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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 96, October 1865
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 96, October 1865" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

_A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics._

VOL. XVI.--OCTOBER, 1865.--NO. XCVI.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by TICKNOR
AND FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
District of Massachusetts.


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



SAINTS WHO HAVE HAD BODIES.


All doubtless remember the story which is told of the witty Charles II.
and the Royal Society: How one day the King brought to the attention of
its members a most curious and inexplicable phenomenon, which he stated
thus: "When you put a trout into a pail full of water, why does not the
water overflow?" The savans, naturally enough, were surprised, and
suggested many wise, but fruitless explanations; until at last one of
their number, having no proper reverence for royalty in his heart,
demanded that the experiment should actually be tried. Then, of course,
it was proved that there was no phenomenon to be explained. The water
overflowed fast enough. Indeed, it is chronicled that the evolutions of
this lively member of the piscatory tribe were so brisk, that the
difficulty was the exact opposite of what was anticipated, namely, how
to keep the water in.

This story may be a pure fable, but the lesson it teaches is true and
important. It illustrates forcibly the facility with which even wise men
accept doubtful propositions, and then apply the whole power of their
minds to explain them, and perhaps to defend them. Latterly one hears
constantly of the physical decay which threatens the American people,
because of their unwise and disproportioned stimulation of the brain. It
is assumed, almost as an axiom, that there is "a deficiency of physical
health in America." Especially is it assumed that great mental progress,
either of races or of individuals, has been generally purchased at the
expense of the physical frame. Indeed, it is one of the questions of the
day, how the saints, that is, those devoted to literary and professional
pursuits, shall obtain good and serviceable bodies; or, to widen the
query, how the finest intellectual culture can exist side by side with
the noblest physical development; or, to bring this question into a form
that shall touch us most sharply, how our boys and girls can obtain all
needful knowledge and mental discipline, and yet keep full of graceful
and buoyant vitality.

What do we say to the theories and convictions which are underneath this
language? What answer shall we make to these questions? What answer
ought we to make? Our first reply would be, We doubt the proposition.
We ask for the broad and firm basis of undoubted facts upon which it
rests. And we enter an opposite plea. We affirm that the saints have as
good bodies as other people, and that they always did have. We deny that
they need to be patched up or watched over any more than their
neighbors. They live as long and enjoy as much as the rest of mankind.
They can endure as many hard buffets, and come out as tough and strong,
as the veriest dolt whose intellectual bark foundered in the unsounded
depths of his primer. The world's history through, the races which are
best taught have the best endowment of health. Nay, in our own New
England, with just such influences, physical, mental, and moral, as
actually exist, there is no deterioration in real vitality to weep over.

We hold, then, on this subject very different opinions from those which
prevail in many quarters. We believe in the essential healthfulness of
literary culture, and in the invigorating power of sound knowledge.
Emphatically do we believe that our common schools have been in the
aggregate a positive physical benefit. We are confident, that, just to
the degree that the unseen force within a man receives its rightful
development, does vigorous life flow in every current that beats from
heart to extremities. With entire respect for the opinions of others,
even while we cannot concur with them, with a readiness to admit that
the assertion of those opinions may have been indirectly beneficial, we
wish to state the truth as it looks to us, to exhibit the facts which
bear upon this subject in the shape and hue they have to our own minds,
and to give the grounds of our conviction that a cultivated mind is the
best friend and ally of the body.

       *       *       *       *       *

Would it not be singular, if anything different were true? You say, and
you say rightly, that the best part of a man is his mind and soul, those
spiritual elements which divide him from all the rest of the creation,
animate or inanimate, and make him lord and sovereign over them all. You
say, and you say wisely, that the body, however strong and beautiful, is
nothing,--that the senses, however keen and vigorous, are nothing,--that
the outward glories, however much they may minister to sensual
gratification, are nothing,--unless they all become the instruments for
the upbuilding of the immortal part in man. But what a tremendous
impeachment of the wisdom or power of the Creator you are bringing, if
you assert that the development of this highest part, whether by its
direct influence on the body, or indirectly by the habits of life which
it creates, is destructive of all the rest, nay, self-destructive! You
may show that every opening bud in spring, and every joint, nerve, and
muscle in every animate creature, are full of proofs of wise designs
accomplishing their purposes, and it shall all count for less than
nothing, if you can demonstrate that the mind, in its highest, broadest
development, brings anarchy into the system,--or, mark it well,
produces, or tends to produce, habits of living ruinous to health, and
so ruinous to true usefulness. At the outset, therefore, the very fact
that the mind is the highest creation of Divine wisdom would force us to
believe that that development of it, that increase of knowledge, that
sharpening of the faculties, that feeding of intellectual hunger, which
does not promote joy and health in every part, must be false and
illegitimate indeed.

And it is hardly too much to say, that, in a rational being, thought is
almost synonymous with vitality of all sorts. The brain throws out its
network of nerves to every part of the body; and those nerves are the
pathways along which it sends, not alone physical volitions, but its
mental force and high intelligence, to mingle by a subtile chemistry
with every fibre, and give it a finer life and a more bounding
elasticity. So one might foretell, before the study of a single fact of
experience, that, other things being equal, he who had few or no
thoughts would have not only a dormant mind, but also a sluggish and
inert body, less active than another, less enduring, and especially less
defiant of physical ills. And one might prophesy, too, that he who had
high thoughts and wealth of knowledge would have stored up in his brain
a magazine of reserved power wherewith to support the faltering body: a
prophecy not wide apart, perhaps, from any broad and candid observation
of human life.

And who can fail to remember what superior resources a cultivated mind
has over one sunk in sloth and ignorance,--how much wider an outlook,
how much larger and more varied interests, and how these things support
when outward props fail, how they strengthen in misfortune and pain, and
keep the heart from anxieties which might wear out the body? Scott,
dictating "Ivanhoe" in the midst of a torturing sickness, and so rising,
by force of a cultivated imagination, above all physical anguish, to
revel in visions of chivalric splendor, is but the type of men
everywhere, who, but for resources supplied by the mind, would have sunk
beneath the blows of adverse fortune, or else sought forgetfulness in
brutalizing and destructive pleasures. Sometimes a book is better far
than medicine, and more truly soothing than the best anodyne. Sometimes
a rich-freighted memory is more genial than many companions. Sometimes a
firm mind, that has all it needs within itself, is a watchtower to which
we may flee, and from which look down calmly upon our own losses and
misfortunes. He who does not understand this has either had a most
fortunate experience, or else has no culture, which is really a part of
himself, woven into the very texture of the soul. So, if there were no
facts, considering the mind, and who made it, and how it is related to
the body, and how, when it is a good mind and a well-stored mind, it
seems to stand for all else, to be food and shelter and comfort and
friend and hope, who could believe anything else than that a
well-instructed soul could do nought but good to its servant the body?

       *       *       *       *       *

After all, we cannot evade, and we ought not to seek to evade, the
testimony of facts. No cause can properly stand on any theory, however
pleasant and cheering, or however plausible. What, then, of the facts,
of the painful facts of experience, which are said to tell so different
a tale? This,--that the physical value of education is in no way so
clearly demonstrated as by these very facts. We know what is the
traditional picture of the scholar,--pale, stooping, hectic, hurrying
with unsteady feet to a predestined early grave; or else morbid,
dyspeptic, cadaverous, putting into his works the dark tints of his own
inward nature. At best, he is painted as a mere bookworm, bleached and
almost mildewed in some learned retirement beneath the shadow of great
folios, until he is out of joint with the world, and all fresh and
hearty life has gone out of him. Who cannot recall just such pictures,
wherein one knows not which predominates, the ludicrous or the pitiful?
We protest against them all. In the name of truth and common-sense
alike, we indignantly reject them. We have a vision of a sturdier
manhood: of the genial, open countenance of an Irving; of the homely,
honest strength that shone in every feature of a Walter Scott; of the
massive vigor of a Goethe or a Humboldt. How much, too, is said of the
physical degeneracy of our own people,--how the jaw is retreating, how
the frame is growing slender and gaunt, how the chest flattens, and how
tenderly we ought to cherish every octogenarian among us, for that we
are seeing the last of them! If this is intended to be a piece of
pleasant badinage, far be it from us to arrest a single smile it may
awaken. But if it is given as a serious description, from which serious
deductions can be drawn, then we say, that, as a delineation, it is, to
a considerable extent, purely fanciful,--as an argument, utterly so. The
facts, so far as they are ascertained, point unwaveringly to this
conclusion,--that every advance of a people in knowledge and refinement
is accompanied by as striking an advance in health and strength.

Try this question, if you please, on the largest possible scale. Compare
the uneducated savage with his civilized brother. His form has never
been bent by confinement in the school-room. Overburdening thoughts have
never wasted his frame. And if unremitting exercise amid the free airs
of heaven will alone make one strong, then he will be strong. Is the
savage stronger? Does he live more years? Can he compete side by side
with civilized races in the struggle for existence? Just the opposite is
true. Our puny boys, as we sometimes call them, in our colleges, will
weigh more, lift more, endure more than any barbarian race of them all.
This day the gentle Sandwich-Islanders are wasting like snow-wreaths, in
contact with educated races. This day our red men are being swept before
advancing civilization like leaves before the breath of the hurricane.
And it requires no prophet's eye to see, that, if we do not give the
black man education as well as freedom, an unshackled mind as well as
unshackled limbs, he, too, will share the same fate.

To all this it may naturally be objected, that the reason so many savage
races do not display the greatest physical stamina is not so much
intellectual barrenness as their vices, native or acquired,--or because
they bring no wisdom to the conduct of life, but dwell in smoky huts,
eat unhealthy food, go from starvation to plethora and from plethora to
starvation again, exchange the indolent lethargy which is the law of
savage life for the frantic struggles of war or the chase which
diversify and break up its monotony. Allow the objection; and then what
have we accomplished, but carrying the argument one step back? For what
are self-control and self-care, but the just fruits of intelligence? But
in truth it is a combination of all these influences, and not any of
them alone, that enables the civilized man to outlive and outrival his
barbarian brother. He succeeds, not simply because of the superior
address and sagacity which education gives him, though that, no doubt,
has much to do with it; not altogether because his habits of life are
better, though we would not underrate their value; but equally because
the culture of the brain gives a finer life to every red drop in his
arteries, and greater hardihood to every fibre which is woven into his
flesh. If it is not so, how do you explain the fact that our colored
soldier, fighting in his native climate, with the same exposure in
health and the same care in sickness, succumbs to wounds and diseases
over which his white comrade triumphs? Or how will you explain analogous
facts in the history of disease among other uneducated races? Our
explanation is simple. As the slightest interfusion of carbon may change
the dull iron into trenchant steel, so intelligence working through
invisible channels may add a new temper to the physical nature. And thus
it may be strictly true that it is not only the mind and soul which
slavery and ignorance wrong, but the body just as much.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be said, and perhaps justly, that a comparison between races so
unlike is not a fair comparison. Take, then, if you prefer, the
intelligent and unintelligent periods in the history of the same race.
The old knights! Those men with mail-clad bodies and iron natures, who
stand out in imagination as symbols of masculine strength! The old
knights! They were not scholars. Their constitutions were not ruined by
study, or by superfluous sainthood of any kind. They were more at home
with the sword than the pen. They loved better "to hear the lark sing
than the mouse squeak." So their minds were sufficiently dormant. How
was it with their bodies? Were they sturdier men? Did they stand heavier
on their feet than their descendants? It is a familiar fact that the
armor which inclosed them will not hold those whom we call their
degenerate children. A friend tells me that in the armory of London
Tower there are preserved scores, if not hundreds, of the swords of
those terrible Northmen, those Vikings, who, ten centuries ago, swept
the seas and were the dread of all Europe, and that scarcely one of them
has a hilt large enough to be grasped by a man of this generation. Of
races who have left behind them no methodical records, and whose story
is preserved only in the rude rhymes of their poets and ruder
chronicles, it is not safe to make positive affirmations; but all the
indications are that the student of to-day is a larger and stronger man
than the warrior of the Middle Ages.

If we come down to periods of historical certainty, no one will doubt
that the England of the present hour is more educated than the England
of fifty years ago, or that the England of fifty years since had a
broader diffusion of intelligence than the England of a century
previous. Yet that very intelligence has prolonged life. An Englishman
lives longer to-day than he did in 1800, and longer yet than in 1700.
Here is a curious proof. Annuities calculated on a certain rate of life
in 1694 would yield a fortune to those who issued them. Calculated at
the same rate in 1794, they would ruin them; for the more general
diffusion of knowledge and refinement had added, I am not able to say
how many years to the average British life. Observe how this statement
is confirmed by some wonderful statistics preserved at Geneva. From 1600
to 1700 the average length of life in that city was 13 years 3 months.
From 1700 to 1750 it was 27 years 9 months. From 1750 to 1800, 31 years
3 months. From 1800 to 1833, 43 years 6 months.

One more pertinent fact. Take in England any number of families you
please, whose parents can read and write, and an equal number of
families whose parents cannot read and write, and the number of children
in the latter class of families who will die before the age of five
years will greatly exceed that in the former class,--some thirty or
forty per cent. So surely does a thoughtful ordering of life come in the
train of intelligence. If faith is to be placed in statistics of any
sort, then it holds true in foreign countries that human life is long in
proportion to the degree that knowledge, refinement, and virtue are
diffused. That is, sainthood, so far from destroying the body, preserves
it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I anticipate the objection which may be made to our last argument.
Abroad, we are told, there is such an element of healthy, out-door life,
that any ill effects which might naturally follow in the train of
general education are neutralized. Abroad, too, education with the
masses is elementary, and advanced also with more moderation than with
us. Abroad, moreover, the whole social being is not pervaded with the
intense intellectual activity and fervor which are so characteristic
especially of New England life.

Come home, then, to our own Massachusetts, which some will have is
school-mad. What do you find? Here, in a climate proverbially changeable
and rigorous,--here, where mental and moral excitements rise to
fever-heat,--here, where churches adorn every landscape, and
school-houses greet us at every corner, and lyceums are established in
every village,--here, where newspapers circulate by the hundred
thousand, and magazines for our old folks, and "Our Young Folks," too,
reach fifty thousand,--here, in Massachusetts, health is at its climax:
greater and more enduring than in bonnie England, or vine-clad France,
or sunny Italy. I read some statistics the other day, and I have ever
since had a greater respect for the land of "east-winds, and salt-fish
and school-houses," as scandalous people have termed Massachusetts. What
do these statistics say? That, while in England the deaths reach
annually 2.21 per cent of the whole population, and in France 2.36 per
cent, and in Italy 2.94 per cent, and in Austria 3.34 per cent, in
Massachusetts, the deaths are only 1.82 per cent annually. Even in
Boston, with its large proportion of foreign elements, the percentage of
deaths is only 2.35. It may be said, in criticism of these statements,
that in our country statistics are not kept with sufficient accuracy to
furnish correct data. However this may be in our rural districts, it
certainly is not true of the metropolis. The figures are not at hand,
but they exist, and they prove conclusively that those wards in Boston
which have a population most purely native reach a salubrity unexcelled.
So that, with all the real drawbacks of climate, and the pretended
drawbacks of unnatural or excessive mental stimulus, the health here is
absolutely unequalled by that of any country in Europe. Certainly, if
the mental and moral sainthood which we have does not build up the body,
it cannot be said that it does any injury to it.

Have we noted what a splendid testimony the war which has just closed
has given to the physical results of our New England villages and put
into the ranks of our army--young men who learned the alphabet at four,
who all through boyhood had the advantages of our common-school system,
who had felt to the full the excitement of the intellectual life about
them--have stood taller, weighed heavier, fought more bravely and
intelligently, won victory out of more adverse circumstances, and, what
is more to the point, endured more hardship with less sickness, than a
like number of any other race on earth. We care not where you look for
comparison, whether to Britain, or to France, or to Russia, where the
spelling-book has almost been tabooed, or to Spain, where in times past
the capacity to read the Bible was scarcely less than rank heresy, at
least for the common people. This war has been brought to a successful
issue by the best educated army that ever fought on battle-field, or, as
the new book has it, by "the thinking bayonet," by men whose physical
manhood has received no detriment from their intellectual culture.

These assertions are founded upon statistics which have been preserved
regiments whose members were almost exclusively native-born. And the
results are certainly in accordance with all candid observation. It may,
indeed, be said that the better health of our army has been after all
the result of the better care which the soldier has taken of himself. We
answer, the better care was the product of his education. It may be said
again that this health was owing in a great measure to the superior
watchfulness exercised over the soldier by others, by the Government, by
the Sanitary Commission, and by State agencies. Then we reply, that this
tenderness of the soldier, if tenderness it be, and this sagacity, if
sagacity prompted the care, were both the offspring of that high
intelligence which is the proper result of popular education.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is but one possible mode of escape from such testimony. This whole
train of argument is inconclusive, it may be asserted, because what is
maintained is not that intellectual culture is unhealthful, where it is
woven into the web of active life, but only where the pursuit of
knowledge is one's business. It may be readily allowed, that, where the
whole nature is kept alive by the breath of outward enterprise, when the
great waves of this world's excitements are permitted to roll with
purifying tides into the inmost recesses of the soul, the results of
mental culture may be modified. But what of the saints? What of the
literary men _par excellence_?

Ah! if you restrain us to that line of inquiry, the argument will be
trebly strong, and the facts grow overwhelmingly pertinent and
conclusive. Will you examine the careful registry of deaths in
Massachusetts which has been kept the last twenty years? It will inform
you that the classes whose average of life is high up, almost the
highest up, are with us the classes that work with the brain,--the
judges, the lawyers, the physicians, the clergymen, the professors in
your colleges. The very exception to this statement rather confirms than
contradicts our general position, that intellectual culture is
absolutely invigorating. The cultivators of the soil live longest. But
note that it is the educated, intelligent farmers, the farmers of
Massachusetts, the farmers of a State of common schools, the farmers who
link thought to labor, who live long. And doubtless, if they carried
more thought into their labor, if they were more intelligent, if they
were better educated, they would live yet longer. At any rate, in
England the cultivators of her soil, her down-trodden peasantry,
sluggish and uneducated, do not live out half their days. Very likely
the farmer's lot, _plus_ education and _plus_ habits of mental activity,
is the healthiest as it is the primal condition of man. Nevertheless,
considering what is the general opinion, it is surprising how slight is
the advantage which he has even then over the purely literary classes.

Will you go to Harvard University and ascertain what becomes of her
children? Take up, then, Dr. Palmer's Necrology of the Alumni of Harvard
from 1851 to 1863. You will learn, that, while the average age of all
persons who in Massachusetts die after they have attained the period of
twenty years is but fifty years, the average age of Harvard graduates,
who die in like manner, is fifty-eight years. Thus you have, in favor of
the highest form of public education known in the State, a clear average
of eight years. You may examine backward the Triennial Catalogue as far
as you please, and you will not find the testimony essentially
different. The statement will stand impregnable, that, from the time
John Harvard founded our little College in the wilderness, to this hour,
when it is fast becoming a great University, with its schools in every
department, and its lectures covering the whole field of human
knowledge, the graduates have always attained a longevity surpassing
that of their generation.

And you are to observe that this comparison is a strictly just
comparison. We contrast not the whole community, old and young, with
those who must necessarily have attained manhood before they are a class
at all; but adults with adults, graduates with those of other avocations
who have arrived at the period of twenty years. Neither do we compare
the bright and peculiar luminaries of Harvard with the mass of
men,--though, in fact, it is well known that the best scholars live the
most years,--but we compare the whole body of the graduates, bright and
dull, studious and unstudious, with the whole body of the community.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the array of evidence which may be brought from all the registries of
all the states and universities under heaven, some may triumphantly
exclaim, "Statistics are unworthy of trust." "To lie like statistics,"
"false as a fact," these are the stalest of witticisms. But the
objection to which they give point is practically frivolous. Grant that
statistics are to a certain degree doubtful, are they not the most
trustworthy evidence we have? And in the question at issue, are they not
the only evidence which has real force? And allowing their general
defectiveness, how shall we explain, that, though gathered from all
sides and by all kinds of people, they so uniformly favor education?
Why, if they must err, do they err so pertinaciously in one direction?
How does it happen, that, summon as many witnesses as you please, and
cross-question them as severely as you can, they never falter in this
testimony, that, where intelligence abounds, there physical vigor does
much more abound? that, where education is broad and generous, there the
years are many and happy?

If, therefore, facts can prove anything, it is that just such a
condition of life as that which is growing more and more general among
us, and which our common-school system directly fosters, where every man
is becoming an educated man,--where the farmer upon his acres, the
merchant at his desk, and the mechanic in his shop, no less than the
scholar poring over his books shall be in the truest sense
educated,--that such a condition is the one of all others which promotes
habits of thought and action, an elasticity of temper and a breadth of
vision and interest most conducive to health and vigor. It is the
fashion to talk of the appearance of superior robustness so
characteristic of our English brethren. But we suspect that in this
case, too, appearances are deceitful. That climate may produce in us a
restless energy inconsistent with rounded forms and rosy cheeks we
freely allow. But in strength and real endurance the New England
constitution will yield to none. And the stern logic of facts shows
beyond a peradventure, that here there are no influences, climatic or
intellectual, which war with longevity. What may be hidden in the
future, what results may come from a still wider diffusion of education,
we cannot tell, but hitherto nothing but good has come of
ever-increasing knowledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

We hasten now to inquire concerning the health and years of special
classes of literary men: not, indeed, to prove that there is no real war
between the mind and the body,--for we consider that point to be already
demonstrated,--but rather to show that we need shrink from no field of
inquiry, and that from every fresh field will come new evidence of the
substantial truth of our position.

We have taken the trouble to ascertain the average age of all the
English poets of whom Johnson wrote lives, some fifty or sixty in all.
Here are great men and small men, men with immortal names and men whose
names were long since forgotten, men of good habits and men whose habits
would undermine any constitution, flourishing, too, in a period when
human life was certainly far shorter in England than now. And how long
did they live? What do you think? Thirty, forty years? No; they endured
their sainthood, or their want of it, for the comfortable period of
fifty-six years. Nor is the case a particle different, if you take only
the great and memorable names of English poetry. Chaucer, living at the
dawn almost of English civilization; Shakspeare, whose varied and
marvellous dramas might well have exhausted any vitality; Milton,
struggling with domestic infelicity, with political hatred, and with
blindness; Dryden, Pope, Swift: none of these burning and shining lights
of English literature went out at mid-day. The result is not altered, if
you come nearer our own time. That galaxy of talent and genius which
shone with such brilliancy in the Scottish capital at the beginning of
the century,--Sydney Smith, Lord Jeffrey, Christopher North, Macaulay,
Mackintosh, De Quincey, Brougham,--all these, with scarcely an
exception, have lived far beyond the average of human life. So was it
with the great poets and romancers of that period. Wordsworth, living
the life of a recluse near the beautiful lakes of Westmoreland, lasted
to fourscore. Southey, after a life of unparalleled literary industry,
broke down at sixty-six. Coleridge, with habits which ought to have
destroyed him early, lingered till sixty-two. Scott, struggling to throw
off a mountain-load of debt, endured superhuman labor till more than
sixty. Even Byron and Burns, who did not live as men who desired length
of days, died scarcely sooner than their generation.

You are not willing, perhaps, to test this question by the longevity of
purely literary men. You ask what can be said about the great preachers.
You have always heard, that, while the ministers were, no doubt, men of
excellent intentions and much sound learning, what with their morbid
notions of life, and what with the weight of a rather heavy sort of
erudition, they were saints with the very poorest kind of bodies. Just
the contrary. No class lives longer. We once made out a list of the
thirty most remarkable preachers of the last four centuries that we
could call to mind. Of the age to which most of these attained we had at
the outset no idea whatever. In that list were included the men who must
figure in every candid account of preaching. The great men of the
Reformation, Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, Beza, Knox, were there. That
resplendent group which adorned the seventeenth century, and whose
names are synonymes for pulpit eloquence, Barrow, South, Jeremy Taylor,
and Tillotson, were prominent in it. The milder lights of the last
century, Paley, Blair, Robertson, Priestley, were not forgotten. The
Catholics were represented by Massillon, Bossuet, Bourdalouë, and
Fénelon. The Protestants as truly by Robert Hall and Chalmers, by Wesley
and Channing. In short, it was a thoroughly fair list. We then proceeded
to ascertain the average life of those included in it. It was just
sixty-nine years. And we invite all persons who are wedded to the notion
that the saints are always knights of the broken body, to take pen and
paper and jot down the name of every remarkable preacher since the year
1500 that they can recall, and add, if they wish, every man in their own
vicinity who has risen in learning and talent above the mass of his
profession. We will insure the result without any premium. They will
produce a list that would delight the heart of a provident director of a
life-insurance company. And their average will come as near the old
Scripture pattern of threescore years and ten as that of any body of men
who have lived since the days of Isaac and Jacob.

If now any one has a lurking doubt of the physical value of an active
and well-stored mind, let him pass from the preachers to the statesmen,
from the men who teach the wisdom of the world to come to the men who
administer the things of this world. Let him begin with the grand names
of the Long Parliament,--Hampden, Pym, Vane, Cromwell,--and then gather
up all the great administrators of the next two centuries, down to the
octogenarians who are now foremost in the conduct of British affairs;
and if he wishes to widen his observation, let him pass over the Channel
to the Continent, and in France recall such names as Sully and
Richelieu, Mazarin and Colbert, Talleyrand and Guizot; in Austria,
Kaunitz and Metternich. And when he has made his list as broad, as
inclusive of all really great statesmanship everywhere as he can, find
his average; and if he can bring it much beneath seventy, he will be
more fortunate than we were when we tried the experiment.

Do not by any means omit the men of science. There are the astronomers.
If any employment would seem to draw a man up to heaven, it would be
this. Yet, of all men, astronomers apparently have had the most wedded
attachment to earth. Galileo, Newton, La Place, Herschel,--these are the
royal names, the fixed stars, set, as it were, in that very firmament
which for so many years they searched with telescopic eye. And yet
neither of them lived less than seventy-eight years. As for the men of
natural science, it looks as though they were spared by some
Providential provision, in order that they might observe and report for
long epochs the changes of this old earth of ours. Cuvier dying at
seventy-five, Sir Joseph Banks at seventy-seven, Buffon at eighty-one,
Blumenbach at eighty-eight, and Humboldt at fourscore and ten, are some
of the cases which make such a supposition altogether reasonable.

Cross the ocean, and you will find the same testimony, that mental
culture is absolutely favorable to physical endurance. The greatest men
in our nation's history, whether in walks of statesmanship, science, or
literature, almost without exception, have lived long. Franklin,
Washington, Jefferson, Madison, the elder Adams, and Patrick Henry, in
earlier periods,--the younger Adams, Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Choate, and
Everett, Irving, Prescott, Cooper, and Hawthorne, in later times,--are
cases in point. These men did not die prematurely. They grew strong by
the toil of the brain. And to-day the quartette of our truest
poets--Bryant, Whittier, Longfellow, and Holmes--are with us in the hale
years of a green age, never singing sweeter songs, never harping more
inspiring strains. Long may our ears hear their melodies!

       *       *       *       *       *

If now we could enter the walks of private life, and study widely the
experience of individual men, we should have an interesting record
indeed, and a manifold and wellnigh irresistible testimony. Consider a
few remarkable, yet widely differing cases.

Who can read attentively the life of John Wesley, and not exclaim, if
varied and exhausting labor, if perpetual excitement and constant drafts
upon the brain, would ever wear a man out, he would have worn out? It
was his creative energy that called into existence a denomination, his
ardent piety that inspired it, his clear mind that legislated for it,
his heroic industry that did no mean part of the incessant daily toil
needful for its establishment. Yet this man of many labors, who through
a long life never knew practically the meaning of the word _leisure_,
says, at seventy-two, "How is it that I find the same strength that I
did thirty years ago, that my nerves are firmer, that I have none of the
infirmities of old age, and have lost several that I had in youth." And
ten years later, he devoutly records, "Is anything too hard for God? It
is now eleven years since I have felt such a thing as weariness." And he
continued till eighty-eight in full possession of his faculties,
laboring with body and mind alike to within a week of his death.

Joseph Priestley was certainly a very different man, but scarcely less
remarkable. No mean student in all branches of literature, a
metaphysician, a theologian, a man of science, he began life with a
feeble frame, and ended a hearty old age at seventy-one. He himself
declares at fifty-four, that, "so far from suffering from application to
study, I have found my health steadily improve from the age of eighteen
to the present time."

You would scarcely find a life more widely divided from these than that
of Washington Irving. Nevertheless, it is like them in one respect, that
it bears emphatic testimony to the real healthiness of mental exertion.
He was the feeblest of striplings at eighteen. At nineteen, Judge Kent
said, "He is not long for this world." His friends sent him abroad at
twenty-one, to see if a sea voyage would not husband his strength. So
pale, so broken, was he, that, when he stepped on board the ship, the
captain whispered, "There is a chap who will be overboard before we are
across!" Irving had, too, his share of misfortunes,--failure in
business, loss of investments, in earlier life some anxiety as to the
ways and means of support. Even his habits of study were hardly what the
highest wisdom would direct. While he was always genial and social, and
at times easy almost to indolence, when the mood seized him, he would
write incessantly for weeks and even for months, sometimes fourteen,
fifteen, or sixteen hours in a day. But he grew robust for half a
century, and writes, at seventy-five, that he has now "a streak of old
age."

       *       *       *       *       *

The example of some of those who are said to have been worn out by
intense mental application furnishes perhaps the most convincing proof
of all that no reasonable activity of the mind ever warred with the best
health of the body. Walter Scott, we are told, wore out. And very
likely, to a certain extent, the statement is true. But what had he not
accomplished before he wore out? He had astonished the world with that
wonderful series of romances which place him scarcely second to any name
in English literature. He had sung those border legends which delighted
the ears of his generation. He had produced histories which show, that,
had he chosen, he might have been as much a master in the region of
historic fact as in the realm of imagination. He had edited other men's
works; he had written essays; he had lent himself with a royal
generosity to every one who asked his time or influence; and when,
almost an old man, commercial bankruptcy overtook him, and he sought to
lift the mountain of his debt by pure intellectual toil, he wore out.
But declining years, disappointed hopes, desperate exertions, may wear
anybody out. He wore out, but it was at more than threescore years, when
nine tenths of his generation had long slept in quiet graves,--when the
crowd of the thoughtless and indolent, who began life with him, had
rusted out in inglorious repose. Yes, Walter Scott wore out, if you call
that wearing out.

John Calvin, all his biographers say, wore out. Perhaps so;--but not
without a prolonged resistance. Commencing life with the frailest
constitution, he was, as early as twenty-five, a model of erudition, and
had already written his immortal work. For thirty years he was in the
heat and ferment of a great religious revolution. For thirty years he
was one of the controlling minds of his age. For thirty years he was the
sternest soldier in the Church Militant, bearing down stubborn
resistance by a yet more stubborn will. For thirty years neither his
brain nor his pen knew rest. And so at fifty-six this man of broken body
and many labors laid down the weapons of his warfare; but it was at
Geneva, where the public registers tell us that the average of human
life in that century was only nine years.

One writes words like these:--"John Kitto died, and his death was the
judgment for overwork, and overwork of a single organ,--the brain." And
who was John Kitto? A poor boy, the son a drunken father, subject from
infancy to agonizing headache. An unfortunate lad, who at thirteen fell
from a scaffolding and was taken up for dead, and escaped only with
total deafness and a supposed permanent injury to the brain. A hapless
apprentice, who suffered at the hands of a cruel taskmaster all that
brutality and drunken fury could suggest. A youth, thirsting for
knowledge, but able to obtain it only by the hardest ways, peering into
booksellers' windows, reading at book-stalls, purchasing cheap books
with pennies stained all over with the sweat of his toil. An heroic
student, who labored for more than twenty years with almost unparalleled
industry, and with an equally unparalleled neglect of the laws of
health; of whom it is scarcely too much to say literally, that he knew
no change, but from his desk to his bed, and from his bed to his desk
again. A voluminous writer, who, if he produced no work of positive
genius, has done more than any other man to illustrate the Scriptures,
and to make familiar and vivid the scenery, the life, the geography, and
the natural history of the Holy Land. And he died in the harness,--but
not so very early,--at fifty. And we say that he would have lived much
longer, had he given his constitution a fair chance. But when we
remember his passionate fondness for books, how they compensated him for
the want of wealth, comforts, and the pleasant voices of wife and
children that he could not hear, we grow doubtful. And we hear him
exclaim almost in rhapsody,--"If I were blind as well as deaf, in what a
wretched situation should I be! If I could not read, how deplorable
would be my condition! What earthly pleasure equal to the reading of a
good book? O dearest tomes! O princely and august folios! to obtain you,
I would work night and day, and forbid myself every sensual joy!" When
we behold the forlorn man, shut out by his misfortune from so many
resources, and finding more than recompense for this privation within
the four walls of his library, we are tempted to say, No, he would not
have lived as long; had he studied less, he would have remembered his
griefs more.

Of course it is easy to take exception to all evidence drawn from the
life and experience of individual men,--natural to say that one must
needs be somewhat old before he can acquire a great name at all, and
that our estimate considers those alone to whom mere prolongation of day
has given reputation, and forgets "the village Hampdens, the mute,
inglorious Miltons," the unrecorded Newtons, the voiceless orators,
sages, or saints who have died and made no sign. To this the simple
reply is, that individual cases, however numerous and striking, are not
relied upon to prove any position, but only to illustrate and confirm
one which general data have already demonstrated. Grant the full force
of every criticism, and then it remains true that the widest record of
literary life exhibits no tendency of mental culture to shorten human
life or to create habits which would shorten it. Indeed, we do not know
where to look for any broad range of facts which would indicate that
education here or anywhere else has decreased or is likely to decrease
health. And were it not for the respect which we cherish towards those
who hold it, we should say that such a position was as nearly pure
theory or prejudice or opinion founded on fragmentary data as any view
well could be.

       *       *       *       *       *

But do you mean to assert that there is no such thing as intellectual
excess? that intellectual activity never injures? that unremitting
attention to mental pursuits, with an entire abstinence from proper
exercise and recreation, is positively invigorating? that robbing the
body of sleep, and bending it sixteen or eighteen hours over the desk,
is the best way to build it up in grace and strength? Of course no one
would say any such absurd things. There is a right and wrong use of
everything. Any part of the system will wear out with excessive use.
Overwork kills, but certainly not any quicker when it is overwork of the
mind than when it is overwork of the body. Overwork in the study is just
as healthful as overwork on the farm or at the ledger or in the smoky
shop, toiling and moiling, with no rest and no quickening thoughts.
Especially is it true that education does not peculiarly tempt a man to
excess.

But are you ready to maintain that there is no element of excess infused
into our common-school system? Certainly. Most emphatically there is
not. What, then, is there to put over against these terrible statements
of excessive labor of six or seven hours a day, under which young brains
are reeling and young spines are bending until there are no rosy-checked
urchins and blooming maids left among us? The inexorable logic of facts.
The public schools of Massachusetts were taught in the years 1863-4 on
an average just thirty-two weeks, just five days in a week, and, making
proper allowance for recesses and opening exercises, just five and a
quarter hours in a day. Granting now that all the boys and girls studied
during these hours faithfully, you have an average for the three hundred
and thirteen working days of the year of two hours and forty-one minutes
a day,--an amount of study that never injured any healthy child. But,
going back a little to youthful recollections, and considering the
amazing proclivity of the young mind to idleness, whispering, and fun
and frolic in general, it seems doubtful whether our children ever yet
attained to so high an average of actual study as two hours a day. As a
modification of this statement, it may be granted that in the cities and
larger towns the school term reaches forty weeks in a year. If you add
one hour as the average amount of study at home, given by pupils of over
twelve years, (and the allowance is certainly ample,) you have four
hours as the utmost period ever given by any considerable class of
children. That there is excess we freely admit. That there are easy
committee-men who permit too high a pressure, and infatuated teachers
who insist upon it, that there are ambitious children whom nobody can
stop, and silly parents who fondly wish to see their children
monstrosities of brightness, lisping Latin and Greek in their cradles,
respiring mathematics as they would the atmosphere, and bristling all
over with facts of natural science like porcupines, till every bit of
childhood is worked out of them,--that such things are, we are not
inclined to deny. But they are rare exceptions,--no more a part of the
system than white crows are proper representatives of the dusky and
cawing brotherhood.

Or yet again, do we mean to assert that no attention need be given to
the formation of right physical habits? or that bodily exercise ought
not to be joined to mental toils? or that the walk in the woods, the row
upon the quiet river, the stroll with rod in hand by the babbling brook,
or with gun on shoulder over the green prairies, or the skating in the
crisp December air on the glistening lake, ought to be discouraged? Do
we speak disrespectfully of dumb-bells and clubs and parallel bars, and
all the paraphernalia of the gymnasium? Are we aggrieved at the mention
of boxing-gloves or single-stick or foils? Would it shock our nervous
sensibilities, if our next-door neighbor the philosopher, or some
near-by grave and reverend doctor of divinity, or even the learned judge
himself, should give unmistakable evidence that he had in his body the
two hundred and odd bones and the five hundred and more muscles, with
all their fit accompaniments of joints and sinews, of which the
anatomists tell us? Not at all. Far from it. We exercise, no doubt, too
little. We know of God's fair world too much by description, too little
by the sight of our own eyes. Welcome anything which leads us out into
this goodly and glorious universe! Welcome all that tends to give the
human frame higher grace and symmetry! Welcome the gymnastics, too,
heavy or light either, if they will guide us to a more harmonious
physical development.

We ourselves own a set of heavy Indian-clubs, of middling Indian-clubs,
and of light Indian-clubs. We have iron dumb-bells and wooden
dumb-bells. We recollect with considerable satisfaction a veritable
bean-bag which did good service in the household until it unfortunately
sprung a-leak. In an amateur way we have tried both systems, and felt
the better for them. We have a dim remembrance of rowing sundry leagues,
and even of dabbling with the rod and line. We always look with friendly
eye upon the Harvard Gymnasium, whenever it looms up in actual or mental
vision. Never yet could we get by an honest game of cricket or base-ball
without losing some ten minutes in admiring contemplation. We bow with
deep respect to Dr. Windship and his heavy weights. We bow, if anything,
with a trifle more of cordiality to Dr. Lewis and his light weights.
They both have our good word. We think that they would have our example,
were it not for the fatal proclivity of solitary gymnastics to dulness.
If we have not risen to the high degrees in this noble order of muscular
Christians, we claim at least to be a humble craftsman and faithful
brother.

Speaking with all seriousness, we have no faith in mental activity
purchased at the expense of physical sloth. It is well to introduce into
the school, into the family, and into the neighborhood any movement
system which will exercise all the muscles of the body. But the educated
man is not any more likely to need this general physical development
than anybody else. Establish your gymnasium in any village, and the
farmer fresh from the plough, the mechanic from swinging the hammer or
driving the plane, will be just as sure to find new muscles that he
never dreamed of as the palest scholar of them all. And the diffusion of
knowledge and refinement, so far from promoting inactivity and banishing
recreations from life, directly feeds that craving for variety out of
which healthful changes come, and awakens that noble curiosity which at
fit seasons sends a man out to see how the wild-flower grows in the
woods, how the green buds open in the spring, how the foliage takes on
its painted autumn glory, which leads him to struggle through tangled
thickets or through pathless woods that he may behold the brook laughing
in cascade from rock to rock, or to breast the steep mountain that he
may behold from a higher outlook the wonders of the visible creation.
Other things being equal, the educated man in any vocation is quite as
likely as another to be active, quick in every motion and free in every
limb.

       *       *       *       *       *

But admit all that is claimed. Admit that increasing intelligence has
changed the average of man's life from the twenty-five years of the
seventeenth century to the thirty-five of the eighteenth or the
forty-five years of the nineteenth century. Admit, too, that the best
educated men of this generation will live five or ten years more than
the least educated men. Ought we to be satisfied with things as they
are? Should we not look for more than the forty or fifty years of human
life? Assuredly. But it is not our superfluous sainthood which is
destroying life. It is not that we have too much saintliness, but too
little, too limited wisdom, too narrow intelligence, too small an
endowment of virtue and conscience. It is our fierce absorption in
outward plans which plants anxieties like thorns in the heart. It is out
sloth and gluttony which eat out vitality. It is our unbridled appetites
and passions which burn like a consuming fire in our breasts. It is our
unwise exposure which saps the strength and gives energy and force to
latent disease. These, tenfold more than any intense application of the
brain to its legitimate work, limit and destroy human life. The truly
cultivated mind tends to give just aims, moderate desires, and good
habits.

Ay, and when the true sainthood shall possess and rule humanity,--when
the fields of knowledge with their wholesome fruits shall tempt every
foot away from the forbidden paths of vice and sensual indulgence,--when
a wise intelligence shall cool the hot passions which dry up the
refreshing fountains of peace and joy in the heart,--when a heavenly
wisdom shall lift us above any bondage to this world's fortunes, and
when a good conscience and a lofty trust shall forbid us to be slaves to
any occupation lower than the highest,--when we stand erect and free,
clothed with a real saintliness,--then the years of our life may
increase, and man may go down to his grave "in a full age, like as a
shock of corn cometh in in his season."

Meanwhile we must stand firmly on this assertion, that, the more of
mental and moral sainthood our people achieve, the more that sainthood
will write fair inscriptions on their bodies, will shine out in
intelligence in their faces, will exhibit itself in graceful form and
motion, and thus add to the deeper and more lasting virtues physical
power, a body which shall be at once a good servant and the proper
representative of a refined and elevated soul.



NO TIME LIKE THE OLD TIME.


    There is no time like the old time, when you and I were young,
    When the buds of April blossomed, and the birds of spring-time sung!
    The garden's brightest glories by summer suns are nursed,
    But, oh, the sweet, sweet violets, the flowers that opened first!

    There is no place like the old place where you and I were born,
    Where we lifted first our eyelids on the splendors of the morn
    From the milk-white breast that warmed us, from the clinging arms that bore,
    Where the dear eyes glistened o'er us that will look on us no more!

    There is no friend like the old friend who has shared our morning days,
    No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise:
    Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;
    But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.

    There is no love like the old love that we courted in our pride;
    Though our leaves are falling, falling, and we're fading side by side,
    There are blossoms all around us with the colors of our dawn,
    And we live in borrowed sunshine when the light of day is gone.

    There are no times like the old times,--they shall never be forgot!
    There is no place like the old place,--keep green the dear old spot!
    There are no friends like our old friends,--may Heaven prolong their lives!
    There are no loves like our old loves,--God bless our loving wives!



COUPON BONDS.


PART II.

Mr. Ducklow had scarcely turned the corner of the street, when, looking
anxiously in the direction of his homestead, he saw a column of smoke.
It was directly over the spot where he knew his house to be situated. He
guessed at a glance what had happened. The frightful catastrophe he
foreboded had befallen. Taddy had set the house afire.

"Them bonds! them bonds!" he exclaimed, distractedly. He did not think
so much of the house: house and furniture were insured; if they were
burned, the inconvenience would be great indeed, and at any other time
the thought of such an event would have been a sufficient cause for
trepidation,--but now his chief, his only anxiety was the bonds. They
were not insured. They would be a dead loss. And what added sharpness to
his pangs, they would be a loss which he must keep a secret, as he had
kept their existence a secret,--a loss which he could not confess, and
of which he could not complain. Had he not just given his neighbors to
understand that he held no such property? And his wife,--was she not at
that very moment, if not serving up a lie on the subject, at least
paring the truth very thin indeed?

"A man would think," observed Ferring, "that Ducklow had some o' them
bonds on his hands, and got scaret, he took such a sudden start. He has,
hasn't he, Mrs. Ducklow?"

"Has what?" said Mrs. Ducklow, pretending ignorance.

"Some o' them cowpon bonds. I ruther guess he's got some."

"You mean Gov'ment bonds? Ducklow got some? 'Ta'n't at all likely he'd
spec'late in them, without saying something to _me_ about it! No, he
couldn't have any without my knowing it, I'm sure!"

How demure, how innocent she looked, plying her knitting-needles, and
stopping to take up a stitch! How little at that moment she knew of
Ducklow's trouble, and its terrible cause!

Ducklow's first impulse was to drive on and endeavor at all hazards to
snatch the bonds from the flames. His next was, to return and alarm his
neighbors, and obtain their assistance. But a minute's delay might be
fatal; so he drove on, screaming "Fire! fire!" at the top of his voice.

But the old mare was a slow-footed animal; and Ducklow had no whip. He
reached forward and struck her with the reins.

"Git up! git up!--Fire! fire!" screamed Ducklow. "Oh, them bonds! them
bonds! Why didn't I give the money to Reuben? Fire! fire! fire!"

By dint of screaming and slapping, he urged her from a trot into a
gallop, which was scarcely an improvement as to speed, and certainly
not as to grace. It was like the gallop of an old cow. "Why don't ye go
'long!" he cried despairingly.

Slap, slap! He knocked his own hat off with the loose ends of the reins.
It fell under the wheels. He cast one look behind, to satisfy himself
that it had been very thoroughly run over and crushed into the dirt, and
left it to its fate.

Slap, slap! "Fire, fire!" Canter, canter, canter! Neighbors looked out
of their windows, and, recognizing Ducklow's wagon and old mare in such
an astonishing plight, and Ducklow himself, without his hat, rising from
his seat, and reaching forward in wild attitudes, brandishing the reins,
at the same time rending the azure with yells, thought he must be
insane.

He drove to the top of the hill, and looking beyond, in expectation of
seeing his house wrapped in flames, discovered that the smoke proceeded
from a brush-heap which his neighbor Atkins was burning in a field near
by.

The revulsion of feeling that ensued was almost too much for the
excitable Ducklow. His strength went out of him. For a little while
there seemed to be nothing left of him but tremor and cold sweat.
Difficult as it had been to get the old mare in motion, it was now even
more difficult to stop her.

"Why! what has got into Ducklow's old mare? She's running away with him!
Who ever heard of such a thing!" And Atkins, watching the ludicrous
spectacle from his field, became almost as weak from laughter as Ducklow
was from the effects of fear.

At length Ducklow succeeded in checking the old mare's speed, and in
turning her about. It was necessary to drive back for his hat. By this
time he could hear a chorus of shouts, "Fire! fire! fire!" over the
hill. He had aroused the neighbors as he passed, and now they were
flocking to extinguish the flames.

"A false alarm! a false alarm!" said Ducklow, looking marvellously
sheepish, as he met them. "Nothing but Atkins's brush-heap!"

"Seems to me you ought to have found that out 'fore you raised all
creation with your yells!" said one hyperbolical fellow. "You looked
like the Flying Dutchman! This your hat? I thought 'twas a dead cat in
the road. No fire, no fire!"--turning back to his comrades,--"only one
of Ducklow's jokes."

Nevertheless, two or three boys there were who would not be convinced,
but continued to leap up, swing their caps, and scream "Fire!" against
all remonstrance. Ducklow did not wait to enter into explanations, but,
turning the old mare about again, drove home amid the laughter of the
bystanders and the screams of the misguided youngsters. As he approached
the house, he met Taddy rushing wildly up the street.

"Thaddeus! Thaddeus! where ye goin', Thaddeus?"

"Goin' to the fire!" cried Taddy.

"There isn't any fire, boy!"

"Yes, there is! Didn't ye hear 'em? They've been yellin' like fury."

"It's nothin' but Atkins's brush."

"That all?" And Taddy appeared very much disappointed. "I thought there
was goin' to be some fun. I wonder who was such a fool as to yell fire
jest for a darned old brush-heap!"

Ducklow did not inform him.

"I've got to drive over to town and git Reuben's trunk. You stand by the
mare while I step in and brush my hat."

Instead of applying himself at once to the restoration of his beaver, he
hastened to the sitting-room, to see that the bonds were safe.

"Heavens and 'arth!" said Ducklow.

The chair, which had been carefully planted in the spot where they were
concealed, had been removed. Three or four tacks had been taken out, and
the carpet pushed from the wall. There was straw scattered about.
Evidently Taddy had been interrupted, in the midst of his ransacking, by
the alarm of fire. Indeed, he was even now creeping into the house to
see what notice Ducklow would take of these evidences of his mischief.

In great trepidation the farmer thrust in his hand here and there, and
groped, until he found the envelope precisely where it had been placed
the night before, with the tape tied around it, which his wife had put
on to prevent its contents from slipping out and losing themselves.
Great was the joy of Ducklow. Great also was the wrath of him, when he
turned and discovered Taddy.

"Didn't I tell you to stand by the old mare?"

"She won't stir," said Taddy, shrinking away again.

"Come here!" And Ducklow grasped him by the collar. "What have you been
doin'? Look at that!"

"'Twa'n't me!"--beginning to whimper, and ram his fists into his eyes.

