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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 103, May, 1866
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 103, May, 1866" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

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


VOL. XVII.--MAY, 1866.--NO. CIII.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by TICKNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

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



THE HARMONISTS.


My brother Josiah I call a successful man,--very successful, though only
an attorney in a manufacturing town. But he fixed his goal, and reached
it. He belongs to the ruling class,--men with slow, measuring eyes and
bull-dog jaws,--men who know their own capacity to an atom's weight, and
who go through life with moderate, inflexible, unrepenting steps. He
looks askance at me when I cross his path; he is in the great market
making his way: I learned long ago that there was no place there for me.
Yet I like to look in, out of the odd little corner into which I have
been shoved,--to look in at the great play, never beginning and never
ending, of bargain and sale, for which all the world's but a stage; to
see how men like my brother have been busy, since God blessed all things
he had made, in dragging them down to the trade level, and stamping
price-marks on them. Josiah looks at me grimly, as I said. Jog as
methodically as I will from desk to bed and back to desk again, he
suspects some outlaw blood under the gray head of the fagged-out old
clerk. He indulges in his pictures, his bronzes: I have my high
office-stool, and bedroom in the fifth story of a cheap hotel. Yet he
suspects me of having forced a way out of the actual common-sense world
by sheer force of whims and vagaries, and to have pre-empted a homestead
for myself in some dream-land, where neither he nor the tax-gatherer can
enter.

"It won't do," he said to-day, when I was there (for I use his books now
and then). "Old Père Bonhours, you're poring over? Put it down, and come
take some clam soup. Much those fellows knew about life! Zachary!
Zachary! you have kept company with shadows these forty years, until you
have grown peaked and gaunt yourself. When will you go to work and be a
live man?"

I knew we were going to have the daily drill which Josiah gave to his
ideas; so I rolled the book up to take with me, while he rubbed his
spectacles angrily, and went on.

"I tell you, the world's a great property-exchanging machine, where
everything has its weight and value; a great, inexorable machine,--and
whoever tries to shirk his work in it will be crushed! Crushed! Think
of your old friend Knowles!"

I began to hurry on my old overcoat; I never had but two or three
friends, and I could not hear their names from Josiah's mouth. But he
was not quick to see when he had hurt people.

"Why, the poet,"--more sententious than before,--"the poet sells his
song; he knows that the airiest visions must resolve into trade-laws.
You cannot escape from them. I see your wrinkled old face, red as a
boy's, over the newspapers sometimes. There was the daring of that Rebel
Jackson, Frémont's proclamation, Shaw's death; you claimed those things
as heroic, prophetic. They were mere facts tending to solve the great
problem of Capital _vs._ Labor. There was one work for which the breath
was put into our nostrils,--to grow, and make the world grow by giving
and taking. Give and take; and the wisest man gives the least and gains
the most."

I left him as soon as I could escape. I respect Josiah: his advice would
be invaluable to any man; but I am content that we should live
apart,--quite content. I went down to Yorke's for my solitary chop. The
old prophet Solomon somewhere talks of the conies or ants as "a feeble
folk who prepare their meat in the summer." I joke to myself about that
sometimes, thinking I should claim kindred with them; for, looking back
over the sixty years of Zack Humphreys's life, they seem to me to have
pretty much gone in preparing the bread and meat from day to day. I see
but little result of all the efforts of that time beyond that solitary
chop; and a few facts and hopes, may be, gathered outside of the market,
which, Josiah says, absorb all of the real world. All day, sitting here
at my desk in Wirt's old counting-house, these notions of Josiah's have
dogged me. These sums that I jotted down, the solid comforts they
typified, the homes, the knowledge, the travel they would buy,--these
were, then, the real gist of this thing we called life, were they? The
great charities money had given to the world,--Christ's Gospel preached
by it.--Did it cover all, then? Did it?

What a wholesome (or unwholesome) scorn of barter Knowles had! The old
fellow never collected a debt; and, by the way, as seldom paid one. The
"dirty dollar" came between him and very few people. Yet the heart in
his great mass of flesh beat fiercely for an honor higher than that
known to most men. I have sat here all the afternoon, staring out at the
winter sky, scratching down a figure now and then, and idly going back
to the time when I was a younger man than now, but even then with
neither wife nor child, and no home beyond an eating-house; thinking how
I caught old Knowles's zest for things which lay beyond trade-laws; how
eager I grew in the search of them; how he inoculated me with
Abolitionism, Communism, every other fever that threatened to destroy
the commercial status of the world, and substitute a single-eyed regard
for human rights. It occurred to me, too, that some of those odd,
one-sided facts, which it used to please me to gather then,--queer bits
of men's history, not to be judged by Josiah's rules,--it might please
others to hear. What if I wrote them down these winter evenings? Nothing
in them rare or strange; but they lay outside of the market, and were
true.

Not one of them which did not bring back Knowles, with his unwieldy heat
and bluster. He found a flavor and meaning in the least of these hints
of mine, gloating over the largess given and received in the world, for
which money had no value. His bones used to straighten, and his eye
glitter under the flabby brow, at the recital of any brave, true deed,
as if it had been his own; as if, but for some mischance back yonder in
his youth, it might have been given to even this poor old fellow to
strike a great, ringing blow on Fate's anvil before he died,--to give
his place in the life-boat to a more useful man,--to help buy with his
life the slave's freedom.

Let me tell you the story of our acquaintance. Josiah, even, would hold
the apology good for claiming so much of your time for this old dreamer
of dreams, since I may give you a bit of useful knowledge in the telling
about a place and people here in the States utterly different from any
other, yet almost unknown, and, so far as I know, undescribed. When I
first met Knowles it was in an obscure country town in Pennsylvania, as
he was on his way across the mountains with his son. I was ill in the
little tavern where he stopped; and, he being a physician, we were
thrown together,--I a raw country lad, and he fresh from the outer
world, of which I knew nothing,--a man of a muscular, vigorous type even
then. But what he did for me, or the relation we bore to each other, is
of no import here.

One or two things about him puzzled me. "Why do you not bring your boy
to this room?" I asked, one day.

His yellow face colored with angry surprise. "Antony? What do you know
of Antony?"

"I have watched you with him," I said, "on the road yonder. He's a
sturdy, manly little fellow, of whom any man would be proud. But you are
not proud of him. In this indifference of yours to the world, you
include him. I've seen you thrust him off into the ditch when he caught
at your hand, and let him struggle on by himself."

He laughed. "Right! Talk of love, family affection! I have tried it. Why
should my son be more to me than any other man's son, but for an
extended selfishness? I have cut loose all nearer ties than those which
hold all men as brothers, and Antony comes no closer than any other."

"I've watched you coming home sometimes," I said, coolly. "One night you
carried the little chap, as he was sound asleep. It was dark; but I saw
you sit by the pond yonder, thinking no one saw you, caressing him,
kissing his face, his soiled little hands, his very feet, as fierce and
tender as a woman."

Knowles got up, pacing about, disturbed and angry; he was like a woman
in other ways, nervous, given to sudden heats of passion,--was leaky
with his own secrets. "Don't talk to me of Antony! I know no child, no
wife, nor any brother, except my brother-man."

He went trotting up and down the room, then sat down with his back to
me. It was night, and the room was dimly lighted by the smoky flame of a
lard lamp. The solitary old man told me his story. Let me be more chary
with his pain than he was; enough to say that his wife was yet living,
but lost, to him. Her boy Antony came into the room just when his father
had ceased speaking,--a stout little chap of four years, with Knowles's
ungainly build, and square, honest face, but with large, hazel,
melancholy eyes. He crept up on my bed, and, lying across the foot, went
to sleep.

Knowles glanced at him,--looked away, his face darkening. "Sir," he
said, "I have thrust away all arbitrary ties of family. The true
life,"--his eye dilating, as if some great thought had come into his
brain,--"the true life is one where no marriage exists,--where the soul
acknowledges only the pure impersonal love to God and our brother-man,
and enters into peace. It can so enter, even here, by dint of long
contemplation and a simple pastoral work for the body."

This was new talk in that country tavern: I said nothing.

"I'm not dreaming dreams," raising his voice. "I have a real plan for
you and me, lad. I have found the Utopia of the prophets and poets, an
actual place, here in Pennsylvania. We will go there together, shut out
the trade-world, and devote ourselves with these lofty enthusiasts to a
life of purity, celibacy, meditation,--helpful and loving to the great
Humanity."

I was but a lad; my way in life had not been smooth. While he talked on
in this strain my blood began to glow. "What of Tony?" I interrupted,
after a while.

"The boy?" not looking at the little heap at the foot of the bed. "They
will take him in, probably. Children are adopted by the society; they
receive education free from the personal taints given by father and
mother."

"Yes," not very clear as to what he meant.

The moon began to fleck the bare floor with patches of light and shadow,
bringing into relief the broad chest of the man beside me, the big,
motionless head dropped forward, and the flabby yellow face set with a
terrible, lifelong gravity. His scheme was no joke to him. Whatever soul
lay inside of this gross animal body had been tortured nigh to death,
and this plan was its desperate chance at a fresh life. Watching me
askance as I tried to cover the boy with the blankets, he began the
history of this new Utopia, making it blunt and practical as words could
compass, to convince me that he was no dreamer of dreams. I will try to
recall the facts as he stated them that night; they form a curious story
at all times.

In 1805, a man named George Rapp, in Würtemberg, became possessed with
the idea of founding a new and pure social system,--sowing a mere seed
at first, but with the hope, doubtless, of planting a universal truth
thereby which should some day affect all humanity. His scheme differed
from Comte's or Saint Simon's, in that it professed to go back to the
old patriarchal form for its mode of government, establishing under
that, however, a complete community of interest. Unlike other communist
reformers, too, Rapp did not look through his own class for men of equal
intelligence and culture with himself of whom to make converts, but,
gathering several hundred of the peasants from the neighborhood, he
managed to imbue them with an absolute faith in his divine mission, and
emigrated with them to the backwoods of Pennsylvania, in Butler County.
After about ten years they removed to the banks of the Wabash, in
Indiana; then, in 1825, returned to Pennsylvania, and settled finally in
Beaver County, some sixteen miles below Pittsburg, calling their village
Economy.

"A great man, as I conceive him, this Rapp," said Knowles. "His own
property, which was large, was surrendered to the society at its
foundation, and this to the least particular, not reserving for his own
use even the library or gallery of paintings pertaining to his family;
nor did the articles of association allow any exclusive advantage to
accrue to him or his heirs from the profits of the community. He held
his office as spiritual and temporal head, not by election of the
people, but assumed it as by Divine commission, as Moses and Aaron held
theirs; and not only did the power of the man over his followers enable
him to hold this autocratic authority during a long life, unimpaired,
but such was the skill with which his decrees were framed that after his
death this authority was reaffirmed by the highest legal tribunal of the
country.[A] With all his faith in his divine mission, too, he had a
clear insight into all the crookedness and weakness of the natures he
was trying to elevate. He knew that these dogged, weak Germans needed
coercion to make them fit for ultimate freedom; he held the power of an
apostle over them, therefore, with as pure purpose, it's my belief, as
any apostle that went before him. The superstitious element lay ready in
them for him to work upon. I find no fault with him for working it."

"How?" I asked.

Knowles hesitated. "When their stupidity blocked any of his plans for
their advancement, he told them that, unless they consented, their names
should be blotted out from the Book of Life,--which was but a coarse way
of stating a great truth, after all; telling them, too, that God must be
an unjust Judge should he mete out happiness or misery to them without
consulting him,--that his power over their fate stretched over this life
and the next,--which, considering the limitless influence of a strong
mind over a weak one, was not so false, either."

Rapp's society, Knowles stated, did not consist altogether of this
class, however. A few men of education and enthusiasm had joined him,
and carried out his plans with integrity. The articles of association
were founded in a strict sense of justice; members entering the society
relinquished all claim to any property, much or little, of which they
might be possessed, receiving thereafter common maintenance, education,
profit, with the others; should they at any time thereafter choose to
leave, they received the sum deposited without interest. A suit had just
been decided in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania[B] which had elicited
this point.

Knowles, more and more eager, went on to describe the settlement as it
had been pictured to him; the quaint, quiet village on the shores of
"the Beautiful River," the rolling hills of woodland, the quiet valleys
over which their flocks wandered, the simple pastoral work in which all
joined; the day begun and ended with music;--even the rich, soft tints
of the fresh Western sky about them were not forgotten, nor the
picturesque dresses of the silent, primitive people.

"A home in which to forget all pain and sore, boy," ended the old man,
gulping down a sigh, and then falling into a heavy silence.

It was long before I broke it. "They do not marry?"

"No," anxiously, as if I had reached the core of the truth in this
matter at last. "It was their founder's scheme, as I believe, to lift
them above all taint of human passion,--to bring them by pure work,
solitude, and contact with a beautiful nature into a state of being
where neither earthly love, nor hate, nor ambition can enter,--a sphere
of infinite freedom, and infinite love for Him and all His creatures."

There was no doubting the fire of rapt enthusiasm in his eye, rising and
looking out across the moonlit fields as if already he saw the pleasant
hills of Beulah.

"Thank God for George Rapp! he has found a home where a man can stand
alone,"--stretching out his arms as if he would have torn out whatever
vestige of human love tugged at his sick old heart, his eye hunting out
Tony as he spoke.

The boy, startled from his sleep, muttered, and groped as a baby will
for its mother's breast or hand. No hand met the poor little fingers,
and they fell on the pillow empty, the child going to sleep again with a
forlorn little cry. Knowles watched him, the thick lips under his
moustache growing white.

"I purpose," he said, "that next week you and I shall go to these
people, and, if possible, become members of their community,--cut loose
from all these narrow notions of home and family, and learn to stand
upright and free under God's heaven. The very air breathed by these
noble enthusiasts will give us strength and lofty thoughts. Think it
over, Humphreys."

"Yes."

He moved to the door,--held it open uncertainly. "I'll leave the boy
here to-night. He got into a foolish habit of sleeping in my arms when
he was a baby; it's time he was broke of it."

"Very well."

"He must learn to stand alone, eh?" anxiously. "Good night";--and in a
moment I heard his heavy steps on the stairs, stopping, then going on
faster, as if afraid of his own resolution.

In the middle of the night I was wakened by somebody fumbling for Tony
at my side,--"Afraid the child would prove troublesome,"--and saw him go
off with the boy like a mite in his arms, growling caresses like a
lioness who has recovered her whelp. I say lioness, for, with all his
weight of flesh and coarseness, Knowles left the impression on your mind
of a sensitive, nervous woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Late one spring afternoon, a month after that, Knowles and I stood on
one of the hills overlooking the communist village of Economy. I was
weak and dizzy from illness and a long journey; the intense quiet of the
landscape before me affected me like a strain of solemn music. Knowles
had infected me with his eager hope. Nature was about to take me to her
great mother's bosom, for the first time. Life was to give me the repose
I asked, satisfy all the needs of my soul: here was the foretaste. The
quaint little hamlet literally slept on the river-bank; not a living
creature was visible on the three grass-grown streets; many of the
high-gabled brick houses, even at that date of the colony, were closed
and vacant, their inmates having dropped from the quiet of this life
into an even deeper sleep, and having been silently transferred to rest
under the flat grass of the apple-orchards, according to the habit of
the society. From the other houses, however, pale rifts of smoke wavered
across the cold blue sky; great apple and peach orchards swept up the
hills back of the town, quite out of sight. They were in blossom, I
remember, and covered the green of the hills with a veil of delicate
pink. A bleak wind, as we stood there, brought their perfume towards us,
and ruffled the broad, dark river into sudden ripples of cut silver:
beyond that, motion there was none. Looking curiously down into the
town, I could distinguish a great, barn-like church, a public laundry,
bakery, apiary, and one or two other buildings, like factories, but all
empty, apparently, and deserted. After all, was this some quaint German
village brought hither in an enchanted sleep, and dropped down in the
New World? About the houses were silent, trim little gardens, set round
with yew and box cut in monstrous shapes, and filled with plants of
which this soil knew nothing. Up a path from the woods, too, came at
last some curious figures, in a dress belonging to the last century.

Knowles had no idea, like mine, of being bewitched; he rubbed his hands
in a smothered excitement. "We too shall be Arcadians!" he burst out.
"Humphreys!" anxiously, as we plodded down the hill, "we must be
careful, very careful, my boy. These are greatly innocent and pure
natures with which we have come in contact: the world must have grown
vague and dim to them long ago, wrapped in their high communings. We
must leave all worldly words and thoughts outside, as a snake drops his
skin. No talk of money here, lad. It would be as well, too, not to
mention any family ties, such as wife or child: such bonds must seem to
this lofty human brotherhood debasing and gross."

So saying, and dropping Tony's hand in order that the child even might
stand alone, we came into the village street; Knowles growing red with
eagerness as one of the odd figures came towards us. "Careful, Zachary!"
in a hoarse whisper. "It all depends on this first day whether we are
accepted or not. Remember their purity of thought, their forms gathered
from the patriarchs and apostles!"

I had a vague remembrance of a washing of feet, practised in those days;
of calf-killing and open tents for strangers; so stood perplexed while
the brother approached and stood there, like an animate lager-bier
barrel, dressed in flannel, with a round hat on top. "_Was brauchen
Sie?_" he grumbled.

I don't know in what words Knowles's tremulous tones conveyed the idea
that we were strangers, going on to state that we were also world-weary,
and--

"Ach! want der supper," he said, his face brightening, and, turning, he
jogged on, elephant-like, before, muttering something about himself,
"Bin Yosef, an keepit der tavern,"--to the door of which, one of the
silent brick dwellings, he speedily brought us; and, summoning some
"Christ-ina" in a subdued bellow from the bowels of the cellar, went
into the neat bar-room, and swallowed two glasses of wine to revive
himself, dropping exhausted, apparently, into a chair.

Christina, an old dried-up woman, in the quaint, daintily clean dress of
blue, emerged from the cellar-door, bringing with her a savory smell of
frying ham and eggs. She glanced at us with suspicious blue eyes, and
then, with "_Ach! der Liebling! mein schöner Schatz!_" caught up Tony to
her shrivelled breast in a sudden surprise, and, going back to the
door, called "Fredrika!" Another old woman, dried, withered, with pale
blue eyes, appeared, and the two, hastily shoving us chairs, took Tony
between them, chattering in delighted undertones, patting his fat
cheeks, his hands, feeling his clothes, straightening his leg, and
laughing at the miniature muscles.

Knowles stared dumbly.

"You will haf der supper, hein?" said the first old woman, recollecting
herself and coming forward, her thin jaws yet reddened. "Der ham?
Shickens? It is so long as I haf seen a little shild," apologetically.

I assented to the ham and chicken proposition, answering for myself and
Tony at least. As they went down the stairs, they looked wistfully at
him. I nodded, and, picking him up, they carried him with them. I could
presently distinguish his shrill little tones, and half a dozen women's
voices, caressing, laughing with him. Yet it hurt me somehow to notice
that these voices were all old, subdued; none of them could ever hold a
baby on her lap, and call it hers. Joseph roused himself, came suddenly
in with a great pitcher of domestic wine, out again, and back with
ginger-cakes and apples,--"Till der supper be cookin'," with an
encouraging nod,--and then went back to his chair, and presently snored
aloud. In a few minutes, however, we were summoned to the table.

Knowles ate nothing, and looked vaguely over the great smoking dishes,
which Tony and I proved to be marvels of cookery. "Doubtless," he said,
"some of these people have not yet overcome this grosser taste; we have
yet seen but the dregs of the society; many years of Rapp's culture
would be needed to spiritualize German boors."

The old women, who moved gently about, listened keenly, trying to
understand why he did not eat. It troubled them.

"We haf five meals a day in der society," said Christina, catching a
vague notion of his meaning, "Many as finds it not enough puts cheese
and cakes on a shelf at der bed-head, if dey gets faint in de night."

"Do you get faint in the night?" I asked.

"Most times I does," simply.

Knowles burst in with a snort of disgust, and left the table. When I
joined him on the stoop he had recovered his temper and eagerness, even
laughing at Joseph, who was plying him in vain with his wine.

"I was a fool, Humphreys. These are the flesh of the thing; we'll find
the brain presently. But it was a sharp disappointment. Stay here an
hour, until I find the directors of the society,--pure, great thinkers,
I doubt not, on whom Rapp's mantle has fallen. They will welcome our
souls, as these good creatures have our bodies. Yonder is Rapp's house,
they tell me. Follow me in an hour."

As he struck into one of the narrow paths across the grassy street, I
saw groups of the colonists coming in from their field-work through the
twilight, the dress of the women looking not unpicturesque, with the
tight flannel gown and broad-rimmed straw hat. But they were all old, I
saw as they passed; their faces were alike faded and tired; and whether
dull or intelligent, each had a curious vacancy in its look. Not one
passed without a greeting more or less eager for Tony, whom Christina
held on her knees, on the steps of the stoop.

"It is so long as I haf not seen a baby," she said, again turning her
thin old face round.

I found her pleased to be questioned about the society.

"I haf one, two, dree kinder when we come mit Father Rapp," she said.
"Dey is dead in Harmony; since den I just cooken in der tavern. Father
Rapp say the world shall end in five years when we come in der society,
den I shall see mein shilds again. But I wait, and it haf not yet end."

I thought she stifled a quick sigh.

"And your husband?"

She hesitated. "John Volz was my man, in Germany. He lives in yonder
house, mit ein ander family. We are in families of seven."

"Husbands and wives were separated, then?"

"Father Rapp said it must to be. He knows."

There was a long pause, and then, lowering her voice, and glancing
cautiously around, she added hurriedly, "Frederick Rapp was his brother:
he would not leave his wife."

"Well, and then?"

The two old women looked at each other, warningly, but Christina, being
on the full tide of confidence, answered at last in a whisper, "Father
Rapp did hold a counsel mit five others."

"And his brother?"

"He was killed. He did never see his child."

"But," I resumed, breaking the long silence that followed, "your women
do not care to go back to their husbands? They dwell in purer thoughts
than earthly love?"

"Hein?" said the woman with a vacant face.

"Were you married?"--to Fredrika, who sat stiffly knitting a blue
woollen sock.

"Nein," vacantly counting the stitches. "Das ist not gut, Father Rapp
says. He knows."

"_She_ war not troth-plight even," interrupted the other eagerly, with a
contemptuous nod, indicating by a quick motion a broken nose, which
might have hindered Fredrika's chances of matrimony. "There is Rachel,"
pointing to a bent figure in a neighboring garden; "she was to marry in
the summer, and in spring her man came mit Father Rapp. He was a sickly
man."

"And she followed him?"

"Ya. He is dead."

"And Rachel?"

"_Ya wohl!_ There she is," as the figure came down the street, passing
us.

It was only a bent old Dutchwoman, with a pale face and fixed, tearless
eyes, that smiled kindly at sight of the child; but I have never seen in
any tragedy, since, the something which moved me so suddenly and deeply
in that quiet face and smile. I followed her with my eyes, and then
turned to the women. Even the stupid knitter had dropped her work, and
met my look with a vague pity and awe in her face.

"It was not gut she could not marry. It is many years, but she does at
no time forget," she mumbled, taking up her stocking again. Something
above her daily life had struck a quick response from even her, but it
was gone now.

Christina eagerly continued; "And there is ----" (naming a woman, one of
the directors.) "She would be troth-plight, if Father Rapp had not said
it must not be. So they do be lovers these a many years, and every night
he does play beneath her window until she falls asleep."

When I did not answer, the two women began to talk together in
undertones, examining the cut of Tony's little clothes, speculating as
to their price, and so forth. I rose and shook myself. Why! here in the
new life, in Arcadia, was there the world,--old love and hunger to be
mothers, and the veriest gossip? But these were women: I would seek the
men with Knowles. Leaving the child, I crossed the darkening streets to
the house which I had seen him enter. I found him in a well-furnished
room, sitting at a table, in council with half a dozen men in the
old-time garb of the Communists. If their clothes were relics of other
times, however, their shrewd, keen faces were wide awake and alive to
the present. Knowles's alone was lowering and black.

"These are the directors of the society," he said to me aloud, as I
entered.

"Their reception of us is hardly what I expected," nodding me to a seat.

They looked at me with a quiet, business-like scrutiny.

"I hardly comprehend what welcome you anticipated," said one, coolly.
"Many persons offer to become members of our fraternity; but it is, we
honestly tell you, difficult to obtain admission. It is chiefly an
association to make money: the amount contributed by each new-comer
ought, in justice, to bear some proportion to the advantage he
obtains."

"Money? I had not viewed the society in that light," stammered Knowles.

"You probably," said the other, with a dry smile, "are not aware how
successful a corporation ours has been. At Harmony, we owned thirty
thousand acres; here, four thousand. We have steam-mills, distilleries,
carry on manufactures of wool, silk, and cotton. Exclusive of our
stocks, our annual profit, clear of expense, is over two hundred
thousand dollars. There are few enterprises by which money is to be made
into which our capital does not find its way."

Knowles sat dumb as the other proceeded, numbering, alertly as a broker,
shares in railroad stocks, coal-mines, banks.

"You see how we live," he concluded; "the society's lands are
self-supporting,--feed and clothe us amply. What profits accrue are
amassed, intact."

"To what end?" I broke in. "You have no children to inherit your wealth.
It buys you neither place nor power nor pleasure in the world."

The director looked at me with a cold rebuke in his eyes. "It is not
surprising that many should desire to enter a partnership into which
they bring nothing, and which is so lucrative," he said.

"I had no intention of coming empty-handed," said Knowles in a subdued
voice. "But this financial point of view never occurred to me."

The other rose with a look of pity, and led us out through the great
ware-rooms, where their silks and cottons were stored in chests, out to
the stables to inspect stock, and so forth. But before we had proceeded
far, I missed Knowles, who had trotted on before with a stunned air of
perplexity. When I went back to the tavern, late that night, I found him
asleep on the bed, one burly arm around his boy. The next morning he was
up betimes, and at work investigating the real condition of the
Harmonists. They treated him with respect, for, outside of what Josiah
called his vagaries, Knowles was shrewd and honest.

Tony and I wandered about the drowsy village and meadows, looking at the
queer old gardens, dusky with long-forgotten plants, or sometimes at
their gallery of paintings, chief among which was one of West's larger
efforts.

It was not until the close of the second day that Knowles spoke openly
to me. Whatever the disappointment had cost him, he told nothing of
it,--grew graver, perhaps, but discussed the chances in the stock market
with the directors,--ate Christina's suppers, watching the poor withered
women and the gross men with a perplexed look of pity.

"They are but common minds and common bodies, perhaps," he said one
evening, as we sat in our corner, after a long, quiet scrutiny of them:
"in any case, their lives would have been meagre and insignificant, and
yet, Humphreys, yet even that little possibility seems to have been here
palsied and balked. I hope George Rapp cannot look back and see what his
scheme has done for these people."

"You were mistaken in it, then?"

His dark face reddened gloomily. "You see what they are. Yet Rapp,
whatever complaints these people may make of him, I believe to have been
an enthusiast, who sacrificed his property to establish a pure, great
reform in society. But human nature! human nature is as crooked to drive
as a pig tied by a string. Why, these Arcadians, sir, have made a god of
their stomachs, and such of them as have escaped that spend their lives
in amassing dollar after dollar to hoard in their common chest."

I suggested that Rapp and he left them nothing else to do. "You shut
them out both from a home and from the world; love, ambition, politics,
are dead words to them. What can they do but eat and grub?"

"Think! Go back into Nature's heart, and, with contemplation, bear fruit
of noble thoughts unto eternal life!" But he hesitated; his enthusiasm
hung fire strangely.

After a while,--"Well, well, Zachary," with a laugh, "we'd better go
back into the world, and take up our work again. Josiah is partly right,
may be. There are a thousand fibres of love and trade and mutual help
which bind us to our fellow-man, and if we try to slip out of our place
and loose any of them, our own souls suffer the loss by so much life
withdrawn. It is as well not to live altogether outside of the market;
nor--to escape from this," lifting Tony up on his knee, and beginning a
rough romp with him. But I saw his face work strangely as he threw the
boy up in the air, and when he caught him, he strained him to his burly
breast until the child cried out. "Tut! tut! What now, you young
ruffian? Come, shoes off, and to bed; we'll have a little respite from
you. I say, Humphreys, do you see the hungry look with which the old
women follow the child? God help them! I wonder if it will be made right
for them in another world!" An hour after, I heard him still pacing the
floor up stairs, crooning some old nursery song to put the boy to sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

I visited the Harmonists again not many months ago; the village and
orchards lie as sleepily among the quiet hills as ever. There are more
houses closed, more grass on the streets. A few more of the simple,
honest folk have crept into their beds under the apple-trees, from which
they will not rise in the night to eat, or to make money,--Christina
among the rest. I was glad she was gone where it was sunny and bright,
and where she would not have to grow tired for the sight of "a little
shild." There have been but few additions, if any, to the society in the
last twenty years. They still retain the peculiar dress which they wore
when they left Würtemberg: the men wearing the common German peasant
habit; the women, a light, narrow flannel gown, with wide sleeves and a
bright-colored silk handkerchief crossed over the breast, the whole
surmounted by a straw hat, with a rim of immense width. They do not
carry on the manufactures of silk or woollen now, which were Rapp's
boast; they have "struck oil" instead, and are among the most successful
and skillful land-owners in Pennsylvania in the search for that
uncertain source of wealth.

The "Economite Wells" are on the Upper Alleghany, nearly opposite
Tidionte. In later years, I believe, children have been brought into the
society to be cared for by the women.

It needs no second-sight to discern the end of Rapp's scheme. His single
strength sustained the colony during his life, and since his death one
or two strong wills have kept it from crumbling to pieces, converting
the whole machinery of his system into a powerful money-making agent.
These men are the hand by which it keeps its hold on the world,--or the
market, perhaps I should say. They are intelligent and able; honorable
too, we are glad to know, for the sake of the quiet creatures drowsing
away their little remnant of life, fat and contented, driving their
ploughs through the fields, or smoking on the stoops of the village
houses when evening comes. I wonder if they ever cast a furtive glance
at the world and life from which Rapp's will so early shut them out?
When they finish smoking, one by one, the great revenues of the society
will probably fall into the hands of two or three active survivors, and
be merged into the small currents of trade, according to the rapid
sequence which always follows the accretion of large properties in this
country.

Rapp is remembered, already, even by the people whom he meant to serve,
only as a harsh and tyrannical ruler, and his very scheme will not only
prove futile, but be forgotten very soon after Fredrika and Joseph have
drank their last cup of home-made wine, and gone to sleep under the
trees in the apple-orchard.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] _Vide_ Trustees of Harmony Society _vs._ Nachtrieb, 19 Howard, U. S.
Reports, p. 126, Campbell, J.

[B] Schreiber _vs._ Rapp, 5 Watts, 836, Gibson, C. J.



ABRAHAM DAVENPORT.


    In the old days (a custom laid aside
    With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
    Their wisest men to make the public laws.
    And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
    Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas,
    Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
    And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
    Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
    Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

    'Twas on a May-day of the far old year
    Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
    Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
    Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
    A horror of great darkness, like the night
    In day of which the Norland sagas tell,--
    The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
    Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
    Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
    The crater's sides from the red hell below.
    Birds ceased to sing, and all the barn-yard fowls
    Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
    Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
    Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
    Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
    To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
    The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
    Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
    A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
    As Justice and inexorable Law.

    Meanwhile in the old State-House, dim as ghosts,
    Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
    Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
    "It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
    Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
    All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
    He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
    The intolerable hush. "This well may be
    The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
    But be it so or not, I only know
    My present duty, and my Lord's command
    To occupy till he come. So at the post
    Where he hath set me in his providence,
    I choose, for one, to meet him face to face,--
    No faithless servant frightened from my task,
    But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
    And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
    Let God do his work, we will see to ours.
    Bring in the candles." And they brought them in.

    Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
    Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
    An act to amend an act to regulate
    The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon
    Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
    Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
    Save the nine Arab signs, yet not without
    The shrewd dry humor natural to the man:
    His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
    Between the pauses of his argument,
    To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
    Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

    And there he stands in memory to this day,
    Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
    Against the background of unnatural dark,
    A witness to the ages as they pass,
    That simple duty hath no place for fear.



LAST DAYS OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.


PART II.

It is too general an opinion, confirmed by tradition, (and quite as
untrue as many traditions,) that Landor, seated securely upon his high
literary pedestal, never condescended to say a good word of writers of
less degree, and that the praise of greater lights was rarely on his
lips. They who persist in such assertions can have read but few of his
works, for none of his profession has given so much public approbation
to literary men. The form of his writings enabled him to show himself
more fully than is possible to most authors, and in all his many
literary discussions he gave expression to honest criticism, awarding
full praise in the numerous cases where it was due. Even at an age when
prejudice and petulancy are apt to get the better of a man's judgment,
Landor was most generous in his estimate of many young writers. I
remember to have once remarked, that on one page he had praised (and not
passingly) Cowper, Byron, Southey, Wordsworth, Burns, Campbell, Hemans,
and Scott. In the conversation between Archdeacon Hare and Landor, the
latter says: "I believe there are few, if any, who enjoy more heartily
than I do the best poetry of my contemporaries, or who have commended
them both in private and in public with less parsimony and reserve."

_Hare._ "Are you quite satisfied that you never have sought a pleasure
in detecting and exposing the faults of authors, even good ones?"

_Landor._ "I have here and there sought that pleasure, and found it. To
discover a truth and separate it from a falsehood is surely an
occupation of the best intellect, and not at all unworthy of the best
heart. Consider how few of our countrymen have done it, or attempted it,
on works of criticism; how few of them have analyzed and compared.
Without these two processes there can be no sound judgment on any
production of genius."

_Hare._ "How much better would it be if our reviewers and magazine men
would analyze, in this manner, to the extent of their abilities, and
would weigh evidence before they pass sentence!"

And if this analyzing is needed in England, the land of reviews and
reviewing, how much more necessary is it in America, where veritable
criticism is not even old enough to be young; its germ, however
grovelling it may be, not yet having taken the primary form of the
caterpillar.

Great as was Landor's personal animosity towards Byron, he considered
him a "great poet,"--"the keenest and most imaginative of poets"; nor
should we attribute this dislike to the bitter attacks made by Byron
upon the "deep-mouthed Boeotian," though surely such would be
sufficient to excite indignation in more amiable breasts. It was Byron's
furious assaults upon Landor's beloved friend, Southey, that roused the
ire of the lion poet; later knowledge of the man, derived from private
sources, helped to keep alive the fire of indignation. "While he wrote
or spoke against me alone, I said nothing of him in print or
conversation; but the taciturnity of pride gave way immediately to my
zeal in defence of my friend. What I write is not written on slate; and
no finger, not of Time himself, who dips it in the clouds of years, can
efface it. To condemn what is evil and to commend what is good is
consistent. To soften an asperity, to speak all the good we can after
worse than we wish, is _that_, and more. If I must understand the
meaning of consistency as many do, I wish I may be inconsistent with all
my enemies. There are many hearts which have risen higher and sunk lower
at his tales, and yet have been shocked and sorrowed at his untimely
death a great deal less than mine has been. Honor and glory to him for
the extensive good he did! peace and forgiveness for the partial evil!"

Shall Landor be branded with intense egotism for claiming immortality?
Can it be denied that he will be read with admiration as long as
printing and the English language endure? Can there be greatness without
conscious power? Do those of us who believe in Christ as the grandest of
men degrade his manly and inspired self-confidence to the level of
egotism? Far be it from me, however, to insinuate a comparison where
none can exist, save as one ray of light may relate to the sun. Egotism
is the belief of narrow minds in the supreme significance of a mortal
self: conscious power is the belief in certain immortal attributes,
emanating from, and productive of, Truth and Beauty. I should not call
Landor an egotist.

The friendship existing between Southey and Landor must have had much of
the heroic element in it, for instances are rare where two writers have
so thoroughly esteemed one another. Those who have witnessed the
enthusiasm with which Landor spoke of Southey can readily imagine how
unpardonable a sin he considered it in Byron to make his friend an
object of satire. Landor's strong feelings necessarily caused him to be
classed in the _ou tout ou rien_ school. Seeing those whom he liked
through the magnifying-glass of perfection, he painted others in less
brilliant colors than perhaps they merited. Southey to Landor was the
essence of all good things, and there was no subject upon which he dwelt
with more unaffected pleasure. "Ah, Southey was the best man that ever
lived. There never was a better, my dear, good friends, Francis and
Julius Hare, excepted. They were true Christians; and it is an honor to
me that two such pure men should have been my friends for so many years,
up to the hour of death." It was to Julius Hare that Landor dedicated
his great work of "Pericles and Aspasia," and, while in England, it was
his habit to submit to this friend (and to his brother also, I think)
his manuscript. The complete edition of his works published in 1846 was
inscribed to Julius Hare and to John Forster, an equally devoted friend.
Both of the Hares have been embalmed in his verse.

Esteemed so highly in Landor's heart, Southey occupies the place of
honor in the "Imaginary Conversations," taking part in four dialogues,
two with Porson and two with Landor, on subjects of universal literary
interest, Milton and Wordsworth. These Conversations are among the most
valuable of the series, being models of criticism. Landor delighted to
record every meeting with Southey, where it was compatible with the
subject-matter. Thus in writing of Como he says: "It was in Como I
received and visited the brave descendants of the Jovii; it was in Como
I daily conversed with the calm, philosophical Sironi; and I must love
the little turreted city for other less intrinsic recollections. Thither
came to see me the learned and modest Bekker; and it was there, after
several delightful rambles, I said farewell to Southey." Often have I
heard Landor express his great liking for "The Curse of Kehama." One may
obtain an idea of how this admiration was reciprocated, from Southey's
criticism on "Gebir," in the Critical Review for September, 1799. Of
Gebir's speech to the Gadites, he says: "A passage more truly Homeric
than the close of this extract we do not remember in the volumes of
modern poetry." He took the entire poem as a model in blank verse. After
Southey's death, Landor used his influence with Lord Brougham to obtain
a pension for the family, in justice to the memory of one who had added
to the fame of England's literature. Again, in a letter to Southey's
son, the Rev. Charles Cuthbert Southey, he pronounced a eulogy upon his
friend's character and public services.

Directing Landor's attention to the assertion in Pycroft's "Course of
English Reading," that he, Landor, failed to appreciate Chaucer, the old
man, much vexed, refuted such a falsehood, saying: "On the contrary, I
am a great admirer of his. I am extremely fond of the 'Canterbury
Tales.' I much prefer Chaucer to Spenser; for allegory, when spun out,
is unendurable." It is strange that a man apparently so well read as Mr.
Pycroft should have so unjustly interpreted Landor, when it needed but a
passing reference to the Conversations to disprove his statement. By
turning to the second dialogue between Southey and Landor, he might have
culled the following tribute to Chaucer: "I do not think Spenser equal
to Chaucer even in imagination, and he appears to me very inferior to
him in all other points, excepting harmony. Here the miscarriage is in
Chaucer's age, not in Chaucer, many of whose verses are highly
beautiful, but never (as in Spenser) one whole period. I love the
geniality of his temperature: no straining, no effort, no storm, no
fury. His vivid thoughts burst their way to us through the coarsest
integuments of language." In another book Landor says: "Since the time
of Chaucer there have been only two poets who at all resemble him; and
these two are widely dissimilar one from the other,--Burns and Keats.
The accuracy and truth with which Chaucer has described the manners of
common life, with the foreground and background, are also to be found in
Burns, who delights in broader strokes of external nature, but equally
appropriate. He has parts of genius which Chaucer has not in the same
degree,--the animated and pathetic. Keats, in his 'Endymion,' is richer
in imagery than either; and there are passages in which no poet has
arrived at the same excellence on the same ground. Time alone was
wanting to complete a poet, who already far surpassed all his
contemporaries in this country in the poet's most noble attributes."
Once more, in some beautiful lines to the fair and free soul of
poesy,--Keats,--Landor concludes with a verse that surely shows an
appreciation of Chaucer:--

    "Ill may I speculate on scenes to come,
    Yet would I dream to meet thee at our home
    With Spenser's quiet, Chaucer's livelier ghost,
    Cognate to thine,--not higher and less fair,--
    And Madalene and Isabella there
    Shall say, _Without thee half our loves were lost_."

When a man chooses an author as a companion, not for time but for
eternity, he gives the best possible proof of an esteem that no rash
assertion of critics can qualify.

"I have always deeply regretted that I never met Shelley," said Landor
to me. "It was my own fault, for I was in Pisa the winter he resided
there, and was told that Shelley desired to make my acquaintance. But I
refused to make his, as, at that time, I believed the disgraceful story
related of him in connection with his first wife. Years after, when I
called upon the second Mrs. Shelley, who, then a widow, was living out
of London, I related to her what I had heard. She assured me that it was
a most infamous falsehood, one of the many that had been maliciously
circulated about her husband. I expressed my sorrow at not having been
undeceived earlier, and assured her I never could forgive myself for
crediting a slander that had prevented me from knowing Shelley. I was
much pleased with Mrs. Shelley." Landor's enthusiasm was most aroused at
generous deeds; for these he honored Shelley. Meanness he scorned, and
believed it to be an attribute of Byron. As a proof of contrast in the
natures of these two poets, he related an interesting anecdote, which
has appeared in one of his Conversations. "Byron could comprehend
nothing heroic, nothing disinterested. Shelley, at the gates of Pisa,
threw himself between him and the dragoon, whose sword in his
indignation was lifted and about to strike. Byron told a common friend,
some time afterward, that he could not conceive how any man living
should act so. 'Do you know he might have been killed! and there was
every appearance that he would be!' The answer was, 'Between you and
Shelley there is but little similarity, and perhaps but little sympathy;
yet what Shelley did then, he would do again, and always. There is not a
human creature, not even the most hostile, that he would hesitate to
protect from injury at the imminent hazard of life.' ... 'By God! I
cannot understand it!' cried Byron. 'A man to run upon a naked sword for
another!'"

And this Shelley, who, through a noble impulse, would have sacrificed
himself, is the man whom Moore seriously advised Byron to avoid, lest
his religious theories should undermine the immaculate morality of the
author of Don Juan! It is to be supposed that Moore wrote in earnestness
of spirit, yet it is impossible not to smile in wonderment at this
letter. Moore doubtless had greater belief in salvation by faith than by
works. "Ah, Moore was a superstitious dog!" exclaimed Landor one day. "I
was once walking with him in a garden," (I forget in what part of
England,) "laughing and joking, when Moore remarked the approach of some
dignitary of the Catholic Church. He immediately began to mumble
something, ran forward, and on his knees implored a blessing from the
priest, crossing himself with reverential air. Ah, what it is to have
faith! Landor, Landor, you are incorrigible! Don't you think so,
Giallo?" asked the master of his dog. "I never heard Moore sing, much to
my regret. I once asked him, but he excused himself with a sigh, saying
that he had lost his voice."

       *       *       *       *       *

One of Landor's prominent characteristics was generosity, carried to the
verge of rashness. Even in his last years, when living on a very limited
income, he was only too ready to empty his pockets at the call of any
charity, whether public or private. Impulse, however, prompted him to
give most heartily when he thought to further the cause of liberty. At
the time a subscription was opened in Florence to aid Garibaldi's
Sicilian expedition, Landor, anxious to lay an offering at the feet of
his heart's hero, pulled out his watch, the only article of value about
him, and begged Mr. Browning to present it to the fund. Mr. Browning
took it, but knowing how lost the old man would be without his
timepiece, kept it for a few days; and then, seizing a favorable moment
when Landor was missing his watch greatly, though without murmuring, Mr.
Browning persuaded him to retain it. This he did, with reluctance, after
being assured of the fund's prosperous condition. It was about the same
time, I think, that Landor wrote an Italian Conversation between
Savonarola and the Prior of San Marco, which he published in pamphlet
form for the benefit of this or a similar cause. Most admirably did
Landor write Italian, his wonderful knowledge of Latin undoubtedly
giving him the key to the soft, wooing tongue. He, of course, spoke the
language with equal correctness; but, as with most Englishmen who go to
Italy after having arrived at mature years, his pronunciation was
_proprio Inglese_.

Landor would never accept payment for his books, presenting the amount
due him either to the publisher, or, more generally, to some friend who
had been most active in aiding their publication. Few will applaud this
idiosyncrasy, the general and sensible opinion being that the laborer is
worthy of his hire: but Landor took peculiar pride in writing for fame
alone, without thought of the more tangible product of genius; and,
unlike most authors, he could well afford to indulge in this heroic
taste. Three years ago--and for the first time in his life, he
said--Landor accepted payment for a Conversation contributed to the
London Athenæum. The money had no sooner been received, than he urged,
though unsuccessfully, its acceptance upon a young American in whom he
was interested, declaring that he had no possible use for it. On another
occasion he proposed to give everything he might write to this same
American, to dispose of for the latter's benefit, and appeared grieved
when the offer was gratefully declined.

One day I was surprised by the appearance of Landor's little
waiting-maid bearing an old Florentine box of carved wood, almost as
large as herself, which she deposited on the table in obedience to her
master's wishes. She departed without vouchsafing any explanation.
Curiosity however was not long unsatisfied, for soon Giallo's white nose
peered through the door and heralded the coming of the old lion, who had
no sooner entered the room than he put into my hands a quaint old key,
saying: "I have brought you something that one of these days, when these
old bones of mine are packed away in the long box, may be of
considerable value. I have brought you what we may call, in anticipation
of a long-deferred but inevitable event, my literary remains. In that
box you will find all my notes and memoranda, together with many
unpublished verses. You can do what you like with them." Startled at
this unexpected endowment, I looked very great hesitancy, whereupon
Landor smiled, and begged me to unlock the box, as its opening would not
be fraught with evil consequences. "It is not Pandora's casket, I assure
you," he added. Turning the key and raising the lid, I discovered quite
a large collection of manuscripts, of very great interest to me of
course, but to which I had no right, nor was I the proper person with
whom to leave them. To have argued would have been useless.
Expostulation with Landor when in the white heat of a new idea was
Quixotic, so I expressed my very grateful thanks, and determined to
watch for a favorable opportunity to return the gift. I had not long to
wait, as it was not more than a month after that Landor bore them off,
with the intention of making certain selections for immediate
publication in England and returning the remainder. Time had not dealt
gently with Landor's memory of things nearest, therefore I knew that the
old Florentine box would wait in vain for its jewels. I was right: they
never came. The box since then has braved shipwreck, and now stands
beneath a modern writing-table, dark and proud of its antiquity,
telling perpetually of former noble associations. I felt relieved that
it so happened the manuscripts were not again left with me, yet I should
have been a saint had I not occasionally experienced a secret regret at
not having been forced to retain them in spite of entreaty and
propriety.

The greater part of these manuscripts have since appeared, under the
title of "Heroic Idyls, with Additional Poems," published late in 1863
by T. Cantley Newby, London.[C] This very last fruit off an old tree can
in no way add to Landor's reputation; it is interesting, however, for
having been written "within two paces of his ninetieth year," and as
showing the course of the mind's empire. Landor would have been more
heroic than these Idyls had he withheld them from publication, for it is
not cheering to see Thor cracking nuts with his most ponderous hammer.
And Landor realized as much when he wrote the following apology:--

    "You ask how I, who could converse
    With Pericles, can stoop to worse:
    How I, who once had higher aims,
    Can trifle so with epigrams.
    I would not lose the wise from view,
    But would amuse the children too:
    Besides, my breath is short and weak,
    And few must be the words I speak."

Ah! but it is a question whether the children are amused. Occasionally
there is a line with the old ring to it, a couplet seasoned with Attic
salt, but for the rest there is the body without the spirit,--there is
the well of English undefiled, but it is pumped dry! Probably the desire
to publish was never so great as during Landor's last years, when the
interests of his life had narrowed down to reading and writing, and he
had become a purely introverted man. It was then he wrote:--

    "The heaviest curse that can on mortal fall
    Is, 'Who has friends may he outlive them all!'
    This malediction has awaited me,
    Who had so many.... I could once count three."

Cursed thus, he turned to the public for the only consolation left him
on this side of the grave. It was not sufficient to write, for it is he
as the Homer of his Idyls that confesses

    "A pardonable fault: we wish for listeners
    Whether we speak or sing: the young and old
    Alike are weak in this, unwise and wise
    Cheerful and sorrowful."

Twenty years before, Landor wrote to Lady Blessington: "Once beyond
seventy, I will never write a line in verse or prose for publication. I
will be my own Gil Blas. The wisest of us are unconscious when our
faculties begin to decay." He, wisest of all, forgot his own good
resolutions; but the listeners to these latter-day Idyls were few, and
Landor had scarce collected his small audience before the lights were
blown out and the curtain fell upon the deathbed of the singer.

