the
course of events. Nothing takes place in any quarter of the globe
without our assistance. We have to connive at _omne scibile_. About
everything natural and human, infernal and divine, there is a general
consultation of mankind, and we are all made responsible for the result.
Yet this constant interruption of our private intellectual habits and
interests is both an impertinence and a nuisance. Why send us all the
crudities? Why call upon us till you know what you want? Why speak till
you have got your brain and your mouth clear? Why may we not take the
universe for granted when we get up in the morning, instead of
proceeding directly to measure it over again? Once a year is often
enough for anybody but the government to hear anything about India,
China, Patagonia, and the other flaps and coat-tails of the world. Let
the North Pole never be mentioned again till we can melt the icebergs by
a burning mirror before we start. Don't report another asteroid till the
number reaches a thousand; that will be time enough for us to change our
peg. Let us hear nothing of the small speeches, but Congress may publish
once a week a bulletin of what it has done. The President and Cabinet
may publish a bulletin, not to exceed five lines, twice a week, or on
rare occasions and in a public emergency once a day. The right, however,
shall be reserved to the people to prohibit the Cabinet from saying
anything more aloud on a particular public question, till they have
settled it. Let no mail-steamer pass between here and Europe oftener
than once a month,--let all other steamers be forbidden to bring news,
and the utterance of news by passengers be treated either as a public
libel or nuisance, or as high treason. Leave the awful accidents to the
parties whom they concern, and don't trouble us, unless they have the
merit of novelty as well as of horror. Tell us only the highest facts,
the boldest strokes, the critical moments of daily chaos, and save us
from multitudinous nonsense.

There are some things which we like to keep out of the
newspapers,--whose dignity is rather increased by being saved from them.
There are certain momentary and local interests which have become shy of
the horn of the reporter. The leading movements in politics, the
advanced guard of scientific and artistic achievement, the most
interesting social phenomena rather increase than diminish their
importance by currency in certain circles instead of in the press. The
prestige of some events in metropolitan cities, a marriage or a party,
depends on their social repute, and they are ambitiously kept out of
the journalist's range. Moreover, in politics, a few leading men meet
together for consultation, and----but the mysteries of political
strategy are unknown here. Certainly the journalist has great influence
in them, but the clubs are centres of information and discussions of a
character and interest to which all that newspapers do is second-rate.
Science has never been popularized directly by the newspapers, but the
erudition of a _savant_ reaches to the people by creating an atmospheric
change, in which task the journals may have their influence. Rightly or
wrongly, the administration in civil affairs at Washington has not
listened to the press much, but it may be different when a new election
approaches. The social, political, scientific, and military Dii Majores
all depend on the journal for a part of their daily breakfast, but all
soar above it.

A well-known and rather startling story describes a being, which seems
to have been neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, which a man made out of the
elements, by the use of his hands, and by the processes of chemistry,
and which at the last galvanic touch rushed forth from the laboratory,
and from the horrified eyes of its creator, an independent, scoffing,
remorseless, and inevitable enemy of him to whose rash ingenuity it owed
its origin.

Such a creature symbolizes some of our human arts and initiations. Once
organized by genius and consecrated by precedent, they become mighty
elements in history, revelling amid the wealthy energy of life,
exhausting the forces of the intellect, clipping the tendrils of
affection, becoming colossal in the architecture of society and dorsal
in its traditions, and tyrannizing with the heedless power of an
element, to the horror of the pious soul which called it into existence,
over all departments of human activity. Such an art, having passed a
period of tameless and extravagant dominance, at length becomes a
fossil, and is regarded only as an evidence of social upheaving in a
remote and unaccountable age.

To charge such a creature with monstrosity during the period of its
power is simply to expose one's self to popular jeers. Having immense
respect for majorities in this country, we only venture obscurely to
hint, that, of all arts, none before has ever been so threatening,
curious, and fascinating a monster as that of printing. We merely
suggest the hypothesis, novel since some centuries, that old Faustus and
Gutenberg were as much inspired by the Evil One as they have been fabled
to be, when they carved out of a mountain of ore the instrument yclept
type, to completely exhaust the possibilities of which is of late
announced as the sum of human destiny. They lived under the
hallucination of dawning literature, when printed books implied sacred
and classical perfection; and they could by no means have foreseen the
royal folios of the "New York Herald" and "Tribune," or the marvellous
inanities about the past, present, and future, which figure in an
indescribable list of duodecimo fiction, theology, and popular science.

But there is nothing so useless as to protest against a universal
fashion. Every epoch must work out its own problem in its own way; and
it may be that it is appointed unto mankind to work through all possible
mistakes as the condition of finally attaining the truth. The only way
is, to encourage the spirit of every age, to hurry on the climax. The
practical _reductio ad absurdum_ and consequent explosion will soon
accomplish themselves.

But a more palpable reason against protesting is, that literature in its
different branches, now as ever, commands the services of the finest
minds. It is the literary character, of which the elder Disraeli has
written the natural history, which now as ever creates the books, the
magazines, the newspapers. That sanctified bookworm was the first to
codify the laws, customs, habits, and idiosyncrasies of literary men. He
was the Justinian of the life of genius. He wandered in abstraction
through the deserted alcoves of libraries, studying and creating the
political economy of thought. What long diversities of character, what
mysterious realms of experience, what wild waywardness of heavenly
endowments, what heroism of inward struggle, what shyness towards
society, what devotion to the beckoning ideal of art, what defeats and
what triumphs, what sufferings and joys, both in excess, were revealed
by him, the great political economist of genius! In his apostolic view,
genius alone consecrated literature, and made a literary life sacred.
Genius was to him that peculiar and spontaneous devotion to letters
which made its possessor indifferent to everything else. For a man
without this heavenly stamp to engage in literature was simply for him
to rush upon his fate, and become a public nuisance. Literature in its
very nature is precarious, and must be plucked from the brink of fate,
from the mouth of the dragon. The literary man runs the risk of being
destroyed in a thousand ways. He has no track laid, no instituted aids,
no specified course of action. The machineries of life are not for him.
He enters into no one of the departments of human routine. He has no
relations with the course of the dull world; he is not quite a man, as
the world goes, and not at all an angel, as the celestials see. He must
be his own motive, path, and guide, his own priest, king, and law. The
world may be his footstool, and may be his slough of despond, but is
never his final end. His aims are transcendental, his realm is art, his
interests ideal, his life divine, his destiny immortal. All the old
theories of saintship are revived in him. He is in the world, but not of
it. Shadows of infinitude are his realities. He sees only the starry
universe, and the radiant depths of the soul. Martyrdom may desolate,
but cannot terrify him. If he be a genius, if his soul crave only his
idea, and his body fare unconsciously well on bread and water, then his
lot is happy, and fortune can present no ills which will not shrink
before his burning eye. But if he be less than this, he is lost, the
sport of devouring elements. As he fights fate on the border of ruin, so
much the more should he be animated by courage, ambition, pride,
purpose, and faith. To him literature is a high adventure, and
impossible as a profession. A profession is an instituted department of
action, resting upon universal and constant needs, and paying regular
dividends. But the fine arts must in their nature be lawless.
Appointments cannot be made for them any more than for the
thunder-storms which sweep the sky. They die when they cease to be wild.
Literary life, at its best, is a desperate play, but it is with guineas,
and not with coppers, to all who truly play it. Its elements would not
be finer, were they the golden and potent stars of alchemistic and
astrological dreams.

Such was genius, and such was literature, in the representation of their
first great lawgiver. But the world has changed. The sad story of the
calamities of authors need not be repeated. We live in the age of
authors triumphant. By swiftly succeeding and countless publications
they occupy the eye of the world, and achieve happiness before their
death. The stratagems of literature mark no longer a struggle between
genius and the bailiffs. What was once a desperate venture is now a
lucrative business. What was once a martyrdom is now its own reward.
What once had saintly unearthliness is now a powerful motor among
worldly interests. What was once the fatality of genius is now the
aspiration of fools. The people have turned to reading, and have become
a more liberal patron than even the Athenian State, monastic order, or
noble lord. No longer does the literary class wander about the streets,
gingerbread in its coat-pockets, and rhymes written on scraps of paper
from the gutter in its waistcoat-pockets. No longer does it unequally
compete with clowns and jockeys for lordly recognition. No longer are
the poet and the fool court-rivals. No longer does it look forward to
the jail as an occasional natural resting-place and paradise. No longer
must the author renounce the rank and robe of a gentleman to fall from
airy regions far below the mechanical artists to the level of
clodhoppers, even whose leaden existence was a less precarious matter.
The order of scholars has ceased to be mendicant, vagabond, and eremite.
It no longer cultivates blossoms of the soul, but manufactures objects
of barter. Now is the happy literary epoch, when to be intellectual and
omniscient is the public and private duty of every man. To read
newspapers by the billion and books by the million is now the common
law. We can conceive of Disraeli moaning that the Titan interests of the
earth have overthrown the celestial hierarchy,--that the realm of genius
has been stormed by worldly workers,--that literature, like the angels,
has fallen from its first estate,--and that authors, no longer the
disinterested and suffering apostles, of art, have chosen rather to bear
the wand of power and luxury than to be inspired. We can imagine his
horror at the sacrilegious vulgarization of print, that people without
taste rush into angelic metre, that dunces and sages thrive together on
the public indiscrimination. How would he marvel to see literary
reputations born, grow old, and die within a season, the owners thereof
content to be damned or forgotten eternally for a moment's incense or an
equally fugitive shilling. Nectar and ambrosia mean to them only
meanness, larceny, sacrilege, and bread and butter.

And yet, notwithstanding the imaginary reproaches of our great literary
church-father, the most preciously endowed minds are still toiling in
letters. The sad and tortured devotion of genius still works itself out
in them. Writing is now a marvellous craft and industry. The books which
last, the books of a season, the quarterlies, monthlies, weeklies,
dailies, and even the hourlies, are among the institutions of its
fostering. Nor should that vehicle, partly of intelligence, but chiefly
of sentiment, the postal system, be unmentioned, which men and women
both patronize, each after their kind. Altogether, perhaps, in some way
or other, seven-eighths of the life of man is taken up by the Cadmean
Art. The whole fair domain of learning belongs to it; for nowhere now,
in garden, grove, or Stoical Porch, with only the living voices of man
and Nature, do students acquaint themselves with the joyous solemnities,
the mysterious certainties of thought. The mind lives in a universe of
type. There is no other art in which so desperate adventures are made.
Indeed, the normal mental state of the abundant writer is a marvellous
phenomenon. The literary faculty is born of the marriage of chronic
desperation with chronic trust. This may account in part for that
peculiar condition of mind which is both engendered and required by
abundant writing. A bold abandon, a desperate guidance, a thoughtless
ratiocination, a mechanical swaying of rhetoric, are the grounds of
dissertation. A pause for a few days, a visit to the country, anything
that would seem designed to restore the mind to its normal state,
destroys the faculty. The weary penman, who wishes his chaotic head
could be relieved by being transformed even as by Puck, knows that very
whirling chaos is the condition of his multitudinous periods. It seems
as if some special sluices of the soul must be opened to force the pen.
One man, on returning to his desk from a four weeks' vacation, took up
an unfinished article which he had left, and marvelled that such writing
should ever have proceeded from him. He could hardly understand it,
still less could he conceive of the mental process by which he had once
created it. That process was a sort of madness, and the discipline of
newspapers is inflicting it alike upon writers and readers.
Demoralization is the result of a life-long devotion to the maddening
rumors of the day. It takes many a day to recall that fierce caprice, as
of an Oriental despot, with which he watches the tiger-fights of ideas,
and strikes off periods, as the tyrant strikes off heads.

And while no other art commands so universal homage, no other is so
purely artificial, so absolutely unsymbolical. The untutored mind sees
nothing in a printed column. A library has no natural impressiveness. It
is not in the shape of anything in this world of infinite beauty. The
barbarians of Omri destroyed one without a qualm. They have occupied
apartments in seraglios, but the beauties have never feared them as
rivals. Of all human employments, writing is the farthest removed from
any touch of Nature. It is at most a symbolism twice dead and buried.
The poetry in it lies back of a double hypothesis. Supposing the
original sounds to have once been imitations of the voices of Nature,
those sounds have now run completely away from what they once
represented; and supposing that letters were once imitations of natural
signs, they have long since lost the resemblance, and have become
independent entities. Whatever else is done by human artifice has in it
some relic of Nature, some touch of life. Painting copies to the eye,
music charms the ear, and all the useful arts have something of the
aboriginal way of doing things about them. Even speech has a living
grace and power, by the play of the voice and eye, and by the billowy
flushes of the countenance. Mental energy culminates in its modulations,
while the finest physical features combine to make them a consummate
work of art. But all the musical, ocular, and facial beauties are absent
from writing. The savage knows, or could quickly guess, the use of the
brush or chisel, the shuttle or locomotive, but not of the pen. Writing
is the only dead art, the only institute of either gods or men so
artificial that the natural mind can discover nothing significant in it.

For instance, take one of the disputed statements of the Nicene Creed,
examine it by the nicest powers of the senses, study it upwards,
downwards, and crosswise, experiment to learn if it has any mysterious
chemical forces in it, consider its figures in relation to any
astrological positions, to any natural signs of whirlwinds, tempests,
plagues, famine, or earthquakes, try long to discover some hidden
symbolism in it, and confess finally that no man unregenerate to
letters, by any _a priori_ or empirical knowledge, could have at all
suspected that a bit of dirty parchment, with an ecclesiastical scrawl
upon it, would have power to drive the currents of history, inspire
great national passions, and impel the wars and direct the ideas of an
epoch. The conflicts of the iconoclasts can be understood even by a
child in its first meditations over a picture-book; hieroglyphics may
represent or suggest their objects by some natural association; but the
literary scrawl has a meaning only to the initiated. A book is the
prince of witch-work. Everything is contained in it; but even a superior
intelligence would have to go to school to get the key to its mysterious
treasures.

And as the art is thus removed from Nature, so its devotees withdraw
themselves from life. Of no other class so truly as of writers can it be
said that they sacrifice the real to the ideal, life to fame. They
conquer the world by renouncing it. Its fleeting pleasures, its
enchantment of business or listlessness, its social enjoyments, the
vexations and health-giving bliss of domestic life, and all wandering
tastes, must be forsaken. A power which pierces, and an ambition which
enjoys the future, accepts the martyrdom of the present. They feel
loneliness in their own age, while with universal survey viewing the
beacon-lights of history across the peaks of generations. Their seat of
life is the literary faculty, and they prune and torture themselves only
to maintain in this the highest intensity and capacity. They are in some
sort rebels battling against time, not the humble well-doer content
simply to live and bless God. Between them and living men there is the
difference which exists between analytical and geometrical mathematics:
the former has to do with signs, the latter with realities. The former
contains the laws of the physical world, but a man may know and use
them like an adept, and yet be ignorant of physics. He may know all
there is of algebra, without seeing that the universe is masked in it.
The signs would be not means, but ultimates to it. So a writer may never
penetrate through the veil of language to the realities behind,--may
know only the mechanism, and not the spirit of learning and literature.
His mind is then skeleton-like,--his thought is the shadow of a shade.

And yet is not life greater than art? Why transform real ideas and
sentiments into typographical fossils? Why have we forgotten the theory
of human life as a divine vegetation? Why not make our hearts the focus
of the lights which we strive to catch in books? Why should the wealthy
passivity of the Oriental genius be so little known among us? Why
conceive of success only as an outward fruit plucked by conscious
struggle? Banish books, banish reading, and how much time and strength
would be improvised in which to benefit each other! We might become
ourselves embodiments of all the truth and beauty and goodness now
stagnant in libraries, and might spread their aroma through the social
atmosphere. The dynamics would supplant the mechanics of the soul. In
the volume of life the literary man knows only the indexes; but he would
then be introduced to the radiant, fragrant, and buoyant contents, to
the beauty and the mystery, to the great passions and long
contemplations. The eternal spicy breeze would transform the leaden
atmosphere of his thought. An outlaw of the universe for his sins, he
would then be restored to the realities of the heart and mind. He would
then for the first time discover the difference between skill and
knowledge. Readers and writers would then be succeeded by human beings.
The golden ante-Cadmean age would come again. Literary sanctity having
become a tradition, there would be an end of its pretentious
counterfeits. The alphabet, decrepit with its long and vast labors,
would at last be released. The whole army of writers would take their
place among the curiosities of history. The Alexandrian thaumaturgists,
the Byzantine historians, the scholastic dialecticians, the serial
novelists, and the daily dissertationists, strung together, would make a
glittering chain of monomaniacs. Social life is a mutual joy; reading
may be rarely indulged without danger to sanity; but writing, unless the
man have genius, is but creating new rubbish, the nucleus of new deltas
of obstruction, till the river of life shall lose its way to the ocean,
and the Infinite be shut out altogether. The old bibliopole De Bury
flattered himself that he admired wisdom because it purchaseth such vast
delight. He had in mind the luxury of reading, and did not think that in
this world wisdom always hides its head or goes to the stake. Even if
literature were not to be abolished altogether, it is safe to think that
the world would be better off, if there were less writing. There should
be a division of labor; some should read and write, as some ordain laws,
create philosophies, tend shops, make chairs,--but why should everybody
dabble with literature?

In all hypotheses as to the more remote destiny of literature, we can
but be struck by the precariousness of its existence. It is art
imperishable and ever-changing material. A fire once extinguished
perhaps half the world's literature, and struck thousands from the list
of authors. The forgetfulness of mankind in the mysterious mediæval age;
diminished by more than half the world of books. There are many books
which surely, and either rapidly or slowly, resolve themselves into the
elements, but the process cannot be seen. A whole army of books perishes
with every revolution of taste. And yet the amount of current writing
surpasses the strength of man's intellect or the length of his years.
Surely, the press is very much of a nuisance as well as a blessing. Its
products are getting very much in the way, and the impulse of the world
is too strong to allow itself to be clogged by them. Something must be
done.

Among possibilities, let the following be suggested. The world may
perhaps return from unsymbolical to symbolical writing. There is a
science older than anything but shadowy traditions, and immemorially
linked with religion, poetry, and art. It is the almost forgotten
science of symbolism. Symbols, as compared with letters, are a higher
and more potent style of expression. They are the earthly shadows of
eternal truth. It is the language of the fine arts, of painting,
sculpture, the stage,--it will be the language of life, when, rising in
the scale of being, we shall return from the dead sea of literature to
the more energetic algebra of symbolical meanings. In these, the forms
of the reason and of Nature come into visible harmony; the hopes of man
find their shadows in the struggles of the universe, and the lights of
the spirit cluster myriad-fold around the objects of Nature. Let
Phoenician language be vivified into the universal poetry of
symbolism, and thought would then become life, instead of the ghost of
life. Current literature would give way to a new and true mythology;
authors and editors would suffer a transformation similar to that of
type-setters into artists, and of newsboys into connoisseurs; and the
figures of a noble humanity would fill the public mind, no longer
confused and degraded by the perpetual vision of leaden and unsuggestive
letters. From that time prose would be extinct, and poetry would be all
in all. History would renew its youth,--would find, after the struggles,
attainments, and developments of its manhood, that there is after all
nothing wiser in thought, no truer law, than the instincts of childhood.

Or, again: improvements have already been made which promise as an
ultimate result to transform the largest library into a miniature for
the pocket. Stenography may yet reach to a degree that it will be able
to write folios on the thumb-nail, and dispose all the literature of the
world comfortably in a gentleman's pocket, before he sets out on his
summer excursion. The contents of vast tomes, bodies of history and of
science, may be so reduced that the eye can cover them at a glance, and
the process of reading be as rapid as that of thought The mind, instead
of wearying of slow perusal, would have to spur its lightning to keep
pace with the eye. Many books are born of mere vagueness and cloudiness
of thought. All such, when thus compressed into their reality, would go
out in eternal night. There is something overpowering in the conception
of the high pressure to which life in all its departments may some time
be brought. The mechanism of reading and writing would be slight. The
mental labor of comprehending would be immense. The mind, instead of
being subdued, would be spurred, by what it works in. We are now cramped
and checked by the overwhelming amount of linguistic red-tape in which
we have to operate; but then men, freed from these bonds, the husks of
thought almost all thrown away, would be purer, live faster, do greater,
die younger. What magnificent physical improvements, we may suppose,
will then aid the powers of the soul! The old world would then be
subdued, nevermore to strike a blow at its lithe conqueror, man. The
department of the newspaper, with inconceivable photographic and
telegraphic resources, may then be extended to the solar or the stellar
systems, and the turmoils of all creation would be reported at our
breakfast-tables. Men would rise every morning to take an intelligible
account of the aspects and the prospects of the universe.

Or, once more: shall we venture into the speculative domain of the
philosophy of history, and give the rationale of our times? What is the
divine mission of the great marvel of our age, namely, its periodical
and fugitive literature? The intellectual and moral world of mankind
reforms itself at the outset of new civilizations, as Nature reforms
itself at every new geological epoch. The first step toward a reform, as
toward a crystallization, is a solution. There was a solvent period
between the unknown Orient and the greatness of Greece, between the
Classic and the Middle Ages,--and now humanity is again solvent, in the
transition from the traditions which issued out of feudalism to the
novelty of democratic crystallization. But as the youth of all animals
is prolonged in proportion to their dignity in the scale of being, so is
it with the children of history. Destiny is the longest-lived of all
things. We are not going to accomplish it all at once. We have got to
fight for it, to endure the newspapers in behalf of it. We are in a
place where gravitation changing goes the other way. For the first time,
all reigning ideas now find their focus in the popular mind. The giant
touches the earth to recover his strength. History returns to the
people. After two thousand years, popular intelligence is again to be
revived. And under what new conditions? We live in a telescopic,
microscopic, telegraphic universe, all the elements of which are brought
together under the combined operation of fire and water, as erst, in
primitive Nature, vulcanic and plutonic forces struggled together in the
face of heaven and hell to form the earth. The long ranges of history
have left with us one definite idea: it is that of progress, the
intellectual passion of our time. All our science demonstrates it, all
our poetry sings it. Democracy is the last term of political progress.
Popular intelligence and virtue are the conditions of democracy. To
produce these is the mission of periodical literature. The vast
complexities of the world, all knowledge and all purpose, are being
reduced in the crucible of the popular mind to a common product.
Knowledge lives neither in libraries nor in rare minds, but in the
general heart. Great men are already mythical, and great ideas are
admitted only so far as we, the people, can see something in them. By no
great books or long treatises, but by a ceaseless flow of brevities and
repetitions, is the pulverized thought of the world wrought into the
soul. It is amazing how many significant passages in history and in
literature are reproduced in the essays of magazines and the leaders of
newspapers by allusion and illustration, and by constant iteration
beaten into the heads of the people. The popular mind is now feeding
upon and deriving tone from the best things that literary commerce can
produce from the whole world, past and present. There is no finer
example of the popularization of science than Agassiz addressing the
American people through the columns of a monthly magazine. Of the
popular heart which used to rumble only about once in a century the
newspapers are now the daily organs. They are creating an organic
general mind, the soil for future grand ideas and institutes. As the
soul reaches a higher stage in its destiny than ever before, the
scaffolding by which it has risen is to be thrown aside. The quality of
libraries is to be transferred to the soul. Spiritual life is now to
exert its influence directly, without the mechanism of letters,--is
going to exert itself through the social atmosphere,--and all history
and thought are to be perpetuated and to grow, not in books, but in
minds.

And yet, though we thus justify contemporary writing, we can but think,
that, after long ages of piecemeal and _bon-mot_ literature, we shall at
length return to serious studies, vast syntheses, great works. The
nebulous world of letters shall be again concentred into stars. The
epoch of the printing-press has run itself nearly through; but a new
epoch and a new art shall arise, by which the achievements and the
succession of genius shall be perpetuated.



THE BRIDGE OF CLOUD.


    Burn, O evening hearth, and waken
      Pleasant visions, as of old!
    Though the house by winds be shaken,
      Safe I keep this room of gold!

    Ah, no longer wizard Fancy
      Builds its castles in the air,
    Luring me by necromancy
      Up the never-ending stair!

    But, instead, it builds me bridges
      Over many a dark ravine,
    Where beneath the gusty ridges
      Cataracts dash and roar unseen.

    And I cross them, little heeding
      Blast of wind or torrent's roar,
    As I follow the receding
      Footsteps that have gone before.

    Nought avails the imploring gesture,
      Nought avails the cry of pain!
    When I touch the flying vesture,
      'Tis the gray robe of the rain.

    Baffled I return, and, leaning
      O'er the parapets of cloud,
    Watch the mist that intervening
      Wraps the valley in its shroud.

    And the sounds of life ascending
      Faintly, vaguely, meet the ear,
    Murmur of bells and voices blending
      With the rush of waters near.

    Well I know what there lies hidden,
      Every tower and town and farm,
    And again the land forbidden
      Reassumes its vanished charm.

    Well I know the secret places,
      And the nests in hedge and tree;
    At what doors are friendly faces,
      In what hearts a thought of me.

    Through the mist and darkness sinking,
      Blown by wind and beaten by shower,
    Down I fling the thought I'm thinking,
      Down I toss this Alpine flower.



THE ELECTRIC GIRL OF LA PERRIÈRE.


Eighteen years ago there occurred in one of the provinces of
France a case of an abnormal character, marked by extraordinary
phenomena,--interesting to the scientific, and especially to the medical
world. The authentic documents in this case are rare; and though the
case itself is often alluded to, its details have never, so far as I
know, been reproduced from these documents in an English dress, or
presented in trustworthy form to the American public. It occurred in the
Commune of La Perrière, situated in the Department of Orne, in January,
1846.

It was critically observed, at the time, by Dr. Verger, an intelligent
physician of Bellesme, a neighboring town. He details the result of his
observations in two letters addressed to the "Journal du
Magnétisme,"--one dated January 29, the other February 2, 1846.[1] The
editor of that journal, M. Hébert, (de Garny,) himself repaired to the
spot, made the most minute researches into the matter, and gives us the
result of his observations and inquiries in a report, also published in
the "Journal du Magnétisme."[2] A neighboring proprietor, M. Jules de
Farémont, followed up the case with care, from its very commencement,
and has left on record a detailed report of his observations.[3]
Finally, after the girl's arrival in Paris, Dr. Tanchon carefully
studied the phenomena, and has given the results in a pamphlet published
at the time.[4] He it was, also, who addressed to M. Arago a note on the
subject, which was laid before the Academy by that distinguished man, at
their session of February 16, 1846.[5] Arago himself had then seen the
girl only a few minutes, but even in that brief time had verified a
portion of the phenomena.

Dr. Tanchon's pamphlet contains fourteen letters, chiefly from medical
men and persons holding official positions in Bellesme, Mortagne, and
other neighboring towns, given at length and signed by the writers, all
of whom examined the girl, while yet in the country. Their testimony is
so circumstantial, so strictly concurrent in regard to all the main
phenomena, and so clearly indicative of the care and discrimination with
which the various observations were made, that there seems no good
reason, unless we find such in the nature of the phenomena themselves,
for refusing to give it credence. Several of the writers expressly
affirm the accuracy of M. Hébert's narrative, and all of them, by the
details they furnish, corroborate it. Mainly from that narrative, aided
by some of the observations of M. de Farémont, I compile the following
brief statement of the chief facts in this remarkable case.

Angélique Cottin, a peasant-girl fourteen years of age, robust and in
good health, but very imperfectly educated and of limited intelligence,
lived with her aunt, the widow Loisnard, in a cottage with an earthen
floor, close to the Château of Monti-Mer, inhabited by its proprietor,
already mentioned, M. de Farémont.

The weather, for eight days previous to the fifteenth of January, 1846,
had been heavy and tempestuous, with constantly recurring storms of
thunder and lightning. The atmosphere was charged with electricity.

On the evening of that fifteenth of January, at eight o'clock, while
Angélique, in company with three other young girls, was at work, as
usual, in her aunt's cottage, weaving ladies' silk-net gloves, the
frame, made of rough oak and weighing about twenty-five pounds, to
which was attached the end of the warp, was upset, and the candlestick
on it thrown to the ground. The girls, blaming each other as having
caused the accident, replaced the frame, relighted the candle, and went
to work again. A second time the frame was thrown down. Thereupon the
children ran away, afraid of a thing so strange, and, with the
superstition common to their class, dreaming of witchcraft. The
neighbors, attracted by their cries, refused to credit their story. So,
returning, but with fear and trembling, two of them at first, afterwards
a third, resumed their occupation, without the recurrence of the
alarming phenomenon. But as soon as the girl Cottin, imitating her
companions, had touched her warp, the frame was agitated again, moved
about, was upset, and then thrown violently back. The girl was drawn
irresistibly after it; but as soon as she touched it, it moved still
farther away.

Upon this the aunt, thinking, like the children, that there must be
sorcery in the case, took her niece to the parsonage of La Perrière,
demanding exorcism. The curate, an enlightened man, at first laughed at
her story; but the girl had brought her glove with her, and fixing it to
a kitchen-chair, the chair, like the frame, was repulsed and upset,
without being touched by Angélique. The curate then sat down on the
chair; but both chair and he were thrown to the ground in like manner.
Thus practically convinced of the reality of a phenomenon which he could
not explain, the good man reassured the terrified aunt by telling her it
was some bodily disease, and, very sensibly, referred the matter to the
physicians.

The next day the aunt related the above particulars to M. de Farémont;
but for the time the effects had ceased. Three days later, at nine
o'clock, that gentleman was summoned to the cottage, where he verified
the fact that the frame was at intervals thrown back from Angélique with
such force, that, when exerting his utmost strength and holding it with
both hands, he was unable to prevent its motion. He observed that the
motion was partly rotary, from left to right. He particularly noticed
that the girl's feet did not touch the frame, and that, when it was
repulsed, she seemed drawn irresistibly after it, stretching out her
hands, as if instinctively, towards it. It was afterwards remarked,
that, when a piece of furniture or other object, thus acted upon by
Angélique, was too heavy to be moved, she herself was thrown back, as if
by the reaction of the force upon her person.

By this time the cry of witchcraft was raised in the neighborhood, and
public opinion had even designated by name the sorcerer who had cast the
spell. On the twenty-first of January the phenomena increased in
violence and in variety. A chair on which the girl attempted to sit
down, though held by three strong men, was thrown off, in spite of their
efforts, to several yards' distance. Shovels, tongs, lighted firewood,
brushes, books, were all set in motion when the girl approached them. A
pair of scissors fastened to her girdle was detached, and thrown into
the air.

On the twenty-fourth of January, M. de Farémont took the child and her
aunt in his carriage to the small neighboring town of Mamers. There,
before two physicians and several ladies and gentlemen, articles of
furniture moved about on her approach. And there, also, the following
conclusive experiment was tried by M. de Farémont.

Into one end of a ponderous wooden block, weighing upwards of a hundred
and fifty pounds, he caused a small hook to be driven. To this he made
Angélique fix her silk. As soon as she sat down and her frock touched
the block, the latter _was instantly raised three or four inches from
the ground; and this was repeated as much as forty times in a minute_.
Then, after suffering the girl to rest, M. de Farémont seated himself on
the block, and was elevated in the same way. Then _three men placed
themselves upon it, and were raised also_, only not quite so high. "It
is certain," says M. de Farémont, "that I and one of the most athletic
porters of the Halle could not have lifted that block with the three
persons seated on it."[6]

Dr. Verger came to Mamers to see Angélique, whom, as well as her family,
he had previously known. On the twenty-eighth of January, in the
presence of the curate of Saint Martin and of the chaplain of the
Bellesme hospital, the following incident occurred. As the child could
not sew without pricking herself with the needle, nor use scissors
without wounding her hands, they set her to shelling peas, placing a
large basket before her. As soon as her dress touched the basket, and
she reached her hand to begin work, the basket was violently repulsed,
and the peas projected upwards and scattered over the room. This was
twice repeated, under the same circumstances. Dr. Lemonnier, of Saint
Maurice, testifies to the same phenomenon, as occurring in his presence
and in that of the Procurator Royal of Mortagne;[7] he noticed that the
left hand produced the greater effect. He adds, that, he and another,
gentleman having endeavored, with all their strength, to hold a chair on
which Angélique sat down, it was violently forced from them, and one of
its legs broken.

On the thirtieth of January, M. de Farémont tried the effect of
isolation. When, by means of dry glass, he isolated the child's feet and
the chair on which she sat, the chair ceased to move, and she remained
perfectly quiet. M. Olivier, government engineer, tried a similar
experiment, with the same results.[8] A week later, M. Hébert, repeating
this experiment, discovered that isolation of the chair was unnecessary;
it sufficed to isolate the girl.[9] Dr. Beaumont, vicar of
Pin-la-Garenne, noticed a fact, insignificant in appearance, yet quite
as conclusive as were the more violent manifestations, as to the reality
of the phenomena. Having moistened with saliva the scattered hairs on
his own arm, so that they lay flattened, attached to the epidermis, when
he approached his arm to the left arm of the girl, the hairs instantly
erected themselves. M. Hébert repeated the same experiment several
times, always with a similar result.[10]

M. Olivier also tried the following. With a stick of sealing-wax, which
he had subjected to friction, he touched the girl's arm, and it gave her
a considerable shock; but touching her with another similar stick, that
had not been rubbed, she experienced no effect whatever.[11] Yet when M.
de Farémont, on the nineteenth of January, tried the same experiment
with a stick of sealing-wax and a glass tube, well prepared by rubbing,
he obtained no effect whatever. So also a pendulum of light pith,
brought into close proximity to her person at various points, was
neither attracted nor repulsed, in the slightest degree.[12]

Towards the beginning of February, Angélique was obliged, for several
days, to eat standing; she could not sit down on a chair. This fact Dr.
Verger repeatedly verified. Holding her by the arm to prevent accident,
the moment she touched the chair it was projected from under her, and
she would have fallen but for his support. At such times, to take rest,
she had to seat herself on the floor, or on a stone provided for the
purpose.

On one such occasion, "she approached," says M. de Farémont, "one of
those rough, heavy bedsteads used by the peasantry, weighing, with the
coarse bedclothes, some three hundred pounds, and sought to lie down on
it. The bed shook and oscillated in an incredible manner; no force that
I know of is capable of communicating to it such a movement. Then she
went to another bed, which was raised from the ground on wooden rollers,
six inches in diameter; and it was immediately thrown off the rollers."
All this M. de Farémont personally witnessed.[13]

On the evening of the second of February, Dr. Verger received Angélique
into his house. On that day and the next, upwards of one thousand
persons came to see her. The constant experiments, which on that
occasion were continued into the night, so fatigued the poor girl that
the effects were sensibly diminished. Yet even then a small table
brought near to her was thrown down so violently that it broke to
pieces. It was of cherry-wood and varnished.

"In a general way," says Dr. Beaumont-Chardon, "I think the effects were
more marked with me than with others, because I never evinced suspicion,
and spared her all suffering; and I thought I could observe, that,
although her powers were not under the control of her will, yet they
were greatest when her mind was at ease, and she was in good
spirits."[14] It appeared, also, that on waxed, or even tiled floors,
but more especially on carpets, the effects were much less than on an
earthen floor like that of the cottage where they originally showed
themselves.

At first wooden furniture seemed exclusively affected; but at a later
period metal also, as tongs and shovels, though in a less degree,
appeared to be subjected to this extraordinary influence. When the
child's powers were the most active, actual contact was not necessary.
Articles of furniture and other small objects moved, if she accidentally
approached them.

Up to the sixth of February she had been visited by more than two
thousand persons, including distinguished physicians from the towns of
Bellesme and Mortagne, and from all the neighborhood, magistrates,
lawyers, ecclesiastics, and others. Some gave her money.

Then, in an evil hour, listening to mercenary suggestion, the parents
conceived the idea that the poor girl might be made a source of
pecuniary gain; and notwithstanding the advice and remonstrance of her
true friends, M. de Farémont, Dr. Verger, M. Hébert, and others, her
father resolved to exhibit her in Paris and elsewhere.

On the road they were occasionally subjected to serious annoyances. The
report of the marvels above narrated had spread far and wide; and the
populace, by hundreds, followed the carriage, hooting and abusing the
sorceress.

Arrived at the French metropolis, they put up at the Hôtel de Rennes,
No. 23, Rue des Deux-Écus. There, on the evening of the twelfth of
February, Dr. Tanchon saw Angélique for the first time.

This gentleman soon verified, among other phenomena, the following. A
chair, which he held firmly with both hands, was forced back as soon as
she attempted to sit down; a middle-sized dining-table was displaced and
repulsed by the touch of her dress; a large sofa, on which Dr. Tanchon
was sitting, was pushed violently to the wall, as soon as the child sat
down beside him. The Doctor remarked, that, when a chair was thrown back
from under her, her clothes seemed attracted by it, and adhered to it,
until it was repulsed beyond their reach; that the power was greater
from the left hand than from the right, and that the former was warmer
than the latter, and often trembled, agitated by unusual contractions;
that the influence emanating from the girl was intermittent, not
permanent, being usually most powerful from seven till nine o'clock in
the evening, possibly influenced by the principal meal of the day,
dinner, taken at six o'clock; that, if the girl was cut off from contact
with the earth, either by placing her feet on a non-conductor or merely
by keeping them raised from the ground, the power ceased, and she could
remain seated quietly; that, during the paroxysm, if her left hand
touched any object, she threw it from her as if it burned her,
complaining that it pricked her, especially on the wrist; that,
happening one day to touch accidentally the nape of her neck, the girl
ran from him, crying out with pain; and that repeated observation
assured him of the fact that there was, in the region of the
cerebellum, and at the point where the superior muscles of the neck are
inserted in the cranium, a point so acutely sensitive that the child
would not suffer there the lightest touch; and, finally, that the girl's
pulse, often irregular, usually varied from one hundred and five to one
hundred and twenty beats a minute.

A curious observation made by this physician was, that, at the moment of
greatest action, a cool breeze, or gaseous current, seemed to flow from
her person. This he felt on his hand, as distinctly as one feels the
breath during an ordinary expiration.[15]

He remarked, also, that the intermittence of the child's power seemed to
depend in a measure on her state of mind. She was often in fear lest
some one should touch her from behind; the phenomena themselves agitated
her; in spite of a month's experience, each time they occurred she drew
back, as if alarmed. And all such agitations seemed to diminish her
power. When she was careless, and her mind was diverted to something
else, the demonstrations were always the most energetic.

From the north pole of a magnet, if it touched her finger, she received
a sharp shock; while the contact of the south pole produced upon her no
effect whatever. This effect was uniform; and the girl could always tell
which pole touched her.

Dr. Tanchon ascertained from the mother that no indications of puberty
had yet manifested themselves in her daughter's case.

Such is a summary of the facts, embodied in a report drawn up by Dr.
Tanchon on the fifteenth of February. He took it with him on the evening
of the sixteenth to the Academy of Sciences, and asked M. Arago if he
had seen the electric girl, and if he intended to bring her case that
evening to the notice of the Academy. Arago replied to both questions in
the affirmative, adding,--"If you have seen her, I shall receive from
you with pleasure any communication you may have to make."

Dr. Tanchon then read to him the report; and at the session of that
evening, Arago presented it, stated what he himself had seen, and
proposed that a committee should be appointed to examine the case. His
statement was received by his audience with many expressions of
incredulity; but they acceded to his suggestion by naming, from the
members of the Academy, a committee of six.

It appears that Arago had had but a single opportunity, and for the
brief space of less than half an hour, of witnessing the phenomena to
which he referred. M. Cholet, the speculator who advanced to her parents
the money necessary to bring Angélique to Paris, had taken the girl and
her parents to the Observatory, where Arago then was, who, at the
earnest instance of Cholet, agreed to test the child's powers at once.
There were present on this occasion, besides Arago, MM. Mathieu and
Laugier, and an astronomer of the Observatory, named M. Goujon.

The experiment of the chair perfectly succeeded. It was projected with
great violence against the wall, while the girl was thrown on the other
side. This experiment was repeated several times by Arago himself, and
each time with the same result. He could not, with all his force, hinder
the chair from being thrown back. Then MM. Goujon and Laugier attempted
to hold it, but with as little success. Finally, M. Goujon seated
himself first on half the chair, and at the moment when Angélique was
taking her seat beside him the chair was thrown down.

When Angélique approached a small table, at the instant that her apron
touched it, it was repulsed.

These particulars were given in all the medical journals of the day,[16]
as well as in the "Journal des Débats" of February 18, and the "Courrier
Français" of February 19, 1846.

The minutes of the session of the Academy touch upon them in the most
studiously brief and guarded manner. They say, the sitting lasted only
some minutes. They admit, however, the main fact, namely, that the
movements of the chair, occurring as soon as Angélique seated herself
upon it, were most violent ("_d'une extrême violence_"). But as to the
other experiment, they allege that M. Arago did not clearly perceive the
movement of the table by the mere intervention of the girl's apron,
though the other observers did.[17] It is added, that the girl produced
no effect on the magnetic needle.

Some accounts represent Arago as expressing himself much more decidedly.
He may have done so, in addressing the Academy; but I find no official
record of his remarks.

He did not assist at the sittings of the committee that had been
appointed at his suggestion; but he signed their report, having
confidence, as he declared, in their judgment, and sharing their
mistrust.

That report, made on the ninth of March, is to the effect, that they
witnessed no repulsive agency on a table or similar object; that they
saw no effect produced by the girl's arm on a magnetic needle; that the
girl did not possess the power to distinguish between the two poles of a
magnet; and, finally, that the only result they obtained was sudden and
violent movements of chairs on which the child was seated. They add,
"Serious suspicions having arisen as to the manner in which these
movements were produced, the committee decided to submit them to a
strict examination, declaring, in plain terms, that they would endeavor
to discover what part certain adroit and concealed manoeuvres of the
hands and feet had in their production. From that moment we were
informed that the young girl had lost her attractive and repulsive
powers, and that we should be notified when they reappeared. Many days
have elapsed; no notice has been sent us; yet we learn that Mademoiselle
Cottin daily exhibits her experiments in private circles." And they
conclude by recommending "that the communications addressed to them in
her case be considered _as not received_" ("_comme non avenues_"). In a
word, they officially branded the poor girl as an impostor.

That, without any inquiry into the antecedents of the patient, without
the slightest attempt to obtain from those medical men who had followed
up the case from its commencement what they had observed, and that, in
advance of the strict examination which it was their duty to make, they
should insult the unfortunate girl by declaring that they intended to
find out the tricks with which she had been attempting to deceive
them,--all this is not the less lamentable because it is common among
those, who sit in the high places of science.

If these Academicians had been moved by a simple love of truth, not
urged by a self-complacent eagerness to display their own sagacity, they
might have found a more probable explanation of the cessation, after
their first session, of some of Angelique's chief powers.

Such an explanation is furnished to us by Dr. Tanchon, who was present,
by invitation, at the sittings of the committee.

He informs us that, at their first sitting, held at the Jardin des
Plantes, on the seventeenth of February, after the committee had
witnessed, twice repeated, the violent displacement of a chair held with
all his strength by one of their number, (M. Rayet,) instead of
following up similar experiments and patiently waiting to observe the
phenomena as they presented themselves, they proceeded at once to
satisfy their own preconceptions. They brought Angélique into contact
with a voltaic battery. Then they placed on the bare arm of the child a
dead frog, anatomically prepared after the manner of Matteucci, that is,
the skin removed, and the animal dissected so as to expose the lumbar
nerves. By a galvanic current, they caused this frog to move, apparently
to revive, on the girl's arm. The effect upon her may be imagined. The
ignorant child, terrified out of her senses, spoke of nothing else the
rest of the day, dreamed of dead frogs coming to life all night, and
began to talk eagerly about it again the first thing the next
morning.[18] From that time her attractive and repulsive powers
gradually declined.

In addition to the privilege of much accumulated learning, in addition
to the advantages of varied scientific research, we must have something
else, if we would advance yet farther in true knowledge. We must be
imbued with a simple, faithful spirit, not presuming, not preoccupied.
We must be willing to sit down at the feet of Truth, humble, patient,
docile, single-hearted. We must not be wise in our own conceit; else the
fool's chance is better than ours, to avoid error, and distinguish
truth.

M. Cohu, a medical man of Mortagne, writing, in March, 1846, in reply to
some inquiries of Dr. Tanchon, after stating that the phenomenon of the
chair, repeatedly observed by himself, had been witnessed also by more
than a thousand persons, adds,--"It matters not what name we may give to
this; the important point is, to verify the reality of a repulsive
agency, and of one that is distinctly marked; the effects it is
impossible to deny. We may assign to this agency what seat we please, in
the cerebellum, in the pelvis, or elsewhere; the _fact_ is material,
visible, incontestable. Here in the Province, Sir, we are not very
learned, but we are often very mistrustful. In the present case we have
examined, reëxamined, taken every possible precaution against deception;
and the more we have seen, the deeper has been our conviction of the
reality of the phenomenon. Let the Academy decide as it will. _We have
seen_; it has not seen. We are, therefore, in a condition to decide
better than it can, I do not say what cause was operating, but what
effects presented themselves, under circumstances that remove even the
shadow of a doubt."[19]

M. Hébert, too, states a truth of great practical value, when he
remarks, that, in the examination of phenomena of so fugitive and
seemingly capricious a character, involving the element of vitality, and
the production of which at any given moment depends not upon us, we
"ought to accommodate ourselves to the nature of the fact, not insist
that it should accommodate itself to us."