"Don't tell me 'twa'n't you!" Ducklow shook him till his teeth
chattered. "What was you pullin' up the carpet for?"

"Lost a marble!" snivelled Taddy.

"Lost a marble! Ye didn't lose it under the carpet, did ye? Look at all
that straw pulled out!"--shaking him again.

"Didn't know but it might 'a' got under the carpet, marbles roll so,"
explained Taddy, as soon as he could get his breath.

"Wal, Sir!" Ducklow administered a resounding box on his ear. "Don't you
do such a thing again, if you lose a million marbles!"

"Ha'n't got a million!" Taddy wept, rubbing his cheek. "Ha'n't got but
four! Won't ye buy me some to-day?"

"Go to that mare, and don't you leave her again till I come, or I'll
_marble_ ye in a way you won't like!"

Understanding, by this somewhat equivocal form of expression, that
flagellation was threatened, Taddy obeyed, still feeling his smarting
and burning ear.

Ducklow was in trouble. What should he do with the bonds? The floor was
no place for them, after what had happened; and he remembered too well
the experience of yesterday to think for a moment of carrying them about
his person. With unreasonable impatience, his mind reverted to Mrs.
Ducklow.

"Why a'n't she to home? These women are forever a-gaddin'! I wish
Reuben's trunk was in Jericho!"

Thinking of the trunk reminded him of one in the garret, filled with old
papers of all sorts,--newspapers, letters, bills of sale, children's
writing-books,--accumulations of the past quarter of a century. Neither
fire nor burglar nor ransacking youngster had ever molested those
ancient records during all those five-and-twenty years. A bright thought
struck him.

"I'll slip the bonds down into that wuthless heap o' rubbish, where no
one 'u'd ever think o' lookin' for 'em, and resk 'em."

Having assured himself that Taddy was standing by the wagon, he paid a
hasty visit to the trunk in the garret, and concealed the envelope,
still bound in its band of tape, among the papers. He then drove away,
giving Taddy a final charge to beware of setting anything afire.

He had driven about half a mile when he met a peddler. There was nothing
unusual or alarming in such a circumstance, surely; but as Ducklow kept
on, it troubled him.

"He'll stop to the house now, most likely, and want to trade. Findin'
nobody but Taddy, there's no knowin' what he'll be tempted to do. But I
a'n't a-goin' to worry. I'll defy anybody to find them bonds. Besides,
she may be home by this time. I guess she'll hear of the fire-alarm, and
hurry home: it'll be jest like her. She'll be there, and--trade with the
peddler?" thought Ducklow, uneasily. Then a frightful fancy possessed
him. "She has threatened two or three times to sell that old trunkful of
papers. He'll offer a big price for 'em, and ten to one she'll let him
have 'em. Why _didn't_ I think on 't? What a stupid blunderbuss I be!"

As Ducklow thought of it, he felt almost certain that Mrs. Ducklow had
returned home, and that she was bargaining with the peddler at that
moment. He fancied her smilingly receiving bright tin-ware for the old
papers; and he could see the tape-tied envelope going into the bag with
the rest! The result was, that he turned about and whipped the old mare
home again in terrific haste, to catch the departing peddler.

Arriving, he found the house as he had left it, and Taddy occupied in
making a kite-frame.

"Did that peddler stop here?"

"I ha'n't seen no peddler."

"And ha'n't yer Ma Ducklow been home, neither?"

"No."

And with a guilty look, Taddy put the kite-frame behind him.

Ducklow considered. The peddler had turned up a cross-street: he would
probably turn down again and stop at the house, after all: Mrs. Ducklow
might by that time be at home: then the sale of old papers would be very
likely to take place. Ducklow thought of leaving word that he did not
wish any old papers in the house to be sold, but feared lest the request
might excite Taddy's suspicions.

"I don't see no way but for me to take the bonds with me," thought he,
with an inward groan.

He accordingly went to the garret, took the envelope out of the trunk,
and placed it in the breast-pocket of his overcoat, to which he pinned
it, to prevent it by any chance from getting out. He used six large,
strong pins for the purpose, and was afterwards sorry he did not use
seven.

"There's suthin' losin' out of yer pocket!" bawled Taddy, as he was once
more mounting the wagon.

Quick as lightning, Ducklow clapped his hand to his breast. In doing so,
he loosed his hold of the wagon-box and fell, raking his shin badly on
the wheel.

"Yer side-pocket! it's one o' yer mittens!" said Taddy.

"You rascal! how you scared me!"

Seating himself in the wagon, Ducklow gently pulled up his trousers-leg
to look at the bruised part.

"Got anything in yer boot-leg to-day, Pa Ducklow?" asked Taddy,
innocently.

"Yes, a barked shin!--all on your account, too! Go and put that straw
back, and fix the carpet; and don't ye let me hear ye speak of my
boot-leg again, or I'll _boot-leg_ ye!"

So saying, Ducklow departed.

Instead of repairing the mischief he had done in the sitting-room, Taddy
devoted his time and talents to the more interesting occupation of
constructing his kite-frame. He worked at that, until Mr. Grantley, the
minister, driving by, stopped to inquire how the folks were.

"A'n't to home: may I ride?" cried Taddy, all in a breath.

Mr. Grantley was an indulgent old gentleman, fond of children; so he
said, "Jump in"; and in a minute Taddy had scrambled to a seat by his
side.

And now occurred a circumstance which Ducklow had foreseen. The alarm of
fire had reached Reuben's; and although the report of its falseness
followed immediately, Mrs. Ducklow's inflammable fancy was so kindled by
it that she could find no comfort in prolonging her visit.

"Mr. Ducklow'll be going for the trunk, and I _must_ go home and see to
things, Taddy's _such_ a fellow for mischief! I can foot it; I sha'n't
mind it."

And off she started, walking herself out of breath in her anxiety.

She reached the brow of the hill just in time to see a chaise drive away
from her own door.

"Who _can_ that be? I wonder if Taddy's there to guard the house! If
anything should happen to them bonds!"

Out of breath as she was, she quickened her pace, and trudged on,
flushed, perspiring, panting, until she reached the house.

"Thaddeus!" she called.

No Taddy answered. She went in. The house was deserted. And lo! the
carpet torn up, and the bonds abstracted!

Mr. Ducklow never would have made such work, removing the bonds. Then
somebody else must have taken them, she reasoned.

"The man in the chaise!" she exclaimed, or rather made an effort to
exclaim, succeeding only in bringing forth a hoarse, gasping sound. Fear
dried up articulation. _Vox faucibus hoesit._

And Taddy? He had disappeared; been murdered, perhaps,--or gagged and
carried away by the man in the chaise.

Mrs. Ducklow flew hither and thither, (to use a favorite phrase of her
own,) "like a hen with her head cut off"; then rushed out of the house,
and up the street, screaming after the chaise,--

"Murder! murder! Stop thief! stop thief!"

She waved her hands aloft in the air frantically. If she had trudged
before, now she trotted, now she cantered; but if the cantering of the
old mare was fitly likened to that of a cow, to what thing, to what
manner of motion under the sun, shall we liken the cantering of Mrs.
Ducklow? It was original; it was unique; it was prodigious. Now, with
her frantically waving hands, and all her undulating and flapping
skirts, she seemed a species of huge, unwieldy bird attempting to fly.
Then she sank down into a heavy, dragging walk,--breath and strength all
gone,--no voice left even to scream murder. Then the awful realization
of the loss of the bonds once more rushing over her, she started up
again. "Half running, half flying, what progress she made!" Then
Atkins's dog saw her, and, naturally mistaking her for a prodigy, came
out at her, bristling up and bounding and barking terrifically.

"Come here!" cried Atkins, following the dog. "What's the matter? What's
to pay, Mrs. Ducklow?"

Attempting to speak, the good woman could only pant and wheeze.

"Robbed!" she at last managed to whisper, amid the yelpings of the cur
that refused to be silenced.

"Robbed? How? Who?"

"The chaise. Ketch it."

Her gestures expressed more than her words; and Atkins's horse and
wagon, with which he had been drawing out brush, being in the yard near
by, he ran to them, leaped to the seat, drove into the road, took Mrs.
Ducklow aboard, and set out in vigorous pursuit of the slow two-wheeled
vehicle.

"Stop, you, Sir! Stop, you, Sir!" shrieked Mrs. Ducklow, having
recovered her breath by the time they came up with the chaise.

It stopped, and Mr. Grantley the minister put out his good-natured,
surprised face.

"You've robbed my house! You've took"----

Mrs. Ducklow was going on in wild, accusatory accents, when she
recognized the benign countenance.

"What do you say? I have robbed you?" he exclaimed, very much
astonished.

"No, no! not you! You wouldn't do such a thing!" she stammered forth,
while Atkins, who had laughed himself weak at Mr. Ducklow's plight
earlier in the morning, now laughed himself into a side-ache at Mrs.
Ducklow's ludicrous mistake. "But did you--did you stop at my house?
Have you seen our Thaddeus?"

"Here I be, Ma Ducklow!" piped a small voice; and Taddy, who had till
then remained hidden, fearing punishment, peeped out of the chaise from
behind the broad back of the minister.

"Taddy! Taddy! how came the carpet"----

"I pulled it up, huntin' for a marble," said Taddy, as she paused,
overmastered by her emotions.

"And the--the thing tied up in a brown wrapper?"

"Pa Ducklow took it."

"Ye sure?"

"Yes, I seen him!"

"Oh, dear!" said Mrs. Ducklow, "I never was so beat! Mr. Grantley, I
hope--excuse me--I didn't know what I was about! Taddy, you notty boy,
what did you leave the house for? Be ye quite sure yer Pa Ducklow"----

Taddy repeated that he was quite sure, as he climbed from the chaise
into Atkins's wagon. The minister smilingly remarked that he hoped she
would find no robbery had been committed, and went his way. Atkins,
driving back, and setting her and Taddy down at the Ducklow gate,
answered her embarrassed "Much obleeged to ye," with a sincere "Not at
all," considering the fun he had had a sufficient compensation for his
trouble. And thus ended the morning's adventures, with the exception of
an unimportant episode, in which Taddy, Mrs. Ducklow, and Mrs. Ducklow's
rattan were the principal actors.

At noon Mr. Ducklow returned.

"Did ye take the bonds?" was his wife's first question.

"Of course I did! Ye don't suppose I'd go away and leave 'em in the
house, not knowin' when you'd be comin' home?"

"Wal, I didn't know. And I didn't know whuther to believe Taddy or not.
Oh, I've had such a fright!"

And she related the story of her pursuit of the minister.

"How could ye make such a fool of yerself? It'll git all over town, and
I shall be mortified to death. Jest like a woman, to git frightened!"

"If _you_ hadn't got frightened, and made a fool of _yourself_, yelling
fire, 'twouldn't have happened!" retorted Mrs. Ducklow.

"Wal! wal! say no more about it! The bonds are safe."

"I was in hopes you'd change 'em for them registered bonds Reuben spoke
of."

"I did try to, but they told me to the bank it couldn't be did. Then I
asked 'em if they would keep 'em for me, and they said they wouldn't
object to lockin' on 'em up in their safe; but they wouldn't give me no
receipt, nor hold themselves responsible for 'em. I didn't know what
else to do, so I handed 'em the bonds to keep."

"I want to know if you did now!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow, disapprovingly.

"Why not? What else could I do? I didn't want to lug 'em around with me
forever. And as for keepin' 'em hid in the house, we've tried that!" and
Ducklow unfolded his weekly newspaper.

Mrs. Ducklow was placing the dinner on the table, with a look which
seemed to say, "_I_ wouldn't have left the bonds in the bank; _my_
judgment would have been better than all that. If they are lost, _I_
sha'n't be to blame!" when suddenly Ducklow started and uttered a cry of
consternation over his newspaper.

"Why, what have ye found?"

"Bank robbery!"

"Not _your_ bank? Not the bank where _your bonds_"----

"Of course not; but in the very next town! The safe blown open with
gunpowder! Five thousand dollars in Gov'ment bonds stole!"

"How strange!" said Mrs. Ducklow. "Now what did I tell ye?"

"I believe you're right," cried Ducklow, starting to his feet. "They'll
be safer in my own house, or even in my own pocket!"

"If you was going to put 'em in any safe, why not put 'em in Josiah's?
He's got a safe, ye know."

"So he has! We might drive over there and make a visit Monday, and ask
him to lock up----yes, we might tell him and Laury all about it, and
leave 'em in their charge."

"So we might!" said Mrs. Ducklow.

Laura was their daughter, and Josiah her husband, in whose honor and
sagacity they placed unlimited confidence. The plan was resolved upon at
once.

"To-morrow's Sunday," said Ducklow, pacing the floor. "If we leave the
bonds in the bank over night, they must stay there till Monday."

"And Sunday is jest the day for burglars to operate!" added Mrs.
Ducklow.

"I've a good notion--let me see!" said Ducklow, looking at the clock.
"Twenty minutes after twelve! Bank closes at two! An hour and a half,--I
believe I could git there in an hour and a half. I will. I'll take a
bite and drive right back."

Which he accordingly did, and brought the tape-tied envelope home with
him again. That night he slept with it under his pillow. The next day
was Sunday; and although Mr. Ducklow did not like to have the bonds on
his mind during sermon-time, and Mrs. Ducklow "dreaded dreadfully," as
she said, "to look the minister in the face," they concluded that it was
best, on the whole, to go to meeting, and carry the bonds. With the
envelope once more in his breast-pocket, (stitched in this time by Mrs.
Ducklow's own hand,) the farmer sat under the droppings of the
sanctuary, and stared up at the good minister, but without hearing a
word of the discourse, his mind was so engrossed by worldly cares, until
the preacher exclaimed vehemently, looking straight at Ducklow's pew,--

"What said Paul? 'I would to God that not only thou, but also all that
hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, _except
these bonds_.' _'Except these bonds'!_" he repeated, striking the Bible.
"Can you, my hearers,--can you say, with Paul, 'Would that all were as I
am, _except these bonds_'?"

A point which seemed for a moment so personal to himself, that Ducklow
was filled with confusion, and would certainly have stammered out some
foolish answer, had not the preacher passed on to other themes. As it
was, Ducklow contented himself with glancing around to see if the
congregation was looking at him, and carelessly passing his hand across
his breast-pocket to make sure the bonds were still there.

Early the next morning, the old mare was harnessed, and Taddy's adopted
parents set out to visit their daughter,--Mrs. Ducklow having postponed
her washing for the purpose. It was afternoon when they arrived at their
journey's end. Laura received them joyfully, but Josiah was not expected
home until evening. Mr. Ducklow put the old mare in the barn, and fed
her, and then went in to dinner, feeling very comfortable indeed.

"Josiah's got a nice place here. That's about as slick a little barn as
ever I see. Always does me good to come over here and see you gittin'
along so nicely, Laury."

"I wish you'd come oftener, then," said Laura.

"Wal, it's hard leavin' home, ye know. Have to git one of the Atkins
boys to come and sleep with Taddy the night we're away."

"We shouldn't have come to-day, if 't hadn't been for me," remarked Mrs.
Ducklow. "Says I to your father, says I, 'I feel as if I wanted to go
over and see Laury; it seems an age since I've seen her,' says I. 'Wal,'
says he, 's'pos'n' we go!' says he. That was only last Saturday; and
this morning we started."

"And it's no fool of a job to make the journey with the old mare!" said
Ducklow.

"Why don't you drive a better horse?" said Laura, whose pride was always
touched when her parents came to visit her with the old mare and the
one-horse wagon.

"Oh, she answers my purpose. Hossflesh is high, Laury. Have to
economize, these times."

"I'm sure there's no need of your economizing!" exclaimed Laura, leading
the way to the dining-room. "Why don't you use your money, and have the
good of it?"

"So I tell him," said Mrs. Ducklow, faintly.--"Why, Laury! I didn't want
you to be to so much trouble to git dinner jest for us! A bite would
have answered. Do see, father!"

At evening Josiah came home; and it was not until then that Ducklow
mentioned the subject which was foremost in his thoughts.

"What do ye think o' Gov'ment bonds, Josiah?" he incidentally inquired,
after supper.

"First-rate!" said Josiah.

"About as safe as anything, a'n't they?" said Ducklow, encouraged.

"Safe?" cried Josiah. "Just look at the resources of this country!
Nobody has begun yet to appreciate the power and undeveloped wealth of
these United States. It's a big rebellion, I know; but we're going to
put it down. It'll leave us a big debt, very sure; but we handle it now
easy as that child lifts that stool. It makes him grunt and stagger a
little, not because he isn't strong enough for it, but because he don't
understand his own strength, or how to use it: he'll have twice the
strength, and know just how to apply it, in a little while. Just so with
this country. It makes me laugh to bear folks talk about repudiation and
bankruptcy."

"But s'pos'n' we do put down the Rebellion, and the States come back:
then what's to hender the South, and Secesh sympathizers in the North,
from j'inin' together and votin' that the debt sha'n't be paid?"

"Don't you worry about that! Do ye suppose we're going to be such fools
as to give the Rebels, after we've whipped 'em, the same political power
they had before the war? Not by a long chalk! Sooner than that, we'll
put the ballot into the hands of the freedmen. They're our friends.
They've fought on the right side, and they'll vote on the right side. I
tell ye, spite of all the prejudice there is against black skins, we
a'n't such a nation of ninnies as to give up all we're fighting for, and
leave our best friends and allies, not to speak of our own interests, in
the hands of our enemies."

"You consider Gov'ments a good investment, then, do ye?" said Ducklow,
growing radiant.

"I do, decidedly,--the very best. Besides, you help the Government; and
that's no small consideration."

"So I thought. But how is it about the cowpon bonds? A'n't they rather
ticklish property to have in the house?"

"Well, I don't know. Think how many years you'll keep old bills and
documents and never dream of such a thing as losing them! There's not a
bit more danger with the bonds. I shouldn't want to carry 'em around
with me, to any great amount,--though I did once carry three
thousand-dollar bonds in my pocket for a week. I didn't mind it."

"Curi's!" said Ducklow: "I've got three thousan'-dollar bonds in my
pocket this minute!"

"Well, it's so much good property," said Josiah, appearing not at all
surprised at the circumstance.

"Seems to me, though, if I had a safe, as you have, I should lock 'em up
in it."

"I was travelling that week. I locked 'em up pretty soon after I got
home, though."

"Suppose," said Ducklow, as if the thought had but just occurred to
him,--"suppose you put my bonds into your safe: I shall feel easier."

"Of course," replied Josiah. "I'll keep 'em for you, if you like."

"It will be an accommodation. They'll be safe, will they?"

"Safe as mine are; safe as anybody's: I'll insure 'em for twenty-five
cents."

Ducklow was happy. Mrs. Ducklow was happy. She took her husband's coat,
and with a pair of scissors cut the threads that stitched the envelope
to the pocket.

"Have you torn off the May coupons?" asked Josiah.

"No."

"Well, you'd better. They'll be payable now soon; and if you take them,
you won't have to touch the bonds again till the interest on the
November coupons is due."

"A good idea!" said Ducklow.

He took the envelope, untied the tape, and removed its contents.
Suddenly the glow of comfort, the gleam of satisfaction, faded from his
countenance.

"Hello! What ye got there?" cried Josiah.

"Why, father! massy sakes!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow.

As for Ducklow himself, he could not utter a word; but, dumb with
consternation, he looked again in the envelope, and opened and turned
inside out, and shook, with trembling hands, its astonishing contents.
The bonds were not there: they had been stolen, and three copies of the
"Sunday Visitor" had been inserted in their place.

       *       *       *       *       *

Very early on the following morning a dismal-faced middle-aged couple
might have been seen riding away from Josiah's house. It was the
Ducklows returning home, after their fruitless, their worse than
fruitless, journey. No entreaties could prevail upon them to prolong
their visit. It was with difficulty even that they had been prevented
from setting off immediately on the discovery of their loss, and
travelling all night, in their impatience to get upon the track of the
missing bonds.

"There'll be not the least use in going to-night," Josiah had said. "If
they were stolen at the bank, you can't do anything about it till
to-morrow. And even if they were taken from your own house, I don't see
what's to be gained now by hurrying back. It isn't probable you'll ever
see 'em again, and you may just as well take it easy,--go to bed and
sleep on it, and get a fresh start in the morning."

So, much against their inclination, the unfortunate owners of the
abstracted bonds retired to the luxurious chamber Laura gave them, and
lay awake all night, groaning and sighing, wondering and surmising, and
(I regret to add) blaming each other. So true it is, that "modern
conveniences," hot and cold water all over the house, a pier-glass, and
the most magnificently canopied couch, avail nothing to give
tranquillity to the harassed mind. Hitherto the Ducklows had felt great
satisfaction in the style their daughter, by her marriage, was enabled
to support. To brag of her nice house and furniture and two servants was
almost as good as possessing them. Remembering her rich dining-room and
silver service and porcelain, they were proud. Such things were enough
for the honor of the family; and, asking nothing for themselves, they
slept well in their humblest of bed-chambers, and sipped their tea
contentedly out of clumsy earthen. But that night the boasted style in
which their "darter" lived was less appreciated than formerly: fashion
and splendor were no longer a consolation.

"If we had only given the three thousan' dollars to Reuben!" said
Ducklow, driving homewards with a countenance as long as his whip-lash.
"'Twould have jest set him up, and been some compensation for his
sufferin's and losses goin' to the war."

"Wal, I had no objections," replied Mrs. Ducklow. "I always thought he
ought to have the money eventooally. And, as Miss Beswick said, no doubt
it would 'a' been ten times the comfort to him now it would be a number
o' years from now. But you didn't seem willing."

"I don't know! 'twas you that wasn't willin'!"

And they expatiated on Reuben's merits, and their benevolent intentions
towards him, and, in imagination, endowed him with the price of the
bonds over and over again: so easy is it to be generous with lost money!

"But it's no use talkin'!" said Ducklow. "I've not the least idee we
shall ever see the color o' them bonds again. If they was stole to the
bank, I can't prove anything."

"It does seem strange to me," Mrs. Ducklow replied, "that you should
have had no more gumption than to trust the bonds with strangers, when
they told you in so many words they wouldn't be responsible."

"If you have flung that in my teeth once, you have fifty times!" And
Ducklow lashed the old mare, as if she, and not Mrs. Ducklow, had
exasperated him.

"Wal," said the lady, "I don't see how we're going to work to find 'em,
now they're lost, without making inquiries; and we can't make inquiries
without letting it be known we had bought."

"I been thinkin' about that," said her husband. "Oh, dear!" with a
groan; "I wish the pesky cowpon bonds had never been invented!"

They drove first to the bank, where they were of course told that the
envelope had not been untied there. "Besides, it was sealed, wasn't
it?" said the cashier. "Indeed!" He expressed great surprise, when
informed that it was not. "It should have been: I supposed any child
would know enough to look out for that!"

And this was all the consolation Ducklow could obtain.

"Just as I expected," said Mrs. Ducklow, as they resumed their journey.
"I just as much believe that man stole your bonds as that you trusted
'em in his hands in an unsealed wrapper! Beats all, how you could be so
careless!"

"Wal, wal! I s'pose I never shall hear the last on 't!"

And again the poor old mare had to suffer for Mrs. Ducklow's offences.

They had but one hope now,--that perhaps Taddy had tampered with the
envelope, and that the bonds might be found somewhere about the house.
But this hope was quickly extinguished on their arrival. Taddy, being
accused, protested his innocence with a vehemence which convinced even
Mr. Ducklow that the cashier was probably the guilty party.

"Unless," said he, brandishing the rattan, "somebody got into the house
that morning when the little scamp run off to ride with the minister!"

"Oh, don't lick me for that! I've been licked for that once; ha'n't I,
Ma Ducklow?" shrieked Taddy.

The house was searched in vain. No clew to the purloined securities
could be obtained,--the copies of the "Sunday Visitor," which had been
substituted for them, affording not the least; for that valuable little
paper was found in almost every household, except Ducklow's.

"I don't see any way left but to advertise, as Josiah said," remarked
the farmer, with a deep sigh of despondency.

"And that'll bring it all out!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow. "If you only
hadn't been so imprudent!"

"Wal, wal!" said Ducklow, cutting her short.

Before resorting to public measures for the recovery of the stolen
property, it was deemed expedient to acquaint their friends with their
loss in a private way. The next day, accordingly, they went to pay
Reuben a visit. It was a very different meeting from that which took
place a few mornings before. The returned soldier had gained in health,
but not in spirits. The rapture of reaching home once more, the flush of
hope and happiness, had passed away with the visitors who had flocked to
offer their congratulations. He had had time to reflect: he had reached
home, indeed; but now every moment reminded him how soon that home was
to be taken from him. He looked at his wife and children, and clenched
his teeth hard to stifle the emotions that arose at the thought of their
future. The sweet serenity, the faith and patience and cheerfulness,
which never ceased to illumine Sophronia's face as she moved about the
house, pursuing her daily tasks, and tenderly waiting upon him, deepened
at once his love and his solicitude. He was watching her thus when the
Ducklows entered with countenances mournful as the grave.

"How are you gittin' along, Reuben?" said Ducklow, while his wife
murmured a solemn "good morning" to Sophronia.

"I am doing well enough. Don't be at all concerned about me! It a'n't
pleasant to lie here, and feel it may be months, months, before I'm able
to be about my business; but I wouldn't mind it,--I could stand it
first-rate,--I could stand anything, anything, but to see her working
her life out for me and the children! To no purpose, either; that's the
worst of it. We shall have to lose this place, spite of fate!"

"Oh, Reuben!" said Sophronia, hastening to him, and laying her soothing
hands upon his hot forehead; "why won't you stop thinking about that? Do
try to have more faith! We shall be taken care of, I'm sure!"

"If I had three thousand dollars,--yes, or even two,--then I'd have
faith!" said Reuben. "Miss Beswick has proposed to send a
subscription-paper around town for us; but I'd rather die than have it
done. Besides, nothing near that amount could be raised, I'm confident.
You needn't groan so, Pa Ducklow, for I a'n't hinting at you. I don't
expect you to help me out of my trouble. If you had felt called upon to
do it, you'd have done it before now; and I don't ask, I don't beg of
any man!" added the soldier, proudly.

"That's right; I like your sperit!" said the miserable Ducklow. "But I
was sighing to think of something,--something you haven't known anything
about, Reuben."

"Yes, Reuben, we should have helped you," said Mrs. Ducklow, "and did,
did take steps towards it"----

"In fact," resumed Ducklow, "you've met with a great misfortin', Reuben.
Unbeknown to yourself, you've met with a great misfortin'! Yer Ma
Ducklow knows."

"Yes, Reuben, the very day you came home, your Pa Ducklow made an
investment for your benefit. We didn't mention it,--you know I wouldn't
own up to it, though I didn't exactly say the contrary, the morning we
was over here"----

"Because," said Ducklow, as she faltered, "we wanted to surprise you; we
was keepin' it a secret till the right time, then we was goin' to make
it a pleasant surprise to ye."

"What in the name of common-sense are you talking about?" cried Reuben,
looking from one to the other of the wretched, prevaricating pair.

"Cowpon bonds!" groaned Ducklow. "Three thousan'-dollar cowpon bonds!
The money had been lent, but I wanted to make a good investment for you,
and I thought there was nothin' so good as Gov'ments"----

"That's all right," said Reuben. "Only, if you had money to invest for
my benefit, I should have preferred to pay off the mortgage the first
thing."

"Sartin! sartin!" said Ducklow; "and you could have turned the bonds
right in, if you had so chosen, like so much cash. Or you could have
drawed your interest on the bonds in gold, and paid the interest on your
mortgage in currency, and made so much, as I rather thought you would."

"But the bonds?" eagerly demanded Reuben, with trembling hopes, just as
Miss Beswick, with her shawl over her head, entered the room.

"We was jest telling about our loss, Reuben's loss," said Mrs. Ducklow
in a manner which betrayed no little anxiety to conciliate that terrible
woman.

"Very well! don't let me interrupt." And Miss Beswick, slipping the
shawl from her head, sat down.

Her presence, stiff and prim and sarcastic, did not tend in the least to
relieve Mr. Ducklow from the natural embarrassment he felt in giving his
version of Reuben's loss. However, assisted occasionally by a judicious
remark thrown in by Mrs. Ducklow, he succeeded in telling a sufficiently
plausible and candid-seeming story.

"I see! I see!" said Reuben, who had listened with astonishment and pain
to the narrative. "You had kinder intentions towards me than I gave you
credit for. Forgive me, if I wronged you!" He pressed the hand of his
adopted father, and thanked him from a heart filled with gratitude and
trouble. "But don't feel so bad about it. You did what you thought best
I can only say, the fates are against me."

"Hem!" coughing, Miss Beswick stretched up her long neck and cleared her
throat "So them bonds you had bought for Reuben was in the house the
very night I called!"

"Yes, Miss Beswick," replied Mrs. Ducklow; "and that's what made it so
uncomfortable to us to have you talk the way you did."

"Hem!" The neck was stretched up still farther than before, and the
redoubtable throat cleared again. "'Twas too bad! Ye ought to have told
me. You'd actooally bought the bonds,--bought 'em for Reuben, had ye?"

"Sartin! sartin!" said Ducklow.

"To be sure!" said Mrs. Ducklow.

"We designed 'em for his benefit, a surprise, when the right time
come," said both together.

"Hem! well!" (It was evident that the Beswick was clearing her decks for
action.) "When the right time come! yes! That right time wasn't
somethin' indefinite, in the fur futur', of course! Yer losin' the bonds
didn't hurry up yer benevolence the least grain, I s'pose! Hem! let in
them boys, Sophrony!"

Sophronia opened the door, and in walked Master Dick Atkins, (son of the
brush-burner,) followed, not without reluctance and concern, by Master
Taddy.

"Thaddeus! what you here for?" demanded the adopted parents.

"Because I said so," remarked Miss Beswick, arbitrarily. "Step along,
boys, step along. Hold up yer head, Taddy, for ye a'n't goin' to be hurt
while I'm around. Take yer fists out o' yer eyes, and stop blubberin'.
Mr. Ducklow, that boy knows somethin' about Reuben's cowpon bonds."

"Thaddeus!" ejaculated both Ducklows at once, "did you touch them
bonds?"

"Didn't know what they was!" whimpered Taddy.

"Did you take them?" And the female Ducklow grasped his shoulder.

"Hands off, if you please!" remarked Miss Beswick, with frightfully
gleaming courtesy. "I told him, if he'd be a good boy, and come along
with Richard, and tell the truth, he shouldn't be hurt. _If_ you
please," she repeated, with a majestic nod; and Mrs. Ducklow took her
hands off.

"Where are they now? where are they?" cried Ducklow, rushing headlong to
the main question.

"Don't know," said Taddy.

"Don't know? you villain!" And Ducklow was rising in wrath. But Miss
Beswick put up her hand deprecatingly.

"If _you_ please!" she said, with grim civility; and Ducklow sank down
again.

"What did you do with 'em? what did you want of 'em?" said Mrs. Ducklow,
with difficulty restraining an impulse to wring his neck.

"To cover my kite," confessed the miserable Taddy.

"Cover your kite! your kite!" A chorus of groans from the Ducklows.
"Didn't you know no better?"

"Didn't think you'd care," said Taddy. "I had some newspapers Dick give
me to cover it; but I thought them things 'u'd be pootier. So I took
'em, and put the newspapers in the wrapper."

"Did ye cover yer kite?"

"No. When I found out you cared so much about 'em, I dars'n't; I was
afraid you'd see 'em."

"Then what _did_ you do with 'em?"

"When you was away, Dick come over to sleep with me, and I--I sold 'em
to him."

"Sold 'em to Dick!"

"Yes," spoke up Dick, stoutly, "for six marbles, and one was a
bull's-eye, and one agate, and two alleys. Then, when you come home and
made such a fuss, he wanted 'em ag'in. But he wouldn't give me back but
four, and I wa'n't going to agree to no such nonsense as that."

"I'd lost the bull's-eye and one common," whined Taddy.

"But the bonds! did you destroy 'em?"

"Likely I'd destroy 'em, after I'd paid six marbles for 'em!" said Dick.
"I wanted 'em to cover _my_ kite with."

"Cover _your_--oh! then _you_'ve made a kite of 'em?" said Ducklow.

"Well, I was going to, when Aunt Beswick ketched me at it. She made me
tell where I got 'em, and took me over to your house jest now; and Taddy
said you was over here, and so she put ahead, and made us follow her."

Again, in an agony of impatience, Ducklow demanded to know where the
bonds were at that moment.

"If Taddy'll give me back the marbles," began Master Dick.

"That'll do!" said Miss Beswick, silencing him with a gesture. "Reuben
will give you twenty marbles; for I believe you said they was Reuben's
bonds, Mr. Ducklow?"

"Yes, that is"----stammered the adopted father.

"Eventooally," struck in the adopted mother.

"Now look here! What am I to understand? Be they Reuben's bonds, or be
they not? That's the question!" And there was that in Miss Beswick's
look which said, "If they are not Reuben's, then your eyes shall never
behold them more!"

"Of course they're Reuben's!" "We intended all the while"----"His
benefit"----"To do jest what he pleases with 'em," chorused Pa and Ma
Ducklow.

"Wal! now it's understood! Here, Reuben, are your cowpon bonds!"

And Miss Beswick, drawing them from her bosom, placed the precious
documents, with formal politeness, in the glad soldier's agitated hands.

"Glory!" cried Reuben, assuring himself that they were genuine and real.
"Sophrony, you've got a home! Ruby, Carrie, you've got a home! Miss
Beswick! you angel from the skies! order a bushel and a half of marbles
for Dick, and have the bill sent to me! Oh, Pa Ducklow! you never did a
nobler or more generous thing in your life. These will lift the
mortgage, and leave me a nest-egg besides. Then when I get my back pay,
and my pension, and my health again, we shall be independent."

And the soldier, overcome by his feelings, sank back in the arms of his
wife.

"We always told you we'd do well by ye, you remember?" said the
Ducklows, triumphantly.

The news went abroad. Again congratulations poured in upon the returned
volunteer. Everybody rejoiced in his good fortune,--especially certain
rich ones who had been dreading to see Miss Beswick come round with her
proposed subscription-paper.

Among the rest, the Ducklows rejoiced not the least; for selfishness was
with them, as it is with many, rather a thing of habit than a fault of
the heart. The catastrophe of the bonds broke up that life-long habit,
and revealed good hearts underneath. The consciousness of having done an
act of justice, although by accident, proved very sweet to them: it was
really a fresh sensation; and Reuben and his dear little family, saved
from ruin and distress, happy, thankful, glad, was a sight to their old
eyes such as they had never witnessed before. Not gold itself, in any
quantity, at the highest premium, could have given them so much
satisfaction; and as for coupon bonds, they are not to be mentioned in
the comparison.

"Won't you do well by me some time, too?" teased little Taddy, who
overheard his adopted parents congratulating themselves on having acted
so generously by Reuben. "I don't care for no cowpen bonds, but I do
want a new drum!"

"Yes, yes, my son!" said Ducklow, patting the boy's shoulder.

And the drum was bought.

Taddy was delighted. But he did not know what made the Ducklows so much
happier, so much gentler and kinder, than formerly. Do you?



THE AUTHOR OF "SAUL."[A]


We are not one of those who believe that the manifestation of any
native, vigorous faculty of the mind is dependent upon circumstances. It
is true that education, in its largest sense, modifies development; but
it cannot, to any serious extent, add to, or take from, the power to be
developed. In the lack of encouragement and contemporary appreciation,
certain of the finer faculties may not give forth their full and perfect
fragrance; but the rose is always seen to be a rose, though never a bud
come to flower. The "mute, inglorious Milton" is a pleasant poetic
fiction. Against the "hands that the rod of empire _might_ have swayed"
we have nothing to object, knowing to what sort of hands the said rod
has so often been intrusted.

John Howard Payne once read to us--and it was something of an
infliction--a long manuscript on "The Neglected Geniuses of America,"--a
work which only death, we suspect, prevented him from giving to the
world. There was not one name in the list which had ever before reached
our ears. Nicholas Blauvelt and William Phillips and a number of other
utterly forgotten rhymesters were described and eulogized at length, the
quoted specimens of their poetry proving all the while their admirable
right to the oblivion which Mr. Payne deprecated. They were men of
culture, some of them wealthy, and we could detect no lack of
opportunity in the story of their lives. Had they been mechanics, they
would have planed boards and laid bricks from youth to age. The Ayrshire
ploughman and the Bedford tinker were made of other stuff. Our inference
then was, and still is, that unacknowledged (or at least unmanifested)
genius is no genius at all, and that the lack of sympathy which many
young authors so bitterly lament is a necessary test of their fitness
for their assumed vocation.

Gerald Massey is one of the most recent instances of the certainty with
which a poetic faculty by no means of the highest order will enforce its
own development, under seemingly fatal discouragements. The author of
"Saul" is a better illustration of the same fact; for, although, in our
ignorance of the circumstances of his early life, we are unable to
affirm what particular difficulties he had to encounter, we know how
long he was obliged to wait for the first word of recognition, and to
what heights he aspired in the course of many long and solitary years.

The existence of "Saul" was first made known to the world by an article
in the "North British Review," in the year 1858, when the author had
already attained his forty-second year. The fact that the work was
published in Montreal called some attention to it on this side of the
Atlantic, and a few critical notices appeared in our literary
periodicals. It is still, however, comparatively unknown; and those into
whose hands it may have fallen are, doubtless, ignorant of the author's
name and history. An outline of the latter, so far as we have been able
to ascertain its features, will help the reader to a more intelligent
judgment, when we come to discuss the author's claim to a place in
literature.

Charles Heavysege was born in Liverpool, England, in the year 1816. We
know nothing in regard to his parents, except that they were poor, yet
able to send their son to an ordinary school. His passion for reading,
especially such the poetry as fell into his hands, showed itself while
he was yet a child. Milton seems to have been the first author who made
a profound impression upon his mind; but it is also reported that the
schoolmaster once indignantly snatched Gray's "Elegy" from his hand,
because he so frequently selected that poem for his reading-lesson.
Somewhat later, he saw "Macbeth" performed, and was immediately seized
with the ambition to become an actor,--a profession for which few
persons could be less qualified. The impression produced by this
tragedy, combined with the strict religious training which he appears to
have received, undoubtedly fixed the character and manner of his
subsequent literary efforts.

There are but few other facts of his life which we can state with
certainty. His chances of education were evidently very scanty, for he
must have left school while yet a boy, in order to learn his
trade,--that of a machinist. He had thenceforth little time and less
opportunity for literary culture. His reading was desultory, and the
poetic faculty, expending itself on whatever subjects came to hand,
produced great quantities of manuscripts, which were destroyed almost as
soon as written. The idea of publishing them does not seem to have
presented itself to his mind. Either his life must have been devoid of
every form of intellectual sympathy, or there was some external
impediment formidable enough to keep down that ambition which always
co-exists with the creative power.

In the year 1843 he married, and in 1853 emigrated to Canada, and
settled in Montreal. Even here his literary labor was at first performed
in secrecy; he was nearly forty years old before a line from his pen
appeared in type. He found employment in a machine-shop, and it was only
very gradually--probably after much doubt and hesitation--that he came
to the determination to subject his private creations to the ordeal of
print. His first venture was a poem in blank verse, the title of which
we have been unable to ascertain. A few copies were printed anonymously
and distributed among personal friends. It was a premature birth, which
never knew a moment's life, and the father of it would now be the last
person to attempt a resuscitation.

Soon afterwards appeared--also anonymously--a little pamphlet,
containing fifty "so-called" sonnets. They are, in reality, fragmentary
poems of fourteen lines each, bound to no metre or order of rhyme. In
spite of occasional crudities of expression, the ideas are always poetic
and elevated, and there are many vigorous couplets and quatrains. They
do not, however, furnish any evidence of sustained power, and the
reader, who should peruse them as the only productions of the author,
would be far from inferring the latter's possession of that lofty epical
utterance which he exhibits in "Saul" and "Jephthah's Daughter."

We cannot learn that this second attempt to obtain a hearing was
successful, so far as any public notice of the pamphlet is concerned;
but it seems, at least, to have procured for Mr. Heavysege the first
private recognition of his poetic abilities which he had ever received,
and thereby given him courage for a more ambitious venture. "Saul," as
an epical subject, must have haunted his mind for years. The greater
portion of it, indeed, had been written before he had become familiar
with the idea of publication; and even after the completion of the work,
we can imagine the sacrifices which must have delayed its appearance in
print. For a hard-working mechanic, in straitened circumstances, courage
of another kind was required. It is no slight expense to produce an
octavo volume of three hundred and thirty pages; there must have been
much anxious self-consultation, a great call for patience, fortitude,
and hope, with who may know what doubts and despondencies, before, in
1857 "Saul" was given to the world.

Nothing could have been more depressing than its reception, if, indeed,
the term "reception" can be applied to complete indifference. A country
like Canada, possessing no nationality, and looking across the Atlantic,
not only for its political rule, but also (until very recently, at
least) for its opinions, tastes, and habits, is especially unfavorable
to the growth of an independent literature. Although there are many men
of learning and culture among the residents of Montreal, they do not
form a class to whom a native author could look for encouragement or
appreciation sufficient to stamp him as successful. The reading public
there accept the decrees of England and the United States, and they did
not detect the merits of "Saul," until the discovery had first been made
in those countries.

Several months had elapsed since the publication of the volume; it
seemed to be already forgotten, when the notice to which we have
referred appeared in the "North British Review." The author had sent a
copy to Mr. Hawthorne, then residing in Liverpool, and that gentleman,
being on friendly terms with some of the writers for the "North
British," procured the insertion of an appreciative review of the poem.
Up to that time, we believe, no favorable notice of the work had
appeared in Canada. The little circulation it obtained was chiefly among
the American residents. A few copies found their way across the border,
and some of our authors (among whom we may mention Mr. Emerson and Mr.
Longfellow) were the first to recognize the genius of the poet. With
this double indorsement, his fellow-townsmen hastened to make amends for
their neglect. They could not be expected to give any very enthusiastic
welcome, nor was their patronage extensive enough to confer more than
moderate success; but the remaining copies of the first small edition
were sold, and a second edition--which has not yet been
exhausted--issued in 1859.

In February, 1860, we happened to visit Montreal. At that time we had
never read the poem, and the bare fact of its existence had almost faded
from memory, when it was recalled by an American resident who was
acquainted with Mr. Heavysege, and whose account of his patience, his
quiet energy, and serene faith in his poetic calling strongly interested
us. It was but a few hours before our departure; there was a furious
snow-storm; yet the gentleman ordered a sleigh, and we drove at once to
a large machine-shop, in the outskirts of the city. Here, amid the noise
of hammers, saws, and rasps, in a great grimy hall smelling of oil and
iron-dust, we found the poet at his work-bench. A small, slender man,
with a thin, sensitive face, bright blonde hair, and eyes of that
peculiar blue which burns warm, instead of cold, under excitement,--in
the few minutes of our interview the picture was fixed, and remains so.
His manner was quiet, natural, and unassuming: he received us with the
simple good-breeding which a gentleman always possesses, whether we find
him on a throne or beside an anvil. Not a man to assert his claim
loudly, or to notice injustice or neglect by a single spoken word; but
one to take quietly success or failure, in the serenity of a mood
habitually untouched by either extreme.

In that one brief first and last interview, we discovered, at least, the
simple, earnest sincerity of the man's nature,--a quality too rare, even
among authors. When we took our seat in the train for Rouse's Point, we
opened the volume of "Saul." The first part was finished as we
approached St. Albans; the second at Vergennes; and twilight was falling
as we closed the book between Bennington and Troy. Whatever crudities of
expression, inaccuracies of rhythm, faults of arrangement, and
violations of dramatic law met us from time to time, the earnest purpose
of the writer carried us over them all. The book has a fine flavor of
the Elizabethan age,--a sustained epic rather than dramatic character,
an affluence of quaint, original images; yet the construction was
frequently that of a school-boy. In opulence and maturity of ideas, and
poverty of artistic skill, the work stands almost alone in literature.
What little we have learned of the history of the author suggests an
explanation of this peculiarity. Never was so much genuine power so long
silent.

"Saul" is yet so little known, that a descriptive outline of the poem
will be a twice-told tale to very few readers of the "Atlantic." The
author strictly follows the history of the renowned Hebrew king, as it
is related in I Samuel, commencing with the tenth chapter, but divides
the subject into three dramas, after the manner of Schiller's
"Wallenstein." The first part embraces the history of Saul, from his
anointing by Samuel at Ramah to David's exorcism of the evil spirit,
(xvi. 23,) and contains five acts. The second part opens with David as a
guest in the palace at Gibeah. The defeat of the Philistines at Elah,
Saul's jealousy of David, and the latter's marriage with Michal form the
staple of the _four_ acts of this part. The third part consists of _six_
acts of unusual length, (some of them have thirteen scenes,) and is
devoted to the pursuits and escapes of David, the Witch of Endor, and
the final battle, wherein the king and his three sons are slain. No
liberties have been taken with the order of the Scripture narrative,
although a few subordinate characters have here and there been
introduced to complete the action. The author seems either to lack the
inventive faculty, or to have feared modifying the sacred record for the
purposes of Art. In fact, no considerable modification was necessary.
The simple narrative fulfils almost all the requirements of dramatic
writing, in its succession of striking situations, and its cumulative
interest. From beginning to end, however, Mr. Heavysege makes no attempt
to produce a dramatic effect. It is true that he has availed himself of
the phrase "an evil spirit from the Lord," to introduce a demoniac
element, but, singularly enough, the demons seem to appear and to act
unwillingly, and manifest great relief when they are allowed to retire
from the stage.

The work, therefore, cannot be measured by dramatic laws. It is an epic
in dialogue; its chief charm lies in the march of the story and the
detached individual monologues, rather than in contrast of characters or
exciting situations. The sense of proportion--the latest developed
quality of the poetic mind--is dimly manifested. The structure of the
verse, sometimes so stately and majestic, is frequently disfigured by
the commonest faults; yet the breath of a lofty purpose has been
breathed upon every page. The personality of the author never pierces
through his theme. The language is fresh, racy, vigorous, and utterly
free from the impress of modern masters: much of it might have been
written by a contemporary of Shakspeare.

In the opening of the first part, Saul, recently anointed king, receives
the messengers of Jabesh Gilead, and promises succor. A messenger
says,--

                            "The winds of heaven,
    Behind thee blow: and on our enemies' eyes
    May the sun smite to-morrow, and blind them for thee!
    But, O Saul, do not fail us.

    "_Saul._ Fail ye
    Let the morn fail to break; I will not break
    My word. Haste, or I'm there before you. Fail?
    Let the morn fail the east; I'll not fail you,
    But, swift and silent as the streaming wind,
    Unseen approach, then, gathering up my force
    At dawning, sweep on Ammon, as Night's blast
    Sweeps down the Carmel on the dusky sea."

This is a fine picture of Saul steeling his nature to cruelty, when be
has reluctantly resolved to obey Samuel's command "to trample out the
living fire of Amalek":--

    "Now let me tighten every cruel sinew,
    And gird the whole up in unfeeling hardness,
    That my swollen heart, which bleeds within me tears,
    May choke itself to stillness. I am as
    A shivering bather, that, upon the shore,
    Looking and shrinking from the cold, black waves,
    Quick starting from his reverie, with a rush
    Abbreviates his horror."

And this of the satisfied lust of blood, uttered by a Hebrew soldier,
after the slaughter:--

    "When I was killing, such thoughts came to me, like
    The sound of cleft-dropped waters to the ear
    Of the hot mower, who thereat stops the oftener
    To whet his glittering scythe, and, while he smiles,
    With the harsh, sharpening hone beats their fall's time,
    And dancing to it in his heart's straight chamber,
    Forgets that he is weary."

After the execution of Agag by the hand of Samuel, the demons are
introduced with more propriety than in the opening of the poem. The
following passage has a subtle, sombre grandeur of its own:--

    "_First Demon._ Now let us down to hell: we've seen the last.

    "_Second Demon._ Stay; for the road thereto is yet incumbered
    With the descending spectres of the killed.
    _'Tis said they choke hell's gates, and stretch from thence
    Out like a tongue upon the silent gulf_;
    Wherein our spirits--even as terrestrial ships
    That are detained by foul winds in an offing--
    Linger perforce, _and feel broad gusts of sighs
    That swing them on the dark and billowless waste_,
    O'er which come sounds more dismal than the boom,
    At midnight, of the salt flood's foaming surf,--
    Even dead Amalek's moan and lamentation."

