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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866" ***

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available by Cornell University Digital Collections).



THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

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

VOL. XVII.--JUNE, 1866.--NO. CIV.

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. Contractions have been retained as they appear
in each story.



QUICKSANDS.


CHAPTER I.

"This is the seventy-fifth pair! Pretty well for us in so short a time!"
said the Colonel's wife.

"Yes, but we must give Aunt Marian the credit of a very large
proportion; at least ten pairs have come from her."

"I have nothing to do but to knit; none to knit for at home but my cat,"
I replied, rather shortly, to the soft voice that had given me credit
for such extraordinary industry. Afterwards I looked up at Percy Lunt,
and tried to think of some pleasant thing to say to her; but in
vain,--the words wouldn't come. I did not like her, and that is the
truth.

Thirty of us were assembled as usual, at our weekly "Soldiers' Aid
Circle." We always met at the house of her father, Colonel Lunt, because
its parlors were the largest in Barton, and because Mrs. Lunt invited us
to come every week at three o'clock in the afternoon, and stay till
nine, meanwhile giving us all tea. The two parlors, which opened into
each other as no others in Barton did, were handsomely furnished with
articles brought from France; though, for that matter, they did not look
very different from Barton furniture generally, except, perhaps, in
being plainer. Just now the chairs, lounges, and card-table were covered
with blue yarn, blue woollen cloth, unbleached cotton, and other things
requisite for the soldiers. They, the soldiers, had worn out the
miserable socks provided by government in two days' marching, and sent
up the cry, to the mothers and sisters in New England, "Give us such
stockings as you are used to knitting for us!"

That home-cry found its answer in every heart. Not a hand but responded.
Every spare moment was given to the needs of the soldiers. For these
were not the materials of a common army. These were all our own
brothers, lovers, husbands, fathers. And shame to the wife, daughter, or
sister who would know them to be sufferers while a finger remained on
their hands to be moved! So, day by day, at soldiers' meetings, but
much more at home, the army of waiters and watchers wrought cheerfully
and hopefully for the loved ones who were "marching along." In Barton we
knitted while we talked, and at the Lyceum lectures. Nay, we threatened
even to take our knitting to meeting,--for it seemed, as we said, a
great waste of time to be sitting so long idle.

This had gone on for more than months. We had begun to count the war by
years. Did we bate one jot of heart or hope for that? No more than at
the beginning. We continued to place the end of the struggle at sixty or
ninety days, as the news came more or less favorable to the loyal cause.
But despair of the Republic? Never. Not the smallest child in Barton.
Not a woman, of course. And through these life-currents flowing between
each soldier and his home, the good heart and courage of the army was
kept up through all those dismal reverses and bloody struggles that
marked the early part of the years of sixty-two and three.

We kept writing to our Barton boys, and took care of them, both in tent
and field. And in every box sent on to the Potomac went letters from all
the soldiers' families, and photographs to show how fast the children
were growing, and how proud the sisters were of the brave brothers who
were upholding the flag at the price of their lives.

We were very busy to-day at Mrs. Lunt's. She and I cut out shirts for
the rest,--and I took an opportunity to carry one to Percy Lunt, with
some directions, in as kind a voice as I could command, about the
sleeves. She smiled and looked up wistfully in my face, but I turned
away in a hurry to my work. Somehow, I could not forgive her for
troubling my poor Robert. I couldn't before he went, much less now.

I must describe Percy if I can. She was of middling height, and very
delicately formed, with a face as destitute of color as if it had been
carved out of marble. Her dark hair was cut short in her neck, and
parted over her forehead and her even brows. Her eyes were dark and
soft, but almost constantly bent on the floor. She dressed in black, and
wore over her small head a little tarlatan cap as close as a Shaker's.
You might call her interesting-looking, but for a certain listlessness
and want of sympathy with others. She had been married, was not more
than twenty years old at the time I am describing her, and had been in
Barton only about a year, since her husband's death.

As I had neither chick nor child to offer to my country, I was glad to
hear my nephew, Robert Elliott, say that the Barton boys had chosen him
for Captain, and that they were all to start for Boston the next
morning, and go on at once to Fortress Monroe.

This boy's black eyes were very near to my heart,--almost as near as
they were to his own mother's. And when he came in to bid me good by, I
could not look on his pale, resolute face without a sinking, trembling
feeling, do what I would to keep up a brave outside? This was in the
very beginning of the war, when word first came that blood had been shed
in Baltimore; and our Barton boys were in Boston reporting to Governor
Andrew in less than a week after. Now we didn't, one of us, believe in
the bravery of the South. We believed them braggarts and bullies, and
that was all. We believed that, once let them see that the North was not
going to give way to them, they would go back where they came from.

"You will be back in a month, Robert, all of you. Mind, I don't say you
will send these hounds back to their kennels,--rather, send these gentry
back to their ladies' chambers. But I won't say either. Only let them
see that you are ready for a fair stand-up fight, and I'll be bound
they'll be too much astonished to stop running for a week."

So we all said and thought at the North,--all but a few who had been at
the South, and who knew too well how much in earnest it was in its
treason, and how slight was the struggle it anticipated. These few
shuddered at the possibility that stood red and gloomy in the path of
the future,--these few, who knew both sides. Meanwhile both sides most
heartily underrated each other, and had the sincerest reciprocal
disrespect.

"I don't quite think like you, Auntie, but that is, perhaps, because I
was at Charleston. A year at the South, and you understand them a little
differently. But no matter,--they must go back all the same. This is my
pincushion, is it?"

"Yes, and here are thread and needles. But, Rob, nonsense! I say you
will be back in a month. They will begin talking and arguing, and once
they begin that, there will be no fighting. It is like the Chinese, each
side trying to frighten the other."

"Perhaps so," said Robert, in an abstracted way. "Let us hope so, at all
events. I am sure I don't want to shoot anybody. But now I am going to
Colonel Lunt's a little while; shall I find you up when I come back?"

"Come in, any way, and tell me if you have good news."

I knew what he was going to Colonel Lunt's for. He had talked to me
about Percy, and I knew he loved her. If he had not been going away,
perhaps he would have waited longer; for Mr. Lunt (he was Percy's
cousin) had not been dead quite two years. But he said he could not go
away without telling her; and when I remembered all the readings
together, and the walkings and talkings between the two, I thought it
most likely she had already consoled herself. As I said before, I had no
very great love for her.

Not an hour, not fifteen minutes, when Robert returned. He looked paler
than before, and spoke no word, only stared into the fire. At length,
with a pitiful attempt at a smile, he said, "I'm a fool to be vexed
about it,--let her please herself!"

"It is bad news, Robert!" said I softly, laying my hand on his arm. His
hands were clenched hard together.

"Yes, there's no mistake about it. But, Auntie, tell me, am I a fool and
a jackass? didn't you think she liked me?"

"To be sure I did!" I answered decidedly.

"Well, she says she never thought of me,--never!--and she never thought
of marrying again."

The wound wouldn't bear touching,--it was too sore. So I sat silently
with him, holding his hand in mine, and looking into the fire, and in
almost as great a rage as he was. He knew I felt with him, and by and by
he turned to kiss my cheek, but still without a word.

How I wished he could have gone to the conflict with the thought of his
true love warm at his heart? Who deserved it so much? who was so brave,
so heroic, so handsome?--one in ten thousand! And here was this
dead-and-alive Percy Lunt, saying she never thought! "Pah!--just as if
girls don't always think! If there's anything I do detest, it's a
coquette!" The last sentence I unconsciously uttered aloud.

"Don't call her that, Auntie! I really think she didn't know. I wasn't
just to her. I was too angry. When I spoke to her she looked really
distressed and astonished. I am sure that I ought----"

"Nonsense, Robert! she must have seen your feelings. And haven't you
been sending her flowers and books and pictures, and reading to her, and
talking to her the whole time, this three months! Where were her eyes? I
have no patience with her, I say!"

The boy had recovered his sense of justice so much sooner than I! He
smiled sadly, and took both my little old hands in his. "Best of
aunties! what a good hater you are! Now, if you love me, you will be
kind to her, and try to love and comfort her. Somehow she looks very
unhappy."

I could not answer.

"She looked--O so sorry! Auntie, when I spoke, and as if she was too
much astonished to answer me. I do think it was the very last thing in
the world she expected. And after she told me, which she did at once,
that I was mistaken, and she was mistaken, and that we never could be
any more than friends to each other, and I had got up to go away,--for I
was very angry as well as agitated,--she stood looking so pale and so
earnestly at me, as if she must make me believe her. Then she held out
her hands to me, and I thought she was going to speak; but she shook her
head, and seemed so thoroughly distressed, that I tried to smile, and
shake hands cordially, though, I confess, I didn't feel much like it.
But I do now, Auntie,--and you must forgive her for not thinking quite
so much of your Rob as you do."