To express a liking for any of Landor's pictures--provided you were a
friend--was almost sufficient to cause them to be taken down and
presented to you; hence to praise anything in his presence was
exceedingly unsafe. I remember looking over a large album once belonging
to Barker, the English artist, which Landor had purchased to relieve him
of certain debts, and particularly admiring four original sketches by
Turner--two in oil and two in india-ink--that had been given by this
artist to his brother-painter. No sooner had I spoken than Landor went
in search of the scissors, and, had I not earnestly protested, would
have cut out the Turners and given them to me. Such being Landor's
disposition, one can well imagine how easily he could be imposed upon by
designing people. There is an instance of his kindly feeling so
prominent and so honorable both to himself and the object of it, that it
is but right the public should read the contents of two letters
belonging to and greatly treasured by me. They were put into my hands
nearly four years ago by Landor to do with as I pleased after his death.
The letters explain themselves.

    "8 SOUTH BANK, REGENT'S PARK,
    LONDON, March 24, 1856.

    "MY VENERABLE FRIEND,--

"Though I very gratefully appreciate the generosity of your intentions,
still I must confess that few things have ever affected me more
painfully than to see from the 'Times' of to-day my private
circumstances--the sacred domain of life--thrust as an object of
commiseration upon public discussion,--a miserable subject of public
sneers.

"My head turns giddy at the very thought, and my resignation is scarcely
able to overcome the shame. I don't know how I shall muster sufficient
resolution to appear in public ever hereafter; and I fear, with all your
good intentions, you shall have become the involuntary instrument for
driving me out of England before my time. I really scarcely can imagine
what else I have to do, unless you devise some means for healing the
wound.

"I am poor, very poor; but there was, I dare say, something honorable in
that poverty, something sacred I would say. But seeing it made the
object of a public appeal for commiseration, I feel as if everything
that was sacred in my position had undergone a profanation.

"I repeat that I respect and appreciate the nobility of your impulses,
but I regret that such a step should have been taken without my having
an idea of its possibility.

"I will say no more, but leave it with your prudence and discretion to
mitigate the blow your kindness has inflicted on me. And remain with
wonted esteem, only mingled with grief,

    "Yours very truly,

    "KOSSUTH.

    "TO WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR."

Opposite the nervous yet legible scrawl of the noble and maligned
Magyar, Landor traced the following answer.

"It is impossible for me to rest until I have attempted to remove the
vexation I have caused to the man I most venerate of any upon earth.

"My noble Kossuth! 'the sacred domain of your life' is far more
extensive than your measurement. Neither your house nor your banker's
are its confines. Do not imagine that the world is ignorant of your
circumstances; it would be a crime to be indifferent to them.

"The editor of the Atlas, in announcing that he had _secured your
co-operation_, published a manifesto. I know nothing of this editor; but
so long as you contributed to the paper, I was your humble subsidiary.

"Consider how many men, wealthier than you and me, have accepted the
offers of those who came forward to indemnify the persecuted for the
demolition of their property. Ask yourself if Demosthenes or Milton, the
two most illustrious defenders of liberty, by speech and pen, would have
thrust aside the tribute which is due to such men alone. Would you dash
out the signature of one who declares you his trustee for a legacy to
your children? No, you would not. Neither will you reject the proofs of
high esteem, however manifested, which England, however debased, is
anxious to give.

"Believe me ever sincerely and affectionately yours,

    "W. S. LANDOR.

    "March 27."

Landor was essentially a hero-worshipper. His admiration for Washington
exceeded that entertained by him for any man of any time. Franklin, too,
he greatly esteemed. "Ah, if you had but another Washington and
Franklin!" he exclaimed one day. To have suffered for freedom was the
open-sesame to Landor's heart; nor did age in any way chill this noble
enthusiasm, as the letter here inserted amply proves. It was sufficient
to name Kossuth to bring fire to the old man's eye and eulogistic
volubility to his tongue.

Orsini, too, was a great favorite with him. Coming in one morning as
usual, and sitting down in the arm-chair by the fire, he took from under
his arm a small paper-covered book, saying: "I have brought you
something that I know you will like to read. Giallo and I have enjoyed
it immensely; and a better critic than Giallo is not to be found in all
Italy, though I say it who shouldn't. An approving wag of his tail is
worth all the praise of all the Quarterlies published in the United
Kingdom." Hereupon Giallo, apparently delighted at this compliment,
barked and frisked about like a creature bewitched, jumped into his
master's lap, and did not return to a quiescent state until he had
kissed his master's face. "Down, Giallo, down!" finally cried Landor.
"Where are your manners, sir? Don't you know it is very uncivil to
interrupt a conversation? And, moreover, remember never to spoil a
_tête-à-tête_." Then turning to me, Landor continued, presenting the
book, "Here it is; the _Memorie Politiche di Felice Orsini_, which you
will find vastly entertaining and far more romantic than any novel. A
very noble, brave fellow was that Orsini, and handsome too! It is a
great pity he did not succeed in his plot against that scoundrel
Napoleon, although it was not well planned, and failure was written on
the face of it." Right gladly did I read memoirs which were all that
Landor (and Giallo) claimed. It is strange that this book should be so
little known. Were students of Italian to transfer their affections from
_Le mie Prigioni_ to these _Memorie Politiche_, they would be the
gainers; for the patriotism of Silvio Pellico is but a sick and weakly
sentiment compared with the dauntless energy and unflinching
determination of Orsini. His escape from Mantua, aided by no other
friends than four sheets and four towels, and described most admirably
and in detail by him, is one of the most brilliant and perilous exploits
in the annals of prison history. Those who knew Orsini have since told
me that he was one of the most lovable of men, as he was one of the most
handsome,--full of the fire of intense and stalwart manhood, yet as
gentle as a young girl. Disappointed and wronged in his domestic
relations, a loving but wretched father, and stung to madness by his
country's servitude, whose cause he early made his own, Orsini's life
was from the beginning a tragedy. Fate seemed to have wrested from him
every form of happiness in order to make him a more desperate
conspirator. He conspired from pure love of liberty, for which at any
moment he was ready to die. Those who merely know Orsini by the last act
of his life can have no proper appreciation of the wonderful purity and
nobility of his character. In his attempt to assassinate Louis Napoleon,
he was actuated by as exalted motives as led Charlotte Corday to do a
bloody deed. Exiled, a price upon his head, deceived by those in whom he
had put faith, in despair at the state of Italian affairs, Orsini
committed what he himself, in a letter to his intended victim, Napoleon,
confessed to be _un fatale errore mentale_,--assassination being in
direct opposition to the faith and facts of his life up to the
conspiracy of the 14th of January. For this fatal error he offered his
own blood as an expiatory sacrifice. Few nobler heads than Orsini's have
bowed before the guillotine.

In "Pericles and Aspasia," Cleone has written with Landor's pen, that
"study is the bane of boyhood, the aliment of youth, the indulgence of
manhood, and the restorative of old age." Of this theory there could be
no better example than Landor's self. That life which outlasted all the
friends of its zenith was made endurable by a constant devotion to the
greatest works of the greatest men. Milton and Shakespeare were his
constant companions, by night as well as by day. "I never tire of them,"
he would say; "they are always a revelation. And how grand is Milton's
prose! quite as fine as his poetry!" He was very fond of repeating the
following celebrated lines that have the true ring to a tuneful ear as
well as to an appreciative intellect:--

    "But when God commands to take the trumpet
    And blow a dolorous or thrilling blast,
    It rests not with man's will what he shall say
    Or what he shall conceal."

"Was anything more harmonious ever written?" Landor would ask. "But
Milton, you know, is old-fashioned. I believe _I_ am old-fashioned.
However, it is rather an honor to be classed thus, if one may keep such
distinguished company." How devoted a student of Milton Landor was is
evidenced in his delightful critical conversation between Southey and
himself, wherein he declared, "Such stupendous genius, so much fancy, so
much eloquence, so much vigor of intellect never were united as in
Paradise Lost." Yet the lover is still an impartial critic, and does not
indorse all things. Quoting the charming couplet,

    "Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
    And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay,"

he says: "I would rather have written these two lines than all the
poetry that has been written since Milton's time in all the regions of
the earth." In 1861 Landor sent me the last lines he ever wrote,
addressed to the English Homer, entitled

    "MILTON IN ITALY.

    "O Milton! couldst thou rise again, and see
    The land thou lovedst in an earlier day!
    See, springing from her tomb, fair Italy
    (Fairer than ever) cast her shroud away,--
    That tightly-fastened, triply-folded shroud!
    Around her, shameful sight! crowd upon crowd,
    Nations in agony lie speechless down,
    And Europe trembles at a despot's frown."

The despot is, of course, Louis Napoleon, for Landor would never allow
that the French Emperor comprehended his epoch, and that Italian
regeneration was in any way due to the co-operation of France. In his
allegorical poem of "The gardener and the Mole," the gardener at the
conclusion of the argument chops off the mole's head, such being the
fate to which the poet destined Napoleon. No reference, however, is made
to "that rascal" in the lines to Milton inserted in the "Heroic Idyls,"
and as the printed version was, doubtless, Landor's own preference, it
is but just to insert it here:--

    "O Milton! couldst thou rise again and see
    The land thou lovedst in _thy_ earlier day
    See springing from her tomb fair Italy
    (Fairer than ever) cast her shroud away,
    That tightly-fastened, triply-folded shroud,
    _Torn by her children off their mother's face!_
    _O couldst thou see her now, more justly proud_
    _Than of an earlier and a stronger race!"_

There certainly is more unity of idea in the printed copy, but so faulty
is it in punctuation--or at least for the want of it--that one is
warranted in believing the substitution of _thy_ for _an_, in the second
line, to be an _erratum_. Though Milton visited Italy in his youth,
there is no evidence to prove that he did not love it in old age. In its
present form the line loses in sense. Nothing annoyed Landor more than
to have his manuscript "corrected," and no one's temper was ever more
tried than his in this respect; for, having an orthography peculiar to
himself, which he maintained was according to the genius of the
language, and which printers would persist in translating into the
vulgate, Landor grew to be morbidly sensitive concerning revision. It
was the more intolerable to him, because of his extreme care in the
preparation of his manuscript. Few celebrated authors have written so
clear and clean a hand; none ever sent his work to the press in a more
highly finished state. Fastidious beyond expression, the labor of
correction was unending. Even "Gebir" was subjected to revision, and at
one time I was intrusted with quite a long introduction, which, the day
after, Landor altered and sent to me the following note.

"Again the old creature comes to bother you. The enclosed is to take the
place of what I wrote yesterday, and to cancel, as you will see, what a
tolerably good critic" (Southey) "thought _too good to be thrown away_,
&c., &c. I do not think so, but certainly the beginning of 'Gebir' is
better with

    'Kings! ye athirst for conquest,' etc.

_You_ are not _athirst_ for it but _take it coolly_."

Later, this introduction passed out of my hands. Previously Landor had
written on a slip of paper now before me:--

"'Gebir' should begin thus:--

    'Hear ye the fate of Gebir!'

_Not_

    'I sing the _fates_ of Gebir,'"--

which is a correction suggested to future publishers of this poem.

It would be a hopeful sign were our young American writers inoculated
with somewhat of Landor's reverence for literature, as it was no less
than reverence that made him treat ideas with respect, and array them in
the most dignified language, thus making of every sentence a study. And
it is well that these writers should know what intense labor is required
to produce anything great or lasting. "Execution is the chariot of
genius," William Blake, the great poet-artist, has said; and it is just
this execution which is unattainable without immense application and
fastidiousness. If patience be genius,--"La patience cherche et le génie
trouve,"--and if execution be its chariot, what possible fame can there
be for the slipshod writers of to-day, who spawn columns and volumes at
so much a minute, regardless of the good name of their mother tongue,
devoid of ideas, which are the product only of brains that have been
ploughed up and sown with fruitful seed? An author's severest critic
should be himself. To be carried away by the popular current is easy and
pleasant, but some fine morning the popular man wakes up to find himself
stranded and deserted,--Nature playing queer pranks with currents
changing their beds as best suits her fancy;--for even popular taste
follows laws of progression, and grows out of one error into a less.
Pope wisely maintains that "no man ever rose to any degree of perfection
in writing but through obstinacy and an inveterate resolution against
the stream of mankind." Unless he mount the chariot of execution, his
ideas, however good, will never put a girdle round the earth. They will
halt and limp as do his own weary feet.

       *       *       *       *       *

Landor's enthusiasm for Shakespeare grew young as he grew old, and it
was his desire to bid farewell to earth with his eyes resting upon the
Shakespeare that so constantly lay open before him. Nothing excited his
indignation more than to hear little people of great pretension
carpingly criticise the man of whom he makes Southey, in a discussion
with Porson, declare, that "all the faults that ever were committed in
poetry would be but as air to earth, if we could weigh them against one
single thought or image such as almost every scene exhibits in every
drama of this unrivalled genius." In three fine lines Landor has said
even more:--

    "In poetry there is but one supreme,
    Though there are many angels round his throne,
    Mighty, and beauteous, while his face is hid."

To Landor's superior acumen, also, we owe two readings of Shakespeare
that have made intelligible what was previously "a contradictory
inconceivable." Did it ever occur to dealers in familiar quotations that
there was a deal of nonsense in the following lines as they are printed?

    "_Vaulting_ ambition that o'erleaps _itself_
    And falls on the _other side_."

"Other side of what?" exclaims Landor "It should be _its sell_. _Sell_
is _saddle_ in Spenser and elsewhere, from the Latin and Italian." Yet,
in spite of correction, every Macbeth on the stage still maintains in
stentorian tones that ambition o'erleaps _itself_, thereby demonstrating
how useless it is to look for Shakespearian scholarship in so-called
Shakespearian actors, who blindly and indolently accept theatrical
tradition.

Equally important is Landor's correction of the lines

        "And the _delighted_ spirit
    To bathe in fiery floods."

"Truly this would be a very odd species of delight. But Shakespeare
never wrote such nonsense; he wrote _belighted_ (whence our _blighted_),
struck by lightning; a fit preparation for such bathing."

The last stanza ever inscribed to Shakespeare by Landor was sent to me
with the following preface: "An old man sends the last verses he has
written, or probably he may ever write to ---- ----."

    "SHAKESPEARE IN ITALY.

    "Beyond our shores, beyond the Apennines,
    Shakespeare, from heaven came thy creative breath!
    'Mid citron grove and overarching vines
    Thy genius wept at Desdemona's death:
    In the proud sire thou badest anger cease,
    And Juliet by her Romeo sleep in peace.
    Then rose thy voice above the stormy sea,
    And Ariel flew from Prospero to thee.

    "July 1, 1860."

Dante was not one of Landor's favorites, although he was quite ready to
allow the greatness of _il gran poeta_. He had no sympathy with what he
said was very properly called a comedy. He would declare that about one
sixth only of Dante was intelligible or pleasurable. Turning to Landor's
writings, I find that in his younger days he was even less favorable to
Dante. In the "Pen_te_meron" (the author spelling it so) he, in the garb
of Petrarch, asserts that "at least sixteen parts in twenty of the
_Inferno_ and _Purgatorio_ are detestable both in poetry and principle;
the higher parts are excellent, indeed." Dante's powers of language, he
allows, "are prodigious; and, in the solitary places where he exerts his
force rightly, the stroke is irresistible. But how greatly to be pitied
must he be who can find nothing in Paradise better than sterile
theology! and what an object of sadness and consternation he who rises
up from hell like a giant refreshed!" While allowing his wonderful
originality, Landor goes so far as to call him "the great master of the
disgusting"! Dante is not sympathetic.

Yet he wrote the glorious episode of Francesca da Rimini, of which
Landor's Boccaccio says: "Such a depth of intuitive judgment, such a
delicacy of perception, exists not in any other work of human genius;
and from an author who, on almost all occasions, in this part of the
work, betrays a deplorable want of it."

Landor used often to say what Cleone has written to Aspasia,--"I do not
believe the best writers of love-poetry ever loved. How could they write
if they did? where could they collect the thoughts, the words, the
courage?" This very discouraging belief admits of argument, for there is
much proof to the contrary. Shelley and Keats could not write what they
had not felt; and Mrs. Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese, the most
exquisite love-poems in the English language, came direct from the
heart. It were hardly possible to make poetry while living it; but when
the white heat of passion has passed, and hangs as a beautiful picture
on memory's walls, the artist may write his poem. If the best writers of
love-poetry have never loved, at least they have been capable of loving,
or they could not make the reader feel. Appreciation is necessary to
production. But Petrarca was such a poet as Cleone refers to. He was
happy to be theoretically miserable, that he might indite sonnets to an
unrequited passion: and who is not sensible of their insincerity? One is
inclined to include Dante in the same category, though far higher in
degree. Landor, however, has conceived the existence of a truly ardent
affection between Dante and Beatrice, and it was my good fortune to hear
him read this beautiful imaginary conversation. To witness the aged poet
throwing the pathos of his voice into the pathos of his intellect, his
eyes flooded with tears, was a scene of uncommon interest. "Ah!" said
he, while closing the book, "I never wrote anything half as good as
that, and I never can read it that the tears do not come." Landor's
voice must have been exceedingly rich and harmonious, as it then (1861)
possessed much fulness. This was the first and only time I ever heard
him read aloud one of his own Conversations.

       *       *       *       *       *

Petrarch and Boccaccio were highly esteemed by Landor, who did not
sympathize with Lord Chesterfield in his opinion that the former
deserved his _Laura_ better than his _lauro_. The best evidence of this
predilection is Landor's great work, "The Pentemeron," second only to
his greatest, "Pericles and Aspasia." Its _couleur locale_ is
marvellous. On every page there is a glimpse of cloudless blue sky, a
breath of warm sunny air, a sketch of Italian manner. The masterly
_gusto_ with which the author enters into the spirit of Italy would
make us believe him to be "the noblest Roman of them all," had he not
proved himself a better Grecian. Margaret Fuller realized this when,
after comparing the Pentemeron and Petrarca together, she wrote: "I find
the prose of the Englishman worthy of the verse of the Italian. It is a
happiness to see such marble beauty in the halls of a contemporary."

       *       *       *       *       *

I gave evidence of great surprise one day upon hearing Landor express
himself warmly in favor of Alfieri, as I had naturally concluded, from a
note appended to the Conversation between "Galileo, Milton, and a
Dominican," that he entertained a sorry opinion of this poet. Reading
the note referred to, Landor seemed to be greatly annoyed, and replied:
"This is a mistake. It was never my intention to condemn Alfieri so
sweepingly." A few days later I received the following correction.
"Keats, in whom the spirit of poetry was stronger than in any
contemporary, at home or abroad, delighted in Hellenic imagery and
mythology, displaying them admirably; but no poet came nearer than
Alfieri to the heroic, since Virgil. Disliking, as I do, prefaces and
annotations, excrescences which hang loose like the deciduous bark on a
plane-tree, I will here notice an omission of mine on Alfieri, in the
'Imaginary Conversations.' The words, '_There is not a glimpse of poetry
in his Tragedies_,' should be, as written, '_There is not an extraneous
glimpse_,' &c."

Since then Landor has addressed these lines to Alfieri:--

            "Thou art present in my sight,
    Though far removed from us, for thou alone
    Hast touched the inmost fibres of the breast,
    Since Tasso's tears made damper the damp floor
    Whereon one only light came through the bars," &c.;

thus redeeming the unintentioned slur of many years' publicity.

Landor pronounced (as must everyone else) Niccolini to be the best of
the recent Italian poets. Of Redi, whose verses taste of the rich juice
of the grape in those good old days when Tuscan vines had not become
demoralized, and wine was cheaper than water, Landor spoke fondly. Leigh
Hunt has given English readers a quaff of Redi in his rollicking
translation of "Bacchus in Tuscany," which is steeped in
"Montepulciano," "the king of all wine."

But Redi is not always bacchanalian. He has a loving, human heart as
well, which Landor has shown in a charming translation given to me
shortly after our conversation concerning this poet. "I never publish
translations," he remarked at the time; but though translations may not
be fit company for the "Imaginary Conversations," the verses from Redi
are more than worthy of an abiding place here.

    "Ye gentle souls! ye love-devoted fair!
      Who, passing by, to Pity's voice incline,
    O stay awhile and hear me; then declare
      If there was ever grief that equals mine.

    "There was a woman to whose sacred breast
      Faith had retired, where Honor fixt his throne,
    Pride, though upheld by Virtue she represt....
      Ye gentle souls! that woman was my own.

    "Beauty was more than beauty in her face,
      Grace was in all she did, in all she said.
    In sorrow as in pleasure there was grace....
      Ye gentle souls! that gentle soul is fled."

FOOTNOTES:

[C] Out of three hundred and forty-eight pages, sixty-eight are devoted
to Latin verses.



TO-MORROW.


    'Tis late at night, and in the realm of sleep
          My little lambs are folded like the flocks;
          From room to room I hear the wakeful clocks
          Challenge the passing hour, like guards that keep
    Their solitary watch on tower and steep;
          Far off I hear the crowing of the cocks,
          And through the opening door that time unlocks
          Feel the fresh breathing of To-morrow creep.
    To-morrow! the mysterious, unknown guest,
          Who cries aloud: "Remember Barmecide,
          And tremble to be happy with the rest!"
    And I make answer: "I am satisfied;
          I dare not ask; I know not what is best;
          God hath already said what shall betide."



DOCTOR JOHNS.


LVIII.

A letter from Reuben indeed has come; but not for Miss Adèle. The Doctor
is glad of the relief its perusal will give him. Meantime Miss Eliza, in
her stately, patronizing manner, and with a coolness that was worse than
a sneer, says, "I hope you have pleasant news from your various friends
abroad, Miss Maverick?"

Adèle lifted her eyes with a glitter in them that for a moment was
almost serpent-like; then, as if regretting her show of vexation, and
with an evasive reply, bowed her head again to brood over the strange
suspicions that haunted her. Miss Johns, totally unmoved,--thinking all
the grief but a righteous dispensation for the sin in which the poor
child had been born,--next addressed the Doctor, who had run his eye
with extraordinary eagerness through the letter of his son.

"What does Reuben say, Benjamin?"

"His 'idols,' again, Eliza; 't is always the 'flesh-pots of Egypt.'"

And the Doctor reads: "There is just now rare promise of a good venture
in our trade at one of the ports of Sicily, and we have freighted two
ships for immediate despatch. At the last moment our supercargo has
failed us, and Brindlock has suggested that I go myself; it is short
notice, as the ship is in the stream and may sail to-morrow, but I
rather fancy the idea, and have determined to go. I hope you will
approve. Of course, I shall have no time to run up to Ashfield to say
good by. I shall try for a freight back from Naples, otherwise shall
make some excuse to run across the Straits for a look at Vesuvius and
the matters thereabout. St. Paul, you know, voyaged in those seas, which
will interest you in my trip. I dare say I shall find where he landed:
it's not far from Naples, Mrs. Brindlock tells me. Give love to the
people who ever ask about me in Ashfield. I enclose a check of five
hundred dollars for parish contingencies till I come back; hoping to
find you clean out of harness by that time." (The Doctor cannot for his
life repress a little smile here.) "Tell Adèle I shall see her blue
Mediterranean at last, and will bring her back an olive-leaf, if I find
any growing within reach. Tell Phil I love him, and that he deserves all
the good he will surely get in this world, or in any other. Ditto for
Rose. Ditto for good old Mrs. Elderkin, whom I could almost kiss for the
love she's shown me. What high old romps haven't we had in her garden!
Eh, Adèle? (I suppose you'll show her this letter, father.)

"Good by, again.

"N. B. We hope to make a cool thirty thousand out of this venture!"

Adèle had half roused herself at the hearing of her name, but the
careless, jocular mention of it, (so it seemed at least,) in contrast
with the warmer leave-taking of other friends, added a new pang to her
distress. She wished, for a moment, that she had never written her
letter of thanks. What if she wished--in that hour of terrible suspicion
and of vain search after any object upon which her future happiness
might rest--that she had never been born? Many a one has given hearty
utterance to that wish with less cause. Many a one of those just
tottering into childhood will live to give utterance to the same. But
the great wheel of fate turns ever relentlessly on. It drags us up from
the nether mysterious depths; we sport and struggle and writhe and
rejoice, as it bears us into the flashing blaze of life's meridian;
then, with awful surety, it hurries us down, drags us under, once more
into the abysses of silence and of mystery. Happy he who reads such
promise as he passes in the lights fixed forever on the infinite depths
above, that the silence and the mystery shall be as welcome as sleep to
the tired worker!

"It will be of service to Reuben, I think, Benjamin," said Aunt Eliza;
"I quite approve,"--and slipped away noiselessly.

The Doctor was still musing,--the letter in his hand,--when Adèle rose,
and, approaching him, said in her gentlest way, "It's a great grief to
you, New Papa, I know it is, but 'God orders all things well,'--except
for me."

"Adaly! my child, I am shocked!"

She had roused the preacher in him unwittingly.

"I can't listen now," said she, impatiently, "and tell me,--you
must,--did papa give you the name of this--new person he is to marry?"

"Yes, Adaly, yes," but he has forgotten it; and, searching for the
previous letter, he presently finds it, and sets it before
her,--"Mademoiselle Chalet."

"Chalet!" screams she. "There is some horrible mistake, New Papa. More
than ever I am in the dark,--in the dark!" And with a hasty adieu she
rushed away, taking her course straight for the house of that outlawed
woman, with whom now, more than ever, she must have so many sympathies
in common. Her present object, however, was to learn if any more
definite evidence could be found that the deceased lady--mother still,
in her thought--bore the name of Chalet. She found the evidence. One or
two little books (devotional books they prove to be), which the mistress
of the house had thrown by as valueless, were brought out, upon the
fly-leaves of which the keen eyes of Adèle detected the name,--crossed
and recrossed indeed, as if the poor woman would have destroyed all
traces of her identity,--but still showing when held to the light a
portion of the name she so cherished in her heart,--Chalet.

Adèle was more than ever incensed at thought of the delusion or the
deception of her father. But, by degrees, her indignation yielded to her
affection. He was himself to come, he would make it clear; this new
mother--whom she was sure she should not love--was to remain; the Doctor
had told her this much. She was glad of it. Yet she found in that fact a
new proof that this person could not be her true mother. _She_ would
have rushed to her arms; no fear of idle tongues could have kept her
back. And though she yearned for the time when she should be clasped
once more in her father's arms, she dreaded the thought of crossing the
seas with him upon such empty pilgrimage. She half wished for some
excuse to detain her here,--some fast anchor by which her love might
cling, within reach of that grave where her holier affections had
centred.

This wish was confirmed by the more cordial manner in which she was
received by the Elderkins, and, indeed, by the whole village, so soon as
the Doctor had made known the fact--as he did upon the earliest
occasion--that Mr. Maverick was speedily to come for Adèle, and to
restore her to the embraces of a mother whom she had not seen for years.

Even the spinster, at the parsonage, was disposed to credit something to
the rigid legal aspects which the affair was taking, and to find in them
a shelter for her wounded dignities. Nor did she share the inquietude of
the Doctor at thought of the new and terrible religious influences to
which Adèle must presently be exposed; under her rigid regard, this
environment of the poor victim with all the subtlest influences of the
Babylonish Church was but a proper and orderly retribution under
Providence for family sins and the old spurning of the law. 'T was
right, in her exalted view, that she should struggle and agonize and
wrestle with Satan for much time to come, before she should fully
cleanse her bedraggled skirts of all taint of heathenism, and stand upon
the high plane with herself, among the elect.

"It is satisfactory to reflect, Benjamin," said she, "that during her
residence with us the poor girl has been imbued with right principles;
at least I trust so."

And as she spoke, the exemplary old lady plucked a little waif of down
from her bombazine dress, and snapped it away jauntily upon the
air,--even as, throughout her life, she had snapped from her the
temptations of the world. And when, in his Scripture reading that very
night, the Doctor came upon the passage "_Wo unto you, Pharisees!_" the
mind of the spinster was cheerfully intent upon the wretched sinners of
Judæa.


LIX.

THE news of Maverick's prospective arrival, and the comments of the good
Doctor,--as we have said,--shed a new light upon the position of Adèle.
Old Squire Elderkin, with a fatherly interest, was not unaffected by it;
indeed, the Doctor had been communicative with him to a degree that had
enlisted very warmly the old gentleman's sympathies.

"Better late than never, Doctor," had been his comment; and he had
thought it worth his while to drop a hint or two in the ear of Phil.

"I say, Phil, my boy, I gave you a word of caution not long ago in
regard to--to Miss Maverick. There were some bad stories afloat, my boy;
but they are cleared up,--quite cleared up, Phil."

"I'm glad of it, sir," says Phil.

"So am I,--so am I, my boy. She's a fine girl, Phil, eh?"

"I think she is, sir."

"The deuse you do! Well, and what then?"

Phil blushed, but the smile that came on his face was not a hearty one.

"Well, Phil?"

"I said she was a fine girl, sir," said he, measuredly.

"But she's an uncommon fine girl, Phil, eh?"

"I think she is, sir."

"Well?"

Phil was twirling his hat in an abstracted way between his knees. "I
don't think she's to be won very easily," said he at last.

"Nonsense, Phil! Faint heart never won. Make a bold push for it, my boy.
The best birds drop at a quick shot."

"Do they?" said Phil, with a smile of incredulity that the old gentleman
did not comprehend.

He found, indeed, a much larger measure of hope in a little hint that
was let fall by Rose two days after. "I wouldn't despair if I were you,
Phil," she had whispered in his ear.

Ah, those quiet, tender, sisterly words of encouragement, of cheer, of
hope! Blest is the man who can enjoy them! and accursed must he be who
scorns them, or who can never win them.

Phil, indeed, had never given over most devoted and respectful
attentions to Adèle; but he had shown them latterly with a subdued and
half-distrustful air, which Adèle with her keen insight had not been
slow to understand. Trust a woman for fathoming all the shades of doubt
which overhang the addresses of a lover!

Yet it was not easy for Phil, or indeed for any other, to understand or
explain the manner of Adèle at this time. Elated she certainly was in
the highest degree at the thought of meeting and welcoming her father;
and there was an exuberance in her spirits when she talked of it, that
seemed almost unnatural; but the coming shadow of the new mother whom
she was bound to welcome dampened all. The Doctor indeed had warned her
against the Romish prejudices of this newly found relative, and had
entreated her to cling by the faith in which she had been reared; but it
was no fear of any such conflict that oppressed her;--creeds all
vanished under the blaze of that natural affection which craved a
motherly embrace and which foresaw only falsity.

What wonder if her thought ran back, in its craving, to the days long
gone,--to the land where the olive grew upon the hills, and the sunshine
lay upon the sea,--where an old godmother, with withered hands clasped
and raised, lifted up her voice at nightfall and chanted,--

    "O sanctissima,
    O piissima,
    Dulcis virgo Maria,
    Mater amata,
    Intemerata,
    Ora, ora, pro nobis!"

The Doctor would have been shocked had he heard the words tripping from
the tongue of Adèle; yet, for her, they had no meaning save as
expressive of a deep yearning for motherly guidance and motherly
affection.

Mrs. Elderkin, with her kindly instinct, had seen the perplexity of
Adèle, and had said to her one day, "Ady, my dear, is the thought not
grateful to you that you will meet your mother once more, and be clasped
in her arms?"

"If I could,--if I could!" said Adèle, with a burst of tears.

"But you will, my child, you will. The Doctor has shown us the letters
of your father. Nothing can be clearer. Even now she must be longing to
greet you."

"Why does she not come, then?"--with a tone that was almost taunting.

"But, Adèle, my dear, there may be reasons of which you do not know or
which you could not understand."

"I could,--I do!" said Adèle, with spirit mastering her grief. "'T is
not my mother, my true mother; she is in the graveyard; I know it!"

"My dear child, do not decide hastily. We love you; we all love you. You
know that. And whatever may happen, you shall have a home with us. I
will be a mother to you, Adèle."

The girl kissed her good hostess, and the words lingered on her ear long
after nightfall. Why not her mother? What parent could be more kind?
What home more grateful? And should she bring dishonor to it then? Could
she be less sensitive to that thought than her father had already shown
himself? She perceives, indeed, that within a short time, and since the
later communications from her father, the manner of those who had looked
most suspiciously upon her has changed. But they do not know the secret
of that broidered kerchief,--the secret of that terrible death-clasp,
which she never, never can forget. She will be true to her own sense of
honor; she will be true, too, to her own faith,--the faith in which she
has been reared,--whatever may be the persuasions of that new relative
beyond the seas whom she so dreads to meet.

Indeed, it is with dreary anticipations that she forecasts now her
return to that _belle France_ which has so long borne olive-branches
along its shores for welcome; she foresees struggle, change,
hypocrisies, may be,--who can tell?--and she begins to count the weeks
of her stay amid the quiet of Ashfield in the same spirit in which
youngsters score off the remaining days of the long vacation. Adèle
finds herself gathering, and pressing within the leaves of some
cherished book, little sprays of dead bloom that shall be, in the dim
and mysterious future, mementoes of the walks, the frolics, the joys
that have belonged to this staid New England home. From the very
parsonage door she has brought away a sprig of a rampant sweet-brier
that has grown there this many a year, and its delicate leaflets are
among her chiefest treasures.

More eagerly than ever she listens to the kindly voices that greet her
and speak cheer to her in the home of the Elderkins,--voices which she
feels bitterly will soon be heard no more by her. Even the delicate and
always respectful attentions of Phil have an added, though a painful
charm, since they are so soon to have an end. She knows that she will
remember him always, though his tenderest words can waken no hopes of a
brighter future for her. She even takes him partially into her
confidence, and, strolling with him down the street one day, she decoys
him to the churchyard gate, where she points out to him the stone she
had placed over the grave that was so sacred to her.

"Phil," said she, "you have always been full of kindness for me. When I
am gone, have a care of that stone and grave, please, Phil. My best
friend lies there."

"I don't think you know your best friends," stammered Phil.

"I know you are one," said Adèle, calmly, "and that I can trust you to
do what I ask about this grave. Can I, Phil?"

"You know you can, Adèle; but I don't like this talk of your going, as
if you were never to be among us again. Do you think you can be happiest
yonder with strangers, Adèle?"

"It's not--where I can be happiest, Phil; I don't ask myself that
question; I fear I never can";--and her lips trembled as she said it.

"You can,--you ought," burst out Phil, fired at sight of her emotion,
and would have gone on bravely and gallantly, may be, with the passion
that was surging in him, if a look of hers and a warning finger had not
stayed him.

"We'll talk no more of this, Phil"; and her lips were as firm as iron
now.

Both of them serious and silent for a while; until at length Adèle, in
quite her old manner, says: "Of course, Phil, father may bring me to
America again some day; and if so, I shall certainly beg for a little
visit in Ashfield. It would be very ungrateful in me not to remember the
pleasant times I've had here."

But Phil cannot so deftly change the color of his talk; his chattiness
has all gone from him. Nor does it revive on reaching home. Good Mrs.
Elderkin says, "What makes you so crusty, Phil?"


LX.

Maverick arrives, as he had promised to do, some time in early July;
comes up from the city without announcing himself in advance; and,
leaving the old coach, which still makes its periodical trips from the
river, a mile out from the town, strolls along the highway. He remembers
well the old outline of the hills; and the straggling hedge-rows, the
scattered granite boulders, the whistling of a quail from a near fence
in the meadow, all recall the old scenes which he knew in boyhood. At a
solitary house by the wayside a flaxen-haired youngster is blowing off
soap-bubbles into the air,--with obstreperous glee whenever one rises
above the house-tops,--while the mother, with arms akimbo, looks
admiringly from the open window. It was the home to which the feet of
Adèle had latterly so often wandered.

Maverick is anxious for a word with the Doctor before his interview with
Adèle even. He does not know her present home; but he is sure he can
recall the old parsonage, in whose exterior, indeed, there have been no
changes for years. The shade of the embowering elms is grateful as he
strolls on into the main street of the town. It is early afternoon, and
there are few passers-by. Here and there a blind is coyly turned, and a
sly glance cast upon the stranger. A trio of school-boys look
wonderingly at his foreign air and dress. A few loiterers upon the
tavern steps--instructed, doubtless, by the stage-driver, who has duly
delivered his portmanteau--remark upon him as he passes.

And now at last he sees the old porch,--the diamond lights in the door.
Twenty and more years ago, and he had lounged there, as the pretty
Rachel drove up in the parson's chaise. The same rose-brier is nodding
its untrimmed boughs by the door. From the open window above he catches
a glimpse of a hard, thin face, with spectacles on nose, that scans him
curiously. The Doctor's hat and cane are upon the table at the foot of
the stairs within. He taps with his knuckles upon the study-door,--and
again the two college mates are met together. At sight of the visitor,
whom he recognizes at a glance, the heart of the old man is stirred by a
little of the old youthful feeling.

"Maverick!" and he greets him with open hand.

"Johns, God bless you!"

The parson was white-haired, and was feeble to a degree that shocked
Maverick; while the latter was still erect and prim, and, with his gray
hair carefully brushed to conceal his growing baldness, appeared in
excellent preservation. His coquettings for sixty years with the world,
the flesh, and the Devil had not yet reduced his _phisique_ to that
degree of weakness which the multiplied spiritual wrestlings had
entailed upon the good Doctor. The minister recognized this with a look
rather of pity than of envy, and may possibly have bethought himself of
that Dives who "in his lifetime received good things," but "now is
tormented."

Yet he ventured upon no warning; there is, indeed, a certain assured
manner about the man of the world who has passed middle age, which a
country parson, however good or earnest he may be, would no more attempt
to pierce than he would attempt a thrust of his pen through ice.

Their conversation, after the first greetings, naturally centres upon
Adèle. Maverick is relieved to find that she knows, even now, the worst;
but he is grievously pained to learn that she is still in doubt, by
reason of that strange episode which had grown out of the presence and
death of Madame Arles,--an episode which, even now, he is at a loss to
explain.

"She will be unwilling to return with me then," said Maverick, in a
troubled manner.

"No," said the Doctor, "she expects that. You will find in her,
Maverick, a beautiful respect for your authority; and, I think, a still
higher respect for the truth."

So it was with disturbed and conflicting feelings that Maverick made his
way to the present home of Adèle.

The windows and doors of the Elderkin mansion were all open upon that
July day. Adèle had seen him, even as he entered the little gate, and,
recognizing him on the instant, had rushed down to meet him in the hall.

"Papa! papa!" and she had buried her face upon his bosom.

"Adèle, darling! you are glad to welcome me then?"

"Delighted, papa."

And Maverick kissed, again and again, that fair face of which he was so
proud.

We recoil from the attempt to transcribe the glowing intimacy of their
first talk.

After a time, Maverick says, "You will be glad to return with me,--glad
to embrace again your mother?"

"My own, true mother?" said Adèle, the blood running now swift over
cheek and brow.

"Your own, Adèle,--your own! As God is true!"

Adèle grows calm,--an unwonted calmness. "Tell me how she looks, papa,"
said she.

"Your figure, Adèle; not so tall, perhaps, but slight like you; and her
hair,--you have her hair, darling (and he kissed it). Your eye too, for
color, with a slight, hardly noticeable cast in it." And as Adèle turned
an inquiring glance upon him, he exclaimed: "You have that too, my
darling, as you look at me now."

Adèle, still calm, says: "I know it, papa; I have seen her. Do not
deceive me. She died in these arms, papa!"--and with that her calmness
is gone. She can only weep upon his shoulder.

"But, Adèle, child, this cannot be; do not trust to so wild a fancy. You
surely believe me, darling!"

Had she argued the matter, he would have been better satisfied. She did
not, however. Her old tranquillity came again.

"I will go with you, papa, cheerfully," said she.

It was only too evident to Maverick that there was a cause of distrust
between them. Under all of Adèle's earnest demonstrations of affection,
which were intensely grateful to him, there was still a certain apparent
reserve of confidence, as if some great inward leaning of her heart
found no support in him or his. This touched him to the quick. The
Doctor--had he unfolded the matter to him fully--would have called it,
may be, the sting of retribution. Nor was Maverick at all certain that
the shadowy doubt which seemed to rest upon the mind of Adèle with
respect to the identity of her mother was the sole cause of this secret
reserve of confidence. It might be, he thought, that her affections were
otherwise engaged, and that the change to which she assented with so
little fervor would be at the cost of other ties to which he was a
stranger.

On this score he consulted with the Doctor. As regarded Reuben, there
could be no doubt. Whatever tie may have existed there was long since
broken. With respect to Phil Elderkin the parson was not so certain.
Maverick had been attracted by his fine, frank manner, and was not blind
to his capital business capacities and prospects. If the happiness of
Adèle were in question, he could entertain the affair. He even ventured
to approach the topic--coyly as he could--in a talk with Adèle; and she,
as the first glimmer of his meaning dawned upon her, says, "Don't
whisper it, papa. It can never be."

And so Maverick--not a little disconcerted at the thought that he cannot
now, as once, fathom all the depths of his child's sensibilities--sets
himself resolutely to the work of preparation for departure. His
_affaires_ may keep him a month, and involve a visit to one or two of
the principal cities; then, ho for _la belle France_! Adèle certainly
lends a cheerful assent. He cannot doubt--with those repeated kisses on
his cheek and brow--her earnest filial affection; and if her sentiment
slips beyond his control, or parries all his keenness of vision, what
else has a father, verging upon sixty, to expect in a daughter, tenderly
affectionate as she may be? Maverick's philosophy taught him to "take
the world as it is." Only one serious apprehension of disquietude
oppressed him; the doubts and vagaries of Adèle would clear themselves
under the embrace of Julie; but in respect to the harmony of their
religious beliefs he had grave doubts. There had grown upon Adèle, since
he had last seen her, a womanly dignity, which even a mother must
respect; and into that dignity--into the woof and warp of it--were
inwrought all her religious sympathies. Was his home yonder, across the
seas, to become the scene of struggles about creeds? It certainly was
not the sort of domestic picture he had foreshadowed to himself at
twenty-five. But at sixty a man blows bubbles no longer--except that of
his own conceit. The heart of Maverick was not dead in him; a kiss of
Adèle wakened a thrilling, delicious sensation there, of which he had
forgotten his capability. He followed her graceful step and figure with
an eye that looked beyond and haunted the past--vainly, vainly! Her
"Papa!"--sweetly uttered--stirred sensibilities in him that amazed
himself, and seemed like the phantoms of dreams he dreamed long ago.

But in the midst of Maverick's preparations for departure a letter came
to hand from Mrs. Maverick, which complicated once more the situation.


LXI.

The mother has read the letter of her child,--the letter in which appeal
had been made to the father in behalf of the "unworthy" one whom the
daughter believed to be sleeping in her grave. The tenderness of the
appeal smote the poor woman to the heart. It bound her to the child she
scarce had seen by bonds into which her whole moral being was knitted
anew. But we must give the letter entire, as offering explanations which
can in no way be better set forth. The very language kindles the ardor
of Adèle. Her own old speech again, with the French echo of her
childhood in every line.

"_Mon cher Monsieur_,"--in this way she begins; for her religious
severities, if not her years, have curbed any disposition to explosive
tenderness,--"I have received the letter of our child, which was
addressed to you. I cannot tell you the feelings with which I have read
it. I long to clasp her to my heart. And she appeals to you, for
me,--the dear child! Yes, you have well done in telling her that I was
unworthy (_méchante_). It is true,--unworthy in forgetting
duty,--unworthy in loving too well. O Monsieur! if I could live over
again that life,--that dear young life among the olive orchards! But the
good Christ (thank Him!) leads back the repentant wanderers into the
fold of His Church.

    'Laus tibi, Christe!'

"And the poor child believes that I am in my grave! May be that were
better for her and better for me. But no, I shall clasp her to my heart
once more,--she, the poor babe! But I forget myself; it is a woman's
letter I have been reading. What earnestness! what maturity! what
dignity! what tenderness! And will she be as tender to the living as to
the erring one whom she believes dead? My heart stops when I ask myself.
Yes, I know she will. The Blessed Virgin whispers me that she will, and
I fly to greet her! A month, two months, three months, four months?--It
is an age.

"Monsieur! I cannot wait. I must take ship--sail--wings (if I could find
them), and go to meet my child. Until I do there is a tempest in my
brain--heart--everywhere. You are surprised, Monsieur, but there is
another reason why I should go to this land where Adèle has lived. Do
you wish to know it? Listen, then, Monsieur!

"Do you know who this poor sufferer was whom our child had learned so to
love, who died in her arms, who sleeps in the graveyard there, and of
whom Adèle thinks as of a mother? I have inquired, I have searched high
and low, I have fathomed all. Ah, my poor, good sister Marie! Only
Marie! You have never known her. In those other days at dear Arles she
was too good for you to know her. Yet even then she was a guardian
angel,--a guardian too late. _Mea culpa! Mea culpa!_

"I know it can be only Marie; I know it can be only she, who sleeps
under the sod in Ash----(_ce nom m'échappe_).

"Listen again: in those early, bitter charming days, when you, Monsieur,
knew the hillsides and the drives about our dear old town of Arles, poor
Marie was away; had she been there, I had never listened, as I did
listen, to the words you whispered in my ear. Only when it was too late,
she came. Poor, good Marie! how she pleaded with me! How her tender,
good face spoke reproaches to me! If I was the pride of our household,
she was the angel. She it was, who, knowing the worst, said, 'Julie,
this must end!' She it was who labored day and night to set me free from
the wicked web that bound me. I reproached her, the poor, good Marie, in
saying that she was the plainer, that she had no beauty, that she was
devoured with envy. But the Blessed Virgin was working ever by her side.
Whatever doubts you may have entertained of me, Monsieur,--she created
them; whatever suspicions tortured you,--she fed them, but always with
the holiest of motives. And when shame came, as it did come, the poor
Marie would have screened me,--would have carried the odium herself.
Good Marie! the angels have her in keeping!

"Listen again, Monsieur! When that story, that false story, of the death
of my poor child, came to light in the journals, who but Marie should
come to me--deceived herself as I was deceived--and say, 'Julie, dear
one, God has taken the child in mercy; there is no stigma can rest upon
you in the eyes of the world. Live now as the Blessed Magdalen lived
when Christ had befriended her.' And by her strength I was made strong;
the Blessed Virgin be thanked!

"Finally, it came to her knowledge one day,--the dear Marie!--that the
rumor of the death was untrue,--that the babe was living,--that the poor
child had been sent over the seas to your home, Monsieur. Well, I was
far away in the East. Does Marie tell me? No, the dear one! She writes
me, that she is going 'over seas,'--tired of _la belle France_,--she who
loved it so dearly! And she went,--to watch, to pray, to console. And I,
the mother!--_Mon Dieu, Monsieur_, the words fail me. No wonder our
child loved her; no wonder she seems a mother to her!

"Listen yet again, Monsieur. My poor sister died yonder, in that
heretical land,--may be without absolution.

    'Ave Martha margarita
    In corona Jesu sita,
    Tam in morte quam in vita
    Sis nobis propitia!'

I must go, if it be only to find her grave, and to secure her burial in
some consecrated spot. She waits for me,--her ghost, her spirit,--I must
go; the holy water must be sprinkled; the priestly rites be said. Marie,
poor Marie, I will not fail you.

"Monsieur, I must go!--not alone to greet our child, but to do justice
to my sainted sister! Listen well! All that has been devotional in my
poor life centres here! I must go,--I must do what I may to hallow my
poor sister's grave. Adèle will not give up her welcome surely, if I am
moved by such religious purpose. She, too, must join me in an _Ave
Maria_ over that resting-place of the departed.

"I shall send this letter by the overland and British mail, that it may
come to you very swiftly. It will come to you while you are with the
poor child,--our Adèle. Greet her for me as warmly as you can. Tell her
I shall hope, God willing, to bring her into the bosom of his Holy
Church Catholic. I shall try and love her, though she remain a heretic;
but this will not be.

"If I can enough curb myself, I shall wait for your answer, Monsieur;
but it is necessary that I go yonder. Look for me; kiss our child for
me. And if you ever prayed, Monsieur, I should say, pray for

    "_Votre amie_,

    "JULIE."