The reader will detect the rhythmical faults of the poem, even in these
passages. But there is a vast difference between such blemishes of the
unrhymed heroic measure as terminating a line with "and," "of," or
"but," or inattention to the cæsural pauses, and that mathematical
precision of foot and accent, which, after all, can scarcely be
distinguished from prose. Whatever may be his shortcomings, Mr.
Heavysege speaks in the dialect of poetry. Only rarely he drops into
bald prose, as in these lines:--

    "But let us go abroad, and in the twilight's
    Cool, tranquillizing air discuss this matter."

We remember, however, that Wordsworth wrote,--

                  "A band of officers
    Then stationed in the city were among the chief
    Of my associates."

We had marked many other fine passages of "Saul" for quotation, but must
be content with a few of those which are most readily separated from the
context.

                  "Ha! ha! the foe,
    Having taken from us our warlike tools, yet leave us
    The little scarlet tongue to scratch and sting with."

    "Here's lad's-love, and the flower which even death
    Cannot unscent, the all-transcending rose."

                  "The loud bugle,
    And the hard-rolling drum, and clashing cymbals,
    Now reign the lords o' the air. These crises, David,
    Bring with them their own music, as do storms
    Their thunders."

                  "Ere the morn
    Shall tint the orient with the soldier's color,
    We must be at the camp."

    "But come, I'll disappoint thee; for, remember,
    Samuel will not be roused for thee, although
    I knock with thunder at his resting-place."

The lyrical portions, of the work--introduced in connection with the
demoniac characters--are inferior to the rest. They have occasionally a
quaint, antique flavor, suggesting the diction of the Elizabethan
lyrists, but without their delicate, elusive richness of melody. Here
most we perceive the absence of that highest, ripest intellectual
culture which can be acquired only through contact and conflict with
other minds. It is not good for a poet to be alone. Even where the
constructive faculty is absent, its place may be supplied through the
development of that artistic sense which files, weighs, and
adjusts,--which reconciles the utmost freedom and force of thought with
the mechanical symmetries of language,--and which, first a fetter to the
impatient mind, becomes at length a pinion, holding it serenely poised
in the highest ether. Only the rudiment of the sense is born with the
poet, and few literary lives are fortunate enough, or of sufficiently
varied experience, to mature it.

Nevertheless, before closing the volume, we must quote what we consider
to be the author's best lyrical passage. Zaph, one of the attendants of
Malzah, the "evil spirit from the Lord," sings as follows to one of his
fellows:--

    "Zepho, the sun's descended beam
    Hath laid his rod on th' ocean stream,
    And this o'erhanging wood-top nods
    Like golden helms of drowsy gods.
    Methinks that now I'll stretch for rest,
    With eyelids sloping toward the west;
    That, through their half transparencies,
    The rosy radiance passed and strained,
    Of mote and vapor duly drained,
    I may believe, in hollow bliss,
    My rest in the empyrean is.
    Watch thou; and when up comes the moon,
    Atowards her turn me; and then, boon,
    Thyself compose, 'neath wavering leaves
    That hang these branched, majestic eaves:
    That so, with self-imposed deceit,
    Both, in this halcyon retreat,
    By trance possessed, imagine may
    We couch in Heaven's night-argent ray."

In 1860 Mr. Heavysege published by subscription a drama entitled "Count
Filippo; or, the Unequal Marriage." This work, of which we have seen
but one critical notice, added nothing to his reputation. His genius, as
we have already remarked, is not dramatic; and there is, moreover,
internal evidence that "Count Philippo" did not grow, like "Saul," from
an idea which took forcible possession of the author's mind. The plot is
not original, the action languid, and the very names of the _dramatis
personæ_ convey an impression of unreality. Though we know there never
was a Duke of Pereza in Italy, this annoys us less than that he should
bear such a fantastic name as "Tremohla"; nor does the feminine "Volina"
inspire us with much respect for the heroine. The characters are
intellectual abstractions, rather than creatures of flesh and blood; and
their love, sorrow, and remorse fail to stir our sympathies. They have
an incorrigible habit of speaking in conceits. As "Saul" is pervaded
with the spirit of the Elizabethan writers, so "Count Filippo" suggests
the artificial manner of the rivals of Dryden. It is the work of a poet,
but of a poet working from a mechanical impulse. There are very fine
single passages, but the general effect is marred by the constant
recurrence of such forced metaphors as these:--

    "Now shall the he-goat, black Adultery,
    With the roused ram, Retaliation, twine
    Their horns in one to butt at Filippo."

          "As the salamander, cast in fire,
    Exudes preserving mucus, so my mind,
    Cased in thick satisfaction of success,
    Shall be uninjured."

The work, nevertheless, appears to have had some share in improving its
author's fortunes. From that time, he has received at least a partial
recognition in Canada. Soon after its publication, he succeeded in
procuring employment on the daily newspaper press of Montreal, which
enabled him to give up his uncongenial labor at the work-bench. The
Montreal Literary Club elected him one of its Fellows, and the
short-lived literary periodicals of the Province no longer ignored his
existence. In spite of a change of circumstances which must have given
him greater leisure as well as better opportunities of culture, he has
published but two poems in the last five years,--an Ode for the
ter-centenary anniversary of Shakspeare's birth, and the sacred idyl of
"Jephthah's Daughter." The former is a production the spirit of which is
worthy of its occasion, although, in execution, it is weakened, by an
overplus of imagery and epithet. It contains between seven and eight
hundred lines. The grand, ever-changing music of the Ode will not bear
to be prolonged beyond a certain point, as all the great Masters of Song
have discovered: the ear must not be allowed to become _quite_
accustomed to the surprises of the varying rhythm, before the closing
Alexandrine.

"Jephthah's Daughter" contains between thirteen and fourteen hundred
lines. In careful finish, in sustained sweetness and grace, and solemn
dignity of language, it is a marked advance upon any of the author's
previous works. We notice, indeed, the same technical faults as in
"Saul," but they occur less frequently, and may be altogether corrected
in a later revision of the poem. Here, also, the Scriptural narrative is
rigidly followed, and every temptation to adorn its rare simplicity
resisted. Even that lament of the Hebrew girl, behind which there seems
to lurk a romance, and which is so exquisitely paraphrased by Tennyson,
in his "Dream of Fair Women,"--

    "And I went, mourning: 'No fair Hebrew boy
      Shall smile away my maiden blame among
    The Hebrew mothers,'"--

is barely mentioned in the words of the text. The passion of Jephthah,
the horror, the piteous pleading of his wife and daughter, and the final
submission of the latter to her doom, are elaborated with a careful and
tender hand. From the opening to the closing line, the reader is lifted
to the level of the tragic theme, and inspired, as in the Greek tragedy,
with a pity which makes lovely the element of terror. The central
sentiment of the poem, through all its touching and sorrowful changes,
is that of repose. Observe the grave harmony of the opening lines:--

    "'Twas in the olden days of Israel,
    When from her people rose up mighty men
    To judge and to defend her: ere she knew,
    Or clamored for, her coming line of kings,
    A father, rashly vowing, sacrificed
    His daughter on the altar of the Lord;--
    'Twas in those ancient days, coeval deemed
    With the song-famous and heroic ones,
    When Agamemnon, taught divinely, doomed
    _His_ daughter to expire at Dian's shrine,--
    So doomed, to free the chivalry of Greece,
    In Aulis lingering for a favoring wind
    To waft them to the fated walls of Troy.
    Two songs with but one burden, twin-like tales.
    Sad tales! but this the sadder of the twain,--
    This song, a wail more desolately wild;
    More fraught this story with grim fate fulfilled."

The length to which this article has grown warns us to be sparing of
quotations, but we all the more earnestly recommend those in whom we may
have inspired some interest in the author to procure the poem for
themselves. We have perused it several times, with increasing enjoyment
of its solemn diction, its sad, monotonous music, and with the hope that
the few repairing touches, which alone are wanting to make it a perfect
work of its class, may yet be given. This passage, for example, where
Jephthah prays to be absolved from his vow, would be faultlessly
eloquent, but for the prosaic connection of the first and second
lines:--

    "'Choose Tabor for thine altar: I will pile
    It with the choice of Bashan's lusty herds,
    And flocks of fallings, _and for fuel, thither
    Will bring umbrageous Lebanon to burn_.'

           *       *       *       *       *

    "He said, and stood awaiting for the sign,
    And heard, above the hoarse, bough-bending wind,
    The hill-wolf howling on the neighboring height,
    And bittern booming in the pool below.
    Some drops of rain fell from the passing cloud
    That sudden hides the wanly shining moon,
    And from the scabbard instant dropped his sword,
    And, with long, living leaps, and rock-struck clang,
    From side to side, and slope to sounding slope,
    In gleaming whirls swept down the dim ravine."

The finest portion of the poem is the description of that transition of
feeling, through which the maiden, warm with young life and clinging to
life for its own unfulfilled promise, becomes the resigned and composed
victim. No one but a true poet could have so conceived and represented
the situation. The narrative flows in one unbroken current, detached
parts whereof hint but imperfectly of the whole, as do goblets of water
of the stream wherefrom they are dipped. We will only venture to present
two brief passages. The daughter speaks:--

    "Let me not need now disobey you, mother,
    But give me leave to knock at Death's pale gate,
    Whereat indeed I must, by duty drawn,
    By Nature shown the sacred way to yield.
    Behold, the coasting cloud obeys the breeze;
    The slanting smoke, the invisible sweet air;
    the towering tree its leafy limbs resigns
    To the embraces of the wilful wind:
    Shall I, then, wrong, resist the hand of Heaven!
    Take me, my father! take, accept me, Heaven!
    Slay me or save me, even as you will!"

    "Light, light, I leave thee!--yet am I a lamp,
    Extinguished now, to be relit forever.
    Life dies: but in its stead death lives."

In "Jephthah's Daughter," we think, Mr. Heavysege has found that form of
poetic utterance for which his genius is naturally qualified. It is
difficult to guess the future of a literary life so exceptional
hitherto,--difficult to affirm, without a more intimate knowledge of the
man's nature, whether he is capable of achieving that rhythmical
perfection (in the higher sense wherein sound becomes the symmetrical
garment of thought) which, in poets, marks the line between imperfect
and complete success. What he most needs, of _external_ culture, we have
already indicated: if we might be allowed any further suggestion, he
supplies it himself, in one of his fragmentary poems:--

    "Open, my heart, thy ruddy valves,--
      It is thy master calls:
    Let me go down, and, curious, trace
      Thy labyrinthine halls.
    Open, O heart! and let me view
      The secrets of thy den:
    Myself unto myself now show
      With introspective ken.
    Expose thyself, thou covered nest
      Of passions, and be seen:
    Stir up thy brood, that in unrest
      Are ever piping keen:--
    Ah! what a motley multitude,
      Magnanimous and mean!"

FOOTNOTES:

[A] _Saul._ A Drama, in Three Parts. Montreal: John Lovell. 1850.

_Count Fillippo; or The Unequal Marriage._ By the Author of "Saul."
Montreal: Printed for the Author. 1860.

_Jephthah's Daughter._ By Charles Heavysege, Author of "Saul." Montreal:
Dawson Brothers. 1865.



NEEDLE AND GARDEN.

THE STORY OF A SEAMSTRESS WHO LAID DOWN HER NEEDLE AND BECAME A
STRAWBERRY-GIRL.

WRITTEN BY HERSELF.


CHAPTER X.

CONCLUSION.

Although two thirds of our little patrimony had thus been devoted to the
cultivation of fruit, yet the other third was far from being suffered to
remain unproductive. We thoroughly understood the art of raising all the
household vegetables, as we had been brought up to assist our father at
intervals throughout the season. Then none of us were indifferent to
flowers. There were little clumps and borders of them in numerous
places. Nowhere did the crocus come gayly up into the soft atmosphere of
early spring in advance of ours. The violets perfumed the air for us
with the same rich profusion as in the carefully tended parterre of the
wealthiest citizen. There were rows of flowering almonds, which were
sought after by the bees as diligently as if holding up their delicate
heads in the most patrician garden; and they flashed as gorgeously in
the sun. The myrtle displayed its blue flowers in abundance, and the
lilacs unfolded their paler clusters in a dozen places. Over a huge
cedar in the fence-corner there clambered up a magnificent wistaria,
whose great blue flowers, covering the entire tree, became a monument of
floral beauty so striking, that the stranger, passing by the spot, would
pause to wonder and admire. In the care of these flowers all of us
united with a common fondness for the beautiful as well as the useful.
It secured to us, from the advent of the earliest crocus to the
departure of the last lingering rose that dropped its reluctant flowers
only when the premonitory blasts of autumn swept across the garden, all
that innocent enjoyment which comes of admiration for these bright
creations of the Divine hand.

These little incidental recompenses of the most perfect domestic harmony
were realized in everything we undertook. That harmony was the animating
as well as sustaining power of my horticultural enterprise. Had there
been wrangling, opposition, or ridicule, it is probable that I should
never have ventured on the planting of a single strawberry. Success,
situated as I was, was dependent on united effort, the coöperation of
all. This coöperation of the entire family must be still more necessary
in agricultural undertakings on a large scale. A wife, taken reluctantly
from the city to a farm, with no taste for rural life, no love of
flowers, no fondness for the garden, no appreciation of the mysteries of
seed-time and harvest, no sensibility to fields of clover, to green
meadows, to the grateful silence of the woods, or to the voices of
birds, and who pines for the unforgotten charms of city life, may mar
the otherwise assured happiness of the household. One refractory inmate
in ours would have been especially calamitous.

The floral world is pervaded with miraculous sympathies. Another spring
had opened on our garden, and flower after flower came out into gorgeous
bloom. My strawberries, as if conscious of the display around them, and
ambitious to increase it, opened their white blossoms toward the close
of April. Those set the preceding autumn gave promise of an abundant
yield, but not equal to that presented by the runners which crowded
around the parent plants on the original half-acre. The winter had been
unfriendly, sending no heavy covering of snow to shelter them; while
the frost, in making its first escape from the earth, had loosened many
plants, bringing some of them half-way out of the ground, while a few
had been thrown entirely upon the surface, where they quickly perished.

I had read that accidents of this kind would sometimes happen, and that,
when plants were thus partially dislodged by frost, the roller must be
passed over them to crowd back the roots into their proper places. I had
discovered this derangement immediately on the frost escaping, but we
had neither roller nor substitute. As pressure alone was needed, I set
Fred to walking over the entire acre, and with his heavy winter boots to
trample down each plant in its old place. The operation was every way as
beneficial as if the ground had been well rolled. When performed before
the roots have been many days exposed to the air, it not only does no
injury, but effectually repairs all damage committed by the frost.

Everything, this second season, was on a larger scale than before,
requiring greater care and labor, but at the same time brightening my
hopes and doubling my anticipations. I was compelled to hire a gardener
occasionally to assist in keeping the ground clean and mellow, although
among us we contrived to perform a large portion of the work ourselves.
I found that constant watchfulness secured an immense economy of labor.
It was far easier to cut off a weed when only an inch high than when
grown up to the stature of a young tree. It was the same with the white
clover or a grass-root. These two seem native to the soil, and will come
in and take possession, smothering and routing out the strawberries,
unless cut up as fast as they appear. When attacked early, before their
rambling, but deeply penetrating roots obtain a strong hold, they are
easily destroyed. I consider, therefore, that watchfulness may be made
an effective substitute for labor, really preventing all necessity for
hard work. This watchfulness we could generally exercise, though
physically unable to perform much labor. Hence, when ladies undertake
the management of an established strawberry-bed, a daily attention to
it, with a light hoe, will be found as useful as a laborious clearing up
by an able-bodied man, with the additional advantage of occasioning no
injurious disturbance to the roots in removing great quantities of
full-grown weeds.

The blossoms fell to the ground, the berries set in thick clusters,
turning downward as they increased in size, and changing, as they
enlarged, from a pale green to a delicate white, then becoming suffused
with a slight blush, which gradually deepened into an intense red. It
was a joyful time, when, with my mother and sister, I made the first
picking. All of us were struck with the improved appearance of the fruit
on the first half-acre. This was natural, as well as what is commonly
observed. The plants had acquired strength with age. They had had
another season in which to send out new and longer roots; and these,
rambling into wider and deeper fountains of nourishment, had drawn from
them supplies so copious, that the berries were not only much more
numerous than the year before, but they were every way larger and finer.
The contrast between the fruit on these and the new plants was very
decided. Hence we had a generous gathering to begin with. It was all
carefully assorted, as before; but the quantity was so large that
additional baskets were required, and Fred was obliged to employ an
assistant to carry it to market.

While engaged in making our second picking, carefully turning aside the
luxuriant foliage to reach the berries which had ripened in concealment,
with capacious sun-bonnets that shut out from observation all objects
but those immediately before us, it was no wonder that a stranger could
come directly up without being noticed. Thus intently occupied one
afternoon, we were surprised at hearing a subdued and timid voice
asking,--

"May I sell some strawberries for you?"

I looked round,--for the voice came from behind us,--and beheld a girl
of some ten years old, having in her hand a basket, which she had
probably found on the common, as, in place of the original bottom, a
pasteboard substitute had been fitted into it. It was filled with little
pasteboard boxes, stitched at the corners, but strong enough to hold
fruit. I noticed, that, old as it was, it had been scoured up into
absolute cleanness. The child's attire was in keeping with her basket.
Though she had no shoes, and the merest apology for a bonnet, with a
dress that was worn and faded, as well as frayed out into a ragged
fringe about her feet, yet it was all scrupulously clean. Her features
struck me as even beautiful, and her soft hazel eyes would command
sympathy from all who might look into them. Her manner and appearance
prepossessed me in her favor.

"But did you ever sell strawberries?" I inquired.

"No, Ma'am, but I can try," she answered.

"But it will never do to trust her," interrupted my mother. "We do not
know who she is, and may never see her again."

"Oh, Ma'am, I will bring the money back to you. Dear lady, let me have
some to sell," she entreated, with childish earnestness, her voice
trembling and her eyes moistening with apprehension of refusal.

"Mother," said I, "this child is a beginner. Is it right for us to
refuse so trifling an encouragement? Who knows to what useful ends it
may lead? You remember how difficult it was for me to procure the
plants, and how keenly you felt my trouble. Will you inflict a keener
one on this child, whose heart seems bent on doing something for
herself, and on whom disappointment will fall even more painfully than
it did on me? Are we not all bound to do something for those who are
more destitute than ourselves? and even if we lose what we let her have,
it will never be missed."

The poor girl looked up imploringly into my face as I pleaded for her,
her eyes brightened with returning hopefulness, and again she besought
us,--

"Dear lady, let me have a few; my mother knows you."

"Tell me your name," I replied.

"Lucy Varick,--mother says she knows you," was the answer.

"Varick!" replied my mother, quickly, surprised as well as evidently
pleased. "You shall have all you can sell."

She was the daughter of the miserable man whose terrible deathbed we had
both witnessed, and my mother had no difficulty in trusting to her
honesty. Her basket would contain but a few quarts, and these we had
already gathered. I filled her little pasteboard boxes immediately, with
the fruit just as picked from the vines. The poor child fairly capered
with joy as she witnessed the operation. She saw her fortune in a few
quarts of strawberries! I think that as she tripped nimbly through the
gate, my gratification at seeing how cheerfully she thus began her life
of toil was equal to all that she could have experienced herself.

Before the afternoon was half gone, Lucy surprised us by returning with
an empty basket. She had found customers wherever she went, and wanted a
fresh supply of fruit. This was promptly given to her, for she had
obtained even better prices than the widow was getting for us in the
market. That afternoon she made the first half-dollar she ever earned,
and during the entire season she continued to find plenty of the best of
customers at their own doors.

I had long since made up my mind that our pastor was entitled to some
recognition of the substantial kindnesses he had extended to us at the
time of our deep affliction. We had seen him regularly at the Sunday
school, but he knew nothing of my conversion into a strawberry-girl.
What else could we do, in remembrance of his friendship, but to make him
a present of our choicest fruit? Never were strawberries more carefully
selected than those with which I filled a new basket of ample size, as a
gift for him. On my way to the factory the next morning, I delivered
the basket at his door, with a little note expressive of our continued
gratitude, and begging him to accept its contents as being fruit which I
had myself raised. I knew it was but a trifle, but what else than
trifles had I to offer even to the kindest friend we had ever known?

That very afternoon, while my mother and I were at our usual occupation
of picking, I heard the gate open at the other end of the garden, and,
looking up, saw two gentlemen approaching us. They advanced slowly
around the strawberry-beds, apparently examining the plants and fruit,
frequently stooping to turn over the great clusters on a portion of the
ground which we had not yet picked. I saw that one of them was our
pastor, but the other was a stranger. As they drew nearer, we rose to
receive them. No words can describe the confusion which overcame me as I
recognized in the stranger the same gentleman whom I had encountered,
the preceding summer, as the first customer for my strawberries, at the
widow's stand in the market-house. I had never forgotten his face. Mr.
Seeley introduced him as his friend Mr. Logan. Somehow I felt certain
that he also recognized me. I was confused enough at being thus taken by
surprise. It is true that my sun-bonnet, though of prodigious size, was
neatly cut and handsomely fashioned, even becoming, as I supposed, and
that I was fortunately habited in a plain, but entirely new dress, that
was more than nice enough for the work I was performing. But the hot
sun, in spite of my bonnet, had already turned my face brown. My hands,
exposed to its fiercest rays, were even more tanned, while the stain of
fruit was visible on my fingers. I was in no condition to receive
company of this unexpected description.

But the gentlemen were affable, and I soon became at ease with them. Mr.
Seeley had received my basket, and had come to thank me for it. Mr.
Logan had been dining with him, and was enthusiastic over the quality of
my strawberries. He had never seen them equalled, though devoting all
his leisure to horticulture; and learning that they were raised by a
lady, insisted on coming down, not only to look into her mode of
culture, but to see the lady herself. It was pleasant thus to meet our
friend the pastor, and I did my utmost to render the visit agreeable to
him and his companion. My mother gave up the care of their entertainment
to me; so, dropping my basket in the unfinished strawberry-row, I left
her to continue the afternoon picking alone.

The gentlemen seemed in no haste to leave us. I was surprised that they
could find so much to interest them in a spot which I had supposed could
be interesting only to ourselves. Mr. Seeley was pleased with all that
he saw, but Mr. Logan was polite enough to be much more demonstrative in
his admiration. I think the visit of the former would have been much
briefer but for the presence of the latter, who seemed in no hurry to
depart. He was generous in praise of my flowers, and was inquisitive
about my strawberries. He had many of the most celebrated varieties, and
was kind enough to offer me such as I might desire. He thought that I
could teach him lessons in horticulture more valuable than any he had
yet picked up, either in books or in his own garden, and asked
permission to come down often during the fruit season, to see and learn.
I was surprised that he should think it possible for a young
strawberry-girl like myself to teach anything to one who was evidently
so much better informed. Then I told him that what he saw was the result
of an endeavor to determine whether there was not some better dependence
for a woman than the needle, that I had accomplished all this by my own
zeal and perseverance, and that this season promised complete success.

"I cannot give you too much praise," he observed. "Your tastes harmonize
admirably with my own. I have long believed that women are confined to
too small a circle of useful occupations. They too seldom teach
themselves, and are too little taught by others whose duty it is to
enlarge their sphere of action. All my sisters have learned what you may
call trades,--that is, to support themselves, if ever required to do so,
by employments particularly adapted to their talents. You have chosen
the garden, and you seem in a fair way to succeed. I must know how much
your strawberry-crop will yield you."

On thus discovering the object I had in view, and that this was my own
experiment, his interest in all that he saw appeared to increase. The
very tones of his voice became softer and kinder. There was nothing
patronizing in his manner; it was deferential, and so sympathetic as to
impress me very strongly. I felt that he understood the train of thought
that had been running through my mind, and that he heartily entered into
and approved of my plans.

My first false shame at being known as a strawberry-girl now gave place
to a feeling of pride and emulation. Here was one who could appreciate
as well as encourage. Hence my explanations were as full as it was
proper to set before a stranger. Our pastor listened to them with
surprise, as most of them were new even to him, nor did he fail to unite
with his companion in encouragement and congratulation. Long
acquaintance gave him the privilege to be familiar and inquisitive. It
is possible that in place of being abashed and humble, I may now have
been confident and boastful.

Our visitors left us with promises to repeat their call; and with a
lighter heart than ever, I went again to assist in picking.

The fruit continued to turn out well, and our widow in the market-house
proved true to the promises she had made,--there was no difficulty in
finding a sale for it, and somehow it yielded even better prices than
the year before. She said that others were complaining of a drought, and
that the fruit in consequence was generally inferior in size, so that
those who, like myself, had been lucky enough, or painstaking enough, to
secure a full crop, were doing better than ever. Then our little
strawberry-peddler, Lucy Varick, was doing a thriving business. She
established a list of customers among the great ladies in the city, who
bought large daily supplies from her, paying her the highest prices. Her
young heart seemed overflowing with joyfulness at her unexpected
success. It enabled her to take home many a dollar to her mother. Alas!
she seemed to think--if, indeed, she thought at all upon the
subject--that the strawberry season would be a perpetual harvest.

We throve so satisfactorily that my mother seemed to have given up her
cherished longing for a strawberry-garden. Now that we had a new class
of visitors who were likely to be frequent in their calls, I think she
felt a kind of pride in abandoning the project. There was a sort of
dignity in the production of fruit, but something humiliating in the
idea of keeping an eating-house. She even went so far as to decline all
applications from transient callers who had mistaken our premises for
those of our neighbors, thus leaving the latter in undisturbed
possession of their long trains of customers. They were not slow in
discovering that we had ceased to be rivals in this branch of their
business; and finding themselves mistaken in supposing that my
strawberry-crop would come into ruinous competition with theirs, they
seemed disposed to be a little friendly toward us. Indeed, on one or two
occasions, Mrs. Tetchy herself came to us for a large basketful of
fruit, declaring that their own supply was not equal to the demand. She
was unusually pleasant on those occasions, but at the same time insisted
on having the fruit at less than we were getting for it. My mother could
not contend with such a woman, and so submitted to her exactions. I feel
satisfied, however, that her visits were to be attributed quite as much
to a desire to gratify her curiosity as to any want of strawberries; for
I noticed that she never came on these errands without impudently
walking all over our garden, scrutinizing whatever we were doing, how
the beds were arranged, and particularly inspecting and even handling
the fruit. Of course we had nothing to be ashamed of; but though
everything about the garden was much neater than hers, she never dropped
a word of commendation.

Only a day or two after the gentlemen had been down to see us, we found
it necessary to resume the task of weeding between the rows. The drought
at the beginning of the season had been succeeded by copious rains, with
warm southerly winds, under which the weeds were making an alarming
growth, notwithstanding the trampling which they received from the
pickers. I confess that our heavy hoes made this so laborious an
operation that I rather dreaded its necessity; but a hot sun was now
shining, which would be sure to kill the weeds, if we cut them off, so
all hands were turned in to accomplish the work. While thus busily
occupied, whom should I see coming into the gate but Mr. Logan?

"Capital exercise, Miss, and a fine day for it!" he exclaimed, as he
came up to me. "No successful gardening where the weeds are permitted to
grow! I have the same pests to contend against, but I apply the same
remedy. There is nothing like a sharp hoe."

"Nothing indeed, if one only knew how to make it so," I replied.

As he spoke, his eye glanced at the uncouth implement I was using, and
reaching forth his hand he took it from me. Examining it carefully, a
smile came over his handsome face, and he shook his head, as if thinking
that would never do. It was one of the old tools my father had used,
heavy and tiresome for a woman's hand, with a blade absurdly large for
working among strawberries, and so dull as to hack off instead of
cutting up a weed at one stroke. Fred had undertaken to keep our hoes
sharp for us, but this season he had somehow neglected to put them in
order.

"This will never do, Miss," he observed. "Your hoe is heavy enough to
break you down. This is not exercise such as a lady should take, but
downright hard work. I must get you such as my sisters use; and now I
mean to do your day's work for you."

Then, taking my place, he proceeded during the entire morning to act as
my substitute. We were surprised at his affability, as well as at his
industry. It was evident that grubbing up weeds was no greater novelty
to him than to us. All the time he had something pleasant to say, and
thus conversation and work went on together: for, not thinking it polite
to leave him to labor alone, I procured a rake, and contrived to keep
him company in turning up the weeds to the sun, the more effectually to
kill them.

Now I had never been able to learn the botanical names of any of these
pests of the garden, nor whether any of them were useful to man, nor how
it was that the earth was so crowded with them. Neither did I know the
annuals from the perennials, nor why one variety was invariably found
flourishing in moist ground, while another preferred a drier situation.
If I had had a desire to learn these interesting particulars of things
that were my daily acquaintances, I had neither books to consult nor
time to devote to them.

But it was evident from Mr. Logan's conversation that he was not only a
horticulturist, but an accomplished botanist. Both my mother and myself
were surprised at the new light which he threw upon the subject. I was
tugging with my fingers at a great dandelion which had come up directly
between two strawberry-plants, trying to pull it up, when its brittle
leaves broke off in my hand, leaving the root in the ground. Mr. Logan,
seeing the operation, observed,--

"No use in cutting it off; the root must come out, or it will grow
thicker and stronger, and plague you every season"; and plying the
corner of his hoe all round the neck of the dandelion, so as to loosen
the earth a considerable depth, he thrust his fingers down, seized the
root, and drew forth a thick white fibre at least a foot long.

"That fellow must be three years old," said he, holding it up for me to
examine. "Very likely you have cut off the top every season, supposing
you were killing it. But the dandelion can be exterminated only by
destroying the root.

"Then," he continued, "there is the dock, more prolific of seeds than
the dandelion, and the red-sorrel, worse than either, because its roots
travel under ground in all directions, throwing up suckers at every
inch, while its tops are hung with myriads of seeds,--the hoe will never
exterminate these pests. You must get rid of the roots; throw them out
to such a sun as this, and then you may hope to be somewhat clear of
them."

All this was entirely new to me, as well as the botanical names, with
which he seemed to be as familiar as with the alphabet. I had often
wondered how it was that the dandelions in our garden never diminished
in number, though not one had usually been allowed to go to seed. I now
saw, that, instead of destroying the plant itself, we had only been
removing the tops.

"But how is it, Mr. Logan," I inquired, "that the weeds are everywhere
more numerous than the flowers?"

"Ah, Miss," he replied, resting the hoe upon his shoulder, taking off
his hat, and wiping the perspiration from his forehead, "I sometimes
think the weeds are immortal, but that the flowers are not. Some one has
said that the earth is mother of the weeds, but only step-mother to the
flowers. I think it is really so. We who cultivate the soil must
maintain against them, as against sin, a perpetual warfare."

"This is hoeing made easy," said my sister, as Mr. Logan walked away
toward the house for a glass of water. "A nice journeyman, Lizzie, eh?
Don't seem as if he could ever be tired! Will you ask him to come
again?"

"Why, Jane, you are foolish!" I replied.

But there was an arch smirk on her countenance, and she continued
looking at me with so much latent meaning in the expression of her eye,
that I was fairly compelled to turn away.

Noon came, that witching time with all who labor in the fields or woods,
and not until then did Mr. Logan lay down his clumsy hoe. I half pitied
his condition as we came out of the hot sun into the shelter of a
trellis which ran along the side of the house, over which a dozen
grape-vines were hanging so thickly as to exclude even the noonday
glare. It was a sweltering day for a gentleman to work among the weeds
in a strawberry-field, in coat and cravat. But he made very light of it,
and declared that he would come the next morning and see us through the
job, and even another, if we thought there would be room for him. After
he had gone, Jane reminded me of these offers; adding,--

"I felt quite sure he would be down again, even without your inviting
him. He seems to admire something else here besides strawberries. What
do you think it can be?"

But I considered her inquiries too ridiculous to be worth replying to.

After dinner we gave up hoeing for the day, and went to our usual
afternoon occupation of picking the next morning's supply for the widow.
She not only sold readily all we could gather, and at excellent prices,
but even called for more. It seemed that her customers were also
increasing, as well as those of our neighbors. Indeed, her urgency for
more fruit was such, during the entire season, that the question
repeatedly crossed my mind, whether we could not appropriate more ground
to strawberries by getting rid of some of the flowers. They were
beautiful things, but then they paid no profit.

When one strikes a vein that happens to be profitable, he is apt to
become impatient of doing well in a small way, and forthwith casts about
for ways and means to increase its productiveness, as he thinks, by
enlarging his operations. It was natural for me to conclude, that, if I
were thus fortunate on one acre, I could do much better by cultivating
more. I presume this hankering after additional acres must be a national
weakness, as there were numerous disquisitions on the subject scattered
through my agricultural papers, in many of which I noticed that there
was great fault-finding because men in this country undertook the
cultivation of twice as much land as they could properly manage. The
propensity for going on and enlarging their possessions seemed a very
general one. Thus even I, in my small way, was insensibly becoming a
disciple of these deluded people. But there was this comfort in my case,
that, while others were able to enlarge, even to their ruin, there was a
limit to my expansion, as it was impossible for me to go beyond an acre
and a half.

That afternoon we had just got well under way at picking, when a man
came into the garden with a bundle of hoes and rakes on his shoulder,
and coming up to us, took off his hat and bowed with the utmost
deference, then drew from his pocket a letter, which, singularly enough,
he handed to me, instead of giving it either to my mother or Jane. On
opening it, I found it to be a note from Mr. Logan, in which he said he
had noticed that our garden-tools were so heavy as to be entirely unfit
for ladies' use, and he had therefore taken the liberty of sending me a
variety of others that were made expressly for female gardeners, asking
me to do him the great favor to accept them. Both my mother and Jane had
stopped picking, as this unexpected donation was laid before us, so I
read the note aloud to them, the messenger having previously taken his
leave. I think, altogether, it was the greatest surprise we had ever
had.

"The next thing, I suppose," said Jane, "you'll have him down here to
show you how to use them"; and she laughed so heartily as quite to
mortify me. I understood her meaning, but my mother did not appear to
comprehend it, for she replied, with the utmost gravity,--

"No need of his coming to teach us; haven't we been hoeing all our
lives?"

"Not _us_, mother," interrupted Jane, in her peculiarly provoking way,
"but _her_; he won't come to teach _us_,--one will be enough. As to the
_need_ of his coming, it looks to me to be growing stronger and
stronger."

She fairly screamed with laughter, as she said this. I was so provoked
at her, that I was almost ready to cry; and as to answering her as she
deserved, it seemed beyond my power. My mother could not understand what
she meant; but while Jane was going on in this foolish way, she had
untied the bundle and was examining the tools. There were three hoes,
and as many rakes. Observing this, Jane again cried out,--

"What! all for _you_? Well, Lizzie, you are making a nice beginning! I
suppose you will now have more conversational topics than ever, though
there seemed to be plenty of them this morning!"

One would think that this was quite enough, but she went on with,--

"Don't you wish the weeds would last all summer? for what is to become
of you when they are gone?"

Still I made no reply, and Jane persisted in her jokes and laughter. But
I think one can always tell when one is blushing. So I held down my head
and concealed my face in my sun-bonnet, as I felt the blood rushing up
into my cheeks, and was determined that she should not have the
satisfaction of discovering it.

These garden-tools were the most beautiful I had ever seen, and there
was evidently a hoe and a rake for each of us. They were made of
polished steel, with slender handles, all rubbed so smooth as to make it
a pleasure to take hold of them. The blades had been sharpened beyond
anything that Fred had been able to achieve. Being semicircular in
shape, they had points at the corners, adapted to reaching into
out-of-the-way places,--as after a weed that had grown up in the middle
of a strawberry-row, thinking, perhaps, that a shelter of that kind
would preserve it from destruction. Then they were so light that even a
child could ply them all day without their weight occasioning the least
fatigue. The rakes were equally complete, with long and sharp teeth,
which entered the ground with far greater facility than the old-time
implements we had been using. Indeed, they were the very tools we had
been promising ourselves out of the profits of our second year. My
mother was especially pleased with them, as she was not of very robust
constitution, and found the old heavy tools a great drag upon her
strength. I think no small present I have ever received was so
acceptable as this.

Whoever first manufactured and introduced these beautiful and
appropriate garden-tools for ladies has probably done as much to make
garden-work attractive to the sex as half the writers on fruits and
flowers. It is vain to expect them to engage in horticulture, unless the
most complete facilities are provided for them. Their physical strength
is not equal to several hours' labor with implements made exclusively
for the hands of strong men; and when garden-work, instead of proving a
pleasant recreation, degenerates into drudgery, one is apt to become
disgusted with it, and will thus give up an occupation truly feminine,
invariably healthful, and in many cases highly profitable.

True to his promise of the preceding day, Mr. Logan came down next
morning to help us through with our job of hoeing, but rather better
prepared to operate under a broiling June sun. My mother, seeing his
determination to assist us, invited him to take off his coat, and
brought out Fred's straw hat for him to wear. He seemed truly grateful
for these marks of consideration for his comfort, and in consequence
there sprung up quite a cordiality between them. There was of course a
profusion of thanks given to him for the handsome and appropriate
present he had made, but he seemed to consider it a very small affair.
Still, I think he appeared as much gratified at finding he had thus
anticipated our wishes as we were ourselves. It is singular how far a
little act of kindness, especially when its value is enhanced by its
appropriateness and the delicacy with which it is performed, will go
toward establishing a bond of sympathy between giver and receiver.

I may here say, that, the better we became acquainted with Mr. Logan,
the more evident it was that his heart was made up of kindness. He
seemed to consider himself as almost nothing, and his neighbor as
everything. His spirit was of that character that wins its way through
life, tincturing every action with good-will for others, and seeking to
promote the happiness of all around him in preference to his own. He
once remarked, that we must not look for happiness in the things of the
world, but within ourselves, in our hearts, our tempers, and our
dispositions. On another occasion he quoted to me something he had just
been reading in an old author, who said that men's lives should be like
the day, most beautiful at eventide,--or like the autumn rich with
golden sheaves, where good works have ripened into an abundant harvest.

Of course, at that time, we knew nothing of who or what he was, beyond
an assurance incidentally given by our pastor, that he was the worthiest
young man of his acquaintance, and that he hoped we would entertain him
in the best way we could, as his passion for the pursuits he discovered
me to be engaged in, coupled with what he had learned of the great
object I had in view, had so much interested him in my behalf that he
thought it likely Mr. Logan would often come down to watch my progress,
and very possibly in some way assist me. This recommendation was quite
sufficient to make him a welcome visitor at our little homestead. But
even without that, we all felt he would have no difficulty in winning
his way wherever he might think it desirable to make a favorable
impression. Though he was evidently highly educated, and had been
brought up in a superior circle to ours, and, for aught we knew, might
be very wealthy, yet his whole manner was so free from pretension to
superiority of any kind, that we never felt the least constraint in his
company.

Well, as I was saying, Mr. Logan came down to assist me in my weeding.
Jane had gone to the factory, telling me that I should have help enough
to do her share of the hoeing. I was really not sorry for her absence,
as she seemed to have taken up some very strange notions, which led her
into remarks that annoyed me. Besides, she was sometimes so impetuous in
giving utterance to these notions, that I was afraid she might
thoughtlessly break out where he would overhear. I might have had other
reasons, not worth while to allude to, for not regretting her absence;
but this dangerous propensity was quite sufficient. Hence that was a
most agreeable morning. It is true that my mother was a good deal
absent, having something extra to do within doors, thus leaving Mr.
Logan and myself sole tenants of the garden for probably an hour at a
time. But it did not occur to me that her presence would have made the
time pass away any more quickly, or that any remarks from her would have
made our interchange of ideas more interesting. There was abundance of
conversation between us, as he seemed at no fault for either words or
topics. Then there were long pauses in the work, when we would rest upon
the handles of our hoes, and discuss some point that one of us had
started. On these occasions I was struck with the extreme politeness and
deference of his manner toward me. The very tones of his voice were
different from any I had ever heard. How different, indeed, from those
of the coarse and mercenary creatures it had been my fortune to
encounter elsewhere! It was impossible to overlook the contrast. What
wonder, then, that the softness with which they were modulated, when
conversing with me, should fall with grateful impressiveness on my
heart?

But this pleasant acquaintance occasioned no interruption of my labors
in harvesting my strawberry-crop. It was picked regularly every
afternoon, and I went with Fred every morning by daylight to see it
safely delivered to the widow. The sale kept up as briskly as ever,
though the price gradually declined as the season advanced,--not, as the
widow informed me, because the people had become tired of strawberries,
but because the crops from distant fields were now crowding into market.
Then, too, she said, as other delicacies came forward, buyers were
disposed to change a little for something different.

It was a striking feature of the business, that, however abundant the
strawberries might be, selected fruit always commanded a higher price
than that which went to market in a jumble just as it came from the
vines. This is a matter which it is important for all cultivators to
keep in remembrance, as attention to it is a source of considerable
profit. We all know that the large berries are no better or sweeter than
the smaller ones; but then we are the growers, not the consumers, and
the public have set their hearts on having the largest that can be
produced. In fruits, as in other things, it seems that "the world is
still deceived by ornament." Moreover, people are willing to pay liberal
prices for it, and thus the producer is sure of being rewarded for a
choice article. I never discovered that a pumpkin or a turnip possessed
any superior flavor because it had been stimulated to mammoth size. But
such being the public craving for vegetable monsters, the shrewd
cultivator is constantly on the alert to minister to it, knowing that it
pays.

Fred kept his usual tally of the number of baskets we took to market,
and how much money each lot produced. His ridiculous miscalculation, the
previous year, of what our profits would be, had so moderated his
enthusiasm, that during all this season his anticipations were confined
within very modest bounds. But as his column of figures lengthened, and
he ciphered out for us the average price for each day's sales, it was
remarkable how much higher it stood than that of most of the fruit I saw
in the market. It was evident that our care in assorting our berries was
giving a good account of itself. Besides, I saw that the widow had the
jumbled-up berries of others on her stand, and heard her complain that
they remained on hand some hours after all mine had been sold. Then, was
it not the superiority of mine that had drawn forth such strong
commendation from my first customer, Mr. Logan? and had he not continued
to admire all that I did in the strawberry way? Setting aside the high
prices, I sometimes thought that this alone was worth all the pains we
had taken.

The season lasted about three weeks, during all which time our pastor
was a frequent visitor at our garden. As both he and Mr. Logan had been
made acquainted with my general object and plans, so from generals they
were at last taken into confidence as to particulars. I showed them
Fred's tally, and it appeared to me they entered into the study of it
with almost as much interest as we did ourselves. Though in many
respects a very small affair, yet it involved great results for me, and
our visitors both thought it might be turned to the advantage of others
also.

"I am astonished," said Mr. Seeley, one day, after examining Fred's
tally, and expressing himself in terms of admiration at the success of
our enterprise,--"I am astonished at the wasteful lives which so many of
our women are living. They seem utterly destitute of purpose. They make
no effort to give them shape or plan, or to set up a goal in the
distance, to be reached by some kind of industrious application. They
drift along listlessly and mechanically, in the old well-worn tracks,
trusting to accident to give them a new direction. It is a sad thing,
this waste of human existence!"

"But consider, Sir," I replied, "how limited are our opportunities, how
circumscribed the circle in which we are compelled to move, and with how
much jealousy the world stands guard upon its boundaries, as if it were
determined we should not overstep them. When women succeed, is it not
solely by accident, or, if there be such a thing, by luck?"

"Accident, Miss," replied Mr. Logan, "undoubtedly has something to do
with it. But observation, energy, and tact are much more important
elements of success. More than sixty years ago a young New-England girl
fell desperately in love with an imported straw bonnet which she
accidentally met with in a shop. The price was too large for her slender
purse, so she determined to make one for herself. With no guide but
recollection of the charming novelty she had seen, no other pattern to
work by, no opportunity of unbraiding it to see how it was made, no
instruction whatever, she persevered until she had produced a bonnet
that filled the hearts of her female friends with envy, as well as with
ambition to copy it. This was the origin of the once famous Dunstable
bonnet. From this accidental beginning there sprung up a manufacture
which now employs ten thousand persons, most of whom are women, and the
product of which, in Massachusetts alone, amounts to six millions of
hats and bonnets annually. This girl thus became a public benefactor.
She opened a new and profitable employment to women, and at the same
time enriched herself."

"Yes," added Mr. Seeley, "and there are many other employments for
female skill and labor that may yet be opened up. This that you are
toiling in, Lizzie, may turn out something useful. I presume that even
bonnets cannot be more popular than strawberries."

"I should think so," interrupted Fred, "It is the women only who wear
the one, but it looks to me as if the whole world wanted the other."

Well, when our little crop had all been sold, I found that it amounted
to nearly twelve hundred quarts, and that it produced three hundred and
eighty dollars clear of expenses. This was quite as much as we expected;
besides, it was enough to enable me to quit the factory altogether, and
stay at home with my mother. And there was a fair prospect of this
release being a permanent one, as it was very certain I now understood
the whole art and mystery of cultivating strawberries. There was another
encouraging incident connected with this season's operations. It
appeared that our pastor had mentioned me and my labors to a number of
his friends, among whom was one who wanted to set out a large field with
plants, all of which he purchased of me, amounting to sixty dollars.
This was a most unexpected addition to our income.

But my sister Jane did not seem at all anxious to give up the factory. I
had, a good while before, let in an idea that there was some other
attraction about the establishment besides the sewing-machine. I
noticed, that, now we had so considerably increased our means, she was
more dressy than ever, and spent a great deal more time at her toilet
before leaving for the factory, as if there were some one there to whom
she wanted to appear more captivating than usual. Poor girl! I know it
was very natural for her to do so. Indeed, I must confess to some little
weakness of the same description myself. We had drawn to us quite a new
set of visitors, and it was natural that I should endeavor to make our
house as attractive to them as possible. As all our previous earnings
had gone into a common purse, from which my mother made distribution
among us, so the new accession from the garden went into the same
repository. Jane was much more set up with this flourishing condition of
our finances than myself. In addition to beautiful new bonnets and very
gay shawls which we bought, she began to tease my mother for a silk
dress, an article which had never been seen in our house. But as the
latter prudently insisted on treating us with equal indulgence, and as I
thought my time for such finery had not come, I was unwilling to go to
that expense, so Jane was obliged to do without it. But I was now to
have a sewing-machine.

Time passed more pleasantly than I had ever known. It was a great
happiness to be able to devote an hour or two to reading every day, and
leisure prompted me to some little enterprises for the improvement of
the surroundings of the old homestead. It seemed to me the easiest thing
in the world to invest even the rudest exterior with true elegance, and
I found that the indulgence of a little taste in this way could be had
for a very small outlay. A silk dress, in my opinion, was not to be
compared with such an object.

I scarcely know how it happened, but, instead of the end of the
strawberry-season being the termination of Mr. Logan's visits, they
continued full as frequent as when there was really pressing work for
him to assist in. It could not have been because his curiosity to see
how my crop would turn out was still ungratified, as he knew all about
it, how much we had sold, and what money it produced. But he seemed to
have quite fallen in love with the garden; and, indeed, he one day
observed, that "there would ever be something in that garden to interest
him." Then in my little improvements about the house, in fixing up some
of our old trellises, in planting new vines and flowers, and in
transplanting trees and shrubs, he insisted on helping me nearly half
the week. He really performed far more work of this kind than Fred had
ever done, and appeared to be perfectly familiar with such matters.
Moreover, he approved so generally of my plans that I at last felt it
would be difficult to do without him. But I could not help considering
it strange that he should so frequently give up the higher society to
which he was accustomed in the city, and spend so much of his time at
our humble cottage.

Thus the season went on until August came in, when the strawberry-ground
was becoming thickly covered with runners, especially from the newly
planted half-acre. I had intended bestowing no particular care on these,
except to keep down the weeds so that the runners could take root. But
when Mr. Logan learned this, he said it would never do. Besides, he
said, the ground looked to him as if it were not rich enough. So, if he
could have his own way, he would show me how the thing should be
managed. Well, as by this time he really appeared to have as much to say
about the garden as any of us, what could I do but consent? First,
then, with my assistance, he turned back the runners into the rows, and
then had the spaces between covered with a thick coat of fine old
compost, which he probably bought somewhere in the neighborhood,--but
how much it cost we could never get him to say. Then he brought in a man
with a plough, who broke up the ground, turning the manure thoroughly
in, and then harrowing it until the surface was as finely pulverized as
if done with a rake. Then we spread out the runners again, and he showed
me how to fasten them by letting them down into the soft earth with the
point of my hoe. I told him I never should have thought of taking so
much trouble; but he said there was no other way by which the runners
could be converted into robust plants, certain to produce a heavy crop
the next season. They must have a freshly loosened soil to run over, and
in which to form strong roots; and as to enriching the ground, it was
absolutely indispensable. To be sure, I could produce fruit without it,
but it would be of very inferior quality.