He took a photograph from his breast-pocket, and kissed it.

"She gave me this; and she wrote on the back the date of to-day, April
16th, 1861. She said she did not want me to remember her as she is now,
but as she was in her happy days. And that they could never come again."

It was a very lovely vignette, taken when she was joyous and
round-faced, and with the curls falling about her cheeks and neck,
instead of the prim little widow's cap she wore now. And instead of the
still, self-contained, suffering look, there was great sweetness and
serenity.

"I don't see why she gave it to you, Rob," said I peevishly; "the best
thing you can do is to forget her, and the kindest thing she could do to
you would be to cut off all hope."

"She did that," he replied; "but she said she could not bear to have me
go where I was going without feeling that I had left a most affectionate
friend, who would watch eagerly for my success, and sympathize with all
my trials. Auntie! who knows?"

I saw by the lighting up of his dark eyes what hope lay at the very
bottom of his soul. And, to be sure, who knew what might be in the
future? At all events, it made him more comfortable now to have this
little, unexpressed, crouching hope, where he could silently caress it
when he was far away from us all. He had all our photographs,--mother,
sister, and aunt.

"And now I must go to Mr. Ford's to-night, and bid them good by. Don't
let any enterprising young lawyer come here and get away all my business
before the month is out. I came within an ace of making a writ only last
week!"

So with smiles he parted from me, and strength was given me to smile
too, the next morning, when he marched by my window, and bowed to me, at
the head of his hundred men. I saw his steady, heroic face, no longer
pale, but full of stern purpose and strength. And so they all
looked,--strong, able, determined. The call took all our young men from
Barton. Not one would remain behind.

And that is why I could not love Percy Lunt. How hard she worked at our
soldiers' club! how gentle and respectful she always was to me! If I had
not been always preoccupied and prejudiced, I might have pitied the
poor, overcharged heart, that showed itself so plainly in the deathly
pallor of the young cheek, and the eyes so weighed down with weeping.
Colonel Lunt and his wife watched her with loving eyes, but they could
do little to soothe her. Every heart must taste its own bitterness. And,
besides, she wasn't their own child.


CHAPTER II.

Every village has its great man and woman, and Colonel Lunt and his wife
were Barton's. Theirs was the only family whose table appointments were
of sufficient elegance to board the preceptor of the academy. All the
Lyceum lecturers stopped at Colonel Lunt's; and Mrs. Lunt was the person
who answered the requirements of Lady Manager for the Mount Vernon
Association, namely, "social position, executive ability, tact, and
persistency."

They were the only family in Barton who had been abroad. The rest of us
stayed at home and admired them. They had not always lived in Barton;
perhaps, if they had, we should not have succumbed so entirely as we all
did, ten years ago, when Colonel Lunt came and bought the Schuyler
place, (so called because General Schuyler stopped there over night on
his way to fight Burgoyne,) and brought his orphan niece and adopted
daughter with him, and also a French governess for the child. These
things were not in Barton style at all; all our children being educated
at the town school, and finished, as means allowed, by three months'
polish at some seminary or other. Of course, in a country town like
Barton, which numbers nearly fifteen hundred inhabitants, there is
enough to interest and occupy every one. What would be gossip and
scandal in a different social condition is pure, kindly interest in
Barton. We know everybody, and his father and mother. Of course each
person has his standing as inevitable and decided as an English
nobleman's. Our social organization is perfect. Our circles are within
and within each other, until we come to the _crème de la crème_ of the
Lunts and six other families. The outer circle is quite extensive,
embracing all the personable young men "who are not embarrassed with
antecedents," as one of our number said. The inner one takes in some
graduates of college,--persons who read all the new books, and give a
tone to Barton. Among the best people are the Elliotts and Robertses.
The lawyers and shopkeepers come in of course, but not quite of
course--anywhere but in Barton--is included the barber. But Mr. Roberts
was an extreme case. He had been destined to literary pursuits, became
consumptive, and was obliged, by unforeseen contingencies, to take up
some light employment, which proved in the end to be shaving. If it had
been holding notes instead of noses, the employment would have been
vastly genteel, I dare say. As it was, we thought about the French
_émigrés_ and _marquises_ who made cakes and dressed hair for a living,
and concluded to admit Mr. Roberts, especially as he married a far-away
Elliott, and was really a sensible and cultivated man. But as we must
stop somewhere, we drew a strict line before the tinman, blacksmith, and
Democrats of all sorts. We are pure-blooded Federalists in Barton, and
were brought up on the Hartford Convention. I think we all fully
believed that a Democrat was unfit to associate with decent people.

As in most New England towns, the young fly from the parent nest as soon
as they are fledged. Out of Barton have gone, in my time, Boston
millionnaires, state secretaries, statesmen, and missionaries,--of the
last, not a few. Once the town was full of odd people, whose
peculiarities and idiosyncrasies ran to seed, and made strange, eventful
histories.

But we have ceased to take such microscopic views of each other since
the railway came within ten miles of us, and are now able to converse on
much more general topics than formerly. Not that there isn't still
opportunity to lament over the flighty nature of kitchen incumbents, and
to look after the domestic interests of all Barton; but I think going to
Boston several times a year tends to enlarge the mind, and gives us more
subjects of conversation. We are quite up in the sculpture at Mount
Auburn, and have our preferences for Bierstadt and Weber. Nobody in
Barton, so far, is known to see anything but horrors in
pre-Raphaelitism. Some wandering Lyceum-man tried to imbue us with the
new doctrine, and showed us engravings of Raphael's first manner, and
Perugino. But we all voted Perugino was detestable, and would none of
him. Besides, none of the Lunts liked him.

In patriotism, Barton would have "knocked under to no man," if the
question had been put to it ten years ago on the Fourth of July. When a
proof of it was required from the pocket, on the occasion before alluded
to, of the Mount Vernon Association, I regret to say the response did
no credit to Barton.

Mrs. Lunt made a great many Lady Assistant Managers in the town, and
sent us forth to gather in the harvest, which we could not doubt would
be plentiful. She herself worded a most touching "appeal to the women of
Barton," and described "the majestic desolation of the spot where the
remains of Washington lie in cold neglect," and asked each one for a
heart-offering to purchase, beautify, and perpetuate a fitting home
where pilgrims from all parts of the Union should come to fill their
urns with the tears of grateful remembrance.

It really seemed unnecessary to urge such a claim on a community like
ours. Yet we found ourselves obliged to exhaust all the persistency and
tact we had. For every conceivable reason Barton refused to respond to
our appeals. The minister, Mr. Ford, declared to me that the sentiment
of loyalty did not exist in America. Sometimes, he said, he wished he
lived under a monarchy. He envied the heartfelt cheers with which
Victoria's name was met, everywhere on British ground. "But you can't
get people to give to Mount Vernon. They are afraid of slavery there.
They are afraid of this, that, and the other; but give they will not."
He handed me a dollar, in a hopeless way, which was a four-hundredth of
his income. The blacksmith's wife would not admit me at all, saying,
"There has been one beggar here already this morning!" The butcher's
wife gave five cents; but I had my doubts about accepting it, for while
I was indignantly relating the desolate condition of the home and tomb
of the Father of his Country, and something about its being a spot only
fit for a wild pelican to live in, the butcher himself passed through
the house, nodding his head at me, and saying loudly, "Not a cent,
wife!" The plasterer, Mr. Rice, a respectable Vermonter, asked me who
Washington was; and Mrs. Goodwin, the cabinet-maker's wife, said
cordially to me, "There 's ten cents towards a tomb. I don't never
expect to go down South myself, but maybe my son'll like to be buried
there." Her son was buried down South, with many more of our brave
Barton boys, little as we thought of it then!

Now, the butcher and baker, the plasterer, and all, have gone to the
war. They have learned what it is to have a country to live for. They
have learned to hold up the old flag through thunderings and blood, and
to die for it joyfully. What a baptism and regeneration it has been!
what a new creation! Behold, old things have passed away, and all has
become new!

Soon after the battle of Cedar Mountain, and Banks's retreat, we had
long, full letters from Robert. He wrote a separate note to me, in which
he said, "Be kind to Percy." It was the very thing I had not been,--had
not felt it possible to be. But, conscience-stricken, I went up to call
at Colonel Lunt's, and read our letters to them. Percy walked home with
me, and we talked over the prospects and reverses of the war. Of course
we would not allow there were any real reverses.

We went on to my little cottage, and I asked her to come in and rest. I
remember it was a very still evening, except for a sad south-wind. The
breeze sighed through the pines in front of the house, like the sound of
distant water. The long lingering of the sun slanted over Percy's brow,
as she sat leaning her head on her hand, and looking away off, as if
over thousands of miles. Her pretty pale fingers were purple with
working on hospital shirts and drawers, and bloody with pricking through
the slipper soles for the wounded men. She was the most untiring and
energetic of all the young people; but they all worked well.

