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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864" ***

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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

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



[I wish to record, as truthfully as I may, the beginnings of a momentous
experiment, which, by proving the aptitude of the freed slaves for
military drill and discipline, their ardent loyalty, their courage under
fire, and their self-control in success, contributed somewhat towards
solving the problem of the war, and towards remoulding the destinies of
two races on this continent.

During a civil war events succeed each other so rapidly that these
earlier incidents are long since overshadowed. The colored soldiery are
now numbered no longer by hundreds, but by tens of thousands. Yet there
was a period when the whole enterprise seemed the most daring of
innovations, and during those months the demeanor of this particular
regiment, the First South Carolina, was watched with microscopic
scrutiny by friends and foes. Its officers had reason to know this,
since the slightest camp-incidents sometimes came back to them,
magnified and distorted, in anxious letters of inquiry from remote parts
of the Union. It was no pleasant thing to live in this glare of
criticism; but it guarantied the honesty of any success, while fearfully
multiplying the penalties, had there been a failure. A single mutiny, a
single rout, a stampede of desertions,--and there perhaps might not have
been, within this century, another systematic effort to arm the negro.

It is possible, therefore, that some extracts from a diary kept during
that period may still have an interest; for there is nothing in human
history so momentous as the transit of a race from chattel-slavery to
armed freedom; nor can this change be photographed save by the actual
contemporaneous words of those who saw it in the process. Perhaps there
may also appear an element of dramatic interest in the record, when one
considers that here, in the delightful regions of Port Royal, the
descendants of the Puritan and the Huguenot, after two centuries, came
face to face,--and that sons of Massachusetts, reversing the boastful
threat which has become historic, here called the roll, upon
South-Carolina soil, of her slaves, now freemen in arms.]

                                 CAMP SAXTON, near Beaufort, S. C.
                                              _November 24, 1862._

Yesterday afternoon we were steaming over a summer sea, the deck level
as a parlor-floor, no land in sight, no sail, until at last appeared one
light-house, said to be Cape Romaine, and then a line of trees and two
distant vessels and nothing more. The sun set, a great illuminated
bubble, submerged in one vast bank of rosy suffusion; it grew dark;
after tea all were on deck, the people sang hymns; then the moon set, a
moon two days old, a curved pencil of light, reclining backwards on a
radiant couch which seemed to rise from the waves to receive it; it sank
slowly, and the last tip wavered and went down like the mast of a vessel
of the skies. Towards morning the boat stopped, and when I came on deck,
before six,--

    "The watch-lights glittered on the land,
      The ship-lights on the sea."

Hilton Head lay on one side, the gunboats on the other; all that was raw
and bare in the low buildings of the new settlement was softened into
picturesqueness by the early light. Stars were still overhead, gulls
wheeled and shrieked, and the broad river rippled duskily towards

The shores were low and wooded, like any New-England shore; there were a
few gunboats, twenty schooners, and some steamers, among them the famous
"Planter," which Robert Small, the slave, presented to the nation. The
river-banks were soft and graceful, though low, and as we steamed up to
Beaufort on the flood-tide this morning, it seemed almost as fair as the
smooth and lovely canals which Stedman traversed to meet his negro
soldiers in Surinam. The air was cool as at home, yet the foliage seemed
green, glimpses of stiff tropical vegetation appeared along the banks,
with great clumps of shrubs whose pale seed-vessels looked like tardy
blossoms. Then we saw on a picturesque point an old plantation, with
stately magnolia avenue, decaying house, and tiny church amid the woods,
reminding me of Virginia; behind it stood a neat encampment of white
tents, "and there," said my companion, "is your future regiment of negro

Three miles farther brought us to the pretty town of Beaufort, with its
stately houses amid Southern foliage. Reporting to General Saxton, I had
the luck to encounter a company of my destined command, marched in to be
mustered into the United States service. They were without arms, and all
looked as thoroughly black as the most faithful philanthropist could
desire; there did not seem to be so much as a mulatto among them. Their
coloring suited me, all but the legs, which were clad in a lively
scarlet, as intolerable to my eyes as if I had been a turkey. I saw them
mustered; General Saxton talked to them a little, in his direct, manly
way; they gave close attention, though their faces looked impenetrable.
Then I conversed with some of them. The first to whom I spoke had been
wounded in a small expedition after lumber, from which a party had just
returned, and in which they had been under fire and had done very well.
I said, pointing to his lame arm,--

"Did you think that was more than you bargained for, my man?"

His answer came promptly and stoutly,--

"I been a-tinking, Mas'r, _dat's jess what I went for_."

I thought this did well enough for my very first interchange of dialogue
with my recruits.

                                         _November 27, 1862._

Thanksgiving-Day; it is the first moment I have had for writing during
these three days, which have installed me into a new mode of life so
thoroughly that they seem three years. Scarcely pausing in New York or
in Beaufort, there seems to have been for me but one step from the camp
of a Massachusetts regiment to this one, and that step over leagues of

It is a holiday wherever General Saxton's proclamation reaches. The
chilly sunshine and the pale blue river seem like New England, but those
alone. The air is full of noisy drumming and of gunshots; for the
prize-shooting is our great celebration of the day, and the drumming is
chronic. My young barbarians are all at play. I look out from the broken
windows of this forlorn plantation-house, through avenues of great
live-oaks, with their hard, shining leaves, and their branches hung with
a universal drapery of soft, long moss, like fringe-trees struck with
grayness. Below, the sandy soil, scantly covered with coarse grass,
bristles with sharp palmettoes and aloes; all the vegetation is stiff,
shining, semi-tropical, with nothing soft or delicate in its texture.
Numerous plantation-buildings totter around, all slovenly and
unattractive, while the interspaces are filled with all manner of wreck
and refuse, pigs, fowls, dogs, and omnipresent Ethiopian infancy. All
this is the universal Southern panorama; but five minutes' walk beyond
the hovels and the live-oaks bring one to something so un-Southern that
the whole Southern coast at this moment trembles at the suggestion of
such a thing,--the camp of a regiment of freed slaves.

One adapts one's self so readily to new surroundings that already the
full zest of the novelty seems passing away from my perceptions, and I
write these lines in an eager effort to retain all I can. Already I am
growing used to the experience, at first so novel, of living among five
hundred men, and scarce a white face to be seen,--of seeing them go
through all their daily processes, eating, frolicking, talking, just as
if they were white. Each day at dress-parade I stand with the customary
folding of the arms before a regimental line of countenances so black
that I can hardly tell whether the men stand steadily or not; black is
every hand which moves in ready cadence as I vociferate, "Battalion!
Shoulder arms!" nor is it till the line of white officers moves forward,
as parade is dismissed, that I am reminded that my own face is not the
color of coal.

The first few days on duty with a new regiment must be devoted almost
wholly to tightening reins; in this process one deals chiefly with the
officers, and I have as yet had but little personal intercourse with the
men. They concern me chiefly in bulk, as so many consumers of rations,
wearers of uniforms, bearers of muskets. But as the machine comes into
shape, I am beginning to decipher the individual parts. At first, of
course, they all looked just alike; the variety comes afterwards, and
they are just as distinguishable, the officers say, as so many whites.
Most of them are wholly raw, but there are many who have already been
for months in camp in the abortive "Hunter Regiment," yet in that loose
kind of way which, like average militia-training, is a doubtful
advantage. I notice that some companies, too, look darker than others,
though all are purer African than I expected. This is said to be partly
a geographical difference between the South-Carolina and Florida men.
When the Rebels evacuated this region, they probably took with them the
house-servants, including most of the mixed blood, so that the residuum
seems very black. But the men brought from Fernandina the other day
average lighter in complexion, and look more intelligent, and they
certainly take wonderfully to the drill.

It needs but a few days to show up the absurdity of distrusting the
military availability of these people. They have quite as much average
comprehension as whites of the need of the thing, as much courage, (I
doubt not,) as much previous knowledge of the gun, and, above all, a
readiness of ear and of imitation, which, for purposes of drill,
counterbalances any defect of mental training. To learn the drill, one
does not want a set of college professors; one wants a squad of eager,
active, pliant school-boys; and the more childlike these pupils are, the
better. There is no trouble about the drill; they will surpass whites
in that. As to camp-life, they have little to sacrifice, they are better
fed, housed, and clothed than ever in their lives before, and they
appear to have fewer inconvenient vices. They are simple, docile, and
affectionate almost to the point of absurdity. The same men who stood
fire in open field with perfect coolness, on the late expedition, have
come to me blubbering in the most irresistibly ludicrous manner on being
transferred from one company in the regiment to another.

In noticing the squad-drills, I perceive that the men learn less
laboriously than whites that "double, double, toil and trouble," which
is the elementary vexation of the drill-master,--that they more rarely
mistake their left for their right,--and are more grave and sedate while
under instruction. The extremes of jollity and sobriety, being greater
with them, are less liable to be intermingled; these companies can be
driven with a looser rein than my former one, for they restrain
themselves; but the moment they are dismissed from drill, every tongue
is relaxed and every ivory tooth visible. This morning I wandered about
where the different companies were target-shooting, and their glee was
contagious. Such exulting shouts of, "Ki! ole man," when some steady old
turkey-shooter brought his gun down for an instant's aim, and then
unerringly hit the mark; and then, when some unwary youth fired his
piece into the ground at half-cock, such infinite guffawing and delight,
such rolling over and over on the grass, such dances of ecstasy, as made
the "Ethiopian minstrelsy" of the stage appear a feeble imitation.

_Evening._--Better still was a scene on which I stumbled to-night.
Strolling in the cool moonlight, I was attracted by a brilliant light
beneath the trees, and cautiously approached it. A circle of thirty or
forty soldiers sat around a roaring fire, while one old uncle, Cato by
name, was narrating an interminable tale, to the insatiable delight of
his audience. I came up into the dusky background, perceived only by a
few, and he still continued. It was a narrative, dramatized to the last
degree, of his adventures in escaping from his master to the Union
vessels; and even I, who have heard the stories of Harriet Tubman, and
such wonderful slave-comedians, never witnessed such a piece of acting.
When I came upon the scene, he had just come unexpectedly upon a
plantation-house, and, putting a bold face upon it, had walked up to the

"Den I go up to de white man, very humble, and say, would he please gib
ole man a mouthful for eat?

"He say, he must hab de valeration of half a dollar.

"Den I look berry sorry, and turn for go away.

"Den he say, I might gib him dat hatchet I had.

"Den I say," (this in a tragic vein,) "dat I must hab dat hatchet for
defend myself _from de dogs_!"

[Immense applause, and one appreciating auditor says, chuckling, "Dat
was your _arms_, ole man," which brings down the house again.]

"Den he say, de Yankee pickets was near by, and I must be very keerful.

"Den I say, 'Good Lord, Mas'r, am dey?'"

Words cannot express the complete dissimulation with which these accents
of terror were uttered,--this being precisely the piece of information
he wished to obtain.

Then he narrated his devices to get into the house at night and obtain
some food,--how a dog flew at him,--how the whole household, black and
white, rose in pursuit,--how he scrambled under a hedge and over a high
fence, etc.,--all in a style of which Gough alone among orators can give
the faintest impression, so thoroughly dramatized was every syllable.

Then he described his reaching the river-side at last, and trying to
decide whether certain vessels held friends or foes.

"Den I see guns on board, and sure sartin he Union boat, and I pop my
head up. Den I been-a-tink [think] Seceshkey hab guns too, and my head
go down again. Den I bide in de bush till morning. Den I open my bundle,
and take ole white shirt and tie him on ole pole and wave him, and ebry
time de wind blow, I been-a-tremble, and drap down in de
bushes,"--because, being between two fires, he doubted whether friend or
foe would see his signal first. And so on, with a succession of tricks
beyond Molière, of acts of caution, foresight, patient cunning, which
were listened to with infinite gusto and perfect comprehension by every

And all this to a bivouac of negro soldiers, with the brilliant fire
lighting up their red trousers and gleaming from their shining black
faces,--eyes and teeth all white with tumultuous glee. Overhead, the
mighty limbs of a great live-oak, with the weird moss swaying in the
smoke, and the high moon gleaming faintly through.

Yet to-morrow strangers will remark on the hopeless, impenetrable
stupidity in the daylight faces of many of these very men, the solid
mask under which Nature has concealed all this wealth of mother-wit.
This very comedian is one to whom one might point, as he hoed lazily in
a cotton-field, as a being the light of whose brain had utterly gone
out; and this scene seems like coming by night upon some conclave of
black beetles, and finding them engaged, with green-room and
foot-lights, in enacting "Poor Pillicoddy." This is their university;
every young Sambo before me, as he turned over the sweet-potatoes and
pea-nuts which were roasting in the ashes, listened with reverence to
the wiles of the ancient Ulysses, and meditated the same. It is Nature's
compensation; oppression simply crushes the upper faculties of the head,
and crowds everything into the perceptive organs. Cato, thou reasonest
well! When I get into any serious scrape, in an enemy's country, may I
be lucky enough to have you at my elbow, to pull me out of it!

The men seem to have enjoyed the novel event of Thanksgiving-Day; they
have had company and regimental prize-shootings, a minimum of speeches
and a maximum of dinner. Bill of fare: two beef-cattle and a thousand
oranges. The oranges cost a cent apiece, and the cattle were Secesh,
bestowed by General Saxby, as they all call him.

                                              _December 1, 1862._

How absurd is the impression bequeathed by Slavery in regard to these
Southern blacks, that they are sluggish and inefficient in labor! Last
night, after a hard day's work, (our guns and the remainder of our tents
being just issued,) an order came from Beaufort that we should be ready
in the evening to unload a steamboat's cargo of boards, being some of
those captured by them a few weeks since, and now assigned for their
use. I wondered if the men would grumble at the night-work; but the
steamboat arrived by seven, and it was bright moonlight when they went
at it. Never have I beheld such a jolly scene of labor. Tugging these
wet and heavy boards over a bridge of boats ashore, then across the
slimy beach at low tide, then up a steep bank, and all in one great
uproar of merriment for two hours. Running most of the time, chattering
all the time, snatching the boards from each other's backs as if they
were some coveted treasure, getting up eager rivalries between different
companies, pouring great choruses of ridicule on the heads of all
shirkers, they made the whole scene so enlivening that I gladly stayed
out in the moonlight for the whole time to watch it. And all this
without any urging or any promised reward, but simply as the most
natural way of doing the thing. The steamboat-captain declared that they
unloaded the ten thousand feet of boards quicker than any white gang
could have done it; and they felt it so little, that, when, later in the
night, I reproached one whom I found sitting by a camp-fire, cooking a
surreptitious opossum, telling him that he ought to be asleep after such
a job of work, he answered, with the broadest grin,--

"Oh, no, Cunnel, da's no work at all, Cunnel; dat only jess enough _for
stretch we_."

                                              _December 2, 1862._

I believe I have not yet enumerated the probable drawbacks to the
success of this regiment, if any. We are exposed to no direct annoyance
from the white regiments, being out of their way; and we have as yet no
discomforts or privations which we do not share with them. I do not as
yet see the slightest obstacle, in the nature of the blacks, to making
them good soldiers,--but rather the contrary. They take readily to
drill, and do not object to discipline; they are not especially dull or
inattentive; they seem fully to understand the importance of the
contest, and of their share in it. They show no jealousy or suspicion
towards their officers.

They do show these feelings, however, towards the Government itself; and
no one can wonder. Here lies the drawback to rapid recruiting. Were this
a wholly new regiment, it would have been full to overflowing, I am
satisfied, ere now. The trouble is in the legacy of bitter distrust
bequeathed by the abortive regiment of General Hunter,--into which they
were driven like cattle, kept for several months in camp, and then
turned off without a shilling, by order of the War Department. The
formation of that regiment was on the whole a great injury to this one;
and the men who came from it, though the best soldiers we have in other
respects, are the least sanguine and cheerful; while those who now
refuse to enlist have a great influence in deterring others. Our
soldiers are constantly twitted by their families and friends with their
prospect of risking their lives in the service, and being paid nothing;
and it is in vain that we read them the instructions of the Secretary of
War to General Saxton, promising them the full pay of soldiers. They
only half believe it.[A]

Another drawback is that some of the white soldiers delight in
frightening the women on the plantations with doleful tales of plans for
putting us in the front rank in all battles, and such silly talk,--the
object being, perhaps, to prevent our being employed on active service
at all. All these considerations they feel precisely as white men
would,--no less, no more; and it is the comparative freedom from such
unfavorable influences which makes the Florida men seem more bold and
manly, as they undoubtedly do. To-day General Saxton has returned from
Fernandina with seventy-six recruits, and the eagerness of the captains
to secure them was a sight to see. Yet they cannot deny that some of the
very best men in the regiment are South Carolinians.

                            _December 3, 1862._--7 P. M.

What a life is this I lead! It is a dark, mild, drizzling evening, and
as the foggy air breeds sand-flies, so it calls out melodies and strange
antics from this mysterious race of grown-up children with whom my lot
is cast. All over the camp the lights glimmer in the tents, and as I sit
at my desk in the open doorway, there come mingled sounds of stir and
glee. Boys laugh and shout,--a feeble flute stirs somewhere in some
tent, not an officer's,--a drum throbs far away in another,--wild
kildeer-plover flit and wail above us, like the haunting souls of dead
slavemasters,--and from a neighboring cook-fire comes the monotonous
sound of that strange festival, half powwow, half prayer-meeting, which
they know only as a "shout." These fires are usually inclosed in a
little booth, made neatly of palm-leaves and covered in at top, a
regular native African hut, in short, such as is pictured in books, and
such as I once got up from dried palm-leaves, for a fair, at home. This
hut is now crammed with men, singing at the top of their voices, in one
of their quaint, monotonous, endless, negro-Methodist chants, with
obscure syllables recurring constantly, and slight variations
interwoven, all accompanied with a regular drumming of the feet and
clapping of the hands, like castanets. Then the excitement spreads:
inside and outside the inclosure men begin to quiver and dance, others
join, a circle forms, winding monotonously round some one in the centre;
some "heel and toe" tumultuously, others merely tremble and stagger on,
others stoop and rise, others whirl, others caper sideways, all keep
steadily circling like dervishes; spectators applaud special strokes of
skill; my approach only enlivens the scene; the circle enlarges, louder
grows the singing, rousing shouts of encouragement come in, half
bacchanalian, half devout, "Wake 'em, brudder!" "Stan' up to 'em,
brudder!"--and still the ceaseless drumming and clapping, in perfect
cadence, goes steadily on. Suddenly there comes a sort of _snap_, and
the spell breaks, amid general sighing and laughter. And this not rarely
and occasionally, but night after night,--while in other parts of the
camp the soberest prayers and exhortations are proceeding sedately.

A simple and lovable people, whose graces seem to come by nature, and
whose vices by training. Some of the best superintendents confirm the
early tales of innocence, and Dr. Zachos told me last night that on his
plantation, a sequestered one, "they had absolutely no vices." Nor have
these men of mine yet shown any worth mentioning; since I took command I
have heard of no man intoxicated, and there has been but one small
quarrel. I suppose that scarcely a white regiment in the army shows so
little swearing. Take the "Progressive Friends" and put them in red
trousers, and I verily believe they would fill a guard-house sooner than
these men. If camp-regulations are violated, it seems to be usually
through heedlessness. They love passionately three things, besides their
spiritual incantations,--namely, sugar, home, and tobacco. This last
affection brings tears to their eyes, almost, when they speak of their
urgent need of pay: they speak of their last-remembered quid as if it
were some deceased relative, too early lost, and to be mourned forever.
As for sugar, no white man can drink coffee after they have sweetened it
to their liking.

I see that the pride which military life creates may cause the
plantation-trickeries to diminish. For instance, these men make the most
admirable sentinels. It is far harder to pass the camp-lines at night
than in the camp from which I came; and I have seen none of that
disposition to connive at the offences of members of one's own company
which is so troublesome among white soldiers. Nor are they lazy, either
about work or drill; in all respects they seem better material for
soldiers than I had dared to hope.

There is one company in particular, all Florida men, which I certainly
think the finest-looking company I ever saw, white or black; they range
admirably in size, have remarkable erectness and ease of carriage, and
really march splendidly. Not a visitor but notices them; yet they have
been under drill only a fortnight, and a part only two days. They have
all been slaves, and very few are even mulattoes.

                                              _December 4, 1862._

"Dwelling in tents, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." This condition is
certainly mine,--and with a multitude of patriarchs beside, not to
mention Cæsar and Pompey, Hercules and Bacchus.

A moving life, tented at night, this experience has been mine in civil
society, if society be civil before the luxurious forest-fires of Maine
and the Adirondack, or upon the lonely prairies of Kansas. But a
stationary tent-life, deliberately going to housekeeping under canvas,
I have never had before, though in our barrack-life at "Camp Wool" I
often wished for it.

The accommodations here are about as liberal as my quarters there, two
wall-tents being placed end to end, for office and bed-room, and
separated at will by a "fly" of canvas. There is a good board floor and
mop-board, effectually excluding dampness and draughts, and everything
but sand, which on windy days penetrates everywhere. The
office-furniture consists of a good desk or secretary, a very clumsy and
disastrous settee, and a remarkable chair. The desk is a bequest of the
slaveholders, and the settee of the slaves, being ecclesiastical in its
origin, and appertaining to the little old church or "praise-house," now
used for commissary purposes. The chair is a composite structure: I
found a cane seat on a dust-heap, which a black sergeant combined with
two legs from a broken bedstead and two more from an oak-bough. I sit on
it with a pride of conscious invention, mitigated by profound
insecurity. Bedroom-furniture, a couch made of gun-boxes covered with
condemned blankets, another settee, two pails, a tin cup, tin basin, (we
prize any tin or wooden ware as savages prize iron,) and a valise,
regulation-size. Seriously considered, nothing more appears needful,
unless ambition might crave another chair for company, and, perhaps,
something for a wash-stand higher than a settee.

To-day it rains hard, and the wind quivers through the closed canvas,
and makes one feel at sea. All the talk of the camp outside is fused
into a cheerful and indistinguishable murmur, pierced through at every
moment by the wail of the hovering plover. Sometimes a face, black or
white, peers through the entrance with some message. Since the light
readily penetrates, though the rain cannot, the tent conveys a feeling
of charmed security, as if an invisible boundary checked the pattering
drops and held the moaning wind. The front tent I share, as yet, with my
adjutant; in the inner apartment I reign supreme, bounded in a nutshell,
with no bad dreams.

In all pleasant weather the outer "fly" is open, and men pass and
repass, a chattering throng. I think of Emerson's Saadi, "As thou
sittest at thy door, on the desert's yellow floor,"--for these bare
sand-plains, gray above, are always yellow when upturned, and there
seems a tinge of Orientalism in all our life.

Thrice a day we go to the plantation-houses for our meals,
camp-arrangements being yet very imperfect. The officers board in
different messes, the adjutant and I still clinging to the household of
William Washington,--William the quiet and the courteous, the pattern of
house-servants, William the noiseless, the observing, the
discriminating, who knows everything that can be got and how to cook it.
William and his tidy, lady-like little spouse Hetty--a pair of wedded
lovers, if ever I saw one--set our table in their one room, half-way
between an unglazed window and a large wood-fire, such as is often
welcome. Thanks to the adjutant, we are provided with the social
magnificence of napkins; while (lest pride take too high a flight) our
table-cloth consists of two "New York Tribunes" and a "Leslie's
Pictorial." Every steamer brings us a clean table-cloth. Here are we
forever supplied with pork and oysters and sweet-potatoes and rice and
hominy and corn-bread and milk; also mysterious griddle-cakes of
corn and pumpkin; also preserves made of pumpkin-chips, and other
fanciful productions of Ethiop art. Mr. E. promised the
plantation-superintendents who should come down here "all the luxuries
of home," and we certainly have much apparent, if little real variety.
Once William produced with some palpitation something fricasseed, which
he boldly termed chicken; it was very small, and seemed in some
undeveloped condition of ante-natal toughness. After the meal, he
frankly avowed it for squirrel.

                                              _December 5, 1862._

Give these people their tongues, their feet, and their leisure, and they
are happy. At every twilight the air is full of singing, talking, and
clapping of hands in unison. One of their favorite songs is full of
plaintive cadences; it is not, I think, a Methodist tune, and I wonder
where they obtained a chant of such beauty.

    "I can't stay behind, my Lord, I can't stay behind!
    Oh, my father is gone, my father is gone,
    My father is gone into heaven, my Lord!
          I can't stay behind!
    Dere's room enough, room enough,
    Room enough in de heaven for de sojer:
          Can't stay behind!"

It always excites them to have us looking on, yet they sing these songs
at all times and seasons. I have heard this very song dimly droning on
near midnight, and, tracing it into the recesses of a cook-house, have
found an old fellow coiled away among the pots and provisions, chanting
away with his "Can't stay behind, sinner," till I made him leave his
song behind.

This evening, after working themselves up to the highest pitch, a party
suddenly rushed off, got a barrel, and mounted some man upon it, who
said, "Gib anoder song, boys, and I'se gib you a speech." After some
hesitation and sundry shouts of "Rise de sing, somebody," and "Stan' up
for Jesus, brudder," irreverently put in by the juveniles, they got upon
the John Brown song, always a favorite, adding a jubilant verse which I
had never before heard,--"We'll beat Beauregard on de clare
battle-field." Then came the promised speech, and then no less than
seven other speeches by as many men, on a variety of barrels, each
orator being affectionately tugged to the pedestal and set on end by his
special constituency. Every speech was good, without exception; with the
queerest oddities of phrase and pronunciation, there was an invariable
enthusiasm, a pungency of statement, and an understanding of the points
at issue, which made them all rather thrilling. Those long-winded slaves
in "Among the Pines" seemed rather fictitious and literary in
comparison. The most eloquent, perhaps, was Corporal Prince Lambkin,
just arrived from Fernandina, who evidently had a previous reputation
among them. His historical references were very interesting: he reminded
them that he had predicted this war ever since Fremont's time, to which
some of the crowd assented; he gave a very intelligent account of that
Presidential campaign, and then described most impressively the secret
anxiety of the slaves in Florida to know all about President Lincoln's
election, and told how they all refused to work on the fourth of March,
expecting their freedom to date from that day. He finally brought out
one of the few really impressive appeals for the American flag that I
have ever heard. "Our mas'rs dey hab lib under de flag, dey got dere
wealth under it, and ebryting beautiful for dere chilen. Under it dey
hab grind us up, and put us in dere pocket for money. But de fus' minute
dey tink dat ole nag mean freedom for we colored people, dey pull it
right down, and run up de rag ob dere own." (Immense applause.) "But
we'll neber desert de ole flag, boys, neber; we hab lib under it for
_eighteen hundred sixty-two years_, and we'll die for it now." With
which overpowering discharge of chronology-at-long-range, this most
effective of stump-speeches closed. I see already with relief that there
will be small demand in this regiment for harangues from the officers;
give the men an empty barrel for a stump, and they will do their own


[A] With what utter humiliation were we, their officers, obliged to
confess to them, eighteen months afterwards, that it was their distrust
which was wise, and our faith in the pledges of the United States
Government which was foolishness!


    Pluck color from the morning sky,
      And wear it as thy diadem;
    Nor pass the wayside flowers by,
        But star thy robes with them.

    Far in the temple of the sun
      The vestal fires of being burn;
    Thence beauty's finest fibres run,
        And weave where'er we turn.

    Thy plumes are in the yellow corn,--
      But chief the gold of priceless days
    In bosom of thy friend is borne,
        Coined in his kindly rays.

    Here lies thy wealth, go gather it,--
      The mine is near, its deeps explore,
    And freely give love, metal, wit,--
        Thine is the exhaustless ore:

    Thine are the precious stones whereon
      The weary pass grief's flooded ford,
    And thine the jewelled pavement won
        By those who love the Lord.


There was a gentleman of Mont-de-Marsan, Dominic de Gourgues, a soldier
of ancient birth and high renown. That he was a Huguenot is not certain.
The Spanish annalist calls him a "terrible heretic"; but the French
Jesuit, Charlevoix, anxious that the faithful should share the glory of
his exploits, affirms, that, like his ancestors before him, he was a
good Catholic. If so, his faith sat lightly upon him; and Catholic or
heretic, he hated the Spaniards with a mortal hate. Fighting in the
Italian wars,--for, from boyhood, he was wedded to the sword,--they had
taken him prisoner near Siena, where he had signalized himself by a
fiery and determined bravery. With brutal insult, they chained him to
the oar as a galley-slave. After long endurance of this ignominy, the
Turks had captured the vessel and carried her to Constantinople. It was
but a change of tyrants; but, soon after, putting out on a cruise,
Gourgues still at the oar, a galley of the Maltese knights hove in
sight, bore down on the prize, recaptured her, and set the prisoner
free. For several years after, his restless spirit found escape in
voyages to Africa, Brazil, and regions yet more remote. His naval repute
rose high, but his grudge against the Spaniards still rankled within
him; and when, returned from his rovings, he learned the tidings from
Florida, his hot Gascon blood boiled with fury.

The honor of France had been foully stained, and there was none to wipe
away the shame. The faction-ridden King was dumb. The nobles who
surrounded him were in the Spanish interest. Then, since they proved
recreant, he, Dominic de Gourgues, a simple gentleman, would take upon
him to avenge the wrong, and restore the dimmed lustre of the French
name. He sold his inheritance, borrowed money from his brother, who held
a high post in Guienne, and equipped three small vessels, navigable by
sail or oar. On board he placed a hundred arquebusiers and eighty
sailors, prepared to fight on land, if need were. The noted Blaise de
Montluc, then lieutenant for the King in Guienne, gave him a commission
to make war on the negroes of Benin, that is, to kidnap them as slaves,
an adventure then held honorable.

His true design was locked within his own breast. He mustered his
followers, feasted them,--not a few were of rank equal to his own,--and,
on the twenty-second of August, 1567, sailed from the mouth of the
Charente. Off Cape Finisterre, so violent a storm buffeted his ships
that his men clamored to return; but Gourgues's spirit prevailed. He
bore away for Barbary, and, landing at the Rio del Oro, refreshed and
cheered them as he best might. Thence he sailed to Cape Blanco, where
the jealous Portuguese, who had a fort in the neighborhood, set upon him
three negro chiefs. Gourgues beat them off, and remained master of the
harbor; whence, however, he soon voyaged onward to Cape Verd, and,
steering westward, made for the West Indies. Here, advancing from island
to island, he came to Hispaniola, where, between the fury of a hurricane
at sea and the jealousy of the Spaniards on shore, he was in no small
jeopardy,--"the Spaniards," exclaims the indignant journalist, "who
think that this New World was made for nobody but them, and that no
other man living has a right to move or breathe here!" Gourgues landed,
however, obtained the water of which he was in need, and steered for
Cape San Antonio, in Cuba. There he gathered his followers about him,
and addressed them with his fiery Gascon eloquence. For the first time,
he told them his true purpose. He inveighed against Spanish cruelty. He
painted, with angry rhetoric, the butcheries of Fort Caroline and St.

"What disgrace," he cried, "if such an insult should pass unpunished!
What glory to us, if we revenge it! To this I have devoted my fortune. I
relied on you. I thought you jealous enough of your country's glory to
sacrifice life itself in a cause like this. Was I deceived? I will show
you the way; I will be always at your head; I will bear the brunt of
danger. Will you refuse to follow me?"

At first his startled hearers listened in silence; but soon the passions
of that adventurous age rose responsive to his words. The sparks fell
among gunpowder. The combustible French nature burst into flame. The
enthusiasm of the soldiers rose to such a pitch that Gourgues had much
ado to make them wait till the moon was full before tempting the perils
of the Bahama Channel. His time came at length. The moon rode high above
the lonely sea, and, silvered in its light, the ships of the avenger
held their course.

But how, meanwhile, had it fared with the Spaniards in Florida? The
good-will of the Indians had vanished. The French had been obtrusive and
vexatious guests; but their worst trespasses had been mercy and
tenderness, to the daily outrage of the new-comers. Friendship had
changed to aversion, aversion to hatred, hatred to open war. The
forest-paths were beset; stragglers were cut off; and woe to the
Spaniard who should venture after nightfall beyond call of the outposts!
Menendez, however, had strengthened himself in his new conquest. St.
Augustine was well fortified; Fort Caroline, now Fort San Mateo, was
repaired; and two redoubts were thrown up to guard the mouth of the
River of May. Thence, on an afternoon in April, the Spaniards saw three
sail steering northward. Unsuspicious of an enemy, their batteries
boomed a salute. Gourgues's ships replied, then stood out to sea, and
were lost in the shades of evening.

They kept their course all night, and, as day broke, anchored at the
mouth of a river, the St. Mary's or the Santilla, by their reckoning
fifteen leagues north of the River of May. Here, as it grew light,
Gourgues saw the borders of the sea thronged with savages, armed and
plumed for war. They, too, had mistaken the strangers for Spaniards, and
mustered to meet their tyrants at the landing. But in the French ships
there was a trumpeter who had been long in Florida, and knew the Indians
well. He went towards them in a boat, with many gestures of friendship;
and no sooner was he recognized than the naked crowd, with yelps of
delight, danced for joy about the sands. Why had he ever left them? they
asked; and why had he not returned before? The intercourse thus
auspiciously begun was actively kept up. Gourgues told the principal
chief--who was no other than Satouriona, of old the ally of the
French--that he had come to visit them, make friendship with them, and
bring them presents. At this last announcement, so grateful to Indian
ears, the dancing was renewed with double zeal. The next morning was
named for a grand council. Satouriona sent runners to summon all Indians
within call; while Gourgues, for safety, brought his vessels within the
mouth of the river.

Morning came, and the woods were thronged with congregated warriors.
Gourgues and his soldiers landed with martial pomp. In token of mutual
confidence, the French laid aside their arquebuses, the Indians their
bows and arrows. Satouriona came to meet the strangers, and seated their
commander at his side, on a wooden stool, draped and cushioned with the
gray Spanish moss. Two old Indians cleared the spot of brambles, weeds,
and grass; and, their task finished, the tribesmen took their places in
a ring, row within row, standing, sitting, and crouching on the ground,
a dusky concourse, plumed in festal array, waiting with grave visages
and eyes intent. Gourgues was about to speak, when the chief, who, says
the narrator, had not learned French manners, rose and anticipated him.
He broke into a vehement harangue; and the cruelty of the Spaniards was
the burden of his words.

Since the French fort was taken, he said, the Indians had not had one
happy day. The Spaniards drove them from their cabins, stole their corn,
ravished their wives and daughters, and killed their children; and all
this they had endured because they loved the French. There was a French
boy who had escaped from the massacre at the fort. They had found him in
the woods, and though the Spaniards, who wished to kill him, demanded
that they should give him up, they had kept him for his friends.

"Look!" pursued the chief, "here he is!"--and he brought forward a youth
of sixteen, named Pierre Debré, who became at once of the greatest
service to the French, his knowledge of the Indian language making him
an excellent interpreter.

Delighted as he was at this outburst against the Spaniards, Gourgues by
no means saw fit to display the full extent of his satisfaction. He
thanked the Indians for their good-will, exhorted them to continue in
it, and pronounced an ill-merited eulogy on the greatness and goodness
of his King. As for the Spaniards, he said, their day of reckoning was
at hand; and if the Indians had been abused for their love of the
French, the French would be their avengers. Here Satouriona forgot his
dignity, and leaped up for joy.

"What!" he cried, "will you fight the Spaniards?"

"I came here," replied Gourgues, "only to reconnoitre the country and
make friends with you, then to go back and bring more soldiers; but when
I hear what you are suffering from them, I wish to fall upon them this
very day, and rescue you from their tyranny." And, all around the ring,
a clamor of applauding voices greeted his words.

"But you will do your part," pursued the Frenchman; "you will not leave
us all the honor."

"We will go," replied Satouriona, "and die with you, if need be."

"Then, if we fight, we ought to fight at once. How soon can you have
your warriors ready to march?"

The chief asked three days for preparation. Gourgues cautioned him to
secrecy, lest the Spaniards should take alarm.

"Never fear," was the answer; "we hate them more than you do."

Then came a distribution of gifts,--knives, hatchets, mirrors, bells,
and beads,--while the warrior-rabble crowded to receive them, with eager
faces, and tawny arms outstretched. The distribution over, Gourgues
asked the chiefs if there was any other matter in which he could serve
them. On this, pointing at his shirt, they expressed a peculiar
admiration for that garment, and begged each to have one, to be worn at
feasts and councils during life, and in their graves after death.
Gourgues complied; and his grateful confederates were soon stalking
about him, fluttering in the spoils of his ravished wardrobe.

To learn the strength and position of the Spaniards, Gourgues now sent
out three scouts; and with them went Olotoraca, Satouriona's nephew, a
young brave of great renown.

The chief, eager to prove his good faith, gave as hostages his only son
and his favorite wife. They were sent on board the ships, while the
savage concourse dispersed to their encampments, with leaping, stamping,
dancing, and whoops of jubilation.

The day appointed came, and with it the savage army, hideous in
war-paint and plumed for battle. Their ceremonies began. The woods rang
back their songs and yells, as with frantic gesticulations they
brandished their war-clubs and vaunted their deeds of prowess. Then they
drank the black drink, endowed with mystic virtues to steel them against
hardship and danger; and Gourgues himself pretended to swallow the
nauseous decoction.

These ceremonies consumed the day. It was evening before the allies
filed off into their forests, and took the path for the Spanish forts.
The French, on their part, were to repair by sea to the rendezvous.
Gourgues mustered and addressed his men. It was needless: their ardor
was at fever-height. They broke in upon his words, and demanded to be
led at once against the enemy. Francis Bourdelois, with twenty sailors,
was left with the ships. Gourgues affectionately bade him farewell.

"If I am slain in this most just enterprise," he said, "I leave all in
your charge, and pray you to carry back my soldiers to France."

There were many embracings among the excited Frenchmen,--many
sympathetic tears from those who were to stay behind,--many messages
left with them for wives, children, friends, and mistresses; and then
this valiant handful pushed their boats from shore. It was a
hare-brained venture, for, as young Debré had assured them, the
Spaniards on the River of May were four hundred in number, secure behind
their ramparts.

Hour after hour the sailors pulled at the oar. They glided slowly past
the sombre shores by the shimmering moonlight, the sound of the
murmuring surf and the moaning pine-trees. In the gray of the morning,
they came to the mouth of a river, probably the Nassau; and here a
northeast wind set in with a violence that almost wrecked their boats.
Their Indian allies were waiting on the bank, but for a while the gale
delayed their crossing. The bolder French would lose no time, rowed
through the tossing waves, and, landing safely, left their boats, and
pushed into the forest. Gourgues took the lead, in breastplate and
back-piece. At his side marched the young chief Olotoraca, a French pike
in his hand; and the files of arquebuse-men and armed sailors followed
close behind. They plunged through swamps, hewed their way through
brambly thickets and the matted intricacies of the forests, and, at five
in the afternoon, wellnigh spent with fatigue and hunger, came to a
river or inlet of the sea, not far from the first Spanish fort. Here
they found three hundred Indians waiting for them.

Tired as he was, Gourgues would not rest. He would fain attack at
daybreak, and with ten arquebusiers and his Indian guide he set forth to
reconnoitre. Night closed upon him. It was a vain task to struggle on,
in pitchy darkness, among trunks of trees, fallen logs, tangled vines,
and swollen streams. Gourgues returned, anxious and gloomy. An Indian
chief approached him, read through the darkness his perturbed look, and
offered to lead him by a better path along the margin of the sea.
Gourgues joyfully assented, and ordered all his men to march. The
Indians, better skilled in woodcraft, chose the shorter course through
the forest.

The French forgot their weariness, and pressed on at speed. At dawn they
and their allies met on the bank of a stream, beyond which, and very
near, was the fort. But the tide was in. They essayed to cross in vain.
Greatly vexed,--for he had hoped to take the enemy asleep,--Gourgues
withdrew his soldiers into the forest, where they were no sooner
ensconced than a drenching rain fell, and they had much ado to keep
their gun-matches burning. The light grew apace. Gourgues plainly saw
the fort, whose defences seemed slight and unfinished. He even saw the
Spaniards at work within. A feverish interval elapsed. At length the
tide was out,--so far, at least, that the stream was fordable. A little
higher up, a clump of woods lay between it and the fort. Behind this
friendly screen the passage was begun. Each man tied his powder-flask to
his steel cap, held his arquebuse above his head with one hand and
grasped his sword with the other. The channel was a bed of oysters. The
sharp shells cut their feet as they waded through. But the farther bank
was gained. They emerged from the water, drenched, lacerated, bleeding,
but with unabated mettle. Under cover of the trees Gourgues set them in
array. They stood with kindling eyes, and hearts throbbing, but not with
fear. Gourgues pointed to the Spanish fort, seen by glimpses between the
bushes and brown trunks. "Look!" he said, "there are the robbers who
have stolen this land from our King; there are the murderers who have
butchered our countrymen!" With voices eager, fierce, but half
suppressed, they demanded to be led on.

Gourgues gave the word. Cazenove, his lieutenant, with thirty men,
pushed for the fort-gate; himself, with the main body, for the glacis.
It was near noon; the Spaniards had just risen from table, and, says the
narrative, "were still picking their teeth," when a startled cry rang in
their ears,--

"To arms! to arms! The French are coming! the French are coming!"

It was the voice of a cannoneer who had that moment mounted the rampart
and seen the assailants advancing in unbroken ranks, with heads lowered
and weapons at the charge. He fired his cannon among them. He even had
time to load and fire again, when the light-limbed Olotoraca bounded
forward, ran up the glacis, leaped the unfinished ditch, and drove his
pike through the Spaniard from breast to back. Gourgues was now on the
glacis, when he heard Cazenove shouting from the gate that the Spaniards
were escaping on that side. He turned and led his men thither at a run.
In a moment, the fugitives, sixty in all, were inclosed between his
party and that of his lieutenant. The Indians, too, came leaping to the
spot. Not a Spaniard escaped. All were cut down but a few, reserved by
Gourgues for a more inglorious end.

Meanwhile the Spaniards in the other fort, on the opposite shore,
cannonaded the victors without ceasing. The latter turned four captured
guns against them. One of Gourgues's boats, a very large one, had been
brought along-shore. He entered it, with eighty soldiers, and pushed for
the farther bank. With loud yells, the Indians leaped into the water.
From shore to shore, the St. John's was alive with them. Each held his
bow and arrows aloft in one hand, while he swam with the other. A panic
seized the garrison as they saw the savage multitude. They broke out of
the fort and fled into the forest. But the French had already landed;
and throwing themselves in the path of the fugitives, they greeted them
with a storm of lead. The terrified wretches recoiled; but flight was
vain. The Indian whoop rang behind them; war-clubs and arrows finished
the work. Gourgues's utmost efforts saved but fifteen,--saved them, not
out of mercy, but from a refinement of vengeance.

The next day was Quasimodo Sunday, or the Sunday after Easter. Gourgues
and his men remained quiet, making ladders for the assault on Fort San
Mateo. Meanwhile the whole forest was in arms, and, far and near, the
Indians were wild with excitement. They beset the Spanish fort till not
a soldier could venture out. The garrison, conscious of their danger,
though ignorant of its extent, devised an expedient to gain information,
and one of them, painted and feathered like an Indian, ventured within
Gourgues's outposts. He himself chanced to be at hand, and by his side
walked his constant attendant, Olotoraca. The keen-eyed young savage
pierced the cheat at a glance. The spy was seized, and, being examined,
declared that there were two hundred and sixty Spaniards in San Mateo,
that they believed the French to be two thousand, and were so frightened
that they did not know what they did.

Gourgues, well pleased, pushed on to attack them. On Monday evening he
sent forward the Indians to ambush themselves on both sides of the fort.
In the morning he followed with his Frenchmen; and as the glittering
ranks came into view, defiling between the forest and the river, the
Spaniards opened on them with culverins from a projecting bastion. The
French took cover in the forest with which the hills below and behind
the fort were densely overgrown. Here, ensconced in the edge of the
woods, where, himself unseen, he could survey the whole extent of the
defences, Gourgues presently descried a strong party of Spaniards
issuing from their works, crossing the ditch, and advancing to
reconnoitre. On this, returning to his men, he sent Cazenove, with a
detachment, to station himself at a point well hidden by trees on the
flank of the Spaniards. The latter, with strange infatuation, continued
their advance. Gourgues and his followers pushed on through the thickets
to meet them. As the Spaniards reached the edge of the clearing, a
deadly fire blazed in their faces, and before the smoke cleared, the
French were among them, sword in hand. The survivors would have fled;
but Cazenove's detachment fell upon their rear, and all were killed or

When their comrades in the fort beheld their fate, a panic seized them.
Conscious of their own deeds, perpetrated on this very spot, they could
hope no mercy. Their terror multiplied immeasurably the numbers of their
enemy. They deserted the fort in a body, and fled into the woods most
remote from the French. But here a deadlier foe awaited them; for a host
of Indians leaped up from ambush. Then rose those hideous war-cries
which have curdled the boldest blood and blanched the manliest cheek.
Then the forest-warriors, with savage ecstasy, wreaked their long
arrears of vengeance. The French, too, hastened to the spot, and lent
their swords to the slaughter. A few prisoners were saved alive; the
rest were slain; and thus did the Spaniards make bloody atonement for
the butchery of Fort Caroline.

But Gourgues's vengeance was not yet appeased. Hard by the fort, the
trees were pointed out to him on which Menendez had hanged his captives,
and placed over them the inscription,--"Not as Frenchmen, but as

Gourgues ordered the Spanish prisoners to be led thither.

"Did you think," he sternly said, as the pallid wretches stood ranged
before him, "that so vile a treachery, so detestable a cruelty, against
a King so potent and a nation so generous, would go unpunished? I, one
of the humblest gentlemen among my King's subjects, have charged myself
with avenging it. Even if the Most Christian and the Most Catholic Kings
had been enemies, at deadly war, such perfidy and extreme cruelty would
still have been unpardonable. Now that they are friends and close
allies, there is no name vile enough to brand your deeds, no punishment
sharp enough to requite them. But though you cannot suffer as you
deserve, you shall suffer all that an enemy can honorably inflict, that
your example may teach others to observe the peace and alliance which
you have so perfidiously violated."

They were hanged where the French had hung before them; and over them
was nailed the inscription, burned with a hot iron on a tablet of
pine,--"Not as Spaniards, but as Traitors, Robbers, and Murderers."

Gourgues's mission was fulfilled. To occupy the country had never been
his intention; nor was it possible, for the Spaniards were still in
force at St. Augustine. His was a whirlwind-visitation,--to ravage,
ruin, and vanish. He harangued the Indians, and exhorted them to
demolish the fort. They fell to the work with a keen alacrity, and in
less than a day not one stone was left on another.

Gourgues returned to the forts at the mouth of the river, destroyed them
also, and took up his march for his ships. It was a triumphal
procession. The Indians thronged around the victors with gifts of fish
and game; and an old woman declared that she was now ready to die, since
she had seen the French once more.

The ships were ready for sea. Gourgues bade his disconsolate allies
farewell, and nothing would content them but a promise to return soon.
Before embarking, he addressed his own men:--

"My friends, let us give thanks to God for the success He has granted
us. It is He who saved us from tempests; it is He who inclined the
hearts of the Indians towards us; it is He who blinded the understanding
of the Spaniards. They were four to one in forts well armed and
provisioned. We had nothing but our right; and yet we have conquered.
Not to our own strength, but to God only, we owe our victory. Then let
us thank Him, my friends; let us never forget His favors; and let us
pray that He may continue them, saving us from dangers, and guiding us
safely home. Let us pray, too, that He may so dispose the hearts of men
that our perils and toils may find favor in the eyes of our King and of
all France, since all we have done was done for the King's service and
for the honor of our country."

Thus Spaniards and Frenchmen alike laid their reeking swords on God's

Gourgues sailed on the third of May, and, gazing back along their
foaming wake, the adventurers looked their last on the scene of their
exploits. Their success had had its price. A few of their number had
fallen, and hardships still awaited the survivors. Gourgues, however,
reached Rochelle on the day of Pentecost, and the Huguenot citizens
greeted him with all honor. At court it fared worse with him. The King,
still obsequious to Spain, looked on him coldly and askance. The Spanish
minister demanded his head. It was hinted to him that he was not safe,
and he withdrew to Rouen, where he found asylum among his friends. His
fortune was gone; debts contracted for his expedition weighed heavily on
him; and for years he lived in obscurity, almost in misery. At length a
dawn brightened for him. Elizabeth of England learned his merits and
his misfortunes, and invited him to enter her service. The King, who,
says the Jesuit historian, had always at heart been delighted with his
achievement, openly restored him to favor; while, some years later, Don
Antonio tendered him command of his fleet to defend his right to the
crown of Portugal against Philip II. Gourgues, happy once more to cross
swords with the Spaniards, gladly embraced this offer; but, on his way
to join the Portuguese prince, he died at Tours of a sudden illness. The
French mourned the loss of the man who had wiped a blot from the
national scutcheon, and respected his memory as that of one of the best
captains of his time. And, in truth, if a zealous patriotism, a fiery
valor, and skilful leadership are worthy of honor, then is such tribute
due to Dominic de Gourgues, despite the shadowing vices which even the
spirit of that wild age can only palliate, the personal hate that aided
the impulse of his patriotism, and the implacable cruelty that sullied
his courage.

Romantic as his exploit was, it lacked the fulness of poetic justice,
since the chief offender escaped him. While Gourgues was sailing towards
Florida, Menendez was in Spain, high in favor at court, where he told to
approving ears how he had butchered the heretics. Borgia, the sainted
General of the Jesuits, was his fast friend; and two years later, when
he returned to America, the Pope, Paul V., regarding him as an
instrument for the conversion of the Indians, wrote him a letter with
his benediction. He reëstablished his power in Florida, rebuilt Fort San
Mateo, and taught the Indians that death or flight was the only refuge
from Spanish tyranny. They murdered his missionaries and spurned their
doctrine. "The Devil is the best thing in the world," they cried; "we
adore him; he makes men brave." Even the Jesuits despaired, and
abandoned Florida in disgust.