For myself, I do not pretend to offer any positive opinion as to what
was ultimately the real state of the case. I do not assume to determine
whether the attractive and repulsive phenomena, after continuing for
upwards of a month, happened to be about to cease at the very time the
committee began to observe them,--or whether the harsh suspicious and
terror-inspiring tests of these gentlemen so wrought on the nervous
system of an easily daunted and superstitious girl, that some of her
abnormal powers, already on the wane, presently disappeared,--or whether
the poor child, it may be at the instigation of her parents, left
without the means of support,[20] really did at last simulate phenomena
that once were real, manufacture a counterfeit of what was originally
genuine. I do not take upon myself to decide between these various
hypotheses. I but express my conviction, that, for the first few weeks
at least, the phenomena actually occurred,--and that, had not the
gentlemen of the Academy been very unfortunate or very injudicious,
they could not have failed to perceive their reality. And I seek in vain
some apology for the conduct of these learned Academicians, called upon
to deal with a case so fraught with interest to science, when I find
them, merely because they do not at once succeed in personally verifying
sufficient to convince them of the existence of certain novel phenomena,
not only neglecting to seek evidence elsewhere, but even rejecting that
which a candid observer had placed within their reach.

This appears to have been the judgment of the medical public of Paris.
The "Gazette des Hôpitaux," in its issue of March 17, 1846, protests
against the committee's mode of ignoring the matter, declaring that it
satisfied nobody. "Not received!" said the editor (alluding to the words
of the report); "that would be very convenient, if it were only
possible!"[21]

And the "Gazette Médicale" very justly remarks,--"The non-appearance of
the phenomena at such or such a given moment proves nothing in itself.
It is but a negative fact, and, as such, cannot disprove the positive
fact of their appearance at another moment, if that be otherwise
satisfactorily attested." And the "Gazette" goes on to argue, from the
nature of the facts, that it is in the highest degree improbable that
they should have been the result of premeditated imposture.

The course adopted by the Academy's committee is the less defensible,
because, though the attractive and repulsive phenomena ceased after
their first session, other phenomena, sufficiently remarkable, still
continued. As late as the tenth of March, the day after the committee
made their report, Angélique being then at Dr. Tanchon's house, a table
touched by her apron, while her hands were behind her and her feet
fifteen inches distant from it, _was raised entirely from the ground_,
though no part of her body touched it. This was witnessed, besides Dr.
Tanchon, by Dr. Charpentier-Méricourt, who had stationed himself so as
to observe it from the side. He distinctly saw the table rise, with all
four legs, from the floor, and he noticed that the two legs of the table
farthest from the girl rose first. He declares, that, during the whole
time, he perceived not the slightest movement either of her hands or her
feet; and he regarded deception, under the circumstances, to be utterly
impossible.[22]

On the twelfth of March, in presence of five physicians, Drs. Amédée
Latour, Lachaise, Deleau, Pichard, and Soulé, the same phenomenon
occurred twice.

And yet again on the fourteenth, four physicians being present, the
table was raised a single time, but with startling force. It was of
mahogany, with two drawers, and was four feet long by two feet and a
half wide. We may suppose it to have weighed some fifty or sixty pounds;
so that the girl's power, in this particular, appears to have much
decreased since that day, about the end of January, when M. de Farémont
saw repeatedly raised from the ground a block of one hundred and fifty
pounds' weight, with three men seated on it,--in all, not less than five
to six hundred pounds.

By the end of March the whole of the phenomena had almost totally
ceased; and it does not appear that they have ever shown themselves
since that time.

Dr. Tanchon considered them electrical. M. de Farémont seems to have
doubted that they were strictly so. In a letter, dated Monti-Mer,
November 1, 1846, and addressed to the Marquis de Mirville, that
gentleman says,--"The electrical effects I have seen produced in this
case varied so much,--since under certain circumstances good conductors
operated, and then again, in others, no effect was observable,--that, if
one follows the ordinary laws of electrical phenomena, one finds
evidence both for and against. I am well convinced, that, in the case
of this child, there is some power other than electricity."[23]

But as my object is to state facts, rather than to moot theories, I
leave this debatable ground to others, and here close a narrative,
compiled with much care, of this interesting and instructive case. I was
the rather disposed to examine it critically and report it in detail,
because it seems to suggest valuable hints, if it does not afford some
clue, as to the character of subsequent manifestations in the United
States and elsewhere.

       *       *       *       *       *

This case is not an isolated one. My limits however, prevent me from
here reproducing, as I might, sundry other recent narratives more or
less analogous to that of the girl Cottin. To one only shall I briefly
advert: a case related in the Paris newspaper, the "Siècle," of March 4,
1846, published when all Paris was talking of Arago's statement in
regard to the electric girl.

It is there given on the authority of a principal professor in one of
the Royal Colleges of Paris. The case, very similar to that of Angélique
Cottin, occurred in the month of December previous, in the person of a
young girl, not quite fourteen years old, apprenticed to a colorist, in
the Rue Descartes. The occurrences were quite as marked as those in the
Cottin case. The professor, seated one day near the girl, was raised
from the floor, along with the chair on which he sat. There were
occasional knockings. The phenomena commenced December 2, 1845; and
lasted twelve days.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Journal du Magnétisme_, for 1846, pp. 80-84.

[2] Pp. 89-106.

[3] In Dr. Tanchon's pamphlet, pp. 46-53.

[4] _Enquête, sur l'Authenticité des Phénomènes Électriques d'Angélique
Cottin_, par le Dr. Tanchon. Baillière, Paris, 1846.

[5] See Minutes of the Academy, Session of Monday, February 16, 1846.

[6] _Enquête_, etc., p. 49.

[7] _Ibid._ p. 40.

[8] _Ibid._ p. 42.

[9] _Ibid._ p. 22.

[10] _Enquête_, etc., p. 22.

[11] _Ibid._ p. 43.

[12] _Ibid._ p. 47.

[13] _Ibid._ p. 49.

[14] _Enquête_, etc., p. 35. They were greater, also, after meals than
before; so Hébert observed. p. 22.

[15] _Enquête_, etc., p. 5.

[16] I extract them from the "Journal des Connaissances
Médico-Chirurgicales," No. 3.

[17] The words are,--"M. Arago n'a pas aperçu nettement les agitations
annoncées comme étant engendrées à distance, par l'intermédiaire d'un
tablier, sur un guéridon en bois: d'autres observateurs ont trouvé que
les agitations étaient sensibles."

[18] _Enquête_, etc., p. 25.

[19] _Enquête_, etc., p. 36.

[20] M. Cholet, the individual who, in the hope of gain, furnished the
funds to bring Angélique to Paris for exhibition, as soon as he
perceived that the speculation was a failure, left the girl and her
parents in that city, dependent on the charity of strangers for daily
support, and for the means of returning to their humble
home.--_Enquête_, etc., p. 24.

[21] "Non avenues! ce serait commode, si c'était possible!"

[22] _Enquête_, etc., p. 30.

[23] _Des Esprits et de leurs Manifestations Fluidiques_, par le Marquis
de Mirville, pp. 379, 380.



LITERARY LIFE IN PARIS.


THE DRAWING-ROOM.

PART II.

It was at this same period of time I made the acquaintance of Monsieur
Edmond About. When I met him he had just appeared as an author, and his
friends everywhere declared that Voltaire's mantle had fallen on his
shoulders. He had, like Voltaire, discovered instantly that mankind were
divided into hammers and anvils, and he determined to be one of the
hammers. He began his career by ridiculing a poetical country, Greece,
whose guest he had been, and whose sovereign and ministers had received
him with confidence,--repaying three years of hospitality by a satire of
three hundred pages. "Greece and the Greeks" was translated into several
languages. This edifying publication, which put the laughers on his
side, was followed by a different sort of work, which came near
producing on this budding reputation the effect of an April frost upon
an almond-tree in blossom. Voltaire's heir had found no better mode of
writing natural and true novels (so the scandalous chronicle said) than
to copy an original correspondence, and indiscreet "detectives" of
letters menaced him with publishing the whole Italian work from which he
"conveyed" the best part of "Tolla." All the literary world cried,
Havoc! upon the sprightly fellow laden with Italian relics. It was a
critical moment in his life.

Monsieur Edmond About was introduced to me by a fascinating lady;--who
can resist the charms of the other sex? I saw before me a man some
eight-and-twenty years old, of a slender figure; his features were
irregular, but intellectual, and he looked at people like an
excessively near-sighted person who abused the advantages of being
near-sighted. He wore no spectacles. His eyes were small, cold, bright,
and were well wadded with such thick eyebrows and eyelashes it seemed
these must absorb them. I subsequently found, in a strange American
book,[24] some descriptions which may be applied to his odd expression
of eye. Monsieur Edmond About's mouth was sneering and sensual, and even
then affected Voltaire's sarcastic grimace. His bitter and equivocal
smile put you in mind of the grinding of an epigram-mill. One could
detect in his attitude, his physiognomy, and his language, that
obsequious malice, that familiarity, at the same time flattering and
jeering, which Voltaire turned to such good account in his commerce with
the great people of his day, and which his disciple was learning to
practise in his intercourse with the powerful of these times,--the
_parvenus_ and the wealthy. I was struck by the face of this college
Macchiavelli: on it were written the desire of success and the longing
to enjoy; the calculations of the ambitious man were allied with the
maliciousness of the giddy child. Of course he overwhelmed me with
compliments and flattery. He had, or thought he had, use for me. I
benevolently became the defender of the poor calumniated fellow in the
"Revue des Deux Mondes," just as one undertakes out of pure kindness of
heart to protect the widow and the orphan. Monsieur Edmond About thanked
me _orally_ with a flood of extraordinary gratitude; but he took good
care to avoid writing a word upon the subject. A letter might have laid
him under engagements, and might have embarrassed him one day or
another. Whereas he aimed to be both a diplomatist and a literary man.
He practised the art of good writing, and the art of turning it to the
best advantage.

Some months after this he brought out a piece called "Guillery," at the
French Comedy. The first night it was played, there was a hail-storm of
hisses. No _claqueur_ ever remembered to have heard the like before. The
charitable dramatic critics--delicate fellows, who cannot bear to see
people possess talents without their permission and despite
them--attacked the piece as blood-hounds the fugitive murderer. It
seemed as if Monsieur Edmond About was a ruined man, who could never
dare hold up his head again. He resisted the death-warrant. He had
friends in influential houses. He soon found lint enough for his wounds.
The next winter the town heard that Monsieur Edmond About's wounds had
been well dressed and were cured, and that he was going to write in
"Figaro." The amateurs of scandal began at once to reckon upon the
gratification of their tastes. They were not mistaken. The moment his
second contribution to "Figaro" appeared, it became evident to all that
he had taken this warlike position at the advanced posts of light
literature solely to shoot at those persons who had wounded his vanity.
For three months he kept up such a sharp fire that every week numbered
its dead. Such carnage had never been seen. Everybody was severely
wounded: Jules Janin, Paulin Limayrac, Champfleury, Barbey d'Aurevilly,
and a host of others. Everybody said, (a thrill of terror ran through
them as they spoke,)--There is going to be one of these mornings a
terrible butchery: that imprudent Edmond About will have at least ten
duels on his hands. Not a bit of it! Not a bit of it! There were
negotiations, embassies, explanations exchanged which explained nothing,
and reparations made which repaired nothing. But there was not a shot
fired. There was not a drop of blood drawn. O Lord! no! Third parties
intervened, and demonstrated to the offended parties, that, when
Monsieur Edmond About called them stupid boobies, humbugs, tumblers, he
had no intention whatever of offending them. Good gracious! far
otherwise! In fine, one day the farce was played, the curtain fell upon
the well-spanked critics, and all this little company (so full of
talents and chivalry!) went arm-in-arm, the insulter and the insulted,
to breakfast together at Monsieur About's rooms, where, between a dozen
oysters and a bottle of Sauterne, he asked his victims what they thought
of some Titians he had just discovered, and which he wished to sell to
the Louvre for a small fortune,--Titians which were not painted even by
Mignard. The insulter and the insulted fell into each other's arms
before these daubs, and they parted, each delighted with the other.
These pseudo-Titians were for Monsieur About his Alcibiades's
dog's-tail. He spent one every month. Literary, picturesque, romanesque,
historical, agricultural, Greek, and Roman questions were never subjects
to him: he considered them merely advertisements to puff the
transcendent merits of Edmond About. Before he left "Figaro" he
determined to show me what a grateful fellow he was. He made me the mark
for all his epigrams, and I paid the price of peace with the others. I
have heard, since then, that Monsieur Edmond About has made his way
rapidly in the world. He is rich. He has the ribbon of the Legion of
Honor. He excels in writing pamphlets. He is not afraid of the most
startling truths. He writes about the Pope like a man who is not afraid
of the spiritual powers, and he has demonstrated that Prince Napoleon
won the Battle of the Alma and organized Algeria.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the numerous details of my grandeur and my decline, none exhibit
in a clearer light our literary manners and customs than the history of
my relations with Monsieur Louis Ulbach, the virtuous author, _now_, of
"L'Homme aux Cinq Louis d'Or," "Suzanne Duchemin," "Monsieur et Madame
Fernel," and other tales, which he hopes to see crowned by the French
Academy. Monsieur Louis Ulbach at first belonged to a triumvirate which
pretended to stand above the mob of democratic writers; and of a truth
Monsieur Maxime du Camp and Monsieur Laurent Pichat, his two leaders,
had none of those smoking-_café_ vulgarities which have procured so many
subscribers to the "Siècle" newspaper. Both poets, Laurent Pichat with
remarkable loftiness, Maxime du Camp with _bizarre_ energy, intent upon
an ideal which democracy has a right to pursue, since it has not yet
found it, men of the world, capable of discussing in full dress the most
perplexed questions of Socialism, they accept none of those party-chains
which so often bow down the noblest minds before idols made of plaster
or of clay. Besides, both of them were known by admirable acts of
generosity. There were in this triumvirate such dashes of aristocracy
and of revolution that they were called "the Poles of literature."

Of course, when the storm burst which I had raised by my irreverent
attacks on De Béranger, these gentlemen separated from their political
friends, and complimented me. One of them even addressed me a letter, in
which I read these words, which assuredly I would not have written:
"That stupid De Béranger." There was a sort of alliance between us.
Monsieur Louis Ulbach celebrated it by publishing in his magazine, "La
Revue de Paris," an article in my honor, in which, after the usual
reserves, and after declaring war upon my doctrines, he vowed my prose
to be "fascinating," and complained of being so bewitched as to believe,
at times, that he was converted to the cause of the throne and of the
altar. This epithet, "fascinating," in turn fascinated me; and I thought
that my prose was, like some serpent, about to fascinate all the
butcher-birds and ducks of the democratic marsh. A year passed away;
these fine friendships cooled: 't is the fate of these factitious
tendernesses. With winter my second volume appeared, and Monsieur Louis
Ulbach set to work again; but this time he found me merely "ingenious."
It was a good deal more than I merited, and I would willingly have
contented myself with this phrase. Unfortunately, I could not forget the
austere counsel of Monsieur Louis Veuillot, and at this very epoch,
Monsieur Louis Ulbach, who as a novelist could merit a great deal of
praise, took it into his head to publish a thick volume of
transcendental criticism, in which he attacked everything I admired and
lauded everything I detested. I confess that I felt extremely
embarrassed: those nice little words "fascinating" and "ingenious" stuck
in my mind. Monsieur Louis Ulbach himself extricated me from my
perplexity. I had insufficiently praised his last novel. He wrote a
third article on my third work. Alas! the honeymoon had set. The
"fascinating" prose of 1855, the "ingenious" prose of 1856, had become
in 1857, in the opinion of the same judge, and in the language of the
same pen, "pretentious and tiresome." This sudden change of things and
epithets restored me to liberty. I walked abroad in all my strength and
independence, and I dissected Monsieur Louis Ulbach's thick volume with
a severity which was still tempered by the courteous forms and the
dimensions of my few newspaper-columns. A year passed away. My fourth
work appeared. Note that these several volumes were not different works,
but a series of volumes expressing the same opinions in the very same
style; in fine, they were but one work. Note, too, that Monsieur
Ulbach's "Revue de Paris" and "L'Assemblée Nationale," in which I wrote,
were both suppressed by the government on the same day, which
established between us a fraternity of martyrdom. All this was as
nothing. Louis Ulbach, this very same Louis Ulbach, was employed by a
newspaper where he was sure to please by insulting me, and the very
first thing he did was to give me a kick, such a kick as twenty horses
covered with sleigh-bells could not give. He called me "ignoramus," and
wondered what "this fellow" meant by his literary drivelling. The most
curious part of the whole business is, that he did not write the
article, all he did was to sign it! Four years, and a scratch given his
vanity, had proved enough to produce this change!

       *       *       *       *       *

Shall I speak to you now of Henry Murger? I wrote this chapter of my
Memoirs during his life. I should have suppressed it, did I feel the
least drop of bitterness mingled with the recollection of the acts of
petty ingratitude of this charming writer. But my object in writing this
work is less to satisfy sterile revenge than to exhibit to you a corner
of literary life in Paris in the nineteenth century.

In 1850 Henry Murger published a book in which the manners and customs
of people who live by their wits were painted in colors scarcely likely
to fascinate healthy imaginations. He declared to the world that the
novitiate of our future great authors was nothing but one incessant hunt
after a half-dollar and a mutton-chop. The world was told by others that
Henry Murger had learned to paint this existence by actual experience.
There were, however, in his book some excellent flashes of fancy and
youth; besides, the public then had grown tired of interminable
adventures and novels in fifty volumes. So Henry Murger's first work,
"La Vie de Bohême," was very popular; but it did not swell his purse or
improve his wardrobe. He was introduced to me, and I shall never forget
the low bow he made me. I was afraid for one moment that his bald head
would fall between his legs. This precocious baldness gave to his
delicate and sad face a singular physiognomy. He looked not so much like
a young old man as like an old young man. Henry Murger's warmest desire
was to write in the celebrated and influential "Revue des Deux Mondes,"
which we all abuse so violently when we have reason to complain of it,
and which has but to make a sign to us and we instantly fall into its
arms. I was then on the best terms with the "Revue des Deux Mondes."
Monsieur Castil-Blaze, being from the same neighborhood with me, had
obtained a place for me in the "Revue," which belonged to his
son-in-law, Monsieur Buloz. I promised Henry Murger to speak a good word
for him. A favorable opportunity of doing so occurred a few days
afterwards.

"I do not know what is to become of us," said Monsieur Buloz to me; "our
old contributors are dying, and no new ones make their appearance."

"They appear, but you refuse to see them. There is Henry Murger, for
instance; he has just written an amusing book, which is the most
successful of the season."

"Henry Murger! And is it you, Count Armand de Pontmartin, the literary
nobleman, the aristocratic writer, who wear (as the world avers) a white
cravat and white kid gloves from the time you get up, (I confess I have
never seen you with them,)--is it you who propose to me to admit Henry
Murger as a contributor to the 'Revue des Deux Mondes,'--Henry Murger,
the ringleader of people who live by their wits?"

"Why shouldn't I? We live in a day when white cravats have to be very
respectful to red cravats. Besides, nothing is too strange to happen;
and I would not bet you that Murger does not write in 'Le Moniteur'
before I do."

"If you think I had better admit Henry Murger, I consent; but remember
what I say to you: It will be the source of annoyance to you."

The next day a hack bore Henry Murger and me from the corner of the
Boulevard des Italiens and the Rue du Helder to the office of the "Revue
des Deux Mondes." We talked on the way. If I had had any illusions left
of the poetical dreams and virginal thoughts of young men fevered by
literary ambition, these few minutes would have been enough to dispel
them all. Henry Murger thought of nothing upon earth but money. How was
he going to pay his quarter's rent, or rather his two or three quarters'
rent? for he was two or three quarters behindhand. He still had credit
with this _restaurateur_, but he owed so much to such another that he
dared not show his face there. He was over head and ears in debt to his
tailor. He was afraid to think of the amount of money he owed his
shoemaker. The list was long, and "bills payable" lamentable. To end
this dreary balance-sheet, I took it into my head to deliver him a
lecture on the morality of literature and the duty of literary men.
"Art," said I to him, "must escape the materialism which oppresses and
will at last absorb it. We romantics of 1828 were mistaken. We thought
we were reacting against the pagan and mummified school of the
eighteenth century and of the First Empire. We did not perceive that a
revolutionary Art can under no circumstances turn to the profit of grand
spiritual and Christian traditions, to the worship of the ideal, to the
elevation of intellects. We did not see that it would be a little sooner
or a little later discounted by literary demagogues, who, without
tradition, without a creed, without any law except their own whims,
would become the slaves of every base passion, and of all physical and
moral deformities. It is not yet too late. Let us repair our faults. Let
us elevate, let us regenerate literature; let us bear it aloft to those
noble spheres where the soul soars in her native majes"----

I was declaiming with fire, my enthusiasm was becoming more and more
heated, when Henry Murger interrupted me by asking,--"Do you think
Monsieur Buloz will pay me in advance?"

This question produced on my missionary's enthusiasm the same effect a
tub of cold water would have upon an excited poodle-dog.

"Monsieur Murger," I replied, without being too much disconcerted, "you
will arrange those details with Monsieur Buloz. All I can do is to
introduce you."

We reached the office. I was afraid I might embarrass Monsieur Buloz and
Monsieur Murger, if I remained with them; I therefore took a book and
went into the garden. I was called back in twenty minutes, and was
briefly told that Henry Murger had engaged to write a novel for the
"Revue." We went out together; but we had scarcely passed three doors,
when Murger said hurriedly to me,--"I beg your pardon, I have forgotten
something!"--and he went back to the office. I afterwards found out
that this "something" was an advance of money which he asked for upon a
novel whose first syllable he had not yet written.

If I dwell upon these miserable details, it is not (God forbid!) to
insult laborious poverty, or talent forced to struggle against the
hardships of life or the embarrassments of improvident, careless youth.
No,--but there was here, and this is the reason I speak of it, the
_trade-mark_ of that literary living-by-the wits which had taken entire
possession of Henry Murger, against which he had struggled in vain all
his life long, and which at last crushed him in its feverish grasp.
Living by the wits was to Henry Murger what _roulette_ is to the
gambler, what brandy is to the drunkard, what the traps of the police
are to the knave and the burglar: he cursed it, but he could not quit
it; he lived in it, he lived by it, he died of it. The first time I
talked with Murger, and every subsequent conversation I had with him,
brought up money incessantly, in every tone, in every form; and when,
having become more familiar with what he called my squeamishness, he
talked more frankly to me, I saw that he required to support him a sum
of money three times greater than the annual income of which a whole
family of office-holders in the country, or even in Paris, live with
ease. This brought on him protests, bailiffs, constables, incredible
complications, continual uneasiness, a hankering after pecuniary
success, eternal complaints against publishers, magazine-editors,
theatre-managers, anxious negotiations, an immense loss of time, an
incredible wear-and-tear of brain, annoyances and cares enough to put
every thought to flight and to dry every source of inspiration and of
poetry. Remember that Henry Murger is one of the luckiest of the new men
who have appeared within these last fifteen years, for he received the
cross of the Legion of Honor, which, as everybody knows, is never given
except to men who deserve it. Judge, then, what the others
must be! Judge what must be the abortions, the disdained, the
supernumeraries,--those who sleep in lodging-houses at two cents a
night, or who eat their pitiful dinner outside the barrier-gate in a
wretched eating-house patronized by hack-drivers,--those who kill
themselves with charcoal, or who hang themselves, murdered by madness or
by hunger, the two pale goddesses of atheistical literatures!

"Well," said I to Henry Murger, after we were once more seated in our
carriage, "are you pleased with Monsieur Buloz?"

"Yes--and no. The most difficult step is taken. He allows me to
contribute my masterpieces to the 'Revue des Deux Mondes,' and I shall
never forget the immense service you have done me. Although you and I do
not serve the same literary gods, I am henceforward yours to the death!
But--the book-keeper is deusedly hard on trigger. Will you believe it? I
asked him to advance me forty dollars, and he refused!"

We parted excellent friends, and he continued to assure me of his
gratitude, until the carriage stopped at my door.

Years passed away. Henry Murger's promised novel was long coming to the
"Revue des Deux Mondes." At last it came; another followed eighteen
months afterwards; then he contributed a third. He displayed
unquestionable talents; he commanded moderate success. He had been told
by so many people that it was a hard matter to please the readers of the
"Revue des Deux Mondes," that it was necessary for him to free himself
from all his studios' fun, and everything tinctured with the petty
press, that he really believed for true everything he heard, and
appeared awkward in his movements. His students, his _grisettes_, and
his young artists were all on their good behavior, but were not more
droll. Marivaux had come down one more flight of stairs. Alfred de
Musset had steeped the powder and the patches in a glass of Champagne
wine. Henry Murger soaked them in a bottle of brandy or in a flagon of
beer.

Henry Murger's gratitude, whenever we met, continued to exhale in
enthusiastic hymns. I lost sight of him for some time. I was told that
he lived somewhere in the Forest of Fontainebleau, to escape his
creditors' pursuit. At the critical moment of my literary life, I read
one morning in a petty newspaper a biting burlesque of which I was the
grotesque hero: I figured (my name was given in full) as a member of a
temperance society, whose members were pledged to total abstinence from
the use of ideas, wit, and style; at one of our monthly dinners, we were
said to have devoured Balzac at the first course, De Béranger for the
roast, Michelet for a side-dish, and George Sand for dessert. The next
day, and every day the petty paper appeared, the joke was renewed with
all sorts of variations. It was evidently a "rig" run on me. This joke
was signed every day "Marcel," which was the name of one of the heroes
of Henry Murger's novel, "La Vie de Bohême"; but I was very far indeed
from thinking that the man who was under so many "obligations" to me (as
Henry Murger always declared himself to be) should have joined the ranks
of my persecutors. A few days afterwards I heard, on the best authority,
that Henry Murger was the author of these articles. I felt a deep
chagrin at this discovery. Literary men constantly call Philistines and
Prudhommes those who lay great stress upon the absence of moral sense as
one of the great defects of the school of literature and art to which
Murger and his friends belong; and yet there should be a name for such
conduct as this, if for no other reason, for the sake of the culprits
themselves,--as, when poor Murger acted in this way to me, he was as
unconscious of what he did as when he raised heaven and earth to hunt
down a dollar. He was not guilty of a black heart, it was only absolute
deficiency of everything like moral sense. Henry Murger was under
obligations to me, as he said constantly; I had introduced and
recommended him to a man and a magazine that are, as of right, difficult
in the choice of their contributors; I had, for his sake, conquered
their prejudices, borne their reproaches. Whenever his novels appeared,
I treated them with indulgence, and gave them praise without examining
too particularly into their moral tendency, to the great scandal of my
usual readers, and despite the scoldings Monsieur Louis Veuillot gave
me. There never was the least coolness between Henry Murger and myself;
and yet, when I was attacked and harassed on every side, he hid himself
under a pseudonyme, and added his sarcasms to all the others directed
against me, that he might gratify his admiration for De Balzac and put a
little money in his pocket.

By-and-by I continued to meet Henry Murger again on the Boulevard, and
at the first performance of new pieces. Do you imagine he shunned me?
Not a bit of it. He did not seem on these rare occasions to feel the
least embarrassment. He gave me cordial shakes of the hand, or he
bestowed on me one of those profound bows which brought his bald head on
a level with his waistcoat-pockets. Then he published a novel in "Le
Moniteur," after which he was decorated. Nothing was now heard from or
of him for a long time. Not a line by Henry Murger appeared anywhere. I
never heard that any piece by him was received, or even refused, by a
single one of the eighteen theatres in Paris. At last I met him one day
before the Variétés Theatre. I went up to speak to him, and ended by
asking the invariable question between literary men,--"What are you at
work on now? How comes it that so long a time has elapsed since you gave
us something to read or to applaud?"

"I will tell you why," he replied, with melancholy _sang-froid_. "It is
not a question of literature, it is a question of arithmetic. I owe
eight hundred dollars to Madame Porcher, the wife of the
'authors'-tickets' dealer, who is always ready to advance money to
dramatic authors, and to whom we are all constantly in debt. I owe four
hundred dollars to the 'Moniteur,' and three hundred dollars to the
'Revue des Deux Mondes.' Follow my reasoning now: Were I to bring out a
play, my excellent friend, Madame Porcher, would lay hands on all the
proceeds, and I should receive nothing. Were I to give a novel to the
'Moniteur,' I should have to write twenty _feuilletons_ (you know they
pay twenty dollars a _feuilleton_ there) before I cancelled my old debt.
Were I to contribute to the 'Revue des Deux Mondes,' as soon as my six
sheets (at fifty dollars a sheet, that would be three hundred dollars)
were printed and published, the editor would say to me, 'We are even
now.' So you see that it would be unpardonable prodigality on my part to
publish anything; therefore I have determined not to work at all, in
order to avoid spending my money, and I am lazy--from economy!"

His reply disarmed the little resentment I had left. I took his hand in
mine, and said to him,--"See here, Murger, I must confess to you I was a
little angry with you; but your arithmetic is more literary than you
think it. You have given me a lesson of contemporary literature; and I
say to you, as the 'Revue des Deux Mondes' would say, 'Murger, we are
even!'"

I ran off without waiting for his reply, and whispered to myself, as I
went, "And yet Henry Murger is the most talented and the most honest of
them all!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me continue the story of my misfortunes. The tempest was unchained
against me. It is true, there were among my adversaries some persons
under obligations to me,--some persons who were full of enthusiasm at my
first manner, and who would have made wry faces enough, had I published
their flattering letters to me,--other persons, to whom I had rendered
pecuniary services,--others, again, who had come to me with hat in hand
and supple knees, to beg my permission to allow them to dramatize my
novels. But what were these miserable considerations, when the great
interests of national literature, taste, and glory were at stake? I was
the vile detractor, the impious scorner of these glories, and it was but
justice that I should be put in the pillory and made the butt of rotten
eggs. Voltaire blasphemed, Béranger insulted, Victor Hugo outraged, were
offences which cried aloud for chastisement and for vengeance. Balzac's
shade especially complained and clamored for justice. It is true, that,
while Balzac was alive, he was not accustomed to anything like such
admiration. He openly avowed that he detested newspaper-writers, and
they returned the detestation with interest. Everybody, while he was
alive, declared him to be odd, eccentric, half-crazy, absurd. His
friends and his publishers, in fine, everybody who had anything to do
with him, told rather disreputable stories about him. No matter for
that. Balzac was dead, Balzac was a god, the god of all these
livers-by-the-wits, who but for him would have been atheists. Monsieur
Paulin Limayrac tore me to pieces in "La Presse." Monsieur Eugène
Pelletan shot me in "Le Siècle." Monsieur Taxile Delord mauled me in "Le
Charivari." To this episode of my exposition in the pillory belongs an
anecdote which I cannot omit.

I was about to set off for the country, where I reckoned upon spending
some weeks of the month of May, in order to recover somewhat from these
incessant attacks made upon me. I had read in a _café_, while taking my
beefsteak and cup of chocolate, the various details of the punishment I
was about to undergo. One of my tormentors, who was a great deal more
celebrated for his aversion to water and clean linen than for any
article he had ever written, declared that I was about to be banished
from everything like decent society; another vowed by all the deities of
his Olympus that I was a mountebank and a skeptic, who had undertaken to
defend sound doctrines and to tomahawk eminent writers simply by way of
bringing myself into public notice; a third painted me as a poor wretch
who had come from his provincial home with his pockets filled with
manuscripts, and was going about Paris begging favorable notices as a
means of touching publishers and booksellers; a fourth depicted me, on
the other hand, as a wealthy fellow, who was so diseased with a mania
for literature that I paid newspapers and reviews to publish my
contributions, which no human being would have accepted gratuitously. As
I left the _café_, one of my intimate friends ran up to me. His face
expressed that mixture of cordial commiseration and desire to make a
fuss about the matter which one's friends' faces always wear under these
circumstances.

"Well," said he, "what do you think of the way they treat you?"

"Why, they are all at it,--Monsieur Edmond About, Monsieur Louis Ulbach,
Monsieur Paulin Limayrac, Monsieur Henry Murger, Monsieur Taxile
Delord,"----

"Ah! by the way, have you seen his article of yesterday?"

"No."

"You should have read that. Those in the morning's papers are nothing to
it. Really, you ought not to leave town without seeing it." Looking very
important, he added,--"In your position, you should know everything
written against you."

I followed this friendly advice, and went to the Rue du Croissant, where
the office of "Le Charivari" moulders. As the place is anything but
attractive to well-bred persons, allow me to get there by the longest
road, and to go through the Faubourg Saint Honoré. A month before the
conversation above reported took place in front of a _café_-door, I had
the pleasure of meeting the Count de ----, an intellectual gentleman who
occupies an influential place in some aristocratic drawing-rooms which
still retain a partiality for literature. He said to me,--

"Do you know Monsieur Ernest Legouvé?"

"Assuredly! The most polite and most agreeable of all the generals of
_Alexander_ Scribe; the author of 'Adrienne Lecouvreur,' which Rachel
played so well, of 'Médée,' in which Madame Ristori shines; a charming
gentleman, who, in our age of clubs, cigars, stables, jockeys, and
slang, has had the good taste to like feminine society. He has a
considerable estate; he belongs to the French Academy; his house is
agreeable; his manners delightful; his dinners unequalled. If in all
happiness there is a dash of management, where is the harm in Monsieur
Ernest Legouvé's case? Why should not gentlemen, too, be sometimes
adroit? Rogues are so always! Besides, has not a little art always been
necessary to effect an entrance into the French Academy?"

"Monsieur Ernest Legouvé and I were at college together, and he bids me
bear you an invitation which I am sure you will not refuse. He has
written a play upon the delicate and thorny subject on which Monsieur
Jules Sandeau has written his admirable comedy, 'Le Gendre de Monsieur
Poirier': with this difference, however: Monsieur Legouvé has taken, not
a ruined and brilliant noble who marries the daughter of a plebeian, but
a young man, the architect of his own fortunes, with a most vulgar name,
who, on the score of talents, energy, delicacy of head and heart, is
loved by a young lady of noble birth, is accepted by her family, and
enters by right of conquest into that society from which his birth
excluded him."

"That theme is rather more difficult: for, when Mademoiselle Poirier
marries the Marquis de Presles, she becomes the Marquise de Presles;
whereas, when Mademoiselle de Montmorency marries Monsieur Bernard, she
becomes plain Madame Bernard."

"True enough! But Monsieur Legouvé is perplexed by a scruple which
reflects the greatest honor upon him: he entertains sincere respect,
great sympathy, for aristocratic distinctions; therefore he is anxious
to assure himself, before his piece is brought out in public, that it
does not contain a single scene or a single word which will be offensive
or disagreeable to noble ears. To satisfy himself in this particular,
he has asked me to allow him to read his comedy at my house. I shall
invite the Duchess de ----, the Marquis de ----, the Countess de ----,
the General de ----, the Duke de ----, the Marquise de ----, and the
Baroness de ----. I shall add to these two or three critics known in
good society, among whom I reckon upon you. In fine, this preliminary
Areopagus will be composed of sons of the Crusaders, who are almost as
sprightly as sons of Voltaire. Now Monsieur Ernest Legouvé will not be
satisfied with his comedy, unless these gentlefolk unanimously decide
that he need not blot a single line of it. Will you come? Remember,
Monsieur Ernest Legouvé invites you."

"My dear Count, I willingly accept your proposition. Monsieur Legouvé
reads admirably, and his plays are all agreeable. Nevertheless, let me
tell you that this trial will prove nothing. Our poor society is like
Sganarelle's wife, who liked to be thrashed. It has borne smiling, and
repaid with wealth and fame, much more ardent attacks than Monsieur
Legouvé can make."

Count de ---- and I shook hands, and parted. A few evenings afterwards
the reading took place. It was just what I expected. There were as many
marquises and duchesses (_real_ duchesses) as there were kings to
applaud Talma in the Erfurt pit. The noble assembly listened to Monsieur
Legouvés's comedy with that rather absent-minded urbanity and with those
charming exclamations of admiration which have been constantly given to
everybody who has read a piece in a drawing-room, from the days of the
Viscount d'Arlincourt and his "Le Solitaire," to the days of Monsieur
Viennet, of the French Academy, and his "Arbogaste." Monsieur Legouvé's
play, which was then called "Le Nom du Mari," and which has since been
played under the title of "Par Droit de Conquête," was pleasing. My ears
were not so much offended by the antagonism of poor nobility and wealthy
upstarts, which Monsieur Legouvé treated neither better nor worse than
any other has done, as by the details of roads, bridges, marsh-draining,
canals, railways, coal, coke, and the like, which were dead-weights on
Thalia's light robe; and the improbability of the plot was not so much
the marriage of a noble girl to the son of an apple-dealer as was the
perfection given to the young engineer: every virtue and every grace
were showered on him. The piece was unanimously pronounced successful.
The aristocratic audience applauded Monsieur Legouvé with their little
gloved hands, which never make much noise. He was complimented so
delicately that he was sincerely touched. There was not the slightest
objection, the lightest murmur made to the piece, and there trembled in
my eye that little tear Madame de Sévigné speaks of.

But let us quit this drawing-room, and turn our steps towards the Rue du
Croissant, where the office of "Le Charivari" is to be found. Balzac has
described in "Les Illusions Perdues" the offices of these petty
newspapers: the passage divided into two equal portions, one of which
leads to the editor's room, and the other to the grated counter where
the clerk sits to receive subscribers. Everybody knows the appearance of
these old houses, these staircases, these flimsy partitions, with their
bad light coming through a window whose panes are veiled with a triple
coating of dust, smoke, and soot,--the whitewashed walls bearing
innumerable traces of fingers covered with ink, mingled with
pencil-caricatures and grotesque inscriptions. Although it was in the
month of May that I made this visit, I shivered with cold as I entered
this old house, and my gorge rose in disgust at the unaired smell and
ignoble scenes which everywhere appeared. The clerk I applied to had the
very face one might expect to find in such a place: one of those
colorless, hard, sinister faces which are to be seen in nearly all the
scenes of Paris reality. All things were in harmony in this shop: the
air, and the light, and the house,--the letter as well as the spirit. I
asked the clerk to give me the file for the month of April. I soon
found and read Monsieur Taxile Delord's article. Monsieur Taxile Delord
comes from some one of the southern departments of France. He made his
first appearance in public in "Le Sémaphore," the well-known newspaper
of Marseilles; but the twilight of a provincial life could not suit this
eagle, and in the course of a few years he came up to Paris. Alas!
Monsieur Taxile Delord was soon obliged to add the secret sorrows of
disappointed ambition to the original gayety of his character. His
deepest sorrow was to look upon himself for a grave and thoughtful
statesman, and be condemned by fate to a chronic state of fun and to
hard labor at pun-making for life. Imagine Junius damned to lead
Touchstone's life! He became sourness itself. His puns were lugubrious.
His fun grew heavy, and his gayety was funereal. The pretensions of this
checked gravity which settled upon his factitious hilarity were enough
to melt the hearts even of his enemies, if such a fellow could pretend
to have enemies. Once this galley-slave of fun tried to make his escape
from the galley. He wrote a play; and as the manager of one of the
theatres was his friend, he had it played. The democratic opinions of
Monsieur Taxile Delord raised favorable prejudices among the school-boys
of the Latin Quarter; but who can escape his fate? The masterpiece was
hissed. Its title was "The End of the Comedy"; and a wretched witling
pretended that the piece was ill-named, since the pit refused to see the
end of the comedy. Thereupon Monsieur Taxile Delord adopted the method
of Gulliver's tailor, who measured for clothes according to the rules of
arithmetic: he demonstrated that his piece was played three times from
beginning to end,--that, as the manager was his particular friend, and
as the Odeon was always empty, he might have had it played thirty
times,--and therefore that we were all bound to be grateful to him for
his moderation. This last argument met no person bold enough to
contradict it, and the subscribers to "Le Charivari" (which is the
"Punch" of Paris) were seized with holy horror, when they thought, that,
but for Monsieur Taxile Delord's moderation, "The End of the Comedy"
might have been played seven-and-twenty times more.

What had I done to excite his ire? I had not treated Béranger with
sufficient respect, and Monsieur Taxile Delord, though a joker by trade,
would not hear of any fun on this subject. His genius had shaped itself
exactly on Béranger's, and he resented as a personal affront every
insult offered to the songster. Of a truth, Béranger's fate was a hard
one, and all my attacks on him were not half so bad as this treatment he
received at the hands of Monsieur Taxile Delord. Poor Béranger! So
Monsieur Taxile Delord took up the quarrel on his account, and relieved
his gall by throwing it on me. When I read his article, I felt
humiliated,--but not as the writer desired,--I felt humiliated for the
press, and for literature, and for Béranger, who really did not deserve
this hard fate. The humid office, full of dirt and dust and
printing-ink, disgusted and depressed me, and I involuntarily thought of
Count de ----'s drawing-room, and that aristocratic society where
everything was flowers, courtesy, perfumes, elegance, where people could
not even feel hatred towards their enemies, and where the genial poet,
Monsieur Ernest Legouvé, surrounded by the most charming and most
sprightly women of Paris, recently obtained so delightful a triumph.

All at once a sympathetic and clear voice, a voice which I thought I had
heard in better society than where I was, reached my ears. Hid in the
dark corner where I sat, and where nobody could discover me, I saw the
door of the editor's room open and Monsieur Taxile Delord appear and
escort to the door a visitor. It was Monsieur Ernest Legouvé! They
passed close to me, and I heard Monsieur Ernest Legouvé say to Monsieur
Delord,--"My dear Sir, I recommend my play, 'Le Nom du Mari,' to you; I
hope you will be pleased with it!"

This contrast annoyed me. I was then horribly out of humor from an
irritating prelection, and I felt towards Monsieur Legouvé that sort of
vexation the unlucky feel towards the lucky, the poor towards the rich,
the hunchbacks towards handsome men, and the awkward towards the adroit.
I said to myself,--"Armand, my poor Armand, you will never be aught but
a most stupid fool!"

We add no commentary to this picture of literary life in Paris. We leave
the reader to draw his own conclusions. He needs no assistance,--for the
picture is painted in bright colors, and the light is thrown with no
parsimonious hand upon every corner. It is a curious exhibition of a
most unhealthy state of things. It explains a great many of those
literary mysteries, which seem so unaccountable, in the most brilliant
capital of the world.

FOOTNOTES:

[24] _Elsie Venner_, by Oliver OEendell (_sic_) Holmes.



THE MASKERS.


    Yesternight, as late I strayed
    Through the orchard's mottled shade,--
    Coming to the moonlit alleys,
    Where the sweet Southwind, that dallies
    All day with the Queen of Roses,
    All night on her breast reposes,--
    Drinking from the dewy blooms,
    Silences, and scented glooms
    Of the warm-breathed summer night,
    Long, deep draughts of pure delight,--
    Quick the shaken foliage parted,
    And from out its shadows darted
    Dwarf-like forms, with hideous faces,
    Cries, contortions, and grimaces.
    Still I stood beneath the lonely,
    Sighing lilacs, saying only,--
    "Little friends, you can't alarm me;
    Well I know you would not harm me!"
    Straightway dropped each painted mask,
    Sword of lath, and paper casque,
    And a troop of rosy girls
    Ran and kissed me through their curls.

    Caught within their net of graces,
    I looked round on shining faces.
    Sweetly through the moonlit alleys
    Rang their laughter's silver sallies.
    Then along the pathway, light
    With the white bloom of the night,
    I went peaceful, pacing slow,
    Captive held in arms of snow.
    Happy maids! of you I learn
    Heavenly maskers to discern!
    So, when seeming griefs and harms
    Fill life's garden with alarms,
    Through its inner walks enchanted
    I will ever move undaunted.
    Love hath messengers that borrow
    Tragic masks of fear and sorrow,
    When they come to do us kindness,--
    And but for our tears and blindness,
    We should see, through each disguise,
    Cherub cheeks and angel eyes.



CULLET.


"Good morning! Is it really a rainy day?" asked Miselle, imploringly, as
she seated herself at the breakfast-table, and glanced from Monsieur to
the heavy sky and the vane upon the coach-house, steadily pointing west.

"Indeed, I hope not. Are you ready for Sandwich?" smilingly replied the
host.

"More than ready,--eager. But the clouds."

"One learns here upon the coast to brave the clouds; we have, to be
sure, a sea-turn just now, and perhaps there will be fog-showers
by-and-by, but nothing that need prevent our excursion."

"Delightful!" exclaimed Optima, Miselle, and Madame, applying themselves
to eggs and toast with that calm confidence in a masculine decision so
sustaining to the feminine nature.

The early breakfast over, Monsieur, with a gentle hint to the ladies of
haste in the matter of toilet, went to see that Gypsy and Fanny were
properly harnessed, and that a due number of cushions, rugs, and
water-proof wrappers were placed in the roomy carriage.

Surely, never were hats so hastily assumed, never did gloves condescend
to be so easily found, never were fewer hasty returns for "something I
have forgotten," and Monsieur had barely time to send two messages to
the effect that all was ready, when the feminine trio descending upon
him triumphantly disproved once and forever the hoary slander upon their
sex of habitual unpunctuality.

With quiet self-sacrifice Optima placed herself beside Madame in the
back of the carryall, leaving for Miselle the breezy seat in front, with
all its facilities for seeing, hearing, smelling, breathing; and let us
hope that the little banquet thus prepared for the conscience of that
young woman gave her as much satisfaction as Miselle's feast of the
senses did to her.

Arching their necks, tossing their manes, spattering the dewy sand with
their little hoofs, Gypsy and Fanny rapidly whirled the carriage through
the drowsy town, across the Pilgrim Brook, and so, by the pretty suburb
of "T'other Side," (which no child of the Mayflower shall ever consent
to call Wellingsley,) to the open road skirting the blue waters of the
bay.

"Ah, this is fine!" cried Miselle, snatching from seaward deep breaths
of the east wind laden with the wild life of ocean and the freedom of
boundless space.