We sat there some time without speaking. I was full of thought and
anxiety, and I supposed she too might feel deeply about Robert.

"Aunt Marian,--may I call you so?" said she softly, at length looking
up.

"Why not, Percy? you always do."

"Only, lately, it has seemed to me you were different."

She crossed the room and sat down on a _tabouret_ so low that she was at
my feet, and took my hand with a humble sweetness that would have
touched any heart less hard than mine.

"I used to love to hear _him_ call you so!" she went on, caressing my
hand, which I did not withdraw, though I should have liked well to do
so, for I did not at all like this attitude we had assumed of penitent
and confessor. "I can't expect you to be just to me, dear Auntie,
because you don't know. But oh! do believe! I never guessed Robert's
feelings for me. How could I think of it,--and I a married woman!"

"Married! Percy!" said I, astonished at her agitation and the tears that
flowed down her pale face like rain.

"Yes," she answered in a voice so low that I could scarcely hear it.

"Not a widow, Percy Lunt! What do you mean?"

"I think--I believe--my husband is living. He was so a few months ago.
But I cannot tell you any more without papa's permission. O, I have
suffered so much! You would pity me if you knew all. But I felt as if I
must tell you this: and then--you would understand how I might have
been, as I was, so wholly preoccupied with my own feelings and interests
as never to guess that Robert's was anything but the regard of a friend.
And, indeed," she added with a sorrowful smile, "I feel so much older
than Robert.--I have gone through so much, that I feel ten years older
than he is. You will believe me, Aunt Marian, and forgive me?"

"It is easy to forgive, poor child!" I said, mingling my tears with
hers. "I have been cruel and hard-hearted to you. But I felt only for
poor Robert, and how could I guess?"

"You couldn't,--and that is why I felt that I must tell you."

"I cannot ask you anything further,--it is very strange."

While Percy kept strong rein on her feelings, her impassive manner had
deceived me. Now that my sympathy with her made me more keenly alive to
her distress, I saw the deep pain in her pale face, and the unnatural
look of grief in one so young. She tied on her hat in her old, hopeless
way, and the ivory smoothness of her face spoke of self-centred and
silent suffering.

"If papa is willing, I shall come to-morrow, and tell you part, at
least, of my sad story; and even if he is not willing, I think I must
tell you a part of it. I owe it to you, Aunt Marian!"

"I shall be at home all day, my dear," I said, kissing the poor, pale
lips with such tender pity as I had never thought to feel for Percy
Lunt.


CHAPTER III.

It was early in September, 1862, and on Sunday morning, the day after I
had received the promise of at least a partial confidence from Percy. We
were to come home together from meeting, and she was to spend the rest
of the day quietly with me. Many a query passed through my mind as I
walked along. I wondered at a thousand things,--at the mysteries that
are directly under our feet,--at the true stories that belong to every
family, and are never known but to the trusted few,--at the many that
are known but to the one heart, whereon they are cut in sharp letters.

As I approached the meeting-house, I saw Mr. Ford talking earnestly with
Colonel Lunt and Mr. Wilder on the porch-step, while the pews were
already full, and the clock pointed to ten minutes past the usual time.
I had myself been detained until late, and had walked rapidly and quite
alone.

The heart of the community was on the _qui vive_ so constantly, that any
unusual sign startled and alarmed every one. A minute more, and Mr. Ford
passed rapidly up the broad aisle, his face pale with excitement.
Instead of the opening prayer, he said to us: "Brethren and sisters!
there has been a great battle,--a terrible battle at Antietam! They have
sent on to the North for aid for the wounded, who are being brought on
as fast as possible to Washington. But they are brought in by thousands,
and everything is needed that any of us can spare."

All of us had risen to our feet.

"I have thought we should best serve and praise our God by ministering
to the sufferings of our brave boys! God knows what afflictions are in
store for us; but all who can aid in this extremity I am sure will do
so, and the blessing of those ready to perish will fall on them."

Mr. Ford ceased speaking. He had two boys with McClellan; and then
Colonel Lunt, in a few words, stated the arrangements which had already
been made by himself and Mr. Wilder, who was a deacon of the church, to
convey any articles that might be contributed to the railroad station
ten miles away. Whatever was gathered together should be brought to the
Common at once, where it would be boxed and put into the wagons.

    "Ah, then and there was hurrying to and fro!"

But one hour later saw Barton Common, an enclosed acre of ground,
covered with every sort of garment that could by any possibility be
useful in a hospital. Besides the incredible numbers of sheets and
pillow-cases, wrappers and stockings, which every housekeeper drew forth
from her stores, notwithstanding her previous belief and assertion that
she "really had nothing more fit to give to the soldiers," there were
countless boxes of jellies, preserves, and dried fruit. Everything
palatable and transportable was brought, with streaming eyes and
throbbing hearts, to the general contribution. From house to house the
electric current of sympathy flowed, and by twelve o'clock Barton Common
was a sight to behold. Seventeen boxes full of all imaginable comforts
and alleviatives set off in four wagons for the railroad station, and
Colonel Lunt himself went on with them to Washington to see that they
were properly and safely delivered. That was a Sunday service for us!

I had been sitting in my little keeping-room, knitting at soldiers'
stockings, (what would Deacon Hall's wife and my mother have thought of
my doing this on a Sunday!) and with the tea ready for drawing, when
Percy came to make her promised visit. She too brought her basket of
gray yarn and knitting-needles. We were not afraid of becoming atheists,
if we did work on a Sunday. Our sheep had all fallen into ditches on the
Sabbath-day, and we should have been worse than Jews not to have laid
hold to get them out. So Percy kept on knitting until after our tea was
ready, and then helped me with the teacups. When we were seated at the
west window on the wide seat together, she put her arm round my neck and
kissed me.

"You will forgive me all, Aunt?"

"O, you know that beforehand!"

"But I shall not tell you very much, and what I do tell is so unpleasant
and mortifying to reveal, that it was only when I told papa my great
reason he was willing I should tell you."

"Tell me just as much, and just as little, as you like, my dear; I am
willing to believe in you without a word," I said. And so it was; and
philosophers may tell, if they can, why it was.

"You remember my governess, Madame Guyot?"

"O, yes, of course, perfectly. Her dreadfully pale face and great black
eyes."

"She was so good to me! I loved her dearly. But after she died, you
remember, they sent me to Paris to a school which she recommended, and
which was really a very good one, and where I was very happy; and it was
after that _we_ travelled so much, and I met--"

"Never mind, my poor dear!" I said, seeing that she was choked with her
sorrowful remembrances, "I can guess,--you saw there the person,--the
young man--"

"I was only seventeen, Aunt Marian! and he was the first man I ever saw
that really interested me at all,--though papa had several proposals for
me from others. But this young man was so different. He really loved me,
I am sure,--or rather I was sure at the time. He was not in good health,
and I think his tall, fragile, spiritual person interested all the
romance of my nature. Look at his picture, and tell me if that is the
face of a bad or a treacherous man!"

Percy opened a red morocco case and handed it to me. I gazed on the face
with deep interest. The light, curling hair and smooth face gave an
impression of extreme youth, and the soft blue eyes had the careless,
serene expression which is often seen in foreigners' eyes, but scarcely
ever in those of Americans. There was none of the keen, business look
apparent in almost every New England face, but rather an abstracted,
gentle expression, as of one interested in poetry or scientific
pursuits,--objects that do not bring him in conflict with his race.

I expressed something of this to Percy, and she said I was right about
the poetry, and especially the gentleness. But he had, in fact, only
been a student, and as yet but little of a traveller. They were to have
travelled together after their marriage.

"It was only six weeks after that, when Charles was obliged to go to the
West Indies on business for his father. It was the sickly season, and he
would not let me go with him. He was to be back in England in five or
six weeks at farthest."

"And--he wasn't lost?"

"Lost to me. Papa heard at one time that he was living at the West
Indies, and after a time he went there to search for him--in vain. Then,
months after, we heard that he had been seen in Fayal. Sometimes I
think--I almost hope he is dead. For that he should be willing to go
away and live without me is so dreadful!"

"You are dressed like a widow?"

"Yes,--I desired it myself, after two years had passed, and not a word
came from Charles. But papa says he has most likely met with a violent
death, and that these rumors of his having been seen in Fayal and in the
West Indies, as we heard once, are only got up to mislead suspicion. You
know papa's great dislike--nay, I may call it weakness--is being talked
about and discussed. And he thought the best way was to say nothing
about the peculiarity or mystery attending my marriage, but merely say I
was a widow. Somebody in Barton said Charles died of a fever, and as
nobody contradicted it, so it has gone; but, Aunt Marian, it is often my
hope, and even belief, that I shall see him again!"