The letter is of the nature of a revelation to Adèle; her doubts
respecting Madame Arles vanish on the instant. The truth, as set forth
in her mother's language, blazes upon her mind like a flame. She loves
the grave none the less, but the mother by far the more. She, too,
wishes to greet her amid the scenes which she has known so long. Nor is
Maverick himself averse to this new disposition of affairs, if indeed he
possessed any power (which he somewhat doubts) of readjusting it. Seeing
the kindly intentions toward Adèle, and the tolerant feeling (to say the
least) with which Mrs. Maverick will be met by these friends of the
daughter, he trusts that the mother's interviews with the Doctor, and a
knowledge of the kindly influences under which Adèle has grown up, may
lessen the danger of a religious altercation between mother and child,
which has been his great bugbear in view of their future association.

A man of the world, like Maverick, naturally takes this common-sense
view of religious differences; why not compound matters, he thinks; and
he hints as much quietly to the parson. The old gentleman's spirit is
stirred to its depths by the intimation; like all earnest zealots, he
recognizes one only unswerving rule of faith, and that the faith in
which he has been reared. They who hold conflicting doctrines must
yield,--yield absolutely,--or there is no safety for them. In his eye
there was but one strait gate to the Celestial City, and that any
wearing the furbelows of Rome should ever enter thereat could only come
of God's exceeding mercy; for himself, it must always be a duty to cry
aloud to such to strip themselves clean of their mummery, and do works
"meet for repentance."

Adèle, after her first period of exultation over the recent news is
passed, relapses--perhaps by reason of its excess--into something of her
old vague doubt and apprehension of coming evil. The truth--if it be
truth--is so strange!--so mysteriously strange that she shall indeed
clasp her mother to her heart; the grave yonder is so real! and that
fearful embrace in death so present to her! Or it may be an anticipation
of the fearful spiritual estrangement that must ensue, and of which she
seems to find confirmation in the earnest talk and gloomy forebodings of
the Doctor.

Maverick effects a diversion by proposing a jaunt of travel, in which
Rose shall be their companion. Adèle accepts the scheme with delight,--a
delight, after all, which lies as much in the thought of watching the
eager enjoyment of Rose as in any pleasant distractions of her own. The
pleasure of Maverick is by no means so great as in that trip of a few
years back. Then he had for companion an enthusiastic girl, to whom life
was fresh, and all the clouds that seemed to rest upon it so shadowy,
that each morning sun lifting among the mountains dispersed them
utterly.

Now, Adèle showed the thoughtfulness of a woman,--her enthusiasms held
in check by a more calm estimate of the life that opened before
her,--her sportiveness overborne by a soberness, which, if it gave
dignity, gave also a womanly gravity. Yet she did not lack filial
devotion; she admired still that easy world-manner of his which had once
called out her enthusiastic regard, but now queried in her secret heart
if its acquisition had not involved cost of purity of conscience. She
loved him too,--yes, she loved him; and her evening and morning kiss and
embrace were reminders to him of a joy he might have won, but had
not,--of a home peace that might have been his, but whose image now only
lifted above his horizon like some splendid mirage crowded with floating
fairy shapes, and like the mirage melted presently into idle vapor.

It was a novel experience for Maverick to find himself (as he did time
and again upon this summer trip in New England) sandwiched, of a Sunday,
between his two blooming companions and some sober-sided deacon, in the
pew of a country meeting-house. How his friend Papiol would have stared!
And the suggestion, coming to him with the buzz of a summer fly through
the open windows, did not add to his devotional sentiment. Yet Maverick
would follow gravely the scramble of the singers through the appointed
hymn with a sober self-denial, counting the self-denial a virtue. We all
make memoranda of the small religious virtues when the large ones are
missing.

Upon the return to Ashfield there is found a new letter from Madam
Maverick. She can restrain herself no longer. Under the advices of her
brother, she will, with her maid, take the first safe ship leaving
Marseilles for New York. She longs to bring Adèle with herself, by
special consecration, under the guardianship of the Holy Virgin.

The Doctor is greatly grieved in view of the speedy departure of Adèle,
and tenfold grieved when Maverick lays before him the letter of the
mother, and he sees the fiery zeal which the poor child must confront.

Over and over in those last interviews he seeks to fortify her faith; he
warns her against the delusions, the falsities, the idolatries of Rome;
he warns her to distrust a religion of creeds, of human authority, of
traditions. Christ, the Bible,--these are the true monitors; and "Mind,
Adaly," says he, "hold fast always to the Doctrine of the Westminster
Divines. That is sound,--that is sound!"


LXII.

Reuben went with a light heart upon his voyage. The tender memories of
Ashfield were mostly lived down. (Had the letter of Adèle ever reached
him, it might have been far different.) Rose, Phil, the Tourtelots, the
Tew partners (still worrying through a green old age), the
meeting-house, even the Doctor himself and Adèle, seemed to belong to a
sphere whose interests were widely separate from his own, and in which
he should appear henceforth only as a casual spectator. The fascinations
of his brilliant business successes had a firm grip upon him. He
indulges himself, indeed, from time to time, with the fancy that some
day, far off now, he will return to the scenes of his boyhood, and
astonish some of the old landholders by buying them out at a fabulous
price, and by erecting a "castle" of his own, to be enlivened by the
fairy graces of some sylph not yet fairly determined upon. Surely not
Rose, who would hardly be equal to the grandeur of his proposed
establishment, if she were not already engrossed by that "noodle" (his
thought expressing itself thus wrathfully) of an assistant minister.
Adèle,--and the name has something in it that electrifies, in spite of
himself,--Adèle, if she ever overcomes her qualms of conscience, will
yield to the tender persuasions of Phil. "Good luck to him!"--and he
says this, too, with a kind of wrathful glee.

Still, he builds his cloud castles; some one must needs inhabit them.
Some paragon of refinement and of beauty will one day appear, for whose
tripping feet his wealth will lay down a path of pearls and gold. The
lonely, star-lit nights at sea encourage such phantasms; and the break
of the waves upon the bow, with their myriad of phosphorescent sparkles,
cheats and illumines the fancy. We will not follow him throughout his
voyage. On a balmy morning of July he wakes with the great cliff of
Gibraltar frowning on him. After this come light, baffling winds, and
for a week he looks southward upon the mysterious, violet lift of the
Barbary shores, and pushes slowly eastward into the blue expanse of the
Mediterranean. In the Sicilian ports he is abundantly successful. He has
ample time to cross over to Naples, to ascend Vesuvius, and to explore
Herculaneum and Pompeii. But he does not forget the other side of the
beautiful bay, Baiæ and Pozzuoli. He takes, indeed, a healthful pleasure
in writing to the Doctor a description of this latter, and of his walk
in the vicinity of the great seaport where St. Paul must have landed
from his ship of the Castor and Pollux, on his way from Syracuse. But he
does not tell the Doctor that, on the same evening, he attended an opera
at the San Carlo in Naples, of which the ballet, if nothing else, would
have called down the good man's anathema.

An American of twenty-five, placed for the first time upon the sunny
pavements of Naples, takes a new lease of life,--at least of its
imaginative part. The beautiful blue stretch of sea, the lava streets,
the buried towns and cities, the baths and ruins of Baiæ, the burning
mountain, piling its smoke and fire into the serene sky, the memories of
Tiberius, of Cicero, of Virgil,--all these enchant him. And beside these
are the things of to-day,--the luscious melons, the oranges, the figs,
the war-ships lying on the bay, the bloody miracle of St. Januarius, the
Lazzaroni upon the church steps, the processions of friars, and always
the window of his chamber, looking one way upon blue Capri, and the
other upon smouldering Vesuvius.

At Naples Reuben hears from the captain of the Meteor--in which good
ship he has made his voyage, and counts upon making his return--that the
vessel can take up half her cargo at a better freight by touching at
Marseilles. Whereupon Reuben orders him to go thither, promising to join
him at that port in a fortnight. A fortnight only for Rome, for
Florence, for Pisa, for the City of Palaces, and then the marvellous
Cornice road along the shores of the sea. Terracina brought back to him
the story of Mr. Alderman Popkins and the Principessa, and the bandits;
after this came the heights of Albano and Soracte, and there, at last,
the Tiber, the pyramid tomb, the great church dome, the stone pines of
the Janiculan hill,--Rome itself. Reuben was not strong or curious in
his classics; the galleries and the churches took a deeper hold upon him
than the Forum and the ruins. He wandered for hours together under the
arches of St. Peter's. He wished he might have led the Doctor along its
pavement into the very presence of the mysteries of the Scarlet Woman of
Babylon. He wished Miss Almira, with her saffron ribbons, might be
there, sniffing at her little vial of salts, and may be singing treble.
The very meeting-house upon the green, that was so held in reverence,
with its belfry and spire atop, would hardly make a scaffolding from
which to brush the cobwebs from the frieze below the vaulting of this
grandest of temples. Oddly enough, he fancies Deacon Tourtelot, in his
snuff-colored surtout, pacing down the nave with him, and saying,--as he
would be like to say,--"Must ha' been a smart man that built it; but I
guess they don't have better preachin', as a gineral thing, than the old
Doctor gives us on Fast-Days or in 'protracted' meetin's."

Such queer humors and droll comparisons flash into the mind of Reuben,
even under all his sense of awe,--a swift, disorderly mingling of the
themes and offices which kindled his first sense of religious awe under
a home atmosphere with the wondrous forms and splendor which kindle a
new awe now. The great dome enwalling with glittering mosaics a heaven
of its own, and blazing with figured saints, and the golden distich,
"Thou art Peter,--to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of
heaven,"--all this seems too grand to be untrue. Are not the keys verily
here? Can falsehood build up so august a lie? A couple of friars shuffle
past him, and go to their prayers at some near altar; he does not even
smile at their shaven pates and their dowdy, coarse gowns of serge. Low
music from some far-away chapel comes floating under the panelled
vaultings, and loses itself under the great dome, with a sound so
gentle, so full of entreaty, that it seems to him the dove on the high
altar might have made it with a cooing and a flutter of her white wings.
A mother and two daughters, in black, glide past him, and drop upon
their knees before some saintly shrine, and murmur their thanksgivings,
or their entreaty. And he, with no aim of worship, yet somehow shocked
out of his unbelief by the very material influences around him.

Reuben's old wranglings and struggles with doubt had ended--where so
many are apt to end, when the world is sunny and success weaves its
silken meshes for the disport of self--in a quiet disbelief that angered
him no longer, because he had given over all fight with it. But the
great dome, flaming with its letters, _Ædificabo meam Ecclesiam_,
shining there for ages, kindled the fight anew. And strange as it may
seem, and perplexing as it was to the Doctor (when he received Reuben's
story of it), he came out from his first visit to the great Romish
temple with his religious nature more deeply stirred than it had been
for years.

_Ædificabo meam Ecclesiam._ _HE_ had uttered it. There was then
something to build,--something that had been built, at whose shrine
millions worshipped trustingly.

Under the sombre vaultings of the great Florentine Cathedral, the
impression was not weakened. The austere gloom of it chimed more nearly
with his state of unrest. Then there are the galleries, the painted
ceilings,--angels, saints, martyrs, holy families,--can art have been
leashed through so many ages with a pleasant fiction? Is there not
somewhere at bottom an earnest, vital truth, which men must needs cling
by if they be healthful and earnest themselves? Even the meretricious
adornments of the churches of Genoa afford new evidence of the way in
which the heart of a people has lavished itself upon belief; and if
belief, why, then, hope.

Upon the Cornice road, with Italy behind him and home before (such home
as he knows), he thinks once more of those he has left. Not that he has
forgotten them altogether; he has purchased a rich coral necklace in
Naples, which will be the very thing for his old friend Rose; and, in
Rome, the richest cameos to be found in the Via Condotti he has secured
for Adèle; even for Aunt Eliza he has brought away from Florence a bit
of the _pietra dura_, a few olive-leaves upon a black ground. Nor has he
forgotten a rich piece of the Genoese velvet for Mrs. Brindlock; and,
for his father, an old missal, which, he trusts, dates back far enough
to save it from the odium he attaches to the present Church, and to give
it an early Christian sanctity. He has counted upon seeing Mr. Maverick
at Marseilles, but learns, with surprise, upon his arrival there, that
this gentleman had sailed for America some months previously. The ship
is making a capital freight, and the captain informs him that
application has been made for the only vacant state-room in their little
cabin by a lady attended by her maid. Reuben assents cheerfully to this
accession of companionship; and, running off for a sight of the ruins at
Nismes and Arles, returns only in time to catch the ship upon the day of
its departure. As they pass out of harbor, the lady passenger, in deep
black, (the face seems half familiar to him,) watches wistfully the
receding shores, and, as they run abreast the chapel of Nôtre Dame de la
Garde, she devoutly crosses herself and tells her beads.

Reuben is to make the voyage with the mother of Adèle. Both bound to the
same quiet township of New England; he, to reach Ashfield once more,
there to undergo swiftly a new experience,--an experience that can come
to no man but once; she, to be clasped in the arms of Adèle,--a cold
embrace and the last!



PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.


V.

Brook Farm, _Sept. 26, 1841._--A walk this morning along the Needham
road. A clear, breezy morning, after nearly a week of cloudy and showery
weather. The grass is much more fresh and vivid than it was last month,
and trees still retain much of their verdure, though here and there is a
shrub or a bough arrayed in scarlet and gold. Along the road, in the
midst of a beaten track, I saw mushrooms or toadstools, which had sprung
up probably during the night.

The houses in this vicinity are, many of them, quite antique, with long,
sloping roofs, commencing at a few feet from the ground, and ending in a
lofty peak. Some of them have huge, old elms overshadowing the yard. One
may see the family sleigh near the door, it having stood there all
through the summer sunshine, and perhaps with weeds sprouting through
the crevices of its bottom, the growth of the months since snow
departed. Old barns, patched and supported by timbers leaning against
the sides, and stained with the excrement of past ages.

In the forenoon, I walked along the edge of the meadow, towards Cow
Island. Large trees, almost a wood, principally of pine with the green
pasture-glades intermixed, and cattle feeding. They cease grazing when
an intruder appears, and look at him with long and wary observation,
then bend their heads to the pasture again. Where the firm ground of the
pasture ceases, the meadow begins,--loose, spongy, yielding to the
tread, sometimes permitting the foot to sink into black mud, or perhaps
over ankles in water. Cattle paths, somewhat firmer than the general
surface, traverse the dense shrubbery which has overgrown the meadow.
This shrubbery consists of small birch, elders, maples, and other trees,
with here and there white pines of larger growth. The whole is tangled
and wild and thick-set, so that it is necessary to part the nestling
stems and branches, and go crashing through. There are creeping plants
of various sorts, which clamber up the trees, and some of them have
changed color in the slight frosts which already have befallen these low
grounds, so that one sees a spiral wreath of scarlet leaves twining up
to the top of a green tree, intermingling its bright hues with their
verdure, as if all were of one piece. Sometimes, instead of scarlet, the
spiral wreath is of a golden yellow.

Within the verge of the meadow, mostly near the firm shore of pasture
ground, I found several grape-vines, hung with an abundance of large
purple grapes. The vines had caught hold of maples and alders, and
climbed to the summit, curling round about and interwreathing their
twisted folds in so intimate a manner that it was not easy to tell the
parasite from the supporting tree or shrub. Sometimes the same vine had
enveloped several shrubs, and caused a strange, tangled confusion,
converting all these poor plants to the purpose of its own support, and
hindering their growing to their own benefit and convenience. The broad
vine-leaves, some of them yellow or yellowish-tinged, were seen
apparently glowing on the same stems with the silver-maple leaves, and
those of the other shrubs, thus married against their will by the
conjugal twine; and the purple clusters of grapes hung down from above
and in the midst, so that one might "gather grapes," if not "of thorns,"
yet of as alien bushes.

One vine had ascended almost to the tip of a large white pine, spreading
its leaves, and hanging its purple clusters among all its
boughs,--still climbing and clambering, as if it would not be content
till it had crowned the very summit with a wreath of its own foliage and
bunches of grapes. I mounted high into the tree and ate the fruit there,
while the vine wreathed still higher into the depths above my head. The
grapes were sour, being not yet fully ripe. Some of them, however, were
sweet and pleasant.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 27._--A ride to Brighton yesterday morning, it being the day
of the weekly Cattle Fair. William Allen and myself went in a wagon,
carrying a calf to be sold at the fair. The calf had not had his
breakfast, as his mother had preceded him to Brighton, and he kept
expressing his hunger and discomfort by loud, sonorous baas, especially
when we passed any cattle in the fields or in the road. The cows,
grazing within hearing, expressed great interest, and some of them came
galloping to the roadside to behold the calf. Little children, also, on
their way to school, stopped to laugh and point at poor little Bossie.
He was a prettily behaved urchin, and kept thrusting his hairy muzzle
between William and myself, apparently wishing to be stroked and patted.
It was an ugly thought that his confidence in human nature, and nature
in general, was to be so ill-rewarded as by cutting his throat, and
selling him in quarters. This, I suppose, has been his fate before now!

It was a beautiful morning, clear as crystal, with an invigorating, but
not disagreeable coolness. The general aspect of the country was as
green as summer,--greener indeed than mid or latter summer,--and there
were occasional interminglings of the brilliant hues of autumn, which
made the scenery more beautiful, both visibly and in sentiment. We saw
no absolutely mean nor poor-looking abodes along the road. There were
warm and comfortable farm-houses, ancient, with the porch, the sloping
roof, the antique peak, the clustered chimney, of old times; and modern
cottages, smart and tasteful; and villas, with terraces before them, and
dense shade, and wooden urns on pillars, and other such tokens of
gentility. Pleasant groves of oak and walnut, also, there were,
sometimes stretching along valleys, sometimes ascending a hill and
clothing it all round, so as to make it a great clump of verdure.
Frequently we passed people with cows, oxen, sheep, or pigs for Brighton
Fair.

On arriving at Brighton, we found the village thronged with people,
horses, and vehicles. Probably there is no place in New England where
the character of an agricultural population may be so well studied.
Almost all the farmers within a reasonable distance make it a point, I
suppose, to attend Brighton Fair pretty frequently, if not on business,
yet as amateurs. Then there are all the cattle-people and butchers who
supply the Boston market, and dealers from far and near; and every man
who has a cow or a yoke of oxen, whether to sell or buy, goes to
Brighton on Monday. There were a thousand or two of cattle in the
extensive pens belonging to the tavern-keeper, besides many that were
standing about. One could hardly stir a step without running upon the
horns of one dilemma or another, in the shape of ox, cow, bull, or ram.
The yeomen appeared to be more in their element than I have ever seen
them anywhere else, except, indeed, at labor;--more so than at
musterings and such gatherings of amusement. And yet this was a sort of
festal day, as well as a day of business. Most of the people were of a
bulky make, with much bone and muscle, and some good store of fat, as if
they had lived on flesh-diet;--with mottled faces too, hard and red,
like those of persons who adhered to the old fashion of spirit-drinking.
Great, round-paunched country squires were there too, sitting under the
porch of the tavern, or waddling about, whip in hand, discussing the
points of the cattle. There were also gentlemen-farmers, neatly, trimly,
and fashionably dressed, in handsome surtouts and trousers, strapped
under their boots. Yeomen, too, in their black or blue Sunday suits,
cut by country tailors, and awkwardly worn. Others (like myself) had on
the blue, stuff frocks which they wear in the fields, the most
comfortable garments that ever were invented. Country loafers were among
the throng,--men who looked wistfully at the liquors in the bar, and
waited for some friend to invite them to drink,--poor, shabby,
out-at-elbowed devils. Also, dandies from the city, corseted and
buckramed, who had come to see the humors of Brighton Fair. All these,
and other varieties of mankind, either thronged the spacious bar-room of
the hotel, drinking, smoking, talking, bargaining, or walked about among
the cattle-pens, looking with knowing eyes at the horned people. The
owners of the cattle stood near at hand, waiting for offers. There was
something indescribable in their aspect, that showed them to be the
owners, though they mixed among the crowd. The cattle, brought from a
hundred separate farms, or rather from a thousand, seemed to agree very
well together, not quarrelling in the least. They almost all had a
history, no doubt, if they could but have told it. The cows had each
given her milk to support families,--had roamed the pastures, and come
home to the barn-yard,--had been looked upon as a sort of member of the
domestic circle, and was known by a name, as Brindle or Cherry. The
oxen, with their necks bent by the heavy yoke, had toiled in the
plough-field and in haying-time for many years, and knew their master's
stall as well as the master himself knew his own table. Even the young
steers and the little calves had something of domestic sacredness about
them; for children had watched their growth, and petted them, and played
with them. And here they all were, old and young, gathered from their
thousand homes to Brighton Fair; whence the great chance was that they
would go to the slaughter-house, and thence be transmitted, in sirloins,
joints, and such pieces, to the tables of the Boston folk.

William Allen had come to buy four little pigs to take the places of
four who have now grown large at our farm, and are to be fatted and
killed within a few weeks. There were several hundreds, in pens
appropriated to their use, grunting discordantly, and apparently in no
very good humor with their companions or the world at large. Most or
many of these pigs had been imported from the State of New York. The
drovers set out with a large number, and peddle them along the road till
they arrive at Brighton with the remainder. William selected four, and
bought them at five cents per pound. These poor little porkers were
forthwith seized by the tails, their legs tied, and then thrown into our
wagon, where they kept up a continual grunt and squeal till we got home.
Two of them were yellowish, or light gold-color, the other two were
black and white, speckled; and all four of very piggish aspect and
deportment. One of them snapped at William's finger most spitefully, and
bit it to the bone.

All the scene of the Fair was very characteristic and
peculiar,--cheerful and lively, too, in the bright, warm sun. I must see
it again; for it ought to be studied.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 28._--A picnic party in the woods, yesterday, in honor of
little Frank Dana's birthday, he being six years old. I strolled out,
after dinner, with Mr. Bradford, and in a lonesome glade we met the
apparition of an Indian chief, dressed in appropriate costume of
blanket, feathers, and paint, and armed with a musket. Almost at the
same time, a young gypsy fortune-teller came from among the trees, and
proposed to tell my fortune. While she was doing this, the goddess Diana
let fly an arrow, and hit me smartly in the hand. The fortune-teller and
goddess were in fine contrast, Diana being a blonde, fair, quiet, with a
moderate composure; and the gypsy (O. G.) a bright, vivacious,
dark-haired, rich-complexioned damsel,--both of them very pretty, at
least pretty enough to make fifteen years enchanting. Accompanied by
these denizens of the wild wood, we went onward, and came to a company
of fantastic figures, arranged in a ring for a dance or a game. There
was a Swiss girl, an Indian squaw, a negro of the Jim Crow order, one or
two foresters, and several people in Christian attire, besides children
of all ages. Then followed childish games, in which the grown people
took part with mirth enough,--while I, whose nature it is to be a mere
spectator both of sport and serious business, lay under the trees and
looked on. Meanwhile, Mr. Emerson and Miss Fuller, who arrived an hour
or two before, came forth into the little glade where we were assembled.
Here followed much talk. The ceremonies of the day concluded with a cold
collation of cakes and fruit. All was pleasant enough,--an excellent
piece of work,--"would 't were done!" It has left a fantastic impression
on my memory, this intermingling of wild and fabulous characters with
real and homely ones, in the secluded nook of the woods. I remember
them, with the sunlight breaking through overshadowing branches, and
they appearing and disappearing confusedly,--perhaps starting out of the
earth; as if the everyday laws of Nature were suspended for this
particular occasion. There were the children, too, laughing and sporting
about, as if they were at home among such strange shapes,--and anon
bursting into loud uproar of lamentation, when the rude gambols of the
merry archers chanced to overturn them. And apart, with a shrewd, Yankee
observation of the scene, stands our friend Orange, a thick-set, sturdy
figure, enjoying the fun well enough, yet rather laughing with a
perception of its nonsensicalness than at all entering into the spirit
of the thing.

This morning I have been helping to gather apples. The principal farm
labors at this time are ploughing for winter rye, and breaking up the
greensward for next year's crop of potatoes, gathering squashes, and not
much else, except such year-round employments as milking. The crop of
rye, to be sure, is in process of being thrashed, at odd intervals.

I ought to have mentioned among the diverse and incongruous growths of
the picnic party our two Spanish boys from Manilla;--Lucas, with his
heavy features and almost mulatto complexion; and José, slighter, with
rather a feminine face,--not a gay, girlish one, but grave, reserved,
eying you sometimes with an earnest but secret expression, and causing
you to question what sort of person he is.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, October 1._--I have been looking at our four swine,--not of the
last lot, but those in process of fattening. They lie among the clean
rye straw in the sty, nestling close together; for they seem to be
beasts sensitive to the cold, and this is a clear, bright, crystal
morning, with a cool, northwest wind. So there lie these four black
swine, as deep among the straw as they can burrow, the very symbols of
slothful ease and sensuous comfort. They seem to be actually oppressed
and overburdened with comfort. They are quick to notice any one's
approach, and utter a low grunt thereupon,--not drawing a breath for
that particular purpose, but grunting with their ordinary breath,--at
the same time turning an observant, though dull and sluggish, eye upon
the visitor. They seem to be involved and buried in their own corporeal
substance, and to look dimly forth at the outer world. They breathe not
easily, and yet not with difficulty nor discomfort; for the very
unreadiness and oppression with which their breath comes appears to make
them sensible of the deep sensual satisfaction which they feel. Swill,
the remnant of their last meal, remains in the trough, denoting that
their food is more abundant than even a hog can demand. Anon, they fall
asleep, drawing short and heavy breaths, which heave their huge sides up
and down; but at the slightest noise they sluggishly unclose their eyes,
and give another gentle grunt. They also grunt among themselves, without
any external cause; but merely to express their swinish sympathy. I
suppose it is the knowledge that these four grunters are doomed to die
within two or three weeks that gives them a sort of awfulness in my
conception. It makes me contrast their present gross substance of
fleshly life with the nothingness speedily to come. Meantime the four
newly-bought pigs are running about the cow-yard, lean, active, shrewd,
investigating everything, as their nature is. When I throw an apple
among them, they scramble with one another for the prize, and the
successful one scampers away to eat it at leisure. They thrust their
snouts into the mud, and pick a grain of corn out of the rubbish.
Nothing within their sphere do they leave unexamined, grunting all the
time with infinite variety of expression. Their language is the most
copious of that of any quadruped, and, indeed, there is something deeply
and indefinably interesting in the swinish race. They appear the more a
mystery the longer one gazes at them. It seems as if there were an
important meaning to them, if one could but find it out. One interesting
trait in them is their perfect independence of character. They care not
for man, and will not adapt themselves to his notions, as other beasts
do; but are true to themselves, and act out their hoggish nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 7._--Since Saturday last, (it being now Thursday,) I have been
in Boston and Salem, and there has been a violent storm and rain during
the whole time. This morning shone as bright as if it meant to make up
for all the dismalness of the past days. Our brook, which in the summer
was no longer a running stream, but stood in pools along its pebbly
course, is now full from one grassy verge to the other, and hurries
along with a murmuring rush. It will continue to swell, I suppose, and
in the winter and spring it will flood all the broad meadows through
which it flows.

I have taken a long walk this forenoon along the Needham road, and
across the bridge, thence pursuing a cross-road through the woods,
parallel with the river, which I crossed again at Dedham. Most of the
road lay through a growth of young oaks principally. They still retain
their verdure, though, looking closely in among them, one perceives the
broken sunshine falling on a few sere or bright-hued tufts of shrubbery.
In low, marshy spots, on the verge of the meadows or along the
river-side, there is a much more marked autumnal change. Whole ranges of
bushes are there painted with many variegated hues, not of the brightest
tint, but of a sober cheerfulness. I suppose this is owing more to the
late rains than to the frost; for a heavy rain changes the foliage
somewhat at this season. The first marked frost was seen last Saturday
morning. Soon after sunrise it lay, white as snow, over all the grass,
and on the tops of the fences, and in the yard, on the heap of firewood.
On Sunday, I think, there was a fall of snow, which, however, did not
lie on the ground a moment.

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on,
and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.
The sunshine is peculiarly genial; and in sheltered places, as on the
side of a bank, or of a barn or house, one becomes acquainted and
friendly with the sunshine. It seems to be of a kindly and homely
nature. And the green grass, strewn with a few withered leaves, looks
the more green and beautiful for them. In summer or spring Nature is
farther from one's sympathies.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 8._--Another gloomy day, lowering with portents of rain close
at hand. I have walked up into the pastures this morning, and looked
about me a little. The woods present a very diversified appearance just
now, with perhaps more varieties of tint than they are destined to wear
at a somewhat later period. There are some strong yellow hues, and some
deep red; there are innumerable shades of green, some few having the
depth of summer; others, partially changed towards yellow, look freshly
verdant with the delicate tinge of early summer or of May. Then there is
the solemn and dark green of the pines. The effect is, that every tree
in the wood and every bush among the shrubbery has a separate existence,
since, confusedly intermingled, each wears its peculiar color, instead
of being lost in the universal emerald of summer. And yet there is a
oneness of effect likewise, when we choose to look at a whole sweep of
woodland instead of analyzing its component trees. Scattered over the
pasture, which the late rains have kept tolerably green, there are spots
or islands of dusky red,--a deep, substantial hue, very well fit to be
close to the ground,--while the yellow, and light, fantastic shades of
green soar upward to the sky. These red spots are the blueberry and
whortleberry bushes. The sweet-fern is changed mostly to russet, but
still retains its wild and delightful fragrance when pressed in the
hand. Wild China-asters are scattered about, but beginning to wither. A
little while ago, mushrooms or toadstools were very numerous along the
wood-paths and by the roadsides, especially after rain. Some were of
spotless white, some yellow, and some scarlet. They are always mysteries
and objects of interest to me, springing as they do so suddenly from no
root or seed, and growing one wonders why. I think, too, that some
varieties are pretty objects, little fairy tables, centre-tables,
standing on one leg. But their growth appears to be checked now, and
they are of a brown tint and decayed.

The farm business to-day is to dig potatoes. I worked a little at it.
The process is to grasp all the stems of a hill and pull them up. A
great many of the potatoes are thus pulled, clinging to the stems and to
one another in curious shapes,--long red things, and little round ones,
imbedded in the earth which clings to the roots. These being plucked
off, the rest of the potatoes are dug out of the hill with a hoe, the
tops being flung into a heap for the cow-yard. On my way home I paused
to inspect the squash-field. Some of the squashes lay in heaps as they
were gathered, presenting much variety of shape and hue,--as golden
yellow, like great lumps of gold, dark green, striped and variegated;
and some were round, and some lay curling their long necks, nestling, as
it were, and seeming as if they had life.

In my walk yesterday forenoon I passed an old house which seemed to be
quite deserted. It was a two-story, wooden house, dark and
weather-beaten. The front windows, some of them, were shattered and
open, and others were boarded up. Trees and shrubbery were growing
neglected, so as quite to block up the lower part. There was an aged
barn near at hand, so ruinous that it had been necessary to prop it up.
There were two old carts, both of which had lost a wheel. Everything was
in keeping. At first I supposed that there would be no inhabitants in
such a dilapidated place; but, passing on, I looked back, and saw a
decrepit and infirm old man at the angle of the house, its fit occupant.
The grass, however, was very green and beautiful around this dwelling,
and, the sunshine falling brightly on it, the whole effect was cheerful
and pleasant. It seemed as if the world was so glad that this desolate
old place, where there was never to be any more hope and happiness,
could not at all lessen the general effect of joy.

I found a small turtle by the roadside, where he had crept to warm
himself in the genial sunshine. He had a sable back, and underneath his
shell was yellow, and at the edges bright scarlet. His head, tail, and
claws were striped yellow, black, and red. He withdrew himself, as far
as he possibly could, into his shell, and absolutely refused to peep
out, even when I put him into the water. Finally, I threw him into a
deep pool and left him. These mailed gentlemen, from the size of a foot
or more down to an inch, were very numerous in the spring; and now the
smaller kind appear again.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, October 9._--Still dismal weather. Our household, being
composed in great measure of children and young people, is generally a
cheerful one enough, even in gloomy weather. For a week past we have
been especially gladdened with a little seamstress from Boston, about
seventeen years old; but of such a _petite_ figure, that, at first view,
one would take her to be hardly in her teens. She is very vivacious and
smart, laughing and singing and talking all the time,--talking sensibly;
but still, taking the view of matters that a city girl naturally would.
If she were larger than she is, and of less pleasing aspect, I think she
might be intolerable; but being so small, and with a fair skin, and as
healthy as a wildflower, she is really very agreeable; and to look at
her face is like being shone upon by a ray of the sun. She never walks,
but bounds and dances along, and this motion, in her diminutive person,
does not give the idea of violence. It is like a bird, hopping from twig
to twig, and chirping merrily all the time. Sometimes she is rather
vulgar, but even that works well enough into her character, and accords
with it. On continued observation, one discovers that she is not a
little girl, but really a little woman, with all the prerogatives and
liabilities of a woman. This gives a new aspect to her, while the
girlish impression still remains, and is strangely combined with the
sense that this frolicsome maiden has the material for the sober bearing
of a wife. She romps with the boys, runs races with them in the yard,
and up and down the stairs, and is heard scolding laughingly at their
rough play. She asks William Allen to place her "on top of that horse,"
whereupon he puts his large brown hands about her waist, and, swinging
her to and fro, lifts her on horseback. William threatens to rivet two
horse-shoes round her neck, for having clambered, with the other girls
and boys, upon a load of hay, whereby the said load lost its balance and
slid off the cart. She strings the seed-berries of roses together,
making a scarlet necklace of them, which she fastens about her throat.
She gathers flowers of everlasting to wear in her bonnet, arranging them
with the skill of a dressmaker. In the evening, she sits singing by the
hour, with the musical part of the establishment, often breaking into
laughter, whereto she is incited by the tricks of the boys. The last
thing one hears of her, she is tripping up stairs to bed, talking
lightsomely or warbling; and one meets her in the morning, the very
image of bright morn itself, smiling briskly at you, so that one takes
her for a promise of cheerfulness through the day. Be it said, with all
the rest, that there is a perfect maiden modesty in her deportment. She
has just gone away, and the last I saw of her was her vivacious face
peeping through the curtain of the cariole, and nodding a gay farewell
to the family, who were shouting their adieux at the door. With her
other merits, she is an excellent daughter, and supports her mother by
the labor of her hands. It would be difficult to conceive beforehand how
much can be added to the enjoyment of a household by mere sunniness of
temper and liveliness of disposition; for her intellect is very
ordinary, and she never says anything worth hearing, or even laughing
at, in itself. But she herself is an expression well worth studying.



THE FENIAN "IDEA."


It was a great truth Shelley uttered when he said that slavery would not
be the enormous wrong and evil which it is, if men who had long suffered
under it could rise at once to freedom and self-government. We see this
fact everywhere proved by races, nations, sexes, long held in bondage,
and, when at last set free, displaying for years, perhaps for
generations, the vices of cowardice, deceit, and cruelty engendered by
slavery. Chains leave ugly scars on the flesh, but deeper scars by far
on the soul. Even where the exercise of oppression has stopped short of
actual serfdom,--where a race has been merely excluded from some natural
rights, and burdened with some unrighteous restrictions,--the same
result, in a mitigated degree, may be traced in moral degradation,
surviving the injustice itself and almost its very memory. Ages pass
away, and "Revenge and Wrong" still "bring forth their kind." The evil
is not dead, though they who wrought it have long mouldered in their
forgotten graves.

In a very remarkable manner this sad law of our nature applies to the
condition of the Irish race. Doubtless the isolated position of Ireland,
the small share it has had in the life and movement of our century, has
allowed the old wrongs to fester in memory, and the old feelings of
rancor to perpetuate themselves, as they could never have done in a
country more in the highway of nations. Vendettas personal and political
are ever to be found in islands, like Corsica, Sicily, Ireland; or in
remote glens and mountains, such as those of Scotland or Greece. Men who
live in New York, London, or Paris must be singularly retentive of
passion to keep up even their own hatreds, not to speak of the hatreds
of their ancestors. But it is alike the bane and blessing of lives spent
in retirement and monotony to retain impressions for years, and live in
the past almost more vividly than in the tame and uninteresting present.
Ireland, at all events, has had nothing to divert her from her old
traditions; and there is probably no man, woman, or child of Celtic race
living in the country in whose mind a certain "historical element,"
compounded strangely of truth and falsehood, does not occupy a place
such as no analogous impression takes in the thought of an ordinary
Englishman or Frenchman. We shall endeavor in this paper to give a
little idea of the nature of these Irish traditions and feelings; and if
we succeed in doing so, we shall at the same time afford to our readers
a clew to some of the supposed mysteries of the recent outbreak of
Fenianism. In sober truth, Fenianism is not, to Anglo-Irish observers, a
startling apparition, an outburst of insane folly, an epidemic of
national hate, but, on the contrary, a most familiar phenomenon, the
mere appearance on the surface of what we always knew lay beneath,--an
endemic as natural to the soil as the ague and fever which haunt the
undrained bogs. Those who understand what Irishmen are always _thinking_
will find no difficulty in understanding also what things they
occasionally _do_.

The real wrongs inflicted by England upon Ireland are probably as bad as
ever disgraced the history of a conquest--in itself without excuse. Not
to speak of confiscations, and executions often taking the form of
murderous raids into suspected districts, there were laws passed one
after another, from the time of Edward I. even to the present century, a
collection of which would be a sad commentary on the boasted justice of
English Parliaments. Irishmen lay under disabilities, political, social,
and ecclesiastical, so severe and numerous that it really seems to have
been a question what they were expected to do _except_ to break some of
these arbitrary laws, and so incur some cruel penalty. Down to our own
century, and for the avowed purpose of injuring the only flourishing
trade of the country (that of linen), the English cotton and woollen
manufacturers procured the passing of acts better called destructive
than protective; and in sober truth, if England now deplores the low
industrial and commercial state of Ireland, she has only to look over
her own statute-book, and see if ingenuity could have further gone in
the way of discouragement and depression. When we add to these wrongs
the bitter drop of the Irish Church Establishment, it is doubtless clear
that an able advocate could make out a very telling case for the
plaintiff, in that great case of Ireland _vs._ England on which Europe
and America sit as jury.

But it is a singularly inexact notion of the real historical wrongs of
his country which an ordinary Irishman treasures in his heart; in fact,
he has no idea of the real wrongs at all, but of other and quite
imaginary ones. He sets out with the great fallacy that Ireland was at
some indefinite epoch (described as "former times") a wealthy,
prosperous, and united country, and that every declension from those
characteristics is to be laid at the door of English tyranny and
jealousy. When Moore wrote,

    "Let Erin remember the days of old,
      Ere her faithless sons betrayed her,
    When Malachi wore the collar of gold
      Which he won from her proud invader,

    "When her kings, with their standards of green unfurled,
      Led the Red Branch knights to danger,
    Ere the emerald gem of the Western world
      Was set in the crown of a stranger,"--

when, we say, a man of the world, who afterwards wrote a remarkably
moderate and sensible History of Ireland, wrote nonsense like this, he
was doubtless well aware he was only by poetic license describing what
Irishmen commonly believed about "days of old," and their glorified
circumstances. We once saw an Irish schoolmaster, just one of those who
mould the ideas of the humbler classes, shown into a room furnished with
the usual luxury of a handsome English drawing-room,--books, pictures,
flowers, and china, "an earthly paradise of ormolu." The good man looked
round with great admiration, and then innocently remarked, "Why, this
must be like one of the palaces of our ancient kings!" Here was
precisely the popular Irish idea. Her "ancient king"--who actually lived
in the _wattled_ walls of Tara, enjoying barbarian feasts of beer and
hecatombs of lean kine and sheep--is supposed to have been a refined and
splendid prince, dwelling in ideal "halls," (doubtless compounded out of
the Dublin Bank and Rotunda,) and enjoying the finest music on a
double-action harp. As a fact, there is no evidence whatever that the
old Irish Pentarchy was much better than any five chieftainships of the
Sandwich Islands. Even the historians who laud it in most pompous
phrases, like Keatinge, give nothing but details of wars and massacres,
disorders and rebellions without end. Out of one hundred and sixty-eight
kings who by this (of course) half-fabulous story reigned from the
Milesian Conquest to Roderick O'Connor, vanquished by Henry II. in 1172,
no less than seventy-nine are said to have acquired the throne by the
murder of their predecessors. The contests between the five kings for
the supremacy, or for the acquisition of each other's territories, offer
a spectacle which can only be compared to a sanguinary game of
puss-in-the-corner lasting for a thousand years. As to any monuments of
civilization, it would indeed be wonderful if they were found in a
country so circumstanced. Such existing architecture as can be
attributed to a Celtic origin is confined to the simple round towers,
Cormac's Chapel at Cashel, and a few humble little stone-roofed edifices
like the one known as "St. Kevin's Kitchen," and made, with true Irish
magniloquence, to stand wellnigh alone for the "Seven Churches of
Glendalough." For literature, ancient Ireland can show the respectable
"Annals of the Four Masters," and a few minor chronicles in prose and
verse, but not a single work deserving a place in European history.
Literally the fame of a few nomad saints, and a collection of torques
and brooches (of great beauty, but possible Byzantine workmanship) in
the Irish Academy, are the chief grounds on which rest the claims of
Ireland to ancient civilization. Yet not merely civilization, but the
extreme grandeur and magnificence of Ireland in "former times," is the
first postulate of all Irish discontent. It is because England has
dimmed her glory and overthrown her royal state that Irishmen burn with
patriot indignation, and not by any means because she has merely left
barbarism and disunion still barbarous and disunited after seven
centuries, and has checked, instead of encouraging, the industry and
commerce of the land.

Proceeding on this false ground, the Celtic Irishman, with his fervid
imagination, easily builds for himself a whole edifice of local and
personal grievances on the pattern of the supposed national one. Was
Ireland once a rich and splendid country? So was every town and
neighborhood once full of gayety and prosperity, when "the family" lived
at home and did not travel or spend the season in London. Full of
extravagant reverence for birth and rank, it is always, in the
Irishman's mind, not _his_ fault, nor that of his compeers of the
working and middle classes, that trade and agriculture do not flourish
in the land; but the fault of some lord or squire who ought to come and
spend money there, or some king or queen who should hold court in Dublin
and waste as much treasure as possible upon state ceremonials. Nay,
every man for himself, almost, has at the bottom of his heart a belief
that _he_ ought to be, not a laborer or carter, shoemaker or tailor, but
the head of some ancient house,--some O' or Mac,--living not in his own
mud cabin, but in the handsome residence of some English gentleman whose
estate was wrongfully taken in "former times" from his--the laborer's or
shoemaker's--ancestors.

Fenians talk of an Irish Republic, and the brave and honest men who led
the rising of '98 undoubtedly heartily desired to establish one on the
American model. But to any one really acquainted with Irish character,
to dream of such institutions for ages to come seems utterly vain. All
the qualities which go to make a republican, in the true sense of the
term, are wanting in the Irish nature; and, on the other hand, there is
a superabundance of all the opposite qualities which go to make a loyal
subject of a king,--not _too_ despotic, but still a strong-handed,
visible, audible, tangible ruler of men. Devotion to an idea, to a
constitution, to a flag; respect for law _as_ law; sturdy independence
and self-reliance; regard for others' rights and jealousy of a man's
own,--all these true republican characteristics are most rarely to be
found in Irishmen. Nay, the most important of all--the reverence for
law--is almost, we might say, reversed in his nature. The true Irishman
detests law. He loves, indeed, mercy, retribution, many fine things
which law may or may not produce. But the simple fact that a certain
proceeding has been by proper authorities constituted a law or rule of
any kind, in public matters or private, is reason enough, in high or
low, to make it secretly distasteful. As Coleridge used to say, that,
"when anything was presented to him as a duty, he instantly felt himself
seized by a sense of inability to perform it," so, to the Celtic mind,
when anything comes in the guise of a law, there is an accompanying
seizure of moral paralysis. Even if the law or rule be made by the
offender himself, it is all the same. Having given it utterance, it is a
law, and he hates it accordingly. On the other hand, nothing can exceed
the generous, chivalrous personal and family loyalty of the Irish
nature. But it is a person he wants, not a constitution or a flag.

Of course, how far all these characteristics may be altered by
residence in America we are unable to say. We write of the Irishman in
Ireland, from lifelong acquaintance. What dreams the Fenians in America
may indulge, we are also in no position to know. But this we may safely
aver: The Irishmen in Ireland who are caught by such schemes of
rebellion and revolution are not, as might be thought, mere vulgar
agitators, eager for notoriety or perhaps plunder. They are (such of
them as are the dupes, not the dupers) men whose minds from childhood
have been filled with anti-historic visions of Ireland's former
grandeur, and who cherish patriotic indignation for her supposed wrongs,
and patriotic hopes of her future glory. In a word, they live in a world
of unrealities almost inconceivable to a cool Saxon brain,--unreal
splendors of the past and utterly unreal and impossible future hopes.
They neither see where England has actually wronged Ireland heretofore,
nor how her Constitution opens to them now (were they but once united)
the lawful means of obtaining all just redress and beneficial
legislation they can desire. Instead of this, they are still talking of
Tara and Kincora, of Ollamh Fodhla and Brien Boiromhe, and dream in the
year of grace 1866 to set England at naught with a few thousand
undisciplined troops, and then burn down the hundred or two of handsome
houses and banish all the cultivated men and women in the country (even
including the priests!), to inaugurate a grand era of universal
prosperity and civilization.

But however delusive the indignation and the hopes of the Fenians must
be accounted, the sad fact remains that old misgovernment and oppression
have left behind a train of evil feelings, whose existence is only too
real, however fantastic may be the shapes they assume. While three or
four centuries sufficed to obliterate all trace of the Norman Conquest,
and unite in indissoluble bonds of blood and language the two races who
contended for mastery at Hastings, in Ireland, on the contrary, seven
centuries have failed, not merely to efface, but even essentially to
diminish the sharpness of the distinction between the conquerors and the
conquered. Still, to this day, the two nations dwell in the same land,
but not united. Still each member of each race learns as his first
lesson to which of the two he belongs, and recognizes, by some occult,
but well-known tokens, the race and creed of every man with whom he has
dealings. Religious differences, of course, have come in to swell the
tide of mistrust, and to nullify the most strenuous efforts of the
Anglo-Irish to gain the confidence of the Celts. In the books circulated
in the baskets of the strolling pedlers, which constitute almost the
sole literature of the laboring class, we have constantly seen the
favorite tract entitled "A Father's Advice to his Son," in which the
Catholic peasant is warned to put no faith in the desire of his
Protestant neighbor to help him, and advised, _not_, indeed, to refuse
his charity, but to return for it no gratitude, since a Protestant can
have no real feeling for a Catholic. We have heard with our own ears
O'Connell say almost the same thing in Conciliation Hall, and tell his
hearers that English subscriptions at the time of the famine were given
from _fear_, not kindness. But even were all these false teachers
silenced, were the enormous insult of the Irish Establishment retracted
to-morrow, even then the root of national bitterness would not be
killed. It would take generations to kill it.

Between fifty and a hundred years ago the Anglo-Irish gentry, as all the
world knows, were a wild and extravagant race. Duelling and drinking
were the two great duties of a gentleman. A young man was instructed how
to "make his head" early in life, and to acquire the gentle art of
pistolling his friends, when now he would be studying Greek under
Professor Jowett, or "coaching" for a civil-service examination. It was
in bad taste in those halcyon days for a man to leave a pleasant social
party in a state of sobriety, and he was liable to be challenged by his
aggrieved companions if he did it frequently. The custom of locking the
dining-room door and putting the key in the fire, so as to secure a
comfortable night (on the floor), was so common as hardly to deserve
notice; and in many old houses are still preserved the huge glasses
bearing the toast of the Immortal Memory of William III., and calculated
to hold three bottles of claret, all to be drunk at once by one member
of the company, who then won the prize of a seven-guinea piece deposited
at the bottom. Gambling was not a pastime, but a business; and a
business shared by the ladies. On rainy days it was customary to lay the
card-tables at ten o'clock in the morning, and on all days the work
began immediately after the four-o'clock dinner. Of all field-sports
hunting was the favorite; and, of course, horses and hounds helped to
run away with estates as well as cards and claret. Great pomp, however,
of a certain semi-barbaric kind was the crowning extravagance. Everybody
drove four horses,--the loftier grandees invariably six,--with due
accompaniment of outriders and running footmen. Dresses, jewels, and
lace were of course in keeping with the equipage, albeit the furniture
of the finest houses was what we should deem a strange mixture of
magnificence and bareness,--beautiful pictures on the walls, and no
curtains to the windows,--tapestry _fauteuils_, and a small square of
carpet in the midst of a Sahara of plain deal floor. But the kitchen was
the true scene of that Wilful Waste which assuredly brought Woful Want
often enough in its train. Every gentleman's house served as a sort of
free tavern for tenants, servants, laborers, and the relatives, friends,
and acquaintances of tenants, servants, and laborers without end. Up
stairs there was endless dinner-giving and claret-drinking; down stairs
there was breakfasting, dining, and supping,--only substituting beef for
venison and whiskey for claret. One famous countess, coming into an
estate of twenty thousand a year, with a reserve of one hundred thousand
pounds, spent the whole, and left a debt of another hundred thousand,
after Garter-King-at-Arms had been summoned from England to see her in
state to her mausoleum as a descendant of the Plantagenets. An earl in
the North, of no great wealth, was carried to his grave by a procession
of five thousand people, all of whom were entertained, and three
thousand clothed in mourning, for the occasion. But there is no need to
go further into such traditions.