Menendez was summoned home, where fresh honors awaited him from the
crown, though, according to the somewhat doubtful assertion of the
heretical Grotius, his deeds had left a stain upon his name among the
people. He was given command of the armada of three hundred sail and
twenty thousand men, which, in 1574, was gathered at Santander against
England and Flanders. But now, at the climax of his fortunes, his career
was abruptly closed. He died suddenly, at the age of fifty-five. What
caused his death? Grotius affirms that he killed himself; but, in his
eagerness to point the moral of his story, he seems to have overstepped
the bounds of historic truth. The Spanish bigot was rarely a suicide,
for the rights of Christian burial and repose in consecrated ground were
denied to the remains of the self-murderer. There is positive evidence,
too, in a codicil to the will of Menendez, dated at Santander on the
fifteenth of September, 1574, that he was on that day seriously ill,
though, as the instrument declares, "sound of mind." There is reason,
then, to believe that this pious cut-throat died a natural death,
crowned with honors, and compassed by the consolations of his religion.

It was he who crushed French Protestantism in America. To plant
religious freedom on this Western soil was not the mission of France. It
was for her to rear in Northern forests the banner of Absolutism and of
Rome; while, among the rocks of Massachusetts, England and Calvin
fronted her in dogged and deadly opposition.

Civilization in North America found its pioneer, its forlorn hope, less
in England than in France. For, long before the ice-crusted pines of
Plymouth had listened to the rugged psalmody of the Puritan, the
solitudes of Western New York and the shadowy wilderness of Lake Huron
were trodden by the iron heel of the soldier and the sandalled foot of
the Franciscan friar. They who bore the fleur-de-lis were always in the
van, patient, daring, indomitable. And foremost on this bright roll of
forest-chivalry stands the half-forgotten name of Samuel de Champlain.


The evenings were always dull and long to those of us who were too far
from home to make it worth while to leave the school for the eight weeks
of holiday. It was dreary indeed sitting in the great school-room, with
its long rows of empty desks, with nothing before one to break the
monotony of the four walls but the great map of France and the big dusty
cross with its dingy wreath of _immortelles_. It is true, we did not
bewail the absence of our companions. In fact, it was with a tranquil
sense of security that I began my work every morning in vacation,
knowing that I should find all my books in my desk, and my pens and
pencils undisturbed; for among the _pensionnaires_ there existed a
strong tendency to communistic principles. Still, when all the noisy
crew had departed, the house seemed lonely, the dining-room with its
three bare tables looked desolate, and an unnatural stillness reigned in
the shady pathways of the garden. You might wander from room to room,
and up and down the stairs, and to and fro in the long passages, and
meet no one. Fräulein Christine was with her "_Liebes Mütterchen_" in
Strasburg, and Mademoiselle had left her weary post in the middle of the
school-room for her quiet village-home in Normandy. Madame herself
remained almost entirely invisible, shut up in the sanctity of her own
rooms; and so the whole house had a sense of stillness that seemed only
heightened by the glory of the autumn sunshine, and the hum of bees and
rustle of leaves that filled the air outside.

The house was old; it had been a grand mansion once, before the days of
the Revolution, and had probably been the residence of some of the stiff
old worthies whose portraits hung in dreary dignity in the disused dusty
galleries of the _château_, which now, turned into a _citadelle_, stood
upon a high point of the cliffs commanding the town. The term _rambling_
might well be applied to this house, for in its eccentric construction
it seemed to have wandered at will half-way up the hill-side on which it
was built. It had wings and abutments, and flights of stone steps
leading from one part to another. There was "_la grande maison de
Madame_," "_la maison du jardin_," and "_la maison de Monsieur_." This
last, half hidden in trees, was _terra incognita_ to the girls; but
often in an evening, after we had seen him wending his way across the
garden with his lantern from _la grande maison_, where he had been
spending the evening with Madame, did we hear Monsieur playing on his
organ glorious "bits" of Cherubini and Bach.

We were conscious that this odd little man carried on a system of
espionage through the half-closed slats of his shutters, the effects of
which we were continually made to feel; this, and the mystery that
enveloped his small abode, where he worked all day among his bottles and
retorts, made Monsieur appear somewhat of an ogre in our eyes. There was
always a sense of freedom in the upper garden, which was out of the
range of his windows, and where he never came. That pleasant upper
garden, what a paradise it was, with its long sunny walks within the
shelter of high walls! The trim stateliness of the ancient splendor had
run to luxuriant disorder, and thick tangles of rare roses swung abroad
their boughs above great beds of lilies-of-the-valley and periwinkle
which had overrun their borders and crept into the walks.

During the vacation, we who stayed had the privilege of going into the
upper garden. Obtaining the key from Justine, we would wander first
along the shady pathways of the lower garden, past the flower-beds where
the girls during recess-times worked and gossiped and quarrelled,--their
quick French tongues reminding one of a colony of sparrows,--then,
turning the stubborn lock of the heavy door that opened on the flight
of mossy steps, we came into that region of stillness and delight, the
upper garden.

Oh, the pleasant autumn afternoons spent sitting together on the mossy
walk between the box-hedges, the hum of bees and the scent of roses
filling the air, and the sweet monotonous murmur of the sea on the
shingly beach in our ears! For, mounting still higher by terraces and
another flight of steps through a tumble-down gateway, you came upon the
open cliffs; and the long blue line of the sea and the fresh sea-breeze
greeted you with a thousand thoughts of home. For England lay beyond the
trembling blue line.

I remember it was one of these autumn afternoons, that, coming down from
practising, with my music-books under my arm, I met Justine, the genius
of the _ménage_, cook and housekeeper in one, a shrewd woman, who had
three objects in life,--to manage _les bêtes_, as she condescendingly
termed the other servants, to please Madame, whom she adored, and to go
to church every Sunday and _grande fête_. Justine was coming in from the
garden, with a basket on her arm, in which lay two pigeons that she had
just killed. On her fingers she twirled the gory scissors with which she
had performed the deed.

"Good day, Justine! How is Madame?"

"Madame is well, thank you, Mademoiselle,--a little headache, that is
all,--that comes of so much learning and writing at night. _Mais voilà
une femme superbe!_ I go to make her a little dinner of these," pointing
to the pigeons.

"Justine, _ma bonne_, won't you give us the key this afternoon?"

Justine stops suddenly and clasps her fat hands emphatically over the
lid of her basket.

"I had almost forgotten, Mademoiselle. Madame desired me to tell the
_demoiselles_ that she comes down this evening to sit in the _cabinet de

I was delighted with this piece of intelligence, and ran to tell the
others. It was not often that Madame deigned to come down-stairs of an
evening, and were always glad when she did. In the first place, it was a
pleasant break in the monotony of the general routine to sit and work
and draw, instead of studying in the empty school-room; and secondly, it
was delightful to be with Madame, when she threw off the character of
preceptress,--for at such times she was infinitely agreeable,
entertaining us in her bright French manner as if we had been her

Madame had a way of charming all who approached her, from Adelaide
Sloper's rich, vulgar father, who, when he came to see his daughter, was
entertained by Madame _au salon_, and who was overheard to declare, as
he got into his grand carriage, that "that Frenchwoman was the finest
woman, by Jove, he'd ever seen!" to the tiny witch Élise, whom nobody
could manage, but who, at the first rustle of Madame's gown, would cease
from her mischief, fold her small hands, and, sinking her bead-like
black eyes, look as demure as such a sprite could. We all adored
Madame,--not that she herself was very good, though she was pious in her
way, too. She fasted and went regularly to confession and to all the
_offices_, and sometimes at the passing of the Host I have seen her
kneeling in the dusty street in a new dress, and I don't know what more
you could expect from a Frenchwoman.

Then she was so pretty, and there was a nameless grace in her attitude.
She seemed to me so beautiful, as she stood at her desk, with one hand
resting on her open book, tall, with something almost imperious in her
figure, her head bent, but her deep, lovely gray eyes looking quietly
before her and seeming to take in at once the whole school-room with an
expression of keen intelligence. She was highly cultivated, and had read
widely in many languages; but she wore her learning as gracefully as a
bird does its lovely plumage.

There was a latent desire for sway in her character. She delighted in
the homage of those about her, and seldom failed to win it from any one
with whom she came in contact. Mademoiselle, who did all the hard work
of the teaching, and was only half paid for it, wore out her strength
and energy and youth day by day at her desk in the middle of the
school-room, and thought Madame the perfection of women; and her sallow,
thin face would flush with pleasure, if Madame gave her a look or one of
her soft smiles in passing.

At half-past seven that evening we were seated round the table with our
work, awaiting the entrance of Madame. Presently she glided in, holding
in her arms a bureau-drawer filled with piles of letters.

"I propose to tell you a story, _mes chères_," she said, as she seated
herself and folded her white hands over one of the thick bundles that
she had taken from the drawer.

"You have all heard me speak of Lina Dale, my English governess before I
had Mary Gibson. Mary Gibson is an excellent girl, but she has not the
talent that Lina had. Lina's father was a Captain Dale, a half-pay
officer, whom I had once seen on business about a pupil of mine who had
crossed the Channel under his care. A surly, morose man he appeared to
me, rough towards his wife, a meek, worn-out looking old lady, who spoke
with a hesitating, apologetic manner and a nervous movement of the
head,--a habit I thought she must have contracted from a constant fear
of being pounced upon, as you say, by her husband. I always pitied her
_de tout mon coeur_, but she possessed neither tact nor intellect, and
was _très ennuyeuse_.

"It was one cold day in winter that Justine told me there was a
_demoiselle au salon_ who wished to see me. I found standing by the
table a young lady,--a figure that would strike you at once. She turned
as I entered the room, and her manner was dignified and self-possessed.
She was not pretty, but her face was a remarkable one: thick dark hair
above a low forehead, the eyelids somewhat too drooping over the
singular dark eyes, that looked out beneath them with an expression of
concentrated thought. 'That girl is like Charlotte Corday,' I said to
Monsieur afterwards: 'it is a character of great energy and enthusiasm,
frozen by the hardness and uncongeniality of her fate.' For in this
interview she told me that she sought a situation in my school, and that
she felt confidence in offering herself,--that the state of her father's
affairs did not render this step necessary, but that circumstances of
which she would not speak made her home unhappy and most unattractive to
her. All this she said in a calm and perfectly unexcited manner, as if
relating the details of a matter of business. For a moment I trembled
lest she had come to make me her confidante in a family-quarrel; but I
was soon relieved from this apprehension, for, after she had stated the
fact, she referred to it no more, but went on to speak upon general
subjects, which she did with great intelligence. Her good sense
impressed me so much that before she left the house I had engaged her.

"A few days afterwards she was established here, and had adapted herself
to all our modes of life in a way that astonished me. She went about all
her duties quietly, and with the greatest order and precision. Her
classes were the most orderly in the school, and in a short time her
authority was acknowledged by all the girls. There were few who did not
admire her, and not one who dared to set her at defiance. By degrees her
quiet, unobtrusive industry won upon my confidence; I felt glad to show
by charges of responsibility my regard for a person of so sound a
judgment and so reserved a temper, and very soon I had given over to her
care the supervision of English books for the girls' reading, the
posting and receiving from the post-office of all the English letters,
both my own and those of the English girls in the _pension_. During the
two years and a half of her stay here, these duties were fulfilled by
Lina with unremitting care and punctuality.

"About this time I had commenced a correspondence, through Lina, with a
Mrs. E. Baxter, of Bristol, in England, who had, it seemed, known Lina
for many years, and who, understanding, as she mysteriously hinted, how
unhappy her home must be, begged her to come and live with her and
undertake for a time the education of her little girl, a child of ten.
Here are her letters; this is one of the first: you see how warmly, how
affectionately, she speaks of Lina, and how delicately she made this
proposal, 'so that dear Lina's sensitive, proud nature might not be able
to imagine itself wounded.'

"As Mrs. Baxter offered her a much larger salary than I gave her, I told
Lina that I thought she ought to accept the offer of her friend. She
quietly and firmly declined.

"'Miss Dale,' I said, 'you must not stand in the way of your own good
out of any sense of obligation to me. I cannot allow you to do so.'

"'I do not do so, Madame La P----re,' she answered. 'I prefer to stay
with you to going even to Mrs. Baxter's, whom I love sincerely. She is
an excellent and most faithful friend, but I am better and safer here
with you.'

"She looked steadily at me as she began the sentence, but dropped her
eyes suddenly as she said the last words.

"'Lina,' I said, (it was in the evening, as I was leaving the
class-room, and all the _élèves_ had already gone,) 'carry me up some of
these books to my room,--I have more than usual to-night'; for I saw
there was something hidden behind this reserved manner, and felt

"She took the books, and followed me. As she laid them down and arranged
them in order on the table, I closed the door and said,--

"'Miss Dale, you have not looked very well lately, I think; I have
several times intended to tell you, that, if you would like to go home
some Saturday and spend the Sunday with your parents, you can do so.'
(Her family was then living at Kenneville, a village about twelve miles
from here.) 'I have noticed that you have never asked permission to do
this, and thought you might be waiting till I mentioned it myself.'

"She started as I said the word 'home.'

"'No, no,' she said, almost vehemently, 'I cannot go home, I do not wish
to'; and then she continued, in her usually cold, quiet manner,--'You
remember, perhaps, Madame, that I am not happily circumstanced at home.'

"She pondered a moment, and then said, as if she had made up her mind
about something,--

"'After all, I may as well tell you, Madame, all about it, as by doing
so some things in my conduct that may have seemed strange to you will be
cleared up,--that is, if you choose to hear?'

"'Certainly, _ma chère_,' I replied. 'I should be glad to hear all you
have to tell me. Sit down here.'

"She still remained standing, however, before me, her eyelids
drooping,--not shyly, for her eyes had a steady, abstracted expression,
as if she were arranging her facts in systematic order so as to tell me
her story in her usual clear, business-like manner.

"'You know, Madame, my father is guardian to two brothers, the sons of
an old army-friend of his, who died in India when his two sons were
quite boys, leaving his cousin, Colonel Lucas, together with my father,
joint guardians of his children. The boys, during school or college
vacations, spent the time partly at our house and partly at the house of
Colonel Lucas. They both seemed like brothers to me. As time went on,
Frank, the elder, began to spend all his vacations with us; and when he
left Oxford, and ought to have commenced his studies for the bar, he
continually put off the time of going up to London, where he was to
enter the office of a lawyer, and stayed on from week to week at home,
to teach me German, as he said. I knew he was rich, and that in three
years he would come into the possession of a large fortune; but I knew
also how bad it was for a young man to have no profession; and when I
saw my father seemed indifferent on the subject, I used to urge Frank
the more not to waste his time. But he generally only laughed, though at
times he would seem vexed at my earnestness, and would ask me why I
should wish him to do what he did not want to do; and then,--and
then,--this was one evening after we had been on the boat together all
the afternoon, and were walking up home,--then, Madame, he told me he
loved me, that he would go to London, study law, or do anything I said,
if I would marry him. Oh, Madame, this was dreadful to me! I was stunned
and bewildered. I had never fancied such a thing possible; the very idea
was unnatural. I had thought of Frank as a boy always; now, in a moment,
he was converted into a man, full of the determination of a selfish
purpose. I could not answer him composedly, and entreated him to leave
me. He misinterpreted my dismay, and went at once to my father. When I
came in, that evening, having somewhat regained my composure, though
with a sick feeling of dread and bewilderment in my heart, my father met
me with unusual kindness, kissed me as he had not done for years, and
led me towards Frank, who was standing near my mother. She had been
crying, I saw, and her face wore a strange expression of anxiety and
nervous joy as she looked at me. I turned away from Frank, and threw
myself down on the floor by my mother.

"'"Thank Heaven, Lina!" I heard her whisper; "God bless you, my child!
you have saved me years of bitterness."

"'I exclaimed,--"I cannot marry Frank,--I don't love him, mother,--don't
try to make me!"

"'Ah, Madame, it was dreadful! I don't know how I bore it. My father
stormed, and my mother cried, and poured forth such entreaties and
persuasions,--telling me I mistook my heart, and that I should learn to
love Frank, and about duty as a daughter to my father, and, oh, I don't
know what beside!--and Frank stood by, silent and pale, and with a look
I had never seen before of unrelenting, passionate, pitiless love.

"'Oh,' sighed Lina, 'it was hard, with no one to take my part! but the
hardest was yet to come.

"'Days and weeks passed on, and I was miserable beyond what I can tell
you. Nothing more was said on the subject, however, except by Frank, who
tortured me by alternate entreaties and reproaches, and sometimes by
occasional fits of thoughtfulness and kindness, in which he would leave
me to myself, only appealing to me by unobtrusive acts of courtesy and
devotion, which gave me more pain than either reproach or entreaty. But
if it had not been for these days of comparative calm and quiet, I
should hardly have been able to bear what followed. As it was, I had
time to collect my strength and plan my line of conduct.

"'One night my father called me into his room. I saw by his manner that
he was much excited. My mother was there also; she looked alarmed, and
glanced from my father to me anxiously and inquiringly. You know mamma
has very little strength of character, Madame. I could not hope for help
from her; so I called up all my resolution, knowing that some trial was
before me. I can hardly tell you what I heard then, Madame, it was such
disgrace,' said Lina, raising her eyes slowly and fixing them a moment
on mine, while a sudden, curious, embarrassed expression passed over her
face, such as is accompanied in other persons by a painful flush, but
which left her face pale and cold, causing no change in color.

"'My father told me, Madame, that some unfortunate speculations which he
had undertaken, and in which he had used the fortune of Frank intrusted
to his care, had failed, and that, when Frank became four-and-twenty, at
which time, according to his father's will, he was to enter upon his
property, his own wrong-doing would be discovered, and thence-forward he
would be at the mercy of his ward. Frank had, indeed, already learned
how great a wrong had been done him. My mother clung to me, weakly
pouring forth laudations on the generosity of Frank, who, through his
affection for me, was willing to forgive all this injury. Was I not
grateful? Why did I not go to him and tell him that the devotion of my
life would be a poor recompense for such generosity? Oh, Madame, it was
dreadful! I was not grateful at all; I hated him; and the misery of
having to decide thus the fate of my father was intolerable.'

"'But what did the young man himself say to all this, Lina?' I inquired;
'did he never speak to you on the subject?'

"'Yes,' she replied; and after he had spoken quite bitterly against my
father, (they never liked each other,) he said, that, however he might
feel towards him as his guardian, there was nothing that he could not
forget and forgive in the father of his wife,--which did not make me
respect him any more, you may be sure, and showed me that it was useless
to appeal to his generosity. My life now was miserable indeed.

"'About this time, my aunt in Scotland sent for me to pay her a visit.
She was in failing health, and wanted cheerful companionship, and I had
always been a favorite with her as a child. She lived alone with a
couple of old servants in a small village far in the wilds of ----shire.
My father, of course, opposed my going, alleging, as his reason, the
long journey (we were then living in W----, in Shropshire) that I should
have to take alone. To my astonishment, Frank took my part, insisting on
my being allowed to go. Whether it was that he thought that when far
away from home, in the seclusion of the Scotch village where my aunt
lived, I should think more kindly of him, or whether he wished to touch
me by a show of magnanimity, I cannot tell; but so it was, and I went.'

"Lina here paused a moment, thoughtfully.

"'But, Lina,' I said, 'if the young man was well educated, rich, and
seemed only to have the one fault of loving you so well, why would you
not marry him? _Ma chère_,' I said, 'you throw away your good fate. You
see what a service it would be to your family. (I speak as your friend,
you comprehend.) You save your father; you make the young man happy; all
could be arranged so charmingly! I should like to see you married, _ma
chère_; and then, your duty as a daughter!'

"'Oh, yes, yes! she cried; 'I would do, oh, anything almost, to shield
my poor father and mother! Perhaps once, _once_, I might; but it is too
late now. I cannot marry Frank. Oh, Madame, it is as impossible as if I
were dead!'

"'This is a strange story, Lina,' I said. 'What do you mean? Tell me, my
child, or I shall think you crazy.'

"She laid her head on her hands, which were clasped on the top of the
escritoire, and half whispered,--

"'I am engaged,--I am married to some one else.'

"I sprang from my seat, and caught her hands.

"'You married, Lina? you? the quiet girl who has been teaching the
children so well all these months?'

"'Yes, Madame,' she said, with all her usual composure, 'and to a man I
love with my whole soul, with my whole life. The future may seem dim,
but I have little fear when I remember I am Arthur's wife, and that his
love will be strong to help me whenever I relieve him of the promise I
have obliged him to make not to reveal our marriage. Frank will be
three-and-twenty in one year and a half from now; till then, he cannot,
without great difficulty, harm my father, and by that time I trust his
fancy for me will have passed away, and he will be willing to treat with
my father about his property without personal feeling to aggravate his
sense of the wrong that has been done him. He is in the East now with
Colonel Lucas, his other guardian, who has not been without his
suspicions of Frank's liking for me, and is not at all unwilling, I
think, to keep him out of the way for a while.'

"'Does no one know of this, Lina?' I asked, 'no one suspect it?'

"'Only two persons,' she replied,--'indeed, I may as well tell you at
once, Madame,--beside Mrs. Baxter and her husband, at whose house the
ceremony took place. They were then staying in the neighborhood of
H----, a few miles from my aunt's house. It was at Mrs. Baxter's I first
met Arthur: he was a distant connection of hers. He and his Cousin
Marmaduke had come up for the shooting and fishing for a few weeks in
the autumn. My aunt was a genial, bright old lady, fond of the society
of young people, spite of her ill health, and invited the young men
frequently to her house. In that way I saw a great deal of them both.'

"'Who was the gentleman, Lina? Had you seen him before this visit? But,'
seeing she hesitated, 'if you do not wish to disclose more, say so
frankly; what you have already told me I will guard as a secret,--you
need not fear.'

"'Oh, Madame,' interrupted Lina, suddenly throwing herself on the floor
at my feet, 'it's not that,--do not say that, dear Madame! It is a great
comfort to me to tell you all this; sometimes I feel so lonely when by
any chance I do not get a letter from him the day I expect one.'

"Her voice faltered, and she leaned forward, burying her face in her
hands; I saw her breast shaken with weeping.

"'Tell me all, _ma pauvre petite_!' I said; 'tell me everything.'

"Then seeing she still continued weeping, I said, playfully,--

"'So you get letters from him, do you? I have never known this. You
know, _ma chérie_, that that is against the rules of my _pension_; but
when people are married,--_c'est une autre chose_! But how is it that I
have never found this out? Ah, because you have charge of all the
letters to and from the post!'

"'Yes, Madame,' she said, looking up with a smile. 'I have sometimes
felt so unhappy, because I seemed to be doing a _dishonest_ thing; but
it would have been so hard to go without them, and I knew how kind and
good you were. If you would like to see one of his letters,' she
continued, half shyly, but with dignified gravity, 'I have one here';
and she drew a large letter from her pocket and handed it to me.

"Here it is," said Madame, taking the first from the bundle in her hand.

The handwriting was firm and regular; the letter was long, but, though
the whole breathed but one feeling of the deepest and tenderest
affection, it was hardly what would be called a "love-letter." There
were criticisms of new works, and further references to books of a kind
that showed the writer to be a man of scholarly tastes. After we had
looked at this one, Madame handed us others from the packet, all marked
by the same characteristics as the first. Here and there were little
pictures of the writer's every-day life. He told of his being out on the
moors at sunrise shooting with his Cousin Marmaduke, or riding round the
estate giving orders about the transplanting of certain trees, "which
are set as you have suggested, and are growing as fast as they can till
you come to walk under their shade," or in the library at evening, when
the place beside him seems so void where she should be. Then there were
other letters, speaking of ---- ----, the poet, who was coming down to
spend a few weeks with him, and write verses under his elms at Aylesford
Grange; but in one and all Lina was the central idea round which all
other interests merely turned, and the source from which all else drew
its charm.

"As soon," said Madame, continuing her narration, "as I had finished
reading the letter, I entreated Lina to go on with her curious history.

"'I met Arthur,' she said, 'first at Mrs. Baxter's, as I said before. He
is the noblest man I have ever known,--so good, so clever, so pure in
heart! His Cousin Marmaduke, who was there at the same time, paid me
great attention, but I never liked him; there was always something
repulsive to me in his black eyes; I never trusted him; and beside
Arthur,--oh, it seemed like the contrast between night and day! I don't
know why it was, Madame, but I never felt that he loved Arthur really,
though Arthur had done a great deal for him, got him his commission in
the army, and paid off some of his debts; but he never seemed as if he
quite forgave Arthur for standing in the way of his being the lord of
the manor himself and possessor of Aylesford. There are some
mean-spirited people who are proud too. They can receive favors, while
they resent the obligation. He was of that kind, I think, and hated
Arthur for his very generosity.

"'One evening, as I was walking up the shrubbery, I met Marmaduke. He
had ridden over with Arthur, as they often did, to spend the evening. He
had caught sight of me, he said, as they came up the avenue, and, under
pretext of something being wrong with his horse's bridle, had stopped,
and let Arthur go on to the house alone. He had long waited for this
opportunity of speaking to me alone, he said, as I must have known.
Then, amid the basest of vague insinuations against Arthur, he dared to
proffer me his odious love. Oh, Madame, I was angry! A woman cannot bear
feigned love,--it stings like hatred; still less can she bear to hear
one she loves spoken of as I had heard him speak of Arthur. I hardly
know what I said, but it must have expressed my feeling; for he tried to
taunt me in return with being in love with Arthur and _Aylesford_. I
only smiled, and walked on. Then he sprang after me, and vowed I should
not leave him so,--that he loved me madly, spite of my scorn, spite of
my foolish words. He knew well I did not love Arthur, that I was
ambitious only. So was he,--and so determined in his purpose, that he
was sure to succeed in it, spite of everything. "For there are few
things," he added, "that can stand against my settled will. Beware,
then, how you cross it, sweet Lina!" I shook my cloak loose from his
hand, for his words sent a thrill of horror through me, and rushed on,
speechless with indignation, to the house. Two days after this I became
engaged to Arthur. How happy we were!' said Lina, a dreamy expression
passing over her face at the retrospect.

"'I told Arthur everything about my home; but I did not tell him of my
conversation with Marmaduke in the shrubbery, because I could not bear
to give him the pain which a discovery of his cousin's baseness would
have caused him. Marmaduke, I perceived, knew that I had not betrayed
him; for one night, as I was sitting at the piano, he thanked me
hastily, as he turned over the leaf of my music-book, for a generous
proof of confidence. I took no notice of these words, but was conscious
of a flush of indignation at the word _confidence_.

"'Arthur and I were always together; we read together, and talked over
our past and future lives. Nothing now troubled me. He took all the
burden and anxiety of my life to himself, and with his love added a
sense of peace and security most exquisite to me.

"'I told him all the miserable story of Frank, and he listened gravely;
but though it certainly troubled him, it never seemed to daunt him for
an instant. So gentle as he is, nothing ever could shake him. I was so
happy then, that I could not feel angry even with Marmaduke; and as he
seemed to be willing to forget the past, we became somewhat more
friendly towards each other. But if I ever happened to be alone with
him, even for a moment, the recollection of our talk in the shrubbery
would come to my mind, and the old feeling of anger would spring up
again, the effort to suppress which was so painful that I always avoided
being with him, unless Arthur were by also.

"'One day there came a letter from my father,--and what its character
was you may suppose, when I tell you that it made me utterly forget my
present happiness. At the end of the letter he commanded me to return
home immediately. It came one evening: I read and re-read its cruel
words till I could bear no more. I saw Arthur standing in the twilight
below my window, and went down and laid the letter silently in his
hands. When he had finished reading it, he came slowly towards me. I
shall never forget his look as he took my hands in his and drew me to
him, looking into my face so earnestly. Then he said, in a low, grave
voice, "Lina, do you love me? Then we must be married at once,--do not
be afraid,--perhaps to-night. I fear your father may follow that letter
very soon. You have suffered too much already. You have no one but me to
look to. Heaven knows I do not think alone of my own happiness."'

"Lina paused a moment. 'I yielded,' she said. 'I could have followed him
blindly then anywhere! So that evening, in the drawing-room, with Mr.
and Mrs. Baxter and Marmaduke as witnesses, we were married by a Scotch
clergyman (there was no clergyman of our own Church within twenty
miles). The ceremony was very simple. As the last words were being
pronounced, some one entered the room hastily, and there was whispering
and confusion for a moment or two, and when I rose from my knees the
first words that greeted me were the intelligence that my aunt was
dangerously ill, and had sent a special messenger for me. Late as it
was, I prepared instantly to accompany the man back to H----. I was
stung with self-reproaches at the thought of my aunt lying, as I
fancied, dying without me near her, and peremptorily refused to allow
Arthur to accompany me on my long drive.

"'That was the last time I saw him. The next day he was called away on
important business, which admitted of no delay. I remained with my poor
aunt till her death, which took place at the end of that week, three
days after my marriage. Then my parents came for me. My father's manner
was unusually kind; my poor mother's expressions of love went to my
heart. Frank was not at home, they said, but had gone up to London to
prepare for his journey to the East. They had determined to reside for a
while in France, and they promised that he should not be informed of my
being with them, if I would consent to accompany them. I yielded to
their solicitations, parted with my true friend Mrs. Baxter, and crossed
the Channel with them. At the end of three weeks I discovered that my
father had broken his word and informed Frank by letter of my being with
them. Then I fled to you, having heard of the position vacant in your
_pension_. I have tried to do my duty here, and to merit in some degree
your kindness. With you I am happier than I could be with any one but
Arthur. Arthur has learned to love you too: will you read this letter
speaking of you?' drawing a letter from her pocket.

"This is it," said Madame, taking one from the pile, and pointing out
the passage.

"I am weary of my life, sometimes, without you,--here, where you ought
to be,--_your home_, Lina! I wander through the rooms that I have
prepared with such delight for you, and think of the time when you will
be here,--mistress of all!... When will you come, my wife? I think and
dream in this way till I am haunted by the ghost of the future. I get
morbid, and fancy all kinds of dangers that may happen to my darling, so
far away from me; and then I am ready to go at once to you and break
down all barriers and bear you away.... I thank Heaven you have so good
a friend in '_Madame_.' I long for the time to come when I may greet her
as one of my best friends for your sake. In the mean time, I have
selected an Indian cabinet, the grotesque delicate work of which would
please your quaint fancy, which I trust she will accept, if you will
join me in the gift. I shall have an opportunity of sending it in a few
weeks.... Mrs. Eldridge, my dear old housekeeper, has just been in. She
wishes to know whether the new curtains of the little library are to be
crimson or gray. She little knows what confusion she causes me! She
knows not that I am no longer master here! I tell her I will deliberate
on the point, and she retires mystified by my unusual indecision. So
write quickly and make known your desires, if you wish to save me from
an imputation of becoming, as the good old-lady says, 'a little set and
bachelor-like in my ways.' Marmaduke and ---- come down next week to
shoot.... You say, wait till spring, when things will be more propitious
for disclosing our marriage. I have also another scheme which will be
ripened by spring. I shall disclose our marriage, and propose to your
father to make him independent of his ward. No one, certainly, has a
better right to do this than his son-in-law; and then----But I hardly
dare to think of the happiness that will be mine when nothing but death
can part us any more!"

"One evening about this time," continued Madame, "about a week after
Lina had shown me this letter, I came down into the _cabinet de musique_
on my way to the garden to take my usual evening walk on the terrace,
and saw Lina standing by the piano with her bonnet on and her shawl laid
beside her. In her hand she held letters, one of which she had that
moment unsealed. She had, I knew, just returned from the post-office.

"'I have a letter here from Mrs. Baxter, Madame,' she said. 'She writes
to me in great distress; the two children, Minnie and Louisa, whom she
was so anxious to send here, are both ill with scarlet-fever. But here
is your letter; she will no doubt tell you everything herself.'

"I took the letter and seated myself, and was soon absorbed in the poor
mother's hurried and almost incoherent relation, when suddenly I was
startled by a gesture or sound from Lina that made me look up hastily.
She stood with the letter she had been reading crushed in her hand, her
face wearing an expression of agony. For a moment she swayed to and fro
with her hand outstretched to catch a chair for support, but before I
could reach her she had fallen heavily to the floor. I called Justine,
and we raised her to a chair. I stood by her supporting her head on my
breast, while Justine ran for camphor and _eau-de-vie_. It was some time
before she recovered her consciousness; she then slowly opened her eyes
and fixed them wonderingly on me, but with no look of recognition in
them. A long shiver passed over her, and she sighed heavily once or
twice as she looked vacantly at the letter on the floor. I was
terrified, and seized the letter, to gain, if possible, some explanation
of the miserable state of the poor girl.

"I found that the envelope contained three letters: one from Marmaduke
Kirkdale; one from the housekeeper, Mrs. Eldridge; and this scrap from


"'MY DEAR MADAM,--I have heavy tidings to send you. While out shooting
yesterday morning in the Low Copse, Mr. ----, Arthur, and myself became
separated: Mr. ----, who had been my companion, keeping on an open path;
I going down towards the pool to beat up a thicket and start the game.
Arthur I supposed was with the gamekeeper, a little distance in advance
of us. Would that it had been so! As I came up to join the others I
heard the report of a gun, and hastening towards the spot whence the
sound seemed to come, I found my poor cousin lying upon the ground, and
at first supposed, that, in leaping the fence, he had received a sudden
blow from a branch, which had stunned him; but on kneeling down to raise
him, I perceived he was bleeding profusely from a wound in the throat,
and was perfectly unconscious. Mr. ---- came up almost at the moment,
and while the gamekeeper and I bore Arthur to a farm-house hard by, he
went off to call the nearest doctor. Everything has been done that skill
and care could devise. The physician from B---- is here, besides Mr.
Gordon, the village-surgeon. They pronounce the wound very serious, but
still hold out hopes that with great care he may yet recover. There is
no doubt that in leaping the hedge, and holding his gun carelessly, my
cousin had inflicted this terrible injury on himself. He is, however,
too weak to make it safe to ask him any explanation of the accident. The
doctors insist on perfect quiet and rest, and say, that, owing to the
unremitting care we have been able to give him, he has done much better
than they could have hoped for. If fever can be prevented, all may yet
go well; for myself, I believe strongly in Arthur's robust constitution.

"'_Friday night._--Arthur was doing very well till about two o'clock
this morning. The housekeeper and I were with him. Mr. ---- had gone to
take some rest. Suddenly Arthur raised himself, and asked for paper and
pencil. I remonstrated with him, fearing the effects of exertion. When,
however, I found Mr. ----(who had been called in by Mrs. Eldridge)
declared his judgment in favor of compliance, I yielded, and, supported
by the housekeeper, my cousin wrote a few almost illegible words. He had
scarcely signed his name when he fell back,--the exertion, as I had
feared, had been too much for him. After this he sank rapidly. He died
at six o'clock this morning.

"'I hold my cousin's place now by his death. I am ready to do so fully.

"'I am yours as YOU WILL,

                                   "'MAR'KE C. KIRKDALE.'


"'RESPECTED MADAM--I do not know that I have any right presuming to
meddle with affairs that don't belong to my walk in life, far be it from
me to do so, especially to one that whatever they may say seems always
like my mistress to me--owing to the last words my poor dear Mr. Arthur
ever spoke was, She is my wife, my own wife, let no one gainsay it,
which at the time I did not take in fairly, being almost broken down
with sorrow, for I had nursed him as a baby, Madam, and loved him humbly
as my own son, no lady could have loved him better, which having lost
him and all this trouble (my heart seeming fairly broke) makes me write,
respected Madam, worse than usual, never having been a scholar, he
always wrote them for me, God bless him. You won't think me presuming,
Madam, when I say these things never having had the honour of seeing
you, but you are the only person who can feel for me under these
circumstances of trial more than any others. For to see them going
through the house looking into precious drawers and burning papers in
the library fire and turning on a person like a Tiger, though he may be
a gentleman (though how of that family that always was remarkable gentle
spoken I cannot tell.) There never were two cousins differenter. I never
can regard him as my master, never. I would sooner leave the old place
and beg my bread than feel _him_ master after my blessed Mr. Arthur, not
that I'd speak evil of the family. But God Almighty reads the hearts of
men, and I only hope some may come out clear in appearing at the
Judgment, and mayn't disgrace the Family then--for to say that my Mr.
Arthur never made a will when twice he's spoke to me upon the subject,
always trusting me, Madam, telling me where he kept it in the library,
and though it's not to be found the house through, still I know it must
be somewhere, for I'd trust his word against a thousand. I shall ask Mr.
---- to forward this present not knowing your address, he is a kind
gentleman and a true friend. I send you the little scrap of paper with
the last words he ever wrote. _Some_ may say it's no good and
unreadable, but I took care that them that didn't value it didn't get
it, though they did search everywhere, and looked so black when it
couldn't be found being in my pocket at the time. I present my services,
honoured Madam, and my dutiful affection for the sake of him that's

                                    "'ELIZABETH ELDRIDGE.'


"'Only a moment or so left to me. Goodbye, my Lina! I am dying--and
without you near me. We have waited so long! It is hard to leave you
alone in the world, darling. Come and live here--your own home. If you
had been here but one day, things might have been otherwise. Take care
of the poor--keep Mrs. Eldridge with you, she is faithful and
true--true--she knows--God keep you, darling. I am so weak--there is no

                                             "'ARTHUR KIRKDALE.'

"For three days Lina lay on her bed almost without giving a sign of
life,--her face rigid and colorless. She refused to eat, and only when I
myself used my authority with her did any nourishment pass her lips. On
the evening of the third day I became alarmed, and determined to send
for a physician. I told Justine to despatch one of the servants for Dr.
B----, but to request him to come after five o'clock, when I should have
returned from vespers, as I wished to see him myself. I gave my
directions to Justine as we stood together at the foot of Lina's bed, in
so low a whisper as to prevent, as I thought, the possibility of her
hearing me. Great, then, was my astonishment, when, on leaving my room,
ready for church, I met Lina on the staircase. Her face was very pale,
and she clung to the banisters for support as she descended. Before I
could express my surprise, she said,--

"'I feel very much better, Madame, and if you please will call the class
for English lesson at six.'

"I told her she must go back to her room,--that she should not have
risen without my knowledge.

"'I must have occupation,' she replied; 'it is much better for me.'

"I felt she was right, and let her go down,--and that evening she held
her class as usual. So she continued, day after day, her accustomed
round of duties, with all her usual precision and care. Her self-control
annoyed me. She passed to and fro in the house, her face pale and wan,
though with a composed expression, and all my earnest entreaties that
she should seek rest or relaxation were met by the same calm refusal.
Saturday came, and I was glad to see she showed something like interest
in the prospect of the letters from England that would arrive that day,
and begged me to allow her to go as usual to get them at the
post-office. I willingly acceded to her request, thinking the fresh air
and sea-breeze would do her good. She returned with several letters, and
brought them to me, seeming to desire my company while she read them.
One was from Marmaduke, one from Mr. R----, her husband's lawyer in
Lincoln. The former puzzled me; it was vague and threatening, and yet
there were expressions in it almost befitting a love-letter. Lina read
it to me with hardly any change of expression, but dropped it from her
fingers as she finished it, with a look of mingled indifference and
disgust. The grave, business-like letter of the lawyer had still less
effect upon her. I read it to her,--for, although in English, I had no
difficulty in making out every syllable, so distinctly was it written,
and with such legal precision. It informed Lina that Mr. R----felt some
apprehension of her having trouble in substantiating her marriage, that
his conversation with Mr. Marmaduke Kirkdale had been (although somewhat
vague on the part of the latter) wholly unsatisfactory. This, and the
fact that no will had as yet been found among her husband's papers, made
him fear that she might be involved in lengthy and perhaps annoying
legal proceedings. At the close, he desired her to write out a careful
account of all the circumstances of her marriage, as it was most
important that he should know all the details of the case.

"'These things weary me so!' said Lina; 'but it does not matter,' she
added, sighing; 'for _his_ sake I must do this.'

"The few contemptuous words in answer to Marmaduke's letter were soon
written, and she then began her reply to the letter of her lawyer. This
seemed to cost her a great effort; she sighed frequently as she wrote,
and at the end of two hours, as she finished the last words, her head
fell on the sheet of paper before her, and she burst into tears. I could
not try to check this outburst of grief, knowing that it must be a
great relief to her overtaxed system after the strain of the last few
days. She was soon again calm, and resumed her writing. A letter to her
parents, informing them of her secret marriage and sudden widowhood, was
next written, and Lina, in her plain bonnet and shawl and closely
veiled, set off with the three letters to the post-office."

Here Madame paused. She smiled faintly.

"I find that I have become again unconsciously, interested in Lina, as I
have told her story, and I hesitate to approach the _dénoûment_;
but"--and she sighed delicately, not sufficiently to disperse the
smile--"I must go through with this, as Lina herself used to say. One
night about this time I had been writing late, and it was past midnight
when I descended with my lamp in my hand to go the round of the
class-rooms, as is my wont before retiring to rest. I paused, as I
passed down the school-room, opposite the _Sainte Croix_, and repeated
my _salut_ before the Holy Emblem. As I finished the last words, my eyes
fell on a small slip of paper lying on Lina's desk, on which my own name
was written three times, in what appeared my own handwriting,--Jeanne
Cliniè La P----re. A cold shudder ran through me, as if I had heard my
name in the accents of my _double_. Obeying a sudden impulse, I opened
Lina's desk, and seized the papers within. Uppermost lay a thick
_cahier_, in which, in Lina's writing, were what at first seemed copies
of all the letters she had received from England within the last few
months. There were also facsimiles of letters to me from Mrs. Baxter,
Mr. A. Kirkdale, and others. Then there were draughts of the same
letters, written in the various handwritings with which I had become
familiar, as those of Lina's and my own English correspondents. Here and
there were improvements and corrections in Lina's own writing. Below
these lay piles of letters,--a bundle of ten letters of my own, forming
part of my correspondence with Mrs. Baxter, and which I had intrusted to
Lina at various times to post. These were without envelopes, and simply
tied together. I sat there for more than an hour, stupefied by this
strange revelation; and then, taking the bundle of my own letters
addressed to Mrs. Baxter, I went to my room.

"Next morning, when I descended to the school-room, I glanced, in
passing, at Lina, and thought I perceived a slightly fluttered,
disturbed expression in her face; but I continued the usual routine of
the morning's work without speaking to her. After class was over, I sent
for her to come to my room. I myself was much disturbed; _she_ was
perfectly calm and collected; but as I laid the bundle of my own letters
to Mrs. Baxter on the table, and demanded an explanation of their being
found in her desk, she turned pale, and snatched up the packet and held
it tightly. To my question, she answered that I evidently did her great
wrong, but she was used to being misunderstood; that the kindness I had
shown her entitled me to an explanation, which she would not otherwise
have given.

"'It is a weakness that I am ashamed of that has caused this trouble,'
she said. 'I have sat up in the lonely nights and read and re-read my
letters, and then I began to copy them, copied even the handwriting,
till I grew very perfect in it, and then I could not bear to destroy any
of those precious words, but kept them, as I thought, in secret,--but
now some one has _basely taken them from my desk_, and brought them to
you. As for your letters to Mrs. Baxter, there are, I see, only one or
two here. Give me only time and you shall have that cleared up also. I
will write to Mrs. Baxter, beg her to explain how she let these letters
get out of her possession, and ask her to inclose all the rest of your
letters to her. I will take care that her answer shall come _through the
post-office_, and not, as heretofore, inclosed in a letter to _me_; so
that you may feel quite sure that there is no mistake, Madame La

"I felt baffled and guilty before her; and the next three days were
most uncomfortable. I could not but feel _gênée_ with Lina, while she
maintained the character of wounded innocence. The evening of the third
day, Justine handed to me a large packet which the postman had just
brought, and upon which there were ten francs to pay. It was directed to
me in Mrs. Baxter's well-known handwriting. I tore open the cover, and a
shower of letters fell on the table. _All_ my letters to Mrs. Baxter,
and one from herself, entreating to know the reason of this 'singular
request of dear Lina's.' I was disconcerted and relieved at once, when,
turning the wrapper listlessly in my fingers, my eye suddenly caught, on
the reverse side, and _printed_ in large letters, these words,--'This
packet was sent to the Postmaster in Bristol to be reposted to ----.'
That was the end of it. I had paid ten francs for learning the agreeable
fact that I had been duped,--for the satisfaction of knowing that for
two years and a half I had been wasting my sympathy and even tears on a
set of purely imaginary characters and the little _intrigante_ who had
befooled me.

"When I showed Lina the printed words on the wrapper, she turned very
pale, but maintained a stubborn silence to all my reproaches.

"'How could you deceive me so?'

"'I don't know.'

"'What reason _could_ you have?'


"'Lina! was there a particle of truth in anything you have told me?'

"'No, Madame.'

"This was all I could get from her; but as she left the room, she turned
and said, looking at me half reproachfully, half maliciously,--

"'I suppose we had better part now. At any rate, you will at least own
that I have interested you, Madame!'

"She left me two days afterwards, and the last I heard of her was in the
situation of companion to a Russian Countess, with whom she was an
immense favorite. She made some effort to gain possession of these
letters; but I reminded her, that, as they had been written exclusively
for my benefit, I considered I had a right to keep them. To this she
simply answered, 'Very well, Madame.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to add that the story of Lina Dale is
told here precisely as related to us by Madame La P----re, of course
excepting the necessary changes in the names of places and persons. The
three letters are not copies of the original ones in the possession of
Madame La P----re, but a close transcript of them from memory,--the
substance of them is identical, and in many instances the words also.
The extraordinary power shown by Lina Dale in maintaining the character
she had assumed and sustained during two years and a half was fully
carried out by the skill and cleverness of her pretended correspondence;
and in reading over these piles of letters, so full of originality, one
could not but feel regret at the perversion of powers so
remarkable,--powers which might have been developed by healthy action
into means of usefulness and good.



Lamb's time, after his manumission from India-House, seems to have hung
rather heavily upon his hands. Though the "birds of the air" were not so
free as he was then, I fear they were a great deal happier and vastly
more contented than our liberated and idle old clerk. Though in the
first flush and excitement of his freedom from his six-and-thirty years'
confinement in a counting-house,--(he entered the office a dark-haired,
bright-eyed, light-hearted boy; he left it a decrepit, silver-haired,
rather melancholy, somewhat disappointed man, whose spirits, as he
himself confesseth, had grown gray before his hair,)--though, when in
the dizzy and happy early hours of his freedom, Elia exultingly wrote
(and felt) that "a man can never have too much time to himself," the
honeymoon (if I may so express it) of his emancipation from the

    "Dry drudgery at the desk's dead wood"

was not fairly over before he felt that man's true element is
labor,--that occupation, which in his younger days he had called a
"fiend," was in very truth an angel,--the angel of contentment and joy.
Doctor Johnson stoutly maintained by both tongue and pen, that, in
general, no one could be virtuous or happy who was not completely
employed. Not only the bread we eat, but the true pleasures and real
enjoyments of life, must be earned by the sweat of the brow. The poor
old mill-horse, turned loose in the pasture on Sundays, seems sadly to
miss his accustomed daily round of weary labor; the retired
tallow-chandler, whose story has pointed so many morals and adorned so
many tales, would have died of inertia and ennui in less than six months
after his retirement from business, had not his successor kindly allowed
him to help on melting-days; and methinks the very ghosts of certain
busy and energetic men must fret and fume at the idle and inactive state
of their shadowy and incorporal selves; nor, unless--as some hope and
believe--we are to have our familiar and customary tasks and duties to
perform in heaven, could their souls be happy and contented in Paradise.

But--after this rather foolish and wholly unnecessary digression--to
return to Lamb. Elia, who had while a toil-worn clerk so carefully and
frugally husbanded every odd moment and spare hour of time,--who, after
his day's labor at India-House was over, had read so many massive old
folios, and written so many pleasant pages for the pleasure and
solacement of himself, and a choice and select number of men and
women,--now that he had the whole long day to himself, read but little,
and wrote but seldom.

And as for those long walks in the country, which he talked of so fondly
in some of his letters to his friends,--those walks to Hoddesdon, to
Amwell, to Windsor, and other towns and villages in the near vicinity of
London, which he had enjoyed in anticipation a few years before he had
the leisure actually to take them,--those long walks on "fine
Isaac-Walton mornings," were found to be, it must be confessed, rather
tiresome and unsatisfactory. They were most melancholy failures, when
compared--as Elia could not help comparing them--with the pleasant walks
he and Mary had taken years before to Enfield, and Potter's-Bar, and
Waltham. Nay, even the "saunterings in Bond Street," the "digressions
into Soho," to explore book-stalls, the visits to print-shops and
picture-galleries, soon ceased to afford Lamb much real pleasure or
enjoyment. Yea, London itself, with all its wonders and marvels, with
all its (to him) memories and associations, he found to be, to one who
had nothing to do but wander idly and purposeless through her thronged
and busy streets and thoroughfares,--a mere looker-on in Vienna,--a
somewhat dreary and melancholy place. Indeed, the London of 1825-30 was
a far different place to Elia from the London of twenty years before,
when he resided at No. 4, Inner-Temple Lane, (near the place of his
"kindly engendure,") and gave his famous Wednesday-evening parties,
("Oh!" exclaims Hazlitt, "for the pen of John Buncle to consecrate a
_petit souvenir_ to their memory!") and when Jem White, and Ned P----,
and Holcroft, and Captain Burney, and other of his old friends and
jovial companions were alive and merry.