She stopped talking, and hid her face, sobbing heavily, like a grieved
child. Poor thing! I pitied her from my heart. But what could I say?
People are not lost, now-a-days. The difficulty is to be able to hide,
try they ever so much. It looked very dark for this Charles Lunt; and,
by her own account, they had not known much about him. He was a New York
merchant, and I had not much opinion of New York morals myself. From
their own newspapers, I should say there was more wickedness than could
possibly be crammed into their dailies going on as a habit. However, I
said nothing of this sort to poor Percy, whose grief and mortification
had already given her such a look of suffering as belongs only to the
gloomiest experience of life. I soothed and comforted her as well as I
might, and it doesn't always take a similar experience to give
consolation. She said it was a real comfort to tell me about her
trouble, and I dare say it was.

When Colonel Lunt got back from Washington, he had a great deal to tell
us all, which he did, at our next soldiers' meeting, of the good which
the Barton boxes had done. But he said it was a really wonderful sight
to see the amount of relief contributed on that Lord's day, from all
parts of the North, for the wounded. Every train brought in hundreds and
thousands of packages and boxes, filled with comforts and delicacies.
If the boys had been at home, they could not have been cared for more
tenderly and abundantly. And the nurses in the hospitals! Colonel Lunt
couldn't say enough about them. It was a treat to be watched over and
consoled by such ministering angels as these women were! We could
believe that, if they were at all like Anna Ford, who went, she said,
"to help the soldiers bear the pain!" And I know she did that in a
hundred cases,--cases where the men said they should have given up
entirely, if she hadn't held their hands, or their heads, while their
wounds were being dressed. "It made it seem so like their own mother or
sister!"

That fall, I think, Barton put up eighty boxes of blackberry jam. This
wasn't done without such a corresponding amount of sympathy in every
good word and work as makes a community take long leaps in Christian
progress. Barton could not help improving morally and mentally while her
sons were doing the country's work of regeneration; and her daughters
forgot their round tires like the moon, their braidings of hair, and
their tinkling ornaments, while they devoted themselves to all that was
highest and noblest both in thought and action. I was proud of Barton
girls, when I saw them on the hills, in their sun-bonnets, gathering the
fruit that was to be for the healing of the nations.

Soon after Colonel Lunt's return, he told me one day, in one of his
cautious whispers, that he and Mrs. Lunt proposed to take me over to
Swampy Hollow, if it would be agreeable to me. Of course it was; but I
was surprised, when we were fairly shut up in the carriage, to find no
Percy with us.

"We left her at home purposely," said Colonel Lunt, in a mysterious way,
which he was fond of, and which always enraged me.

I don't like mysteries or whisperings, and yet, from an unfortunate
"receptivity" in my nature, I am the unwilling depositary of half the
secrets of Barton. I knew now that I was to hear poor Percy's story over
again, with the Colonel's emendations and illustrations. I was in the
carriage, and there was no getting out of it. Mrs. Lunt was used to him,
and, I do believe, would like nothing better than to hear his old
stories over and over, from January to December. But I wasn't of a
patient make.

Colonel Lunt was a gentleman of the old school, which means, according
to my experience, a person who likes to spend a long time getting at a
joke or telling a story. He was a long time telling this, with the aid
of Mrs. Lunt, who put in her corrections now and then, in a gentle,
wifely way all her own, and which helped, instead of hindering him.

"And now, may I ask, my dear Colonel," said I, when he had finished,
"why don't you, or rather why didn't you tell Percy the whole story?"

The Colonel pulled the check-string. "Thomas! drive slowly home now, and
go round by the Devil's Dishful."

This is one of the loveliest drives about Barton. I knew that the
Colonel's mind was easy.

"What need is there, or was there, to cloud Percy's life with such
knowledge? Why, my dear Miss Elliott, if we all knew what other people
know about us, we should be wretched! No! the mysteries of life are as
merciful as the revelations; let us be thankful for all that we do _not_
know."

"And I am sure we couldn't love Percy any more than we do, let her birth
or circumstances be what they would," said Mrs. Lunt.

"I don't believe in natural affection, myself," said the Colonel; "but
if I did, it would be enough to hear Percy congratulating herself on
being of 'our very own blood,--a real Lunt!' Poor child! why should we
trouble her? And I have often heard her say, she thought any blot on
one's lineage the greatest of misfortunes."

"The reason the Colonel wanted to tell you about Percy was this. Now
that her husband may be dead, who knew all about her, it is just
possible that circumstances may arise that would need the interference
of friends. If we were to die, the secret might die with us. We are sure
it will be safe with you, Aunt Marian, and we think that, as you know
about her husband, you had better know the whole."

Now this whole I propose to tell, myself, in one tenth part of the time
it took the Colonel to tell me, prefacing it with a few facts about
himself, which I guess he does not think that I know, and which relate
to his early beginnings. Of course, all Barton is fully acquainted with
the fact that he was born in the north of Vermont, at "the jumping-off
place." He came to Boston, mostly on foot, and began his career in a
small shop in Cornhill, where he sold bandannas, and the like. This
imports nothing,--only he came by and by to associate with lords and
dukes. And that shows what comes of being an American. He fell among
Perkinses and Sturgises, and after working hard for them in China, and
getting a great deal to do in the "carrying-trade," whatever that may
be, retired on his half-million to Maryland, where he lived awhile,
until he went to Europe. After he returned he bought the Schuyler place,
which had been for sale years and years. But in Barton we like new
things, and we saw no beauty in the old house, with its long walk of
nearly a quarter of a mile to the front door, bordered with box. The
Colonel, whose taste has been differently cultivated, has made a
beautiful place of it, applying some of the old French notions of
gardening, where the trees would admit of being cut into grotesque
shapes, and leaving the shade-trees, stately and handsome, as they
always were. Now to his story in my own words.


CHAPTER IV.

I can't think of a more desolate place than they had in Maryland, by
their own account;--a great, dismal house, without chick or child in it
for years and years;--full of rooms and furniture and black people, and
nowhere the shout and cry of a baby. There was nobody to be anxious
about,--nobody gone away or coming home, or to be wept for, or to be
joyful for;--only their two stupid selves. Madam pottering about the
great house, dusting with a feather duster all the knick-knacks that she
had brought home from Europe, and that she might have just as well
bought in New York after she got home; and he putting up books and
taking them down, riding out on his white horse, and having somebody to
dine once in a while,--_could_ any life be drearier and more tiresome?

Why people who have great empty houses and hearts don't rush into the
street and pick up the first dozen little vagabonds they see, I can't
think. With soap-suds, love, and the tenderest care, why don't they
baptize them, body and soul, and keep them to make music in their silent
halls, and, when their time comes, have something worth to render up to
the child-loving Christ? Especially, why didn't two such affectionate,
tender-hearted persons as Colonel Lunt and his wife? But they did not.
They only waxed duller and duller, sitting there by their Christmas
fires, that warmed no hearts but their own, rapidly growing cold.

They sat alone by their Christmas fire one night, at last, to some
purpose. All the servants had gone off pleasuring somewhere, where it is
to be hoped there were children enough. The Colonel went himself to the
door and brought in a market-basket that stood in the porch. He opened
it by the light of a blazing fire, and Mrs. Lunt guessed, at every
wrapper he turned down, something, and then something else; but she
never guessed a baby. Yet there it lay, with eyes wide open,--a perfect
baby, nobly planned;--a year old or more; and no more afraid of the
Colonel than if it had been in society ten years. The little girl sprang
forward towards him, laughing, and by doing so won his heart at once.
Mrs. Lunt found credentials in the basket, in the shape of a note
written in good English and spelled correctly. The wardrobe of the baby
accompanied her also,--fine and delicately embroidered. The note said
that circumstances of the most painful nature made it imperative to the
mother of this child to keep herself unknown for a time; but meanwhile
begged the charitable care of Colonel Lunt.

The child, of course, took straight hold of their heart-strings. She
made the house ring with her shouts and her healthy glee. She toddled
over everything without restraint; tumbled over Chinese tea-poys and
Japan idols; upset the alabaster Graces in the best parlor, and pulled
every knick-knack out of its proper place.

The worthy couple wondered at the happiness this naughty little thing
brought; and a tyranny, but one very sweet and fair, triumphed in the
decorous parlor and over the decorous old hearts. The baby was in a fair
way of becoming a spoiled pest, when her own mother, in the character of
French _bonne_, and afterwards of governess, came to the rescue. She
told her story, which was rather a strange one, to the Colonel, and they
made an arrangement with her to come and take care of the child. It was
planned between them that Percy (her name is Amy Percival) should
personate the only child of a deceased brother of the Colonel, and be
adopted by him as his own daughter. Thenceforward the poor pale Madame
Guyot took up her abode with them, like Amram's wife at the Egyptian
court. I remember how sad and silent she always was, and how much her
French speech separated her from us all in Barton. No wonder to me now
that she faded day by day, till her life went out. No wonder that she
was glad to exchange those memories of hers, and Percy's duty-kisses,
for the green grave.