Were _these_, then, the people who earned the hoarded hate of the
Fenian? Was it this coarse and stupid extravagance, contrasted with the
abject penury of the peasantry, (far greater then than now,) which has
left such indelible, bitter memories? Very far indeed is this from being
the case. That age of lavish waste is looked back upon universally in
Ireland as one of those "former times" which are to be forever
contrasted with the present,--an age of gold compared to an age of iron.
True, the old landlords were harder on their tenants than any _dare_ now
to be;--true, they neither improved land, nor built cottages, nor
endowed schools, nor did one earthly thing to help the wretched and
starving people in the face of whose misery they flaunted their
splendor. But there was little or no bitterness of feeling toward them;
for their faults were those with which the people sympathized, and their
free-handed hospitality would have covered more sins even than they
committed. Perhaps one of the very reasons why, in these last years, the
never wholly quieted ground-swell of discontent has risen up in
Fenianism is this, that the whole generation of which we have spoken has
now utterly died out, and, since the Encumbered Estates Courts has done
its work, the families of landholders have undergone great changes, and,
where not changed in race, have wholly changed in habits and mode of
life. "Castle Rackrent" exists no more. Irish landlords have now neither
power nor inclination to hold free quarters for all comers. On the other
hand, (we speak it advisedly,) no class of men in Europe strive more
earnestly and self-denyingly to improve the condition of those dependent
on them, to build good houses for their tenants, open schools for the
children, and drain and fertilize the land. Let us hope that, as years
roll on, and generations pass, the tradition of imaginary wrongs, and
the unseen but too real results of actual ones, will both pass away, and
there may yet come a day in which it will not seem a satire to speak of
the land of the Fenian and the _Agrarian_ murderer as "The Isle of
Saints."



THE CHIMNEY-CORNER FOR 1866.


V.

WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF BEAUTY IN DRESS.

The conversation on dress which I had held with Jennie and her little
covey of Birds of Paradise appeared to have worked in the minds of the
fair council, for it was not long before they invaded my study again in
a body. They were going out to a party, but called for Jennie, and of
course gave me and Mrs. Crowfield the privilege of seeing them equipped
for conquest.

Latterly, I must confess, the mysteries of the toilet rites have
impressed me with a kind of superstitious awe. Only a year ago my
daughter Jennie had smooth dark hair, which she wreathed in various
soft, flowing lines about her face, and confined in a classical knot on
the back of her head. Jennie had rather a talent for _coiffure_, and the
arrangement of her hair was one of my little artistic delights. She
always had something there,--a leaf, a spray, a bud or blossom, that
looked fresh, and had a sort of poetical grace of its own.

But in a gradual way all this has been changing. Jennie's hair first
became slightly wavy, then curly, finally frizzy, presenting a tumbled
and twisted appearance, which gave me great inward concern; but when I
spoke upon the subject I was always laughingly silenced with the
definitive settling remark: "O, it's the fashion, papa! Everybody wears
it so."

I particularly objected to the change on my own small account, because
the smooth, breakfast-table _coiffure_, which I had always so much
enjoyed, was now often exchanged for a peculiarly bristling appearance;
the hair being variously twisted, tortured, woven, and wound, without
the least view to immediate beauty or grace. But all this, I was
informed, was the necessary means towards crimping for some evening
display of a more elaborate nature than usual.

Mrs. Crowfield and myself are not party-goers by profession, but Jennie
insists on our going out at least once or twice in a season, just, as
she says, to keep up with the progress of society; and at these times I
have been struck with frequent surprise by the general untidiness which
appeared to have come over the heads of all my female friends. I know,
of course, that I am only a poor, ignorant, bewildered man-creature; but
to my uninitiated eyes they looked as if they had all, after a very
restless and perturbed sleep, come out of bed without smoothing their
tumbled and disordered locks. Then, every young lady, without exception,
seemed to have one kind of hair, and that the kind which was rather
suggestive of the term _woolly_. Every sort of wild _abandon_ of frowzy
locks seemed to be in vogue; in some cases the hair appearing to my
vision nothing but a confused snarl, in which glittered tinklers,
spangles, and bits of tinsel, and from which waved long pennants and
streamers of different-colored ribbons.

I was in fact very greatly embarrassed by my first meeting with some
very charming girls, whom I thought I knew as familiarly as my own
daughter Jennie, and whose soft, pretty hair had often formed the object
of my admiration. Now, however, they revealed themselves to me in
_coiffures_ which forcibly reminded me of the electrical experiments
which used to entertain us in college, when the subject stood on the
insulated stool, and each particular hair of his head bristled and rose,
and set up, as it were, on its own account. This high-flying condition
of the tresses, and the singularity of the ornaments which appeared to
be thrown at hap-hazard into them, suggested so oddly the idea of a
bewitched person, that I could scarcely converse with any presence of
mind, or realize that these really were the nice, well-informed,
sensible little girls of my own neighborhood,--the good daughters, good
sisters, Sunday-school teachers, and other familiar members of our best
educated circles; and I came away from the party in a sort of blue maze,
and hardly in a state to conduct myself with credit in the examination
through which I knew Jennie would put me as to the appearance of her
different friends.

I know not how it is, but the glamour of fashion in the eyes of girlhood
is so complete, that the oddest, wildest, most uncouth devices find
grace and favor in the eyes of even well-bred girls, when once that
invisible, ineffable _aura_ has breathed over them which declares them
to be fashionable. They may defy them for a time,--they may pronounce
them horrid; but it is with a secretly melting heart, and with a mental
reservation to look as nearly like the abhorred spectacle as they
possibly can on the first favorable opportunity.

On the occasion of the visit referred to, Jennie ushered her three
friends in triumph into my study; and, in truth, the little room seemed
to be perfectly transformed by their brightness. My honest, nice,
lovable little Yankee-fireside girls were, to be sure, got up in a style
that would have done credit to Madame Pompadour, or any of the most
questionable characters of the time of Louis XIV. or XV. They were
frizzled and powdered, and built up in elaborate devices; they wore on
their hair flowers, gems, streamers, tinklers, humming-birds,
butterflies, South American beetles, beads, bugles, and all imaginable
rattle-traps, which jingled and clinked with every motion; and yet, as
they were three or four fresh, handsome, intelligent, bright-eyed girls,
there was no denying the fact that they _did look extremely pretty_; and
as they sailed hither and thither before me, and gazed down upon me in
the saucy might of their rosy girlhood, there was a gay defiance in
Jennie's demand, "Now, papa, how do you like us?"

"Very charming," answered I, surrendering at discretion.

"I told you, girls, that you could convert him to the fashions, if he
should once see you in party trim."

"I beg pardon, my dear; I am not converted to the fashion, but to you,
and that is a point on which I didn't need conversion; but the present
fashions, even so fairly represented as I see them, I humbly confess I
dislike."

"O Mr. Crowfield!"

"Yes, my dears, I do. But then, I protest, I'm not fairly treated. I
think, for a young American girl, who looks as most of my fair friends
do look, to come down with her bright eyes and all her little panoply of
graces upon an old fellow like me, and expect him to like a fashion
merely because _she_ looks well in it, is all sheer nonsense. Why,
girls, if you wore rings in your noses, and bangles on your arms up to
your elbows, if you tied your hair in a war-knot on the top of your
heads like the Sioux Indians, you would look pretty still. The question
isn't, as I view it, whether you look pretty,--for that you do and that
you will, do what you please and dress how you will. The question is
whether you might not look prettier, whether another style of dress, and
another mode of getting up, would not be far more becoming. I am one who
thinks that it would."

"Now, Mr. Crowfield, you positively are too bad," said
Humming-Bird,--whose delicate head was encircled by a sort of crapy
cloud of bright hair, sparkling with gold-dust and spangles, in the
midst of which, just over her forehead, a gorgeous blue butterfly was
perched, while a confused mixture of hairs, gold-powder, spangles,
stars, and tinkling ornaments fell in a sort of cataract down her pretty
neck. "You see, we girls think everything of you; and now we don't like
it that you don't like our fashions."

"Why, my little princess, so long as I like _you_ better than your
fashions, and merely think they are not worthy of you, what's the harm?"

"O yes, to be sure. You sweeten the dose to us babies with that
sugar-plum. But really, Mr. Crowfield, why don't you like the fashions?"

"Because, to my view, they are in great part in false taste, and injure
the beauty of the girls," said I. "They are inappropriate to their
characters, and make them look like a kind and class of women whom they
do not, and I trust never will, resemble internally, and whose mark
therefore they ought not to bear externally. But there you are,
beguiling me into a sermon which you will only hate me in your hearts
for preaching. Go along, children! You certainly look as well as anybody
can in that style of getting up; so go to your party, and to-morrow
night, when you are tired and sleepy, if you'll come with your crochet,
and sit in my study, I will read you Christopher Crowfield's
dissertation on dress."

"That will be amusing, to say the least," said Humming-Bird; "and, be
sure, we will all be here. And mind, you have to show good reasons for
disliking the present fashion."

So the next evening there was a worsted party in my study, sitting in
the midst of which I read as follows.


"WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF BEAUTY IN DRESS.

"The first one is _appropriateness_. Colors and forms and modes, in
themselves graceful or beautiful, can become ungraceful and ridiculous
simply through inappropriateness. The most lovely bonnet that the most
approved _modiste_ can invent, if worn on the head of a coarse-faced
Irishwoman bearing a market-basket on her arm, excites no emotion but
that of the ludicrous. The most elegant and brilliant evening dress, if
worn in the daytime in a railroad car, strikes every one with a sense of
absurdity; whereas both these objects in appropriate associations would
excite only the idea of beauty. So, a mode of dress obviously intended
for driving strikes us as _outré_ in a parlor; and a parlor dress would
no less shock our eyes on horseback. In short, the course of this
principle through all varieties of form can easily be perceived. Besides
appropriateness to time, place, and circumstances, there is
appropriateness to age, position, and character. This is the foundation
of all our ideas of professional propriety in costume. One would not
like to see a clergyman in his external air and appointments resembling
a gentleman of the turf; one would not wish a refined and modest scholar
to wear the outward air of a fast fellow, or an aged and venerable
statesman to appear with all the peculiarities of a young dandy. The
flowers, feathers, and furbelows which a light-hearted young girl of
seventeen embellishes by the airy grace with which she wears them, are
simply ridiculous when transferred to the toilet of her serious,
well-meaning mamma, who bears them about with an anxious face, merely
because a loquacious milliner has assured her, with many protestations,
that it is the fashion, and the only thing remaining for her to do.

"There are, again, modes of dress in themselves very beautiful and very
striking, which are peculiarly adapted to theatrical representation and
to pictures, but the adoption of which as a part of unprofessional
toilet produces a sense of incongruity. A mode of dress may be in
perfect taste on the stage, that would be absurd in an evening party,
absurd in the street, absurd, in short, everywhere else.

"Now you come to my first objection to our present American toilet,--its
being to a very great extent _inappropriate_ to our climate, to our
habits of life and thought, and to the whole structure of ideas on which
our life is built. What we want, apparently, is some court of inquiry
and adaptation that shall pass judgment on the fashions of other
countries, and modify them to make them a graceful expression of our own
national character, and modes of thinking and living. A certain class of
women in Paris at this present hour makes the fashions that rule the
feminine world. They are women who live only for the senses, with as
utter and obvious disregard of any moral or intellectual purpose to be
answered in living as a paroquet or a macaw. They have no family ties;
love, in its pure domestic sense, is an impossibility in their lot;
religion in any sense is another impossibility; and their whole
intensity of existence, therefore, is concentrated on the question of
sensuous enjoyment, and that personal adornment which is necessary to
secure it. When the great, ruling country in the world of taste and
fashion has fallen into such a state that the virtual leaders of fashion
are women of this character, it is not to be supposed that the fashions
emanating from them will be of a kind well adapted to express the ideas,
the thoughts, the state of society, of a great Christian democracy such
as ours ought to be.

"What is called, for example, the Pompadour style of dress, so much in
vogue of late, we can see to be perfectly adapted to the kind of
existence led by dissipated women, whose life is one revel of
excitement; and who, never proposing to themselves any intellectual
employment or any domestic duty, can afford to spend three or four hours
every day under the hands of a waiting-maid, in alternately tangling and
untangling their hair. Powder, paint, gold-dust and silver-dust,
pomatums, cosmetics, are all perfectly appropriate where the ideal of
life is to keep up a false show of beauty after the true bloom is wasted
by dissipation. The woman who never goes to bed till morning, who never
even dresses herself, who never takes a needle in her hand, who never
goes to church, and never entertains one serious idea of duty of any
kind, when got up in Pompadour style, has, to say the truth, the good
taste and merit of appropriateness. Her dress expresses just what she
is,--all false, all artificial, all meretricious and unnatural; no part
or portion of her from which it might be inferred what her Creator
originally designed her to be.

"But when a nice little American girl, who has been brought up to
cultivate her mind, to refine her taste, to care for her health, to be a
helpful daughter and a good sister, to visit the poor and teach in
Sunday schools; when a good, sweet, modest little puss of this kind
combs all her pretty hair backward till it is one mass of frowzy
confusion; when she powders, and paints under her eyes; when she adopts,
with eager enthusiasm, every _outré_, unnatural fashion that comes from
the most dissipated foreign circles,--she is in bad taste, because she
does not represent either her character, her education, or her good
points. She looks like a second-rate actress, when she is, in fact, a
most thoroughly respectable, estimable, lovable little girl, and on the
way, as we poor fellows fondly hope, to bless some one of us with her
tenderness and care in some nice home in the future.

"It is not the fashion in America for young girls to have
waiting-maids,--in foreign countries it is the fashion. All this
meretricious toilet--so elaborate, so complicated, and so contrary to
nature--must be accomplished, and is accomplished, by the busy little
fingers of each girl for herself; and so it seems to be very evident
that a style of hair-dressing which it will require hours to
disentangle, which must injure and in time ruin the natural beauty of
the hair, ought to be one thing which a well-regulated court of inquiry
would reject in our American fashions.

"Again, the genius of American life is for simplicity and absence of
ostentation. We have no parade of office; our public men wear no robes,
no stars, garters, collars, &c.; and it would, therefore, be in good
taste in our women to cultivate simple styles of dress. Now I object to
the present fashions, as adopted from France, that they are flashy and
theatrical. Having their origin with a community whose senses are
blunted, drugged, and deadened with dissipation and ostentation, they
reject the simpler forms of beauty, and seek for startling effects, for
odd and unexpected results. The contemplation of one of our fashionable
churches, at the hour when its fair occupants pour forth, gives one a
great deal of surprise. The toilet there displayed might have been in
good keeping among showy Parisian women in an opera-house; but even
their original inventors would have been shocked at the idea of carrying
them into a church. The rawness of our American mind as to the subject
of propriety in dress is nowhere more shown than in the fact that no
apparent distinction is made between church and opera-house in the
adaptation of attire. Very estimable, and, we trust, very religious
young women sometimes enter the house of God in a costume which makes
their utterance of the words of the litany and the acts of prostrate
devotion in the service seem almost burlesque. When a brisk little
creature comes into a pew with hair frizzed till it stands on end in a
most startling manner, rattling strings of beads and bits of tinsel,
mounting over all some pert little hat with a red or green feather
standing saucily upright in front, she may look exceedingly pretty and
_piquante_; and, if she came there for a game of croquet or a
tableau-party, would be all in very good taste; but as she comes to
confess that she is a miserable sinner, that she has done the things she
ought not to have done and left undone the things she ought to have
done,--as she takes upon her lips most solemn and tremendous words,
whose meaning runs far beyond life into a sublime eternity,--there is a
discrepancy which would be ludicrous if it were not melancholy.

"One is apt to think, at first view, that St. Jerome was right in
saying,

    'She who comes in glittering veil
    To mourn her frailty, still is frail.'

But St. Jerome was in the wrong, after all; for a flashy, unsuitable
attire in church is not always a mark of an undevout or entirely worldly
mind; it is simply a mark of a raw, uncultivated taste. In Italy, the
ecclesiastical law prescribing a uniform black dress for the churches
gives a sort of education to European ideas of propriety in toilet,
which prevents churches from being made theatres for the same kind of
display which is held to be in good taste at places of public amusement.
It is but justice to the inventors of Parisian fashions to say, that,
had they ever had the smallest idea of going to church and Sunday
school, as our good girls do, they would immediately have devised
toilets appropriate to such exigencies. If it were any part of their
plan of life to appear statedly in public to confess themselves
'miserable sinners,' we should doubtless have sent over here the design
of some graceful penitential habit, which would give our places of
worship a much more appropriate air than they now have. As it is, it
would form a subject for such a court of inquiry and adaptation as we
have supposed, to draw a line between the costume of the theatre and the
church.

"In the same manner, there is a want of appropriateness in the costume
of our American women, who display in the street promenade a style of
dress and adornment originally intended for showy carriage drives in
such great exhibition grounds as the Bois de Boulogne. The makers of
Parisian fashions are not generally walkers. They do not, with all
their extravagance, have the bad taste to trail yards of silk and velvet
over the mud and dirt of a pavement, or promenade the street in a
costume so pronounced and striking as to draw the involuntary glance of
every eye; and the showy toilets displayed on the _pavé_ by American
young women have more than once exposed them to misconstruction in the
eyes of foreign observers.

"Next to appropriateness, the second requisite to beauty in dress I take
to be unity of effect. In speaking of the arrangement of rooms in the
'House and Home Papers,' I criticised some apartments wherein were many
showy articles of furniture, and much expense had been incurred,
because, with all this, there was no _unity of result_. The carpet was
costly, and in itself handsome; the paper was also in itself handsome
and costly; the tables and chairs also in themselves very elegant; and
yet, owing to a want of any unity of idea, any grand harmonizing tint of
color, or method of arrangement, the rooms had a jumbled, confused air,
and nothing about them seemed particularly pretty or effective. I
instanced rooms where thousands of dollars had been spent, which,
because of this defect, never excited admiration; and others in which
the furniture was of the cheapest description, but which always gave
immediate and universal pleasure. The same rule holds good in dress. As
in every apartment, so in every toilet, there should be one ground tone
or dominant color, which should rule all the others, and there should be
a general style of idea to which everything should be subjected.

"We may illustrate the effect of this principle in a very familiar case.
It is generally conceded that the majority of women look better in
mourning than they do in their ordinary apparel; a comparatively plain
person looks almost handsome in simple black. Now why is this? Simply
because mourning requires a severe uniformity of color and idea, and
forbids the display of that variety of colors and objects which go to
make up the ordinary female costume, and which very few women have such
skill in using as to produce really beautiful effects.

"Very similar results have been attained by the Quaker costume, which,
in spite of the quaint severity of the forms to which it adhered, has
always had a remarkable degree of becomingness, because of its
restriction to a few simple colors and to the absence of distracting
ornament.

"But the same effect which is produced in mourning or the Quaker costume
may be preserved in a style of dress admitting color and ornamentation.
A dress may have the richest fulness of color, and still the tints may
be so chastened and subdued as to produce the impression of a severe
simplicity. Suppose, for example, a golden-haired blonde chooses for the
ground-tone of her toilet a deep shade of purple, such as affords a good
background for the hair and complexion. The larger draperies of the
costume being of this color, the bonnet may be of a lighter shade of the
same, ornamented with lilac hyacinths, shading insensibly towards
rose-color. The effect of such a costume is simple, even though there be
much ornament, because it is ornament artistically disposed towards a
general result.

"A dark shade of green being chosen as the ground-tone of a dress, the
whole costume may, in like manner, be worked up through lighter and
brighter shades of green, in which rose-colored flowers may appear with
the same impression of simple appropriateness that is made by the pink
blossom over the green leaves of a rose. There have been times in France
when the study of color produced artistic effects in costume worthy of
attention, and resulted in styles of dress of real beauty. But the
present corrupted state of morals there has introduced a corrupt taste
in dress; and it is worthy of thought that the decline of moral purity
in society is often marked by the deterioration of the sense of artistic
beauty. Corrupt and dissipated social epochs produce corrupt styles of
architecture and corrupt styles of drawing and painting, as might easily
be illustrated by the history of art. When the leaders of society have
blunted their finer perceptions by dissipation and immorality, they are
incapable of feeling the beauties which come from delicate concords and
truly artistic combinations. They verge towards barbarism, and require
things that are strange, odd, dazzling, and peculiar to captivate their
jaded senses. Such we take to be the condition of Parisian society now.
The tone of it is given by women who are essentially impudent and
vulgar, who override and overrule, by the mere brute force of opulence
and luxury, women of finer natures and moral tone. The court of France
is a court of adventurers, of _parvenus_; and the palaces, the toilets,
the equipage, the entertainments, of the mistresses outshine those of
the lawful wives. Hence comes a style of dress which is in itself
vulgar, ostentatious, pretentious, without simplicity, without unity,
seeking to dazzle by strange combinations and daring contrasts.

"Now, when the fashions emanating from such a state of society come to
our country, where it has been too much the habit to put on and wear,
without dispute and without inquiry, any or everything that France
sends, the results produced are often things to make one wonder. A
respectable man, sitting quietly in church or other public assembly, may
be pardoned sometimes for indulging a silent sense of the ridiculous in
the contemplation of the forest of bonnets which surround him, as he
humbly asks himself the question, Were these meant to cover the head, to
defend it, or to ornament it? and if they are intended for any of these
purposes, how?

"I confess, to me nothing is so surprising as the sort of things which
well-bred women serenely wear on their heads with the idea that they are
ornaments. On my right hand sits a good-looking girl with a thing on her
head which seems to consist mostly of bunches of grass, straws, with a
confusion of lace, in which sits a draggled bird, looking as if the cat
had had him before the lady. In front of her sits another, who has a
glittering confusion of beads swinging hither and thither from a jaunty
little structure of black and red velvet. An anxious-looking matron
appears under the high eaves of a bonnet with a gigantic crimson rose
crushed down into a mass of tangled hair. She is _ornamented_! she has
no doubt about it.

"The fact is, that a style of dress which allows the use of everything
in heaven above or earth beneath requires more taste and skill in
disposition than falls to the lot of most of the female sex to make it
even tolerable. In consequence, the flowers, fruits, grass, hay, straw,
oats, butterflies, beads, birds, tinsel, streamers, jinglers, lace,
bugles, crape, which seem to be appointed to form a covering for the
female head, very often appear in combinations so singular, and the
results, taken in connection with all the rest of the costume, are such,
that we really think the people who usually assemble in a Quaker
meeting-house are, with their entire absence of ornament, more
becomingly attired than the majority of our public audiences. For if one
considers his own impression after having seen an assemblage of women
dressed in Quaker costume, he will find it to be, not of a confusion of
twinkling finery, but of many fair, sweet _faces_, of charming,
nice-looking _women_, and not of articles of dress. Now this shows that
the severe dress, after all, has better answered the true purpose of
dress, in setting forth the _woman_, than our modern costume, where the
woman is but one item in a flying mass of colors and forms, all of which
distract attention from the faces they are supposed to adorn. The dress
of the Philadelphian ladies has always been celebrated for its elegance
of effect, from the fact, probably, that the early Quaker parentage of
the city formed the eye and the taste of its women for uniform and
simple styles of color, and for purity and chastity of lines. The most
perfect toilets that have ever been achieved in America have probably
been those of the class familiarly called the gay Quakers,--children of
Quaker families, who, while abandoning the strict rules of the sect, yet
retain their modest and severe reticence, relying on richness of
material, and soft, harmonious coloring, rather than striking and
dazzling ornament.

"The next source of beauty in dress is the impression of truthfulness
and reality. It is a well-known principle of the fine arts, in all their
branches, that all shams and mere pretences are to be rejected,--a truth
which Ruskin has shown with the full lustre of his many-colored
prose-poetry. As stucco pretending to be marble, and graining pretending
to be wood, are in false taste in building, so false jewelry and cheap
fineries of every kind are in bad taste; so also is powder instead of
natural complexion, false hair instead of real, and flesh-painting of
every description. I have even the hardihood to think and assert, in the
presence of a generation whereof not one woman in twenty wears her own
hair, that the simple, short-cropped locks of Rosa Bonheur are in a more
beautiful style of hair-dressing than the most elaborate edifice of
curls, rats, and waterfalls that is erected on any fair head
now-a-days."

"O Mr. Crowfield! you hit us all now," cried several voices.

"I know it, girls,--I know it. I admit that you are all looking very
pretty; but I do maintain that you are none of you doing yourselves
justice, and that Nature, if you would only follow her, would do better
for you than all these elaborations. A short crop of your own hair, that
you could brush out in ten minutes every morning, would have a more
real, healthy beauty than the elaborate structures which cost you hours
of time, and give you the headache besides. I speak of the short
crop,--to put the case at the very lowest figure,--for many of you have
lovely hair of different lengths, and susceptible of a variety of
arrangements, if you did not suppose yourself obliged to build after a
foreign pattern, instead of following out the intentions of the great
Artist who made you.

"Is it necessary absolutely that every woman and girl should look
exactly like every other one? There are women whom Nature makes with
wavy or curly hair: let them follow her. There are those whom she makes
with soft and smooth locks, and with whom crinkling and craping is only
a sham. They look very pretty with it, to be sure; but, after all, is
there but one style of beauty? and might they not look prettier in
cultivating the style which Nature seemed to have intended for them?

"As to the floods of false jewelry, glass beads, and tinsel finery which
seem to be sweeping over the toilet of our women, I must protest that
they are vulgarizing the taste, and having a seriously bad effect on the
delicacy of artistic perception. It is almost impossible to manage such
material and give any kind of idea of neatness or purity; for the least
wear takes away their newness. And of all disreputable things, tumbled,
rumpled, and tousled finery is the most disreputable. A simple white
muslin, that can come fresh from the laundry every week, is, in point of
real taste, worth any amount of spangled tissues. A plain straw bonnet,
with only a ribbon across it, is in reality in better taste than
rubbishy birds or butterflies, or tinsel ornaments.

"Finally, girls, don't dress at hap-hazard; for dress, so far from being
a matter of small consequence, is in reality one of the fine arts,--so
far from trivial, that each country ought to have a style of its own,
and each individual such a liberty of modification of the general
fashion as suits and befits her person, her age, her position in life,
and the kind of character she wishes to maintain.

"The only motive in toilet which seems to have obtained much as yet
among young girls is the very vague impulse to look 'stylish,'--a desire
which must answer for more vulgar dressing than one would wish to see.
If girls would rise above this, and desire to express by their dress
the attributes of true ladyhood, nicety of eye, fastidious neatness,
purity of taste, truthfulness, and sincerity of nature, they might form,
each one for herself, a style having its own individual beauty,
incapable of ever becoming common and vulgar.

"A truly trained taste and eye would enable a lady to select from the
permitted forms of fashion such as might be modified to her purposes,
always remembering that simplicity is safe, that to attempt little, and
succeed, is better than to attempt a great deal, and fail.

"And now, girls, I will finish by reciting to you the lines old Ben
Jonson addressed to the pretty girls of his time, which form an
appropriate ending to my remarks.

    'Still to be neat, still to be dressed
    As you were going to a feast;
    Still to be powdered, still perfumed;
    Lady, it is to be presumed,
    Though art's hid causes are not found,
    All is not sweet, all is not sound.

    'Give me a look, give me a face,
    That makes simplicity a grace,--
    Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
    Such sweet neglect more taketh me
    Than all the adulteries of art,
    That strike my eyes, but not my heart.'"



EDWIN BOOTH.


When we mark the struggles of a brave spirit against the restrictions of
an ignoble body, we pay admiring honors to every success that it
achieves. It is the contest between human will and untoward fate. Each
triumph is a victory of man's dearest heritage, spiritual power. Some
have made themselves great captains despite physical weakness and
natural fear; scholars and writers have become renowned, though slow to
learn, or, haply, "with wisdom at one entrance quite shut out"; nor have
stammering lips and shambling figure prevented the rise of orators and
actors, determined to give utterance to the power within. But, in our
approval of the energy that can so vanquish the injuries of fortune, we
are apt to overrate its quality, and to forget how much more exquisite
the endowment would be if allied with those outward resources which
complete the full largess of Heaven's favoritism. In the latter case we
yield our unqualified affection to beings who afford us an unqualified
delight. We are reverencing the gifts of the gods; and in their display
see clearly that no human will can secure that nobility of appearance
and expression which a few maintain without intention, and by right of
birth.

Bodily fitness is no small portion of a genius for any given pursuit;
and, in the conduct of life, the advantages of external beauty can
hardly be overrated. All thinkers have felt this. Emerson says "of that
beauty which reaches its perfection in the human form," that "all men
are its lovers; wherever it goes, it creates joy and hilarity, and
everything is permitted to it." Now there is a beauty of parts, which is
external; and another of the expression of the soul, which is the
superior. But in its higher grades the former implies the latter.
Socrates said that his ugliness accused just as much in his soul, had he
not corrected it by education. And Montaigne writes: "The same word in
Greek signifies both fair and good, and Holy Word often calls those good
which it would call fair"; and, moreover, "Not only in the men that
serve me, but also in the beasts, I consider this point within two
finger-breadths of goodness."

Can we claim too much for physical adaptation in our measure of the rank
to be accorded an actor? For he of all others, not excepting the
orator, makes the most direct personal appeal to our tastes. In his own
figure he holds the mirror up to Nature, while his voice must be the
echo of her various tones. By the law of aristocracy in art, he must be
held so much the greater, as he is able to depict the nobler
manifestations of her forms and passions. Of course the first excellence
is that of truth. A spirited enactment of Malvolio, of Falstaff, or of
Richard Crookback has the high merit of faithfully setting forth
humanity, though in certain whimsical or distorted phases; but we are
more profoundly enriched by the portrayal of higher types. And thus, in
making an actor's chosen and successful studies a means of measuring his
genius, we find in the self-poise which wins without effort, and must
throughout sustain the princely Hamlet, or Othello tender and strong,
that grand manner which, in painting, places the art of Raphael and
Angelo above that of Hogarth or Teniers. Each may be perfect in its
kind, but one kind exceeds another in glory.

We have two pictures before us. One, on paper yellow with the moth of
years, is the portrait of an actor in the costume of Richard III. What a
classic face! English features are rarely cast in that antique mould.
The head sits lightly on its columnar neck, and is topped with
dark-brown curls, that cluster like the acanthus; the gray eyes are
those which were justly described as being "at times full of fire,
intelligence, and splendor, and again of most fascinating softness"; and
the nose is of "that peculiar Oriental construction, which gives an air
of so much distinction and command." Such was the countenance of Junius
Brutus Booth,--that wonderful actor, who, to powers of scorn, fury, and
pathos rivalling those which illumined the uneven performances of Edmund
Kean, added scholastic attainments which should have equalized his
efforts, and made every conception harmonious with the graces of a
philosophical and cultured soul. In structure the genius of the elder
Booth was indeed closely akin to that of Kean, if not the rarer of the
two, notwithstanding the triumphant assertion of Doran, who says that
Booth was driven by Kean's superiority to become a hero to "transpontine
audiences." Each relied upon his intuitive, off-hand conception of a
given part, and fell back to nature in his methods, throwing aside
conventionalisms which had long ruled the English stage. But the former
was capable of more fervid brightness in those flashes which
characterized the acting of them both. Still, there was something awry
within him, which in his body found a visible counterpart. The shapely
trunk, crowned with the classic head, was set upon limbs of an ungainly
order, short, of coarse vigor, and "gnarled like clumps of oak." Above,
all was spiritual; below, of the earth, earthy, and dragging him down.
Strong souls, thus inharmoniously embodied, have often developed some
irregularity of heart or brain: a disproportion, which only strength of
purpose or the most favorable conditions of life could balance and
overcome. With the elder Booth, subjected to the varying fortunes and
excitements of the early American stage, the evil influence gained sad
ascendency, and his finest renditions grew "out of tune and harsh." In
depicting the pathetic frenzy of Lear, such actors as he and Kean, when
at their best, can surpass all rivals; and the grotesque,
darkly-powerful ideals of Richard and Shylock are precisely those in
which they will startle us to the last, gathering new, though fitful,
expressions of hate and scorn, as their own natures sink from ethereal
to grosser atmospheres. The mouth catches most surely the growing
tendency of a soul; and on the lips of the elder Booth there sat a
natural half-sneer of pride, which defined the direction in which his
genius would reach its farthest scope.

The second picture is a likeness of this great actor's son,--of a face
and form now wonted to all who sustain the standard drama of to-day.
Here is something of the classic outline and much of the Greek
sensuousness of the father's countenance, but each softened and
strengthened by the repose of logical thought, and interfused with that
serene spirit which lifts the man of feeling so far above the child of
passions unrestrained. The forehead is higher, rising toward the region
of the moral sentiments; the face is long and oval, such as Ary Scheffer
loved to draw; the chin short in height, but, from the ear downwards,
lengthening its distinct and graceful curve. The head is of the most
refined and thorough-bred Etruscan type, with dark hair thrown backwards
and flowing student-wise; the complexion, pale and striking. The eyes
are black and luminous, the pupils contrasting sharply with the balls in
which they are set. If the profile and forehead evince taste and a
balanced mind, it is the hair and complexion, and, above all, those
remarkable eyes,--deep-searching, seen and seeing from afar,--that
reveal the passions of the father in their heights and depths of power.
The form is taller than either that of the elder Booth or Kean, lithe,
and disposed in symmetry; with broad shoulders, slender hips, and comely
tapering limbs, all supple, and knit together with harmonious grace. We
have mentioned personal fitness as a chief badge of the actor's peerage,
and it is of one of the born nobility that we have to speak. Amongst
those who have few bodily disadvantages to overcome, and who, it would
seem, should glide into an assured position more easily than others
climb, we may include our foremost American tragedian,--EDWIN THOMAS
BOOTH.[D]

But men are often endowed with plenteous gifts for which they never find
employment, and thus go to the bad without discovering their natural
bent to others or even to themselves. In the years preceding our late
war how many were rated as vagabonds, who had that within them which has
since won renown! They were "born soldiers," and, in the piping time of
peace, out of unison with the bustling crowd around them. Life seemed a
muddle, and of course they went astray. But when the great guns sounded,
and the bugles rang, they came at once to their birthright, and many a
ne'er-do-well made himself a patriot and hero forever.

Edwin Booth, having the capabilities of a great actor, found himself
about the stage in his childhood, and, by an unwonted kindness of
fortune, went through with perhaps the exact training his genius
required. If the atmosphere of the theatre had not almost enwrapt his
cradle, and thus become a necessity of his after years, his reflective,
brooding temperament and æsthetic sensitiveness might have impelled him
to one of the silent professions, or kept him an irresolute dreamer
through an unsuccessful life. But while his youth was passed in the
green-room, a stern discipline early made him self-reliant, matured his
powers, taught him executive action, and gave him insight of the
passions and manners of our kind. As for black-letter knowledge, such a
nature as his was sure to gain that,--to acquire in any event, and
almost unknowingly, what mere talent only obtains by severe, methodical
application. We know how genius makes unconscious studies, while in the
daily routine of life. The soul works on, unassisted, and at length
bursts out into sudden blaze. How did Booth study? Just as young
Franklin weighed the minister's sermons, while mentally intent upon the
architecture of the church roof. Night after night the lonely face
brightened the shadows of the stage-wings, and the delicate ear drank
in the folly, the feeling, the wit and wisdom of the play. To such a
boyhood the personal contact of his father's nature was all in all. It
was quaffing from the fountain-head, not from streams of the imitation
of imitation. As the genius of the father refined the intellect and
judgment of the son, so the weaknesses coupled with that genius taught
him strength of character and purpose. We have heard of nothing more
dramatic than the wandering companionship of this gifted pair,--whether
the younger is awaiting, weary and patient, the end of the heard but
unseen play, or watching over his father at a distance, when the clouds
settled thickly upon that errant mind, through long nights and along the
desolate streets of a strange city. With other years came the time for
young Booth to fight his own battle, and wander on his own account
through an apprenticeship preceding his mature successes,--to gain those
professional acquirements which were needed to complete his education,
and to make that tasteful research to which he naturally inclined. He is
now in the sunshine of his noonday fame; and we may estimate his measure
of excellence by a review of those chosen and successful renderings,
that seem most clearly to define his genius, and to mark the limits of
height and versatility which he can attain.

Take, then, the part of Hamlet, which, in these days, the very mention
of his name suggests. Little remains to be said of that undying play,
whose pith and meaning escaped the sturdy English critics, until
Coleridge discovered it by looking into his own soul, and those
all-searching Germans pierced to the centre of a disposition quite in
keeping with their national character. A score of lights have since
brought out every thought and phrase, and we now have Hamlet so clearly
in our mind's eye as to wonder how our predecessors failed to comprehend
his image. But what does this tragedy demand of an actor? Proverbially,
that he himself shall fill it, and hold the stage from its commencement
to its end. The play of "Hamlet" is the part of Hamlet. The slowness of
its action, and the import of its dialogue and soliloquies, make all
depend upon the central figure. Next, he is to depict the most
accomplished gentleman ever drawn; not gallant, gay Mercutio, nor
courtly Benedict, but the prince and darling of a realm; one who cannot
"lack preferment," being of birth above mean ambition and self-conscious
unrest; a gentleman by heart, no less,--full of kindly good-fellowship,
brooking no titles with his friends, loving goodness and truth,
impatient of fools, scorning affectation; moreover, the glass of fashion
and the mould of form, the modern ideal of manly beauty,--which joins
with the classic face and figure that charm of expression revealing a
delicate mind within. For our Hamlet is both gentleman and scholar.
History and philosophy have taught him the vice of kings, the brevity of
power and forms, the immortality of principles, the art of
generalization; while contact with society has made him master of those
"shafts of gentle satire," for which all around him are his unconscious
targets. His self-respect and self-doubt balance each other, until the
latter outweighs the former, under the awful pressure of an unheard-of
woe. Finally, he comes before us in that poetical, speculative period of
life following the years of study and pleasure, and preceding those of
executive leadership. Prince, gentleman, scholar, poet,--he is each, and
all together, and attracts us from every point of view.

Upon this noblest youth--so far in advance of his rude and turbulent
time--throw a horror that no philosophy, birth, nor training can
resist--one of those weights beneath which all humanity bows shuddering;
cast over him a stifling dream, where only the soul can act, and the
limbs refuse their offices; have him pushed along by Fate to the
lowering, ruinous catastrophe; and you see the dramatic chainwork of a
part which he who would enact Hamlet must fulfil.

It has been said, distinguishing between the effects of comedy and
tragedy, that to render the latter ennobles actors, so that successful
tragedians have acquired graces of personal behavior. But one who does
not possess native fineness before his portrayal of Hamlet will never be
made a gentleman by the part. In its more excited phases, a man not born
to the character may succeed. As in Lear, the excess of the passion
displayed serves as a mask to the actor's disposition. In its repose,
the ideal Hamlet is hard to counterfeit. In the reflective portions and
exquisite minor play which largely occupy its progress, and in the
princely superiority of its chief figure, there can be little _acting_
in the conventional sense. There is a quality which no false ware can
imitate. The player must be himself.

This necessity, we think, goes far toward Booth's special fitness for
the part. He is in full sympathy with it, whether on or off the stage.
We know it from our earliest glance at that lithe and sinuous figure,
elegant in the solemn garb of sables,--at the pallor of his face and
hands, the darkness of his hair, those eyes that can be so
melancholy-sweet, yet ever look beyond and deeper than the things about
him. Where a burlier tragedian must elaborately pose himself for the
youth he would assume, this actor so easily and constantly falls into
beautiful attitudes and movements, that he seems to go about, as we
heard a humorist say, "making statues all over the stage." No picture
can equal the scene where Horatio and Marcellus swear by his sword, he
holding the crossed hilt upright between the two, his head thrown back
and lit with high resolve. In the fencing-bout with Laertes he is the
apotheosis of grace; and since, though his height and shoulder-breadth
are perfect, he is somewhat spare in form, you call to mind--in
accounting for this charm of motion, not studied, "like old Hayward's,
between two looking-glasses"--the law that beauty is frame-deep; that
grace results from the conscious, harmonious adjustment of joints and
bones, and not from accidental increase and decrease of their covering.
There is more hidden art in his sitting attitudes upon the quaint
lounges of the period; whether rebuking his own remissness, or listening
to "the rugged Pyrrhus," or playing upon old Polonius,--setting his
breast, as it were, against the thorn of his own disgust.

A sense of the fitness of things makes Booth hold himself in close
restraint when not engaged upon the sharper crises of the play. This we
conceive to be the true art-spirit. There is no attempt to rouse the
house by elocutionary climaxes or quick-stopping strides. Like
Betterton, he courts rapturous silence rather than clamorous applause.
So finished is all this as a study, that the changes into the more
dramatic passages at first grate harshly upon the eye and ear. For,
after all, it is a tragedy, full of spectral terrors. Lord Hamlet feels
it in his soul. Why should this delicate life be so rudely freighted?
Booth, faithful to the action, accepts the passion and the pang. We
hardly relish his gasping utterance and utter fall, when the Ghost
rehearses his story on those solemn battlements of Elsinore. But think
what he is seeing: not the stage-vision for which we care so little, but
the spectre of his father,--a midnight visitant from the grave! It has
been asserted that no man ever _believed_ he saw a spirit and survived
the shock. And it is strongly urged, as a defence of Booth's conception
of this scene, that, in the closet interview with the Queen, after the
slaying of Polonius, and on the Ghost's reappearance, we, now wrought up
to the high poetic pitch by the dialogue and catastrophe, and by the
whole progress of the piece, ourselves catch the key, expect, and fully
sympathize with his horror and prostration, and accept the fall to earth
as the proper sequel to that dreadful blazon from the other world.
Notwithstanding this, it seems to us that Booth should tone down his
manner in the first Act. The audience has hardly left the outer life,
and cannot identify itself with the player; and an artist must
acknowledge this fact, and not too far exceed the elevation of his
hearers.

Five years ago there was a weakness in Booth's voice, making the
listener apprehensive of the higher and louder tones. This insufficiency
has passed away with practice and growth, and his utterance now has
precisely the volume required in Hamlet,--being musical and distinct in
the quiet parts, and fully sustaining each emotional outburst.

In effective compositions there is a return to the theme or refrain of
the piece, when the end is close upon us. One of the finest points in
this play is, that after the successive episodes of the killing of
Polonius, the madness and death of Ophelia, and the wild bout with
Laertes at her burial, Hamlet reassumes his every-day nature, and is
never more thoroughly himself than when Osric summons him to the
fencing-match, and his heart grows ill with the shadow of coming death.
The Fates are just severing his thread; events that shall sweep a whole
dynasty, like the house of Atreus, into one common ruin, are close at
hand; but Philosophy hovers around her gallant child, and the sweet,
wise voice utters her teachings for the last time: "If it be now, 't is
not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet
it will come; the readiness is all. Let be." Then follow the courtesy,
the grace, the fraud, the justice, of the swift, last scene; the curtain
falls; and now the yearning sympathies of the hearers break out into
sound, and the actor comes before the footlights to receive his meed of
praise. How commonplace it is to read that such a one was called before
the curtain and bowed his thanks! But sit there; listen to the
applauding clamor of two thousand voices, be yourself lifted on the
waves of that exultation, and for a moment you forget how soon all this
will be hushed forever, and, in the triumph of the actor, the grander,
more enduring genius of the writer whose imagination first evoked the
spell.

The performance of Richelieu, from one point of view, is a complete
antithesis to that of the melancholy Dane. In the latter we see and
think of Booth; in the former, his household friends, watching My Lord
Cardinal from first to last, have nothing to recall him to their minds.
The man is transformed, is _acting_ throughout the play. Voice, form,
and countenance are changed; only the eyes remain, and they are volcanic
with strange lustre,--mindful of the past, suspicious of the present,
fixed still upon the future with piercing intent. The soul of the
Cardinal, nearing its leave of the tenement that has served it so long,
glares out of the windows, with supernatural regard, over the luxury,
the intrigue, the danger, the politics, the empire it must soon behold
no more. As the piece is now produced, with fidelity to details of use
and decoration,--with armor, costumery, furniture, and music of the
period of Louis XIII.,--with all this boast of heraldry and pomp of
power, the illusion is most entire. The countenance is that of the old
portrait; white flowing locks, cap, robes, raised moustache, and pointed
beard,--all are there. The voice is an old man's husky treble, and we
have the old man's step, the tremor, and recurring spasmodic power; nor
is there any moment when the actor forgets the part he has assumed. Yes,
it is age itself; but the sunset of a life whose noonday was gallantry,
valor, strength,--and intellectual strength never so much as now. How we
lend our own impulses to the effort with which the veteran grasps the
sword wherewith he shore "the stalwart Englisher," strive with him in
that strong yearning to whirl it aloft, sink with him in the instant,
nerveless reaction, and sorrow that "a child could slay Richelieu now!"
He is not the intriguer of dark tradition, wily and cruel for low
ambitious ends, but entirely great, in his protection of innocence and
longing for affection, and most of all in that supreme love of France to
which his other motives are subservient. Booth seizes upon this as the
key-note of the play, and is never so grand as when he rises at full
height with the averment,

            "I found France rent asunder;
    The rich men despots, and the poor banditti;
    Sloth in the mart, and schism within the temple;
    Brawls festering to rebellion, and weak laws
    Rotting away with rust in antique sheaths,--
    _I have re-created France!_"

Bulwer's "Richelieu," though written in that author's pedantic,
artificial manner, and catching the groundlings with cheap sentiment and
rhetorical platitudes, is yet full of telling dramatic effects, which,
through the inspiration of a fine actor, lift the most critical audience
to sudden heights. One of this sort is justly famous. We moderns, who so
feebly catch the spell which made the Church of Rome sovereign of
sovereigns for a thousand years, have it cast full upon us in the scene
where the Cardinal, deprived of temporal power, and defending his
beautiful ward from royalty itself, draws around her that Church's
"awful circle," and cries to Baradas,

    "Set but a foot within that holy ground,
    And on thy head--yea, though it wore a crown--
    _I launch the curse of Rome!_"

Booth's expression of this climax is wonderful. There is perhaps
nothing, of its own kind, to equal it upon the present stage. Well may
the king's haughty parasites cower, and shrink aghast from the ominous
voice, the finger of doom, the arrows of those lurid, unbearable eyes!
But it is in certain intellectual elements and pathetic undertones that
the part of Richelieu, as conceived by Bulwer, assimilates to that of
Hamlet, and comes within the realm where our actor's genius holds
assured sway. The argument of the piece is spiritual power. The body of
Richelieu is wasted, but the soul remains unscathed, with all its
reason, passion, and indomitable will. He is still prelate, statesman,
and poet, and equal to a world in arms.

The requisite subtilty of analysis, and sympathy with mental finesse,
must also specially adapt this actor to the correct assumption of the
character of Iago. Those who have never seen him in it may know by
analogy that his merits are not exaggerated. We take it that Iago is a
sharply intellectual personage, though his logic, warped by grovelling
purpose, becomes sophistry, while lustful and envious intrigues occupy
his skilful brain. We have described the beauty of Booth's countenance
in repose. But it is equally remarkable for mobility, and his most
expressive results are produced by liftings of the high-arched brows and
the play of passions about the flexible mouth. The natural line of his
lip, not scornful in itself, is on that straight border-ground where a
hair's breadth can raise it into sardonic curves, transforming all its
good to sneering evil. In his rendering, Iago must become a shining,
central incarnation of tempting deceit, with Othello's generous nature a
mere puppet in his hands. As Richard III., we should look to find him
most effective in schemeful soliloquy and the phases of assumed virtue
and affection, while perhaps less eminent than his father or Edmund Kean
in that headlong, strident unrest, which hurried on their
representations to the fury or the retributive end.