"Here we have it!" remarked Monsieur, somewhat irrelevantly, as he
hastily unbuckled the apron and spread it over his own lap and
Miselle's, just in time to catch a heavy dash of rain.

"I am afraid it is going to be stormy, after all," piteously murmured
Miselle.

"I told you we should have fog-showers, you know," suggested Monsieur,
with a quiet smile.

"But what must we do?--go home?"

"No, indeed!--we will go to Sandwich, let it rain twice, four times as
hard as this,--unless, indeed, Madame gives orders to the contrary. What
say you, Madame?"

"I say, let us go on for the present. We can turn round at any time, if
it becomes necessary"; and Madame smiled benevolently at Miselle, down
whose face the rain-drops streamed, but who stoutly asserted,--

"Oh, this is nothing. Only a fog-shower, you know. We shall have it fine
directly."

"Not till we are out of Eel River. This valley gathers all the clouds,
and they often get rain here when the sun is shining everywhere else."

"A regular vale of tears! Happy the remnant of the world that dwelleth
not in Eel River!" murmured Miselle, surreptitiously pulling her
water-proof cloak about her shoulders.

"Let me help you. Really, though, you are getting very wet, dear,"
remonstrated Optima.

"Not in the least. I enjoy it excessively. Besides, the shower is just
over.--What church is that, Monsieur, with the very disproportionate
steeple?" inquired Miselle, pointing to a square gray box, surmounted by
a ludicrously short and obtuse spire, expressive of a certain dogged
obstinacy of purpose.

"The church is an Orthodox meetinghouse, and the steeple is Orthodox
too,--for the Cape. Anything else would blow down in the spring gales.
Park-Street steeple, for instance, would stand a very poor chance here."

"Yes," said Miselle, vaguely, and she felt in her heart how this great
ocean that dwarfs or prostrates the works of man replaces them by a
temple builded in his own soul of proportions so lofty that God Himself
may dwell visibly therein.

And now, having traversed the tearful valley, the road wound up the
Delectable Mountains beyond, and so into the pine forest, through whose
clashing needles glints of sunshine began to creep, while overhead the
gray shaded softly into pearl and dazzling white and palest blue.

"There are deer in these Sandwich woods. See if we cannot find a pair of
great brown eyes peering out at us from some of the thickets," suggested
Madame.

"Charming! If only we might see one! How young this nation is, after
all, when aboriginal deer roam the woods within fifty miles of Boston!"

"But without game-laws they will soon be exterminated. A great many are
shot every winter, and the farmers complain bitterly of those that
remain. Some of their crops are quite ruined by the deer, they say,"
remarked Monsieur.

"Never mind. There are plenty of crops, and but very few deer. I
pronounce for the game-laws," recklessly declared Miselle.

But the impending battle of political economy was averted by Madame's
exclamation of,--

"See, here is Sacrifice Rock. Let us stop and look at it a moment."

Gypsy and Fanny, wild with the sparkling upland air, were with
difficulty persuaded to halt opposite a great flat granite boulder,
sloping from the skirt of the forest toward the road, and nearly covered
with pebbles and bits of decayed wood.

"It is Sacrifice Rock," explained Monsieur. "From the days of the
Pilgrims to our own, no Indian passes this way without laying some
offering upon it. It would have been buried long ago, but that the
spring and autumn winds sweep away all the lighter deposits. You would
find the hollow at its back half filled with them. Once there may have
been human sacrifices,--tradition says so, at least; but now there is
seldom anything more precious than what you see."

"But to what deity were the offerings made?"

"Some savage Manitou, no doubt, but no one can say with certainty
anything about it. The degenerate half-breeds who live in this vicinity
only keep up the custom from tradition. They are called Christians now,
you know, and are quite above such idolatrous practices."

"At any rate, I will add my contribution to this altar of an unknown
God. Besides, there are some blackberries that I must have," exclaimed
Optima, releasing her active limbs from the carriage in a very summary
fashion.

Tossing a little stick upon the rock, she hastened to gather the
abundant fruit, a little for herself, a good deal for Madame and
Miselle, until Gypsy and Fanny stamped and neighed with impatience, and
Monsieur cried cheerily,--

"Come, young woman, come! We are not half-way to Sandwich, and the
horses will be devoured by these flies as surely as Bishop Hatto was by
mice."

And so on through miles of merry woodland, by fields and orchards, whose
every crop is a fresh conquest of man over Nature in this one of her
most niggardly phases, by desolate cabins and lonely farms, until at a
sudden turn the broad, beautiful sea swept up to glorify the scene. And
while Miselle with flushed cheeks and tearful eyes drank in the ever-new
delight of its presence, Monsieur began a story of how a man, almost a
stranger to him, had come one winter evening and begged him for God's
love to go and help him search for the body of his brother, reported by
a wandering madwoman to be lying on this beach, and how he begged so
piteously that the listener could not choose but go.

And as Monsieur vividly pictured that long, lonely drive through the
midnight woods, the desolate monotony of the beach, along whose margin
curled the foam-wreaths of the rising tide, while beyond phosphorescent
lights played over a world of weltering black waters,--as he told how,
after hours of patient search, they found the poor sodden corpse and
tenderly cared for it,--as Monsieur quietly told his tale and never knew
that he was a hero, Miselle turned shuddering from sea and beach and the
mocking play of the crested waves, as they leaped in the sunshine and
then sank back to sport hideously with other corpses hidden beneath
their smiling surface.

Presently the sea was again shut off by woodland, and the scattered
houses closed into a village, nay, a town, the town of Sandwich; and
swinging through it at an easy rate, the carriage halted before an
odd-looking building, consisting of a quaint old inn, porched and
gambrel-roofed, joined in most unholy union to a big, square, staring
box, of true Yankee architecture.

Descending with reluctance, even after three hours of immobility, from
her breezy seat, Miselle followed Madame into the quiet house, whose
landlord, like many another man, makes moan for "the good old times"
when summer tourists and commercial travellers filled his rooms and the
long dining-table, now unoccupied, save by our travellers and two young
men connected with the glass-manufactories.

Rest, plenty of cool water, and dinner having restored the energies of
the travellers, it was proposed that they should proceed at once to the
Glass Works. And now, indeed, did Fortune smile upon this band of
adventurous spirits; for when the question of a guide arose, mine host
of the inn announced himself not only willing to act in that capacity,
but eminently qualified therefor by long experience as an operative in
various departments of the works.

"How fortunate that the stage-coaches and peddlers no longer frequent
Sandwich! If our friend had them to attend to, he could not devote
himself to us in this charming manner," suggested Optima, as she and
Miselle gayly followed Monsieur, Madame, and Cicerone down the long
sunny street, whose loungers turned a glance of lazy wonder upon the
strangers.

Passing presently a monotonous row of lodging-houses for the workmen,
and a public square with a fountain, which, as Optima suggested, might
be made very pretty with the addition of some water, the travellers
approached a large brick building, many-windowed, many-chimneyed, and
offering ingress through a low-browed arch of so gloomy an aspect that
one looked at its key-stone half expecting to read there the well-known
Dantean legend,--

    "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi chi'ntrate!"

Nor was the illusion quite destroyed by handling, for through the arch
and a short passage one entered a large, domed apartment, brick-floored
and dimly lighted, whose atmosphere was the breath of a dozen flashing
furnaces, whose occupants were grimy gnomes wildly sporting with strange
shapes of molten metal.

"This is the glass-room, and in these furnaces the glass is melted; but
perhaps you will go first and see how it is mixed, and how the pots are
made to boil it in."

"Yes, let us begin at the beginning," said all, and were led from the
Inferno across a cool, green yard, into a building specially devoted to
the pots. In a great bin lay masses of soft brown clay in its crude
condition, and upon the floor were heaped fragments of broken pots,
calcined by use in the furnaces, and now waiting to be ground up into a
fine powder between the wheels of a powerful mill working steadily in
one corner of the building. In another, a row of boxes or pens were
partially filled with a powdered mixture of the raw and burnt clay, and
this, being moistened with water, was worked to a proper consistency
beneath the bare feet of several stout men.

"This work, like the treading of the wine-press, can be properly
performed only by human feet," remarked Monsieur.

"So when next we sip nectar from one of your straw-stemmed glasses, we
will remember these gentlemen and their brothers of the wine-countries,
and gratefully acknowledge that without their exertions we could have
had neither wine nor goblet," said Miselle, maliciously.

"No," suggested Optima, "we will enjoy the result and forget the
process. But what is that man about?"

"Making sausages out of cheese, I should say," replied Monsieur; and the
comparison was almost unavoidable; for upon a coarse table lay masses of
moulded clay, in form and size exactly like cheeses, from which the
workman separated with a wooden knife a small portion to be rolled
beneath his hand into cylindrical shapes some four inches in length by
two in diameter.

These a lad carefully placed upon a long and narrow board to carry up to
the pot-room, whither he was followed by the whole party.

Miselle's first impression, upon entering this great chamber, was, that
she was following a drove of elephants; but as she skirted the regular
ranks of the great dun monsters and came to the front, she concluded
that she had stumbled upon the factory of Ali Baba's oil-jars. At any
rate, the old picture in the "Arabian Nights" represented Morgiana in
the act of pouring the boiling oil into vessels marvellously like these,
and in each of these was room for at least four robbers of true
melodramatic stature.

Among these jars, with the noiseless solicitude of a mother in her
sleeping nursery, wandered their author and guardian, a pale, keen man,
and so rare an enthusiast in his art that one listening to him could
hardly fail to believe that the highest degree of thought, skill, and
experience might worthily be expended upon the construction of these
seething-pots for molten glass.

"Will you look at this one? It is my last," said he, tenderly removing a
damp cloth from the surface of something like the half of a hogshead
made in clay.

"I have not begun to dome it in yet; it must dry another day first,"
said the artist, passing his hand lovingly along the smooth surface of
his work.

"Then you cannot go on with them at once?" asked Madame.

"Oh, no, Ma'am! They must dry and harden between the spells of work
upon them, or they never would stand their own weight. This one, you
see, is twelve inches thick in the bottom, and the sides are five inches
thick at the base, and graduated to four where the curve begins. Now if
I was to go right ahead, and put the roof on this mass of wet clay, I
shouldn't get it done before the whole would crush in together. I have
had them do so, Ma'am, when I was younger, but I know better now. I
sha'n't have that to suffer again."

"And what are you at work upon while this dries?"

"Here. This one is just begun. Shall I show you how I do it? John, where
are those rolls? Yes, I see. Now, Ma'am, this is the way."

Taking one of the rolls in his left hand, and manipulating it with his
right, our artist laid it upon the top of the unfinished wall, and with
his supple fingers began to dovetail and compact it into the mass,
pressing and smoothing the whole carefully as he went on.

"You see I must be very careful not to leave any air-bubbles in my work;
if I do, there will be a crack."

"When the pot dries?" asked Madame.

"No, Ma'am, when it is heated. I suppose the air expands and forces its
way out," said the man, shyly, as if he were more in the habit of
thinking philosophy than of talking it. "But see how smooth and fine
this clay is," added he, enthusiastically, passing his finger through
one of the rolls. "It is as close-grained and delicate as--as a lady's
cheek."

"But, really, how could one describe the shape of these creatures?"
asked Optima aside of Miselle, as she stood contemplating a completed
monster.

"By comparing them to an Esquimaux lodge, with one little arched window
just at the spring of the dome. Doesn't that give it?"

"Perhaps. I never saw an Esquimaux lodge; did you, my dear?"

"No, nor anything else in the least degree resembling these, unless it
was the picture of the oil-jars. Choose, my Optima, between the two."

"Hark! we are losing something worth hearing."

So the young women opened their ears, and heard the pallid enthusiast
tell how, after days and weeks of labor, and months of seasoning, the
pots were laboriously carried to a kiln, where they were slowly brought
to a red heat, and then suffered to cool as slowly. How the pot was then
taken to one of the furnaces of the Inferno, and a portion of its side
removed to receive it; how it was then built in, and reheated before the
glass-material was thrown in; and how, after all this care and toil, it
was perhaps not a week before it cracked or gave way at some point, and
must be taken away to make room for another. But this was unusually
"hard luck," and the pots sometimes held good as long as three months.

"And what becomes of the old ones?" asked Optima, sympathetically.

"Oh, they are all used over again, Miss. There must be a proportion of
burnt clay mixed with the raw, or it would be too rich to harden."

"And what is the proportion?"

"About one-third of the cooked clay, and two-thirds of the raw."

"And where does the clay come from?"

"Nearly all from Sturbridge, in England. Some has been brought from Gay
Head, on Martha's Vineyard; but it doesn't answer like the imported."

Leaving the courteous artist in glass-pots to his labors, the party,
crossing again the breezy yard, entered a dismal brick-paved
basement-room, where grim bakers were attending upon a number of huge
ovens. One of these was just being filled; but instead of white and
brown loaves, golden cake, or flaky pies, the two attendants were piling
in short, thick bars of lead, and, hurry as they might, before they
could put in the last of the appointed number, little shining streams of
molten metal began to ooze from beneath the first, and trickle languidly
toward the mouth of the oven.

But our bakers were ready for them. With hasty movement they threw in a
quantity of moistened clay, shaping and compacting it with their shovels
as they went on, until in a very few moments they had completed a neat
little semi-circular dike just within the door, as effectual a barrier
to the glowing pool behind it, wherein the softened bars were rapidly
disappearing, as was ever the Dutchman's dike to the ocean, with whom he
disputes the sovereignty of Holland.

A wooden door was now put up, and the baking was left to itself for
about twenty-four hours, at the end of which time the lead would have
become transformed into a yellowish powder, known as massicot.

"You will see it here. They are just beginning to clear this oven," said
Cicerone, pointing to a row of large iron vessels which the workmen were
filling with the contents of the just opened kiln.

"And what next? What is it to the glass?" asked Miselle, unblushing at
her ignorance.

"Next, it is put into these other kilns, and kept in motion with the
long rakes that you see here, and at the end of forty-eight hours it
will have absorbed sufficient oxygen from the atmosphere to turn it from
massicot to minium, or red-lead. Look at this, if you please."

Cicerone here pointed to other iron vessels, in shape like the bowl out
of which the giant Blunderbore ate his bread and milk, while trembling
little Jack peeped at him from the oven; but these bowls were filled
with a beautiful scarlet powder of fine consistency.

"That is red-lead, one of the most important ingredients in fine
flint-glass, as it gives it brilliancy and ductility. But it is not used
in the coarser glasses. And here is the sand-room."

So saying, Cicerone led the way to a light and cheerful room of
delicious temperature, even on that summer's day, where, upon a low,
broad, iron table, heated from beneath by steam-pipes, lay a mass of
what might indeed be sand, and yet differed as much from ordinary sand
as a just washed pet-lamb differs from an old weather-beaten sheep.

Like the lamb, the sand had been washed with care and much water, and
now lay reposing after its bath at lazy length, enjoying its _kief_,
like a sworn Mussulman. This sand is principally brought from the banks
of Hudson River and the coast of New Jersey; but a finer article of
quartz sand is found in Lanesboro', Massachusetts.

In the centre of the room stood a great sifting-machine, worked by
steam; and the sand, after being thoroughly dried, was passed through
this, coming out a fine, glittering mass, very much resembling
granulated sugar, so far as looks are concerned.

"Now it is ready to be sent up to the mixing-room; but if you will step
on this drop, we will go up before it," said the civil workman here in
charge.

So some of the party stepped upon a solid platform about six feet
square, lying under a trap in the floor overhead, and were slowly wound
up to the mixing-room, feeling quite sure, when they stepped upon the
solid floor once more, that they had done a very heroic thing, and were
not hereafter to be dismayed by travellers' tales of descents into
coal-mines, or swinging to the tops of dizzy spires in creaking baskets.

Here, in the mixing-room, stood great boxes, filled with sand, with
red-lead, or with sparkling soda and potash; and beside a trough stood,
shovel in hand, a good-natured-looking man, who was busily mixing
portions of these three ingredients into one mass.

Him Miselle assailed with questions, and learned that the trough
contained

             1400 pounds sand,
              350 " ash,
              100 " soda,
              800 " red-lead,
    and about 100 " cullet.[25]

This was to be a fine quality of flint-glass, and to it might be added
coloring-matter of any desired tint; but in the choice and proportion of
this lay one of the principal secrets of the art.

All this information did the civil compounder vouchsafe to Miselle, with
the indulgent air of one who humors a child by answering his questions,
although quite sure that the subject is far above his comprehension; and
he smiled in much amusement at seeing his answers jotted down upon her
tablets. So Miselle thanked him, smiling a little in her turn, and they
parted in mutual satisfaction.

"These trucks you see are ready-loaded with the frit, or glass-material,
and are to be wheeled down to the furnaces presently," said Cicerone.
"But, before following them, we had better go down and see the fires."

Descending a short flight of stone steps, the party now entered a long,
dark passage, through which a torrent of wind swept, driving before it
the ashes and glowing cinders that dropped continually from a circular
grating overhead. The ground beneath was strewn with fire, and the whole
arrangement offered a rare opportunity to any misanthrope whose
preferences might point to death in the shape of a fiery shower-bath.

In a gloomy crypt, opening near the grating, stood a gnome whose duty it
was to feed the furnace overhead with soft coal, which must be thrown in
at a small door and then pushed up and forward until it lay upon the
grating where it was consumed. Around this central fire the glass-pots,
ten to each furnace, are arranged, their lower surfaces in actual
contact with it, while the domed roof reverberates the heat upon them
from above.

All around stood sturdy piers of brick and iron, and low-browed arches,
crushed, one could not but fancy, out of their original proportions by
the immense weight they were forced to uphold.

Returning to the Inferno, Cicerone led the way to a pot which was being
filled with frit from one of the little covered cars that he had pointed
out in the mixing-room. This process was to be effected gradually, as he
explained,--a certain portion being at first placed in the heated pot,
and suffered to melt, and then another, until the pot should be full,
when the door of it would be put up and closed with cement.

"And how long before the frit will be entirely melted?" asked Monsieur.

"From thirty-six to sixty hours. The time varies a good deal with the
seasons, and different sorts of glass take different times to melt. This
flint-glass melts the easiest, and common bottle-glass takes the
longest. Crown-glass, such as is used for window-panes, comes between
the two; but that is not made here."

"And when the glass is sufficiently boiled, what next?"

"You shall see, for here is a pot just opened, and this man with the
long iron rod, called a pontil, or punty, in his hand, is about to skim
it."

"What is there to skim off?"

"Oh, there will be impurities, of course, however carefully the
ingredients are prepared. Some of these sink to the bottom, and some
rise in scum, or, as it is called here, glass-gall, and sometimes
sandiver."

"Just like broth or society, isn't it, Optima?" suggested Miselle,
aside.

"Why don't you discover a social pontil, then?"

"Oh, I have no taste for reforming. What would there be to laugh at in
the world, if the human sandiver were removed?"

"It might be an improvement to have the gall removed, my dear," remarked
Optima, significantly; but Miselle was too busy in watching the skimming
to understand the gentle rebuke.

Thrusting the pontil far into the pot, the workman moved it gently from
side to side, turning it at the same time, until he suddenly withdrew
upon its point a large lump of glowing substance, which he shook off
upon a smooth iron table standing near, called a marver, (that is,
_marbre_,) in size and shape not unlike the largest of a nest of
teapoys. Here the lump of sandiver lay, while through its mass shot rays
of vivid prismatic color, glowing and dying along its surface so
vivaciously that one needs must fancy the salamander no fable, and that
this death of gorgeous agony was something more than the mere cooling of
an inert mass of matter.

"You see how bubbly and streaked that is now?" broke in the voice of
Cicerone upon Miselle's little dream. "But after standing awhile the air
will all escape from the pot, leaving the glass smoother, thicker, and
tougher than it is now. Don't you want to look in, before it cools off?"

With a mental protest against the fate of those luckless individuals who
threw Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego into the seven-times heated
furnace, Miselle stooped, and, looking in, uttered a cry of surprise and
delight.

It was the very soul of fire, the essence of light and heat. Above, rose
a glowing arch, quivering with an intensity of color, such as fascinates
the eye of the eagle to the noonday sun. Below, undulated in great oily
waves a sea of molten matter, throbbing in vivid curves against the
sides of its glowing basin. And arch and wall and heaving waves all
mingled in a pure harmony, an accord, of light too intense for color, or
rather a color so intense as to be nameless in this pale world.

Miselle knew now how the moth feels who plunges wildly into the flame
that lures him to his death, and yet fascinates him beyond the power of
resistance. The door was very small, or it might have been already too
late, when Optima touched the shoulder of this modern Parsee, and
suggested, calmly,--

"If you burn your eyes out here, my dear Miselle, you will be unable to
see anything else."

The thought was a kind and sensible one, as, coming from Optima, it
could not have failed of being; and Miselle stood upright, stared
forlornly about her, and found the world very pale and weak, very cold
and dark.

Was it to solace her sudden exile from fairy-land, or was it only as a
customary courtesy, that an old man, wasted and paled by years of
ministration at this fiery shrine, now seized a long, hollow iron rod,
called a blow-stick, and, thrusting the smaller end into the pot,
withdrew a small portion of the glass, and, while retaining it by a
swift twirl, presented the mouth-piece of the tube to Miselle with a
gesture so expressive that she immediately applied her lips to those of
the blow-stick, and rounded her cheeks to the similitude of those
corpulent little Breezes whom the old masters are so fond of depicting
attendant upon the flight of their brothers the Winds?

Ah, my little dears, with your straws and soap-suds you will never blow
a bubble like that! As it slowly rounded to its perfect sphere, what
secrets of its birth within that glowing furnace, what mysteries of the
pure element whose creation it seemed, flashed in fiery hieroglyph
athwart its surface! A mocking globe, whereon were painted realms that
may none the less exist, because man's feeble vision has never seen
them, his fettered mind never imagined them. Who knows? It may have been
the surface of the sun that was for one instant drawn upon that ball of
liquid fire. Who is to limit the affinities, the subtle reproductions of
Nature's grand ideas?

But as the wonder culminated, as the glancing rays resolved themselves
into more positive lines, as the enigma seemed about to offer its own
solution, the bubble broke, flew into a myriad tiny shards, which, with
a tinkling laugh, fell to the grimy pavement, and lay there sparkling
malicious fun into Miselle's eyes.

Cicerone stooped and gathered some of the fragments. Surely, never was
substance so closely allied to shadow. The lightest touch, a breath
even, and they were gone,--and were they caught, it was like the capture
of one of the floating films of a summer morning, glancing brightly to
the eye, but impalpable to the touch.

When all had looked, the guide slowly closed his hand with a cruel
gripe, and, opening it, threw down a little shower of scintillating
dust, an airy fall of powdered diamonds, lost as they readied the earth,
and that was all.

"We're casting some of those Fresnel lanterns to-day. Perhaps the ladies
would like to see them," suggested the pale little old man, and pointed
to a powerful machine with a long lever-handle at the top, which, being
thrown up, showed a heavy iron mould, heated quite hot, and just now
smoking furiously from a fresh application of kerosene-oil, with which
the mould is coated before each period of service, much as the housewife
butters her griddle before each plateful of buckwheat cakes.

As the smoke subsided, the old man, who proved a very intelligent as
well as civil person, thrust his pontil into the pot nearest the press,
and, withdrawing a sufficient quantity of the glass, dropped it squarely
into the open mould, whose operator, immediately seizing the long
handle, swung himself from it in a grotesque effort to increase the
natural gravity of his body, and succeeded in bringing it down with
great force. Then, leaning over the lever in a state of complacent
exhaustion, he glared for a moment at the spectators with the calm
superiority of one who, having climbed to the summit of knowledge, can
afford to pity the ignorant crowd groping below.

The mould being reopened presently displayed a large, heavy lantern,
whose curiously elaborate flutings and pencillings were, as the
intelligent artisan averred, arranged upon the principle of the famous
Fresnel light, whose introduction some years ago marked an epoch in the
history of light-houses.

"Why, Miss, these little up-and-down marks, that you'd take it were just
put in for fancy," said William Greaves, "have got a patent on 'em, and
no one else could put 'em into a lantern without being prosecuted."

"But why? What difference do they make?"

"Why, Miss, every one of them fingerings makes a lens; you see it's just
the same inside as out, and it sort of _spreads_ the light. That a'n't
the way to call it, but that's the idea; for the man that got it up was
down here, and I talked with him."

"And what are they for?"

"For ships' lanterns, Ma'am. They take this round lantern, when it's all
done here, and split it in two halves up and down, and then put one on
each side a vessel's bows just like the lamps on a doctor's gig, and the
bowsprit runs out between just like the horse does in the gig."

At this juncture a small boy rushed up, and, thrusting a stick into the
still red-hot lantern, dexterously tilted it up and carried it away to a
furnace of different construction from the first, into one of whose open
doors he thrust it, and then returned to wait for another.

This furnace, called a flashing-furnace, was round like the first, and
was fitted with eight or ten doors, from all of which the flames rushed
eagerly, and in a very startling fashion.

"This is fed constantly with coal-oil," expounded Cicerone. "It is
brought in pipes, as you see, and drips down inside. These doors are
called 'glory-holes'"----

"Aureoles, perhaps," suggested Optima, in a whisper.

"And the lanterns, or whatever is in hand, are brought here after
pressing, and put in to get well heated through again before they are
given to the finisher. Fire-polishing they call it. Here you see one
just ready to be taken out."

"He will drop it," cried Miselle, as another boy, wielding a pontil with
a lump of melted glass at the end, darted before her, and, pressing this
heated end against the bottom of the lantern, picked it up and carried
it away, over his shoulder, as if he were a stray member of some
torch-light procession.

"Not he! He's too well used to his trade," laughed Monsieur. "Now come
and see the finishing process."

Following the steps of the young wide-awake, Miselle saw him deliver the
pontil, with the lantern still attached, to a listless individual seated
upon a bench whose long iron arms projected far in front of him, while
an idle pontil lay across them. This the boy snatched up and departed,
while the man, suddenly rousing himself, began to roll the new pontil up
and down the arms of his bench with his left hand, while with a pair of
compasses in his right he carefully gauged the diameter of the revolving
lantern, and then smoothed away its rough-cast edges by means of a
blackened bit of wood, somewhat of the shape, and bearing the name, of a
battledoor.

The finishing over, another stick was thrust inside the lantern, and it
was separated from the pontil by the application of a bit of cold iron.
It was then carried to the mouth of a long gallery-like oven, moderately
heated, and fitted with a movable floor, upon which the articles put in
at the hot end were slowly transported through a carefully graduated
atmosphere to the cool end at a distance of perhaps a hundred feet, and
on their arrival were ready to be packed for transportation.

This process was called annealing, and the oven with a movable floor was
technically denominated a leer.

"Here they are pressing tumblers," continued the guide, pointing to a
press of smaller size and power, standing near another door of the same
furnace. "They have just had a large order from California, from a
single firm, for--how many tumblers did you tell me, Mr. Greaves?"

"Twenty-two thousand dozen, Sir; and we shall have to spring to get them
off at the time set."

"Nice tumblers they are, too,--just as good as cut, to my mind,"
continued Cicerone, poking with his stick at one of the batch that was
now being placed in the leer.

Very nice and clear they were, but not as good as cut to Miselle's mind,
and she remarked,--

"It is very easy to feel the difference, if not to see it, between cut
and pressed glass. The latter always has these blunted angles to the
facets, and has a certain vagueness and want of purpose about it; then
it is not so heavy or so sparkling; there is a certain exhilaration in
the gleam of cut glass that fits it for purposes to which the other
would be entirely unsuited. Fancy Champagne in a pressed goblet, or
tuberoses and japonicas in a pressed vase, or attar in a pressed
_flaçon_!"

"Fortunately," replied Monsieur, to whom this aside had been addressed,
"the persons who consider Champagne, japonicas, and attar of roses
necessaries of life are very well able to provide cut-glass receptacles
for them. But isn't it worth one's while to be proud of a country where
every artisan's wife has her tumblers, her goblets, her vases, of
pressed glass, certainly, but 'as good, to her mind, as cut,' to quote
our friend? and don't you think it better that twenty-two thousand dozen
pressed tumblers should be sold at ten cents apiece than one-third that
number of cut ones at thirty cents, leaving all those who cannot pay the
higher price to drink out of"----

"Clam-shells? Well, perhaps. Equality and the rights of man are very
nice, of course, but I"----

"Like cut glass better," retorted Monsieur, laughing, while Miselle
turned a little indignantly to the guide, who was saying,--

"The reason the edges have that blunted look is partly because they
can't be struck as sharp as they can be ground, and then being heated in
the glory-holes, and again in the leers softens them down a little. In
fact, the very idea of annealing is to make the outside particles of the
glass run together just a very little, so as to fill up the pores as it
were, and make a smoother surface. If this were not done, it would fly
all to pieces the first time it was put into hot water."

"The cut glass is not annealed, then?"

"Oh, yes, after it is blown it is; and although the grinding takes off
part of the surface, I suppose it fills up the pores at the same time."

"Cut glass is more apt to break in hot water than pressed or simply
blown glass," remarked Madame.

"And is all cut glass blown in the first place?" asked Optima.

"No, Miss, a good deal of it is pressed and then ground, either wholly
or in part; but this is not so clear or free from waves as the blown.
Out here is a man blowing _liqueur_-glasses. Perhaps you would like to
see that."

The idea of blowing a bubble of glass into so intricate a shape, and
timing the process so that the brittle material should harden only when
it had reached the desired form, struck Miselle's mind as very
incredible; and she followed Cicerone with much curiosity to another
furnace, where one man, blow-pipe in hand, was dipping up a small
quantity of the liquid glass, and, having blown into it just long enough
to make a stout little bubble, laid the pipe across the iron arms of a
bench, where sat another operator, who immediately began to roll the
pipe up and down the arms of his chair, while with a supple iron
instrument, shaped like sugar-tongs with flattened bowls, he laid hold
of the bubble, and, while elongating it into a tube, brought the lower
extremity first to a point and then to a stem. To the end of this the
assistant now touched his pontil, upon whose end he had taken up a
little more glass, and this, being twisted in a ring round the foot of
the stem, divided from the pontil by a huge pair of scissors,
dexterously shaped with the plyers, and finally smoothed with a
battledoor, became the foot of the wine-glass. The heated pontil was now
applied exactly to the centre of this foot, the top of the glass divided
from the blow-pipe by the application of cold iron, and the whole thrust
for a few moments into the mouth of the furnace to soften, while the
first man laid another pipe with another bubble at the end before the
operator upon the bench, who recommenced the same process.

The first glass, meantime, rendered once more ductile by heat, was
passed to another man upon another bench, who, keeping up all the while
the rotatory motion necessary to preserve the form of the softened
material, smoothed it with the battledoor, gauged it with the compasses,
coaxed it with the sugar-tongs, and finally trimmed it around the top
with his scissors as easily as if it had been of paper. It was then
cracked off from the pontil and carried away, a finished _liqueur_-glass
of the tiniest size, to be annealed. After this it might be used in its
simple condition, or ornamented with engraving, while the bottom of the
foot, still rough from contact with the pontil, was to be ground,
smoothed, and then polished.

"Oh, how lovely! Look, Miselle, at this ruby glass," cried out Optima.

"Gorgeous!" assented Miselle, peeping into a small pot where glowed and
heaved what seemed in very truth a mass of molten rubies.

"What _are_ you going to make of this beautiful glass?" inquired she,
enthusiastically, of a pleasant-looking man who was patiently waiting
for room to approach his work.

"Lamp-globes, Ma'am," returned he, sententiously.

"Poor Miselle! You thought it would be Cinderella's slipper, at least,
didn't you?" laughed Optima. "But look!"

The man, dipping his pipe, not into the ruby glass, but into an
adjoining pot of fine flint-glass, carefully blew a small globe, and
then removing the tube from his mouth swung it about in the air for a
few moments, until it had gained a certain degree of firmness. Then
dipping the bubble into the precious pot of ruby glass, (whose color, as
Cicerone mysteriously whispered, was derived from an oxide of gold,) he
withdrew it coated with the brilliant color, and so softened by the heat
as to be capable of further distension. After gently blowing, until the
shade had reached its proper size, the workman handed it to another,
who, rolling it upon the iron arms of his bench, made an opening, at the
point diametrically opposite that attached to the blow-pipe, with the
end of the compasses, and carefully enlarged, gauged, and shaped it, by
means of plyers and battledoor.

"Pretty soon you will see how they cut the figures out and show the
white glass underneath," said the guide; but Miselle's attention was at
this moment engrossed by a series of small explosions, apparently close
at hand, and disagreeably suggestive of the final ascension of the Glass
Works, inclusive of all the pale men and boys, who might certainly be
supposed purified by fire, and ready to be released from the furnace of
affliction. Not feeling herself worthy to join this sublimated throng,
Miselle hastily communicated the idea to Optima, and proposed a sudden
retreat, but was smilingly bidden to first consider for a moment the
operations of four workmen close at hand, two of whom, kneeling upon the
ground, grasped the handles of two little presses, very like aggravated
bullet-moulds, while the other two, bringing little masses of glass upon
the ends of their blow-sticks and dropping them carefully into the necks
of the moulds, proceeded to blow through the pipe until the air forced
out a quantity of the glass in the form of a great bubble at the top of
the mould. The pressure from within increasing still more, this bubble
necessarily burst with a smart snap, and thus caused the explosive
sounds above referred to. The two casters then scraped away the _débris_
at the top with a bit of stick, and, opening their moulds, disclosed in
one a pretty little essence-bottle, which a sharp boy in waiting
immediately snapped up on the end of a long fork, where he had already
spitted about a dozen more, and carried them away to the leer.

"But what are _you_ casting?" asked Madame, puzzled, as the other
workman opened his mould and poked its contents out upon a bit of board
held ready by another sharp boy.

"Little inks, Ma'am," was the laconic reply; and looking more narrowly
at the tiny object, it proved to be one of the small portable inkstands
used in writing-desks.

More explosions at a little distance, and two more men were found to be
casting, in the same manner, small bottles of opaque white glass,
resembling china, a quality produced by an admixture of bone-dust in the
frit. These are the bottles dear to manufacturers of pomades, hair-oils,
and various cosmetics, and Miselle turned round a cool one lying upon
the ground, half-expecting to find a flourishing advertisement of a
newly discovered _Fontaine d'Or_ upon its back. She did not find it, but
espied instead two pretty little fellows in a corner just beyond, one of
whom might be twelve and his curly-haired junior not more than ten years
old, who were gravely engaged in blowing chimneys for kerosene lamps,
and quite successfully too, as a large box behind their bench amply
proved,--these alone of all the articles mentioned not requiring to be
passed through the leer.

A little farther on, a workman, loading his pontil, by repeated
dippings, with a large quantity of glass, dropped the lump into an open
basin hollowed in the surface of one of the iron tables. It was here
suffered to cool for some moments, and then, by means of a pontil tipped
with molten glass, carried away to be fire-polished.

This was a lens, such as are used to increase the light in ships'
cabins, staterooms, etc. Another and coarser quality, not lenses, but
simple disks of greenish glass, about four inches in thickness by twelve
in diameter, were stacked ready for removal at a short distance, and the
whole association made Miselle so intolerably sea-sick that she sidled
away to watch the manufacture of some decanters, "sech as is used in
bar-rooms, mostly, Ma'am," as the principal workman confided to her.
These were first moulded in the shape of great tumblers with an
excessively ugly pattern printed on the sides, then softened in a
glory-hole, and brought to a workman, who, by means of plyers and
battledoor, elongated and shaped the neck, leaving a queer, ragged lip
at the top. The decanter was then passed to Miselle's confidant, who
struck off this lip with the edge of his plyers. An attendant then
presented to him a lump of melted glass on the end of his pontil, and
the workman, deftly twisting it round the neck of his decanter, clipped
it off with a pair of scissors, and proceeded to smooth and shape it by
means of the plyers.

These decanters were probably to be used in conjunction with some Gothic
goblets, whose press stood in the immediate vicinity. These were
greenish in color, thick and unwieldly in shape, and ornamented with
alternate panels of vertical and horizontal stripes.

Miselle was still lost in contemplation of these goblets when Monsieur
approached.

"No," exclaimed she, pointing at them,--"no true patriot should
congratulate his countrymen upon the plenitude of such articles as that!
Far better for the national growth in art that we should all revert to
clam-shells!"

"Come, then, and see if we cannot find something more to your fancy in
the cutting-room," laughed Monsieur; and Miselle willingly followed
through the green yard, and up some stairs to a sunny chamber, or rather
hall, lined on either hand with a row of busy workmen, each seated
behind a whirring wheel, to which he held the surface of whatever
article he was engaged in cutting, or rather grinding.

These wheels were arranged in a progressive order. The first were of
stone or iron, fed with sand and water, which trickled slowly down upon
them from a trough overhead. These rapidly cut away the surface of glass
presented to them, leaving it rough and opaque. The article was next
presented to a smooth grindstone, that removed the roughness, and left
the appearance of fine ground glass.

The next process, called polishing, was effected upon a wooden wheel,
fed with pumice or rotten-stone and water, and the final touch was given
by another wooden wheel, and a preparation of tin and lead called
putty-powder.

The opacity was now entirely removed, and the facets cut upon the
wine-glass Miselle had principally watched in its progress shone with
the clear and polished brilliancy characteristic of the finest quality
of cut glass.

For very nice work, such as the polishing of chandelier-drops, and
articles of that sort, a leaden wheel, fed with fine rotten-stone and
water, is employed; but on the occasion referred to, no work of this
nature being in hand, these wheels were not used.

Other wheels, consisting of a simple disk of iron, not unlike a circular
saw without any teeth, were used for cutting those narrow vertical
lines, technically known as fingering, familiar to those so happy as to
have had careful grandmothers, and to have inherited their decanters and
wine-glasses. The revival of this style, like that of the rich old
pattern in plate known as the "Mayflower," is a compliment just now paid
by the present generation to the taste of the past, and Miselle was
shown some beautiful specimens of the "latest mode, Ma'am," that awoke
melancholy reminiscences of the shattered idols of her youth.

"Here are our friends, the ruby lampshades, again," remarked Optima.

"And now you will see how the transparent figures are made upon them,"
suggested Cicerone, pointing to a workman, who, with a pile of the
ruby-coated globes beside him, was painting circles upon one of them
with some yellowish pigment. The globe then being held to one of the
rough wheels, the thin shell of red glass within these circles was
ground away, leaving it white, but opaque. The globe then passed through
the processes of smooth grinding and polishing, above described, until
the pattern was finally developed in clear transparent medallions.

A very beautiful article in colored glass was a Hock decanter of an
exquisite antique pattern in green glass, wreathed with a grape-vine,
whose leaves and stems were transparent, while the clusters of grapes
were left opaque by the omission of the polishing process.

At the end of the noisy cutting-room was a small chamber, hardly more
than a closet, called the engraving-room, and bearing the same relation
to the former as the crypt where the cellarer jealously stores his Tokay
for the palate of a Kaiser holds to the acres of arches where lies the
_vin ordinaire_.

Here, in the full light of ample windows, before a high bench, over
which revolved with incredible rapidity a half-dozen small copper disks
fed with fine emery and oil, stood as many earnest-looking men, not
artisans, but artists, each of whom, vaguely guided by a design lightly
sketched upon the article under his hands, was developing it with an
ease and skill really beautiful to contemplate. Intricate arabesques,
single flowers of perfect grace, or rare groups of bloom, piles of
fruit, or spirited animal-life, all grew between the whirring copper
wheel and the nice hand, whose slightest turn or pressure had a meaning
and a just result.

Miselle watched the engraving of an intricate cipher beneath the
fantastic crest of some wealthy epicurean, who had ordered a complete
dessert-service of such charming forms and graceful designs that envy of
his taste, if not of his possessions, became a positive duty.

"Is there any limit to the range of your subjects?" asked Miselle, as
the artist added the last graceful curve to the griffin's tail, and
contemplated his finished work with quiet complacency.

"There may be, but I never found it. Whatever a pencil can draw this
wheel can cut," said he, with such a smile as Gottschalk might assume in
answering the query as to whether the score could be written that he
could not render.

Having now witnessed all the processes of glass-manufacture to be seen
at this time and place,[26] the party were conducted to the show-room,
passing on the way through a room where a number of young women were
engaged in painting and gilding vases, spoon-holders, lamps, and various
other articles in plain and colored glass. The colors used showed, for
the most part, but a very faint resemblance to the tints they were
intended to produce, and the gold appeared like a dingy brown paint;
but, as was explained by Cicerone, these-colors were to be fixed by
burning, or rather melting them into the surface of the glass, and this
process would at the same time evolve their true colors and brilliancy,
both of paint and gilding.

In the next room to this, several workmen were busy in fitting the metal
trimmings to such articles as lamps, lanterns, castors,
molasses-pitchers, and the like.

One chirruping old man insisted upon mounting an immensely ugly blue and
yellow lamp upon a brass foot for the edification of his visitors, and
when this was over, exhibited some opaque white glass stands for other
lamps, which, as he fondly remarked, "would be took for marble
anyw'eres."

The show-room was a long, airy hall, with a row of tables on either
hand, covered with glass, whose icy glitter and lack of color gave a
deliciously cool aspect to the whole place. Glass in every graceful form
and design, some heavy and crystalline, enriched with ornate workmanship
by cutter and engraver, some delicate and fragile as a soap-bubble;
hock-glasses as green and lucent as sea-water, and with an edge not too
thick to part the lips of Titania; glasses of amber, that should turn
pale Johannisberger to the true _vino d'oro_; glasses of glowing ruby
tint, than which Bohemia sends us nothing finer; vases and goblets as
rare in form and wrought as skilfully as those two cups that Nero bought
for six thousand sestertii; medallions bearing in _intaglio_ portraits
of distinguished men as clearly and unmistakably cut as on coin or
cameo; whole services of glass, more beautiful and almost as valuable as
services of plate; plumes of spun glass as fine and sheeny as softest
silk; toys and scientific playthings; objects of wonder, admiration, and
curiosity: all these were to be seen crowded upon these long, white
tables in the cool hall, where the wind, sweeping gently through,
brought the smell of the rising tide, and the sound of its waves upon
the shore.

Here, too, was a man who knew the story, not only of the glass lying
beneath his hand to-day, but of all the glass the world has known, from
the colored beads inhumed with the Pharaonic princesses to the ruby
salver he so fondly fingered as he talked.

He spoke of the glazed windows of Pompeii; of the "excellent portrait"
of the Emperor Constantine VII. painted, A. D. 949, upon a
church-window. He recounted the ancient story of the Phoenicians, who,
landing at the mouth of the river, brought from their ships lumps of
soda, and, laying them upon the sand as a support for their dinner-pot,
found when they had done lumps of glass among the ashes, and so
rediscovered the lost art of glass-making; but to this he added, with a
dubious smile,--

"Fire must have been hotter in those days than now. We could never melt
sand in that fashion now."

Then coming to window-glass, he clearly described the process of its
manufacture, although confessing he had never been engaged in it, and
from this Miselle, with a word, launched him into the glowing sea of
mediæval painted windows, and the wellnigh forgotten glories of their
manufacture.

"There is hardly one of them left that I have not seen," said he,--"from
the old heathen temples of the East, that the Christians converted to
their own use, and, while they burned the idols, spared the windows,
which they had sense to remember they could never reproduce, to the
gloomy purple-shadowed things they put up so much in England and the
United States at the present day, forgetting, as it would seem, that the
first idea of a window is to let the light through.

"But one of the finest works of modern times was the great
tournament-window, first exhibited in London in 1820. I was a young
fellow then, hardly twenty indeed, and with very little money to spare
for sight-seeing. But from the day I first heard of it, until five years
afterward, when I saw it, I never wavered in my determination to go
abroad and look at that window, as well as all the others I had heard so
much of.

"It was a beautiful thing really, Ma'am, measuring eighteen by
twenty-four feet, and made up of three hundred and fifty pieces of glass
set in metal astragals, so cleverly worked into the shadows that the
whole affair appeared like one piece. It represented the passage-of-arms
between Henry VIII., of England, and Francis I., of France, held at
Ardres, June 25, 1520, and of the hundred figures shown, over forty were
portraits. Among these were the two queens, Katharine of England, and
Claude of France, Anne Boleyn, and Cardinal Wolsey, with a great many
other distinguished persons."

"And this window, where is it now?" asked Optima.

"Destroyed by fire, June 30, 1832," he replied, with the mournful awe of
one giving the date of some terrible human disaster.

"How many glass-factories like this are there in the country?" asked
Monsieur, reverting to the practical view of the matter under
consideration.

"Flint-glass works, Sir? There are three in South Boston, two in East
Cambridge, and one here in Sandwich. That is for Massachusetts alone.
Then there are two in Brooklyn, New York, one in Jersey City, and two in
Philadelphia. These are all flint-glass, you understand; the principal
window-glass factories are in the southern part of New Jersey, and in
Pittsfield, Pennsylvania. Then there is a flourishing plate-glass
factory in Lenox, in this State, and another in New York. But the old
Bay State, Sir, has led the van in this enterprise ever since 1780, when
Robert Hewes, of Boston, opened the first glass-factory in the country
at Temple, New Hampshire. His workmen were all Hessians or Wallachians
who had deserted from the British army. They had learned the art in
their own country, and were the best men he could have found for his
purpose at that time; but they were a disorderly set, and, finally, one
of the furnace-men got drunk, and burnt down the works in the night.
Hewes presented a circular plate of glass, as a specimen of his
manufacture, to Harvard College, and I believe they have it now. It was
a very good article of glass, although a little greenish in color, and
not quite so clear as we get it now.