When the child was fourteen, the Colonel took her abroad, but before
that time the governess died. In some respects the Colonel's theory of
education was peculiar. Squeers thought it best for people to learn how
to spell windows by washing them,--"And then, you know, they don't
forget. Winders, there 't is." And the Colonel approved of learning
geography by going to the places themselves, and especially of learning
the languages on the spot. This, he contended, was the only correct way,
and enough better than by hammering forever at school-books and masters.
It was in pursuance of this somewhat desultory, but healthful mode of
education, that the family found itself, in 1857, at Baden-Baden.

As usual, there were, in the crowds there assembled for health and
pleasure, a great many English; among them several persons of high rank.
Here were German princes and counts, so plenty that Percy got tired of
wondering they were not more refined and agreeable. She was herself a
great attraction there, and, the Colonel said, had many admirers. Among
the guests was an English family that took great notice of her, and made
many advances towards intimacy. The two young ladies and their father
seemed equally pleased and interested in the Lunts, and when they left
Baden-Baden asked them to make them a visit in the autumn at their house
in Derbyshire.

Thinking of this, I am not much surprised. For the Colonel's manners are
unexceptionably good, with a simplicity and a self-reliance that mark a
true gentleman; while Mrs. Lunt is the loveliest and best-bred woman in
Barton, and consequently fit society for any nobleman.

When the Lunts went to England, in October, they visited these people.
And there they found Charles Lunt, a second-cousin of the Colonel's, a
New-Yorker, and a graduate of Oxford. His father had sent him to England
to be finished off, after Yale had done its best for him here. He and
Percy fell in love immediately, and matters came to a climax.

Colonel Lunt did not desire the connection at all. Charles's mother was
related to the family where they were visiting, and, as he himself
would feel it incumbent on him to state the facts relative to Percy's
birth, he foresaw distinctly only a mortifying relinquishment of the
alliance. Charles was, in fact, on his mother's side, second-cousin to
an English Earl. The name of the Earl I don't give, for the good reason
that the Colonel kept it a secret, and, even if I knew, I should not
wish to reveal it.

Before Colonel Lunt could act on his impressions and decisions, Charles
cut the knot by asking his relative, the Earl, to make proposals for
him. He was of age, with an independent fortune, and could please
himself, and it pleased him to marry Percy.

Then the Colonel asked to see Charles, and he was called in. He began by
declining the connection; but finding this mortifying and mysterious to
both the gentlemen, he ended by a plain statement of such of the facts
as he had been made acquainted with by Madame Guyot.

"I don't know the name of Percy's father," said the Colonel, "the poor
woman would give me no clew to him,--but he may be living,--he may some
time trace and claim her!"

"Does this make any difference to you, Charles?" said the Earl, when
Colonel Lunt had finished.

"Not a jot!" said Charles, warmly. "It isn't likely her father will ever
either trace or claim her; and, if he should even, and all should come
out, why, I care nothing for it,--nothing, I mean, in comparison with
Percy."

Of course then the Colonel had no objections.

"Now, is it best, all things considered," said the Earl, who took the
interest of a father in Charles, "is it best to say anything to Percy of
her real history?"

Charles thought not by any means, and it was so agreed among the three.
The young man left the room to go to his confident wooing, for there was
not much reason to doubt of his fate, and left Colonel Lunt with the
Earl.

"Nothing can be more honorable than your whole proceeding, Colonel, in
this matter. You might have kept the thing quiet, if you had so chosen."

"I always meant to tell any man who really desired to marry Percy," said
the Colonel; "we never can tell what may happen, and I wouldn't be such
a swindler as to keep these facts from him, on which his whole decision
might rest."

The Colonel looked at the Earl,--"looked him straight in the eye," he
said,--for he felt it an imputation on his honor that he could have been
supposed for a moment to do otherwise than he had done. To his surprise
the Earl turned very red, and then very pale, and said, holding out his
hand, "You have kept my secret well, Colonel Lunt! and I thank you for
it!"

"You are Percy's father!" said the Colonel, at once.

The Earl wrung his hand hard. It isn't the English nature to express
much, but it was plain that the past was full of mournful and
distressful remembrances.

"I never thought of it till this instant," said Colonel Lunt, "and I
don't know how I knew it; but it was written in your face. She never
told me who it was!"

"But she wrote to me about you, and about the child. I have watched your
comings and goings these many years. I knew I should meet you where I
did. You may guess my feelings at seeing my beautiful child,--at seeing
how lovely in mind and person she is, and at being unable to call her my
own! I was well punished the first hour after I met you. But my next
hope and desire was to interest you all enough in my own family to
induce you to come here. In fact, I did think you were the depositary of
my secret. But I see I was wrong there."

"Yes," the Colonel said, "Madame Guyot simply informed me the child's
father would never claim her, and that the name was an assumed one. I
saw how it probably was, but I respected her too much to ask anything
which she did not herself choose to reveal. I think she was one of the
loveliest and most superior women I ever saw, though, at the time I
first met her, she showed that her health was fatally undermined. It was
much on her account that I left Maryland for the more equable climate of
Barton."

"You were everything to her that the most tender and noble friends could
be!" said the Earl, warmly. "She wrote me of all your kindness. Now let
me tell you a little about her. She was my sister's governess, and I saw
her in my college vacations. I need not tell you how lovely she was in
her youth. She was no French girl, but a country curate's daughter in
Hampshire. Now, Colonel Lunt, it would have been as impossible for me to
marry that girl--no matter how beautiful, refined, and good--as if she
had been a Hottentot. How often I have wished to throw birth,
connections, name, title, everything, to the winds, that I might take
Amy Percival to my heart and hold her there legally! How I have envied
the Americans, who care nothing for antecedents, to whom birth and
social position are literally nothing,--often not even fortunate
accidents! How many times I have read your papers, and imagined myself
thrown on my own resources only, like so many of your successful men,
and making my own way among you, taking my Amy with me and giving her a
respectable and happy home! But these social cobwebs by which we poor
flies are caught and held,--it is very hard to break them! I was always
going to do right, and always did wrong. After my great wrong to Amy,
which was a pretended marriage, she left me,--she had found out my
villany,--and went to America. She did not write to me until she knew
she must die, and then she related every particular,--all your great
kindness to both her and the child, and the motherly tenderness with
which Mrs. Lunt had endeavored to soften her sufferings. In twenty years
I have changed very much every way, but I have never ceased to feel
self-contempt for my conduct to Amy Percival."

Now a new question arose.

Was it best to reveal this last secret to Charles? He had been content
to take Percy, nameless and illegitimate. The Earl was extremely
unwilling to extend his confidence further than Colonel Lunt. It seemed
to him unnecessary. He said he desired to give Percy the same share of
his property that his other two daughters would receive on their
marriage, but that he could not openly do this without exciting remarks
and provoking unpleasant feelings. Colonel Lunt considered that the
secret was not his to keep or reveal. So nothing was said, and the
marriage took place at the house of the Earl; Colonel Lunt receiving
from Percy's father ten thousand pounds, as some atonement by a wounded
conscience.

"Now," said the Colonel, as he finished his long story, and we drove up
to his house, "I say it was a mean cowardice that kept that man from
doing his daughter justice. But then he was a scoundrel all through. And
now for my reason for telling you. I have my doubts, after all, about
the first marriage. There are the certificate and all the papers safe in
my desk. Earls may die, and worms may eat them,--and so with their sons
and daughters. It isn't among the impossibilities that my little Percy
may be a countess yet! Any way, if an advertisement should appear
calling for heirs to the Earl of Blank, somebody besides me and my
little woman would know all about it."

Mrs. Lunt insisted on my stopping to tea with them, and I had a strange
curiosity to look at Percy Lunt again, surrounded with this new halo,
thrice circled, of mystery. If she only knew or guessed what she really
was!

She sat by the fire, for the evening was a little cool, and, as we came
in, roused herself from her sad posture to give me welcome. How white
her face was! It was grievous to see such a young spirit so
blanched,--so utterly unelastic. If she could receive tidings of his
death, she would reconcile herself to the inevitable; but this wearing,
gnawing pain, this grief at his desertion, this dread of meeting him
again after he had been willing to leave her so long,--death itself
would be less bitter! But there were no words to console her with.

"You have had letters from Robert?" she inquired.

"Only a telegram came saying that the Barton boys were safe. It must
have been a dreadful battle! They say twelve thousand were killed on
each side."

"But you will hear very soon?"

"O, yes," I said, "but Robert must have his hands very full. He will
write as soon as he has a minute of leisure."

Robert was colonel now, and we were very proud of him. He had not yet
received a scratch, and he had been in eleven battles. We felt as if he
bore a charmed life.