To give the distant reader our own impression of a great actor is a slow
and delicate task, and perhaps the most we can accomplish is to set him
before others somewhat as he has appeared to us, and to let each decide
for himself the question of histrionic rank. But have we not
unconsciously defined our view of the excellence of Booth's genius, and
hinted at its limitations? The latter are by no means narrow, for his
elastic, adaptable nature insures him versatility; and, despite the
world's scepticism as to the gift of an artist to do more than one thing
well, he is acknowledged to surpass our other actors in a score of
elegant parts. Amongst these are Pescara, Petruchio, and Sir Edward
Mortimer; while in a few pieces of the French romance-school, such as
"Ruy Blas," and that terrible "The King's Jester," he has introduced to
us studies of a novel and intensely dramatic kind. As for the lighter
order, the greater including the less, our best Hamlet should be the
best "walking gentleman," if he elect to assume that versatile
personage's offices. We know also that Booth's Shylock should be a
masterly performance, since his voice, complexion, eyes, and inherited
powers of scorn, all lend their aid to his mental appreciation of the
part. But it is not our purpose to consider any of these _rôles_. We
only allude to them to say that in most directions his equal has not
appeared on the American stage; and in qualifying an opinion of his
powers, we make no exception in favor of his contemporaries, but,
rather, of those who have been and shall be again, when Jove shall

      "let down from his golden chain
    An age of better metal."

As Hamlet, Mr. Booth will hardly improve his present execution, since he
is now at the age of thirty-two, and can never fill more easily the
youthful beauty of the part, without artifice, and, we may say, by the
first intention. We should like to see him, ere many winters have passed
over his head, in some new classic play, whose arrangement should not be
confined to the bald, antique model, nor drawn out in sounding speeches
like Talfourd's "Ion," nor yet too much infused with the mingled Gothic
elements of our own drama; but warm with sunlight, magical with the
grace of the young Athenian feeling, and full of a healthful action
which would display the fairest endowments of his mind and person. As
Lear or Shylock, he will certainly grow in power as he grows in years,
and may even gain upon his masterly performance of Richelieu. But in one
department, and that of an important order, he will perhaps never reach
the special eminence at which we place a few historic names.

Our exception includes those simply powerful characters, the ideal of
which his voice and magnetism cannot in themselves sustain. At certain
lofty passages he relies upon nervous, electrical effort, the natural
weight of his temperament being unequal to the desired end. Those
flashing impulses, so compatible with the years of Richelieu and the
galled purpose of Shylock, would fail to reveal satisfactorily the
massive types, which rise by a head, like Agamemnon, above the noblest
host. Dramatic representations may be classed under the analogous
divisions of poetry: for instance, the satirical, the bucolic, the
romantic, the reflective, the epic. The latter has to do with those
towering creatures of action--Othello, Coriolanus, Virginius,
Macbeth--somewhat deficient, whether good or evil, in the casuistry of
more subtile dispositions, but giants in emotion, and kingly in repose.
They are essentially _masculine_, and we connect their ideals with the
stately figure, the deep chest-utterance, the slow, enduring majesty of
mien. The genius of Mr. Booth has that feminine quality which, though
allowing him a wider range, and enabling him to render even these
excepted parts after a tuneful, elaborate, and never ignoble method of
his own, might debar him from giving them their highest
interpretation,--or, at least, from sustaining it, without sharp
falsetto effort, throughout the entire passage of a play. In a few
impersonations, where Kemble, with all his mannerisms and defective
elocution, and Macready, notwithstanding his uninspired, didactic
nature, were most at their ease and successful, this actor would be
somewhat put to his mettle,--a fact of which he is probably himself no
less aware.

After all, what are we saying, except that his genius is rather
Corinthian than Doric, and therefore more cultured, mobile, and of wider
range? If Kemble was the ideal Coriolanus and Henry V., he was too
kingly as Hamlet, and Booth is the _princeliest_ Hamlet that ever trod
the stage. If Kean and the elder Booth were more supernal in their
lightnings of passion and scorn,--and there are points in "Richelieu"
which leave this a debatable question,--Edwin Booth is more equal
throughout, has every resource of taste and study at his command; his
action is finished to the last, his stage-business perfect, his reading
distinct and musical as a bell. He is thus the ripened product of our
eclectic later age, and has this advantage about him, being an
American, that he is many-sided, and draws from all foreign schools
their distinctive elements to fuse into one new, harmonious whole.

It is our fashion to speak of the decline of the Drama, to lament not
only a decay of morals, manners, and elocution, but the desertion of
standard excellence for the frippery which only appeals to the lightest
popular taste. But this outcry proceeds mostly from old fogies, and
those who only reverence the past, while the halo which gilds the
memories of youth is the cause of its ceaseless repetition. For it has
been heard through every period. It was in the era when our greatest
dramas were created that Ben Jonson, during a fit of the spleen,
occasioned by the failure of "The New Inn," begat these verses "to
himself":--

            "Come, leave the loathed stage,
            And this more loathsome age,
    Where pride and impudence, in faction knit,
            Usurp the chair of wit!
    Inditing and arranging every day
            Something they call a play."

At the commencement of our own century, and in what we are wont to
consider the Roscian Period of the British stage, its condition seemed
so deplorable to Leigh Hunt, then the dramatic critic of "The News," as
to require "An Essay on the Appearance, Causes, and Consequences of the
Decline of British Comedy." "Of Tragedy," he wrote, "we have nothing;
and it is the observation of all Europe that the British Drama is
rapidly declining." Yet the golden reign of the Kembles was then in its
prime; and such names as Bannister, Fawcett, Matthews, Elliston, and
Cooke occur in Hunt's graceful and authoritative sketches of the actors
of the day.[E] As to the newer plays, Gifford said, "All the fools in
the kingdom seem to have exclaimed with one voice, Let us write for the
theatre!" Latter-day croakers would have us believe that the Tragic
Muse, indignant at the desecration of her English altars, took flight
across the ocean, alighting in solemn majesty at the Old Park Theatre of
New York, but that she disappeared utterly in the final conflagration of
that histrionic shrine. Well, there are smouldering remnants of the Old
Park still left to us; veteran retainers of the conventional stride, the
disdainful gesture, the Kemble elocution, and that accent which was
justly characterized as

    "Ojus, insijjus, hijjus, and perfijjus!"

But the Muse is immortal, though so changing the fashion of her garb, it
would appear, as often to fail of recognition from ancient friends. We
think that modern acting is quite as true to nature as that of the
school which has passed away, while its accessories are infinitely
richer and more appropriate; and as to the popular judgment, how should
that be on the decline? In America,--where common wealth makes common
entrance, and the lines are not so clearly drawn between the unskilful
many and the judicious few,--managers will always make concessions to
the whim and folly of the hour. But we see no cause for discouragement,
so long as dramas are set forth with the conscientious accuracy that has
marked the latest productions of "Hamlet" and "Richelieu," and while
hushed and delighted audiences, drawn from every condition of society,
leave all meaner performances to hang upon the looks and accents of
Nature's sweet interpreter,--Edwin Booth.


FOOTNOTES:

[D] _Not_ Edwin _Forrest_ Booth, as often and erroneously written. Our
actor, born in November, 1833, derived his middle name from Thomas Flyn,
the English comedian, his father's contemporary and friend. Edwin was
the chosen companion of his father in the latter's tours throughout the
United States, and was regarded by the old actor with a strange mixture
of repulsion and sympathy,--the one evinced in lack of outward affection
and encouragement, the other in a silent but undoubted appreciation of
the son's promise. The boy, in turn, so fully understood the father's
temperament, that a bond existed between the two. Whether to keep Edwin
from the stage, or in caprice, the elder Booth at first rarely permitted
the younger to see him act; but the son, attending the father to the
theatre, would sit in the wings for hours, listening to the play, and
having all its parts so indelibly impressed on him memory as to astonish
his brother-actors in later years.

[E] "Critical Essays on the Performers of the London Theatres, including
General Observations on the Practice and Genius of the Stage. London,
1807." Some publisher would do well to give us a reprint of this noted
collection.



AMONG THE LAURELS.


            "The sunset's gorgeous dyes
            Paled slowly from the skies,
    And the clear heaven was waiting for the stars,
            As side by side we strayed
            Adown a sylvan glade,
    And found our pathway crossed by rustic bars.

            Beyond the barrier lay
            A green and tempting way,
    Arched with fair laurel-trees, a-bloom and tall,--
            Their cups of tender snow
            Touched with a rosy glow,
    And warm sweet shadows trembling over all.

            The chestnuts sung and sighed,
            The solemn oaks replied,
    And distant pine-trees crooned in slumberous tones;
            While music low and clear
            Gushed from the darkness near,
    Where a shy brook went tinkling over stones.

            Soft mosses, damp and sweet,
            Allured our waiting feet,
    And brambles veiled their thorns with treacherous bloom;
            While tiny flecks of flowers,
            Which own no name of ours,
    Added their mite of beauty and perfume.

            And hark! a hidden bird--
            To sudden utterance stirred,
    As by a gushing love too great to bear
            With voiceless silence long--
            Burst into passionate song,
    Filling with his sweet trouble all the air.

            Then one, whose eager soul
            Could brook no slight control,
    Said, "Let us thread this pleasant path, dear friend,--
            If thus the _way_ can be
            So beautiful to see,
    How much more beautiful must be the _end_!

            "Follow! this solitude
            May shrine the haunted wood,
    Storied so sweetly in romance and rhyme,--
            Secure from human ill,
            And rarely peopled still
    By Fauns and Dryads of the olden time.

           "A spot of hallowed ground
           By mortal yet unfound,
    Sacred to nymph and sylvan deity,--
           Where foiled Apollo glides,
           And bashful Daphne hides
    Safe in the shelter of her laurel-tree!"

           "Forbear!" the other cried,--
           "O, leave the way untried!
    Those joys are sweetest which we only guess,
           And the impatient soul,
           That seeks to grasp the whole,
    Defeats itself by its own eagerness.

           "Let us not rudely shake
           The dew-drop from the brake
    Fringing the borders of this haunted dell;
           All the delights which are--
           The present and the far--
    Lose half their charm by being known too well!

           "And he mistakes who tries
           To search all mysteries,--
    Who leaves no cup undrained, no path untracked;
           Who seeks to know too much
           Brushes with eager touch
    The bloom of Fancy from the brier of Fact.

           "Keep one fair myth aloof
           From hard and actual proof;
    Preserve some dear delusions as they seem,
           Since the reality,
           How bright soe'er it be,
    Shows dull and cold beside our marvellous dream.

           "Leave this white page unscored,
           This rare realm unexplored,
    And let dear Fancy roam there as she will;
           Whatever page we turn,
           However much we learn,
    Let there be something left to dream of still!"

           Wherefore, for aught we know,
           The golden apples grow
    In the green vale to which that pathway leads;
           The spirits of the wood
           Still haunt its solitude,
    And Pan sits piping there among the reeds!



GRIFFITH GAUNT; OR, JEALOUSY.


CHAPTER XVIII.

This Caroline Ryder was a character almost impossible to present so as
to enable the reader to recognize her should she cross his path; so
great was the contradiction between what she was and what she seemed,
and so perfect was the imitation.

She looked a respectable young spinster, with a grace of manner beyond
her station, and a decency and propriety of demeanor that inspired
respect.

She was a married woman, separated from her husband by mutual consent;
and she had had many lovers, each of whom she had loved ardently--for a
little while. She was a woman that brought to bear upon foolish,
culpable loves a mental power that would have adorned the woolsack.

The moment prudence or waning inclination made it advisable to break
with the reigning favorite, she set to work to cool him down by
deliberate coldness, sullenness, insolence; and generally succeeded. But
if he was incurable, she never hesitated as to her course; she smiled
again on him, and looked out for another place: being an invaluable
servant, she got one directly; and was off to fresh pastures.

A female rake; but with the air of a very prude.

A woman, however cunning and resolute, always plays this game at one
great disadvantage; for instance, one day, Caroline Ryder, finding
herself unable to shake off a certain boyish lover, whom she had won and
got terribly tired of, retired from her place, and went home, and left
him blubbering. But by and by, in a retired village, she deposited an
angelic babe of the female sex, with fair hair and blue eyes, the very
image of her abandoned Cherubin. Let me add, as indicating the strange
force of her character, that she concealed this episode from Cherubin
and all the rest of the world; and was soon lady's maid again in another
county, as demure as ever, and ripe for fresh adventures.

But her secret maternity added a fresh trait to her character; she
became mercenary.

This wise, silly, prudent, coquettish demon was almost perfect in the
family relations: an excellent daughter, a good sister, and a devoted
mother. And so are tigresses, and wicked Jewesses.

Item--the decency and propriety of her demeanor were not all hypocrisy,
but half hypocrisy, and half inborn and instinctive good taste and good
sense.

As dangerous a creature to herself and others as ever tied on a bonnet.

On her arrival at Hernshaw Castle she cast her eyes round to see what
there was to fall in love with; and observed the gamekeeper, Tom
Leicester. She gave him a smile or two that won his heart; but there she
stopped: for soon the ruddy cheek, brown eyes, manly proportions, and
square shoulders of her master attracted this connoisseur in male
beauty. And then his manner was so genial and hearty, with a smile for
everybody. Mrs. Ryder eyed him demurely day by day, and often opened a
window slyly to watch him unseen.

From that she got to throwing herself in his way; and this with such art
that he never discovered it, though he fell in with her about the house
six times as often as he met his wife or any other inmate.

She had already studied his character, and, whether she arranged to meet
him full or to cross him, it was always with a courtesy and a sunshiny
smile; he smiled on her in his turn, and felt a certain pleasure at
sight of her: for he loved to see people bright and cheerful about him.

Then she did, of her own accord, what no other master on earth would
have persuaded her to do: looked over his linen; sewed on buttons for
him; and sometimes the artful jade deliberately cut a button off a clean
shirt, and then came to him and sewed it on during wear. This brought
about a contact none knew better than she how to manage to a man's
undoing. The seeming timidity that fills the whole eloquent person, and
tempts a man to attack by telling him he is powerful,--the drooping
lashes that hint, "Ah, do not take advantage of this situation, or the
consequences may be terrible, and will certainly be delicious,"--the
delicate and shy, yet lingering touch,--the twenty stitches where nine
would be plenty,--the one coy, but tender glance at parting,--all this
soft witchcraft beset Griffith Gaunt, and told on him; but not as yet in
the way his inamorata intended.

"Kate," said he one day, "that girl of yours is worth her weight in
gold."

"Indeed!" said Mrs. Gaunt, frigidly; "I have not discovered it."

When Caroline found that her master was single-hearted, and loved his
wife too well to look elsewhere, instead of hating him, she began to
love him more seriously, and to hate his wife, that haughty beauty, who
took such a husband as a matter of course, and held him tight without
troubling her head.

It was a coarse age, and in that very county more than one wife had
suffered jealous agony from her own domestic. But here the parts were
inverted: the lady was at her ease; the servant paid a bitter penalty
for her folly. She was now passionately in love, and had to do menial
offices for her rival every hour of the day: she must sit with Mrs.
Gaunt, and make her dresses, and consult with her how to set off her
hateful beauty to the best advantage. She had to dress her, and look
daggers at her satin skin and royal neck, and to sit behind her an hour
at a time combing and brushing her long golden hair.

How she longed to tear a handful of it out, and then run away! Instead
of that, her happy rival expected her to be as tender and coaxing with
it as Madame de Maintenon was with the Queen's of France.

Ryder called it "yellow stuff" down in the kitchen; that was one
comfort, but a feeble one; the sun came in at the lady's window, and
Ryder's shapely hand was overflowed, and her eyes offended, by waves of
burnished gold: and one day Griffith came in and kissed it in her very
hand. His lips felt nothing but his wife's glorious hair; but, by that
exquisite sensibility which the heart can convey in a moment to the very
finger-nails, Caroline's hand, beneath, felt the soft touch through her
mistress's hair; and the enamored hypocrite thrilled, and then sickened.

The other servants knew, as a matter of domestic history, that Griffith
and Kate lived together a happy couple; but this ardent prude was
compelled by her position to see it, and realize it, every day. She had
to witness little conjugal caresses, and they turned her sick with
jealousy. She was Nobody. They took no more account of her than of the
furniture. The creature never flinched, but stood at her post and ground
her white teeth in silence, and burned, and pined, and raged, and froze,
and was a model of propriety.

On the day in question she was thinking of Griffith, as usual, and
wondering whether he would always prefer yellow hair to black. This
actually put her off her guard for once, and she gave the rival hair a
little contemptuous tug: and the reader knows what followed.

Staggered by her mistress's question, Caroline made no reply, but only
panted a little, and proceeded more carefully.

But O the struggle it cost her not to slap both Mrs. Gaunt's fair cheeks
impartially with the backs of the brushes! And what with this struggle,
and the reprimand, and the past agitations, by and by the comb ceased,
and the silence was broken by faint sobs.

Mrs. Gaunt turned calmly round and looked full at her hysterical
handmaid.

"What is to do?" said she. "Is it because I chid you, child? Nay, you
need not take that to heart; it is just my way: I can bear anything but
my hair pulled." With this she rose and poured some drops of
sal-volatile into water, and put it to her secret rival's lips: it was
kindly done, but with that sort of half contemptuous and thoroughly cold
pity women are apt to show to women, and especially when one of them is
Mistress and the other is Servant.

Still it cooled the extreme hatred Caroline had nursed, and gave her a
little twinge, and awakened her intelligence. Now her intelligence was
truly remarkable when not blinded by passion. She was a woman with one
or two other masculine traits besides her roving heart. For instance,
she could sit and think hard and practically for hours together: and on
these occasions her thoughts were never dreamy and vague; it was no
brown study, but good hard thinking. She would knit her coal-black
brows, like Lord Thurlow himself, and realize the situation, and weigh
the pros and cons with a steady judicial power rarely found in her sex;
and, _nota bene_, when once her mind had gone through this process, then
she would act with almost monstrous resolution.

She now shut herself up in her own room for some hours, and weighed the
matter carefully.

The conclusion she arrived at was this: that, if she stayed at Hernshaw
Castle, there would be mischief; and probably she herself would be the
principal sufferer to the end of the chapter, as she was now.

She said to herself: "I shall go mad, or else expose myself, and be
turned away with loss of character; and then what will become of me, and
my child? Better lose life or reason than character. I know what I have
to go through; I have left a man ere now with my heart tugging at me to
stay beside him. It is a terrible wrench; and then all seems dead for a
long while without _him_. But the world goes on and takes you round with
it; and by and by you find there are as good fish left in the sea. I'll
go, while I've sense enough left to see I must."

The very next day she came to Mrs. Gaunt and said she wished to leave.

"Certainly," said Mrs. Gaunt, coldly. "May I ask the reason?"

"O, I have no complaint to make, ma'am, none whatever; but I am not
happy here; and I wish to go when my month's up, or sooner, ma'am, if
you could suit yourself."

Mrs. Gaunt considered a moment: then she said, "You came all the way
from Gloucestershire to me; had you not better give the place a fair
trial? I have had two or three good servants that felt uncomfortable at
first; but they soon found out my ways, and stayed with me till they
married. As for leaving me before your month, that is out of the
question."

To this Ryder said not a word, but merely vented a little sigh, half
dogged, half submissive; and went cat-like about, arranging her
mistress's things with admirable precision and neatness. Mrs. Gaunt
watched her, without seeming to do so, and observed that her discontent
did not in the least affect her punctual discharge of her duties. Said
Mrs. Gaunt to herself, "This servant is a treasure; she shall not go."
And Ryder to herself, "Well, 't is but for a month; and then no power
shall keep me here."


CHAPTER XIX.

Not long after these events came the county ball. Griffith was there,
but no Mrs. Gaunt. This excited surprise, and, among the gentlemen,
disappointment. They asked Griffith if she was unwell; he thanked them
dryly, she was very well; and that was all they could get out of him.
But to the ladies he let out that she had given up balls, and, indeed,
all reasonable pleasures. "She does nothing but fast, and pray, and
visit the sick." He added, with rather a weak smile, "I see next to
nothing of her." A minx stood by and put in her word. "You should take
to your bed; then, who knows? she might look in upon _you_."

Griffith laughed, but not heartily. In truth, Mrs. Gaunt's religious
fervor knew no bounds. Absorbed in pious schemes and religious duties,
she had little time, and much distaste, for frivolous society; invited
none but the devout, and found polite excuses for not dining abroad. She
sent her husband into the world alone, and laden with apologies. "My
wife is turned saint. 'T is a sin to dance, a sin to hunt, a sin to
enjoy ourselves. We are here to fast, and pray, and build schools, and
go to church twice a day."

And so he went about publishing his household ill; but, to tell the
truth, a secret satisfaction peeped through his lugubrious accents. An
ugly saint is an unmixed calamity to jolly fellows; but to be lord and
master, and possessor, of a beautiful saint, was not without its piquant
charm. His jealousy was dormant, not extinct; and Kate's piety tickled
that foible, not wounded it. He found himself the rival of heaven,--and
the successful rival; for, let her be ever so strict, ever so devout,
she must give her husband many delights she could not give to heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

This soft and piquant phase of the passion did not last long. All things
are progressive.

Brother Leonard was director now, as well as confessor; his visits
became frequent; and Mrs. Gaunt often quoted his authority for her acts
or her sentiments. So Griffith began to suspect that the change in his
wife was entirely due to Leonard; and that, with all her eloquence and
fervor, she was but a priest's echo. This galled him. To be sure Leonard
was only an ecclesiastic; but if he had been a woman, Griffith was the
man to wince. His wife to lean so on another; his wife to withdraw from
the social pleasures she had hitherto shared with him; and all because
another human creature disapproved them. He writhed in silence awhile,
and then remonstrated.

He was met at first with ridicule: "Are you going to be jealous of my
confessor?" and, on repeating the offence, with a kind, but grave
admonition, that silenced him for the time, but did not cure him, nor
even convince him.

The facts were too strong: Kate was no longer to him the genial
companion she had been; gone was the ready sympathy with which she had
listened to all his little earthly concerns; and as for his hay-making,
he might as well talk about it to an iceberg as to the partner of his
bosom.

He was genial by nature, and could not live without sympathy. He sought
it in the parlor of the "Red Lion."

Mrs. Gaunt's high-bred nostrils told her where he haunted, and it caused
her dismay. Woman-like, instead of opening her battery at once, she wore
a gloomy and displeased air, which a few months ago would have served
her turn and brought about an explanation at once; but Griffith took it
for a stronger dose of religious sentiment, and trundled off to the "Red
Lion" all the more.

So then at last she spoke her mind, and asked him how he could lower
himself so, and afflict her.

"Oh!" said he, doggedly, "this house is too cold for me now. My mate is
priest-rid. Plague on the knave that hath put coldness 'twixt thee and
me."

Mrs. Gaunt froze visibly, and said no more at that time.

One bit of sunshine remained in the house, and shone brighter than ever
on its chilled master,--shone through two black, seducing eyes.

Some three months before the date we have now reached, Caroline Ryder's
two boxes were packed and corded ready to go next day. She had quietly
persisted in her resolution to leave, and Mrs. Gaunt, though secretly
angry, had been just and magnanimous enough to give her a good
character.

Now female domestics are like the little birds; if that great hawk,
their mistress, follows them about, it is a deadly grievance; but if she
does not, they follow her about, and pester her with idle questions,
and invite the beak and claws of petty tyranny and needless
interference.

So, the afternoon before she was to leave, Caroline Ryder came to her
mistress's room on some imaginary business. She was not there. Ryder,
forgetting that it did not matter a straw, proceeded to hunt her
everywhere; and at last ran out, with only her cap on, to "the Dame's
Haunt," and there she was; but not alone: she was walking up and down
with Brother Leonard. Their backs were turned, and Ryder came up behind
them. Leonard was pacing gravely, with his head gently drooping as
usual. Mrs. Gaunt was walking elastically, and discoursing with great
fire and animation.

Ryder glided after, noiseless as a serpent, more bent on wondering and
watching now than on overtaking; for inside the house her mistress
showed none of this charming vivacity.

Presently the keen black eyes observed a "trifle light as air" that made
them shine again.

She turned and wound herself amongst the trees, and disappeared. Soon
after she was in her own room, a changed woman. With glowing cheeks,
sparkling eyes, and nimble fingers, she uncorded her boxes, unpacked her
things, and placed them neatly in the drawers.

What more had she seen than I have indicated?

Only this: Mrs. Gaunt, in the warmth of discourse, laid her hand lightly
for a moment on the priest's shoulder. That was nothing, she had laid
the same hand on Ryder; for, in fact, it was a little womanly way she
had, and a hand that settled like down. But this time, as she withdrew
it again, that delicate hand seemed to speak; it did not leave Leonard's
shoulder all at once, it glided slowly away, first the palm, then the
fingers, and so parted lingeringly.

The other woman saw this subtile touch of womanhood, coupled it with
Mrs. Gaunt's vivacity and the air of happiness that seemed to inspire
her whole eloquent person, and formed an extreme conclusion on the spot,
though she could not see the lady's face.

When Mrs. Gaunt came in she met her, and addressed her thus: "If you
please, ma'am, have you any one coming in my place?"

Mrs. Gaunt looked her full in the face. "You know I have not," said she,
haughtily.

"Then, if it is agreeable to you, ma'am, I will stay. To be sure the
place is dull; but I have got a good mistress--and--"

"That will do, Ryder: a servant has always her own reasons, and never
tells _them_ to her mistress. You can stay this time; but the next, you
go; and once for all.--I am not to be trifled with."

Ryder called up a look all submission, and retired with an obeisance.
But, once out of sight, she threw off the mask and expanded with
insolent triumph. "Yes, I have my own reasons," said she. "Keep you the
priest, and I'll take the man."

From that hour Caroline Ryder watched her mistress like a lynx, and
hovered about her master, and poisoned him slowly with vague, insidious
hints.


CHAPTER XX.

Brother Leonard, like many holy men, was vain. Not vainer than St. Paul,
perhaps; but then he had somewhat less to be vain of. Not but what he
had his gusts of humility and diffidence; only they blew over.

At first, as you may perhaps remember, he doubted his ability to replace
Father Francis as Mrs. Gaunt's director; but, after a slight disclaimer,
he did replace him, and had no more misgivings as to his fitness. But
his tolerance and good sense were by no means equal to his devotion and
his persuasive powers; and so his advice in matters spiritual and
secular somehow sowed the first seeds of conjugal coolness in Hernshaw
Castle.

And now Ryder slyly insinuated into Griffith's ear that the mistress
told the priest everything, and did nothing but by his advice. Thus the
fire already kindled was fanned by an artful woman's breath.

Griffith began to hate Brother Leonard, and to show it so plainly and
rudely that Leonard shrank from the encounter, and came less often, and
stayed but a few minutes. Then Mrs. Gaunt remonstrated gently with
Griffith, but received short, sullen replies. Then, as the servile
element of her sex was comparatively small in her, she turned bitter and
cold, and avenged Leonard indirectly, but openly, with those terrible
pins and needles a beloved woman has ever at command.

Then Griffith became moody, and downright unhappy, and went more and
more to the "Red Lion," seeking comfort there now as well as company.

Mrs. Gaunt saw, and had fits of irritation, and fits of pity, and sore
perplexity. She knew she had a good husband; and, instead of taking him
to heaven with her, she found that each step she made with Leonard's
help towards the angelic life seemed somehow to be bad for Griffith's
soul and for his earthly happiness.

She blamed herself; she blamed Griffith; she blamed the Protestant
heresy; she blamed everybody and everything--except Brother Leonard.

One Sunday afternoon Griffith sat on his own lawn, silently smoking his
pipe. Mrs. Gaunt came to him, and saw an air of dejection on his genial
face. Her heart yearned. She sat down beside him on the bench, and
sighed; then he sighed too.

"My dear," said she, sweetly, "fetch out your _viol da gambo_, and we
will sing a hymn or two together here this fine afternoon. We can praise
God together, though we must pray apart; alas that it is so!"

"With all my heart," said Griffith. "Nay, I forgot; my _viol da gambo_
is not here. 'T is at the 'Red Lion.'"

"At the 'Red Lion'!" said she, bitterly. "What, do you sing there as
well as drink? O husband, how can you so demean yourself?"

"What is a poor man to do, whose wife is priest-ridden, and got to be no
company--except for angels?"

"I did not come here to quarrel," said she, coldly and sadly. Then they
were both silent a minute. Then she got up and left him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Brother Leonard, like many earnest men, was rather intolerant. He urged
on Mrs. Gaunt that she had too many Protestants in her household: her
cook and her nursemaid ought, at all events, to be Catholics. Mrs. Gaunt
on this was quite ready to turn them both off, and that without
disguise. But Leonard dissuaded her from so violent a measure. She had
better take occasion to part with one of them, and by and by with the
other.

The nursemaid was the first to go, and her place was filled by a Roman
Catholic. Then the cook received warning. But this did not pass off so
quietly. Jane Bannister was a buxom, hearty woman, well liked by her
fellow-servants. Her parents lived in the village, and she had been six
years with the Gaunts, and her honest heart clung to them. She took to
crying; used to burst out in the middle of her work, or while conversing
with fitful cheerfulness on ordinary topics.

One day Griffith found her crying, and Ryder consoling her as carelessly
and contemptuously as possible.

"Heyday, lasses!" said he; "what is your trouble?"

At this Jane's tears flowed in a stream, and Ryder made no reply, but
waited.

At last, and not till the third or fourth time of asking, Jane blurted
out that she had got the sack; such was her homely expression,
dignified, however, by honest tears.

"What for?" asked Griffith kindly.

"Nay, sir," sobbed Jane, "that is what I want to know. Our dame ne'er
found a fault in me; and now she does pack me off like a dog. Me that
have been here this six years, and got to feel at home. What will
father say? He'll give me a hiding. For two pins I'd drown myself in the
mere."

"Come, you must not blame the mistress," said the sly Ryder. "She is a
good mistress as ever breathed: 't is all the priest's doings. I'll tell
you the truth, master, if you will pass me your word I sha'n't be sent
away for it."

"I pledge you my word as a gentleman," said Griffith.

"Well then, sir, Jane's fault is yours and mine. She is not a Papist;
and that is why she is to go. How I come to know, I listened in the next
room, and heard the priest tell our dame she must send away two of us,
and have Catholics. The priest's word it is law in this house. 'T was in
March he gave the order: Harriet, she went in May, and now poor Jane is
to go--for walking to church behind _you_, sir. But there, Jane, I
believe he would get our very master out of the house if he could; and
then what would become of us all?"

Griffith turned black, and then ashy pale, under this venomous tongue,
and went away without a word, looking dangerous.

Ryder looked after him, and her black eye glittered with a kind of
fiendish beauty.

Jane, having told her mind, now began to pluck up a little spirit. "Mrs.
Ryder," said she, "I never thought to like you so well";--and, with
that, gave her a great, hearty, smacking kiss; which Ryder, to judge by
her countenance, relished, as epicures albumen. "I won't cry no more.
After all, this house is no place for us that be women; 't is a fine
roost, to be sure! where the hen she crows and the cock do but cluck."

Town-bred Ryder laughed at the rustic maid's simile; and, not to be
outdone in metaphor, told her there were dogs that barked, and dogs that
bit. "Our master is one of those that bite. I've done the priest's
business. He is as like to get the sack as you are."

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith found his wife seated on the lawn reading. He gulped down his
ire as well as he could; but nevertheless his voice trembled a little
with suppressed passion.

"So Jane is turned off now," said he.

"I don't know about being turned off," replied Mrs. Gaunt, calmly; "but
she leaves me next month, and Cicely Davis comes back."

"And Cicely Davis is a useless slut that cannot boil a potato fit to
eat; but then she is a Papist, and poor Jenny is a Protestant, and can
cook a dinner."

"My dear," said Mrs. Gaunt, "do not you trouble about the servants;
leave them to me."

"And welcome; but this is not your doing, it is that Leonard's: and I
cannot allow a Popish priest to turn off all my servants that are worth
their salt. Come, Kate, you used to be a sensible woman, and a tender
wife; now I ask you, is a young bachelor a fit person to govern a man's
family?"

Mrs. Gaunt laughed in his face. "A young bachelor!" said she; "who ever
heard of such a term applied to a priest,--and a saint upon earth?"

"Why, he is not married, so he must be a bachelor; and I say again it is
monstrous for a young bachelor to come between old married folk, and
hear all their secrets, and have a finger in every pie, and set up to be
master of my house, and order my wife to turn away my servants for going
to church behind me. Why not turn _me_ away too? Their fault is mine."

"Griffith, you are in a passion, and I begin to think you want to put me
in one."

"Well, perhaps I am. Job's patience went at last, and mine has been sore
tried this many a month. 'T was bad enough when the man was only your
confessor; you told him everything, and you don't tell me everything. He
knew your very heart, better than I do, and that was a bitter thing for
me to bear, that love you and have no secrets from you. But every man
who marries a Catholic must endure this; so I put a good face on it,
though my heart was often sore; 't was the price I had to pay for my
pearl of womankind. But since he set up your governor as well, you are a
changed woman; you shun company abroad, you freeze my friends at home.
You have made the house so cold that I am fain to seek the 'Red Lion'
for a smile or a kindly word: and now, to please this fanatical priest,
you would turn away the best servants I have, and put useless, dirty
slatterns in their place, that happen to be Papists. You did not use to
be so uncharitable, nor so unreasonable. 'T is the priest's doing. He is
my secret, underhand enemy; I feel him undermining me, inch by inch, and
I can bear it no longer. I must make a stand somewhere, and I may as
well make it here; for Jenny is a good girl, and her folk live in the
village, and she helps them. Think better of it, dame, and let the poor
wench stay, though she does go to church behind your husband."

"Griffith," said Mrs. Gaunt, "I might retort and say that you are a
changed man; for to be sure you did never use to interfere between me
and my maids. Are you sure some mischief-making woman is not advising
_you_? But there, do not let us chafe one another, for you know we are
hot-tempered both of us. Well, leave it for the present, my dear;
prithee let me think it over till to-morrow, at all events, and try if I
can satisfy you."

The jealous husband saw through this proposal directly. He turned
purple. "That is to say, you must ask your priest first for leave to
show your husband one grain of respect and affection, and not make him
quite a cipher in his own house. No, Kate, no man who respects himself
will let another man come between himself and the wife of his bosom.
This business is between you and me; I will brook no interference in it;
and I tell you plainly, if you turn this poor lass off to please this
d----d priest, I'll turn the priest off to please her and her folk. They
are as good as he is, any way."

The bitter contempt with which he spoke of brother Leonard, and this
astounding threat, imported a new and dangerous element into the
discussion: it stung Mrs. Gaunt beyond bearing. She turned with flashing
eyes upon Griffith.

"As good as he is? The scum of my kitchen! You will make me hate the
mischief-making hussy. She shall pack out of the house to-morrow
morning."

"Then I say that priest shall never darken my doors again."

"Then I say they are my doors, not yours; and that holy man shall
brighten them whenever he will."

       *       *       *       *       *

If to strike an adversary dumb is the tongue's triumph, Mrs. Gaunt was
victorious; for Griffith gasped, but did not reply.

They faced each other, pale with fury; but no more words.

No: an ominous silence succeeded this lamentable answer, like the
silence that follows a thunder-clap.

Griffith stood still awhile, benumbed as it were by the cruel stroke;
then cast one speaking look of anguish and reproach upon her, drew
himself haughtily up, and stalked away like a wounded lion.

Well said the ancients that anger is a short madness. When we reflect in
cold blood on the things we have said in hot, how impossible they seem!
how out of character with our real selves! And this is one of the
recognized symptoms of mania.

There were few persons could compare with Mrs. Gaunt in native
magnanimity; yet how ungenerous a stab had she given.

And had he gone on, she would have gone on; but when he turned silent at
her bitter thrust, and stalked away from her, she came to herself almost
directly.

She thought, "Good God! what have I said to him?"

And the flush of shame came to her cheek, and her eyes filled with
tears.

He saw them not; he had gone away, wounded to the heart.

You see it was true. The house was hers; tied up as tight as wax. The
very money (his own money) that had been spent on the place, had become
hers by being expended on real property; he could not reclaim it; he was
her lodger, a dependent on her bounty.

During all the years they had lived together she had never once assumed
the proprietor. On the contrary, she put him forward as the Squire, and
slipped quietly into the background. _Bene latuit._ But, lo! let a hand
be put out to offend her saintly favorite, and that moment she could
waken her husband from his dream, and put him down into his true legal
position with a word. The matrimonial throne for him till he resisted
her priest; and then, a stool at her feet, and his.

He was enraged as well as hurt; but being a true lover, his fury was
levelled, not at the woman who had hurt him, but at the man who stood
out of sight and set her on.

By this time the reader knows his good qualities, and his defects;
superior to his wife in one or two things, he was by no means so
thorough a gentleman as she was a lady. He had begun to make a party
with his own servants against the common enemy; and, in his wrath, he
now took another step, or rather a stride, in the same direction. As he
hurried away to the public-house, white with ire, he met his gamekeeper
coming in with a bucketful of fish fresh caught. "What have ye got
there?" said Griffith, roughly; not that he was angry with the man, but
that his very skin was full of wrath, and it must exude.

Mr. Leicester did not relish the tone, and replied, bluntly and sulkily,
"Pike for our Papists."

The answer, though rude, did not altogether displease Griffith; it
smacked of _odium theologicum_, a sentiment he was learning to
understand. "Put 'em down, and listen to me, Thomas Leicester," said he.

And his manner was now so impressive that Leicester put down the bucket
with ludicrous expedition, and gaped at him.

"Now, my man, why do I keep you here?"

"To take care of your game, Squire, I do suppose."

"What? when you are the worst gamekeeper in the county. How many
poachers do you catch in the year? They have only to set one of their
gang to treat you at the public-house on a moonshiny night, and the rest
can have all my pheasants at roost while you are boosing and singing."

"Like my betters in the parlor," muttered Tom.

"But that is not all," continued Gaunt, pretending not to hear him. "You
wire my rabbits, and sell them in the town. Don't go to deny it; for
I've half a dozen to prove it." Mr. Leicester looked very uncomfortable.
His master continued: "I have known it this ten months, yet you are none
the worse for 't. Now, why do I keep you here, that any other gentleman
in my place would send to Carlisle jail on a justice's warrant?"

Mr. Leicester, who had thought his master blind, and was so suddenly
undeceived, hung his head and snivelled out, "'T is because you have a
good heart, Squire, and would not ruin a poor fellow for an odd rabbit
or two."

"Stuff and nonsense!" cried Gaunt. "Speak your mind, for once, or else
begone for a liar as well as a knave."

Thus appealed to, Leicester's gypsy eyes roved to and fro as if he were
looking for some loophole to escape by; but at last he faced the
situation. He said, with a touch of genuine feeling, "D--n the
rabbits! I wish my hand had withered ere I touched one on them." But
after this preface he sunk his voice to a whisper, and said, "I see what
you are driving at, Squire; and since there is nobody with us" (he took
off his cap,) "why, sir, 't is this here mole I am in debt to, no
doubt."

Then the gentleman and his servant looked one another silently in the
face, and what with their standing in the same attitude and being both
excited and earnest, the truth must be owned, a certain family likeness
came out. Certainly their eyes were quite unlike. Leicester had his
gypsy mother's: black, keen, and restless. Gaunt had his mother's:
brown, calm, and steady. But the two men had the same stature, the same
manly mould and square shoulders; and, though Leicester's cheek was
brown as a berry, his forehead was singularly white for a man in his
rank of life, and over his left temple, close to the roots of the hair,
was an oblong mole as black as ink, that bore a close resemblance in
appearance and position to his master's.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Tom Leicester; I have been insulted."

       *       *       *       *       *

"That won't pass, sir. Who is the man?"

"One that I cannot call out like a gentleman, and yet I must not lay on
him with my cane, or I am like to get the sack, as well as my servants.
'T is the Popish priest, lad; Brother Leonard, own brother to Old Nick;
he has got our Dame's ear, she cannot say him 'nay.' She is turning away
all my people, and filling the house with Papists, to please him. And
when I interfered, she as good as told me I should go next; and so I
shall, I or else that priest."

This little piece of exaggeration fired Tom Leicester. "Say ye so,
Squire? then just you whisper a word in my ear, and George and I will
lay that priest by the heels, and drag him through the horse-pond. He
won't come here to trouble you after that, _I_ know."

Gaunt's eyes flashed triumph. "A friend in need is a friend indeed,"
said he. "Ay, you are right, lad. There must be no broken bones, and no
bloodshed; the horse-pond is the very thing: and if she discharges you
for it, take no heed of her. You shall never leave Hernshaw Castle for
that good deed; or, if you do, I'll go with you; for the world it is
wide, and I'll never live a servant in the house where I have been a
master."

They then put their heads together and concerted the means by which the
priest at his very next visit was to be decoyed into the neighborhood of
the horse-pond.

And then they parted, and Griffith went to the "Red Lion." And a pair of
black eyes that had slyly watched this singular interview from an upper
window withdrew quietly; and soon after Tom Leicester found himself face
to face with their owner, the sight of whom always made his heart beat a
little faster.

Caroline Ryder had been rather cold to him of late; it was therefore a
charming surprise when she met him, all wreathed in smiles, and, drawing
him apart, began to treat him like a bosom friend, and tell him what had
passed between the master and her and Jane. Confidence begets
confidence; and so Tom told her in turn that the Squire and the Dame had
come to words over it. "However," said he, "'t is all the priest's
fault: but bide awhile, all of ye."

With this mysterious hint he meant to close his revelations. But Ryder
intended nothing of the kind. Her keen eye had read the looks and
gestures of Gaunt and Leicester, and these had shown her that something
very strange and serious was going on. She had come out expressly to
learn what it was, and Tom was no match for her arts. She so smiled on
him, and agreed with him, and led him, and drew him, and pumped him,
that she got it all out of him on a promise of secrecy. She then entered
into it with spirit, and, being what they called a scholar, undertook to
write a paper for Tom and his helper to pin on the priest's back. No
sooner said than done. She left him, and speedily returned with the
following document, written out in large and somewhat straggling
letters:--

    "HONEST FOLK, BEHOLD A

    MISCHIEVIOUS PRIEST, WHICH

    FOR CAUSING OF STRIFE

    'TWIXT MAN AND WYFE

    HATH MADE ACQUAINTANCE

    WITH SQUIRE'S HORSE-POND."

And so a female conspirator was added to the plot.

Mrs. Gaunt co-operated too, but, need I say, unconsciously.

She was unhappy, and full of regret at what she had said. She took
herself severely to task, and drew a very unfavorable comparison between
herself and Brother Leonard. "How ill," she thought, "am I fitted to
carry out that meek saint's view. See what my ungoverned temper has
done." So then, having made so great a mistake, she thought the best
thing she could do was to seek advice of Leonard at once. She was not
without hopes he would tell her to postpone the projected change in her
household, and so soothe her offended husband directly.

She wrote a line requesting Leonard to call on her as soon as possible,
and advise her in a great difficulty; and she gave this note to Ryder,
and told her to send the groom off with it at once.

Ryder squeezed the letter, and peered into it, and gathered its nature
before she gave it to the groom to take to Leonard.

When he was gone, she went and told Tom Leicester, and he chuckled, and
made his preparations accordingly.

Then she retired to her own room, and went through a certain process I
have indicated before as one of her habits: knitted her great black
brows, and pondered the whole situation with a mental power that was
worthy of a nobler sphere and higher materials.

Her practical revery, so to speak, continued until she was rung for to
dress her mistress for dinner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith was so upset, so agitated and restless, he could not stay long
in any one place, not even in the "Red Lion." So he came home to dinner,
though he had mighty little appetite for it. And this led to another
little conjugal scene.

Mrs. Gaunt mounted the great oak staircase to dress for dinner,
languidly, as ladies are apt to do, when reflection and regret come
after excitement.

Presently she heard a quick foot behind her: she knew it directly for
her husband's, and her heart yearned. She did not stop nor turn her
head: womanly pride withheld her from direct submission; but womanly
tenderness and tact opened a way to reconciliation. She drew softly
aside, almost to the wall, and went slower; and her hand, her sidelong
drooping head, and her whole eloquent person, whispered plainly enough,
"If somebody would like to make friends, here is the door open."

Griffith saw, but was too deeply wounded: he passed her without stopping
(the staircase was eight feet broad).

But as he passed he looked at her and sighed, for he saw she was sorry.

She heard, and sighed too. Poor things, they had lived so happy together
for years.

He went on.

Her pride bent: "Griffith!" said she, timidly.

He turned and stopped at that.

"Sweetheart," she murmured, "I was to blame. I was ungenerous. I forgot
myself. Let me recall my words. You know they did not come from my
heart."

"You need not tell me that," said Griffith, doggedly. "I have no quarrel
with you, and never will. You but do what you are bidden, and say what
you are bidden. I take the wound from you as best I may: the man that
set you on, 't is him I'll be revenged on."

"Alas that you will think so!" said she. "Believe me, dearest, that holy
man would be the first to rebuke me for rebelling against my husband and
flouting him. O, how _could_ I say such things? I thank you, and love
you dearly for being so blind to my faults; but I must not abuse your
blindness. Father Leonard will put me to penance for the fault you
forgive. _He_ will hear no excuses. Prithee, now, be more just to that
good man."

Griffith listened quietly, with a cold sneer upon his lip; and this was
his reply: "Till that mischief-making villain came between you and me,
you never gave me a bitter word: we were the happiest pair in
Cumberland. But now what are we? And what shall we be in another year or
two?--REVENGE!!"

He had begun bravely enough, but suddenly burst into an ungovernable
rage; and as he yelled out that furious word his face was convulsed and
ugly to look at; very ugly.

Mrs. Gaunt started: she had not seen that vile expression in his face
for many a year; but she knew it again.

"Ay!" he cried, "he has made me drink a bitter cup this many a day. But
I'll force as bitter a one down his throat, and you shall see it done."

Mrs. Gaunt turned pale at this violent threat; but being a high-spirited
woman, she stiffened and hid her apprehensions loftily. "Madman that you
are," said she. "I throw away excuses on _Jealousy_, and I waste reason
upon frenzy. I'll say no more things to provoke you; but, to be sure, 't
is I that am offended now, and deeply too, as you will find."

"So be it," said Griffith, sullenly; then, grinding his teeth, "he shall
pay for that too."

Then he went to his dressing-room, and she to her bedroom. Griffith
hating Leonard, and Kate on the verge of hating Griffith.

And, ere her blood could cool, she was subjected to the keen, cold
scrutiny of another female, and that female a secret rival.


CHAPTER XXI.

Would you learn what men gain by admitting a member of the fair sex into
their conspiracies? read the tragedy of "Venice Preserved"; and, by way
of afterpiece, this little chapter.

Mrs. Gaunt sat pale and very silent, and Caroline Ryder stood behind,
doing up her hair into a magnificent structure that added eight inches
to the lady's height: and in this operation her own black hair and keen
black eyes came close to the golden hair and deep blue eyes, now
troubled, and made a picture striking by contrast.

As she was putting the finishing touches, she said, quietly, "If you
please, Dame, I have somewhat to tell you."

Mrs. Gaunt sighed wearily, expecting some very minute communication.

"Well, Dame, I dare say I am risking my place, but I can't help it."

"Another time, Ryder," said Mrs. Gaunt. "I am in no humor to be worried
with my servants' squabbles."

"Nay, madam, 't is not that at all: 't is about Father Leonard. Sure you
would not like him to be drawn through the horse-pond; and that is what
they mean to do next time he comes here."

In saying these words, the jade contrived to be adjusting Mrs. Gaunt's
dress. The lady's heart gave a leap, and the servant's cunning finger
felt it, and then felt a shudder run all over that stately frame. But
after that Mrs. Gaunt seemed to turn to steel. She distrusted Ryder, she
could not tell why; distrusted her, and was upon her guard.

"You must be mistaken," said she. "Who would dare to lay hands on a
priest in my house?"

"Well, Dame, you see they egg one another on: don't ask me to betray my
fellow-servants; but let us balk them. I don't deceive you, Dame: if the
good priest shows his face here, he will be thrown into the horse-pond,
and sent home with a ticket pinned to his back. Them that is to do it
are on the watch now, and have got their orders; and 't is a burning
shame. To be sure I am not a Catholic; but religion is religion, and a
more heavenly face I never saw: and for it to be dragged through a
filthy horse-pond!"

Mrs. Gaunt clutched her inspector's arm and turned pale. "The villains!
the fiends!" she gasped, "Go ask your master to come to me this
moment."

Ryder took a step or two, then stopped. "Alack, Dame," said she, "that
is not the way to do. You may be sure the others would not dare, if my
master had not shown them his mind."