And now, in these later years and altered times, when even the old
memories and the old associations seemed to have lost their power over
him, and gone were most of "the old familiar faces," and when he felt as
if the game of life were scarcely worth the candle, our melancholy and
forlorn old humorist thus sadly and pathetically writes to the Quaker
poet:--"But town, with all my native hankering after it, is not what it
was. The streets, the shops, are left, but all old friends are gone. And
in London I was frightfully convinced of this, as I passed houses and
places, empty caskets now. I have ceased to care almost about anybody.
The bodies I cared for are in graves or dispersed. My old chums, that
lived so long and flourished so steadily, are crumbled away. When I took
leave of our adopted young friend at Charing Cross, 'twas a heavy
unfeeling rain, and I had nowhere to go. Home have I none, and not a
sympathizing house to turn to in the great city. Never did the waters of
heaven pour down on a forlorner head. Yet I tried ten days at a sort of
friend's house, but it was large and straggling,--one of the individuals
of my old long knot of friends, card-players, pleasant companions, that
have tumbled to pieces, into dust and other things; and I got home on
Thursday, convinced that it was better to get home to my hole at
Enfield, and hide like a sick cat in my corner." And at Enfield Elia was
far from being happy or contented. Winter, however,--"confining,
room-keeping winter," with its short days and long evenings, and cozy,
comfortable fireside and cheerful candle-light,--he succeeded in passing
tolerably pleasantly there; but the "deadly long days" of
summer--"all-day days," he called them, "with but a half-hour's
candle-light, and no fire-light"--were fearfully dull, wearisome, and
unprofitable to him, "a scorner of the fields," an exile from London.
And he thought, as he strolled through the green lanes and along the
pleasant country-roads in the vicinity of Enfield, of the days when he

    "A clerk in London gay,"

and sighed for the drudgery and confinement of the counting-house, and
longed to take his seat again at his old desk at India-House. In brief,
Lamb felt that he should be happier and better, if he had something to
do. And partly to amuse himself, and partly to assist a friend, he
employed himself for a few months in a pleasant and congenial task. "I
am going through a course of reading at the Museum," he writes to
Bernard Barton,--"the Garrick plays, out of part of which I formed my
Specimens. I have two thousand to go through; and in a few weeks have
despatched the tithe of 'em. It is a sort of office-work to me; hours,
ten to four, the same. It does me good. Men must have regular occupation
that have been used to it." And in another (later) letter to Barton he
says, "I am giving the fruit of my old play-reading to Hone, who sets
forth a portion weekly in the 'Table-Book.'" And he not only furnished
the "Table-Book" with specimens of the Garrick plays, but he wrote for
that work, and the "Every-Day Book," a number of pleasant,
characteristic little sketches and essays. We herewith present the
reader with one of the best and most remarkable of these articles. Of
course all will observe, and admire, the humorous, yet very gentle,
loving, almost pathetic manner in which Elia describes the person and
character of Mary's old usher,--


To the Editor of the "Every-Day Book":--

DEAR SIR,--I read your account of this unfortunate being, and his
forlorn piece of self-history, with that smile of half-interest which
the annals of insignificance excite, till I came to where he says, "I
was bound apprentice to Mr. William Bird, an eminent writer, and teacher
of languages and mathematics," etc.; when I started as one does on the
recognition of an old acquaintance in a supposed stranger. This, then,
was that Starkey of whom I have heard my sister relate so many pleasant
anecdotes, and whom, never having seen, I yet seem almost to remember.
For nearly fifty years she had lost all sight of him; and, behold! the
gentle usher of her youth, grown into an aged beggar, dubbed with an
opprobrious title to which he had no pretensions, an object and a
May-game! To what base purposes may we not return! What may not have
been the meek creature's sufferings, what his wanderings, before he
finally settled down in the comparative comfort of an old hospitaller of
the almonry of Newcastle? And is poor Starkey dead?

I was a scholar of that "eminent writer" that he speaks of; but Starkey
had quitted the school about a year before I came to it. Still the odor
of his merits had left a fragrancy upon the recollection of the elder
pupils. The school-room stands where it did, looking into a discolored,
dingy garden, in the passage leading from Fetter Lane into Bartlett's
Buildings. It is still a school,--though the main prop, alas! has fallen
so ingloriously,--and bears a Latin inscription over the entrance in the
lane, which was unknown in our humbler times. Heaven knows what
"languages" were taught in it then! I am sure that neither my sister nor
myself brought any out of it but a little of our native English. By
"mathematics," reader, must be understood "cyphering." It was, in fact,
a humble day-school, at which reading and writing were taught to us boys
in the morning, and the same slender erudition was communicated to the
girls, our sisters, etc., in the evening. Now Starkey presided, under
Bird, over both establishments. In my time, Mr. Cook, now or lately a
respectable singer and performer at Drury-Lane Theatre, and nephew to
Mr. Bird, had succeeded to him. I well remember Bird. He was a squat,
corpulent, middle-sized man, with something of the gentleman about him,
and that peculiar mild tone--especially while he was inflicting
punishment--which is so much more terrible to children than the angriest
looks and gestures. Whippings were not frequent; but when they took
place, the correction was performed in a private room adjoining, where
we could only hear the plaints, but saw nothing. This heightened the
decorum and the solemnity. But the ordinary public chastisement was the
bastinado, a stroke or two on the palm with that almost obsolete weapon
now, the ferule. A ferule was a sort of flat ruler, widened at the
inflicting end into a shape resembling a pear,--but nothing like so
sweet,--with a delectable hole in the middle to raise blisters, like a
cupping-glass. I have an intense recollection of that disused instrument
of torture, and the malignancy, in proportion to the apparent mildness,
with which its strokes were applied. The idea of a rod is accompanied
with something ludicrous; but by no process can I look back upon this
blister-raiser with anything but unmingled horror. To make him look more
formidable,--if a pedagogue had need of these heightenings,--Bird wore
one of those flowered Indian gowns formerly in use with schoolmasters,
the strange figures upon which we used to interpret into hieroglyphics
of pain and suffering. But, boyish fears apart, Bird, I believe, was, in
the main, a humane and judicious master.

Oh, how I remember our legs wedged into those uncomfortable sloping
desks, where we sat elbowing each other; and the injunctions to attain a
free hand, unattainable in that position; the first copy I wrote after,
with its moral lesson, "Art improves Nature"; the still earlier
pot-hooks and the hangers, some traces of which I fear may yet be
apparent in this manuscript; the truant looks sidelong to the garden,
which seemed a mockery of our imprisonment; the prize for best spelling,
which had almost turned my head, and which to this day I cannot reflect
upon without a vanity which I ought to be ashamed of; our little leaden
inkstands, not separately subsisting, but sunk into the desks; the
bright, punctually washed morning fingers, darkening gradually with
another and another ink-spot! What a world of little associated
circumstances, pains, and pleasures, mingling their quotas of pleasure,
arise at the reading of those few simple words,--"Mr. William Bird, an
eminent writer, and teacher of languages and mathematics, in Fetter
Lane, Holborn"!

Poor Starkey, when young, had that peculiar stamp of old-fashionedness
in his face which makes it impossible for a beholder to predicate any
particular age in the object. You can scarce make a guess between
seventeen and seven-and-thirty. This antique cast always seems to
promise ill-luck and penury. Yet it seems he was not always the abject
thing he came to. My sister, who well remembers him, can hardly forgive
Mr. Thomas Ranson for making an etching so unlike her idea of him when
he was a youthful teacher at Mr. Bird's school. Old age and poverty--a
life-long poverty, she thinks--could at no time have so effaced the
marks of native gentility which were once so visible in a face otherwise
strikingly ugly, thin, and care-worn. From her recollections of him, she
thinks that he would have wanted bread before he would have begged or
borrowed a half-penny. "If any of the girls," she says, "who were my
school-fellows, should be reading, through their aged spectacles,
tidings from the dead of their youthful friend Starkey, they will feel a
pang, as I do, at ever having teased his gentle spirit." They were big
girls, it seems, too old to attend his instructions with the silence
necessary; and however old age and a long state of beggary seem to have
reduced his writing faculties to a state of imbecility, in those days
his language occasionally rose to the bold and figurative: for, when he
was in despair to stop their chattering, his ordinary phrase was,
"Ladies, if you will not hold your peace, not all the powers in heaven
can make you!" Once he was missing for a day or two: he had run away. A
little, old, unhappy-looking man brought him back,--it was his
father,--and he did no business in the school that day, but sat moping
in a corner, with his hands before his face; and the girls, his
tormentors, in pity for his case, for the rest of that day forbore to
annoy him. "I had been there but a few months," adds she, "when Starkey,
who was the chief instructor of us girls, communicated to us, as a
profound secret, that the tragedy of 'Cato' was shortly to be acted by
the elder boys, and that we were to be invited to the representation."
That Starkey lent a helping hand in fashioning the actors, she
remembers; and but for his unfortunate person, he might have had some
distinguished part in the scene to enact. As it was, he had the arduous
task of prompter assigned to him; and his feeble voice was heard clear
and distinct, repeating the text during the whole performance. She
describes her recollection of the cast of characters, even now, with a
relish. Martia, by the handsome Edgar Hickman, who afterwards went to
Africa, and of whom she never afterwards heard tidings; Lucia, by Master
Walker, whose sister was her particular friend; Cato, by John Hunter, a
masterly declaimer, but a plain boy, and shorter by the head than his
two sons in the scene, etc. In conclusion, Starkey appears to have been
one of those mild spirits, which, not originally deficient in
understanding, are crushed by penury into dejection and feebleness. He
might have proved a useful adjunct, if not an ornament to society, if
Fortune had taken him into a very little fostering; but wanting that, he
became a Captain,--a by-word,--and lived and died a broken bulrush.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps the reader would be pleased to see another of Elia's
contributions to Hone's "Every-Day Book." For, though Lamb's articles in
that amusing and very entertaining miscellany are not very highly
finished or very carefully elaborated, they contain many touches of his
delicious humor and exquisite pathos, and are, indeed, replete with the
quaint beauties and beautiful oddities of his very original and very
delightful genius.

Sterne's sentimental description of the Dead Ass is immortal; but few of
the readers and admirers of Charles Lamb know that he, who wrote so
eloquently and pathetically in defence of Beggars and of
Chimney-Sweepers, and who so ably and successfully vindicated the little
innocent hare from the charge--made "by Linnæus perchance, or
Buffon"--of being a timid animal, indited an essay on the same
long-eared and loud-voiced quadruped.


Mr. Collier, in his "Poetical Decameron," (Third Conversation,) notices
a tract printed in 1595, with the author's initials only, A. B.,
entitled, "The Nobleness of the Asse: a work rare, learned, and
excellent." He has selected the following pretty passage from it:--"He
[the ass] refuseth no burthen; he goes whither he is sent, without any
contradiction. He lifts not his foote against any one; he bytes not; he
is no fugitive, nor malicious affected. He doth all things in good sort,
and to his liking that hath cause to employ him. If strokes be given
him, he cares not for them; and, as out modern poet singeth,--

    'Thou wouldst (perhaps) he should become thy foe,
    And to that end dost beat him many times:
    He cares not for himselfe, much lesse thy blow.'"[B]

Certainly Nature, foreseeing the cruel usage which this useful servant
to man should receive at man's hand, did prudently in furnishing him
with a tegument impervious to ordinary stripes. The malice of a child or
a weak hand can make feeble impressions on him. His back offers no mark
to a puny foeman. To a common whip or switch his hide presents an
absolute insensibility. You might as well pretend to scourge a
school-boy with a tough pair of leather breeches on. His jerkin is well
fortified; and therefore the costermongers "between the years 1790 and
1800" did more politicly than piously in lifting up a part of his upper
garment. I well remember that beastly and bloody custom. I have often
longed to see one of those refiners in discipline himself at the cart's
tail, with just such a convenient spot laid bare to the tender mercies
of the whipster. But, since Nature has resumed her rights, it is to be
hoped that this patient creature does not suffer to extremities,--and
that to the savages who still belabor his poor carcass with their blows
(considering the sort of anvil they are laid upon,) he might in some
sort, if he could speak, exclaim, with the philosopher, "Lay on! you
beat but upon the case of Anaxarchus."

Contemplating this natural safeguard, this fortified exterior, it is
with pain I view the sleek, foppish, combed, and curried person of this
animal as he is transmuted and disnaturalized at watering-places, etc.,
where they affect to make a palfrey of him. Fie on all such
sophistications! It will never do, Master Groom! Something of his honest
shaggy exterior will still peep up in spite of you,--his good, rough,
native, pine-apple coating. You cannot "refine a scorpion into a fish,
though you rinse it and scour it with ever so cleanly cookery."[C]

The modern poet quoted by A. B. proceeds to celebrate a virtue for which
no one to this day had been aware that the ass was remarkable:--

    "One other gift this beast hath as his owne,
    Wherewith the rest could not be furnishèd;
    On man himselfe the same was not bestowne:
    To wit, on him is ne'er engenderèd
    The hatefull vermine that doth teare the skin,
    And to the bode [body] doth make his passage in."

And truly, when one thinks on the suit of impenetrable armor with which
Nature (like Vulcan to another Achilles) has provided him, these subtle
enemies to _our_ repose would have shown some dexterity in getting into
_his_ quarters. As the bogs of Ireland by tradition expel toads and
reptiles, he may well defy these small deer in his fastnesses. It seems
the latter had not arrived at the exquisite policy adopted by the human
vermin "between 1790 and 1800."

But the most singular and delightful gift of the ass, according to the
writer of this pamphlet, is his _voice_, the "goodly, sweet, and
continual brayings" of which, "whereof they forme a melodious and
proportionable kinde of musicke," seem to have affected him with no
ordinary pleasure. "Nor thinke I," he adds, "that any of our immoderate
musitians can deny but that their song is full of exceeding pleasure to
be heard; because therein is to be discerned both concord, discord,
singing in the meane, the beginning to sing in large compasse, then
following on to rise and fall, the halfe note, whole note, musicke of
five voices, firme singing by four voices, three together, or one voice
and a halfe. Then their variable contrarieties amongst them, when one
delivers forth a long tenor or a short, the pausing for time, breathing
in measure, breaking the minim or very least moment of time. Last of
all, to heare the musicke of five or six voices chaunged to so many of
asses is amongst them to heare a song of world without end."

There is no accounting for ears, or for that laudable enthusiasm with
which an author is tempted to invest a favorite subject with the most
incompatible perfections. I should otherwise, for my own taste, have
been inclined rather to have given a place to these extraordinary
musicians at that banquet of nothing-less-than-sweet sounds, imagined by
old Jeremy Collier, (Essays, 1698, part ii., On Music,) where, after
describing the inspiriting effects of martial music in a battle, he
hazards an ingenious conjecture, whether a sort of _anti-music_ might
not be invented, which should have quite the contrary effect of "sinking
the spirits, shaking the nerves, curdling the blood, and inspiring
despair and cowardice and consternation." "'T is probable," he says,
"the roaring of lions, the warbling of cats and screech-owls, together
with a mixture of the howling of dogs, judiciously imitated and
compounded, might go a great way in this invention." The dose, we
confess, is pretty potent, and skilfully enough prepared. But what shall
we say to the ass of Silenus, who, if we may trust to classic lore, by
his own proper sounds, without thanks to cat or screech-owl, dismayed
and put to rout a whole army of giants? Here was _anti-music_ with a
vengeance,--a whole _Pan-Dis-Harmonicon_ in a single lungs of leather!

But I keep you trifling too long on this asinine subject. I have already
passed the _Pons Asinorum_, and will desist, remembering the old
pedantic pun of Jem Boyer, my schoolmaster:--

     "Ass _in præsenti_ seldom makes a WISE MAN _in futuro_."

       *       *       *       *       *

Lamb not only had a passionate fondness for old books and old friends,
but he loved the old associations. He was no admirer of your modern
improvements. Unlike Dr. Johnson, he did not go into the "most stately
shops," but purchased his books and engravings at the stalls and from
second-hand dealers. In his eyes, the old Inner-Temple Church was a
handsomer and statelier structure than the finest Cathedral in England;
and to his ear, as well as to the ear of Will Honeycomb, the old
familiar cries of the peripatetic London merchants were more musical
than the songs of larks and nightingales. It grieved him sorely to see
an old building demolished which he had passed and repassed for years,
in his daily walks to and from his business,--or an old custom
abolished, whose observance he had witnessed when a child. "The
disappearance of the old clock from St. Dunstan's Church," says Mr.
Moxon, in his pleasant tribute to Lamb's memory in Leigh Hunt's Journal,
"drew tears from his eyes; nor could he ever pass without emotion the
place where Exeter Change once stood. The removal had spoiled a reality
in Gay. 'The passer-by,' he said, 'no longer saw the combs dangle in his
face.' This almost broke his heart." And he begins the following little
"essaykin" with a lamentation over the disappearance from the streets of
London of the tinman's old original sign, and a sigh for "the good old
modes of our ancestors."

What he says of maiden aunts and their pets is delightful, and
pleasantly reminds the reader of Addison's account of Sam Trusty's visit
to the Widow Feeble.


What is gone with the cages, with the climbing squirrel and bells to
them, which were formerly the indispensable appendage to the outside of
a tinman's shop, and were, in fact, the only live signs? One, we
believe, still hangs out on Holborn; but they are fast vanishing with
the good old modes of our ancestors. They seem to have been superseded
by that still more ingenious refinement of modern humanity, the
tread-mill, in which _human_ squirrels still perform a similar round of
ceaseless, improgressive clambering, which must be nuts to them.

We almost doubt the fact of the teeth of this creature being so purely
orange-colored as Mr. Urban's correspondent gives out. One of our old
poets--and they were pretty sharp observers of Nature--describes them as
brown. But perhaps the naturalist referred to meant "of the color of a
Maltese orange,"[D] which is rather more obfuscated than your fruit of
Seville or St. Michael's, and may help to reconcile the difference. We
cannot speak from observation; but we remember at school getting our
fingers into the orangery of one of these little gentry, (not having a
due caution of the traps set there,) and the result proved sourer than
lemons. The author of the "Task" somewhere speaks of their anger as
being "insignificantly fierce"; but we found the demonstration of it on
this occasion quite as significant as we desired, and have not been
disposed since to look any of these "gift horses" in the mouth. Maiden
aunts keep these "small deer," as they do parrots, to bite people's
fingers, on purpose to give them good advice "not to venture so near the
cage another time." As for their "six quavers divided into three quavers
and a dotted crotchet," I suppose they may go into Jeremy Bentham's next
budget of Fallacies, along with the "melodious and proportionable kinde
of musicke," recorded in your last number, of another highly gifted

       *       *       *       *       *

Although Lamb took little, if any, interest in public affairs, and,
indeed, knew about as much of the events and occurrences of the day as
the sublime, abstracted dancing-master immortalized in one of the
letters to Manning, he appears to have been profoundly and painfully
impressed by the fate of Fauntleroy, the forger. He thought and talked
of Fauntleroy by day, and dreamed of Fauntleroy at night. And on the day
after the execution of that unfortunate man, Lamb, thus solemnly, yet
humorously withal, writes to his good friend Bernard Barton, poet and

"And now, my dear Sir, trifling apart, the gloomy catastrophe of
yesterday morning prompts a sadder vein. The fate of the unfortunate
Fauntleroy makes me, whether I will or no, to cast reflecting eyes
around on such of my friends as, by a parity of situation, are exposed
to a similarity of temptation. My very style seems to myself to become
more impressive than usual with the charge of them. Who that standeth
knoweth but he may yet fall? Your hands as yet, I am most willing to
believe, have never deviated into others' property. You think it
impossible that you could ever commit so heinous an offence; but so
thought Fauntleroy once; so have thought many besides him, who at last
have expiated as he hath done. You are as yet upright; but you are a
banker, or, at least, the next thing to it. I feel the delicacy of the
subject; but cash must pass through your hands, sometimes to a great
amount. If, in an unguarded hour----But I will hope better. Consider the
scandal it will bring upon those of your persuasion. Thousands would go
to see a Quaker hanged that would be indifferent to the fate of a
Presbyterian or an Anabaptist. Think of the effect it would have on the
sale of your poems alone, not to mention higher considerations! I
tremble, I am sure, at myself, when I think that so many poor victims of
the law, at one time of their life, made as sure of never being hanged
as I, in my own presumption, am ready, too ready, to do myself. What are
we better than they? Do we come into the world with different necks? Is
there any distinctive mark under our left ears? Are we unstrangulable, I
ask you? Think on these things. I am shocked sometimes at the shape of
my own fingers,--not for their resemblance to the ape tribe, (which is
something,) but for the exquisite adaptation of them to the purposes of
picking, fingering, etc."

And a few months after writing the above letter, Lamb contributed to
"The London Magazine,"--then in its decadence, but among whose "creaking
rafters" Elia fondly lingered, "like the last rat,"--to this (his
favorite periodical) he contributed a brief, but beautiful paper,
suggested by Fauntleroy's sad story. The article is entitled "The Last
Peach," and purports to be written by a bank-officer (possibly the
author had Barton in his mind while writing it) who fears he may become
a second Fauntleroy. The piece contains one or two delightful passages,
and is, in fact, full of happy touches and felicitous bits of
description. Very charming (to me, at least) is the account of the
plucking of the last peach, and very touching is the allusion to the
babe Fauntleroy. But good wine (or a good peach) needs no bush; and
therefore, without further comment or commendation, I present "The Last
Peach" to the appreciative reader. He will find it to be, unless I am a
very poor judge of the article, a peach of excellent quality and of a
peculiarly fine flavor.

The garden in which grew the tree on which "lingered the one last peach"
belonged to "Blakesmoor," the fine old family-mansion of the Plummers of
Hertfordshire, in whose family Lamb's maternal grandmother--"the
grandame" of his poem of that name, and the "great-grandmother Field" of
Elia's "Dream-Children"--was housekeeper for many years.


I am the miserablest man living. Give me counsel, dear Editor. I was
bred up in the strictest principles of honesty, and have passed my life
in punctual adherence to them. Integrity might be said to be ingrained
in our family. Yet I live in constant fear of one day coming to the

Till the latter end of last autumn, I never experienced these feelings
of self-mistrust, which ever since have embittered my existence. From
the apprehension of that unfortunate man[E] whose story began to make so
great an impression upon the public about that time, I date my horrors.
I never can get it out of my head that I shall some time or other commit
a forgery, or do some equally vile thing. To make matters worse, I am in
a banking-house. I sit surrounded with a cluster of bank-notes. These
were formerly no more to me than meat to a butcher's dog. They are now
as toads and aspics. I feel all day like one situated amidst gins and
pitfalls. Sovereigns, which I once took such pleasure in counting out,
and scraping up with my little tin shovel, (at which I was the most
expert in the banking-house,) now scald my hands. When I go to sign my
name, I set down that of another person, or write my own in a
counterfeit character. I am beset with temptations without motive. I
want no more wealth than I possess. A more contented being than myself,
as to money-matters, exists not. What should I fear?

When a child, I was once let loose, by favor of a nobleman's gardener,
into his Lordship's magnificent fruit-garden, with full leave to pull
the currants and the gooseberries; only I was interdicted from touching
the wall-fruit. Indeed, at that season (it was the end of autumn) there
was little left. Only on the south wall (can I forget the hot feel of
the brick-work?) lingered the one last peach. Now peaches are a fruit
which I always had, and still have, an almost utter aversion to. There
is something to my palate singularly harsh and repulsive in the flavor
of them. I know not by what demon of contradiction inspired, but I was
haunted with an irresistible desire to pluck it. Tear myself as often as
I would from the spot, I found myself still recurring to it, till,
maddening with desire, (desire I cannot call it,) with wilfulness
rather,--without appetite, (against appetite, I may call it,) in an evil
hour I reached out my hand, and plucked it. Some few rain-drops just
then fell; the sky, from a bright day, became overcast; and I was a type
of our first parents, after eating of that fatal fruit. I felt myself
naked and ashamed, stripped of my virtue, spiritless. The downy fruit,
whose sight rather than savor had tempted me, dropped from my hand,
never to be tasted. All the commentators in the world cannot persuade me
but that the Hebrew word, in the second chapter of Genesis, translated
apple, should be rendered peach. Only this way can I reconcile that
mysterious story.

Just such a child at thirty am I among the cash and valuables, longing
to pluck, without an idea of enjoyment further. I cannot reason myself
out of these fears: I dare not laugh at them. I was tenderly and
lovingly brought up. What then? Who that in life's entrance had seen the
babe F----, from the lap stretching out his little fond mouth to catch
the maternal kiss, could have predicted, or as much as imagined, that
life's very different exit? The sight of my own fingers torments me,
they seem so admirably constructed for--pilfering. Then that jugular
vein, which I have in common----; in an emphatic sense may I say with
David, I am "fearfully made." All my mirth is poisoned by these unhappy
suggestions. If, to dissipate reflection, I hum a tune, it changes to
the "Lamentations of a Sinner." My very dreams are tainted. I awake with
a shocking feeling of my hand in some pocket.

Advise me, dear Editor, on this painful heart-malady. Tell me, do you
feel anything allied to it in yourself? Do you never feel an itching, as
it were,--a _dactylomania_,--or am I alone? You have my honest
confession. My next may appear from Bow Street.


       *       *       *       *       *

Delightful as the essays of Elia are, Lamb did not spend all the "riches
of his wit" in their production. His letters--so full are they of "the
salt and fineness of wit,"--so richly humorous and so deliciously
droll,--so rammed and crammed with the oddest conceits and the wildest
fancies, and the quaintest, queerest thoughts, ideas, and
speculations--are scarcely inferior to his essays. Indeed, some of the
best and most admired of the essays are but extended letters. The germ
of the immortal dissertation on "Roast Pig" is contained in a letter to
Coleridge; the essay entitled "Distant Correspondents" is hardly more
than a transcript of a private letter to Barron Field; and the original
sketch of "The Gentle Giantess" was given in a letter to Miss

In the following letter--which is not included in Talfourd's "Life and
Letters of Charles Lamb," and will therefore be new to most
readers--Lamb writes very much in the manner in which Shakspeare's fools
and jesters--in some respects the wisest and thoughtfullest characters
in his works--talk. If his words be "light as air," they vent "truths
deep as the centre." If the Fool in "Lear" had written letters to his
friends and acquaintances, I think they would have marvellously
resembled this epistle to Patmore; and if, in saying this, I compliment
the Fool, I hope I do not derogate from the genius of Elia. Jaques, it
will be remembered, after hearing the "motley fool" moral on the time,
declared that "motley's the only wear"; and I opine that Lamb would
consider it no small praise to be likened, in wit, wisdom, and
eloquence, to Touchstone, or to the Clown in "Twelfth Night."


DEAR P.,--I am poorly. I have been to a funeral, where I made a pun, to
the consternation of the rest of the mourners; and we had wine. I can't
describe to you the howl which the widow set up at proper intervals.
Dash could; for it was not unlike what he makes.

The letter I sent you was directed to the care of E. White, India House,
for Mrs. Hazlitt: _which_ Mrs. Hazlitt I don't yet know; but A. has
taken it to France on speculation. Really it is embarrassing. There is
Mrs. present H., Mrs. late H., and Mrs. John H.; and to which of the
three Mrs. Wigginses it appertains I don't know. I wanted to open it;
but it's transportation.

I am sorry you are plagued about your book. I would strongly recommend
you to take for one story Massinger's "Old Law." It is exquisite. I can
think of no other.

Dash is frightful this morning. He whines and stands up on his
hind-legs. He misses Beckey, who is gone to town. I took him to Barnet
the other day; and he couldn't eat his victuals after it. Pray God his
intellects be not slipping.

Mary is gone out for some soles. I suppose it's no use to ask you to
come and partake of 'em, else there's a steam-vessel.

I am doing a tragi-comedy in two acts, and have got on tolerably; but it
will be refused, or worse. I never had luck with anything my name was
put to.

Oh, I am so poorly! I _waked_ it at my cousin's the bookbinder's, who is
now with God; or, if he is not, it's no fault of mine.

We hope the frank wines do not disagree with Mrs. Patmore. By the way, I
like her.

Did you ever taste frogs? Get them, if you can. They are little Liliput
rabbits, only a thought nicer.

Christ, how sick I am!--not of the world, but of the widow's shrub.
She's sworn under six thousand pounds; but I think she perjured herself.
She howls in E _la_; and I comfort her in B flat. You understand music?

If you haven't got Massinger, you have nothing to do but go to the first
bibliothèque you can light upon at Boulogne, and ask for it (Gifford's
edition); and if they haven't got it, you can have "Athalie," par
Monsieur Racine, and make the best of it; but that "Old Law" 's

"No shrimps!" (That's in answer to Mary's question about how the soles
are to be done.)

I am uncertain where this _wandering_ letter may reach you. What you
mean by "poste restante," God knows. Do you mean I must pay the postage?
So I do, to Dover.

We had a merry passage with the widow at the Commons. She was
howling,--part howling, and part giving directions to the
proctor,--when, crash! down went my sister through a crazy chair, and
made the clerks grin; and I grinned, and the widow tittered; _and then I
knew that she was not inconsolable_. Mary was more frightened than hurt.

She'd make a good match for anybody (by "she," I mean the widow).

    "If he bring but a _relict_ away,
    He is happy, nor heard to complain."


Procter has got a wen growing out at the nape of his neck, which his
wife wants him to have cut off: but I think it rather an agreeable
excrescence; like his poetry, redundant. Hone has hanged himself for
debt. Godwin was taken up for picking pockets. Beckey takes to bad
courses. Her father was blown up in a steam-machine. The coroner found
it insanity. I should not like him to sit on my letter.[F]

Do you observe my direction? Is it Gaelic?--classical?

Do try and get some frogs. You must ask for "grenouilles" (green-eels).
They don't understand "frogs"; though it's a common phrase with us.

If you go through Bulloign [Boulogne], inquire if old Godfrey is living,
and how he got home from the Crusades. He must be a very old man now.

If there is anything new in politics or literature in France, keep it
till I see you again; for I'm in no hurry. Chatty-Briant [Châteaubriand]
is well, I hope.

I think I have no more news; only give both our loves ("all three," says
Dash) to Mrs. Patmore, and bid her get quite well, as I am at present,
bating qualms, and the grief incident to losing a valuable relation.

                       C. L.

    LONDRES, July 19, 1827.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of all the essays of Elia, the paper on "Roast Pig" is perhaps the most
read, the most quoted, the most admired. 'T is even better, says an
epicurean friend of mine, than the "crisp, tawny, well-watched, not
over-roasted crackling" it descants upon so eloquently. Certainly Lamb
never writes so richly and so delightfully as when he discourses of the
dainties and delicacies of the table.

Though all our readers are doubtlessly familiar with Elia's beautiful
little article entitled "Thoughts on Presents of Game," very few of them
have read the letter he wrote in acknowledgment of a present of a pig
from a farmer and his wife. 'T is a rare bit, a choice morsel of Lamb's
best and most delicious humor, and will be perused with great pleasure
and satisfaction by all admirers of its witty and eccentric author. Here
it is.


                                      _Twelfth Day, 1823._

The pig was above my feeble praise. It was a dear pigmy. There was some
contention as to who should have the ears; but, in spite of his
obstinacy, (deaf as these little creatures are to advice,) I contrived
to get at one of them.

It came in boots, too, which I took as a favor. Generally these pretty
toes--pretty toes!--are missing; but I suppose he wore them to look

He must have been the least of his race. His little foots would have
gone into the silver slipper. I take him to have been a Chinese and a

If Evelyn could have seen him, he would never have farrowed two such
prodigious volumes; seeing how much good can be contained in--how small
a compass!

He crackled delicately.

I left a blank at the top of my letter, not being determined which to
address it to: so farmer and farmer's wife will please to divide our
thanks. May your granaries be full, and your rats empty, and your
chickens plump, and your envious neighbors lean, and your laborers busy,
and you as idle and as happy as the day is long!


    How do you make your pigs so little?
    They are vastly engaging at the age:
        I was so myself.
    Now I am a disagreeable old hog,
    A middle-aged gentleman-and-a-half.
    My faculties, thank God, are not much impaired!

I have my sight, hearing, taste, pretty perfect; and can read the Lord's
Prayer in common type, by the help of a candle, without making many

Believe me, that, while my faculties last, I shall ever cherish a proper
appreciation of your many kindnesses in this way, and that the last
lingering relish of past favors upon my dying memory will be the smack
of that little ear. It was the left ear, which is lucky. Many happy
returns,--not of the pig, but of the New Year, to both!

Mary, for her share of the pig and the memoirs, desires to send the

            Yours truly,
                 C. LAMB.


[B] "Who this modern poet was," says Mr. Collier, "is a secret worth
discovering." The wood-cut on the title of the pamphlet is an ass with a
wreath of laurel round his neck.

[C] Milton, _from memory_.

[D] Fletcher, in the "Faithful Shepherdess." The Satyr offers to Clorin

"grapes whose lusty blood Is the learned poet's good; Sweeter yet did
never crown The head of Bacchus; nuts more brown Than the _squirrels'
teeth_ that crack them."

[E] Fauntleroy.

[F] The reader, says Mr. Patmore, need not be told that all the above
items of home-news are pure fiction.



NOVEMBER 3, 1864.

    Calm priest of Nature, her maternal hand
      Led thee, a reverent child,
    To mountain-altars, by the lonely strand,
      And through the forest wild.

    Haunting her temple, filled with love and awe,
      To thy responsive youth
    The harmonies of her benignant law
      Revealed consoling truth.

    Thenceforth, when toiling in the grasp of Care
      Amid the eager throng,
    A votive seer, her greetings thou didst bear,
      Her oracles prolong.

    The vagrant winds and the far heaving main
      Breathed in thy chastened rhyme,
    Their latent music to the soul again,
      Above the din of time.

    The seasons, at thy call, renewed the spell
      That thrilled our better years,
    The primal wonder o'er our spirits fell,
      And woke the fount of tears.

    And Faith's monition, like an organ's strain,
      Followed the sea-bird's flight,
    The river's bounteous flow, the ripening grain,
      And stars' unfathomed light.

    In the dank woods and where the meadows gleam,
      The lowliest flower that smiled
    To wisdom's vigil or to fancy's dream
      Thy gentle thought beguiled.

    They win fond glances in the prairie's sweep,
      And where the moss-clumps lie,
    A welcome find when through the mould they creep,
      A requiem when they die.

    Unstained thy song with passion's fitful hues
      Or pleasure's reckless breath,
    For Nature's beauty to thy virgin muse
      Was solemnized by death.

    O'er life's majestic realm and dread repose,
      Entranced with holy calm,
    From the rapt soul of boyhood then uprose
     The memorable psalm.

    And roaming lone beneath the woodland shades,
      Thy meditative prayer
    In the umbrageous aisles and choral glades
      We murmur unaware;

    Or track the ages with prophetic cheer,
      Lured by thy chant sublime,
    Till bigotry and kingcraft disappear
      In Freedom's chosen clime,--

    While on her ramparts with intrepid mien,
      O'er faction's angry sea,
    Thy voice proclaims, undaunted and serene,
      The watchwords of the free.

    Not in vague tones or tricks of verbal art
      The plaint and pæan rung:
    Thine the clear utterance of an earnest heart,
      The limpid Saxon tongue.

    Our country's minstrel! in whose crystal verse
      With tranquil joy we trace
    Her native glories, and the tale rehearse
      Of her primeval race,--

    Blest are thy laurels, that unchallenged crown
      Worn brow and silver hair,
    For truth and manhood consecrate renown,
      And her pure triumph share!




Our gallant Bob Stephens, into whose life-boat our Marianne has been
received, has lately taken the mania of house-building into his head.
Bob is somewhat fastidious, difficult to please, fond of domesticities
and individualities; and such a man never can fit himself into a house
built by another, and accordingly house-building has always been his
favorite mental recreation. During all his courtship as much time was
taken up in planning a future house as if he had money to build one, and
all Marianne's patterns, and the backs of half their letters, were
scrawled with ground-plans and elevations. But latterly this chronic
disposition has been quickened into an acute form by the falling-in of
some few thousands to their domestic treasury,--left as the sole
residuum of a painstaking old aunt, who took it into her head to make a
will in Bob's favor, leaving, among other good things, a nice little bit
of land in a rural district half an hour's railroad-ride from Boston.

So now ground-plans thicken, and my wife is being consulted morning,
noon, and night, and I never come into the room without finding their
heads close together over a paper, and hearing Bob expatiate on his
favorite idea of a library. He appears to have got so far as this, that
the ceiling is to be of carved oak, with ribs running to a boss
overhead, and finished mediævally with ultramarine blue and
gilding,--and then away he goes sketching Gothic patterns of
book-shelves which require only experienced carvers, and the wherewithal
to pay them, to be the divinest things in the world.

Marianne is exercised about china-closets and pantries, and about a
bed-room on the ground-door,--for, like all other women of our days, she
expects not to have strength enough to run up-stairs oftener than once
or twice a week; and my wife, who is a native genius in this line, and
has planned in her time dozens of houses for acquaintances, wherein they
are at this moment living happily, goes over every day with her pencil
and ruler the work of rearranging the plans, according as the ideas of
the young couple veer and vary.

One day Bob is importuned to give two feet off from his library for a
closet in the bed-room,--but resists like a Trojan. The next morning,
being mollified by private domestic supplications, Bob yields, and my
wife rubs out the lines of yesterday, two feet come off the library, and
a closet is constructed. But now the parlor proves too narrow,--the
parlor-wall must be moved two feet into the hall. Bob declares this will
spoil the symmetry of the latter, and if there is anything he wants, it
is a wide, generous, ample hall to step into when you open the

"Well, then," says Marianne, "let's put two feet more into the width of
the house."

"Can't, on account of the expense, you see," says Bob. "You see, every
additional foot of outside wall necessitates so many more bricks, so
much more flooring, so much more roofing, etc."

And my wife, with thoughtful brow, looks over the plans, and considers
how two feet more are to be got into the parlor without moving any of
the walls.

"I say," says Bob, bending over her shoulder, "here, take your two feet
in the parlor, and put two more feet on to the other side of the
hall-stairs"; and he dashes heavily with his pencil.

"Oh, Bob!" exclaims Marianne, "there are the kitchen-pantries! you ruin
them,--and no place for the cellar-stairs!"

"Hang the pantries and cellar-stairs!" says Bob, "Mother must find a
place for them somewhere else. I say the house must be roomy and
cheerful, and pantries and those things may take care of themselves;
they can be put _somewhere_ well enough. No fear but you will find a
place for them somewhere. What do you women always want such a great
enormous kitchen for?"

"It is not any larger than is necessary," said my wife, thoughtfully;
"nothing is gained by taking off from it."

"What if you should put it all down into a basement," suggests Bob, "and
so get it all out of sight together?"

"Never, if it can be helped," said my wife. "Basement-kitchens are
necessary evils, only to be tolerated in cities where land is too dear
to afford any other."

So goes the discussion till the trio agree to sleep over it. The next
morning an inspiration visits my wife's pillow. She is up and seizes
plans and paper, and before six o'clock has enlarged the parlor very
cleverly, by throwing out a bow-window. So waxes and wanes the
prospective house, innocently battered down and rebuilt with
India-rubber and black-lead. Doors are cut out to-night, and walled up
to-morrow,--windows knocked out here and put in there, as some observer
suggests possibilities of too much or too little draught. Now all seems
finished, when, lo, a discovery! There is no fireplace nor stove-flue in
my lady's bed-room, and can be none without moving the bathing-room.
Pencil and India-rubber are busy again, and for a while the whole house
seems to threaten to fall to pieces with the confusion of the moving;
the bath-room wanders like a ghost, now invading a closet, now
threatening the tranquillity of the parlor, till at last it is laid by
some unheard-of calculations of my wife's, and sinks to rest in a place
so much better that everybody wonders it never was thought of before.

"Papa," said Jennie, "it appears to me people don't exactly know what
they want when they build; why don't you write a paper on

"I have thought of it," said I, with the air of a man called to settle
some great reform. "It must be entirely because Christopher has not
written that our young people and mamma are tangling themselves daily in
webs which are untangled the next day."

"You see," said Jennie, "they have only just so much money, and they
want everything they can think of under the sun. There's Bob been
studying architectural antiquities, and nobody knows what, and sketching
all sorts of curly-whorlies; and Marianne has her notions about a parlor
and boudoir and china-closets and bedroom-closets; and Bob wants a
baronial hall; and mamma stands out for linen-closets and bathing-rooms
and all that; and so among them all it will just end in getting them
head over ears in debt."

The thing struck me as not improbable.

"I don't know, Jennie, whether my writing an article is going to prevent
all this; but as my time in the 'Atlantic' is coming round, I may as
well write on what I am obliged to think of, and so I will give a paper
on the subject to enliven our next evening's session."

So that evening, when Bob and Marianne had dropped in as usual, and
while the customary work of drawing and rubbing-out was going on at Mrs.
Crowfield's sofa, I produced my paper and read as follows:--


There is a place called "Our House," which everybody knows of. The
sailor talks of it in his dreams at sea. The wounded soldier, turning in
his uneasy hospital-bed, brightens at the word,--it is like the dropping
of cool water in the desert, like the touch of cool fingers on a burning
brow. "Our house," he says feebly, and the light comes back into his dim
eyes,--for all homely charities, all fond thoughts, all purities, all
that man loves on earth or hopes for in heaven, rise with the word.

"Our house" may be in any style of architecture, low or high. It may be
the brown old farm-house, with its tall well-sweep, or the one-story
gambrel-roofed cottage, or the large, square, white house, with green
blinds, under the wind-swung elms of a century, or it may be the
log-cabin of the wilderness, with its one room,--still there is a spell
in the memory of it beyond all conjurations. Its stone and brick and
mortar are like no other; its very clapboards and shingles are dear to
us, powerful to bring back the memories of early days, and all that is
sacred in home-love.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Papa is getting quite sentimental," whispered Jennie, loud enough for
me to hear. I shook my head at her impressively, and went on undaunted.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no one fact of our human existence that has a stronger
influence upon us than the house we dwell in,--especially that in which
our earlier and more impressible years are spent. The building and
arrangement of a house influence the health, the comfort, the morals,
the religion. There have been houses built so devoid of all
consideration for the occupants, so rambling and hap-hazard in the
disposal of rooms, so sunless and cheerless and wholly without snugness
or privacy, as to make it seem impossible to live a joyous, generous,
rational, religious family-life in them.

There are, we shame to say, in our cities _things_ called houses, built
and rented by people who walk erect and have the general air and manner
of civilized and Christianized men, which are so inhuman in their
building that they can only be called snares and traps for
souls,--places where children cannot well escape growing up filthy and
impure,--places where to form a home is impossible, and to live a
decent, Christian life would require miraculous strength.

A celebrated British philanthropist, who had devoted much study to the
dwellings of the poor, gave it as his opinion that temperance-societies
were a hopeless undertaking in London, unless these dwellings underwent
a transformation. They were so squalid, so dark, so comfortless, so
constantly pressing upon the senses foulness, pain, and inconvenience,
that it was only by being drugged with gin and opium that their
miserable inhabitants could find heart to drag on life from day to day.
He had himself tried the experiment of reforming a drunkard by taking
him from one of these loathsome dens and enabling him to rent a tenement
in a block of model lodging-houses which had been built under his
supervision. The young man had been a designer of figures for prints; he
was of a delicate frame, and a nervous, susceptible temperament. Shut in
one miserable room with his wife and little children, without the
possibility of pure air, with only filthy, fetid water to drink, with
the noise of other miserable families resounding through the thin
partitions, what possibility was there of doing anything except by the
help of stimulants, which for a brief hour lifted him above the
perception of these miseries? Changed at once to a neat flat, where, for
the same rent as his former den, he had three good rooms, with water for
drinking, house-service, and bathing freely supplied, and the blessed
sunshine and air coming in through windows well arranged for
ventilation, he became in a few weeks a new man. In the charms of the
little spot which he could call home, its quiet, its order, his former
talent came back to him, and he found strength, in pure air and pure
water and those purer thoughts of which they are the emblems, to abandon
burning and stupefying stimulants.

The influence of dwelling-houses for good or for evil--their influence
on the brain, the nerves, and, through these, on the heart and life--is
one of those things that cannot be enough pondered by those who build
houses to sell or rent.

Something more generous ought to inspire a man than merely the
percentage which he can get for his money. He who would build houses
should think a little on the subject. He should reflect what houses are
for,--what they may be made to do for human beings. The great majority
of houses in cities are not built by the indwellers themselves,--they
are built _for_ them, by those who invest their money in this way, with
little other thought than the percentage which the investment will

For persons of ample fortune there are, indeed, palatial residences,
with all that wealth can do to render life delightful. But in that class
of houses which must be the lot of the large majority, those which must
be chosen by young men in the beginning of life, when means are
comparatively restricted, there is yet wide room for thought and the
judicious application of money.

In looking over houses to be rented by persons of moderate means, one
cannot help longing to build,--one sees so many ways in which the same
sum which built an inconvenient and unpleasant house might have been
made to build a delightful one.

       *       *       *       *       *

"That's so!" said Bob, with emphasis. "Don't you remember, Marianne, how
many dismal, commonplace, shabby houses we trailed through?"

"Yes," said Marianne. "You remember those houses with such little
squeezed rooms and that flourishing staircase, with the colored-glass
china-closet window and no butler's sink?"

"Yes," said Bob; "and those astonishing, abominable stone abortions that
adorned the door-steps. People do lay out a deal of money to make houses
look ugly, it must be confessed."

"One would willingly," said Marianne, "dispense with frightful stone
ornaments in front, and with heavy mouldings inside, which are of no
possible use or beauty, and with showy plaster cornices and
centre-pieces in the parlor-ceilings, and even with marble mantels, for
the luxury of hot and cold water in each chamber, and a couple of
comfortable bath-rooms. Then, the disposition of windows and doors is so
wholly without regard to convenience! How often we find rooms, meant for
bed-rooms, where really there is no good place for either bed or

Here my wife looked up, having just finished re-drawing the plans to the
latest alteration.

"One of the greatest reforms that could be, in these reforming days,"
she observed, "would be to have women architects. The mischief with
houses built to rent is that they are all mere male contrivances. No
woman would ever plan chambers where there is no earthly place to set a
bed except against a window or door, or waste the room in entries that
might be made into closets. I don't see, for my part, _apropos_ to the
modern movement for opening new professions to the female sex, why there
should not be well-educated female architects. The planning and
arrangement of houses, and the laying-out of grounds, are a fair subject
of womanly knowledge and taste. It is the teaching of Nature. What would
anybody think of a bluebird's nest that had been built entirely by Mr.
Blue without the help of his wife?"

"My dear," said I, "you must positively send a paper on this subject to
the next Woman's-Rights Convention."

"I am of Sojourner Truth's opinion," said my wife,--"that the best way
to prove the propriety of one's doing anything is to go and _do it_. A
woman who should have energy to go through the preparatory studies and
set to work in this field would, I am sure, soon find employment."

"If she did as well as you would do, my dear," said I. "There are plenty
of young women in our Boston high-schools who are going through higher
fields of mathematics than are required by the architect, and the
schools for design show the flexibility and fertility of the female
pencil. The thing appears to me altogether more feasible than many other
openings which have been suggested to woman."

"Well," said Jennie, "isn't papa ever to go on with his paper?"

I continued:--

       *       *       *       *       *

What ought "our house" to be? Could any other question be asked
admitting in its details of such varied answers,--answers various as the
means, the character, and situation of different individuals? But there
are great wants pertaining to every human being, into which all lesser
ones run. There are things in a house that every one, high or low, rich
or poor, ought, according to his means, to seek. I think I shall class
them according to the elemental division of the old philosophers,--Fire,
Air, Earth, and Water. These form the groundwork of this _need-be_,--the
_sine-qua-nons_ of a house.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Fire, air, earth, and water! I don't understand," said Jennie.

"Wait a little till you do, then," said I. "I will try to make my
meaning plain."

       *       *       *       *       *

The first object of a house is shelter from the elements. This object is
effected by a tent or wigwam which keeps off rain and wind. The first
disadvantage of this shelter is, that the vital air which you take into
your lungs, and on the purity of which depends the purity of blood and
brain and nerve, is vitiated. In the wigwam or tent you are constantly
taking in poison, more or less active, with every inspiration. Napoleon
had his army sleep without tents. He stated, that, from experience, he
found it more healthy; and wonderful have been the instances of delicate
persons gaining constantly in vigor from being obliged, in the midst of
hardships, to sleep constantly in the open air. Now the first problem in
house-building is to combine the advantage of shelter with the fresh
elasticity of out-door air. I am not going to give here a treatise on
ventilation, but merely to say, in general terms, that the first object
of a house-builder or contriver should be to make a healthy house, and
the first requisite of a healthy house is a pure, sweet, elastic air.

I am in favor, therefore, of those plans of house-building which have
wide central spaces, whether halls or courts, into which all the rooms
open, and which necessarily preserve a body of fresh air for the use of
them all. In hot climates this is the object of the central court which
cuts into the body of the house, with its fountain and flowers, and its
galleries, into which the various apartments open. When people are
restricted for space, and cannot afford to give up wide central portions
of the house for the mere purposes of passage, this central hall can be
made a pleasant sitting-room. With tables, chairs, bookcases, and sofas
comfortably disposed, this ample central room above and below is, in
many respects, the most agreeable lounging-room of the house; while the
parlors below and the chambers above, opening upon it, form agreeable
withdrawing-rooms for purposes of greater privacy.

It is customary with many persons to sleep with bed-room windows
open,--a very imperfect, and often dangerous mode of procuring that
supply of fresh air which a sleeping-room requires. In a house
constructed in the manner indicated, windows might be freely left open
in these central halls, producing there a constant movement of air, and
the doors of the bed-rooms placed ajar, when a very slight opening in
the windows would create a free circulation through the apartments.

In the planning of a house, thought should be had as to the general
disposition of the windows, and the quarters from which favoring breezes
may be expected should be carefully considered. Windows should be so
arranged that draughts of air can be thrown quite through and across the
house. How often have we seen pale mothers and drooping babes fanning
and panting during some of our hot days on the sunny side of a house,
while the breeze that should have cooled them beat in vain against a
dead wall! One longs sometimes to knock holes through partitions and let
in the air of heaven.

No other gift of God, so precious, so inspiring, is treated with such
utter irreverence and contempt in the calculations of us mortals as this
same air of heaven. A sermon on oxygen, if one had a preacher who
understood the subject, might do more to repress sin than the most
orthodox discourse to show when and how and why sin came. A minister
gets up in a crowded lecture-room, where the mephitic air almost makes
the candles burn blue, and bewails the deadness of the church,--the
church the while, drugged by the poisoned air, growing sleepier and
sleepier, though they feel dreadfully wicked for being so.