After tea, we four sat round the sparkling wood-fire, knitting and
talking, (people in war-time have enough to talk about,) when a loud,
sudden knock at the door startled us. The old knocker thumped again and
again. The servant hurried to the door, and a moment after a man rushed
by him, with swift and heavy steps into the parlor, caught up Percy as
if she had been a feather, and held her tight to his heart and mouth.

He had not taken off his army cap, nor his blue great coat. We all
sprang up at his entrance, of course, but I hadn't a thought who it
could be, until Colonel Lunt called out "_Charles!_"

There he was, to be sure, as alive as he could be, with his great red
beard, and his face tanned and burnt like a brick! He took no notice of
us whatever, only kept kissing Percy over and over, till her face, which
was white as death, was covered with living crimson, and her
heavy-lidded eyes turned to stars for brightness!

After her fashion, Percy still continued undemonstrative, so far as
words went; but she clung most eloquently to his neck with both her
hands, the joyful light from her eyes streaming silently into his. O, it
was fair to see,--this might of human love,--this mystery that needed no
solving! His face shedding fidelity and joyfulness, and her heart
accepting it with a trust that had not one question!

In a few but most eloquent words he told us his adventures. But that
would make a story by itself. A shipwreck,--and capture by Japanese
pirates,--prison,--escape,--landing at Mobile,--pressed into the Rebel
service,--battle,--prisoner to the Union forces,--glad taking of the
oath of allegiance,--interview with General Banks, and service at last
for the North. It was a wild, strange story of suffering, hardships, and
wonderful escapes. Colonel Lunt said he never should have known the man,
nor guessed at him, but for his eyes, he was so altered in every
way,--so rough and strong-looking, with his complexion tanned and
weather-beaten; and he had always been such a delicate, curled darling
of indulgent parents! However, he looked twice the man he was before,
Mrs. Lunt whispered me; and Percy could not take her eyes off him, he
looked so strong and noble, and his face so full of high thoughts.

He had been in several battles, and had been wounded twice. After his
first wound he had been some time in a Southern hospital. "And now I
think of it, Percy," he said, turning suddenly to her, and taking her on
his knee as if she had been a baby, "it was in a hospital that I found
out where you were. You must know that I hadn't the least clew to your
whereabout, and thought of you as most likely still in London. You know
our plan was to travel together for some months, and I could not guess
where you might be, if indeed you were alive. After the battle the other
day, I went into one of the improvised hospitals to look after some
brave fellows of mine, when one of the nurses asked me for directions
as to the burial of some men who had just been brought in. They had
officers' uniforms on, and it was ascertained that they were really
dead. As I turned to give the necessary directions, a man at my side,
who was smoothing down the limbs of one who had just ceased to breathe,
handed me a photograph from the man's breast, all rumpled and bloody. I
recognized it in a moment as yours, Percy,--though how it should have
been in that man's breast, I couldn't see."

Percy and I looked at each other. But we dared not think. He went on.

"I could not recognize him. But he was one of so many who were brought
in on that terrible day after the battle, and except my own company I
scarcely knew any of the officers. But I saw by the photograph where you
were, at least the name on the back was a guide. It was Barton, Mass.,
and the date of April, 1861. So, as I had worked pretty well at
Antietam, Little Mac gave me a week's furlough, and I thought I would
try it!"

"Do you remember at all how he looked?" Mrs. Lunt asked, for I could not
speak.

"The young officer? Yes, Madam, I looked keenly at him, you may be sure.
He was tall and fine-looking, with dark, curling hair, and his regular
features were smiling and peaceful. They mostly look so who are shot
dead at once. And this one had not suffered. He had died at the moment
of triumph."

I went home to fear and to weep. It seemed too certain. And time brought
us the truth. Robert had fallen as he would have chosen to fall, leading
on his men. He was so tall, and he was such a shining mark for death!
But I knew that no din of cannon or roar of battle was loud enough to
overcome the still, small voices of home, and that his last thought was,
as he wrote me it would be, "of you all."

O beautiful, valiant youth! O fearful ploughshare, tearing thy way
through so many bleeding hearts! O terrible throes, out of which a new
nation must be born!



IN THE HEMLOCKS.


Most people receive with incredulity a statement of the number of birds
that annually visit our climate. Very few even are aware of half the
number that spend the summer in their own immediate vicinity. We little
suspect, when we walk in the woods, whose privacy we are intruding
upon,--what rare and elegant visitants from Mexico, from Central and
South America, and from the islands of the sea, are holding their
reunions in the branches over our heads, or pursuing their pleasure on
the ground before us.

I recall the altogether admirable and shining family which Thoreau
dreamed he saw in the upper chambers of Spaulding's woods, which
Spaulding did not know lived there, and which were not put out when
Spaulding, whistling, drove his team through their lower halls. They did
not go into society in the village; they were quite well; they had sons
and daughters; they neither wove nor spun; there was a sound as of
suppressed hilarity.

I take it for granted that the forester was only saying a pretty thing
of the birds, though I have observed that it does sometimes annoy them
when Spaulding's cart rumbles through their house. Generally, however,
they are as unconscious of Spaulding as Spaulding is of them.

Walking the other day in an old hemlock wood, I counted over forty
varieties of these summer visitants, many of them common to other woods
in the vicinity, but quite a number peculiar to these ancient solitudes,
and not a few that are rare in any locality. It is quite unusual to find
so large a number abiding in one forest,--and that not a large
one,--most of them nesting and spending the summer there. Many of those
I observed commonly pass this season much farther north. But the
geographical distribution of birds is rather a climatical one. The same
temperature, though under different parallels, usually attracts the same
birds; difference in altitude being equivalent to the difference in
latitude. A given height above the sea level under the parallel of 30°
may have the same climate as places under that of 35°, and similar Flora
and Fauna. At the head-waters of the Delaware, where I write, the
latitude is that of Boston, but the region has a much greater elevation,
and hence a climate that compares better with the northern part of the
State and of New England. Half a day's drive to the southeast brings me
down into quite a different temperature, with an older geological
formation, different forest timber, and different birds,--even with
different mammals. Neither the little Gray Rabbit nor the little Gray
Fox is found in my locality, but the great Northern Hare and the Red Fox
are seen here. In the last century a colony of beavers dwelt here,
though the oldest inhabitant cannot now point to even the traditional
site of their dams. The ancient hemlocks, whither I propose to take the
reader, are rich in many things beside birds. Indeed, their wealth in
this respect is owing mainly, no doubt, to their rank vegetable growths,
their fruitful swamps, and their dark, sheltered retreats.

Their history is of an heroic cast. Ravished and torn by the tanner in
his thirst for bark, preyed upon by the lumberman, assaulted and beaten
back by the settler, still their spirit has never been broken, their
energies never paralyzed. Not many years ago a public highway passed
through them, but it was at no time a tolerable road; trees fell across
it, mud and limbs choked it up, till finally travellers took the hint
and went around; and now, walking along its deserted course, I see only
the footprints of coons, foxes, and squirrels.

Nature loves such woods, and places her own seal upon them. Here she
shows me what can be done with ferns and mosses and lichens. The soil is
marrowy and full of innumerable forests. Standing in these fragrant
aisles, I feel the strength of the vegetable kingdom and am awed by the
deep and inscrutable processes of life going on so silently about me.

No hostile forms with axe or spud now visit these solitudes. The cows
have half-hidden ways through them, and know where the best browsing is
to be had. In spring the farmer repairs to their bordering of maples to
make sugar; in July and August women and boys from all the country about
penetrate the old Barkpeeling for raspberries and blackberries; and I
know a youth who wonderingly follows their languid stream casting for
trout.

In like spirit, alert and buoyant, on this bright June morning go I also
to reap my harvest,--pursuing a sweet more delectable than sugar, fruit
more savory than berries, and game for another palate than that tickled
by trout.

June, of all the months, the student of ornithology can least afford to
lose. Most birds are nesting then, and in full song and plumage. And
what is a bird without its song? Do we not wait for the stranger to
speak? It seems to me that I do not know a bird till I have heard its
voice; then I come nearer it at once, and it possesses a human interest
to me. I have met the Gray-cheeked Thrush (_Turdus aliciæ_) in the
woods, and held him in my hand; still I do not know him. The silence of
the Cedar-Bird throws a mystery about him which neither his good looks
nor his petty larcenies in cherry time can dispel. A bird's song
contains a clew to its life, and establishes a sympathy, an
understanding, between itself and the admiring listener.