Mrs. Gaunt stopped her ears. "Don't tell me that _he_ has ordered this
impious, cruel, cowardly act. He is a lion: and this comes from the
heart of cowardly curs. What is to be done, woman? tell me; for you are
cooler than I am."

"Well, Dame, if I were in your place, I'd just send him a line, and bid
him stay away till the storm blows over."

"You are right. But who is to carry it? My own servants are traitors to
me."

"I'll carry it myself."

"You shall. Put on your hat, and run through the wood; that is the
shortest way."

She wrote a few lines on a large sheet of paper, for note-paper there
was none in those days; sealed it, and gave it to Ryder.

Ryder retired to put on her hat, and pry into the letter with greedy
eyes.

It ran thus:--

"DEAR FATHER AND FRIEND,--You must come hither no more at present. Ask
the bearer why this is, for I am ashamed to put it on paper. Pray for
them: for you can, but I cannot. Pray for me, too, bereft for a time of
your counsels. I shall come and confess to you in a few days, when we
are all cooler; but you shall honor _his_ house no more. Obey _me_ in
this one thing, who shall obey you in all things else, and am

    "Your indignant and sorrowful daughter,

    "CATHARINE GAUNT."

"No more than that?" said Ryder. "Ay, she guessed as I should look."

She whipped on her hat and went out.

Who should she meet, or, I might say, run against, at the hall door, but
Father Leonard.

He had come at once, in compliance with Mrs. Gaunt's request.


CHAPTER XXII.

Mrs. Ryder uttered a little scream of dismay. The priest smiled, and
said, sweetly, "Forgive me, mistress, I fear I startled you."

"Indeed you did, sir," said she. She looked furtively round, and saw
Leicester and his underling on the watch.

Leicester, unaware of her treachery, made her a signal of intelligence.

She responded to it, to gain time.

It was a ticklish situation. Some would have lost their heads. Ryder was
alarmed, but all the more able to defend her plans. Her first move, as
usual with such women, was--a lie.

"Our Dame is in the Grove, sir," said she. "I am to bring you to her."

The priest bowed his head, gravely, and moved towards the Grove with
downcast eyes. Ryder kept close to him for a few steps; then she ran to
Leicester, and whispered, hastily, "Go you to the stable-gate; I'll
bring him round that way: hide now; he suspects."

"Ay, ay," said Leicester; and the confiding pair slipped away round a
corner to wait for their victim.

Ryder hurried him into the Grove, and, as soon as she had got him out of
hearing, told him the truth.

He turned pale; for these delicate organizations do not generally excel
in courage.

Ryder pitied him, and something of womanly feeling began to mingle with
her plans. "They shall not lay a finger on you, sir," said she. "I'll
scratch and scream and bring the whole parish out sooner; but the best
way is not to give them a chance; please you follow me." And she hurried
him through the Grove, and then into an unfrequented path of the great
wood.

When they were safe from pursuit she turned and looked at him. He was a
good deal agitated; but the uppermost sentiment was gratitude. It soon
found words, and, as usual, happy ones. He thanked her with dignity and
tenderness for the service she had done him, and asked her if she was a
Catholic.

"No," said she.

At that his countenance fell, but only for a moment. "Ah! would you
were," he said, earnestly. He then added, sweetly, "To be sure I have
all the more reason to be grateful to you."

"You are very welcome, reverend sir," said Ryder, graciously. "Religion
is religion; and 't is a barbarous thing that violence should be done to
men of your cloth."

Having thus won his heart, the artful woman began at one and the same
time to please and to probe him. "Sir," said she, "be of good heart;
they have done you no harm, and themselves no good; my mistress will
hate them for it, and love you all the more."

Father Leonard's pale cheek colored all over at these words, though he
said nothing.

"Since they won't let you come to her, she will come to you."

"Do you think so?" said he, faintly.

"Nay, I am sure of it, sir. So would any woman. We still follow our
hearts, and get our way by hook or by crook."

Again the priest colored, either with pleasure or with shame, or with
both; and the keen feminine eye perused him with microscopic power. She
waited, to give him an opportunity of talking to her and laying bare his
feelings; but he was either too delicate, too cautious, or too pure.

So then she suddenly affected to remember her mistress's letter. She
produced it with an apology. He took it with unfeigned eagerness, and
read it in silence; and having read it, he stood patient, with the tears
in his eyes.

Ryder eyed him with much curiosity and a little pity. "Don't you take on
for that," said she. "Why, she will be more at her ease when she visits
you at your place than here; and she won't give you up, I promise."

The priest trembled, and Ryder saw it.

"But, my daughter," said he, "I am perplexed and grieved. It seems that
I make mischief in your house: that is an ill office; I fear it is my
duty to retire from this place altogether, rather than cause dissension
between those whom the Church by holy sacrament hath bound together." So
saying, he hung his head and sighed.

Ryder eyed him with a little pity, but more contempt. "Why take other
people's faults on your back?" said she. "My mistress is tied to a man
she does not love; but that is not your fault: and he is jealous of you,
that never gave him cause. If I was a man he should not accuse me--for
nothing; nor set his man on to drag me through a horse-pond--for
nothing. _I'd have the sweet as well as the bitter._"

Father Leonard turned and looked at her with a face full of terror. Some
beautiful, honeyed fiend seemed to be entering his heart and tempting
it. "O, hush! my daughter, hush!" he said; "what words are these for a
virtuous woman to speak, and a priest to hear?"

"There, I have offended you by my blunt way," said the cajoling hussy,
in soft and timid tones.

"Nay, not so; but O speak not so lightly of things that peril the
immortal soul!"

"Well, I have done," said Ryder. "You are out of danger now; so give you
good day."

He stopped her. "What, before I have thanked you for your goodness. Ah,
Mistress Ryder, 't is on these occasions a priest sins by longing for
riches to reward his benefactors. I have naught to offer you but this
ring; it was my mother's,--my dear mother's." He took it off his finger
to give it her.

But the little bit of goodness that cleaves even to the heart of an
_intrigante_ revolted against her avarice. "Nay, poor soul, I'll not
take it," said she; and put her hands before her eyes not to see it,
for she knew she could not look at it long and spare it.

With this she left him; but, ere she had gone far, her cunning and
curiosity gained the upper hand again, and she whipped behind a great
tree and crouched, invisible all but her nose and one piercing eye.

She saw the priest make a few steps homewards, then look around, then
take Mrs. Gaunt's letter out of his pocket, press it passionately to his
lips, and hide it tenderly in his bosom.

This done, he went home, with his eyes on the ground as usual, and
measured steps. And to all who met him he seemed a creature in whom
religion had conquered all human frailty.

Caroline Ryder hurried home with cruel exultation in her black eyes. But
she soon found that the first thing she had to do was to defend herself.
Leicester and his man met her, and the former looked gloomy, and the
latter reproached her bitterly, called her a double-faced jade, and said
he would tell the Squire of the trick she had played them. But Ryder had
a lie ready in a moment. "'T is you I have saved, not him," said she.
"He is something more than mortal: why, he told me of his own accord
what you were there for; but that, if you were so unlucky as to lay
hands on him, you would rot alive. It seems that has been tried out
Stanhope way; a man did but give him a blow, and his arm was stiff next
day, and he never used it again; and next his hair fell off his head,
and then his eyes they turned to water and ran all out of him, and he
died within the twelvemonth."

Country folk were nearly, though not quite, as superstitious at that
time as in the Middle Ages. "Murrain on him," said Leicester. "Catch me
laying a finger on him. I'm glad he is gone; and I hope he won't never
come back no more."

"Not likely, since he can read all our hearts. Why he told me something
about you, Tom Leicester; he says you are in love."

"No! did he really now?"--and Leicester opened his eyes very wide. "And
did he tell you who the lass is?"

"He did so; and surprised me properly." This with a haughty glance.

Leicester held his tongue and turned red.

"Who is it, mistress?" asked the helper.

"He didn't say I was to tell _you_, young man."

And with these two pricks of her needle she left them both more or less
discomfited, and went to scrutinize and anatomize her mistress's heart
with plenty of cunning, but no mercy. She related her own part in the
affair very briefly, but dwelt with well-feigned sympathy on the
priest's feelings. "He turned as white as a sheet, ma'am, when I told
him, and offered me his very ring off his finger, he was so grateful;
poor man!"

"You did not take it, I hope?" said Mrs. Gaunt, quickly.

"La, no ma'am! I hadn't the heart."

Mrs. Gaunt was silent awhile. When she spoke again it was to inquire
whether Ryder had given him the letter.

"That I did: and it brought the tears into his poor eyes; and such
beautiful eyes as he has, to be sure. You would have pitied him if you
had seen him read it, and cry over it, and then kiss it and put it in
his bosom he did."

Mrs. Gaunt said nothing, but turned her head away.

The operator shot a sly glance into the looking-glass, and saw a pearly
tear trickling down her subject's fair cheek. So she went on, all
sympathy outside, and remorselessness within. "To think of that face,
more like an angel's than a man's, to be dragged through a nasty
horse-pond. 'T is a shame of master to set his men on a clergyman." And
so was proceeding, with well-acted and catching warmth, to dig as
dangerous a pit for Mrs. Gaunt as ever was dug for any lady; for
whatever Mrs. Gaunt had been betrayed into saying, this Ryder would have
used without mercy, and with diabolical skill.

Yes, it was a pit, and the lady's tender heart pushed her towards it,
and her fiery temper drew her towards it.

Yet she escaped it this time. The dignity, delicacy, and pride, that is
oftener found in these old families than out of them, saved her from
that peril. She did not see the trap; but she spurned the bait by native
instinct.

She threw up her hand in a moment, with a queenly gesture, and stopped
the tempter.

"Not--one--word--from my servant against my husband in _my_ hearing!"
said she, superbly.

And Ryder shrank back into herself directly.

"Child," said Mrs. Gaunt, "you have done me a great service, and my
husband too; for if this dastardly act had been done in his name, he
would soon have been heartily ashamed of it, and deplored it. Such
services can never be quite repaid; but you will find a purse in that
drawer with five guineas; it is yours; and my lavender silk dress, be
pleased to wear that about me, to remind me of the good office you have
done me. And now, all you can do for me is to leave me; for I am very,
very unhappy."

Ryder retired with the spoil, and Mrs. Gaunt leaned her head over her
chair, and cried without stint.

       *       *       *       *       *

After this, no angry words passed between Mr. and Mrs. Gaunt; but
something worse, a settled coolness, sprung up.

As for Griffith, his cook kept her place, and the priest came no more to
the Castle; so, having outwardly gained the day, he was ready to forget
and forgive; but Kate, though she would not let her servant speak ill of
Griffith, was deeply indignant and disgusted with him. She met his
advances with such a stern coldness, that he turned sulky and bitter in
his turn.

Husband and wife saw little of each other, and hardly spoke.

Both were unhappy; but Kate was angriest, and Griffith saddest.

In an evil hour he let out his grief to Caroline Ryder. She seized the
opportunity, and, by a show of affectionate sympathy and zeal, made
herself almost necessary to him, and contrived to establish a very
perilous relation between him and her. Matters went so far as this, that
the poor man's eye used to brighten when he saw her coming.

Yet this victory cost her a sore heart and all the patient self-denial
of her sex. To be welcome to Griffith she had to speak to him of her
rival, and to speak well of her. She tried talking of herself and her
attachment; he yawned in her face: she tried smooth detraction and
innuendo; he fired up directly, and defended her of whose conduct he had
been complaining the very moment before.

Then she saw that there was but one way to the man's heart. Sore, and
sick, and smiling, she took that way: resolving to bide her time; to
worm herself in any how, and wait patiently till she could venture to
thrust her mistress out.

If any of my readers need to be told why this she Machiavel threw her
fellow-conspirators over, the reason was simply this: on calm reflection
she saw it was not her interest to get Father Leonard insulted. She
looked on him as her mistress's lover, and her own best friend. "Was I
mad?" said she to herself. "My business is to keep him sweet upon her,
till they can't live without one another: and then I'll tell _him_; and
take your place in this house, my lady."

       *       *       *       *       *

And now it is time to visit that extraordinary man, who was the cause of
all this mischief; whom Gaunt called a villain, and Mrs. Gaunt a saint;
and, as usual, he was neither, one nor the other.

Father Leonard was a pious, pure, and noble-minded man, who had
undertaken to defy nature, with religion's aid; and, after years of
successful warfare, now sustained one of those defeats to which such
warriors have been liable in every age. If his heart was pure, it was
tender; and nature never intended him to live all his days alone. After
years of prudent coldness to the other sex, he fell in with a creature
that put him off his guard at first, she seemed so angelic. "At Wisdom's
gate suspicion slept": and, by degrees, which have been already
indicated in this narrative, she whom the Church had committed to his
spiritual care became his idol. Could he have foreseen this, it would
never have happened; he would have steeled himself, or left the country
that contained this sweet temptation. But love stole on him, masked with
religious zeal, and robed in a garment of light that seemed celestial.

When the mask fell, it was too late: the power to resist the soft and
thrilling enchantment was gone. The solitary man was too deep in love.

Yet he clung still to that self-deception, without which he never could
have been entrapped into an earthly passion; he never breathed a word of
love to her. It would have alarmed her; it would have alarmed himself.
Every syllable that passed between these two might have been published
without scandal. But the heart does not speak by words alone: there are
looks and there are tones of voice that belong to Love, and are his
signs, his weapons; and it was in these very tones the priest murmured
to his gentle listener about "the angelic life" between spirits still
lingering on earth, but purged from earthly dross; and even about other
topics less captivating to the religious imagination. He had persuaded
her to found a school in this dark parish, and in it he taught the poor
with exemplary and touching patience. Well, when he spoke to her about
this school, it was in words of practical good sense, but in tones of
love; and she, being one of those feminine women who catch the tone they
are addressed in, and instinctively answer in tune, and, moreover,
seeing no ill, but good, in the _subject_ of their conversation, replied
sometimes, unguardedly enough, in accents almost as tender.

In truth, if Love was really a personage, as the heathens feigned, he
must have often perched on a tree in that quiet grove, and chuckled and
mocked, when this man and woman sat and murmured together, in the soft
seducing twilight, about the love of God.

And now things had come to a crisis. Husband and wife went about the
house silent and gloomy, the ghosts of their former selves; and the
priest sat solitary, benighted, bereaved of the one human creature he
cared for. Day succeeded to day, and still she never came. Every morning
he said, "She will come to-day," and brightened with the hope. But the
leaden hours crept by, and still she came not.

Three sorrowful weeks went by; and he fell into deep dejection. He used
to wander out at night, and come and stand where he could see her
windows with the moon shining on them: then go slowly home, cold in
body, and with his heart aching, lonely, deserted, and perhaps
forgotten. O, never till now had he known the utter aching sense of
being quite alone in this weary world!

One day, as he sat drooping and listless, there came a light foot along
the passage, a light tap at the door, and the next moment she stood
before him, a little paler than usual, but lovelier than ever, for
celestial joy softened her noble features.

The priest started up with a cry of joy that ought to have warned her;
but it only brought a faint blush of pleasure to her cheek and the
brimming tears to her eyes.

"Dear father and friend," said she. "What! have you missed me? Think,
then, how I have missed _you_. But 't was best for us both to let their
vile passions cool first."

Leonard could not immediately reply. The emotion of seeing her again so
suddenly almost choked him.

He needed all the self-possession he had been years acquiring not to
throw himself at her knees and declare his passion to her.

Mrs. Gaunt saw his agitation, but did not interpret to his
disadvantage.

She came eagerly and sat on a stool beside him. "Dear father," she said,
"do not let their insolence grieve you. They have smarted for it, and
_shall_ smart till they make their submission to you, and beg and
entreat you to come to us again. Meantime, since you cannot visit me, I
visit you. Confess me, father, and then direct me with your counsels.
Ah! if you could but give me the Christian temper to carry them out
firmly but meekly! 'T is my ungoverned spirit hath wrought all this
mischief,--_mea culpa! mea culpa!_"

By this time Leonard had recovered his self-possession, and he spent an
hour of strange intoxication, confessing his idol, sentencing his idol
to light penances, directing and advising his idol, and all in the soft
murmurs of a lover.

She left him, and the room seemed to darken.

Two days only elapsed, and she came again. Visit succeeded to visit: and
her affection seemed boundless.

The insult he had received was to be avenged in one place, and healed in
another, and, if possible, effaced with tender hand. So she kept all her
sweetness for that little cottage, and all her acidity for Hernshaw
Castle.

It was an evil hour when Griffith attacked her saint with violence. The
woman was too high-spirited, and too sure of her own rectitude, to
endure that: so, instead of crushing her, it drove her to
retaliation,--and to imprudence.

These visits to console Father Leonard were quietly watched by Ryder,
for one thing. But, worse than that, they placed Mrs. Gaunt in a new
position with Leonard, and one that melts the female heart. She was now
the protectress and the consoler of a man she admired and revered. I say
if anything on earth can breed love in a grand female bosom, this will.

She had put her foot on a sunny slope clad with innocent-looking
flowers; but more and more precipitous at every step, and perdition at
the bottom.


CHAPTER XXIII.

Father Leonard, visited, soothed, and petted by his idol, recovered his
spirits, and, if he pined during her absence, he was always so joyful in
her presence that she thought of course he was permanently happy; so
then, being by nature magnanimous and placable, she began to smile on
her husband again, and a tacit reconciliation came about by natural
degrees.

But this produced a startling result.

Leonard, as her confessor, could learn everything that passed between
them; he had only to follow established precedents, and ask questions
his Church has printed for the use of confessors. He was mad enough to
put such interrogatories.

The consequence was, that one day, being off his guard, or literally
unable to contain his bursting heart any longer, he uttered a cry of
jealous agony, and then, in a torrent of burning, melting words,
appealed to her pity. He painted her husband's happiness, and his own
misery, and barren desolation, with a fervid, passionate eloquence that
paralyzed his hearer, and left her pale and trembling, and the tears of
pity trickling down her cheek.

Those silent tears calmed him a little; and he begged her forgiveness,
and awaited his doom.

"I pity you," said she, angelically. "What? _you_ jealous of my husband!
O, pray to Christ and Our Lady to cure you of this folly."

She rose, fluttering inwardly, but calm as a statue on the outside, gave
him her hand, and went home very slowly; and the moment she was out of
his sight she drooped her head like a crushed flower.

She was sad, ashamed, alarmed.

Her mind was in a whirl; and, were I to imitate those writers who
undertake to dissect and analyze the heart at such moments, and put the
exact result on paper, I should be apt to sacrifice truth to precision;
I must stick to my old plan, and tell you what she did: that will surely
be some index to her mind, especially with my female readers.

She went home straight to her husband; he was smoking his pipe after
dinner. She drew her chair close to him, and laid her hand tenderly on
his shoulder. "Griffith," she said, "will you grant your wife a favor?
You once promised to take me abroad: I desire to go now; I long to see
foreign countries; I am tired of this place. I want a change. Prithee,
prithee take me hence this very day."

Griffith looked aghast. "Why, sweetheart, it takes a deal of money go
abroad; we must get in our rents first."

"Nay, I have a hundred pounds laid by."

"Well, but what a fancy to take all of a sudden!"

"O Griffith, don't deny me what I ask you, with my arm round your neck,
dearest. It is no fancy. I want to be alone with _you_, far from this
place where coolness has come between us." And with this she fell to
crying and sobbing, and straining him tight to her bosom, as if she
feared to lose him, or be taken from him.

Griffith kissed her, and told her to cheer up, he was not the man to
deny her anything. "Just let me get my hay in," said he, "and I'll take
you to Rome, if you like."

"No, no: to-day, or to-morrow at furthest, or you don't love me as I
deserve to be loved by you this day."

"Now Kate, my darling, be reasonable. I _must_ get my hay in; and then I
am your man."

Mrs. Gaunt had gradually sunk almost to her knees. She now started up
with nostrils expanding and her blue eyes glittering. "Your hay!" she
cried, with bitter contempt; "your hay before your wife? That is how
_you_ love me!" And, the next moment, she seemed to turn from a fiery
woman to a glacier.

Griffith smiled at all this, with that lordly superiority the male
sometimes wears when he is behaving like a dull ass; and smoked his
pipe, and resolved to indulge her whim as soon as ever he had got his
hay in.


CHAPTER XXIV.

Showery weather set in, and the hay had to be turned twice, and left in
cocks instead of carried.

Griffith spoke now and then about the foreign tour; but Kate deigned no
reply whatever; and the chilled topic died out before the wet hay could
be got in: and so much for Procrastination.

Meantime, Betty Gough was sent for to mend the house-linen. She came
every other day after dinner, and sat working alone beside Mrs. Gaunt
till dark.

Caroline Ryder put her own construction on this, and tried to make
friends with Mrs. Gough, intending to pump her. But Mrs. Gough gave her
short, dry answers. Ryder then felt sure that Gough was a go-between,
and, woman-like, turned up her nose at her with marked contempt. For
why? This office of go-between was one she especially coveted for
herself under the circumstances; and, a little while ago, it had seemed
within her grasp.

One fine afternoon the hay was all carried, and Griffith came home in
good spirits to tell his wife he was ready to make the grand tour with
her.

He was met at the gate by Mrs. Gough, with a face of great concern; she
begged him to come and see the Dame; she had slipped on the oak stairs,
poor soul, and hurt her back.

Griffith tore up the stairs, and found Kate in the drawing-room, lying
on a sofa, and her doctor by her side. He came in, trembling like a
leaf, and clasped her piteously in his arms. At this she uttered a
little patient sigh of pain, and the doctor begged him to moderate
himself: there was no immediate cause of alarm; but she must be kept
quiet; she had strained her back, and her nerves were shaken by the
fall.

"O my poor Kate!" cried Griffith; and would let nobody else touch her.
She was no longer a tall girl, but a statuesque woman; yet he carried
her in his herculean arms up to her bed. She turned her head towards him
and shed a gentle tear at this proof of his love; but the next moment
she was cold again, and seemed weary of her life.

An invalid's bed was sent to her by the doctor at her own request, and
placed on a small bedstead. She lay on this at night, and on a sofa by
day.

Griffith was now as good as a widower; and Caroline Ryder improved the
opportunity. She threw herself constantly in his way, all smiles, small
talk, and geniality.

Like many healthy men, your sickness wearied him if it lasted over two
days; and whenever he came out, chilled and discontented, from his
invalid wife, there was a fine, buoyant, healthy young woman, ready to
chat with him, and brimming over with undisguised admiration.

True, she was only a servant,--a servant to the core. But she had been
always about ladies, and could wear their surface as readily as she
could their gowns. Moreover, Griffith himself lacked dignity and
reserve; he would talk to anybody.

The two women began to fill the relative situations of clouds and
sunshine.

But, ere this had lasted long, the enticing contact with the object of
her lawless fancy inflamed Ryder, and made her so impatient that she
struck her long meditated blow a little prematurely.

The passage outside Mrs. Gaunt's door had a large window; and one day,
while Griffith was with his wife, Ryder composed herself on the
window-seat in a forlorn attitude, too striking and unlike her usual gay
demeanor to pass unnoticed.

Griffith came out and saw this drooping, disconsolate figure. "Hallo!"
said he, "what is wrong with _you_?" a little fretfully.

A deep sigh was the only response.

"Had words with your sweetheart?"

"You know I have no sweetheart, sir."

The good-natured Squire made an attempt or two to console her and find
out what was the matter; but he could get nothing out of her but
monosyllables and sighs. At last the crocodile contrived to cry. And
having thus secured his pity, she said: "There, never heed me. I'm a
foolish woman; I can't bear to see my dear master so abused."

"What d' ye mean?" said Griffith, sternly. Her very first shaft wounded
his peace of mind.

"O, no matter! why should I be your friend and my own enemy? If I tell
you, I shall lose my place."

"Nonsense, girl, you shall never lose your place while I am here."

"Well, I hope not, sir; for I am very happy here; too happy methinks,
when _you_ speak kindly to me. Take no notice of what I said. 'T is best
to be blind at times."

The simple Squire did not see that this artful woman was playing the
stale game of her sex; stimulating his curiosity under pretence of
putting him off. He began to fret with suspicion and curiosity, and
insisted on her speaking out.

"Ah! but I am so afraid you will hate me," said she; "and that will be
worse than losing my place."

Griffith stamped on the ground. "What is it?" said he, fiercely.

Ryder seemed frightened. "It is nothing," said she. Then she paused, and
added, "but my folly. I can't bear to see you waste your feelings. She
is not so ill as you fancy."

"Do you mean to say that my wife is pretending?"

"How can I say that? I wasn't there: _nobody saw her fall_; nor _heard
her either_; and the house full of people. No doubt there is something
the matter with her; but I do believe her heart is in more trouble than
her back."

"And what troubles her heart? Tell me, and she shall not fret long."

"Well, sir; then just you send for Father Leonard; and she will get up,
and walk as she used, and smile on you as she used. That man is the
main of her sickness, you take my word."

Griffith turned sick at heart; and the strong man literally staggered at
this envenomed thrust of a weak woman's tongue. But he struggled with
the poison.

"What d' ye mean, woman?" said he. "The priest hasn't been near her
these two months."

"That is it, sir," replied Ryder quietly; "_he_ is too wise to come here
against your will; and _she_ is bitter against you for frightening him
away. Ask yourself, sir, didn't she change to you the moment that you
threatened that Leonard with the horse-pond?"

"That is true!" gasped the wretched husband.

Yet he struggled again. "But she made it up with me after that. Why, 't
was but the other day she begged me to go abroad with her, and take her
away from this place."

"Ay? indeed!" said Ryder, bending her black brows, "did she so?"

"That she did," said Griffith joyfully; "so you see you are mistaken."

"You should have taken her at her word, sir," was all the woman's reply.

"Well, you see the hay was out; so I put it off; and then came the
cursed rain, day after day; and so she cooled upon it."

"Of course she did, sir." Then, with a solemnity that appalled her
miserable listener, "I'd give all I'm worth if you had taken her at her
word that minute. But that is the way with you gentlemen; you let the
occasion slip; and we that be women never forgive that: she won't give
you the same chance again, _I_ know. Now if I was not afraid to make you
unhappy, I'd tell you why she asked you to go abroad. She felt herself
weak and saw her danger; she found she could not resist that Leonard any
longer; and she had the sense to see it wasn't worth her while to ruin
herself for him; so she asked you to save her from him: that is the
plain English. And you didn't."

At this, Griffith's face wore an expression of agony so horrible that
Ryder hesitated in her course. "There, there," said she, "pray don't
look so, dear master! after all, there's nothing certain; and perhaps I
am too severe where I see you ill-treated: and to be sure no woman could
be cold to _you_ unless she was bewitched out of her seven senses by
some other man. I couldn't use you as mistress does; but then there's
nobody I care a straw for in these parts, except my dear master."

Griffith took no notice of this overture: the potent poison of jealousy
was coursing through all his veins and distorting his ghastly face.

"O God!" he gasped, "can this thing be? My wife! the mother of my child!
It is a lie! I can't believe it; I won't believe it. Have pity on me,
woman, and think again, and unsay your words; for, if 't is so, there
will be murder in this house."

Ryder was alarmed. "Don't talk so," said she hastily; "no woman born is
worth that. Besides, as you say, what do we know against her? She is a
gentlewoman, and well brought up. Now, dear master, you have got one
friend in this house, and that is me: I know women better than you do.
Will you be ruled by me?"

"Yes, I will: for I do believe you care a little for me."

"Then don't you believe anything against our Dame. Keep quiet till you
know more. Don't you be so simple as to accuse her to her face, or
you'll never learn the truth. Just you watch her quietly, without
seeming; and I'll help you. Be a man, and know the truth."

"I will!" said Griffith, grinding his teeth. "And I believe she will
come out pure as snow."

"Well, I hope so too," said Ryder, dryly. Then she added, "But don't you
be seen speaking to me too much, sir, or she will suspect me, and then
she will be on her guard with _me_. When I have anything particular to
tell you, I'll cough, so; and then I'll run out into the Grove: nobody
goes there now."

Griffith did not see the hussy was arranging her own affair as well as
his. He fell into the trap bodily.

       *       *       *       *       *

The life this man led was now infernal.

He watched his wife night and day to detect her heart; he gave up
hunting, he deserted the "Red Lion"; if he went out of doors, it was but
a step; he hovered about the place to see if messages came or went; and
he spent hours in his wife's bedroom, watching her, grim, silent, and
sombre, to detect her inmost heart. His flesh wasted visibly, and his
ruddy color paled. Hell was in his heart. Ay, two hells: jealousy and
suspense.

Mrs. Gaunt saw directly that something was amiss, and erelong she
divined what it was.

But, if he was jealous, she was proud as Lucifer. So she met his
ever-watchful eye with the face of a marble statue.

Only in secret her heart quaked and yearned, and she shed many a furtive
tear, and was sore, sore perplexed.

Meantime Ryder was playing with her husband's anguish like a cat with a
mouse.

Upon the pretence of some petty discovery or other, she got him out day
after day into the Grove, and, to make him believe in her candor and
impartiality, would give him feeble reasons for thinking his wife loved
him still; taking care to overpower these reasons with some little piece
of strong good-sense and subtle observation.

It is the fate of moral poisoners to poison themselves as well as their
victims. This is a just retribution, and it fell upon this female Iago.
Her wretched master now loved his wife to distraction, yet hated her to
the death: and Ryder loved her master passionately, yet hated him
intensely, by fits and starts.

These secret meetings on which she had counted so, what did she gain by
them? She saw that, with all her beauty, intelligence, and zeal for him,
she was nothing to him still. He suspected, he sometimes hated his wife,
but he was always full of her. There was no getting any other wedge into
his heart.

This so embittered Ryder that one day she revenged herself on him.

He had been saying that no earthly torment could equal his: all his
watching had shown him nothing for certain. "O," said he, "if I could
only get proof of her innocence, or proof of her guilt! Anything better
than the misery of doubt. It gnaws my heart, it consumes my flesh. I
can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't sit down. I envy the dead that lie at
peace. O my heart! my heart!"

"And all for a woman that is not young, nor half so handsome as
yourself. Well, sir, I'll try and cure you of your _doubt_ if that is
what torments you. When you threatened that Leonard, he got his orders
to come here no more. But _she_ visited him at his place again and
again."

"'T is false! How know you that?"

"As soon as your back was turned, she used to order her horse and ride
to him."

"How do you know she went to _him_?"

"I mounted the tower, and saw the way she took."

Griffith's face was a piteous sight. He stammered out, "Well, he is her
confessor. She always visited him at times."

"Ay, sir; but in those days her blood was cool, and his too; but bethink
you now, when you threatened the man with the horse-pond, he became your
enemy. All revenge is sweet; but what revenge so sweet to any man as
that which came to his arms of its own accord? I do notice that men
can't read men, but any woman can read a woman. Maids they are reserved,
because their mothers have told them that is the only way to get
married. But what have a wife and a priest to keep them distant? Can
they ever hope to come together lawfully? That is why a priest's
light-o'-love is always some honest man's wife. What had those two to
keep them from folly? Old Betty Gough? Why, the mistress had bought her,
body and soul, long ago. No, sir, you had no friend there; and you had
three enemies,--love, revenge, and opportunity. Why, what did the priest
say to me? I met him not ten yards from here. 'Ware the horse-pond!'
says I. Says he, '_Since I am to have the bitter, I'll have the sweet as
well._'"

These infernal words were not spoken in vain. Griffith's features were
horribly distorted, his eyes rolled fearfully, and he fell to the
ground, grinding his teeth, and foaming at the mouth. An epileptic fit!

An epileptic fit is a terrible sight: the simple description of one in
our medical books is appalling.

And in this case it was all the more fearful, the subject being so
strong and active.

Caroline Ryder shrieked with terror, but no one heard her; at all
events, no one came; to be sure the place had a bad name for ghosts,
etc.

She tried to hold his head, but could not, for his body kept bounding
from the earth with inconceivable elasticity and fury, and his arms flew
in every direction; and presently Ryder received a violent blow that
almost stunned her.

She lay groaning and trembling beside the victim of her poisonous tongue
and of his own passions.

When she recovered herself he was snorting rather than breathing, but
lying still and pale enough, with his eyes set and glassy.

She got up, and went with uneven steps to a little rill hard by, and
plunged her face in it: then filled her beaver hat, and came and dashed
water repeatedly in his face.

He came to his senses by degrees; but was weak as an infant. Then Ryder
wiped the foam from his lips, and, kneeling on her knees, laid a soft
hand upon his heavy head, shedding tears of pity and remorse, and sick
at heart herself.

For what had she gained by blackening her rival? The sight of _his_
bodily agony, and _his_ ineradicable love.

Mrs. Gaunt sat out of shot, cold, calm, superior.

Yet, in the desperation of her passion, it was something to nurse his
weak head an instant, and shed hot tears upon his brow; it was a
positive joy, and soon proved a fresh and inevitable temptation.

"My poor master," said she, tenderly, "I never will say a word to you
again. It is better to be blind. My God! how you cling to her that
feigns a broken back to be rid of you, when there are others as well to
look at, and ever so much younger, that adore every hair on your dear
head, and would follow you round the world for one kind look."

"Let no one love me like that," said Griffith feebly, "to love so is to
be miserable."

"Pity her then, at least," murmured Ryder; and, feeling she had quite
committed herself now, her bosom panted under Griffith's ear, and told
him the secret she had kept till now.

My female readers will sneer at this temptation: they cannot put
themselves in a man's place. My male readers know that scarcely one man
out of a dozen, sick, sore, and hating her he loved, would have turned
away from the illicit consolation thus offered to him in his hour of
weakness with soft, seducing tones, warm tears, and heart that panted at
his ear.


CHAPTER XXV.

How did poor, faulty Griffith receive it?

He raised his head, and turned his brown eye gentle but full upon her.
"My poor girl," said he, "I see what you are driving at. But that will
not do. I have nothing to give you in exchange. I hate my wife that I
loved so dear: d--n her! d--n her! But I hate all womankind for her
sake. Keep you clear of me. I would ruin no poor girl for heartless
sport, I shall have blood on my hands erelong, and that is enough."

And, with these alarming words, he seemed suddenly to recover all his
vigor; for he rose and stalked away at once, and never looked behind
him.

Ryder made no further attempt. She sat down and shed bitter tears of
sorrow and mortification.

After this cruel rebuff she must hate somebody; and, with the justice of
her sex, she pitched on Mrs. Gaunt, and hated her like a demon, and
watched to do her a mischief by hook or by crook.

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith's appearance and manner caused Mrs. Gaunt very serious anxiety.
His clothes hung loose on his wasting frame; his face was of one uniform
sallow tint, like a maniac's; and he sat silent for hours beside his
wife, eying her askant from time to time like a surly mastiff guarding
some treasure.

She divined what was passing in his mind, and tried to soothe him; but
almost in vain. He was sometimes softened for the moment; but _hæret
lateri lethalis arundo_; he still hovered about, watching her and
tormenting himself; gnawed mad by three vultures of the mind,--doubt,
jealousy, and suspense.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Gaunt wrote letters to Father Leonard: hitherto she had only sent
him short messages.

Betty Gough carried these letters, and brought the answers.

Griffith, thanks to the hint Ryder had given him, suspected this, and
waylaid the old woman, and roughly demanded to see the letter she was
carrying. She stoutly protested she had none. He seized her, turned her
pockets inside out, and found a bunch of keys; item, a printed dialogue
between Peter and Herod, omitted in the canonical books, but described
by the modern discoverer as an infallible charm for the toothache; item,
a brass thimble; item, half a nutmeg.

"Curse your cunning," said he; and went off muttering.

The old woman tottered trembling to Mrs. Gaunt, related this outrage
with an air of injured innocence, then removed her cap, undid her hair,
and took out a letter from Leonard.

"This must end, and shall," said Mrs. Gaunt, firmly; "else it will drive
him mad and me too."

       *       *       *       *       *

Bolton fair-day came. It was a great fair, and had attractions for all
classes. There were cattle and horses of all kinds for sale, and also
shows, games, wrestling, and dancing till daybreak.

All the servants had a prescriptive right to go to this fair; and
Griffith himself had never missed one. He told Kate over-night he would
go, if it were not for leaving her alone.

The words were kinder than their meaning; but Mrs. Gaunt had the tact,
or the candor, to take them in their best sense. "And I would go with
you, my dear," said she; "but I should only be a drag. Never heed me;
give yourself a day's pleasure, for indeed you need it. I am in care
about you: you are so dull of late."

"Well, I will," said Griffith. "I'll not mope here when all the rest are
merry-making."

Accordingly, next day, about eleven in the morning, he mounted his horse
and rode to the fair, leaving the house empty; for all the servants were
gone except the old housekeeper; she was tied to the fireside by
rheumatics. Even Ryder started, with a new bonnet and red ribbons; but
that was only a blind. She slipped back and got unperceived into her own
bedroom.

Griffith ran through the fair; but could not enjoy it. _Hærebat lateri
arundo._ He came galloping back to watch his wife, and see whether Betty
Gough had come again or not.

As he rode into the stable-yard he caught sight of Ryder's face at an
upper window. She looked pale and agitated, and her black eyes flashed
with a strange expression. She made him a signal which he did not
understand; but she joined him directly after in the stable-yard.

"Come quietly with me," said she, solemnly.

He hooked his horse's rein to the wall, and followed her, trembling.

She took him up the back stairs, and, when she got to the landing,
turned and said, "Where did you leave her?"

"In her own room."

"See if she is there now," said Ryder, pointing to the door.

Griffith tore the door open; the room was empty.

"Nor is she to be found in the house," said Ryder; "for I've been in
every room."

Griffith's face turned livid, and he shivered and leaned against the
wall. "Where is she?" said he, hoarsely.

"Humph!" said Ryder, fiendishly. "Find _him_, and you'll find her."

"I'll find them if they are above ground," cried Griffith, furiously;
and he rushed into his bedroom, and soon came out again, with a fearful
purpose written on his ghastly features and in his bloodshot eyes, and a
loaded pistol in his hand.

Ryder was terrified; but instead of succumbing to terror, she flew at
him like a cat, and wreathed her arms round him.

"What would you do?" cried she. "Madman, would you hang for them? and
break my heart,--the only woman in the world that loves you? Give me the
pistol. Nay, I will have it." And, with that extraordinary power
excitement lends her sex, she wrenched it out of his hands.

He gnashed his teeth with fury, and clutched her with a gripe of iron;
she screamed with pain: he relaxed his grasp a little at that; she
turned on him and defied him.

"I won't let you get into trouble for a priest and a wanton," she cried;
"you shall kill me first. Leave me the pistol, and pledge me your sacred
word to do them no harm, and then I'll tell you where they are. Refuse
me this, and you shall go to your grave and know nothing more than you
know now."

"No, no; if you are a woman, have pity on me; let me come at them.
There, I'll use no weapon. I'll tear them to atoms with these hands.
Where are they?"

"May I put the pistol away then?"

"Yes, take it out of my sight; so best. Where are they?"

Ryder locked the pistol up in one of Mrs. Gaunt's boxes. Then she said,
in a trembling voice, "Follow me."

He followed her in awful silence.

She went rather slowly to the door that opened on the lawn; and then she
hesitated. "If you are a man, and have any feeling for a poor girl who
loves you,--if you are a gentleman, and respect your word,--no
violence."

"I promise," said he. "Where are they?"

"Nay, nay. I fear I shall rue the day I told you. Promise me once more:
no bloodshed--upon your soul."

"I promise. Where are they?"

"God forgive me; they are in the Grove."

He bounded away from her like some beast of prey; and she crouched and
trembled on the steps of the door: and, now that she realized what she
was doing, a sickening sense of dire misgiving came over her, and made
her feel quite faint.

And so the weak, but dangerous creature sat crouching and quaking, and
launched the strong one.

Griffith was soon in the Grove; and the first thing he saw was Leonard
and his wife walking together in earnest conversation. Their backs were
towards him. Mrs. Gaunt, whom he had left lying on a sofa, and who
professed herself scarce able to walk half a dozen times across the
room, was now springing along, elastic as a young greyhound, and full of
fire and animation. The miserable husband saw, and his heart died within
him. He leaned against a tree and groaned.

The deadly sickness of his heart soon gave way to sombre fury. He came
softly after them, with ghastly cheek, and bloodthirsty eyes, like
red-hot coals.

They stopped; and he heard his wife say, "'T is a solemn promise, then:
this very night." The priest bowed assent. Then they spoke in so low a
voice, he could not hear; but his wife pressed a purse upon Leonard, and
Leonard hesitated, but ended by taking it.

Griffith uttered a yell like a tiger, and rushed between them with
savage violence, driving the lady one way with his wrists, and the
priest another. She screamed: he trembled in silence.

Griffith stood a moment between these two pale faces, silent and awful.

Then he faced his wife. "You vile wretch!" he cried: "so you _buy_ your
own dishonor, and mine." He raised his hand high over her head; she
never winced. "O, but for my oath, I'd lay you dead at my feet! But no;
I'll not hang for a priest and a wanton. So, this is the thing you love,
and pay it to love you." And with all the mad inconsistency of rage,
which mixes small things and great, he tore the purse out of Leonard's
hand: then seized him felly by the throat.

At that the high spirit of Mrs. Gaunt gave way to abject terror. "O
mercy! mercy!" she cried; "it is all a mistake." And she clung to his
knees.

He spurned her furiously away. "Don't touch me, woman," he cried, "or
you are dead. Look at this!" And in a moment, with gigantic strength and
fury, he dashed the priest down at her feet. "I know ye, ye proud,
wanton devil!" he cried; "love the thing you have seen me tread upon!
love it--if ye can." And he literally trampled upon the poor priest with
both feet.

Leonard shrieked for mercy.

"None, in this world or the next," roared Griffith; but the next moment
he took fright at himself. "God!" he cried, "I must go or kill. Live and
be damned forever, the pair of ye." And with this he fled from them,
grinding his teeth and beating the air with his clenched fists.

He darted to the stable-yard, sprang on his horse, and galloped away
from Hernshaw Castle, with the face, the eyes, the gestures, the
incoherent mutterings of a raving Bedlamite.



WHAT WILL IT COST US?


If we take the arm of Mr. Smith, who is one of many perplexed at this
time by the cost of living, and go round with him to rebuke the
tradesmen who oppress and devour him by overcharges of every kind, we
shall find these obdurate persons very quick upon their defence, and
full of admirable justification of their supposed extortion.

The wicked grocer, who in these piping times of peace makes Mr. Smith
pay twenty cents a pound for sugar, fifty-five cents for coffee, and a
dollar and a half for tea, replies, when reproached with his
heartlessness, that Mr. Smith gives him depreciated paper, not gold, for
his sugar, while he must pay the importer for prime cost, freight, and
duty, with the added premium on gold, and the importer's profit on the
aggregate, as well as the new duty on refining; and that as to coffee,
it has actually risen in price at Java through the Dutch government's
monopoly of the entire product, while our own law has imposed a duty of
five cents in gold upon it. This abandoned tradesman declares that he
must have a large profit to cover risks in holding such articles as tea
and coffee, when trade is unsettled and gold falling; and asserts that
he makes no more on tea now than he did in the days when it cost Mr.
Smith only thirty-five or forty cents a pound. The duty of twenty-five
cents, and the withdrawal and destruction by privateers of many ships
formerly engaged in the trade, have brought up the price of tea, and the
grocer is none the richer, though Mr. Smith is considerably the poorer.

Equally unblushing is the butcher,--a man who ought to have finer
feelings and some sense of remorse. Steak, he tells us, is thirty,
second cut of the rib twenty-eight, mutton twenty-eight, and poultry
thirty cents a pound, because, as he pretends, the farmers exhausted
their supply of cattle in feeding the army for so long a time, and now
find it more profitable to raise their lambs, and keep and shear their
sheep, than to kill them. To which he adds a note in the minor key
concerning the price of gold, and the increased expenses of living,
which he has himself to meet, and drives us in despair to the pitiless
merchant of whom we buy our dry-goods. _He_ evidently expects Mr. Smith,
for he says, with a shameless frankness and readiness: "I admit that I
have doubled my prices, but fifty per cent of the rise is due to the
premium on gold. Then there come in the war duties, and then the
internal revenue taxes. Don't you know that Congress has put taxes on
the materials, and upon every process of manufacture, and a further tax
of six per cent on sales, to say nothing of stamps and licenses? Look at
the report of the Revenue Commission,[F] which tells us that most of the
duties are duplicated, till they lap over like shingles and slates, and
come to ten or twenty per cent on manufactures. Look at their story of
the umbrella! Think of Webster's Spelling-Book printed in London for our
schools, to evade the taxes! Think of the men who go to Montreal,
Halifax, and even to London, for new suits, in consequence of the
duties, and of others who once came to me quarterly for a new coat and
gave away their worn garments, and who now come yearly! Please examine
this bill for coal at fifteen dollars instead of six dollars a ton, and
do not forget the city, State, and national taxes."

Incensed to the last degree by the merchant's effrontery, Mr. Smith
hurries us to the den which the cruel coal-dealer calls his office, and
demands to know how it is that, when the nation no longer requires coal
for the uses of war, and coal ought, in the very nature of things, to
come down, he has actually raised the price of it to fifteen dollars a
ton?

"Gentlemen," answers the coal-dealer, with a hardness not equalled by
the hardest clinker in his own anthracite,--"gentlemen, it's true the
war is over, but there are taxes on cars, engines, repairs, and gross
receipts, that add fifty per cent to transportation, while for five
years past the nation has required so much coal and iron to carry on the
war and to repair Southern tracks that few coal railways have been built
and few mines opened. There must be rivalry and increased production to
put down prices. New mines and railways cannot be opened with gold at
the present rates, or while the internal taxes, direct and indirect, add
fifteen dollars to the cost of each ton of bar-iron. Nor can there be a
great fall while there is a prospect that the coal from Nova Scotia is
to be excluded or raised in price by the repeal of the Reciprocity
Treaty. Freights have risen to the unprecedented rate of four or five
dollars per ton between Philadelphia and Massachusetts and Maine; and if
we wish for former freights of two dollars per ton and lower prices, we
must build steam colliers like those which run between Newcastle and
London, and bring back the coasters that left the trade and took shelter
under the flag of England. But the first thing is to bring down the
price of gold, which will bring down both freight and profits, and
enable the poor to enjoy the sparkle of the black diamonds. And now, Mr.
Smith, let me say that what with the city, the State, and the national
taxes, I am obliged to raise my rents, and I take the liberty to notify
you that houses are scarce; and although I regret to disturb an old
tenant and customer, I must add another hundred to the rent of the
house you occupy. Houses are in demand; few dare to build while
materials are so dear. And there are the Shoddies, who would take mine
to-morrow at any rent."

Not in the least consoled, but rather exasperated by this suggestion,
Mr. Smith fails to recover his spirits, even on the assurance of the
city official whom we meet, that the city, impoverished by payment of
soldiers' bounties and allowances to soldiers' families, as well as the
payment of the interest of her debt in gold throughout the war, still
hopes to reduce the interest to five per cent, and, when gold falls, to
diminish the taxes.

But if our course of inquiry into the causes of the present ruinous cost
of living has not given much solace to Mr. Smith, we may, nevertheless,
from the facts elicited and from the arguments of the different
tradesmen draw a few useful conclusions and decide what are the evils to
be removed or obviated before we can reduce the cost of living; and the
chief of these, we have learned, are the following:--

The premium on gold.

The taxes on productions.

The duties on materials.

The charges on transportation.

The duties and taxes which absorb income.

Let us consider whether these evils may not be boldly met and
surmounted, and this, too, without impairing the ability of the nation
to meet the interest of the debt incurred as the price of freedom, or
interfering with the payment of army and navy pensions, and similar
expenses.


RESUMPTION.

What is there to prevent the nation from resuming specie payments during
the present year?

There are those who profit by the fluctuations of gold; who gamble in
gold, and would make fortunes regardless of the consequences to others;
who control the columns of venal papers and write financial articles;
who claim to be the leaders of opinion, and tell their confiding readers
that Great Britain did not resume for a quarter of a century; that
resumption implies contraction and portends ruin; that we have a
thousand millions to fund within three years, and therefore cannot
resume.

But is not all this fallacious? Our position is not that of the British
Isles half a century since, exhausted by a war of twenty years, without
a railway, with less than half the wealth and half the population, and
one twentieth of the land and mineral resources that we possess, while
their debt was fifty per cent more than our own. They were almost
stationary, and we are progressive. In descending from a premium of 180
to 30 on gold, we have already accomplished five sixths of the journey
towards specie payment without serious disaster and with an easy
money-market.