Little Jim, who, fresh from his afternoon's rambles in the fields, last
evening said his prayers dutifully, and lay down to sleep in a most
Christian frame, this morning sits up in bed with his hair bristling
with crossness, strikes at his nurse, and declares he won't say his
prayers,--that he don't want to be good. The simple difference is, that
the child, having slept in a close box of a room, his brain all night
fed by poison, is in a mild state of moral insanity. Delicate women
remark that it takes them till eleven or twelve o'clock to get up their
strength in the morning. Query,--Do they sleep with closed windows and
doors, and with heavy bed-curtains?

The houses built by our ancestors were better ventilated in certain
respects than modern ones, with all their improvements. The great
central chimney, with its open fireplaces in the different rooms,
created a constant current which carried off foul and vitiated air. In
these days, how common is it to provide rooms with only a flue for a
stove! This flue is kept shut in summer, and in winter opened only to
admit a close stove, which burns away the vital portion of the air quite
as fast as the occupants breathe it away. The sealing-up of fireplaces
and introduction of air-tight stoves may, doubtless, be a saving of
fuel: it saves, too, more than that; in thousands and thousands of cases
it has saved people from all further human wants, and put an end forever
to any needs short of the six feet of narrow earth which are man's only
inalienable property. In other words, since the invention of air-tight
stoves, thousands have died of slow poison. It is a terrible thing to
reflect upon, that our Northern winters last from November to May, six
long months, in which many families confine themselves to one room, of
which every window-crack has been carefully calked to make it air-tight,
where an air-tight stove keeps the atmosphere at a temperature between
eighty and ninety, and the inmates sitting there with all their winter
clothes on become enervated both by the heat and by the poisoned air,
for which there is no escape but the occasional opening of a door.

It is no wonder that the first result of all this is such a delicacy of
skin and lungs that about half the inmates are obliged to give up going
into the open air during the six cold months, because they invariably
catch cold, if they do so. It is no wonder that the cold caught about
the first of December has by the first of March become a fixed
consumption, and that the opening of the spring, which ought to bring
life and health, in so many cases brings death.

We hear of the lean condition in which the poor bears emerge from their
six-months' wintering, during which they subsist on the fat which they
have acquired the previous summer. Even so in our long winters,
multitudes of delicate people subsist on the daily waning strength which
they acquired in the season when windows and doors were open, and fresh
air was a constant luxury. No wonder we hear of spring fever and spring
biliousness, and have thousands of nostrums for clearing the blood in
the spring. All these things are the pantings and palpitations of a
system run down under slow poison, unable to get a step farther. Better,
far better, the old houses of the olden time, with their great roaring
fires, and their bed-rooms where the snow came in and the wintry winds
whistled. Then, to be sure, you froze your back while you burned your
face, your water froze nightly in your pitcher, your breath congealed
in ice-wreaths on the blankets, and you could write your name on the
pretty snow-wreath that had sifted in through the window-cracks. But you
woke full of life and vigor,--you looked out into whirling snow-storms
without a shiver, and thought nothing of plunging through drifts as high
as your head on your daily way to school. You jingled in sleighs, you
snowballed, you lived in snow like a snow-bird, and your blood coursed
and tingled, in full tide of good, merry, real life, through your
veins,--none of the slow-creeping, black blood which clogs the brain and
lies like a weight on the vital wheels!

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mercy upon us, papa!" said Jennie, "I hope we need not go back to such

"No, my dear," I replied. "I only said that such houses were better than
those which are all winter closed by double windows and burnt-out
air-tight stoves."

       *       *       *       *       *

The perfect house is one in which there is a constant escape of every
foul and vitiated particle of air through one opening, while a constant
supply of fresh out-door air is admitted by another. In winter, this
out-door air must pass through some process by which it is brought up to
a temperate warmth.

Take a single room, and suppose on one side a current of out-door air
which has been warmed by passing through the air-chamber of a modern
furnace. Its temperature need not be above sixty-five,--it answers
breathing purposes better at that. On the other side of the room let
there be an open wood- or coal-fire. One cannot conceive the purposes of
warmth and ventilation more perfectly combined.

Suppose a house with a great central hall, into which a current of
fresh, temperately warmed air is continually pouring. Each chamber
opening upon this hall has a chimney up whose flue the rarefied air is
constantly passing, drawing up with it all the foul and poisonous gases.
That house is well ventilated, and in a way that need bring no dangerous
draughts upon the most delicate invalid. For the better securing of
privacy in sleeping-rooms, we have seen two doors employed, one of which
is made with slats, like a window-blind, so that air is freely
transmitted without exposing the interior.

When we speak of fresh air, we insist on the full rigor of the term. It
must not be the air of a cellar, heavily laden with the poisonous
nitrogen of turnips and cabbages, but good, fresh, out-door air from a
cold-air pipe so placed as not to get the lower stratum near the ground,
where heavy damps and exhalations collect, but high up in just the
clearest and most elastic region.

The conclusion of the whole matter is, that, as all of man's and woman's
peace and comfort, all their love, all their amiability, all their
religion, have got to come to them, while they live in this world,
through the medium of the brain,--and as black, uncleansed blood acts on
the brain as a poison, and as no other than black, uncleansed blood can
be got by the lungs out of impure air,--the first object of the man who
builds a house is to secure a pure and healthy atmosphere therein.

Therefore, in allotting expenses, set this down as a _must-be_: "Our
house must have fresh air,--everywhere, at all times, winter and
summer." Whether we have stone facings or no,--whether our parlor has
cornices or marble mantels or no,--whether our doors are machine-made or
hand-made. All our fixtures shall be of the plainest and simplest, but
we will have fresh air. We will open our door with a latch and string,
if we cannot afford lock and knob and fresh air too,--but in our house
we will live cleanly and Christianly. We will no more breathe the foul
air rejected from a neighbor's lungs than we will use a neighbor's
tooth-brush and hair-brush. Such is the first essential of "our
house,"--the first great element of human health and happiness,--AIR.

"I say, Marianne," said Bob, "have we got fireplaces in our chambers?"

"Mamma took care of that," said Marianne.

"You may be quite sure," said I, "if your mother has had a hand in
planning your house, that the ventilation is cared for."

It must be confessed that Bob's principal idea in a house had been a
Gothic library, and his mind had labored more on the possibility of
adapting some favorite bits from the baronial antiquities to modern
needs than on anything so terrestrial as air. Therefore he awoke as from
a dream, and taking two or three monstrous inhalations, he seized the
plans and began looking over them with new energy. Meanwhile I went on
with my prelection.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second great vital element for which provision must be made in "our
house" is FIRE. By which I do not mean merely artificial fire, but fire
in all its extent and branches,--the heavenly fire which God sends us
daily on the bright wings of sunbeams, as well as the mimic fires by
which we warm our dwellings, cook our food, and light our nightly

To begin, then, with heavenly fire or sunshine. If God's gift of vital
air is neglected and undervalued, His gift of sunshine appears to be
hated. There are many houses where not a cent has been expended on
ventilation, but where hundreds of dollars have been freely lavished to
keep out the sunshine. The chamber, truly, is tight as a box,--it has no
fireplace, not even a ventilator opening into the stove-flue; but, oh,
joy and gladness! it has outside blinds and inside folding-shutters, so
that in the brightest of days we may create there a darkness that may be
felt. To observe the generality of New-England houses, a spectator might
imagine that they were planned for the torrid zone, where the great
object is to keep out a furnace-draught of burning air.

But let us look over the months of our calendar. In which of them do we
not need fires on our hearths? We will venture to say that from October
to June all families, whether they actually have it or not, would be the
more comfortable for a morning and evening fire. For eight months in the
year the weather varies on the scale of cool, cold, colder, and
freezing; and for all the four other months what is the number of days
that really require the torrid-zone system of shutting up houses? We all
know that extreme heat is the exception, and not the rule.

Yet let anybody travel, as I did last year, through the valley of the
Connecticut, and observe the houses. All clean and white and neat and
well-to-do, with their turfy yards and their breezy great elms,--but all
shut up from basement to attic, as if the inmates had all sold out and
gone to China. Not a window-blind open above or below. Is the house
inhabited? No,--yes,--there is a faint stream of blue smoke from the
kitchen-chimney, and half a window-blind open in some distant back-part
of the house. They are living there in the dim shadows, bleaching like
potato-sprouts in the cellar.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I can tell you why they do it, papa," said Jennie,--"it's the flies,
and flies are certainly worthy to be one of the plagues of Egypt. I
can't myself blame people that shut up their rooms and darken their
houses in fly-time,--do you, mamma?"

"Not in extreme cases; though I think there is but a short season when
this is necessary; yet the habit of shutting up lasts the year round,
and gives to New-England villages that dead, silent, cold, uninhabited
look which is so peculiar."

"The one fact that a traveller would gather in passing through our
villages would be this," said I, "that the people live in their houses
and in the dark. Rarely do you see doors and windows open, people
sitting at them, chairs in the yard, and signs that the inhabitants are
living out-of-doors."

"Well," said Jennie, "I have told you why, for I have been at Uncle
Peter's in summer, and aunt does her spring-cleaning in May, and then
she shuts all the blinds and drops all the curtains, and the house stays
clean till October. That's the whole of it. If she had all her windows
open, there would be paint and windows to be cleaned every week,--and
who is to do it? For my part, I can't much blame her."

"Well," said I, "I have my doubts about the sovereign efficacy of living
in the dark, even if the great object of existence were to be rid of
flies. I remember, during this same journey, stopping for a day or two
at a country boarding-house which was dark as Egypt from cellar to
garret. The long, dim, gloomy dining-room was first closed by outside
blinds, and then by impenetrable paper curtains, notwithstanding which
it swarmed and buzzed like a beehive. You found where the cake-plate was
by the buzz which your hand made, if you chanced to reach in that
direction. It was disagreeable, because in the darkness flies could not
always be distinguished from huckleberries; and I couldn't help wishing,
that, since we must have the flies, we might at least have the light and
air to console us under them. People darken their rooms and shut up
every avenue of out-door enjoyment, and sit and think of nothing but
flies; in fact, flies are all they have left. No wonder they become
morbid on the subject."

"Well, now, papa talks just like a man,--doesn't he?" said Jennie. "He
hasn't the responsibility of keeping things clean. I wonder what he
would do, if he were a housekeeper."

"Do? I will tell you. I would do the best I could. I would shut my eyes
on fly-specks, and open them on the beauties of Nature. I would let the
cheerful sun in all day long, in all but the few summer days when
coolness is the one thing needful: those days may be soon numbered every
year. I would make a calculation in the spring how much it would cost to
hire a woman to keep my windows and paint clean, and I would do with one
less gown and have her; and when I had spent all I could afford on
cleaning windows and paint, I would harden my heart and turn off my
eyes, and enjoy my sunshine and my fresh air, my breezes, and all that
can be seen through the picture-windows of an open, airy house, and snap
my fingers at the flies. There you have it."

"Papa's hobby is sunshine," said Marianne.

"Why shouldn't it be? Was God mistaken, when He made the sun? Did He
make him for us to hold a life's battle with? Is that vital power which
reddens the cheek of the peach and pours sweetness through the fruits
and flowers of no use to us? Look at plants that grow without sun,--wan,
pale, long-visaged, holding feeble, imploring hands of supplication
towards the light. Can human beings afford to throw away a vitalizing
force so pungent, so exhilarating? You remember the experiment of a
prison, where one row of cells had daily sunshine, and the others none.
With the same regimen, the same cleanliness, the same care, the inmates
of the sunless cells were visited with sickness and death in double
measure. Our whole population in New England are groaning and suffering
under afflictions, the result of a depressed vitality,--neuralgia, with
a new ache for every day of the year, rheumatism, consumption, general
debility; for all these a thousand nostrums are daily advertised, and
money enough is spent on them to equip an army, while we are fighting
against, wasting, and throwing away with both hands that blessed
influence which comes nearest to pure vitality of anything God has

"Who is it that the Bible describes as a sun, arising with healing in
his wings? Surely, that sunshine which is the chosen type and image of
His love must be healing through all the recesses of our daily life,
drying damp and mould, defending from moth and rust, sweetening ill
smells, clearing from the nerves the vapors of melancholy, making life
cheery. If I did not know Him, I should certainly adore and worship the
sun, the most blessed and beautiful image of Him among things visible.
In the land of Egypt, in the day of God's wrath, there was darkness, but
in the land of Goshen there was light. I am a Goshenite, and mean to
walk in the light, and forswear the works of darkness.--But to proceed
with our reading."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Our house" shall be set on a southeast line, so that there shall not be
a sunless room in it, and windows shall be so arranged that it can be
traversed and transpierced through and through with those bright shafts
of life which come straight from God.

"Our house" shall not be blockaded with a dank, dripping mass of
shrubbery set plumb against the windows, keeping out light and air.
There shall be room all round it for breezes to sweep, and sunshine to
sweeten and dry and vivify; and I would warn all good souls who begin
life by setting out two little evergreen-trees within a foot of each of
their front-windows, that these trees will grow and increase till their
front-rooms will be brooded over by a sombre, stifling shadow fit only
for ravens to croak in.

One would think, by the way some people hasten to convert a very narrow
front-yard into a dismal jungle, that the only danger of our New-England
climate was sunstroke. Ah, in those drizzling months which form at least
one-half of our life here, what sullen, censorious, uncomfortable,
unhealthy thoughts are bred of living in dark, chilly rooms, behind such
dripping thickets! Our neighbors' faults assume a deeper hue,--life
seems a dismal thing,--our very religion grows mouldy.

My idea of a house is, that, as far as is consistent with shelter and
reasonable privacy, it should give you on first entering an open,
breezy, out-door freshness of sensation. Every window should be a
picture; sun and trees and clouds and green grass should seem never to
be far from us. "Our house" may shade, but not darken us. "Our house"
shall have bow-windows, many, sunny, and airy,--not for the purpose of
being cleaned and shut up, but to be open and enjoyed. There shall be
long verandas above and below, where invalids may walk dry-shod, and
enjoy open-air recreation in wettest weather. In short, I will try to
have "our house" combine as far as possible the sunny, joyous, fresh
life of a gypsy in the fields and woods with the quiet and neatness and
comfort and shelter of a roof, rooms, floors, and carpets.

After heavenly fire, I have a word to say of earthly, artificial fires.
Furnaces, whether of hot water, steam, or hot air, are all healthy and
admirable provisions for warming our houses during the eight or nine
months of our year that we must have artificial heat, if only, as I have
said, fireplaces keep up a current of ventilation.

The kitchen-range with its water-back I humbly salute. It is a great
throbbing heart, and sends its warm tides of cleansing, comforting fluid
all through the house. One could wish that this friendly dragon could be
in some way moderated in his appetite for coal,--he does consume without
mercy, it must be confessed,--but then, great is the work he has to do.
At any hour of day or night in the most distant part of your house, you
have but to turn a stop-cock and your red dragon sends you hot water for
your needs; your washing-day becomes a mere play-day; your pantry has
its ever-ready supply; and then, by a little judicious care in arranging
apartments and economizing heat, a range may make two or three chambers
comfortable in winter weather. A range with a water-back is among the
_must-bes_ in "our house."

Then, as to the evening light,--I know nothing as yet better than gas,
where it can be had. I would certainly not have a house without it. The
great objection to it is the danger of its escape through imperfect
fixtures. But it must not do this: a fluid that kills a tree or a plant
with one breath must certainly be a dangerous ingredient in the
atmosphere, and if admitted into houses, must be introduced with every

There are families living in the country who make their own gas by a
very simple process. This is worth an inquiry from those who build.
There are also contrivances now advertised, with good testimonials, of
domestic machines for generating gas, said to be perfectly safe, simple
to be managed, and producing a light superior to that of the city
gas-works. This also is worth an inquiry, when "our house" is to be in
the country.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now I come to the next great vital element for which "our house"
must provide,--WATER. "Water, water everywhere,"--it must be plentiful,
it must be easy to get at, it must be pure. Our ancestors had some
excellent ideas in home-living and house-building. Their houses were,
generally speaking, very sensibly contrived,--roomy, airy, and
comfortable; but in their water-arrangements they had little mercy on
womankind. The well was out in the yard; and in winter one must flounder
through snow and bring up the ice-bound bucket, before one could fill
the tea-kettle for breakfast. For a sovereign princess of the republic
this was hardly respectful or respectable. Wells have come somewhat
nearer in modern times; but the idea of a constant supply of fresh water
by the simple turning of a stop-cock has not yet visited the great body
of our houses. Were we free to build "our house" just as we wish it,
there should be a bath-room to every two or three inmates, and the hot
and cold water should circulate to every chamber.

Among our _must-bes_, we would lay by a generous sum for plumbing. Let
us have our bath-rooms, and our arrangements for cleanliness and health
in kitchen and pantry; and afterwards let the quality of our lumber and
the style of our finishings be according to the sum we have left. The
power to command a warm bath in a house at any hour of day or night is
better in bringing up a family of children than any amount of ready
medicine. In three-quarters of childish ailments the warm bath is an
almost immediate remedy. Bad colds, incipient fevers, rheumatisms,
convulsions, neuralgias innumerable, are washed off in their first
beginnings, and run down the lead pipes into oblivion. Have, then, O
friend, all the water in your house that you can afford, and enlarge
your ideas of the worth of it, that you _may_ afford a great deal. A
bathing-room is nothing to you that requires an hour of lifting and
fire-making to prepare it for use. The apparatus is too cumbrous,--you
do not turn to it. But when your chamber opens upon a neat, quiet little
nook, and you have only to turn your stop-cocks and all is ready, your
remedy is at hand,--you use it constantly. You are waked in the night by
a scream, and find little Tom sitting up, wild with burning fever. In
three minutes he is in the bath, quieted and comfortable; you get him
back, cooled and tranquil, to his little crib, and in the morning he
wakes as if nothing had happened.

Why should not so invaluable and simple a remedy for disease, such a
preservative of health, such a comfort, such a stimulus, be considered
as much a matter-of-course in a house as a kitchen-chimney? At least
there should be one bath-room always in order, so arranged that all the
family can have access to it, if one cannot afford the luxury of many.

A house in which water is universally and skilfully distributed is so
much easier to take care of as almost to verify the saying of a friend,
that his house was so contrived that it did its own work: one had better
do without carpets on the floors, without stuffed sofas and
rocking-chairs, and secure this.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Well, papa," said Marianne, "you have made out all your four elements
in your house except one. I can't imagine what you want of _earth_."

"I thought," said Jennie, "that the less of our common mother we had in
our houses, the better housekeepers we were."

"My dears," said I, "we philosophers must give an occasional dip into
the mystical, and say something apparently absurd for the purpose of
explaining that we mean nothing in particular by it. It gives common
people an idea of our sagacity, to find how clear we come out of our
apparent contradictions and absurdities. Listen."

       *       *       *       *       *

For the fourth requisite of "our house," EARTH, let me point you to your
mother's plant-window, and beg you to remember the fact that through our
long, dreary winters we are never a month without flowers, and the vivid
interest which always attaches to growing things. The perfect house, as
I conceive it, is to combine as many of the advantages of living out of
doors as may be consistent with warmth and shelter, and one of these is
the sympathy with green and growing things. Plants are nearer in their
relations to human health and vigor than is often imagined. The
cheerfulness that well-kept plants impart to a room comes not merely
from gratification of the eye,--there is a healthful exhalation from
them, they are a corrective of the impurities of the atmosphere. Plants,
too, are valuable as tests of the vitality of the atmosphere; their
drooping and failure convey to us information that something is amiss
with it. A lady once told me that she could never raise plants in her
parlors on account of the gas and anthracite coal. I answered, "Are you
not afraid to live and bring up your children in an atmosphere which
blights your plants?" If the gas escapes from the pipes, and the red-hot
anthracite coal or the red-hot air-tight stove burns out all the vital
part of the air, so that healthy plants in a few days wither and begin
to drop their leaves, it is a sign that the air must be looked to and
reformed. It is a fatal augury for a room that plants cannot be made to
thrive in it. Plants should not turn pale, be long-jointed, long-leaved,
and spindling; and where they grow in this way, we may be certain that
there is a want of vitality for human beings. But where plants appear as
they do in the open air, with vigorous, stocky growth, and
short-stemmed, deep-green leaves, we may believe the conditions of that
atmosphere are healthy for human lungs.

It is pleasant to see how the custom of plant-growing has spread through
our country. In how many farm-house windows do we see petunias and
nasturtiums vivid with bloom while snows are whirling without, and how
much brightness have those cheap enjoyments shed on the lives of those
who cared for them! We do not believe there is a human being who would
not become a passionate lover of plants, if circumstances once made it
imperative to tend upon, and watch the growth of one. The history of
Picciola for substance has been lived over and over by many a man and
woman who once did not know that there was a particle of plant-love in
their souls. But to the proper care of plants in pots there are many
hindrances and drawbacks. The dust chokes the little pores of their
green lungs, and they require constant showering; and to carry all one's
plants to a sink or porch for this purpose is a labor which many will
not endure. Consequently plants often do not get a showering once a
month. We should try to imitate more closely the action of Mother
Nature, who washes every green child of hers nightly with dews, which
lie glittering on its leaves till morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Yes, there it is!" said Jennie. "I think I could manage with plants, if
it were not for this eternal showering and washing they seem to require
to keep them fresh. They are always tempting one to spatter the carpet
and surrounding furniture, which are not equally benefited by the

"It is partly for that very reason," I replied, "that the plan of 'our
house' provides for the introduction of Mother Earth, as you will see."

       *       *       *       *       *

A perfect house, according to my idea, should always include in it a
little compartment where plants can be kept, can be watered, can be
defended from the dust, and have the sunshine and all the conditions of

People have generally supposed a conservatory to be one of the last
trappings of wealth,--something not to be thought of for those in modest
circumstances. But is this so? You have a bow-window in your parlor.
Leave out the flooring, fill the space with rich earth, close it from
the parlor by glass doors, and you have room for enough plants and
flowers to keep you gay and happy all winter. If on the south side,
where the sunbeams have power, it requires no heat but that which warms
the parlor, and the comfort of it is incalculable, and the expense a
mere trifle greater than that of the bow-window alone.

In larger houses a larger space might be appropriated in this way. We
will not call it a conservatory, because that name suggests ideas of
gardeners and mysteries of culture and rare plants which bring all sorts
of care and expense in their train. We would rather call it a greenery,
a room floored with earth, with glass sides to admit the sun,--and let
it open on as many other rooms of the house as possible.

Why should not the dining-room and parlor be all winter connected by a
spot of green and flowers, with plants, mosses, and ferns for the
shadowy portions, and such simple blooms as petunias and nasturtiums
garlanding the sunny portion near the windows? If near the waterworks,
this greenery might be enlivened by the play of a fountain, whose
constant spray would give that softness to the air which is so often
burned away by the dry heat of the furnace.

       *       *       *       *       *

"And do you really think, papa, that houses built in this way are a
practical result to be aimed at?" said Jennie. "To me it seems like a
dream of the Alhambra."

"Yet I happen to have seen real people in our day living in just such a
house," said I. "I could point you, this very hour, to a cottage, which
in style of building is the plainest possible, which unites many of the
best ideas of a true house. My dear, can you sketch the ground-plan of
that house we saw in Brighton?"

"Here it is," said my wife, after a few dashes with her pencil,--"an
inexpensive house, yet one of the pleasantest I ever saw."

[Illustration: _c_, China-closet. _p_, Passage. _d_, Kitchen-closet.]

"This cottage, which might, at the rate of prices before the war, have
been built for five thousand dollars, has many of the requirements which
I seek for a house. It has two stories, and a tier of very pleasant
attic-rooms, two bathing-rooms, and the water carried into each story.
The parlor and dining-room both look into a little bower, where a
fountain is ever playing into a little marble basin, and which all the
year through has its green and bloom. It is heated simply from the
furnace by a register, like any other room of the house, and requires no
more care than a delicate woman could easily give. The brightness and
cheerfulness it brings during our long, dreary winters is incredible."

       *       *       *       *       *

But one caution is necessary in all such appendages. The earth must be
thoroughly underdrained to prevent the vapors of stagnant water, and
have a large admixture of broken charcoal to obviate the consequences of
vegetable decomposition. Great care must be taken that there be no
leaves left to fall and decay on the ground, since vegetable exhalations
poison the air. With these precautions such a plot will soften and
purify the air of a house.

Where the means do not allow even so small a conservatory, a recessed
window might be fitted with a deep box, which should have a drain-pipe
at the bottom, and a thick layer of broken charcoal and gravel, with a
mixture of fine wood-soil and sand for the top stratum. Here ivies may
be planted, which will run and twine and strike their little tendrils
here and there, and give the room in time the aspect of a bower; the
various greenhouse nasturtiums will make winter gorgeous with blossoms.
In windows unblest by sunshine--and, alas, such are many!--one can
cultivate ferns and mosses; the winter-growing ferns, of which there are
many varieties, can be mixed with mosses and woodland flowers.

Early in February, when the cheerless frosts of winter seem most
wearisome, the common blue violet, wood-anemone, hepatica, or
rock-columbine, if planted in this way, will begin to bloom. The common
partridge-berry, with its brilliant scarlet fruit and dark green leaves,
will also grow finely in such situations, and have a beautiful effect.
These things require daily showering to keep them fresh, and the
moisture arising from them will soften and freshen the too dry air of
heated winter rooms.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus I have been through my four essential elements in
house-building,--air, fire, water, and earth. I would provide for these
before anything else. After they are secured, I would gratify my taste
and fancy as far as possible in other ways. I quite agree with Bob in
hating commonplace houses, and longing for some little bit of
architectural effect, and I grieve profoundly that every step in that
direction must cost so much. I have also a taste for niceness of finish.
I have no objection to silver-plated door-locks and hinges, none to
windows which are an entire plate of clear glass; I congratulate
neighbors who are so fortunate as to be able to get them, and after I
had put all the essentials into a house, I would have these too, if I
had the means.

But if all my wood-work were to be without groove or moulding, if my
mantels were to be of simple wood, if my doors were all to be
machine-made, and my lumber of the second quality, I would have my
bath-rooms, my conservatory, my sunny bow-windows, and my perfect
ventilation,--and my house would then be so pleasant, and every one in
it in such a cheerful mood, that it would verily seem to be ceiled with

Speaking of ceiling with cedar, I have one thing more to say. We
Americans have a country abounding in beautiful timber, of whose
beauties we know nothing, on account of the pernicious and stupid habit
of covering it with white paint.

The celebrated zebra-wood with its golden stripes cannot exceed in
quaint beauty the grain of unpainted chestnut, prepared simply with a
coat or two of oil. The butternut has a rich golden brown, the very
darling color of painters,--a shade so rich, and grain so beautiful,
that it is of itself as charming to look at as a rich picture. The
black-walnut, with its heavy depth of tone, works in well as an adjunct;
and as to oak, what can we say enough of its quaint and many shadings?
Even common pine, which has been considered not decent to look upon till
hastily shrouded in a friendly blanket of white paint, has, when oiled
and varnished, the beauty of satin-wood. The second quality of pine,
which has what are called _shakes_ in it, under this mode of treatment
often shows clouds and veins equal in beauty to the choicest woods. The
cost of such a finish is greatly less than that of the old method, and
it saves those days and weeks of cleaning which are demanded by white
paint, while its general tone is softer and more harmonious. Experiments
in color may be tried in the combination of these woods, which at small
expense produce the most charming effects.

As to paper-hangings, we are proud to say that our American
manufacturers now furnish all that can be desired. There are some
branches of design where artistic, ingenious France must still excel
us,--but whoso has a house to fit up, let him first look at what his own
country has to show, and he will be astonished.

There is one topic in house-building on which I would add a few words.
The difficulty of procuring and keeping good servants, which must long
be one of our chief domestic troubles, warns us so to arrange our houses
that we shall need as few as possible. There is the greatest conceivable
difference in the planning and building of houses as to the amount of
work which will be necessary to keep them in respectable condition. Some
houses require a perfect staff of house-maids;--there are plated hinges
to be rubbed, paint to be cleaned, with intricacies of moulding and
carving which daily consume hours of dusting to preserve them from a
slovenly look. Simple finish, unpainted wood, a general distribution of
water through the dwelling, will enable a very large house to be cared
for by one pair of hands, and yet maintain a creditable appearance.

In kitchens one servant may perform the work of two by a close packing
of all the conveniences for cooking and such arrangements as shall save
time and steps. Washing-day may be divested of its terrors by suitable
provisions for water, hot and cold, by wringers, which save at once the
strength of the linen and of the laundress, and by drying-closets
connected with ranges, where articles can in a few moments be perfectly
dried. These, with the use of a small mangle, such as is now common in
America, reduce the labors of the laundry one-half.

There are many more things which might be said of "our house," and
Christopher may, perhaps, find some other opportunity to say them. For
the present his pen is tired and ceaseth.


Poor Rachel, passing slowly away from the world that had so applauded
her hollow, but brilliant career, tasted the bitterness of death in
reflecting that she should so soon be given over to the worms and the
biographers. Fortunate Rachel, resting in serene confidence that the two
would be fellow-laborers! It is the unhappy fate of her survivors to
have reached a day in which biographers have grown impatient of the
decorous delay which their lowly coadjutors demand. They can no longer
wait for the lingering soul to yield up its title-deeds before they
enter in and take possession; but, fired with an evil energy, they
outstrip the worms and torment us before the time.

Curiosity is undoubtedly one of the heaven-appointed passions of the
human animal. Dear to the heart of man has ever been his neighbor's
business. Precious in the eyes of woman is the linen-closet of that
neighbor's wife. During its tender teething infancy, the world's sobs
could always be soothed into smiles by an open bureau with large
liberty to upheave its contents from turret to foundation-stone. As the
infant world ascended from cambric and dimity to broadcloth and
crinoline, its propensity for investigation grew stronger. It loved not
bureaus less, but a great many other things more. What sad consequences
might have ensued, had this passion been left to forage for itself, no
one can tell. But, by the wonderful principle of adaptation which
obtains throughout the universe, the love of receiving information is
met and mastered by the love of imparting information. As much pleasure
as it gives Angelina to learn how many towels and table-cloths go into
Seraphina's wedding-outfit, so much, yea, more, swells in Cherubella's
bosom at being able to present to her friend this apple from the tree of
knowledge. The worthy Muggins finds no small consolation for the loss of
his overcoat and umbrella from the front entry in the exhilaration he
experiences while relating to each member of his ever-revolving circle
of friends the details of his loss,--the suspicion, the search, the
certainty,--the conjectures, suggestions, and emotions of himself and
his family.

Hence these tears which we are about to shed. For, betwixt the love of
hearing on the one side, and the love of telling, on the other, small
space remains on which one may adventure to set the sole of his foot and
feel safe from the spoiler. There is of course a legitimate
gratification for every legitimate desire,--the desire to know our
neighbors' affairs among others. But there is a limit to this
gratification, and it is hinted at by legal enactments. The law justly
enough bounds a man's power over his possessions. For twenty-one years
after his generation has passed away, his dead hand may rule the wealth
which its living skill amassed. Then it dies another death, draws back
into a deeper grave, and has henceforth no more power than any
sister-clod. But, except as a penalty for crime, the law awards to a man
right to his own possessions through life; and the personal facts and
circumstances of his life have usually been considered among his
closest, most inalienable possessions.

Alas, that the times are changed, and we be all dead men so far as
concerns immunity from publication! There is no manner of advantage in
being alive. The sole safety is to lie flat on the earth along with
one's generation. The moment an audacious head is lifted one inch above
the general level, pop! goes the unerring rifle of some biographical
sharp-shooter, and it is all over with the unhappy owner. A perfectly
respectable and well-meaning man, suffering under the accumulated pains
of Presidentship, has the additional and entirely undeserved ignominy of
being hawked about the country as the "Pioneer Boy." A statesman whose
reputation for integrity has been worth millions to the land, and whose
patriotism should have won him a better fate, is stigmatized in
duodecimo as the "Ferry Boy." An innocent and popular Governor is
fastened in the pillory under the thin disguise of the "Bobbin Boy."
Every victorious advance of our grand army is followed by a long
procession of biographical statistics. A brave man leading his troops to
victory may escape the bullets and bayonets of the foe, but he is sure
to be transfixed to the sides of a newspaper with the pen of some
cannibal entomologist. We are thrilled to-day with the telegram
announcing the brilliant and successful charge made by General Smith's
command; and according to that inevitable law of succession by which the
sun his daily round of duty runs, we shall be thrilled to-morrow with
the startling announcement that "General Smith was born in ----," etc.,
etc., etc.

Unquestionably, there is somewhere in the land a regularly organized
biographical bureau, by which every man, President or private, has his
lot apportioned him,--one mulcted in a folio, the other in a paragraph.
If we examine somewhat closely the features of this peculiar
institution, we shall learn that a distinguishing characteristic of the
new school of biography is the astonishing familiarity shown by the
narrator with the circumstances, the conversations, and the very
thoughts of remarkable boys in their early life. The incidents of
childhood are usually forgotten before the man's renown has given them
any importance; the few anecdotes which tradition has preserved are
seized upon with the utmost avidity and placed in the most conspicuous
position; but in these later books we have illustrious children
portrayed with a Pre-Raphaelitic and most prodigal pencil.

Take the opening scene in a garden where "Nat"--we must protest against
this irreverent abbreviation of the name of that honored Governor whose
life in little we are about to behold--and his father are at work.

"'There, Nat, if you plant and hoe your squashes with care, you will
raise a nice parcel of them on this piece of ground. It is good soil for

"'How many seeds shall I put into a hill?' inquired Nat.

"'Seven or eight. It is well to put in enough, as some of them may not
come up, and when they get to growing well, pull up all but four in a
hill. You must not have your hills too near together,--they should be
five feet apart, and then the vines will cover the ground all over. I
should think there would be room for fifty hills on this patch of

"'How many squashes do you think I shall raise, father?'

"'Well,' said his father, smiling, 'that is hard telling. We won't count
the chickens before they are hatched. But if you are industrious, and
take very good care indeed of your vines, stir the ground often and keep
out all the weeds and kill the bugs, I have little doubt that you will
get well paid for your labor.'

"'If I have fifty hills,' said Nat, 'and four vines in each hill, I
shall have two hundred vines in all; and if there is one squash on each
vine, there will be two hundred squashes.'

"'Yes; but there are so many _ifs_ about it, that you may be
disappointed after all. Perhaps the bugs will destroy half your vines.'

"'I can kill the bugs,' said Nat.

"'Perhaps dry weather will wither them all up.'

"'I can water them every day, if they need it.'

"'That is certainly having good courage, Nat,' added his father; 'but if
you conquer the bugs, and get around the dry weather, it may be too wet
and blast your vines,--or there may be such a hail-storm as I have known
several times in my life, and cut them to pieces.'

"'I don't think there will be such a hail-storm this year; there never
was one like it since I can remember.'

"'I hope there won't be,' replied his father. 'It is well to look on the
bright side, and hope for the best, for it keeps the courage up. It is
also well to look out for disappointment. I know a gentleman who thought
he would raise some ducks,'" etc., etc., etc.

We are told that this scene was enacted about thirty-five years ago,
and, as if we should not be sufficiently lost in admiration of that
wonderful memory which enabled somebody to retain so long, and restore
so unimpaired, the words and deeds of that distant May morning, we are
further informed that the author is "obliged to pass over much that
belongs to the patch of squashes"! "Is it possible?" one is led to
exclaim. We should certainly have supposed that this report was
exhaustive. We can hardly conceive that any further interest should
inhere in that patch of squashes; whereas it seems that the half was not
told us. Nor is this the sole instance. Records equally minute of
conversations equally brilliant are lavished on page after page with a
recklessness of expenditure that argues unlimited wealth,--conversations
between the Boy and his father, between the Boy and his mother, between
the Boy's father and mother, between the Boy's neighbors about the Boy,
in which his numerous excellences are set in the strongest light,
exhortations of the Boy's teacher to his school, play-ground talk of
the Boy and his fellow-boys,--among whom the Boy invariably stands head
and shoulders higher than they. We fear the world of boys has hitherto
been much demoralized by being informed that many distinguished men were
but dull fellows in the school-house, or unnoticed on the play-ground.
But we have changed all that. The Bobbin Boy was the most industrious,
the most persevering, the most self-reliant, the most virtuous, the most
exemplary of all the boys of his time. So was the Ferry Boy, and the
Pioneer Boy so. "Nat"--we blame and protest, but we join in the plan of
using this undignified _sobriquet_--Nat was the one that swam three rods
under water; Nat astonished the school with the eloquence of his
declamation; it was Nat that got all the glory of the games; it was of
no use for any one to try for any prize where Nat was a competitor. And
as Nat's neighbors thought of Nat, so thought Abe's--we shudder at the
sound--Abe's neighbors of Abe, the Pioneer Boy. Of what Salmon's
neighbors said about Salmon we are not so well informed; but we have no
doubt they often exclaimed one to another,--

    "Was never Salmon yet that shone so fair
    Among the stakes on Dee!"

Nor are the Boys backward in having a tolerably good opinion of their
own goodness.

"Never swear, my son," says Abe's mother to the infant Abe.

"I never do," says Abraham.

"Boys are likely to want their own way, and spend their time in
idleness," says the mother of a President, upon another occasion.

"I sha'n't," responds virtuous Abraham.

"Always speak the truth, my son."

"I do tell the truth," was "Abraham's usual reply."

"When a boy gets to going to the tavern to smoke and swear," says Nat's
mother, "he is almost sure to drink, and become a ruined man."

"I never do smoke, mother," replies Nat, pouring cataracts of innocence.
"I never go to the stable nor tavern. I don't associate with Sam and Ben
Drake, nor with James Cole, nor with Oliver Fowle, more than I can help.
For I know they are bad boys. I see that the worst scholars at school
are those who are said to disobey their parents, and every one of them
are poor scholars, and they use profane language."

Virtue so immaculate at so tender an age seems to us, we are forced to
admit, unnatural. The boys that have fallen in our way have never been
in the habit of making profound moral reflections, and we cannot resist
the unpleasant suspicion that Nat had just been playing at marbles for
"havings" with Cole, Fowle, and both the Drakes at the village-inn, and,
having found this vegetable repast too strong for his digestion, went
home to his mother and wreaked his discomfort on edifying moral maxims.
Or else he was a prig.

The unusual and highly exciting nature of the incidents recorded in
these biographies must be their excuse for a seeming violation of
privacy. When a rare and precious gem is in question, one must not be
over-scrupulous about breaking open the casket. What puerile prejudice
in favor of privacy can rear its head in face of the statement which
tells us that at the age of seven years our honored President--may he
still continue such!--"devoted himself to learning to read with an
energy and enthusiasm that insured success"?--such success that we learn
"he could read _some_ when he left school."

At the age of nine he shot a turkey!

Soon after,--for here we are involved in a chronological haze,--he began
to "take lessons in penmanship with the most enthusiastic ardor."

Subsequently, "there, on the soil of Indiana, ABRAHAM LINCOLN WROTE HIS
NAME, WITH A STICK, in large characters,--a sort of prophetic act, that
students of history may love to ponder. For, since that day, he has
'gone up higher,' and written his name, by public acts, on the annals of
every State in the Union."

He wrote a letter.

He rescued a toad from cruel boys,--for, though "he could kill game for
food as a necessity, and dangerous wild animals, his soul shrunk from
torturing even a fly." Dear heart, we can easily believe that!

He bought a Ramsay's "Life of Washington," and paid for it with the
labor of his own hands.

He helped to save a drunkard's life. "He thought more of the drunkard's
safety than he did of his own ease. And there are many of his personal
acquaintances in our land who will bear witness, that, from that day to
this, this amiable quality of heart has won him admiring friends."

He took a flat-boat to New Orleans, and defended her against the
negroes, who, poor fellows, were not prophetic enough to see that they
were plotting against their Deliverer.

He "always had much _dry_ wit about him that kept _oozing_ out"!

We have given a bird's-eye view of the main incidents of his boyhood,
for we cannot quite agree with our author in thinking that his "old
grammar laid the foundation, in part, of Abraham's future character,"
seeing we have previously been told that he had "become the most
important man in the place," and we have the same writer's authority for
believing that "the habits of life are usually fixed by the time a lad
is fifteen years of age." Nor can we admit that his grammar even "taught
him the rudiments of his native language," when we have been having
proof upon proof, for two hundred and eighty-six pages, that he was
already familiar with its rudiments. We are equally skeptical as to
whether it really "opened the golden gate of knowledge" for him: we
should certainty say that this gate had stood ajar, at least, for years.
Indeed, that portion of his history which relates to grammar seems to us
by far the most unsatisfactory of all. In his honesty, in his
penmanship, in his kindness of heart, in his wit, dry or damp, we feel a
confidence which not even the shock of political campaigns has been able
to move. But in respect of grammar we find ourselves in a state of the
most painful uncertainty. We have never regarded it as our beloved
President's strong point, but we have considered any linguistic defect
more than atoned for by the hearty, timely, sturdy, plain sense which
appeals so directly and forcibly to the good sense of others. This book
calls up a distressing doubt, and a doubt that strikes at vital
interests. "Grammar," our President is reported to have said before he
had cast the integuments of a grocer's clerk, "Grammar is the art of
speaking and writing the English language with propriety"! Is this a
definition, we sorrowfully ask, becoming an American citizen? It has,
indeed, in many respects the qualities of a perfect definition. It is
deep; it is accurate; it is exhaustive; but it is _not_ loyal. Coming
from the lips of a subject of Great Britain, it would not surprise us.
An Englishman undoubtedly believes that grammar is the art of speaking
and writing the English language with propriety. All the grammatical
research that preceded the establishment of his mother-tongue was but
the collection of fuel to feed the flame of its glory; all that follows
will be to diffuse the light of that flame to the ends of the earth.
Greek, Latin, Sanscrit, were but stepping-stones to the English
language. Philology _per se_ is a myth. The English language in its
completeness is the completion of grammatical science. To that all
knowledge tends; from that all honor radiates. So claims proud Britain's
prouder son. But can an American tamely submit to such a monopoly? Is
not grammar rather, or at least quite as much, the art of speaking and
writing the _American_ language correctly, and shall he sit calmly by
and witness this gross outrage upon his dearest rights? But, as our
author would say, we "must not dwell," and most gladly do we leave this
unpleasant branch of a very pleasant subject, inwardly supplicating,
that, whatever disaster is yet to befall us, we may be spared the pang
of suspecting that our revered President, so stanch against the Rebels,
so unflinching for the Slave, is in danger of lowering his lofty crest
before the rampant British lion! In view of such a calamity, one can
only say in the words of that distinguished British citizen who, living
in England in the full light of the nineteenth century, must be supposed
to have reached the summit of grammatical excellence,--

    "Gin I mun doy I mun doy, an' loife they says is sweet,
    But gin I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn' abear to see it."

The life of the Ferry Boy was scarcely less adventurous than that of the
Pioneer Boy, and was, indeed, in some respects its counterpart. As the
latter learned to write on the tops of stools, so the former learned to
read on bits of birch-bark. At an early period of his existence he broke
a capful of eggs. He owned a calf. He caught an eel. He put salt on a
bird's tail and learned his first lesson of the deceitfulness of the
human heart. He walked to Niagara Falls from Buffalo. He got lost in the
woods. He went to live with his uncle in Ohio, where he displayed spirit
and killed a pig. Here also occurred a "prophecy" almost as striking as
the Pioneer Boy's writing his name with a stick. "Salmon" wished to go
swimming. "The Bishop said, 'No!' adding, 'Why, Salmon, the country
might lose its future President, if you should get drowned!' This was
the first time his name had ever been mentioned in connection with that
high office; and the remark, coming from the grave Bishop's lips, must
have made a strong impression on him. Was it prophetic?" Let us assume
that it was, although it must for the present be ranked with what is
theologically called "unfulfilled prophecy." We cannot, at any rate, be
too thankful that the only occasion on which it was ever hinted to an
American boy that he might one day become President has not been
suffered to pass into oblivion, but has found in this little volume a
monument more durable than brass. To go on with our inventory. A whole
flock of thirteen pigeons shot by the Ferry Boy answered through their
misty shroud to the Pioneer Boy's turkey which called to them aloud. He
taught school two weeks, and then had leave to resign. He went to
Washington and said his prayers like a good boy: we trust he has kept up
the practice ever since.

From such a record there is but one inference: if the man is not
President, he ought to be!

One great element in the success which these little books have met, the
one fact which, we are persuaded, accounts for the quiet, but
significant "twenty-sixth thousand" that we find on the title-page of
one of them, is the pains which their authors take to make their meaning
clear. They do not, like too many of our modern authors, leave a book
half written, forcing the reader to finish their work as he goes along.
They are instant, in season and out of season, with explanation,
illustration, reflection, until the idea is, so to speak, reduced to
pulp, and the reader has nothing to perform save the act of deglutition.

"When he ['Nat'] was only four years old, and was learning to read
little words of two letters, he came across one about which he had quite
a dispute with his teacher. It was INN.

"'What is that?' asked his teacher.

"'I-double n,' he answered.

"'What does i-double n spell?'

"'Tavern,' was his quick reply.

"The teacher smiled, and said, 'No; it spells INN. Now read it again.'

"'I-double n--tavern,' said he.

"'I told you that it did not spell tavern, it spells INN. Now pronounce
it correctly.'

"'It _do_ spell tavern,' said he.

"The teacher was finally obliged to give it up, and let him enjoy his
own opinion. She probably called him obstinate, although there was
nothing of the kind about him, as we shall see. His mother took up the
matter at home, but failed to convince him that i-double n did not spell
tavern. It was not until some time after that he changed his opinion on
this important subject.

"That this instance was no evidence of obstinacy in Nat, but only of a
disposition to think 'on his own hook,' is evident from the following
circumstances. There was a picture of a public-house in his book against
the word INN, with the old-fashioned sign-post in front, on which a sign
was swinging. Near his father's, also, stood a public-house, which
everybody called a _tavern_, with a tall post and sign in front of it,
exactly like that in his book; and Nat said within himself, 'If Mr.
Morse's house [the landlord[G]] is a tavern, then this is a tavern in my
book.' He cared little how it was spelled; if it did not spell tavern,
'_it ought to_,' he thought. Children believe what they _see_, more than
what they hear. What they lack in reason and judgment they make up in
eyes. So Nat had seen the _tavern_ near his father's house again and
again, and he had stopped to look at the sign in front of it a great
many times, and his eyes told him it was just like that in the book;
therefore it was his deliberate opinion that i-double n spelt tavern,
and he was not to be beaten out of an opinion that was based on such
clear evidence. It was a good sign in Nat. It was true of the three men
to whom we have just referred,--Bowditch, Davy, and Buxton. From their
childhood they thought for themselves, so that, when they became men,
they defended their opinions against imposing opposition. True, a youth
must not be too forward in advancing his ideas, especially if they do
not harmonize with those of older persons. Self-esteem and
self-confidence should be guarded against. Still, in avoiding these
evils, he is not obliged to believe anything just because he is told so.
It is better for him to understand the reason of things, and believe
them on that account."

Would our Parks, our Palfreys, our Prescotts, our Emersons, have
expounded this matter so clearly? Most assuredly not. They would have
left us in the Cimmerian darkness of dreary conjecture regarding the
causes of Nat's strange opinion, and the lessons to be drawn from it. Or
if they had condescended to explanation, it would have been comprised in
a curt phrase or two. No boundary-line between a virtue and its vice
would have been drawn so that a wayfaring man, though a fool, should not
err in following it. This author has struck the golden mean. There is
just enough, and not too much.


"'I should rather be in prison, than to sit up nights studying as you

"'I really enjoy it, David.'

"'I can hardly credit it.'

"'Then you think I do not speak the truth?'

"'Oh, no!... I only meant to say that I cannot understand it.'

"Allusion is here made to an important fact. David could not understand
how Abraham could possess such a love of knowledge as to lead him to
forego all social pleasures, be willing to wear a threadbare coat, live
on the coarsest fare, and labor hard all day, and sit up half the night,
for the sake of learning. But there is just that power in the love of
knowledge, and it was this that caused Lincoln to derive happiness from
doing what would have been a source of misery to David. Some of the most
marked instances of self-forgetfulness recorded are connected with the
pursuit of knowledge. Archimedes was so much in love with the studies of
his profession, that, etc., etc. Professor Heyne, of Göttingen," etc.,
etc., etc.--A clearer explanation than this we have rarely met with
outside the realm of mathematical demonstration.

A shorter example of the same judicious oversight we have when "in
rushed Nat, under great excitement, with his eyes 'as large as saucers,'
to use a hyperbole, which means only that his eyes looked very large
indeed." The impression which would have been made upon the rising
generation, had the testimony been allowed to go forth without its
corrective, that upon a certain occasion _any_ Governor's eyes were
really as large as saucers, even very small tea-saucers, is such as the
imagination refuses to dwell on.