"After he was burnt out, one Lint set up some glass-works in Boston
about 1800. They were not successful for a while, but about 1802 or 1803
they got fairly started, and have kept ahead ever since."

"Four o'clock, my dear," remarked Madame, softly, to Monsieur, and
Cicerone, who had fidgeted awfully all through the little lecture,
brightened perceptibly, and rubbed his hands contentedly, as, with many
thanks to the courteous superintendent, and a last glance at the
glittering wonders of his charge, the party descended once more to the
green yard, and crossed it to the principal gate.

"One minute, Optima. Do come and look at the engine in here!" cried
Miselle, dragging her reluctant friend into a long, narrow den, almost
filled by a black monster with shining brass ornaments, who slid his
iron arms backward and forward, backward and forward, in a steady,
remorseless manner, highly suggestive of what he would do, had he fists
at the end of them, and all the world within reach of their swing. A
sickish smell of heated oil pervaded the apartment, although everything
was as clean and bright as hands could make it.

With the foolish daring characteristic of her sex, Miselle stole out a
finger to touch the remorseless arm as it shot outward, but Optima
detected and arrested the movement, with a grave "For shame!" and at the
same moment a man suddenly emerged from behind the body of the monster,
and, approaching the venturous intruder, bawled in her ear,--

"'Twould take off a man's head, Miss, as easy as a pipe-stem!"

Miselle nodded, without attempting a defence, and the man added
presently,--

"'Undred 'oss power, Miss. Drives all the works."

"Do come out, Miselle! I shall go crazy in another minute!" screamed
Optima; and the two young women hastened to overtake the rest of the
party, who were already in the street.

Gypsy and Fanny, who had better used their four hours of rest than in
exploring glass-works, stood ready-harnessed before the door of the
Central Hotel when the sight-seers returned thither, and in a few
moments the ladies were handed to their seats, Monsieur gathered up the
reins, and Tom having "given them their heads," the spirited little nags
tossed the precious gifts into the air, and took the road at a pace that
needed only moderating to make it the perfection of exhilarating motion.

Words are all very well in their way, but they fail wofully when a
person has really anything to say.

For instance, where are the phrases to describe that sunset sky, so
clear and blue overhead that one felt it was only the scant range of
human vision that hid the unveiled heavenly glories beyond the arch,--so
gorgeous at the horizon, where it met the opalescent sea,--so rosy in
the east, where, like a great golden shield, stood the moon gazing
across the world triumphantly at the sinking sun,--the dewy freshness
of the woods, where lingered the intoxicating perfumes distilled by the
blazing noontide from fir and spruce,--the jubilant chorus of birds,
dying strain by strain, until the melancholy whippoorwill grieved alone
in his woodland solitude?

On by the lonely farms and unlighted cabins, by the bare, bleak moors,
where the night-wind came rolling softly up to look at the
travellers,--on till the low, broad sea opened out the view, and came
sobbing up on the beach, wailing at its own cruel deeds,--on beneath the
cloudless night, upon whose front blazed Orion and the Pleiades,--on
until the scene had wrought its charm, and the frequent speech fell to
scattered words, to silent thought, to passionate feeling, where
swelling heart and dim eyes alone uttered the soul's response to earth's
perfect beauty, God's perfect goodness.

And so ever on, until the twinkling lights in the curve of the bay
showed where the weary Pilgrims had set foot on shore, in that black,
bitter December weather, and planted the seed that has borne blossoms
and fruits unnumbered, and shall yet bear more and more for centuries to
come.

And through the quiet suburb, and across the brook, and up the
village-street, to the happy and hospitable home, where brilliant lights
and a sparkling tea-service waited to welcome the weary, but
well-pleased _voyageurs_.

FOOTNOTES:

[25] "Cullet" is the waste of the glass-room. The superfluous material
taken up on the pontil, and the shards of articles broken in process of
manufacture. The ingenious reader will thus interpret the heading of
this paper.

[26] It is proper to state that Miselle subsequently visited the
New-England Glass Company's Works in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, and,
finding the method of manufacture nearly identical with that at
Sandwich, has, for convenience' sake, incorporated her observations
there with this account of her visit to the latter place.



WHAT WILL BECOME OF THEM?

A STORY IN TWO PARTS.


PART II.

Gentleman Bill, full of confidence in his powers of persuasion,
advances, to add the weight of his respectability to his parent's
remonstrance.

"Good morning, Mr. Frisbie,"--politely lifting his hat.

"Hey?" says Frisbie, sarcastic.--"Look at his insolence, Stephen!"

"I sincerely trust, Sir," begins Bill, "that you will reconsider your
determination, Sir"----

"Shall I fetch him a cut with the hosswhip?" whispers Stephen, loud
enough for the stalwart young black to hear.

"You can fetch him a cut with the hosswhip, if you like," Bill answers
for Mr. Frisbie, with fire blazing upon his polite face. "But, Sir, in
case you do, Sir, I shall take it upon myself to teach you better
manners than to insult a gentleman conferring with your master, Sir!"

"Ha, ha, ha!" roared Mr. Frisbie. "You've got it, Stephen!"

The whip trembled in Stephen's angry hand, but the strapping young negro
looked so cool and wicked, standing there, that he wisely forbore to
strike.

"I am sure, Sir," Bill addresses the landlord, "you are too humane a
person"----

"No, I a'n't," says the florid Frisbie. "I know what you're going to
say; but it's no use. You can't work upon my feelings; I a'n't one of
your soft kind.--Drive up to the door, Stephen."

Stephen is very glad to start the horse suddenly and graze Gentleman
Bill's knee with the wheel-hub. Bill steps back a pace, and follows him
with the smiting look of one who treasures up wrath. You'd better be
careful, Stephen, let me tell you!

Joe stands holding the door open, and Mr. Frisbie looks in. There, to
his astonishment, he sees the women washing clothes as unconcernedly as
if nothing unusual was about to occur. He jumps to the ground, heated
with passion.

"Ho, here!" he shouts in at the door; "don't you see the house is coming
down?"

Upon which the deaf old grandfather rises in his corner, and pulls off
his cap, with the usual salutation, "Sarvant, Sah," etc., and sitting
down again, relapses into a doze immediately.

Frisbie is furious. "What you 'bout here?" he cries, in an alarming
voice.

"Bless you, Sir," answers the old woman, over a tub, "don't you see?
We's doon' a little washin', Sir. Didn't you never see nobody wash
afore?" And she proceeds with her rubbing.

"The house will be tumbling on you in ten minutes!"

"You think so? Now I don't, Mr. Frisbie! This 'ere house a'n't gwine to
tumble down this mornin', I know. The Lord 'll look out for that, I
guess. Look o' these 'ere childern! look o' me! look o' my ole father
there, more'n a hunderd year ole! What's a-gwine to 'come on us all, if
you pull the house down? Can't git another right away; no team to tote
our things off with; an' how 'n the world we can do 'thout no house this
winter I can't see. So I've jes' concluded to trust the Lord, an' git
out my washin'." Rub, rub, rub!

Frisbie grows purple. "Are you fools?" he inquires.

"Yes, _I_ am! I'm Fessenden's." And the honest, staring youth comes
forward to see what is wanted.

This unexpected response rather pricks the wind-bag of the man's zeal.
He looks curiously at the boy, who follows him out of the house.

"Stephen, did you ever see that fellow before?"

"Yes, Sir; he's the one come to our house Saturday night, and I showed
round to the Judge's."

"Are you the fellow?"

"Yes," says Fessenden's. "There wouldn't any of you let me into your
houses, neither!"

"Wouldn't the people I sent you to let you in?"

"No!"

"Hear that, Stephen! your philanthropical Gingerford!--And what did you
do?"

"I didn't do nothin',--only laid down to die, I did."

"But you didn't die, did you?"

"No! This man he come along, and brought me here."

"Here? to the niggers?"

"Yes! You wouldn't have me, so they took me, and dried me, and fed
me,--good folks, niggers!" Fessenden's bore this simple testimony.

What is it makes the Frisbie color heighten so? Is it Gentleman Bill's
quiet smile, as he stands by and hears this conversation?

"And you have been here ever since?" says the man, in a humbler key, and
with a milder look, than before.

"Yes! It's a r'al good place!" says the youth.

"But a'n't you ashamed to live with niggers?"

"Ashamed? What for? Nobody else was good to me. But they was good to me.
I a'n't ashamed."

The Frisbie color heightens more and more. He looks at that wretched
dwelling,--he glances aside at Mr. Williams, that coal-black Christian,
of sad and resigned demeanor, waiting ruefully to see the roof torn
off,--the only roof that had afforded shelter to the perishing outcast.
Mr. Frisbie is not one of the "soft kind," but he feels the prick of
conscience in his heart.

"Why didn't you go to the poor-house? Didn't anybody tell you to?"

"Yes, that's what they said. But nobody showed me the way, and I
couldn't find it."

"Where did you come from? Who are you?"

"Fessenden's."

"Who is Fessenden?"

"The man that owns me. But he whipped me and shet me up, and I wouldn't
stay."

"Where does he live?"

"Don't know. Away off."

"You'd better go back to him, hadn't you?"

"No! I like these folks. Best folks I ever seen!" avers the earnest
youth.

Flush and confusion are in the rich man's face. He turns up an uneasy
glance at Adsly's men, already on the roof; then coughs, and says to
Stephen,--

"This is interesting!"

"Very," says Stephen.

"Don't you remember, _I_ was going to make some provision for this
fellow,--I'd have seen him safe in the almshouse, if nothing more,--but
you suggested Gingerford's."

"I supposed Gingerford would be delighted to take him in," grins
Stephen.

"Instead of that, he turns him out in the storm! Did you ever hear of
such sham philanthropy? By George!" cries Frisbie, in his indignation
against the Judge, "there's more real philanthropy in these
niggers"----checking himself, and glancing again at the workmen on the
roof.

"What's philanthropy?" asks Fessenden's. "Is that what you're tearin'
their house down for? I'm sorry!"

Frisbie is flustered. He is ashamed of appearing "soft." He wishes
heartily to be well rid of the niggers. But something in his own heart
rebels against the course he has taken to eject them.

"Just hold on there a minute, Adsly!"

"Ay, ay!" says Adsly. And the work stops.

"Now what do I do this for?" exclaims Frisbie, vexed at himself the
instant he has spoken. And he frowns, and blows his nose furiously.
"It's because I am too good-natured, altogether!"

"No, no, Sir,--I beg your pardon!" says Mr. Williams, his heart all
aglow with gratitude. "To be kind and merciful to the poor, that isn't
to be too good-natured, Sir!"

"Well, well! I a'n't one of your milk-and-water sort. Look at such a man
as Gingerford, for example! But I guess, come case in hand, you'll find
as much genuine humanity in me, Adsly, as in them that profess so much.
Wait till to-morrow before you knock the old shell to pieces. I'll give
'em another day. And in the mean time, boy," turning to Fessenden's,
"you must find you another home. Either go back to your guardian, or
I'll send you over to the almshouse. These people can't keep you, for
they'll have no house in these parts to keep themselves in."

"So?" says Fessenden's. "They kep' me when they had a house, and I'll
stay with them when they haven't got any."

Something in the case of this unfortunate stripling interested Frisbie.
His devotion to his new friends was so sincere, and so simply expressed,
that the robust, well-fed man was almost touched by it.

"I vow, it's a queer case, Stephen! What do you think of it?"

"I think"----said the joker.

"What do you think? Out with it!"

"You own that vacant lot opposite Gingerford's?"

"Yes; what of that?"

"I think, then, instead of pulling the house down, I'd just move it over
there, niggers and all"----

"And set it opposite the Judge's!" exclaims Frisbie, catching gleefully
at the idea.

"Exactly," says Stephen; "and give him enough of niggers for one while."

"I'll do it!--Adsly! Adsly! See here, Adsly! Do you suppose this old box
can be moved?"

"I guess so. 'T a'n't very large. Ruther think the frame'll hold
together."

"Will you undertake the job?"

"Wal, I never moved a house. There's Cap'en Slade, he moves houses. He's
got all the tackle for it, and I ha'n't. I suppose I can git him, if
you want me to see to the job."

Agreed! It did not take Frisbie long to decide. It was such a tremendous
joke! A nest of niggers under the dainty Gingerford nose! ho, ho! Whip
up, Stephen! And the red and puffy face, redder and puffier still with
immense fun, rode off.

Adsly and his men disappeared also, to return with Cap'en Slade and his
tackle on the morrow. Then Joe began to dance and scream like a little
devil.

"Have a ride! have a ride! Oh, mammy! they're gunter snake th' ole house
through the village to-morrer, an' we're all gunter have a ride! free
gratis for nothin'! 'thout payin' for 't neither! A'n't we, Bill?"

Mrs. Williams sits right down, overcome by the surprise.

"Now I want to know if that 'ere 's so!"

"That's what't looks like now," says Mr. Williams. "We're goin' to be
sot opposite Mr. Gingerford's."

"'Ristocratic!" cries Joe, putting on airs. "That's what'll tickle
Bill!"

"Oh, laws!" exclaims Mrs. Williams, with humorous sadness,--"what a show
th' ole cabin'll make, stuck down there 'mongst all them fine housen!"

"I don't know's I quite like the notion," says her husband, with a
good-natured expansion of his serious features. "I'm 'fraid we sha'n't
be welcome neighbors down there. 'T a'n't so much out o' kindness to us
as it is out o' spite to the Gingerfords, that the house is to be moved
instid o' tore down."

"That's the glory of the Lord! Even the wrath of man shall praise Him!"
utters the old grandmother, devoutly.

"Won't it be jimmy?" crows Joe. "He's a jolly ole brick, that Frisbie!
I'm a-gunter set straddle on the ridge-pole, an' carry a flag. Hooray!"

"I consider that the situation will be very much preferable to this,"
observes Gentleman Bill, polishing his hat with his coat-sleeve. "Better
quarter of the town; more central; eligible locality for establishing a
tailor-shop."

"Legible comicality for stablin' a shailor-top!" stammers Joe, mimicking
his brother.

Upon which Bill--as he sometimes did, when excited--elapsed into the
vulgar, but expressive idiom of the family. "Shet yer head, can't ye?"
And he lifted a hand, with intent to clap it smartly upon the part the
occlusion of which was desirable.

Joe shrieked, and fled.

"No quarrellin' on a 'casion like this!" interposes the old woman,
covering the boy's retreat. "This 'ere's a time for joy and thanks, an'
nuffin' else. Bless the Lord, I knowed He'd keep an eye on to th' ole
house. Didn't I tell ye that boy'd bring us good luck? It's all on his
account the house a'n't tore down, an' I consider it a mighty Providence
from fust to last. Wasn't I right, when I said I guessed I'd have faith,
an' git the washin' out? Bless the Lord, I could cry!"

And cry she did, with a fulness of heart which, I think, might possibly
have convinced even the jocund Frisbie that there was something better
than an old, worn-out, spiteful jest in the resolution he had taken to
have the house moved, instead of razed.

And now the deaf old patriarch in the corner-became suddenly aware that
something exciting was going forward; but being unable clearly to
comprehend what, and chancing to see Fessenden's coming in, he gave
expression to his exuberant emotions by rising, and shaking the lad's
passive hand, with the usual highly polite salutation.

"Tell him we're all a-gunter have a ride," said Joe.

But as Fessenden's couldn't tell him loud enough, Joe screamed the news.

"Say?" asked the old man, raising a feeble hand to his ear, and stooping
and smiling.

"Put th' ole house on wheels, an' dror it!" shrieked Joe.

"Yes, yes!" chuckled the old man. "I remember! Six hills in a row.
Busters!"--looking wonderfully knowing, and, with feeble forefinger
raised, nodding and winking at his great-grandchild,--as it were across
the slim gulf of a hundred years which divided the gleeful boyhood of
Joe from the second childhood of the ancient dreamer.

The next day came Adsly and his men again, with Cap'en Slade and his
tackle, and several yokes of oxen with drivers. Levers and screws moved
the house from its foundations, and it was launched upon rollers. Then,
progress! Then, sensation in Timberville! Some said it was Noah's ark,
sailing down the street. The household furniture of the patriarch was
mostly left on board the antique craft, but Noah and his family followed
on foot. They took their live stock with them,--cow and calf, and
poultry and pig. Joe and his great-grandfather carried each a pair of
pullets, in their hands. Gentleman Bill drove the pig, with a rope tied
to his (piggy's) leg. Mr. Williams transported more poultry,--turkeys
and hens, in two great flopping clusters, slung over his shoulder, with
their heads down. The women bore crockery and other frangible articles,
and helped Fessenden's drive the cow. A picturesque procession, not
noiseless! The bosses shouted to the men, the drivers shouted to the
oxen, loud groaned the beams of the ark, the cow lowed, the calf bawled,
great was the squawking and squealing!

Gentleman Bill was sick of the business before they had gone half-way.
He wished he had stayed in the shop, instead of coming over to help the
family, and make himself ridiculous. There was not much pleasure in
driving that stout young porker. Many a sharp jerk lamed the hand that
held the rope that restrained the leg that piggy wanted to run with.
Besides, (as I believe swine and some other folks invariably do under
the like circumstances,) piggy always tried to run in the wrong
direction. To add to Gentleman Bill's annoyance, spectators soon became
numerous, and witty suggestions were not wanting.

"Take him up in your arms," said somebody.

"Take advantage of his contrariness, and try to drive him 't other way,"
said somebody else.

"Ride him," proposed a third.

"Make a whistle of his tail, an' blow it, an' he'll foller ye!" screamed
a bright school-boy.

"Stick some of yer tailor's needles into him!" "Sew him up in a sack,
and shoulder him!" "Take up his hind-legs, and push him like a
wheelbarrer!" And so forth, and so forth, till Bill was in a fearful
sweat and rage, partly with the pig, but chiefly with the uncivil
multitude.

"Ruther carry me on your back, some rainy night, hadn't ye?" said
Fessenden's, in all simplicity, perceiving his distress.

"You didn't excruciate my wrist so like time!" groaned Bill. And what
was more, darkness covered that other memorable journey.

As for Joe, he liked it. Though he was not allowed to ride the
ridge-pole and wave a flag through the village, as he proposed, he had
plenty of fun on foot. He went swinging his chickens, and frequently
pinching them to make them musical. The laughter of the lookers-on
didn't trouble him in the least; for he could laugh louder than any. But
his sisters were ashamed, and Mr. Williams looked grave; for they were,
actually, human! and I suppose they didn't like to be jeered at, and
called a swarm of niggers, any more than you or I would.

So the journey was accomplished; and the stupendous joke of Frisbie's
was achieved. Conceive Mrs. Gingerford's wonder, when she beheld the ark
approaching! Fancy her feelings, when she saw it towed up and moored in
front of her own door,--the whole tribe of Noah, lowing cow, bawling
calf, squawking poultry, and squealing pig, and so forth, and so forth,
accompanying! This, then, was the meaning of the masons at work over
there since yesterday. They had been preparing the new foundations on
which the old house was to rest. So the stunning truth broke upon her:
niggers for neighbors! What had she done to merit such a dispensation?

What done, unhappy lady? Your own act has drawn down upon you this
retribution. You yourself have done quite as much towards bringing that
queer craft along-side as yonder panting and lolling oxen. They are but
the brute instruments, while you have been a moral agent in the matter.
One word, uttered by you three nights ago, has had the terrible magic in
it to summon forth from the mysterious womb of events this extraordinary
procession. Had but a different word been spoken, it would have proved
equally magical, though we might never have known it: that breath by
your delicate lips would have blown back these horrible shadows; and
instead of all this din and confusion of house-hauling, we should have
had silence this day in the streets of Timberville. You don't see it? In
plain phrase, then, understand: you took not in the stranger at your
gate; but he found refuge with these blacks; and because they showed
mercy unto him, the sword of Frisbie's wrath was turned aside from them,
and, edged by Stephen's witty jest, directed against you and yours.
Hence this interesting scene which you look down upon from your windows,
at the beautiful hour of sunset, which you love. And, oh, to think of
it! between your chamber and those golden sunsets that negro hut and
those negroes will always be henceforth!

Now don't you wish; Madam, you had had compassion on the wayfarer? But
we will not mock at your calamity. You did precisely what any of us
would have been only too apt to do in your place. You told the simple
truth, when you said you didn't want the ragged wretch in your house.
And what person of refinement, I'd like to know, would have wanted him?
For, say what you will, it is a most disagreeable thing to admit
downright dirty vagabonds into our elegant dwellings. And dangerous,
besides; for they might murder us in the night,--or steal something! Oh,
we fastidious and fearful! where is our charity? where is the heart of
trust? There was of old a Divine Man, who had not where to lay his
head,--whom the wise of those days scoffed at as a crazy fellow,--whom
respectable people shunned,--who made himself the companion of the poor,
the comforter of the distressed, the helper of those in trouble, and the
healer of diseases;--who shrank neither from the man or woman of sin,
nor from the loathsome leper, nor from sorrow and death for our
sakes,--whose gospel we now profess to live by, and----

But let us not be "soft." We are reasonably Christian, we hope; and it
shows low breeding to be ultra. (Was the Carpenter's Son low-bred?)

And now the Judge rides home in the dusk of the December day. It is
still light enough, however, for him to see that Frisbie's vacant lot
has been made an Ararat of; and he could hear the Noachian noises, were
it ever so dark. The awful jest bursts upon him; he hears the screaming
of the bomb-shell, then the explosion. But the mind of this man is (so
to speak) casemated. It is a shock,--but he never once loses his
self-possession. His quick perception detects Friend Frisbie behind the
gun; and he smiles with his intelligent, fine-cut face. Shall malice
have the pleasure of knowing that the shot has told? Our orator is too
sagacious for that. There is never any use in being angry: that is one
of his maxims. Therefore, if he feels any chagrin, he will smother it.
If there is a storm within, the world shall see only the rainbow, that
radiant smile of his. Cool is Gingerford! He has seized the subject
instantly, and calculated all its bearings. He is a man to make the best
of it; and even the bitterness which is in it shall, if possible, bear
him some wholesome drink. To school his mind to patience,--to practise
daily the philanthropy he teaches,--this will be much; and already his
heart is humbled and warmed. And who knows,--for, with all his
sincerity and aspiration, he has an eye to temporal uses,--who knows but
this stumbling-block an enemy has placed in his way may prove the
stepping-stone of his ambition?

"What is all this, James?" he inquires of his son, who comes out to the
gate to meet him.

"Frisbie's meanness!" says the young man, almost choking. "And the whole
town is laughing at us!"

"Laughing at us? What have we done?" mildly answers the parent. "I tell
you what, James,--they sha'n't laugh at us long. We can live so as to
compel them to reverence us; and if there is any ridicule attached to
the affair, it will soon rest where it belongs."

"Such a sty stuck right down under our noses!" muttered the mortified
James.

"We will make of it an ornament," retorts the Judge, with mounting
spirits. "Come with me,"--taking the youth's arm. "My son, call no human
habitation a sty. These people are our brothers, and we will show them
the kindness of brethren."

A servant receives the horse, and Gingerford and his son cross the
street.

"Good evening, Friend Williams! So you have concluded to come and live
neighbor to us, have you?"

Friend Williams was at the end of the house, occupied in improvising a
cowshed under an old apple-tree. Piggy was already tied to the trunk of
the tree, and the hens and turkeys were noisily selecting their roosts
in the boughs. At sight of the Judge, whose displeasure he feared, the
negro was embarrassed, and hardly knew what to say. But the pleasant
greeting of the silver-toned voice reassured him, and he stopped his
work to frame his candid, respectful answer.

"It was Mr. Frisbie that concluded. All I had to do was to go with the
house wherever he chose to move it."

"Well, he might have done much worse by you. You have a nice landlord, a
nice landlord, Mr. Williams. Mr. Frisbie is a very fine man."

It was Gingerford's practice to speak well of everybody with whom he had
any personal relations, and especially well of his enemies; because, as
he used to say to his son, evil words commonly do more harm to him who
utters them than to those they are designed to injure, while fair and
good words are easily spoken, and are the praise of their author, if of
nobody else: for, if the subject of them is a bad man, they will not be
accepted as literally true by any one that knows him, but, on the
contrary, they will be set down to the credit of your good-nature,--or
who knows but they may become coals of fire upon the head of your enemy,
and convert him into a friend?

James had now an opportunity to test the truth of these observations.
Was Mr. Williams convinced that Frisbie was a nice landlord and a fine
man? By no means. But that Judge Gingerford was a fine man, and a
charitable, he believed more firmly than ever. Then there was Stephen
standing by,--having, no doubt, been sent by his master to observe the
chagrin of the Gingerfords, and to bring back the report thereof; who,
when he heard the Judge's words, looked surprised and abashed, and
presently stole away, himself discomfited.

"I pray the Lord," said Mr. Williams, humbly and heartily, "you won't
consider us troublesome neighbors."

"I hope not," replied the Judge; "and why should I? You have a good,
honest reputation, Friend Williams; and I hear that you are a peaceable
and industrious family. We ought to be able to serve each other in many
ways. What can I do for you, to begin with? Wouldn't you like to turn
your cow and calf into my yard?"

"Thank you a thousand times,--if I can, just as well as not," said the
grateful negro. "We had to tear down the shed and pig-pen when we moved
the house, and I ha'n't had time to set 'em up again."

"And I imagine you have had enough to do, for one day. Let your children
drive the creatures through the gate yonder; my man will show them the
shed. Are you a good gardener, Mr. Williams?"

"Wal, I've done consid'able at that sort of work, Sir."

"I'm glad of that. I have to hire a good deal of gardening done. I see
we are going to be very much obliged to your landlord for bringing us so
near together. And this is your father?"

"My grandfather, Sir," said Mr. Williams.

"Your grandfather? I must shake hands with him."

"Sarvant, Sah," said the old man, cap off, bowing and smiling there in
the December twilight.

"He's deaf as can be," said Mr. Williams; "you'll have to talk loud, to
make him hear. He's more 'n a hunderd year old."

"You astonish me!" exclaimed the Judge. "A very remarkable old person! I
should delight to converse with him,--to know what his thoughts are in
these new times, and what his memories are of the past, which, I
suppose, is even now more familiar to his mind than the objects of
to-day. God bless you, my venerable friend!" shaking hands a second time
with the ancient black, and speaking in a loud voice.

"Tankee, Sah,--very kind," smiled the flattered old man. "Sarvant, Sah."

"'Tis you who are kind, to take notice of young fellows like me,"
pleasantly replied the Judge.--"Well, good evening, friends. I shall
always be glad to know if there is anything I can do for you. Ha! what
is this?"

It was the cow and calf coming back again, followed by Joe and
Fessenden's.

"Gorry!" cried Joe,--"wa'n't that man mad? Thought he'd bite th' ole
cow's tail off!"

"What man? My man?"

"Yes," said honest Fessenden's; "he said he'd be damned if he'd have a
nigger's critters along with his'n!"

"Then we'll afford him an early opportunity to be damned," observed the
Judge. "Drive them back again. I'll go with you.--By the way, Mr.
Williams,"--Gingerford saw his man approaching, and spoke loud enough
for him to hear and understand,--"are you accustomed to taking care of
horses? I may find it necessary to employ some one before long."

"Wal, yes, Sir; I'm tol'able handy about a stable," replied the negro.

"Hollo, there!" called the man, somewhat sullenly, "drive that cow back
here! Why didn't you tell me 't was the boss's orders?"

"Did tell him so; and he said as how I lied," said Joe,--driving the
animals back again triumphantly.

The Judge departed with his son,--a thoughtful and aspiring youth, who
pondered deeply what he had seen and heard, as he walked by his father's
side. And Mr. Williams, greatly relieved and gratified by the interview,
hastened to relate to his family the good news. And the praises of
Gingerford were on all their tongues, and in their prayers that night he
was not forgotten.

Three days after, the Judge's man was dismissed from his place, in
consequence of difficulties originating in the affair of the cow. The
Judge had sought an early opportunity to converse with him on the
subject.

"A negro's cow," said he, "is as good as anybody's cow; and I consider
Mr. Williams as good a man as you are."

The white coachman couldn't stand that; and the result was that the
Gingerfords had a black coachman in a few days. The situation was
offered to Mr. Williams, and very glad he was to accept it.

Thus the wrath of man continued to work the welfare of these humble
Christians. It is reasonable to doubt whether the Judge was at heart
delighted with his new neighbors; and jolly Mr. Frisbie enjoyed the joke
somewhat less, I suspect, than he anticipated. One party enjoyed it,
nevertheless. It was a serious and solid satisfaction to the Williams
family. No member of which, with the exception, perhaps, of Joe,
exhibited greater pleasure at the change in their situation than the
old patriarch. It rejuvenated him. His hearing was almost restored. "One
move more," he said, "and I shall be young and spry agin as the day I
got my freedom,"--that day, so many, many years ago, which he so well
remembered! Well, the "one move more" was near; and the morning of a new
freedom, the morning of a more perfect youth and gladness, was not
distant.

It was the old man's delight to go out and sit in the sun before the
door, in the clear December weather, and pull off his cap to the Judge
as he passed. To get a bow, and perhaps a kind word, from the
illustrious Gingerford, was glory enough for one day, and the old man
invariably hurried into the house to tell of it.

But one morning a singular thing occurred. To all appearances--to the
eyes of all except one--he remained sitting out there in the sun after
the Judge had gone. But Fessenden's, looking up suddenly, and staring at
vacancy, cried,--

"Hollo!"

"What, child?" asked Mrs. Williams.

"The old man!" said Fessenden's. "Comin' into the door! Don't ye see
him?"

Nobody saw him but the lad; and of course all were astonished by his
earnest announcement of the apparition. The old grandmother hastened to
look out. There sat her father still, on the bench by the apple-tree,
leaning against the trunk. But the sight did not satisfy her. She ran
out to him. The smile of salutation was still on his lips, which seemed
just saying, "Sarvant, Sah," to the Judge. But those lips would never
move again. They were the lips of death.

"What is the matter, Williams?" asked the Judge, on his return home that
afternoon.

"My gran'ther is dead, Sir; and I don't know where to bury him." This
was the negro's quiet and serious answer.

"Dead?" ejaculates the Judge. "Why, I saw him only this morning, and had
a smile from him!"

"That was his last smile, Sir. You can see it on his face yet. He went
to heaven with that smile, we trust."

To heaven? a negro in heaven? If that is so, some of us, I suppose, will
no longer wish to go there. Or do you imagine that you will have need of
servants in paradise, and that that is what Christian niggers are for?
Or do you believe that in the celestial congregations there will also be
a place set aside for the colored brethren,--a glorified niggers' pew?
You scowl; you don't like a joke upon so serious a subject? Hypocrite!
do you see nothing but a joke here?

The Judge leaves everything and goes home with his coachman. Sure
enough! there is the same smile he saw in the morning, frozen on the
face of the corpse.

"Gently and late death came to him!" says Gingerford. "Would we could
all die as happy! There is no occasion to mourn, my good woman."

"Bless the Lord, I don't mourn!" replied the old negress. "But I'm so
brimful of thanks, I must cry for 't! He died a blessed ole Christian;
an' he's gone straight to glory, if there's anything in the promises. He
is free now, if he never was afore;--for, though they pretend there
a'n't no slaves in this 'ere State, an' the law freed us years ago,
seems to me there a'n't no r'al liberty for us, 'cept this!" She pointed
at the corpse, then threw up her eyes and hands with an expression of
devout and joyful gratitude. "He's gone where there a'n't no predijice
agin color, bless the Lord! He's gone where all them that's been washed
with the blood of Christ is all of one color in His sight!" Then turning
to the Judge,--"And you'll git your reward, Sir, be sure o' that!"

"My reward?" And Gingerford, touched with genuine emotion, shook his
head, sadly.

"Yes, Sir, your reward," repeated the old woman, tenderly arranging the
sheet over the still breast, and still, folded hands of the corpse.
"For makin' his last days happy,--for makin' his last minutes happy, I
may say. That 'ere smile was for you, Sir. You was kinder to him 'n
folks in gin'ral. He wa'n't used to 't. An' he felt it. An' he's gone to
glory with the news on 't. An' it'll be sot down to your credit there,
in the Big Book."

Where was the Judge's eloquence? He could not find words to frame a
fitting reply to this ignorant black woman, whose emotion was so much
deeper than any fine phrases of his could reach, and whose simple faith
and gratitude overwhelmed him with the sudden conviction that he had
never yet said anything to the purpose, in all his rhetorical defences
of the down-trodden race. From that conviction came humility. Out of
humility rose inspiration. Two days later his eloquence found tongue;
and this was the occasion of it:--

The body of the old negro was to be buried. That he should be simply put
into the ground, and nothing said, any more than as if he were a brute
beast, did not seem befitting the obsequies of so old a man and so
faithful a Christian. The family had natural feelings on that subject.
They wanted to have a funeral sermon.

Now it so happened that there was to be another funeral in the village
about that time. The old minister, had he been living, might have
managed to attend both. But the young minister couldn't think of such a
thing. The loveliest flower of maidenhood in his parish had been cut
down. One of the first families had been bereaved. Day and night he must
ponder and scribble to prepare a suitable discourse. And then, having
exhausted spiritual grace in bedecking the tomb of the lovely, should
he,--good gracious! _could_ he descend from those heights of beauty and
purity to the grave of a superannuated negro? Could divine oratory so
descend?

    "On that fair mountain leave to feed,
    And batten on this _moor_"?

Ought the cup of consolation, which he extended to his best, his
worthiest friends and parishioners, to be passed in the same hour to
thick African lips?

Which questions were, of course, decided in the negative. There was
another minister in the village, but he was sick. What should be done?
To go wandering about the world in search of somebody to preach the
funeral sermon seemed a hard case,--as Mr. Williams remarked to the
Judge.

"Tell you what, Williams," said the Judge,--"don't give yourself any
more trouble on that account. I'm not a minister, nor half good enough
for one,"--he could afford to speak disparagingly of himself, the
beautiful, gracious gentleman!--"but if you can't do any better, I'll be
present and say a few words at the funeral."

"Thank you a thousand times!" said the grateful negro. "Couldn't be
nothin' better 'n that! We never expected no such honor; an' if my ole
gran'ther could have knowed you would speak to his funeral, he'd have
been proud, Sir!"

"He was a simple-minded old soul!" replied the Judge, pleasantly. "And
you're another, Williams! However, I am glad you are satisfied. So this
difficulty is settled, too." For already one very serious difficulty had
been arranged through this man's kindness.

Did I neglect to mention it,--how, when the old negro died, his family
had no place to bury him? The rest of his race, dying before him, had
been gathered to the mother's bosom in distant places: long lines of
dusky ancestors in Africa; a few descendants in America,--here and there
a grave among New-England hills. Only one, a child of Mr. Williams's,
had died in Timberville, and been placed in the old burying-ground over
yonder. But that was now closed against interments. And as for
purchasing a lot in the new cemetery,--how could poor Mr. Williams ever
hope to raise money to pay for it?

"Williams," said the Judge, "I own several lots there, and if you'll be
a good boy, I'll make you a present of one."

Ah, Gingerford! Gingerford! was it pure benevolence that prompted the
gift? Was the smile with which you afterwards related the circumstance
to dear Mrs. Gingerford a smile of sincere satisfaction at having done a
good action and witnessed the surprise and gratitude of your black
coachman? Tell us, was it altogether an accident, with no tincture
whatever of pleasant malice in it, that the lot you selected, out of
several, to be the burial-place of negroes, lay side by side with the
proud family-vault of your neighbor Frisbie?

The Judge was one of those cool heads, who, when they have received an
injury, do not go raving of it up and down, but put it quietly aside,
and keep their temper, and rest content to wait patiently, perhaps
years, perhaps a lifetime, for the opportunity of a sudden and pat
revenge. Indeed, I suppose he would have been well satisfied to answer
Frisbie's spite with the nobler revenge of magnanimity and smiling
forbearance, had not the said opportunity presented itself. It was a
temptation not to be resisted. And he, the most philanthropical of men,
proved himself capable of being also the most cruel.

There, in the choicest quarter of the cemetery, shone the white
ancestral monuments of the Frisbies. Death, the leveller, had not,
somehow, levelled them,--proud and pretentious even in their tombs. You
felt, as you read the sculptured record of their names and virtues, that
even their ashes were better than the ashes of common mortals. They
rendered sacred not only the still inclosure where they lay, but all
that beautiful sunny bank; so that nobody else had presumed to be buried
near them, but a space of many square rods on either side was left still
unappropriated,--until now, when, lo! here comes a black funeral, and
the corpse of one who had been a slave in his day, to profane the soil!

Nor is this all, alas! There comes not one funeral procession only. The
first has scarcely entered the cemetery, when a second arrives. Side by
side the dead of this day are to be laid: our old friend the negro, and
the lovely young lady we have mentioned,--even the fairest of Mr.
Frisbie's own children.

For it is she. The sweetest of the faces Fessenden's saw that stormy
night at the window, and yearned to be within the bright room where the
fire, was,--that dear warm face is cold in yonder coffin which the
afflicted family are attending to the tomb.

And Frisbie, as we have somewhere said, loved his children. And in the
anguish of his bereavement he had not heeded the singular and somewhat
humiliating fact that his daughter had issued from the portal of Time in
company with one of his most despised tenants,--that, in the same hour,
almost at the same moment, Death had summoned them, leading them
together, as it were, one with his right hand, and one with his left,
the way of all the world. So that here was a surprise for the proud and
grief-smitten parent.

"What is all that, Stephen?" he demands, with sudden consternation.

"It seems to be another funeral, Sir. They're buryin' somebody next lot
to yours."

"Who, who, Stephen?"

"I--I ruther guess it's the old nigger, Sir," says Stephen.

The mighty man is shaken. Wrath and sorrow and insulted affection
convulse him for a moment. His face grows purple, then pale, and he
struggles with his neckcloth, which is choking him. He sees the tall
form of Gingerford at the grave, and knows what it is to wish to murder
a man. Were those two Christian neighbors quite alone, in this solitude
of the dead, I fear one of them would soon be a fit subject for a
coroner's inquest and an epitaph. O pride and hatred! with what madness
can you inspire a mortal man! O Fessenden's! bless thy stars that thou
art not the only fool alive this day, nor the greatest!

Fessenden's walked alone to the funeral, talking by himself, and now
and then laughing. Gentleman Bill thought his conduct indecorous, and
reproved him for it.

"Gracious!" said the lad, "don't you see who I'm talkin' with?"

"No, Sir,--I can't say I see anybody, Sir."

"No?" exclaimed the astonished youth. "Why, it's the old man, goin' to
his own funeral!"

This, you may say, was foolishness; but, oh, it was innocent and
beautiful foolishness, compared with that of Frisbie and his
sympathizers, when they discovered the negro burial, and felt that their
mourning was too respectable to be the near companion of the mourning of
those poor blacks, and that their beautiful dead was too precious to be
laid in the earth beside their dead.

What could be done? Indignation and sorrow availed nothing. The tomb of
the lovely was prepared, and it only remained to pity the affront to her
ashes, as she was committed to the chill depths amid silence and choking
tears. It is done; and the burial of the old negro is deferentially
delayed until the more aristocratic rites are ended.

Gingerford set the example of standing with his hat off in the yellow
sunshine and wintry air, with his noble head bowed low, while the last
prayer was said at the maiden's sepulture. Then he lifted up his face,
radiant; and the flashing and rainbow-spanned torrent of his eloquence
broke forth. He had reserved his forces for this hour. He had not the
Williams family and their friends alone for an audience, but many who
had come to attend the young lady's funeral remained to hear the Judge.
It was worth their while. Finely as he had discoursed at the hut of the
negroes, before the corpse was brought out, that was scarcely the time,
that was certainly not the place, for a crowning effort of his genius.
But here, his larger audience, the open air, the blue heavens, the
graves around, the burial of the young girl side by side with the old
slave, all contributed to inspire him. Human brotherhood, universal
love, the stern democracy of death, immortality,--these were his theme.
Life, incrusted with conventionalities; Death, that strips them all
away. This is the portal (pointing to the grave) at which the soul drops
all its false incumbrances,--rank, riches, sorrow, shame. It enters
naked into eternity. There worldly pride and arrogance have no place.
There false judgment goes out like a sick man's night-lamp, in the
morning light of truth. In the courts of God only spiritual distinctions
prevail. That you were a lord in this life will be of no account there,
where the humblest Christian love is preferred before the most brilliant
selfishness,--where the master is degraded, and the servant is exalted.
And so forth, and so forth; a brief, but eloquent address, of which it
is to be regretted that no report exists.

Then came the prayer,--for the Judge had a gift that way too; and the
tenderness and true feeling with which he spoke of the old negro and the
wrongs of his race drew tears from many eyes. Then a hymn was
sung,--those who had stayed to sneer joining their voices seriously with
those of the lowly mourners.

A few days later, Mr. Williams had the remains of his child taken from
the old burying-ground, and brought here, and laid beside the patriarch.
And before spring, simple tombstones of white marble (at Gingerford's
expense) marked the spot, and commemorated the circumstances of the old
man's extreme age and early bondage.

And before spring, alas! three other graves were added to that sunny
bank! One by one, all those fair children whom Fessenden's had seen in
the warm room where the fire was had followed their sister to the tomb.
So fast they followed that Mr. Frisbie had no time to move his
family-vault from the degrading proximity of the negro graves. And
Fessenden's still lived, an orphan, yet happy, in the family of blacks
which had adopted him; while the parents of those children, who had
loved them, were left alone in the costly house, desolate. Was it, as
some supposed, a judgment upon Frisbie for his pride? I cannot tell. I
only know, that, in the end, that pride was utterly broken,--and that,
when the fine words of the young minister failed to console him, when
sympathizing friends surrounded him, and Gingerford came to visit him,
and they were reconciled, he turned from them all, and gratefully
received hope and comfort from the lips of a humble old Christian who
had nursed the last of his children in her days and nights of suffering,
almost against his will.

That Christian? It was the old negro woman.

Early in the spring, Mr. Williams----But no more! Haven't we already
prolonged our sketch to an intolerable length, considering the subject
of it? Not a lover in it! and, of course, it is preposterous to think of
making a readable story without one. Why didn't we make young Gingerford
in love with--let's see--Miss Frisbie? and Miss Frisbie's brother (it
would have required but a stroke of the pen to give her one) in love
with--Creshy Williams? What melodramatic difficulties might have been
built upon this foundation! And as for Fessenden's being a fool and a
pauper, he should turn out to be the son of some proud man, either
Gingerford or Frisbie. But it is too late now. We acknowledge our fatal
mistake. Who cares for the fortunes of a miserable negro family? Who
cares to know the future of Mr. Williams, or of any of his race?

Suffice it, then, to say, that, as for the Williamses, God has taken
care of them in every trial,--turning even the wrath of enemies to their
advantage, as we have seen; just as He will, no doubt, in His fatherly
kindness, provide for that unhappy race which is now in the perilous
crisis of its destiny, and concerning which so many, both its friends
and enemies, are anxiously asking, "What will become of them?"



FORGOTTEN.


      In this dim shadow, where
    She found the quiet which all tired hearts crave,
      Now, without grief or care,
    The wild bees murmur, and the blossoms wave,
      And the forgetful air
    Blows heedlessly across her grassy grave.

      Yet, when she lived on earth,
    She loved this leafy dell, and knew by name
      All things of sylvan birth;
    Squirrel and bird chirped welcome, when she came:
      Yet now, in careless mirth,
    They frisk, and build, and warble all the same.

      From the great city near,
    Wherein she toiled through life's incessant quest,
      For weary year on year,
    Come the far voices of its deep unrest,
      To touch her dead, deaf ear,
    And surge unechoed o'er her pulseless breast.

      The hearts which clung to her
    Have sought out other shrines, as all hearts must,
      When Time, the comforter,
    Has worn their grief out, and replaced their trust:
      Not even neglect can stir
    This little handful of forgotten dust.

      Grass waves, and insects hum,
    And then the snow blows bitterly across;
      Strange footsteps go and come,
    Breaking the dew-drops on the starry moss:
      She lieth still and dumb,
    And counts no longer any gain or loss.

      Ah, well,--'t is better so;
    Let the dust deepen as the years increase;
      Of her who sleeps below
    Let the name perish and the memory cease,
      Since she has come to know
    That which through life she vainly prayed for,--Peace!



WET-WEATHER WORK.

BY A FARMER.


VIII.--CONCLUSION.

As I sit in my library-chair listening to the welcome drip from the
eaves, I bethink me of the great host of English farm-teachers who in
the last century wrote and wrought so well, and wonder why their
precepts and their example should not have made a garden of that little
British island. To say nothing of the inherited knowledge of such men as
Sir Anthony Fitz-Herbert, Hugh Platt, Markham, Lord Bacon, Hartlib, and
the rest, there was Tull, who had blazed a new path between the turnip
and the wheat-drills--to fortune; there was Lord Kames, who illustrated
with rare good sense, and the daintiness of a man of letters, all the
economies of a thrifty husbandry; Sir John Sinclair proved the
wisdom of thorough culture upon tracts that almost covered counties;
Bakewell (of Dishley)--that fine old farmer in breeches and top-boots,
who received Russian princes and French marquises at his
kitchen-fireside--demonstrated how fat might be laid on sheep or cattle
for the handling of a butcher; in fact, he succeeded so far, that Dr.
Parkinson once told Paley that the great breeder had "the power of
fattening his sheep in whatever part of the body he chose, directing it
to shoulder, leg, or neck, as he thought proper,--and this," continued
Parkinson, "is the great _problem_ of his art."

"It's a lie, Sir," said Paley,--"and that's the _solution_ of it."

And yet Dr. Parkinson was very near the truth.