I descend a steep hill, and approach the hemlocks through a large
sugar-bush. When twenty rods distant, I hear all along the line of the
forest the incessant warble of the Red-eyed Flycatcher (_Vireosylvia
olivacea_), cheerful and happy as the merry whistle of a schoolboy. He
is one of our most common and widely distributed birds. Approach any
forest at any hour of the day, in any kind of weather, from May to
August, in any of the Middle or Eastern districts, and the chances are
that the first note you hear will be his. Rain or shine, before noon or
after, in the deep forest or in the village grove,--when it is too hot
for the thrushes or too cold and windy for the warblers,--it is never
out of time or place for this little minstrel to indulge his cheerful
strain. In the deep wilds of the Adirondac, where few birds are seen and
fewer heard, his note was almost constantly in my ear. Always busy,
making it a point never to suspend for one moment his occupation to
indulge his musical taste, his lay is that of industry and contentment.
There is nothing plaintive or especially musical in his performance, but
the sentiment expressed is eminently that of cheerfulness. Indeed the
songs of most birds have some human significance, which, I think, is the
source of the delight we take in them. The song of the Bobolink, to me,
expresses hilarity; the Song-Sparrow's, faith; the Bluebird's, love; the
Cat-Bird's, pride; the White-eyed Fly-catcher's, self-consciousness;
that of the Hermit-Thrush, spiritual serenity; while there is something
military in the call of the Robin, and unalloyed contentment in the
warble of the Red-eyed Vireo.

This bird is classed among the flycatchers, but is much more of a
worm-eater, and has few of the traits or habits of the _Muscicapa_ or
the true _Sylvia_. He resembles somewhat the Warbling Vireo (_Vireo
gilvus_), and the two birds are often confounded by careless observers.
Both warble in the same cheerful strain, but the latter more
continuously and rapidly. The Red-Eye is a larger, slimmer bird, with a
faint bluish crown, and a light line over the eye. His movements are
peculiar. You may see him hopping among the limbs, exploring the under
side of the leaves, peering to the right and left,--now flitting a few
feet, now hopping as many,--and warbling incessantly, occasionally in a
subdued tone, which sounds from a very indefinite distance. When he has
found a worm to his liking, he turns lengthwise of the limb, and bruises
its head with his beak before devouring it.

As I enter the woods the Slate-colored Snowbird (_Fringilla Hudsonia_)
starts up before me and chirps sharply. His protest when thus disturbed
is almost metallic in its sharpness. He breeds here, and is not esteemed
a snowbird at all, as he disappears at the near approach of winter, and
returns again in spring, like the Song-Sparrow, and is not in any way
associated with the cold and the snow. So different are the habits of
birds in different localities. Even the Crow does not winter here, and
is seldom seen after December or before March.

The Snow-Bird, or "Black Chipping-Bird," as it is known among the
farmers, is the finest architect of any of the ground-builders known to
me. The site of its nest is usually some low bank by the roadside near a
wood. In a slight excavation, with a partially concealed entrance, the
exquisite structure is placed. Horse-hair and cow-hair are plentifully
used, imparting to the interior of the nest great symmetry and firmness
as well as softness.

Passing down through the maple arches, barely pausing to observe the
antics of a trio of squirrels,--two gray ones and a black one,--I cross
an ancient brush fence and am fairly within the old hemlocks, and in one
of the most primitive, undisturbed nooks. In the deep moss I tread as
with muffled feet, and the pupils of my eyes dilate in the dim, almost
religious light. The irreverent red squirrels, however, run and snicker
at my approach, or mock the solitude with their ridiculous chattering
and frisking.

This nook is the chosen haunt of the Winter Wren. This is the only place
and these the only woods in which I find him in this vicinity. His voice
fills these dim aisles, as if aided by some marvellous sounding-board.
Indeed, his song is very strong for so small a bird, and unites in a
remarkable degree brilliancy and plaintiveness. I think of a tremulous
vibrating tongue of silver. You may know it is the song of a wren, from
its gushing lyrical character; but you must needs look sharp to see the
little minstrel, especially while in the act of singing. He is nearly
the color of the ground and the leaves; he never ascends the tall trees,
but keeps low, flitting from stump to stump and from root to root,
dodging in and out of his hiding-places, and watching all intruders with
a suspicious eye. He has a very perk, almost comical look. His tail
stands more than perpendicular: it points straight toward his head. He
is the least ostentatious singer I know of. He does not strike an
attitude, and lift up his head in preparation, and, as it were, clear
his throat; but sits there on the log and pours out his music, looking
straight before him, or even down at the ground. As a songster, he has
but few superiors. I do not hear him after the first week in July.

While sitting on this soft-cushioned log, tasting the pungent acidulous
wood-sorrel (_Oxalis acetorella_), the blossoms of which, large and
pink-veined, rise everywhere above the moss, a rufous-colored bird flies
quickly past, and, alighting on a low limb a few rods off, salutes me
with "Whew! Whew!" or "Whoit! Whoit!" almost as you would whistle for
your dog. I see by his impulsive, graceful movements, and his dimly
speckled breast, that it is a Thrush. Presently he utters a few soft,
mellow, flute-like notes, one of the most simple expressions of melody
to be heard, and scuds away, and I see it is the Veery or Wilson's
Thrush. He is the least of the Thrushes in size, being about that of the
common Bluebird, and he may be distinguished from his relatives by the
dimness of the spots upon his breast. The Wood-Thrush has very clear,
distinct oval spots on a white ground; in the Hermit, the spots run more
into lines, on a ground of a faint bluish-white; in the Veery, the marks
are almost obsolete, and a few rods off his breast presents only a dull
yellowish appearance. To get a good view of him you have only to sit
down in his haunts, as in such cases he seems equally anxious to get a
good view of you.

From those tall hemlocks proceeds a very fine insect-like warble, and
occasionally I see a spray _teeter_, or catch the flit of a wing. I
watch and watch till my head grows dizzy and my neck is in danger of
permanent displacement, and still do not get a good view. Presently the
bird darts, or, as it seems, falls down a few feet in pursuit of a fly
or moth, and I see the whole of it, but in the dim light am undecided.
It is for such emergencies that I have brought this gun. A bird in the
hand is worth half a dozen in the bush, even for ornithological
purposes; and no sure and rapid progress can be made in the study
without taking life, without procuring specimens. This bird is a
Warbler, plainly enough, from his habits and manner; but what kind of
Warbler? Look on him and name him: a deep orange or flame-colored throat
and breast; the same color showing also in a line over the eye and in
his crown; back variegated black and white. The female is less marked
and brilliant. The Orange-throated Warbler would seem to be his right
name, his characteristic cognomen; but no, he is doomed to wear the name
of some discoverer, perhaps the first who robbed his nest or rifled him
of his mate,--Blackburn; hence, Blackburnian Warbler. The _burn_ seems
appropriate enough, for in these dark evergreens his throat and breast
show like flame. He has a very fine warble, suggesting that of the
Redstart, but not especially musical. I find him in no other woods in
this vicinity.

I am attracted by another warble in the same locality, and experience a
like difficulty in getting a good view of the author of it. It is quite
a noticeable strain, sharp and sibilant, and sounds well amid the old
trees. In the upland woods of beech and maple it is a more familiar
sound than in these solitudes. On taking the bird in your hand, even if
you are not a young lady, you will probably exclaim, "How beautiful!" So
tiny and elegant, the smallest of the Warblers; a delicate blue back,
with a slight bronze-colored triangular spot between the shoulders;
upper mandible black; lower mandible yellow as gold; throat yellow,
becoming a dark bronze on the breast. Blue Yellow-Back he is called,
though the yellow is much nearer a bronze. He is remarkably delicate and
beautiful,--the handsomest, as he is the smallest, of the Warblers known
to me. It is never without surprise that I find amid these rugged,
savage aspects of Nature creatures so fairy and delicate. But such is
the law. Go to the sea or climb the mountain, and with the ruggedest and
the savagest you will find likewise the fairest and the most delicate.
The greatness and the minuteness of Nature pass all understanding.

Ever since I entered the woods, even while listening to the lesser
songsters, or contemplating the silent forms about me, a strain has
reached my ear from out the depths of the forest that to me is the
finest sound in nature,--the song of the Hermit-Thrush. I often hear him
thus a long way off, sometimes over a quarter of a mile away, when only
the stronger and more perfect parts of his music reach me; and through
the general chorus of Wrens and Warblers I detect this sound rising pure
and serene, as if a spirit from some remote height were slowly chanting
a divine accompaniment. This song appeals to the sentiment of the
beautiful in me, and suggests a serene religious beatitude as no other
sound in nature does. It is perhaps more of an evening than a morning
hymn, though I hear it at all hours of the day. It is very simple, and I
can hardly tell the secret of its charm. "O spheral, spheral!" he seems
to say; "O holy, holy! O clear away, clear away! O clear up, clear up!"
interspersed with the finest trills and the most delicate preludes. It
is not a proud, gorgeous strain, like the Tanager's or the Grosbeak's;
suggests no passion or emotion,--nothing personal,--but seems to be the
voice of that calm, sweet solemnity one attains to in his best moments.
It realizes a peace and a deep, solemn joy that only the finest souls
may know. A few nights ago I ascended a mountain to see the world by
moonlight; and when near the summit the Hermit commenced his evening
hymn a few rods from me. Listening to this strain on the lone mountain,
with the full moon just rounded from the horizon, the pomp of your
cities and the pride of your civilization seemed trivial and cheap.