This exuberance of illustration increases the value of these books in
another respect. To use a homely phrase, we get more than we bargained
for. Ostensibly engaged with the life of the Bobbin Boy, we are covertly
introduced to the majority of all the boys that ever were born and came
to anything. The advertised story is a kind of mother-hen who gathers
under her wings a numerous brood of biographical chicks. Quantities of
recondite erudition are poured out on the slightest provocation. Nat's
unquestioned superiority to his schoolmates evokes a disquisition for
the encouragement of dull boys, in which we are told that "the great
philosopher, Newton, was one of the dullest scholars in school when he
was twelve years old. Doctor Isaac Barrow was such a dull, pugnacious,
stupid fellow, etc., etc. The father of Doctor Adam Clarke, the
commentator, called his boy, etc. Cortina," (vernacular for Cortona,
probably,) "a renowned painter, was nicknamed, etc., etc. When the
mother of Sheridan once, etc., etc. One teacher sent Chatterton home,
etc. Napoleon and Wellington, etc., etc. And Sir Walter Scott was
named," etc., etc., etc. All of which makes very pleasantly diversified
reading. Nat's kindness of heart paves the way to our learning, that,
"at the age of ten or twelve years, John Howard, the philanthropist, was
not distinguished above the mass of boys around him, except for the
kindness of his heart, and boyish deeds of benevolence. It was so with
Wilberforce, whose efforts, etc., etc., etc. And Buxton, whose
self-sacrificing heart," etc., etc. While Nat is swimming four rods
under water, we on shore are acquiring useful knowledge of the
Rothschilds, of Samuel Budget, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Buxton again, Sir
Walter Scott again, and the Duke of Wellington again. Nat walks to
Prospect Hill, and is attended by a suite consisting of Sir Francis
Chantrey, "the gifted poet Burns," "the late Hugh Miller," etc., who
also loved to look at prospects. Nat organized a debating-society,
(which by the way was, "in respect of unanimity of feeling and action, a
lesson to most legislative bodies, and to the Congress of the United
States in particular." Congress of the United States, are you
listening?) and "such an organization has proved a valuable means of
improvement to many persons." Witness "the Irish orator, Curran," with
biography; "a living American statesman," with biography; the "highly
distinguished statesman, Canning," more biography; "Henry Clay, the
American orator," with autobiography; and a meteoric shower of lesser
biographies emanating from Tremont Temple. Nat carried a book in his
pocket, and "Pockets have been of great service to self-made men. A more
useful invention was never known, and hundreds are now living who will
have occasion to speak well of pockets till they die, because they were
so handy to carry a book. Roger Sherman had one when he was a
hard-working shoemaker, etc., etc., etc. Napoleon had one in which he
carried the Iliad when, etc. etc., etc. Hugh Miller had one, etc., etc.,
etc. Elihu Burritt had one," etc., etc., for three pages, to which we
might add, from the best authority, the striking fact which our author,
notwithstanding the wide range of his reading, seems unaccountably to
have missed,--

    "Lyddy Locket lost her pocket,
      Lyddy Fisher found it,
    Lyddy Fisher gave it to Mr. Gaines,
      And Mr. Gaines ground it."

Allusion is here made to an important fact. _Mr. Gaines was a miller!_

Yet, with all this elucidation, we take shame to ourselves for admitting
that there are points which, after all, we do not comprehend. They may
be trivial; but in making up testimony, it is the little things which
have weight. Trifles light as air are confirmation strong as proofs of
Holy Writ, and confutation no less strong. When, as a proof of Nat's
ardor in the pursuit of knowledge, we are told that he walked ten miles
after a hard day's work to hear Daniel Webster, and then _stood_ through
the oration in front of the platform, because he could see the speaker
better,--and when, turning to the next page, we are told that he was so
much interested that he "would have _sat_ entranced till morning, if the
gifted orator had continued to pour forth his eloquence,"--what are we
to believe? When we are bidden to "listen to the gifted orator, as the
flowing periods come burning from his soul on fire, riveting the
attention," etc., is it a river, or is it a fire, or is it a hammer and
anvil, that we have in our mind's eye, Horatio? When Nat "waxed warmer
and warmer, as he advanced, and spoke in a flow of eloquence and choice
selection of words that was unusual for one of his age," did he come out
dry-shod? We are told of his visit to the Boston bookstores,--that he
examined the books "outside before he stepped in. _He read the title of
each volume upon the back, and some he took up and examined_," but we
have no explanation of this extraordinary behavior. "It was thus with"
Abraham. "The manner in which Abraham made progress in penmanship,
writing on slabs and trees, on the ground and in the snow, anywhere that
he could find a place, reminds us forcibly of Pascal, who demonstrated
the first thirty-two propositions of Euclid in his boyhood, without the
aid of a teacher." We not only are not forcibly reminded of Pascal, but
we are not reminded of Pascal at all. The boy who imitates on slabs
mechanical lines which he has been taught, and he who originates
mathematical problems and theorems, may be as like as my fingers to my
fingers, but--alas, that it is forbidden to say--we do not see it. When
Mr. Elkins told Abraham he would make a good pioneer boy, and "'What's a
pioneer boy?' asked Abraham," why was Mr. Elkins "quite amused at this
inquiry"? and why did he "exercise his risibles for a minute" before
replying? When Mr. Stuart offered young Mr. Lincoln the use of his
law-books, and young Mr. Lincoln answered,--very properly, we should
say,--"You are very generous indeed. I could never repay you for such
generosity," why did Mr. Stuart respond, "shaking his sides with
laughter"? We do not wish to be too inquisitive, but few things are more
trying to a sensitive person than to see others overwhelmed with
merriment in which, from ignorance, he cannot share.

Want of space forbids us to do more than touch lightly upon the many
excellences of these books. We have given extracts enough to enable our
readers to see for themselves the severe elegance of style, the
compactness and force of the narrative, the verisimilitude of the
characters, the unity of plan, and the cogency of the reasoning. We
trust they will also perceive the great moral effect that cannot fail to
be produced. Such books are specially adapted to meet a daily increasing
want. Our American youth are too apt to value virtue for its own sake.
They are in imminent danger of giving themselves over to integrity, to
industry, perseverance, and single-mindedness, without looking forward
to those posts of usefulness for which these qualities eminently fit
them. Fired with the love of learning, they are languid in claiming the
honors which learning has to bestow. Eager to become worthy of the
highest places, they make no effort to secure the places to which their
worth points them. Political supineness is the bane of our society. The
one great need is to rouse the ambition of boys, and wake them to
political aspiration. To such objects such books tend; and who would
hesitate at any sacrifice of his prejudices in favor of privacy, when
such is the end to be obtained? Breathes there the man with soul so dead
who would not lay upon the altar his father, his mother, his sisters,
not to say his uncles and cousins, nay, the inmost sanctities of his
home, to enable American boys to fasten their eyes upon the White House?
Would he refuse, at the call of patriotism, to spread before the public
the very secrets of his heart, the struggles of his closet, his
communion with his God?

As a collateral result of this new school of biography, we can but
admire the new form in which Nemesis appears. The day of rich relations
is gone by. No longer can stern Uncle Bishops lord it over their obscure
nephews, for ever before their eyes will flaunt the possible book which
will one day lay open to a gazing world all their weakness and their
evil behavior. Let not wicked or disagreeable relatives imagine
henceforth that they may safely indulge in small tyrannies, neglects, or
other peccadilloes; for no robin-redbreast will piously cover them with
leaves, but that which is done in the ear shall be proclaimed upon the
house-tops, nor can they tell from what quarter the trumpet shall sound.
The unkempt boy, the sullen girl in the chimney-corner, may be the
Narcissus or nymph in whose orisons all their sins shall be remembered.

    "You that executors be made,
      And overseers eke
    Of children that be fatherless,
      And infants mild and meek,
    Take you example by this thing,
      And yield to each his right,
    Lest God with such like misery
      Your wicked minds requite."

In view of which benefits, and others "too numerous to mention," we
humbly beg pardon for the petulance which disfigures the commencement of
our paper, and desire to use all our influence to induce all persons of
distinction meekly and humanely to lay open to the dear, curious world
their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor.

But, however beneficial and delightful it is for a friend to impale a
friend before the public gaze, we do not think that even Job himself
would have desired that his adversary should write a book about him. In
the motives that prompted, in the grace of the doing, in the good that
will result, we can forgive the deed when friend portrays friend; but we
cannot be lenient when a hostile hand exposes the life to which we have
no right. We would fain borrow the type and the energy of Reginald
Bazalgette to enforce our opinion that it is "ABBOMMANNABEL," and the
innocence of Pet Marjorie to declare it "the most Devilish thing." Yet
in a loyal, respectable, religious newspaper we lately saw a biography
of Mr. Vallandigham which puts to the blush all previous achievements in
the line of contemporary history. It is not so much that we are let into
the family-secrets, but the family-secrets are spread out before us, as
the fruits of that species of domestic taxation known as "the presents"
are spread out on the piano at certain wedding-festivals. We are led
back to first principles, to the early married life of the parent
Vallandighams. The mother is portrayed with a vigorous feminine pencil,
and certainly looks extremely well on canvas. Clement's relations to her
are shown to be exemplary. There is excuse for this in the attacks which
have been made upon him in the relation of son. But upon what grounds
are Clement's sisters' homes invaded? Because a man is disloyal and
craven, shall we inform the world that his brother was crossed in love?
Still more shall his wife be taken in hand, and receive what even the
late Mr. Smallweed would have considered a thorough "shaking-up"? "If
they were all starving," declares the energetic narrator, "she could not
earn a cent in any way whatever, so utterly helpless is this fine
Southern lady. She will not sleep, unless the light is kept burning all
night in her room, for fear 'something might happen'; and when a slight
matter crosses her feelings, she lies in bed for several days." Tut,
tut, dear lady! surely this once thy zeal hath outrun thy discretion.
Clement L. Vallandigham's public course is a proper target for all loyal
shafts, but prithee let the poor lady, his wife, remain in peace,--such
peace as she can command. It is bad enough to be his wife, without being
overborne with the additional burden of her own personal foibles. One
can be daughter, sister, friend, without impeachment of one's sagacity
or integrity; but it is such a dreadful indorsement of a man to marry
him! Her own consciousness must be sufficiently grievous; pray do not
irritate it into downright madness. Nay, what, after all, are the so
heinous faults upon which you animadvert? She cannot earn a cent: that
may be her misfortune, it need not be her fault. Perhaps Clement, like
Albano, and all good husbands, "never loved to see the sweet form
anywhere else than, like other butterflies, by his side among the
flowers." She will keep a light burning in her room, forsooth. Have we
not all our pet hobgoblins? We know an excellent woman who once sat
curled up in an arm-chair all night for fear of a mouse! And is it not a
well-understood thing that nothing so baffles midnight burglars as a
burning candle? "When a light matter crosses her feelings, she lies in
bed for several days." Infinitely better than to go sulking about the
house with that "injured-innocence" air which makes a man feel as if he
were an assaulter and batterer with intent to kill. Blessings rest upon
those charming sensible women, who, when they feel cross, as we all do
at times, will go to bed and sleep it away! No, let us everywhere put
down treason and ostracize traitors. It is lawful to suspend "_naso
adunco_" those whom we may not otherwise suspend. But even traitors have
rights which white men and white women are bound to respect. We will
crush them, if we can, but we will crush them in open field, by fair
fight,--not by stealing into their bedchambers to stab them through the
heart of a wife.


[G] The meaning of this is, that Mr. Morse was the landlord, not the
house. Of course a house could not be a landlord; still less could it be
a landlord to itself.--_Note by Reviewer._



    Rally! rally! rally!
      Arouse the slumbering land!
    Rally! rally! from mountain and valley,
      And up from the ocean-strand!
    Ye sons of the West, America's best!
      New Hampshire's men of might!
    From prairie and crag unfurl the flag,
      And rally to the fight!

    Armies of untried heroes,
      Disguised in craftsman and clerk!
    Ye men of the coast, invincible host!
      Come, every one, to the work,--
    From the fisherman gray as the salt-sea spray
      That on Long Island breaks,
    To the youth who tills the uttermost hills
      By the blue northwestern lakes!

    And ye Freedmen! rally, rally
      To the banners of the North!
    Through the shattered door of bondage pour
      Your swarthy legions forth!
    Kentuckians! ye of Tennessee
      Who scorned the despot's sway!
    To all, to all, the bugle-call
      Of Freedom sounds to-day!

    Old men shall fight with the ballot,
      Weapon the last and best,--
    And the bayonet, with blood red-wet,
      Shall write the will of the rest;
    And the boys shall fill men's places,
      And the little maiden rock
    Her doll as she sits with her grandam and knits
      An unknown hero's sock.

    And the hearts of heroic mothers,
      And the deeds of noble wives,
    With their power to bless shall aid no less
      Than the brave who give their lives.
    The rich their gold shall bring, and the old
      Shall help us with their prayers;
    While hovering hosts of pallid ghosts
      Attend us unawares.

    From the ghastly fields of Shiloh
      Muster the phantom bands,
    From Virginia's swamps, and Death's white camps
      On Carolina sands;
    From Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg,
      I see them gathering fast;
    And up from Manassas, what is it that passes
      Like thin clouds in the blast?

    From the Wilderness, where blanches
      The nameless skeleton;
    From Vicksburg's slaughter and red-streaked water,
      And the trenches of Donelson;
    From the cruel, cruel prisons,
      Where their bodies pined away,
    From groaning decks, from sunken wrecks,
      They gather with us to-day.

    And they say to us, "Rally! rally!
      The work is almost done!
    Ye harvesters, sally from mountain and valley
      And reap the fields we won!
    We sowed for endless years of peace,
      We harrowed and watered well;
    Our dying deeds were the scattered seeds:
      Shall they perish where they fell?"

    And their brothers, left behind them
      In the deadly roar and clash
    Of cannon and sword, by fort and ford,
      And the carbine's quivering flash,--
    Before the Rebel citadel
      Just trembling to its fall,
    From Georgia's glens, from Florida's fens,
      For us they call, they call!

    The life-blood of the tyrant
      Is ebbing fast away;
    Victory waits at her opening gates,
      And smiles on our array;
    With solemn eyes the Centuries
      Before us watching stand,
    And Love lets down his starry crown
      To bless the future land.

    One more sublime endeavor,
      And behold the dawn of Peace!
    One more endeavor, and war forever
      Throughout the land shall cease!
    For ever and ever the vanquished power
      Of Slavery shall be slain,
    And Freedom's stained and trampled flower
      Shall blossom white again!

    Then rally! rally! rally!
      Make tumult in the land!
    Ye foresters, rally from mountain and valley!
      Ye fishermen, from the strand!
    Brave sons of the West, America's best!
      New England's men of might!
    From prairie and crag unfurl the flag,
      And rally to the fight!


In all historical studies we should still bear in mind the difference
between the point of view from which one looks at events and that from
which they were seen by the actors themselves. We all act under the
influence of ideas. Even those who speak of theories with contempt are
none the less the unconscious disciples of some theory, none the less
busied in working out some problems of the great theory of life. Much as
they fancy themselves to differ from the speculative man, they differ
from him only in contenting themselves with seeing the path as it lies
at their feet, while he strives to embrace it all, starting-point and
end, in one comprehensive view. And thus in looking back upon the past
we are irresistibly led to arrange the events of history, as we arrange
the facts of a science, in their appropriate classes and under their
respective laws. And thus, too, these events give us the true measure of
the intellectual and moral culture of the times, the extent to which
just ideas prevailed therein upon all the duties and functions of
private and public life. Tried by the standard of absolute truth and
right, grievously would they all fall short,--and we, too, with them.
Judged by the human standard of progressive development and gradual
growth,--the only standard to which the man of the beam can venture,
unrebuked, to bring the man with the mote,--we shall find much in them
all to sadden us, and much, also, in which we can all sincerely rejoice.

In judging, therefore, the political acts of our ancestors, we have a
right to bring them to the standard of the political science of their
age, but we have no right to bring them to the higher standard of our
own. Montesquieu could give them but an imperfect clue to the labyrinth
in which they found themselves involved; and yet no one had seen farther
into the mysteries of social and political organization than
Montesquieu. Hume had scattered brilliant rays on dark places, and
started ideas which, once at work in the mind, would never rest till
they had evolved momentous truths and overthrown long-standing errors.
But no one had yet seen, with Adam Smith, that labor was the original
source of every form of wealth,--that the farmer, the merchant, the
manufacturer, were all equally the instruments of national
prosperity,--or demonstrated as unanswerably as he did that nations grow
rich and powerful by giving as they receive, and that the good of one is
the good of all. The world had not yet seen that fierce conflict between
antagonistic principles which she was soon to see in the French
Revolution; nor had political science yet recorded those daring
experiments in remoulding society, those constitutions framed in
closets, discussed in clubs, accepted and overthrown with equal
demonstrations of popular zeal, and which, expressing in their terrible
energy the universal dissatisfaction with past and present, the
universal grasping at a brighter future, have met and answered so many
grave questions,--questions neither propounded nor solved in any of the
two hundred constitutions which Aristotle studied in order to prepare
himself for the composition of his "Politics." The world had not yet
seen a powerful nation tottering on the brink of anarchy, with all the
elements of prosperity in her bosom,--nor a bankrupt state sustaining a
war that demanded annual millions, and growing daily in wealth and
power,--nor the economical phenomena which followed the reopening of
Continental commerce in 1814,--nor the still more startling phenomena
which a few years later attended England's return to specie-payments and
a specie-currency,--nor statesmen setting themselves gravely down with
the map before them to the final settlement of Europe, and, while the
ink was yet fresh on their protocols, seeing all the results of their
combined wisdom set at nought by the inexorable development of the
fundamental principle which they had refused to recognize.

But we have seen these things, and, having seen them, unconsciously
apply the knowledge derived from them in our judgment of events to which
we have no right to apply it. We condemn errors which we should never
have detected without the aid of a light which was hidden from our
fathers, and will still be dwelling upon shortcomings which nothing
could have avoided but a general diffusion of that wisdom which
Providence never vouchsafes except as a gift to a few exalted minds.
Every school-boy has his text-book of political economy now: but many
can remember when these books first made their appearance in schools;
and so late as 1820 the Professor of History in English Cambridge
publicly lamented that there was no work upon this vital subject which
he could put into the hands of his classes.

When, therefore, our fathers found themselves face to face with the
complex questions of finance, they naturally fell back upon the
experience and devices of their past history: they did as in such
emergencies men always do,--they tried to meet the present difficulty
without weighing maturely the future difficulties. The present was at
the door, palpable, stern, urgent, relentless; and as they looked at it,
they could see nothing beyond half so full of perplexity and danger.
They hoped, as in the face of all history and all experience men will
ever hope, that out of those depths which their feeble eyes were unable
to penetrate something would yet arise in their hour of need to avert
the peril and snatch them from the precipice. Their past history had its
lessons of encouragement, some thought, and, some thought, of warning.
They seized the example, but the admonition passed by unheeded.

Short as the chronological record of American history then was, that
exchange of the products of labor which so speedily grows up into
commerce had already passed through all its phases, from direct barter
to bank-notes and bills of exchange. Men gave what they wanted less to
get what they wanted more, the products of industry without doors for
the products of industry within doors; and it was only when they felt
the necessity of adding to their stock of luxuries or conveniences from
a distance that they experienced the want of money. Prices naturally
found their own level,--were what, when left to themselves they always
are, the natural expression of the relations between demand and supply.
Tobacco stood the Virginian in stead of money long after money had
become abundant; procuring him corn, meat, raiment. More than once, too,
it procured him something better still. In the very same year in which
the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, history tells us, ninety maidens of
"virtuous education and demeanor" landed in Virginia; the next year
brought sixty more; and, provident industry reaping its own reward, he
whose busy hands had raised the largest crop of tobacco was enabled to
make the first choice of a wife. And it must have been an edifying and
pleasant spectacle to see each stalwart Virginian pressing on towards
the landing with his bundle of tobacco on his back, and walking
deliberately home again with an affectionate wife under his arm.

But already there was a pernicious principle at work,--protested against
by experience wherever tried, and still repeatedly tried anew,--the
assumption by Government of the power to regulate the prices of goods.
The first instance carries us back to 1618, and thinking men still
believed it possible in 1777. The right to regulate the prices of labor
was its natural corollary, bringing with it the power of creating legal
tenders and the various representatives of value, without any
correspondent measures for creating the value itself, or, in simpler
words, paper-money without capital. And thus, logically as well as
historically, we reach the first issue of paper-money in 1690, that year
so memorable as the year of the first Congress.

New England, encouraged by a successful expedition against Port Royal,
made an attempt upon Quebec. Confident of success, she sent forth her
little army without providing the means of paying it. The soldiers came
back soured by disaster and fatigue, and, not yet up to the standard of
'76, were upon the point of mutinying for their pay. To escape the
immediate danger, Massachusetts bethought her of bills of credit. They
were issued, accepted, and redeemed, although the first holders suffered
great losses, and the last holders or the speculators were the only ones
that found them faithful pledges. The flood-gates once opened, the water
poured in amain. Every pressing emergency afforded a pretext for a new
issue. Other Colonies followed the seductive example. Paper was soon
issued to make money plenty. Men's minds became familiar with the idea,
as they saw the convenient substitute passing freely from hand to hand.
Accepted at market, accepted at the retail store, accepted in the
counting-room, accepted for taxes, everywhere a legal tender, it seemed
adequate to all the demands of domestic trade. But erelong came undue
fluctuations of prices, depreciations, failures,--all the well-known
indications of an unsound currency. England interposed to protect her
own merchants, to whom American paper-money was utterly worthless; and
Parliament stripped it of its value as a legal tender. Men's minds were
divided. They had never before been called upon to discuss such
questions upon such a scale or in such a form. They were at a loss for
the principle, still enveloped in the multitude and variety of
conflicting theories and obstinate facts.

One fact, however, was clearly established,--that a government could, in
great needs, make paper fulfil, for a while, the office of money; and if
a regular government, why not also a revolutionary government, sustained
and accepted by the people? Here, then, begins the history of the
Continental money,--the principal chapter in the financial history of
the Revolution,--leading us, like all such histories, over ground
thick-strown with unheeded admonitions and neglected warnings, through a
round of constantly recurring phenomena, varied only here and there by
modifications in the circumstances under which they appear.

It is much to be regretted that we have no record of the discussions
through which Congress reached the resolves of June 22, 1775: "That a
sum not exceeding two millions of Spanish milled dollars be emitted by
the Congress in bills of credit for the defence of America. That the
twelve confederated Colonies" (Georgia, it will be remembered, had not
yet sent delegates) "be pledged for the redemption of the bills of
credit now to be emitted." We do not even know positively that there was
any discussion. If there was, it is not difficult to conceive how some
of the reasoning ran,--how each had arguments and examples from his own
Colony: how confidently Pennsylvanians would speak of the security which
they had given to their paper; how confidently Virginians would assert
that even the greatest straits might be passed without having recourse
to so dangerous a medium; how all the facts in the history of
paper-money would be brought forward to prove both sides of the
question, but how the underlying principle, subtile, impalpable, might
still elude them all, as for thirty-five years longer it still continued
to elude wise statesmen and thoughtful economists; how, at last, some
impatient spirit, breaking through the untimely delay, sternly asked
them what else they proposed to do. By what alchemy would they create
gold and silver? By what magic would they fill the coffers which their
non-exportation resolutions had kept empty, or bring in the supplies
which their non-importation resolutions had cut off? What arguments of
their devising would induce a people in arms against taxation to submit
to tenfold heavier taxes than those which they had indignantly repelled?
Necessity, inexorable necessity, was now their lawgiver; they had
adopted an army, they must support it; they had voted pay to their
officers, they must devise the means of giving their vote effect; arms,
ammunition, camp-equipage, everything was to be provided for. The people
were full of ardor, glowing with fiery zeal; your promise to pay will be
received like payment; your commands will be instantly obeyed. Every
hour's delay imperils the sacred cause, chills the holy enthusiasm;
action, prompt, energetic, resolute action, is what the crisis calls
for. Men must see that we are in earnest; the enemy must see it; nothing
else will bring them to terms; nothing else will give us a lasting
peace: and in such a peace how easily, how cheerfully, shall we all
unite in paying the debt which won for us so inestimable a blessing!

It would have been difficult to deny the force of such an appeal. There
were doubtless men there who believed firmly in the virtue of the
people,--who thought, that, after the proof which the people had given
of their readiness to sacrifice the interests of the present moment to
the interests of a day and a posterity that they might not live to see,
it would be worse than skepticism to call it in question. But even these
men might hesitate about the form of the sacrifice they called for, for
they knew how often men are governed by names, and that their minds
might revolt at the idea of a formal tax, although they would submit to
pay it fifty-fold under the name of depreciation. Even at this day,
with all our additional light,--the combined light of science and of
experience,--it is difficult to see what else they could have done
without strengthening dangerously the hands of their domestic enemies.
Nor let this be taken as a proof that they engaged rashly in an unequal
contest, even though it was necessarily in part a war of paper against
gold. They have been accused of this by their friends as well as by
their enemies: they have been accused of sacrificing a positive good to
an uncertain hope,--of suffering their passions to hurry them into a war
for which they had made no adequate preparation, and had not the means
of making any,--that they wilfully, almost wantonly, incurred the
fearful responsibility of staking the lives and fortunes of those who
were looking to them for guidance upon the chances of a single cast. But
the accusation is unjust. As far as human foresight could reach, they
had calculated these chances carefully. They knew the tenure by which
they held their authority, and that, if they ran counter to the popular
will, the people would fall from them,--that, if they should fail in
making their position good, they would be the first, almost the only
victims,--that, then as ever, "the thunderbolts on highest mountains
light." Charles Carroll added "of Carrollton" to his name, so that, if
the Declaration he was setting it to should bring forfeiture and
confiscation, there might be no mistake about the victim. Nor was it
without a touch of sober earnestness that Harrison, bulky and fat, said
to the lean and shadowy Gerry, as he laid down his pen,--"When
hanging-time comes, I shall have the advantage of you. I shall be dead
in a second, while you will be kicking in the air half an hour after I
am gone." But they knew also, that, if there are dangers which we do not
perceive till we come full upon them, there are likewise helps which we
do not see till we find ourselves face to face with them,--and that in
the life of nations, as in the life of individuals, there are moments
when all that the wisest and most conscientious can do is to see that
everything is in its place, every man at his post, and resolutely bide
the shock.

While this subject was pressing upon Congress, it was occupying no less
seriously leading minds in the different Colonies. All felt that the
success of the experiment must chiefly depend upon the degree of
security that could be given to the bills. But how to reach that
necessary degree was a perplexing question. Three ways were suggested in
the New-York Convention: that Congress should fix upon a sum, assign
each Colony its proportion, and the issue be made by the Colony upon its
own responsibility; or that the United Colonies should make the issue,
each Colony pledging itself to redeem the part that fell to it; or,
lastly, that, Congress issuing the sum, and each Colony assuming its
proportionate responsibility, the Colonies should still be bound as a
whole to make up for the failure of any individual Colony to redeem its
share. The latter was proposed by the Convention as offering greater
chances of security, and tending at the same time to strengthen the bond
of union. It was in nearly this form, also, that it came from Congress.

No time was now lost in carrying the resolution into effect. The next
day, Tuesday, June 23, the number, denomination, and form of the bills
were decided in a Committee of the Whole. It was resolved to make bills
of eight denominations, from one to eight, and issue forty-nine thousand
of each, completing the two millions by eleven thousand eight hundred of
twenty dollars each. The form of the bill was to be,--

     _Continental Currency._

     _No. Dollars._

     _This bill entitles the bearer to receive ---- Spanish milled
     dollars or the value thereof in gold or silver, according to
     the resolutions of the Congress held at Philadelphia on the
     10th day of May_, A. D. 1775.

In the same sitting a committee of five was appointed "to get proper
plates engraved, to provide paper, and to agree with printers to print
the above bills." Both Franklin and John Adams were on this committee.

Had they lived in 1862 instead of 1775, how their doors would have been
beset by engravers and paper-dealers and printers! What baskets of
letters would have been poured upon their tables! How would they have
dreaded the sound of the knocker or the cry of the postman! But, alas!
paper was so far from abundant that generals were often reduced to hard
straits for enough of it to write their reports and despatches on; and
that Congressmen were not much better off will be believed when we find
John Adams sending his wife a sheet or two at a time under the same
envelope with his own letters. Printers there were, as many, perhaps, as
the business of the country required, but not enough for the eager
contention which the announcement of Government work to be done excites
among us in these days. And of engravers there were but four between
Maine and Georgia. Of these four, one was Paul Revere of the midnight
ride, the Boston boy of Huguenot blood whose self-taught graver had
celebrated the repeal of the Stamp Act, condemned to perpetual derision
the rescinders of 1768, and told the story of the Boston Massacre,--who,
when the first grand jury under the new organization was drawn, had met
the judge with, "I refuse to sarve,"--a scientific mechanic,--a leader
at the Tea-party,--a soldier of the old war,--prepared to serve in this
war, too, with sword, or graver, or science,--fitting carriages, at
Washington's command, to the cannon from which the retreating English
had knocked off the trunnions, learning how to make powder at the
command of the Provincial Congress, and setting up the first powder-mill
ever built in Massachusetts.

No mere engraver's task for him, this engraving the first bill-plates of
Continental Currency! How he must have warmed over the design! how
carefully he must have chosen his copper! how buoyantly he must have
plied his graver, harassed by no doubts, disturbed by no misgivings of
the double mission which those little plates were to perform,--the good
one first, thank God! but then how fatal a one afterward!--but resolved
and hopeful as on that April night when he spurred his horse from
cottage to hamlet, rousing the sleepers with the cry, long unheard in
the sweet valleys of New England, "Up! up! the enemy is coming!"

The paper of these bills was thick, so thick that the enemy called it
the paste-board money of the rebels. Plate, paper, and printing, all had
little in common with the elaborate finish and delicate texture of a
modern bank-note. To sign them was too hard a tax upon Congressmen
already taxed to the full measure of their working-time by committees
and protracted daily sessions; and so a committee of twenty-eight
gentlemen not in Congress was employed to sign and number them,
receiving in compensation one dollar and a third for every thousand

Meanwhile loud calls for money were daily reaching the doors of
Congress. Everywhere money was wanted,--money to buy guns, money to buy
powder, money to buy provisions, money to send officers to their posts,
money to march troops to their stations, money to speed messengers to
and fro, money for the wants of to-day, money to pay for what had
already been done, and still more money to insure the right doing of
what was yet to do: Washington wanted it; Lee wanted it; Schuyler wanted
it: from north to south, from seaboard to inland, one deep, monotonous,
menacing cry,--"Money, or our hands are powerless!"

How long would these two millions stand such a drain? Spent before they
were received, hardly touching the Treasury-chest as a starting-place
before they flew on the wings of the morning to gladden thousands of
expectant hearts with a brief respite from one of their many cares.
Relief there certainly was,--neither long, indeed, nor lasting, but
still relief. Good Whigs received the bills, as they did everything
else that came from Congress, with unquestioning confidence. Tories
turned from them in derision, and refused to give their goods for them.
Whereupon Congress took the matter under consideration, and told them
that they must. It was soon seen that another million would be wanted,
and in July a second issue was resolved on. All-devouring war had soon
swallowed these also. Three more millions were ordered in November. But
the war was to end soon,--by June, '76, at the latest. All their
expenditures were calculated upon this supposition; and wealth flowing
in under the auspices of a just and equable accommodation with their
reconciled mother, these millions which had served them so well in the
hour of need would soon be paid by a happy and grateful people from an
abundant treasury.

But early in 1776 reports came of English negotiations for foreign
mercenaries to help put down the rebellion,--reports which soon took the
shape of positive information. No immediate end of the war now: already,
too, independence was looming up on the turbid horizon; already the
current was bearing them onward, deep, swift, irresistible: and thus
seizing still more eagerly upon the future, they poured out other four
millions in February, five millions in May, five millions in July. The
Confederacy was not yet formed; the Declaration of Independence had
nothing yet to authenticate it but the signatures of John Hancock and
Charles Thompson; and the republic that was to be was already solemnly
pledged to the payment of twenty millions of dollars.

Thus far men's faith had not faltered. They saw the necessity and
accepted it, giving their goods and their labor unhesitatingly for a
slip of paper which derived all its value from the resolves of a body of
men who might, upon a reverse, be thrown down as rapidly as they had
been set up. And then whom were they to look to for indemnification? But
now began a sensible depreciation,--slight, indeed, at first, but
ominous. Congress took the alarm, and resolved upon a loan,--resolved to
borrow directly what they had hitherto borrowed indirectly, the goods
and the labor of their constituents. Accordingly, on the third of
October, a resolve was passed for raising five millions of dollars at
four per cent; and in order to make it convenient to lenders,
loan-offices were established in every Colony with a commissioner for

Money came in slowly, but ran out so fast that in November Congress
ordered weekly returns from the Treasury, not, of sums on hand, but of
what parts of the last emission remained unexpended. The campaign of '77
was at hand; how the campaign of '76 would close was yet uncertain. The
same impenetrable veil that hid Trenton and Princeton from their eyes
concealed the disasters of Fort Washington and the Jerseys. They still
looked hopefully to the lower line of the Hudson. They resolved,
therefore, to make an immediate effort to supply the Treasury by a
lottery to be drawn at Philadelphia.

A lottery,--does not the word carry one back, a great many years back,
to other times and other manners? The Articles of War were now on the
table of Congress for revision, and in the second and third of those
articles officers and soldiers had been earnestly recommended to attend
divine service diligently, and to refrain, under grave penalties, from
profane cursing or swearing. And here legislators deliberately set
themselves to raise money by means which we have deliberately condemned
as gambling. But years were yet to pass before statesmen, or the people
rather, were brought to feel that the lottery-office and gaming-table
stand side by side on the same broad highway.

No such thoughts troubled the minds of our forefathers, well stored as
those minds were with human and divine lore; but, going to work without
a scruple, they prepared an elaborate scheme and fixed the first of
March for the day of drawing,--"or sooner, if sooner full." It was not
full, however, nor was it full when the subject next came up. Tickets
were sold; committees sat; Congress returned to the subject from time
to time: but what with the incipient depreciation of the bills of
credit, the rising prices of goods and provisions, and the incessant
calls upon every purse for public and private purposes, the lottery
failed to commend itself either to speculators or to the bulk of the
people. Some good Whigs bought tickets from principle, and, like many of
the good Whigs who took the bills of credit for the same reason, lost
their money.

In the same November the Treasury was ordered to make every preparation
for a new issue; and to meet the wants of the retail trade, it was
resolved at the same time to issue five hundred thousand dollars in
bills of two-thirds, one-third, one-sixth, and one-ninth of a dollar.
Evident as it ought now to have been that nothing but taxation could
relieve them, they still shrank from it. "Do you think, Gentlemen," said
a member, "that I will consent to load my constituents with taxes, when
we can send to our printer and get a wagon-load of money, one quire of
which will pay for the whole?" It was so easy a way of making money that
men seemed to be getting into the humor of it.

The campaign of '77, like the campaign of '76, was fought upon
paper-money without any material depreciation. The bills could never be
signed as fast as they were called for. But this could not last. The
public mind was growing anxious. Extensive interests, in some cases
whole fortunes, were becoming involved in the question of ultimate
payment. The alarm gained upon Congress. Burgoyne, indeed, was
conquered; but a more powerful, more insidious enemy, one to whom they
themselves had opened the gate, was already within their works and fast
making his way to the heart of the citadel. The depreciation had reached
four for one, and there was but one way to prevent it from going lower.
Congress deliberated anxiously. Thus far the public faith had supported
the war. But, they reasoned, the quantity of the money for which this
faith stood pledged already exceeded the demands of commerce, and hence
its value was proportionably reduced. Add to this the arts of open and
secret enemies, the avidity of professed friends, and the scarcity of
foreign commodities, and it is easy to account for the depreciation.
"The consequences were equally obvious and alarming,"--"depravity of
morals, decay of public virtue, a precarious supply for the war,
debasement of the public faith, injustice to individuals, and the
destruction of the safety, honor, and independence of the United
States." But "a reasonable and effectual remedy" was still within their
reach, and therefore, "with mature deliberation and the most earnest
solicitude," they recommended the raising by taxes on the different
States, in proportion to their population, five millions of dollars in
quarterly payments, for the service of 1778.

But having explained, justified, and recommended, the power of Congress
ceased. Like the Confederation, it had no right of coercion, no
machinery of its own for acting upon the States. And, unhappily, the
States, pressed by their individual wants, feeling keenly their
individual sacrifices and dangers, failed to see that the nearest road
to relief lay through the odious portal of taxation. Had the mysterious
words that Dante read on the gates of Hell been written on it, they
could not have shrunk from it with a more instinctive feeling:--

    "All hope abandon, ye who enter here!"

Some States paid, some did not pay. The sums that came in were wholly
insufficient to relieve the actual pressure, and that pressure,
unrelieved, grew daily more severe. They had tried the regulating of
prices,--they had tried loans,--they had tried a lottery; and now they
were forced back again to their earliest and most dangerous expedient,
paper-money. New floods poured forth, and the parched earth drank them
greedily up. One may almost fancy, as he looks at the tables, that he
sees the shadowy form of sickly Credit tottering feebly forth to catch a
gleam of sunshine, a breath of pure air, while myriads of little
sprites, each bearing in his hand an emblazoned scroll with
"Depreciation" written upon it in big yellow letters, dance merrily
around him, thrusting the bitter record in his face, whichever way he
turns, with gibes and taunts and demoniac laughter. But his course was
almost ended: the grave was nigh, an unhonored grave; and as eager hands
heaped the earth upon his faded form, a stern voice bade men remember
that they who strayed from the path as he had done must sooner or later
find a grave like his.

It was not without a desperate struggle that Congress saw the rapid
decline and shameful death of its currency. The ground was fought
manfully, foot by foot, inch by inch. The idea that money derived its
value from acts of government seemed to have taken deep hold of their
minds, and their policy was in perfect harmony with their belief. In
January, 1776, they had solemnly resolved that everybody who refused to
accept their bills, or did anything to obstruct the circulation of them,
should, upon due conviction, "be deemed, published, and treated as an
enemy of his country, and be precluded from all trade or intercourse
with the inhabitants of these Colonies." And to enforce it there were
Committees of Inspection, whose power seldom lay idle in their hands,
whose eyes were never sealed in slumber. In this work, which seemed good
in their eyes, the State Assemblies and Conventions and Committees of
Safety joined heart and hand with Congress. Tender-laws were tried, and
the relentless hunt of creditor after debtor became a flight of the
recusant creditor from the debtor eager to wipe out his responsibility
for gold or silver with a ream or two of paper. Limitation of prices was
tried, and produced its natural results,--discontent, insufficient
supplies, heavy losses. Threatening resolves were renewed, and fell
powerless. It was hoped that some relief might come from the sales of
confiscated property; but property changed hands, and the Treasury was
none the better off: just as in France, a few years later, the whole
landed property of the kingdom changed hands, and left the government
assignats what it found them,--bits of waste-paper.

Meanwhile speculation ran riot. Every form of wastefulness and
extravagance prevailed in town and country,--nowhere more than at
Philadelphia, under the very eyes of Congress,--luxury of dress, luxury
of equipage, luxury of the table. We are told of one entertainment at
which eight hundred pounds were spent in pastry. As I read the private
letters of those days, I sometimes feel as a man would feel who should
be permitted to look down upon a foundering ship whose crew were
preparing for death by breaking open the steward's room and drinking
themselves into madness.

An earnest appeal was made to the States. The sober eloquence and
profound statesmanship of John Jay were employed to bring the subject
before the country in its true light and manifold bearings,--the state
of the Treasury, the results of loans and of taxes, and the nature and
amount of the obligations incurred. The natural value and wealth of the
country were held to view as the foundations on which Congress had
undertaken to build up a system of public finances, beginning with bills
of Credit because there was no nation they could have borrowed of,
coming next to loans, and thus "unavoidably creating a public debt: a
debt of $159,948,880, in emissions,--$7,545,196-67/90, in money borrowed
before the first of March, 1778, with the interest payable in
France,--$26,188,909, money borrowed since the first of March, 1778,
with interest due in America,--about $4,000,000, of money due abroad."
The taxes had brought in only $3,027,560; so that all the money supplied
to Congress by the people was but $36,701,665-67/90.

"Judge, then, of the necessity of emissions, and learn from whom and
whence that necessity arose. We are also to inform you, that, on the
first day of September instant, we resolved that we would on no account
whatever emit more bills of credit than to make the whole amount of
such bills two hundred million dollars; and as the sum emitted and in
circulation amounted to $159,948,880, and the sum of $40,051,120
remained to complete the two hundred million above mentioned, we, on the
third day of September instant, further resolved that we would emit such
part only of the said sum as should be absolutely necessary for public
exigencies before adequate supplies could otherwise be obtained, relying
for such ratios on the exertions of the several States."

Coming to the depreciation, they reduce the causes to three
kinds,--natural, or artificial, or both. The natural cause was the
excess of the supply over the demands of commerce; the artificial cause
was a distrust of the ability or inclination of the United States to
redeem their bills; and assuming that both causes have combined in
producing the depreciation of the Continental money, they proceed to
prove that there can be no doubt of the ability of the United States to
pay their debt, and none of their inclination. Under the head of
inclination the argument is divided into three parts:--

First, Whether, and in what manner, the faith of the United States has
been pledged for the redemption of their bills.

Second, Whether they have put themselves in a political capacity to
redeem them.

Third, Whether, admitting the two former propositions, there is any
reason to apprehend a wanton violation of the public faith. The idea
that Congress can destroy the money, because Congress made it, is
treated with scorn.

"A bankrupt, faithless Republic would be a novelty in the political
world.... The pride of America revolts from the idea; her citizens know
for what purposes these emissions were made, and have repeatedly
plighted their faith for the redemption of them; they are to be found in
every man's possession, and every man is interested in their being
redeemed.... Provide for continuing your armies in the field till
victory and peace shall lead them home, and avoid the reproach of
permitting the currency to depreciate in your hands, when, by yielding a
part to taxes and loans, the whole might have been appreciated and
preserved. Humanity as well as justice makes this demand upon you; the
complaints of ruined widows and the cries of fatherless children, whose
whole support has been placed in your hands and melted away, have
doubtless reached you: take care that they ascend no higher....
Determine to finish the contest as you began it, honestly and
gloriously. Let it never be said that America had no sooner become
independent than she became insolvent."

But it was not only the Continental money that was blocking up the
channels through which a sound currency would have carried vigor and
health. The States had their debts and their paper-money too,--wheel
within wheel of complicated, desperate insolvency. The two hundred
millions had been issued and spent. There was no money to send to
Washington for his army, and he was compelled for a while to support
them by seizing the articles he needed, and giving certificates in
return. The States were called upon for specific supplies, beef, pork,
flour, for the use of the army,--a method so expensive, irregular, and
partial, that it was soon abandoned. One chance remained: to call in the
old money by taxes, and burn it as soon as it was in; then to issue a
new paper,--one of the new for every twenty of the old; and the whole of
the old was cancelled, to issue only ten millions of the new,--four
millions of it subject to the order of Congress, and the remaining six
to be divided among the States: the whole redeemable in specie within
six years, and bearing till then an interest of five per cent., payable
in specie annually or on redemption, at the option of the holder. By
this skilful change of base it was hoped that a bold front could still
be presented to the enemy, and the field, which had been so long and so
obstinately contested, be finally won.

But the day of expedients was past. The zeal which had blazed forth with
such energy at the beginning of the war was fast sinking to a fitful,
smouldering flame. Individual interests were again taking the precedence
of general interests. The moral sense of the people had contracted a
deadly taint from daily contact with corruption. The spirit of gambling,
confined in the beginning and lost to the eye, like Le Sage's Devil, had
swollen to its full proportions, and, in the garb of speculation, was
undermining the foundations of society. Rogues were growing rich; the
honest men who were not already poor were daily growing poor. The laws
that had been made in the view of propping the currency had served only
to countenance unscrupulous men in paying their debts at a discount
ruinous to the creditor. The laws against forestallers and engrossers,
who, it was currently believed, were leagued against both army and
country, were powerless, as such laws always are. Even Washington wished
for a gallows like Haman's to hang them on; but the army was kept
starving none the less.

The seasons themselves--God's visible agents--seemed to combine against
our cause. The years 1779 and 1780 were years of small crops. The winter
of 1780 was severe far beyond the common severity even of a Northern
winter. Provisions were scarce, suffering universal. Farmers, as if
forgetting their dependence on rain and sunshine, had planted less than
usual,--some from disaffection, some because they were irritated at
having to give up their corn and cattle for worthless bills, and
certificates which might prove equally worthless. Some, who were within
reach of the enemy, preferred to sell to them, for they paid in silver
and gold. There were riots in Philadelphia, put down at the point of the
sword. There was mutiny in the army, and this, too, was put down by the
strong hand,--though the fearful sufferings which had caused it
justified it almost in the eye of sober reason.

It is easy to see why farmers should have been loath to raise more than
they needed for their own use,--why merchants should have been unwilling
to lay in stores which they might be compelled to sell at prices so
truly nominal that the money which they received would often sink to
half they had taken it for before they were able to pass it. But it is
not so easy to see why this wretched substitute for values should have
circulated so freely to the very last. Even at two hundred for one, with
the knowledge that the next twenty-four hours might make that two
hundred two hundred and fifty, or even more, without the slightest hope
that it would ever be redeemed at its nominal value, it would still buy
everything that was to be sold,--provisions, goods, houses, lands, even
hard money itself. Down to its last gasp there were speculations afoot
to take advantage of the differences in the degree of its worthlessness
at different places, and buy it up in one place to sell it at
another,--to buy it in Philadelphia at two hundred and twenty-five for
one, and sell it in Boston at seventy-five for one. It was possible, if
the ball passed quickly from hand to hand, that some might gain; it was
very manifest that some must lose: and thus outcrops that pernicious
doctrine, that true, life-giving, health-diffusing commerce consists in
stripping one to clothe another.

And thus we reach the memorable year 1781, the great, decisive year of
the war. While Greene was fighting Cornwallis and Rawdon, and Washington
watching eagerly for an opportunity to strike at Clinton, Congress was
busy making up its accounts. One circumstance told for them. There was
no longer the same dearth of gold and silver which had embarrassed them
so much at the beginning of the war. A gainful commerce was now opened
with the West Indies. The French army and the French fleet were here,
and hard money with them. Louis-d'ors and livres and Spanish
dollars,--how welcome must their pleasant faces have looked, after this
long, long absence! With what a thrill must the hand which had touched
nothing for years but Continental bills have closed upon solid gold and
silver! It is easy to conceive that a new spirit must soon have
manifested itself in the wide circle of contractors and agents,--that
shopkeepers must speedily have discovered that their business was
shifting its ground as they obtained a reliable standard for counting
their losses and gains,--that every branch of commerce must have felt a
new vigor diffusing itself through its veins. But it is equally evident,
that, while the gold and silver which flowed in upon them from these
sources strengthened the people for the work they were to do and the
burdens they were to bear, the comparisons they were daily making
between fluctuating paper and steadfast metal were not of a nature to
strengthen their faith in money that could be made by a turn of the
printing-press and a few strokes of the pen.

Another circumstance told for them, too. The accession of Maryland had
fulfilled the conditions for the acceptance of the Confederation so long
held in abeyance, and the finances were taken from a board and intrusted
to the hands of a skilful and energetic financier. Robert Morris, who
had protested energetically against the tender-laws, made
specie-payments the condition of his acceptance of office; and on the
twenty-second of May, though not without a struggle, Congress resolved
"that the whole debts already due by the United States be liquidated as
soon as may be to their specie-value, and funded, if agreeable to the
creditors, as a loan upon interest; that the States be severally
informed that the calculations of the expenses of the present campaign
are made in solid coin, and therefore that the requisitions from them
respectively, being grounded on those calculations, must be complied
with in such manner as effectually to answer the purpose designed; that,
experience having evinced the inefficacy of all attempts to support the
credit of paper-money by compulsory acts, it is recommended to such
States, where laws making paper-bills a tender yet exist, to repeal the

Another public body, the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania,
dealt it another blow, fixing the ratio at which it was to be received
in public payments at one hundred and seventy-five for one. Circulation
ceased. In a short time the money that had been carted to and fro in
reams disappeared from the shop, the counting-room, the market. All
dealings were in hard money. Gold and silver resumed their legitimate
sway, and men began to look hopefully forward to a return of economy,
frugality, and an invigorating commerce.

The Superintendent of Finance set himself seriously to his task. One
great obstacle had been removed; one great and decisive step had been
made towards the restoration of that sense of security without which
industry and enterprise are powerless. As a merchant, he was familiar
with the resources of the country; as a Member of Congress, he was
familiar with the wants of Government. His resources were taxes and
loans; his obligations, an old debt and a daily expenditure. Opposed as
he was to the irresponsible currency which had brought the country to
the brink of ruin, he was a believer in banks and bills resting on a
secure basis. One of his earliest measures was to prepare, with the aid
of his Assistant-Superintendent, Gouverneur Morris, a plan of a bank,
which soon after, with the sanction of Congress, went into operation as
the Bank of North America. Small as the capital with which it started
was,--only four hundred thousand dollars,--its influence was immediately
felt throughout the country. It gave an impulse to legitimate enterprise
which had long been wanting, and a confidence to buyer and seller which
they had not felt since the first year of the war. In his public
operations the Superintendent used it freely, and, using it at the same
time wisely, was enabled to call upon it for aid to the full extent of
its ability without impairing its strength.

Henceforth the financial history of the Revolution, although it loses
none of its importance, loses much of its narrative-interest. No longer
a hand-to-hand conflict between coin and paper,--no longer the
melancholy spectacle of wise men doing unwise things, and honorable men
doing things which, in any other form, they would have been the first to
brand with dishonor,--it still continues a long, a wearisome, and often
a mortifying struggle: men knowing their duty and refusing to do it,
knowing consequences and yet blindly shutting their eyes to them. I will
give but one example.

After a careful estimate of the operations of 1782, Congress had called
upon the States for eight millions. Up to January, 1783, only four
hundred and twenty thousand had come into the Treasury. Four hundred
thousand Treasury-notes were almost due; the funds in Europe were
overdrawn to the amount of five hundred thousand by the sale of drafts.
But Morris, waiting only to cover himself by a special authorization of
Congress, made fresh sales upon the hopes of the Dutch loan and the
possibility of a new French loan, and still held on--as cautiously as he
could, but ever boldly and skilfully--his anxious way through the rocks
and shoals that menaced him on every side. He was rewarded, as such men
too often are, by calumny and suspicion. But when men came to look
closely at his acts, comparing his means with his wants, and the
expenditure of the Treasury Board with the expenditure of the Finance
Office, it was seen and acknowledged that he had saved the country
thirteen millions a year in hard money.

And now, from our stand-point of the Peace,--from 1783,--let us give a
parting glance at the ground over which we have passed. We see thirteen
Colonies, united by interest, divided by habits, association, and
tradition, engaging in a doubtful contest with one of the most powerful
and energetic nations which the world had ever seen; we see them begin,
as men always do, with very imperfect conceptions of the time it would
last, the lengths to which it would carry them, or the sacrifices it
would impose; we see them boldly adopting some measures, timidly
shrinking from others,--reasoning justly about some things, reasoning
falsely about things equally important,--endowed at times with singular
foresight, visited at times by incomprehensible blindness: boatmen on a
mighty river, strong themselves and resolute and skilful, plying their
oars manfully from first to last, but borne onward by a current which no
human science could measure, no human strength could resist.