Besides Bakewell, there was Arthur Young, as we have seen, giving all
England the benefit of agricultural comparisons by his admirable
"Tours"; Lord Dundonald had brought his chemical knowledge to the aid
of good husbandry; Abercrombie and Speechly and Marshall had written
treatises on all that regarded good gardening. The nurseries of
Tottenham Court Road, the parterres of Chelsea, and the stoves of the
Yew Gardens were luxuriant witnesses of what the enterprising gardener
might do.

Agriculture, too, had a certain dignity given to it by the fact that
"Farmer George" (the King) had written his experiences for a journal of
Arthur Young, the Duke of Bedford was one of the foremost advocates of
improved farming, and Lord Townshend took a pride in his _sobriquet_ of
"Turnip Townshend."

Yet, for all this, at the opening of the present century, England was by
no means a garden. Over more than half the kingdom, turnips, where sown
at all, were sown broadcast. In four counties out of five, a bare fallow
was deemed essential for the recuperation of cropped lands. Barley and
oats were more often grown than wheat. Dibbling or drilling of grain,
notwithstanding Platt and Jethro Tull, were still rare. The wet
clay-lands had, for the most part, no drainage, save the open furrows
which were as old as the teachings of Xenophon; indeed, it will hardly
be credited, when I state that it is only so late as 1843 that a certain
gardener, John Reade by name, at the Derby Show of the Royal
Agricultural Society, exhibited certain cylindrical pipes, which he had
formed by wrapping damp clay around a smooth billet of wood, and with
which he "had been in the habit of draining the hot-beds of his master."
A sagacious engineer who was present, and saw these, examined them
closely, and, calling the attention of Earl Spencer (the eminent
agriculturist) to them, said, "My Lord, with them I can drain all
England."

It was not until about 1830 that the subsoil-plough of Mr. Smith of
Deanston was first contrived for special work upon the lands of
Perthshire. Notwithstanding all the brilliant successes of Bakewell,
long-legged, raw-boned cattle were admired by the majority of British
farmers at the opening of this century, and elephantine monsters of this
description were dragged about England in vans for exhibition. It was
only in 1798 that the "Smithfield Club" was inaugurated for the show of
fat cattle, by the Duke of Bedford, Lord Somerville, Arthur Young, and
others; and it was about the same period that young Jonas Webb (whose
life has latterly been illustrated by a glowing chapter from Elihu
Burritt) used to ride upon the Norfolk bucks bred by his grandfather,
and, with a quick sense of discomfort from their sharp backs, vowed,
that, when he "grew a man, he'd make better saddles for them"; and he
did, as every one knows who has ever seen a good type of the Brabaham
flock.

The Royal Agricultural Society dates from 1838. In 1835 Sir Robert Peel
presented a farmers' club at Tamworth with "two iron ploughs of the best
construction," and when he inquired after them and their work the
following year, the report was that the wooden mould-board was better:
"We tried 'em, but we be all of one mind, that the iron made the weeds
grow." And I can recall a bright morning in January of 1845, when I made
two bouts around a field in the middle of the best dairy-district of
Devonshire, at the stilts of a plough so cumbrous and ineffective that a
thrifty New-England farmer would have discarded it at sight. Nor can I
omit, in this connection, to revive, so far as I may, the image of a
small Devon farmer, who had lived, and I dare say will die, utterly
ignorant of the instructions of Tull, or of the agricultural labors of
Arthur Young: a short, wheezy, rotund figure of a man, with ruddy
face,--fastening the _h_s in his talk most blunderingly,--driving over
to the market-town every fair-day, with pretty samples of wheat or
barley in his dog-cart,--believing in the royal family like a
gospel,--limiting his reading to glances at the "Times" in the
tap-room,--looking with an evil eye upon railways, (which, in that day,
had not intruded farther than Exeter into his shire,)--distrusting
terribly the spread of "eddication": it "doan't help the work-folk any;
for, d' ye see, they've to keep a mind on their pleughing and craps; and
as for the b'ys, the big uns must mind the beasts, and the little uns's
got enough to do a-scaring the demed rooks. Gads! what hodds to them,
please your Honor, what Darby is a-dooin' up in Lunnun, or what
Lewis-Philup is a-dooin' with the Frenchers?" And the ruddy
farmer-gentleman stirs his toddy afresh, lays his right leg caressingly
over his left leg, admires his white-topped boots, and is the picture of
British complacency. I hope he is living; I hope he stirs his toddy
still in the tap-room of the inn by the pretty Erme River; but I hope
that he has grown wiser as he has grown older, and that he has given
over his wheezy curses at the engine as it hurtles past on the iron way
to Plymouth and to Penzance.

       *       *       *       *       *

The work was not all done for the agriculture and the agriculturist of
England in the last century; it is hardly all done yet; it is doubtful
if it will be done so as to close investigation and ripen method in our
time. There was room for a corps of fresh workers at the opening of the
present century; nor was such a corps lacking.

About the year 1808, a certain John Christian Curwen, Member of
Parliament, and dating from Cumberland, wrote "Hints on Agricultural
Subjects," a big octavo volume, in which he suggests the steaming of
potatoes for horses, as a substitute for hay; but it does not appear
that the suggestion was well received. To his credit, however, it may be
said, that, in the same book, he urged the system of "soiling"
cattle,--a system which even now needs its earnest expounders, and which
would give full warrant for their loudest exhortation.

I notice, too, that, at about the same period, Dr. Beddoes, the friend
and early patron of Sir Humphry Davy at the Pneumatic Institution of
Bristol, wrote a book with the quaint title, "Good Advice to Husbandmen
in Harvest, and for all those who labor in Hot Berths, and for others
who will take it--in Warm Weather." And with the recollection of Davy's
description of the Doctor in my mind,--"uncommonly short and
fat,"[27]--I have felt a great interest in seeing what such a man should
have to say upon harvest-heats; but his book, so far as I know, is not
to be found in America.

A certain John Harding, of St. James Street, London, published, in 1809,
a tract upon "The Use of Sugar in Feeding Cattle," in which were set
forth sundry experiments which went to show how bullocks had been
fattened on molasses, and had been rewarded with a premium. I am
indebted for all knowledge of this anomalous tractate to the
"Agricultural Biography" of Mr. Donaldson, who seems disposed to give a
sheltering wing to the curious theory broached, and discourses upon it
with a lucidity and coherence worthy of a state-paper. I must be
permitted to quote Mr. Donaldson's language:--"The author's ideas are no
romance or chimera, but a very feasible entertainment of the
undertaking, when a social revolution permits the fruits of all climes
to be used in freedom of the burden of value that is imposed by
monopoly, and restricts the legitimate appropriation."

George Adams, in 1810, proposed "A New System of Agriculture and Feeding
Stock," of which the novelty lay in movable sheds, (upon iron
tram-ways,) for the purpose of soiling cattle. The method was certainly
original; nor can it be regarded as wholly visionary in our time, when
the iron conduits of Mr. Mechi, under the steam-thrust of the Tip-Tree
engines, are showing a percentage of profit.

Charles Drury, in the same year, recommended, in an elaborate treatise,
the steaming of straw, roots, and hay, for cattle-food,--a
recommendation which, in our time, has been put into most successful
practice.

Mowbray, who was for a long time the great authority upon Domestic Fowls
and their Treatment, published his book in 1803, which he represents as
having been compiled from the memoranda of forty years' experience.

And next, as illustrative of the rural literature of the early part of
this century, I must introduce the august name of Sir Humphry Davy. This
I am warranted in doing on two several counts: first, because he was an
accomplished fisherman and the author of "Salmonia," and next, because
he was the first scientific man of any repute who was formally invited
by a Board of Agriculture to discuss the relations of Chemistry to the
practice of farming.

Unfortunately, he was himself ignorant of practical agriculture,[28]
when called upon to illustrate its relations to chemistry; but, like an
earnest man, he set about informing himself by communication with the
best farmers of the kingdom. He delivered a very admirable series of
lectures, and it was without doubt most agreeable to the
country-gentlemen to find the great waste from their fermenting manures
made clear by Sir Humphry's retorts; but Davy was too profound and too
honest a man to lay down for farmers any chemical high-road to success.
He directed and stimulated inquiry; he developed many of the principles
which underlay their best practice; but he offered them no safety-lamp.
I think he brought more zeal to his investigations in the domain of pure
science; he loved well-defined and brilliant results; and I do not think
that he pushed his inquiries in regard to the way in which the
forage-plants availed themselves of sulphate of lime with one-half the
earnestness or delight with which he conducted his discovery of the
integral character of chlorine, or with which he saw for the first time
the metallic globules bubbling out from the electrified crust of potash.

Yet he loved the country with a rare and thorough love, as his
descriptions throughout his letters prove; and he delighted in straying
away, in the leafy month of June, to the charming place of his friend
Knight, upon the Teme in Herefordshire. His "Salmonia" is, in its way, a
pastoral; not, certainly, to be compared with the original of Walton,
lacking its simple homeliness, for which its superior scientific
accuracy can make but poor amends. I cannot altogether forget, in
reading it, that its author is a fine gentleman from London. Neither
fish, nor alders, nor eddies, nor purling shallows, can drive out of
memory the fact that Sir Humphry must be back at "The Hall" by half-past
six, in season to dress for dinner. Walton, in slouch-hat, bound about
with "leaders," sat upon the green turf to listen to a milkmaid's song.
Sir Humphry (I think he must have carried a camp-stool) recited some
verses written by "a noble lady long distinguished at court."[29]

In fact, there was always a great deal of the fine gentleman about the
great chemist,--almost too fine for the quiet tenor of a working-life.
Those first brilliant successes of his professional career at the Royal
Institution of London, before he was turned of thirty, and in which his
youth, his splendid elocution, his happy discoveries, his attractive
manner, all made him the mark for distinguished attentions, went very
far, I fancy, to carry him to that stage of social intoxication under
which he was deluded into marrying a wealthy lady of fashion, and a
confirmed blue-stocking,--the brilliant Mrs. Apreece.

Little domestic comfort ever came of the marriage. Yet he was a
chivalrous man, and took the issue calmly. It is always in his
letters,--"My dear Jane," and "God bless you! Yours affectionately." But
these expressions bound the tender passages. It was altogether a
gentlemanly and a lady-like affair. Only once, as I can find, he forgets
himself in an honest repining; it is in a letter to his brother, under
date of October 30, 1823:[30]--"To add to my annoyances, I find my
house, as usual, after the arrangements made by the mistress of it,
without female servants; but in this world we have to suffer and bear,
and from Socrates down to humble mortals, domestic discomfort seems a
sort of philosophical fate."

If only Lady Davy could have seen this Xantippe touch, I think Sir
Humphry would have taken to angling in some quiet country-place for a
month thereafter!

And even when affairs grow serious with the Baronet, and when, stricken
by the palsy, he is loitering among the mountains of Styria, he
writes,--"I am glad to hear of your perfect restoration, and with health
and the society of London, _which you are so fitted to ornament and
enjoy_, your '_viva la felicità_' is much more secure than any hope
belonging to me."

And again, "You once _talked_ of passing _this_ winter in Italy; but I
hope your plans will be entirely guided by the state of your health and
feelings. Your society would undoubtedly be a very great resource to me,
but I am so well aware of my own present unfitness for society that I
would not have you risk the chance of an uncomfortable moment on my
account."

The dear Lady Jane must have had a _penchant_ for society to leave the
poor palsied man to tumble into his tomb alone!

Yet once again, in the last letter he ever writes, dated Rome, March,
1829, he gallantly asks her to join him; it begins,--"I am still alive,
though expecting every hour to be released."

And the Lady Jane, who is washing off her fashionable humors in the
fashionable waters of Bath, writes,--"I have received, my beloved Sir
Humphry, the letter signed by your hand, with its precious wish of
tenderness. I start to-morrow, _having been detained here_ by Doctors
Babington and Clarke till to-day.... I cannot add more" (it is a letter
of half a page) "than that your fame is a deposit, and your memory a
glory, your life still a hope."

Sweet Lady Jane! Yet they say she mourned him duly, and set a proper
headstone at his grave. But, for my own part, I have no faith in that
affection which will splinter a loving heart every day of its life, and
yet, when it has ceased to beat, will make atonement with an idle swash
of tears.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a British farmer by the name of Morris Birkbeck, who about the
year 1814 wrote an account of an agricultural tour in France; and who
subsequently established himself somewhere upon our Western prairies, of
which he gave account in "Letters from Illinois," and in "Notes on a
Journey in America, from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory of
Illinois," with maps, etc. Cobbett once or twice names him as "poor
Birkbeck,"--but whether in allusion to his having been drowned in one of
our Western rivers, or to the poverty of his agricultural successes, it
is hard to determine.

In 1820 Major-General Beatson, who had been Aid to the Marquis of
Wellesley in India, published an account of a new system of farming,
which he claimed to have in successful operation at his place in the
County of Sussex. The novelty of the system lay in the fact that he
abandoned both manures and the plough, and scarified the surface to the
depth of two or three inches, after which he burned it over. The
Major-General was called to the governorship of St. Helena before his
system had made much progress. I am led to allude to the plan as one of
the premonitory hints of that rotary method which is just now enlisting
a large degree of attention in the agricultural world, and which
promises to supplant the plough on all wide stretches of land, within
the present century.

Finlayson, a brawny Scot, born in the parish of Mauchline, who was known
from "Glentuck to the Rutton-Ley" as the best man for "putting the
stone," or for a "hop, step, and leap," contrived the self-cleaning
ploughs (with circular beam) and harrows which bore his name. He was
also--besides being the athlete of Ayrshire--the author of sundry
creditable and practical works on agriculture.

But the most notable man in connection with rural literature, of this
day, was, by all odds, William Cobbett. His early history has so large a
flavor of romance in it that I am sure my readers will excuse me for
detailing it.

His grandfather was a day-laborer; he died before Cobbett was born; but
the author says that he used to visit the grandmother at Christmas and
Whitsuntide. Her home was "a little thatched cottage, with a garden
before the door. She used to give us milk and bread for breakfast, an
apple-pudding for dinner, and a piece of bread and cheese for our
supper. Her fire was made of turf cut from the neighboring heath; and
her evening light was a rush dipped in grease."[31] His father was a
small farmer, and one who did not allow his boys to grow up in idleness.
"My first occupation," he tells us, "was driving the small birds from
the turnip-seed, and the rook from the pease; when I first trudged
a-field, with my wooden bottle and my satchel swung over my shoulders, I
was hardly able to climb the gates and stiles; and at the close of the
day, to reach home was a task of infinite difficulty."

At the age of eleven he speaks of himself as occupied in clipping
box-edgings and weeding flower-beds in the garden of the Bishop of
Winchester; and while here he encounters, one day, a workman who has
just come from the famous Kew Gardens of the King. Young Cobbett is
fired by the glowing description, and resolves that he must see them,
and work upon them too. So he sets off, one summer's morning, with only
the clothes he has upon his back, and with thirteen halfpence in his
pocket, for Richmond. And as he trudges through the streets of the town,
after a hard day's walk, in his blue smock-frock, and with his red
garters tied under his knees, staring about him, he sees in the window
of a bookseller's shop the "Tale of a Tub," price threepence; it piques
his curiosity, and, though his money is nearly all spent, he closes a
bargain for the book, and, throwing himself down upon the shady side of
a hay-rick, makes his first acquaintance with Dean Swift. He read till
it was dark, without thought of supper or of bed,--then tumbled down
upon the grass under the shadow of the stack, and slept till the birds
of the Kew Gardens waked him.

He finds work, as he had determined to do; but it was not fated that he
should pass his life amid the pleasant parterres of Kew. At sixteen, or
thereabout, on a visit to a relative, he catches his first sight of the
Channel waters, and of the royal fleet riding at anchor at Spithead. And
at that sight, the "old Armada," and the "brave Rodney," and the "wooden
walls," of which he had read, come drifting like a poem into his
thought, and he vows that he will become a sailor,--maybe, in time, the
Admiral Cobbett. But here, too, the fates are against him: a kind
captain to whom he makes application suspects him for a runaway, and
advises him to find his way home.

He returns once more to the plough; "but," he says, "I was now spoiled
for a farmer." He sighs for the world; the little horizon of Farnham
(his native town) is too narrow for him; and the very next year he makes
his final escapade.

"It was on the 6th of May, 1783, that I, like Don Quixote, sallied forth
to seek adventures. I was dressed in my holiday clothes, in order to
accompany two or three lasses to Guildford fair. They were to assemble
at a house about three miles from my home, where I was to attend them;
but, unfortunately for me, I had to cross the London turnpike-road. The
stage-coach had just turned the summit of a hill, and was rattling down
towards me at a merry rate. The notion of going to London never entered
my mind till this very moment; yet the step was completely determined on
before the coach came to the spot where I stood. Up I got, and was in
London about nine o'clock in the evening."

His immediate adventure in the metropolis proves to be his instalment as
scrivener in an attorney's office. No wonder he chafes at this; no
wonder, that, in his wanderings about town, he is charmed by an
advertisement which invited all loyal and public-spirited young men to
repair to a certain "rendezvous"; he goes to the rendezvous, and
presently finds himself a recruit in one of His Majesty's regiments
which is filling up for service in British America.

He must have been an apt soldier, so far as drill went; for I find that
he rose rapidly to the grade of corporal, and thence to the position of
sergeant-major. He tells us that his early habits, his strict attention
to duty, and his native talent were the occasion of his swift promotion.
In New Brunswick, upon a certain winter's morning, he falls in with the
rosy-faced daughter of a sergeant of artillery, who was scrubbing her
pans at sunrise, upon the snow. "I made up my mind," he says, "that she
was the very girl for me.... This matter was at once settled as firmly
as if written in the book of fate."

To this end he determines to leave the army as soon as possible. But
before he can effect this, the artillery-man is ordered back to England,
and his pretty daughter goes with him. But Cobbett has closed the
compact with her, and placed in her hands a hundred and fifty pounds of
his earnings,--a free gift, and an earnest of his troth.

The very next season, however, he meets, in a sweet rural solitude of
the Province, another charmer, with whom he dallies in a lovelorn way
for two years or more. He cannot quite forget the old; he cannot cease
befondling the new. If only the "remotest rumor had come," says he, "of
the faithlessness of the brunette in England, I should have been
fastened for life in the New-Brunswick valley." But no such rumor comes,
and in due time he bids a heart-rending adieu, and recrosses the ocean
to find his first love maid-of-all-work in a gentleman's family at five
pounds a year; and she puts in his hand, upon their first interview, the
whole of the hundred and fifty pounds, untouched. This rekindles his
admiration and respect for her judgment, and she becomes his wife,--a
wife he never ceases thereafter to love and honor.

He goes to France, and thence to America. Establishing himself in
Philadelphia, he enters upon the career of authorship, with a zeal for
the King, and a hatred of Dr. Franklin and all Democrats, which give him
a world of trouble. His foul bitterness of speech finds its climax at
length in a brutal onslaught upon Dr. Rush, for which he is prosecuted,
convicted, and mulcted in a sum that breaks down his bookselling and
interrupts the profits of his authorship.

He retires to England, opens shop in Pall-Mall, and edits the
"Porcupine," which bristles with envenomed arrows discharged against all
Liberals and Democrats. Again he is prosecuted, convicted, imprisoned.
His boys, well taught in all manner of farm-work, send him, from his
home in the country, hampers of fresh fruits, to relieve the tedium of
Newgate. Discharged at length, and continuing his ribaldry in the
columns of the "Register," he flies before an Act of Parliament, and
takes new refuge in America. He is now upon Long Island, earnest as in
his youth in agricultural pursuits. The late Dr. Francis of New York
used to speak of his visits to him, and of the fine vegetables he
raised. His political opinions had undergone modification; there was not
so much declamation against democracy,--not so much angry zeal for
royalty and the state-church. Nay, he committed the stupendous absurdity
of carrying back with him to England the bones of Tom Paine, as the
grandest gift he could bestow upon his mother-land. No great ovations
greeted this strange luggage of his; I think he was ashamed of it
afterwards,--if Cobbett was ever ashamed of anything. He became
candidate for Parliament in the Liberal interest; he undertook those
famous "Rural Rides" which are a rare jumble of sweet rural scenes and
crazy political objurgation. Now he hammers the "parsons,"--now he tears
the paper-money to rags,--and anon he is bitter upon Malthus, Ricardo,
and the Scotch "Feelosofers,"--and closes his anathema with the charming
picture of a wooded "hanger," up which he toils (with curses on the
road) only to rejoice in the view of a sweet Hampshire valley, over
which sleek flocks are feeding, and down which some white stream goes
winding, and cheating him into a rare memory of his innocent boyhood. He
gains at length his election to Parliament; but he is not a man to
figure well there, with his impetuosity and lack of self-control. He can
talk by the hour to those who feel with him; but to be challenged, to
have his fierce invective submitted to the severe test of an inexorable
logic,--this limits his audacity; and his audacity once limited, his
power is gone.

But I must not forget that I have brought him into my wet-day galaxy as
a farmer. His energy, his promptitude, his habits of thrift, would have
made him one of the best of farmers. His book on gardening is even now
one of the most instructive that can be placed in the hands of a
beginner. He ignores physiology and botany, indeed; he makes crude
errors on this score; but he had an intuitive sense of the right method
of teaching. He is plain and clear, to a comma. He knows what needs to
be told; and he tells it straightforwardly. There is no better model for
agricultural writers than "Cobbett on Gardening." There is no miserable
waste of words,--no indirectness of talk; what he thinks, he prints.

His "Cottage Economy," too, is a book which every small landholder in
America should own; there is a sterling merit in it which will not be
outlived. He made a great mistake, it is true, in insisting that
Indian-corn could be grown successfully in England. But being a man who
did not yield to influences of climate himself, he did not mean that his
crops should; and if he had been rich enough, I believe that he would
have covered his farm with a glass roof, rather than yield his
conclusion that Indian-corn could be grown successfully under a British
sky.

A great, impracticable, earnest, headstrong man, the like of whom does
not appear a half-dozen times in a century. Being self-educated, he was
possessed, like nearly all self-educated men, of a complacency and a
self-sufficiency which stood always in his way. Affecting to teach
grammar, he was ignorant of all the etymology of the language; knowing
no word of botany, he classified plants by the "fearings" of his
turnip-field. He was vain to the last degree; he thought his books were
the best books in the world, and that everybody should read them. He was
industrious, restless, captious, and, although humane at heart, was the
most malignant slanderer of his time. He called a political antagonist a
"pimp," and thought a crushing argument lay in the word; he called
parsons scoundrels, and bade his boys be regular at church.

In June, 1835, while the Parliament was in session, he grew ill,--talked
feebly about politics and farming, (to his household,) "wished for 'four
days' rain' for the Cobbett corn," and on Wednesday, (16th June,)
desired to be carried around the farm, and criticized the work that had
been done,--grew feeble as evening drew on, and an hour after midnight
leaned back heavily in his chair, and died.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must give a paragraph, at least, to the Rev. James Grahame, the good
Scotch parson, were it only because he wrote a poem called "British
Georgics." They are not so good as Virgil's; nor did he ever think it
himself. In fact, he published his best poem anonymously, and so
furtively that even his wife took up an early copy, which she found one
day upon her table, and, charmed with its pleasant description of
Scottish braes and burn-sides, said, "Ah! Jemmy, if ye could only mak' a
book like this!" And I will venture to say that "Jemmy" never had rarer
or pleasanter praise.

Shall we read a little, and test the worth of good Mistress Grahame's
judgment? It is a bit of the parson's walk in "The Sabbath":--

    "Now, when the downward sun has left the glens,
    Each mountain's rugged lineaments are traced
    Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic
    The shepherd's shadow thrown athwart the chasm,
    As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies.
    How deep the hush! the torrent's channel, dry,
    Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt.
    But hark a plaintive sound floating along!
    'Tis from yon heath-roofed shieling; now it dies
    Away, now rises full; it is the song
    Which He who listens to the hallelujahs
    Of choiring seraphim delights to hear;
    It is the music of the heart, the voice
    Of venerable age, of guileless youth,
    In kindly circle seated on the ground
    Before their wicker door."

Crabbe, who was as keen an observer of rural scenes, had a much better
faculty of verse; indeed, he had a faculty of language so large that it
carried him beyond the real drift of his stories. I do not _know_ the
fact, indeed; but I think, that, notwithstanding the Duke of Rutland's
patronage, Mr. Crabbe must have written inordinately long sermons. It is
strange how many good men do,--losing point and force and efficiency in
a welter of words! If there is one rhetorical lesson which it behooves
all theologic or academic professors to lay down and enforce, (if need
be with the ferule,) it is this,--Be short. It is amazing the way in
which good men lose themselves on Sunday mornings in the lapse of their
own language; and most rarely are we confronted from the pulpit with an
opinion which would not bear stripping of wordy shifts, and be all the
more comely for its nakedness.

George Crabbe wrote charming rural tales; but he wrote long ones. There
is minute observation, dramatic force, tender pathos, but there is much,
of tedious and coarse description. If by some subtile alchemy the better
qualities could be thrown down from the turbid and watery flux of his
verse, we should have an admirable pocket-volume for the country; as it
is, his books rest mostly on the shelves, and it requires a strong
breath to puff away the dust that has gathered on the topmost edges.

I think of the Reverend Mr. Crabbe as an amiable, absent-minded old
gentleman, driving about on week-days in a heavy, square-topped gig,
(his wife holding the reins,) in search of way-side gypsies, and on
Sunday pushing a discourse--which was good up to the "fourthly"--into
the "seventhly."

Charles Lamb, if he had been clerically disposed, would, I am sure, have
written short sermons; and I think that his hearers would have carried
away the gist of them clean and clear.

He never wrote anything that could be called strictly pastoral; he was a
creature of streets and crowding houses; no man could have been more
ignorant of the every-day offices of rural life; I doubt if he ever knew
from which side a horse was to be mounted or a cow to be milked, and a
sprouting bean was a source of the greatest wonderment to him. Yet, in
spite of all this, what a book those Essays of his make, to lie down
with under trees! It is the honest, lovable simplicity of his nature
that makes the keeping good. He is the Izaak Walton of London
streets,--of print-shops, of pastry-shops, of mouldy book-stalls; the
chime of Bow-bells strikes upon his ear like the chorus of a milkmaid's
song at Ware.

There is not a bit of rodomontade in him about the charms of the
country, from beginning to end; if there were, we should despise him. He
can find nothing to say of Skiddaw but that he is "a great creature";
and he writes to Wordsworth, (whose sight is failing,) on Ambleside, "I
return you condolence for your decaying sight,--not for anything there
is to see in the country, but for the miss of the pleasure of reading a
London newspaper."

And again to his friend Manning, (about the date of 1800,)--"I am not
romance-bit about _Nature_. The earth and sea and sky (when all is said)
is but as a house to dwell in. If the inmates be courteous, and good
liquors flow like the conduits at an old coronation,--if they can talk
sensibly, and feel properly, I have no need to stand staring upon the
gilded looking-glass, (that strained my friend's purse-strings in the
purchase,) nor his five-shilling print, over the mantel-piece, of old
Nabbs, the carrier. Just as important to me (in a sense) is all the
furniture of my world,--eye-pampering, but satisfies no heart. Streets,
streets, streets, markets, theatres, churches, Covent Gardens, shops
sparkling with pretty faces of industrious milliners, neat seamstresses,
ladies cheapening, gentlemen behind counters lying, authors in the
street with spectacles, lamps lit at night, pastry-cooks' and
silver-smiths' shops, beautiful Quakers of Pentonville, noise of
coaches, drowsy cry of mechanic watchmen at night, with bucks reeling
home drunk,--if you happen to wake at midnight, cries of 'Fire!' and
'Stop thief!'--inns of court with their learned air, and halls, and
butteries, just like Cambridge colleges,--old book-stalls, 'Jeremy
Taylors,' 'Burtons on Melancholy,' and 'Religio Medicis,' on every
stall. These are thy pleasures, O London-with-the-many-sins!--for these
may Keswick and her giant brood go hang!"

And again to Wordsworth, in 1830,--"Let no native Londoner imagine that
health, and rest, and innocent occupation, interchange of converse
sweet, and recreative study, can make the country anything better than
altogether odious and detestable."

Does any weak-limbed country-liver resent this honesty of speech? Surely
not, if he be earnest in his loves and faith; but, the rather, by such
token of unbounded naturalness, he recognizes under the waistcoat of
this dear, old, charming cockney the traces of close cousinship to the
Waltons, and binds him, and all the simplicity of his talk, to his
heart, for aye. There is never a hillside under whose oaks or chestnuts
I lounge upon a smoky afternoon of August, but a pocket Elia is as
coveted and as cousinly a companion as a pocket Walton, or a White of
Selborne. And upon wet days in my library, I conjure up the image of the
thin, bent old gentleman--Charles Lamb--to sit over against me, and I
watch his kindly, beaming eye, as he recites with poor stuttering
voice,--between the whiffs of his pipe,--over and over, those always new
stories of "Christ's Hospital," and the cherished "Blakesmoor," and
"Mackery End."

(No, you need not put back the book, my boy; 't is always in place.)

I never admired greatly James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd; yet he belongs
of double right in the coterie of my wet-day preachers. Bred a shepherd,
he tried farming, and he wrote pastorals. His farming (if we may believe
contemporary evidence) was by no means so good as his verse. The Ettrick
Shepherd of the "Noctes Ambrosianæ" is, I fancy, as much becolored by
the wit of Professor Wilson as any daughter of a duchess whom Sir Joshua
changed into a nymph. I think of Hogg as a sturdy sheep-tender, growing
rebellious among the Cheviot flocks, crazed by a reading of the Border
minstrelsy, drunken on books, (as his fellows were with "mountain-dew,")
and wreaking his vitality on Gaelic rhymes,--which, it is true, have a
certain blush and aroma of the heather-hills, but which never reached
the excellence that he fondly imagined belonged to them. I fancy, that,
when he sat at the laird's table, (Sir Walter's,) and called the laird's
lady by her baptismal name, and--not abashed in any presence--uttered
his Gaelic gibes for the wonderment of London guests,--that he thought
far more of himself than the world has ever been inclined to think of
him. I know that poets have a privilege of conceit, and that those who
are not poets sometimes assume it; but it is, after all, a sorry
quality by which to win the world's esteem; and when death closes the
record, it is apt to insure a large debit against the dead man.

It may not be commonly known that the Ettrick Shepherd was an
agricultural author, and wrote "Hogg on Sheep," for which, as he tells
us, he received the sum of eighty-six pounds. It is an octavo book, and
relates to the care, management, and diseases of the black-faced
mountain-breed, of which alone he was cognizant. It had never a great
reputation; and I think the sheep-farmers of the Cheviots were disposed
to look with distrust upon the teachings of a shepherd who supped with
"lords" at Abbotsford, and whose best venture in verse was in "The
Queen's Wake." A British agricultural author, speaking of him in a
pitiful way, says,--"He passed years of busy authorship, and encountered
_the usual difficulties of that penurious mode of life_."[32]

This is good; it is as good as anything of Hogg's.

I approach the name of Mr. Loudon, the author of the Encyclopædias of
Gardening and Agriculture, with far more of respect. If nothing else in
him laid claim to regard, his industry, his earnestness, his
indefatigable labor in aid of all that belonged to the progress of
British gardening or farming, would demand it. I take a pride, too, in
saying, that, notwithstanding his literary labors, he was successful as
a farmer, during the short period of his farm-holding.

Mr. Loudon was a Scotchman by birth, was educated in Edinburgh, and was
for a time under the tutelage of Mr. Dickson, the famous nurseryman of
Leith-Walk. Early in the present century he made his first appearance in
London,--published certain papers on the laying-out of the public
squares of the metropolis, and shortly after was employed by the Earl of
Mansfield in the arrangement of the palace-gardens at Scone. In 1813 and
'14 he travelled on the Continent very widely, making the gardens of
most repute the special objects of his study; and in 1822 he published
his "Encyclopædia of Gardening"; that of Agriculture followed shortly
after, and his book of Rural Architecture in 1833. But these labors,
enormous as they were, had interludes of other periodical work, and were
crowned at last by his _magnum opus_, the "Arboretum." A man of only
ordinary nerve and diligence would have taken a ten years' rest upon the
completion of only one of his ponderous octavos; and the wonder is the
greater, that London wrought in his later years under all the
disadvantages of appeals from rapacious creditors and the infirmities of
a broken constitution. Crippled, palsied, fevered, for a long period of
years, he still wrought on with a persistence that would have broken
many a strong man down, and only yielded at last to a bronchial
affection which grappled him at his work.

This author massed together an amount of information upon the subjects
of which he treated that is quite unmatched in the whole annals of
agricultural literature. Columella, Heresbach, Worlidge, and even the
writers of the "Geoponica," dwindle into insignificance in the
comparison. He is not, indeed, always absolutely accurate on historical
points;[33] but in all essentials his books are so complete as to have
made them standard works up to a time long subsequent to their issue.

       *       *       *       *       *

No notice of the agricultural literature of the early part of this
century would be at all complete without mention of the Magazines and
Society "Transactions," in which alone some of the best and most
scientific cultivators communicated their experience or suggestions to
the public. Loudon was himself the editor of the "Gardener's Magazine";
and the earlier Transactions of the Horticultural Society are enriched
by the papers of such men as Knight, Van Mons, Sir Joseph Banks, Rev.
William Herbert, Messrs. Dickson, Haworth, Wedgwood, and others. The
works of individual authors lost ground in comparison with such an array
of reports from scientific observers, and from that time forth
periodical literature has become the standard teacher in what relates to
good culture. I do not know what extent of good the newly instituted
Agricultural Colleges of this country may effect; but I feel quite safe
in saying that our agricultural journals will prove always the most
effective teachers of the great mass of the farming-population. The
London Horticultural Society at an early day established the Chiswick
Gardens, and these, managed under the advice of the Society's Directors,
have not only afforded an accurate gauge of British progress in
horticulture, but they have furnished to the humblest cultivator who has
strolled through their inclosures practical lessons in the craft of
gardening, renewed from month to month and from year to year. It is to
be hoped that the American Agricultural Colleges will adopt some similar
plan, and illustrate the methods they teach upon lands which shall be
open to public inspection, and upon whose culture and its successes
systematic reports shall be annually made. Failing of this, they will
fail of the best part of their proper purpose. Nor would it be a
fruitless work, if, in connection with such experimental farm, a weekly
record were issued,--giving analyses of the artificial manures employed,
and a complete register of every field, from the date of its
"breaking-up" to the harvesting of the crop. Every new implement,
moreover, should be reported upon with unwavering impartiality, and no
advertisements should be received. I think under these conditions we
might almost look for an honest newspaper.

       *       *       *       *       *

Writing thus, during these in-door hours, of country-pursuits, and of
those who have illustrated them, or who have in any way quickened the
edge with which we farmers rasp away the weeds or carve out our pastoral
entertainment, I come upon the names of a great bevy of poets, belonging
to the earlier quarter of this century, that I find it hard to pass by.
Much as I love to bring to mind, over and over again, "Ivanhoe" and
"Waverley," I love quite as much to summon to my view Walter Scott, the
woodsman of Abbotsford, with hatchet at his girdle, and the hound Maida
in attendance. I see him thinning out the saplings that he has planted
upon the Tweed banks. I know how they stand, having wandered by the hour
among them. I can fancy how the master would have lopped away the boughs
for a little looplet through which a burst of the blue Eildon Hills
should come. His favorite seat, overshadowed by an arbor-vitæ, (of which
a leaf lies pressed in the "Scotch Tourist" yonder,) was so near to the
Tweed banks that the ripple of the stream over its pebbly bottom must
have made a delightful lullaby for the toil-worn old man. But beyond
wood-craft, I could never discover that Sir Walter had any strong
agricultural inclination; nor do I think that the old gentleman had much
eye for the picturesque; no landscape-gardener of any reputation would
have decided upon such a site for such a pile as that of Abbotsford: the
spot is low; the views are not extended or varied; the very trees are
all of Scott's planting: but the master loved the murmur of the
Tweed,--loved the nearness of Melrose, and in every old bit of
sculpture that he walled into his home he found pictures of far-away
scenes that printed in vague shape of tower or abbey all his limited
horizon.

Christopher North carried his Scotch love of mountains to his home among
the English lakes. I think he counted Skiddaw something more than "a
great creature." In all respects--saving the pipes and the ale--he was
the very opposite of Charles Lamb. And yet do we love him more? A
stalwart, hearty man, with a great redundance of flesh and blood, who
could "put the stone" with Finlayson, or climb with the hardiest of the
Ben-Nevis guides, or cast a fly with the daintiest of the Low-Country
fishers,--redundant of imagination, redundant of speech, and with such
exuberance in him that we feel surfeit from the overflow, as at the
reading of Spenser's "Faërie Queene," and lay him down with a wearisome
sense of mental indigestion.

Nor yet is it so much an indigestion as a feeling of plethora, due less
to the frothiness of the condiments than to a certain fulness of blood
and brawn. The broad-shouldered Christopher, in his shooting-jacket, (a
dingy green velveteen, with pocket-pouches all stuffed,) strides away
along the skirts of Cruachan or Loch Lochy with such a tearing pace, and
greets every lassie with such a clamorous outbreak of song, and throws
such a wonderful stretch of line upon every pool, and amazes us with
such stupendous "strikes" and such a whizzing of his reel, that we
fairly lose our breath.

Not so of the "White Doe of Rylstone"; nay, we more incline to doze over
it than to lose our breath. Wilson differs from Wordsworth as Loch Awe,
with its shaggy savagery of shore, from the Sunday quietude and beauty
of Rydal-Water. The Strid of Wordsworth was bounded by the slaty banks
of the "Crystal Wharf," and the Strid of Wilson, in his best moments,
was as large as the valley of Glencoe. Yet Wordsworth loved intensely
all the more beautiful aspects of the country, and of country-life. No
angler and no gardener, indeed,--too severely and proudly meditative for
any such sleight-of-hand. The only great weight which he ever lifted, I
suspect, was one which he carried with him always,--the immense dignity
of his poetic priesthood. His home and its surroundings were fairly
typical of his tastes: a cottage, (so called,) of homely material
indeed, but with an ambitious elevation of gables and of chimney-stacks;
a velvety sheen of turf, as dapper as that of a suburban haberdasher; a
mossy urn or two, patches of flowers, but rather fragrant than showy
ones; behind him the loveliest of wooded hills, all toned down by
graceful culture, and before him the silvery mirrors of Windermere and
Rydal-Water.

We have to credit him with some rare and tender description, and
fragments of great poems; but I cannot help thinking that he fancied a
profounder meaning lay in them than the world has yet detected.

John Clare was a contemporary of Wordsworth's, and was most essentially
a poet of the fields. His father was a pauper and a cripple; not even
young Cobbett was so pressed to the glebe by the circumstances of his
birth. But the thrushes taught Clare to sing. He wrote verses upon the
lining of his hat-band. He hoarded halfpence to buy Thomson's "Seasons,"
and walked seven miles before sunrise to make the purchase. The hardest
field-toil could not repress the poetic aspirations of such a boy. By
dint of new hoardings he succeeded in printing verses of his own; but
nobody read them. He wrote other verses, which at length made him known.
The world flattered the peasant-bard of Northamptonshire. A few
distinguished patrons subscribed the means for equipping a farm of his
own. The heroine of his love-tales became its mistress; a shelf or two
of books made him rich; but in an evil hour he entered upon some
farm-speculation which broke down; a new poem was sharply criticized or
neglected; the novelty of his peasant's song was over. Disheartened and
gloomy, he was overwhelmed with despondency, and became the inmate of a
mad-house, where for forty years he has staggered idiotically toward the
rest which did not come. But even as I write I see in the British papers
that he is free at last. Poor Clare is dead.

With this sad story in mind, we may read with a zest which perhaps its
merit alone would not provoke his little sonnet of "The Thrush's
Nest":--

    "Within a thick and spreading hawthorn-bush,
    That overhung a mole-hill large and round,
    I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
    Sing hymns, of rapture, while I drank the sound
    With joy; and oft, an unintruding guest,
    I watched her secret toils from day to day,--
    How true she warped the moss to form her nest,
    And modelled it within with wood and clay,
    And by-and-by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
    There lay her shining eggs as bright as flowers,
    Ink-spotted over, shells of green and blue;
    And there I witnessed, in the summer hours,
    A brood of Nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
    Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky."

There are pretty snatches of a Southern May in Hunt's poem of "Rimini,"
where

                   "sky, earth, and sea
    Breathe like a bright-eyed face that laughs out openly.
    'T is Nature full of spirits, waked and springing:
    The birds to the delicious tune are singing,
    Darting with freaks and snatches up and down,
    Where the light woods go seaward from the town;
    While happy faces striking through the green
    Of leafy roads at every turn are seen;
    And the far ships, lifting their sails of white
    Like joyful hands, come up with scattery light,
    Come gleaming up true to the wished-for day,
    And chase the whistling brine, and swirl into the bay."

This does not sound as if it came from the prince of cockneys; and I
have always felt a certain regard for Leigh Hunt, too, by reason of the
tender story which he gives of the little garden, "_mio picciol orto_,"
that he established during his two years of prisonhood.[34]

But, after all, there was no robustness in his rural spirit,--nothing
that makes the cheek tingle, as if a smart wind had smitten it. He was
born to handle roses without thorns; I think that with a pretty boudoir,
on whose table every morning a pretty maid should arrange a pretty
nosegay, and with a pretty canary to sing songs in a gilded cage, and
pretty gold-fish to disport in a crystal vase, and basted partridges for
dinner, his love for the country would have been satisfied. He loved
Nature as a sentimental boy loves a fine woman of twice his
years,--sighing himself away in pretty phrases that flatter, but do not
touch her; there is nothing to remind, even, of the full, abounding,
fiery, all-conquering love with which a full-grown man meets and marries
a yielding maiden.

In poor John Keats, however, there _is_ something of this; and under its
heats he consumed away. For ripe, joyous outburst of all rural
fancies,--for keen apprehension of what most takes hold of the
susceptibilities of a man who loves the country,--for his coinage of all
sweet sounds of birds, all murmur of leaves, all riot and blossoming of
flowers, into fragrant verse,--he was without a peer in his day. It is
not that he is so true to natural phases in his descriptive epithets,
not that he sees all, not that he has heard all; but his heart has drunk
the incense of it, and his imagination refined it, and his fancy set it
aflow in those jocund lines which bound and writhe and exult with a
passionate love for the things of field and air.

       *       *       *       *       *

I close these papers, with my eye resting upon the same stretch of
fields,--the wooded border of a river,--the twinkling roofs and spires
flanked by hills and sea,--where my eye rested when I began this story
of the old masters with Hesiod and the bean-patches of Ithaca. And I
take a pleasure in feeling that the farm-practice over all the fields
below me rests upon the cumulated authorship of so long a line of
teachers. Yon open furrow, over which the herbage has closed, carries
trace of the ridging in the "Works and Days"; the brown field of
half-broken clods is the fallow ([Greek: Neos]) of Xenophon; the drills
belong to Worlidge; their culture with the horse-hoe is at the order of
Master Tull. Young and Cobbett are full of their suggestions; Lancelot
Brown has ordered away a great straggling hedge-row; and Sir Uvedale
Price has urged me to spare a hoary maple which lords it over a
half-acre of flat land. Cato gives orders for the asparagus, and Switzer
for the hot-beds. Crescenzi directs the walling, and Smith of Deanston
the ploughing. Burns embalms all my field-mice, and Cowper drapes an urn
for me in a tangled wilderness. Knight names my cherries, and Walton,
the kind master, goes with me over the hill to a wee brook that bounds
down under hemlocks and soft maples, for "a contemplative man's
recreation." Davy long ago caught all the fermentation of my manure-heap
in his retort, and Thomson painted for me the scene which is under my
window to-day. Mowbray cures the pip in my poultry, and all the songs of
all the birds are caught and repeated to the echo in the pages of the
poets which lie here under my hand; through the prism of their verse,
Patrick the cattle-tender changes to a lithe milkmaid, against whose
ankles the buttercups nod rejoicingly, and Rosamund (which is the nurse)
wakes all Arden (which is Edgewood) with a rich burst of laughter.

And shall I not be grateful to these my patrons? And shall I count it
unworthy to pass these few in-door hours of rain in the emblazonment of
their titles?

Nor must I forget here to express my indebtedness to those kind friends
who have from time to time favored me with suggestions or corrections,
in the course of these papers, and to those others--not a few--who have
lent me rare old books of husbandry, which are not easily laid hold of.

I have discussed no works of living authors, whether of practical or
pastoral intent: at some future day I may possibly pay my compliments to
them. Meantime I cannot help interpolating in the interest of my readers
a little fragment of a letter addressed to me within the year by the
lamented Hawthorne:--"I remember long ago your speaking prospectively of
a farm; but I never dreamed of your being really much more of a farmer
than myself, whose efforts in that line only make me the father of a
progeny of weeds in a garden-patch. I have about twenty-five acres of
land, seventeen of which are a hill of sand and gravel, wooded with
birches, locusts, and pitch-pines, and apparently incapable of any other
growth; so that I have great comfort in that part of my territory. The
other eight acres are said to be the best land in Concord, and they have
made me miserable, and would soon have ruined me, if I had not
determined nevermore to attempt raising anything from them. So there
they lie along the roadside, within their broken fence, an eyesore to
me, and a laughing-stock to all the neighbors. If it were not for the
difficulty of transportation by express or otherwise, I would thankfully
give you those eight acres."

And now the fine, nervous hand, which wrought with such strange power
and beauty, is stilled forever! The eight acres can well lie neglected;
for upon a broader field, as large as humanity, and at the hands of
thousands of reapers who worked for love, he has gathered in a great
harvest of _immortelles_.