As respects contraction, the instructive report lately addressed to the
Secretary of the Treasury by Mr. Carey, the veteran advocate of
manufactures, shows that the compound-interest notes are withdrawn; that
a large portion of the greenbacks is held as a reserve fund by the
banks, another large portion is locked up in the sub-treasury, and the
actual circulation of the Union but $460,000,000,--really less than that
of France or Great Britain, although our population exceeds that of
either of those countries. And Mr. Carey, in his instructive letter,
offers proof that our circulation, although in excess of the gold,
silver, and bills circulating before the war, is not disproportionate to
our commercial transactions. When the Secretary of the Treasury is
ready, no serious contraction will probably be required, and no ruin
will follow, if our merchants move with caution, and prepare for a
return to the only safe standard of values. Let the manufacturer
accumulate no stocks, but continue to make goods to order, to sell in
advance. Let him cover his sales by the purchase of the materials as the
wise and sagacious have done ever since the surrender of Lee, and we
shall be ready for the notice that, after an interval of three or four
months, the United States will meet their notes and contracts with
specie.

Commerce will gradually adapt itself to this notice, as it has done to
the decline of gold from 285 to 130 in less than a year. But it is urged
that we have a thousand millions of debt to fund within three years, and
therefore cannot resume. Did we not fund nearly a thousand millions at
par in 1865, and most of this after gold fell to 30 per cent premium?
Then the amount was drawn from hoards and commerce; but now our income
exceeds expenditures, and we are reducing the debt ten or twenty
millions a month; we require no funds for war or unproductive
investments, and when we pay one hundred millions, we return it to those
who will seek new loans for investment, and doubtless lend on more
favorable terms.

At Paris, Brussels, and Frankfort, the average rate of interest last
year was less than five per cent. Give Mr. McCulloch power to go there,
to issue bonds for one twentieth part of our debt payable there in the
currency of the country; and with such a fund at his disposal, he can at
once reduce interest and bring back specie, or rather retain it; for we
need not seek it abroad. When the Committee of Ways and Means intimate
that they will give him this power, gold and exchange fall; if a doubt
is expressed, both advance; and the simple question before the public
is, whether we shall cripple the Minister of Finance and give the power
to Wall Street;--whether our finances are to be governed by the Jews of
the gold board and the speculators of the stock exchange, or by the
Secretary of the Treasury. If we ended the war by placing one man on the
field to direct every movement,--after we had tried in vain to conduct
it by committees of Congress and rival generals,--will not one
statesman, with plenary power, be equally effective on the field of
finance?

The man who carried a Western State through the revulsion of 1857, and
maintained specie payments when Boston and New York succumbed,--who has
so well and so successfully wielded the limited power we have given
him,--well deserves the confidence of the country. Let him have power at
once to go to the fountain-head for the small balance we may require
from the Old World; let him have the authority to raise funds to meet
the floating debt and temporary loan, and to replace the seven-thirties
and compound-interest notes as they mature, and we may confidently
anticipate both an early resumption of specie payments and reduced rates
of interest, and consequent diminution of debt. With a return to specie
payments, our current expenses must fall from thirty to forty per cent,
and we can well afford to resign any premium on gold we now enjoy.


TAXES ON PRODUCTION.

The Revenue Commission enlighten us on this point. In their very able
and luminous Report they say:--

"The diffuseness of the present revenue system of the United States is
doubtless one of its greatest imperfections, and under it the exemption
of any article from taxation is the exception rather than the rule. To
assert this, however, is no reflection on the judgment or skill of its
authors. The system was framed under circumstances of such pressing
necessity as to afford but little opportunity for any careful and
accurate investigation of the sources of revenue; but it has most
certainly accomplished the end designed, namely, the raising of revenue;
and the country to-day is undoubtedly receiving by taxation far more
revenue than is necessary for its legitimate expenditures. As a success,
therefore, our present revenue system is a most honorable testimonial,
not only to the wisdom of its authors, but to the patriotism of the
people, who not only _endured_, but _welcomed_, the burdens it imposed
upon them.

"A system of taxation, however, so diffuse as the present one,
necessarily entails a system of duplication of taxes, which in turn
leads to an undue enhancement of prices; a decrease both of production
and consumption, and consequently of wealth; a restriction of
exportations and of foreign commerce; and a large increase in the
machinery and expense of the revenue collection.

"In respect to the injurious influence of this duplication of taxes upon
the industry of the country, the Commission cannot speak too strongly.
Its effect has already been most injurious. It threatens the very
existence (even with the protection of inflated prices and a high
tariff) of many branches of industry; and with a return of the trade and
currency of the country to anything approximating its normal condition,
it must, by checking development, prove highly disastrous.

"The influence of the duplication of taxes in sustaining prices is also,
in the opinion of the Commission, far greater than those not conversant
with the subject generally estimate; and were the price of gold and of
the national currency made at once to approximate, and the present
revenue system to continue unchanged, it would be impossible for the
prices of most products of manufacturing industry to return to anything
like their former level."

The Commission arrive at the conclusion, that all our manufactures are
by these taxes increased in cost from ten to twenty per cent. In the
language of Senator Sherman, when defending the Internal Tax Bill in the
Senate last year, the nation required funds to maintain its armies in
the field; it had put forth its arms and grasped the money of the
country, and would reduce and equalize the taxes when the war was ended.
The Revenue Commission find the taxes on our manufactures and their
materials an incubus upon the industry and a check to the progress of
the country, and recommend their remission. And this we may reasonably
expect from Congress at its present session. But, it may be urged, how
are we to meet the interest on our debt and current expenses of
$284,000,000 in the aggregate, if we repeal these taxes? The answer is a
simple one. The Commission estimate our imports at $400,000,000, and our
duties now average forty-seven per cent. Should this continue, we should
draw from this source alone $188,000,000. There is also the revenue from
public lands and miscellaneous sources, which the Secretary and the
Revenue Commission both rate at $21,000,000, making an aggregate of
$209,000,000; although the Commission, to guard against the effects of
any change in the tariff, modestly rate these items at only
$151,000,000.

To these they add for excise, viz.:--

From five cents per pound on Cotton,          $40,000,000
One dollar per gallon on Spirits,              40,000,000
Duties on Tobacco,                             18,000,000
Malt Liquors at one dollar only per barrel,     5,000,000
Twenty cents per gallon on Refined Petroleum,   3,000,000
From Spirits of Turpentine and Rosin,           2,000,000
                                              -----------
                                             $108,000,000

Licenses,                                     $15,000,000
Stamps,                                        20,000,000
Banks,                                         15,000,000
Salaries, Sales, and Successions,               9,000,000
                                              -----------
                                              $59,000,000

They thus provide a revenue of $318,000,000, or $30,000,000 more than
that required by the Secretary,--a surplus which, with the annual excess
of duties, to say nothing of the future growth of revenue, would
extinguish our debt in little more than thirty years. But to guard
against all contingencies, they propose to levy on incomes taxes to the
amount of $40,000,000; and on the gross receipts of railways, bridges,
canals, and stages, $9,000,000. These change the aggregate to
$367,000,000; an excess of $81,000,000 over the estimate of our
requirements by the Secretary.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Commission give us the Budget of France in the following summary,
viz.:--

Direct Taxes,                                 $63,072,280
Registry Stamps and Public Domains,            81,537,833
Forests,                                        8,051,300
Customs and Duties on Salt,                    29,485,000
Indirect Taxes,                               115,600,400
Post-Office,                                   14,482,000
Sundry Revenues,                               26,441,989
Miscellaneous,                                 11,736,360
                                              -----------
Total,                                       $350,407,212

Also, the revenues of Great Britain and Ireland for 1865, viz.:--

Customs,                      $115,023,808
Excise,                         97,048,180
Stamps,                         47,659,870
Fund and assessed Taxes,        16,439,670
Income and Property Taxes,      39,928,865
Post-Office,                    20,852,197
Grain Lands,                     2,212,000
Miscellaneous,                  14,967,183
                               -----------
Total                         $354,131,773

If from these returns we deduct the earnings of the Post-Office
Department, which are not included in the Commission's estimate of
revenue for the United States, that estimate will exceed the returns of
revenue for France or the United Kingdom by more than thirty millions,
although the expenses of each of these countries are at least fifty
millions more than the computed expenses of our own. It is obvious,
therefore, from the Report of the Commission, that we may dispense with
the fifty-nine millions from income tax and the duties on
transportation, and still have a margin of more than thirty millions to
cover contingencies and provide for the gradual reduction of the debt.
Such a victory in finance achieved the first year after the war would
give us a second great national triumph.

The system proposed by the Commission is entitled to the most favorable
consideration. The taxes levied during the war were multifarious in
their character. Although effective in producing revenue, they were
imposed without discrimination, and they bear heavily alike both on
producer and consumer, checking the industry of the one and swelling
unduly the expenditures of the other. The plan of the Commission strikes
the handcuffs from industry, lessens the expenses of collection, enables
our artisan to compete with the foreigner, and, as most of the
manufactures of the country are consumed at home, consequently reduces
the cost of living. It seems from the Report of the Commission, that
their leading idea is to simplify the system and reduce the number of
taxes; to shift them from the producer to the consumer, and thus
stimulate the creation of wealth; to diminish charges, and at the same
time lighten the weight of the impost as it falls on the consumer.
Another leading idea is to transfer a portion of our burdens to the
foreign consumers of cotton, and at the same time stimulate our
manufactures, and the production of cotton, by a remission of the tax on
cloth exported; while yet another part of their plan was to take from
the illicit trader and give to the public coffers the profit he now
realizes upon spirits, and to restore alcohol to the arts.

Let us give to each of these measures the attention it deserves; and
inquire if we may not take at once the steps, which the Commission defer
for the present, toward the discontinuance of all charges upon
transportation and incomes. In recommending the entire removal of taxes
on production as the first measure to be adopted, the Commissioners
advise: "That the capital stock of the country in the interval between
1850 and 1860, deducting the value of the slaves, increased at the rate
of 158 per cent, or from $5,533,000 to $14,282,000; and that, if a
development in any degree approximating to the past can be maintained
and continued, then the extinguishment of the national debt in a
comparatively brief period becomes a matter of no uncertainty. To secure
this development, both by removing the shackles from industry, and by
facilitating the means of rapid and cheap intercommunication between the
different sections of the country, is to effect at the same time a
solution of all the financial difficulties that now press upon us."

The policy of the Commission is the speedy abolition or reduction of all
taxes which tend to check development. This policy is eminently wise and
statesman-like; for while it removes some of our most onerous burdens,
it gives a stimulus to the creation of wealth that must annually
alleviate our taxes, and is entitled to the approval of an enlightened
nation.

The second great measure of the Commission is to increase to five cents
the tax on cotton, which has, since the close of our last financial
year, begun to aid our revenue. The soil, climate, and seasons of our
Southern States are peculiarly adapted to the culture of cotton. In
India the fields are parched by the extreme heats of summer, and the
staple shortened; in Algiers, the rains of autumn, which favor the young
wheat, prevent the opening of the cotton-balls; but in the cotton States
of the South, the moisture of the spring, the heats and showers of
summer, and the dry weather and late frosts of autumn, all contribute to
the full development of the cotton-plant; and the yield is twice or
three times as great as in the cotton districts of the East. The staple,
too, is much more valuable, and the yield and the quality of the staple
are both improved by the application of guano. In 1859 the yield of the
United States rose to 2,080,000,000 pounds, while the consumption of the
civilized world was as follows:--

In Great Britain,      1,050,000,000 lbs.
On the Continent,        700,000,000  "
In the United States,    400,000,000  "
                       -------------
      Total,           2,150,000,000 lbs.

During the five years of war, the consumption was reduced more than one
half by the deficiency; Great Britain was compelled to pay twice the
usual amount for half the usual quantity, and cotton rose from ten cents
to sixty cents in gold. The world was ransacked for cotton, and the
whole addition made to the supply (chiefly from India and Egypt) did not
exceed the increase of three years in the United States previous to the
war. The Revenue Commission have made a very elaborate report upon this
subject, and base their conclusions upon the advice and opinions of the
chief manufacturers of New England, who concur in the opinion that the
tax will be chiefly paid by the foreign consumer; that it will not give
an undue stimulus to the culture of cotton abroad; that Japan and China
have, since the decline of cotton to twenty pence in England, ceased to
ship it, and are drawing upon Surat and Bombay; that Egypt, our chief
rival, has nearly or quite reached her full capacity of production,
while India makes little progress.

The late Confederacy, by imposing an export duty of twenty cents per
pound, to be paid in gold; France, by her export duty on linen and
cotton rags and skins of animals; Russia, by various export duties;
Portugal, by her duties on wine exported; Great Britain, by her export
duties, imposed in India, on gunny-cloth, linseed, jute, saltpetre, and
opium; and Holland, by her monopoly and export duties on the coffee of
Java,--give precedents for a tax on cotton. The United States are
prohibited by the Constitution from levying an export duty, but may
nevertheless impose an internal tax which will cling to the cotton both
abroad and at home. A tax of five cents a pound will add but one cent to
the cost of a yard of calico; and with a crop of 2,000,000,000 pounds,
like that of 1859, will yield a revenue of $100,000,000, although the
Commission do not anticipate more than half that revenue for a few years
to come. It seems but reasonable that King Cotton, who made the war,
should aid in defraying its expenses; and it is also just that England
and France, his chief allies, should pay their tribute for the
suppression of the revolt they did so much to encourage. The planters
and free blacks of the South have sufficient incentives to the culture
of cotton in the high prices it must bear for years to come; and the
Commission have very wisely recommended a remission of the tax on all
cotton cloth or yarn exported, which will give a stimulus to
manufactures both at the South and the North, and enable our merchants
to meet those of Great Britain in successful competition in all parts of
the globe. The cotton tax, as a substitute for taxes on sales and
manufactures, will meet the cordial support of our countrymen; and, if
it oppose a slight check to production, they have already learned that
half a crop gives more dollars than a whole one.


SPIRITS.

Another change of great importance recommended by the Commission, both
in their general Report, and in a special report devoted to this
subject, is a reduction of the duty on spirits from two dollars to one
dollar per gallon _as a revenue measure_, the higher duty having proved
an utter failure. For some months past the average quantity that has
monthly paid duty has been less than half a million gallons, or at the
rate of six millions of gallons per year, while the entire annual
product, by the census of 1860, exceeded ninety-two millions of gallons,
and, at the customary rate of increase, would have amounted to one
hundred and twenty millions of gallons, or ten millions a month, in
place of half a million in 1866. It has been ascertained that in 1860
more than half the annual production was consumed in the arts. As
alcohol it was used for ether, spirit-lamps, camphene, and
burning-fluid; by apothecaries for tinctures and medicinal preparations;
by hair-dressers for lotions; and it was also consumed in many
manufactures. The duty has carried alcohol to five dollars per gallon,
and nearly stopped its use in the arts, while it has not stopped the use
of spirits as a beverage. It has drawn a revenue from the pockets of the
people, and transferred it from the government to the illicit trader.
While the duty ranged from twenty to sixty cents per gallon, the amount
assessed was from six to seven million gallons per month; but the
returns nearly ceased with the advance of duty two years since. Efforts
have been made to sustain the present duty by reference to the practice
of Great Britain, where a duty of $2.40 is imposed upon the imperial
gallon; but the imperial gallon is more than twenty per cent larger than
the wine gallon of America. The average prime cost of good spirits there
being sixty cents a gallon, while it has been but twenty cents in the
West, the percentage of the British duty is but 400 per cent, while the
duty of the United States is 1000 per cent, or a rate 150 per cent above
the rate abroad. Great Britain, in her compact territory, has employed
7,200 men in the preventive service, and 66 cruisers to check the
evasions of her duties on spirits and tobacco; and it is estimated by
good judges that a large part of the spirits, and more than half the
tobacco, consumed in England escape the duty. Several thousand seizures
are made annually, and it has been testified before Parliament that not
one evasion in sixteen is detected. If this be so in Great Britain, it
is not surprising that the government has failed, in this country, with
its sparse population, to collect a duty of 1000 per cent, or that the
experiment has cost the nation more than fifty millions. Such excessive
duties may well be styled over-taxation, and tend to demoralize and
corrupt our revenue officers, to encourage fraud, and to enrich illicit
traders. The Commission believe that the reduction of the duty will
restore alcohol to the arts, diminish fraud, and give us a revenue of at
least $40,000,000 annually,--a sum nearly equal to the proceeds of the
income tax.


INCOME TAX.

The Revenue Commission clearly demonstrate by their Report and table of
income, that this tax will not be required to meet our interest and
current expenses, and they apparently retain a portion of it as a flank
guard for their other items of revenue; but it is obvious from their
very guarded Report that this flank guard may be dispensed with. The
Commissioners very properly suggest that it is better to place this tax
upon created wealth and net income than to levy it upon production, and
in this all sensible men will concur; but we require at this time no
surplus revenue of $81,000,000. Our revenue from foreign duties must
exceed their estimate; and if it did not, a sinking fund of $32,000,000
is ample for a debt of $2,700,000,000, $400,000,000 of which draws no
interest, and the residue of which we may well presume will soon be
permanently funded at reduced interest. The income tax in Great Britain
is but 1-2/3 per cent, and it is wise to reduce our own tax on the
surplus incomes of the rich from ten to five per cent; but the
suggestion that an income tax should be imposed on rents exceeding $300
is in conflict with the Commissioners' suggestion, at page 60 of their
Report: "The general government has taken to itself nearly every source
of revenue, except the single one of real estate, which had been before
burdened with large expenditures for schools, roads, and other things
with which the local governments stand charged," and "cases can be cited
in which taxation upon real estate even now falls little short of
confiscation. Justice and wise policy, therefore, would seem to demand
that the national government should not now adopt any measures
calculated to maintain or increase these burdens, but, on the contrary,
do all in its power to diminish them."

Let the nation follow this judicious advice, and dispose of the
additional charge on real estate by repealing the income tax, which we
cease to require, or reducing it to a tax of three or four per cent upon
dividends and coupons, which will yield at least ten millions. This will
furnish a sufficient rear-guard for the corps which the Commission has
marshalled.

To use another happy expression in the very able Report of the
Commission,--"Freedom from multitudinous taxes, espionage, and
vexations; freedom from needless official inquisitions and intrusions;
freedom from the hourly provocations of each individual in the nation to
concealments, evasions, and falsehoods; freedom for industry,
circulation, and competition,--everywhere give the nation these
conditions, and it will give in return a flowing income."

We indorse the conclusions of the Commission, but would carry them to
their legitimate results,--the repeal of the inquisitorial tax on
incomes.

One of the Commissioners, Mr. J. S. Hayes, in a special report upon the
subject, proposes to draw some part of the revenue from the national
bonds. Those which are now reached by the income tax when the holders
are residents here should be reached hereafter by an impost on dividends
and coupons, according to Mr. Hayes's idea. He urges that these bonds
were issued when the currency was depreciated to 73 per cent, or 27 per
cent below par; but it was the government paper that depreciated it, and
the loyal men who subscribed for the national bonds in many instances
used funds drawn from mortgages upon which they had advanced in gold the
money they invested. Great Britain realized only 63 per cent or less in
depreciated currency from her three-per-cents, but redeems them at par,
or buys them in open market. There may be instances in which individuals
evade local taxes by such investments, but even this tends to popularize
the loans and reduce interest; and it may well be asked whether it would
not be wiser for the nation to make the loan popular, treating it as
sacred, and thus save twenty or thirty millions in interest annually by
reducing interest one per cent, than to attempt to save two thirds that
amount by taxes, which would inspire lenders with distrust, injure the
credit of the nation, and weaken its resources in a future exigency.


TAXES ON GROSS RECEIPTS.

The Commission, while they condemn charges on transportation, continue
for the present nine millions in taxes on the gross receipts of
steamers, ships, and railways, which it would be wise to relinquish at
the earliest moment. The railways to earn one dollar must charge two,
which doubles these taxes to the public, and adds to the cost of
delivering each ton of coal and each bushel of grain at the seaports, so
that our internal commerce now presents the strange anomaly of Indian
corn selling at one dollar per bushel in Boston, and at thirty-six cents
in Chicago, or less than the price in gold before the Insurrection.
Such charges are an incubus on trade, and may wisely be abandoned.


PROVINCIAL COMMERCE.

For the past ten years the Central and Eastern States have drawn large
supplies of breadstuffs, animals, lumber, and other materials for our
manufactures, from the Provinces; and under the Treaty of Reciprocity
our fisheries have grown vastly in importance. The whole amount of this
commerce, including the outfits and returns of the fishermen, is close
upon $100,000,000, and the tonnage of arrivals and departures exceeds
7,000,000 tons. Under the Treaty we have imported Canadian and Morgan
horses, oats for their support, barley of superior quality for our ale,
lustre-wool for our alpacas, and boards and clapboards for our houses
and for the fences and corn-cribs of our Western prairies. Indeed, the
facilities for communicating with the Provinces are so great, that for
some years past we have imported potatoes, coal, gypsum, and building
stone to supply the wants of New York and New England. Is it wise, then,
to cripple this growing trade by placing a duty of fifty per cent on the
spruce and pine we require for the new houses whose construction the war
has delayed, and by denying to Maine and Massachusetts the privilege of
sending their pine down the Aroostook and St. John, as those who own
townships on the waters of the Penobscot propose?

When Mr. Sumner moved the repeal of the Treaty, it was upon the ground
that it prevented us from levying a tax on lumber. The Ministers of
Canada have at once conceded this, and agree that internal duties may be
levied on all they send to us, and thus meet in advance the position of
Mr. Sumner. They have shown a desire to revive the Treaty, and to
cherish the great commerce between contiguous states. Mr. Derby reports
to the State Department that they will extend the free list, and include
our manufactures; that they will discourage illicit trade, and repeal
all discriminating tolls and duties. The position taken by the Ministers
of Canada is eminently wise and judicious. While we may not concede all
the privileges they ask, is it our policy to decline to negotiate,--to
shut out the materials we require and can command at low rates? Is it
wise to propose, as a committee of Congress has done, to reduce a free
commerce of seven millions of tons to a traffic in plaster and
millstones, and thus jeopard our fisheries and stimulate smuggling? The
Canadian Ministers, who visited Washington on business connected with
the Treaty, were kindly received by our Executive. They placed the
Provinces on the true ground by their proffered concessions and offers
to negotiate, and can stand at home upon the ground they took, while
their course in retiring after the rebuff they received from the
committee was dignified and judicious. When Congress has disposed of
reconstruction, and found leisure to attend to revenue and finance; when
it sees that we need new materials for our rising manufactures, and
require access both by the east and the west to the exhaustless pine
forests of Canada,[G] to provincial oats and barley, purchasable at
rates lower than those at which the West can afford to send them, and to
coal on coasts which Nature designed for the supply of the gas-works and
steamers of New England; when it finds proclamations issued excluding
our fishermen from the waters to which the mackerel resort,--then
Congress at last will doubtless be willing to resume negotiations, and
to give to us coal, wood, butter, grain, fish, lumber, and horses at
reasonable prices.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eliminating from the summary of the Commission the items which are
condemned by their Report, we have the following result:--

REVENUE LIST OF COMMISSIONERS, EXCLUDING TAXES ON INCOME AND
TRANSPORTATION.

Customs,                       $130,000,000
Excise on Spirits, Tobacco, Malt Liquors
  Cotton, Refined Oil, Spirits of
  Turpentine, and Rosin,        108,000,000
Licenses,                        15,000,000
Salaries,                         2,000,000
Banks,                           15,000,000
Stamps,                          20,000,000
Sales, Legacies, &c.,             7,000,000
Add Tax on Dividend and Coupons, 10,000,000
Miscellaneous,                   21,000,000
                                -----------
    Total                      $328,000,000

Amount deemed necessary by the
  Secretary of the Treasury to meet
  Interest and Expenses of Government
  annually,                     284,000,000
                                -----------
    Surplus,                    $44,000,000

We thus deduce from the estimate of the Secretary and the conclusions to
which we are led by the Commission a surplus revenue or sinking fund of
$44,000,000, and this, too, after discontinuing all taxes on production,
income, and transportation, and liberating industry from the trammels
imposed by war. In addition, we may expect from cotton, whenever the
crop exceeds two millions of bales, a further revenue from the five-cent
tax, while the income from customs, which we rate at $130,000,000, has
actually been increased since June, 1865, to the amount of $58,000,000
more.

These results, achieved by the country while emerging from the smoke of
the battle-field, and disbanding its troops and placing army and navy on
a peace footing, are in the highest degree reassuring. What is there,
then, to prevent the nation's prompt return to specie?

Our chief bankers estimate their annual remittances to American citizens
for foreign travel and residence abroad at less than five millions
yearly. Our exports again exceed our imports, and foreign exchange is at
7-1/4 in gold, or two per cent below par. An emigration, chiefly from
Germany, greatly in excess of any former year is predicted. It has been
well ascertained that each emigrant brings, on the average, seventy
dollars in funds to this country, and these funds alone will suffice to
meet our interest abroad. What period could be more auspicious for a
gradual return, say in six months, to specie? Of course there would be
some decline in merchandise, but the loss would fall on declining
stocks, often sold in advance, and would not reach stocks in bond, the
price of which is to be paid in specie. The improvident might suffer a
little; but when the first shock was past, would not a strong impulse be
given to industry? Would not enterprise be at once directed to the
erection of the houses, factories, ships, steamers, locomotives, and
railways which our growth demands? Would not the community immediately
seek to renew their wardrobes and furniture, now worn out or exhausted
by the war? Our mutual friend Mr. Smith might then meet his friend the
coal-merchant with a smile, and cheer himself with his open fireplace,
putting away his stifling but economic stove; he might postpone his
retirement from the three-story brick to the wooden two-story in the
suburbs, eat his roast beef again on Sunday, and regale himself with
black coffee after dinner, without a thought of the slow but sagacious
Dutchman, who is transferring at his expense a national debt of
$800,000,000 from the sea-girt dikes of little Holland to the populous
and fertile isles and spice groves and coffee plantations of Sumatra and
Java.

FOOTNOTES:

[F] Report of the United States Revenue Commission to the Secretary of
the Treasury, January 29th, 1866.

[G] The annual product of lumber in Maine is rated at 1,100,000,000
feet, worth $20,000,000. By the census of 1860, the lumber produced by
all the States was valued at $95,000,000. The consumption was at least
$100,000,000, or five times the amount furnished by Maine. Canada has
287,000 square miles of pine forest on the waters of the St. Lawrence.



MEPHISTOPHELEAN.


You have been, I presume, Madam, among the crowds of young and old, to
the musical revival of the great wonder-work of the last century. You
have heard the Frenchman's musical expression of the German poet's
thought, uttered by the motley assemblage of nationalities which
constitutes an opera troupe in these latter days. You have seen the
learned Dr. Faustus's wig and gown whisked off behind his easy chair,
and the rejuvenated Doctor emerge from his antiquated apparel as fresh
and sprightly as Harlequin himself, to make love in Do-di-pettos. You
have seen the blonde young Gretchen, beauteous and pure at her
spinning-wheel, gay and frolicsome before that box looking-glass and
that kitchen table,--have heard her tender vows of affection and her
passionate outbursts of despair. You have heard the timid Siebel warble
out his adolescent longings for the gentle maid in the very scantiest of
tunics, as becomes the fair proportions of the stage girl-boy. You have
seen the respectable old Martha faint at the news of her husband's
death, and forthwith engage in a desperate flirtation with the gentleman
who brings the news. You have seen the gallant Valentin lead off the
march of that band of stalwart warriors, who seem to have somehow lost
the correct step in their weary campaigns. Your memory, even now, has a
somewhat confused impression of Frederici, moonlight, Mazzoleni,
Kermesse, Sulzer, gardens, Kellogg, churches, Himmer, flaming goblets,
Stockton, and an angelic host with well-rounded calves in pink tights,
radiant in the red light that, from some hidden regions, illuminates the
aforesaid scantily clad angels, as they hang, like Mahomet's coffin,
'twixt heaven and earth.

But I question, Madam, whether the strongest impression which your
memory retains be not exactly the one personage in the drama whom I have
omitted to mention,--the red-legged, gleaming-eyed, loud-voiced
gentleman who pulls the hidden wires which set all the other puppets in
motion,--Mr. Mephistopheles himself. Marguerite, studied, refined,
unimpassioned in the pretty Yankee girl,--simple, warm, outpouring in
the sympathetic German woman,--and Faust, gallant, ardent, winning in
the bright-eyed Italian,--thoughtful, tender, fervent in the intelligent
German,--are background figures in the picture your memory paints; while
the ubiquitous, sneering, specious, cunning, tempting, leering, unholy
Mephistopheles is a character of himself, in the foreground, whose
special interpreter you do not care to distinguish.

Ring down the curtain. Put out the lights. We will leave the mimic
scene, and return to the broad stage of life, whereon all are actors and
all are audience. There are Gretchens and Fausts everywhere,--American,
English, French, German, Italian,--of all nations and tongues,--but
there is only one Mephistopheles. They have lived and loved and fallen
and died. But he, indestructible, lives on to flash fire in the cups of
beings yet unborn, and lurk with unholy intent in hearts which have not
yet learned to beat. There is only one Mephistopheles; but he is protean
in shape. The little gentleman in black, the hero of so many strange
stories, is but the Teutonic incarnation of a spirit which takes many
forms in many lands. Out of the brain of the great German poet he steps,
in a guise which is known and recognized wherever the story of love and
betrayal finds an echo in human hearts. Poor Gretchen! She had heard of
Satan, and had been rocked to sleep by tales of the Loreley, and knew
from her Bible that there was an evil spirit in the world seeking whom
he might devour. But little did she dream, when she stopped her
spinning-wheel to think for a moment of the gallant young lover who
wooed her so ardently, that the glance of his eye was lighted with the
flame of eternal fire, and that the fond words of love he spoke were hot
breathings from the regions of the accursed. Poor Gretchen!

But, my dear Madam, this is all a fable. Mephistopheles--the real,
vital, moving Mephistopheles--has outlived Goethe, and will outlast the
very memory of the unhappy heroine of his noble poem. He walks the
streets to-day as fresh and persuasive as when, in ophidian form, he
haunted that lovely garden which is said to have once stood near the
banks of the Euphrates, and there beguiled the mother of mankind. Your
friend Asmodeus--albeit not the quondam friend of that name for whose
especial amusement he unroofed so many houses in the last century, when
he was suffering from severe lameness--has a discerning eye to pierce
his many disguises. He does not walk our streets now-a-days in red
tights or with tinsel eyes; he does not limp about with a sardonic
laugh; nor could you see the cloven hoof which is said to betray his
identity. Were such the case, the little street-boys would point him
out, and the daily papers, with which his friend Dr. Faustus had so much
to do in their origin, would record his movements with greater eagerness
than they do the comings and goings of generals and governors. No, my
dear Madam, he assumes no such striking costumes. But he brushes by you
in your daily walks, he sits beside you in the car, the theatre, and
even in the church, in respectable, fashionable attire. Frank dickers
with him in his counting-room, Tommy chases him in the play-ground, Mrs.
Asmodeus makes him a fashionable call, and--God help us all!--we
sometimes find him sitting domiciliated at our hearthstones. He changes
like the wizard we used to read of in our wonderful fairy books, who was
an ogre one moment and a mouse the next. He is more potent than the
philosopher's stone; for that changed everything into gold only, while
he becomes, at will, all the ores and alloys of creation. Fortunatus's
wishing-cap and Prince Hussein's tapestry were baby toys to him. They
whisked their owners away to the place where they wished, at the moment,
to be. He is ubiquitous.

He lurks under the liberty-cap of the goddess whose features are stamped
in the shining gold, and his laugh is the clink of the jingling pieces.
He turns himself into a regal sceptre that sways the gaping crowd, and
it becomes a magnet that draws with resistless power the outstretched,
itching palms of men. He takes the witching form of woman, paints her
pulpy cheek with peachy bloom, knots into grace her mass of wavy hair,
lights in her sparkling eye the kindling flame, hangs on her pouting lip
the expectant kiss, and bids her supple waist invite caress; and more
seductive far than gold or power are these cunning lures to win men to
bow down in abject, grovelling worship of his might. My dear Madam, I
would not imply that your beauty and grace are exhibitions of his skill.
By no manner of means! I faithfully believe that Frank was drawn to you
by the holiest, purest, best of emotions. But then, you know, so many of
your lovely sex are under the influence of that cunning gentleman while
they least suspect it. When a poor girl who owns but one jewel on
earth--the priceless one that adorns and ennobles her lowliness--barters
that treasure away for the cheap glitter of polished stones or the
rustling sweep of gaudy silk, is not the basilisk gleam of the
Mephistophelean eye visible in the sparkling of those gewgaws and the
sheen of that stuff? When your friend Asmodeus, honest in his modest
self-respect, is most ignominiously ignored by the stylish Mrs.
Money,--her father was a cobbler,--more noted for brocades than
brains,--or the refined Miss Blood,--her grandfather was third-cousin to
some Revolutionary major,--more distinguished for shallowness than for
spirit,--does he not smile in his sleeve, with great irreverence for the
brocades and the birth, at the easy way in which the old fellow has
wheedled them into his power by tickling their conceit and vanity? He
creeps into all sorts of corners, and lurks in the smallest of
hiding-places. He lies _perdu_ in the folds of _figurante's_ gauze,
nestles under the devotee's sombre veil, waves in the flirt's fan, and
swims in the gossip's teacup. He burrows in a dimple, floats on a sigh,
rides on a glance, and hovers in a thought.

But I would not infer, Madam, that he is the particular pet of the fair,
or that he specially devotes himself to their subjugation. It is certain
that he employs them with his most cunning skill, and sways the world
most powerfully by their regnant charms. But the lords of creation are
likewise the slaves of his will and the dupes of his deception. He
bestrides the nib of the statesman's pen and guides it into falsehood
and treason. He perches on the cardinal's hat and counsels bigotry and
oppression. He sits on the tradesman's counter and bears down the
unweighted scale. He hides in the lawyer's bag and makes specious pleas
for adroit rogues. He slips into the gambler's greasy pack and rolls
over his yellow dice. He dances on the bubbles of the drunkard's glass,
swings on the knot of the planter's lash, and darts on the point of the
assassin's knife. He revels in a coarse oath, laughs in a perjured vow,
and breathes in a lie. He has kept celebrated company in times gone by.
He was Superintendent of the Coliseum when the Christian martyrs were
given to the wild beasts. He was long time a familiar in the Spanish
Inquisition, and adviser of the Catholic priesthood in those days, and
Governor of the Bastile afterwards. He was the king's minister of
pleasure in the days of the latter Louises. He was court chaplain when
Ridley and Latimer were burned. He was Charles IX.'s private secretary
at the time of the St. Bartholomew affair, and Robespierre's right-hand
man in the days of Terror. He was Benedict Arnold's counsellor,
Jefferson Davis's bedfellow, and John Wilkes Booth's bosom friend.

A personage, and yet none ever saw him. His cloven hoof, his twisted
horns, his suit of black, his gleaming eyes, his limbs of flame, are but
the poet's dream, the painter's color. Mephistopheles is but the
creature of our fancy, and exists but in the fears, the passions, the
desires of mankind. He is born in hearts where love is linked with
license, in minds where pride weds with folly, in souls where piety
unites with intolerance. We never meet the roaring lion in our path; yet
our hearts are torn by his fangs and lacerated by his claws. We never
see the sardonic cavalier; yet we hear his specious whisperings in our
ears. The sunlight of truth shines forever upon us; yet we sit in the
cold shadow of error. We put the cup of pleasure to our lips, and quaff,
instead of cooling draughts, the fiery flashes of searing excess. We
long for forbidden delights, and when the fiend Opportunity places them
within our reach, we sign the compact of our misery to obtain them. The
charmed circle this unholy spirit draws around his fatal power is traced
along the devious line that marks our weakness and our ignorance. Storm
as we may, he stands intrenched within our souls, defying all our wrath.
But he shrinks and crouches before us when, bold and fearless, we lift
the cross of truth, and bid him fly the upborne might of our
intelligence. Mephistopheles is an unholy spirit, nestling in the hearts
of myriads of poor human beings who never heard of Goethe. Long after
the mimic scene in which he shares shall have been forgot,--long after
the sirens who have warbled poor Gretchen's joys and sorrows shall have
mouldered in their graves,--long after the witching beauty of the
Frenchman's harmony shall have been forever hushed,--long after the very
language in which the German poet portrayed him shall have passed into
oblivion,--will Mephistopheles carry his diabolisms into the souls of
human kind, and hold there his mystic reign. Yet there are those, and
you find Asmodeus is one, who dream of a day when the Mephistophelean
dynasty is to be overthrown,--when the sappers and miners of the great
army of human progress are to besiege him in his strong-holds, and to
lead him captive in eternal bondage. Of all the guides who lead that
mighty host, none rank above the Faust of whom tradition tells such
wondrous tales. Not the bewigged and motley personage Gounod has sung,
not the impassioned lover Goethe drew, but the great genius who first
taught mankind to stamp its wisdom in imperishable characters, and to
bequeath it unto races yet to rise. The Faust of history shall long
outlive the Faust of wild romance. The victim in the transient poem
shall be a conqueror in the unwritten chronicles of time.

My dear Madam, let us draw around us a charmed circle; not with the
trenchant point of murderous steel, but with the type that Faust gave to
the world. Within its bounds, intelligence and thought shall guard us
safe from Mephistopheles. Come he in whatever guise he may, its subtile
potency shall, like Ithuriel's spear, compel him to display his real
form in all its native ugliness and dread. And we must pass away; yet
may we leave behind, secure in the defence we thus may raise, the dear
ones that we love, to be the parents of an angel race that, in the
distant days to come, shall tread the sod above our long-forgotten dust.



MR. HOSEA BIGLOW'S SPEECH IN MARCH MEETING.

    Jaalam, April 5, 1866.

    MY DEAR SIR,--

(an' noticin' by your kiver thet you're some dearer than wut you wuz, I
enclose the diffrence) I dunno ez I know jest how to interdroce this
las' perduction of my mews, ez Parson Willber allus called 'em, which is
goin' to _be_ the last an' _stay_ the last onless sunthin' pertikler
sh'd interfear which I don't expec' ner I wun't yield tu ef it wuz ez
pressin' ez a deppity Shiriff. Sence M^r Wilbur's disease I hevn't hed
no one thet could dror out my talons. He ust to kind o' wine me up an'
set the penderlum agoin' an' then somehow I seemed to go on tick as it
wear tell I run down, but the noo minister ain't of the same brewin' nor
I can't seem to git ahold of no kine of huming nater in him but sort of
slide rite off as you du on the eedge of a mow. Minnysteeril natur is
wal enough an' a site better'n most other kines I know on, but the other
sort sech as Welbor hed wuz of the Lord's makin' an' naterally more
wonderfle an' sweet tastin' leastways to me so fur as heerd from. He
used to interdooce 'em smooth ez ile athout sayin' nothin' in pertickler
an' I misdoubt he didn't set so much by the sec'nd Ceres as wut he done
by the Fust, fact, he let on onct thet his mine misgive him of a sort of
fallin' off in spots. He wuz as outspoken as a norwester _he_ wuz, but I
tole him I hoped the fall wuz from so high up thet a feller could ketch
a good many times fust afore comin' bunt onto the ground as I see Jethro
C. Swett from the meetin' house steeple up to th' old perrish, an' took
up for dead but he 's alive now an' spry as wut you be. Turnin' of it
over I recclected how they ust to put wut they called Argymunce onto the
frunts of poymns, like poorches afore housen whare you could rest ye a
spell whilst you wuz concludin' whether you'd go in or nut espeshully
ware tha wuz darters, though I most allus found it the best plen to go
in fust an' think afterwards an' the gals likes it best tu. I dno as
speechis ever hez any argimunts to 'em, I never see none thet hed an' I
guess they never du but tha must allus be a B'ginnin' to everythin'
athout it is Etarnity so I'll begin rite away an' any body may put it
afore any of his speeches ef it soots an' welcome. I don't claim no
paytent.


THE ARGYMUNT.

Interducshin, w'ich may be skipt. Begins by talkin' about himself: thet
's jest natur an'

most gin'ally allus pleasin', I b'leeve I 've notist, to _one_ of the
cumpany, an' thet 's more than wut you can say of most speshes of
talkin'. Nex' comes the gittin' the goodwill of the orjunce by lettin'
'em gether from wut you kind of ex'dentally let drop thet they air about
East, A one, an' no mistaik, skare 'em up an' take 'em as they rise.
Spring interdooced with a fiew approput flours. Speach finally begins
witch nobuddy need n't feel obolygated to read as I never read 'em an'
never shell this one ag'in. Subjick staited; expanded; delayted;
extended. Pump lively. Subjick staited ag'in so 's to avide all
mistaiks. Ginnle remarks; continooed; kerried on; pushed furder; kind o'
gin out. Subjick _re_staited; dielooted; stirred up permiscoous. Pump
ag'in. Gits back to where he sot out. Can't seem to stay thair. Ketches
into Mr. Seaward's hair. Breaks loose ag'in an' staits his subjick;
stretches it; turns it; folds it; onfolds it; folds it ag'in so 's 't no
one can't find it. Argoos with an imedginary bean thet ain't aloud to
say nothin' in repleye. Gives him a real good dressin' an' is settysfide
he 's rite. Gits into Johnson's hair. No use tryin' to git into his
head. Gives it up. Hez to stait his subjick ag'in; doos it back'ards,
sideways, eendways, criss-cross, bevellin', noways. Gits finally red on
it. Concloods. Concloods more. Reads sum xtrax. Sees his subjick
a-nosin' round arter him ag'in. Tries to avide it. Wun't du. _Mis_states
it. Can't conjectur' no other plawsable way of staytin' on it. Tries
pump. No fx. Yeels the flore.

You kin spall an' punctooate thet as you please. I allus do, it kind of
puts a noo soot of close onto a word, thisere funattick spellin' doos
an' takes 'em out of the prissen dress they wair in the Dixonary. Ef I
squeeze the cents out of 'em it's the main thing, an' wut they wuz made
for; wut 's left 's jest pummis.

Mistur Wilbur sez he to me onct, sez he, "Hosee," sez he, "in
litterytoor the only good thing is Natur. It 's amazin' hard to come
at," sez he, "but onct git it an' you 've gut everythin'. Wut's the
sweetest small on airth?" sez he. "Noomone hay," sez I, pooty bresk, for
he wuz allus hankerin' round in hayin'. "Nawthin' of the kine," sez he.
"My leetle Huldy's breath," sez I ag'in. "You 're a good lad," sez he,
his eyes sort of ripplin' like, for he lost a babe onct nigh about her
age,--"You 're a good lad; but 't ain't thet nuther," sez he. "Ef you
want to know," sez he, "open your winder of a mornin' et ary season, and
you 'll larn thet the best of perfooms is jest fresh air, _fresh air_,"
sez he, emphysizin', "athout no mixtur. Thet 's wut _I_ call natur in
writin', and it bathes my lungs and washes 'em sweet whenever I git a
whiff on 't," sez he. I offen think o' thet when I set down to write,
but the winders air _so_ ept to git stuck, and breakin' a pane costs
sunthin'.

    Yourn for the last time,

    _Nut_ to be continooed,

    HOSEA BIGLOW.


    I don't much s'pose, hows'ever I should plen it,
    I could git boosted into th' House or Sennit,--
    Nut while the twolegged gab-machine 's so plenty,
    'Nablin' one man to du the talk o' twenty;
    I 'm one o' them thet finds it ruther hard
    To mannyfactur' wisdom by the yard,
    An' maysure off, acordin' to demand,
    The piece-goods el'kence that I keep on hand,
    The same ole pattern runnin' thru an' thru,
    An' nothin' but the customer thet 's new.
    I sometimes think, the furder on I go,
    Thet it gits harder to feel sure I know,
    An' when I 've settled my idees, I find
    'T war n't I sheered most in makin' up my mind;
    'T wuz this an' thet an' t' other thing thet done it,
    Sunthin' in th' air, I could n' seek nor shun it.
    Mos' folks go off so quick now in discussion,
    All th' ole flint locks seems altered to percussion,
    Whilst I in agin' sometimes git a hint
    Thet I 'm percussion changin' back to flint;
    Wal, ef it's so, I ain't agoin' to werrit,
    For th' ole Oueen's-arm hez this pertickler merit,--
    It gives the mind a hahnsome wedth o' margin
    To kin' o' make its will afore dischargin':
    I can't make out but jest one ginnle rule,--
    No man need go an' _make_ himself a fool,
    Nor jedgment ain't like mutton, thet can't bear
    Cookin' tu long, nor be took up tu rare.

    Ez I wuz say'n', I ha'n't no chance to speak
    So 's 't all the country dreads me onct a week,
    But I 've consid'ble o' thet sort o' head
    Thet sets to home an' thinks wut _might_ be said,
    The sense thet grows an' werrits underneath,
    Comin' belated like your wisdom-teeth,
    An' git so el'kent, sometimes, to my gardin
    Thet I don' vally public life a fardin'.
    Our Parson Wilbur (blessin's on his head!)
    'Mongst other stories of ole times he hed,
    Talked of a feller thet rehearsed his spreads
    Beforehan' to his rows o' kebbige-heads,
    (Ef 'twarn't Demossenes, I guess 'twuz Sisro,)
    Appealin' fust to thet an' then to this row,
    Accordin' ez he thought thet his idees
    Their diff'runt ev'riges o' brains 'ould please;
    "An'," sez the Parson, "to hit right, you must
    Git used to maysurin' your hearers fust;
    For, take my word for 't when all 's come an' past,
    The kebbige-heads 'll cair the day et last;
    Th' ain't ben a meetin' sense the worl' begun
    But they made (raw or biled ones) ten to one."

    I 've allus foun' 'em, I allow, sence then
    About ez good for talkin' to ez men;
    They 'll take edvice, like other folks, to keep,
    (To use it 'ould be holdin' on 't tu cheap,)
    They listen wal, don' kick up when you scold 'em,
    An' ef they 've tongues, hev sense enough to hold 'em;
    Though th' ain't no denger we shall loose the breed,
    I gin'lly keep a score or so for seed,
    An' when my sappiness gits spry in spring
    So 's 't my tongue itches to run on full swing,
    I fin' 'em ready-planted in March-meetin',
    Warm ez a lyceum-audience in their greetin',
    An' pleased to hear my spoutin' frum the fence,--
    Comin', ez 't doos, entirely free 'f expense.
    This year I made the follerin' observations
    Extrump'ry, like most other tri'ls o' patience,
    An', no reporters bein' sent express
    To work their abstrac's up into a mess
    Ez like th' oridg'nal ez a woodcut pictur'
    Thet chokes the life out like a boy-constrictor,
    I've writ 'em out, an' so avide all jeal'sies
    'Twixt nonsense o' my own an' some one's else's.

    My feller kebbige-heads, who look so green,
    I vow to gracious thet ef I could dreen
    The world of all its hearers but jest you,
    'T would leave 'bout all tha' is wuth talkin' to,
    An' you, my venerable frien's, thet show
    Upon your crowns a sprinklin' o' March snow,
    Ez ef mild Time had christened every sense
    For wisdom's church o' second innocence,
    Nut Age's winter, no, no sech a thing,
    But jest a kin' o' slippin'-back o' spring,--
    We 've gathered here, ez ushle, to decide
    Which is the Lord's an' which is Satan's side,
    Coz all the good or evil thet can heppen
    Is 'long o' which on 'em you choose for Cappen.

    Aprul 's come back; the swellin' buds of oak
    Dim the fur hillsides with a purplish smoke;
    The brooks are loose an', singing to be seen,
    (Like gals,) make all the hollers soft an' green;
    The birds are here, for all the season 's late;
    They take the sun's height an' don' never wait;
    Soon 'z he officially declares it 's spring
    Their light hearts lift 'em on a north'ard wing,
    An' th'ain't an acre, fur ez you can hear,
    Can't by the music tell the time o' year;
    But thet white dove Carliny scared away,
    Five year ago, jes' sech an Aprul day;
    Peace, that we hoped 'ould come an' build last year
    An' coo by every housedoor, is n't here,--
    No, nor won't never be, for all our jaw,
    Till we 're ez brave in pol'tics ez in war!
    O Lord, ef folks wuz made so 's 't they could see
    The bagnet-pint there is to an idee!
    Ten times the danger in 'em th' is in steel;
    They run your soul thru an' you never feel,
    But crawl about an' seem to think you 're livin',
    Poor shells o' men, nut wuth the Lord's forgivin',
    Till you come bunt agin a real live fact,
    An' go to pieces when you 'd ough' to act!
    Thet kin' o' begnet 's wut we 're crossin' now,
    An' no man, fit to nevvigate a scow,
    'Ould stan' expectin' help from Kingdom Come
    While t' other side druv their cold iron home.