They knew that the resources of the country were exhaustless; and they
threw themselves upon those resources in the only way by which they
could reach them. Their bills of credit were the offspring of enthusiasm
and faith. The enthusiasm grew chill, the faith failed. With a little
more enthusiasm, the people would cheerfully have submitted to taxation;
with a little more faith, the Congress would have taxed them. In the
end, the people paid for the shortcomings of their enthusiasm by seventy
millions of indirect taxation,--taxation through depreciation; the
Congress paid for the shortcomings of their faith by the loss of
confidence and respect. The war left them with a Federal debt of seventy
million dollars, and State debts of nearly twenty-six millions.

Could this have been avoided? Could they have done otherwise? It is
easy, when the battle is won, to tell how victory might have been bought
cheaper,--when the campaign is ended, to show what might perhaps have
brought it to an earlier and more glorious close. It is easy for us,
with the whole field before us, to see that from the beginning, from the
very first start, although the formula was _Taxation_, the principle was
_Independence_; but before we venture to pass sentence, ought we not to
pause and weigh well our judgment and our words,--we who, in the fiercer
contest through which we are passing, have so long failed to see, that,
while the formula is _Secession_, the principle is _Slavery_?


We write this article in September. Within a few days, and without much
heralding, has occurred an event of prime importance to our country's
future. This is the opening from New York to St. Louis of a continuous
broad-gauge line under the title of the Atlantic and Great Western
Railway. This line is twelve hundred miles long, and pursues the
following route: By the New York and Erie Road, from New York to the
station of Salamanca; thence, by a separate road of the Atlantic and
Great Western, to Dayton, Ohio; thence, over the Cincinnati, Hamilton,
and Dayton Road, to Cincinnati; and finally, by the Ohio and Mississippi
Road, to St. Louis. The first excursion-train accomplished the whole
distance in forty-four hours. We understand that the regular
express-trains of the line will be required to make equally good
time,--ultimately, perhaps, to reduce the time to forty hours.

This valuable connection has been mainly effected by the energy and
talents of two men. Mr. James McHenry, a Pennsylvanian by birth, but of
late years resident abroad, has raised twenty million dollars for the
project in the money-markets of England, Spain, and Germany, the bonds
of the Company obtaining ready sale upon the guaranty of his personal
high character for uprightness and financial ability. Mr. Thomas W.
Kennard, an engineer and capitalist of large views, discretion, and
experience, has managed the interests of the project here at home,
securing the hearty cooperation and good-will of all the roads now made
continuous, and bringing the enterprise to a successful issue with a
skill possible only to first-class commercial genius. The former of
these gentlemen is Financial Director and Contractor, the latter,
Engineer-in-Chief, Vice-President, and General Manager of the line. At
any other period than this their success would have been widely talked
of as a great national benefit. Even now let us not forget the
public-spirited men whose hopeful hands, in the midst of blood and din,
have been sowing seeds of commercial prosperity to glorify with their
perfected harvest the day of our National triumph and reunion.

This work is the first instalment of the greatest popular enterprise in
the world, the initial fulfilment of a promise which America has made to
herself and all the other nations,--one which shall be completely
fulfilled only when an iron highway stretches across her entire breadth,
from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. As a people we have grudged
neither time nor money to the accomplishment of this end. We have dared
the fiery desert and the frozen mountaintop, the demons of thirst,
starvation, and savage warfare. Our foremost scientific men, for the
sake of the great national enterprise, have taken their lives in their
hands, going out to meet peril and privation with the cheerful constancy
of apostles and martyrs. The record of expeditions bearing either
directly or indirectly on the subject of the Pacific Railroad is one to
which every American citizen must point with a pride none the less
hearty for the fact that its route has not yet been absolutely decided.
The one curse mingled with a young republic's many blessings is the
intrusion of political influences into the dispassionate field of
national enterprise. We might have determined the line of our Pacific
Road before the breaking out of the Rebellion, and by this time its
first or Great-Plains section should have been in running order, but for
the partisan jealousies which prevailed in high places between the
advocates of the different routes. Slavery, that _enfant gâté_ of our
old-school and now happily obsolete statecraft, insisted on the
expensive toy of a southern and unpractical line, until our
representatives, harassed by the problem how to gratify her without
incurring the contempt of the financial world, gave over to the drift of
events the settlement of their country's chief commercial question. We
are now in a position to decide coolly; no entangling alliances with a
dead-weight social system bias our plain judgment of practical pros and
cons; but the opportunity for decision arrives a little too late and a
little too early for action. Congress, the legitimate custodian of the
Pacific Railroad, may be said to have passed the last four years in
climbing to the level of the country's vital exigency. Till Congress
reaches that and understands it fully, there is no surplus energy to be
thrown away on the else paramount matters of a peaceful age.

But it must not be forgotten that the Pacific Railroad stands next to
the maintenance of National Unity on the docket of causes for
adjudication by our representative tribunal. The people have filed it
away till the grand appeal is settled; but they have not forgotten it.

It is none the pleasanter thought to them because they have no time to
talk about it, that the great highway of the continent has been left,
_pendente lite_, in the hands of squabbling speculators, and that
personal recriminations bar the progress of our commerce between sea and
sea. The indifference of our public trustees to the disgraceful
controversies which have embarrassed work on the eastern end of the line
is itself not a disgrace only because human power is limited to the care
of one great matter at a time. The first Congress that meets under the
olive of an honorable peace must at once take the Pacific Railroad into
the Nation's hands, and prosecute it as the Nation's matter, with a
liberal-mindedness learned from the conduct of a great war. Next to the
salvation of the Union, the completion of the Pacific Road most fully
justifies prompt action and comparative disregard of expenditure.

It is not our purpose, nor is this the place, to dictate to our
legislators either the precise line of their own action or that of the
road. It is still proper to say that the arrangements thus far entered
into with private contractors have proved inadequate to the
accomplishment and unworthy of the character of the enterprise. Whatever
may be the details of the improved plan, it must embrace a sterner
national surveillance over the execution of the project, and a direct
national assumption of its prime responsibility.

It is a mistaken notion to suppose that the Pacific-Railroad question
rests on the same principles as that of our minor internal improvements.
It calls for no reopening of the long-hushed controversy between
Democracy and Whiggism. The best thinkers of the day are universally
agreed to deprecate legislation in every case where private enterprise
will do its office. No good political economist approves the
emasculation of private effort by Government subsidy. The people are
averse to statutory crutches and go-carts, wherever it is possible for
them to walk alone. We feel distrust of the railroad which asks
monopoly-privileges. The sight of a Governmental prop under any
ostensibly commercial concern warns an American from its neighborhood.
He has learned that true prestige lies with the people,--that there is
no vital warmth in official patronage. Even within the memory of young
men a great change for the better has taken place in our commercial
manliness. Out first-class public enterprises blush to take Government
help, as their directors might blush, if at the close of an interview
Mr. Lincoln "tipped" them like school-boys with a holiday handful of
greenbacks. There is no doubt that the ideal principle of democratic
progress demands the absolute non-interference of Government in all
enterprises whose benefit accrues to a part of its citizens, or which
can be stimulated into life by the spontaneous operation of popular

But facts are not ideal, and absolute principles in their practical
application make head only by a curved line of compromise with the
facts. The philosopher cannot go faster than the people. Certain courses
are proper for certain stages of development. Few New-York Democrats now
denounce the building of "Clinton's Ditch," and the fact that a majority
approved of it as a sufficient evidence that it was a measure suited to
the period; though even an old Whig at this day could not approve of a
State canal under the auspices of Governor Seymour. Here are the two
great questions which at any time must regulate the exertion of
Governmental power: Is the enterprise vitally important? and, Will it be
accomplished by private effort?

Because the Nation in several eminent instances saw the former question
answered affirmatively and the latter negatively, it centralized a
certain amount of authority for the construction of fortresses and the
maintenance of a military force. These matters vitally concerned the
entire people, yet the ordinary _stimuli_ to private enterprise were
quite inadequate to securing their accomplishment.

The Pacific Railroad stands on precisely the same grounds. It concerns
the entire population of the United States, but no ordinary
business-organization of citizens will ever accomplish it alone. The
mere cost of its construction might stagger the most audacious
financier; but that is a minor obstacle. No doubt the city of New York
and the State of California contain capital enough for the completion of
the entire road,--would subscribe to it, too, upon sufficient
guaranties. But who is to give those guaranties? Whose credit is broad
enough to secure them? Our Atlantic capitalists have too often been
defrauded by stock-companies of moderate liabilities and immediately
under their own eyes, to feel quite comfortable about putting millions
into the hands of private operators, who shall presently have the Rocky
Mountains between them and their bondholders. In the case of almost any
other railroad-enterprise this objection might be answered by the
proposal to build the line with the subscriptions of people living on
its route. But this line must take a route without people, and bring
people to the route. Certain other roads are guarantied by the pledge of
their way-freight business. This road must be completed before such a
business exists; the business must be the product of the road. The
ordinary principle of demand and supply is reversed in its application
to this case. Supply must precede demand. Furnish the Pacific Railroad
to the continent, and the continent in ten years will give it all the
business it can do. Wait fifty years for the continent to take the
initiative, and there will not yet be enough business to build the road.

This enterprise must be looked at in the light of a cash-advance from
California and the Eastern States to the Plains, the Mountains, and the
Desert, secured by a pledge of all the mineral and agricultural wealth
of the party of the second part, guarantied by the prospective myriads
of settlers whom the road shall bring to tracts now lying waste through
the mere lack of its existence. In the course of the present article we
shall endeavor to show the solidity of this security, the responsibility
of these indorsers. While we counsel confidence to the capital which
must build the road, we feel it imperative upon the National Government
to enforce its position as that capital's trustee. That capital for the
most part lies east of the Missouri and west of the Sierra Nevada.
Between these two boundaries the road must run for eighteen hundred
miles through a region where capital may well be cautious of intrusting
its life to any less potent authority than that of the Nation itself.

The claims of the Pacific Railroad have usually been urged upon the
ground of its benefit to its _termini_. This ground is adequate to
justify any advance of capital by the cities of New York and San
Francisco. With the completion of the road, San Francisco necessarily
becomes a depot for the entire China trade of the United States, and an
entrepot for much of that between China and Western Europe. With the
development of our Japanese relations, still another stream of wealth,
now incalculable, must flow in through the Golden Gate. In the reverse
current of Asiatic commerce, New York's position at the eastern terminus
of the continental belt gives her a similar share. The gold-transport
and the entire fast-freight business of New York and San Francisco,
now transacted at an enormous expense by Wells and Fargo's Express,
must be transferred _en masse_ to the Pacific Road; while the
passenger-carriage, now devolving on Isthmus steamers and overland
stages, may be passed, practically entire, to the credit of the new
line. Certainly, no traveller who has once purchased bitter experience
with his ticket on Mr. Vanderbilt's line will ever again patronize that
enterprising capitalist, unless he sells his ships and becomes a
stockholder in the Pacific Railroad. The most enthusiastic lover of the
sea must abjure his predilections, when brought to the ordeal of the
steamer Champion. Crowded like rabbits in a hutch or captives in the
Libby into such indecent propinquity with his kind that the third day
out makes him a misanthrope,--fed on the putrid remains of the last
trip's commissariat, turkeys which drop out of their skins while the
cook is larding them in the galley, beef which maybe eaten as
spoon-meat, and tea apparently made with bilge-water,--sleeping or
vainly trying to sleep in an unventilated dungeon which should be called
death instead of berth, where the reek of the aforesaid putridities
awakes him to breakfast without aid of gong,--propelled by a
second-hand engine, whose every wheeze threatens the terrors of
dissolution,--morally certain, that, if his floating sty from any cause
ceases to float, there are not boats enough to save an eighth of the
passengers,--he must admire the ocean with a true poet's enthusiasm, if
he can brave the Champion a second time.

The considerations we have mentioned should be sufficiently operative
with the capitalists of New York and California, and, as such, are those
most prominently urged by the friends of the road. It would, however, be
a great mistake to regard the through-business an all-comprehensive, in
enumerating the sources of profit to be relied on by the enterprise. For
a better understanding of that immense way-trade which lies between the
oceans, waiting only for the whistle of the steam-genie to wake it into
vigorous life, let us treat the entire line as already continuous from
New York to San Francisco, and make an excursion to the Pacific on its
prophetic rails. We will suppose the track a uniform broad gauge, as it
ought to be,--the Pacific Road connecting at St. Louis with the Atlantic
and Great Western by powerful boats, like those in use at Havre de
Grace, capable of ferrying the heaviest cars between the Illinois and
Missouri shores. We will take the liberty of constructing for ourselves
the remainder of the still undecided route to the Pacific. We run our
ideal broad gauge as follows:--

From St. Louis to Jefferson City; thence by the shortest line to the
Kansas-River crossing; thence to Leavenworth (where St. Joseph, makes
connection by a branch-track); thence to that bend of the Republican
Fork which nearest approaches the Little Blue; thence along the bottoms
of the Republican to the foot of the high divide out of which it is
believed to rise, and which also serves for the water-shed between the
Platte and Arkansas; and thence skirting the bluffs a distance of about
one hundred miles to Denver. At Denver we find two branches making
junctions with our line: one connects us with Central City, the great
mining-town of Colorado, by a series of grades which might appall the
Pennsylvania Central; the other threads the foot-hills and _mesas_
between Denver and the Fontaine-qui-Bouille Spa at Colorado City, with
the possibility of its being extended in time to Cañon City on the
Arkansas. From Denver we strike for the nearest point on the
Cache-la-Poudre, follow its bed as far as practicable, and rise from
that level to the grand plateau of the Laramie Plains. Running through
these Plains, we cross the Big and the Little Laramie Rivers, here
shallow streams, crystal clear, and scarcely wider than the Housatonic
at Pittsfield. Just after leaving the Plains, we cross Medicine Bow,--a
mere brook,--and a few hours later the North Fork of the Platte, which
eccentrically turns up in this most unexpected quarter, running nearly
due north from a source which cannot be very far off. The rope-ferry by
which the writer last crossed this picturesque and rapid stream we have
replaced by a strong iron bridge. Leaving the west end of that bridge,
we look out of the rear car and send our final message to the Atlantic
by the last stream which we shall find going thither. A stupendous, but
not impracticable, system of grades next carries us over the axial
water-shed of the continent, by the way of Bridger's Pass. One hundred
and fifty miles of tortuous descent brings us to Green River,--the
stream which farther down becomes the mysterious Colorado, and seeks the
Pacific by the Gulf of California. After crossing the Green by another
iron bridge substituted for rope-ferriage, our first important station
will be Fort Bridger. Leaving there, we almost immediately enter the
galleries of the Wahsatch Range, which form a continuous pass across
Bear River and into the tremendous _cañons_ conducting down to Salt-Lake
City. From Salt Lake we pursue the shortest practicable route through
the Desert to the Ruby-Valley Pass of the Humboldt Mountains; we cross
that range to enter another desert, descend to the Sink of Carson, and
reascend to Carson City, thence going nearly due north till we strike
the line of the Truckee Pass, (where a branch connects us with the
principal Washoe mines,) and thence to Sacramento by the long-projected
California section of the Pacific Railroad. Another proposed, but still
ideal, road completes our connection with the Western Ocean by way of
Stockton, San José, and San Francisco.

We do not pretend to assert that the route indicated is in all respects
the most economical and practicable; a good deal more surveying must be
done before that can be said of any entire route, though we think it may
fairly be claimed for our ideal section between St. Louis and Denver. We
have chosen this route because along its course are more completely
represented the natural features to which in any case the Pacific
Railroad must look for all its primary obstacles and part of its
subsequent profits.

To complete the conception as its reality must in time be completed, let
us unite our Trans-Missouri portion with the Atlantic and Great Western
Railway, under the all-inclusive title of the Atlantic and Pacific
Railroad. It will not be very far out of the way to regard thirty-eight
hundred miles as the entire length of the line. On the Atlantic and
Great Western section express-trains will run at a speed of twenty-seven
miles an hour, including stops; but to provide against every detention,
let us slow our through-express to twenty-five miles. At this rate we
shall traverse the continent in six days and eight hours. In other
words, the San-Francisco gentleman who left the Jersey depot by the five
o'clock Atlantic and Pacific express-train on Monday morning may
reasonably expect (allowing for difference of longitude) to be in the
bosom of his family just in time to accompany them to morning service on
the following Sunday.

We will suppose our packing accomplished the day before we set out.
During the evening we send our watches to get the exact Washington time.
The schedule of the entire road is based upon that time; and a thousand
inconveniences, once endured by the traveller between New York and St.
Louis, are thereby avoided. It is not necessary to alter one's watch
with every new conductor. We no longer grow dizzy with a horrible
uncertainty on the subject of what-'s-o'clock,--ignorant whether we are
running on New-York time, Dayton time, Cincinnati time, or St. Louis
time,--whether, indeed, all time be not a pure subjective notion, and
any o'clock at all a mere popular delusion. For the introduction of a
uniform standard we have originally to thank the Atlantic and Great
Western Railway.

In comfort and elegance the second-class cars of the Atlantic and
Pacific Road correspond to the omnivorous cars in use on our railroads
generally. But we are a family-party, have nearly a week of travel
before us, and prefer to sacrifice our money rather than our comfort. It
costs a third, perhaps one-half more, to take first-class tickets; but
these secure us a compartment entirely to ourselves,--fitted up with all
the luxury of a lady's boudoir. We have comfortable arm-chairs to sit in
all day, the latest improvement in folding-beds to sleep in at night.
Our mirror, water-tank, basin, and all our toilet-arrangements are
independent of the rest of the train. We have a table in the centre of
our compartment for cards or luncheon. If we are wise, we have also
brought along three or four Champagne-baskets stocked with private
commissariat-stores, which make us quite independent of that black-art
known as Western cookery. These contain sardines (half-boxes are the
most practically useful size for a small party); chow-chow;
_pâtés-de-foie-gras_; a selection of various potted meats; a few hundred
_Zwiebacks_ from our Berlin baker, and as many sticks of Italian bread
from our Milanese; a dozen pounds of hard-tack, and a half-dozen of
soda-crackers; an assortment of canned fruits, including, as absolute
essentials, peaches and the Shaker apple-butter; a pot of anchovy-paste;
a dozen half-pint boxes of concentrated coffee, and as many of condensed
milk, both, as the writer has abundantly tested, prepared with
unrivalled excellence by an establishment in Boston; a tin box
containing ten pounds of lump-sugar; a kettle and gas-stove, to be
attached by a flexible tube to one of the burners lighting the
compartment; a dozen bottles of lemon-syrup; and whatever stores, in the
way of wines, liquors, and cigars, may strike the fancy of the party.
This may seem an ambitious outfit, but for the first year of the Pacific
Railroad it will be an absolutely necessary one. As civilization spreads
westward along the grand iron conductor of the continent, our national
gastronomy will develop itself in company with all the other arts; but
for the present it is safe to assume that outside of our private stores
we shall not find a good cup of coffee after we leave St. Louis, or
decent bread of any kind between Denver and Sacramento.

We seat ourselves in our comfortable arm-chairs, without the
mortification of removing single gentlemen and the trouble of reversing
seats to accommodate our party. The ladies are not compelled to sit in
isolation, by the side of passengers who use the car-floor as a
spittoon. We may chat together upon family-matters without awakening the
vivid interest of any mother-in-Israel mounting guard in front of us
over a bandbox. The gentlemen may smoke, if the ladies like it, and, so
long as they keep the windows open, nobody shall say them nay. We all
enjoy a sense of security and independence, which is like occupying a
well-provisioned Gibraltar on wheels. If we have a sick friend with us,
he need never leave his mattress till he reaches San Francisco.
Should his situation become critical _en route_, the best medical
attendance is at hand,--every through-train being obliged by statute
to carry a first-class physician and surgeon, with a well-stocked
apothecary-compartment. But our present party are all of them in fine
health and spirits; so we may dismiss the doctor's shop from our

The whistle blows just as the ladies have hung their bonnets in the
rack, and the gentlemen exchanged their boots for slippers. We wave
adieu to the Atlantic coast and the friends who have come to see us
off. A few minutes more, and we pass through the Bergen Tunnel. The
remainder of the day is spent amid that wild mountain and forest
scenery which the Erie Railroad has made familiar to the whole
travelling-population of our Eastern States. At Salamanca we strike the
Atlantic and Great Western's separate line. On the way thence to Dayton
we shall pass a number of long trains, made up of platform-cars heavily
laden with barrels carrying East the riches of the Pennsylvania
oil-region. These have connected with our main road by a couple of
branches built especially for the accommodation of the petroleum-trade.
From Dayton to Cincinnati we shall traverse one of the finest
farming-regions of the world, meeting trains laden with beeves, swine,
packed pork, lard, grain, corn, potatoes, and every variety of produce
that bears transportation. By this time, also, Ohio vine-culture has
attained a development which justifies an occasional train entirely
devoted to pipes of still Catawba and baskets of the sparkling brands.

From Cincinnati to St. Louis by way of Vincennes, we run through the
southern portions of Indiana and Illinois, threading varied and
picturesque scenery all the way, unless we have seen the Egyptian
prairies so many times before that they pall on us before we reach the
Mississippi bluff opposite St. Louis. Till we strike the prairie, our
course is among bold, well-timbered hills, which now and then we are
obliged to tunnel, and by the side of charming pastoral streams whose
green bottom-land is shaded by noble plane-trees and cotton-woods.
Certain passages in the scenery between Cincinnati and Vincennes are
beautiful as a dream of fairy-land. Every few miles we continue to meet
freight-trains laden with all the well-known products of the Western
field and dairy. Twice, before we reach St. Louis, a splendid cortege of
passenger-carriages shall whiz by us on the southern track,--and each
time we shall have seen the daily through-express from San Francisco.

The St. Louis through-passengers will be ready, on our arrival, in cars
of their own. We shall switch them on behind us with little over
half-an-hour's detention, and strike for Leavenworth, taking Jefferson
City by the way. The country we now traverse is rolling, well watered,
and well timbered along the streams. Our road has so stimulated
production in the mines of Missouri that we frequently pass on the
switch a freight-train taking out bar and pig iron to San Francisco, or
on the other track a train laden with copper ore going to the East for
reduction. We have hitherto said nothing of the innumerable trains which
pass us or switch out of our way, carrying through-freight between New
York and San Francisco. We are still surrounded by excellent
farming-land, a fine grain, fruit, and general-produce country. Not till
we leave Leavenworth can we be said fairly to have entered the central
wilds of the continent. We are now west of the Missouri River, and for a
distance of two hundred miles farther shall traverse a country
possessing certain individual characteristics which entitle it to a name
of its own among the divisions of our physical geography. This is the
proper place for an indication of those divisions, generalized to the
broadest terms.

In passing from sea to sea, the American traveller crosses ten
well-defined regions:--

1. The Atlantic slope of the Alleghany Range.

2. The eastern incline of the Mississippi basin.

3. The high divides of the short Missouri tributaries.

4. The Great Plains proper.

5. The Rocky-Mountain system of ridges and intramontane plateaus.

6. The Great Desert, broken by frequent uplifts, and divided by the
Humboldt Range.

7. The Sierra-Nevada mountain-system.

8. The basin of the Sacramento River.

9. The mountain-system of the Coast Range.

10. The narrow Pacific slope.

By attending to these distinctions with map in hand we shall gain some
adequate idea of the surface of our continent. The first and second of
the regions we have left behind us, and at Leavenworth are well out upon
the third. It would not be just to call it prairie,--and it is equally
distinct from the true Plains. As a grain and grass land, Illinois
nowhere rivals it; but its surface is remarkably different from that of
the prairies east of the Mississippi. It may be described as an
alternation of lofty bluffs and sinuous ravines,--the former known as
"divides," the latter as "draws." The top of these divides preserves one
general level,--leading naturally to the hypothesis that all the draws
are valleys of erosion in a tract of alluvial deposit originally uniform
with the plateaus of the divides. Some of the larger draws still serve
as the channels of unfailing streams; most of them carry more or less
water during the rainy season; few of them are dry all the year round.
The river-bottoms which traverse this region are thickly fringed with
cotton-wood and elm timber; but it is a rare thing to encounter trees on
the top of a divide. The fertility of the soil is boundless. Every
species of grass flourishes or may flourish here, with a luxuriance
unrivalled on the continent. Of the tract embraced between the Little
Blue and the Republican Fork of the Kaw this is especially true. The
climate is so mild and uniform that cattle may be kept at pasture the
whole year round. Haymaking and the building of barns are works of
supererogation. The wild grass cures spontaneously on the ground. To
provide shelter against exceptional cases of climatic rigor,--an unusual
"cold snap," or a fall of snow which lies more than a day or two,--the
_ranchero_ constructs for his cattle a simple corral, or, at most, a
rude shed. The utmost complication which can occur in his business is a
stampede; and few of our Eastern farmers' boys would hesitate to
exchange their scythes, hay-cutters, corn-shellers, and mash-tubs for
the saddle of his spirited Indian pony and his three days' hunt after
estrays. Over this entire region the cereals thrive splendidly. The wild
plum is so abundant and delicious as to suggest the most favorable
adaptation to the other stone-fruits. Every vegetable that has been
tried in the loam of the river-bottoms succeeds perfectly. There is just
reason to think that vine-culture might reach a development along the
southern slope of the Republican Bluffs not surpassed in the most
favorable positions east of California. We believe it no exaggeration to
say that this region needs only culture (and that of the easiest kind)
to become the garden of the continent. Its mineral wealth has received
scanty examination; yet we know that it contains numerous beds of
tertiary coal, and easily worked iron-deposits, in the form both of
hydrated oxide and black scale.

On our way through this region we strike the Republican bottom near Lat.
39° 30' N., and Long. 97° 20' W. We are now in the primest part of the
buffalo-pasture. As we wind along the base of the steep Republican
Bluffs, and the edges of those green amphitheatres made by their
alternate approach and retrocession, our whistle scares a picket-line of
giant bulls, guarding a divide across the stream, and with tails in air,
heads at the down charge, they scour away at a lumbering cow-gallop, to
tell the main herd of a progress more resistless than their own. Or,
perhaps, our experience of the buffaloes is a more inconvenient one. We
may find the main herd crossing our track in their migration from the
Republican to the Platte. In such case, there will be a detention of
several hours, as the current of a main herd is not fordable by any
known human mechanism. The halt will be taken advantage of by timid
spectators looking safely out of car-windows,--by _bonâ-fide_ hunters,
who want fresh meat, and take along the tidbits of their game to be
cooked for them at the next dinner-station,--and by excited
pseudo-hunters, who will bang away with their rifles at the defenceless
herd, until the ground flows with useless blood, and somebody suggests
to them that they might as well call it sportsmanship to fire into a
farmer's cow-yard, resting over the top-rail.

Now and then we shall whirl through a village of chattering
prairie-dogs, send a hen-turkey rattling off her nest in a thicket on
the river's edge, or perhaps surprise even an antelope sufficiently
close to point out to the ladies from our window the exquisite flight of
that swiftest and most beautiful creature in our American fauna. But our
road will not be in running order very long before this sight becomes
the rarest of the rare. The stolid buffalo will continue to wear his old
paths long after the human presence has driven every antelope into
invisible fastnesses.

At intervals along the Republican bottom we shall find ranches springing
up under the auspices of our road; immense grain-fields yellowing toward
harvest; great herds of domestic cattle grazing haunch-deep through the
boundless swales of billowing wild grass; with all the other indications
of a prosperous farming settlement, which, keeping pace with the
progress of the road, shall eventually become one of the richest
agricultural communities in the world, and continuous for over two
hundred miles. Here and there we pass a lateral excavation in the face
of the bluff where some enterprising settler has opened a tertiary
coal-vein, a deposit of iron-ore, or a bed of soft limestone suitable
for both flux and mortar purposes. The way-freight trains that meet us
now are mainly laden with the wealth of the grazier, the farmer, and the
gardener, competing with their brethren of the Upper Mississippi for the
markets of St. Louis and New Orleans. Iron-ore, coal, and limestone may
form a portion of the cargoes,--but in process of time the mutual
vicinity of these minerals will become sufficiently suggestive to induce
the erection of smelting-furnaces _in situ_, and then their combined
product will travel the road in the form of pigs.

A little to the westward of a line drawn due south from Fort Kearney to
the Republican we shall find a comparatively abrupt and unexplained
change taking place in the scenery. Our green river-bottoms will give
way to tracts of the color and seemingly of the sterility proper to an
ash-heap. Our bluffs will recede, grow higher, and exchange their flat
_mesa_-like surfaces for a curved contour, imitating the mountainous
formation on a reduced scale. For long distances the vast gray level
around us will be dotted with conical sand-dunes, forever piling up and
tearing down as the wind shifts, with a tendency to bestow their gritty
compliments in the eyes of passengers occupying windward seats on the
train. The lovely blossoms of the running-poppy no longer mat the earth
with blots of crimson fire; no more does the sweet breath of eglantine
and sensitive-brier float in at the window as we whirl by a sheltered
recess of the divides; the countless wild varieties of bean and pea no
longer charm us with a rainbow prodigality of pink, blue, scarlet,
purple, white, and magenta blossoms. The very trees by the river's brink
become puny and stunted; the evergreens begin to replace the deciduous
growths; in the shade of dwarfed and desiccated cedars we look vainly
for the snowy or azure bells of the three-petalled campanula. Gaunt,
staring sunflowers, and humbler _compositæ_ of yellow tinge, stay with
us a little longer than those darlings of our earlier scenery; but
before we have gone many miles the last conspicuous wave of fresh
vegetation breaks hopelessly on a thirsty sand-hill, and we are given
over to a wilderness of cacti. Here and there occurs a sightly clump of
waxen yellow blossoms, where these vegetable hedgehogs are in their
holiday attire,--but it must be confessed that the view is a melancholy
change from our recent affluence of beauty. With the other succulent
plants, the rich herbage of the prairie has entirely disappeared. There
is not a blade of anything which an Eastern grazier would recognize as
grass between this boundary and the Rocky Mountains. As we whiz over
these wastes at railroad-speed, we shall be apt to pronounce them
absolutely sterile. When we stop at the next coaling-station, let us
examine the matter more closely. The ground proves to be covered with
minute gray spirals of herbage, like a crop of vegetable corkscrews, an
inch or two in height, and to all appearance dry as wool. This is the
"_grama_" or "buffalo-grass," and, despite its look of utter
desiccation, is highly nutritious. It is almost the entire winter
dependence of the buffalo-herds, and domestic cattle soon learn to
prefer it to all other feed. Its existence, together with the wide group
of changes which we have noticed, denotes that we have passed the
threshold of the fourth grand continental division, and are now in the
region of the Plains proper.

Ex-Governor Gilpin of Colorado, in his "Central Gold Region," very truly
styles the Plains "the pastoral area of the continent." The Plains are
set apart for grazing purposes by the method of exclusion. There is
nothing else that can be done with them. Rain seldom falls on them. The
shallow rivers, like the Platte, which wander through them, are too far
apart to be used economically for their general irrigation. Only such
herbage may be expected to thrive here as can live on its own
condensation of water from a sensibly dry atmosphere. Manifestly, art
can do nothing for the improvement of such a tract. It must be left to
fulfil its natural function, as the great continental pasture. Along the
banks of the rivers run narrow strips of alluvial soil, liable to yearly
inundation; and these may be made amenable to the ordinary processes of
agriculture. On these the herdsman may raise the grain and vegetables
necessary for his own consumption. But the vast area of the region seems
inevitably set apart for the one sole business of cattle-raising, and
all the way-freight trains which pass us here are laden with beeves for
the St. Louis market, or dairy-produce for all the markets of the world.
We have never tasted _grama_-cheese, but have a theory that its
individual piquancy must equal that of the delicious _Schabzieger_.

Far off on the gray level we shall still see the antelope. His tribe is
coextensive with three-fourths of the continent. No sterility
discourages him. He seems as thrifty on the wiry _grama_ as among the
most succulent grasses of the Republican. The sneaking coyote and a
number of larger wolves put in an occasional appearance. Birds of the
hawk and raven families are common. The waters swarm with numerous
varieties of duck. It surprises us at this utmost distance from the
maritime border to see flocks of Arctic gulls circling around the low
sand-hills, and sickle-bill curlews wheeling high in air above their
broods. Before we get far into this region we shall notice that one of
its most typical features is the alkali-pool. Every few miles we come to
a shallow basin of stagnant water saturated with salts of soda and
potash. Still another characteristic of the Plains is their tremendous
rainless thunder-storms. If we are fortunate enough to encounter one of
these, we shall witness in one hour more atmospheric perturbation than
has occurred within our whole previous experience on the Atlantic slope.
The lightning for half a night will light the sky with an almost
continuous glare, brighter than noonday; all the parks of artillery on
earth could not make such a constant deafening roar as those iron clouds
in the heaven; and though the wind will not be able to blow the train
backward, as we have seen it treat a four-mule stage, it will be likely
to do its next best thing, heaping sand on the track till the engine has
to slow and send men ahead with shovels.

Entering the Denver depot, we shall find a busy scene. All that immense
freight-business between the Missouri and the Colorado mining-towns,
which formerly strung the overland road with wagons drawn by six yoke
of oxen each, has now been transferred to the railroad. The switches are
crowded with cars getting unloaded, or waiting their turn to be. What is
their freight? Rather ask what it is not. For the present, Colorado
imports everything except the most perishable commodities,--and that
which pays for all. If you would see _that_, ask the express-messenger
on the train going East in five minutes to lift the lid of one of those
heavy iron trunks in his car. Your eyes are dazzled by the yellow gleam
of a king's ransom. It is a day's harvest of ingots from the stamps of
Central City, on its way to square accounts with New York for the
contents of one of those freight-trains.

At Denver we reach the edge of the Rocky-Mountain foot-hills; the grand
snow-peak of Mount Rosalie, rivalling Mont Blanc in height and majesty,
though forty miles away, seems to rise just behind the town; thence
southerly toward Pike's and northerly toward Long's Peak, the billowing
ridges stretch away brown and bare, save where the climbing lines of
sombre green mark their pine-fringed gorges, or the everlasting ice
pencils their crests with an edge of opal. Still we do not leave the
Plains region. We glide through the thronged streets of the growing
city, cross the South Platte by a short bridge, and strike nearly due
north along the edge of the mountain-range, over a broad plateau which
still bears the characteristic _grama_. Not until we enter the _cañon_
of the Cache-la-Poudre, a hundred miles from Denver by the road, can we
consider ourselves fairly out of the Plains, and in the fifth great
region of the continent, the Rocky-Mountain system of ridges and
intramontane plateaus.

Before we begin this portion of our journey, let us examine, in the
light of that already accomplished, an assertion made early in this
article to the effect that the Pacific Railroad must precede and create
the business which shall support it. The consideration shall be brief as
a mathematical process.

The river-bottoms and divides along the Lower Republican are peculiarly
suited to the raising of farm-produce. But so long as they had no avenue
to a market, they might have been fertile as Paradise without alluring
settlers to cultivate them. The natural advantages of a country are
developed not as a matter of taste, but as a matter of profit. The crops
which can be raised to best advantage in this region are the crops which
without a railroad must rot on the ground. No man can be expected to
settle in a new country from pure Quixotism,--and nothing but the
railroad would make anything else of his expenditure of energies beyond
the needs of self-support. The Plains are the natural pasture of the
continent; but they have no natural fascination for the white man which
can induce him to take up his residence there for cattle-breeding _en
amateur_. The greatest enthusiast in butter and cheese would scarcely
care to accumulate mountains of rancid firkins and boxes for the mere
gratification of fancy. Access to a market is his only justification for
spending a nomadic lifetime among herds, or a fortune on churns and
presses. The settlement of the country must precede the birth of its
industries, and the Pacific Road is the absolutely essential stimulus to
such settlement.

As we converse, we are beginning our climb toward the snow. A series of
steep grades, mainly following the bed of that wildly picturesque and
roaring torrent, the Cache-la-Poudre, take us up through the Cheyenne
Pass to the Laramie Plains. In reaching the head of the Cache-la-Poudre
we have familiarized ourselves with the ridges of the system; we are now
to learn what is meant by the intramontane plateaus. The Laramie Plains
form the most remarkable plateau of the Rocky Range,--one of the most
remarkable anywhere in the known world. Through a series of savage
_cañons_ we enter what appears to us a reproduction of the prairies east
of the Mississippi,--a level and luxuriantly grassy plain, bright with
unknown flowers, alive with startled antelope, threaded by the clear
currents of both the Laramie Rivers, and rejoicing in an atmosphere
which exhilarates like the fresh-brewed nectar of Olympus. Bounded on
the east by the great ridge we have just passed, northerly by a
continuation of the Wind-River Range and Laramie Peak, southerly by a
magnificent transverse bar of naked mountains running parallel with the
Wind-River Range, and westward by a staircase of sterile divides which
we must climb to reach the base of Elk Mountain and find its giant mass
towering into the eternal snows three thousand feet farther above our
heads,--this plateau is a prairie fifty miles square, lifted bodily
eight thousand feet into the air. It is difficult for us to roll over
this Elysian mead walled in by these tremendous ranges, and think of the
commercial uses to which the level might be put; but from its elevation
and its natural crop we may pronounce it a grazing tract of splendid
capabilities, unsuited to artificial culture.

Another series of grades takes us past the base of Elk Mountain to a
broad and sandy cactus-plain, whence we descend among curious trap and
sandstone formations, simulating human architecture, to the crossing of
the North Platte. A little farther on, so close to the snow-line that we
shiver under the white ridges with a reflected chill, we cross the axial
ridge of the continent, and begin our descent toward Salt Lake by the
noble gallery of Bridger's Pass. The springs along our way become
tinctured with sulphur, alkali, and salt. We know, when we stop at a
station to drink, that we are drawing near the primeval basin of a
stagnant sea, now shrunk to its final pool in Salt Lake, but once in
size a rival of the Mediterranean. We pass over an alternation of
mountain-grades and sandy levels, cross the Green or Upper Colorado
River, stop for five minutes at the Fort-Bridger station, thread the
sinuous galleries of the Wahsatch, and come down from a savage
wilderness of sage-brush, granite, and red sandstone, into the luxuriant
green pastures of Mormondom, heavy with crops and irrigated from the
snow-peaks. Thence, one of the numerous _cañons_--Emigrant or Parley's
most likely--conducts us to the mountain-walled level of Salt-Lake City.

We have now traversed the most difficult part of our road. Its
Rocky-Mountain section has cost more capital, labor, and engineering
skill than all the rest together. The return for this vast expenditure
must be no less vast,--but it will be rendered slowly. It does not lie
on the surface or just beneath the surface, as in the pastoral and
agricultural regions. It is almost entirely mineral, and must be mined
by the hardest work. But it ranges through all the metallic wealth of
Nature, from gold to iron, and no conceivable stimulus short of a
Pacific Railroad could ever have been adequate to bring it forth.

We shall find the import trade of Salt Lake by the railroad to consist
chiefly of emigrants and their chattels. If Brigham Young be still
living, his favorite policy of non-intercourse with the Gentiles may
also somewhat diminish the export business of the road. But human nature
cannot forever resist the currents of commercial interest; and the
Mormon settlements possess so many advantages for the economical
production of certain staples, that we need not be surprised to find
trains leaving Salt-Lake City with sorghum and cotton for San Francisco,
and raw silk for all the markets of the East.

From Salt-Lake City to the Humboldt Mountains, we pass between isolated
uplifts of trap and granite, over a comparatively level desert of sand
and snowy alkali. The terrors of this journey, as performed by
horse-carriage, have been fully depicted in our last April number. We
may laugh at them now. The question which principally interests us,
after we have blunted the first edge of our wonder at the sublime
sterility of the Desert, is what conceivable use this waste can be made
to subserve. Before the railroad, that question had but a single
answer,--the inculcation of contentment, by contrast with the most
disagreeable surroundings in which one might anywhere else be placed.
Perhaps it is over-sanguine to conceive of a further answer even now. If
there be any, it is this: In its crudest state the alkaline earth of the
Desert is sufficiently pure to make violent effervesence with acids. No
elaborate process is required to turn it into commercial soda and
potash. Coal has been already found in Utah. Silex exists abundantly in
all the Desert uplifts. Why should not the greatest glass-works in the
world be reared along the Desert section of the Pacific Road? and why
should not the entire market of the Pacific Coast be supplied with
refined alkalies from the same tract? Given the completed railroad, and
neither of these projects exceeds commercial possibility.

We cross the Humboldt Mountains by a series of grades shorter than that
which conducts us over the Rocky system, but full as difficult in
proportion. We descend into a second instalment of Desert on the other
side; but the general sterility is now occasionally broken by oases,
moist green _cañons_, and living springs. A hundred miles west of the
Humboldt Pass we come to the mining-settlements of Reese River, gaining
a new increment to the business of the road in the transportation of
silver to San Francisco, and every conceivable necessary of life to the
mines.--Within the last eighteen months eleven hundred dollars in gold
have been paid for the carriage by wagon of a single set of
amalgamating-apparatus from Virginia City to Reese, a distance of two
hundred miles. The price of the commonest necessaries at the Reese-River
mines has reached the highest point of the old California markets in
'49,--and no attainable means of transport have been adequate to supply
the demand.

From Reese River to Carson we traverse a broken, rocky, and sterile
tract, with occasional fertile patches and a belt along the Carson River
susceptible of cultivation. The foot-hills of the Sierra Nevada
gradually shut us round, and at Carson we begin penetrating the main
system through a series of magnificent galleries between precipices of
porphyritic granite, leading nearly northward to the Truckee Pass. The
grades we now encounter are as tremendous as any in the Rocky-Mountain
system. Just before entering the main pass we come to the junction of a
branch-road from Virginia City. The train which stops at the fork to let
us go ahead is carrying down several tons of silver "bricks" from the
Washoe mines to Kellogg and Hewston's, the great assay and refining firm
of San Francisco. The pass takes us across the summit-line of the range,
but not out of the environment of its mountains. We penetrate granite
fastnesses and descend blood-chilling inclines, span roaring chasms and
glide under solemn roofs of lofty mountain-pine, until in the
neighborhood of Centralia we begin for the first time to see the
agricultural tract of the Golden State.

Between ranches, placer-diggings, and small settlements, we now thread
our comparatively level way to Sacramento. Here we are met by the chief
affluent of this end of the Pacific Road,--the long-projected, greatly
needed, and now finally accomplished line between Sacramento and
Portland. This enterprise has done for the Sacramento and Willamette
valleys the same good offices of development performed by our grand line
for all the central continent. The noble orchards, pastures,
grain-lands, and gardens of Northern California and Oregon are now
provided with a market. Their wastes are brought under cultivation,
their mines are opened, their entire area is settled by a class of men
who work under the stimulus of certain profit. The Northern
freight-trains waiting at Sacramento to make a junction with our road
are loaded with the produce of one of the richest agricultural regions
in the world, now flowing to its first remunerative market. All this
must pay toll to our road, and here is another source of profit.

Crossing a number of tributaries to the Sacramento, and intersecting
mines, ranches, and settlements, as before, we follow a nearly straight
level to Stockton. Then turning westerly, we cross the San Joaquin, pass
almost beneath the shadow of grand old Monte Diablo, glide among the
vines and olives of San José Mission, and curve round the southern bend
of the lovely bay to the queenly city of San Francisco. One of Leland's
carriages awaits us at the terminus. We are driven to the most
delightful hotel on the continent, and find our old friend, the
Occidental, altered in no respect save size, which the growing demands
of the Pacific New York, since the completion of our inter-oceanic line,
have compelled Leland to quadruple. We are on time,--six days and eight
hours exactly. Or, assuming the San-Francisco standard, we have gained
three hours on the sun, and, instead of taking a two-o'clock lunch, as
our friends are doing in New York, sit down to an eleven-o'clock
breakfast crowned with melons, grapes, and strawberries, in the sweet
seclusion of the Ladies' Ordinary.

Is not all this worth doing in reality?




There are a good many fictions in the world. I will mention one:--the
propeller Markerstown. The bulletins and placards of her owners soar
high in the realms of fancy; like Sirens, they sing delightful
songs,--and all about "the A 1 fast-sailing, commodious, first-class
steam-packet Markerstown." Such is the soaring fiction: now let us look
at the sore fact. The "A 1" is, I take it, simply the "Ai!" of the Greek
chorus new-vamped for modern wear,--a drear wail well suited to the
victims of the Markerstown. As to sailing qualities:--we know, of
course, that all speed is relative. For a sea-comet, the Markerstown
would be somewhat leisurely, though answering well for an oceanic fixed
star, having no perceptible motion. One man on board--the Captain--was
accommodated: the kidnapped all suffered. Whether the Markerstown should
be reckoned as first-class or last-class is a question depending simply
on where the counting begins, and which way it runs. "Steam-packet" she
was indeed, though not in the most desirable way. Her steam was "packit"
(_Scotticè_) too close for safety, but lay quite too loose for speed.
The kidnapped were all "packit," and "weel packit." How I came to be one
of them, and how by this mystic union I halved my joys and doubled my
griefs, as the naughty ones say of wedlock, will soon appear.

One brilliant fancy-flight I forgot to mention. The craft in question
was boldly proclaimed as "new." New, indeed, she might have been: so
were once the Ark, the Argo, the Old Téméraire, the Constitution, and
sundry other hulks of celebrity. Yet it is not mere rhetoric to say,
that, if the eyes of the second and third Presidents of these United
States never, in their declining years, beheld the good ship
Markerstown, it was only from lack of wholesome curiosity.

This pleasing list of attractions was wont to make an occasional
trip--should I not rather say saunter?--to the New-World Levant, the
Yankee Eöthen. The time consumed was theoretically a day and a half,
but practically a day or two longer. Tired as I was of the sluttish
land, the clean sea had an inviting look. Dusty car and ringing rail
wore no Circean graces, when the long-haired mermaid, decked in robes of
comely green, looked out from her bower beneath the waves, and beckoned
me to come. What more welcome than her sea-green home? What sight finer
than the myriad diamond-sparkles in her eye? What sound sweeter than the
murmurs of her soothing, never-ceasing voice? What perfume so rare as
the crisp fragrance breathing from her robes? What so thrilling, so
magnetically ecstatic, as her tumultuous heaving, and the lithe,
undulating buoyancy of her mazy footfalls?

It is proper to state here, as an act of justice to others, and to save
myself from the charge of lunacy, that the Markerstown was a mere
interloper. Our covetous, good old uncle had set his eye on the regular
steamer of the line, and his greedy fingers had taken her away to Dixie,
where her decks were now swarming with blue coats and black heels. The
peaceful Markerstown, being exempt by reason of physical
disqualifications, tarried behind as home-guard substitute for her
warlike sister. Ignorant of the change, I secured my passage, paid for
my ticket, sent down my trunks, and presented myself at the gangway one
sweltering afternoon in the latter part of June, a few minutes before
the hour set for sailing. There was nothing in the aspect of things to
indicate a speedy departure. On the contrary, the tardy craft had just
arrived, and was intensely busy in letting off steam and discharging
cargo. The mate was quite sure--and so was I--that she wouldn't weigh
anchor before early next morning. The prospect was not enrapturing.
Confusion, dirt, pandemoniac noise, long delay, and over all a
blistering sun, were ill suited to bring peace to the embezzled seeker
after pleasure.

As a relief from the horrid din on deck, I made my way to the cabin. It
was a place well named, being cabined, cribbed, confined, in quite an
unprecedented degree. It was then and there that I first saw the subject
of this sketch,--the Peptic Martyr. Unknowingly, I was face to face with
my Man of Destiny. Shipmate, Philosopher, Martyr, Rhapsodist, Mentor,
Bon-Vivant, Düspeptos,--these are but a few of the various disks
which I came at last to see in this gem of first water. Even now, in
memory, the subject looms vast before me, and the freighted pen halts.
Bear with me: let us pause for one moment. Matter like this asks a new


Düspeptos was sitting on a common mohair sofa, surrounded by some
half-dozen or more of his fellow-victims. It is stated that
Themistocles, before his ocean-raid at Salamis, sacrificed three young
men to Bacchus the Devourer. The Markerstown, in sailing out upon the
great deep, immolated at least twelve, old and young, as a festive
holocaust to Neptune the Nauseator. Here in their sacrificial crate were
the luckless scapegoats, sad-eyed prey of the propeller. It was easy to
see, at the first glance, that the Martyr was the central sun round
which clustered the planets of propitiation. Born king, he asserted his
kingship, and all yielded from the beginning to his sway. Ears and
mouths opened toward him the liege. Upon the magnet of his voice hung
the eager atoms. There was a filmy, distant look in the eyes of the
listeners, as of men rapt with the mystic utterances of a seer. My
entrance unheralded broke up the monologue, whatever it was. But seeing
the true sacrificial look on my brow, all at once, from chief to sutler,
confessed a brother. To me then turning, Düspeptos, king of men,
spoke winged words:--

"'Pears t' me, stranger, you look kind o' streaked. Ken I do anythin'
for ye? Wal, I s'pose th' old tub's caught you too, so we ken jest count
y' in along o' this 'ere crowd. Reg'lar fix, now, a'n't it? 'T's wut I
call pooty kinky. Dern'd 'f I'd 'a' come, 'f I'd 'a' known th' old
butter-box was goin' to be s' frisky. Lively's a young colt now, a'n't
she? Kicks up her heels, an' scampers off te'ble smart, don't she? 'S
never seen an ekul yit for punctooality an' speed. When she doos tech
the loocifer, an' cooks up her steam in her high old pepper-box, jest
you mind me, boys, there'll be a high old time. Wun't say much, but
there'll be fizzin', sure,--mebby suthin' more,--mebby reg'lar snorter,
a jo-fired jolly good bust-up. Mebby th' wun't be no weepin' an'
gahnishin' o' teeth about these parts along towards mornin'. Who knows?
Natur' will work. Th' old scow's got to go accordin' to law,--that's one
sahtisfahction, sartin. 'S a cause for all these things. An' ef she doos
kind o' rip an' tear, she's got to go b' Gunter. She's bound to foller
her constitootion as she understan's it, an' to stan' up for the great
principal of ekul freedom for all. Hope they'll be keerful to save some
o' the pieces. 'S a good deal o' comfort 'n these loose fragments. 'S
nuthin' like the raäl odds an' ends--the Simon-pure, ginooine
article--to bind up the broken heart an' make the mourners joyful. No
tellin' how much good they do in restorin' gratitood to Providence, an'
smoothin' things over,--kind o' make matters easy, you know.
Interestin', too, to hev in the house,--pleasin' ornaments on the
mantel-piece to show to friends an' vis'ters. They allers like to hear
the story 'n connection with the native specimens, an' everybody feels
happified an' thankful. Yes, after all, th'r' is a master lot of solid
comfort in a raäl substantial accident right in the buzzum of a
family,--none o' your three-cent fizzles, but a true-blue afflictin'
dispensation. 'S a heap o' pleasin' an' valooable associations
a-clusterin' round."