FOOTNOTES:

[27] _Life of Sir Humphry Davy_, London, 1839, p. 46.

[28] See letter of Thomas Poole, p. 322, _Fragmentary Remains of Sir
Humphry Davy_.

[29] _Salmonia_, p. 5, London, Murray, 1851.

[30] _Fragmentary Remains_, p. 242.

[31] _Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine._

[32] _Agricultural Biography_, etc. London, 1854. _Printed for the
Author._

[33] I ought, perhaps, to make definite exception in the case of a
writer so universally accredited. In his "Encyclopædia of Gardening," he
speaks of the "Geoponica" as the work of "modern Greeks," written after
the transfer of the seat of empire to Constantinople; whereas the bulk
of those treatises were written long before that date. He speaks of
Varro as first in order of time of Roman authors on agriculture; yet
Varro was born 116 B. C., and Cato died as early as 149 B. C. Crescenzi
he names as an author of the fifteenth century; he should be credited to
the fourteenth. He also commits the very common error in writers on
gardening, of confounding the Tuscan villa of Pliny with that at
Tusculum. These two places of the Roman Consul were entirely distinct
and unlike.

[34] _Lord Byron and his Contemporaries_, Vol. II. p. 258.



REGULAR AND VOLUNTEER OFFICERS.


It is pleasant to see how much the present war has done towards effacing
the traditional jealousy between regular officers and volunteers. The
two classes have been so thoroughly intermingled, on staff-duties and in
the field,--so many regular officers now hold in the volunteer service a
rank higher than their permanent standing,--the whole previous military
experience of most regulars was so trifling, compared with that which
they and the volunteers have now shared in common,--and so many young
men have lately been appointed to commissions, in both branches, not
only without a West-Point education, but with almost none at all,--that
it really cannot be said that there is much feeling of conscious
separation left. For treating the two as antagonistic the time has
clearly gone by. For judiciously weighing their respective services in
the field the epoch has not come, since the reign of history begins only
when that of telegrams and special correspondents has ended. It is
better, therefore, to limit the comparison, as yet, to that minor
routine of military duty upon which the daily existence of an army
depends, and of which the great deeds of daring are merely exciting
episodes.

At the beginning of the war, and before the distinction was thus
partially effaced, the comparison involved very different elements. In
our general military inexperience, the majority were not disposed to
underrate the value of specific professional training. Education holds
in this country much of the prestige held by hereditary rank in Europe,
modified only by the condition that the possessor shall take no undue
airs upon himself. Even then the penalty consists only in a few
outbreaks of superficial jealousy, and the substantial respect for any
real acquirements remains the same. So there was a time when the
faintest aroma of West Point lent a charm to the most unattractive
candidate for a commission. Any Governor felt a certain relief in
intrusting a regiment to any man who had ever eaten clandestine oysters
at Benny Haven's, or had once heard the whiz of an Indian arrow on the
frontier, however mediocre might have been all his other claims to
confidence. If he failed, the regular army might bear the shame; if he
succeeded, to the State-House be the glory.

Yet there was always another party of critics, not less intelligent, who
urged the value of general preparations for any duty, as compared with
special,--who held that it was always easier for a man of brains to
acquire technical skill than for a person of mere technicality to
superadd brains, and that the antecedents of a frontier lieutenant were,
on the whole, a poorer training for large responsibilities than those of
many a civilian, who had lived in the midst of men, though out of
uniform. Let us have a fair statement of this position, for it was very
sincere and had much temporary influence. The main thing, it was argued,
was the knowledge of human nature and the habit of dealing with mankind
in masses,--the very thing from which the younger regular officers at
least had been rigidly excluded. From a monastic life at West Point they
had usually been transferred to a yet more isolated condition, in some
obscure outpost,--or if otherwise, then they had seen no service at all,
and were mere clerks in shoulder-straps. But a lawyer who could
manoeuvre fifty witnesses as if they were one,--a teacher used to
governing young men by the hundred,--an orator trained to sway
thousands,--a master-mechanic,--a railway-superintendent,--a
factory-agent,--a broker who could harness Wall Street and drive it,--a
financier who could rule a sovereign State with a rod of (railway)
iron,--such men as these, it was plausibly reasoned, could give an
average army-officer all the advantage of his special training, at the
start, and yet beat him at his own trade in a year.

These theories were naturally strengthened, moreover, by occasional
instances of conspicuous failure, when volunteer troops were intrusted
to regular officers. These disappointments could usually be traced to
very plain causes. The men selected were sometimes men whose West-Point
career would hardly bear minute investigation,--or who had in civil
pursuits forgotten all they had learned at the Academy, except
self-esteem,--or who had been confined to the duties of some special
department, as quartermasters or paymasters, and were really fitted for
nothing else,--or who had served their country by resigning their
commissions, if not by holding them,--or who had contrived, first or
last, to lose hopelessly their tempers or their digestions, or their
faith, hope, and charity. Beyond all this lay the trouble, that the best
regular officer from the very fact of his superior training was puzzled
to know how much to demand of volunteer troops, or what standard to
enforce upon them. It was a problem in the Differential Calculus, with
the Army Regulations for a constant, and a raw volunteer regiment for a
variable, and not a formula in Davies which suited the purpose.
Unfortunately, these perplexities were quite as apt to end in relaxation
as in rigor, so that the regiments thus commanded sometimes slid into a
looseness of which a resolute volunteer officer would have been ashamed.

These were among the earlier results. Against them was to be set the
fact, that, on the whole, no regiments in the field made progress so
rapid, or held their own so well, as those placed under regular
officers. And now that three years have abolished many surmises, and
turned many others into established facts, it must be owned that the
total value of the professional training has proved far greater, and
that of the general preparation far less, than many intelligent
observers predicted. The relation between officer and soldier is
something so different in kind from anything which civil life has to
offer, that it has proved almost impossible to transfer methods or
maxims from the one to the other. If a regiment is merely a caucus, and
the colonel the chairman,--or merely a fire-company, and the colonel the
foreman,--or merely a prayer-meeting, and the colonel the moderator,--or
merely a bar-room, and the colonel the landlord,--then the failure of
the whole thing is a foregone conclusion. War is not the highest of
human pursuits, certainly; but an army comes very near to being the
completest of human organizations, and he alone succeeds in it who
readily accepts its inevitable laws, and applies them. An army is an
aristocracy, on a three-years' lease, supposing that the period of
enlistment. No mortal skill can make military power effective on
democratic principles. A democratic people can perhaps carry on a war
longer and better than any other; because no other can so well
comprehend the object, raise the means, or bear the sacrifices. But
these sacrifices include the surrender, for the time being, of the
essential principle of the government. Personal independence in the
soldier, like personal liberty in the civilian, must be waived for the
preservation of the nation. With shipwreck staring men in the face, the
choice lies between despotism and anarchy, trusting to the common sense
of those concerned, when the danger is over, to revert to the old
safeguards. It is precisely because democracy is an advanced stage in
human society, that war, which belongs to a less advanced stage, is
peculiarly inconsistent with its habits. Thus the undemocratic
character, so often lamented in West Point and Annapolis, is in reality
their strong point. Granted that they are no more appropriate to our
stage of society than are revolvers and bowie-knives, that is precisely
what makes them all serviceable in time of war. War being exceptional,
the institutions which train its officers must be exceptional likewise.

The first essential for military authority lies in the power of
command,--a power which it is useless to analyze, for it is felt
instinctively, and it is seen in its results. It is hardly too much to
say, that, in military service, if one has this power, all else becomes
secondary; and it is perfectly safe to say that without it all other
gifts are useless. Now for the exercise of power there is no preparation
like power, and nowhere is this preparation to be found, in this
community, except in regular army-training. Nothing but great personal
qualities can give a man by nature what is easily acquired by young men
of very average ability who are systematically trained to command.

The criticism habitually made upon our army by foreign observers at the
beginning of the war continues still to be made, though in a rather less
degree,--that the soldiers are relatively superior to the officers, so
that the officers lead, perhaps, but do not command them. The reason is
plain. Three years are not long enough to overcome the settled habits of
twenty years. The weak point of our volunteer service invariably lies
here, that the soldier, in nine cases out of ten, utterly detests being
commanded, while the officer, in his turn, equally shrinks from
commanding. War, to both, is an episode in life, not a profession, and
therefore military subordination, which needs for its efficiency to be
fixed and absolute, is, by common consent, reduced to a minimum. The
white American soldier, being, doubtless, the most intelligent in the
world, is more ready than any other to comply with a reasonable order,
but he does it because it is reasonable, not because it is an order.
With advancing experience his compliance increases, but it is still
because he better and better comprehends the reason. Give him an order
that looks utterly unreasonable,--and this is sometimes necessary,--or
give him one which looks trifling, under which head all sanitary
precautions are yet too apt to rank, and you may, perhaps, find that you
still have a free and independent citizen to deal with, not a soldier.
_Implicit_ obedience must be admitted still to be a rare quality in our
army; nor can we wonder at it. In many cases there is really no more
difference between officers and men, in education or in breeding, than
if the one class were chosen by lot from the other; all are from the
same neighborhood, all will return to the same civil pursuits side by
side; every officer knows that in a little while each soldier will again
become his client or his customer, his constituent or his rival. Shall
he risk offending him for life in order to carry out some hobby of
stricter discipline? If this difficulty exist in the case of
commissioned officers, it is still more the case with the
non-commissioned, those essential intermediate links in the chain of
authority. Hence the discipline of our soldiers has been generally that
of a town-meeting or of an engine-company, rather than that of an army;
and it shows the extraordinary quality of the individual men, that so
much has been accomplished with such a formidable defect in the
organization. Even granting that there has been a great and constant
improvement, the evil is still vast enough. And every young man trained
at West Point enters the service with at least this advantage, that he
has been brought up to command, and has not that task to learn.

He has this further advantage, that he is brought up with some respect
for the army-organization as it is, with its existing rules, methods,
and proprieties, and is not, like the newly commissioned civilian,
disposed in his secret soul to set aside all its proprieties as mere
"pipe-clay," its methods as "old-fogyism," and its rules as "red-tape."
How many good volunteer officers will admit, if they speak candidly,
that on entering the service they half believed the "Army Regulations"
to be a mass of old-time rubbish, which they would gladly reëdit, under
contract, with immense improvements, in a month or two,--and that they
finally left the service with the conviction that the same book was a
mine of wisdom, as yet but half explored! Certainly, when one thinks
for what a handful of an army our present military system was devised,
and with what an admirable elasticity it has borne this sudden and
stupendous expansion, it must be admitted to have most admirably stood
the test. Of course, there has been much amendment and alteration
needed, nor is the work done yet; but it has mainly touched the details,
not the general principles. The system is wonderfully complete for its
own ends, and the more one studies it the less one sneers. Many a form
which at first seems to the volunteer officer merely cumbrous and
trivial he learns to prize at last as almost essential to good
discipline; he seldom attempts a short cut without finding it the
longest way, and rarely enters on that heroic measure of cutting
red-tape without finding at last that he has entangled his own fingers
in the process.

More thorough training tells in another way. It is hard to appreciate,
without the actual experience, how much of military life is a matter of
mere detail. The maiden at home fancies her lover charging at the head
of his company, when in reality he is at that precise moment endeavoring
to convince his company-cooks that salt-junk needs five hours' boiling,
or is anxiously deciding which pair of worn-out trousers shall be
ejected from a drummer-boy's knapsack. Courage is, no doubt, a good
quality in a soldier, and luckily not often wanting; but, in the long
run, courage depends largely on the haversack. Men are naturally brave,
and when the crisis comes, almost all men will fight well, if well
commanded. As Sir Philip Sidney said, an army of stags led by a lion is
more formidable than an army of lions led by a stag. Courage is cheap;
the main duty of an officer is to take good care of his men, so that
every one of them shall be ready, at a moment's notice, for any
reasonable demand. A soldier's life usually implies weeks and months of
waiting, and then one glorious hour; and if the interval of leisure has
been wasted, there is nothing but a wasted heroism at the end, and
perhaps not even that. The penalty for misused weeks, the reward for
laborious months, may be determined within ten minutes. Without
discipline an army is a mob, and the larger the worse; without rations
the men are empty uniforms; without ammunition they might as well have
no guns; without shoes they might almost as well have no legs. And it is
in the practical appreciation of all these matters that the superiority
of the regular officer is apt to be shown.

Almost any honest volunteer officer will admit, that, although the
tactics were easily learned, yet, in dealing with all other practical
details of army-life, he was obliged to gain his knowledge through many
blunders. There were a thousand points on which the light of Nature,
even aided by "Army Regulations," did not sufficiently instruct him; and
his best hints were probably obtained by frankly consulting regular
officers, even if inferior in rank. The advantage of a West-Point
training is precisely that of any other professional education. There is
nothing in it which any intelligent man cannot learn for himself in
later life; nevertheless, the intelligent man would have fared a good
deal better, had he learned it all in advance. Test it by shifting the
positions. No lawyer would trust his case to a West-Point graduate,
without evidence of thorough special preparation. Yet he himself enters
on a career equally new to him, where his clients may be counted by
thousands, and every case is capital. The army is a foreign country to
civilians; of course you can learn the language after your arrival, but
how you envy your companion, who, having spoken it from childhood, can
proceed at once to matters more important!

Yet the great advantage of the regular army does not, after all, consist
merely in any superiority of knowledge, or in the trained habit of
command. Granting that patience and labor can readily supply these to
the volunteer, the trouble remains, that even in labor and patience the
regular officer is apt to have the advantage, by reason of a stronger
stimulus. The difference is not merely in the start, but in the pace. No
man can be often thrown into the society of regular officers, especially
among the younger ones, without noticing a higher standard of
professional earnestness than that found among average volunteers; and
in this respect a West-Point training makes little or no difference. The
reason of the superiority is obvious. To the volunteer, the service is
still an episode; to the regular, a permanent career. No doubt, if a man
is thoroughly conscientious, or thoroughly ambitious, or thoroughly
enthusiastic, a temporary pursuit may prove as absorbing as if it were
taken up for life; but the majority of men, however well-meaning, are
not thorough at all. How often one hears the apology made by volunteer
officers, even those of high rank,--"Military life is not my profession;
I entered the army from patriotism, willing to serve my country
faithfully for three years, but of course not pretending to perfection
in every trivial detail of a pursuit which I shall soon quit forever."
But it is patriotism to think the details _not_ trivial. If one gives
one's self to one's country, let the gift be total and noble. These
details are worthy to absorb the whole daily thought, and they should
absorb it, until more thorough comprehension and more matured executive
power leave room for larger studies, still in the line of the adopted
occupation. If a man leaves his office or his study to be a soldier, let
him be a soldier in earnest. Let those three years bound the horizon of
his plans, and let him study his new duty as if earth offered no other
conceivable career. The scholar must forswear his pen, the lawyer his
books, the politician his arts. An officer of whatever rank, who does
not find occupation enough for every day, amid the quietest
winter-quarters, in the prescribed duties of his position and the
studies to which they should lead, is fitted only for civil pursuits,
and had better return to them.

Without this thoroughness, life in the army affords no solid
contentment. What is called military glory is a fitful and uncertain
thing. Time and the newspapers play strange tricks with reputations, and
of a hundred officers whose names appear with honor in this morning's
despatches ninety may never be mentioned again till it is time to write
their epitaphs. Who, for instance, can recite the names of the
successive cavalry-commanders who have ridden on their bold forays
through Virginia, since the war began? All must give place to the latest
Kautz or Sheridan, who has eclipsed without excelling them all. Yet each
is as brave and as faithful to-day, no doubt, as when he too glittered
for his hour before all men's gaze, and the obscurer duty may be the
more substantial honor. So when I lift my eyes to look on yonder level
ocean-floor, the fitful sunshine now glimmers white on one far-off sail,
now on another; and yet I know that all canvas looks snowy while those
casual rays are on it, and that the best vessel is that which, sunlit or
shaded, best accomplishes its destined course. The officer is almost as
powerless as the soldier to choose his opportunity or his place.
Military glory may depend on a thousand things,--the accident of local
position, the jealousy of a rival, the whim of a superior. But the merit
of having done one's whole duty to the men whose lives are in one's
keeping, and to the nation whose life is staked with theirs,--of having
held one's command in such a state, that, if at any given moment it was
not performing the most brilliant achievement, it might have been,--this
is the substantial triumph which every faithful officer has always
within reach.

Now will any one but a newspaper flatterer venture to say that this is
the habitual standard in our volunteer service? Take as a test the
manner in which official inspections are usually regarded by a
regimental commander. These occasions are to him what examinations by
the School Committee are to a public-school teacher. He may either
deprecate and dodge them, or he may manfully welcome them as the very
best means of improvement for all under his care. Which is the more
common view? What sight more pitiable than to behold an officer begging
off from inspection because he has just come in from picket, or is just
going out on picket, or has just removed camp, or was a day too late
with his last requisition for cartridges? No doubt it is a trying ordeal
to have some young regular-army lieutenant ride up to your tent at an
hour's notice, and leisurely devote a day to probing every weak spot in
your command,--to stand by while he smells at every camp-kettle, detects
every delinquent gun-sling, ferrets out old shoes from behind the
mess-bunks, spies out every tent-pole not labelled with the sergeant's
name, asks to see the cash-balance of each company-fund, and perplexes
your best captain on forming from two ranks into one by the left flank.
Yet it is just such unpleasant processes as these which are the
salvation of an army; these petty mortifications are the fulcrum by
which you can lift your whole regiment to a first-class rank, if you
have only the sense to use them. So long as no inspecting officer needs
twice to remind you of the same thing, you have no need to blush. But
though you be the bravest of the brave, though you know a thousand
things of which he is utterly ignorant, yet so long as he can tell you
one thing which you ought to know, he is master of the situation. He may
be the most conceited little popinjay who ever strutted in uniform; no
matter; it is more for your interest to learn than for his to teach. Let
our volunteer officers, as a body, once resolve to act on this
principle, and we shall have such an army as the world never saw. But
nothing costs the nation a price so fearful, in money or in men, as the
false pride which shrinks from these necessary surgical operations, or
regards the surgeon as a foe.

It is not being an officer to wear uniform for three years, to draw
one's pay periodically, and to acquit one's self without shame during a
few hours or days of actual battle. History will never record what fine
regiments have been wasted and ruined, since this war began, by the
negligence in camp of commanders who were brave as Bayard in the field.
Unless a man is willing to concentrate his whole soul upon learning and
performing the humblest as well as the most brilliant functions of his
new profession, a true officer he will never become. More time will not
help him; for time seldom does much for one who enters, especially in
middle life, on an employment for which he is essentially unfitted. It
is amusing to see the weight attached to the name of veteran, in
military matters, by persons who in civil life are very ready to
exchange a veteran doctor or minister for his younger rival. Military
seniority, though the only practicable rule of precedence, is liable to
many notorious inconveniences. It is especially without meaning in the
volunteer service, where the Governor of Maine may happen to date a set
of commissions on the first day of January, and His Excellency of
Minnesota may doom his contemporary regiment to life-long subordination
by accidentally postponing theirs to the second day. But it has
sufficient drawbacks even where all the appointments pass through one
channel. The dignity it gives is a merely chronological distinction,--an
oldest-inhabitant renown,--much like the university-degree of A. M.,
which simply implies that a man has got decently through college, and
then survived three years. But if a man was originally placed in a
position beyond his deserts, the mere lapse of time may have only made
him the more dangerous charlatan. If he showed no sign of military
aptitude in six months, a probation of three years may have been more
costly, but not more conclusive. Add to this the fact that each
successive year of the war has seen all officers more carefully
selected, if only because there has been more choice of material; so
that there is sometimes a temptation in actual service, were it
practicable, to become Scriptural in our treatment, and put the last
first and the first last. In those unfortunate early days, when it
seemed to most of our Governors to make little difference whom they
commissioned, since all were alike untried, and of two evils it was
natural to choose that which would produce the more agreeable
consequences at the next election-time,--in those days of darkness many
very poor officers saw the light. Many of these have since been happily
discharged or judiciously shelved. The trouble is, that those who remain
are among the senior officers in our volunteer army, in their respective
grades. They command posts, brigades, divisions. They preside at
court-martials. Beneath the shadow of their notorious incompetency all
minor evils may lurk undetected. To crown all, they are, in many cases,
sincere and well-meaning men, utterly obtuse as to their own
deficiencies, and manifesting (to employ a witticism coeval with
themselves) all the Christian virtues except that of resignation.

The present writer has beheld the spectacle of an officer of high rank,
previously eminent in civil life, who could only vindicate himself
before a court-martial from the ruinous charge of false muster by
summoning a staff-officer to prove that it was his custom to sign all
military papers without looking at them. He has seen a lieutenant tried
for neglect of duty in allowing a soldier under his command, at an
important picket-post, to be found by the field-officer of the day with
two inches of sand in the bottom of his gun,--and pleading, in
mitigation of sentence, that it had never been the practice in his
regiment to make any inspection of men detailed for such duty. That such
instances of negligence should be tolerated for six months in any
regiment of regulars is a thing almost inconceivable, and yet in these
cases the regiments and the officers had been nearly three years in
service.

It is to be remembered that even the command of a regiment of a thousand
men is a first-class administrative position, and that there is no
employer of men in civil life who assumes the responsibility of those
under his command so absolutely and thoroughly. The life, the health,
the efficiency, the finances, the families of his soldiers, are staked
not so much on the courage of a regimental commander as upon his
decision, his foresight, and his business-habits. As Richter's worldly
old statesman tells his son, "War trains a man to business." If he takes
his training slowly, he must grow perfect through suffering,--commonly
the suffering of other people. The varied and elaborate returns, for
instance, now required of officers,--daily, monthly, quarterly,
annually,--are not one too many as regards the interests of Government
and of the soldiers, but are enough to daunt any but an accurate and
methodical man. A single error in an ordnance requisition may send a
body of troops into action with only twenty rounds of ammunition to a
man. One mistake in a property-voucher may involve an officer in
stoppages exceeding his yearly pay. One wrong spelling in a muster-roll
may beggar a soldier's children ten years after the father has been
killed in battle. Under such circumstances no standard of accuracy can
be too high. And yet even the degree of regularity that now exists is
due more to the constant pressure from head-quarters than to any
individual zeal. For a large part of this pressure the influence of the
regular army is responsible,--those officers usually occupying the more
important staff-positions, and having in some departments of service,
especially in the ordnance, moulded and remoulded the whole machinery
until it has become almost a model. It would be difficult to name
anything in civil life which is in its way so perfect as the present
system of business and of papers in this department. Every ordnance
blank now contains a schedule of instructions for its own use, so simple
and so minute that it seems as if, henceforward, the most negligent
volunteer officer could never make another error. And yet in the very
last set of returns which the writer had occasion to revise,--returns
made by a very meritorious captain,--there were eight different papers,
and a mistake in every one.

The glaring defeat of most of our volunteer regiments, from the
beginning to this day, has lain in slovenliness and remissness as to
every department of military duty, except the actual fighting and dying.
When it comes to that ultimate test, our men usually endure it so
magnificently that one is tempted to overlook all deficiencies on
intermediate points. But they must not be overlooked, because they
create a fearful discount on the usefulness of our troops, when tried by
the standard of regular armies. I do not now refer to the niceties of
dress-parade or the courtesies of salutation: it has long since been
tacitly admitted that a white American soldier will not present arms to
any number of rows of buttons, if he can by any ingenuity evade it; and
to shoulder arms on passing an officer is something to which only
Ethiopia or the regular army can attain. Grant, if you please, (though I
do not grant,) that these are merely points of foolish punctilio. But
there are many things which are more than punctilio, though they may be
less than fighting. The efficiency of a body of troops depends, after
all, not so much on its bravery as on the condition of its sick-list. A
regiment which does picket-duty faithfully will often avoid the need of
duties more terrible. Yet I have ridden by night along a chain of ten
sentinels, every one of whom should have taken my life rather than
permit me to give the countersign without dismounting, and have been
required to dismount by only four, while two did not ask me for the
countersign at all, and two others were asleep. I have ridden through a
regimental camp whose utterly filthy condition seemed enough to send
malaria through a whole military department, and have been asked by the
colonel, almost with tears in his eyes, to explain to him why his men
were dying at the rate of one a day. The latter was a regiment nearly a
year old, and the former one of almost two years' service, and just from
the old Army of the Potomac.

The fault was, of course, in the officers. The officer makes the
command, as surely as, in educational matters, the teacher makes the
school. There is not a regiment in the army so good that it could not be
utterly spoiled in three months by a poor commander, nor so poor that it
could not be altogether transformed in six by a good one. The difference
in material is nothing,--white or black, German or Irish; so potent is
military machinery that an officer who knows his business can make good
soldiers out of almost anything, give him but a fair chance. The
difference between the present Army of the Potomac and any previous
one,--the reason why we do not daily hear, as in the early campaigns, of
irresistible surprises, overwhelming numbers, and masked batteries,--the
reason why the present movements are a tide and not a wave,--is not that
the men are veterans, but that the officers are. There is an immense
amount of perfectly raw material in General Grant's force, besides the
colored regiments, which in that army are all raw, but in which the
Copperhead critics have such faith they would gladly select them for
dangers fit for Napoleon's Old Guard. But the newest recruit soon grows
steady with a steady corporal at his elbow, a well-trained sergeant
behind him, and a captain or a colonel whose voice means something to
give commands.

This reference to the colored troops suggests the false impression,
still held by many, that special opposition to this important military
organization has been made by regular officers. There is no justice in
this. While it is very probable that regular officers, as a class, may
have had stronger prejudices on this point than others have held, yet it
is to be remembered that the chief obstacles have not come from them,
nor from military men of any kind, but from civilians at home. Nothing
has been more remarkable than the facility with which the expected
aversion of the army everywhere vanished before the admirable behavior
of the colored troops, and the substantial value of the reinforcements
they brought. When it comes to the simple question whether a soldier
shall go on duty every night or every other night, he is not critical as
to beauty of complexion in the soldier who relieves him.

Some regular officers may have been virulently opposed to the employment
of negroes as soldiers, though the few instances which I have known have
been far more than compensated by repeated acts of the most substantial
kindness from many others. But I never have met one who did not express
contempt for the fraud thus far practised by Government on a portion of
these troops, by refusing to pay them the wages which the Secretary of
War had guarantied. This is a wrong which, but for good discipline,
would have long since converted our older colored regiments into a mob
of mutineers, and which, while dishonestly saving the Government a few
thousand dollars, has virtually sacrificed hundreds of thousands in its
discouraging effect upon enlistments, at a time when the fate of the
nation may depend upon a few regiments more or less. It is in vain for
national conventions to make capital by denouncing massacres like that
of Fort Pillow, and yet ignore this more deliberate injustice for which
some of their own members are in part responsible. The colored soldiers
will take their own risk of capture and maltreatment very readily,
(since they must take it on themselves at any rate,) if the Government
will let its justice begin at home, and pay them their honest earnings.
It is of little consequence to a dying man whether any one else is to
die by retaliation, but it is of momentous consequence whether his wife
and family are to be cheated of half his scanty earnings by the nation
for which he dies. The Rebels may be induced to concede the negro the
rights of war, when we grant him the ordinary rights of peace, namely,
to be paid the price agreed upon. Jefferson Davis and the London
"Times"--one-half whose stock-in-trade is "the inveterate meanness of
the Yankee"--will hardly be converted to sound morals by the rebukes of
an administration which allows its Secretary of War to promise a black
soldier thirteen dollars a month, pay him seven, and shoot him if he
grumbles. From this crowning injustice the regular army, and, indeed,
the whole army, is clear; to civilians alone belongs this carnival of
fraud.

If, in some instances, terrible injustice has been done to the black
soldiers in their military treatment also, it has not been only, or
chiefly, under regular officers. Against the cruel fatigue duty imposed
upon them last summer, in the Department of the South, for instance,
must be set the more disastrous mismanagements of the Department of the
Gulf,--the only place from which we now hear the old stories of disease
and desertion,--all dating back to the astonishing blunder of organizing
the colored regiments of half-size at the outset, with a full complement
of officers. This measure, however agreeable it might have been to the
horde of aspirants for commissions, was in itself calculated to destroy
all self-respect in the soldiers, being based on the utterly baseless
assumption that they required twice as many officers as whites, and was
foredoomed to failure, because no _esprit de corps_ can be created in a
regiment which is from the first insignificant in respect to size. It is
scarcely conceivable that any regular officer should have honestly
fallen into such an error as this; and it is very certain that the
wisest suggestions and the most efficient action have proceeded, since
the beginning, from them. It will be sufficient to mention the names of
Major-General Hunter, Brigadier-General Phelps, and Adjutant-General
Thomas; and one there is whose crowning merits deserve a tribute
distinct even from these.

When some future Bancroft or Motley writes with philosophic brain and
poet's hand the story of the Great Civil War, he will find the
transition to a new era in our nation's history to have been fitly
marked by one festal day,--that of the announcement of the President's
Proclamation, upon Port-Royal Island, on the first of January, 1863.
That New-Year's time was our second contribution to the great series of
historic days, beads upon the rosary of the human race, permanent
festivals of freedom. Its celebration was one beside whose simple
pageant the superb festivals of other lands might seem but glittering
counterfeits. Beneath a majestic grove of the great live-oaks which
glorify the South-Carolina soil a liberated people met to celebrate
their own peaceful emancipation. They came thronging, by land and water,
from plantations which their own self-imposed and exemplary industry was
beginning already to redeem. The military escort which surrounded them
had been organized out of their own numbers, and had furnished to the
nation the first proof of the capacity of their race to bear arms. The
key-note of the meeting was given by spontaneous voices, whose
unexpected anthem took the day from the management of well-meaning
patrons, and swept all away into the great currents of simple feeling.
It was a scene never to be forgotten: the moss-hung trees, with their
hundred-feet diameter of shade; the eager faces of women and children in
the foreground; the many-colored headdresses; the upraised hands; the
neat uniforms of the soldiers; the outer row of mounted officers and
ladies; and beyond all the blue river, with its swift, free tide. And at
the centre of all this great and joyous circle stood modestly the man on
whose personal integrity and energy, more than on any President or
Cabinet, the hopes of all that multitude appeared to rest,--who
commanded then among his subjects, and still commands, an allegiance
more absolute than any European potentate can claim,--whose name will be
forever illustrious as having first made a practical reality out of that
Proclamation which then was to the President only an autograph, and to
the Cabinet only a dream,--who, when the whole fate of the slaves and of
the Government hung trembling in the balance, decided it forever by
throwing into the scale the weight of one resolute man,--who personally
mustered in the first black regiment, and personally governed the
first community where emancipation was a success,--who taught the
relieved nation, in fine, that there was strength and safety
in those dusky millions who till then had been an incubus and a
terror,--Brigadier-General Rufus Saxton, Military Governor of South
Carolina. The single career of this one man more than atones for all the
traitors whom West Point ever nurtured, and awards the highest place on
the roll of our practical statesmanship to the regular army.



THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF INANIMATE THINGS.


I am confident, that, at the annunciation of my theme, Andover,
Princeton, and Cambridge will skip like rams, and the little hills of
East Windsor, Meadville, and Fairfax, like lambs. However
divinity-schools may refuse to "skip" in unison, and may butt and batter
each other about the doctrine and origin of _human_ depravity, all will
join devoutly in the _credo_, I believe in the total depravity of
inanimate things.

The whole subject lies in a nutshell, or rather an apple-skin. We have
clerical authority for affirming that all its miseries were let loose
upon the human race by "them greenins" tempting our mother to curious
pomological speculations; and from that time till now--Longfellow, thou
reasonest well!--"things are not what they seem," but are diabolically
otherwise,--masked-batteries, nets, gins, and snares of evil.

(In this connection I am reminded of--can I ever cease to remember?--the
unlucky lecturer at our lyceum a few winters ago, who, on rising to
address his audience, applauding him all the while most vehemently,
pulled out his handkerchief, for oratorical purposes only, and
inadvertently flung from his pocket three "Baldwins" that a friend had
given to him on his way to the hall, straight into the front row of
giggling girls.)

My zeal on this subject received new impetus recently from an
exclamation which pierced the thin partitions of the country-parsonage,
once my home, where I chanced to be a guest.

From the adjoining dressing-room issued a prolonged "Y-ah!"--not the
howl of a spoiled child, nor the protest of a captive gorilla, but the
whole-souled utterance of a mighty son of Anak, whose amiability is
invulnerable to weapons of human aggravation.

I paused in the midst of toilet-exigencies, and listened
sympathetically, for I recognized the probable presence of the old enemy
to whom the bravest and sweetest succumb.

Confirmation and explanation followed speedily in the half apologetic,
wholly wrathful declaration,--"The pitcher was made foolish in the first
place." I dare affirm, that, if the spirit of Lindley Murray himself
were at that moment hovering over that scene of trial, he dropped a
tear, or, better still, an adverbial _ly_ upon the false grammar, and
blotted it out forever.

I comprehended the scene at once. I had been there. I felt again the
remorseless swash of the water over neat boots and immaculate hose; I
saw the perverse intricacies of its meanderings over the carpet, upon
which the "foolish" pitcher had been confidingly deposited; I knew,
beyond the necessity of ocular demonstration, that, as sure as there
were "pipe-hole" or crack in the ceiling of the study below, those
inanimate things would inevitably put their evil heads together, and
bring to grief the long-suffering Dominie, with whom, during my day,
such inundations had been of at least bi-weekly occurrence, instigated
by crinoline. The inherent wickedness of that "thing of beauty" will be
acknowledged by all mankind, and by every female not reduced to the
deplorable poverty of the heroine of the following veracious anecdote.

A certain good bishop, on making a tour of inspection through a
mission-school of his diocese, was so impressed by the aspect of all its
beneficiaries that his heart overflowed with joy, and he exclaimed to a
little maiden whose appearance was particularly suggestive of
creature-comforts,--"Why, my little girl! you have everything that heart
can wish, haven't you?" Imagine the bewilderment and horror of the
prelate, when the miniature Flora McFlimsey drew down the corners of her
mouth lugubriously, and sought to accommodate the puffs and dimples of
her fat little body to an expression of abject misery, as she
replied,--"No, indeed, Sir! I haven't got any--skeleton!"

We who have suffered know the disposition of graceless "skeletons" to
hang themselves on "foolish" pitchers, bureau-knobs, rockers,
cobble-stones, splinters, nails, and, indeed, any projection a tenth of
a line beyond a dead level.

The mention of nails is suggestive of voluminous distresses.
Country-parsonages, from some inexplicable reason, are wont to bristle
all over with these impish assailants of human comfort.

I never ventured to leave my masculine relatives to their own devices
for more than twenty-four consecutive hours, that I did not return to
find that they had seemingly manifested their grief at my absence after
the old Hebraic method, ("more honored in the breach than the
observance,") by rending their garments. When summoned to their account,
the invariable defence has been a vehement denunciation of some
particular _nail_ as the guilty cause of my woes.

By the way, O Christian woman of the nineteenth century, did it ever
enter your heart to give devout thanks that you did not share the woe
of those whose fate it was to "sojourn in Mesech and dwell in the tents
of Kedar"? that it did not fall to your lot to do the plain sewing and
mending for some Jewish patriarch, patriot, or prophet of yore?

Realize, if you can, the masculine aggravation and the feminine
long-suffering of a period when the head of a family could neither go
down-town, nor even sit at his tent-door, without descrying some
wickedness in high places, some insulting placard, some exasperating
war-bulletin, some offensive order from head-quarters, which caused him
to transform himself instantly into an animated rag-bag. Whereas, in
these women-saving days, similar grievances send President Abraham into
his cabinet to issue a proclamation, the Reverend Jeremiah into his
pulpit with a scathing homily, Poet-Laureate David to the "Atlantic"
with a burning lyric, and Major-General Joab to the privacy of his tent,
there to calm his perturbed spirit with Drake's Plantation Bitters. In
humble imitation of another, I would state that this indorsement of the
potency of a specific is entirely gratuitous, and that I am stimulated
thereto by no remuneration, fluid or otherwise.

Blessed be this day of sewing-machines for women, and of safety-valves
and innocent explosives for their lords!

But this is a digression.

I awoke very early in life to the consciousness that I held the doctrine
which we are considering.

On a hapless day when I was perhaps five years old, I was, in my own
estimation, intrusted with the family-dignity, when I was deposited for
the day at the house of a lordly Pharisee of the parish, with solemnly
repeated instructions in table-manners and the like.

One who never analyzed the mysteries of a sensitive child's heart cannot
appreciate the sense of awful responsibility which oppressed me during
that visit. But all went faultlessly for a time. I corrected myself
instantly each time. I said, "Yes, Ma'am," to Mr. Simon, and "No, Sir,"
to Madam, which was as often as I addressed them; I clenched little
fists and lips resolutely, that they might not touch, taste, handle,
tempting _bijouterie_; I even held in check the spirit of inquiry
rampant within me, and indulged myself with only one question to every
three minutes of time.

At last I found myself at the handsome dinner-table, triumphantly
mounted upon two "Comprehensive Commentaries" and a dictionary, fearing
no evil from the viands before me. Least of all did I suspect the
vegetables of guile. But deep in the heart of a bland, mealy-mouthed
potato lurked cruel designs upon my fair reputation.

No sooner had I, in the most approved style of nursery good-breeding,
applied my fork to its surface, than the hardhearted thing executed a
wild _pirouette_ before my astonished eyes, and then flew on impish
wings across the room, dashing out its malicious brains, I am happy to
say, against the parlor-door, but leaving me in a half-comatose state,
stirred only by vague longings for a lodge with "proud Korah's troop,"
whose destination is unmistakably set forth in the "Shorter Catechism."

There is a possibility that I received my innate distrust of things by
inheritance from my maternal grandmother, whose holy horror at the
profanity they once provoked from a bosom-friend in her childhood was
still vivid in her old age.

It was on this wise. When still a pretty Puritan maiden, my grandame was
tempted irresistibly by the spring sunshine to the tabooed indulgence of
a Sunday-walk. The temptation was probably intensified by the
presence of the British troops, giving unwonted fascination to
village-promenades. Her confederate in this guilty pleasure was a
like-minded little saint; so there was a tacit agreement between them
that their transgression should be sanctified by a strict adherence to
religious topics of conversation. Accordingly they launched boldly upon
the great subject which was just then agitating church-circles in New
England.

Fortune smiled upon these criminals against the Blue Laws, until they
encountered a wall surmounted by hickory rails. Without intermitting the
discussion, Susannah sprang agilely up. Quoth she, balancing herself for
one moment upon the summit,--"No, no, Betsey! _I_ believe God is the
author of sin!" The next she sprang toward the ground; but a salient
splinter, a chip of depravity, clutched her Sunday-gown, and converted
her incontinently, it seems, into a confessor of the opposing faith; for
history records, that, following the above-mentioned dogma, there came
from hitherto unstained lips,--"The Devil!"

Time and space would, of course, be inadequate to the enumeration of all
the demonstrations of the truth of the doctrine of the absolute
depravity of things. A few examples only can be cited.

There is melancholy pleasure in the knowledge that a great soul has gone
mourning before me in the path I am now pursuing. It was only to-day,
that, in glancing over the pages of Victor Hugo's greatest work, I
chanced upon the following:--"Every one will have noticed with what
skill a coin let fall upon the ground runs to hide itself, and what art
it has in rendering itself invisible; there are thoughts which play us
the same trick," etc., etc.

The similar tendency of pins and needles is universally understood and
execrated,--their base secretiveness when searched for, and their
incensing intrusion when one is off guard.

I know a man whose sense of their malignity is so keen, that, whenever
he catches a gleam of their treacherous lustre on the carpet, he
instantly draws his two and a quarter yards of length into the smallest
possible compass, and shrieks until the domestic police come to the
rescue, and apprehend the sharp little villains. Do not laugh at this.
Years ago he lost his choicest friend by the stab of just such a little
dastard lying in ambush.

So also every wielder of the needle is familiar with the propensity of
the several parts of a garment in the process of manufacture to turn
themselves wrong side out, and down side up; and the same viciousness
cleaves like leprosy to the completed garment so long as a thread
remains.

My blood still tingles with a horrible memory illustrative of this
truth.

Dressing hurriedly and in darkness for a concert one evening, I appealed
to the Dominie, as we passed under the hall-lamp, for a
toilet-inspection.

"How do I look, father?"

After a sweeping glance came the candid statement,--

"Beau-tifully!"

Oh, the blessed glamour which invests a child whose father views her
"with a critic's eye"!

"Yes, _of course_; but look carefully, please; how is my dress?"

Another examination of apparently severest scrutiny.

"All right, dear! That's the new cloak, is it? Never saw you look
better. Come, we shall be late."

Confidingly I went to the hall; confidingly I entered; since the
concert-room was crowded with rapt listeners to the Fifth Symphony, I,
gingerly, but still confidingly, followed the author of my days, and the
critic of my toilet, to the very uppermost seat, which I entered, barely
nodding to my finically fastidious friend, Guy Livingston, who was
seated near us with a stylish-looking stranger, who bent eyebrows and
glass upon me superciliously.

Seated, the Dominie was at once lifted into the midst of the massive
harmonies of the Adagio; I lingered outside a moment, in order to settle
my garments and--that woman's look. What! was that a partially
suppressed titter near me? Ah! she has no soul for music! How such
ill-timed merriment will jar upon my friend's exquisite sensibilities!

Shade of Beethoven! A hybrid cough and laugh, smothered decorously, but
still recognizable, from the courtly Guy himself! What can it mean?

In my perturbation, my eyes fell and rested upon the sack, whose newness
and glorifying effect had been already noticed by my lynx-eyed parent.

I here pause to remark that I had intended to request the compositor to
"set up" the coming sentence in explosive capitals, by way of emphasis,
but forbear, realizing that it already staggers under the weight of its
own significance.

That sack was wrong side out!

Stern necessity, proverbially known as "the mother of invention," and
practically the step-mother of ministers' daughters, had made me eke out
the silken facings of the front with cambric linings for the back and
sleeves. Accordingly, in the full blaze of the concert-room, there sat
I, "accoutred as I was," in motley attire,--my homely little economies
patent to admiring spectators: on either shoulder, budding wings
composed of unequal parts of sarcenet-cambric and cotton-batting; and in
my heart--_parricide_ I had almost said, but it was rather the more
filial sentiment of desire to operate for cataract upon my father's
eyes. But a moment's reflection sufficed to transfer my indignation to
its proper object,--the sinful sack itself, which, concerting with its
kindred darkness, had planned this cruel assault upon my innocent pride.

A constitutional obtuseness renders me delightfully insensible to one
fruitful source of provocation among inanimate things. I am so dull as
to regard all distinctions between "rights" and "lefts" as invidious;
but I have witnessed the agonized struggles of many a victim of
fractious boots, and been thankful that "I am not as other men are," in
ability to comprehend the difference between my right and left foot.
Still, as already intimated, I have seen wise men driven mad by a thing
of leather and waxed-ends.

A little innocent of three years, in all the pride of his first boots,
was aggravated, by the perversity of the right to thrust itself on to
the left leg, to the utterance of a contraband expletive.

When reproved by his horror-stricken mamma, he maintained a dogged
silence.

In order to pierce his apparently indurated conscience, his censor
finally said, solemnly,--

"Dugald! God knows that you said that wicked word."

"Does He?" cried the baby-victim of reral depravity, in a tone of
relief; "then _He_ knows it was a doke" (_Anglicè_, joke).

But, mind you, the sin-tempting boot intended no "doke."

The toilet, with its multiform details and complicated machinery, is a
demon whose surname is Legion.

Time would fail me to speak of the elusiveness of soap, the knottiness
of strings, the transitory nature of buttons, the inclination of
suspenders to twist, and of hooks to forsake their lawful eyes, and
cleave only unto the hairs of their hapless owner's head. (It occurs to
me as barely possible, that, in the last case, the hooks may be
innocent, and the sinfulness may lie in _capillary_ attraction.)

And, O my brother or sister in sorrow, has it never befallen you, when
bending all your energies to the mighty task of "doing" your back-hair,
to find yourself gazing inanely at the opaque back of your brush, while
the hand-mirror, which had maliciously insinuated itself into your right
hand for this express purpose, came down upon your devoted head with a
resonant whack?

I have alluded, parenthetically, to the possible guilt of capillary
attraction, but I am prepared to maintain against the attraction of
gravitation the charge of total depravity. Indeed, I should say of it,
as did the worthy exhorter of the Dominie's old parish in regard to
slavery,--"It's the wickedest thing in the world, except sin!"

It was only the other day that I saw depicted upon the young divine's
countenance, from this cause, thoughts "too deep for tears," and,
perchance, too earthy for clerical utterance.

From a mingling of sanitary and economic considerations, he had cleared
his own sidewalk after a heavy snow-storm. As he stood, leaning upon his
shovel, surveying with smiling complacency his accomplished task, the
spite of the arch-fiend Gravitation was raised against him, and, finding
the impish slates (hadn't Luther something to say about "_as many devils
as tiles_"?) ready to coöperate, an avalanche was the result, making the
last state of that sidewalk worse than the first, and sending the divine
into the house with a battered hat, and an article of faith
supplementary to the orthodox thirty-nine.

Prolonged reflection upon a certain class of grievances has convinced me
that mankind has generally ascribed them to a guiltless source. I refer
to the unspeakable aggravation of "typographical errors," rightly so
called,--for, in nine cases out of ten, I opine it is the types
themselves which err.

I appeal to fellow-sufferers, if the substitutions and interpolations
and false combinations of letters are not often altogether too absurd
for humanity.

Take, as one instance, the experience of a friend, who, in writing in
all innocency of a session of the Historical Society, affirmed mildly in
manuscript, "All went smoothly," but weeks after was made to declare in
blatant print, "All went _snoringly_!"