One may well suppose that this intimate association, this almost daily
companionship, this grateful interchange of thoughts and feelings that
seemed to flow in one harmonious current from a common fountain, should
have exerted a powerful influence over me. Such intercourse with one so
singularly gifted with the faculty of winning favor from all who knew
him gave birth to emotions within me such as I had never experienced. Am
I to blame for being thus affected, or in confessing that every long
October evening was doubly pleasant when it brought him down to see us?
Indeed, I had insensibly begun to expect him. There was an indescribable
something in his manner, especially when we happened to be alone, that I
thought it impossible to misunderstand. Once, when strolling round the
garden, I directed his attention to a group of charming autumn flowers.
But, instead of noticing them, he looked at me, and replied,--

"Ah, Miss Lizzie, I long since discovered that this garden contains a
sweeter flower than any of these!"

I turned away from him, abashed and silent, for I was confused and
frightened by the idea that he was alluding to me, and it was a long
time before I could venture to raise my eyes to his. I thought of what
he had said, and of the studied tenderness of voice with which he had
spoken, all through our lengthened walk, and until I rested upon my
pillow; and the strange sensations it awakened came over my spirit in
repeated dreams.

Thus forewarned, as I thought, I was not slow in afterwards detecting
fresh manifestations of a tenderer interest for me than I had supposed
it possible for him to entertain.

One evening in November, when the moon was shining with her softest
lustre through the deep haze peculiar to our Indian summer, he came as
usual to our little homestead. Somehow, I can scarcely tell why, I had
been expecting him. He had dropped something the previous evening which
had awakened in my mind the deepest feeling, and I was half sure that he
would come. I felt that there were quicker pulses dancing through my
veins, a flutter in my heart such as no previous experience had brought,
a doubt, a fear, an expectation, as well as an alarm, which no
reflection could analyze, no language could describe, all contending
within me for ascendancy. Who that has human sympathies, who that is
young as I was, diffident of herself, and comparatively alone and
friendless, will wonder that I should be thus overcome, or reproach me
for giving way to impulses which I felt it impossible to control? There
was a terror of the future, which even recollection of the happy past
was powerless to dissipate. Society, even books, became irksome, and I
went out into the garden alone, there to have uninterrupted communion
with myself.

There was an old arbor in a by-place of the garden, covered with creeper
and honeysuckle, and though rudely built, yet there was a quiet
retirement about it that I felt would be grateful to my spirit. Its
rustic fittings, its heavy old seats, its gravelled floor, had been the
scene of a thousand childish gambols with my brother and sister. Old
memories clung to it with a loving fondness. Even when the sports of
childhood gave place to graver thoughts and occupations, the cool
retirement of this rustic solitude had never failed to possess the
strongest attractions for me. The songbirds built their little nests
within the overhanging foliage, and swarms of bees gave melodious voices
to the summer air as they hovered over its honey-yielding flowers. The
past united with the present to direct my steps toward this favorite
spot I entered, and, seating myself on one of the old low branches that
encircled it, was looking up through the straggling vines that festooned
the entrance, admiring the soft haze through, which the cloudless moon
was shedding a peculiar brilliancy on all around, when I heard a step
approaching from the house.

I stopped the song which I had been humming, and listened. It is said
that there are steps which have music in them. I am sure, the cadences
of that music which the poet has so immortalized sounded distinctly in
my listening ear. It was the melody of recognition. I knew instinctively
the approaching step, and in a moment Mr. Logan stood before me.

"What!" said he, extending his hand as I rose, and pressing mine with a
warmth that was unusual, even retaining it until we were seated,--"ever
happy! There must be a perpetual sunshine in your heart!"

"Oh, no!" I replied. "Happiness is a creation of the fireside. One does
not find it in his neighbor's garden, and many times not even in his
own."

"For once, dear Lizzie, I only half agree with you," he replied, again
taking my hand, and pressing it in both of his.

I sought in vain to withdraw it, but he held it with an embarrassing
tenacity. He had never spoken such words before, never used my name
even, without the usual prefix which politeness exacts. I was glad that
the moonlight found but feeble entrance into the arbor, as the blood
mounted from my heart into my face, and I felt that I must be a
spectacle of confusion. I cannot now remember how long this
indescribable embarrassment kept possession of me, but I did summon
strength to say,--

"Your language surprises me, Mr. Logan."

"But, dear Lizzie," he rejoined, "my deportment toward you ought to
lessen that surprise, and become the apology for my words. Others may
find no happiness in their neighbor's garden, but I have discovered that
mine is concentrated in yours. You, dear Lizzie, are its fairest,
choicest flower, which I seek to transplant into my own, there to
flourish in the warmth of an affection such as I have felt for no one
but yourself. Never has woman been so loved as you. Let me add fresh
blessings to the day on which I first met you here, by claiming you as
my wife."

Oh, how can I write all this? But memory covers every incident of the
past with flowers. What I said in reply to that overwhelming declaration
has all gone from me. I may have been silent,--I think I must have
been,--under the crowd of conflicting sensations,--amazement, modesty, a
happiness unspeakable,--which came thronging over my heart I cannot
remember all, but I covered my face, and the tears came into my eyes.
Still keeping my hand, he placed his arm around me, drew me yet closer
to him,--my head fell upon his breast,--I think he must have kissed me.

If other evenings fled on hasty wings, how rapid was the flight of what
remained of this! I cannot repeat the thoughts we uttered to each other,
the confidences we exchanged, the glimpses of the happy future that
broke upon me. Joy seemed to fill my cup even to overflowing; happiness
danced before my bewildered mind; the longing of my womanly nature was
satisfied with the knowledge that my affection was returned. Out of all
the world in which he had to choose, he had preferred _me_.

That night was made restless by the very fulness of my happiness. At
breakfast the next morning, Jane questioned me on my somewhat haggard
looks, and was inquisitive to know if anything had happened. Somehow she
was unusually pertinacious; but I parried her inquiries. I was unwilling
that others, as yet, should become sharers of my joy. But when she left
upon her usual duties, I put on my best attire, with all the little
novelties in dress which we had recently been able to purchase, making
my appearance as genteel as possible. For the first time in my life I
did think that silk would be becoming, and was vexed with myself for
being without it. I was now anxious to be found agreeable. But it really
made no difference.

Presently a knock was heard at the front door; and on my mother's
opening it, Mr. Logan entered, with a young lady whom he introduced as
his sister. The room was so indifferently lighted that I could not at
first distinguish her features, but, on her throwing up her veil, I
instantly recognized in her my fellow-pupil at the sewing-school,--my
"guide, philosopher, and friend," Miss Effie Logan!

"Two years, dear Lizzie, since we met!" she exclaimed, "and what a
meeting now! You see I know it all. Henry has told me everything. I am
half as happy as yourself!"

She took me in her arms, embraced me, kissed me with passionate
tenderness, and called me "sister." What a recognition it was for me!
Her beautiful face, lighted up with a new animation, appeared more
lovely than ever. There was the same open-hearted manner of other days,
now made doubly engaging by the warmest manifestation of genuine
affection. I had never dreamed that Mr. Logan was the brother of whom
this loving girl had so often spoken to me at the sewing-school, nor
that the inexpressible happiness of calling her my sister was in store
for me. But now I could readily discover resemblances which it was no
wonder I had heretofore overlooked. If he, in sweetness of disposition,
were to prove the counterpart of herself, what more could woman ask? It
was not possible for a recognition to be more joyful than this.

My mother stood by, witnessing these incomprehensible proceedings,
silent, yet anxious as to their meaning. Effie took her into the
adjoining room,--she was far readier of speech than myself,--and there
explained to her the mystery of my new position with Mr. Logan. She told
me that my mother was overcome with surprise, for, dearly as she loved
her children, she had been strangely dull in her apprehension of what
had been so long enacting within her own domestic circle. But why should
I amplify these homely details? They are daily incidents the world over,
varied, it is true, by circumstances; for everywhere the human heart is
substantially the same mysterious fountain of emotion.

A secret of this sort, once known, even to one's mother only, travels
with miraculous rapidity, until the whole gaping neighborhood becomes
confidentially intrusted with its keeping. It seems that ours had been
more observant and suspicious than even my dear mother. But such eager
care-takers of other people's affairs exist wherever human beings may
chance to congregate. Humble life secured us no exemption.

Our pastor was one of the first to hear of the interesting event. It may
be that Mr. Logan had given him some inkling of it beforehand, for he
was early in his congratulations. Jane, as might be expected, declared
that it was no surprise to her, and was sure that my mother would not
think of having the wedding without indulging her in her long-coveted
silk. Fred took to Mr. Logan with almost as much kindliness as even
myself. Throughout the neighborhood the affair created an immense
sensation, as it was currently believed that Mr. Logan was exceedingly
rich, and that now I was likely to become a lady. While poor, I was only
a strawberry-girl; but rich, I would be a lady! Who is to account for
these false estimates of human life? Who is mighty enough to correct
them?

Nothing had ever so melted down the rude stiffness of the Tetchy family
as this wonderful revolution in my domestic prospects. They became
amusingly disposed to sociability, as well as to inquisitiveness. But I
was glad to see my mother stiffen up in proportion to their sudden
condescension, for she would have nothing to do with them.

Who, among casuists, can account for the contagious sympathy that seems
to govern the affections? I had often heard it said that one wedding
generally leads the way to another. Not a fortnight after these
important events, Jane gave a new surprise to the household by
introducing to us a lover of her own. It appeared that everything had
been arranged between them before we knew a word about it. The happy
young man in this case was a junior partner in the factory; and this, as
I had long suspected, was the great secret of her attraction there. How
my mother could have been so blind to the signs of coming events, such
as were developing around her, I could not understand. But both affairs
were real surprises to her. If we had depended on her genius as a
matchmaker, I fear that both Jane and myself would have had a very
discouraging experience!

Thus the services of our pastor were likely to be in great request, for
Jane insisted that he should officiate at her wedding, and Mr. Logan
would think of no other for his own; and for myself, I thought it best,
as this was the first time, not to let it be said that I had volunteered
to make a difficulty by being contrary on such a point! Effie offered to
be my bridesmaid, and Mr. Logan declared that Fred should be his first
groomsman. It was a hazardous venture, Fred being as much a novice at
such performances as myself,--who had never officiated even as bride!
With a little tutoring, however, he turned out a surprising success.
Lucy, no longer a little barefoot fruit-peddler, was promoted to be my
waiting-maid.

The new year came, bringing with it silks and jewels, and the double
wedding. If I write that I am married, I must add that I am still
without a sewing-machine. To me the garden has been better than the
needle.

There is a moral to be drawn from all that I have written, wherein it
may be seen that the field of my choice is wide enough for many others.
If I retire from market as a strawberry-girl, it must not be inferred
that it is because the business has been overdone.



JOHN JORDAN,

FROM THE HEAD OF BAINE.


Among the many brave men who have taken part in this war,--whose dying
embers are now being trodden out by a "poor white man,"--none, perhaps,
have done more service to the country, or won less glory for themselves,
than the "poor whites" who have acted as scouts for the Union armies.
The issue of battles, the result of campaigns, and the possession of
wide districts of country, have often depended on their sagacity, or
been determined by the information they have gathered; and yet they have
seldom been heard of in the newspapers, and may never be read of in
history.

Romantic, thrilling, and sometimes laughable adventures have attended
the operations of the scouts of both sections; but more difficulty and
danger have undoubtedly been encountered by the partisans of the North
than of the South. Operating mostly within the circle of their own
acquaintance, the latter have usually been aided and harbored by the
Southern people, who, generally friendly to Secession, have themselves
often acted as spies, and conveyed dispatches across districts occupied
by our armies, and inaccessible to any but supposed loyal citizens.

The service rendered the South by these volunteer scouts has often been
of the most important character. One stormy night, early in the war, a
young woman set out from a garrisoned town to visit a sick uncle
residing a short distance in the country. The sick uncle, mounting his
horse at midnight, rode twenty miles in the rain to Forrest's
head-quarters. The result was, the important town of Murfreesboro' and a
promising Major-General fell into the hands of the Confederates; and all
because the said Major-General permitted a pretty woman to pass his
lines on "a mission of mercy."

At another time, a Rebel citizen, professing disgust with Secession for
having the weakness to be on "its last legs," took the oath of
allegiance and assumed the Union uniform. Informing himself fully of the
disposition of our forces along the Nashville Railroad, he suddenly
disappeared, to reappear with Basil Duke and John Morgan in a midnight
raid on our slumbering outposts.

Again, a column on the march came upon a wretched woman, with a child in
her arms, seated by the dying embers of a burning homestead,--burning,
she said, because her sole and only friend, her uncle, (these ladies
seldom have any nearer kin,) "stood up stret fur the kentry." No
American soldier ever refused a "lift" to a woman in distress. This
woman was soon "lifted" into an empty saddle by the side of a
staff-officer, who, with many wise winks and knowing nods, was
discussing the intended route of the expedition with a brother
simpleton. A little farther on the woman suddenly remembered that
another uncle, who did not stand up quite so "stret fur the kentry,"
and, consequently, had a house still standing up for him, lived "plumb
up thet 'ar' hill ter the right o' the high-road." She was set down, the
column moved on, and--Streight's well planned expedition miscarried. But
no one wasted a thought on the forlorn woman and the sallow baby whose
skinny faces were so long within earshot of the wooden-headed
staff-officer.

Means quite as ingenious and quite as curious were often adopted to
conceal dispatches, when the messenger was in danger of capture by an
enemy. A boot with a hollow heel, a fragment of corn-pone too stale to
tempt a starving man, a strip of adhesive plaster over a festering
wound, or a ball of cotton-wool stuffed into the ear to keep out the
west wind, often hid a message whose discovery would cost a life, and
perhaps endanger an army. The writer has himself seen the hollow
half-eagle which bore to Burnside's beleaguered force the welcome
tidings that in thirty hours Sherman would relieve Knoxville.

The perils which even the "native" scout encountered can be estimated
only by those familiar with the vigilance that surrounds an army. The
casual meeting with an acquaintance, the slightest act inconsistent with
his assumed character, or the smallest incongruity between his speech
and that of the district to which he professed to belong, has sent many
a good man to the gallows. One of the best of Rosecrans's scouts--a
native of East Kentucky--lost his life because he would "bounce" (mount)
his nag, "pack" (carry) his gun, eat his bread "dry so," (without
butter,) and "guzzle his peck o' whiskey," in the midst of Bragg's camp,
when no such things were done there, nor in the mountains of Alabama,
whence he professed to come. Acquainted only with a narrow region, the
poor fellow did not know that every Southern district has its own
dialect, and that the travelled ear of a close observer can detect the
slightest deviation from its customary phrases. But he was not alone in
this ignorance. Almost every Northern writer who has undertaken to
describe Southern life has fallen into the same error. Even Olmstead,
who has caught the idioms wonderfully, confounds the dialects of
different regions, and makes a Northern Georgian "right smart," when he
had been only "powerful stupid" all his life.

The professional scout generally was a native of the South,--some
illiterate and simple-minded, but brave and self-devoted "poor white
man," who, if he had worn shoulder-straps, and been able to write
"interesting" dispatches, might now be known as a hero half the world
over. Some of these men, had they been born at the North, where free
schools are open to all, would have led armies, and left a name to live
after them. But they were born at the South, had their minds cramped and
their souls stunted by a system which dwarfs every noble thing; and so,
their humble mission over, they have gone down unknown and unhonored,
amid the silence and darkness of their native woods.

I hope to rescue the memory of one of these men--John Jordan, from the
head of Baine--from utter oblivion by writing this article. He is now
beyond the hearing of my words; but I would record one act in his short
career, that his pure patriotism may lead some of us to know better and
love more the much-abused and misunderstood class to which he belonged.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in the war the command of an important military expedition was
intrusted to the president of a Western college. Though a young man,
this scholar had already achieved a "character" and a history. Beginning
life a widow's son, his first sixteen years were passed between a farm,
a canal, and a black-saltern. Being an intelligent, energetic lad, his
friends formed the usual hopes of him; but when he apprenticed himself
to a canal-boat, their faith failed, and, after the fashion of Job's
friends, they comforted his mother with the assurance that her son had
taken the swift train to the Devil. But, like Job, she knew in whom she
believed, and the boy soon justified her confidence. An event shortly
occurred which changed the current of his life, gave him a purpose, and
made him a man.

One dark midnight, as the boat on which he was employed was leaving one
of those long reaches of slackwater which abound in the Ohio and
Pennsylvania Canal, he was called up to take his turn at the bow.
Tumbling out of bed, his eyes heavy with sleep, he took his stand on the
narrow platform below the bow-deck, and began uncoiling a rope to steady
the boat through a lock it was approaching. Slowly and sleepily he
unwound it, till it knotted, and caught in a narrow cleft in the edge of
the deck. He gave it a sudden pull, but it held fast; then another and a
stronger pull, and it gave way, but sent him over the bow into the
water. Down he went into the dark night and the still darker river; and
the boat glided on to bury him among the fishes. No human help was near.
God only could save him, and He only by a miracle. So the boy thought,
as he went down saying the prayer his mother had taught him.
Instinctively clutching the rope, he sunk below the surface; but then it
tightened in his grasp, and held firmly. Seizing it hand over hand, he
drew himself up on deck, and was again a live boy among the living.
Another kink had caught in another crevice, and saved him! Was it that
prayer, or the love of his praying mother, which wrought this miracle?
He did not know, but, long after the boat had passed the lock, he stood
there, in his dripping clothes, pondering the question.

Coiling the rope, he tried to throw it again into the crevice; but it
had lost the knack of kinking. Many times he tried,--six hundred, says
my informant,--and then sat down and reflected. "I have thrown this
rope," he thought, "six hundred times; I might throw it ten times as
many without its catching. Ten times six hundred are six thousand,--so,
there were six thousand chances against my life. Against such odds,
Providence only could have saved it. Providence, therefore, thinks it
worth saving; and if that's so, I won't throw it away on a canal-boat.
I'll go home, get an education, and be a man."

He acted on this resolution, and not long afterwards stood before a
little log cottage in the depths of the Ohio wilderness. It was late at
night; the stars were out, and the moon was down; but by the fire-light
that came through the window, he saw his mother kneeling before an open
book which lay on a chair in the corner. She was reading; but her eyes
were off the page, looking up to the Invisible. "Oh, turn unto me," she
said, "and have mercy upon me! give Thy strength unto Thy servant, and
save the son of Thine handmaid!" More she read, which sounded like a
prayer, but this is all that the boy remembers. He opened the door, put
his arm about her neck, and his head upon her bosom. What words he said
I do not know; but there, by her side, he gave back to God the life
which He had given. So the mother's prayer was answered. So sprang up
the seed which in toil and tears she had planted.

The boy worked, the world rolled round, and twelve years later Governor
Dennison offered him command of a regiment. He went home, opened his
mother's Bible, and pondered upon the subject. He had a wife, a child,
and a few thousand dollars. If he gave his life to the country, would
God and the few thousand dollars provide for his wife and child? He
consulted the Book about it. It seemed to answer in the affirmative; and
before morning he wrote to a friend,--"I regard my life as given to the
country. I am only anxious to make as much of it as possible before the
mortgage on it is foreclosed."

To this man, who thus went into the war with a life not his own, was
given, on the 16th of December, 1861, command of the little army which
held Kentucky to her moorings in the Union.

He knew nothing of war beyond its fundamental principles,--which are, I
believe, that a big boy can whip a little boy, and that one big boy can
whip two little boys, if he take them singly, one after the other. He
knew no more about it; yet he was called upon to solve a military
problem which has puzzled the heads of the greatest generals: namely,
how two small bodies of men, stationed widely apart, can unite in the
presence of an enemy, and beat him, when he is of twice their united
strength, and strongly posted behind intrenchments. With the help of
many "good men and true," he solved this problem; and in telling how he
solved it, I shall come naturally to speak of John Jordan, from the head
of Baine.

Humphrey Marshall with five thousand men had invaded Kentucky. Entering
it at Pound Gap, he had fortified a strong natural position near
Paintville, and, with small bands, was overrunning the whole Piedmont
region. This region, containing an area larger than the whole of
Massachusetts, was occupied by about four thousand blacks and one
hundred thousand whites,--a brave, hardy, rural population, with few
schools, scarcely any churches, and only one newspaper, but with that
sort of patriotism which grows among mountains and clings to its barren
hillsides as if they were the greenest spots in the universe. Among this
simple people Marshall was scattering firebrands. Stump-orators were
blazing away at every cross-road, lighting a fire which threatened to
sweep Kentucky from the Union. That done,--so early in the
war,--dissolution might have followed. To the Ohio canal-boy was
committed the task of extinguishing this conflagration. It was a
difficult task, one which, with the means at command, would have
appalled any man not made equal to it by early struggles with hardship
and poverty, and entire trust in the Providence that guards his country.

The means at command were twenty-five hundred men, divided into two
bodies, and separated by a hundred miles of mountain country. This
country was infested with guerrillas, and occupied by a disloyal people.
The sending of dispatches across it was next to impossible; but
communication being opened, and the two columns set in motion, there was
danger that they would be fallen on and beaten in detail before they
could form a junction. This was the great danger. What remained--the
beating of five thousand Rebels, posted behind intrenchments, by half
their number of Yankees, operating in the open field--seemed to the
young Colonel less difficult of accomplishment.

Evidently, the first thing to be done was to find a trustworthy
messenger to convey dispatches between the two halves of the Union army.
To this end, the Yankee commander applied to the Colonel of the
Fourteenth Kentucky.

"Have you a man," he asked, "who will die, rather than fail or betray
us?"

The Kentuckian reflected a moment, then answered: "I think I have,--John
Jordan, from the head of Baine."[B]

Jordan was sent for. He was a tall, gaunt, sallow man of about thirty,
with small gray eyes, a fine, falsetto voice, pitched in the minor key,
and his speech the rude dialect of the mountains. His face had as many
expressions as could be found in a regiment, and he seemed a strange
combination of cunning, simplicity, undaunted courage, and undoubting
faith; yet, though he might pass for a simpleton, he talked a quaint
sort of wisdom which ought to have given him to history.

The young Colonel sounded him thoroughly; for the fate of the little
army might depend on his fidelity. The man's soul was as clear as
crystal, and in ten minutes the Yankee saw through it. His history is
stereotyped in that region. Born among the hills, where the crops are
stones, and sheep's noses are sharpened before they can nibble the thin
grass between them, his life had been one of the hardest toil and
privation. He knew nothing but what Nature, the Bible, the "Course of
Time," and two or three of Shakspeare's plays had taught him; but
somehow in the mountain air he had grown to be a man,--a man as
civilized nations account manhood.

"Why did you come into the war?" at last asked the Colonel.

"To do my sheer fur the kentry, Gin'ral," answered the man. "And I
didn't druv no barg'in wi' th' Lord. I guv Him my life squar' out; and
ef He's a mind ter tuck it on this tramp, why, it's a His'n; I've
nothin' ter say agin it."

"You mean that you've come into the war not expecting to get out of it?"

"That's so, Gin'ral."

"Will you die rather than let the dispatch be taken?"

"I wull."

The Colonel recalled what had passed in his own mind when poring over
his mother's Bible that night at his home in Ohio; and it decided him.
"Very well," he said; "I will trust you."

The dispatch was written on tissue paper, rolled into the form of a
bullet, coated with warm lead, and put into the hand of the Kentuckian.
He was given a carbine, a brace of revolvers, and the fleetest horse in
his regiment, and, when the moon was down, started on his perilous
journey. He was to ride at night, and hide in the woods or in the houses
of loyal men in the day-time.

It was pitch-dark when he set out; but he knew every inch of the way,
having travelled it often, driving mules to market. He had gone twenty
miles by early dawn, and the house of a friend was only a few miles
beyond him. The man himself was away; but his wife was at home, and she
would harbor him till nightfall. He pushed on, and tethered his horse in
the timber; but it was broad day when he rapped at the door, and was
admitted. The good woman gave him breakfast, and showed him to the
guest-chamber, where, lying down in his boots, he was soon in a deep
slumber.

The house was a log cabin in the midst of a few acres of
deadening,--ground from which trees have been cleared by girdling. Dense
woods were all about it; but the nearest forest was a quarter of a mile
distant, and should the scout be tracked, it would be hard to get away
over this open space, unless he had warning of the approach of his
pursuers. The woman thought of this, and sent up the road, on a mule,
her whole worldly possessions, an old negro, dark as the night, but
faithful as the sun in the heavens. It was high noon when the mule came
back, his heels striking fire, and his rider's eyes flashing, as if
ignited from the sparks the steel had emitted.

"Dey 'm comin', Missus!" he cried,--"not haff a mile away,--twenty
Secesh,--ridin' as ef de Debil wus arter 'em!"

She barred the door, and hastened to the guest-chamber.

"Go," she cried, "through the winder,--ter the woods! They'll be here in
a minute."

"How many is thar?" asked the scout.

"Twenty,--go,--go at once,--or you'll be taken!"

The scout did not move; but, fixing his eyes on her face, he said,--

"Yes, I yere 'em. Thar's a sorry chance for my life a'ready. But,
Rachel, I've thet 'bout me thet's wuth more 'n my life,--thet, may-be,
'll save Kaintuck. If I'm killed, wull ye tuck it ter Cunnel Cranor, at
Paris?"

"Yes, yes, I will. But go: you've not a minnit to lose, I tell you."

"I know, but wull ye swar it,--swar ter tuck this ter Cunnel Cranor
'fore th' Lord thet yeres us?"

"Yes, yes, I will," she said, taking the bullet. But horses' hoofs were
already sounding in the door-yard. "It's too late," cried the woman.
"Oh, why did you stop to parley?"

"Never mind, Rachel," answered the scout. "Don't tuck on. Tuck ye keer
o' th' dispatch. Valu' it loike yer life,--loike Kaintuck. The Lord's
callin' fur me, and I'm a'ready."

But the scout was mistaken. It was not the Lord, but a dozen devils at
the door-way.

"What does ye want?" asked the woman, going to the door.

"The man as come from Garfield's camp at sun-up,--John Jordan, from the
head o' Baine," answered a voice from the outside.

"Ye karn't hev him fur th' axin'," said the scout. "Go away, or I'll
send some o' ye whar the weather is warm, I reckon."

"Pshaw!" said another voice,--from his speech one of the chivalry.
"There are twenty of us. We'll spare your life, if you give up the
dispatch; if you don't, we'll hang you higher than Haman."

The reader will bear in mind that this was in the beginning of the war,
when swarms of spies infested every Union camp, and treason was only a
gentlemanly pastime, not the serious business it has grown to be since
traitors are no longer dangerous.

"I've nothin' but my life thet I'll guv up," answered the scout; "and ef
ye tuck thet, ye'll hev ter pay the price,--six o' yourn."

"Fire the house!" shouted one.

"No, don't do thet," said another. "I know him,--he's cl'ar grit,--he'll
die in the ashes; and we won't git the dispatch."

This sort of talk went on for half an hour; then there was a dead
silence, and the woman went to the loft, whence she could see all that
was passing outside. About a dozen of the horsemen were posted around
the house; but the remainder, dismounted, had gone to the edge of the
woods, and were felling a well-grown sapling, with the evident intention
of using it as a battering-ram to break down the front door.

The woman, in a low tone, explained the situation; and the scout said,--

"It 'r' my only chance. I must run fur it. Bring me yer red shawl,
Rachel."

She had none, but she had a petticoat of flaming red and yellow.
Handling it as if he knew how such articles can be made to spread, the
scout softly unbarred the door, and, grasping the hand of the woman,
said,--

"Good bye, Rachel. It 'r' a right sorry chance; but I may git through.
Ef I do, I'll come ter night; ef I don't, git ye the dispatch ter the
Cunnel. Good bye."

To the right of the house, midway between it and the woods, stood the
barn. That way lay the route of the scout. If he could elude the two
mounted men at the door-way, he might escape the other horsemen; for
they would have to spring the barn-yard fences, and their horses might
refuse the leap. But it was foot of man against leg of horse, and "a
right sorry chance."

Suddenly he opened the door, and dashed at the two horses with the
petticoat. They reared, wheeled, and bounded away like lightning just
let out of harness. In the time that it takes to tell it, the scout was
over the first fence, and scaling the second; but a horse was making the
leap with him. The scout's pistol went off, and the rider's earthly
journey was over. Another followed, and his horse fell mortally wounded.
The rest made the circuit of the barn-yard, and were rods behind when
the scout reached the edge of the forest. Once among those thick
laurels, nor horse nor rider can reach a man, if he lies low, and says
his prayer in a whisper.

The Rebels bore the body of their comrade back to the house, and said to
the woman,--

"We'll be revenged for this. We know the route he'll take, and will have
his life before to-morrow; and you--we'd burn your house over your head,
if you were not the wife of Jack Brown."

Brown was a loyal man, who was serving his country in the ranks of
Marshall. Thereby hangs a tale, but this is not the time to tell it.
Soon the men rode away, taking the poor woman's only wagon as a hearse
for their dead comrade.

Night came, and the owls cried in the woods in a way they had not cried
for a fortnight. "T'whoot! t'whoot!" they went, as if they thought there
was music in hooting. The woman listened, put on a dark mantle, and
followed the sound of their voices. Entering the woods, she crept in
among the bushes, and talked with the owls as if they had been human.

"They know the road ye'll take," she said; "ye must change yer route.
Here ar' the bullet."

"God bless ye, Rachel!" responded the owl, "ye 'r' a true 'ooman!"--and
he hooted louder than before, to deceive pursuers, and keep up the
music.

"Ar' yer nag safe?" she asked.

"Yes, and good for forty mile afore sun-up."

"Well, here ar' suthin' ter eat: ye'll need it. Good bye, and God go wi'
ye!"

"He'll go wi' ye, fur He loves noble wimmin."

Their hands clasped, and then they parted: he to his long ride; she to
the quiet sleep of those who, out of a true heart, serve their country.

The night was dark and drizzly; but before morning the clouds cleared
away, leaving a thick mist hanging low on the meadows. The scout's mare
was fleet, but the road was rough, and a slosh of snow impeded the
travel. He had come by a strange way, and did not know how far he had
travelled by sunrise; but lights were ahead, shivering in the haze of
the cold, gray morning. Were they the early candles of some sleepy
village, or the camp-fires of a band of guerrillas? He did not know, and
it would not be safe to go on till he did know. The road was lined with
trees, but they would give no shelter; for they were far apart, and the
snow lay white between them. He was in the blue grass region. Tethering
his horse in the timber, he climbed a tall oak by the roadside; but the
mist was too thick to admit of his discerning anything distinctly. It
seemed, however, to be breaking away, and he would wait until his way
was clear; so he sat there, an hour, two hours, and ate his breakfast
from the satchel John's wife had slung over his shoulder. At last the
fog lifted a little, and he saw close at hand a small hamlet,--a few
rude huts gathered round a cross-road. No danger could lurk in such a
place, and he was about to descend, and pursue his journey, when
suddenly he heard, up the road by which he came, the rapid tramp of a
body of horsemen. The mist was thicker below; so half-way down the tree
he went, and waited their coming. They moved at an irregular pace,
carrying lanterns, and pausing every now and then to inspect the road,
as if they had missed their way or lost something. Soon they came near,
and were dimly outlined in the gray mist, so the scout could make out
their number. There were thirty of them,--the original band, and a
reinforcement. Again they halted when abreast of the tree, and searched
the road narrowly.

"He must have come this way," said one,--he of the chivalry. "The other
road is six miles longer, and he would take the shortest route. It's an
awful pity we didn't head him on both roads."

"We kin come up with him yit, ef we turn plumb round, and foller on
t'other road,--whar we lost the trail,--back thar, three miles ter the
deadnin'."

Now another spoke, and his voice the scout remembered. He belonged to
his own company in the Fourteenth Kentucky. "It 'so," he said; "he has
tuck t' other road. I tell ye, I'd know thet mar's shoe 'mong a million.
Nary one loike it wus uver seed in all Kaintuck,--only a d----d Yankee
could ha' invented it."

"And yere it ar'," shouted a man with one of the lanterns, "plain as
sun-up."

The Fourteenth Kentuckian clutched the light, and, while a dozen
dismounted and gathered round, closely examined the shoe-track. The
ground was bare on the spot, and the print of the horse's hoof was
clearly cut in the half-frozen mud. Narrowly the man looked, and life
and death hung on his eyesight. The scout took out the bullet, and
placed it in a crotch of the tree. If they took him, the Devil should
not take the dispatch. Then he drew a revolver. The mist was breaking
away, and he would surely be discovered, if the men lingered much
longer; but he would have the value of his life to the uttermost
farthing.

Meanwhile, the horsemen crowded around the foot-print, and one of them
inadvertently trod upon it. The Kentuckian looked long and earnestly,
but at last he said,--

"'Ta'n't the track. Thet 'ar' mar' has a sand-crack on her right
fore-foot. She didn't take kindly to a round shoe; so the Yank, he guv
her one with the cork right in the middle o' the quarter. 'Twas a durned
smart contrivance; fur ye see, it eased the strain, and let the nag go
nimble as a squirrel. The cork ha'n't yere,--'ta'n't her track,--and
we're wastin,' time in luckin'."

The cork was not there, because the trooper's tread had obliterated it.
Reader, let us thank him for that one good step, if he never take
another; for it saved the scout, and, may-be, it saved Kentucky. When
the scout returned that way, he halted abreast of that tree, and
examined the ground about it. Right there, in the road, was the mare's
track, with the print of the man's foot still upon the inner quarter! He
uncovered his head, and from his heart went up a simple thanksgiving.

The horsemen gone, the scout came down from the tree, and pushed on into
the misty morning. There might be danger ahead, but there surely was
danger behind him. His pursuers were only half convinced that they had
struck his trail; and some sensible fiend might put it into their heads
to divide and follow, part by one route, part by the other.

He pushed on over the sloshy road, his mare every step going slower and
slower. The poor beast was jaded out; for she had travelled sixty miles,
eaten nothing, and been stabled in the timber. She would have given out
long before, had her blood not been the best in Kentucky. As it was, she
staggered along as if she had taken a barrel of whiskey. Five miles
farther on was the house of a Union man. She must reach it, or die by
the wayside; for the merciful man regardeth not the life of his beast,
when he carries dispatches.

The loyalist did not know the scout, but his honest face secured him a
cordial welcome. He explained that he was from the Union camp on the Big
Sandy, and offered any price for a horse to go on with.

"Yer nag is wuth ary two o' my critters," said the man. "Ye kin take the
best beast I've got; and when ye 'r' ag'in this way, we'll swop back
even."

The scout thanked him, mounted the horse, and rode off into the mist
again, without the warm breakfast which the good woman had, half-cooked,
in the kitchen. It was eleven o'clock; and at twelve that night he
entered Colonel Cranor's quarters at Paris,--having ridden a hundred
miles with a rope round his neck, for thirteen dollars a month,
hard-tack, and a shoddy uniform.

The Colonel opened the dispatch. It was dated, Louisa, Kentucky,
December 24th, midnight; and directed him to move at once with his
regiment, (the Fortieth Ohio, eight hundred strong,) by the way of Mount
Sterling and McCormick's Gap, to Prestonburg. He would incumber his men
with as few rations and as little luggage as possible, bearing in mind
that the safety of his command depended on his expedition. He would also
convey the dispatch to Lieutenant-Colonel Woolford, at Stamford, and
direct him to join the march with his three hundred cavalry.

Hours now were worth months of common time, and on the following morning
Cranor's column began to move. The scout lay by till night, then set out
on his return, and at daybreak swapped his now jaded horse for the fresh
Kentucky mare, even. He ate the housewife's breakfast, too, and took his
ease with the good man till dark, when he again set out, and rode
through the night in safety. After that his route was beset with perils.
The Providence which so wonderfully guarded his way out seemed to leave
him to find his own way in; or, as he expressed it, "Ye see, the Lord,
He keered more fur the dispatch nor He keered fur me: and 'twas nateral
He should; 'case my life only counted one, while the dispatch, it stood
fur all Kaintuck."

Be that as it may, he found his road a hard one to travel. The same gang
which followed him out waylaid him back, and one starry midnight he fell
among them. They lined the road forty deep, and seeing he could not run
the gauntlet, he wheeled his mare and fled backwards. The noble beast
did her part; but a bullet struck her, and she fell in the road dying.
Then--it was Hobson's choice--he took to his legs, and, leaping a fence,
was at last out of danger. Two days he lay in the woods, not daring to
come out; but hunger finally forced him to ask food at a negro shanty.
The dusky patriot loaded him with bacon, brown bread, and blessings, and
at night piloted him to a Rebel barn, where he enforced the Confiscation
Act, to him then "the higher law,"--necessity.

With his fresh horse he set out again; and after various adventures and
hair-breadth escapes, too numerous to mention,--and too incredible to
believe, had not similar things occurred all through the war,--he
entered, one rainy midnight, (the 6th of January,) the little log hut,
seven miles from Paintville, where Colonel Garfield was sleeping.

The Colonel rubbed his eyes, and raised himself upon his elbow.

"Back safe?" he asked. "Have you seen Cranor?"

"Yes, Gin'ral. He can't be more 'n two days ahind o' me, nohow."

"God bless you, Jordan! You have done us great service," said Garfield,
warmly.

"I thanks ye, Gin'ral," said the scout, his voice trembling, "Thet's
more pay 'n I expected."

       *       *       *       *       *

To give the reader a full understanding of the result of the scout's
ride, I must now move on with the little army. They are only fourteen
hundred men, worn out with marching, but boldly they move down upon
Marshall. False scouts have made him believe they are as strong as he:
and they are; for every one is a hero, and they are led by a general.
The Rebel has five thousand men,--forty-four hundred infantry and six
hundred cavalry,--besides twelve pieces of artillery,--so he says in a
letter to his wife, which Buell has intercepted and Garfield has in his
pocket. Three roads lead to Marshall's position: one at the east,
bearing down to the river, and along its western bank; another, a
circuitous one, to the west, coming in on Paint Creek, at the mouth of
Jenny's Creek, on the right of the village; and a third between the
others, a more direct route, but climbing a succession of almost
impassable ridges. These three roads are held by strong Rebel pickets,
and a regiment is outlying at the village of Paintville.

To deceive Marshall as to his real strength and designs, Garfield orders
a small force of infantry and cavalry to advance along the river, drive
in the Rebel pickets, and move rapidly after them as if to attack
Paintville. Two hours after this force goes off, a similar one, with the
same orders, sets out on the road to the westward; and two hours later
still, another small body takes the middle road. The effect is, that the
pickets on the first route, being vigorously attacked and driven,
retreat in confusion to Paintville, and dispatch word to Marshall that
the Union army is advancing along the river. He hurries off a thousand
infantry and a battery to resist the advance of this imaginary column.
When this detachment has been gone an hour and a half, he hears, from
the routed pickets on the right, that the Federals are advancing along
the western road. Countermanding his first order, he now directs the
thousand men and the battery to check the new danger; and hurries off
the troops at Paintville to the mouth of Jenny's Creek to make a stand
there. Two hours later the pickets on the central route are driven in,
and, finding Paintville abandoned, flee precipitately to the fortified
camp, with the story that the Union army is close at their heels and
occupying the town. Conceiving that he has thus lost Paintville,
Marshall hastily withdraws the detachment of one thousand men to his
fortified camp; and Garfield, moving rapidly over the ridges of the
central route, occupies the abandoned position.

So affairs stand on the evening of the 8th of January, when a spy enters
the camp of Marshall, with tidings that Cranor, with thirty-three
hundred (!) men, is within twelve hours' march at the westward. On
receipt of these tidings, the "big boy,"--he weighs three hundred pounds
by the Louisville hay-scales,--conceiving himself outnumbered, breaks up
his camp, and retreats precipitately, abandoning or burning a large
portion of his supplies. Seeing the fires, Garfield mounts his horse,
and, with a thousand men, enters the deserted camp at nine in the
evening, while the blazing stores are yet unconsumed. He sends off a
detachment to harass the retreat, and waits the arrival of Cranor, with
whom he means to follow and bring Marshall to battle in the morning.

In the morning Cranor comes, but his men are footsore, without rations,
and completely exhausted. They cannot move one leg after the other. But
the canal-boy is bound to have a fight; so every man who has strength to
march is ordered to come forward. Eleven hundred--among them four
hundred of Cranor's tired heroes--step from the ranks, and with them,
at noon of the 9th, Garfield sets out for Prestonburg, sending all his
available cavalry to follow the line of the enemy's retreat and harass
and delay him.

Marching eighteen miles, he reaches at nine o'clock that night the mouth
of Abbott's Creek, three miles below Prestonburg,--he and the eleven
hundred. There he hears that Marshall is encamped on the same stream,
three miles higher up; and throwing his men into bivouac, in the midst
of a sleety rain, he sends an order back to Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon,
who is left in command at Paintville, to bring up every available man,
with all possible dispatch, for he shall force the enemy to battle in
the morning. He spends the night in learning the character of the
surrounding country and the disposition of Marshall's forces; and now
again John Jordan comes into action.

A dozen Rebels are grinding at a mill, and a dozen honest men come upon
them, steal their corn, and make them prisoners. The miller is a tall,
gaunt man, and his clothes fit the scout as if they were made for him.
He is a Disunionist, too, and his very raiment should bear witness
against this feeding of his enemies. It does. It goes back to the Rebel
camp, and--the scout goes in it. That chameleon face of his is smeared
with meal, and looks the miller so well that the miller's own wife might
not detect the difference. The night is dark and rainy, and that lessens
the danger; but still he is picking his teeth in the very jaws of the
lion,--if he can be called a lion, who does nothing but roar like unto
Marshall.

Space will not permit me to detail this midnight ramble; but it gave
Garfield the exact position of the enemy. They had made a stand, and
laid an ambuscade for him. Strongly posted on a semicircular hill, at
the forks of Middle Creek, on both sides of the road, with cannon
commanding its whole length, and hidden by the trees, they were waiting
his coming.

The Union commander broke up his bivouac at four in the morning and
began to move forward. Reaching the valley of Middle Creek, he
encountered some of the enemy's mounted men, and captured a quantity of
stores they were trying to withdraw from Prestonburg. Skirmishing went
on until about noon, when the Rebel pickets were driven back upon their
main body, and then began the battle. It is not my purpose to describe
it; for that has already been ably done, in thirty lines, by the man who
won it.

It was a wonderful battle. In the history of this war there is not
another like it. Measured by the forces engaged, the valor displayed,
and the results which followed, it throws into the shade even the
achievements of the mighty hosts which saved the nation. Eleven hundred
men, without cannon, charge up a rocky hill, over stumps, over stones,
over fallen trees, over high intrenchments, right into the face of five
thousand, and twelve pieces of artillery!

For five hours the contest rages. Now the Union forces are driven back;
then, charging up the hill, they regain the lost ground, and from behind
rocks and trees pour in their murderous volleys. Then again they are
driven back, and again they charge up the hill, strewing the ground with
corpses. So the bloody work goes on; so the battle wavers, till the
setting sun, wheeling below the hills, glances along the dense lines of
Rebel steel moving down to envelop the weary eleven hundred. It is an
awful moment, big with the fate of Kentucky. At its very crisis two
figures stand out against the fading sky, boldly defined in the
foreground.

One is in Union blue. With a little band of heroes about him, he is
posted on a projecting rock, which is scarred with bullets, and in full
view of both armies. His head is uncovered, his hair streaming in the
wind, his face upturned in the darkening daylight, and from his soul is
going up a prayer,--a prayer for Sheldon and Cranor. He turns his eyes
to the northward, and his lip tightens, as he throws off his coat, and
says to his hundred men,--"Boys, _we_ must go at them!"

The other is in Rebel gray. Moving out to the brow of the opposite hill,
and placing a glass to his eye, he, too, takes a long look to the
northward. He starts, for he sees something which the other, on lower
ground, does not distinguish. Soon he wheels his horse, and the word
"RETREAT" echoes along the valley between them. It is his last
word; for six rifles crack, and the Rebel Major lies on the ground
quivering.

The one in blue looks to the north again, and now, floating proudly
among the trees, he sees the starry banner. It is Sheldon and Cranor!
The long ride of the scout is at last doing its work for the nation. On
they come like the rushing wind, filling the air with their shouting.
The rescued eleven hundred take up the strain, and then, above the swift
pursuit, above the lessening conflict, above the last boom of the
wheeling cannon, goes up the wild huzza of Victory. The gallant Garfield
has won the day, and rolled back the disastrous tide which has been
sweeping on ever since Big Bethel. In ten days Thomas routs Zollicoffer,
and then we have and hold Kentucky.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every one remembers a certain artist, who, after painting a "neighing
steed," wrote underneath the picture, "This is a horse," lest it should
be mistaken for an alligator. I am tempted to imitate his example, lest
the reader, otherwise, may not detect the rambling parallel I have
herein drawn between a Northern and a Southern "poor white man."

President Lincoln, when he heard of the Battle of Middle Creek, said to
a distinguished officer, who happened to be with him,--

"Why did Garfield in two weeks do what would have taken one of you
Regular folks two months to accomplish?"

"Because he was not educated at West Point," answered the West-Pointer,
laughing.

"No," replied Mr. Lincoln. "That wasn't the reason. It was because, when
he was a boy, he had to work for a living."

But our good President, for once, was wrong,--for once, he did not get
at the core of the matter. Jordan, as well as Garfield, "had, when a
boy, to work for a living." The two men were, perhaps, of about equal
natural abilities,--both were born in log huts, both worked their own
way to manhood, and both went into the war consecrating their very lives
to their country: but one came out of it with a brace of stars on his
shoulder, and honored by all the nation; the other never rose from the
ranks, and went down to an unknown grave, mourned only among his native
mountains. Something more than _work_ was at the bottom of this contrast
in their lives and their destinies. It was FREE SCHOOLS, which
the North gave the one, and of which the South robbed the other. Plant a
free school at every Southern cross-road, and every Southern Jordan will
become a Garfield. Then, and not till then, will this Union be
"reconstructed."

FOOTNOTES:

[B] The Baine is a small stream which puts into the Big Sandy, a short
distance from the town of Louisa, Ky.



NOËL.[C]


    L'Académie en respect,
    Nonobstant l'incorrection,
    A la faveur du sujet,
      Ture-lure,
    N'y fera point de rature;
    Noël! ture-lure-lure.

                        GUI-BARÔZAI.


                1.

    Quand les astres de Noël
    Brillaient, palpitaient au ciel,
    Six gaillards, et chacun ivre,
    Chantaient gaîment dans le givre,
          "Bons amis,
    Allons done chez Agassiz!"

                2.

    Ces illustres Pèlerins
    D'Outre-Mer, adroits et fins,
    Se donnant des airs de prêtre,
    A l'envi se vantaient d'être
          "Bons amis
    De Jean Rudolphe Agassiz!"

               3.

    Oeil-de-Perdrix, grand farceur,
    Sans reproche et sans pudeur,
    Dans son patois de Bourgogne,
    Bredouillait comme un ivrogne,
          "Bons amis,
    J'ai dansé chez Agassiz!"

               4.

    Verzenay le Champenois,
    Bon Français, point New-Yorquois,
    Mais des environs d'Avize,
    Fredonne, à mainte reprise,
          "Bons amis,
    J'ai chanté chez Agassiz!"

              5.

    A côté marchait un vieux
    Hidalgo, mais non mousseux;
    Dans le temps de Charlemagne
    Fut son père Grand d'Espagne!
          "Bons amis,
    J'ai dîné chez Agassiz!"

               6.

    Derrière eux un Bordelais,
    Gascon, s'il en fut jamais,
    Parfumé de poésie
    Riait, chantait plein de vie,
          "Bons amis,
    J'ai soupé chez Agassiz!"

               7.

    Avec ce beau cadet roux,
    Bras dessus et bras dessous,
    Mine altière et couleur terne,
    Vint le Sire de Sauterne:
          "Bons amis,
    J'ai couché chez Agassiz!"

               8.

    Mais le dernier de ces preux
    Était un pauvre Chartreux,
    Qui disait, d'un ton robuste,
    "Bénédictions sur le Juste!
          Bons amis,
    Bénissons Père Agassiz!"

               9.

    Ils arrivent trois à trois,
    Montent l'escalier de bois
    Clopin-clopant! quel gendarme
    Peut permettre ce vacarme,
          Bons amis,
    A la porte d'Agassiz!

              10.

    "Ouvrez donc, mon bon Seigneur,
    Ouvrez vite et n'ayez peur;
    Ouvrez, ouvrez, car nous sommes
    Gens de bien et gentilshommes,
          Bons amis
    De la famille Agassiz!"

             11.

    Chut, ganaches! taisez-vous!
    C'en est trop de vos glouglous;
    Épargnez aux Philosophes
    Vos abominables strophes!
          Bons amis,
    Respectez mon Agassiz!

FOOTNOTES:

[C] Sent to Mr. Agassiz, with a basket of wine, on Christmas Eve, 1864.



WILHELM MEISTER'S APPRENTICESHIP.