Here the vocal one paused for an instant, to draw breath, and rally for
another raid. Feeling his little army now well in hand, he burned for
fresh conquests. In glancing triumphantly around, his eye fell on a
certain benign smile then flitting over the face of his predestined
Satellite. Complacently nodding thereto, straightway the Peptic spoke:--

"I s'pose this 'ere group 's all insured, everythin' right an' tight an'
all square up t' the hub. Suthin' hahnsum for the widders an' orphans.
These little nest-eggs allers sort o' handy,--grease the ways, an' slick
things up ship-shape. Survivors bless the rod, an' fix up everythin'
round the house in apple-pie order. I hev known men that was so te'ble
pertickler allers to save the Company, that nuthin' ever did, n' ever
could happen. An' the despairin' friends kep' waitin' an' waitin', but
't was no sort o' use; they never got a red. 'T's wut I call bein'
desput keerful, an' sailin' pooty consid'able close to the wind. 'T's
like old Deacon Skillins's hoss, down to Mudville, that was so dreffle
conscientious he couldn't eat oats. No accountin' for tastes. Free
country, anyhow. Ef anybody likes to be fussy an' ructious 'n little
things, why, there's nuthin' to hender him from hevin' his own way. But
it don't exackly hev an hon'able look to common-sense folks.

"Ef the clipper's a free-agent, she'll blow up, sure, jest to git out o'
sin an' misery. But ef so be she's bonyfihd predestined, she'll hev to
travel in the vale o' puhbation a spell longer, 'cause her cup a'n't
full yit, not by a long chalk. S'posin' she doos start out mellifloous,
what then? Don't imagine, my feller-sinners, that the danger's all
over,--no, it's only jest begun. Things ahead 's a good deal wuss. Steam
's pooty bad, but 't a'n't a circumstahnce to the blamed grease. 'T's
the grease that doos the mischief, an' plays the dickens with human
natur'. Down in th' army, they say, biscuits kills more'n bullets; an'
it's gospil truth, every word on 't, perticklerly ef the biscuits is
hot, an' pooty wal fried up in grease. Fryin' 's the great mortal sin,
the parient of all misery. The hull world's full of it, but the sea 's a
master sight fuller 'n the land. Somehow 'nother, grease takes kind o'
easy to salt water,--sailors wun't hev nothin' but a fry. Jest you give
'em plenty o' fat, an' they wun't ask no favors o' nobody. These 'ere
puhpellers 's the wust sinners of 'em all, an' somehow hev a good deal
more 'n their own share o' fat. They kind o' borrer from mackerellers
an' side-wheelers both together, an' mix 't all up 't oncet. My friends,
ef you a'n't desput anxious to see glory from this 'ere deck, be
virtoous, an' observe the golden rule: Don't tech, don't g' nigh the
p'is'n upus-tree of gravy; beware o' the dorg called hot biscuits; take
keer o' the grease, an' the stomach'll take keer of itself. Fact is, my
beloved brethren, I've ben a fust-chop dyspeptic for the best part o' my
life, an' I'm pooty wal posted in what I'm talkin' about. What I don't
know on this 'ere subjick a'n't wuth knowin'."


How much farther the Martyr's appeal might have gone can never be known,
as the height of his great argument was cut short at this point by the
appearance of the Pontifex Maximus in person on the stage of action. The
fated victims were to be made ready for the coming sacrifice. The
oracle, it seems, had declared that Neptune would not smile, unless two
were cribbed together in one pen,--that the arrangement of these pairs
should be left with the lot of the bean,--and that as the beans went, so
must go the victims. Inexorable Fate would allow no reversal of her
decrees. Soon the beans were rattling in the hat of the Pontifex, and,
_mirabile!_ pen No. 1 fell to Düspeptos and his Satellite elect.

The immediate effects of this bean--whether white, black, Pythagorean,
Lima, kidney, or what not--were three-fold: 1. A pump-handle
hand-shaking; 2. A very thorough diagnosis of the weather, including a
rapid sketch by Düspeptos of the leading principles of caloric,
pneumatics, and hygrology; 3. An exchange of cards. That of which I was
the recipient consisted of a sheet of paste-board, rather begrimed and
wrinkled, of nearly the same dimensions as the Atlantic (Monthly, not
Ocean). The name and address occupied the middle of one side of the
document, while all the remaining space was filled in with manifold
closest scribblings in lead-pencil,--apparently notes, memoranda, and
the like. These were not at all private, so the new-found partner of my
bosom assured me. In fact, I should do well to look at them, and make
myself master of their contents. My friends also might find profit
therein. Stray hints might undoubtedly be gathered from them which would
lay open to my eyes the secret things of Nature and life. Thrusting it
into my pocket for the moment, I feasted myself in imagination with the
treasure that was mine, anticipating the happy hour that should make my
hope fruition. Then we, first elect of the bean, set ourselves to
determine the _status quo ante bellum_. And here came in once more the
fabaceous maker and marker of destiny, saying that blind justice
decreed, that, inasmuch as sound is wont to rise, he who was noonday
Sayer and midnight Snorer should couch below, while the Hearer should
circle above,--plainly a wise provision, that the good things of
Providence might not be wasted. Both Damon and Pythias agreed, that, for
once at least, the oracle was not ambiguous.

All things being at last arranged, the Rhapsodist took his leave for the
present, going, as he informed me, on an errand of mercy for his
stomach. The magazine aboard ship being of dubious character, he had
prevailed on himself to supply his concern with a limited number of
first-class cereals with his own _imprimatur_,--copyright and profits to
be in his own hands. As some consolation for his absence, I was favored
with a brief oral treatise on Fats, considered both dietetically and
ethically, with an appendix, somewhat _à la_ Liebig, on the nature, use,
and effects of tissue-making and heat-making food, nitrogen, carbon,
and the like. By way of improvement, a brilliant peroration was added,
supposed to be addressed through me to the mothers of America, urging
them to bring up the rising generation fatless. Thus only might war
cease, justice prevail, love reign, humanity rise, and a golden age come
back again to a world-wide Arcadia. Fat and Anti-Fat! Eros and Anteros,
Strophe and Antistrophe. Or, better, the old primeval tale,--Jove and
the Titans, Theseus and the Centaurs, Bellerophon and the Chimæra, Thor
and the Giants, Ormuzd and Ahriman, Good and Evil, Water and Fire, Light
and Darkness. The world has told it over from the beginning.

And do you ask what manner of man was the Fatless one? You shall see
him. His most striking feature was a fur cap,--weight some four pounds,
I should judge. I think he was born with this cap, and will die with it,
for 90° Fahrenheit seemed no temptation to uncover. Boots came second in
rank, but twelfth or so in number,--weight probably on a par with the
leaded brogans of the little wind-driven poetaster of old. Between these
two extremes might be found about five feet ten of humanity, lank,
sapless, and stooping. The seedy drapery of the figure hung in lean,
reproachful wrinkles. The flabby trousers seemed to say: "Give! give!"
The hollow waistcoat murmured: "Pad, oh! pad me with hot biscuits!" The
loose coat swung and sighed for forbidden fruit: "Fill me with fat!" A
dry, coppery face found pointed expression in the nose, which hung like
a rigid sentinel over the thin-lipped mouth,--like Victor Hugo's Javert,
loyal, untiring, merciless. No traitorous comfits ever passed that
guard; no death-laden bark sailed by that sleepless quarantine. The
small ferret-eyes which looked nervously out from under bushy
brows, roaming, but never resting, were of the true Minerva
tint,--yellow-green. The encircling rings told of unsettled weather.
While elf-locks and straggling whiskers marked the man careless of
forms, the narrow, knotted brow suggested the thinker persistent in the
one idea:--

          "deep on his front engraven,
    Deliberation sat and _peptic_ care."

Not over beds of roses had he walked to ascend the heights. Those boots
in which he shambled along his martyr-course were filled with peas. He
had learned in suffering what he taught in sing-song. The wreath of
wormwood was his, and the statue of brass. _Io triumphe!_

His gait was a swift, uncertain shuffle, a compromise between a saunter
and a dog-trot. The arms hung straight and stiff from the narrow
shoulders, like the radii of a governor, diverging more or less
according to the rate of speed. When the scourge of his Dæmon lashed him
along furiously, they stood fast at forty-five degrees. His eyes peered
suspiciously around, as he lumbered on, watchful for the avenger of fat,
who, perhaps, was even now at his heels. A slouch-hat, crowning hollow
eyes and haggard beard, filled him with joy: it marked a bran-bread man
and a brother. He smiled approvingly at a shrivelled form with hobbling
gait; but from the fat and the rubicund he turned with severest frown.
They were fleshly sinners, insults to himself, corrupters of youth,
gorged drones, law-breakers. He was ready to say, with the statesman of
old: "What use can the state turn a man's body to, when all between the
throat and the groin is taken up by the belly?" He had vowed eternal
hostility to all such, and from the folds of his toga was continually
shaking out war. He was of the race sung by the bard, who

    "Quarrel with mince-pies, and disparage
    Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge,
    Fat pig and goose itself oppose,
    And blaspheme custard through the nose."

Every chance-comer was instantaneously gauged as dyspeptic or eupeptic,
friend or foe. On the march, Javert was on the alert, snuffing up the
air, until some savory odor crossed his path, when he would shut himself
up, like a snail within his shell. Yet he was not sleeping, for no
titbit ever passed the portals beneath. Perhaps, however, they were
themselves trusty now, having made habit a second nature. I cannot
imagine them watering at sight of any dainty.

I have heard it said that certain orders of beings are able to improvise
or to interchange organs, just as need calls. Thus a polyp, if hard put
to it, may shift what little brain and stomach happen to be in his
possession. You may say that he carries his heart in his hand. He can
take his stomach, and dump it down in brain-case or thorax, just as he
fancies,--can organize viscera and victory anywhere, at any moment; and
all works merrily. The Fatless was similar, yet different. His stomach
changed not its local habitation, was never victorious; yet, from cap to
boot, it was ubiquitous and despotic. Brain and heel alike felt
themselves to be mere squatters on another's soil, and had a vague idea
that the rightful lord might some day come to oust them, and build up a
new capital in these far-away districts. Sometimes they went so far as
to style themselves his proconsuls and lieutenants, but they were never
suffered to do more than simply to register the decrees of the central
power. Düspeptos was king only in name,--_roi fainéant_. Gaster was
the power behind the throne,--the Mayor of the Palace,--the great
Grand-Vizier. Nought went merrily, for he ruled with a rod of iron.
Every day his strange freaks set the empire topsy-turvy. Every day there
was growling and ill-feeling at his whimsical tyranny,--but nothing
more. Secession was as impossible as in the day of Menenius Agrippa.

Looking at it another way, Gaster might be called the object-glass
through which Düspeptos looked out upon the world,--a glass always
bubbly, distorted, and cracked, generally filmy and smoky, never
achromatic, and decidedly the worse for wear. I think that the world
thus seen must have had a very odd look to him. His most fitting
salutation to each fellow-peptic, as he crossed the field of vision,
would have been the Chinese form of greeting: "How is your stomach? Have
you eaten your rice?" or, perhaps, the Egyptian style: "How do you
perspire?" With him, the peptic bond was the only real one; all others
were shams. All sin was peptic in origin: Eve ate an apple which
disagreed with her. The only satisfactory atonement, therefore, must be
gastric. All reforms hitherto had profited nothing, because they had
been either cerebral or cardiac. None had started squarely from Gaster,
the true centre. Moral reform was better than intellectual, since the
heart lay nearer than the head to the stomach. Phalansteries,
Pantisocracies, Unitary Homes, Asylums, Houses of Refuge,--these were
all mere makeshifts. The hope of the world lay in Hygeian Institutes.
Heroes of heart and brain must bow before the hero of the stomach.
Judged by any right test of greatness, Graham was more a man than was
Napoleon or John Howard. He that ruled his stomach was greater than he
who took a city. Béranger's Roi d'Yvetot, who ate four meals a day,--the
Esquimaux, with his daily twenty-pound quantum of train-oil, gravy, and
tallow-candles,--the alderman puffing over callipash and callipee,--the
backwoodsman hungering after fattest of pork,--such men as these were no
common sinners: they were assassins who struck at the very fountain of
life, and throttled a human stomach. Pancreatic meant pancreative.
Gastric juice was the long-sought elixir. The liver was the lever of the
higher life. Along the biliary duct led the road to glory. All the
essence of character, life, power, virtue, success, and their
opposites,--all the decrees of Fate even,--were daily concocted by
curious chemistry within that dark laboratory lying between the
oesophagus and the portal vein. There were brewed the reeking
ingredients that fertilize the fungus of Crime; there was made to bloom
the bright star-flower of Innocence; there was forged the anchor of
Hope; there were twisted the threads of the rotten cable of Despair;
there Faith built her cross; there Love vivified the heart, and Hate
dyed it; there Remorse sharpened his tooth; there Jealousy tinged his
eye with emerald; there was quarried the horse-block from which dark
Care leaped into the saddle behind the rider; there were puffed out the
smoke-wreaths of Doubt; there were blown the bubbles of Phantasy; there
sprouted the seeds of Madness; and there, down in the icy vaults, Death
froze his finger for the last, cold touch.


Ah! but the card? you ask. Yes, here it is.

    |                                |
    | NAPHTALI RINK,                 |
    | 51 Early Avenue.               |
    | (At the Hygienic Institute.)   |
    |                                |

Of course, this is only in miniature, and represents every way but a
very small part of the document, the address being but a drop in the
superscriptive surge,--a rivulet of text meandering through a meadow of
marginalia. Inasmuch as Düspeptos courted the widest publicity for
these stomachic scraps, no scruples of delicacy forbid me to jot down
here some few of them. He thought them fitted for the race,--the more
readers the better: perhaps it may be, the more the merrier. If called
upon to classify them, I should put them all under the genus Gastric
Scholia. The different species and varieties it is hardly worth while to
enter upon here. There were intuitions, recollections, and glosses,
apparently set down in a fragmentary way from time to time, in a most
minute and distinct text. Very probably they were hints of thoughts
designed to be worked up in a more formal way. Whether the quotations
were taken at first or second hand I cannot say; but internal evidence
would seem to indicate that many of them might have been clippings from
the columns of "The Old Lancaster Day-Book." It is, perhaps, worthy of
note that Mr. Rink was, in fact, a man of rather more thought and
general information than one might suppose, if judging him merely by his
uncouth grammar, and the clipped coin of his jangling speech:--

    "His voice was nasal with the twang
    That spoiled the hymns when Cromwell's army sang."

Now, then, O reader, returning from this feast of fat things, I lay
before you the scraps.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Character is Digestion."

"There's been a good deal of high-fangled nonsense written about genius.
One man says it's in the head; another, that it comes from the heart,
etc., etc. The fact is, they're all wrong. Genius lies in the stomach.
Who ever knew a fat genius? Now there's De Quincey,--he says, in his
outlandish way, that genius is the synthesis of the intellect with the
moral nature. No such thing; and a man who sinned day and night against
his stomach, and swilled opium as he did, couldn't be expected to know.
If there's any synthesis at all about it, it's the synthesis of the
stomach with the liver."

"What a complete knowledge of human nature Sam Slick shows, when he
says, 'A bilious cheek and a sour temper are like the Siamese twins:
there's a nateral cord of union atween them. The one is a sign with the
name of the firm written on it in long letters.'"

"The French are a mighty cute people. They know a thing or two about as
well as the next man. There's a heap of truth and poetry in these maxims
of one of their writers: 'Indigestion is the remorse of a guilty
stomach'; 'Happiness consists in a hard heart and a good digestion.'"

"The old tempter--the original Jacobs--was called in Hebrew a _nachash_,
so I'm told. But folks don't seem to understand exactly what this
_nachash_ was. Some say it was a rattlesnake, some a straddle-bug. Old
Dr. Adam Clarke, I've heard, vowed it was a monkey. They're all out of
their reckoning. It's as plain as a pikestaff that it was nothing but
Fried Fat cooked up to order, and it's been a-tempting weak sisters ever
since. That's what's the matter."

"Let me make the bran-bread of a nation, and I care not who makes its

"It makes me master-sick to hear all these fellows who've just made out
to scrape together a few postage-stamps laying down their three-cent
notions about the way to get on in the world, the rules for success, and
all that. Just as if a couple of greenbacks could make a blind man see
clean through a millstone! They're like these old nursing grannies: No.
1 thinks catnip is the only thing; No. 2 believes there's nothing like
sage-tea and mustard-poultice; No. 3 swears by burdock. The truth
is,--and men might as well own up to it first as last,--success depends
on bile."

"Shakspeare was a man who was pretty well posted in human nature all
round,--knew the kitchen about as well as the parlor. He knocks on the
head the sin of stuffing, in 'All's Well that Ends Well,' where he
speaks of the man that 'dies with feeding his own stomach.' In 'Timon of
Athens' there's a chap who 'greases his pure mind,' probably with fried
sausages, gravy, and such like trash. The fellow in 'Macbeth' who has
'eaten of the insane root' was meant, I calculate, as a hard rap on
tobacco-chewers (and smokers too); he called it _root_, instead of
_leaf_, just to cover up his tracks. What a splendid thought that is in
'Love's Labor's Lost': 'Fat paunches have lean pates'! Everybody knows
how Julius Cæsar turned up his nose at fat men. The poet never could
stand frying; he calls it, in 'Macbeth,' 'the young fry of treachery.'
Probably he'd had more taste of the traitor than was good for him. Has a
good slap somewhere on the critter that 'devours up all the fry it
finds.' I reckon that Shakspeare always set a proper valuation on human
digestion; 'cause when he speaks of a man with a good stomach,--an
excellent stomach,--he always has a good word for him, and kind of
strokes down his fur the right way of the grain; but he comes down
dreadful strong on the lout that has no stomach, as he calls it. In
'Henry IV.,' he says, 'the cook helps to make the gluttony.' I estimate
that that one sentence alone, if he'd never writ another word, would
have made him immortal. If I had my way, I'd have it printed in gold
letters a foot long, and sot up before every cook-stove in the land. But
just see what a man he was! This very same play that tells the disease
prescribes the cure, that is, 'the remainder-biscuit,'--a knock-down
proof to any man with a knowledge-box that Graham-bread was known and
appreciated in those days, and that Shakspeare himself had cut his own
eye-teeth on it."

"A broken heart is only another name for an everlasting indigestion."

"History is merely a record of indigestions,--a calendar of the foremost
stomachs of the age. The destinies of nations hang on the bowels of
princes. Internal wars come from intestine rebellion. The rising within
is father to the insurrection without. The fountain of a national crisis
is always found under the waistcoat of one man. There's Napoleon
I.,--what settled him for good was just that greasy mutton-chop stewed
up in onions, which he took for his grub at Leipsic. If he'd only
ordered a couple of slices of dry Graham-toast, with a cup of weak black
tea, he'd have saved his stomach, and whipped 'em, sure; and matters and
things in Europe would have had a different look all round ever since."

"Emerson is a man who once in a while gets a little inkling of the
truth. I see he says that the creed lies in the biliary duct. That's
good orthodox doctrine, I don't care who says it."

"Buckwheat-cakes are now leading us back to barbarism faster than the
printing-press ever carried us forward towards civilization."

"Temperament means nothing more nor less than just quantity and quality
of bile. That old sawbones, Hippocrates, came mighty near hitting the
nail square on the head more 'n two thousand year ago, but he felt kind
of uncertain, and didn't exactly know what he was driving at. The old
heathen made out just four humors, as he called 'em,--the sanguineous,
phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. If he'd only made one step more
on to the other side of the fence, he'd have cracked the nut, and picked
the kernel, certain. Those four different humors are only four different
ways of modifying bile with fat."

"Every man is dyspeptic. Tell me his dyspepsy, and I'll tell you what he

"In sick-headache, a heaping tablespoonful each of salt and common
mustard, stirred into a pint of hot water, and drank without breathing,
will generally produce an immediate effect. (_Mem._ But Graham-biscuit
is better in the long run.)"

"Society is the meeting of a gang of incurables, who come together to
talk over their dyspepsies. And everybody takes his turn in furnishing
fodder to keep the thing going hot-foot."

"Professor Bache says sea-sickness comes from the head, 'cause a man
gets dizzy in trying to get used to the teetering of the ship. All
nonsense. The Professor may be posted in the survey of the coast, but he
don't know the lay of the land in the interior. Sea-sickness comes from
the stomach: just offer a man a mouthful of fried salt pork."

"It's stated that some old bookworm of a Dutchman, with a jaw-breaking
name that I can't recollect, has an idea, that, 'if we could penetrate
into the secret foundations of human events, we should frequently find
the misfortunes of one man caused by the intestines of another.' There's
not the least doubt of it,--true of one man or a million."

"Fate is Fat: Fat is Fate."


    Romanza (_affettuoso_).
    The Choral Gamut (_con espressione_).

Was that seething sun never again to plunge his lurid face beneath the
waves of old Ocean? Had some latter-day Joshua arisen, and with stern
fiat nailed him in mid-heavens, blazing forever? To me as slowly rolled
the westering orb down that final slope as ever turned the wheel of
Fortune to Murad the Unlucky. Perchance the sun-god had turned cook, and
now, burning with 'prentice zeal, and scoffing at Düspeptos and all
sound hygiene, was aiming to make of this terrestrial ball one
illimitable fry turned over and well done,--a fry ever doing and never
done, which should simmer and fizzle on eternally down the ages. An
abstract fry--let me here record it--suits me passing well; yet I like
not the concrete and personal broil. I trip gayly to a feast, prepared
to eat, but not, as in the supper of Polonius, to be eaten. I have very
little of the martyr-stuff about me. It is well, it is glorious, to read
of those fine things; but does any man relish the application of the
_Hoc age_? To beatified Lawrence I gladly pay meet tribute of tears and
praise. Let the luckless one ask of me no more; let him call only upon
the succulent; let him recruit among the full ranks of the adipose. Be
it mine to lay these spare-ribs athwart no gridiron more fervid than the
pavement of his own monumental Escurial. _Suum cuique._

So, albeit in a melting mood, I gazed listlessly upon the brazen
firmament, with no fellow-feeling for those hot culinary bars. The
broiling glow was not at all tempting: I think it would have staggered
even the gay salamander that is said to accept so thoroughly the gospel
of caloric. And what was the Markerstown without the Great Captain? What
was the Victory with no Nelson? Hence, like the patriarch, I went out to
meditate at the eventide. But, alack! there were no camels, no Rebekah,
no comfort. Even in subterranean grots there was nothing drawn but
Tropic's XXX. Every water-cock let on a geyser. But by-and-by Apollo
Archimagirus, wearying of gastronomy, stayed his hand, moistened the
fierce flames, jerked the half-fried earth out into free space, pocketed
his stew-pan, and flung himself supperless to bed. No more, for the
nonce at least, should that new Lycidas--the cosmical gridiron--flame in
the forehead of the evening sky. Anon came twilight, dusk, darkness, and
all the pleasant charities of deep night. Behind the veil of night are
sometimes done evil deeds. The snail has been known to start before his
time. Laying down these general postulates, I drew therefrom, late in
the sultry gloom, this particular inference: Cæsar's shallop might
possibly breast the deep before dawn; and if Cæsar was not on hand, she
would carry his fortunes, but not him. Forthwith, groping through the
obscurity, I found my fears without foundation. The shallop was
quiescent in a remarkable degree, and thoroughly tethered.

Deep darkness reigned throughout the little kingdom. Silence brooded
over all, save now and then when some vocal nose, informed by murky
visions of the night, brayed out its stertorous tale to the unheeding
air. At times a shrill, sharp pipe, screaming with gusts of horror,
split my unexpectant ear. With this wrangled fitfully the cracked
clarionet of some peevish brother. Ever and anon some vast nostril,
punctually thundering, hurled forth the relentless growl of the
bassoon,--a very mountain of sound, which crushed all before it, and
made the shuddering timbers crack and reel. A pensive flute vainly
poured, in swift recurring gushes, its rhythmic oil upon the roaring
billows. From some melodious swain came a freakish fiddling, which
leaped and danced like mad, now here, now there, like an audible
will-o'-the-wisp. A dolorous whistle chimed harmonies, and with regular
sibilation came to time, quavering out the chromatic moments of this
nasal hour. High over all floated a faint whisper,--a song-cloud rising
from the dream-mist of a peaceful breast,--a revelation timidly exhaled
to the disembodied spirits of the air. Its hazy lullaby breathed down as
from distant heights, and murmured of celestial rest. Its soul was like
a star, and dwelt apart.

Save this feeling symphony, all was still. No light shone upon the
tuneful beaks. Like Theseus, I picked my way along, guided by an
Ariadne's thread. My Ariadne was a slumbering orchestra deftly spinning
out a thick proboscis-chord of such stuff as dreams are made of. Taking
this web in my ear, I safely traversed the labyrinth, and meandered at
last into pen No. 1. In placing my foot on the edge of the under-world
crib, I unwittingly pressed some secret spring which straight swung wide
the portals of a precipitate dawn.


    A.--Andante (_smorzando_).
    B.--Adagio (_crescendo_).
    C.--Allegro (_sforzando_).

Instantaneously rose resplendent


_The Luminary._--Hullo!

_The Satellite._--Ah! got back? Is that you, Mr. Rink?

_The Luminary._--Wal, ef 't a'n't me, 't 's my nose. Mebby y' a'n't
aware, young man, that you planted your shoe-leather on my olfactory?

_The Satellite._--Indeed, no, Sir. I thought I felt something under my
foot, as I was getting up. So it seems it was your nose. Beg your
pardon, Sir,--entirely unintentional. Hope I----

_The Luminary._--Who's your shoemaker? What do you wear for cow-hide?

_The Satellite._--An excellent artist, a long way from Paris. I have on
at this moment a very neat thing in English gaiters, of respectable
dimensions, toe-corners sharp as Damascus blade, three-fourths of an
inch in sole, one and a half inches in heel, with a plenty of half-inch,
cast-steel nails all round,--quite a neat thing, I assure you.

_The Luminary._--Whew!

_The Satellite._--But I hope, Sir, I haven't injured your nose?

_The Luminary._--Can't tell jest yit. Anyhow, you gev me a proper
sneezer, a most pertickler hahnsome socdolager, I vum! Landed jest below
the peepers. But hold on till mornin', an' see how breakfast sets. I
allers estimate the nose by the stomach. Ef I find my stomach's all
right, 't 'll be a sure sign that the smellers are pooty rugged.

_The Satellite._--That's rather an odd idea. I was aware that the nose
is a natural guide to the stomach, but didn't know that the reverse
would hold good. What is the----

_The Luminary._--Poor rule that wun't work both ways. Six of one and
half a dozen of the other. Do you s'pose the nose could afford to work
free gratis for the stomach, with plenty to do an' nothin' to git? No,
Sir, not by a jugful! People that want favors mustn't be stingy in
givin' on 'em. It's on the scratch-my-back-an'-I'll-tickle-your-elbow
system. The stomach's got to keep up his eend o' the rope, or he'll jest
go under, sure. One good turn deserves another, you know.

_The Satellite._--Yes, a very pretty theory, and certainly a just one.
Quite on the Mutual-Benefit principle. Still, I should be inclined to
doubt whether there are facts sufficient to sustain it.

_The Luminary._--Wal, my hearty, you jest belay a bit up there; clew
down your hatches ship-shape, git everythin' all trig, an' lay to. Why,
my Christian friend, I intend to post you up thoroughly. Your
edication's been neglected. Facts? Facts? Bless your noddle, there's
plenty on 'em, ef a man knows beans. Now I'm jest a-goin' to let
daylight into that little knowledge-box o' yourn, an' fill it with good,
wholesome idees, clean up to the brim, an' runnin' over,--good, honest,
Shaker measure. I'll give ye more new wrinkles afore mornin' than ever
you dreamed of in your physiology, valooable hints, an' nuthin' to pay.

       *       *       *       *       *

Being now securely camped on my mountain-height, I peered out upon the
horizon beneath, and signified to the Luminary that the gas might at
once be turned on full blaze.

            "As when the sun new risen
    Looks through the horizontal misty air,"

so gleamed, no longer nebulous, but now full-orbed, the bright star
Diætetica,--a central sun, holding within its ample bosom the star-dust
of whole galaxies, infinite gastric constellations.

_The Luminary._--"Any fool'll allow that there's nerves, an' plenty on
'em, all over the body. All these nerves come from the stomach. Fact is,
they're the stomach's errand-boys. They run round an' do his chores jest
as he says, an' then trot back ag'in. He's an awful hard master,
though,--likes to shirk, an' makes 'em lug round all his baggage an'
chicken-fixin's. When he gits grumpy, which is pooty consid'able often,
he's death on some on 'em,--jest walks into 'em like chain-lightnin'
into a gooseberry-bush. When he's gouty, he kicks up a most etarnal
touse with the great-toe nerve, an' slaps it right into him fore an'
aft, the wust kind. Folks hev asked me why the gout pitches into the
great toe wuss than the rest on 'em. It's jest as nateral as Natur'. I
cal'late it's a special Providence for the benefit of the hull human
family, to hang out a big sign jest where folks ken see it, to show up
the man who's ben an' sinned ag'inst his stomach. When he limps round in
flannel, he's a conspicoous hobblin' advertisement, a fust-cut lecterer
on temperance, an' the horrible example to boot. Now you know the way
the stomach an' nerves fay in.

"Wal, then ag'in, there's another set,--the stomach's own
blood-relations. He's head o' the family, an' they all work in together
nice an' handy, jest as slick as grease. Lam ary one on 'em, an' you got
to lam the whole boodle. Jest like a hornet's nest: shake a stick at ary
one o' the group, an' they all come buzzin' round te'ble miffy in less
'n no time. There's the nose,--he wears a coat jest as well 's the
stomach: he's the stomach's favorite grandson, the Benjamin of the
flock. Say anythin' to him, an' the stomach takes it up; say anythin' to
the stomach, an' he takes it up. All in a family-way, ye see. Love me,
love my dorg. There's no disputin' the fact, that you can't kill ary one
on 'em without walkin' over the dead body of the others. You can't whip
ary one on 'em except over the others' shoulders. Now you know who the
nose is, who his connections are, an' what's his geneology. He's
descended from the stomach in the second degree, an' will be heir to all
the property, ef so be he's true to himself an' the family. Ef he a'n't,
th' old man'll cut him off with a shillin', sure.

"Now dyspepsy's of two kinds,--the mucous an' the nervous; an' as I'm a
sinner, every mother's son an' daughter has got one on 'em. The nervous,
as you will naterally s'pose from my remarks, is a sort o' hired
help,--friend o' the family, like a poor relation,--handy to hev in the
house, an' all that. The other allers takes pot-luck with the family,
runs in an' out jest as he pleases,--chip o' the old block, one o' the
same crowd, you know. It's considered ruther more hon'able, in course,
to hev this one. None o' the man-waiter or sarvant-gal about him. A chap
with the mucous looks kind o' slick an' smooth, an' feels his oats pooty
wal; but a codger with the nervous is sort o' thin an' wild-like.
Wholesalers ginerally hev the fust, an' retailers the second; though,
'casionally, I hev known exceptions. A bank-president invariably has the
second; an' I never seen an apple-woman without the other. All accordin'
to Natur', ye see. But either on 'em 'll do. Take jest whichever you can
git,--that's my advice,--an' thank Providence. They'll either on 'em be
faithful friends, never desert ye, cling closer than a brother, never
say die, stick to ye, in p'int o' fact, like a sick kitten to a hot
brick. It's jest as I said,--every critter's got one on 'em. But there's
no two men alike, so there's no two dyspepsies alike. There never was,
an' never will be. 'T 's exackly like the human family, divided into two
great classes, black an' white, long-heel an' short-heel. Jes' so ...
nervous ... mucous ... Magna Charta ... Palladium of our liberties ...
ark of our safety ... manifest destiny ... Constitootion of our
forefathers ... fit, bled, an' died ... independence forever ... one an'
inseparable ... last drop o' blood...."

How it was I don't quite know; but I think that at this point the
Luminary must have sunk below the horizon. Possibly his Satellite may
have suffered an eclipse in this quarter of the heavens. I can barely
recall a thin doze, in which these last eloquent fragments, transfigured
into sprites and kobolds, wearing a most diabolical grin, seemed to be
chasing each other in furious and endless succession through my brain,
or playing at hide-and-seek among the convolutions of the cerebrum.
After a while, they wearied of this rare sport, scampered away, and left
me in profound sleep till morning.


ker-thump!--swoosh!--These were the sounds that first greeted my opening
ears. So, then, we were fairly under way, advancing, if not rejoicing.
Our freighted Icarus was soaring on well-oiled wings: how soon might his
waxy pinions droop under the fierce gaze of the sun! At least it was a
satisfaction to know that thus far the gloomy forebodings of the Seer
had not been fulfilled. On looking out through a six-inch rose-window, I
saw joyous daylight dancing over the boundless, placid waters,--not a
speck of land in sight. We must have started long since; but my eyes,
fast sealed under the opiate rays of the Luminary, had hitherto refused
to ope their lids to the garish beams of his rival. Soon I heard beneath
a rustling snap, as of a bow, and suddenly there sped forth the twanging
shaft of the

_First Victim._--I say!

_Second Victim._--Very sensible, but brief. Give us another bit.

_First Victim._--How are ye this mornin'?

_Second Victim._--Utterly glorified. Delicious sleep,--splendid
day,--balmy air, with condiments thrown in. I hope you are nicely

_First Victim._--Wal, no, can't say I be. Feel sort o' seedy like,--feel
jest 's ef I'd ben creouped up in a sugar-box. Couldn't even git a
cat-nap,--didn't sleep a wink.

_Second Victim._--That's bad, indeed; but the bracing air here will

_First Victim._--Air! That 'ere dock-smell nigh finished me. No
skim-milk smell about that, but the ginooine jam,--an awful pooty
nosegay! 'T was reg'lar rank p'is'n. Never see anythin' like it. Oh,
'twas te'ble! Took hold o' my nose dreffle bad; I'm afeard my stomach'll
be a goner. 'T wa'n't none o' yer sober perfumes nuther, but kind o'
half-seas-over all the time, an' pooty consid'able in the wind. Judge
there's ben a large fatality in cats lately. Ugh! that blamed
dock-smell! Never forgit it the longest day I live. Don't b'lieve I
breathed oncet all night.

_Second Victim._--Yes, it was slightly aromatic, I confess,--'Sabæan
odors from the spicy shores of Araby the Blest,'--you know what Milton
says. But there's one great comfort: this thick night-air is so very
healthy, you know. I think you made a very great mistake, Mr. Rink, in
not inhaling it thoroughly. I kept pumping it in all night, from a sense
of duty, at forty bellows-power.

_First Victim._--(Rising, and dragging up to the mountain-crib the
artillery of a ghostly face, and training it point-blank at Second
Victim.)--Young man, don't trifle!

_Second Victim._--Pardon me, Sir, I am not trifling, I have sound
reasons for what I say. Your education, Sir, has apparently been
neglected. Wait one moment, and I'll give you a new idea, which will
contribute materially to your happiness. You will at once admit, I take
it, that oxygen and carbonic acid stand at opposite poles in their
relations to the respiratory system; also, that said dock-smell was a
mixture of carbonic acid of various kinds, and of different degrees of
intensity; and, lastly, that animal and vegetable life are complements
of each other,--correlatives, so to speak.

_First Victim._--Sartin: that's Natur' an' common sense.

_Second Victim._--Now, then, plants naturally absorb carbonic acid and
give off oxygen during daylight. At night, the process is reversed: then
they absorb oxygen and give off carbonic acid. In a similar, but reverse
way, man, who was plainly intended to inhale oxygen and exhale carbonic
acid in his waking hours, should, in his sleeping hours, in order to be
consistent with himself and with Nature, inhale only dense carbonic acid
and exhale oxygen. Men and plants make Nature's see-saw: one goes up as
the other goes down. Hence it follows as a logical sequence, that the
truly wise man, who seeks to comply with the laws of Nature, and to
fulfil the great ends of his existence, will choose for his
sleeping-apartment the closest quarters possible, and will welcome the
fumes which would be noisome by day. For my part, therefore, I feel
profoundly grateful even for one night of this little crib. It has
already done much for me. I feel confident that it has contributed
greatly to my span of life. I am deeply beholden to the owners, to the
captain, yea, to all the crew. And for the blessed dock-smell I shall
ever be thankful:--

     "'T were worth ten years of mortal life, One glance at its

It will not be amiss to say to you, Mr. Rink, that this theory is
sanctioned by one of the leading ornaments of the French Academy. He has
advocated it, in an elaborate treatise, with an eloquence and power
worthy of its distinguished author. He shows, in passages of singular
purity, that beasts, whose instincts teach them far more of the laws of
Nature than our reason teaches us, always retire to sleep in a place
where they can obtain the closest, healthiest air. In the last
communication sent to me on this subject by the learned Professor, he
proves conclusively that----

_First Victim._ (His artillery now rumbling down the heights on the full
gallop.)--I snum, that's awful! Wal, I never see,--'t beats the Dutch!
No kind o' use talkin' with sech a chap. Never see so much nonsense in
one head 's that critter's got in his.


A barrow-tone full of groan and creak, trundling along through the
well-known bravura commencing,--

    "In Köln, a town of monks and bones," etc.

Yes, the aroma was highly complicate, but not, like the poet, of
imagination all compact. It was not Frangipanni, though in part an
eternal perfume; nor was it Bergamot, or Attar, or Millefleurs, or
Jockey-Club, or New-Mown Hay. No, it was none of these. What was it,
then? you ask. I dissected it as well as I could, though not with entire
success; but I will tell you the members of this body of death, so far
as I found them. I do not for a moment doubt that it was made up of at
least the two-and-seventy several parts which bloomed in the bouquet
plucked by the bard in Hermann's land; yet my feeble sense could not
distinguish all. There was unquestionably a fry,--nay, several; the
fumes of coffee soared riotous; I could detect hot biscuits distinctly;
the sausage asked a foremost place; pancakes, griddle-cakes, dough-nuts,
gravies, and sauces, all struggled for precedence; the land and the sea
waged internecine war for place, through their representative fries of
steak and mackerel; and as the unctuous pork--no nursling of the flock,
but seasoned in ripe old age with salt not Attic--rooted its way into
the front rank, I thought of the wisdom of Moses. All these were, so to
speak, the mere outlying flakes, the feathery curls, of the balmy
cirro-cumulus, whose huge bulk arose out of the bowels of the ship
itself. Up and down, in and out, here and there, into every chink and
crevice, rolled the blue-white incense-cloud, dense as the cottony puff
at the mouths of the guns in Vernet's "Siege of Algiers." Or you might
say that these were but the flying-buttresses, the floriated pinnacles,
the frets, and the gargoyles of a great frowzy cathedral lying vast and
solid far below.

The Captain sat at the head of the table; next him was the fixed star
Düspeptos, with Satellite stationary on the right quarter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Eupeptos._--Coffee,--that's good. John, fill my cup. Have it strong,
mind,--no milk.

_Düspeptos._ (Placing hand remonstratingly on arm of Eupeptos.)--My
friend, man's life a'n't more'n a span, anyhow; yourn wun't be wuth
more'n half a span. Don't ye do it.

_Eupeptos._ (Gayly.)--_Dum vivimus, vivamus._ Try a cup, Mr. Rink.

_Düspeptos._--No, Sir. Thousan' dollars'd be no objick at all.
There'd be a dead Rink layin' round in less 'n half a shake. I'd want a
permit from the undertaker fust, an' hev my measure for a patent casket
to order. This child a'n't anxious to cut stick yit awhile.

_Eupeptos._--I'm very much of Voltaire's way of thinking about coffee. I
don't know but I would agree with Mackintosh, that the measure of a
man's brains is the amount of coffee he drinks. I like it in the French
style, all but the _lait_; that destroys the flavor, besides making it
despicably weak. Have a hot biscuit, Mr. Rink? I'm afraid they're like
Gilpin,--carry weight, you know. But try one, won't you?

_Düspeptos._--I'm shot ef I do. Don't hev any more o' yer nonsense,
young man, or I'll git ructions.

_Eupeptos._--All right. Advance, pancakes! Here's a prime one, steaming
hot, crisp and fizzling. Allow me to put it on your plate, Sir?

_Düspeptos._--Not by a long chalk. Hands off, I tell ye, or there'll
be a free fight afore shortly. You'd better make up yer mind to oncet
thet this 'ere thing a'n't goin' to ram nohow.

_Eupeptos._--Sorry I can't suit you. Better luck next time. Ah! here's
the very thing. Waiter, pass the fried steak, salt mackerel, and fried
potatoes to Mr. Rink.

_Düspeptos._--Wun't stan' it,--I snore I wun't! I tell ye, I'm
gittin' master-riled. Jest you take yer own fodder, an' keep quiet.

_Eupeptos._--Pardon me, Sir, but my eye has just fallen on yonder dish
of dough-nuts, faced by those incense-breathing griddle-cakes. Look
slightly soggy, but not disagreeable. This sea-air, you know, gives a
man a tremendous appetite for anything, and the digestion of an ostrich.
Risk it, won't you?

_Düspeptos._ (With determined air, clenching knife and fork pointing
skywards.)--Stranger, le' 's come to a distinct understandin' on this
subjick afore we git much older. You know puffickly wal what I am,--a
confirmed dyspeptic for twenty-five year. An' I a'n't ashamed on it,
nuther; but I'm proud to say I glory in it. You know puffickly wal what
my notions is about all this 'ere stuff, an' still you keep stickin' it
into my face. Now, ef you want me to lambaste ye, I'm the man to do it,
an' do it hahnsome. But ef yer life a'n't insured clean up to the hub,
an' ef ye've got any survivin' friends, I advise ye not to tote any more
o' that 'ere grub in this direction. I give ye fair warnin',--yer've
raised my dander, an' put my Ebenezer up. I'd jest as lieves wallop ye
as eat, an' ten times lieveser.

_Eupeptos._--Really, Sir, no offence intended. I saw that your taste was
delicate, and offered you these various tit-bits in the hope that some
one of them might prove acceptable. But pray, Sir, do not starve
yourself on my account. What in the world can you eat? Do not, I beseech
you, by undue fasting, deprive the world of so distinguished----

_Düspeptos._ (Mollifying.)--Fact is, I knew jest how 't was goin' to
be. They allers fry everythin' an' cook it up in grease, so no
respectable man can git any decent vittles t' eat. So I jest went out
an' laid in plenty o' my own provender,--suthin' reliable an' wholesome,
ye know. Brought aboard a firkin o' Graham-biscuit,--jest the meal mixed
up with water,--no salt, no emptins, no nuthin'. 'T's the healthiest
thing out o' jail. It's Natur's own food, an' the best eatin' I know.
Raäl good flavor, git 'em good, besides bein' puffickly harmless an'
salubrious. I cal'late I've got enough to run the machine, an' keep it
all trig up to concert-pitch, till I git ashore, ef so be th' old tub
don't send us to Davy Jones's locker. Here, try one,--I've got a
plenty,--an' you'll say they're fust-rate. Leave them 'ere pancakes, an'
all that p'is'n truck. Arter you take one o' these, you'll never tech
nuthin' else.

_Eupeptos._--Thank you, Sir, but if it's all the same to you, please
excuse me this time. I have other fish to fry. In fact, Sir, I am
entirely destitute of equanimity, and have no particle of stability in
my disposition. Not a drop of Scotch blood in my veins.

_Düspeptos._--There's no oats about these; an' ef there was, 't
wouldn't hurt ye none. It's jest the kernel an' the shell mixed up

_Eupeptos._--Dangerous combination. I have no military
ambition,--wouldn't give a rush for a spread eagle,--don't like the
braying by a mortar.

_Düspeptos._--Wal, I mout as wal vamose, 's long as I've hove in my
rations. Already gone risin' a good half-ounce above my or'nary
'lowance. 'T wun't do to dissipate, even ef a feller a'n't to hum an'
nobody's the wiser. Natur' allers makes ye foot the bill all the same on
sea an' shore.

_Eupeptos._ (Trolling in a low voice the celebrated barcarole,

    "My bark is by the shore," etc.)--

Stay, oh, stay, gentle stranger! See yon sausage fatly floating! Be not
dogged to go, but come! Prithee, return once more to the festive board!
Lo! this--the fattest of the flock--shall be thy portion, most favored

_Düspeptos._ (--Muttering in the distance.)--That feller's a raäl
jo-fired numbskull. He don't know any more about the fust principles o'
human natur' than the babe unborn. Reg'lar goney. Dunno whether he's
jokin' or in sober airnest. Good mind to sail into him anyhow. Guess 't
'll do, though, to leave him to Natur'. He'll stuff himself to death
fast enough ... pitchin' into p'is'n ... sexton ... six-board box ...
coroner's verdick ... run over by a fry ... engineer did his dooty....

IX.--FINALE (_con motivo._)

But time would fail me to tell you of the myriad golden spangles so
thickly stitched into the hurrying web of those fustian hours. Oh! that
dim crepuscular time, when, with toe set to toe squarely on the scratch,
we stood up to one another, with eyes glaring through the gloaming, and
gave and took manfully, fighting out anew the old battles of the Bourbon
_vs._ China, of King James _vs._ Virginia, of Graham _vs._ Greece! I
could tell you of the siesta of the new Prometheus, when, perched on the
Mount Caucasus of a bleak chain-cable, he gave himself postprandially,
in full livery of seisin, to the vulturous sun. Wasted, yet daily
renewed, enduring, yet murmuring not, he hurled defiance at Fat, scoffed
at the vain rage of Jupiter Pinguis, and proffered to the world below a
new life in his fiery gift of stale bran-bread. Would you could have
heard that vesper hymn stealing hirsute through the mellow evening-air!
It sung the Peptic Saints and Martyrs, explored the bowels of old Time,
and at last died away in dulcet cadence as it chanted the glories of the
coming Age of Grits. Again, in the silent night-watches, did sage Mentor
become vocal, going over afresh the story of the Nervous and the Mucous,
classifying their victims, generalizing laws, discriminating the various
dyspepsies of the nations, and summing up at last the inestimable
benefits conferred by our modern dyspepsy on the character, the
literature, and the life of this nineteenth century.

Once more--for the last time--did the sable robe inwrap us.
Once more the night-blooming cereus oped its dank petals; and
amid its murky fragrance I sank to rest. When I woke, the
whank!--tick-a-lick!--whank!--tick-a-lick!--had ceased, and we were
safely moored. I leaped lightly to the shore, and, reverently stooping,
saluted with fond gratitude my Mother Earth. Rising, I beheld for the
last time the gaunt form of the Martyr standing on the deck,--a bar
sinister sable blazoned athwart the golden shield of the climbing sun.
And once more he lift up his voice:--

"Hullo! What! up killick an' off a'ready? Ye'r' bound to go it full
chisel any way,--don't mean to hev grass grow under your heels, that's
sartin. Wal, 't 's the early bird thet ketches the worm; an' it's the
early worm thet gits picked, too,--recollember that. I cal'late you
reckon the Markerstown's about played out, an' a'n't exackly wut she's
cracked up to be. It's pooty plain thet that 'ere blamed grease has ben
one too many for ye, arter all yer lingo. Ef a man will dance, he's got
to pay the fiddler. You can't go it on tick with Natur'; she's some on a
trade, an' her motto is, 'Down with the dosh.' Ef you think you can play
'possum, an' pull the wool over her eyes, jest try it on, that's all;
you'll find, my venerable hero, thet you're shinnin' a greased pole for
the sake of a bogus fo'pence-ha'penny on top.

"Now, young man, afore you hurry up your cakes much further, I've got
jest two words to say to ye. Don't cut it too fat, or you'll flummux by
the way, an' leave nuthin' but a grease-spot. Don't dawdle round doin'
nuthin' but stuffin' yerself to kill. Don't act like a gonus,--don't
hanker arter the flesh-pots. Wake up, peel your eyes, an' do suthin' for
a dyspeptic world, for sufferin' sinners, for yerself. Allers stick
close to Natur' an' hyg'ene. Drop yer nonsense, an' come over an' j'in
us, an' we'll make a new man of ye,--jest as good as wheat. You're on
the road to ruin now; but we'll take ye, an' build ye up, give ye tall
feed, an' warrant ye fust-cut health an' happiness. No cure, no pay. An'
look here, keep that 'ere card I gev ye continooally on hand, an'
peroose it day an' night. I tell ye it'll be the makin' on ye. An' don't
forgit the golden rule:--Don't tech, don't g' nigh the p'is'n upus-tree
of gravy; beware o' the dorg called hot biscuits; take keer o' the
grease, an' the stomach'll take keer of itself. Ef you're in want o'
bran-bread at any time, let me know, an' I'm your man,--Rink by name,
an' Rink by natur'. An' ef so be you ever come within ten mile o' where
I hang out, jest tie right up on the spot, without the slightest
ceremony or delayance, an' take things puffickly free an' easy like.
Wal, my hearty, I see ye're on the skedaddle. Take keer o'
yerself,--yourn till death, N. Rink."