As among men, so in the alphabet, one sinner destroyeth much good.

The genial Senator from the Granite Hills told me of an early aspiration
of his own for literary distinction, which was beheaded remorselessly by
a villain of this type. By way of majestic peroration to a pathetic
article, he had exclaimed, "For what would we exchange the fame of
Washington?"--referring, I scarcely need say, to the man of fragrant
memory, and not to the odorous capital. The black-hearted little dies,
left to their own devices one night, struck dismay to the heart of the
aspirant author by propounding in black and white a prosaic inquiry as
to what would be considered a fair equivalent for the _farm_ of the
father of his country!

Among frequent instances of this depravity in my own experience, a
flagrant example still shows its ugly front on a page of a child's book.
In the latest edition of "Our Little Girls," (good Mr. Randolph, pray
read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest,) there occurs a description of a
christening, wherein a venerable divine is made to dip "his _head_" into
the consecrating water, and lay it upon the child.

Disembodied words are also sinners and the occasions of sin. Who has not
broken the Commandments in consequence of the provocation of some
miserable little monosyllabic eluding his grasp in the moment of his
direst need, or of some impertinent interloper thrusting itself in to
the utter demoralization of his well-organized sentences? Who has not
been covered with shame at tripping over the pronunciation of some
perfectly simple word like "statistics," "inalienable," "inextricable,"
etc., etc., etc.?

Whose experience will not empower him to sympathize with that
unfortunate invalid, who, on being interrogated by a pious visitor in
regard to her enjoyment of means of grace, informed the horror-stricken
inquisitor,--"I have not been to church for years, I have been such an
_infidel_,"--and then, moved by a dim impression of wrong somewhere, as
well as by the evident shock inflicted upon her worthy visitor, but
conscious of her own integrity, repeated still more emphatically,--"No;
I have been a confirmed infidel for years."

But a peremptory summons from an animated nursery forbids my lingering
longer in this fruitful field. I can only add an instance of
corroborating testimony from each member of the circle originating this
essay.

The Dominie _loq._--"Sha'n't have anything to do with it! It's a wicked
thing! To be sure, I do remember, when I was a little boy, I used to
throw stones at the chip-basket when it upset the cargo I had just
laded, and it was a great relief to my feelings too. Besides, you've
told stories about me which were anything but true. I don't remember
anything about that sack."

Lady-visitor _loq._--"The first time I was invited to Mr. ----'s, (the
Hon. ---- ----'s, you know,) I was somewhat anxious, but went home
flattering myself I had made a creditable impression. Imagine my
consternation, when I came to relieve the pocket of my gala-gown, donned
for the occasion, at discovering among its treasures a tea-napkin,
marked gorgeously with the Hon. ---- ----'s family-crest, which had
maliciously crept into its depths in order to bring me into disgrace! I
have never been able to bring myself to the point of confession, in
spite of my subsequent intimacy with the family. If it were not for
Joseph's positive assertion to the contrary, I should be of the opinion
that his cup of divination conjured itself deliberately and sinfully
into innocent Benjamin's sack."

Student _loq._ (Testimony open to criticism.)--"Met pretty girl on the
street yesterday. Sure I had on my 'Armstrong' hat when I left
home,--sure as fate; but when I went to pull it off,--by the crown, of
course,--to bow to pretty girl, I smashed in my beaver! How it got there
don't know. Knocked it off. Pretty girl picked it up and handed it to
me. Confounded things, any way!"

Young divine _loq._--"While I was in the army, I was in Washington on
'leave' for two or three days. One night, at a party, I became utterly
bewildered in an attempt to converse, after long desuetude, with a
fascinating woman. I went stumbling on, amazing her more and more, until
finally I covered myself with glory by the categorical statement that in
my opinion General McClellan could 'never get across the Peninsula
without a _fattle_; I beg pardon, Madam! what I mean to say is, without
a _bight_.'"

School-girl _loq._--"When Uncle ---- was President, I was at the White
House at a state-dinner one evening. Senator ---- came rushing in
frantically after we had been at table some time. No sooner was he
seated than he turned to Aunt to apologize for his delay; and, being
very much heated, and very much embarrassed, he tugged away desperately
at his pocket, and finally succeeded in extracting a huge blue stocking,
evidently of home-manufacture, with which he proceeded to wipe his
forehead very energetically and very conspicuously. I suppose the truth
was that the poor man's handkerchiefs were "on a strike," and thrust
forward this homespun stocking to bring him to terms."

School-girl, No. 2, _loq._--"My last term at F., I was expecting a box
of 'goodies' from home. So when the message came, 'An express-package
for you, Miss Fanny!' I invited all my specials to come and assist at
the opening. Instead of the expected box, there appeared a
misshapen-bundle, done up in yellow wrapping-paper. Four such
dejected-looking damsels were never seen before as we, standing around
the ugly old thing. Finally, Alice suggested,--

"'Open it!'

"'Oh, I know what it is,' I said; 'it is my old Thibet, that mother has
had made over for me.'

"'Let's see,' persisted Alice.

"So I opened the package. The first thing I drew out was too much for
me.

"'What a funny-looking basque!' exclaimed Alice. All the rest were
struck dumb with disappointment.

"No! not a basque at all, but a man's black satin waistcoat! and next
came objects about which there could be no doubt,--a pair of dingy old
trousers, and a swallow-tailed coat! Imagine the chorus of damsels!

"The secret was, that two packages lay in father's office,--one for me,
the other for those everlasting freedmen. John was to forward mine. He
had taken up the box to write my address on it, when the yellow bundle
tumbled off the desk at his feet and scared the wits out of his head.
So I came in for father's secondhand clothes, and the Ethiopians had the
'goodies'!"

Repentant Dominie _loq._--"I don't approve of it at all; but then, if
you must write the wicked thing, I heard a good story for you to-day.
Dr. ---- found himself in the pulpit of a Dutch Reformed Church the other
Sunday. You know he is one who prides himself on his adaptation to
places and times. Just at the close of the introductory services, a
black gown lying over the arm of the sofa caught his eye. He was rising
to deliver his sermon, when it forced itself on his attention again.

"'Sure enough,' thought he, 'Dutch Reformed clergymen do wear gowns. I
might as well put it on.'

"So he solemnly thrust himself into the malicious (as you would say)
garment, and went through the services as well as he could, considering
that his audience seemed singularly agitated, and indeed on the point of
bursting out into a general laugh, throughout the entire service. And no
wonder! The good Doctor, in his zeal for conformity, had attired himself
in the black cambric duster in which the pulpit was shrouded during
week-days, and had been gesticulating his eloquent homily with his arms
thrust through the holes left for the pulpit-lamps!"



WHAT SHALL WE HAVE FOR DINNER?


I think I must be personally known to most of the readers of the
"Atlantic." I see them wherever I go, and they see me. Beneath a
shelter-tent by the Rapidan, in a striped railroad-station in Bavaria,
at the counter of Trübner's bookstore in London, and at Cordaville, in
Worcester County, Massachusetts, as we waited for the freight to get out
of the way, I have read the "Atlantic" over their shoulders, or they
over mine. The same thing has happened at six hundred and thirty-two
other improbable places. More than this, however, my words and works in
the great science of Domestic Economy have travelled everywhere before
me, not simply like the Connecticut of the poet,

    "Bringing shad to South Hadley, and pleasure to man,"[35]

but extending all over the civilized world. Not that I am the author of
the clothes-wringing machine, or of the spring clothes-pin,--my
influence has been more subtile. I have propounded great central axioms
in housekeeping and the other economies, which have rushed over the
world with the inevitable momentum of truth. It was I, for instance, who
first discovered and proclaimed the great governing fact that the butter
of a family costs more than its bread. It was I who first announced that
you cannot economize in the quality of your paper. I am the discoverer
of the formula that a family consumes as many barrels of flour in a year
as it has adult members, reducing children to adults by the rule of
three. The morning after our marriage I raised the window-shade, so that
the rising sun of that auspicious day should shine full upon our
parlor-Brussels. I said to Lois, "Let us never be slaves to our
carpets!" The angel smiled assent; and on the wings of that smile my
whisper fluttered over the earth. It brooded in a thousand homes else
miserable. Light was where before was chaos. Sunshine drove scrofula
from ten thousand quivering frames, and millions of infant lips would
this day raise Lois's name and mine in their Kindergarten songs, did
they only know who were their benefactors.

Standing thus in the centre of the sphere of the domestic economies, I
have, of course, read with passionate interest the "House and Home
Papers" in the "Atlantic." It is I, as I am proud to confess, who have,
violated all copyright, have had them reprinted, as Tract No. 2237 of
the American Tract Society, No. 63 of the American Tract Society of
Boston, and No. 445 of the issues of the Sanitary Commission, and am now
about to introduce them surreptitiously into the bureaus of these
charities, so that the colporteurs, of every stripe, may at last be
certain that they are conferring the first of benefits upon their
homeless fellow-creatures. It is I who every night toil through long
streets that I may slide these little tracts, messengers of blessing,
under the front-doors of wretched friends, who are dying without homes
in the gilded miseries of their bowling-alley parlors. Where they have
introduced the patent weather-strip, I place the tract on the upper
door-step, with a brick-bat, which keeps it from blowing away. But I
observe that it is no part of the plan of those charming papers, more
than it was of the "Novum Organon" or of the "Principia," to descend
into the details of the economies. I suppose that the author left all
that to the "Domestic Economy" of her excellent sister, and, as far as
the details of practice go, well she might. But between that practical
detail by which one sister cooks to-day the dinners on a million tables,
and the æsthetic, moral, and religious considerations by which the other
sister elevates the life of the million homes in whose dining-rooms
those tables stand, there is room for a brief exposition of the
principles on which those dinners are to be selected.

It is that exposition which, as I sit superior, I am to give, _ex
cathedra_, after this long preface, now.

I shall illustrate the necessity of this exposition by an introduction
to follow the preface, after the manner of the Germans, before we arrive
at the substance of our work, which will be itself comprised in its
first chapter. This introduction will consist of two illustrations. The
first relates to the planting of potatoes. When I inherited my ancestral
estate, known as "Crusoe's Well," I resolved to devote it to potatoes
for the first summer. I summoned my vassals, and we fenced it. I bought
dung and manured it. I hired ploughmen and oxen, and they ploughed it. I
made a covenant with a Kelt, who became, _quoad hoc_, my slave, and gave
to him money, with which I directed him to buy seed-potatoes and plant
it.

And he,--"How many shall I buy?"

I retired to my study, consulted London, Lindley, and Linnæus,--the
thick Gray, the middling Gray, and the child's Gray,--Worcester's
Dictionary, and Webster's, in both of which you can usually find almost
anything but what should be there,--Johnson's "Dictionary of Gardening,"
and Gardner's "Dictionary of Farming,"--and none of these treatises
mentioned the quantity of potatoes proper for planting a given space of
land. Even the Worcester and Webster failed. I was reduced to tell the
Kelt to ask the huckster of whom he bought. All the treatises went on
the principle--true, but inadequate--that "any fool would know." Any
fool might, probably does,--but I was not a fool.

The next year, having built my house and taken Lois home, the bluebirds
sang spring to us one fine morning, and we went out to plant our
radish-seeds. With fit forethought, the seed had been bought, the ground
manured and raked, the string, the dibble, the woman's trowel, the man's
trowel, the sticks for the seed-papers, and the papers were all there.
Lois was charming, in her sun-bonnet; I looked knowing in my Canadian
oat-straw. We marked out the bed,--as the robins, meadow-larks, and
bluebirds directed. Lois then looked up article "Radish" in the
"Farmer's Dictionary," and we found the lists of "Long White Naples,"
"White Spanish," "Black Spanish," "Long Scarlet," "White Turnip-Root,"
"Purple Turnip," and the rest, for two columns, which we should and
should not plant. All that was nothing to us. We were to plant
radish-seeds, which we had bought, as such, from Mr. Swett. How deep to
plant them, how far apart or how near together, the book was to tell.
But the book only said, "Everybody knows how to plant radishes."

Now this was not true. _We_ did not know.

These two illustrations, as the minister says, are sufficient to show
the character of the deficiency which I am now to supply,--which young
housekeepers of intelligence feel, when they have got their nests ready
and begin to bill and coo in-doors. There are many things which every
fool knows, which people of sense do not know. First among these things
is, "What will you have for dinner?"--a question not to be answered by
detailed answers,--on the principle of the imaginary Barmacide feasts of
the cook-books,--but by the results of deep principles, which underlie,
indeed, the whole superficial strata of civilized life. Did not the army
of the Punjaub perish, as it retreated from Ghizni to Jelalabad, not
because the enemy's lances were strong, but because one day it did not
dine?

I am not going to tell the old story of that "sweet pretty girl" who,
after a week of legs of mutton, ordered a "leg of beef." I sympathize
with her from the bottom of my heart. Her sister will be married
to-morrow. To her I dedicate this paper, that she may know, not what she
shall order,--that is left to her own sweet will, less fettered now that
her life is rounded by her welding it upon its other half than it was
when she wandered in maiden meditation fancy-free,--not, I say, what she
shall order for her dinner and for Leander's, but the principle on which
the order is to be given.

"But, my dear Mr. Carter," says the blushing child, as she reads, "we
have got to be so dreadfully economical!"

Fairest of your sex, there was never one of your sex, since Eve finished
the apple, lest any should be wasted, nor of my sex, since Adam grimly
champed the parings, thinking he was "in for it," who should not be
economical. A just economy is the law of a luxurious life. "Dreadful
economy" is the principle which is now to be unfolded to you.

Economy in itself is one of the most agreeable of luxuries. This I need
not demonstrate. Everybody knows what good fun it is to make a bargain.
Economy becomes dreadful, only when some lightning-flash of truth shows
us that our painful frugality has been really the most lavish waste.

So Lois and I, for nine years, lived without a corkscrew. We would buy
busts and chromoliths with our money instead,--we would go to the White
Mountains, we would maintain an elegant æsthetic hospitality, as they do
in Paris, with the money we should save by doing without a corkscrew. So
I spoiled two sets of kitchen-forks by drawing corks with them, I broke
the necks of legions of bottles for which Mr. Tarr would have credited
me two cents each, and many times damaged, even to the swearing-point,
one of the sweetest tempers in the world,--all that we might economize
on this corkscrew. But one day, at the corner-shop, I saw a corkscrew in
the glass show-case, lying on some pocket-combs and family dye-stuffs. I
asked the price, to learn that it cost seventeen cents. The resolution
of years gave way before the temptation. I bought the corkscrew, and
from that moment my income has equalled my expenses. So you see, my
sweet May-bud, just trembling on the edge of housekeeping, that true
economy consists in buying the right thing at the right time,--if you
only pay for it as you go.

"But, my dear Mr. Carter, I don't know what the right thing is!"

Sweet heart, I knew it. And your husband knows no more than you
do,--although he will pretend to know, that he may look cross when the
bills come in. Read what follows; hide the "Atlantic" before he comes
home; and you will know more than he knows on the most important point
in human life. Vainly, henceforth, will he quote Greek to you, or talk
pompous nonsense about the price of Treasury certificates, if you know
at what price eggs are really cheap, and at what price they are really
dear.

Listen, and remember! Then hide the "Atlantic" away.

When I engaged in the study of Hebrew, which was at that time a
"regular" at college, (for why should I blush to own that I am in my one
hundred and tenth year?) as I toiled through the rules and exceptions in
dear old Stephen Sewall's Hebrew Grammar, I ventured to ask him, one
desperately hot June day, whether he could not tell us, were it only for
curiosity's sake, which rule would come into play in every verse, and
which would be of use only once or twice in the whole Bible. "Ah,
Carter," said the dear old fellow, (he taught his beloved language with
his own book,) "it is all of use,--all!" And so we had to take it all,
and find out as we could which rules would be constant servitors to us,
and which occasional lackeys, hired for special occasions. Just so, dear
Hero, do you stand about your housekeeping. You wall be fretting
yourself to death to economize in each one of one hundred and seven
different articles,--for so many are you and Leander to assimilate and
make your own special phosphate and carbon, as this sweet honey-year of
yours goes on. Of that fret and wear of your sweet temper, child, there
is no use at all. Listen, and you shall learn what are to be the great
constants of your expense,--what Stephen Sewall would have called the
regular verbs transitive of your being, doing, and suffering,--and how
many of the one hundred and seven are only exceptional Lamed Hhes, at
which you can guess or which you can skip, if the great central
movements of your economies go bravely on.

I do not know, of course, whether Leander is fond of coffee, and whether
you drink tea or no. I can only tell you what is in our family, and
assure you that ours is a model family. Such a model is it, that Lois
has just now counted up the one hundred and seven articles for me,--has
shown me that they all together cost us nine hundred and twenty-six
dollars and thirty-two cents in the year 1863, and how much each of them
cost. Now our family consists,--

1. Of the baby, who is king.

2, 3. Of two nurses, who are prime-ministers, one of domestic affairs,
one of private education.

4, 5. Of a cook and table-girl, who are chancellor and foreign
secretary. These four make the cabinet.

6-8. Three older children; these are in the government, but not in the
cabinet.

9 and 10. Lois and I,--who pay the taxes, fight common enemies, and do
what the others tell us as well as we can.

This family, you observe, consists of six grown persons, and three
children old enough to eat, who are equivalent to a seventh. I may say,
in passing, that it therefore consumes just seven barrels of flour a
year.

To feed it, as Lois has just now shown you, cost in the year 1863 nine
hundred and twenty-six dollars and thirty-two cents. That is the way we
chose to live. We could have lived just as happily on half that sum,--we
could have lived just as wretchedly on ten times that sum. But, however
we lived, the proportions of our expense would not have varied much from
what I am now to teach you, dear Hero (if that really be your name).

BUTTER is the biggest expense-item of all. Of our nine hundred and
twenty-six dollars and thirty-two cents, ninety-one dollars and
twenty-six cents went for butter. Remember that your butter is one-tenth
part of the whole.

Next comes flour. Our seven barrels cost us seventy dollars and
eighty-three cents. We bought, besides, six dollars and seventy-six
cents' worth of bread, and six dollars and seventy-one cents' worth of
crackers,--convenient sometimes, dear Hero. So that your wheat-flour and
bread are almost a tenth of the whole.

Next comes beef, in all forms, ninety dollars and seventy-six cents;
there goes another tenth. The other meats are, mutton, forty-seven
dollars and sixty-seven cents; turkeys, chickens, etc., if you call them
meat, sixty-one dollars and fifty-six cents; lamb, seventeen dollars and
fifty-three cents; veal, eleven dollars and fifty-three cents; fresh
pork, one dollar and seventy-three cents. (This must have been for some
guest. Lois and I each had a grandfather named Enoch, and have Jewish
prejudices; also, fresh pork is really the most costly article of diet,
if you count in the doctor's bills. But for ham there is ten dollars and
twenty-two cents. Ham is always available, you know, Hero. For other
salt pork, I recommend you to institute a father or brother, or cousin
attached to you in youth, who shall carry on a model farm in the
country, and kill for you a model corn-fed pig every year, see it salted
with his own eyes, and send to you a half-barrel of the pork for a _gage
d'amour_. It is a much more sentimental present than rosebuds, dearest
Hero,--and it lasts longer. That is the way we do; and salt pork,
therefore, does not appear on our bills. But against such salt pork I
have no Hebrew prejudice. Try it, Hero, with paper-sliced potatoes fried
for breakfast.) All other forms of meat sum up only two dollars and
twenty-three cents. And now, Hero, I will explain to you the philosophy
of meats. You see they cost you a quarter part of what you spend.

Know, then, my dear child, that the real business of the three meals a
day,--of the neat luncheon you serve on your wedding-silver for Mrs.
Dubbadoe and her pretty daughter, when they drive in from Milton to see
you,--of the ice-cream you ate last night at the summer party which the
Bellinghams gave the Pinckneys,--of the hard-tack and boiled dog which
dear John is now digesting in front of Petersburg,--the real business, I
say, is to supply the human frame with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and
nitrogen in organized forms. It must be in organized matter. You might
pound your wedding-diamonds for carbon, you might give water from Jordan
for oxygen and hydrogen, and the snow-flakes of the Jungfrau might serve
the nitrogen for Leander's dinners, but, because these are not
organized, Leander's cheek would pale, and his teeth shake in their
sockets, and his muscles dwindle to packthreads, as William Augustus's
do in the Slovenly-Peter books, and he would die before your eyes, Hero!
Yes, he would die! Do not, in your love of him, therefore, feed him on
your diamonds. Give him organized matter. Now, in doing this, you have
been wise in spending even a tenth of your substance on wheat. For wheat
is almost pure food; and wheat contains all you want,--more carbon than
your diamonds, more oxygen and hydrogen than your tears, more nitrogen
than the snow-flake,--but not nitrogen enough, dear Hero.

"More nitrogen!" gasps Leander, "more nitrogen, my charmer, or I die!"
This is the real meaning of the words, when he says, "Let us have
roast-beef for dinner," or when he asks you to pass him the butter.

Although beef, then, has little more than a quarter as much food in it
as wheat has, you must have some beef, or something like it, because
Leander, and you too, my rosy-cheek, must have nitrogen as well as
carbon.

I beg you not to throw the "Atlantic" away at this point, my child. Do
not say that Mr. Carter is an old fool, and that you never meant to live
on vegetables. A great many people have meant to, and have never known
what was the matter with them, when the real deficiency was nitrogen.
Besides, child, though wheat is the best single feeder of all, as I have
told you, because in its gluten it has so much nitrogen, this is to be
said of all vegetables, that, so far as we live on them, we exist
slowly; to a certain extent we have to ruminate as the cows do, and not
as men and women should ruminate, and all animal or functional life goes
more slowly on. Now, Hero, you and Leander both have to lead a rapid
life. Most people do in the autumn of 1864. So give him meat, dear Hero,
as above.

As for my being an old fool, my dear, I have said I am one hundred and
nine, which is older than old Mr. Waldo was, older than everybody except
old Parr. And after forty, everybody is a fool--or a physician.

Let us return, then, to our mutton,--always a good thing to return to,
especially if the plates are hot, as yours, Hero, always will be. For
mutton, besides such water as you can dry out of it, contains
twenty-nine per cent. of food,--for meat, a high percentage.

Let us see where we are.

Our butter costs us one-tenth.

Our flour and wheat-bread cost us almost one-tenth.

Our beef costs us one-tenth.

Our other meats cost us a tenth and a half of what we spend for eating
and drinking.

"Where in the world does the rest go, Mr. Carter? Here is not half. But
I could certainly live very well on these things."

Angel, you could. But if you lived wholly on these, you would want more
of them. You see we have said nothing of coffee and tea,--the princes or
princesses of food,--without which civilized man cannot renew his
brains. In such years as these, Hero, when our brave soldiers must have
coffee or we can have no victories, coffee costs me and Lois fifty
dollars,--cheap at that,--for, without it, did we drink dandelion like
the cows, or chiccory like the asses, how were these brains renewed?

"Tea and coffee are the same thing," says Liebig; at least, he says that
_Theine_, the base of tea, and _Caffeine_, the base of coffee, are the
same. What I know is, that, when coffee costs fifty dollars a year, tea
costs thirty dollars and eighty-nine cents.

For tea and coffee, Hero, allow about another tenth,--the cocoa and
cream will bring it up to that.

Our sugar cost us fifty-four dollars and twenty-two cents; our milk
fifty dollars and sixty-two; our cream ten dollars seventy-seven.

"Buy your cream separate," says Hero, "if you have as good a milkman as
Mr. Whittemore."

You have not as many babies as we, Hero. When you have, you will not
grudge the milk or the sugar. Lots of nourishment in sugar! Sugar and
milk are another tenth.

I do not know if you are a Catholic, Hero; but I guess your kitchen is;
and so I am pretty sure that you will eat fish Fridays. I know you are a
person of sense, so I know you will often delight Leander, as he rises
from the day's swim which, for your sake, Hero, he takes across the cold
Hellespont of life,--(all men are Leanders, and all women should be
their Heros, holding high love-torches for them,)--as he rises, I say,
with "a sound of wateriness," I know you will often delight him with
oysters, scalloped, fried, or plain, as _entremets_ to flank his
dinner-table. For fish count two per cent., for oysters two more, for
eggs three or four, and for that stupid compound of starch which some
men call "indispensable," and all men call "potato," count three or four
more. My advice is, that, when potatoes are dear, you skip them.
Rice-_croquets_ are better and cheaper. There goes another tenth.

Tea and coffee, etc., one-tenth.

Sugar and milk, one-tenth.

Fish, eggs, potatoes, etc., one-tenth.

Thus is it, Hero, that three-quarters of what you eat will be spent for
your bread and butter, your meat, fish, eggs, and potatoes, your coffee,
tea, milk, and sugar,--for twenty-one articles on a list of one hundred
and seven. Fresh vegetables, besides those named, will take one-fifth of
what is left: say five per cent. of the whole expense. The doctor will
order porter or wine, when your back aches, or when Leander looks thin.
Have nothing to do with them till he does order them, but reserve
another five per cent. for them. The rest, Hero, it is mace, it is
yeast, it is vinegar, pepper, and mustard, it is sardines, it is
lobster, it is the unconsidered world of trifles which make up the
visible difference between the table of high civilization and that of
the Abyssinian or the Blackfoot Indian. Let us hope it is not much
cream-of-tartar or saleratus. It is grits and grapes, it is lard and
lemons, it is maple-sugar and melons, it is nuts and nutmeg, or any
other alliteration that you fancy.

Now, pretty one, I can see you smile, and I can hear you say,--"Dear old
Mr. Carter, I am very much obliged to you. I begin to see my way a
little more clearly." Of course you do, child. You begin to see that the
most desperate economy in lemons will not make you and Leander rich, but
that you must make up your mind at the start about beef and about
butter. Hear, then, my parting whisper.

Disregard the traditions of economy. What is cheap to-day is dear
to-morrow. Do not make a bill-of-fare, and, because everything on it
tastes very badly, think it is cheap. Salt codfish is cheap sometimes,
and sometimes very dear. Venison is often an extravagance; but, of a
winter when the sleighing is good, and when the hunters have not gone
South, it is the cheapest food for you. Eggs are dear, if they tempt you
to cakes that you do not like. But no eggs can be sent to our brave
army, so, if you do choose to make a bargain with your Aunt Eunice at
Naugatuck Neck to send you four dozen by express once a week, they will
be, perhaps, the cheapest food you can buy. What you want, my child, is
variety. However cheaply you live, secure four things: First, a change
of fare from day to day, so as to have a good appetite; Second,
simplicity, each day, in the table, so as to lose but little in chips;
Third, fitness of things there, as hot plates for your mutton and cold
ones for your butter, so that what you have may be of the best; and,
first, second, third, and last, love between you and Leander. This last
sauce, says Solomon, answers even for herbs. And you know the Emperors
Augustus and Nebuchadnezzar both had to live on herbs,--I am afraid,
because love had been wanting in both cases. If you have a stalled ox,
you will need the same sauces,--much more, unless it is better dressed
than the only one I ever saw, which was at Warwick, when Cheron and I
were going to Stratford-on-Avon. It was not attractive. You will need
three of these four things, if you are rich. Rich or poor, buy in as
large quantities as you can. Rich or poor, pay cash. Rich or poor, do
not try to do without carbon or nitrogen. Rich or poor, vary steadily
the bills-of-fare. Now the minimum of what you can support life upon, at
this moment, is easily told. Jeff Davis makes the calculation for you.
It is quarter of a pound of salt pork a day, with four Graham hard-tack.
That is what each of his soldiers is eating; and though they are not
stout, they are wiry fellows, and fight well. The maximum you can find
by lodging at the Brevoort, at New York,--where, when I last went to the
front, I stopped an hour on the way, and, though I had no meals, paid
two dollars and eighty cents for washing my face in another man's
bedroom. A year of Jeff Davis's diet would cost you and Leander, if you
bought in large quantities, sixty dollars. A year at Rye Beach just now
would cost you two or three thousand dollars. Choose your dinner from
either bill; vary it, by all the gradations between. But remember,
child, as you would cheer Leander after his swim, and keep within your
allowance, remember that what was dear yesterday may be cheap
to-day,--remember to vary the repast, therefore, from Monday round to
Saturday; eschew the corner-shop, and buy as large stores as Leander
will let you; and always keep near at hand an unexhausted supply of
Solomon's condiment.

FOOTNOTES:

[35]

    "All hail, thou Connecticut, who forever hast ran,
    Bringing shad to South Hadley, and pleasure to man!"



BEFORE VICKSBURG.

MAY 19, 1863.


    While Sherman stood beneath the hottest fire
      That from the lines of Vicksburg gleamed,
    And bomb-shells tumbled in their smoky gyre,
      And grape-shot hissed, and case-shot screamed;
          Back from the front there came,
          Weeping and sorely lame,
      The merest child, the youngest face
    Man ever saw in such a fearful place.

    Stifling his tears, he limped his chief to meet;
      But when he paused, and tottering stood,
    Around the circle of his little feet
      There spread a pool of bright, young blood.
          Shocked at his doleful case,
          Sherman cried, "Halt! front face!
      Who are you? Speak, my gallant boy!"
    "A drummer, Sir:--Fifty-Fifth Illinois."

    "Are you not hit?" "That's nothing. Only send
      Some cartridges: our men are out;
    And the foe press us." "But, my little friend"--
      "Don't mind me! Did you hear that shout?
          What if our men be driven?
          Oh, for the love of Heaven,
      Send to my Colonel, General dear!"
    "But you?" "Oh, I shall easily find the rear."

    "I'll see to that," cried Sherman; and a drop
      Angels might envy dimmed his eye,
    As the boy, toiling towards the hill's hard top,
      Turned round, and with his shrill child's cry
          Shouted, "Oh, don't forget!
          We'll win the battle yet!
      But let our soldiers have some more,
    More cartridges, Sir,--calibre fifty-four!"



OUR VISIT TO RICHMOND.

WHY WE WENT THERE.


Why my companion, the Rev. Dr. Jaquess, Colonel of the Seventy-Third
Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, recently went to Richmond, and the
circumstances attending his previous visit within the Rebel lines,--when
he wore his uniform, and mixed openly with scores of leading
Confederates,--I shall shortly make known to the public in a volume
called "Down in Tennessee." It may now, however, be asked why I, a
"civil" individual, and not in the pay of Government, became his
travelling-companion, and, at a time when all the world was rushing
North to the mountains and the watering-places, journeyed South for a
conference with the arch-Rebel, in the hot and dangerous latitude of
Virginia.

Did it never occur to you, reader, when you have undertaken to account
for some of the simplest of your own actions, how many good reasons have
arisen in your mind, every one of which has justified you in concluding
that you were of "sound and disposing understanding"? So, now, in
looking inward for the why and the wherefore which I know will be
demanded of me at the threshold of this article, I find half a dozen
reasons for my visit to Richmond, any one of which ought to prove that I
am a sensible man, altogether too sensible to go on so long a journey,
in the heat of midsummer, for the mere pleasure of the thing. Some of
these reasons I will enumerate.

First: Very many honest people at the North sincerely believe that the
revolted States will return to the Union, if assured of protection to
their peculiar institution. The Government having declared that no State
shall be readmitted which has not first abolished Slavery, these people
hold it responsible for the continuance of the war. It is, therefore,
important to know whether the Rebel States will or will not return, if
allowed to retain Slavery. Mr. Jefferson Davis could, undoubtedly,
answer that question; and that may have been a reason why I went to see
him.

Second: On the second of July last, C. C. Clay, of Alabama, J. P.
Holcombe, of Virginia, and G. N. Sanders, of nowhere in particular,
appeared at Niagara Falls, and publicly announced that they were there
to confer with the Democratic leaders in reference to the Chicago
nomination. Very soon thereafter, a few friends of the Administration
received intimations from those gentlemen that they were Commissioners
from the Rebel Government, with authority to negotiate preliminaries of
peace on something like the following basis, namely: A restoration of
the Union as it was; all negroes actually freed by the war to be
declared free, and all negroes not actually freed by the war to be
declared slaves.

These overtures were not considered sincere. They seemed concocted to
embarrass the Government, to throw upon it the odium of continuing the
war, and thus to secure the triumph of the peace-traitors at the
November election. The scheme, if well managed, threatened to be
dangerous, by uniting the Peace-men, the Copperheads, and such of the
Republicans as love peace better than principle, in one opposition,
willing to make a peace that would be inconsistent with the safety and
dignity of the country. It was, therefore, important to discover--what
was then in doubt--whether the Rebel envoys really had, or had not, any
official authority.

Within fifteen days of the appearance of these "Peace Commissioners,"
Jefferson Davis had said to an eminent Secession divine, who, late in
June, came through the Union lines by the Maryland back-door, that he
would make peace on no other terms than a recognition of Southern
Independence. (He might, however, agree to two governments, bound
together by a league offensive and defensive,--for all external purposes
_one_, for all internal purposes _two_; but he would agree to nothing
better.)

There was reason to consider this information trustworthy, and to
believe Mr. Davis (who was supposed to be a clear-minded man) altogether
ignorant of the doings of his Niagara satellites. If this were true, and
were proven to be true,--if the _great_ Rebel should reiterate this
declaration in the presence of a trustworthy witness, at the very time
when the _small_ Rebels were opening their Quaker guns on the
country,--would not the Niagara negotiators be stripped of their false
colors, and their low schemes be exposed to the scorn of all honest men,
North and South?

I may have thought so; and that may have been another reason why I went
to Richmond.

Third: I had been acquainted with Colonel Jaquess's peace-movements from
their inception. Early in June last he wrote me from a battle-field in
Georgia, announcing his intention of again visiting the Rebels, and
asking an interview with me at a designated place. We met, and went to
Washington together. Arriving there, I became aware that obstacles were
in the way of his further progress. Those obstacles could be removed by
my accompanying him; and that, to those who know the man and his
"mission," which is to preach peace on earth and good-will among men,
would seem a very good reason why I went to Richmond.

Fourth,--and this to very many may appear as potent as any of the
preceding reasons,--I had in my boyhood a strange fancy for
church-belfries and liberty-poles. This fancy led me, in
school-vacations, to perch my small self for hours on the cross-beams in
the old belfry, and to climb to the very top of the tall pole which
still surmounts the little village-green. In my youth, this feeling was
simply a spirit of adventure; but as I grew older it deepened into a
reverence for what those old bells said, and a love for the principle of
which that old liberty-pole is now only a crumbling symbol.

Had not events shown that Jeff. Davis had never seen that old
liberty-pole, and never heard the chimes which still ring out from that
old belfry? Who knew, in these days when every wood-sawyer has a
"mission," but _I_ had a "mission," and it was to tell the Rebel
President that Northern liberty-poles still stand for Freedom, and that
Northern church-bells still peal out, "Liberty throughout the land, to
_all_ the inhabitants thereof"?

If that _was_ my mission, will anybody blame me for fanning Mr. Davis
with a "blast" of cool Northern "wind" in this hot weather?

But enough of mystification. The straightforward reader wants a
straightforward reason, and he shall have it.

We went to Richmond because we hoped to pave the way for negotiations
that would result in peace.

If we should succeed, the consciousness of having served the country
would, we thought, pay our expenses. If we should fail, but return
safely, we might still serve the country by making public the cause of
our failure. If we should fail, and _not_ return safely, but be shot or
hanged as spies,--as we might be, for we could have no protection from
our Government, and no safe-conduct from the Rebels,--two lives would be
added to the thousands already sacrificed to this Rebellion, but they
would as effectually serve the country as if lost on the battle-field.

These are the reasons, and the only reasons, why we went to Richmond.


HOW WE WENT THERE.

We went there in an ambulance, and we went together,--the Colonel and I;
and though two men were never more unlike, we worked together like two
brothers, or like two halves of a pair of shears. That we got _in_ was
owing, perhaps, to me; that we got _out_ was due altogether to him; and
a man more cool, more brave, more self-reliant, and more self-devoted
than that quiet "Western parson" it never was my fortune to encounter.

When the far-away Boston bells were sounding nine, on the morning of
Saturday, the sixteenth of July, we took our glorious Massachusetts
General by the hand, and said to him,--

"Good bye. If you do not see us within ten days, you will know we have
'gone up.'"

"If I do not see you within that time," he replied, "I'll demand you;
and if they don't produce you, body and soul, I'll take two for
one,--better men than you are,--and hang them higher than Haman. My hand
on that. Good bye."

At three o'clock on the afternoon of the same day, mounted on two
raw-boned relics of Sheridan's great raid, and armed with a letter to
Jeff. Davis, a white cambric handkerchief tied to a short stick, and an
honest face,--this last was the Colonel's,--we rode up to the Rebel
lines. A ragged, yellow-faced boy, with a carbine in one hand, and
another white handkerchief tied to another short stick in the other,
came out to meet us.

"Can you tell us, my man, where to find Judge Ould, the Exchange
Commissioner?"

"Yas. Him and t'other 'Change officers is over ter the plantation beyont
Miss Grover's. Ye'll know it by its hevin' nary door nur winder [the
mansion, he meant]. They's all busted in. Foller the bridle-path through
the timber, and keep your rag a-flyin', fur our boys is thicker 'n
huckelberries in them woods, and they mought pop ye, ef they didn't seed
it."

Thanking him, we turned our horses into the "timber," and, galloping
rapidly on, soon came in sight of the deserted plantation. Lolling on
the grass, in the shade of the windowless mansion, we found the
Confederate officials. They rose as we approached; and one of us said to
the Judge,--a courteous, middle-aged gentleman, in a Panama hat, and a
suit of spotless white drillings,--

"We are late, but it's your fault. Your people fired at us down the
river, and we had to turn back and come overland."

"You don't suppose they saw your flag?"

"No. It was hidden by the trees; but a shot came uncomfortably near us.
It struck the water, and ricochetted not three yards off. A little
nearer, and it would have shortened me by a head, and the Colonel by two
feet."

"That would have been a sad thing for you; but a miss, you know, is as
good as a mile," said the Judge, evidently enjoying the "joke."

"We hear Grant was in the boat that followed yours, and was struck while
at dinner," remarked Captain Hatch, the Judge's Adjutant,--a gentleman,
and about the best-looking man in the Confederacy.

"Indeed! Do you believe it?"

"I don't know, of course"; and his looks asked for an answer. We gave
none, for all such information is contraband. We might have told him
that Grant, Butler, and Foster examined their position from Mrs.
Grover's house,--about four hundred yards distant,--two hours after the
Rebel cannon-ball danced a break-down on the Lieutenant-General's
dinner-table.

We were then introduced to the other officials,--Major Henniken of the
War Department, a young man formerly of New York, but now scorning the
imputation of being a Yankee, and Mr. Charles Javins, of the
Provost-Guard of Richmond. This latter individual was our shadow in
Dixie. He was of medium height, stoutly built, with a short, thick neck,
and arms and shoulders denoting great strength. He looked a natural-born
jailer, and much such a character as a timid man would not care to
encounter, except at long range of a rifle warranted to five twenty
shots a minute, and to hit every time.

To give us a _moonlight view_ of the Richmond fortifications, the Judge
proposed to start after sundown; and as it wanted some hours of that
time, we seated ourselves on the ground, and entered into conversation.
The treatment of our prisoners, the _status_ of black troops, and
non-combatants, and all the questions which have led to the suspension
of exchanges, had been good-naturedly discussed, when the Captain,
looking up from one of the Northern papers we had brought him, said,--

"Do you know, it mortifies me that you don't hate us as we hate you? You
kill us as Agassiz kills a fly,--because you love us."

"Of course we do. The North is being crucified for love of the South."

"If you love us so, why don't you let us go?" asked the Judge, rather
curtly.

"For that very reason,--because we love you. If we let you go, with
slavery, and your notions of 'empire,' you'd run straight to barbarism
and the Devil."

"We'd take the risk of that. But let me tell you, if you are going to
Mr. Davis with any such ideas, you might as well turn back at once. He
can make peace on no other basis than Independence. Recognition must be
the beginning, middle, and ending of all negotiations. Our people will
accept peace on no other terms."

"I think you are wrong there," said the Colonel. "When I was here a year
ago, I met many of your leading men, and they all assured me they wanted
peace and reunion, even at the sacrifice of slavery. Within a week, a
man you venerate and love has met me at Baltimore, and besought me to
come here, and offer Mr. Davis peace on such conditions."

"That may be. Some of our old men, who are weak in the knees, may want
peace on any terms; but the Southern people will not have it without
Independence. Mr. Davis knows them, and you will find he will insist
upon that. Concede that, and we'll not quarrel about minor matters."

"We'll not quarrel at all. But it's sundown, and time we were 'on to
Richmond.'"

"That's the 'Tribune' cry," said the Captain, rising; "and I hurrah for
the 'Tribune,' for it's honest, and--I want my supper."

We all laughed, and the Judge ordered the horses. As we were about to
start, I said to him,--

"You've forgotten our parole."

"Oh, never mind that. We'll attend to that at Richmond."

Stepping into his carriage, and unfurling the flag of truce, he then led
the way, by a "short cut," across the cornfield which divided the
mansion from the high-road. We followed in an ambulance drawn by a pair
of mules, our shadow--Mr. Javins--sitting between us and the twilight,
and Jack, a "likely darky," almost the sole survivor of his master's
twelve hundred slaves, ("De ress all stole, Massa,--stole by you
Yankees,") occupying the front-seat, and with a stout whip "working our
passage" to Richmond.

Much that was amusing and interesting occurred during our three-hours'
journey, but regard for our word forbids my relating it. Suffice it to
say, we saw the "frowning fortifications," we "flanked" the "invincible
army," and, at ten o'clock that night, planted our flag (against a
lamp-post) in the very heart of the hostile city. As we alighted at the
doorway of the Spotswood Hotel, the Judge said to the Colonel,--

"Button your outside-coat up closely. Your uniform must not be seen
here."

The Colonel did as he was bidden; and, without stopping to register our
names at the office, we followed the Judge and the Captain up to No. 60.
It was a large, square room in the fourth story, with an unswept, ragged
carpet, and bare, white walls, smeared with soot and tobacco-juice.
Several chairs, a marble-top table, and a pine wash-stand and
clothes-press straggled about the floor, and in the corners were three
beds, garnished with tattered pillow-cases, and covered with white
counterpanes, grown gray with longing for soapsuds and a wash-tub. The
plainer and humbler of these beds was designed for the burly Mr. Javins;
the others had been made ready for the extraordinary envoys (not envoys
extraordinary) who, in defiance of all precedent and the "law of
nations," had just then "taken Richmond."

A single gas-jet was burning over the mantel-piece, and above it I saw a
"writing on the wall" which implied that Jane Jackson had run up a
washing-score of fifty dollars!

I was congratulating myself on not having to pay that woman's
laundry-bills, when the Judge said,--

"You want supper. What shall we order?"

"A slice of hot corn-bread would make _me_ the happiest man in
Richmond."

The Captain thereupon left the room, and shortly returning, remarked,--

"The landlord swears you're from Georgia. He says none but a Georgian
would call for corn-bread at this time of night."

On that hint we acted, and when our sooty attendant came in with the
supper-things, we discussed Georgia mines, Georgia banks, and Georgia
mosquitoes, in a way that showed we had been bitten by all of them. In
half an hour it was noised all about the hotel that the two gentlemen
the Confederacy was taking such excellent care of were from Georgia.

The meal ended, and a quiet smoke over, our entertainers rose to go. As
the Judge bade us good-night, he said to us,--

"In the morning you had better address a note to Mr. Benjamin, asking
the interview with the President. I will call at ten o'clock, and take
it to him."

"Very well. But will Mr. Davis see us on Sunday?"

"Oh, that will make no difference."


WHAT WE DID THERE.

The next morning, after breakfast, which we took in our room with Mr.
Javins, we indited a note--of which the following is a copy--to the
Confederate Secretary of State.

    "Spotswood House, Richmond, Va.

                    "July 17th, 1864.

    "Hon. J. P. Benjamin,

        "Secretary of State, etc.

     "DEAR SIR,--The undersigned respectfully solicit an interview
     with President Davis.

     "They visit Richmond only as private citizens, and have no
     official character or authority; but they are acquainted with
     the views of the United States Government, and with the
     sentiments of the Northern people relative to an adjustment of
     the differences existing between the North and the South, and
     earnestly hope that a free interchange of views between
     President Davis and themselves may open the way to such
     _official_ negotiations as will result in restoring PEACE to
     the two sections of our distracted country.

     "They, therefore, ask an interview with the President, and
     awaiting your reply, are

        "Truly and respectfully yours."

This was signed by both of us; and when the Judge called, as he had
appointed, we sent it--together with a commendatory letter I had
received, on setting out, from a near relative of Mr. Davis--to the
Rebel Secretary. In half an hour Judge Ould returned, saying,--"Mr.
Benjamin sends you his compliments, and will be happy to see you at the
State Department."

We found the Secretary--a short, plump, oily little man in black, with a
keen black eye, a Jew face, a yellow skin, curly black hair, closely
trimmed black whiskers, and a ponderous gold watch-chain--in the
northwest room of the "United States" Custom-House. Over the door of
this room were the words, "State Department," and round its walls were
hung a few maps and battle-plans. In one corner was a tier of shelves
filled with books,--among which I noticed Headley's "History,"
Lossing's "Pictorial," Parton's "Butler," Greeley's "American
Conflict," a complete set of the "Rebellion Record," and a dozen numbers
and several bound volumes of the "Atlantic Monthly,"--and in the centre
of the apartment was a black-walnut table, covered with green cloth, and
filled with a multitude of "state-papers." At this table sat the
Secretary. He rose as we entered, and, as Judge Ould introduced us, took
our hands, and said,--

"I am glad, very glad, to meet you, Gentlemen. I have read your note,
and"--bowing to me--"the open letter you bring from ----. Your errand
commands my respect and sympathy. Pray be seated."