SECOND PAPER.


In a preceding paper I have sought to trace the main lines of spiritual
growth, as these appear in Goethe's great picture. But is such growth
possible in this world? Do the circumstances in which modern men are
placed comport with it? Or is it, perhaps, a cherub only _painted_ with
wings, and despite the laws of anatomy? These questions are pertinent.
It concerns us little to know what results the crescent powers of life
might produce, if, by good luck, Eden rather than our struggling
century, another world instead of this world, were here. This world, it
happens, is here undoubtedly; our century and our place in it are facts,
which decline to take their leave, bid them good morning and show them
the door how one may. Let us know, then, what of good sufficing may be
achieved in their company. If Goethe's picture be only a picture, and
not a possibility, we will be pleased with him, provided his work prove
pleasant; we will partake of his literary dessert, and give him his meed
of languid praise. But if, on the other hand, his book be written in
full, unblinking view of all that is fixed and limitary in man and
around him, and if, in face of this, it conduct growth to its
consummation, then we may give him something better than any
praise,--namely, heed.

Is it, then, written in this spirit of reality? In proof that it is so,
I call to witness the most poignant reproach, save one, ever uttered
against it by a superior man. Novalis censured it as "thoroughly modern
and prosaic." Well, _on one side_, it is so,--just as modern and prosaic
as the modern world and actual European civilization. What is this but
to say that Goethe faces the facts? What is it but to say that he
accepts the conditions of his problem? He is to show that the high
possibilities of growth can be realized _here_. To run off, get up a
fancy world, and then picture these possibilities as coming to fruition
_there_, would be a mere toying with his readers. Here is modern
civilization, with its fixed forms, its rigid limits, its traditional
mechanisms. Here is this life, where men make, execute, and obey laws,
own and manage property, buy and sell, plant, sail, build, marry and
beget children and maintain households, pay taxes, keep out of debt, if
they are wise, and go to the poorhouse, or beg, or do worse, if they are
unwise or unfortunate. Here such trivialities as starched collars,
blacked boots, and coats according to the mode compel attention. Society
has its fixed rules, by which it enforces social continuity and
connection. To neglect these throws one off the ring; and, with rare
exceptions, isolation is barrenness and death. One cannot even go into
the street in a wilfully strange costume, without establishing
repulsions and balking relations between him and his neighbors which
destroy their use to each other. Every man is bound to the actual form
of society by his necessities at least, if not by his good-will.

To step violently out of all this puts one in a social vacuum,--a
position in which few respire well, while most either perish or become
in some degree monstrous. It is necessary that one should live and work
with his fellows, if he is to obtain the largest growth. On the other
hand, to be merely in and of this--a wheel, spoke, or screw, in this
vast social mechanism--makes one, not a man, but a thing, and precludes
all growth but such as is obscure and indirect. Thousands, indeed, have
no desire but to obtain some advantageous place in this machinery.
Meanwhile this enormous conventional civilization strives, and must
strive, to make every soul its puppet. Let each fall into the routine,
pursue it in some shining manner, asking no radical questions, and he
shall have his heart's desire. "Blessed is he," it cries, "who
handsomely and with his whole soul reads upwards from man to position
and estate,--from man to millionnaire, judge, lord, bishop! Cursed is he
who questions, who aims to strike down beneath this great mechanism, and
to connect himself with the primal resources of his being! There are no
such resources. It is a wickedness to dream of them. Man has no root but
in tradition and custom, no blessing but in serving them."

As that assurance is taken, and as that spirit prevails, man forfeits
his manhood. His life becomes mechanical. Ideas disappear in the forms
that once embodied them; imagination is buried beneath symbol; belief
dies of creed, and morality of custom. Nothing remains but a world-wide
pantomime. Worship itself becomes only a more extended place-hunting,
and man the walking dummy of society. And then, since man no longer is
properly vitalized, disease sets in, consumption, decay, putrefaction,
filling all the air with the breath of their foulness.

The earlier part of the eighteenth century found all Europe in this
stage. Then came a stir in the heart of man: for Nature would not let
him die altogether. First came recoil, complaint, reproach, mockery.
Voltaire's light, piercing, taunting laugh--with a screaming wail inside
it, if one can hear well--rang over Europe. "Aha, you are found out! Up,
toad, in your true shape!" Then came wild, shallow theories, half true;
then wild attempt to make the theories real; then carnage and chaos.

Accompanying and following this comes another and purer phase of
reaction. "Let us get out of this dead, conventional world!" cry a few
noble spirits, in whose hearts throbs newly the divine blood of life.
"Leave it behind; it is dead. Leave behind all formal civilization; let
us live only from within, and let the outward be formless,--momentarily
created by our souls, momentarily vanishing."

The noblest type I have ever known of this _extra-vagance_, this
wandering outside of actual civilization, was Thoreau. With his purity,
as of a newborn babe,--with his moral steadiness, unsurpassed in my
observation,--with his indomitable persistency,--by the aid also of that
all-fertilizing imaginative sympathy with outward Nature which was his
priceless gift,--he did, indeed, lend to his mode of life an
indescribable charm. In him it came at once to beauty and to
consecration.

Yet even he must leave out marriage, to make his scheme of life
practicable. He must ignore Nature's demand that humanity continue, or
recognize it only with loathing. "Marriage is that!" said he to a
friend,--and held up a carrion-flower.

Moreover, the success of his life--nay, the very quality of his
being--implied New England and its civilization. To suppose him born
among the Flathead Indians were to suppose _him_, the Thoreau of our
love and pride, unborn still. The civilization he slighted was an air
that he breathed; it was implied, as impulse and audience, in those
books of his, wherein he enshrined his spirit, and whereby he kept its
health.

A fixed social order is indirectly necessary even to him who, by rare
gifts of Nature, can stand nobly and unfalteringly aside from it. And it
is directly, instantly necessary to him who, either by less power of
self-support or by a more flowing human sympathy, _must_ live with men,
and _must_ comply with the conditions by which social connection is
preserved.

The problem, therefore, recurs. Here are the two terms: the soul, the
primal, immortal imagination of man, on the one side; the enormous,
engrossing, dehumanizing mechanism of society, on the other. A noble few
elect the one; an ignoble multitude pray to its opposite. The
reconciling word,--is there a reconciling word?

Here, now, comes one who answers, Yes. And he answers thus, not by a
bald assertion, but by a picture wherein these opposites lose their
antagonism,--by a picture which is true to both, yet embraces both, and
shapes them into a unity. That is Goethe. This attempt represents the
grand _nisus_ of his life. It is most fully made in "Wilhelm Meister."

Above the world he places the growing spirit of man, the vessel of all
uses, with his resource in eternal Nature. Then he seizes with a
sovereign hand upon actual society, upon formal civilization, and of it
all makes food and service for man's spirit. This prosaic civilization,
he says, is prosaic only in itself, not when put in relation to its true
end. So he first recognizes it with remorseless verity, depicts it in
all its littleness and limitation; then strikes its connection with
growth: and lo, the littleness becomes great in serving the greater; the
harsh prosaicism begins to move in melodious measure; and out of that
jarring, creaking mechanism of conventional society arise the grand
rolling organ-harmonies of life.

That he succeeds to perfection I do not say. I could find fault enough
with his book, if there were either time or need. There is no need: its
faults are obvious. In binding himself by such unsparing oaths to
recognize and admit all the outward truth of society, he has, indeed,
grappled with the whole problem, but also made its solution a little
cumbrous and incomplete. Nay, this which he so admits in his picture was
also sufficiently, perhaps a touch more than sufficiently, admitted in
his own being. He would have been a conventionalist and epicurean,
unless he had been a seer. He would have been a mere man of the world,
had he not been Goethe. But whereas a man of the world reads up from man
to dignity, estate, and social advantage, he reverses the process, and
reads up from these to man. Say that he does it with some stammering,
with some want of the last nicety. What then? It were enough, if he set
forth upon the true road, though his own strength fail before the end is
reached. It is enough, if, falling midway, even though it be by excess
of the earthly weight he bears, he still point forward, and his voice
out of the dust whisper, "There lies your way!" This alone makes him a
benefactor of mankind.

This specific aim of Goethe's work makes it, indeed, a novel.
Conventional society and the actual conditions of life are, with respect
to eternal truth, but the _novelties_ of time. The novelist is to
picture these, and, in picturing, subordinate them to that which is
perpetual and inspiring. Just so far as he opens the ravishing
possibilities of life in commanding reconciliation with the formal
civilization of a particular time, he does his true work.

The function of the poet is different. His business it is simply to
_refresh_ the spirit of man. To its lip he holds the purest ichors of
existence; with ennobling draughts of awe, pity, sympathy, and joy, he
quickens its blood and strengthens its vital assimilations. The
particular circumstances he uses are merely the cup wherein this wine of
life is contained. This he may obtain as most easily he can; the world
is all before him where to choose.

The novelist has no such liberty. His business it is to find the ideal
possibilities of man _here_, in the midst of actual society. He shall
teach us to free the heart, while respecting the bonds of circumstance.
And the more strictly he clings to that which is central in man on the
one hand, and the more broadly and faithfully he embraces the existing
prosaic limitations on the other, the more his work answers to the whole
nature of his function. Goethe has done the latter thoroughly, his
accusers themselves being judges; that he has done the other, and how he
has done it, I have sought to show in a preceding paper. He looks on
actual men and actual society with an eye of piercing observation; he
depicts them with remorseless verity; and through and by all builds,
builds at the great architectures of spiritual growth.

Hence the difference between him and satirists like Thackeray, who
equal him in keenness of observation, are not behind him in verity of
report, while surpassing him often in pictorial effect,--but who bring
to the picture out of themselves only a noble indignation against
baseness. They contemn; he uses. They cry, "Fie!" upon unclean
substances; he ploughs the offence into the soil, and sows wheat over
it. They see the world as it is; he sees it, and through it. They probe
sores; he leads forth into the air and the sunshine. They tinge the
cheek with blushes of honorable shame; he paints it with the glow of
wholesome activity. Their point of view is that of pathology; his, that
of physiology. The great satirists, at best, give a medicine to
sickness; Goethe gives a task to health. They open a door into a
hospital; he opens a door _out_ of one, and cries, "Lo, the green earth
and blue heaven, the fields of labor, the skies of growth!"

On the other hand, by this relentless fidelity to observation, by his
stern refusal to give men supposititious qualities and characters, by
his resolute acceptance of European civilization, by his unalterable
determination to practicable results, by always limiting himself _to
that which all superior men might be expected not merely to read of with
gusto, but to do_, he is widely differenced from novelists like the
authoress of "Consuelo." He does not propose to furnish a moral luxury,
over which at the close one may smack the lips, and cry, "How sweet!" No
gardener's manual ever looked more simply to results. His aim is, to get
something _done_, to get _all_ done which he suggests. Accordingly, he
does not gratify us with vasty magnanimities, holy beggaries voluntarily
assumed, Bouddhistic "missions"; he shows us no more than high-minded,
incorruptible men, fixed in their regards upon the high ends of life,
established in noble, fruitful fellowship, willing and glad to help
others so far as they can clearly see their way, not making public
distribution of their property, but managing it so that it shall in
themselves and others serve culture, health, and all well-being of body
and mind. Wealth here is a trust; it is held for use; its uses are, to
subserve the high ends of Nature in the spirit of man. Lothario seeks
association with all who can aid him in these applications. So intent is
he, that he _loves_ Theresa because she has a genius at once for
economizing means and for seeing where they may be applied to the
service of the more common natures. He keeps the great-minded,
penetrating, providential Abbé in his pay, that this inevitable eye may
distinguish for him the more capable natures, and find out whether or
how they may be forwarded on their proper paths. Here are no sublime
professions, but a steady, modest, resolute, discriminate doing.

For suggestion of what one may really _do_, and for impelling one toward
the practicable best, I find this book worth a moonful of "Consuelos."
The latter work has, indeed, beautiful pictures; and simply as a picture
of a fresh, sweet, young life, it is charming. But in its aim at a
higher import I find it simply an arrow shot into the air, going _so_
high, but at--nothing! If one crave a moral luxury, it is here. If he
desire a lash for egoism, this, perhaps, is also here. If he is already
praying the heavens for a sufficing worth and work in life, and is
asking only the _what_ and _how_, this book, taken in connection with
its sequel, says, "Distribute your property, and begin wandering about
and 'doing good.'"

I decline. After due consideration, I have fully determined to own a
house, and provide each day a respectable dinner for my table, if the
fates agree; to secure, still in submission to the fates, such a
competency as will give me leisure for the best work I can do; to
further justice and general well-being, so far as is in me to further or
hinder, but always on the basis of the existing civilization; to cherish
sympathy and good-will in myself, and in others by cherishing them in
myself; to help another when I clearly can; and to give, when what I
give will obviously do more service toward the high ends of life, in
the hands of another than in my own. Toward carrying out these purposes
"Consuelo" has not given me a hint, not one; "Wilhelm Meister" has given
me invaluable hints. Therefore I feel no great gratitude to the one, and
am profoundly grateful to the other.

It is not the mere absence of suffering, it is not a pound of beef on
every peasant's plate, that makes life worth living. Health, happiness,
even education, however diffused, do not alone make life worth living.
Tell me the quality of a man's happiness before I can very rapturously
congratulate him upon it; tell me the quality of his suffering before I
can grieve over it without solace. Noble pain is worth more than ignoble
pleasure; and there is a health in the _dying_ Schiller which beggars in
comparison that of the fat cattle on a thousand hills. All the world
might be well fed, well clothed, well sheltered, and very properly
behaved, and be a pitiful world nevertheless, were this all.

Let us get out of this business of merely improving _conditions_. There
are two things which make life worth living. First, the absolute worth
and significance of man's spirit in its harmonious completeness; and
hence the absolute value of culture and growth in the deepest sense of
the words. Secondly, the relevancy of actual experience and the actual
world to these ends. Goethe attends to both these, and to both in a
spirit of great sanity. He fixes his eye with imperturbable steadiness
on the central fact, then with serene, intrepid modesty suggests the
relevancy to this of the world as it is around us, and _then trusts the
healthy attraction of the higher to modify and better the lower_. Give
man, he says, something to work _for_, namely, the high uses of his
spirit; give him next something to work _with_, namely, actual
civilization, the powers, limits, and conditions which actually exist in
and around him; and if these instruments be poor, be sure he will begin
to improve upon them, the moment he has found somewhat inspiring and
sufficing to do with them. Actual conditions will improve precisely in
proportion as _all_ conditions are utilized, are placed in relations of
service to a result which contents the soul of men. And to establish in
this relation all the existing conditions of life, natural and
artificial, is the task which Goethe has undertaken.

I invite the reader to dwell upon this fact, that, the moment life has
an inspiring significance, and the moment also the men, industries, and
conditions around us become instrumental toward resolving that, in this
moment one must begin, so far as he may, bettering these conditions. If
I hire a man to work in my garden, how much is it worth to me, if he
bring not merely his hands and gardening skill, but also an appreciable
soul, with him! So soon as that fact is apparent, fruitful relations are
established between us, and sympathies begin to fly like bees, bearing
pollen and winning honey, from each heart to the other. To let a man be
degraded, or stupid, or thwarted in all his inward life, when I _can_
make it otherwise? Not unless I am insensate. To allow anywhere a
disserviceable condition, when I could make it serviceable? Not in full
view of the fact that all which thwarts the inward being of another
thwarts me. If there be in the world a man who might write a grand book,
but through ill conditions cannot write it, then in me and you a door
will remain closed, which might have opened--who knows upon what
treasure? With the high ends of life before him, no man can _afford_ to
be selfish. With the fact before him that formal civilization is
instrumental, no man can afford to run away from it. With the fact in
view that each man needs every other, and needs that every other should
do and be the best he can, no one can afford to withhold help, where it
can be rendered. Finally, seeing that means are limited, and that the
means and services which are crammed into others, without being
spiritually assimilated, breed only indigestion, no one must throw his
services about at random, but see where Nature has prepared the way for
him, and there in modesty do what he can.

To strike the connection, then, between the inward and the outward,
between the spiritual and the conventional, between man and society,
between moral possibility and formal civilization,--to give growth, with
all its immortal issues, a place, and means, and opportunity,--this was
Goethe's aim; and if the execution be less than perfect, as I admit, it
yet suggests the whole; and if the shortcoming be due in part to his
personal imperfections, which doubtless may be affirmed, it yet does not
mar the sincerity of his effort. His hand trembles, his aim is not
nicely sure, but it is an aim at the right object nevertheless.

There are limits and conditions in man, as well as around him, to which
the like justice is done. Such are Special Character, Natural Degree and
Vocation, Moral Imperfection, and Limitation of Self-Knowledge. Each of
these plays a part of vast importance in life; each is portrayed and
used in Goethe's picture. But, though with reluctance, I must merely
name and pass them by. Enough to say here, that he sees them and sees
through them. Enough that they appear, and as means and material. Nor
does he merely distinguish and harp upon them, after the hard analytic
fashion one would use here; but, as the violinist sweeps all the strings
of his instrument, not to show that one sounds _so_ and another _so_,
but out of all to bring a complete melody, so does this master touch the
chords of life, and, in thus recognizing, bring out of them the
melodious completeness of a human soul.

One inquiry remains. What of inspirational impulse does Goethe bring to
his work? He depicts growth; what leads him to do so? Is it nothing but
cold curiosity? and does he leave the reader in a like mood? Or is he
commanded by some imperial inward necessity? and does he awaken in the
reader a like noble necessity, not indeed to write, but to _live_?

The inspiration which he feels and communicates is art infinite,
unspeakable reverence for Personality, for the completed, spiritual
reality of man. Literally unspeakable, it is the silent spirit in which
he writes, sovereign in him and in his work,--the soul of every
sentence, and professed in none. You find it scarcely otherwise than in
his manner of treating his material. But there you _may_ find it: the
silent, majestic homage that he pays to every _real_ grace and spiritual
accomplishment of man or woman. Any smallest trait of this is delineated
with a heed that makes no account of time or pains, with a venerating
fidelity and religious care that _unutterably_ imply its preciousness.
Indeed, it is one point of his art to bestow elaborate, reverential
attention upon some minor grace of manhood or womanhood, that one may
say, "If this be of such price, how priceless is the whole!" He resorts
habitually to this inferential suggestion,--puzzling hasty readers, who
think him frivolously exalting little things, rather than hinting beyond
all power of direct speech at the worth of the greater. In landscape
paintings a bush in the foreground may occupy more space than a whole
range of mountains in the distance: perhaps the bush is there to show
the scale of the drawing, and intimate the greatness, rather than
littleness, of the mountains.

The undertone of every page, should we mask its force in hortatives,
would be,--"Buy manhood; buy verity and completeness of being; buy
spiritual endowment and accomplishment; buy insight and clearness of
heart and wholeness of spirit; pay ease, estimation, estate,--never
consider what you pay: for though pleasure is not despicable, though
wealth, leisure, and social regard are good, yet there is no tint of
inherent grace, no grain nor atom of man's spiritual substance, but it
outweighs kingdoms, outweighs all that is external to itself."

But hortatives and assertions represent feebly, and without truth of
tone, the subtile, sovereign persuasion of the book. This is said
sovereignly by _not_ being said expressly. We are at pains to affirm
only that which may be conceived of as doubtful, therefore admit a
certain doubtfulness by the act of asserting. When one begins to
asseverate his honesty, his hearers begin to question it. The last
persuasion lies in assumptions,--not in assumptions made consciously and
with effort, but in those which one makes because he cannot help it, and
even without being too much aware what he does. All that a man of power
assumes utterly, so that he were not himself without assuming it, he
will impress upon others with a persuasion that has in it somewhat of
the infinite. Jesus never said, "There is a God,"--nor even, "God is our
Father,"--nor even, "Man is immortal"; he took all this as implicit
basis of labor and prayer. Implicit assumptions rule the world; they
build and destroy cities, make and unmake empires, open and close
epochs; and whenever Destiny in any powerful soul has ripened a new
truth to this degree,--made it for him an _inevitable_ assumption--then
there is in history an end and a beginning. Goethe's homage to
Personality, to the full spiritual being of man, is of this degree, and
is a soul of eloquence in his book.

Nor can we set this aside as a piece of blind and gratuitous sentiment.
Blind and gratuitous sentiment is clearly not his forte. Every line of
every page exhibits to us a man who has betaken himself, once for all,
to the use of his eyes. All sentiment, as such, he ruled back, with a
sovereign energy, into his heart,--and then, as it were, compelling his
heart into his eyes, made it an organ for discerning truth. His head was
an observatory, and every power of his soul did duty there. He enjoyed,
he suffered, intensely; but behind joy and pain alike lay the sleepless
questioner, demanding of each its message. And this, the supreme
function, the exceeding praise and preciousness of the man, the one
thing that he was born to do, and religiously did, this has been made
his chief reproach.

No zealot, then, no sentimentalist, no devotee of the god Wish, have we
here; but an imperturbable beholder, whose dauntless and relentless
eyeballs, telescopic and microscopic by turns, can and will see what the
fact _is_. If the universe be bad, as some dream, he will see how bad;
if good, he will perceive and respect its goodness. A man, for once,
equal to the act of seeing! Having, as the indispensable preliminary,
encountered himself, and victoriously fought on all the fields of his
being the battle against self-deception, he now comes armed with new and
strange powers of vision to encounter life and the world,--ready either
to soar of dive,--above no fact, beneath none, by none appalled, by none
dazzled,--a falcon, whose prey is truth, and whose wing and eye are well
mated. And _he_ it is who sets that ineffable price on the being of a
real man.

This is manifested in many ways, all of them silent, rather than
obstreperous and obtrusive. It is shown by a certain gracious, ineffable
expectation with which for the first time he approaches any human soul,
as if unknown and incalculable possibilities were opening here; by a
noble ceremonial which he ever observes toward his higher characters,
standing uncovered in their presence; by the space in his eye, not
altogether measurable, which a man of worth is perceived to fill. Each
of his principal characters has an atmosphere about him, like the earth
itself; each has a vast perspective, and rounds off into mystery and
depths of including sky.

The common novelist holds his characters in the palm of his hand, as he
would his watch; winds them up, regulates, pockets them, is exceedingly
handy with them. He may continue some little, pitiful puzzle about them
for his readers; but _he_ can see over, under, around them, and can make
them stop or go, tick or be silent, altogether at pleasure. To Goethe
his characters are as intelligible and as mysterious as Nature herself.
He sees them, studies them, and with an eye how penetrating, how subtile
and sure! But over, under, and around them he would hold it for no less
than a profanity to pretend that he sees. They come upon the scene to
prove what they are; he and the reader study them together; and when
best known, their possibilities are obviously unexhausted, the unknown
remains in them still. They go forward into their future, with a real
future before them, with an unexplained life to live: not goblets whose
contents have been drained, but fountains that still flow when the
traveller who drank from them has passed on. Jarno, for example, a man
of firm and definite outlines, and drawn here with masterly
distinctness, without a blur or a wavering of the hand in the whole
delineation, is yet the unexplained, unexhausted Jarno, when the book
closes. He goes forward with the rest, known and yet unknown, a man of
very definite limitations, and yet also of possibilities which the
future will ever be defining.

In this sense, the book, almost alone among novels, consists with the
hope of immortality. In average novels, there is nothing left of the
hero when the book ends. "He is utterly married," as "Eothen" says.
Utterly, sure enough! He ends at the altar, like a burnt-out candle over
which the priest puts an extinguisher to keep it from smoking. One yawns
over the last page, not considering himself any longer in company. Think
of giving perpetuity to such lives! What could they do but get
unmarried, and begin fussing at courtship again? But when Goethe's
characters leave the stage, they seem to be rather entering upon life
than quitting it; possibility opens, expectation runs before them, and
our interest grows where observation ceases.

Goethe looks at Personality as through a telescope, and sees it shade
away, beyond its cosmic systems, into star-dust and shining nebulæ; he
inspects it as with a microscope, and on that side also resolves it only
in part. He brings to it all the most spacious, all the most delicate
interpretations of his wit, yet confessedly leaves more beyond.

Now it is this large-eyed, liberal regard of man, this grand, childlike,
all-credent appreciation, which distinguishes the earlier and Scriptural
literatures. Abraham fills up all the space between earth and heaven.
Later, we arrive at limitations and secondary laws; we heap these up
till the primal fact is obscured, is hidden by them. Then ensues an
impression of man's littleness, emptiness, insignificance, utter,
mechanical limitation. Then sharp-eyed gentlemen discover that man has a
trick of dressing up his littleness in large terms,--liberty, intuition,
inspiration, immortality,--and that he only is a philosopher, who cannot
be deceived by this shallow stratagem. Your "philosopher" sees what men
are made of. Populaces may fancy that man is central in the world, that
he is the all-containing vessel of its uses: but your philosopher,
admirable gentleman, sees through all that; he is superior to any such
vulgar partiality for that particular species of insect to which he
happens to belong. "A fly thinks himself the greatest of created
beings," says philosopher; "man flatters himself in the same way; but I,
I am not merely man, I am philosopher, and know better."

The early seers and poets had not attained to this sublime
superciliousness of self-contempt; for this, of course, is a fruit to be
borne only by the "progress of the species." They are still weak enough
to believe in gods and godlike men, in spirit and inspiration, in the
ineffable fulness and meaning of a noble life, in the cosmic
relationship of man, in the _divineness_ of speech and thought. In their
books man is placed in a large light; honor and estimation come to him
out of the heavens; what he does, if it be in any profound way
characteristic, is told without misgiving, without fear to be
superfluous; he is the care, or even the companion, of the immortals. To
go forth, therefore, from our little cells of criticism and controversy,
and to enter upon the pages where man's being appears so spacious and
significant,--where, at length, it is really _imagined_,--is like
leaving stove-heated, paper-walled rooms, and passing out beneath the
blue cope and into the sweet air of heaven.

Quite this epic boldness and wholeness we cannot attribute to Goethe. He
is still a little straitened, a little pestered by the doubting and
critical optics which our time turns upon man, a little victimized by
his knowledge of limitary conditions and secondary laws. Nevertheless, a
noble man is not to his eye "contained between hat and boots," but is of
untold depth and dimension. He indicates traits of the soul with that
repose in his facts and respect for them which Lyell shows in spelling
out terrestrial history, or Herschel in tracing that of the solar
system. Observe how he relates the plays of a child,--with what grave,
imperial respect, with what undoubting, reverential minuteness! He does
not say, "Bear with me, ladies and gentlemen; I will come to something
of importance soon." This is important,--the formation of suns not more
so.

In this respect he stands in wide contrast to the prevailing tone of the
time. It seems right and admirable that Tyndale should risk life and
limb in learning the laws of glaciers, that large-brained Agassiz should
pursue for years, if need be, his microscopic researches into the
natural history of turtles; and were life or eyesight lost so, we should
all say, "Lost, but well and worthily." But ask a conclave of sober
_savans_ to listen to reports on the natural-spiritual history of babies
and little children,--ask them to join, one and all, in this piece of
discovery, spending labor and lifetime in watching the sports, the
moods, the imaginations, the fanciful loves and fears, the whole baby
unfolding of these budding revelations of divine uses in Nature,--and
see what they will think of your sanity. You may, indeed, if such be
your humor, observe these matters, nay, even write books upon them, and
still escape the lunatic asylum,--_provided_ you do so in the way of
pleasantry. In this case, the gravest _savant_, if he have children, may
condescend to listen, and even to smile. But ask him to attend to this
_in his quality of man of science_, and no less seriously than he would
investigate the history of mud-worms, and you become ridiculous in his
eyes.

Goethe is guiltless of this inversion of interest. Truth of outward
Nature he respects; truth of the soul he reverences. He can really
_imagine_ men,--that is, can so depict them that they shall not be mere
bundles of finite quantities, a yard of this and a pound of that, but so
that the illimitable possibilities and immortal ancestries of man shall
look forth from their eyes, shall show in their features, and give to
them a certain grace of the infinite. The powers which created for the
Greeks their gods are active in him, even in his observation of men; and
this gives him that other eye, without which the effigies of men are
seen, but never man himself. And because he has this divine eye for the
inner reality of personal being, and yet also that eagle eye of his for
conditions and limits,--because he can see man as central in Nature, the
sum of all uses, the vessel of all significance, and yet has no
"carpenter theory" of the universe,--and because he can discern the
substance and the _revealing_ form of man, while yet no satirist sees
more clearly man's accidental and concealing form,--because of this,
history comes in him to new blood, regaining its inspirations without
forfeiture of its experience.

Carlyle has the same eye, but less creative, and tinctured always with
the special humors of his temperament; yet the attitude he can hold
toward a human personality, the spirit in which he can contemplate it,
gives that to his books which will keep them alive, I think, while the
world lasts.

Among the recent writers of prose fiction in England, I know of but one
who, in a degree worth naming in this connection, has regarded and
delineated persons in the large, old, believing way. That one is the
author of "Counterparts." In many respects her book seems to me weak;
its theories are crude, its tone extravagant. But man and woman are
wonderful to her; and when she names them in full voice of admiration,
one thinks he has never heard the words before. And this merit is so
commanding, that, despite faults and imbecilities, it renders the book
almost unique in excellence. Sarona is impossible: thanks for that noble
impossibility! Impossible, he yet embodies more reality, more true
suggestion of human possibility and resource, than a whole swarming
limbo of the ordinary heroes of fiction,--very credible, and the more's
the pity! He is finely _imagined_, and poorly _conceived_,--true, that
is, to the inspiring substance of man, but not true to his limitary
form: for imagination gives the revealing form, conception the form
which limits and conceals.

In spite, therefore, of marked infirmities and extravagances, the book
remains a superior, perhaps a great work. The writer can look at a human
existence with childlike, all-believing, Homeric eyes. That creative
vision which of old peopled Olympus still peoples the world for her,
beholding gods where the skeptic, critical eye sees only a medical
doctor and a sick woman. So is she stamped a true child of the Muse,
descended on the one side from Memory, or superficial fact, but on the
other from Zeus, the _soul_ of fact; and being gifted to discern the
divine halo on the brows of humanity, she rightly obtains the laurel
upon her own.

Goethe, at least, rivals her in this Olympic intelligence, while he
combines it with a practical wisdom far profounder, with a survey and
fulness of knowledge incomparably wider and more various, with a tone
tempered to the last sobriety, for the whole of actual life, which no
man of the world ever surpassed, and no seer ever equalled. And thus I
must abide in my opinion, that he has given us the one prose epic of the
world, up to this date. In other words, he has best reconciled World
with the final vessel of its uses, Man,--and best reconciled actual
civilization and the fixed conditions of man with the uses of that in
which all the meaning of his existence is summed, his seeing and unseen
spirit.



DOCTOR JOHNS.


XXXIV.

Reuben has in many respects vastly improved under his city education. It
would be wrong to say that the good Doctor did not take a very human
pride in his increased alertness of mind, in his vivacity, in his
self-possession,--nay, even in that very air of world-acquaintance which
now covered entirely the old homely manner of the country lad. He
thought within himself, what a glad smile of triumph would have been
kindled upon the face of the lost Rachel, could she but have seen this
tall youth with his kindly attentions and his graceful speech. May-be
she did see it all,--but with far other eyes, now. Was the child
ripening into fellowship with the sainted mother?

The Doctor underneath all his pride carried a great deal of anxious
doubt; and as he walked beside his boy upon the thronged street, elated
in some strange way by the touch of that strong arm of the youth, whose
blood was his own,--so dearly his own,--he pondered gravely with
himself, if the mocking delusions of the Evil One were not the occasion
of his pride? Was not Satan setting himself artfully to the work of
quieting all sense of responsibility in regard to the lad's future, by
thus kindling in his old heart anew the vanities of the flesh and the
pride of life?

"I say, father, I want to put you through now. It'll do you a great deal
of good to see some of our wonders here in the city."

"The very voice,--the very voice of Rachel!" says the Doctor to himself,
quickening his laggard step to keep pace with Reuben.

"There are such lots of things to show you, father! Look in this store,
now. You can step in, if you like. It's the largest carpet-store in the
United States, three stories packed full. There's the head man of the
firm,--the stout man in a white choker; with half a million, they say:
he's a deacon in Mowry's church."

"I hope, then, Reuben, that he makes a worthy use of his wealth."

"Oh, he gives thunderingly to the missionary societies," said Reuben,
with a glibness that grated on the father's ear.

"You see that building yonder? That's Gothic. They've got the finest
bowling-alleys in the world there."

"I hope, my son, you never go to such places?"

"Bowl? Oh, yes, I bowl sometimes: the physicians recommend it; good
exercise for the chest. Besides, it's kept by a fine man, and he's got
one of the prettiest little trotting horses you ever saw in your life."

"Why, my son, you don't mean to tell me that you know the keeper of this
bowling-alley?"

"Oh, yes, father,--we fellows all know him; and he gave me a splendid
cigar the last time I was there."

"You don't mean to say that you smoke, Reuben?" said the old gentleman,
gravely.

"Not much, father: but then everybody smokes now and then. Mowry--Dr.
Mowry smokes, you know; and they say he has prime cigars."

"Is it possible? Well, well!"

"You see that fine building over there?" said Reuben, as they passed on.

"Yes, my son."

"That's the theatre,--the Old Park."

The Doctor ran his eye over it, and its effigy of Shakspeare upon the
niche in the wall, as Gabriel might have looked upon the armor of
Beelzebub.

"I hope, Reuben, you never enter those doors?"

"Well, father, since Kean and Mathews are gone, there's really nothing
worth the seeing."

"Kean! Mathews!" said the Doctor, stopping in his walk and confronting
Reuben with a stern brow,--"is it possible, my son, that I hear you
talking in this familiar way of play-actors? You don't tell me that you
have been a participant in such orgies of Satan?"

"Why, father," says Reuben, a little startled by the Doctor's
earnestness, "the truth is, Aunt Mabel goes occasionally, like 'most all
the ladies; but we go, you know, to see the moral pieces, generally."

"Moral pieces! moral pieces!" says the Doctor, with a withering scowl.
"Reuben! those who go thither take hold on the door-posts of hell!"

"That's the Tract Society building yonder," said Reuben, wishing to
divert the Doctor, if possible, from the special object of his
reflections.

"Rachel's voice!--always Rachel's voice!"--said the Doctor to himself.

"Would you like to go in, father?"

"No, my son, we have no time; and yet"--meditating, and thrusting his
hand in his pocket--"there is a tract or two I would like to buy for
you, Reuben."

"Go in, then," says Reuben. "Let me tell them who you are, father, and
you can get them at wholesale prices. It's the merest song."

"No, my son, no," said the Doctor, disheartened by the blithe air of
Reuben. "I fear it would be wasted effort. Yet I trust that you do not
wholly neglect the opportunities for religious instruction on the
Sabbath?"

"Oh, no," says Reuben, gayly. "I see Dr. Mowry off and on, pretty often.
He's a clever old gentleman,--Dr. Mowry."

Clever old gentleman!

The Doctor walked on oppressed with grief,--silent, but with lips moving
in prayer,--beseeching God to take away the stony heart from this poor
child of his, and to give him a heart of flesh.

Reuben had improved, as we said, by his New York schooling. He was quick
of apprehension, well informed; and his familiarity with the
counting-room of Mr. Brindlock had given him a business promptitude
that was specially agreeable to the Doctor, whose habits in that regard
were of woful slackness. But religiously, the good man looked upon his
son as a castaway. It was only too apparent that Reuben had not derived
the desired improvement from attendance at the Fulton-Street Church.
That attendance had been punctual, indeed, for nearly all the first year
of his city life, in virtue of the inexorable habit of his education;
but Dr. Mowry had not won upon him by any personal magnetism. The city
Doctor was a ponderously good man, preaching for the most part ponderous
sermons, and possessed of a most imposing friendliness of manner. When
Reuben had presented to him the credentials from his father, (which he
could hardly have done, save for the urgency of the Brindlocks,) the
ponderous Doctor had patted him upon the shoulder, and said,--

"My young friend, your father is a most worthy man,--most worthy. I
should be delighted to see you following in his steps. I shall be most
glad to be of service to you. Our meetings for Bible instruction are on
Wednesdays, at seven: the young men upon the left, the young ladies on
the right."

The Doctor appeared to Reuben a man solemnly preoccupied with the
immensity of his charge; and it seemed to him (though it was doubtless a
wicked thought of the boy) that the ponderous minister would have
counted it a matter of far smaller merit to instruct, and guide, and
save a wanderer from the country, than to perform the same offices for a
good fat sinner of the city.

As we have said, the memory of old teachings for a year or more made any
divergence from the severe path of boyhood seem to Reuben a sin; and
these divergencies so multiplied by easy accessions as to have made him,
after a time, look upon himself very confidently, and almost cheerily,
as a reprobate. And if a reprobate, why not taste the Devil's cup to the
full?

That first visit to the theatre was like a bold push into the very
domain of Satan. Even the ticket-seller at the door seemed to him on
that eventful night an understrapper of Beelzebub, who looked out at him
with the goggle eyes of a demon. That such a man could have a family, or
family affections, or friendships, or any sense of duty or honor, was to
him a thing incomprehensible; and when he passed the wicket for the
first time into the vestibule of the old Park Theatre, the very usher in
the corridor had to his eye a look like the Giant Dagon, and he
conceived of him as mumbling, in his leisure moments, the flesh from
human bones. And when at last the curtain rose, and the damp air came
out upon him from behind the scenes as he sat in the pit, and the play
began with some wonderful creature in tight bodice and painted cheeks,
sailing across the stage, it seemed to him that the flames of Divine
wrath might presently be bursting out over the house, or a great
judgment of God break down the roof and destroy them all.

But it did not; and he took courage. It is so easy to find courage in
those battles where we take no bodily harm! If conscience, sharpened by
the severe discipline he had known, pricked him awkwardly at the first,
he bore the stings with a good deal of sturdiness. A sinner, no
doubt,--that he knew long ago: a little slip, or indeed no slip at all,
had ranked him with the unregenerate. Once a sinner, (thus he pleasantly
reasoned,) and a fellow may as well be ten times a sinner: a bad job
anyhow. If in his moments of reflection--these being not yet wholly
crowded out from his life--there comes a shadowy hope of better things,
of some moral poise that should be in keeping with the tenderer
recollections of his boyhood,--all this can never come, (he bethinks
himself, in view of his old teaching,) except on the heel of some
terrible conviction of sin; and the conviction will hardly come without
some deeper and more damning weight of it than he feels as yet. A heavy
cumulation of the weight may some day serve him a good turn. Thus the
Devil twists his vague yearning for a condition of spiritual repose into
a pleasantly smacking lash with which to scourge his grosser appetites;
so that, upon the whole, Reuben drives a fine, showy team along the
high-road of indulgence.

Yet the minister's son had no love for gross vices; there were human
instincts in him (if it maybe said) that rebelled against his more
deliberate sinnings. Nay, he affected with his boon companions an
enjoyment of wanton excesses that he only half felt. A certain
adventurous, dare-devil reach in him craved exercise. The character of
Reuben at this stage would surely have offered a good subject for the
study and the handling of Dr. Mowry, if that worthy gentleman could have
won his way to the lad's confidence; but the ponderous methods of the
city parson showed no fineness of touch. Even the father, as we have
seen, could not reach down to any religious convictions of the son; and
Reuben keeps him at bay with a banter, and an exaggerated attention to
the personal comforts of the old gentleman, that utterly baffle him.
Reuben holds too much in dread the old catechismal dogmas and the
ultimate "anathema maran-atha."

So it was with a profound sigh that the father bade his son adieu after
this city visit.

"Good bye, father! Love to them all in Ashfield."

So like Rachel's voice! So like Rachel's! And the heart of the old man
yearned toward him and ached bitterly for him. _"O my son Absalom! my
son! my son Absalom!"_


XXXV.

Maverick hurried his departure from the city; and Adèle, writing to Rose
to announce the programme of her journey, says only this much of
Reuben:--"We have of course seen R----, who was very attentive and kind.
He has grown tall,--taller, I should think, than Phil; and he is quite
well-looking and gentlemanly. I think he has a very good opinion of
himself."

The summer's travel offered a season of rare enjoyment to Adèle. The
lively sentiment of girlhood was not yet wholly gone, and the
thoughtfulness of womanhood was just beginning to tone, without
controlling, her sensibilities. The delicate attentions of Maverick were
more like those of a lover than of a father. Through his ever watchful
eyes, Adèle looked upon the beauties of Nature with a new halo on them.
How the water sparkled to her vision! How the days came and went like
golden dreams!

Ah, happy youth-time! The Hudson, Lake George, Saratoga, the Mountains,
the Beach,--to us old stagers, who have breasted the tide of so many
years, and flung off long ago all the iridescent sparkles of our
sentiment, these are only names of summer thronging-places. Upon the
river we watch the growth of the crops, or ask our neighbors about the
cost of our friend Faro's new country-seat; we lounge upon the piazzas
of the hotels, reading price-lists, or (if not too old) an editorial; we
complain of the windy currents upon the lake, and find our chiefest
pleasure in a trout boiled plain, with a dressing of Champagne sauce; we
linger at Fabian's on a sunny porch, talking politics with a rheumatic
old gentleman in his overcoat, while the youngsters go ambling through
the fir woods and up the mountains with shouts and laughter. Yet it was
not always thus. There were times in the lives of us old travellers--let
us say from sixteen to twenty--when the great river was a glorious
legend trailing its storied length through the Highlands; when in every
opening valley there lay purple shadows whereon we painted castles; when
the corridors and shaded walks of the "United States" were like a fairy
land, with flitting skirts and waving plumes, and some delicately gloved
hand beating its reveille upon the heart; and when every floating film
of mist along the sea, whether at Newport or Nahant, tenderly entreated
the fancy.

But we forget ourselves, and we forget Adèle. In her wild exuberance of
joy Maverick shares with a spirit that he had believed to be dead in him
utterly. And if he finds it necessary to check from time to time the
noisy effervescence of her pleasure, as he certainly does at the first,
he does it in the most tender and considerate way; and Adèle learns,
what many of her warm-hearted sisters never do learn, that a well-bred
control over our enthusiasms in no way diminishes the exquisiteness of
their savor.

Maverick should be something over fifty now, and his keenness of
observation in respect to feminine charms is not perhaps so great as it
once was; but even he cannot fail to see, with a pride that he makes no
great effort to conceal, the admiring looks that follow the lithe,
graceful figure of Adèle, wherever their journey may lead them. Nor,
indeed, were there any more comely toilettes for a young girl to be met
with anywhere than those which had been provided for the young traveller
under the advice of Mrs. Brindlock.

It may be true--what his friend Papiol had predicted--that Maverick will
be too proud of his child to keep her in a secluded corner of New
England. For his pride there is certainly abundant reason; and what
father does not love to see the child of whom he is proud admired?

Yet weeks had run by and Maverick had never once broached the question
of a return. The truth was, that the new experience was so charming and
so engrossing for him, the sweet, intelligent face ever at his side was
so full of eager wonder, and he so delightfully intent upon providing
new sources of pleasure and calling out again and again the gushes of
her girlish enthusiasm, that he shrunk instinctively from a decision in
which must be involved so largely her future happiness.

At last it was Adèle herself who suggested the inquiry,--

"Is it true, dear papa, what the Doctor tells me, that you may possibly
take, me back to France with you?"

"What say you, Adèle? Would you like to go?"

"Dearly!"

"But," said Maverick, "your friends here,--can you so easily cast them
away?"

"No, no, no!" said Adèle,--"not cast them away! Couldn't I come again
some day? Besides, there is your home, papa; I should love any home of
yours, and love your friends."

"For instance, Adèle, there is my book-keeper, a lean Savoyard, who
wears a red wig and spectacles,--and Lucille, a great, gaunt woman, with
a golden crucifix about her neck, who keeps my little parlor in
order,--and Papiol, a fat Frenchman, with a bristly moustache and
iron-gray hair, who, I dare say, would want to kiss the pet of his dear
friend,--and Jeannette, who washes the dishes for us, and wears great
wooden sabots"----

"Nonsense, papa! I am sure you have other friends; and then there's the
good godmother."

"Ah, yes,--she indeed," said Maverick; "what a precious hug she would
give you, Adèle!"

"And then--and then--should I see mamma?"

The pleasant humor died out of the face of Maverick on the instant; and
then, in a slow, measured tone,--

"Impossible, Adèle,--impossible! Come here, darling!" and as he fondled
her in a wild, passionate way, "I will love you for both, Adèle; she was
not worthy of you, child."

Adèle, too, is overcome with a sudden seriousness.

"Is she living, papa?" And she gives him an appealing look that must be
answered.

And Maverick seems somehow appalled by that innocent, confiding
expression of hers.

"May-be, may-be, my darling; she was living not long since; yet it can
never matter to you or me more. You will trust me in this, Adèle?" And
he kisses her tenderly.

And she, returning the caress, but bursting into tears as she does so,
says,--

"I will, I do, papa."

"There, there, darling!"--as he folds her to him; "no more tears,--no
more tears, _chérie_!"

But even while he says it, he is nervously searching his pockets, since
there is a little dew that must be wiped from his own eyes. Maverick's
emotion, however, was but a little momentary contagious sympathy with
the daughter,--he having no understanding of that unsatisfied yearning
in her heart of which this sudden tumult of feeling was the passionate
outbreak.

Meantime Adèle is not without her little mementos of the life at
Ashfield, which come in the shape of thick double letters from that good
girl Rose,--her dear, dear friend, who has been advised by the little
traveller to what towns she should direct these tender missives; and
Adèle is no sooner arrived at these postal stations than she sends for
the budget which she knows must be waiting for her. And of course she
has her own little pen in a certain travelling-escritoire the good papa
has given her; and she plies her white fingers with it often and often
of an evening, after the day's sight-seeing is over, to tell Rose, in
return, what a charming journey she is having, and how kind papa is, and
what a world of strange things she is seeing; and there are descriptions
of sunsets and sunrises, and of lakes and of mountains, on those
close-written sheets of hers, which Rose, in her enthusiasm, declares to
be equal to many descriptions in print. We dare say they were better
than a great many such.

Poor Rose feels that she has only very humdrum stories to tell in return
for these; but she ekes out her letters pretty well, after all, and what
they lack in novelty is made up in affection.

"There is really nothing new to tell," she writes, "except it be that
our old friend, Miss Almira Tourtelot, astonished us all with a new
bonnet last Sunday, and with new saffron ribbons; and she has come out,
too, in the new tight sleeves, in which she looks drolly enough. Phil is
very uneasy, now that his schooling is done, and talks of going to the
West Indies about some business in which papa is concerned. I hope he
will go, if he doesn't stay too long. He is such a dear, good fellow!
Madame Arles asks after you, when I see her, which is not very often
now; for since the Doctor has come back from New York, he has had a new
talk with mamma, and has quite won her over to _his view of the matter_.
So good bye to French for the present! Heigho! But I don't know that I'm
sorry, now that you are not here, dear Ady.

"Another queer thing I had almost forgotten to tell you. The poor Boody
girl,--you must remember her? Well, she has come back on a sudden; and
they say her father would not receive her in his house,--there are
_terrible stories_ about it!--and now she is living with an old woman
far out upon the river-road,--only a little garret-chamber for herself
and _the child she brought back with her_. Of course _nobody_ goes near
her, or looks at her, if she comes on the street. But--the queerest
thing!--when Madame Arles heard of it and of her story, what does she do
but _walk far out to visit her_, and talked with her in her broken
English for an hour, they say. Papa says she (Madame A.) must be a very
bad woman or a very good woman. Miss Johns says _she always thought she
was a bad woman_. The Bowriggs are, of course, very indignant, and I
doubt if Madame A. comes to Ashfield again with them."

And again, at a later date, Rose writes,--

"The Bowriggs are all off for the winter, and the house closed. Reuben
has been here on a flying visit to the parsonage; and how proud Miss
Eliza was of _her nephew_! He came over to see Phil, I suppose; but Phil
had gone two weeks before. Mamma thinks he is _fine-looking_. I fancy he
will never live in the country again. When shall I see you again, _dear,
dear_ Ady? I have _so much_ to talk to you about!"

A month thereafter Maverick and his daughter find their way back to
Ashfield. Of course Miss Johns has made magnificent preparations to
receive them. She surpassed herself in her toilette on the day of their
arrival, and fairly astonished Maverick with the warmth of her welcome
to his child. Yet he could not help observing that Adèle met it more
coolly than was her wont, and that her tenderest words were reserved for
the good Doctor. And how proud she was to walk with her father upon the
village street, glancing timidly up at the windows from which she knew
those stiff old Miss Hapgoods must be peeping out! How proud to sit
beside him in the parson's pew, feeling that the eyes of half the
congregation were fastened on the tall gentleman beside her! Ah, happy
daughter! may your beautiful filial pride never have a fall!