The country is now on the eve of an election the importance of which it
would be impossible to overrate. Yet a few days, and it will be decided
whether the people of the United States shall condemn their own conduct,
by cashiering an Administration which they called upon to make war on
the rebellious slaveholders of the South, or support that Administration
in the strenuous endeavors which it is making to effect the
reconstruction of the Republic, and the destruction of Slavery. It is to
insult the intelligence and patriotism of the American people to
entertain any serious doubt as to the issue of the contest. It can have
but one issue, unless the country has lost its senses,--and never has it
given better evidence of its sobriety, firmness, and rectitude of
purpose than it now daily affords. Were the contest one relating to the
conduct of the war, and had the Democratic party assumed a position of
unquestionable loyalty, there would be some room for doubting who is to
be our next President. It is impossible that a contest of proportions so
vast should not have afforded ground for some complaint, on the score of
its management. To suppose that the action of Government has been on all
occasions exactly what it should have been is to suppose something so
utterly out of the nature of things that it presents itself to no mind.
Errors are unavoidable even in the ordinary affairs of common life, and
their number and their magnitude increase with the importance of the
business, and the greatness of the stage on which it is transacted. We
have never claimed perfection for the Federal Administration, though we
have ever been ready to do justice to the success which it has achieved
on many occasions and to the excellence of its intentions on all. Had
the Democrats called upon the country to displace the Administration
because it had not done all that it should have done, promising to do
more themselves against the Rebels than President Lincoln and his
associates had effected, the result of the Presidential election might
be involved in some doubt; for the people desire to see the Rebellion
brought to an end, and the Democratic party has a great name as a ruling
political organization, its history, during most of the present century,
being virtually the history of the American nation. But, with a want of
wisdom that shows how much it has lost in losing that Southern lead
which had so much to do with its success in politics, it chose to place
itself in opposition to the national sentiment, instead of adopting it,
guiding it, and profiting from its existence. The errors of the various
parties that have been opposed to it have often been matter for mirth to
the Democratic party, as well they may have been; but neither
Federalists, nor National Republicans, nor Whigs, nor Know-Nothings, nor
Republicans were ever guilty of a blunder so enormous as that which this
party itself perpetrated at Chicago, when it virtually announced its
readiness to surrender the country into the hands of the men who have so
pertinaciously sought its destruction for the last four years. So
strange has been its action, that we should be ashamed to have dreamed
that any party could be guilty of it. Yet it is a living fact that the
Democratic party, in spite of its loud claims to strict nationality of
purpose, has so conducted itself as to show that it is willing to
complete the work which the slaveholders began, and not only to submit
to the terms which the Rebels would dictate, but to tear the Union still
further to pieces, if indeed it would leave any two States in a united
condition. Thus acting, that party has defeated itself, and reduced the
action of the people to a mere, though a mighty, formality. Either this
is a plain statement of the case, or this nation is about to give a
practical answer to Bishop Butler's famous question, "What if a whole
community were to go mad?" For the ratification of the Chicago Platform
by the people would be an indorsement of violence and disorder, a direct
approval of wilful rebellion, and an announcement that every election
held in this country is to be followed by a revolutionary outbreak,
until our condition shall have become even worse than that of Mexico,
and we shall be ready to welcome the arrival, in the train of some
European army, of a cadet of some imperial or royal house, whose
"mission" it should be to restore order in the once United States, while
anarchy should be kept at a distance by a liberal exhibition of French
or German bayonets. What has happened to Mexico would assuredly happen
here, if we should allow the country to Mexicanize itself at the bidding
of Belmont and Co.

But it may be said, it is unjust to attribute to the masses of the
Democratic party intentions so bad as those of which we have spoken.
That party, in past times, has done great things for the land, has
always professed the highest patriotism, and its name and fame are most
intimately associated with some of the noblest passages in the history
of the Republic. All this is very true. We admit, what is indeed
self-evident, that the Democratic party has done great things for the
country, and that it can look back with just pride over the country's
history, until a comparatively recent period; and we do not attribute to
the masses composing it any other than the best intentions. It is not of
those masses that we have spoken. The sentiment of patriotism is ever
strong with the body of the people. The number of men who would wilfully
injure their country has never been large in any age. But it is not the
less true that parties are but too often the blind tools of leaders, of
men whose only interest in their country is to use it for their own
purposes, to make all they can out of it, and at its expense. The
Democratic party has always been a disciplined party, and nothing is
more notorious in its history than its submissiveness to its leaders.
This has been the chief cause of its almost unbroken career of success;
and it has been its pride and its boast that it has been well-trained,
obedient, and consequently successful, while all other parties have been
quarrelsome and impatient of discipline, and consequently have risen
only to endure through a few years of sickly existence, and then to pass
away. The Federalists, the National Republicans, the Antimasons, the
Whigs, and the Know-Nothings have each appeared, flourished for a short
time, and then passed to the limbo of factions lost to earth. This
discipline of the Democracy has not been without its uses, and the
country occasionally has profited from it; but now it is to be abused,
through application to the service of the Great Anarch at Richmond. The
Rebel power, which our fleets and armies are steadily reducing day by
day, is to be saved from overthrow, and its agents from the severe and
just punishment which should be visited upon them for their great and
unprovoked crime,--if they are to be saved therefrom,--through the
action of the Democratic party, as it calls itself, and which purposes
to go to the assistance of the slaveholders in war, as formerly it went
to their assistance in peace, the meekest and most faithful and most
useful of their slaves. The Democratic party, as a party, instead of
being the sword of the Republic, purposes being the shield of the
Rebellion. Such is the intention of its leaders, who control the
disciplined masses, if their words have any meaning; and, so far as they
have been able to act, their actions correspond strictly with their
words. The Chicago Convention, which consisted of the _crème de la
crème_ of the Democracy, had not a word to say against either the Rebels
or the Rebellion, while it had not words enough, or words not strong
enough, to employ in denouncing those whose sole offence consists in
their efforts to conquer the Rebels and to put down the Rebellion. With
a perversion of history that is quite without a parallel even in the
hardy falsehood of American politics, the responsibility for the war was
placed to the account of the loyal men of the country, and not to the
account of the traitors, who brought it upon the nation by a fierce
forcing-process. The speech of Mr. Horatio Seymour, who presided over
the Belmont band, is, as it were, a bill of indictment preferred against
the American Republic; for Governor Seymour, though not famous for his
courage, has boldness sufficient to do that which a far greater man said
he would not do,--he has indicted a whole people. It follows from this
condemnation of the Federal Government for making war on the Rebels, and
this failure to condemn the Rebels for making war on the Federal
Government, that the Democrats, should they succeed in electing their
candidates, would pursue a course exactly the opposite of that which
they denounce. They would withdraw the nation from the contest, and
acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy; and then they
would make such a treaty with its leading and dominant interest as
should place the United States in the condition of dependency with
reference to the South. That such would be their course is not only
fairly inferrible from the views embodied in the Chicago Platform, and
from the speeches made in the Chicago Convention, but it is what Mr.
Pendleton, the Democratic candidate for the Vice-Presidency, has said it
is our duty to do so, so far as relates to acknowledging the
Confederacy. He has deliberately said, that, if we cannot "conciliate"
the Rebels, and "persuade" them to come back into the Union, we should
allow them to depart in peace. Such is the doctrine of the gentleman who
was placed on the Democratic ticket with General McClellan for the
avowed purpose of rendering that ticket palatable to the Peace men. No
man can vote for General McClellan without by the same act voting for
Mr. Pendleton; and we know that Mr. Pendleton has declared himself ready
to let the Rebels rend the Union to tatters, and that he has opposed the
prosecution of the war. General McClellan is mortal, and, if elected,
might die long before his Presidential term should be out, like General
Taylor, or immediately after it should begin, like General Harrison.
Then Mr. Pendleton would become President, like Mr. Tyler, in 1841, who
cheated the Whigs, or like Mr. Fillmore, in 1850, who cheated everybody.
Nor is it by any means certain that General McClellan would not, once
elected, consider himself the Chicago Platform, as Mr. Buchanan avowed
himself to be the Cincinnati Platform. He has written a letter, to be
sure, in which he has given it to be understood that he is in favor of
continuing the war against the Rebels until they shall be subdued; but
so did Mr. Polk, twenty yearn ago, write a letter on the Tariff of 1842
that was even more satisfactory to the Democratic Protectionists of
those days than the letter of General McClellan can be to the War
Democrats of these days. All of us recollect the famous Democratic
blazon of 1844,--"Polk, Dallas, and the Tariff of '42!" It was under
that sign that the Democrats conquered in Pennsylvania; and had they not
conquered in Pennsylvania, they themselves would have been conquered in
the nation. Mr. Polk and Mr. Dallas were the chief instruments used to
break down the Tariff of '42, in less than two years after they had been
elected to the first and second offices of the nation because they were
believed to be its most ardent friends. Mr. Polk, as President,
recommended that it should be changed, and employed all the influence of
his high station to get the Tariff Bill of 1846 through Congress; and
Mr. Dallas, who had been nominated for the Vice-Presidency with the
express purpose of "catching" the votes of Protectionists, gave his
casting vote in the Senate in favor of the new bill, which meant the
repeal of the Tariff of '42. The Democrats are playing the same game now
that they played in 1844, with this difference, that the stakes are ten
thousand times greater now than they were then, and that their manner of
play is far hardier than it was twenty years since. Then, the question,
though important, related only to a point of internal policy; now, it
relates to the national existence. Then, the Free-Traders did not
offensively proclaim their intention to cheat the Protectionists; now,
Mr. Fernando Wood and Mr. Vallandigham, and other leaders of the extreme
left of the Democratic party, with insulting candor, avow that to cheat
the country is the purpose which that party has in view. Mr.
Vallandigham, who made the Chicago Platform, explicitly declares that
that Platform and General McClellan's letter of acceptance do not agree;
at the same time Mr. Wood, who is for peace to the knife, calmly tells
us that General McClellan, as President, would do the work of the
Democracy,--and we need no Daniel to interpret Mr. Wood's words. We mean
no disrespect to General McClellan, on the contrary we treat him with
perfect respect, when we say that we do not believe he has a higher
sense of honor than Mr. Polk possessed; and as Mr. Polk became a tool in
the hands of a faction,--being a Protectionist during the contest of
'44, and an Anti-Protectionist after that contest had been decided in
his favor,--so is it intended that General McClellan shall become a tool
in the hands of another faction. Mr. Polk was employed to effect the
destruction of a "black tariff": General McClellan is employed to
destroy a nation that is supposed to be given up to "black
republicanism." We do not believe that the soldier will be found so
successful an instrument as the civilian proved to be.

An ounce of fact is supposed to be worth a ton of theory; and the facts
of the last four or five years admit of our believing the worst that can
be suspected of the purposes of the Democratic party. It is not
uncharitable to say that the leaders and managers of that party
contemplate, in the event of their triumph in November, the surrender of
the country to the slaveholding oligarchy; in the event of their defeat
by a small majority, the extension of the civil war over the North. Four
years ago we could not be made to believe that Secession was a possible
thing. We admitted that there were Secessionists at the South, but we
could not be made to believe in the possibility of Secession. Even
"South Carolina couldn't be kicked out of the Union," it was commonly
said in the North. There were but few disunionists at the South, almost
everybody said, and almost everybody believed what was said concerning
the state of Southern opinion. In a few weeks we saw, not South Carolina
kicked out of the Union, but South Carolina kicking the Union away from
her. In a few months we saw eleven States take themselves out of the
Union, form themselves into a Confederacy, and raise great armies to
fight against the Union. Yet it is certain that in the month of
November, 1860, there were not twenty thousand resolute disunionists in
all the Slaveholding States, leaving South Carolina and Mississippi
aside,--and not above fifty thousand in all the South, including
Mississippi and South Carolina. How, then, came it to pass that nearly
the whole of the population of the South became Rebels in so short a
time? Because they were under the dominion of their leading men, who
took them from the right road, and conducted them into the slough of
rebellion. Because they were encouraged so to act by the Northern
Democracy as made rebellion inevitable. The Northern Democratic press
and Northern Democratic orators held such language respecting "Southern
rights" as induced even loyal Southrons to suppose that Slavery was to
be openly recognized by the Constitution, and spread over the nation.
The President of the United States, a Northern Democrat, gravely
declared that there existed no right in the Government to coerce a
seceding State, which was all that the most determined Secessionist
could ask. Instead of doing anything to strengthen the position of the
federal Government, the President did all that he could to assist the
Secessionists, and left the country naked to their attacks; and he
parted on the best of terms with those Rebels who left his Cabinet,
where they had long been busy in organizing resistance to Federal
authority. The leaders of the Northern Democracy, far from exhibiting a
loyal spirit, urged the slaveholders to make demands which were at war
with the Constitution and the laws, and which could not have been
complied with, unless it had been meant to admit that there was no
binding force in existing institutions, the validity of which had not
once been called in question for seventy-two years. The real
Secessionists of the South, Rhett and Yancey and their followers,
availed themselves of the existing state of affairs, and precipitated
rebellion,--a step which they never would have taken, had they not been
assured that no resistance would be made to their action so long as Mr.
Buchanan should remain in the Presidency, and that he would be supported
by the leaders of the Northern Democracy, who would take their followers
with them along the road that led to the Union's dissolution. South
Carolina, rabid as she was, did not rebel until the last Democratic
President of the United States had publicly assured her that he would do
nothing to prevent her from reducing the Calhoun theory to practice; and
had she not rebelled, not another State would have left the Union. The
opportunity that she could not get under President Jackson she obtained
under President Buchanan,--and she did not hesitate to make the most of
that opportunity, all indeed that could be made of it, well knowing that
it could not be expected again to occur.

With these facts before them, the American people should be prepared for
further rebellious action on the part of that faction whose creed it is
that rebellion is right when directed against the ascendency of their
political opponents. They have done their utmost to assist the Rebels
all through the war, and the great riots in New York last year were the
legitimate consequences of their doctrine, if not of their labors. We
know that organizations hostile to the Union have been formed in the
West, and that there was to have been a rising there, had any striking
successes been achieved by the Confederate forces during the last six
months. Nothing but the vigor and the victories of Grant and Sherman and
Farragut saved the North from becoming the scene of civil war in 1864.
Nothing but the vigor and union of the people in their political
capacity can keep civil war from the North hereafter. The followers of
the Seymours and other ultra Democrats of the North are not more loyal
than were nine-tenths of the Southern people in 1860. Few of them now
think of becoming rebels, but they would as readily rebel as did the
Southern men who have filled the armies of Lee and Beauregard, and who
have poured out their blood so lavishly to destroy that nation which
owes its existence to the labors of Southern men, to the exertions of
Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and others, natives of the very States
that have done most in the cause of destruction. The sentiment of
nationality is no stronger among Northern Democrats than it was among
Southern Democrats; and as the latter were converted into traitors at
the bidding of a few leading politicians whose plans were favored by
circumstances, so would the former become traitors at the first signal
to any move that _their_ leaders should make. As to the two classes of
leaders, the Southern men are far superior in every manly quality to
those Northern men who are doing their work. It is possible that the men
of the South really did believe that their property was in danger, and
it is beyond dispute that they were alarmed about their political power;
but the men of the North who sympathize with them, and who are prepared
to aid them at the first opportunity that shall offer to strike an
effective blow, well knew that the victorious Republicans had neither
the will nor the power to injure Southern property or to weaken the
protection it enjoyed under the Constitution. Their hostility to the
Union is purely gratuitous, or springs from motives of the most sordid

There is but one way to meet the danger that threatens us,--a danger
that really is greater than that with which we were threatened in 1860,
and which we have the advantage of seeing, whereas we could see nothing
in that year. We must strengthen the Government, make it literally
irresistible, by clothing it with the whole of that power which proceeds
from an emphatic and unmistakable expression of the popular will. Give
Mr. Lincoln, in the approaching election, the strength that comes from a
united people, and we shall have peace maintained throughout the North,
and peace restored to the South. Reëlect him by a small majority, and
there will be civil war in the North, and a revival of warlike spirit in
the South. Elect General McClellan, and we shall have to choose between
constant warfare, as a consequence of having approved of Secession by
approving of the Chicago Platform,--which is Secession formally
democratized,--and despotism, the only thing that would save us from
anarchy. Anarchy is the one thing that men will not, because they
cannot, long endure. Order is indeed now and forever Heaven's first law,
and order society must and will have. Order is just as compatible with
constitutional government as it is with despotic government; but to have
it in connection with freedom, in other words, with the existence of a
constitutional polity, the people must do their whole duty. They must
rise above the prejudices of party and of faction, and see nothing but
their country and liberty. They must show that they are worthy of
freedom, or they cannot long have it. Now is the time to prove that the
American people know the difference between liberty and license, by
their support of the party of order and constitutional government, and
by administering a thorough rebuke to those licentious men who are
seeking to overwhelm the country and its Constitution in a common ruin.

Of President Lincoln's reëlection no doubt can be entertained, whether
we judge of the issue by the condition of the country, or by the
sentiments that should animate the great majority of the people, and by
which, we are convinced, that majority is animated. The Union candidate,
no matter what his name or antecedents, should be elected by a majority
so great as to "coerce" the turbulent portion of the Democracy into
submission to the laws of the land, and into respect for the popular
will, the last thing for which Democrats have any respect. Had the Union
National Convention seen fit to place a new man in nomination, it would
have been the duty of the voters to support him with all the means
honestly at their command; but we must say that there is a peculiar
obligation upon Americans to reëlect Mr. Lincoln, and to reëlect him by
a vote that should surprise even the most sanguine and hopeful of his
friends. The war from which the nation, and the whole world, have been
made to suffer so much, and from the effects of which mankind will be
long in recovering, was made because of Mr. Lincoln's election to the
Presidency. The North was to be punished for having had the audacity to
elect him even when the Democracy were divided, and the success of the
Republican candidate was a thing of course. He, a mere man of the
people, should never become _President of the United States_! The most
good-natured of men, it is known that his success made him an object of
personal aversion to the Southern leaders. They did their worst to
prevent his becoming President of the Republic, and in that way they
wronged and insulted the people far more than they wronged and insulted
the man whom the people had elected to the highest post in the land; and
the people are bound, by way of vindicating their dignity and
establishing their power, to make Mr. Lincoln President of the _United_
States, to compel the acknowledgment of his legal right to be the chief
magistrate of the nation as unreservedly, from South Carolina as from
Massachusetts. His authority should be admitted as fully in Virginia as
it is in New York, in Georgia and Alabama as in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
This can follow only from his reëlection; and it can follow only from
his reëlection by a decisive majority. That insolent spirit which led
the South to become so easy a prey to the Secession faction, when not a
tenth part of its people were Secessionists, should be thoroughly,
emphatically rebuked, and its chief representatives severely punished,
by extorting from the rebellious section a practical admission of the
enormity of the crime of which it was guilty when it resisted the lawful
authority of a President who was chosen in strict accordance with the
requirements of the Constitution, and who entertained no more intention
of interfering with the constitutional rights of the South than he
thought of instituting a crusade for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre.
The majesty of the law should be asserted and established, and that can
best be done by placing President Lincoln a second time at the head of
the Republic, the revolt of the slaveholders being directed against him
personally as well as against that principle of which he was the legally
elected representative. In him the spirit of order is incarnate; and his
reëlection by a great popular vote would be the establishment of the
fact that under our system it is possible to maintain order, and to
humiliate and subdue the children of anarchy.

President Lincoln should be reëlected, if for no other reason, that
there may go forth to the world a pointed approval of his conduct from
his constituents. As we have said, we do not claim perfection for the
policy and acts of the Administration; but we are of opinion that its
mistakes have been no greater than in most instances would have been
committed by any body of men that could have been selected from the
entire population of the country. Take the policy that has been pursued
with reference to Slavery. Many of us thought that the President issued
his Emancipation Proclamation at least a year too late; but we must now
see that the time selected for its promulgation was as skilfully chosen
as its aim was laudable. Had it come out a year earlier, in 1861, the
friends of the Rebels could have said, with much plausibility, that its
appearance had rendered a restoration of the Union impossible, and that
the slaveholders had no longer any hope of having their property-rights
respected under the Federal Constitution. But by allowing seventeen
months to elapse before issuing it, the President compelled the Rebels
to commit themselves absolutely to the cause of the Union's overthrow
without reference to any attack that had been made on Slavery in a time
of war. It has not, therefore, been in the power of their allies here to
say that the issuing of the Proclamation placed an impassable gulf
between the Union and the Confederacy; for the Confederates were as loud
in their declarations that they never would return into the Union before
the Proclamation appeared as they have been since its appearance. They
were caught completely, and deprived of the only pretence that could
have been invented for their benefit, by themselves or by their friends.
The adoption of an Emancipation policy did not cause us the loss of one
friend in the South, while it gained friends for our cause in every
country that felt an interest in our struggle. It prevented the
acknowledgment of the Southern Confederacy by France, and by other
nations, as French example would have found prompt imitation. Its
appearance was the turning event of the war, and it was most happily
timed for both foreign and domestic effect. It will be the noblest fact
in President Lincoln's history, that by the same action he announced
freedom to four millions of bondmen, and secured his country against
even the possibility of foreign mediation, foreign intervention, and
foreign war.

The political state of the country, as indicated by the result of recent
elections, is not without interest, in connection with the Presidential
contest. Since the nomination of General McClellan, elections have been
held in several States for local officers and Members of Congress, and
the results are highly favorable to the Union cause. The first election
was held in Vermont, and the Union party reëlected their candidate for
Governor, and all their candidates for Members of Congress, by a
majority of more than twenty thousand. They have also a great majority
in the Legislature, the Democrats not choosing so much as one Senator,
and but few Members of the House of Representatives. The election in
Maine took place but six days after that of Vermont, and with similar
results. The Union candidate for Governor was reëlected, by a majority
that is stated at sixteen thousand. Every Congressional District was
carried by the Union men. In one district a Democrat was elected in
1862, at the time when the Administration was very unpopular because of
the military failures that were so common in the summer of that dark and
eventful year. His majority was one hundred and twenty-seven. At the
late election his constituents refused to reëlect him, and his place was
bestowed on a friend of the Administration, whose majority is said to be
about two thousand. The majorities of the other candidates were much
larger, in two instances exceeding four thousand each. The State
Legislature elected on the same day is of Administration politics in the
proportion of five to one. These two States may be said to represent
both of the old parties that existed in New England during the thirty
years that followed the Presidential election of 1824. Vermont was of
National-Republican or Whig politics down to 1854, and always voted
against Democratic candidates for the Presidency. Maine was almost as
strongly Democratic in her opinions and action as Vermont was
Anti-Democratic, voting but once, in 1840, against a Democratic
candidate for the Presidency, in twenty-four years. Her electoral votes
were given for General Jackson in 1832, for Mr. Van Buren in 1836, for
Mr. Polk in 1844, for General Cass in 1848, and for General Pierce in
1852. Yet she has acted politically with Vermont for more than ten
years, both States supporting Colonel Fremont in 1856, and Mr. Lincoln
in 1860,--a striking proof of the levelling effect of that pro-slavery
policy and action which have characterized the Democratic party ever
since the inauguration of President Pierce, in 1853. Had the Democratic
party not gone over to the support of the slaveholding interest, Maine
would have been a Democratic State at this day.

There were important elections held on the 11th of October in the great
and influential States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, and the
verdicts which should be pronounced by these States were expected with
an interest which it was impossible to increase, as it was felt that
they would go far toward deciding the event of the Presidential contest.
Vermont's action might be attributed to her determined and
long-continued opposition to the Democratic party, which no change in
others could operate to lessen; and the course of Maine could be
attributed to her "Yankee" character and position: but Pennsylvania has
generally been Democratic in her decisions, and she has nothing of the
Yankee about her, while Ohio and Indiana are thoroughly Western in all
respects. Down to a few days before the time for voting, the common
opinion was, that Pennsylvania would give a respectable majority for the
Union candidates, that Ohio would pronounce the same way by a great
majority, and that Indiana would be found with the Democrats; but early
in October doubts began to prevail with respect to the action of
Pennsylvania, though no one could say why they came to exist. What
happened showed that the change in feeling did not unfaithfully
foreshadow the change that had taken place in the second State of the
Union. Ohio's decision was not different from what had been expected,
her Union majority being not less than fifty thousand, including the
soldiers' vote. Indiana's action astonished every one. Instead of
furnishing evidence that General McClellan's nomination had been
beneficial to his party, the event in the Hoosier State led to the
opposite conclusion. The Democratic majority in that State in 1862 was
ten thousand, and that it could be overcome, or materially reduced, was
not thought possible. Yet the voting done there on the 11th of October
terminated most disastrously for the Democrats, the popular majority
against them being not less than twenty thousand, while they lost
several Members of Congress, among them Mr. Voorhees, who is to Indiana
what Mr. Vallandigham is to Ohio, only that he has a little more
prudence than the Ohioan. Indiana was the only one of the States in
which a Governor was chosen, which made the returns easy of attainment.
Governor Morton, who is reëlected, "stumped" the State; and to his
exertions, no doubt, much of the Union success is due. In Pennsylvania,
at the time we write, it is not settled which party has the majority on
the home vote; but, as the soldiers vote in the proportion of about
eleven to two for the Republican candidates, the majority of the latter
will be good,--and it will be increased at the November election.

The States that voted on the 11th of October give sixty electoral votes,
or two more than half the number necessary for a choice of President.
They are all certain to be given for Mr. Lincoln, as also are the votes
of the six New England States, and those of New York, Illinois,
Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia, and
California, making 189 in all, the States mentioned being entitled to
the following votes:--Massachusetts 12, Maine 7, New Hampshire 5,
Vermont 5, Rhode Island 4, Connecticut 6, New York 33, Pennsylvania 26,
Ohio 21, Indiana 13, Illinois 16, Michigan 8, Minnesota 4, Wisconsin 8,
Iowa 8, Kansas 3, West Virginia 5, and California 5. And so ABRAHAM
LINCOLN and ANDREW JOHNSON will be President and Vice-President of the
United States for the four years that shall begin on the 4th of March,


     _An American Dictionary of the English Language._ By NOAH
     WEBSTER, LL.D. Thoroughly revised, and greatly enlarged and
     improved, by CHAUNCEY A. GOODRICH, LL.D., etc., and NOAH
     PORTER, D.D., etc. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam. Royal
     4to. pp. lxxii., 1768.

Beyond cavil, this portly and handsome volume makes good the claim which
is set forth on the title-page. The revision which the old edition has
undergone is manifestly a most thorough one, extending to every
department of the work, and to its minutest details. The enlargement it
has received is very considerable, the size of the page having been
increased, and more than eighty pages added to the number contained in
the previous or "Pictorial" edition. The improvements are not only
really such, but they are so many and so great that they amount to a
complete remodelling of the work; and hence the objections heretofore
brought against it--many of them very justly--have, for the most part,
no longer any validity or pertinency. It may be questioned, however,
whether the Dictionary, in view of the manifold and extensive changes
which have been made in its matter and plan, should not be said to have
been _based_ on that of Dr. Webster rather than to be _by_ him. St.
Anthony's shirt cannot be patched and patched forever and still remain
St. Anthony's shirt. But there is doubtless much virtue in a name, and,
so long as the publishers have given us a truly excellent work, it
matters little by what title they choose to call it.

We are amazed at the vastness of the vocabulary, which embraces upwards
of one hundred and fourteen thousand words, being some ten thousand
more, it is claimed, than any other word-book of the language. Such
unexampled fulness would be apt to excite a suspicion that a
deliberately adopted system of crimping had been carried on within the
tempting domains of the natural sciences, to furnish recruits for this
enormous army of vocables. But we do not find, upon a pretty careful
examination, that many terms of this sort have been admitted which are
not fairly entitled to a place in a popular lexicon.

In the matter of definition, we can unqualifiedly commend the principles
by which the editor and his coadjutors appear to have been guided,
notwithstanding an occasional failure to carry out these principles with
entire consistency. The crying fault of mistaking different applications
of a meaning of a word for essentially different significations--the
head and front of Dr. Webster's offending as a definer, and not of Dr.
Webster only, but of almost all other lexicographers--has generally been
avoided in this edition. The philosophical analysis, the orderly
arrangement of meanings, the simplicity, comprehensiveness, and
precision of statement, the freedom from prejudice, crotchets, and
dogmatism, the good taste and good sense, which characterize this
portion of the work, are deserving of the fullest recognition and the
highest praise.

In the department of etymology, the revision has been thorough indeed,
and, as all the world knows, the Dictionary stood sadly enough in need
of it. But we were not prepared for so entire and fearless an
overhauling of Dr. Webster's "Old Curiosity Shop," or for a contribution
to philological science so valuable and original. It is not too much to
say that no other English dictionary, and no special treatise on English
etymology, that has yet appeared, can compare with it. As a fitting
introduction to the subject, a "Brief History of the English Language,"
by Professor James Hadley, is prefixed to the vocabulary, and will well
repay careful study.

No excellences, however, we apprehend, in definition or etymology will
reconcile scholars to those peculiarities of spelling which are commonly
known as Websterianisms, and which, with a few exceptions, are retained
in the edition before us. The pages of this magazine are evidence that
we ourselves regard them with no favor. But we are bound, in common
honesty, to state, that, in every case in which Dr. Webster's
orthography is given, it is accompanied by the common spelling, and
thus the user of the book is left at liberty to take his choice of
modes. We are also bound, in common fairness, to admit that many, if not
all, of the quite limited number of changes put forward in the later
editions of the Dictionary are, in themselves considered, unquestionable
improvements, and that, if adopted by the whole English-writing public
on both sides of the water, or even in this country alone, would redeem
our common language from some of the gross anomalies and grievous
confusion which now make it a monster among the graphic systems of the
world, and a stumbling-block and stone of offence to all who undertake
to learn it. Furthermore, it must be conceded that almost all our
lexicographers have been nearly or quite as ready as Dr. Webster to
attempt improvements in orthography, though they may have shown more
discretion than he. It is not generally known, we suspect, but it is
none the less a fact, that Johnson, Todd, Perry, Smart, Worcester, and
various other eminent orthographers, have all deviated more or less from
actual usage, in order to carry out some "principle" or "analogy" of the
language, or to give sanction and authority to some individual fancy of
their own. So much may be said in defence of Dr. Webster against the
ignorant vituperation with which he has often been assailed. But, on the
other hand, he is fairly open to the charge of having violated his own
canons in repeated instances. To take a single case, why should he not
have spelt _until_ with two _l_s, instead of one,--as he does "distill,"
"fulfill," etc.,--when it was so desirable to complete an analogy, and
when he had for it the warrant of a very common, if not the most
reputable, usage? Again, it seems to us, that, if our orthography is to
be reformed at all, it should be reformed not indifferently, but
altogether; for it is, beyond controversy, atrociously bad, poorly
fulfilling, as Professor Hadley justly remarks, (p. xxviii.,) its
original and proper office of indicating pronunciation, while it no
better fufils the improper office, which some would assert for it, of a
guide to etymology. Emendations on the here-a-little-there-a-little
plan, while they do no harm, do little good. They are but topical
remedies, which cannot restore the pristine vigor of a ruined
constitution. What we need is a reform as thorough-going as that which
has been effected in the Spanish language. Shall we ever have it? or
will the irrational conservatism of the educated classes, in all time to
come, prevent a consummation so desirable, and so desiderated by the
philologist? Max Müller thinks that perhaps our posterity, some three
hundred years hence, may write as they speak,--in other words, that our
orthography will by that time have become a phonetic one. It is not safe
to prophesy; but, whether such a result comes soon or late, the credit
of having accomplished it will not be due to those "half-learned and
parcel-learned" persons who consider the present written form of the
language as a thing "taboo," and look with such horror upon all attempts
to better its condition.

As regards pronunciation, we think this will be generally considered one
of the strong points of the new Dictionary. The introductory treatise on
the "Principles of Pronunciation" is a comprehensive, instructive, and
eminently practical, though not very philosophically constructed,
exposition of the subject of English orthoëpy. It contains an analysis
and description of the elementary sounds of the language, a discussion
of certain questions about which orthoëpists are at variance, and a
useful collection of facts, rules, and directions respecting a variety
of other matters falling within its scope. As a sort of pendant to this,
we have a "Synopsis of Words differently pronounced by Different
Orthoëpists," which those who regulate their pronunciation by written
authorities or opinions may find it useful to consult. The
pronunciations given in the body of the work appear to be conformed to
the usage of the best speakers. We notice with gratification that such
vulgarisms as ab´do-men, pus´sl (for pust´ule!), s_w_ord (for sord),
etc., no longer continue to deface the book.

A large number of wood-cuts, mostly selected with good judgment and
skilfully engraved, adorn the pages, and throw light upon the
definitions. Besides being inserted in the vocabulary in connection with
the words they illustrate, they are brought together, in a classified
form, at the end of the volume. This is claimed as an "obvious

We have left ourselves but little space to notice the very rich and
attractive Appendix, the first fifty pages of which are taken up with
an "Explanatory and Pronouncing Vocabulary of the Names of Noted
Fictitious Persons and Places," etc., by William A. Wheeler. The
conception of such a work was singularly happy, as well as original,
and, on the whole, the task has been executed with commendable fidelity
and discretion. That occasional omissions and mistakes should be
discovered will probably surprise no one less than the author. Attention
has elsewhere been publicly called, in particular, to the fact that Owen
Meredith is given as the pseudonyme of Sir Bulwer Lytton instead of his
son, E. R. Bulwer: this would seem to be a bad blunder, but we
understand that it was a mere error of oversight, and that it was
corrected before the Dictionary was fairly in the market. If other
mistakes should be brought to light,--and what work of such multiplicity
was ever free from them?--Mr. Wheeler will doubtless call to mind,
and his readers must not forget, the eloquent excuse which Dr.
Johnson offers, in the preface to his Dictionary, for his own
shortcomings:--"That sudden fits of inadvertency will surprise
vigilance, slight avocations will seduce attention, and casual eclipses
of the mind will darken learning; and that the writer shall often in
vain trace his memory at the moment of need for that which yesterday he
knew with intuitive readiness, and which will come uncalled into his
thoughts to-morrow." The "Pronouncing Vocabularies of Modern
Geographical and Biographical Names, by J. Thomas, M. D.," are evidently
the product of laborious and conscientious research; and, while we
differ widely from Dr. Thomas on various points, general and particular,
we must allow that his vocabularies are as yet the only ones of the kind
which approximate with any nearness to the character of an authoritative
standard. The other Vocabularies or "Tables" of the Appendix seem also
to have been prepared with sound judgment and much painstaking, but we
cannot dwell upon them.

To sum up, in all the essential points of a good dictionary,--in the
amplitude and selectness of its vocabulary, in the fulness and
perspicacity of its definitions, in its orthoëpy and (_cum grano salis_)
its orthography, in its new and trustworthy etymologies, in the
elaborate, but not too learned treatises of its Introduction, in its
carefully prepared and valuable appendices,--briefly, in its general
accuracy, completeness, and practical utility,--the work is one which
none who read or write can henceforward afford to dispense with.

Mindful of the old adage, we have instituted no comparison between
Webster and Worcester. If the latter, excellent as it is, should now be
found in some respects inferior to the former, it is to be remembered
that the present edition of Webster has the great advantage of being
four or five years later in point of time, and that it has been enriched
by the use of materials which were not accessible to Worcester. We are
glad to see a handsome tribute to the learning and industry of Dr.
Worcester, and an honest acknowledgment of indebtedness to his labors,
in Professor Porter's Preface. This is as it should be; and we hope that
the publishers, on both sides, acting in the same spirit, will forego
all unfriendly controversy. Let there be no new War of the Dictionaries.
The world is wide enough for both, and both are monuments of industry,
judgment, and erudition, in the highest degree creditable to American
scholarship, and unequalled by anything that has yet been done by
English philologists of the present century.

     _Dramatis Personæ._ By ROBERT BROWNING. Boston: Ticknor and

The title of this new volume of poems expresses the peculiarity which we
find in everything that Mr. Browning composes. Notwithstanding the
remoteness of his moods, and the curious subtilty with which he follows
the trace of exceptional feelings, he impersonates dramatically: there
may be few such people as these choice acquaintances of his genius, but
they are persons, and not mere figures labelled with a thought. Pippa,
Guendolen, Luria, the Duchess, Bishop Blougram, Frà Lippo Lippi, are
persons, however much they may be given to episodes and reverie. You
find a great deal that is irrelevant to the thorough working-out of a
character, much that is not simply individual: Mr. Browning gets
sometimes in the way, so that you lose sight of his companion, but it
is not as Punch's master overzealously pulls the wires of his puppets.
You would not say that a man can find many such companions, but you
cannot deny that they are vividly described. Perhaps they appear in only
one or two moods, but these have individual life. They are discovered in
rare exalted or peculiar moments, but these are in costume and bathed in
color. Shutting and opening many doors, balked at one vestibule and
traversing another, suddenly you surprise the lord or mistress of the
mansion, or from some threshold you silently observe their secret
passion, which is unconscious of the daylight, and is caught in all its
frankness. You come upon people, and not upon pictures in a house.

But the pictures, too, in all Mr. Browning's interiors, seem to have
grown out of the life of the persons. He has not merely come in and hung
them up, as poor artist or upholsterer, to make a sumptuous house for
fine people to move into. The character in any one of his poems seems to
have devised the furnishing: it is distinct, exterior, not always
helping or expressing the character's thought, sometimes to be referred
to that only with an effort, but still no other character could have so
furnished his house. You can find the individuality everywhere, if you
care to take the trouble. But if you are in haste, or do not
particularly sympathize with the person whose drama you surprise, you
and he will be together like vagrants in a gallery, who long for a
catalogue, dislocate their necks, and anathematize the whole collection.
But do not then say that you have gauged and criticized the life that
streams from Mr. Browning's pen.

How vivid and personal is, for instance, "Pictor Ignotus," one of the
earlier poems! The painter is no longer unknown, for his mood betrays
and describes him. It is not merely his speaking in the first person
which saves him from melting into an abstraction, but it is that the "I"
takes flesh and lives; the poet dramatizes or _shows_ him.

Of this class of poems is the one entitled "Abt Vogler" in the present
volume. The Abbot was a famous musician and organist, the teacher of
Meyerbeer. Concerning the new kind of organ which he invented, and which
he called an "Orchestricon," we know nothing, save that its effects were
merely amplifications of those belonging to an organ. The poem describes
the awe and rapture which fill the soul of a great organist when the
instrument shudders, soars, rejoices in his inspiration. It is not the
description of a musical mood, but the showing of a man who has the
mood. It is the exultation and religious feeling of a man in the very
act. The noble lines are not fine things attempting to set forth the
metaphysics of musical expression and enjoyment, but they represent a
man at the very climax of his musical passion. Is the effect any the
less dramatic because the man is not committing a murder, or conspiring,
or seducing, or overreaching, or infecting an honest ear with jealousy?
It is not so theatrical, because the emotion itself is not so broad and
popular, but its inmost genius is dramatic.

"A Death in the Desert" is another poem that attempts to restore a
fleeting moment, full of profound thought and feeling, by giving it
individuals, and showing them living in it, instead of meditating about
it with fine after-thoughts. Pamphylax describes the death of St. John
in a desert cave. At first the individuals are clearly seen; but the
poem soon lapses into philosophizing, and winds up with theology. Still,
here is the power of reproducing the tone and sentiments of a
long-buried and forgotten epoch, as if the matters involved had
immediate interest and were vigorously mauled in all the newspapers. St.
John might have died last week, or we might be Syrian converts of the
second century, dissolved in tenderness at the thought that the Beloved
Disciple at last had gone to lay his head again upon the Master's bosom.
The poem talks as if it were trying to satisfy this mixture of memory
and curiosity.

Some of the best lines ever written by Mr. Browning are here. Take
these, for instance. Pamphylax, reporting John's last words, as the
hoary life flickered and clung, gives this:--

        "A stick, once fire from end to end;
    Now ashes, save the tip that holds a spark!
    Yet, blow the spark, it runs back, spreads itself
    A little where the fire was: thus I urge
    The soul that served me, till it task once more
    What ashes of my brain have kept their shape,
    And these make effort on the last o' the flesh,
    Trying to taste again the truth of things."

And after recalling the inspirations of Patmos:--

    "But at the last, why, I seemed left alive
    Like a sea-jelly weak on Patmos strand,
    To tell dry sea-beach gazers how I fared
    When there was mid-sea, and the mighty things.

       *    *    *

    Yet now I wake in such decrepitude
    As I had slidden down and fallen afar,
    Past even the presence of my former self,
    Grasping the while for stay at facts which snap,
    Till I am found away from my own world,
    Feeling for foothold through a blank profound."

The poem entitled "Caliban upon Setebos; or, Natural Theology in the
Island," has for a motto, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an
one as thyself." Caliban talks to himself about "that other, whom his
dam called God." Setebos is the great First Cause as conceived and
dreaded in the heart of a Caliban. The poem is by no means a caricature
of the natural theology which springs from selfishness and fear. All the
phenomena of the world are neither

            "right nor wrong in Him,
    Nor kind nor cruel: He is strong and Lord.
    'Am strong myself, compared to yonder crabs
    That march now from the mountain to the sea;
    Let twenty pass, and stone the twenty-first,
    Loving not, hating not, just choosing so."

The materialist who believes in Forces is brother to the Calvinist who
preaches Sovereignty and the Divine Decrees. The preacher lets loose
upon the imagination of mankind a Setebos, who after death will plague
his enemies and feast his friends. The materialist believes, with
Caliban, that

          "He doth his worst in this our life,
    Giving just respite lest we die through pain,
    Saving last pain for worst,--with which, an end."

The grave irony of this poem so bespatters the theologian's God with his
own mud that we dread the image and recoil. From the unsparing vigor of
these lines we turn for relief to "Rabbi Ben Ezra" and "Prospice." In
both of these we have glimpses of Mr. Browning's true theology, which is
the faith of his whole soul in the excellence of that world whose beauty
he interprets, of the human nature whose capacity he does so much to
"keep in repute," and of the Infinite Love.

        "Praise be Thine!
    I see the whole design,
    I, who saw Power, shall see Love perfect too:
    Perfect I call thy plan:
    Thanks that I was a man!
    Maker, remake, complete,--I trust what Thou shalt do!"

We find in this new volume more distinct and tranquil expressions of Mr.
Browning's thought upon the relation of the finite to the infinite than
he has given us before. And his pen has turned with freedom and
satisfaction towards these things, as if the imagination had broken new
outlets for itself through the world's beautiful horizon into the great
sea. How "like one entire and perfect chrysolite" is the little piece
called "Prospice"! But we are all the more surprised to see occasionally
a touch of the genuine British denseness, whenever he recollects that
there are such people as Strauss, Bishop Colenso, and the men of the
"Essays and Reviews" prowling around the preserve where the ill-kept
Thirty-Nine Articles still find a little short grass to nibble. When we
read the last three verses of "Gold Hair," we set him down for a
High-Church bigot: the English discussions upon points of exegesis and
theology appear to him threatening to prove the Christian faith false,
but for his part he still sees reasons to suppose it true, and this,
among others, that it taught Original Sin, the Corruption of Man's
Heart! We escape from this to "Rabbi Ben Ezra" for reassurance, not
greatly minding the inconsistency that then appears, but confirmed in an
old opinion of ours, that John Bull, in this matter of theology, has his
mumps and scarlatina very late, and they are likely to go hard with a
constitution that is weaned from the pure truth of things.

"Gold Hair," notwithstanding its picturesque lines, is weak and
inconclusive. Its moral is conventional, while the incident is too
far-fetched for sympathy. The series of little poems called "James Lee"
is full of beauties, but it is too vague to make a firm impression. We
suppose it tells the story of love that exaggerates a common nature,
clings to it, and shrivels away. What can be finer than the way in which
an unsatisfied heart makes the wind the interpreter of its pain and
dread? This is the sixth poem, "Under the Cliff."

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

But in this very poem the figure of the nun is artificial, and
interrupts the pathetic feeling. And we cannot make anything out of the
piece, "Beside the Drawing-Board," unless we first detach it from its
position in the series, and like it alone. On the whole, many fine lines
are here, but no real person and no poetic impression.

Neither the dramatic nor the lyrical quality appears in this volume as
it did once in the splendid "Bells and Pomegranates," which gave us such
vivid shapes, and emotions so consistent and sustained, even though they
were so often flawed by over-reflection. In this volume the purposes are
less palpable, and the pen seems to have pursued them with less tenacity
than usual. It has the air of having been scraped together. Yet how
charming is "Confessions," and "Youth and Art," and "A Likeness"!
Besides these, the best pieces are those which touch upon the highest

"Mr. Sludge, the Medium," cannot be called a poem. It would not be
possible to write satire, epic, idyl, not even elegy, upon that
"rat-hole philosophy," as Mr. Emerson once styled the new fetichism of
the mahogany tables. It has not one element that asks the sense of
beauty to incorporate it, or challenges the weapon of wit to transfix
it. It is humiliating, but not pathetic, not even when yearning hearts
are trying to pretend that their first-born vibrates to them through a
stranger's and a hireling's mind. It is not even grotesque, but it is
gross, and flat, and stale; its messages are fatuous, its machinery the
rickety heirlooms of old humbugs of Greece and Alexandria. No thrill, no
terror, no true awe, nothing but "goose-flesh" and disgust, creep from
the medium's presence. Pegasus need not be saddled; summon, rather, the

Yet this composition, which Mr. Browning must have undertaken in a
moment of high indignation, with the motive of self-relief, is full of
common sense. Mr. Sludge's vindication of his career turns upon the
point that people like on the whole to be deceived, especially in
matters relating to the invisible world. Sludge must be right in this;
otherwise the theologians would not have had such a successful run. The
facile and eager "circle" betrays the imaginative medium into reporting
what it appears most to desire. The superstition of the people excites
and feeds his own. He is only one against a crowd which deluges him with
its expectation, and resents a scarcity of the supernatural. Mr. Sludge
is not so much to blame: the people at length push the thing so far that
he is obliged to cheat in self-defence. And when a man tasks his wits
successfully, if it be only to mislead the witless, he has a sense of
satisfaction in the effort akin to that of the rhetorician and the

But shrewdness and good sense cannot make a poem by assuming the measure
of blank verse. And a few Yankee phrases are pasted into Mr. Sludge's
talk, such as "stiffish cock-tail," "V-notes," "sniggering," allusions
to "Greeley's newspaper," Beacon Street, etc.: there is no character in
them at all. Mr. Sludge is a bad Yankee, as well as impudent pleader.
The lines never sparkle, even with the poet's indignation, but they seem
to be all the time blown into a forced vivacity and heat. Nemesis
attends the poet who plunges his arm for a subject into this burrow of

Let us pass from this to note the noble lesson that the last poem,
entitled "Epilogue," conveys. Three speakers tell in turn their feeling
of the Divine Presence. The first intones the old Hebrew notion, loved
by the childhood of all races and countries, that the Lord's Face fills
His earthly temple at stated periods, culminating with the human glory
of psalms and hallelujahs, to absorb and shine in the rejoicing of the
worshippers, to sink back again into the invisible upon the dying
strain. The second speaker describes the reaction, when the enthusiastic
belief of early times is replaced by a dull sense that no Face shines,
by a doubt if beyond the darkness and the distance there be yet a God
who will answer to the old rapture, a sun to rise when man's heart
rises, a love corresponding to his ecstasy:--

      "Where may hide what came and loved our clay?
    How shall the sage detect in yon expanse
    The star which chose to stoop and stay for us?
    Unroll the records!"

But the third speaker bids the records be closed, that man may worship
the God who lives, instead of regretting that He lived of old. Take the
least man, observe his head and heart, find how he differs from every
other man; see how Nature by degrees grows around him, to nourish,
infold, and set him off, to enrich him with opportunities, as if he were
her only foster-child, and to flatter thus every other man in turn,
making him her darling as though in expectation of finding no other,
till, having extorted all his worth and beauty, and cherished him to the
utmost of his possible life, she rolls away elsewhere, continually
keeping up this pageant of humanity:--

    "Why, where's the need of Temple, when the walls
    O' the world are that? What use of swells and falls
    From Levites' choir, Priests' cries, and trumpet-calls?
    That one Face, far from vanish, rather grows,
    Or decomposes but to recompose,
    Become my universe that feels and knows!"

This is the true religion, hallowing the poet's gifts and inviting them
to celebrate and express it. We wish that the lines would let their
meaning meet us with a more level gaze. In the poems of this class there
is riper thought and a clearer intuition, toward which all the previous
poems of Mr. Browning appear to have struggled, faring from the East to
contribute myrrh, frankincense, and gems to this simplicity.



Flirtations in Fashionable Life. By Catherine Sinclair. Author of
"Beatrice," "Modern Accomplishments," etc. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson
& Brothers. 16mo. pp. 424. $2.00.

School Economy. A Treatise on the Preparation, Organization,
Employments, Government, and Authorities of Schools. By James Pyle
Wickersham, A. M., Principal of the Pennsylvania State Normal School,
Millersville, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 12mo.
pp. xviii., 381. $1.50.

Hand-Book of the United States Navy: Being a Compilation of all the
Principal Events in the History of every Vessel of the United States
Navy. From April, 1861, to May, 1864. Compiled and arranged by B. S.
Osbon. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 16mo. pp. iv., 277. $2.50.

The Pride of Life. By Jane, Lady Scott, "Daughter-in-Law of Sir Walter
Scott," and Author of "The Henpecked Husband." Philadelphia. T. B.
Peterson & Brothers. 16mo. pp. 384. $2.00.

The Wrong of Slavery, the Right of Emancipation, and the Future of the
African Race in the United States. By Robert Dale Owen. Philadelphia. J.
B. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 246. $1.25.

The Army Ration. How to diminish its Weight and Bulk, secure Economy in
its Administration, avoid Waste, and increase the Comfort, Efficiency,
and Mobility of Troops. By E. N. Horsford. New York. D. Van Nostrand.
8vo. paper, pp. 37. 25 cents.

Chimasia: A Reply to Longfellow's Theologian; and other Poems. By
Orthos. Philadelphia. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 12mo. pp. 96. $1.00.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864" ***

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