As we took the proffered seats, the Colonel, drawing off his "duster,"
and displaying his uniform, said,--

"We thank you for this cordial reception, Mr. Benjamin. We trust you
will be as glad to hear us as you are to see us."

"No doubt I shall be, for you come to talk of peace. Peace is what we
all want."

"It is, indeed; and for that reason we are here to see Mr. Davis. Can we
see him, Sir?"

"Do you bring any overtures to him from your Government?"

"No, Sir. We bring no overtures and have no authority from our
Government. We state that in our note. We would be glad, however, to
know what terms will be acceptable to Mr. Davis. If they at all
harmonize with Mr. Lincoln's views, we will report them to him, and so
open the door for official negotiations."

"Are you acquainted with Mr. Lincoln's views?"

"One of us is, fully."

"Did Mr. Lincoln, _in any way_, authorize you to come here?"

"No, Sir. We came with his pass, but not by his request. We say,
distinctly, we have no official, or unofficial, authority. We come as
men and Christians, not as diplomatists, hoping, in a frank talk with
Mr. Davis, to discover some way by which this war may be stopped."

"Well, Gentlemen, I will repeat what you say to the President, and if he
follows my advice,--and I think he will,--he will meet you. He will be
at church this afternoon; so, suppose you call here at nine this
evening. If anything should occur in the meantime to prevent his seeing
you, I will let you know through Judge Ould."

Throughout this interview the manner of the Secretary was cordial; but
with this cordiality was a strange constraint and diffidence, almost
amounting to timidity, which struck both my companion and myself.
Contrasting his manner with the quiet dignity of the Colonel, I almost
fancied our positions reversed,--that, instead of our being in his
power, the Secretary was in ours, and momently expecting to hear some
unwelcome sentence from our lips. There is something, after all, in
moral power. Mr. Benjamin does not possess it, nor is he a great man. He
has a keen, shrewd, ready intellect, but not the _stamina_ to originate,
or even to execute, any great good or great wickedness.

After a day spent in our room, conversing with the Judge, or watching
the passers-by in the street,--I should like to tell who they were and
how they looked, but such information is just now contraband,--we called
again, at nine o'clock, at the State Department.

Mr. Benjamin occupied his previous seat at the table, and at his right
sat a spare, thin-featured man, with iron-gray hair and beard, and a
clear, gray eye full of life and vigor. He had a broad, massive
forehead, and a mouth and chin denoting great energy and strength of
will. His face was emaciated, and much wrinkled, but his features were
good, especially his eyes,--though one of them bore a scar, apparently
made by some sharp instrument. He wore a suit of grayish-brown,
evidently of foreign manufacture, and, as he rose, I saw that he was
about five feet ten inches high, with a slight stoop in the shoulders.
His manners were simple, easy, and quite fascinating: and he threw an
indescribable charm into his voice, as he extended his hand, and said to
us,--

"I am glad to see you, Gentlemen. You are very welcome to Richmond."

And this was the man who was President of the United States under
Franklin Pierce, and who is now the heart, soul, and brains of the
Southern Confederacy!

His manner put me entirely at my ease,--the Colonel would be at his, if
he stood before Cæsar,--and I replied,--

"We thank you, Mr. Davis. It is not often you meet men of our clothes,
and our principles, in Richmond."

"Not often,--not so often as I could wish; and I trust your coming may
lead to a more frequent and a more friendly intercourse between the
North and the South."

"We sincerely hope it may."

"Mr. Benjamin tells me you have asked to see me, to"----

And he paused, as if desiring we should finish the sentence. The Colonel
replied,--

"Yes, Sir. We have asked this interview in the hope that you may suggest
some way by which this war can be stopped. Our people want peace,--your
people do, and your Congress has recently said that _you_ do. We have
come to ask how it can be brought about."

"In a very simple way. Withdraw your armies from our territory, and
peace will come of itself. We do not seek to subjugate you. We
are not waging an offensive war, except so far as it is
offensive-defensive,--that is, so far as we are forced to invade you to
prevent your invading us. Let us alone, and peace will come at once."

"But we cannot let you alone so long as you repudiate the Union. That is
the one thing the Northern people will not surrender."

"I know. You would deny to us what you exact for yourselves,--the right
of self-government."

"No, Sir," I remarked. "We would deny you no natural right. But we think
Union essential to peace; and, Mr. Davis, _could_ two people, with the
same language, separated by only an imaginary line, live at peace with
each other? Would not disputes constantly arise, and cause almost
constant war between them?"

"Undoubtedly,--with this generation. You have sown such bitterness at
the South, you have put such an ocean of blood between the two sections,
that I despair of seeing any harmony in my time. Our children may forget
this war, but _we_ cannot."

"I think the bitterness you speak of, Sir," said the Colonel, "does not
really exist. _We_ meet and talk here as friends; our soldiers meet and
fraternize with each other; and I feel sure, that, if the Union were
restored, a more friendly feeling would arise between us than has ever
existed. The war has made us know and respect each other better than
before. This is the view of very many Southern men; I have had it from
many of them,--your leading citizens."

"They are mistaken," replied Mr. Davis. "They do not understand Southern
sentiment. How can we feel anything but bitterness towards men who deny
us our rights? If you enter my house and drive me out of it, am I not
your natural enemy?"

"You put the case too strongly. But we cannot fight forever; the war
must end at some time; we must finally agree upon something; can we not
agree now, and stop this frightful carnage? We are both Christian men,
Mr. Davis. Can _you_, as a Christian man, leave untried any means that
may lead to peace?"

"No, I cannot. I desire peace as much as you do. I deplore bloodshed as
much as you do; but I feel that not one drop of the blood shed in this
war is on _my_ hands,--I can look up to my God and say this. I tried all
in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, and for twelve years I
worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad
and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves; and so the war came,
and now it must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his
tracks, and his children seize his musket and fight his battle, _unless
you acknowledge our right to self-government_. We are not fighting for
slavery. We are fighting for Independence,--and that, or extermination,
we _will_ have."

"And there are, at least, four and a half millions of us left; so you
see you have a work before you," said Mr. Benjamin, with a decided
sneer.

"We have no wish to exterminate you," answered the Colonel. "I believe
what I have said,--that there is no bitterness between the Northern and
Southern _people_. The North, I know, loves the South. When peace comes,
it will pour money and means into your hands to repair the waste caused
by the war; and it would now welcome you back, and forgive you all the
loss and bloodshed you have caused. But we _must_ crush your armies, and
exterminate your Government. And is not that already nearly done? You
are wholly without money, and at the end of your resources. Grant has
shut you up in Richmond. Sherman is before Atlanta. Had you not, then,
better accept honorable terms while you can retain your prestige, and
save the pride of the Southern people?"

Mr. Davis smiled.

"I respect your earnestness, Colonel, but you do not seem to understand
the situation. We are not exactly shut up in Richmond. If your papers
tell the truth, it is your capital that is in danger, not ours. Some
weeks ago, Grant crossed the Rapidan to whip Lee, and take Richmond. Lee
drove him in the first battle, and then Grant executed what your people
call a 'brilliant flank-movement,' and fought Lee again. Lee drove him a
second time, and then Grant made another 'flank-movement'; and so they
kept on,--Lee whipping, and Grant flanking,--until Grant got where he is
now. And what is the net result? Grant has lost seventy-five or eighty
thousand men,--_more than Lee had at the outset_,--and is no nearer
taking Richmond than at first; and Lee, whose front has never been
broken, holds him completely in check, and has men enough to spare to
invade Maryland, and threaten Washington! Sherman, to be sure, _is_
before Atlanta; but suppose he is, and suppose he takes it? You know,
that, the farther he goes from his base of supplies, the weaker he
grows, and the more disastrous defeat will be to him. And defeat _may_
come. So, in a military view, I should certainly say our position was
better than yours.

"As to money: we are richer than you are. You smile; but admit that our
paper is worth nothing,--it answers as a circulating-medium; and we hold
it all ourselves. If every dollar of it were lost, we should, as we have
no foreign debt, be none the poorer. But it _is_ worth something; it has
the solid basis of a large cotton-crop, while yours rests on nothing,
and you owe all the world. As to resources: we do not lack for arms or
ammunition, and we have still a wide territory from which to gather
supplies. So, you see, we are not in extremities. But if we were,--if we
were without money, without food, without weapons,--if our whole country
were devastated, and our armies crushed and disbanded,--could we,
without giving up our manhood, give up our right to govern ourselves?
Would _you_ not rather die, and feel yourself a man, than live, and be
subject to a foreign power?"

"From your stand-point there is force in what you say," replied the
Colonel. "But we did not come here to argue with you, Mr. Davis. We
came, hoping to find some honorable way to peace; and I am grieved to
hear you say what you do. When I have seen your young men dying on the
battle-field, and your old men, women, and children starving in their
homes, I have felt I could risk my life to save them. For that reason I
am here; and I am grieved, grieved, that there is no hope."

"I know your motives, Colonel Jaquess, and I honor you for them; but
what can I do more than I am doing? I would give my poor life, gladly,
if it would bring peace and good-will to the two countries; but it would
not. It is with your own people you should labor. It is they who
desolate our homes, burn our wheat-fields, break the wheels of wagons
carrying away our women and children, and destroy supplies meant for our
sick and wounded. At your door lies all the misery and the crime of this
war,--and it is a fearful, fearful account."

"Not all of it, Mr. Davis. I admit a fearful account, but it is not
_all_ at our door. The passions of both sides are aroused. Unarmed men
are hanged, prisoners are shot down in cold blood, by yourselves.
Elements of barbarism are entering the war on both sides, that should
make us--you and me, as Christian men--shudder to think of. In God's
name, then, let us stop it. Let us do something, concede something, to
bring about peace. You cannot expect, with only four and a half
millions, as Mr. Benjamin says you have, to hold out forever against
twenty millions."

Again Mr. Davis smiled.

"Do you suppose there are twenty millions at the North determined to
crush us?"

"I do,--to crush your _government_. A small number of our people, a very
small number, are your friends,--Secessionists. The rest differ about
measures and candidates, but are united in the determination to sustain
the Union. Whoever is elected in November, he _must be_ committed to a
vigorous prosecution of the war."

Mr. Davis still looking incredulous, I remarked,--

"It is so, Sir. Whoever tells you otherwise deceives you. I think I know
Northern sentiment, and I assure you it is so. You know we have a system
of lyceum-lecturing in our large towns. At the close of these lectures,
it is the custom of the people to come upon the platform and talk with
the lecturer. This gives him an excellent opportunity of learning public
sentiment. Last winter I lectured before nearly a hundred of such
associations, all over the North,--from Dubuque to Bangor,--and I took
pains to ascertain the feeling of the people. I found a unanimous
determination to crush the Rebellion and save the Union at every
sacrifice. The majority are in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and nearly all of
those opposed to him are opposed to him because they think he does not
fight you with enough vigor. The radical Republicans, who go for
slave-suffrage and thorough confiscation, are those who will defeat him,
if he is defeated. But if he is defeated before the people, the House
will elect a worse man,--I mean, worse for you. It is more radical than
he is,--you can see that from Mr. Ashley's Reconstruction Bill,--and the
people are more radical than the House. Mr. Lincoln, I know, is about to
call out five hundred thousand more men, and I can't see how you _can_
resist much longer; but if you do, you will only deepen the radical
feeling of the Northern people. They will now give you fair, honorable,
_generous_ terms; but let them suffer much more, let there be a dead man
in every house, as there is now in every village, and they will give you
_no_ terms,--they will insist on hanging every Rebel south of ----.
Pardon my terms. I mean no offence."

"You give no offence," he replied, smiling very, pleasantly. "I wouldn't
have you pick your words. This is a frank, free talk, and I like you the
better for saying what you think. Go on."

"I was merely going to say, that, let the Northern people once really
feel the war,--they do not feel it yet,--and they will insist on hanging
every one of your leaders."

"Well, admitting all you say, I can't see how it affects our position.
There are some things worse than hanging or extermination. We reckon
giving up the right of self-government one of those things."

"By self-government you mean disunion,--Southern Independence?"

"Yes."

"And slavery, you say, is no longer an element in the contest."

"No, it is not, it never was an _essential_ element. It was only a means
of bringing other conflicting elements to an earlier culmination. It
fired the musket which was already capped and loaded. There are
essential differences between the North and the South that will, however
this war may end, make them two nations."

"You ask me to say what I think. Will you allow me to say that I know
the South pretty well, and never observed those differences?"

"Then you have not used your eyes. My sight is poorer than yours, but I
have seen them for years."

The laugh was upon me, and Mr. Benjamin enjoyed it.

"Well, Sir, be that as it may, if I understand you, the dispute between
your government and ours is narrowed down to this: Union or Disunion."

"Yes; or to put it in other words: Independence or Subjugation."

"Then the two governments are irreconcilably apart. They have no
alternative but to fight it out. But it is not so with the people. They
are tired of fighting, and want peace; and as they bear all the burden
and suffering of the war, is it not right they should have peace, and
have it on such terms as they like?"

"I don't understand you. Be a little more explicit."

"Well, suppose the two governments should agree to something like this:
To go to the people with two propositions: say, Peace, with Disunion and
Southern Independence, as your proposition,--and Peace, with Union,
Emancipation, No Confiscation, and Universal Amnesty, as ours. Let the
citizens of all the United States (as they existed before the war) vote
'Yes,' or 'No,' on these two propositions, at a special election within
sixty days. If a majority votes Disunion, our government to be bound by
it, and to let you go in peace. If a majority votes Union, yours to be
bound by it, and to stay in peace. The two governments can contract in
this way, and the people, though constitutionally unable to decide on
peace or war, can elect which of the two propositions shall govern their
rulers. Let Lee and Grant, meanwhile, agree to an armistice. This would
sheathe the sword; and if once sheathed, it would never again be drawn
by this generation."

"The plan is altogether impracticable. If the South were only one State,
it might work; but as it is, if one Southern State objected to
emancipation, it would nullify the whole thing; for you are aware the
people of Virginia cannot vote slavery out of South Carolina, nor the
people of South Carolina vote it out of Virginia."

"But three-fourths of the States can amend the Constitution. Let it be
done in that way,--in any way, so that it be done by the people. I am
not a statesman or a politician, and I do not know just how such a plan
could be carried out; but you get the idea,--that the PEOPLE shall
decide the question."

"That the _majority_ shall decide it, you mean. We seceded to rid
ourselves of the rule of the majority, and this would subject us to it
again."

"But the majority must rule finally, either with bullets or ballots."

"I am not so sure of that. Neither current events nor history shows that
the majority rules, or ever did rule. The contrary, I think, is true.
Why, Sir, the man who should go before the Southern people with such a
proposition, with _any_ proposition which implied that the North was to
have a voice in determining the domestic relations of the South, could
not live here a day. He would be hanged to the first tree, without judge
or jury."

"Allow me to doubt that. I think it more likely he would be hanged, if
he let the Southern people know the majority couldn't rule," I replied,
smiling.

"I have no fear of that," rejoined Mr. Davis, also smiling most
good-humoredly. "I give you leave to proclaim it from every house-top in
the South."

"But, seriously, Sir, you let the majority rule in a single State; why
not let it rule in the whole country?"

"Because the States are independent and sovereign. The country is not.
It is only a confederation of States; or rather it _was_: it is now
_two_ confederations."

"Then we are not a _people_,--we are only a political partnership?"

"That is all."

"Your very name, Sir, '_United_ States,' implies that," said Mr.
Benjamin. "But, tell me, are the terms you have named--Emancipation, No
Confiscation, and Universal Amnesty--the terms which Mr. Lincoln
authorized you to offer us?"

"No, Sir, Mr. Lincoln did not authorize me to offer you any terms. But I
_think_ both he and the Northern people, for the sake of peace, would
assent to some such conditions."

"They are _very_ generous," replied Mr. Davis, for the first time during
the interview showing some angry feeling. "But Amnesty, Sir, applies to
criminals. We have committed no crime. Confiscation is of no account,
unless you can enforce it. And Emancipation! You have already
emancipated nearly two millions of our slaves,--and if you will take
care of them, you may emancipate the rest. I had a few when the war
began. I was of some use to them; they never were of any to me. Against
their will you 'emancipated' them; and you may 'emancipate' every negro
in the Confederacy, but _we will be free_! We will govern ourselves. We
_will_ do it, if we have to see every Southern plantation sacked, and
every Southern city in flames."

"I see, Mr. Davis, it is useless to continue this conversation," I
replied; "and you will pardon us, if we have seemed to press our views
with too much pertinacity. We love the old flag, and that must be our
apology for intruding upon you at all."

"You have not intruded upon me," he replied, resuming his usual manner.
"I am glad to have met you, both. I once loved the old flag as well as
you do; I would have died for it; but now it is to me only the emblem of
oppression."

"I hope the day may never come, Mr. Davis, when _I_ say that," said the
Colonel.

A half-hour's conversation on other topics--not of public
interest--ensued, and then we rose to go. As we did so, the Rebel
President gave me his hand, and, bidding me a kindly good-bye, expressed
the hope of seeing me again in Richmond in happier times,--when peace
should have returned; but with the Colonel his parting was particularly
cordial. Taking his hand in both of his, he said to him,--

"Colonel, I respect your character and your motives, and I wish you
well,--I wish you every good I can wish you consistently with the
interests of the Confederacy."

The quiet, straightforward bearing and magnificent moral courage of our
"fighting parson" had evidently impressed Mr. Davis very favorably.

As we were leaving the room, he added--

"Say to Mr. Lincoln from me, that I shall at any time be pleased to
receive proposals for peace on the basis of our Independence. It will be
useless to approach me with any other."

When we went out, Mr. Benjamin called Judge Ould, who had been waiting
during the whole interview--two hours--at the other end of the hall, and
we passed down the stairway together. As I put my arm within that of the
Judge, he said to me,--

"Well, what is the result?"

"Nothing but war,--war to the knife."

"Ephraim is joined to his idols,--let him alone," added the Colonel,
solemnly.

I should like to relate the incidents of the next day, when we visited
Castle Thunder, Libby Prison, and the hospitals occupied by our wounded;
but the limits of a magazine-article will not permit. I can only say
that at sundown we passed out of the Rebel lines, and at ten o'clock
that night stretched our tired limbs on the "downy" cots in General
Butler's tent, thankful, devoutly thankful, that we were once again
under the folds of the old flag.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus ended our visit to Richmond. I have endeavored to sketch it
faithfully. The conversation with Mr. Davis I took down shortly after
entering the Union lines, and I have tried to report his exact language,
extenuating nothing, and coloring nothing that he said. Some of his
sentences, as I read them over, appear stilted and high-flown, but they
did not sound so when uttered. As listened to, they seemed the simple,
natural language of his thought. He spoke deliberately, apparently
weighing every word, and knowing well that all he said would be given to
the public.

He is a man of peculiar ability. Our interview with him explained to me
why, with no money and no commerce, with nearly every one of their
important cities in our hands, and with an army greatly inferior in
numbers and equipment to ours, the Rebels have held out so long. It is
because of the sagacity, energy, and indomitable will of Jefferson
Davis. Without him the Rebellion would crumble to pieces in a day; with
him it may continue to be, even in disaster, a power that will tax the
whole energy and resources of the nation.

The Southern masses want peace. Many of the Southern leaders want
it,--both my companion and I, by correspondence and intercourse with
them, know this; but there can be no peace so long as Mr. Davis controls
the South. Ignoring slavery, he himself states the issue,--the only
issue with him,--Union, or Disunion. That is it. We must conquer, or be
conquered. We can negotiate only with the bayonet. We can have peace and
union only by putting forth all our strength, crushing the Southern
armies, and overthrowing the Southern government.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin._ By JAMES PARTON. New York: Mason
Brothers. Two Volumes. 8vo.

To appreciate the importance of this work, we must remember that it
covers more than three-fourths of a century full of great events, if not
of great men; that it begins with Boston and Philadelphia as small
provincial towns, and leaves them the thriving capitals of independent
States; that it finds colonial energy struggling with metropolitan
jealousy and ignorance; that it follows the struggle through all its
phases, until the restrictions of the mother became oppression, and the
love of the children was converted into hatred; that it traces the
growth and expansion of American industry,--the dawn of American
invention, so full of promise,--the development of the principle of
self-government, so full of power,--the bitter contest, so full of
lessons which, used aright, might have spared us more than half the
blood and treasure of the present war.

To appreciate the difficulty of this work, we must remember that the
inner and the outer life of the subject of it are equally full of
marvels; that, beginning by cutting off candle-wicks in a
tallow-chandler's shop in Boston, he ended as the greatest scientific
discoverer among those men renowned for science who composed the Royal
Society of London and the Academy of Sciences of Paris; that, with the
aid of an odd volume of the "Spectator," used according to his own
conception of the best way of using it, he made himself master of a
pure, simple, graceful, and effective English style; that the opinions
and maxims which he drew from his own observation and reflection have
passed into the daily life of millions, warning, strengthening,
cheering, and guiding; that he succeeded in the most difficult
negotiations, was a leader of public opinion on the most important
questions, and, holding his way cheerfully, resolutely, and lovingly to
the end, left the world wiser in many things, and in some better, for
the eighty-four years that he had passed in it.

Nor must we forget, that, among the many things which this wonderful old
man did, was to tell us half the story of his own life, and with such
unaffected simplicity, such evident sincerity, and such attractive
grace, as to make it--as far as it goes--the most perfect production of
its class. Then why attempt to do it over again? is the question that
naturally springs to every lip, on reading the title of Mr. Parton's
book.

Mr. Parton has anticipated this question, and answered it.
"Autobiography is one of the most interesting and valuable kinds of
composition; but autobiography can never be accepted _in lieu_ of
biography, because to no man is the giftie given of seeing himself as
others see him. Rousseau's Confessions are a miracle of candor: they
reveal much concerning a certain weak, wandering, diseased, miserable,
wicked Jean Jacques; but of that marvellous Rousseau whose writings
thrilled Europe they contain how much? Not one word. Madame D'Arblay's
Diary relates a thousand pleasant things, but it does not tell us what
manner of person Madame D'Arblay was. Franklin's Autobiography gives
agreeable information respecting a sagacious shopkeeper of Philadelphia,
but has little to impart to us respecting the grand Franklin, the
world's Franklin, the philosopher, the statesman, the philanthropist. A
man cannot reveal his best self, nor, unless he is a Rousseau, his
worst. Perhaps he never knows either."

The basis of Mr. Parton's work is, as the basis of every satisfactory
biography must be, the writings of its subject. "After all," he says,
"Dr. Jared Sparks's excellent edition of the 'Life and Works of
Franklin,' is the source of the greater part of the information we
possess concerning him.... The libraries, the public records, and the
private collections of England, France, and the United States, were so
diligently searched by Dr. Sparks, that, though seven previous editions
of the works of Franklin had appeared, he was able to add to his
publication the astonishing number of six hundred and fifty pieces of
Dr. Franklin's composition never before collected, of which four hundred
and fifty had never before appeared in print. To unwearied diligence in
collecting Dr. Sparks added an admirable talent in elucidating. His
notes are always such as an intelligent reader would desire, and they
usually contain all the information needed for a perfect understanding
of the matter in hand. Dr. Sparks's edition is a monument at once to the
memory of Benjamin Franklin and to his own diligence, tact, and
faithfulness." We take great pleasure in copying this passage, both
because it seems to illustrate the spirit which Mr. Parton brought to
his task, and because the value of Mr. Sparks's labors have not always
been so freely acknowledged by those who have been freest in their use
of them.

To a careful study of those volumes Mr. Parton has added patient and
extensive research among the newspapers and magazines of the time, and,
apparently, a wide range of general reading. Thus he has filled his work
with facts, some curious, some new, and all interesting, as well in
their bearing upon the times as upon the man. He is a good delver, a
good sifter, and, what is equally important, a good interpreter,--not
merely bringing facts to the light, but compelling them to give out,
like Correggio's pictures, a light of their own. He possesses, too, in
an eminent degree, the power of forming for himself a conception of his
subject as a whole, keeping it constantly before his mind in the
elaboration of the parts, and thus bringing it vividly before the mind
of the reader. Franklin's true place in history has never before been
assigned him upon such incontrovertible evidence.

If we were to undertake to name the parts of this work which have given
us most satisfaction, we should, although with some hesitation, name the
admirable chapters which Mr. Parton has devoted to Franklin's diplomatic
labors in England and France. In none of his good works has that great
man been more exposed to calumny, or treated with more barefaced
ingratitude by those who profited most by them, than in bringing to
light the dangerous letters of Hutchinson and Oliver. Even within the
last few years, the apologetic biographer of John Adams repeats the
accusation of moral obliquity in a tone that would hardly have been
misplaced in a defence of Wedderburn. Mr. Parton tells the story with
great simplicity, and, without entering into any unnecessary
disquisition, accepts for his commentary upon it Mr. Bancroft's wise,
and, as it seems to us, unanswerable conclusion. "Had the conspiracy
which was thus laid bare aimed at the life of a minister or the king,
any honest man must have immediately communicated the discovery to the
Secretary of State: to conspire to introduce into America a military
government, and abridge American liberty, was a more heinous crime, of
which irrefragable evidence had now come to light."

Never, too, was philosopher more severely tried than Franklin was tried
by the colleagues whom Congress sent him, from time to time, as clogs
upon the great wheel which he was turning so skilfully. And this, too,
Mr. Parton has set in full light, not by the special pleading of the
apologist, but by the documentary researches of the historian.

There are some things, however, in this work which we could have wished
somewhat different from what they are. Mr. Parton's fluent and forcible
style sometimes degenerates into flippancy. We could cite many instances
of felicitous expression, some, also, of bad taste, and some of hasty
assertion. "_Clubable_" is hardly a good enough word to bear frequent
repetition. "This question was a complete baffler" is too much like
slang to be admitted into the good company which Mr. Parton's sentences
usually keep. We were not aware that "Physician, heal thyself" was a
stock classical allusion. We do not believe--for Dante and Milton would
rise up in judgment against us, even if the vast majority of other great
men did not--that "it is only second-rate men who have great aims." We
do not believe that the style of the "Spectator" is an "easily imitated
style"; for, of the hundreds who have tried, how many, besides Franklin,
have really succeeded in imitating it? We do not believe that Latin and
Greek are an "obstructing nuisance," or that the student of Homer and
Thucydides and Demosthenes and Plato and Aristotle and Cæsar and Cicero
and Tacitus is merely studying "the prattle of infant man," or "adding
the ignorance of the ancients to the ignorance he was born with." We
believe, on the contrary, that it was by such studies that Gibbon and
Niebuhr and Arnold and Grote acquired their marvellous power of
discovering historical truth and detecting historical error, and that
from no modern language could they have received such discipline.

But we not only agree with the sentiment, but admire the simple energy
of the expression, when he says that "Franklin was the man of all others
then alive who possessed in the greatest perfection the four grand
requisites for the successful observation of Nature or the pursuit of
literature,--a sound and great understanding, patience, dexterity, and
an independent income." Equally judicious and equally well-expressed is
the following passage upon the Penns:--"Thomas Penn was a man of
business, careful, saving, and methodical. Richard Penn was a
spendthrift. Both were men of slender abilities, and not of very
estimable character. They had done some liberal acts for the Province,
such as sending over presents to the Library of books and apparatus, and
cannon for the defence of Philadelphia. If the Pennsylvanians had been
more submissive, they would doubtless have continued their benefactions.
But, unhappily, they cherished those erroneous, those Tory notions of
the rights of sovereignty which Lord Bute infused into the contracted
mind of George III., and which cost that dull and obstinate monarch,
first, his colonies, and then his senses. It is also rooted in the
British mind, that a landholder is entitled to the particular respect of
his species. These Penns, in addition to the pride of possessing acres
by the million, felt themselves to be the lords of the land they owned,
and of the people who dwelt upon it." And in speaking of English ideas
of American resistance:--"Englishmen have made sublime sacrifices to
principle, but they appear slow to believe that any other people can."
And, "George III. sat upon a constitutional throne, but he had an
unconstitutional mind." It would be difficult to find a more
comprehensive sentence than the following:--"The counsel employed by Mr.
Mauduit was Alexander Wedderburn, a sharp, unprincipled Scotch
barrister, destined to scale all the heights of preferment which
shameless subserviency could reach."

It would be easy to multiply examples, but we have given, we believe,
more than enough to show that we look upon Mr. Parton's "Franklin" as a
work of very great value.


_The Maine Woods._ By HENRY D. THOREAU, Author of "A Week on the Concord
and Merrimack Rivers," "Walden," "Excursions," etc., etc. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields.

The steadily growing fame of Thoreau has this characteristic, that it
is, like his culture, a purely American product, and is no pale
reflection of the cheap glories of an English reprint. Whether he would
have gained or lost by a more cosmopolitan training or criticism is not
the question now; but certain it is that neither of these things went to
the making of his fame. Classical and Oriental reading he had; but
beyond these he cared for nothing which the men and meadows of Concord
could not give, and for this voluntary abnegation, half whimsical, half
sublime, the world repaid him with life-long obscurity, and will yet
repay him with permanent renown.

His choice of subjects, too, involves the same double recompense; for no
books are less dazzling or more immortal than those whose theme is
external Nature. Nothing else wears so well. History becomes so rapidly
overlaid with details, and its aspects change so fast, that the most
elaborate work soon grows obsolete; while a thoroughly sincere and
careful book on Nature cannot be superseded, and lives forever. Its
basis is real and permanent. There will always be birds and flowers,
nights and mornings. The infinite fascinations of mountains and of
forests will outlast this war, and the next, and the race that makes the
war. The same solidity of material which has guarantied permanence to
the fame of Izaak Walton and White of Selborne will as surely secure
that of Thoreau, who excels each of these writers upon his own ground,
while superadding a wider culture, a loftier thought, and a fine, though
fantastic, literary skill. All men may not love Nature, but all men
ultimately love her lovers. And of those lovers, past or present,
Thoreau is the most profound in his devotion, and the most richly
repaid.

Against these great merits are to be set, no doubt, some formidable
literary defects: an occasional mistiness of expression, like the summit
of Katahdin, as he himself describes it,--one vast fog, with here and
there a rock protruding; also, an occasional sandy barrenness, like his
beloved Cape Cod. In truth, he never quite completed the transition from
the observer to the artist. With the power of constructing sentences as
perfectly graceful as a hemlock-bough, he yet displays the most wayward
aptitude for literary caterpillars'-nests and all manner of
disfigurements. The same want of artistic habit appears also in his
wilful disregard of all rules of proportion. He depicts an Indian, for
instance, with such minute observation and admirable verbal skill that
one feels as if neither Catlin nor Schoolcraft ever saw the actual
creature; but though the table-talk of the aboriginal may seem for a
time more suggestive than that of Coleridge or Macaulay, yet there is a
point beyond which his, like theirs, becomes a bore.

In addition to these drawbacks, one finds in Thoreau an unnecessary
defiance of tone, and a very resolute non-appreciation of many things
which a larger mental digestion can assimilate without discomfort. In
his dealings with Nature he is sweet, genial, patient, wise. In his
dealings with men he exasperates himself over the least divergence from
the desired type. Before any over-tendency to the amenities and luxuries
of civilization, in particular, he becomes unreasonable and relentless.
Hence there appears something hard and ungenial in his views of life,
utterly out of keeping with the delicate tenderness which he shows in
the woods. The housekeeping of bees and birds he finds noble and
beautiful, but for the home and cradle of the humblest human pair he can
scarcely be said to have even toleration; a farmer's barn he considers a
cumbrous and pitiable appendage, and he lectures the Irish women in
their shanties for their undue share of the elegancies of life. With
infinite faith in the tendencies of mineral and vegetable nature, in
human nature he shows no practical trust, and must even be severe upon
the babies in the Maine log-huts for playing with wooden dolls instead
of pine-cones. It is, indeed, noticeable that he seems to love every
other living animal more unreservedly than the horse,--as if this poor
sophisticated creature, though still a quadruped and a brother, had been
so vitiated by undue intimacy with man as to have become little better
than if he wore broadcloth and voted.

Yet there was not in Thoreau one trait of the misanthrope; his solitary
life at Walden was not chosen because he loved man less, but because he
loved Nature more; and any young poet or naturalist might envy the
opportunities it gave him. But his intellectual habits showed always a
tendency to exaggeration, and he spent much mental force in fighting
shadows, Church and State, war and politics,--a man of solid vigor must
find room in his philosophy to tolerate these matters for a time, even
if he cannot cordially embrace them. But Thoreau, a celibate, and at
times a hermit, brought the Protestant extreme to match the Roman
Catholic, and though he did not personally ignore one duty of domestic
life, he yet held a system which would have excluded wife and child,
house and property. His example is noble and useful to all high-minded
young people, but only when interpreted by a philosophy less exclusive
than his own. In urging his one social panacea, "Simplify, I say,
simplify," he failed to see that all steps in moral or material
organization are really efforts after the same process he recommends.
The sewing-machine is a more complex affair than the needle, but it
simplifies every woman's life, and helps her to that same comparative
freedom from care which Thoreau would seek only by reverting to the
Indian blanket.

But many-sided men do not move in battalions, and even a one-sided
philosopher may be a boon to think of, if he be as noble as Thoreau. His
very defects are higher than many men's virtues, and his most fantastic
moralizings will bear reading without doing harm, especially during a
Presidential campaign. Of his books, "Walden" will probably be
permanently reckoned as the best, as being the most full and deliberate
exhibition of the author's mind, and as extracting the most from the
least material. It is also the most uniform in texture, and the most
complete in plan, while the "Week" has no unity but that of the
chronological epoch it covers,--a week which is probably the most
comprehensive on record, ranging from the Bhagvat-Geetha to the "good
time coming,"--and the "Excursions" no unity but that of the covers
which comprise them, being, indeed, a compilation of his earliest and
latest essays. Which of his four volumes contains his finest writing it
would really be hard to say; but in structure the present book comes
nearest to "Walden"; it is within its limits a perfect monograph of the
Maine woods. All that has been previously written fails to portray so
vividly the mysterious life of the lonely forest,--the grandeur of
Katahdin or Ktaadn, that hermit-mountain,--and the wild and adventurous
navigation of those Northern water-courses whose perils make the boating
of the Adirondack region seem safe and tame. The book is also more
unexceptionably healthy in its tone than any of its predecessors, and it
is pleasant to find the author, on emerging from his explorations,
admitting that the confines of civilization afford, after all, the best
residence, and that the wilderness is of most value as "a resource and a
background."

There yet remain for publication Thoreau's adventures on Cape Cod; his
few public addresses on passing events, especially those on the Burns
Rescue and the John-Brown affair, which were certainly among the very
ablest productions called forth by those exciting occasions; his poems;
and his private letters to his friend Blake, of Worcester, and to
others,--letters which certainly contain some of his toughest, and
perhaps also some of his finest writing. All these deserve, and must one
day receive, preservation. He who reads most books reads that which has
a merely temporary interest, and will be presently superseded by
something better; but Nature has waited many centuries for Thoreau, and
we can hardly expect to see, during this generation, another mortal so
favored with her confidence.


_Jennie Juneiana_: Talks on Women's Topics. By JENNIE JUNE. Boston: Lee
& Shepard. 12mo. pp. 240.

Great are the resources of human invention, and the tiresome passion for
alliterative titles may possibly have culminated in some name yet more
foolish than that of this little green and gold volume. If so, the rival
has proved too much for the trump of Fame to carry, and has dropped
unnoticed. In the present case, the title does perhaps some injustice to
the book, which is not a silly one, though it contains very silly
things. It seems to be written from the point of view afforded by a
second-rate New-York boarding-house, and by a person who has never come
in contact with any refined or well-bred people. With this allowance, it
is written in the interest of good manners and good morals, and with
enough of natural tact to keep the writer from getting far beyond her
depth, although she does talk of "Goethe's Mignion" and "Miss
Werner,"--whoever these personages may be,--and of "the substantial fame
achieved by the unknown author of 'Rutledge.'" It is written in the
prevalent American newspaper-style,--a style which is apt to be graphic,
piquant, and dashing, accompanied by a flavor, slight or more than
slight, of flippancy and slang,--a style such as reaches high-tide in
certain "popular" native authors, male and female, and in ebbing strands
us on "Jennie June."

Of course, writing from the windows of Mrs. Todgers, "Jennie" manifests
the usual superfluous anxiety of her kind not to be called
strong-minded. She is prettily indignant at the thought of female
physicians: there is nothing improper in having diseases, but to cure
them would be indelicacy indeed. Girls out of work, who wish for places
in shops, are only "patriotic young ladies who desire to fill all the
lucrative situations at present occupied by young men." She would even
banish Bridget from the kitchen and substitute unlimited Patricks, which
will interest housekeepers as being the only conceivable remedy worse
than the disease. Of course, a female lecturer is an abomination:
"Jennie" proves, first, that a "strong-minded woman" must be either
unmarried or unhappy in marriage, and then turns, with rather illogical
wrath, upon Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown, for being too domestic to
make speeches since their marriage. To follow the court phraseology,
"This reminds us of a little anecdote." When the fashion of long,
flowing wigs was just vanishing in Boston, somebody wore one from that
town down to Salem, where they were entirely extinct. All the
street-boys ran after him all the morning, to ask him why he wore a wig.
He, wishing to avoid offence, left it in the house at dinner-time; and
was pursued all the afternoon by the same boys, with the inquiry why he
did _not_ wear a wig. These eloquent women find it equally hard to
please their little critic by silence or by speech. The simple truth
probably is, that they hold precisely the same views which they always
held, and will live to trouble her yet, when the epoch of the nursery is
over. The majority of women's-rights advocates have always been wives
and mothers, and, for aught we know, excellent ones, since that dear,
motherly old Quakeress, Lucretia Mott, first broached the matter; and
the great change in our legislation on all the property-rights of that
sex is just as directly traceable to their labors as is the repeal of
the English corn-laws to the efforts of the "League." If, however,
"Jennie" consoles herself with the reflection that the points made in
this controversy by the authors of "Hannah Thurston" and "Miss Gilbert's
Career" are not much stronger than her own, she must remember her
favorite theory, that all foolishness sounds more respectable when
uttered from masculine lips.


1. _Woman and her Era._ By ELIZA W. FARNHAM. In Two Volumes. New York:
A. J. Davis & Co.

2. _Eliza Woodson; or, The Early Days of one of the World's Workers._ A
Story of American Life. New York: A. J. Davis & Co.

In the three and a half centuries since Cornelius Agrippa, no one has
attempted with so much ability as Mrs. Farnham to transfer the theory of
woman's superiority from the domain of poetry to that of science. Second
to no American woman save Miss Dix in her experience as a practical
philanthropist, she has studied human nature in the sternest practical
schools, from Sing-Sing to California. She justly claims for her views
that they have been maturing for twenty-two years of "experience so
varied as to give it almost every form of trial which could fall to the
intellectual life of any save the most favored women." Her books show,
moreover, an ardent love of literature and some accurate scientific
training,--though her style has the condensation and vigor which active
life creates, rather than the graces of culture.

The essence of her book lies in this opening syllogism:--

"Life is exalted in proportion to its organic and functional complexity;

"Woman's organism is more complex and her totality of function larger
than those of any other being inhabiting our earth;

"Therefore her position in the scale of life is the most exalted,--the
sovereign one."

This is compactly stated and quite unequivocal, although the three last
words of the conclusion are a step beyond the premises, and the main
fight of her opponents would no doubt be made on her definition of the
word _being_. The assumption that either sex of a given species is a
distinct "being" cannot probably be slid into the minor premise of the
argument without some objection from the opposing counsel. However, this
brings us at once to the main point, and the chapter called "The Organic
Argument," which opens with this syllogism, is really the pith of the
book, and would, perhaps, stand stronger without the other six hundred
pages. In this chapter she shows the strength of a system-maker, in the
rest the weaknesses of one; she feels obliged to apply her creed to
everything, to illustrate everything by its light, to find unexpected
confirmations everywhere, and to manipulate all the history of art,
literature, and society, till she conforms them all to her standard. She
recites, with no new power, historical facts that are already familiar;
and gives many pages to extracts from very well known poets and very ill
known prose-writers, to the exclusion of her own terse and vigorous
thought. All this is without a trace of book-making, but is done in
single-hearted zeal for views which are only damaged by the process.

These are merely literary defects; but Mrs. Farnham really suffers in
thought by the same unflinching fidelity to her creed. It makes her
clear and resolute in her statement; but it often makes her as one-sided
as the advocates of male supremacy whom she impugns. To be sure, her
theory enables her to extenuate some points of admitted injustice to
woman,--finding, for instance, in her educational and professional
exclusions a crude effort, on the part of society, to treat her as a
sort of bird-of-paradise, born only to fly, and therefore not needing
feet. Yet this authoress is obliged to assume a tone of habitual
antagonism towards men, from which the advocates of mere equality are
excused. Indeed, the technical Woman's-Rights movement has always
witnessed a very hearty coöperation among its advocates of both sexes,
and it is generally admitted that men are at least as ready to concede
additional rights as women to ask for them. But when one comes to Mrs.
Farnham's stand-point, and sees what her opinion of men really is, the
stanchest masculine ally must shrink from assigning himself to such a
category of scoundrels. The best criticism made on Michelet's theory of
woman as a predestined invalid was that of the sensible physician who
responded, "As if the Almighty did not know how to create a woman!"--and
Mrs. Farnham certainly proves too much in undertaking to expose the
blunders of Deity in the construction of a man. Assuming, as she
invariably does, the highest woman to be the typical woman, and the
lowest man to be the typical man, she can prove anything she pleases.
But even this does not content her; every gleam of tenderness and
refinement exhibited by man she transfers by some inexplicable
legerdemain of logic to the feminine side, and makes somehow into a new
proof of his hopeless inferiority; and she is landed at last in the
amazing paradox, that "the most powerful feminine souls have appeared in
masculine forms, thus far in human career." (Vol. II. p. 360.)

In short, her theory involves a necessity of perpetual overstatement.
The conception of a pure and noble young man, such as Richter delineates
in his Walt or Albano, seems utterly foreign to her system; and of that
fine subtilty of nature by which the highest types of manhood and
womanhood approach each other, as if mutually lending refinement and
strength, she seems to have no conception. The truth is, that, however
much we may concede to the average spiritual superiority of woman, a
great deal also depends on the inheritance and the training of the
individual. Mrs. Farnham, like every refined woman, is often shocked by
the coarseness of even virtuous men; but she does not tell us the other
side of the story,--how often every man of refinement has occasion to be
shocked by the coarseness of even virtuous women. Sexual disparities may
be much; but individual disparities are even more.

Mrs. Farnham is noble enough, and her book is brave and wise enough, to
bear criticisms which grow only from her attempting too much. The
difference between her book and most of those written on the other side
is, that in the previous cases the lions have been the painters, and
here it is the lioness. As against the exaggerations on the other side,
she has a right to exaggerate on her part. As against the theory that
man is superior to woman because he is larger, she has a right to plead
that in that case the gorilla were the better man, and to assert on the
other hand that woman is superior because smaller,--Emerson's mountain
and squirrel. As against the theory that glory and dominion go with the
beard, she has a right to maintain (and that she does with no small
pungency) that Nature gave man this appendage because he was not to be
trusted with his own face, and needed this additional covering for his
shame. As against the historical traditions of man's mastery, she does
well to urge that creation is progressive, and that the megalosaurus was
master even before man. It is, indeed, this last point which constitutes
the crowning merit of the book, and which will be permanently associated
with Mrs. Farnham's name. No one before her has so firmly grasped this
key to woman's historic position, that the past was an age of coarse,
preliminary labor, in which her time had not yet come. This theory, as
elucidated by Mrs. Farnham, taken with the fine statement of Buckle as
to the importance of the intuitive element in the feminine intellect,
(which statement Mrs. Farnham also quotes,) constitutes the most
valuable ground logically conquered for woman within this century. These
contributions are eclipsed in importance only by those actual
achievements of women of genius,--as of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Rosa
Bonheur, and Harriet Hosmer,--which, so far as they go, render all
argument superfluous.

In this domain of practical achievement Mrs. Farnham has also labored
well, and the autobiography of her childish years, when she only aspired
after such toils, has an interest wholly apart from that of her larger
work, and scarcely its inferior. Except the immortal "Pet Marjorie," one
can hardly recall in literature a delineation so marvellous of a
childish mind so extraordinary as "Eliza Woodson." The few characters
appear with an individuality worthy of a great novelist; every lover of
children must find it altogether fascinating, and to the most
experienced student of human nature it opens a new chapter of startling
interest.


_The Cliff-Climbers; or, The Lone Home in the Himalayas._ A Sequel to
"The Plant-Hunters." By CAPTAIN MAYNE REID, Author of "The Desert Home,"
"The Boy-Hunters," etc., etc. With Illustrations. Boston: Ticknor &
Fields.

Beloved of boys, the adventurous Mayne Reid continues from year to year
his good work as a story-teller. Since he held the youthful student a
spellbound reader of "The Desert Home," he has sent abroad a dozen
volumes, all excellent in their way, for the entertainment of his
ever-increasing audience. He has not, however, dealt quite fairly by his
boy-friends. He kept them waiting several years for the completion of
"The Plant-Hunters," and it is only now that he has found time to add
"The Cliff-Climbers" as a sequel to that fascinating story. While we
thank him for the book that gives us farther acquaintance with those
stirring individuals, Karl and Caspar, we cannot help reminding him how
long ago it is since we read "The Plant-Hunters," and wished for more.



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