Important business letters command Maverick's early presence abroad;
and, after conference with the Doctor, he decides to leave Adèle once
more under the roof of the parsonage.

"Under God, I will do for her what I can," said the Doctor.

"I know it, I know it, my good friend," says Maverick. "Teach her
self-reliance; she may need it some day. And mind what I have said of
this French woman. Adèle seems to have a _tendresse_ that way. Those
French women are very insidious, Johns."

"You know their ways better than I," said the Doctor, dryly.

"Good! a smack of the old college humor there, Johns. Well, well, at
least you don't doubt the sacredness of my love for Adèle?"

"I trust, Maverick, I may never doubt the sacredness of your love in any
direction. I only hope you may direct it where I fear you do not."

"God bless you, Johns! I wish I were as good a man as you."

A little afterwards Maverick was humming a snatch from an opera under
the trees of the orchard; and Adèle went bounding toward him, to take
the last walk with him for so long,--so long!


XXXVI.

Autumn and winter passed by, and the summer of 1838 opened upon the old
quiet life of Ashfield. The stiff Miss Johns, busy with her household
duties, or with her stately visitings. The Doctor's hat and cane in
their usual place upon the little table within the door, and of a Sunday
his voice is lifted up under the old meeting-house roof in earnest
expostulation. The birds pipe their old songs, and the orchard has shown
once more its wondrous glory of bloom. But all these things have lost
their novelty for Adèle. Would it be strange, if the tranquil life of
the little town had lost something of its early charm? That swift French
blood of hers has been stirred by contact with the outside world. She
has, perhaps, not been wholly insensible to those admiring glances which
so quickened the pride of the father. Do not such things leave a hunger
in the heart of a girl of seventeen which the sleepy streets of a
country town can but poorly gratify?

The young girl is, moreover, greatly disturbed at the thought of the new
separation from her father for some indefinite period. Her affections
have knitted themselves around him, during that delightful journey of
the summer, in a way that has made her feel with new weight the parting.
It is all the worse that she does not clearly perceive the necessity for
it. Is she not of an age now to contribute to the cheer of whatever home
he may have beyond the sea? Why, pray, has he given her such uninviting
pictures of his companions there? Or what should she care for his
companions, if only she could enjoy his tender watchfulness? Or is it
that her religious education is not yet thoroughly complete, and that
she still holds out against a full and public avowal of all the
doctrines which the Doctor urges upon her acceptance? And the thought of
this makes his kindly severities appear more irksome than ever.

Another cause of grief to Adèle is the extreme disfavor in which she
finds that Madame Arles is now regarded by the townspeople. Her
sympathies had run out towards the unfortunate woman in some
inexplicable way, and held there even now, so strongly that contemptuous
mention of her stung like a reproach to herself. At least she was a
countrywoman, and alone among strangers; and in this Adèle found
abundant reason for a generous sympathy. As for her religion, was it not
the religion of her mother and of her good godmother? And with this
thought flaming in her, is it wonderful, if Adèle toys more fondly than
ever, in the solitude of her chamber, with the little rosary she has
guarded so long? Not, indeed, that she has much faith in its efficacy;
but it is a silent protest against the harsh speeches of Miss Eliza, who
had been specially jealous of the influence of the French teacher.

"I never liked her countenance, Adèle," said the spinster, in her solemn
manner; "and I am rejoiced that you will not be under her influence the
present summer."

"And I'm sorry," said Adèle, petulantly.

"It is gratifying to me," continued Miss Eliza, without notice of
Adèle's interruption, "that Mr. Maverick has confirmed my own
impressions, and urged the Doctor against permitting so unwise
association."

"When? how?" said Adèle, sharply. "Papa has never seen her."

"But he has seen other French women, Adèle, and he fears their
influence."

Adèle looked keenly at the spinster for a moment, as if to fathom the
depth of this reply, then burst into tears.

"Oh, why, why didn't he take me with him?" But this she says under
breath, and to herself, as she rushes into the Doctor's study to
question him.

"Is it true, New Papa, that papa thought badly of Madame Arles?"

"Not personally, my child, since he had never seen her. But, Adaly, your
father, though I fear he is far away from the true path, wishes you to
find it, my child. He has faith in the religion we teach so imperfectly;
he wishes you to be exposed to no influences that will forbid your full
acceptance of it."

"But Madame Arles never talked of religion to me"; and Adèle taps
impatiently upon the floor.

"That may be true, Adaly,--it may be true; but we cannot be thrown into
habits of intimacy with those reared in iniquity without fear of
contracting stain. I could wish, my child, that you would so far subdue
your rebellious heart, and put on the complete armor of righteousness,
as to be able to resist all attacks."

"And it was for this papa left me here?" And Adèle says it with a smile
of mockery that alarms the good Doctor.

"I trust, Adaly, that he had that hope."

The good man does not know what swift antagonism to his pleadings he has
suddenly kindled in her. The little foot taps more and more impatiently
as he goes on to set forth (as he had so often done) the heinousness of
her offences and the weight of her just condemnation. Yet the antagonism
did not incline her to open doubt; but after she had said her evening
prayer that night, (taught her by the parson,) she drew out her little
rosary and kissed reverently the crucifix. It is so much easier at this
juncture for her tried and distracted spirit to bolster its faith upon
such material symbol than to find repose in any merely intellectual
conviction of truth!

Adèle's intimacy with Rose and with her family retained all its old
tenderness, but that good fellow Phil was gone. A blithe and merry
companion he had been! Adèle missed his kindly attentions more than she
would have believed. The Bowriggs have come to Ashfield, but their
clamorous friendship is more than ever distasteful to Adèle. Over and
over she makes a feint of illness to escape the noisy hilarity. Nor,
indeed, is it wholly a feint. Whether it were that her state of moral
perturbation and unrest reacted upon the physical system, or that there
were other disturbing causes, certain it was that the roses were fading
from her cheeks, and that her step was losing day by day something of
its old buoyancy. It is even thought best to summon the village doctor
to the family council. He is a gossiping, kindly old gentleman, who
spends an easy life, free from much mental strain, in trying to make his
daily experiences tally with the little fund of medical science which he
accumulated thirty years before.

The serene old gentleman feels the pulse, with his head reflectively on
one side,--tells his little jokelet about Sir Astley Cooper, or some
other worthy of the profession,--shakes his fat sides with a cheery
laugh,--"And now, my dear," he says, "let us look at the tongue. Ah, I
see, I see,--the stomach lacks tone."

"And there's dreadful lassitude, sometimes, Doctor," speaks up Miss
Eliza.

"Ah, I see,--a little exhaustion after a long walk,--isn't it so, Miss
Maverick? I see, I see; we must brace up the system, Miss Johns,--brace
up the system."

And the kindly old gentleman prescribes his little tonics, of which
Adèle takes some, and throws more out of the window.

Adèle does not mend, and the rumor is presently current upon the street
that "Miss Adeel is in a decline." The spinster shows a solicitude in
the matter which almost touches the heart of the French girl. For Adèle
had long before decided that there could be no permanent sympathy
between them, and had indulged latterly in no little bitterness of
speech toward her. But the acute spinster had forgiven all. Never once
had she lost sight of her plan for the ultimate disposal of Adèle and of
her father's fortune. Of course the life of Adèle was very dear to her,
and the absence of Phil she looked upon as Providential.

Weeks pass by, but still the tonics of the kindly old physician prove of
little efficacy. One day the Bowriggs come blustering in, as is their
wont.

"Such assurance! Did you ever hear the like? Madame Arles writes us that
she is coming to see Ashfield again, and of course coming to us. The air
of the town agrees with her, and she hopes to find lodgings."

The eyes of Adèle sparkle with satisfaction,--not so much, perhaps, by
reason of her old sympathy with the poor woman, which is now almost
forgotten, as because it will give some change at least to the dreary
monotony of the town life.

"Lodgings, indeed!" says the younger Miss Bowrigg. "I wonder where she
will find them!"

It is a matter of great doubt, to be sure,--since the sharp speech of
the spinster has so spread the story of her demerits, that not a
parishioner of the Doctor but would have feared to give the poor woman a
home.

Adèle still has strength enough for an occasional stroll with Rose, and,
in the course of one of them, comes upon Madame Arles, whom she meets
with a good deal of her old effusion. And Madame, touched by her
apparent weakness, more than reciprocates it.

"But you suffer, you are unhappy, my child,--pining at last for the sun
of Provence. Isn't it so, _mon ange_? No, no, you were never meant to
grow up among these cold people. You must see the vineyards, and the
olives, and the sea, Adèle; you must! you must!"

All this, uttered in a torrent, which, with its _tutoiements_, Rose can
poorly comprehend.

Yet it goes straight to the heart of Adèle, and her tongue is loosened
to a little petulant, fiery _roulade_ against the severities of the life
around her, which it would have greatly pained poor Rose to listen to in
any speech of her own.

But such interviews, once or twice repeated, come to the knowledge of
the watchful spinster, who clearly perceives that Adèle is chafing more
and more under the wonted family regimen. With an affectation of tender
solicitude, she volunteers herself to attend Adèle upon her short
morning strolls, and she learns presently, with great triumph, that
Madame Arles has established herself at last under the same roof which
gives refuge to the outcast Boody woman. Nothing more was needed to seal
the opinion of the spinster, and to confirm the current village belief
in the heathenish character of the French lady. Dame Tourtelot was
shrewdly of the opinion that the woman represented some Popish plot for
the abduction of Adèle, and for her incarceration in a nunnery,--a
theory which Miss Almira, with her natural tendency to romance,
industriously propagated.

Meantime the potions of the village doctor have little effect, and
before July is ended a serious illness has declared itself, and Adèle is
confined to her chamber. Madame Arles is among the earliest who come
with eager inquiries, and begs to see the sufferer. But she is
confronted by the indefatigable spinster, who, cloaking her denial under
ceremonious form, declares that her state of nervous prostration will
not admit of it. Madame withdraws, sadly; but the visit and the claim
are repeated from time to time, until the stately civility of Miss Johns
arouses her suspicions.

"You deny me, Madame. You do wrong. I love Adèle; she loves me. I know
that I could comfort her. You do not understand her nature. She was born
where the sky is soft and warm. You are all cold and harsh,--cold and
harsh in your religion. She has told me as much. I know how she suffers.
I wish I could carry her back to France with me. I pray you, let me see
her, good Madame!"

"It is quite impossible, I assure you," said the spinster, in her most
aggravating manner. "It would be quite against the wishes of my brother,
the Doctor, as well as of Mr. Maverick."

"Monsieur Maverick! _Mon Dieu_, Madame! He is no father to her; he
leaves her to die with strangers; he has no heart; I have better right:
I love her. I must see her!"

And with a passionate step,--those eyes of hers glaring in that strange
double way upon the amazed Miss Eliza,--she strides toward the door, as
if she would overcome all opposition. But before she has gone out, that
cruel pain has seized her, and she sinks upon a chair, quite prostrated,
and with hands clasped wildly over that burden of a heart.

"Too hard! too hard!" she murmurs, scarce above her breath.

The spinster is attentive, but is untouched. Her self-poise never
deserts her. And not then, or at any later period, did poor Madame Arles
succeed in overcoming the iron resolve of Miss Johns.

The good Doctor is greatly troubled by the report of Miss Eliza. Can it
be possible that Adèle has given a confidence to this strange woman that
she has not given to them? Cold and harsh! Can Adèle, indeed, have said
this? Has he not labored with a full heart? Has he not agonized in
prayer to draw in this wandering lamb to the fold? He has seen, indeed,
that the poor child has chafed much latterly, that the old serenity and
gayety are gone. But is it not a chafing under the fetters of sin? Is it
not that she begins to see more clearly the fiery judgments of God which
will certainly overwhelm the wrongdoers, whatever may be the
unsubstantial and evanescent graces of their mortal life?

Yet, with all the rigidity of his doctrine, which he cannot in
conscience mollify, even for the tender ears of Adèle, it disturbs him
strangely to hear that she has qualified his regimen as harsh or severe.
Has he not taught, in season and out of season, the fulness of God's
promises? Has he not labored and prayed? Is it not the ungodly heart in
her that finds his teaching a burden? Is not his conscience safe? Yet,
for all this, it touches him to the quick to think that her childlike,
trustful confidence is at last alienated from him,--that her affection
for him is so distempered by dread and weariness. For, unconsciously, he
has grown to love her as he loves no one save his boy Reuben;
unconsciously his heart has mellowed under her influence. Through her
winning, playful talk, he has taken up that old trail of worldly
affections which he had thought buried forever in Rachel's grave. That
tender touch of her little fingers upon his cheek has seemed to say,
"Life has its joys, old man!" The patter of her feet along the house has
kindled the memories of other gentle steps that tread now silently in
the courts of air. Those songs of hers,--how he has loved them! Never
confessing even to Miss Eliza, still less to himself, how much his heart
is bound up in this little winsome stranger, who has shone upon his
solitary parsonage like a sunbeam.

And the good man, with such thoughts thronging on him, falls upon his
knees, beseeching God to "be over the sick child, to comfort her, to
heal her, to pour down His divine grace upon her, to open her blind eyes
to the richness of His truth, to keep her from all the machinations and
devices of Satan, to arm her with true holiness, to make her a golden
light in the household, to give her a heart of love toward all, and most
of all toward Him who so loved her that He gave His only begotten Son."

And the Doctor, rising from his attitude of prayer, and going toward the
little window of his study to arrange it for the night, sees a slight
figure in black pacing up and down upon the opposite side of the way,
and looking up from time to time to the light that is burning in the
window of Adèle. He knows on the instant who it must be, and fears more
than ever the possible influence which this strange woman, who is so
persistent in her attention, may have upon the heart of the girl. The
Doctor had heretofore been disposed to turn a deaf ear to the current
reproaches of Madame Arles for her association with the poor outcast
daughter of the village; but her appearance at this unseemly hour of the
night, coupled with his traditional belief in the iniquities of the
Romish Church, excited terrible suspicions in his mind. Like most holy
men, ignorant of the crafts and devices of the world, he no sooner
blundered into a suspicion of some deep Devil's cunning than every
footfall and every floating zephyr seemed to confirm it. He bethought
himself of Maverick's earnest caution; and before he went to bed that
night, he prayed that no designing Jezebel might corrupt the poor child
committed to his care.

The next night the Doctor looked again from his window, after blowing
out his lamp, and there once more was the figure in black, pacing up and
down. What could it mean? Was it possible that some Satanic influence
could pass over from this emissary of the Evil One, (as he firmly
believed her to be,) for the corruption of the sick child who lay in the
delirium of a fever above?

The extreme illness of Adèle was subject of common talk in the village,
and the sympathy was very great. On the following night Adèle was far
worse, and the Doctor, at about his usual bedtime, went out to summon
the physician. At a glance he saw in the shadow of the opposite houses
the same figure pacing up and down. He hurried his steps, fearing she
might seek occasion to dart in upon the sick-chamber before his return.
But he had scarcely gone twenty paces from his door, when he heard a
swift step behind, and in another instant there was a grip, as of a
tigress, upon his arm.

"Adèle,--how is she? Tell me!"

"Ill,--very ill," said the Doctor, shaking himself from her grasp, and
continued in his solemn manner, "it is an hour to be at home, woman!"

But she, paying no heed to his admonition, says,--

"I must see her,--I _must_!"--and dashes back toward the parsonage.

The Doctor, terrified, follows after. But he can keep no manner of pace
with that swift, dark figure that glides before him. He comes to the
porch panting. The door is closed. Has the infuriated woman gone in? No,
for presently her grasp is again upon his arm: for a moment she had
sunk, exhausted by fatigue, or overcome by emotion, upon the porch. Her
tone is more subdued.

"I entreat you, good Doctor, let me see Adèle!--for Christ's sake, if
you be His minister, let me see her!"

"Impossible, woman, impossible!" says the Doctor, more than ever
satisfied of her Satanic character by what he counts her blasphemous
speech. "Adaly is delirious,--fearfully excited; it would destroy her.
The only hope is in perfect quietude."

The woman releases her grasp.

"Please, Doctor, let me come to-morrow. I must see her! I will see her!"

"You shall not," said the Doctor, with solemnity,--"never, with my
permission. Go to your home, woman, and pray God to have mercy on you."

"Monster!" exclaimed she, passionately, as she shook the Doctor's arm,
still under her grasp; and murmuring other words in language the good
man did not comprehend, she slipped silently down the yard,--away into
the darkness.



DOWN THE RIVER.


She was of pure race, black as her first ancestor,--if, indeed, she ever
had an ancestor, and were not an indigenous outcrop of African soil,--so
black that the sun could gild her. Her countenance was as unlovely as it
is possible for one to be that owns the cheeriest of smiles and the most
dazzling of teeth. It would have been difficult to say how old she was,
though she had the effect of being undersized, and, with sharp
shoulders, elbows, and knees, seemed scarcely possessed of a rounded
muscle in all her lithe and agile frame.

Nevertheless, she was a dancer by profession,--if she could have
dignified her most frequent occupation by the title of profession. With
a thin blue scarf turbaned round her head in floating ends, and with
scanty and clinging array otherwise, tossing a tambourine, and singing
wild, meaningless songs, she used to whirl and spring on the grass-plot
of an evening, the young masters and mistresses smiling and applauding
from the verandah, while the wind-blown flame of a flaring pitch-pine
knot, held by little Pluto, gave her strange careering shadows for
partner.

She had not yet been allotted to any particular task by day, now running
errands of the house, now tending the sick, now, in punishment of
misdemeanors, relieving an exhausted hand in the field,--for, though all
along the upland lay the piny woods of the turpentine-orchards, she
belonged to an estate whose rich lowlands were devoted to
cotton-bearing. But whatever she did by day, she danced by night, with
her wild gyration and gesture, as naturally as a moth flies; and when
not in demand with the seigniory, was wont to perform in even keener
force and fire at the quarters, to an admiring circle of her own kind,
with ambitious imitators on the outskirts.

It was not, however, an indiscriminate assemblage even there that
encouraged her rude art. There are circles within circles, and the more
decorous of the slaves gave small favor to the young posturer, although
the patronage she received from the house enabled her to meet their
disapprobation defiantly; while to the younger portion, in the vague
sense that there was something wrong about it, her dance became
surrounded by all the attraction and allurement of seeing life. It was
not that the frowning ones did not go through many of the same motions
themselves; but theirs were occasioned by the frenzy of the religious
excitement, where pious rapture and ecstasy were to be expressed by
nothing but the bodily exertion of the Shout: the objectless dance of
the dancer was a thing beyond their comprehension, dimly at first, and
then positively, associated with sin. But she laughed them down with a
gibe; she felt triumphant in the possession of her secret, known to none
of them: her dance was not objectless, but the perpetual expression of
all emotions, whether of beauty or joy or gratitude or praise. Some one
at the house had given her a pair of little hoops with bells attached,
which she was wont to wear about her ankles, and it afforded her
malicious enjoyment to scatter her opponents by the tintinnabulation of
her step. For all that levity, she was not destitute of her peculiar
mode of adoration. For the religion of the Shout she had no absorbents
whatever; she furtively watched it, and openly ridiculed it; but she had
a religion of her own, notwithstanding,--a sort of primitive and grand
religion, Fetich though it was. She reasoned, that the kindly brown
earth produces us, bears us along on its flight, nourishes us, gives us
the delights of life, takes us back into its bosom at last. She
worshipped the great dark earth, imparted to it her confidence, asked of
it her boons. As she grew older, and her logic or her fancy
strengthened, she might have felt the sun supplying the earth, and the
beings of the earth, with all their force, and have become a
fire-worshipper, until further light broke on her, and she sought and
found the Power that feeds the very sun himself. But at present the dust
of which she was made was what she could best comprehend. So, fortified
by her inward faith, and feeling herself fast friends with the ancient
earth, she continued to ring her silver bells and spin her bare
twinkling feet with contented disregard of those, few of whom in their
unseemly worship had the faintest idea of what it was that ailed them.

Although known by various titles on the plantation, objurgatory among
the hands, facetious among the heads, such as Dancing Devil, Spinning
Jenny, Tarantella, Herodias's Daughter,--which last, simplifying itself
into Salome, became in its diminutives the most prevalent,--the creature
had a name of her own, the softest of syllables. Black and uncouth as
she was, a word, one of those the whitest and most beautiful, named her;
and since they tell us that every appellation has its significance for
the wearer, we must suppose that somewhere in her soul that white and
blossoming thing was to be found which answered to the name of Flor.

She possessed a kind of freehold in the cabin of an old negress yclept
Zoë; but she seldom claimed it, for Zoë was outspoken; she preferred,
instead, to lie down by night on a mat in Miss Emma's room, in a corner
of the staircase, on the hall-floor, oftenest fallen wherever sleep
happened to overtake her;--having so many places in which to lay her
head was very like having none at all. She was at the bidding of every
one, but seldom received a heavy blow; as for a round of angry words,
she liked nothing better. She fell heir to much flimsy finery, as a
matter of course, and to many a tidbit, cake or sweetmeat; she made
herself gaudy as a butterfly with the one, and never went into a corner
with the other. Of late, however, the finery and the delicates had
become more uncommon things: Miss Emma wore a homespun gingham, her
muslins, and Miss Agatha's, draped the windows,--for curtains and
carpets had all gone to camp; bacon had ceased to be given out to the
hands, who lived now on corn-meal and yams; the people at the house were
scarcely better off,--for, though, as no army had passed that way, the
chickens still peopled the place, they were reserved for special
occasions, and it was only at rare intervals that one indulged at table
in the luxury of a fowl. This was no serious regret to Flor on her own
account: the less viands, the less dishes, she could oftener pause in
the act of wiping a plate and perform an original hornpipe by herself,
tossing the thin translucent china, and rapping it with her knuckles
till it rang again. She had, however, a pang once when she saw Miss
Emma lunching with relish on cold sweet potato. She spent all the rest
of the day floating on the tide in an old abandoned scow secured by a
long rope to the bank, and afterwards wading up and down the bed of a
brook that ran into the river, until, having left a portion of her
provision, to be sure, at Aunt Zoë's cabin, she busied herself over a
fire out-of-doors, and served up at last before Miss Emma as savory a
little terrapin stew as ever simmered on coals, capering over her
success, and standing on her head in the midst of all her scattered
embers, afterwards, with pure delight. The next day she came in at noon
from the woods, a mile down the river-bank, with her own dark lips cased
and coated in golden sweets, and, after a wordy skirmish with the cook,
presented to Miss Emma a great cake of brown and fragrant honey from a
nest she had discovered and neglected in better seasons, and said
nothing about her half-dozen swollen and smarting stings. Mas'r Rob
having shouldered his gun and taken himself off, and Mas'r Andersen
having followed his example, but not his footsteps, long ago, there was
nobody to fill the deficiencies of the larder with game; and thus Flor,
with her traps and nets and devices, making her value felt every day,
became, for Miss Emma's sake, a petted person, was put on more generous
terms with those above her, and allowed a freedom of action that no
other servant on the place dreamed of desiring. Such consideration was
very acceptable to the girl, who was well content to go fasting herself
a whole day, provided Miss Emma condescended to her offerings, and, in
turn, vouchsafed her her friendship. She had no such daring aspirations
towards the beautiful Miss Agatha, young Mas'r Andersen's wife, and
admired her at an awful distance, never venturing to offer her a bit of
broiled lark, or set before her a dish of crabs,--beaming back with a
grin from ear to ear, if Miss Agatha so much as smiled on her, breaking
into the wildest of dances and shuffling out the shrillest of tunes
after every such incident. Moreover, Miss Agatha was hedged about with a
dignity of grief, and the indistinct pity given her made her safe from
other intrusion; for Mas'r Andersen, in bringing home a Northern wife,
had brought home Northern principles, and, in his sudden escape forced
to leave her in the only home she had, was away fighting Northern
battles. This was a dreadful thing, and Mas'r Andersen was a traitor to
somebody,--so much Flor knew,--it might be the Government, it might be
the South, it might be Miss Agatha; her ideas were nebulous. Whatever it
was, Mas'r Rob and his gun were on the other side, and woe be to Mas'r
Andersen when they met! Mas'r Rob and his friends were beating back the
men that meant to take away Flor and all her kind to freeze and starve;
'twas very good of him, Flor thought, and there ceased consideration.
Meanwhile, wherever Mas'r Andersen might be, and whether he were so much
as alive or not, Miss Agatha was not the one that knew; and Flor adapted
many a rigadoon to her conjectured feelings, now swaying and bending
with sorrow and longing, head fallen, arms outstretched, now hands
clasped on bosom, exultant in welcome and possession.

The importance to which Flor gradually rose by no means led her to the
exhibition of any greater decorum; on the contrary, it seemed to impart
to her the secret of perpetual motion; and, aware of her impunity, she
danced with fresher vigor in the very teeth of her censurers and their
reproaches.

"Go 'long wid yer capers, ye Limb!" said Zoë to her, late one afternoon,
as she entered with the half of a rabbit she had caught, and, having
deposited it, went through the intricacies of her most elaborate figure
in breathless listening to an unheard tune. "Ef I had dem sticks o'
legs, dey'd do berrer work nor twirlin' me like I was a factotum."

At this, Flor suddenly spun about on the tip of one toe for the space of
three minutes, with a buzzing noise like that of a top in hot motion,
pausing at last to inquire, "Well, Maum Zoë, an' w'at's dat?" and be
off again in another whirl.

"I'd red Mas'r Henry ob sich a wurfless nigger."

"Wurfless?" inquired Flor, still spinning.

"Wuss 'n wurfless."

"How 'd y' do it?"

"I'd jus' foller dat ar Sarp," said Zoë, turning over the rabbit, and
considering whether a pepper-corn and a little onion out of her own
patch wouldn't improve the broth she meant to make of it.

"Into de swamps?" said Flor, in a high key. "Sarp's a fool. I heerd
Mas'r Henry say so. Dey'll gib him a blue-pill, for sartain."

"Humph!" said Aunt Zoë, as if she could say a great deal more.

"Tell ye w'at, Maum Zoë," replied Flor, shaking her sidelong head at
every syllable, and accentuating her remarks with her forefinger and
both her little sparkling eyes, "I'll 'form on ye for 'ticin' Mas'r
Henry's niggers run away."

"None o' yer sass here!" said Maum Zoë, with a flashing glance.

"You take my rabbit, you mus' _hab_ my sass," answered Flor, delicacy
not being ingrain with her. "W'at 'ud I cut for to de swamps, d' ye
s'pose?" she said, slapping the soles of her feet in her emphasis, and
pausing for breath. "Dar neber was a lash laid on dat back"----

"No fault o' dat back, dough," interposed Aunt Zoë.

"Dar neber was a lash on dat back. Dar a'n't a person on de place hab
sich treatem as dis yere Limb o' yourn. Miss Emma done gib me her red
ribbins on'y Sa'd'y for my har. An' Mas'r Henry, he jus' pass an' say to
me, 'Dono w'at Miss Emma 'd do widout ye, Lomy. Scairt, ye hussy!' So!"

"'Zackly. We's 'mos' w'ite, we be! How much dey do make ob us up to de
house! De leopard hab change him spots, an' we hab change our skin! W'at
's de use o' bein' free, w'en we's w'ite folks a'ready? Tell me dat!"
said Aunt Zoë, turning on her witheringly, rising from a deep curtsy and
smoothing down her apron. "Tell ye w'at, ye Debil's spinster!" added
she, with a sudden change of tone, as Flor began to mimic one of Miss
Agatha's opera-tunes and with her hands on her hips slowly balance up
and down the room, and came at last, bending far on one side, to leer up
in the face of her elder with such a smile as Cubas was wont to give her
Spanish lover in the dance. "So mighty free wid yer dancin', 'pears like
you'll come to dance at a rope's end! W'at's de use o' talkin' to you?
'Mortal sperit, it 's my b'lief dat ar mockin'-bird in de branches hab
as good a lookout!"

"Heap better," said Flor acquiescently, and beginning to hold a
whistling colloquy with the hidden voice.

"You won't bring him down wid yer tunes. He knows w'en he's well off;
he's free, he is,--swingin' onto de bough, an' 'gwine whar he like."

"Leet de chil' alone, Zoë," said a superannuated old woman sitting in
the corner by the fire always smouldering on Zoë's hearth, and leaning
her white head on her cane. "You be berrer showin' her her duty in her
place dan be makin' her discontented."

"She doan' make me disconnected, Maum Susie," said Flor. "'F he's free,
w'at's he stayin' here for? Dar 's law for dat. Doan' want none o' yer
free niggers hangin' roun' dis yere. Chirrup!"

"Dar's a right smart chance ob 'em, dough, jus' now," said Aunt Zoë,
chuckling at first, and then breaking into the most boisterous of
laughs, "Seems like we's all ob us, ebery one, free as Sarp hisse'f.
Mas'r Linkum say so. Yah, ha, ha!"

"Linkum!" said Flor. "Who dat ar? Some o' yer poor w'ite trash? Mas'r
Henry doan' say so!"

"W'a' 's de matter wid dat ar boy Sarp, Zoë?" recommenced Flor, after a
pause. "Mus' hab wanted suffin,--powerful,--to lib in de swamp, hab de
dogs after him, an' a bullet troo de head mos' likely."

"Jus' dat. Wanted him freedom," said Zoë suddenly, with crackling
stress, her eyes getting angry in their fervor, as she went on. "Wanted
him body for him own. Tired o' usin' 'noder man's eyes, 'noder man's
han's. Wanted him han's him own, wanted him heart him own! Had n' no
breff to breathe 'cep' w'at Mas'r Henry gib out. Di'n' t'ink no t'oughts
but Mas'r Henry's. Wanted him wife some day to hisse'f, wanted him
chillen for him own property. Wanted to call no man mas'r but de Lord in
heaben!"

"Wy, Maum Zoë, how you talk! Sarp had n' no wife."

"Neber would, w'ile he wor a slave."

"Hist now, Zoë!" said the old woman.

"I jus' done b'lieve you's a bobolitionist!" said Flor, with wide eyes
and a battery of nods.

"No 'casion, no 'casion," said Zoë, with the deep inner chuckle again.
"We's done 'bolished,--dat's w'at we is! We's a free people now. No more
work for de 'bominationists!" And on the point of uncontrollable
hilarity, she checked herself with the dignity becoming her new
position. "You's your own nigger now, Salome," said she.

"We? No, t'ank you. I 'longs to Miss Emma."

"You haan' no understandin' for liberty, chil'. Seems ef 'twas like
religion"----

"Ef I wor to tell Mas'r Henry, oh, wouldn' you cotch it?"

"Go 'long!" cried Zoë, looking out for a missile. "Doan' ye bring no
more o' yer rabbits here, ef ye 'r' gwine to fetch an' carry"----

"Lors, Aunt Zoë, 'pears like you's out o' sorts. Haan' I got nof'n
berrer to do dan be tellin' tales ob old women dat's a-waitin' for de
Lord's salvation?" said Flor, with a twang of great gravity,--and
proceeded thereat to make her exit in a series of lively somersaults
through the room and over the threshold.

Aunt Zoë, who, ever since she had lost the use of her feet, had been a
little wild on the subject of freedom, knew very well within that Flor
would make no mischief for her; but, except for the excited state into
which the news brought by some mysterious plantation runner had thrown
her, she would scarcely have been so incautious. As it was, she had
dropped a thought into Flor's head to ferment there and do its work. It
was almost the first time in her life that the girl had heard freedom
discussed as anything but a doubtful privilege. First awakening to
consciousness in this state, it was with effort and only lately she had
comprehended that there could be any other: a different condition from
one in which Miss Emma was mistress and she was maid seemed at first
preposterous, then fabulous, and still unnatural: nevertheless, there
was a flavor of wicked pleasure in the thought. Flor looked with a sort
of contempt on the little tumbling darkies who had never entertained it.
Ever since she was born, however, she had frequently fancied she would
like the liberty of rambling that the little wild creatures of the wood
possess, but had felt criminal in the desire, and recently she had found
herself enjoying the immunity of the mocking-bird on the bough, and was
nearly as free in her going and coming as the same bird on the wing.

During the weeks that followed this conversation Flor's dances flagged.
They existed, to be sure, but with an angularity that made them seem
solutions of problems, rather than expressions of emotion; they were
merely mechanical, for she had lost all interest in them. They became at
last so listless as to exhibit, to more serious eyes, signs of grace in
the girl. Flor wondered, if Zoë had spoken the truth, that nothing
appeared changed on the plantation: all their own masters, why so
obsequious to the driver still? This was one of the last of the great
places; behind it, the small farms, with few hands, ran up the
mountains; why was there no stampede of these unguarded slaves? She
hardly understood. She listened outside the circle of the fire on the
ground at night, where two or three old women mumbled together; she
inferred, that, though no one of them would desert Mas'r Henry, they
enjoyed the knowledge that they were at liberty to do so, if they
wished. Flor laughed a bit at this, thinking where the poor things could
possibly go, and how they could get there, if they would; but in her
heart of hearts--though all the world but this one spot was a barren
wilderness, and she never could desire to leave her dear Miss Emma, nor
could find happiness away from her--it seemed a very pleasant thing to
think that her devotion might be a voluntary affair, and she stayed
because she chose. Still she was skeptical. The abstract question
puzzled her a little, too. How came Mas'r Henry to be free? Because he
was white; that explained itself. But Miss Emma--she was white, too, and
yet somehow she seemed to belong to Mas'r Henry. She wondered if Mas'r
Henry could sell Miss Emma; and then the thought occurred, and with the
thought the fear, that, possibly, some day, he might sell her, Flor
herself, away from Miss Emma and all these pleasant scenes. After such a
thought had once come, it did not go readily. Flor let it
linger,--turned it over in her mind; gradually familiarized with its
hurt, it seemed as if she had half said farewell to the place. Better
far to be a runaway than to be sold. But if it came to that, whither
should she run? what was this world beyond? who was there in this sad
wide world to take care of a little black image? And if she waited for
it to come to that, could she get away at all? It was no wonder that in
the midst of such new and grave speculations the girl's dance grew
languid and her sharp tongue still. The earth was just as beautiful as
ever, the skies were as deep, the flowers as intense in tint, the
evening air laden with jasmine-scents as delicious as of old; but in
these few weeks Flor had reached another standpoint. It seemed as if a
film had fallen from her eyes, and she saw a blight on every blossom.

It was about this time, spring being at its flush, that some passing
guest mentioned the march of a regiment, the next day, from Cotesworth
Court-House to the first railroad-station, on its way to the seat of
war. The idea of the thing filled Miss Emma with enthusiasm. How they
would look, so many together, in the beautiful gray uniform too, to any
one standing on Longfer Hill! She longed to see the faces of men when
they took their lives in their hand for a principle. She had practised
the Bonny Blue Flag till there was nothing left of it; but if a band
played it in the open air, with the rising and falling of the wind, and
under waving banners and glittering guidons all the men with their pale
faces and shining eyes went marching by----

The end of it was, that, as her father would never have listened to
anything of the kind, Flor privately informed her of a short cut down
the river-bank and round the edge of the swamp to the foot of Longfer
Hill,--a walk they could easily take in a couple of hours. And as nobody
was in the habit of missing Flor much, and her young mistress would be
supposed, after her custom, to be spending half the day in naps, they
accordingly took it. Nevertheless, it was an exceedingly secret affair,
for Mas'r Henry had always strictly forbidden his daughter to leave his
own grounds without fit escort.

This expedition seemed to Flor such a proud and gratifying confidence,
that in her pleasure she forgot to think; she only danced round about
her mistress, with a return of her old exuberance, till the more quiet
path of the latter resembled a straight line surrounded by an arabesque
of fantastic flourishes. But, in fact, the young patrician, unaccustomed
to exertion, was well wearied before they reached the river-bank. They
had yet the long border of the swamp to skirt, and there towered Longfer
Hill. Why could they not go across, she wondered. They would sink, Flor
answered her; and then the moccasins! But there were all those green
hummocks,--skipping from one to another would be mere play,--and there
were no moccasins for miles. And before Flor could gainsay her, she had
sprung on, keeping steadily ahead, in a determination to have her own
way; and with no other course left her, Flor followed, though, at every
spring, alighting on the hummocks that Miss Emma had trodden, the water
splashed up about her bare ankles, and her heart shook within her at the
thought of fierce runaways haunting these inaccessible hollows, and the
myths of the deeper district. Before long, she had overtaken her young
mistress, and they paused a moment for parley. Miss Emma was convinced,
that, if it were no worse than this, it would be delightful. Flor
assured her that she did not know the way any longer, for their winding
path between the tall cypresses veiled in their swinging tangles of
funereal moss had confused her, and she could only guess at the
direction of Longfer Hill. This, then, was an adventure. Miss Emma took
the responsibility all upon herself, and plunged forward. Miss Emma must
know best, of course, concerning everything. Nothing loth, and gayly,
Flor plunged after.

The hummocks on which they went were light, spongy masses of greenery.
Their footprints filled at once behind them with clear dark water; there
were glistening little pools everywhere about them; the ground was so
covered with mats of brilliant blossoms that what appeared solid for the
foot was oftenest the most treacherous place of all; and at last they
stayed to take breath, planting themselves on the trunk of a fallen tree
so twisted and twined with variegated vines and flowers, and deadly,
damp fungi, that it was like some gorgeous daïs-seat. Behind them and
beside them was the darkness of the cypress groves. Before them extended
a smooth floor, a wide level region, carpeted in the most vivid verdure
and sheeted with the sunshine, an immense bed of softest moss, underlaid
with black bog, quaking at every step, and shaking a thousand diamonds
into the light. Scarcely anything stirred through all the stretch; at
some runnel along its nearer margin, where upon one side the more broken
swamp recommenced, a rosy flamingo stood and fished, and, still remoter,
the melancholy note of a bird tolled its refrain, answered by an echoing
voice from some yet inner depth of forest far away. Save for this, the
silence was as intense as the vastness and color of the scene, till it
opened and resolved itself into one broad insect hum. The children took
a couple of steps forward, under their feet the elastic sod sank and
rose with a spurt of silver jets; they sprang back to their seats, and
the shading tree above shook down a shining shower in rillets of silver
rain. They remained for a minute, then, resting there. Singularly
enough, Longfer Hill, which had previously been upon their left, now
rose far away upon the right. When at length they comprehended its
apparition, they looked at one another in complete bewilderment. Miss
Emma began to cry; but Flor took it as only a fresh complication of this
world, that was becoming for her feet a maze of intricacy.

"We must go back," said Miss Emma, at last. "I'm sure, if I'd
known----Of course we never can cross here. The very spoonbill wades.
Oh, why didn't----Well, there's no blame to you, Floss. I've nobody to
thank but myself; that's a comfort."

"Lors, Miss Emma, it's my fault altogeder. I should n' neber told ye.
An' as for gwine back, it's jus' as bad as torrer."

"We can't stay here all night! Oh, I'm right tired out! If I could lie
down"----

"'Twouldn' do no way, Miss Emma," answered Flor, in a fright for her
friend, as a quick, poisonous-looking lizard slid along the log, like a
streak of light, in the wake of a spider which was one blotch of scarlet
venom.

Far ahead, the strong sun, piercing the marsh, drew up a vapor, that,
blue as any distant haze in one part and lint-white in another, made
itself aslant into low, delicious, broken prisms, melting all between.
This, more than anything else, told the extent of the bog before them,
and, hot as it was now, betrayed the deathly chill lurking under such a
coverlet at night. In every other direction lay the cypress jungle; and
whether they saw the front or back of Longfer Hill, and on which side
the river ran, steering for which they could steer for home, they had
not the skill to say. Thus, what way to go they still were undecided,
when, at something moving near them, they started to their feet in a
faint terror, delaying only a single instant to gaze at it,--a serpent,
that, coiled round the stem above, had previously seemed nothing but a
splendid parasite, and that just lifted its hooded head crusted with
gems, and flickered a long cleft tongue of flame over them, while
loosening in great loops from its basking-place. They vouchsafed it no
second look, but, with one leap over the log, through the black mire,
and from clump to clump of moss, sped away,--if that could be called
speed which was hindered at each moment by waylaying briers and
entangling ropes of blossoming vines, by delays in threatening quagmires
and bewilderments in thickets beset by clouds of insects, by trips and
stumbles and falls and bruises, and many a pause for tears and
complaints and ejaculations of despair.

Meanwhile the heat of the day was mitigated by thin clouds sliding over
the sun and banking up the horizon, though the hot wind still blew
sweetly and steadily from the open quarter of the sky.

"Oh, what has become of us?" cried Miss Emma at length, when the shadows
began to thicken, and out of the impenetrable forest and morass about
them they could detect no path.

"We's los' into de swamp, Miss Emma," answered Flor, in a kind of gloomy
defiance of the worst of it,--"da' 's all."

"And here we shall die!" cried the other.

And she flung herself, face down, upon the floor.

Flor was beside her instantly, taking her head upon her knee. Her own
heart was sinking like lead; but she plucked it up, and for the other's
sake snapped her fingers at Fortune.

"Lors, Miss, dar's so many berries we caan' starve nowes. I's 'bout to
build a fire soon's it's dark; dis yere's a dry spot, ye see now. An',
bress you, dey'll be out after us afore mornin',--de whole farm-full."

"With the dogs!" cried Miss Emma. "Oh, Floss, that I should live for
that! to be hunted in the swamp with dogs!"

Flor was silent a moment or two. The custom personally affected her for
the first time; worse than the barbarity was the indignity.

"Dey aren't trained to hunt for you, Miss Emma," she said, more gloomily
than she had ever spoken before. "Dey knows de diff'unce 'tween de dark
meat and de light."

And then she laughed, as if her words meant nothing.

"They never shall touch _you_, Flor, while I'm alive!" suddenly
exclaimed Miss Emma, throwing her arms about her.

"Lors, Miss, how you talk!" cried Flor, and then broke into a gust of
tears. "To t'ink ob you a-carin' so much for a little darky, Miss!"--and
she set up a loud howl of joyful sorrow.

"You're the best friend I've got!" answered Miss Emma, hugging her with
renewed warmth. "I love you worlds better than Agatha! And I'll never
let you leave me! Oh, Flor! what shall we do?"

Flor looked about her for reply, and then scrambled up a sycamore like a
squirrel.

It was apparently an island in the swamp on which they were: for the
earth, though damp, was firm beneath them; and there was a thick growth
of various trees about, although most were draped to the ground in the
long, dark tresses of Spanish moss, waving dismally to and fro, with a
dull, heavy motion of grief. On every other side from that by which they
had come it appeared to be inaccessible, surrounded, as well as Flor
could see, by glimmering sheets of water, which probably were too full
of snags and broken stumps, still upright, for the navigation of boats
by any hands but those thoroughly acquainted with their wide region of
stagnant pools. This island was not, however, a small spot, but one that
comprised a variety of surfaces, having not only marsh and upland within
itself, but something that in the distance bore a fearful resemblance to
a young patch of standing corn, a suspicion confirmed into certainty by
a blue thread of smoke ascending a little way and falling again in a
cloud. Once, upon seeing such a sight, Flor might have fallen to the
ground herself,--this could be no less than the abode of those sad
runaways, those mythical Goblins of the Swamp,--but it would have been
because she had forgotten then that she was not one of the strong white
race that reared her. Now, at this moment, she felt a thrill of kinship
with these creatures, hunted for with bloodhounds, as she would be
to-morrow, perhaps.

"May-be I'll not go back," said Flor.

She slipped down the tree, and went silently to work, heaping a bed of
the hanging moss, less wet than the ground itself, for her young
mistress. Miss Emma accepted it passively.

"Oh, it's like sleeping on hearse-curtains!" was all she said.

It was already evening, but growing darker with the clouds that went on
piling their purple masses and awaiting their signal. Suddenly the
sweet, soft breeze trembled and veered, there was a brief calm, and the
wind had hauled round the other way. A silence of preparation, answered
by a long, low note of thunder, and the war had begun in heaven.

Miss Emma buried her face in the moss. But Flor, secretly relishing a
good thunder-gust, drew up her knees and sat with equanimity, like a
little black judge of the clouds; for, in the moment's dull, indifferent
mood, she felt prepared for either fate. It was long before the rain
came; then it plunged, a brief downfall, as if a cloud had been ripped
and emptied,--a suffocating terror of rain, teeming with more appalling
intimations than anything else in the world. But the wind was a blind
tornado. The boughs swung over them and swept them; the swamp-water was
lifted, and gluts of it slapped in Flor's face. She saw, not far away, a
great solitary cypress rearing its head, and bearing aloft a broad
eagle's nest, hurriedly seized in the grasp of the gale, twisted,
raised, and snapped like a straw. The child began to shudder strangely
at the breath of this blast that cried with such clamor out of the black
vaults above, this unknown and tremendous power beneath which she was
nothing but a mote; she suffered an unexplained awe, as if this fearful
wind were some supernatural assemblage of souls fleeting through space
and making the earth tremble under their wild rush. All the while the
heavy thunders charged on high in one unbroken roar, across whose base
sharp bolts broke and burst perpetually; and with the outer world
wrapped in quivering curtains of blue flame, now and then a shaft of
fire lanced its straight spear down the dense darkness of the woods
behind in ghastly illumination, and a responsive spire shot up in some
burning bush that blackened almost as instantly. Flor fancied that the
lightning was searching for her, a runaway herself, and the burning bush
answered, like a sentinel, that here she was. She cowered at length and
sought the protection of the blind earth, full of awe and quaking, till
by-and-by the last discharge, muffled and ponderous, rolled away, and,
save for a muttered growl in some far distant den, the world was still
and dark again.

Flor spoke to her mistress, and found, that, utterly worn out with
fatigue and fright and exhausted electricity, she was asleep. She then
got up and wrung out the rain from portions of her own and Miss Emma's
dress, and heaped fresh armfuls of moss upon the sleeper in an original
attempt at the pack; then she proceeded to explore the neighborhood, to
see if there were any exit in other directions from the terrors of the
swamp.

Stars began to struggle through and confuse their rays with the
ravelled edges of the clouds. She groped along from tree to tree,
looking constantly behind her at the clear, light opening of sky beneath
which Miss Emma lay.

Perhaps she had come farther than she knew; for all at once, in the
dread stillness that nothing but the dripping dampness broke, a sound
smote her like a pang. It was an innocent and simple sound enough, a
man's voice, clear and sweet, though measured somewhat, and suppressed
in volume, chanting a slow, sad hymn, that had yet a kind of rejoicing
about it:--

    "Oh, no longer bond in Egypt,
    No longer bond in Egypt,
    No longer bond in Egypt.
      The Lord hath set him free!"

It came from a hollow below her. Flor pushed aside the great, glistening
leaves in silence, and looked tremblingly in. There were half-burnt
brands on a broad stone, throwing out an uncertain red glimmer; there
was an awning of plaited reeds reaching from bough to bough; there was
an old man stretched upon the ground, and a stalwart man sitting beside
him and chanting this song, as if it were a burial-service: for the old
man was dead.

Flor began to tremble again, with that instinctive animal antipathy to
death and dissolution. But in an instant a rekindling gleam of the
embers, hardly quenched, shot over the singer's face. In the same
instant Flor shook before the secret she had learned, Sarp was a
runaway, to be sure; and runaways ate little girls, she knew. But Flor,
having lately encouraged incredulity, could hardly find it in her heart
to believe that the fact of having stolen himself could have so utterly
changed the old nature of Sarp, the kind butler, who always had a
pleasant word for her when others had a cuff. Yet should she hail him?
Ah, no, never! But then--Miss Emma! Her young mistress would die of
starvation and the damp.

"Sarp!" whispered Flor, huskily.

The man started and sprang to his feet, alert and ready, waiting for his
unseen enemy,--then half relapsed, thinking it might be nothing but the
twitter of a bird.

"It's me, Sarp."

Who that was did not seem so plain to Sarp; he darted his swift glance
in her direction, then at one step parted the bushes and dragged her
through, as if it were game that he had trapped.

"Oh, Sarp!" cried Flor, falling at his feet. "Doan' yer kill me now! I
di'n' mean to ha' found yer. I's done los' in de swamp, wid"----

But Flor thought better of that.

The man raised her, but still held her out at arm's length, while he
listened for further sound behind her.

"Oh, jus' le' go, Sarp, an' I'll dance for you till I drap!" she cried.

"Is it a time for dancing," he replied, "and the earth open for
burying?"

"Lors, Sarp!" cried Flor, shrinking from the shallow grave she had not
seen, "how's I to know dat?"--and she gave herself safe distance.

"Help me yere, then," said he.

But Flor remained immovable, and Sarp was obliged to perform by himself
the last offices for the old slave, who, living out his term of
harassments and hungers, had grown gray and died in the swamps. He went
at last and brought an armful of broken sweet-flowering boughs and
spread them over the place.