    My frien's, you never gethered from my mouth,
    No, nut one word ag'in the South ez South,
    Nor th' ain't a livin' man, white, brown, nor black,
    Gladder 'n wut I should be to take 'em back;
    But all I ask of Uncle Sam is fust
    To write up on his door, "No goods on trust";
    Give us cash down in ekle laws for all,
    An' they 'll be snug inside afore nex' fall.
    Give wut they ask, an' we shell hev Jamaker,
    Wuth minus some consid'able an acre;
    Give wut they need, an' we shell git 'fore long
    A nation all one piece, rich, peacefle, strong;
    Make 'em Amerikin, an' they'll begin
    To love their country ez they loved their sin;
    Let 'em stay Southun, an' you 've kep' a sore
    Ready to fester ez it done afore.
    No mortle man can boast of perfic' vision,
    But the one moleblin' thing is Indecision,
    An' th' ain't no futur' for the man nor state
    Thet out of j-u-s-t can't spell great.
    Some folks 'ould call thet reddikle; do you?
    'T wuz commonsense afore the war wuz thru;
    _Thet_ loaded all our guns an' made 'em speak
    So 's 't Europe heared 'em clearn acrost the creek;
    "They 're drivin' o' their spiles down now," sez she,
    To the hard grennit o' God's fust idee;
    "Ef they reach thet, Democ'cy need n't fear
    The tallest airthquakes _we_ can git up here."

    Some call 't insultin' to ask _ary_ pledge,
    An' say 't will only set their teeth on edge,
    But folks you 've jest licked, fur 'z I ever see,
    Are 'bout ez mad ez they know how to be;
    It 's better than the Rebs themselves expected
    'Fore they see Uncle Sam wilt down henpected;
    Be kind 'z you please, but fustly make things fast,
    For plain Truth 's all the kindness thet 'll last;
    Ef treason is a crime, ez _some_ folks say,
    How could we punish it a milder way
    Than sayin' to 'em, "Brethren, lookee here,
    We 'll jes' divide things with ye, sheer an' sheer,
    An' sence both come o' pooty strongbacked daddies,
    You take the Darkies, ez we 've took the Paddies;
    Ign'ant an' poor we took 'em by the hand,
    An' the 're the bones an' sinners o' the land."
    I ain't o' those thet fancy there 's a loss on
    Every inves'ment thet don't start from Bos'on;
    But I know this: our money 's safest trusted
    In sunthin', come wut will, thet _can't_ be busted,
    An' thet 's the old Amerikin idee,
    To make a man a Man an' let him be.

    Ez for their l'yalty, don't take a goad to 't,
    But I do' want to block their only road to 't
    By lettin' 'em believe thet they can git
    More 'n wut they lost, out of our little wit:
    I tell ye wut, I 'm 'fraid we 'll drif' to leeward
    'Thout we can put more stiffenin' into Seward;
    He seems to think Columby 'd better act
    Like a scared widder with a boy stiff-necked
    Thet stomps an' swears he wun't come in to supper;
    She mus' set up for him, ez weak ez Tupper,
    Keepin' the Constitootion on to warm,
    Till he 'll accept her 'pologies in form:
    The neighbors tell her he 's a cross-grained cuss
    Thet needs a hidin' 'fore he comes to wus;
    "No," sez Ma Seward, "he 's ez good 'z the best,
    All he wants now is sugar-plums an' rest";
    "He sarsed my Pa," sez one; "He stoned my son,"
    Another edds. "O, wal, 't wuz jest his fun."
    "He tried to shoot our Uncle Samwell dead."
    "'T wuz only tryin' a noo gun he hed."
    "Wal, all we ask 's to hev it understood
    You'll take his gun away from him for good;
    We don't, wal, nut exac'ly, like his play,
    Seein' he allus kin' o' shoots our way.
    You kill your fatted calves to no good eend,
    'Thout his fust sayin', 'Mother, I hev' sinned!'"

    The Pres'dunt _he_ thinks thet the slickest plan
    'Ould be t' allow thet he 's our only man,
    An' thet we fit thru all thet dreffle war
    Jes' for his private glory an' eclor;
    "Nobody ain't a Union man," sez he,
    "'Thout he agrees, thru thick an' thin, with me;
    War n't Andrew Jackson's 'nitials jes' like mine?
    An' ain't thet sunthin' like a right divine
    To cut up ez kentenkerous ez I please,
    An' treat your Congress like a nest o' fleas?"
    Wal, I expec' the People would n' care, if
    The question now wuz techin' bank or tariff,
    But I conclude they 've 'bout made up their mind
    This ain't the fittest time to go it blind,
    Nor these ain't metters thet with pol'tics swings,
    But goes 'way down amongst the roots o' things;
    Coz Sumner talked o' whitewashin' one day
    They wun't let four years' war be throwed away.
    "Let the South hev her rights?" They say, "Thet's you!
    But nut greb hold of other folks's tu."
    Who owns this country, is it they or Andy?
    Leastways it ough' to be the People _and_ he;
    Let him be senior pardner, ef he 's so,
    But let them kin' o' smuggle in ez Co;
    Did he diskiver it? Consid'ble numbers
    Think thet the job wuz taken by Columbus.
    Did he set tu an' make it wut it is?
    Ef so, I guess the One-Man-power _hez_ riz.
    Did he put thru' the rebbles, clear the docket,
    An' pay th' expenses out of his own pocket?
    Ef thet 's the case, then everythin' I exes
    Is t' hev him come an' pay my ennooal texes.
    Was 't he thet shou'dered all them million guns?
    Did he lose all the fathers, brothers, sons?
    Is this ere pop'lar gov'ment thet we run
    A kin' o' sulky, made to kerry one?
    An' is the country goin' to knuckle down
    To hev Smith sort their letters 'stid o' Brown?
    Who wuz the 'Nited States 'fore Richmon' fell?
    Wuz the South needfle their full name to spell?
    An' can't we spell it in thet short-han' way
    Till th' underpinnin' 's settled so 's to stay?
    Who cares for the Resolves of '61,
    Thet tried to coax an airthquake with a bun?
    Hez act'ly nothin' taken place sence then
    To l'arn folks they must hendle facts like men?
    Ain't _this_ the true p'int? Did the Rebs accep' 'em?
    Ef nut, whose fault is 't thet we hev n't kep' 'em?
    War n't there _two_ sides? an' don't it stend to reason
    Thet this week's 'Nited States ain't las' week's treason?
    When all these sums is done, with nothin' missed,
    An' nut afore, this school 'll be dismissed.

    I knowed ez wal ez though I 'd seen 't with eyes
    Thet when the war wuz over copper 'd rise,
    An' thet we 'd hev a rile-up in our kettle
    'T would need Leviathan's whole skin to settle;
    I thought 't would take about a generation
    'Fore we could wal begin to be a nation,
    But I allow I never did imegine
    'T would be our Pres'dunt thet 'ould drive a wedge in
    To keep the split from closin' ef it could,
    An' healin' over with new wholesome wood;
    For th' ain't no chance o' healin' while they think
    Thet law an' gov'ment 's only printer's ink;
    I mus' confess I thank him for discoverin'
    The curus way in which the States are sovereign;
    They ain't nut _quite_ enough so to rebel,
    But, when they fin' it 's costly to raise h----,
    Why, then, for jes' the same superl'tive reason,
    They 're most too much so to be tetched for treason;
    They _can't_ go out, but ef they somehow _du_,
    Their sovereignty don't noways go out tu;
    The State goes out, the sovereignty don't stir,
    But stays to keep the door ajar for her.
    He thinks secession never took 'em out,
    An' mebby he 's correc', but I misdoubt;
    Ef they war n't out, then why, 'n the name o' sin,
    Make all this row 'bout lettin' of 'em in?
    In law, p'r'aps nut; but there 's a diffurence, ruther,
    Betwixt your brother-'n-law an' real brother,
    An' I, for one, shall wish they 'd all ben _som'eres_,
    Long 'z U. S. Texes are sech reg'lar comers.
    But, O my patience! must we wriggle back
    Into th' ole crooked, pettyfoggin' track,
    When our artil'ry-wheels a road hev cut
    Stret to our purpose ef we keep the rut?
    War 's jes' dead waste excep' to wipe the slate
    Clean for the cyph'rin' of some nobler fate.

    Ez for dependin' on their oaths an' thet,
    'T wun't bind 'em more 'n the ribbin roun' my het;
    I heared a fable once from Othniel Starns,
    Thet pints it slick ez weathercocks do barns:
    Once on a time the wolves hed certing rights
    Inside the fold; they used to sleep there nights,
    An', bein' cousins o' the dogs, they took
    Their turns et watchin', reg'lar ez a book;
    But somehow, when the dogs hed gut asleep,
    Their love o' mutton beat their love o' sheep,
    Till gradilly the shepherds come to see
    Things war n't agoin' ez they 'd ough' to be;
    So they sent off a deacon to remonstrate
    Along 'th the wolves an' urge 'em to go on straight;
    They did n' seem to set much by the deacon,
    Nor preachin' did n' cow 'em, nut to speak on;
    Fin'ly they swore thet they 'd go out an' stay,
    An' hev their fill o' mutton every day:
    Then dogs an' shepherds, arter much hard dammin',
    Turned tu an' give 'em a tormented lammin',
    An' sez, "Ye sha' n't go out, the murrain rot ye,
    To keep us wastin' half our time to watch ye!"
    But then the question come, How live together
    'Thout losin' sleep, nor nary yew nor wether?
    Now there wuz some dogs (noways wuth their keep)
    Thet sheered their cousins' tastes an' sheered the sheep;
    They sez, "Be gin'rous, let 'em swear right in,
    An', ef they backslide, let 'em swear ag'in;
    Jes' let 'em put on sheep-skins whilst they 're swearin';
    To ask for more 'ould be beyond all bearin'."
    "Be gin'rous for yourselves, where _you_ 're to pay,
    Thet 's the best practice," sez a shepherd gray;
    "Ez for their oaths they wun't be wuth a button,
    Long 'z you don't cure 'em o' their taste for mutton;
    Th' ain't but one solid way, howe'er you puzzle:
    Till they 're convarted, let 'em wear a muzzle."

    I 've noticed thet each half-baked scheme's abetters
    Are in the hebbit o' producin' letters
    Writ by all sorts o' never-heared-on fellers,
    'Bout ez oridge'nal ez the wind in bellers;
    I 've noticed, tu, it 's the quack med'cines gits
    (An' needs) the grettest heaps o' stiffykits;
    Now, sence I lef' off creepin' on all fours,
    I ha' n't ast no man to endorse my course;
    It 's full ez cheap to be your own endorser,
    An' ef I 've made a cup, I 'll fin' the saucer;
    But I 've some letters here from t' other side,
    An' them 's the sort thet helps me to decide;
    Tell me for wut the copper-comp'nies hanker,
    An' I 'll tell you jest where it 's safe to anchor.
    Fus'ly the Hon'ble B. O. Sawin writes
    Thet for a spell he could n' sleep o' nights,
    Puzzlin' which side wuz preudentest to pin to,
    Which wuz th' ole homestead, which the temp'ry leanto;
    Et fust he jedged 't would right-side-up his pan
    To come out ez a 'ridge'nal Union man,
    "But now," he sez, "I ain't nut quite so fresh;
    The winnin' horse is goin' to be Secesh;
    You might, las' spring, hev eas'ly walked the course,
    'Fore we contrived to doctor th' Union horse;
    Now _we_ 're the ones to walk aroun' the nex' track:
    Jest you take hold an' read the follerin' extrac',
    Out of a letter I received last week
    From an ole frien' thet never sprung a leak,
    A Nothun Dem'crat o' th' ole Jarsey blue,
    Born coppersheathed an' copperfastened tu."

        "These four years past, it hez been tough
        To say which side a feller went for;
        Guideposts all gone, roads muddy 'n' rough,
        An' nothin' duin' wut 't wuz meant for;
        Pickets afirin' left an' right,
        Both sides a lettin' rip et sight,--
        Life war n't wuth hardly payin' rent for.

        "Columby gut her back up so,
        It war n't no use a tryin' to stop her,--
        War's emptin's riled her very dough
        An' made it rise an' act improper;
        'T wuz full ez much ez I could du
        To jes' lay low an' worry thru',
        'Thout hevin' to sell out my copper.

        "Afore the war your mod'rit men
        Could set an' sun 'em on the fences,
        Cyph'rin' the chances up, an' then
        Jump off which way bes' paid expenses;
        Sence, 't wuz so resky ary way,
        _I_ did n't hardly darst to say
        I 'greed with Paley's Evidences.

        "Ask Mac ef tryin' to set the fence
        War n't like bein' rid upon a rail on 't,
        Headin' your party with a sense
        O' bein' tipjint in the tail on 't,
        And tryin' to think thet, on the whole,
        You kin' o' quasi own your soul
        When Belmont's gut a bill o' sale on 't?

        "Come peace, I sposed thet folks 'ould like
        Their pol'tics done ag'in by proxy,
        Give their noo loves the bag an' strike
        A fresh trade with their reg'lar doxy;
        But the drag 's broke, now slavery 's gone,
        An' there 's gret resk they 'll blunder on,
        Ef they ain't stopped, to real Democ'cy.

        "We've gut an awful row to hoe
        In this 'ere job o' reconstructin';
        Folks dunno skurce which way to go,
        Where th' ain't some boghole to be ducked in;
        But one thing 's clear; there _is_ a crack,
        Ef we pry hard, 'twixt white an' black,
        Where the old makebate can be tucked in.

        "No white man sets in airth's broad aisle
        Thet I ain't willin' t' own az brother,
        An' ef he 's heppened to strike ile,
        I dunno, fin'ly, but I 'd ruther;
        An' Paddies, long 'z they vote all right,
        Though they ain't jest a nat'ral white,
        I hold one on 'em good 'z another.

        "Wut _is_ there lef' I 'd like to know,
        Ef 't ain't the difference o' color,
        To keep up self-respec' an' show
        The human natur' of a fullah?
        Wut good in bein' white, onless
        It 's fixed by law, nut lef' to guess,
        Thet we are smarter an' they duller?

        "Ef we 're to hev our ekle rights,
        'T wunt du to 'low no competition;
        Th' ole debt doo us for bein' whites
        Ain't safe onless we stop th' emission
        O' these noo notes, whose specie base
        Is human natur', 'thout no trace
        O' shape, nor color, nor condition.

        "So fur I 'd writ an' could n' jedge
        Aboard wut boat I 'd best take pessige,
        My brains all mincemeat, 'thout no edge
        Upon 'em more than tu a sessige,
        But now it seems ez though I see
        Sunthin' resemblin' an idee,
        Sence Johnson's speech an' veto message.

        "I like the speech best, I confess,
        The logic, preudence, an' good taste on 't,
        An' it 's so mad, I ruther guess
        There 's some dependence to be placed on 't;
        It 's narrer, but 'twixt you an' me,
        Out o' the allies o' J. D.
        A temp'ry party can be based on 't.

        "Jes' to hold on till Johnson's thru'
        An' dug his Presidential grave is,
        An' _then_!--who knows but we could slew
        The country roun' to put in ----?
        Wun't some folks rare up when we pull
        Out o' their eyes our Union wool
        An' larn 'em wut a p'lit'cle shave is!

        "O, did it seem 'z ef Providunce
        _Could_ ever send a second Tyler?
        To see the South all back to once,
        Reapin' the spiles o' the Freesiler,
        Is cute ez though an engineer
        Should claim th' old iron for his sheer
        Because 't wuz him that bust the biler!"

    Thet tells the story! Thet 's wut we shall git
    By tryin' squirtguns on the burnin' Pit;
    For the day never comes when it 'll du
    To kick off Dooty like a worn-out shoe.
    I seem to hear a whisperin' in the air,
    A sighin' like, of unconsoled despair,
    Thet comes from nowhere an' from everywhere,
    An' seems to say, "Why died we? war n't it, then,
    To settle, once for all, thet men wuz men?
    O, airth's sweet cup snetched from us barely tasted,
    The grave's real chill is feelin' life wuz wasted!
    O, you we lef, long-lingerin' et the door,
    Lovin' you best, coz we loved Her the more,
    Thet Death, not we, had conquered, we should feel
    Ef she upon our memory turned her heel,
    An' unregretful throwed us all away
    To flaunt it in a Blind Man's Holiday!"

    My frien's, I 've talked nigh on to long enough.
    I hain't no call to bore ye coz ye 're tough;
    My lungs are sound, an' our own v'ice delights
    Our ears, but even kebbigeheads hez rights.
    It 's the las' time thet I shell e'er address ye,
    But you 'll soon fin' some new tormentor: bless ye!



QUESTION OF MONUMENTS.


In the beautiful life which the English-speaking foreigners lead at
Rome, the great sensations are purely æsthetic. To people who know one
another so familiarly as must the members of a community united in a
strange land by the ties of alien race, language, and religion, there
cannot, of course, be wanting the little excitements of personal gossip
and scandal; but even these have generally an innocent, artistic flavor,
and it is ladies' statues, not reputations, which suffer,--gentlemen's
pictures, not characters, which are called into question; while the
events which interest the whole community are altogether different from
those which move us at home. In the Capital of the Past, people meeting
at the _café_, or at the tea-tables of lady-acquaintance, speak, before
falling upon the works of absent friends, concerning the antique jewel
which Castellani lately bought of a peasant, and intends to reproduce,
for the delight of all who can afford to love the quaint and exquisite
forms of the ancient workers in gems and gold; or they talk of that
famous statue of the young Hercules, dug up by the lucky proprietor, who
received from the Pope a marquisate, and forgiveness of all his debts,
in return for his gift of the gilded treasure. At the worst these happy
children of art, and their cousins the connoisseurs, (every
English-speaking foreigner in Rome is of one class or the other,) are
only drawn from the debate of such themes by some dramatic aspect of the
picturesque Roman politics: a scene between the French commandant and
Antonelli, or the arrest of a restaurateur for giving his guests white
turnips, red beets, and green beans in the same revolutionary plate; or
the like incident.

At home, here, in the multiplicity of our rude affairs, by what widely
different events and topics are we excited to talk! It must be some
occurrence of very terrible, vile, or grotesque effect that can take our
minds from our business. We discuss the ghastly particulars of a
steamboat explosion, or the evidence in a trial for murder; or if the
chief magistrate addresses his fellow-citizens in his colloquial, yet
dignified way, we dispute whether he was not, at the time of the speech,
a martyr to those life-long habits of abstinence from which he is known
to have once suffered calamities spared the confirmed wine-bibber. Once,
indeed, we seemed as a nation to rise to the appreciation of those
beautiful interests which occupy our Roman friends, and once, not a
great while ago, we may be said to have known an æsthetic sensation. For
the first time in our history as a people, we seemed to feel the
necessity of art, and to regard it as a living interest, like commerce,
or manufacturing, or mining, when, shortly after the close of the war,
and succeeding the fall of the last and greatest of its dead, the
country expressed a universal desire to commemorate its heroes by the
aid of art. But we do not husband our sensations as our Roman friends do
theirs: the young Hercules lasted them two months, while a divorce case
hardly satisfies us as many days, and a railroad accident not longer. We
hasten from one event to another, and it would be hard to tell now
whether it was a collision on the Saint Jo line, or a hundred and thirty
lives lost on the Mississippi, or some pleasantry from our merry Andrew,
which distracted the public mind from the subject of monumental honors.
It is certain, however, that, at the time alluded to, there was much
talk of such things in the newspapers and in the meetings. A popular
subscription was opened for the erection of a monument to Abraham
Lincoln at his home in Springfield; each city was about to celebrate him
by a statue in its public square; every village would have his bust or a
funeral tablet; and our soldiers were to be paid the like reverence and
homage. Then the whole affair was overwhelmed by some wave of novel
excitement, and passed out of the thoughts of the people; so that we
feel, in recurring to it now, like him who, at dinner, turns awkwardly
back to a subject from which the conversation has gracefully wandered,
saying, "We were speaking just now about"--something the company has
already forgotten. So far as we have learned, not an order for any
memorial sculpture of Lincoln has been given in the whole country, and
we believe that only one design by an American sculptor has been offered
for the Springfield monument. There is time, however, to multiply
designs; for the subscription, having reached a scant fifty thousand
dollars, rests at that sum, and rises no higher.

But we hope that the people will not altogether relinquish the purpose
of monumental commemoration of the war, and we are not wholly inclined
to lament that the fever-heat of their first intent exhausted itself in
dreams of shafts and obelisks, groups and statues, which would probably
have borne as much relation to the real idea of Lincoln's life, and the
war and time which his memory embodies and represents, as the poetry of
the war has borne. In the cool moments of our convalescence from civil
disorder, may we not think a little more clearly, and choose rather more
wisely than would have been possible earlier?

No doubt there is in every epoch a master-feeling which art must obey,
if it would flourish, and remain to represent something intelligible
after the epoch is past. We know by the Gothic churches of Italy how
mightily the whole people of that land were once moved by the impulses
of their religion (which might be, and certainly was, a thing very
different from purity and goodness): the Renaissance temples remind us
of a studious period passionately enamored of the classic past; in the
rococo architecture and sculpture of a later time, we have the idle
swagger, the unmeaning splendor, the lawless luxury, of an age corrupted
by its own opulence, and proud of its licentious slavery. Had anything
come of the æsthetic sensation immediately following the war, and the
spirit of martial pride with which it was so largely mixed, we should
probably have had a much greater standing-army in bronze and marble than
would have been needed for the suppression of any future rebellion. An
excitement, a tumult, not a tendency of our civilization, would thus
have been perpetuated, to misrepresent us and our age to posterity; for
we are not a military people, (though we certainly know how to fight
upon occasion,) and the pride which we felt in our army as a body, and
in the men merely as soldiers, was an exultation which has already in a
great part subsided. Indeed, the brave fellows have themselves meantime
given us a lesson, in the haste they have made to put off their
soldier-costume and resume the free and individual dress of the
civilian. The ignorant poets might pipe of the glory and splendor of
war, but these men had seen the laurel growing on the battle-field, and
knew

    "Di che lagrime grondi e di che sangue"

its dazzling foliage. They knew that the fighting, in itself horrible,
and only sublime in its necessity and purpose, was but a minor part of
the struggle; and they gladly put aside all that proclaimed it as their
vocation, and returned to the arts of peace.

The idea of our war seems to have interpreted itself to us all as faith
in the justice of our cause, and in our immutable destiny, as God's
agents, to give freedom to mankind; and the ideas of our peace are
gratitude and exultant industry. Somehow, we imagine, these ideas should
be represented in every memorial work of the time, though we should be
sorry to have this done by the dreary means of conventional allegory. A
military despotism of martial statues would be far better than a
demagogy of these virtues, posed in their well-known attitudes, to
confront perplexed posterity with lifted brows and superhuman simpers. A
sublime parable, like Ward's statue of the Freedman, is the full
expression of one idea that should be commemorated, and would better
celebrate the great deeds of our soldiers than bass-reliefs of battles,
and statues of captains, and groups of privates, or many
scantily-draped, improper figures, happily called Liberties.

With the people chosen to keep pure the instinct of the Beautiful, as
the Hebrews were chosen to preserve a knowledge of the Divine, it was
not felt that commemorative art need be descriptive. He who triumphed
the first and second time in the Olympic games was honored with a
statue, but not a statue in his own likeness. Neither need the
commemorative art of our time be directly descriptive of the actions it
celebrates. There is hardly any work of beautiful use which cannot be
made to serve the pride we feel in those who fought to enlarge and
confirm the freedom of our country, and we need only guard that our
monuments shall in no case express funereal sentiment. Their place
should be, not in the cemeteries, but in the busy hearts of towns, and
they should celebrate not only those who fought and died for us in the
war, but also those who fought and lived, for both are equally worthy of
gratitude and honor. The ruling sentiment of our time is triumphant and
trustful, and all symbols and images of death are alien to it.

While the commemoration of the late President may chiefly take visible
shape at the capital, or at Springfield, near the quiet home from which
he was called to his great glory, the era of which he was so grand a
part should be remembered by some work of art in every community. The
perpetuation of the heroic memories should in all cases, it seems to us,
be committed to the plastic arts, and not, as some would advise, to any
less tangible witness to our love for them. It is true that a community
might endow a charity, to be called forever by some name that would
celebrate them, or might worthily record its reverence for them by
purchase of a scholarship to be given in our heroes' names to
generations of struggling scholars of the place. But the poor we have
always with us; while this seems the rare occasion meant for the plastic
arts to supply our need of beautiful architecture and sculpture, and to
prove their right to citizenship among us, by showing themselves
adequate to express something of the spirit of the new order we have
created here. Their effort need not, however, be toward novel forms of
expression. That small part of our literature which has best answered
the want of our national life has been the most jealous in its regard
for the gospels of art, and only incoherent mediums and false prophets
have disdained revelation. Let the plastic arts, in proving that they
have suffered the change which has come upon races, ethics, and ideas in
this new world, interpret for us that simple and direct sense of the
beautiful which lies hidden in the letter of use. There is the great,
overgrown, weary town of Workdays, which inadequately struggled at the
time of our national æsthetic sensation, in all its newspapers, pulpits,
and rostrums, with the idea of a monument to the regiments it sent to
the war. The evident and immediate want of Workdays is a park or public
garden, in which it can walk about, and cool and restore itself. Why
should not the plastic arts suggest that the best monument which
Workdays could build would be this park, with a great triumphal gateway
inscribed to its soldiers, and adorned with that sculpture and
architecture for which Workdays can readily pay? The flourishing village
of Spindles, having outgrown the days of town-pumps and troughs, has
not, in spite of its abundant water-power, a drop of water on its public
ways to save its operatives from drunkenness or its dogs from madness. O
plastic arts! give Spindles a commemorative fountain, which, taking a
little music from the mills, shall sing its heroes forever in drops of
health, refreshment, and mercy. In the inquiring town of Innovation,
successive tides of doubt and revival and spiritualism have left the
different religious sects with little more than their names; let
Innovation build a votive church to the memory of the Innovators sent to
the war, and meet in it for harmonious public worship. At Dulboys and
Slouchers, it must be confessed that they sadly need a new union
school-house and town-hall, (the old school-house at Dulboys having been
at last whittled to pieces, and no town-hall having ever been built in
Slouchers,) and there seems no good reason why these edifices should not
be given the honor to proclaim the pride of the towns in the deeds of
their patriots.

On their part, we hope none of these places will forget that it is bound
to the arts and to itself not to build ignobly in memory of its great. A
commemorative edifice, to whatever purpose adapted, must first be
beautiful, since a shabby or ugly gateway, fountain, or church would
dishonor those to whom it was dedicated; a school-house or town-hall
built to proclaim pride and reverence cannot be a wooden box; but all
must be structures of enduring material and stately architecture. All
should, if possible, have some significant piece of statuary within or
upon them, or at least some place for it, to be afterwards filled; and
all should be enriched and beautified to the full extent of the people's
money and the artist's faculty.

For the money, the citizens will, of course, depend upon themselves; but
may we pray them to beware of the silliness of local pride--(we imagine
that upon reading this paper the cities and towns named will at once
move in the business of monuments, and we would not leave them unadvised
in any particular)--in choosing their sculptors and architects? Home
talent is a good thing when educated and developed, but it must be
taught in the schools of art, and not suffered to spoil brick and mortar
in learning. Our friends, the depraved Italian popes and princes (of
whom we can learn much good), understood this, and called to their
capitals the best artist living, no matter what the city of his birth.
If a famous sculptor or architect happens to be a native of any of the
places mentioned, he is the man to make its monument; and if he is a
native of any other place in the country, he is equally the man, while
home talent must be contented to execute his design.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Mind in Nature; or the Origin of Life, and the Mode of Development of
Animals._ By HENRY JAMES CLARK, A. B., B. S., Adjunct Professor of
Zoölogy in Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. New York: D. Appleton &
Co.

When all lower branches of Natural History have been finally exhausted,
and we begin upon the Natural History of Scientific Men, we shall no
doubt discover why it is necessary for each _savant_ to season his mild
pursuits by some desperate private feud with the nearest brother in the
service. The world of scoffers no doubt revels in this particular
weakness, and gladly omits all the rest of the book, in haste to get at
the personalities. But to the sedate inquirer it only brings dismay. How
painful, as one glides pleasantly on amid "concentric vesicles" and
"albuminous specialization," tracing the egg from the germinal dot to
the very verge of the breakfast-table, to be suddenly interrupted, like
Charles O'Malley's pacific friend in Ireland, by the crack of a
duelling-pistol and the fracture of all the teacups! It makes it all the
worse to know that the brother professor thus assailed is no mean
antagonist, and certainly anything but a non-resistant; and that
undoubtedly in his next book our joys will again be disturbed by an
answering volley.

Yet it should be said, in justice to Professor Clark, that all this
startling fusillade occurs at two or three points only, and that reading
the rest of the book is like a peaceful voyage down the Mississippi
after the few guerilla-haunted spots are passed. The general tone of the
book is eminently quiet, reasonable, and free from partisanship. Indeed,
this studied moderation of statement sometimes mars even the clearness
of the book, and the reader wishes for more emphasis. Professor Clark
loves fact so much better than theory, that he sometimes leaves the
theory rather obscure, and the precise bearing of the facts doubtful. To
this is added the difficulty of a style, earnest and laborious indeed,
but by no means luminous. In a treatise professedly popular, one has a
right to ask a few more facilities for the general reader. It can hardly
be expected of all scientific men to attain the singular success, in
this direction, of Professor Huxley; but the art of popularization is
too important a thing to be ignored, and much may be done to cultivate
the gift by literary training and by persistent effort. The new
researches into the origin of life are awakening the interest of all;
and though the popular tendency is no doubt towards the views mainly
held by Professor Clark, yet most men prefer an interesting speech on
the wrong side of any question to a dull speech in behalf of the right.

When one takes the book piecemeal, however, the author's statements of
his own observations and analysis are so thorough and so admirable, his
drawings so good, and the interest of many separate portions so great,
that it seems hardly fair to complain of the rather fragmentary effect
of their combination, and the rather obscure tenor of the whole.
Professor Clark holds that the old doctrine, _Omne vivum ex ovo_, is now
virtually abandoned by all, since all admit the origin of vast numbers
of animated individuals by budding and self-division. There are, in
fact, types of animals, as the Zoöphyta, where these appear the normal
modes of reproduction, and the egg only an exceptional process. From
this he thinks it but a slight step to admit the possibility of
spontaneous generation, and he accordingly does admit it. Touching the
development theory, his conclusion is that the barriers between the five
great divisions of the animal world are insurmountable, but "that, by
the multiplication and intensifying of individual differences, and the
projection of these upon the branching lines of the courses of
development from a lower to a higher life, the diverse and successively
more elevated types among each grand division have originated upon this
globe." (p. 248.) This sentence, if any, gives the key-note of the book.
To say that this is one of its clearest statements, may help to justify
the above criticisms on the rest.


_A Noble Life._ By the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman," etc. New
York: Harper and Brothers. 1866.

The story of a man born cruelly deformed and infirm, with a body
dwarfish, but large enough to hold a good heart and clear brain,--and of
such a man's living many years of pain, happy in the blessings which his
great wealth and high rank, and, above all, his noble nature, enable him
to confer on every one approaching him,--could hardly have been told
more simply and pathetically than it is in this book, but it might
certainly have been told more briefly. The one slight incident of the
fiction--the marriage of the Earl of Cainforth's _protégée_ and
protectress and dearest friend to his worthless cousin, who, having
found out that the heirless Earl will leave her his fortune, wins her
heart by deceit, and then does his worst to break it--occurs when the
book is half completed, and scarcely suffices to interest, since it is
so obvious what the end must be; while the remaining pages, devoted to
study of the Earl's character, do not develop much that is new in
literature or humanity. Still, the story has its charm: it is healthful,
unaffected, and hopeful; and most people will read it through, and be
better for having done so.


_Literature in Letters; or, Manners, Art, Criticism, Biography, History,
and Morals, illustrated in the Correspondence of Eminent Persons._
Edited by JAMES HOLCOMBE, LL. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1866.

The very comprehensive title of this work leaves us little to say in
explanation of its purpose, and we can only speak in compliment of the
taste with which the editor has performed a not very arduous task. As a
matter of course, the famous epistles of Lady Mary Wortley Montague,
Pope, Horace Walpole, Madame de Sévigné, Miss Burney, Lady Russell, and
Hannah More go to form a large part of the collection; but Mr. Holcombe
has drawn from other sources epistolary material of interest and value,
and has performed a service to literature by including in his book the
occasional letters of great men not addicted to letter-writing, but no
doubt as natural and true to themselves and their time as habitual
letter-writers. It is curious to note the deterioration in the artistic
quality of the letters as the period of their production approaches our
own, when people dash off their correspondence rapidly and incoherently,
instead of bestowing upon it the artifice and care which distinguished
the epistolarians of an elder date, whose letters, fastidiously written,
faithfully read, and jealously kept and shown about in favored circles,
supplied the place of newspapers. The lowest ebb of indifference seems
to be reached in a letter by Daniel Webster, written from Richmond, and
devoted to some very commonplace and jejune praises of morning and early
rising. Except as an instance of our epistolary degeneracy, we could
hardly wish it to have a place in Mr. Holcombe's collection, which is
otherwise so judiciously made.


_The Criterion; or the Test of Talk about Familiar Things. A Series of
Essays._ By HENRY T. TUCKERMAN. New York: Hurd and Houghton. 1866.

Mr. Tuckerman's books, if they possess no great value as works of
original thought, are characterized by the hardly less desirable quality
of unfailing good taste. He has a quiet and meditative way of treating
those topics of literature and art with which he chiefly loves to deal,
and has much in him which reminds of the race of essayists preceding the
brilliant dogmatists of our time; and we confess that we find a great
enjoyment in the lazy mood in which he here gossips of twenty desultory
matters. The name of the present work is, to be sure, a somewhat
formidable mask under which to hide the cheerful visage of a rambler
among Inns, Pictures, Sepulchres, Statues and Bridges, and a tattler of
Authors, Doctors, Holidays, Lawyers, Actors, Newspapers, and Preachers;
but it is only a mask after all, and the talk really tests nothing,--not
even the reader's patience. With much charming information from books
concerning these things, Mr. Tuckerman agreeably blends personal
knowledge of many of the subjects. Bits of reminiscence drift down the
tranquil current of story and anecdote, and there is just enough of
intelligent comment and well-bred discussion to give each paper union
and direction. In fine, "The Criterion" is one of the best of that very
pleasant class of books made for the days of unoccupied men and the
half-hours of busy ones,--which may be laid down at any moment without
offence to their purpose, and taken up again with profit to their
readers.


_The History of Henry the Fifth: King of England, Lord of Ireland, and
Heir of France._ By GEORGE MAKEPEACE TOWLE. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The doubt whether Mr. Towle is writing historical romance or romantic
history must often embarrass the reader of a work uniting the amiable
weaknesses of both species of composition, and presenting much more that
is tedious in narration, affected in style, and feeble in thought, than
we have lately found in any large octavo volume of five hundred pages.
We begin with four introductory chapters recounting the events which led
to the usurpation of Bolingbroke, and the succession of Mr. Towle's hero
to the English throne; we go on with two chapters descriptive of the
youthful character and career of Henry the Fifth; we end with six
chapters devoted to the facts of his reign. Through all this, it appears
to us, we are conducted at a pace of singular equality, not to be
lightened by the triviality of minor incidents, nor greatly delayed by
the most important occurrences. Nearly all the figures of the picture
are in the foreground, and few are more prominent than the least
significant accessory of the landscape; and, for once, it is scarcely
possible to say that the picture would have been better if the painter
had taken more pains. Indeed, we incline to think the contrary, and
would have been willing to accept a result somewhat less labored than
that given us. We confess, for example, that it is a matter of small
interest to us to know that the Duke of Lancaster's wife is the "fair
Blanche"; that, when Katharine consented to wed Henry, "a blush mounted
her clear temple"; that over every part of her wedding dress "glittered
the rarest gems of Golconda"; that Henry's heart "ever beat
affectionately for his beloved isle" of England; that at a certain
moment of the battle of Agincourt a large body of the French forces
"shook in their shoes"; that the crossbow was "an object of wonder and
delight to the children of olden chivalry"; that Shakespeare "caressed
the fame of the hero-king with the richest coruscations of his
genius";--not to name a multitude of other facts stated with equal cost
of thought and splendor of diction. But Mr. Towle spares us nothing, and
sometimes leaves as little to the opinion of his readers as to their
imagination. Having to tell us that Henry learned, in his boyhood, to
play upon the harp, he will not poorly say as much, but will lavishly
declare, "He learned, with surprising quickness, to play upon that
noblest of instruments, the harp"; which is, indeed, a finer turn of
language, but, at the same time, an invasion of the secret preference
which some of us may feel for the bass-viol or the accordion.

The same excellent faculty for characterization serves our historian on
great occasions as well as small ones. Of an intriguing nobleman like
the Duke of Norfolk, he is as prompt to speak as of the harp itself: "He
was one of those politicians who are never contented; who plot and
counterplot incessantly; who are always running their heads fearlessly,
to be sure, but indiscreetly, into danger of decapitation." This fine
analytic power appears throughout the book. Describing the enthusiasm of
the Londoners for Henry of Bolingbroke, and their coldness towards the
captive King Richard, the historian acutely observes: "Ever thus, from
the beginning of the world, have those been insulted who have fallen
from a high estate. The multitude follows successful usurpation, but
never offers a shield to fallen dignity." The bashfulness and silence of
Prince Henry an ordinary writer would perhaps have called by those
names; but Mr. Towle says: "He was neither loud nor forward in giving
his views; he apparently felt that one so young should never seem
dogmatic or positive on questions in regard to which age and learning
were in doubt." Such a sentence might perhaps suggest the idea that Mr.
Towle's History was intended for the more youthful reader, but when you
read, farther on, in the analysis of Henry's character, "It was fitting
that so fine a soul should be illustrated by brilliancy of intellect and
eloquence of speech, that so precious a jewel should be encased in a
casket of beauty and graceful proportion,"--or when you learn, in
another place, that "the eloquence of Stephen Partington stirred the
religious element of Henry's _character, which appreciated and admired_
superior ability of speech,"--we say, you can no longer doubt that Mr.
Towle addresses himself to minds as mature as his own. It is natural
that an historian whose warmth of feeling is visible in his glow of
language should be an enthusiastic worshipper of his hero, and should
defend him against all aspersions. Mr. Towle finds that, if Henry was a
rake in youth and a bigot in manhood, he was certainly a very amiable
rake and a very earnest bigot. "There can be no doubt," says our
historian, in his convincing way, "that he often paused in his reckless
career, filled with remorse, wrestling with his flighty spirit, to
overcome his unseemly sports"; and as to the sincerity of his
fanaticism, "to suppose otherwise is to charge a mere youth with a
hypocritical cunning worthy of the Borgias in their zenith." Masterly
strokes like these are, of course, intended to console the reader for a
want of distinctness in Mr. Towle's narrative, from which one does not
rise with the clearest ideas of the civilization and events of the time
which he describes.

We can understand how great an attraction so brilliant and picturesque
an epoch of history should have for a spirit like Mr. Towle's; but we
cannot help thinking it a pity that he should have attempted to
reproduce, in such an ambitious form, the fancies which its
contemplation suggested. The book is scarcely too large for the subject,
but it is much too large for Mr. Towle, whose grievous fashion of
_padding_ must be plain enough, even in the few passages which we have
quoted from his book. A writer may, by means of a certain dead-a-lively
expansive style of narration, contrived out of turns of expression
adapted from Percy's Reliques, the Waverly Novels, the newspapers, and
the imitators of Thackeray's historical gossip, succeed in filling five
hundred pages, but he will hardly satisfy one reader; and we are
convinced by Mr. Towle's work that, whatever other species of literature
may demand the exercise of a childish imagination,--a weak fancy easily
caught with the prettiness as well as the pomp of words,--a slender
philosophy incapable of grasping the true significance of events,--a
logic continually tripped upon its own rapier,--and a powerful feeling
for anti-climax, with no small sentiment for solecism,--History, at
least, has little to gain from them.


_War of the Rebellion; or, Scylla and Charybdis. Consisting of
Observations upon the Causes, Course, and Consequences of the Late Civil
War in the United States._ By H. S. FOOTE. New York: Harper and
Brothers. 1866.

The slight value which this volume possesses is of a nature altogether
different from that which the author doubtless ascribes to it, though we
imagine most of his readers will agree with us in esteeming it chiefly
for its personal reminiscences of great events and people. As for Mr.
Foote's philosophization of the history he recounts, it is so generally
based upon erroneous views of conditions and occurrences, that we would
willingly have spared it all, if we could have had in its place a full
and simple narrative of his official career from the time he took part
in secession up to the moment of his departure from the Rebel territory.
We find nothing new in what he has to say concerning the character of
our colonial civilization and the unity of our colonial origin; and, as
we get farther from the creation of the world and approach our own era,
we must confess that the light shed upon the slavery question by Mr.
Foote seems but vague and unsatisfactory. A few disastrous years have
separated us so widely from all the fallacies once current here, that
Mr. Foote's voice comes like an utterance from Antediluvia, when he
tells us how compromises continually restored us to complete
tranquillity, which the machinations of wicked people, North and South,
instantly disturbed again. There was once a race of feeble-minded
politicians who thought that, if the Northern Abolitionists and Southern
fire-eaters were destroyed, there could be no possible disagreement
between the sections concerning slavery; and Mr. Foote, surviving his
contemporaries, still clings to their delusions, and believes that the
late war resulted from the conflict of ambitious and unscrupulous men,
and not from the conflict of principles. Now that slavery is forever
removed, it might seem that this was a harmless error enough, and would
probably hurt nobody,--not even Mr. Foote. But the fact is important,
since it is probable that Mr. Foote represents the opinions of a large
class of people at the South, who were friendly to the Union in the
beginning of the war, but yielded later to the general feeling of
hostility. They were hardly less mischievous during the struggle than
the original Secessionists, and, now that the struggle is ended, are
likely to give us even more trouble.

Mr. Foote offers no satisfactory explanation of his own course in taking
part in the Rebel government, which was founded upon a principle always
abhorrent to him, and opposed to all his ideas of good faith and good
policy; but he gives us to understand that he was for a long time about
the only honest man unhanged in the Confederacy. Concerning the
political transactions of that short-lived state, he informs us of few
things which have not been told us by others, and his criticism of
Davis's official action has little to recommend it except its
disapproval of Davis.

We must do Mr. Foote the justice to say that his book is not marred by
any violence towards the great number of great men with whom he has
politically differed; that he frankly expresses his regret for such of
his errors as he now sees, and is not ashamed to be ashamed of certain
offences (like that which won him a very unpleasant nickname) against
good taste and good breeding, which the imperfect civilization of
Southern politicians formerly tempted them to commit. Remoteness from
the currents of modern thought--such as life in a region so isolated as
the South has always been involves--will account for much cast-off
allusion in his book to Greece and Rome, as well as that inflation of
style generally characteristic of Southern literature.


_Poems in Sunshine and Firelight._ By JOHN JAMES PIATT. Cincinnati: R.
W. Carroll & Co. 1866.

Among the best poems of the earlier days of the Atlantic was Mr. Piatt's
"Morning Street," which we think some of our readers may remember even
at this remote period, after so much immortality in all walks of
literature has flourished and passed away. Mr. Piatt later published a
little volume of verses together with another writer of the West; and
yet later, "The Nests at Washington,"--a book made up of poems from his
own pen and from that of Mrs. Piatt. He now at last appears in a volume
wholly his, which we may regard as the work of a mind in some degree
confirmed in its habits of perception and expression.

We must allow to the author as great originality as belongs to any of
our younger poets. It is true that the presence of the all-pervading
Tennyson is more sensibly felt here than in the first poems of Mr.
Piatt; but even here it is very faint, and if the diction occasionally
reminds of him, Mr. Piatt's poems are undoubtedly conceived in a spirit
entirely his own. This spirit, however, is one to which its proper sense
of the beautiful is often so nearly sufficient, that the effort to
impart it is made with apparent indifference. The poet's ideal so wins
him and delights him, in that intangible and airy form which it first
wore to his vision, that he seems to think, if he shall put down certain
words by virtue of which he can remember its loveliness, he shall also
have perfectly realized its beauty to another. We do not know one poem
by Mr. Piatt in which a full and clear sense of his whole meaning is at
once given to the reader; and he is obscure at times, we fear, because
he has not himself a distinct perception of that which he wishes to say,
though far oftener his obscurity seems to result from impatience, or the
flattery of those hollow and alluring words which beset the dreams of
poets, and must be harshly snubbed before they can be finally banished.
There are many noble lines in his poems, but not much unity of effect or
coherence of sentiment; and it happens now and then that the idea which
the reader painfully and laboriously evolves from them is, after all,
not a great truth or beauty, but some curious intellectual toy, some
plaything of the singer's fancy, some idle stroke of antithesis.

In the poem called "At Evening," in which the poet can be so
preposterous as to say,

                            "Twilight steals
    Great stealthy veils of silence over all,"

occur the following lines, full of the tranquil sweetness and the
delicacy of feeling characteristic of Mr. Piatt's best mood:--

    "O, dear to me the coming forth of stars!
    After the trivial tumults of the day
    They fill the heavens, they hush the earth with awe,
    And when my life is fretted pettily
    With transient nothings, it is good, I deem,
    From darkling windows to look forth and gaze
    At this new blossoming of Eternity,
    'Twixt each To-morrow, and each dead To-day;
    Or else, with solemn footsteps modulate
    To spheral music, wander forth and know
    Their radiant individualities,
    And feel their presence newly, hear again
    The silence that is God's voice speaking, slow
    In starry syllables, forevermore."

Such thoughts as these are themselves like the star-rise described, and
shine out distinctly above the prevailing twilight of the book,
everywhere haunted by breaths of fragrance, and glimpses of beautiful
things, which cannot be determined as any certain scent or shape. For
example, who can guess this riddle?

    "Come from my dreaming to my waking heart!
      Awake, within my soul there stands alone
    Thy marble soul; in lonely dreams apart,
      Thy sweet heart fills the stone!"

It is altogether probable that here the poet had some meaning, though it
is entirely eclipsed in its expression. At other times his meaning is
not to be detached from the words by any violence of utterance; and if,
speaking of the winged steed, he says,

    "When in the unbridled fields he flew,"

we understand perfectly that the steed flew unbridled in the limitless
fields. But no thanks to the poet!

Among the poems of Mr. Piatt which we understand best and like most,
"Riding the Horse to Market"--or the poet's experience of offering his
divine faculty to the world's rude uses--is in a spirit of fine and
original allegory; "September" and "Travellers" are very noble sonnets;
"Fires in Illinois," though a little thin in thought, is subtly and
beautifully descriptive, and so is "Sundown," with the exception of a
few such unmeaning lines as

    "Where the still waters glean
    The melancholy scene."

"The Ballad of a Rose" is lovely and pathetic; and in "Riding to Vote"
the poet approaches the excellent naturalness and reality of "The Mower
in Ohio," which is so simple and touching, so full of homelike, genuine
feeling, unclouded by the poet's unhappy mannerism, that we are tempted
to call it his best poem, as a whole, and have little hesitation in
calling it one of the few good poems which the war has yet suggested.
"The Pioneer's Chimney," which is the first thing in the present book,
is almost as free from Mr. Piatt's peculiar defects as "The Mower in
Ohio," and it is a very charming idyl. We observe in it no strife for
remote effect, while there is visible, here and there, as in the lines
below, a delicate and finely tempered power of expression, which can
only come from the patient industry of true art, and from which we
gather more hope for the poet's future than from anything else in the
present book:--

    "The old man took the blow, but did not fall,--
    Its weight had been before. The land was sold,
    The mortgage closed. The winter, cold and long,
    (Permitted by the hand that grasped his all,
    That winter passed he here,) beside his fire,
    He talked of moving in the spring....

                                      "In the spring,
    When the first warmth had brooded everywhere,
    He sat beside his doorway in that warmth,
    Watching the wagons on the highway pass,
    _With something of the memory of his dread
    In the last autumn._"



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