"Free among the dead," he said; then turned to Flor, who, having long
since seen daylight through the darkness of her fears, proceeded glibly
and volubly to pour out her troubles, on his beckoning her away, and to
demand the help she had refused to render.

"There's the boat," said Sarp, reflectively. "And the rain will float it
'most anywheres to-night. But--come so far and troo so much to go back?"

Flor flung up her face and held her head back proudly.

"Yes, Sah! Doan' s'pose I'd be stealin' Mas'r Henry's niggers?"

For, having meditated upon it an hour ago, she was able to repel the
charge vigorously.

"Go'n' to stay a slave all your life?"

"All Miss Emma's life."

"And--afterwards"----

"Den I'll go back to de good brown earth wid her," said Flor, solving
the problem promptly.--"I doan' see de boat."

"Ah, she'll make as brown dust as you,--Miss Emma,--that's so! But the
spirit, Lome!"

"Sperit?" said Flor, looking uneasily over her shoulder with her
twinkling eyes.

"The part of you that doan' die, Lome."

"I haan' nof'n ter do wid dat; dat 'longs to dem as made it; none o' my
lookout; dono nof'n 'bout it, an' doan' want ter hear nof'n about it!"
said Flor; for, reasoning on the old adage of a bird in the hand being
worth two in the bush, she thought it more important just at present to
save her body than to save her soul, admitting that she had one, and
felt haste to be of more behoof than metaphysics.

There was a moon up now, and Flor could see her companion's dark face
above her, a mere mass of shade; it did not reassure her any to remember
that her own was just as black.

"Lome," said Sarp, setting his back against a tree like one determined
to have attention, "never mind about the boat yet. You 've heard Aunt
Zoë say how't the grace of the Lord was free?"

"Yes, I's heerd her kerwhoopin'. I 's in a hurry, Sarp!"

"But 's how't the man that refuses to accept it, when it's set before
him, is done reckoned a sinner?"

"S'pose I has?"--and in her impatience she began to dance outright.

"It's jus' so with the present hour," he continued, not giving her time
to interpose about escape again. "You have liberty offered you. If you
refuses, how can you answer for it when your spirit 'pears afore the
Judge? You choose him, and you choose righteousness, you chooses the
chance to make yourself white in the Lord's eyes,--your spirit, Lome.
Refuse, and you take sin and chains and darkness; you gets to deserve
the place where they hab their share of fire and brimstone."

"Take mine wid 'lasses," said Flor, who, though inwardly a trifle cowed,
never meant to show it. "W'a' 's de use o' boderin' 'bout all dat ar,
w'en dar 's Miss Emma a-cotchin' her deff, an' I 's jus' starved? Ef you
's go'n' to help us, Sarp"----

"You don' know what chains means, chil'," said the imperturbable Sarp.
"They're none the lighter because you can't see 'em. It a'n't jus' the
power to sell your body and the work of your hands; it's the power to
sell your soul! Ef Mas'r Henry hab de min',--ef Mas'r Henry have the
mind, I say, to make you go wrong, can you help it while you 's a
slave?"

"'Taan' no fault o' mine ter be bad, ef I caan' help it. Come now," said
Flor sullenly, seeing little hope of respite,--"should t'ink 'twas de
Ol' Sarpint hisself!"

"And 'taan' no virtue of yours to be good, ef you caan' help it; you 'd
jus' stay put--jus' between--in de brown earth, as you said. You 'd
never see that beautiful land beyond the grave, wid the river of light
flowing troo der place, an' the people singing songs before the great
white t'rone."

"Tell me 'bout dat ar, Sarp," said Flor, forgetfully.

"Dey 's all free there, Lome."

"How was dis dey got dere? Could n' walk nowes, an' could n' fly"----

"Haan' you seen into Miss Emma's prayer-book the angels with wings high
and shining all from head to foot?"

"Yes," said Flor,--"_Angels_."

"And one of them you 'll be, Lome, ef you jus' choose,--ef, for
instance, you choose liberty to-day."

"Lors now, Sarp, I doan' b'lieb a word you say! Get out wid yer
conundrums! Likely story, little black nigger like dis yere am be put
into de groun' an' 'come out all so great an' w'ite an' shinin'-like!"

"'For God shall deliver my soul from the power of the grave.'
_'Shall.'_ That's a promise,--a promise in the Book. Di'n't yer eber
plant a bean, Lome,--little hard black bean? And did a little hard black
bean come up? No, but two wings of leaves, and a white blossom jus'
ready to fly itself, and so sweet you could smell it acrost de field. So
they plant your body in the earth, Lome"----

"You go 'long, Sarp! Ef you plant beans, beans come up," said Flor,
decisively.

This direct and positive confutation rather nonplussed Sarp, his theory
not being able at once to assimilate his fact, and he himself feeling,
that, if he pushed the comparison farther, he would reach some such
atrocity as that, if the white and shining flower produced in its season
again the black bean from which it sprung, so the white and shining soul
must once more clothe itself in the same sordid, unpurified body from
which it first had sprung. He had a vague glimmer that perhaps his
simile was too material, and that this very body was the clay in which
the springing, germinating soul was planted to bloom out in heaven, but
dared not pursue it unadvised, for fear of the quicksands into which it
might betray him. He merely tied a knot in the thread of his discourse
by answering,--

"Jus' so. The bean planted, the bean comes up. You planted, and what
follows?"

"I come up," said Flor, consentingly, and quite as if he had got the
better of the discussion.

Then he rose, and Flor led the way back to Miss Emma,--having first,
upon Sarp's serious hesitation, pledged herself for Miss Emma's secrecy
and gratitude with tears and asseverations.

In spite of the fact that he had never meant nor cared to see it again,
there was something pleasant to Sarp in the face of the sleeper upturned
in a moonbeam. He stooped and lifted her tenderly, and laid her head on
his shoulder. The young girl opened her eyes vacantly, but heard Flor's
voice beside her still,--

"Doan' ye be scaret now, honey! Bress you, 's a true frien': he'll get
us shet ob dis yere swamp mighty sudd'n!"

And soothed by the dreamy motion, entirely fatigued, borne swiftly along
in strong arms, under the low, waving boughs in the dim forest darkness,
she was drowsed again with slumber, from which she woke only on being
placed in the bottom of a skiff to turn over into a deeper dream than
before. Flor nodded triumphantly to her companion, in the beginning,
keeping pace beside him with short runs,--there could be no fear of
babble about that of which one knew nothing,--and took her seat at last
in the boat as he directed, while with a long pole he pushed out into
the deeper water away from the shadow of the shore, and then went
steering between the jags and gnarls, that, half protruding from the
dark expanses, seemed the heads of strange and preternatural monsters.
Now and then a current carried them; now and then their boatman sculled,
now and then in shallower places poled along; sometimes he rested, and
in the intervals took occasion to continue his missionary labor upon
Flor,--his first object being to convince her she had a soul, and his
second that in bondage every chance to save that soul alive was against
her. Then he drew slight pictures of a different way of things, such as
had solaced his own imagination, rude, but happy idyls of freedom: the
small house, one's own; the red light in the window, a guiding star for
weary feet at night coming home to comfort and smiles and cheer; no
dark, haunting fear of a hand to reach between one and those loved
dearest; no more branding like cattle, manhood and womanhood
acknowledged, met with help and welcome and kind hands, cringing no
more, but standing erect, drinking God's free sunshine, and growing
nearer heaven. How much or how little of all his dream poor Sarp
realized, if ever he reached the land of his desire at all, Heaven only
knows. But Flor listened to him as if he recited some delightful
fairy-tale,--charming indeed, but all as improbable as though one were
telling her that black was white. Then, too, there was another dream of
Sarp's,--the dream of a whole race loosening itself from the clinging
clod. Flor got a glimmer of his meaning,--only a glimmer; it made her
heart beat faster, but it was so grand she liked the other best.

So, creeping through narrow creeks, now they skirted the edges of the
long, low, flat morass,--now wound round the giant trunk of a fallen
tree that nearly bridged the pool whose dark mantle they severed,--now
pushed the boat's head up into a wall of weeds, that bent back and let
it through the deep cut flooded by the rain, where the wild growth shut
off everything but the high hollow of a luminous sky, with
ribbon-grasses and long prickly leaves brushing across their faces from
either side, here and there a sudden dwarf palmetto bristling all its
bayonets against the peaceful night, and all the way singular uncouth
shapes of vegetation, like conjurations of magic, cutting themselves out
with minuteness upon the vast clear background so darkly and weirdly
that the voyagers seemed to be sliding along the shores of some new,
strange under-world,--now they got out, and, wading ankle-deep in plashy
bog, drew the boat and its slumberer heavily after them,--now went
slowly along, afloat again, on the broad lagoons, which the moon, from
the deep far heaven, shot into silver reaches, and, with the trees, a
phantom company of shadows, weeping in their veils along the farther
shore, with all the quaint outlines of darkness, the gauzy wings that
flitted by, the sweet, wild scents across whose lingering current they
drifted, the broad silence disturbed only by the lazy wash of a seldom
ripple, made their progress, through heavy gloom and vivid light, an
enchanted journey.

At length they lifted overhanging branches, and glided out upon a sheet
of open water, a little lake fed by natural springs; and here, paddling
over to the outlet, a tide took them down a swift brook to the river.
Sarp stemmed this tide, made the opposite bank of the brook, and paused.

"Have you chosen, Lome?" said he. "Will you go back with me, and so on
to the Happy Land of Freedom? Not that I'll have my own liberty till
I've earned it,--till I've won a country by fighting for it. But I'll
see you safe; and if I'm spared, one day I'll come to you. Will you go?"

Flor hung back a moment. "I'd like to go, Sarp, right well," said she,
twisting up the corner of her little tatter of an apron. "But dar am
Miss Emma, you see."

"We can leave her on the bank here. She'll be all right when de day
breaks, and fin' the house herself. There's as good as she without a
roof this night."

"She's neber been use' to it. She would n' know a step o' de way. Oh,
no, Sarp! I 'longs to Miss Emma; she could n' do widout me. She'd jus'
done cry her eyes out an' die,--'way here in de wood. No, Sarp, I mus'
take her back. She's delicate, Miss Emma is. I'd like to go right well,
Sarp,--'ta'n't much ob a 'sapp'intment,--I's use' to 'em,--I'd like for
to go wid you."

Lingering, irresolute, she stood up in the swaying skiff, keeping her
balance as if she were dancing; then, the motion, perhaps, throwing her
back into her old identity, she sprang to the shore like a cat. Sarp
laid Miss Emma beside her, and then shot away, back over all the
desolate reaches and lonely shining pools; and Flor, with a little wail
of despair, hid her face on the ground, that her weakened and bewildered
little mistress might not see the flood of tears that wet the grass
beneath it.

It was between two and three o'clock in the morning, when, chilled,
draggled, and dripping wet, they reached the house. Lights were moving
everywhere about it: no one had slept there that night. There was a
great shout from high and low as the two forlorn little objects crept
into the ray. Miss Emma was met with severe reproaches, afterwards with
tears and embraces; and cordial drinks and hot flannels were made ready
for her in a trice. As for Flor, she was warmed after another
fashion,--being sent off for punishment; and, in spite of the
implorations of Miss Emma and the interference of Miss Agatha, the order
was executed. It was the first time she had ever received such reward of
merit in form; and though it was a slight affair, after all, the hurt
and wrong rankled for weeks, and, instead of the gay, dancing imp of
former days, henceforth a silent, sullen shadow slipped about and
haunted all the dark places of the house.

Mas'r Henry, being a native of Charleston, was also a gentleman of
culture, and fond of the fine arts to some extent. Indeed, looking at it
in a poetical view, the feudality of slavery, even more than the
inevitable relation of property, was his strong tie to the institution.
He had a contempt for modern progress so deeply at the root of his
opinions that he was only half aware of it; and any impossible scheme to
restore the political condition of what we call the Dark Ages, and
retain the comforts of the present one, would have found in him a hearty
advocate. One of his favorite books was a little green-covered volume,
printed on coarse paper, and smelling of the sea which it had crossed: a
book that seemed to bring one period of those past centuries up like a
pageant,--so vividly, with all the flying dust of their struggle in the
sunbeam before him, did its opulent vitality reproduce, in their
splendors and their sins, the actual presences of those dead men and
women, now more unreal substance than the dust of their shrouds. He
liked to carry this mediaeval Iliad round with him, and, taking it out
at propitious places, go jotting his pencil down the page. He had heard
it called an incomprehensible puzzle of poetry; it gave him pleasure,
then, to unriddle and proclaim it plain as print. He was thus
delectating himself one day, while Flor, still in her phase of
moodiness, stood behind Miss Agatha's chair; and, the passage pleasing
him, he read it aloud to Miss Agatha, whom, in the absence of his son,
her husband, he was wont to consider his opponent in the abstract,
however dear and precious in the concrete.

    "As, shall I say, some Ethiop, past pursuit
    Of all enslavers, dips a shackled foot,
    Burnt to the blood, into the drowsy, black,
    Enormous watercourse which guides him back
    To his own tribe again, where he is king;
    And laughs, because he guesses, numbering
    The yellower poison-wattles on the pouch
    Of the first lizard wrested from its couch
    Under the slime, (whose skin, the while, he strips
    To cure his nostril with, and festered lip,
    And eyeballs bloodshot through the desert blast,)
    That he has reached its boundary, at last
    May breathe; thinks o'er enchantments of the South,
    Sovereign to plague his enemies, their mouth,
    Eyes, nails, and hair; but, these enchantments tried
    In fancy, puts them soberly aside
    For truth, projects a cool return with friends,
    The likelihood of winning mere amends
    Erelong; thinks that, takes comfort silently,
    Then from the river's brink his wrongs and he,
    Hugging revenge close to their hearts, are soon
    Offstriding to the Mountains of the Moon."

Flor stood listening, with eyes that shone strangely out of the gloom of
her face.

"Well, child," said her master to Miss Agatha, "how does that little
monodrame strike you? Which do you find preferable, tell me, Ashantee at
home or Ashantee abroad? civilized or barbarized? the institution or the
savage? Eh, Blossom," turning to Flor, "what do you think of the
condition of that ancestor of yours?"

"Mas'r Henry," said Flor, gravely, "he was free."

"Eh? Free? What! are you bitten, too?"

And Mas'r Henry laughed at the thought, and pictured to himself his
dancer dancing off altogether, like the swamp-fire she was. Then his
tone changed.

"Flor," said he, sternly, "who has been talking to you lately? Do you
know, Agatha? I have seen this for some time. I must learn what one
among the hands it is that in these times dares breed disaffection."

"No one's talked to me, Sah," said Flor,--"no one onter der place."

"Some one off of it, then."

"Mas'r Henry, I's been havin' my own t'oughts. Mas'r knows I could n'
lebe Miss Emma nowes. Could n' tief her property nowes. But ef Mas'r
Henry 'd on'y jus' 'sider an' ask li'l' Missy for to make dis chil' a
presen' ob myse'f"----

"So that's what it means!" And Mas'r Henry smiled a moment at the
ludicrous idea presented to him.

"Flor," said he then, abruptly, "I have never heard the whole of that
night in the swamp. It must be told."

"Lors, Sah! So long ago, I's done forgot it!"

"You may have till to-morrow morning to quicken your memory."

"Haan' nof'n' more to 'member, Mas'r."

"You heard me. You have your choice to repeat it either now or to-morrow
morning."

"Could n' make suf'n', whar nof'n' was. Could n' tink o' nof'n' all ter
once. Could n' tell nof'n' at all in a hurry," said Flor, with a
twinkle. "Guess I'll take tell de mornin', any-wes, Mas'r." And she was
off.

And Mas'r Henry went, back to his book,--the watcher nodding on his
spear,--and all the stormy scenes he expected soon to realize in his own
life, when the sword of conscription had numbered his old head with the
others.

Flor went out from the presence defiant, as became a rebel.

Although that special mode of martyrdom was not proper to the
plantation, and Flor felt in herself few particles of the stuff of which
martyrs are made, she was determined, that, as to telling so much as
that Sarp was still in the swamp, let alone betraying the way to his
late habitat,--even were she able,--she never would do it, though burned
at the stake. The determination had a dark look; nevertheless, two
glimmers lighted it: one was the hope, in a mistrust of her own
strength, that Sarp had already gone; the other was a perception that
the best way to keep Sarp's secret was to make off with it. She began to
question what authority Mas'r Henry had to demand this secret from her;
she answered in her own mind, that he had no authority at all;--then she
was doubly determined that he should not have it. She had heard talk of
chivalry at table and among guests; she had half a comprehension of what
it meant; she wondered if this were not a case in point,--if it were,
after all, the color, and not the sex, that weighed. That aroused her
indignation, aroused also a feeling of race: she would not have changed
color that moment with the fairest Circassian of a harem, could the
white slave have appeared in all the dazzle of her beauty.--Mas'r Henry
had called that man, of whom he read aloud to-day, her ancestor. She
knew what that was, for she had heard Miss Emma boast of her
progenitors. But he was free; then it followed that she was not a slave
by nature, only by vicious force of circumstance. Mas'r Henry had no
right to her whatever; instead of her stealing herself, he was the thief
who retained her against her will. What could be the name of the country
where that man had lived? It was somewhere a long way from this place,
down the river, perhaps beyond the sea;--there were others there, then,
still, most likely. Flor had an idea that among them she might be a
superior, possibly received with welcome, invested with honors;--she
lingered over the pleasant vision. But how was one ever to find the
spot? Ah, that book of Mas'r Henry's would tell, if she could but take
it away to those kind people Sarp had told of. So she meditated awhile
on the curious travels with Sordello for a guide-book, till old
affections smote her for having thought of taking the thing, when "Mas'r
Henry set so by it," and she put the vision aside, endeavoring to recall
in its place all that Sarp had told her of the North. She realized then,
personally, what a wide world it was. Why should she stay shut in this
one point upon it all: a hill and the fir wood behind her; marshes on
this side; woods again on the other; low hills far away before her; out
of them all, the dark torrent of the river showing the swift way to
freedom and the great sea? She drew in a full breath, as if close air
oppressed her.--A bird flew over her then, high above her head,
careering in fickle circles, and at length sailing down out of sight far
into other heavens. Flor watched him bitterly; she comprehended Zoë's
scorn of her past content;--if only she had wings to spread! But Sarp
had told her, that, if she went away, she would one day have wings. None
of Sarp's other arguments weighed a doit,--but wings to roam with over
this beautiful world! The liberty of vagabondage! She watched the clouds
chasing one another through the sunny heaven, watched their shadows
chasing along the fields and hills below; her heart burned that
everything in the world should be more free than she herself. She felt
the wind fanning over her on its way, she took the rich odors that it
brought, she looked after the flower-petal that fluttered away with it,
she saw the strong sunshine penetrating among the shadows of a jungly
spot and catching a thousand points of color in the gloom, she
recognized the constant fluent interchange among all the atoms of the
universe;--why was she alone, capable of flight, chained to one
spot?--She gazed around her at the squalor and the want, the brutish
shapes and faces, her own no better, at the narrow huts; thought of the
dull routine of work never to enrich herself, the possibility of
purchase and cruelty;--she sprung to her feet, all her blood boiling; it
seemed out of the question for her to endure it another moment.--Mas'r
Henry had told her once that he could make his fortune with her dancing,
if he chose; she stood as much in need of a fortune as Mas'r Henry,--why
not make it for herself? why not be off and away, her own mistress,
earning and eating her own bread, sending some day for Zoë, finding Sarp
in those far-off happy latitudes?--It occurred to her, like a discovery
of her own, that, doing the work she was bidden, taking the food she was
given, whipped at will, and bought and sold, she was no better than one
among the cattle of the place;--the sudden sense of degradation made
even her dark cheek burn. She laid a hand down on the earth, her great
Teraph, to see if it were possible it could still be warm and such a
wrong done to her its child. Then, all at once, she understood that wood
and river were open to her fugitive feet, and if she stayed longer in
slavery, it was the fault of no one but herself.--She stood up, for some
one called her; she obeyed the call with alacrity, for she found it in
her power to do so or not as she chose. She felt taller as she stepped
along, and held up her head with the dignity of personality. She
acknowledged, perhaps, that she was no equal of Miss Emma's,--that the
creative hand, making its first essay on her, rounded its complete work
in Miss Emma; but she declared herself now no mere offshoot of the
sod,--she was a human being, a being of beating pulses and affections,
and something within her, stifled here, longing to soar and away.

It was dark before Flor had ceased her novel course of thinking, pursued
through all her little tasks,--beautiful star-lighted dark, full of
broken breezes, soft and warm, and loaded with passionate spices and
flower-breaths; she was alone again, under the shadows of the trees,
entirely surrendered to her whirling fancies. In these few hours she had
lived to the effect of years. She was neither hungry nor tired; she was
conscious of but a single thing,--her whole being seemed effervescing
into one wild longing after liberty. It was not that she could no longer
brook control and be at the beck of each; it was a natural instinct,
awakened at last in all the strength of maturity, that would not let her
breathe another breath in peace unless it were her own,--that made her
feel as though her chains were chafing into the bone,--that taught her
the unutterable vileness and loathliness of bonds,--that convicted her,
in being a slave, of being something foul upon the fair face of
creation. She sat casting about for ways of escape. It was absurd to
think she could again blunder on that secure retreat of the swamp before
being overtaken; no boats ever passed along down the foaming river; if
she were some little mole to hide and burrow in the ground till danger
were over,--but no, she would rather front fear and ruin than lose one
iota of her newly recognized identity. But there was no other path of
safety; she clutched the ground with both hands in her powerlessness; in
all the heaven and earth there seemed to be nothing to help her.

So at last Flor rose; since she could not get away, she must stay; as
for the next day's punishment, she could laugh at it,--it was not its
weight, but its wickedness, that troubled her; but escape, some time,
she would. Lying in wait for method, ambushed for opportunity, it would
go hard, if all failed. Of what value would life be then? she could but
throw that after. So at some time, that was certain, she would
go,--when, it was idle to say; it might be years before affairs were
more propitious than now,--but then, at last, one day, the place that
had known her should know her no more. Nevertheless, despite all this
will and resolution, the heart of the child had sunk like a plummet at
thought of leaving everything, at fear of future fortune; this
deferring, after all, was half like respite.

Flor drew near the out-door fire, where Zoë and one or two others busied
themselves. Something excited them extremely, it was plain to see and
hear. Flor, beyond the circle of the light, strained her ears to listen.
It was only a crumb of comfort that she obtained, but one of those
miraculous crumbs to which there are twelve baskets of fragments: the
Linkum gunboats were down at the mouth of the river. Oh! heaven a boat's
length off! A day and night's drifting and rowing; then climbing the
side slaves, treading the deck freemen,--the shackles fallen, the hands
loosened, the soul saved!

But the boat? There was not such a thing along these banks. Improvise
one. That was not possible. Flor listened, and the wild gasps of hope
died out again into the dulness of despair. Some other time,--not this.
As she stood still, idly and hopelessly hearkening to the mutter of the
old women, with the patches of flickering fire-light falling on their
faces in strange play and revelation, there stole upon her ear a sweeter
and distincter sound, the voice of Miss Agatha, as, leaning out upon the
night, she sang a plaint that consorted with her melancholy mood,
learned in her Northern home in happier hours, without a thought of the
moment of misery that might make it real.

    Sooner or later the storms shall beat
    Over my slumber from head to feet;
    Sooner or later the winds shall rave
    In the long grass above my grave.

    I shall not heed them where I lie,
    Nothing their sound shall signify,
    Nothing the headstone's fret of rain,
    Nothing to me the dark day's pain.

    Sooner or later the sun shall shine
    With tender warmth on that mound of mine;
    Sooner or later, in summer air,
    Clover and violet blossom there.

    I shall not feel in that deep-laid rest
    The sheeted light fall over my breast,
    Nor ever note in those hidden hours
    The wind-blown breath of the tossing flowers.

    Sooner or later the stainless snows
    Shall add their hush to my mute repose;
    Sooner or later shall slant and shift
    And heap my bed with their dazzling drift.

    Chill though that frozen pall shall seem,
    Its touch no colder can make the dream
    That recks not the sweet and sacred dread
    Shrouding the city of the dead.

    Sooner or later the bee shall come
    And fill the noon with his golden hum;
    Sooner or later on half-paused wing
    The blue-bird's warble about me ring,--

    Ring and chirrup and whistle with glee,
    Nothing his music means to me,
    None of these beautiful things shall know
    How soundly their lover sleeps below.

    Sooner or later, far out in the night,
    The stars shall over me wing their flight;
    Sooner or later my darkling dews
    Catch the white spark in their silent ooze.

    Never a ray shall part the gloom
    That wraps me round in the kindly tomb;
    Peace shall be perfect for lip and brow
    Sooner or later,--oh, why not now!

Little of this wobegone song touched Flor even enough to let her know
there was some one in the world more wretched than herself. The last
word, the last phrase, rang in her ears like a command,--now, why not
now?--waiting for times and chances, hesitating, delaying, since go she
must,--then why not now? What more did she need than a board and two
sticks? Here they were in plenty. And with that, a bright thought, a
fortunate memory,--the old abandoned scow! And if, after all, she
failed, and went to watery death, did not the singer tell in how little
time all would be quiet and oblivious once again? Oh, why not now?

Perhaps Flor would never have been entirely subjected to this state of
mind but for an injury that she had suffered. Miss Emma had been
rendered ill by the night's exposure in the swamp. In consequence of her
complicity in this crime, Flor had been excluded from her young
mistress's room during her indisposition, and ever since had not only
been deprived of her companionship, but had not even been allowed to
look upon her from a distance. A single week of that made life a desert.
Too proud to complain, Flor saw in this the future, and so recognized,
it may be, that it would be easy to part from the place, having already
parted with Miss Emma. She drew nearer to the group now, and stood there
long, while they wondered at her, gazing into the fire, her head fallen
upon her breast. There was only one thing more to do: her little
squirrel; nothing but her front of battle had kept it safe this many a
day; were she once gone, it would be at the mercy of the first gridiron.
Nobody saw the tears, in the dark and the distance, fast falling over
the tiny sacrifice; but the cook might have guessed at them, when Flor
brought her last offering, and begged that it might be prepared and
taken in to Miss Emma.

How many things there were to do that evening! One wanted water, and
another wanted towels, and a third wanted everything there was to want.
Last of all, little Pluto came running with his unkindled torch,--Mas'r
Henry wanted dancing.

Flor rummaged for her castanets, her tambourine, her ankle-rings,--they
had all been thrown hither and thither,--and at length, as Pluto's torch
flared up, ran tinkling along the turf, into the glow; and her voice
broke, as she danced, into high, clear singing, triumphant singing, that
welled up to the very sky, and made the air echo with sweetness. As she
sang, all her slender form swayed to the tune, posturing, gesturing,
bending now, now almost soaring, while, falling in showers of twinkling
steps, her fleet feet seemed to weave their way on air. What ailed the
girl? all asked;--such a play of emotion of mingled sorrow and ecstasy,
never before had been interpreted by measure; so a disembodied spirit
might have danced, and her dusky hue, the strange glancing lights thrown
upon her here and there by the torch, going and coming and glittering at
pleasure, made her appear like a shadow disporting before them. At
length and slowly, note by note, with wild lingering turns to which the
movement languished, her tone fell from its lofty jubilance to a happy
flute-like humming; she waved her arms in the mimic tenderness of
repeated and passionate farewells; then, still humming, faint and low
and sweet, tripped off again, through the glow, along the turf, into the
shadow, and out of sight; and it seemed to the beholders as if a
fountain of gladness had gushed from the sod, and, playing in the light
a moment, had run away down to join the river and the breaking sea.

Mas'r Henry called after Flor to throw her a penny; but she failed to
reappear, and he tossed it to Pluto instead, and forgot about her.

       *       *       *       *       *

So, bailed out and stuffed with marsh-grass in its crazy cracks, the old
scow was afloat, the rope was cut, and by midnight it went drifting down
the river. Waist-deep in shoal water, its appropriator had dragged it
round inside the channel's ledge of rocks, with their foam and
commotion, to the somewhat more placid flow below, and now it shot away
over the smooth, slippery surface of the stream, that gave back
reflections of the starbeams like a polished mirror.

Terrified by the course along the rapid river, the little creature
crouched in the bottom of the scow, now breathless as it sped along the
slope, now catching at the edge as in some chance eddy or flow it
swirled from side to side, or, spinning quite round, went down the other
way. But by-and-by gathering courage, she took her station, kneeling
where with the long poles, previously provided, she could best direct
her galley and avoid the dangers of a castaway. Peering this way and
that through the darkness, carried along without labor, spying countless
dangers where none existed, passing safely by them all, coming into a
strange region of the river, she began to feel the exhilaration of
venturous voyagers close upon unknown shores; the rush of the river and
the rustle of the forest were all the sounds she heard; she was speeding
alone through the darks of space to find another world. But, with time,
a more material sensation called her back,--her feet were wet. What if
the scow should founder! She flew to the old sun-dried gourd, and bailed
away again till her arms were tired. When she dared leave the gourd, she
was more calmly floating along and piercing an avenue of mighty gloom;
the river-banks had reared themselves two walls of stone, and over them
a hanging forest showed the heavens only like a scarf of stars caught
upon its tree-tops and shaking in the wind. The deep loneliness made
Flor tremble; the water that upbuoyed her was blackness itself; the way
before her was impenetrable; far up above her opened that rent of
sky,--so far, that she, a little dark waif among such tremendous
shadows, was all unguessed by any guardian eye.

But not for heaven itself bodily before her would she have turned about,
she who was all but free. The thought of that rose in her heart like
strong wings beating onward;--feverishly she followed.

Flor perceived now that the old scow was being borne along with a
strong, steady-motion, unlike its first fitful drift; it brought her
heart to her throat,--for just so, it seemed to her, would a torrent set
that was hastening to plunge over the side of the earth. She remembered,
with a start of cold horror, Zoë's dim tradition of a fall far off in
the river. She had never seen one, but Zoë had stamped its terrors
deeply. Still down in the gloom itself she could see nothing but the
slowly lightening sky overhead, the drowning stars, the rosy flush upon
the dark old tips feathering against a dewy grayness that was like
powdered light. But gradually she heard what conquered all necessity of
seeing,--heard a continuous murmurous sound that filled all the air and
grew to be a sullen roar. It seemed like the dread murmur from the world
beyond the grave, the roar in earthly ears of that awful silence. Flor's
quick senses were not long at fault. She seized her poles, and with all
her might endeavored to push in towards the side and out of the main
channel. Straws would have availed nearly as much; far faster than she
went in shore she drove down stream. It was getting to be morning
twilight all below; a soft, damp wind was blowing in her face; in the
distance she could see, like the changing outline of a phantom, a low
cloud of mist, wavering now on this side, now on that, but forever
rising and falling and hovering before her. She knew what it was. If she
could only bring her boat to that bank,--precipice though it was,--there
must be some broken piece to catch by! She toiled with all her puny
strength, and the great stream laughed at her and roared on. Suddenly,
what her wildest efforts failed to do, the river did itself,--dividing
into twenty currents for its plunge, some one of the eddies caught the
old scow in its teeth and sent it whirling along the inmost current of
all, close upon the shore. The rock, whose cleft the river had
primevally chosen, was here more broken than above; various edges
protruded maddeningly as Flor skimmed by almost within reach. Twice she
plucked at them and missed. One flat shelf, over which the thin water
slipped like a sheet of molten glass, remained and caught her eye; she
was no longer cold or stiff with terror, but frantic to save herself; it
was the only chance, the last; shooting by, she sprang forward, pole in
hand, touched it, fell, caught a ledge with her hands while the fierce
flow of the water lifted her off her feet, scrambled up breathlessly and
was safe, while the scow swept past, two flashing furlongs, poised a few
moments after on the brink of the fall, went majestically over, and came
up to the surface below in pieces.

Flor wrung her hands in dismay. She had not understood her situation
before. There was no escape now, it seemed,--not even to return. Nothing
was possible save starving to death on this ledge,--and after that, the
vultures. She sat there for a little while in a kind of stupor. She saw
the light falling slowly down, as it had fallen millions of mornings
before, and bringing out all blue and purple shadows on the wet old
rock; she saw the current ever hurrying by to join the tumult of the
cataract; she heard the deep, sweet music of the waters like a noisy
dream in her ears. With the shock of her wreck coming at the instant
when she fancied herself so swiftly and securely speeding on towards
safety and freedom, she felt indifferent to all succeeding fate. What if
she did die? who was she? what was she? nothing but an atom. What odds,
after all? The solution of her soliloquy was, that, before the first ray
of sunshine reached down and smote the dark torrent into glancing
emerald, she began to feel ravenously hungry, and found it a great deal
of odds, after all. She rose to her feet, grasping cautiously at the
slippery rock, and searched about her. There was another ledge close at
hand, corresponding to the one on which she stood; she crept forward and
transferred herself, with an infinitude of tremors, from this to that;
there was a foothold just beyond; she gained it. Up and down and all
along there were other projections, just enough for a hand, a foot: a
wet and terrible pathway; to follow it might be death, to neglect it
certainly was. What had she danced for all her days, if it had not made
her sure and nimble footed? Under her the foam leaped up, the spectral
mist crept like an icy breath, the spray sprinkled all about her,
swinging herself along from ledge to ledge, from jag to jag, like a
spider on a viewless thread. Now she hung just above the fall, looking
down and longing to leap, with nothing but a shining laurel-branch
between her and the boiling pits below; now, at last, a green hillside
sloped to the water's edge, sparkling across all its solitude with ten
thousand drops of dew, a broad, blue morning heaven bent and shone
overhead, and having raced the river in the moment's light-heartedness
of glee at her good hap, she sat some rods below, looking up at the fall
and dipping her bleeding and blistered feet in and out of the cool and
rapid-running river.

What was there now to do? To go back,--to go back,--not if she were torn
by lions! That was as impossible for her as to reverse a fiat of
creation. God had said to her,--"Let there be light." How could she,
then, return to darkness? To keep along on land,--it might be weeks
before she reached the quarter of the gunboats,--she would be seized as
a stray, and lodged in jail, and sold for whom it might concern. But
with her scow gone to pieces, what other thing was there to do? So she
sat looking up at the spurting cascades, with their horns of silver
leaping into the light, and all the clear brown and beryl rush of their
crystalline waters, and longing for her scow. If she had so much as the
bit of bark on which the squirrels crossed the river! She looked again
about her for relief. The rainbow at the foot of all the falls, in its
luminous, steady arch, seemed a bridge solid enough for even her little
black feet, had one side of the stream been any surer haven than the
other; and as she sought out its bases, her eye lighted on something
curiously like a weed swaying up and down. She picked her way to it, and
found it wedged where she could loosen it,--two planks still nailed to a
stout crossbar. She floated it, and held it fast a moment. What if she
trusted to it,--with neither sail nor rudder, as before, but now with
neither oar nor pole? On shore, for her there were only ravening wolves;
waterfalls were no worse than they, and perhaps there were no more
waterfalls. She stepped gingerly upon the fragment, seated and balanced
herself, paddled with her two hands, and thought to slip away. In spite
of everything, a kind of exultation bubbled up within her,--she felt as
if she were defying Destiny itself.

When, however, Flor intrusted herself to the stream, the stream received
the trust and seemed inclined to keep it; for there she stayed: the
planks tilted up and down, the water washed over her, but there were the
falls at nearly the same distance as when she embarked, and there they
stayed as well. The water, too, was no more fresh and sweet, but had a
salt and brackish taste. The sun was nearly overhead, and she was in an
agony of apprehension before she saw the falls slide slowly back, and in
one of a fresh succession of wonders, understanding nothing of it, she
found herself, with a strange sucking heave under her, falling on the
ebb-tide as before she had fallen on the mountain-current.

Gentle undulations of friendly hills seemed now to creep by; and through
their openings she caught glimpses of cotton-fields. There was a wicked
relish in her thoughts, as she pictured the dusky laborers at work
there, and she gliding by unseen in the idle sunshine. She passed again
between high banks of red earth, scored by land-slides, with springs
oozing out half-way up, and now and then clad in a mantle of vivid
growth and color,--a thicket of blossoming pomegranate darkening on a
sunburst of creamy dogwood, or a wild fig-tree sending its roots down to
drink, with a sweet-scented and gorgeous epiphyte weaving a flowery
enchantment about-them, and making the whole atmosphere reel with
richness. But all this verdant beauty, the lush luxuriance of
grape-vines, of dark myrtle-masses, of swinging curtains of convolvuli
almost brushing her head as she floated by,--nothing of this was new to
Flor, nothing precious; she could have given all the beauty of earth and
heaven for a crust of bread just then. She thought of the plantation
with a dry sob, but would not turn her face. She could not move much,
indeed, her position was so ticklish; hardy wretch as she was, she had
already become faint and famished: she contrived, resting her arms on
the crossbar, at last, to lay her head upon them; and thus lying,
perpetually bathed by the soft, warm dip and rise of the water, the pain
of hunger left her, and she saw the world waft by like a dream.

Slowly the evening began to fall. Flor marked the bright waters dim and
put on a bloomy purple along which rosy and golden shadows wandered and
mingled, stars looked timidly up from beneath her, and just over her
shoulder, as if all the daylight left had gathered in that one little
curved line, lay the suspicion of the tenderest new moon, like some
boatman of the skies essaying to encourage her with his apparition as he
floated lightly down the west. Flor paid heed to the spectacle in its
splendid quiet but briefly; her eyes were fixed on a great trail of
passion-flowers that blew out a gale of sweetness from their broad blue
disks. She had reached that hanging branch, lavishly blossoming here on
the wilderness, and had hung upon the tide beneath it for a while, till
she found herself gently moving back again; and now she swung slightly
to and fro, neither making nor losing headway, and, fond of such
sensuous delights, half content to lie thus and do nothing but breathe
the delicious odor stealing towards her, and resting in broad airy
swaths, it seemed, upon the bosom of the stream around her. By-and-by,
when the great blue star, that last night at the zenith seemed to
suspend all the tented drapery of the sky, hung there large and lovely
again, Flor, gazing up at it with a confused sense of passion-flowers in
heaven, half woke to find herself sliding down stream at last in
earnest. Her brain was very light and giddy; all her powers of
perception were momentarily heightened; she took notice of her seesawing
upon the ebb and flow, and understood that washing up and down the
shores, a mere piece of driftwood, life would long have left her ere she
attained the river's mouth, if she were not stranded by the way. The
branch of a cedar-tree came dallying by with that, brought down from
above the falls; she half rose, and caught at it, and fell back, but she
kept hold of it by just a twig, and, fatigued with the exertion, drowsed
away awhile. Waking again, after a little, her fingers still fast upon
it, she drew it over, fixed it upright as she could, and spread her
petticoat about it at the risk of utter capsize. The soft sweet wind
beat against the sail as happily as if it had been Cleopatra's weft of
purple silk, and carried her on, while she lay back, one arm around her
jury-mast, and half indifferently unconscious again. She had meant, on
reaching the gunboats,--ah, inconceivable bliss!--to win her way with
her feet; with willowy graces and eloquent pantomime, to have danced
along the deck and into favor trippingly: now, if she should have
strength enough left to fall on her knees, it would be strange. She
clung to the crossbar in a little while from blind habit; the rest of
her body seemed light and powerless. She was neither asleep nor awake
now, suffering nothing save occasionally a wild flutter of hope which
was joy and anguish together; but all things began mingling in her mind
in a species of delirium while she gave them attention, afterwards slid
by blank of all meaning but beauty. The lofty cypresses on the edge
above loomed into obelisks, and stood like shafts of ebony against a
glow of sunrise that stirred down deep in the night; dew-clouds, it
seemed, hung on them, and lifted and lowered when their veils of moss
waved here and there; the glistering laurel-leaves shivered in a network
of light and shade like imprisoned spirits troubling to be free; but
where the great magnolias stood were massed the white wings of angels
fanning forth fragrances untold and heavenly, and one by one slowly
revealing themselves in the dawn of another day. It seemed as if great
and awful spirits must be leading this little being into light and
freedom.

So the river lapsed along, and the sun blazed, and a torture of thirst
came and went as it had come and gone before; and sometimes swiftly,
sometimes slowly, the veering winds and the pendulous tides carried the
wreck and its burden along. Flor had planned, before she started, that
all her progress should be made by night; by day she would haul up among
the tall rushes or under the lee of some stump or rock, and so escape
strange sail and spying eyes. But there had been no need of this, for no
other boat had passed up or down the river since she sailed. If there
had, she could no more have feared it. She stole by a high deserted
garden, the paling broken half away. A tardy almond-tree was stirring
its tower of bloom in the sunshine up there; oranges were reddening on
an overhanging bough, whose wreaths of snowy sweetness made the air a
passionate delight; a luscious fruit dropped, with all its royal gloss,
into the river beside her, and she could not put out a hand to catch it.
She saw now all that passed, but no longer with any afterthoughts of
reference to herself; so sights might slip across the retina of a dead
man's eye; her identity seemed fading from her, as from some substance
on the point of dissolution into the wide universe. She felt like one
who, under an æsthetic influence, seems to himself careering through
mid-air, conscious only of motion and vanishing forms. Cultured uplands
and thick woods peopled with melodies all stole by, mere picture; the
long snake of the river crept through green meadowy shores haunted by
the cluck and clutter of the marsh-hen; from a bluff of the bank broke a
blaze of fire and a yelping roar, and something slapped and skipped
along the water,--a ball from a Rebel battery to bring the strange craft
to,--others followed and danced like demons through the hissing tide
that rocked under her and plunged up and down, tilting and turning and
half drowning the wreck. Flor looked at them all with wide eyes, at the
battery and at the bluff, and went by without any more sensation than
that dazed quiet in which, at the time, she would have gone down to
death with the soft waters laying their warm weight on her head, not
even thanking Fortune that in giving her a slippery plank gave her
something to elude either canister or catapult. Occasionally she felt a
pain, a strange parched pain; it burned awhile, and left her once more
oblivious. She slept a little, by fits and starts; sometimes the very
stillness stirred her. She listened and heard the turtle plumping down
into the stream, now and then the little fishes leaping and plashing,
the eels slipping in and out among the reeds and sedges at the side; far
away in the broad marshes, that, bathed in dim vapor, now lay all about
her, the cry of a bittern boomed; she saw a pair of herons flapping
inland over the gray swell of the water; there were some great purple
phantoms, darkly imagined monsters; looming near at hand:--all the
phantasmagoria drifted by,--and then, caught in the currents playing
forever by noon or night round the low edges of sand-bars and islets,
she was sweeping out to sea like chaff.

The sun was going down, a mere redness in the curdling fleecy haze; the
weltering seas rose and fell in broad sheets of burnished silver, the
monotone of their music followed them, a cool salt wind blew over them
and freshened them for storm. Flor rose on her arm and looked back,--the
breeze roused her; pain and fear and hope rose with her and looked back
too. Eager, feverish, fierce, recollecting and desiring and imprecating,
her dry lips parted for a shriek that the dryer throat had at first no
power to utter. In such wild longing pangs it seemed her heart would
burst as it beat. The low land, the great gunboats, all were receding,
and she was washing out to sea, a weed.--Well, then, wash!

       *       *       *       *       *

The stem of the boat rose lightly, riding over the rollers; the sturdy
arms kept flashing stroke; the great gulfs gaped for a life, no matter
whose; night would darken down on them soon;--pull with a will!

They heard her voice as they drew near: she had found it again, singing,
as the swan sings his death-song, loud and clear,--singing to herself
some song of her old happy dancing-days, while the spray powdered over
her and one broad wave lifted and tossed her on to the next,--no note of
sorrow in the song, and no regret.

It was but brief delay beside her; then they pulled back, the wind
piping behind them,--nearer to that purple cloud with its black plume of
smoke, up the side and over; all the white faces crowding round her,
pallid blots; one dark face smiling on her like Sarp's; friendship and
succor everywhere about her; and over her, blowing out broadly upon the
stormy wind, that flag whose starry shadow nowhere shelters a slave.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

SUMMER, 1865.


    Dead is the roll of the drums,
      And the distant thunders die,
      They fade in the far-off sky;
    And a lovely summer comes,
      Like the smile of Him on high.

    Lulled the storm and the onset.
      Earth lies in a sunny swoon;
      Stiller splendor of noon,
    Softer glory of sunset,
      Milder starlight and moon!

    For the kindly Seasons love us;
      They smile over trench and clod,
    (Where we left the bravest of us,)--
      There's a brighter green of the sod,
    And a holier calm above us
      In the blesséd Blue of God.

    The roar and ravage were vain;
      And Nature, that never yields,
    Is busy with sun and rain
    At her old sweet work again
      On the lonely battle-fields.

    How the tall white daisies grow
      Where the grim artillery rolled!
    (Was it only a moon ago?
      It seems a century old,)--

    And the bee hums in the clover,
      As the pleasant June comes on;
    Aye, the wars are all over,--
      But our good Father is gone.

    There was tumbling of traitor fort,
      Flaming of traitor fleet,--
    Lighting of city and port,
      Clasping in square and street.

    There was thunder of mine and gun,
      Cheering by mast and tent,--
    When--his dread work all done,
    And his high fame full won--
      Died the Good President.

    In his quiet chair he sate,
      Pure of malice or guile,
    Stainless of fear or hate,--
      And there played a pleasant smile
    On the rough and careworn face;
      For his heart was all the while
    On means of mercy and grace.

    The brave old Flag drooped o'er him,
      (A fold in the hard hand lay,)--
      He looked, perchance, on the play,--
    But the scene was a shadow before him,
      For his thoughts were far away.

    'Twas but the morn, (yon fearful
      Death-shade, gloomy and vast,
      Lifting slowly at last,)
      His household heard him say,
    "'Tis long since I've been so cheerful,
      So light of heart as to-day."

    'Twas dying, the long dread clang,--
      But, or ever the blesséd ray
      Of peace could brighten to-day,
      Murder stood by the way,--
    Treason struck home his fang!
    One throb--and, without a pang,
      That pure soul passed away.

    Idle, in this our blindness,
      To marvel we cannot see
      Wherefore such things should be,
    Or to question Infinite Kindness
      Of this or of that Decree,

    Or to fear lest Nature bungle,
      That in certain ways she errs:
    The cobra in the jungle,
        The crotalus in the sod,
      Evil and good are hers;--
      Murderers and torturers!
        Ye, too, were made by God.

    All slowly heaven is nighing,
      Needs that offence must come;
    Ever the Old Wrong dying
    Will sting, in the death-coil lying,
      And hiss till its fork be dumb.

    But dare deny no further,
      Black-hearted, brazen-cheeked!
    Ye on whose lips yon murther
      These fifty moons hath reeked,--

    From the wretched scenic dunce,
      Long a-hungered to rouse
    A Nation's heart for the nonce,--
    (Hugging his hell, so that once
      He might yet bring down the house!)--

    From the commons, gross and simple,
      Of a blind and bloody land,
        (Long fed on venomous lies!)--
      To the horrid heart and hand
        That sumless murder dyes,--
    The hand that drew the wimple
        Over those cruel eyes.

    Pass on,--your deeds are done,
    Forever sets your sun;
      Vainly ye lived or died,
    'Gainst Freedom and the Laws,--
    And your memory and your cause
      Shall haunt o'er the trophied tide

    Like some Pirate Caravel floating
      Dreadful, adrift--whose crew
    From her yard-arms dangle rotting,--
      The old Horror of the blue.

    Avoid ye,--let the morrow
      Sentence or mercy see.
    Pass to your place: our sorrow
    Is all too dark to borrow
      One shade from such as ye.

    But if one, with merciful eyes,
    From the forgiving skies
      Looks, 'mid our gloom, to see
    Yonder where Murder lies,
    Stripped of the woman guise,
      And waiting the doom,--'tis he.

    Kindly Spirit!--Ah, when did treason
      Bid such a generous nature cease,
    Mild by temper and strong by reason,
      But ever leaning to love and peace?

    A head how sober! a heart how spacious!
      A manner equal with high or low;
    Rough, but gentle; uncouth, but gracious;
      And still inclining to lips of woe.

    Patient when saddest, calm when sternest,
      Grieved when rigid for justice' sake;
    Given to jest, yet ever in earnest,
      If aught of right or truth were at stake.

    Simple of heart, yet shrewd therewith;
      Slow to resolve, but firm to hold;
    Still with parable and with myth
      Seasoning truth, like Them of old;
    Aptest humor and quaintest pith!
      (Still we smile o'er the tales he told.)

    And if, sometimes, in saddest stress,
      That mind, over-meshed by fate,
      (Ringed round with treason and hate,
    And guiding the State by guess,)
      Could doubt and could hesitate,--
    Who, alas! had done less
      In the world's most deadly strait?

    But how true to the Common Cause!
      Of his task how unweary!
    How hard he worked, how good he was,
      How kindly and cheery!

    How, while it marked redouble
      The howls and hisses and sneers,
    That great heart bore our trouble
      Through all these terrible years,--

    And, cooling passion with state,
      And ever counting the cost,
    Kept the Twin World-Robbers in wait
      Till the time for their clutch was lost!

    How much he cared for the State,
      How little for praise or pelf!
    A man too simply great
      To scheme for his proper self.

    But in mirth that strong heart rested
      From its strife with the false and violent,--
    A jester!--So Henry jested,
      So jested William the Silent.

    Orange, shocking the dull
      With careless conceit and quip,
    Yet holding the dumb heart full
      With Holland's life on his lip![D]

    Navarre, bonhomme and pleasant,
      Pitying the poor man's lot,
    Wishing that every peasant
      A chicken had in his pot;

    Feeding the stubborn bourgeois,
      Though Paris still held out;
    Holding the League in awe,
      But jolly with all about.

    Out of an o'erflowed fulness
      Those deep hearts seemed too light,--
    (And so 'twas, murder's dulness
      Was set with sullener spite.)

    Yet whoso might pierce the guise
      Of mirth in the man we mourn
    Would mark, and with grieved surprise,
      All the great soul had borne,
    In the piteous lines, and the kind, sad eyes
      So dreadfully wearied and worn.

    And we trusted (the last dread page
      Once turned of our Doomsday Scroll)
      To have seen him, sunny of soul,
    In a cheery, grand old age.

    But, Father, 'tis well with thee!
      And since ever, when God draws nigh,
    Some grief for the good must be,
      'Twas well, even so to die,--

    'Mid the thunder of Treason's fall,
      The yielding of haughty town,
    The crashing of cruel wall,
      The trembling of tyrant crown!

    The ringing of hearth and pavement
      To the clash of falling chains,--
    The centuries of enslavement
      Dead, with their blood-bought gains!

    And through trouble weary and long
      Well hadst thou seen the way,
    Leaving the State so strong
      It did not reel for a day;

    And even in death couldst give
      A token for Freedom's strife,--
    A proof how republics live,
      And not by a single life,

    But the Right Divine of man,
      And the many, trained to be free,--
    And none, since the world began,
      Ever was mourned like thee.

    Dost thou feel it, O noble Heart!
      (So grieved and so wronged below,)
    From the rest wherein thou art?
    Do they see it, those patient eyes?
    Is there heed in the happy skies
      For tokens of world-wide woe?

    The Land's great lamentations,
      The mighty mourning of cannon,
        The myriad flags half-mast,--
    The late remorse of the nations,
      Grief from Volga to Shannon!
        (Now they know thee at last.)

    How, from gray Niagara's shore
      To Canaveral's surfy shoal,--
    From the rough Atlantic roar
      To the long Pacific roll,--
      For bereavement and for dole,
    Every cottage wears its weed,
      White as thine own pure soul,
    And black as the traitor deed!

    How, under a nation's pall,
      The dust so dear in our sight
        To its home on the prairie passed,--
    The leagues of funeral,
      The myriads, morn and night,
        Pressing to look their last!

    Nor alone the State's Eclipse;
      But how tears in hard eyes gather,--
    And on rough and bearded lips,
    Of the regiments and the ships,--
      "Oh, our dear Father!"

    And methinks of all the million
      That looked on the dark dead face,
    'Neath its sable-plumed pavilion,
      The crone of a humbler race
    Is saddest of all to think on,
      And the old swart lips that said,
    Sobbing, "Abraham Lincoln!
      Oh, he is dead, he is dead!"

    Hush! let our heavy souls
      To-day be glad; for agen
    The stormy music swells and rolls
      Stirring the hearts of men.

    And under the Nation's Dome,
      They've guarded so well and long,
    Our boys come marching home,
      Two hundred thousand strong.

    All in the pleasant month of May,
      With war-worn colors and drums,
    Still, through the livelong summer's day,
      Regiment, regiment comes.

    Like the tide, yesty and barmy,
      That sets on a wild lee-shore,
    Surge the ranks of an army
      Never reviewed before!

    Who shall look on the like agen,
      Or see such host of the brave?
    A mighty River of marching men
        Rolls the Capital through,--
      Rank on rank, and wave on wave,
        Of bayonet-crested blue!

    How the chargers neigh and champ,
    (Their riders weary of camp,)
      With curvet and with caracole!--
    The cavalry comes with thundrous tramp,
      And the cannons heavily roll.

    And ever, flowery and gay,
    The Staff sweeps on in a spray
      Of tossing forelocks and manes;
    But each bridle-arm has a weed
    Of funeral, black as the steed
      That fiery Sheridan reins.

    Grandest of mortal sights
      The sun-browned ranks to view,---
    The Colors ragg'd in a hundred fights,
      And the dusty Frocks of Blue!

    And all day, mile on mile,
    With cheer, and waving, and smile,
    The war-worn legions defile
      Where the nation's noblest stand;
    And the Great Lieutenant looks on,
      With the Flower of a rescued Land,--
    For the terrible work is done,
    And the Good Fight is won
      For God and for Fatherland.

    So, from the fields they win,
      Our men are marching home,
      A million are marching home!
    To the cannon's thundering din,
      And banners on mast and dome,--
    And the ships come sailing in
      With all their ensigns dight,
      As erst for a great sea-fight.

    Let every color fly,
      Every pennon flaunt in pride;
    Wave, Starry Flag, on high!
    Float in the sunny sky,
      Stream o'er the stormy tide!
    For every stripe of stainless hue,
    And every star in the field of blue,
    Ten thousand of the brave and true
      Have laid them down and died.

    And in all our pride to-day
      We think, with a tender pain,
    Of those so far away,
      They will not come home again.

    And our boys had fondly thought,
      To-day, in marching by,
    From the ground so dearly bought,
    And the fields so bravely fought,
      To have met their Father's eye.

    But they may not see him in place,
      Nor their ranks be seen of him;
    We look for the well-known face,
      And the splendor is strangely dim.

    Perished?--who was it said
      Our Leader had passed away?
    Dead? Our President dead?--
      He has not died for a day!

    We mourn for a little breath,
      Such as, late or soon, dust yields;
    But the Dark Flower of Death
      Blooms in the fadeless fields.

    We looked on a cold, still brow:
      But Lincoln could yet survive;
      He never was more alive,
    Never nearer than now.

    For the pleasant season found him,
      Guarded by faithful hands,
      In the fairest of Summer Lands:
    With his own brave Staff around him,
      There our President stands.

    There they are all at his side,
      The noble hearts and true,
      That did all men might do,--
    Then slept, with their swords, and died.

    Of little the storm has reft us
      But the brave and kindly clay
    ('Tis but dust where Lander left us,
      And but turf where Lyon lay).

    There's Winthrop, true to the end,
      And Ellsworth of long ago,
      (First fair young head laid low!)
    There 's Baker, the brave old friend,
      And Douglas, the friendly foe:

    (Baker, that still stood up
      When 'twas death on either hand:
    "'Tis a soldier's part to stoop,
      But the Senator must stand.")

    The heroes gather and form:--
      There's Cameron, with his scars,
    Sedgwick, of siege and storm,
      And Mitchell, that joined his stars.

    Winthrop, of sword and pen,
      Wadsworth, with silver hair,
    Mansfield, ruler of men,
      And brave McPherson are there.

    Birney, who led so long,
      Abbott, born to command,
    Elliott the bold, and Strong,
      Who fell on the hard-fought strand.

    Lytle, soldier and bard,
      And the Ellets, sire and son,
    Ransom, all grandly scarred,
    And Redfield, no more on guard,
      (But Alatoona is won!)

    Reno, of pure desert,
      Kearney, with heart of flame,
    And Russell, that hid his hurt
      Till the final death-bolt came.

    Terrill, dead where he fought,
      Wallace, that would not yield,
    And Sumner, who vainly sought
      A grave on the foughten field

    (But died ere the end he saw,
      With years and battles outworn).
    There's Harmon of Kenesaw,
    And Ulric Dahlgren, and Shaw,
      That slept with his Hope Forlorn.

    Bayard, that knew not fear,
      (True as the knight of yore,)
    And Putnam, and Paul Revere,
      Worthy the names they bore.
    Allen, who died for others,
      Bryan, of gentle fame,
    And the brave New-England brothers
      That have left us Lowell's name.

    Home, at last, from the wars,--
      Stedman, the staunch and mild,
      And Janeway, our hero-child,
    Home, with his fifteen scars!

    There's Porter, ever in front,
      True son of a sea-king sire,
    And Christian Foote, and Dupont
    (Dupont, who led his ships
    Rounding the first Ellipse
      Of thunder and of fire).

    There's Ward, with his brave death-wounds,
      And Cummings, of spotless name,
    And Smith, who hurtled his rounds
      When deck and hatch were aflame;

    Wainwright, steadfast and true,
      Rodgers, of brave sea-blood,
    And Craven, with ship and crew
      Sunk in the salt sea flood.

    And, a little later to part,
      Our Captain, noble and dear--
      (Did they deem thee, then, austere?
    Drayton!--O pure and kindly heart!
      Thine is the seaman's tear.)

    All such,--and many another,
      (Ah, list how long to name!)
    That stood like brother by brother,
      And died on the field of fame.

    And around--(for there can cease
      This earthly trouble)--they throng,
    The friends that had passed in peace,
      The foes that have seen their wrong.

    (But, a little from the rest,
      With sad eyes looking down,
      And brows of softened frown,
    With stern arms on the chest,
    Are two, standing abreast,--
      Stonewall and Old John Brown.)

    But the stainless and the true,
      These by their President stand,
    To look on his last review,
      Or march with the old command.

    And lo, from a thousand fields,
      From all the old battle-haunts,
    A greater Army than Sherman wields,
      A grander Review than Grant's!

    Gathered home from the grave,
      Risen from sun and rain,--
    Rescued from wind and wave,
      Out of the stormy main,--
    The Legions of our Brave
      Are all in their lines again!

    Many a stout Corps that went,
    Full-ranked, from camp and tent,
      And brought back a brigade;
    Many a brave regiment,
      That mustered only a squad.

    The lost battalions,
      That, when the fight went wrong,
    Stood and died at their guns,--
      The stormers steady and strong,

    With their best blood that bought
      Scarp, and ravelin, and wall,--
    The companies that fought
      Till a corporal's guard was all.

    Many a valiant crew,
      That passed in battle and wreck,--
    Ah, so faithful and true!
      They died on the bloody deck,
    They sank in the soundless blue.

    All the loyal and bold
      That lay on a soldier's bier,--
      The stretchers borne to the rear,
    The hammocks lowered to the hold.

    The shattered wreck we hurried,
      In death-fight, from deck and port,--
    The Blacks that Wagner buried,
      That died in the Bloody Fort!

    Comrades of camp and mess,
      Left, as they lay, to die,
    In the battle's sorest stress,
      When the storm of fight swept by:
    They lay in the Wilderness,--
      Ah, where did they not lie?

    In the tangled swamp they lay,
      They lay so still on the sward!--
    They rolled in the sick-bay,
    Moaning their lives away;--
      They flushed in the fevered ward.

    They rotted in Libby yonder,
      They starved in the foul stockade,--
    Hearing afar the thunder
      Of the Union cannonade!

    But the old wounds all are healed,
      And the dungeoned limbs are free,--
    The Blue Frocks rise from the field,
      The Blue Jackets out of the sea.

    They've 'scaped from the torture-den,
      They've broken the bloody sod,
    They're all come to life agen!--
    The Third of a Million men
      That died for Thee and for God!

    A tenderer green than May
      The Eternal Season wears,--
    The blue of our summer's day
      Is dim and pallid to theirs,--
    The Horror faded away,
      And 'twas heaven all unawares!

    Tents on the Infinite Shore!
      Flags in the azuline sky,
    Sails on the seas once more!
      To-day, in the heaven on high,
    All under arms once more!

    The troops are all in their lines,
      The guidons flutter and play;
    But every bayonet shines,
      For all must march to-day.

    What lofty pennons flaunt?
    What mighty echoes haunt,
      As of great guns, o'er the main?
      Hark to the sound again!
    The Congress is all-ataunt!
      The Cumberland's manned again!

    All the ships and their men
      Are in line of battle to-day,--
    All at quarters, as when
      Their last roll thundered away,--
    All at their guns, as then,
      For the Fleet salutes to-day.

    The armies, have broken camp
      On the vast and sunny plain,
      The drums are rolling again;
    With steady, measured tramp,
      They're marching all again.

    With alignment firm and solemn,
      Once again they form
    In mighty square and column,--
      But never for charge and storm.

    The Old Flag they died under
      Floats above them on the shore,
    And on the great ships yonder
      The ensigns dip once more,--
    And once again the thunder
      Of the thirty guns and four!

    In solid platoons of steel,
      Under heaven's triumphal arch,
    The long lines break and wheel;
      And the word is, "Forward, march!"

    The colors ripple o'erhead,
      The drums roll up to the sky,
    And with martial time and tread
      The regiments all pass by,--
    The ranks of our faithful Dead,
      Meeting their President's eye.

    With a soldier's quiet pride
      They smile o'er the perished pain,
      For their anguish was not vain,--
    For thee, O Father, we died!
      And we did not die in vain.

    March on, your last brave mile!
      Salute him, Star and Lace,
    Form round him, rank and file,
      And look on the kind, rough face;
    But the quaint and homely smile
      Has a glory and a grace
    It never had known erewhile,--
      Never, in time and space.

    Close round him, hearts of pride!
    Press near him, side by side,--
      Our Father is not alone!
    For the Holy Right ye died,
    And Christ, the Crucified,
      Waits to welcome his own.

FOOTNOTES:

[D] "His temperament was cheerful. At table, the pleasures of which in
moderation were his only relaxation, he was always animated and merry;
and this jocoseness was partly natural, partly intentional. In the
darkest hours of his country's trial, he affected a serenity he was far
from feeling; so that his apparent gayety at momentous epochs was even
censured by dullards, who could not comprehend its philosophy, nor
applaud the flippancy of William the Silent. He went through life
bearing the load of a people's sorrows with a smiling face."--Motley's
_Rise of the Dutch Republic_.

Perhaps a lively national sense of humor is one of the surest exponents
of advanced civilization. Certainly a grim sullenness and fierceness
have been the leading traits of the Rebellion for Slavery; while
Freedom, like a Brave at the stake, has gone through her long agony with
a smile and a jest ever on her lips.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Letters to Various Persons_, By HENRY D. THOREAU. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields.

The prose of Thoreau is daily winning recognition as possessing some of
the very highest qualities of thought and utterance, in a degree
scarcely rivalled in contemporary literature. In spite of whim and
frequent over-refining, and the entire omission of many important
aspects of human life, these wondrous merits exercise their charm, and
we value everything which lets us into the workshop of so rare a mind.
These letters, most of which were addressed to a single confidential
friend, give us Thoreau's thoughts in undress, and there has been no
previous book in which we came so near him. It is like engraving the
studies of an artist,--studies many of which were found too daring or
difficult for final execution, and which must be shown in their original
shape or not at all. To any one who was more artist than thinker this
exhibition would be doing wrong; but to one like Thoreau, more thinker
than artist, it is an act of justice.

The public, being always eager for the details of personal life, and
therefore especially hungry for private letters, will hardly make this
distinction. All is held to be right which gives us more personality in
print. One can fancy the exasperation of a gossip, however, on opening
these profound and philosophic leaves. There is almost no private
history in them; and even of Thoreau's beloved science of Natural
History, very little. He does, indeed, begin one letter with "Dear
Mother, ... Pray have you the seventeen-year locust in Concord?" which
recalls Mendelssohn's birthday letter to his mother, opening with two
bars of music. But even such mundane matters as these occur rarely in
the book, which is chiefly made up of pure thought, and that of the
highest and often of the most subtile quality.

Thoreau had, in literature as in life, a code of his own, which, if
sometimes lax where others were stringent, was always stringent in
higher matters, where others were lax. Even the friendship of Emerson
could not coerce him into that careful elaboration which gives dignity
and sometimes a certain artistic monotony to the works of our great
essayist. Emerson never wilfully leaves a point unguarded, never allows
himself to be caught in undress. Thoreau spurns this punctiliousness,
and thus impairs his average execution; while for the same reason he
attains, in favored moments, a diction more flowing and a more lyric
strain than his teacher ever allows himself, at least in prose. He also
secures, through this daring, the occasional expression of more delicate
as well as more fantastic thoughts. And there is an interesting passage
in these letters where he rather unexpectedly recognizes the dignity of
literary art as art, and states very finely its range of power. "To look
at literature,--how many fine thoughts has every man had! how few fine
thoughts are expressed! Yet we never have a fantasy so subtile and
ethereal, but that _talent merely_, with more resolution and faithful
persistency, after a thousand failures, might fix and engrave it in
distinct and enduring words, and we should see that our dreams are the
solidest facts that we know." The Italics are his own, and the glimpse
at his literary method is very valuable.

One sees also, in these letters, how innate in him was that grand
simplicity of spiritual attitude, compared with which most confessions
of faith seem to show something hackneyed and second-hand. It seems the
first resumption--unless here again we must link his name with
Emerson's--of that great strain of thought of which Epictetus the slave
and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus the sovereign were the last previous
examples. Amid the general _Miserere_, here is one hymn of lofty cheer.
There is neither weak conceit nor weak contrition, but gratitude for
existence, and a sublime aim. "My actual life," he says, "is a fact in
view of which I have no occasion to congratulate myself; but for my
faith and aspiration I have respect. It is from these that I speak.
Every man's position is, in fact, too simple to be described.... I am
simply what I am, or I begin to be that.... I know that I am. I know
that another is who knows more than I, who takes interest in me, whose
creature, and yet whose kindred, in one sense, am I. I know that the
enterprise is worthy. I know that things work well. I have heard no bad
news." (p. 45.)

"Happy the man," he elsewhere nobly says, "who observes the heavenly
and the terrestrial law in just proportion; whose every faculty, from
the soles of his feet to the crown of his head, obeys the law of its
level; who neither stoops nor goes on tiptoe, but lives a balanced life,
acceptable to Nature and to God." And then he manfully adds,--"These
things I say; other things I do." Manfully, not mournfully; for his
life, though in many ways limited, was never, in any high sense,
unsuccessful; nor did he ever assume for one moment the attitude of
apology.

These limitations of his life no doubt impaired his thought also, in
certain directions. The letters might sometimes exhibit the record of
Carlyle's lion, attempting to live on chicken-weed. Here is a man of
vast digestive power, who, prizing the flavor of whortleberries and wild
apples, insists on making these almost his only food. It is amazing to
see what nutriment he extracts from them; yet would not, after all, an
ampler bill of fare have done better? Is there not something to be got
from the caucus and from the opera, which Thoreau abhorred, as well as
from the swamps which he justly loved? Could he not have spent two hours
rationally in Boston elsewhere than at the station-house of the railway
that led to Concord? His habits suggest a perpetual feeling of privation
and effort, and he has to be constantly on the alert to repel
condolence. This one-sidedness of result is a constant drawback on the
reader's enjoyment, and it is impossible to leave it out of sight. Yet
all criticism seems like cavilling, when one comes upon a series of
sentences like these:--

"Do what you love.... Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good
for something. All fables, indeed, have their morals; but the innocent
enjoy the story. Let nothing come between you and the light. Respect men
as brothers only. When you travel to the Celestial City, carry no letter
of introduction. When you knock, ask to see God,--none of the servants.
In what concerns you much, do not think that you have companions; know
that you are alone in the world." (p. 46.)

This suggests those wonderful strokes in the "Indenture" in "Wilhelm
Meister," and Goethe cannot surpass it.

His finest defence of his habitual solitude occurs in these letters
also, and has some statements whose felicitousness can hardly be
surpassed. "As for any dispute about solitude and society, any
comparison is impertinent.... It is not that we love to be alone, but
that we love to soar; and when we do soar, the company grows thinner and
thinner, till there is none at all. It is either the tribune on the
plain, a sermon on the mount, or a very private ecstasy still higher up.
We are not the less to aim at the summits, though the multitude does not
ascend them. Use all the society that will abet you." (p. 139.)

And since the unsocial character of Thoreau's theory of life has been
one of the most serious charges against it, his fine series of thoughts
on love and marriage in this volume become peculiarly interesting. "Love
must be as much a light as a flame." "Love is a severe critic. Hate can
pardon more than love." "A man of fine perceptions is more truly
feminine than a merely sentimental woman." "It is not enough that we are
truthful; we must cherish and carry out high purposes to be truthful
about." These are sentences on which one might spin commentaries and
scholia to the end of life; and there are many others as admirable.

His few verses close the volume,--few and choice, with a rare flavor of
the seventeenth century in them. The best poem of all, "My life is like
a stroll upon the beach," is not improved by its new and inadequate
title, "The Fisher's Boy." The three poems near the end, "Smoke,"
"Mist," and "Haze," are marvellous triumphs of language; the thoughts
and fancies are as subtile as the themes, and yet are embodied as
delicately and accurately as if uttered in Greek.


_France and England in North America._ A Series of Historical
Narratives. By FRANCIS PARKMAN, Author of "History of the
Conspiracy of Pontiac," "Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life," etc. Part
First. Pioneers of France in the New World. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

It has been known for nearly a score of years within our literary
circles, that one of the richest and least wrought themes of our
American history had been appropriated by the zeal and research of a
student eminently qualified by nature, culture, and personal experience
to develop its wealth of interest. While very many among us may have
been aware that Mr. Parkman had devoted himself to the task of which we
have before us some of the results, only a narrower circle of friends
have known under what severe physical embarrassments and disabilities he
has been restrained from maturing those results. He has fully and sadly
realized, within his own different range, the experience which he so
aptly phrases as endured by his hero, the adventurous and dauntless
Champlain. When that great pioneer, midway in his splendid career, was
planning one of his almost annual voyages hitherward, at one of the most
emergent periods of his enterprise, he was seized on board his vessel in
France with a violent illness, and reduced, as Mr. Parkman says, to that
"most miserable of all conflicts, the battle of the eager spirit against
the treacherous and failing flesh." Mr. Parkman has known well what
these words mean. In his case, as in that of Champlain, it was not from
the burden of years and natural decay, but from the touch of disease in
the period of life's full vigor in its midway course, that mental
activity was restrained. When, besides the inflictions of a racked
nervous system, the author suffered in addition a malady of the eyes,
which limited him, as he says, to intervals of five minutes for reading
or writing, when it did not wholly preclude them, we may well marvel at
what he has accomplished. And the reader will marvel all the more that
the hindrances and pains under which the matter of these pages has been
wrought have left no traces or transfer of themselves here. It may be
possible that an occasional twinge or pang may have concentrated the
terse narrative, or pointed the sharp and shrewd moralizings of these
pages; for there is an amazing conciseness and a keen epigrammatic
sagacity in them. But there is no languor, no feebleness, no sleepy
prosiness, to indicate where vivacity flagged, and where an episode or
paragraph was finished after the glow had yielded to exhaustion.

Mr. Parkman's theme is one of adventure on the grandest scale, with
novel conditions and elements, and under the quickening of master
passions of a sort to give to incidents and achievements a most romantic
and soul-absorbing interest. Only incidentally, and then most slightly,
does he have to deal with state affairs, with court intrigues, or with
diplomatic complications. He has to follow men into regions and scenes
in which there is so much raw material, and so much of the originality
of human conditions and qualities, that no precedents are of avail, and
it is even doubtful whether there are principles that have authority to
guide or that may be safely recognized. Nor could he have treated his
grand theme with that amazing facility and skill, which, as his work
manifests them, will satisfy all his readers that the theme belongs to
him and he to it, had not his native tastes, his training, and his
actual experience brought him into a most intelligent sympathy with his
subject-matter. Without being an adventurer, in the modern sense of the
term, he has the spirit which filled the best old sense of the word. He
has been a wide traveller and an explorer. Familiar by actual
observation with the scenes through which he has to follow the track of
the pioneers whom he chronicles, he has also acquainted himself by
foot-journeys and canoe-navigation under Indian guides with scenes and
regions still unspoiled of their wilderness features. He has crossed the
Rocky Mountains by the war-path of the savages, and penetrated far
beyond the borders of civilization in the direction of the northern ice
on our continent. He is skilled in native woodcraft, in the phenomena of
the forest and the lake, the winding river and the cataract. He has
watched the aspects of Nature through all the seasons in regions far
away from the havoc and the finish of culture. He has been alone as a
white man in the squalid lodges of the Indians, has lived after their
manner up to the edge of the restraints which a civilized man must
always take with him, and has consented to forego all that is meant by
the word comfort, that he might learn actually what our
transcendentalists and sentimentalists are so taken with theoretically.
He knows the inner make and furnishings of the savage brain and heart,
the qualities of their thought and passions, their superstitions,
follies, and vices; and while he deals with them and their ways with the
right spirit and consideration of a high-toned Christian man, he yields
to no silly inventiveness of fancy or romance in portraying them. They
are barely human, and they are hideous and revolting in his pages, as
they are in real life. Mr. Parkman knows them for just what they are,
and as they are. Helped by natural adaptation and sympathy to put
himself into communication with them sufficiently to analyze their
composition and to scan their range of being, he has presented such a
portraiture and estimate of them as will be increasingly valuable while
they are wasting away, to be known to future generations only by the
record.

It is through Mr. Parkman's keen observation and discernment, as a
traverser of wild regions and a student of aboriginal life and
character, that his pages are made to abound with such vivid and
vigorous delineations. He has great skill in description, whether on a
grand scale or in the minutest details of adventure or of scenery. He
can touch by a phrase, most delicately or massively, the outline and the
features of what he would communicate. He can strip from field,
river-bank, hill-top, and the partially cleared forests all the things
and aspects which civilization has superinduced, and can restore to them
their primitive, unsullied elements. He gives us the aroma of the wild
woods, the tints of tree, shrub, and berry as the autumn paints them,
the notes and screams and howls of the creatures which held these haunts
before or with man; and though we were reading some of his pages on one
of the hottest of our dog-days, we felt a grateful chill come over us as
we were following his description of a Canadian winter.

Mr. Parkman's subject required, for its competent treatment, a vast
amount of research and a judicious use of authorities in documents
printed or still in manuscript. Happily, there is abundance of material,
and that, for the most part, of prime value. The period which his theme
covers, though primeval in reference to the date of our own English
beginnings here, opens within the era when pens and types were
diligently employed to record all real occurrences, and when rival
interests induced a multiplication of narratives of the same events, to
the extent even of telling many important stories in two very different
ways. The element of the marvellous and the superstitious is so
inwrought with the documentary history and the personal narratives of
the time, exaggeration and misrepresentation were then almost so
consistent with honesty, that any one who essays to digest trustworthy
history from them may be more embarrassed by the abundance than he would
be by the paucity of his materials. Our author has spared no pains or
expense in the gathering of plans, pamphlets, and solid volumes, in
procuring copies of unpublished documents, and in consulting all the
known sources of information. He discriminates with skill, and knows
when to trust himself and to encourage his readers in relying upon them.

It has been with all these means for faithful and profitable work in his
possession, gathered around him in aggravating reminders of their
unwrought wealth, and with a spirit of craving ardor to digest and
reproduce them, that Mr. Parkman has been compelled to suffer the
discipline of a form of invalidism which disables without destroying or
even impairing the power and will for continuous intellectual
employment. Brief intervals of relief and a recent period of promise and
hopefulness of full restoration have been heroically devoted to the
production of that instalment of his whole plan which we have in the
volume before us.

That plan, as his first and comprehensive title indicates, covers a
narration of the initiatory schemes and measures for the exploration and
settlement of the New World by France and England. As France had the
precedence in that enterprise, this first volume is fitly devoted to its
rehearsal. The French story is also far more picturesque, more brilliant
and sombre, too, in its details. There is more of the wild, the
romantic, and the tragic in it. Mr. Parkman briefly, but strikingly,
contrasts the spirit which animated and the fortunes which befell the
representatives of the two European nations,--the one of which has
wrought the romance, the other of which has moulded the living
development, of North America.

Under the specific title of this volume,--the "Pioneers of France in the
New World,"--the author gives us historical narratives of stirring and
even heroic enterprise in two localities at extreme points of our
present territory: first, the story of the sadly abortive attempt made
by the Huguenots to effect a settlement in Florida; and second, the
adventures, undertakings, and discoveries of Champlain, his predecessors
and associates, in and near Canada. The volume is touchingly dedicated
to three near kinsmen of the author,--young men who in the glory and
beauty of their youth, the joy and hope of parents who yielded the
costly sacrifice, gave themselves to the deliverance of our country from
the ruin plotted for it by a slave despotism.

Mr. Parkman mentions--allowing to it in his brief reference all the
weight which it probably deserves--a vague tradition, which, had it been
sustained by fact, would have introduced an entirely new element into
the conditions involved in the rival claims to the right of colonizing
and possessing America, as practically contested by European nations.
The Pope's Bull which deeded the whole continent to Spain, as if it
were a farm, reinforced the claim already conventionally yielded to her
through right of discovery. For anything, however, to the knowledge of
which Columbus came before his death, or even his immediate successors
before their death, all the parts of America which he saw or knew might
have been insulated spaces, like those in which he actually set up
Spanish authority. What might have been the issue for this continent, or
rather for the spaces which it covers, had it been really divided by the
high seas into three immense islands like Australasia, so that Spain,
France, and England might have made an amicable division between them,
would afford curious matter for speculation. The tradition referred to
is, that the continent had been actually discovered by a Frenchman four
years before the first voyage of Columbus hitherward. A vessel from
Dieppe, while at sea off the coast of Africa, was said to have been
blown to sight of land across the ocean on our shores. A mariner,
Pinzon, who was on board of her, being afterwards discharged from French
service in disgrace, joined himself to Columbus, and was with him when
he made his great discovery. It may have been so. But the story,
slenderly rooted in itself, has no support. Spain was the claimant, and,
so far as the bold and repeated attempt of the Huguenots to contest her
claims in Florida was thwarted by a diabolical, yet not unavenged
ruthlessness of resistance, Spain made good her asserted right.

Mr. Parkman sketches rapidly some preliminary details relating to
Huguenot colonization in Brazil and early Spanish adventures. The zeal
of the French Huguenots had anticipated that of the English Puritans in
seeking a Transatlantic field for its development. A philosophical
historian might find an engaging theme, in tracing to diversities of
national character, to the aims which stirred in human spirits, and to
fickle circumstances of date or place, the contrasted issues of failure
and success in the different enterprises. To human sight or foresight,
the Huguenots had the more hopeful omens at the start. But religious
zeal and avarice, combined in a way most cunningly adapted to
contravene, if that were possible, the Saviour's profound warning, "No
man can serve two masters," were, after all, only combined in a way to
bring them into the most shameful conflict. The Huguenot at the South
shared with the Spaniard the lust for gold; and the backers alike of
Roman and Protestant zeal in Canada divided their interest between the
souls of the Indians and the furs and skins of wild animals.

The heroic and the chivalric elements in the spirit and prowess of these
early adventurers give a charm even to the narratives which reveal to us
their fearful sufferings and their atrocities. Physically and morally
they must have been endowed unlike those who now hoe fields, make shoes,
and watch the wheels of our thrifty mechanisms. Avarice and zeal, the
latter being sometimes substituted by a daring passion for the romantic,
nerved men, and women too, to undertakings and endurances which shame
our enfeebled ways. The partners in these enterprises were never
homogeneous in character, as were eminently the Colonists of New
England. They were of most mixed and discordant materials. Prisons were
ransacked for convicts and desperadoes; humble artisans and peasants
were accepted as laborers; roving mariners, whose only sure port of rest
would be in the abyss, were bribed for transient service, the condition
always exacted being that they must be ready for the nonce to turn
landsmen for fighting in swamp or bush. These, with a sprinkling of
young and impoverished nobles, and one or two really towering and master
spirits, in whom either of the two leading passions was the spur, and
who could win through court patronage a patent or a commission, made in
every case, either South or North, the staple material of French
adventure.

After a graphic sketch of the line of Spanish notables in the New
World,--of Ponce de Leon, of Garay, Ayllon, De Narvaez, and De
Soto,--Mr. Parkman concisely reviews the successive attempts at a
settlement in Florida by Frenchmen. His central figures here are Admiral
De Coligny and his agents, Villegagnon, Ribaut, and Laudonnière. They
had no fixed policy towards the Indians, and they followed the worst
possible course with them. They wholly neglected tillage, and so were in
constant peril of starvation. They were lawless and disorderly in their
fellowship, and were always at the mercy of conspirators among
themselves.

Beginning about the year 1550, and embracing the quarter of a century
following, there transpired on the coast of Florida a series of acts of
mingled heroism and barbarity not easily paralleled in any chapter of
the world's history. Menendez, under his commission as Adelantado,
having effected the first European settlement in North America at St.
Augustine, and the French having established a river fort named
Caroline, the struggle which could not long have been deferred was
invited. We have here a double narrative. While the French commander,
Ribaut, is shipwrecked in an enterprise by sea against St. Augustine,
Menendez, by land, after a most harassing tramp through forest and
swamp, successfully assails Fort Caroline. Though he has pledged his
honor to spare those who surrendered to his mercy, he foully breaks his
pledge, as no faith was to be kept with heretics. A brutal massacre,
which shocked even his Indian allies, signalized his victory. An
inscription on the trees under which he slaughtered his victims
announced that vengeance was wreaked on them, "not as Frenchmen, but as
heretics."

These atrocities were in their turn avenged, after a similar fashion and
in the same spirit, by Dominique de Gourgues. It is doubtful whether he
was a Huguenot; but he felt, as the French monarch and court did not,
the rankling disgrace of this bloody catastrophe. An intense hater of
the Spaniards, he gave his whole spirit of chivalry and prowess, in the
approved fashion of the age, to avenge the insult to France. Providing
himself with three small vessels, navigable by sail or oar, he gathered
a fit company for his enterprise; but not till well on his way did he
reveal to them his real purpose, in which they proved willing
coadjutors. He found the Spaniards at their forts had alienated the
Indians, who readily leagued with him. By a bold combination and a
fierce onslaught he carries the Spanish works, and retaliates on his
fiendish and now cowering prisoners by hanging them, "not as Spaniards,
but as traitors, robbers, and murderers." De Gourgues came to do this,
not to make another attempt for a permanent settlement in the interest
of France. He therefore destroyed the forts, and with a friendly parting
from his red allies, much to their sorrow, returned home. Thus closes
one episode in the world's tragic history.

Turning now towards the North, Mr. Parkman takes a comprehensive review
of the hazy period of history covered by traditions and imperfect
records, with vague relations of adventure by Normans, Basques, and
Bretons, on fishing expeditions to Newfoundland and the main coast.
These were followed by three exploring enterprises and partial
settlements, between 1506 and 1518. Verrazzano, with four ships, coasted
along our shores, and was for fifteen days the guest of some friendly
Indians at Newport, the centre of our modern fashionable summer-life.
Jaques Cartier made two voyages in 1534-5, gave the name of St. Lawrence
to the river, and visited the sites of Quebec and Montreal. A third
voyage was planned for 1541, to be followed by a reinforcement by J. F.
de la Roque, Sieur de Roberval. Its arrival being delayed, the famished
settlers, wasted by the scurvy, and dreading another horrid winter of
untold sufferings, returned home. Roberval renewed the occupancy of
Quebec, and then there is a chasm and a broken story.

La Roche, in 1598, left forty convicts, adventurers in his crew, on
Sable Island, merely for a temporary sojourn while he should coast on.
Being blown back to France in his vessel, these forlorn exiles were left
for five years on that dreary waste, and only twelve survivors then
remained to be rescued. Some wild cattle that had propagated from
predecessors left by luckless wanderers on a previous voyage, or which
had swum ashore from a wreck, had furnished them a partial supply.
Pontgravé and Chauvin attempted a settlement at Tadoussac, the dismal
wilderness at the mouth of the Saguenay, thenceforward the rendezvous of
European and Indian traders. All these were preliminary anticipations of
the real occupancy of New France. Champlain, Poutrincourt, and
Lescarbot, in 1607, established at Port Royal the first agricultural
colony in the New World. Then began that series of futile and vexatious
dealings on the part of the French court, in granting and withdrawing
monopolies, conflicting commissions and patents, with confused purposes
of feudalism and restricted privilege, which embarrassed all effective
progress, and visited chagrin and disappointment on every devoted
adventurer.

The great picture on Mr. Parkman's canvas is Champlain. That really
noble-souled, heroic, and marvellous man, whom our author appreciates,
yet with sagacious discrimination presents to the life, is a splendid
subject for his admirable rehearsal. At the age of thirty-three he
becomes the most conspicuous, and, on the whole, the most intelligent,
agent of the French interest in these parts of the world. Dying at
Quebec at the age of sixty-eight, and after twenty-seven years of
service to the colony, he had probably drawn his life through more and
a greater variety of perils than have ever been encountered by man. He
was dauntless and all-enduring, fruitful in resource, self-controlled
and persevering, and, though not wiser than his age, purer and more
true. He was as lithesome as an Indian, and could outdo him in some
physical efforts and endurance. His almost yearly voyages between France
and Quebec led him through strange contrasts of court and wilderness
life; but he was the same man in both. His discovery of the lake which
bears his name, his journey to Lake Huron, under the lure of the
impostor Vignau, encouraging his own dream of a passage through the
continent to India, and his many tramps for Indian warfare or discovery,
are most attractive episodes for our author.

Mr. Parkman relates incidentally the massacre in Frenchman's Bay, the
efforts and cross purposes of the Recollets and the Jesuit missionaries,
and furnishes a vivid sketch of the fortunes of the settlement under
threatened assaults from Indians and in a temporary surrender to the
English. He intimates the matter which he has yet in store. May we enjoy
the coveted pleasure of reading it!


_Hesperus, or Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days._ A Biography. From the German of
J. P. Fr. Richter. Translated by CHARLES T. BROOKS. In Two
Volumes. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

This romance, the first work of Jean Paul's which won the attention of
his countrymen, is called "Hesperus," apparently for no reason more
definite than that the heroine, like a fair evening-star, beams over the
fortunes of the other personages, and becomes at length the morning-star
of one. The supplementary title of "Forty-Five Dog-Post-Days" is a
quaint subdivision of the volumes into as many chapters, each of which
is a "Dog-Post-Day," because it purports to be dispatched in a bottle
round a dog's neck to an island within the whimsical geography which the
author loved to construct, and in which he pretended to dwell. Truly,
the ordinary _terra-firma_ was of little consequence for home-keeping
purposes to Jean Paul, as the reader will doubtless confess before he
has proceeded far through the maze of Extra Leaves, Intercalary Days,
Extra Lines, Extra Shoots, and Extorted Anti-critique. And the divisions
which are busied with the story, instead of carrying it forward, stray
with it in all directions, like a genuine summer vagabond to whom direct
travel is a crime against the season. Many charming things are gathered
by the way; but if the reader is in haste to arrive, or thinks it would
not be amiss at least to put up somewhere, his patience will be severely
tried. We do not recommend the volumes for railway-reading, nor to
clergymen for the entertainment of sewing-bees, nor to the devourer of
novels, in whose life the fiction that must be read at one sitting forms
an epoch. It is a good _vade-mecum_ for a voyage round either Cape; its
digressive character suits the listless mood of the sea-goer, and he can
drop, we will not say the thread, but the entanglement, in whatever
watch he pleases.

Let no one expect the critic to sketch the plot of this romance. It is a
grouping of motives and temperaments under the names of men and women,
concerning whom many subtile things are said and hinted; and they are
pushed into and out of complicated situations, by stress of brilliant
authorship, without lifting their fingers. There is no necessary
development nor movement: the people are like the bits of glass which
shake into the surprising patterns of the kaleidoscope. The relation of
the parties to each other is a great mystification, bunglingly managed:
we cannot understand at last how Victor, the hero of the chief
love-passage, turns out to be the son of a clergyman instead of a lord,
and Flamin the son of a lord in spite of the plain declaration on the
first page that he belongs to a clergyman. No key-notes of expectation
and surmise are struck; the reader is as blind as the old lord who is
Victor's reputed father, and not a glimmer of light reaches him till
suddenly and causelessly he is dazed. The author has emphasized his
sentiments, but has not shaded and brought out the features of his
story. It is plain, that, when he began to write, not the faintest
notion of a _dénouement_ had dawned upon his fancy. The best-defined
action in the book results from Flamin's ignorance that he is Clotilde's
brother, for he is thus jealous of his friend Victor's love for her. How
break off Flamin's love for his unknown sister? How rescue Victor from
his self-imposed delicacy and win for him a bride? This is the substance
of the story, hampered by wild, spasmodic interpolations and intrigues
and didactic explanations.

The reader must also become inured, by a course of physical training, to
resist the fiery onslaughts of a sentimentality which was the first
ferment of Jean Paul's sincere and huge imagination. See, for instance,
Vol. II. p. 229. And we cannot too much admire the tact which Mr. Brooks
has brought to the decanting of these seething passages into tolerable
vernacular limits. Sometimes, indeed, he misses a help which he might
have procured for the reader, to lift him, with less danger of
dislocation, to these pinnacles of passion, by transferring more of the
elevated idiom of the style: for, in some of the complicated paragraphs,
a too English rendering of the clauses gives the sentiment a dowdy and
prosaic air. We should not object to an occasional inversion of the
order, even where Jean Paul himself is more direct than usual; for this
always appeared to us to lend a racy German flavor to the page. No doubt
Jean Paul needs, first of all, to be made comprehensible; but if his
style is too persistently Anglicized, many places will be reached where
the sense itself must suffer for want of the picturesqueness of the
German idiom. The quaintness will grow flat, the color of the sentiment
will almost disappear, the rich paragraphs will run thinly clad,
disenchanted like Cinderella at midnight. Some of Mr. Carlyle's
translations from the German are invigorated by this Teutonicizing of
the English, and by the sincerity of phrases transferred directly as
they first came molten from the pen. This may be pushed to the point of
affectation; but judiciously used, it is suited to Jean Paul's fervor
and abandonment.

There is also a rhythm in his exalted moments, a delicate and noble
swing of the clauses, not easy to transfer: as in the Eighth
Dog-Post-Day, the paragraph commencing, "Wehe gröszere Wellen auf mich
zu, Morgenluft!" "Thou morning-air, break over me in greater waves!
Bathe me in thy vast billows which roll above our woods and meadows, and
bear me in blossom clouds past radiant gardens and glimmering streams,
and let me die gently floating above the earth, rocked amid flying
flowers and butterflies, and dissolving with outspread arms beneath the
sun; while all my veins fall blended into red morning-flakes down to the
flowers," etc. But this may appear finical to Mr. Brooks. We certainly
do not press it critically against his great and general success. Such a
paragraph as, for instance, the closing one upon page 340 of Vol. II. is
very trying to the resources of the translator. Here Mr. Brooks has
sacrificed to literalness an opportunity to sort the confused clauses
and stop their jostling: this may be done without diluting the
sentiment, and is within the translator's liberty.

It always seemed to us that the finest part of "Hesperus," and one of
the finest passages of German literature, is contained in the Ninth
Dog-Post-Day and some pages of the Tenth. The Ninth, in particular,
which is a perfect idyl, describes Victor's walk to Kussewitz: all the
landscape is made to share and symbolize his rapture: the people in the
fields, the framework of an unfinished house, the two-wheeled hut of the
shepherd, are not only well painted, but turned most naturally to the
help of interpreting his feeling. The chapter has also a direct and
unembarrassed movement, which is rare in this romance. And it is
beautifully translated.

The reader must understand that Victor is called by various names; so
that, if he merely dips into the book, as we suspect he will until his
sympathy is enlisted by some fine thought, his ignorance will increase
the frantic and dishevelled state of the story. Victor is Horion,
Sebastian, and Bastian; a susceptible youth, profoundly affected by the
presence of noble or handsome women, and brought into situations that
test his delicacy. He smuggles a declaration of love into a watch which
he sells, in the disguise of an Italian merchant, to the Princess
Agnola, on occasion of her first reception at the court of her husband.
He is ashamed of this after he begins to know Clotilde, who is one of
Jean Paul's pure and noble women; and he is at one time full of dread
lest the Princess had read his watch-paper, and at another full of pique
at the suspicion that she had not. Being court-physician and oculist, he
has frequent opportunities to visit Agnola, and there is one rather
florid occasion which the midnight cry of the street-watch man
interrupts. But all this time, the inflammable Victor was indulging a
kind of tenderness for Joachime, maid-of-honor and attractive female. As
the love for Clotilde deepens, he must destroy these partialities for
Agnola and Joachime. This is no easy matter; what with the watch-paper
and various emphatic passages of something more than friendship, the
true love does not at once stand forth, that he may find "the
partition-wall between love and friendship with women to be very visible
and very thick." But one day the accursed watch-paper flutters into
Joachime's hand, who at once takes it for a declaration of love to
herself, and beams with appropriate tenderness. Victor, seized with
sudden coldness and resolution, confesses all to Joachime; and the
story, released from its feminine embarrassments, would soon reach a
honeymoon, if it were not for the difficulty of deciding the parentage
and relationship of the various characters. A wise child knows its own
father; but no endowment of wisdom in the reader will harmonize the
genealogy of this romance. A birth-mark of a Stettin apple, which is
visible only in autumn when that fruit is ripening, plays the part of
Box's strawberry in the farce, and with as much perspicuity.

However, the characters are all respectably connected at last, and the
reader does not care to understand how they were ever disconnected: for
Lord Horion's motive in putting the children of the old Prince out of
the way, and keeping up such an expensive mystification, can be
justified only by an interesting plot. But American readers have learned
by this time, much to their credit, not to apply to Jean Paul for the
sensation of a cunningly woven narrative, like that of the English
school, which furnishes verisimilitude to real life that is quite as
improbable, though less glaringly so, than his departures from it.
"Hesperus" is filled with pure and noble thought. The different types of
female character are particularly well-defined; and if Jean Paul
sometimes affects to say cynical things of women, he cannot veil his
passionate regard for them, nor his profound appreciation of the
elements of their influence in forming true society and refining the
hearts of men. Notice the delicacy of the "Extra Leaf on Houses full of
Daughters." It is chiefly with the women of his romances that Jean Paul
succeeds in depicting individuals. And when we recollect the corrupt and
decaying generation out of which his genius sprang, like a newly created
species, to give a salutary shock to Gallic tastes, and lend a sturdy
country vigor to the new literature, we reverence his faithfulness, his
incorruptible humanity, his contempt for petty courts and faded manners,
his passion for Nature, and his love of God. All these characteristics
are so broadly printed upon his pages that the obsoleteness of the
narrative does not hide them.

In view of a second edition, we refer to Mr. Brooks's consideration a
few places, with wonder at his general accuracy in the translation of
obscure passages and the explanation of allusions.

Vol. I. page 22. _Sakeph-Katon_ (Zaqueph Qaton) is an occasional
pause-accent of the Hebrew, having the sense of "elevator minor," and is
peculiar to prose.

Page 68. The famous African Prince Le Boo deserves a note.

Page 111. _Ripieno_ is an Italian musical term, meaning that which
accompanies and strengthens.

Page 114. _Gränswildpret_ does not mean "frontier wild-game," but game
that, straying out of one precinct into another, gets captured: stray
game, or impounded waif.

Page 139. The note gives the sense, but the corresponding passage in the
text would stand clearer thus: "not a noble heart, by any means; for
such things Le Baut's golden key, though bored like a cannon, could
fasten rather."

Page 179. A note required: the passage of Shakspeare is, "Antony and
Cleopatra," Act V., Scene 2:--

    "His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
    A sun and moon; which kept their course, and lighted
    The little O, the earth."

_Territory of an old lady_ should be "prayer of an old lady." _Gebet_,
not _Gebiet_.

Page 209. _Eirunde Loch_ would be better represented by its anatomical
equivalent, _foramen ovale_. It should be closed before birth; in the
rare cases where it is left open after birth, the child lives half
asphyxiated.

Page 224, note. _Semperfreie_ is not from the Latin, but comes from
_sendbarfreie_, that is, eligible, free to be sent or elected to
offices, and consequently, immediately subject to the _Reich_, or Holy
Roman Empire.

Page 235. An _Odometer_ is an apparatus for measuring distances
travelled by whatsoever vehicle.

Page 275. _Incunabula_ means specimens of the first printed edition of a
work; also the first impressions of the first edition, the firstlings of
old editions.

Page 317. _Wackelfiguren_ means figures made of _Wacke_, a greenish-gray
mineral, soft and easily broken.

Page 322. The note is equivocal, since the phrase is used by fast women
who keep some one in their pay.

Vol. II., page 122. _Columbine_ is not equivalent to ballet-dancer; it
is the old historical personage of the pantomime, confederate and lover
of Harlequin, who protects her from false love.





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