Whether it is because of their rareness, or an accident of my
observation, or a characteristic trait, I cannot tell, yet I have never
known two of these birds to be singing at the same time in the same
locality, rivalling each other, like the Wood-Thrush or the Veery.
Shooting one from a tree, I have observed another take up the strain
from almost the identical perch in less than ten minutes afterward.
Later in the day, when I had penetrated the heart of the old
Barkpeeling, I came suddenly upon one singing from a low stump, and for
a wonder he did not seem alarmed, but lifted up his divine voice as if
his privacy was undisturbed. I open his beak and find the inside yellow
as gold. I was prepared to find it inlaid with pearls and diamonds, or
to see an angel issue from it.

He is not much in the books. Indeed, I am acquainted with scarcely any
writer on ornithology whose head is not muddled on the subject of our
three prevailing song-thrushes, confounding either their figures or
their songs. A writer in the Atlantic[A] gravely tells us the
Wood-Thrush is sometimes called the Hermit, and then, after describing
the song of the Hermit with great beauty and correctness, coolly
ascribes it to the Veery! The new Cyclopædia, fresh from the study of
Audubon, says the Hermit's song consists of a single plaintive note, and
that the Veery's resembles that of the Wood-Thrush! These observations
deserve to be preserved with that of the author of "Out-door Papers,"
who tells us the trill of the Hair-Bird (_Fringilla socialis_) is
produced by the bird fluttering its wings upon its sides! The
Hermit-Thrush may be easily identified by his color; his back being a
clear olive-brown, becoming rufous on his rump and tail. A quill from
his wing placed beside one from his tail, on a dark ground, presents
quite a marked contrast.

I walk along the old road, and note the tracks in the thin layer of mud.
When do these creatures travel here? I have never yet chanced to meet
one. Here a partridge has set its foot; there, a woodcock; here, a
squirrel or mink; there, a skunk; there, a fox. What a clear, nervous
track Reynard makes! how easy to distinguish it from that of a little
dog,--it is so sharply cut and defined! A dog's track is coarse and
clumsy beside it. There is as much wildness in the track of an animal as
in its voice. Is a deer's track like a sheep's or a goat's? What
winged-footed fleetness and agility may be inferred from the sharp,
braided track of the gray squirrel upon the new snow! Ah! in nature is
the best discipline. I think the sculptor might carve finer and more
expressive lines if he grew up in the woods, and the painter
discriminate finer hues. How wood-life sharpens the senses, giving a new
power to the eye, the ear, the nose! And are not the rarest and most
exquisite songsters wood-birds?

Everywhere in these solitudes I am greeted with the pensive, almost
pathetic note of the Wood-Pewee. Do you know the Pewees? They are the
true Flycatchers, and are easily identified. They are very
characteristic birds, have very strong family traits, and very
pugnacious dispositions. Without any exception or qualification they are
the homeliest or the least elegant birds of our fields or forest.
Sharp-shouldered, big-headed, short-legged, of no particular color, of
little elegance in flight or movement, with a disagreeable flirt of the
tail, always quarrelling with their neighbors and with one another, no
birds are so little calculated to excite pleasurable emotions in the
beholder, or to become objects of human interest and affection. The
King-Bird is the best-dressed member of the family, but he is a
braggart; and, though always snubbing his neighbors, is an arrant
coward, and shows the white feather at the slightest display of pluck in
his antagonist. I have seen him turn tail to a Swallow, and have known
the little Pewee in question to whip him beautifully. From the Great
Crested to the Little Green Flycatcher, their ways and general habits
are the same. Slow in flying from point to point, they yet have a
wonderful quickness, and snap up the fleetest insects with little
apparent effort. There is a constant play of quick, nervous movements
underneath their outer show of calmness and stolidity. They do not scour
the limbs and trees like the Warblers, but, perched upon the middle
branches, wait like true hunters for the game to come along. There is
often a very audible snap of the beak as they arrest their prey.

The Wood-Pewee, the prevailing species in this locality, arrests your
attention by his sweet, pathetic cry. There is room for it also in the
deep woods, as well as for the more prolonged and elevated strains. His
mate builds an exquisite nest of moss on the side of some shelving cliff
or overhanging rock. The other day, passing by a ledge near the top of a
mountain in a singularly desolate locality, my eye rested upon one of
these structures, looking precisely as if it grew there, so in keeping
was it with the mossy character of the rock; and I have had a growing
affection for the bird ever since. The rock seemed to love the nest and
to claim it as its own. I said, What a lesson in architecture is here!
Here is a house that was built, but built with such loving care and such
beautiful adaptation of the means to the end, that it looks like a
product of nature. The same wise economy is noticeable in the nests of
all birds. No bird would paint its house white or red, or add aught for
show.

Coming to a drier and less mossy place in the woods, I am amused with
the Golden-crowned Thrush,--which, however, is no thrush at all, but a
Warbler, the _Sciurus aurocapillus_. He walks on the ground ahead of me
with such an easy gliding motion, and with such an unconscious,
preoccupied air, jerking his head like a hen or a partridge, now
hurrying, now slackening his pace, that I pause to observe him. If I sit
down, he pauses to observe me, and extends his pretty ramblings on all
sides, apparently very much engrossed with his own affairs, but never
losing sight of me. But few of the birds are walkers, most being
hoppers, like the Robin. I recall only five species of the former among
our ordinary birds,--the one in question, the Meadow-Lark, the Tit-Lark,
the Cow-Bunting, and the Water-Wagtail (a relative of the Golden-Crown).

Satisfied that I have no hostile intentions, the pretty pedestrian
mounts a limb a few feet from the ground, and gives me the benefit of
one of his musical performances, a sort of accelerating chant.
Commencing in a very low key, which makes him seem at a very uncertain
distance, he grows louder and louder, till his body quakes and his chant
runs into a shriek, ringing in my ears with a peculiar sharpness. This
lay may be represented thus: "Teacher teacher, teacher, teacher
teacher!"--the accent on the first syllable and each word uttered with
increased force and shrillness. No writer with whom I am acquainted
gives him credit for more musical ability than is displayed in this
strain. Yet in this the half is not told. He has a far rarer song, which
he reserves for some nymph whom he meets in the air. Mounting by easy
flights to the top of the tallest tree, he launches into the air with a
sort of suspended, hovering flight, like certain of the Finches, and
bursts into a perfect ecstasy of song,--clear, ringing, copious,
rivalling the Goldfinch's in vivacity, and the Linnet's in melody. This
strain is one of the rarest bits of bird-melody to be heard. Over the
woods, hid from view, the ecstatic singer warbles his finest strain. In
this song you instantly detect his relationship to the Water-Wagtail
(_Sciurus Noveboracensis_),--erroneously called Water-Thrush,--whose
song is likewise a sudden burst, full and ringing, and with a tone of
youthful joyousness in it, as if the bird had just had some unexpected
good-fortune. For nearly two years this strain of the pretty walker was
little more than a disembodied voice to me, and I was puzzled by it as
Thoreau by his mysterious Night-Warbler, which, by the way, I suspect
was no new bird at all, but one he was otherwise familiar with. The
little bird himself seems disposed to keep the matter a secret, and
improves every opportunity to repeat before you his shrill, accelerating
lay, as if this were quite enough and all he laid claim to. Still, I
trust I am betraying no confidence in making the matter public here. I
think this is pre-eminently his love-song, as I hear it oftenest about
the mating season. I have caught half-suppressed bursts of it from two
birds chasing each other with fearful speed through the forest.

Turning to the left from the old road, I wander, over soft logs and gray
yielding _débris_, across the little trout brook, until I emerge in the
Barkpeeling,--pausing now and then on the way to admire a small,
solitary white flower which rises above the moss, with radical,
heart-shaped leaves, and a blossom precisely like the liverwort except
in color, but which is not put down in my botany,--or to observe the
ferns, of which I count six varieties, some gigantic ones nearly
shoulder-high.

At the foot of a rough, scraggy yellow birch, on a bank of club-moss, so
richly inlaid with partridge-berry and curious shining leaves,--with
here and there in the bordering a spire of the false wintergreen
(_Pyrola rotundifolia_) strung with faint pink flowers and exhaling the
breath of a May orchard,--that it looks too costly a couch for such an
idler, I recline to note what transpires. The sun is just past the
meridian, and the afternoon chorus is not yet in full tune. Most birds
sing with the greatest spirit and vivacity in the forenoon, though there
are occasional bursts later in the day, in which nearly all voices join;
while it is not till the twilight that the full power and solemnity of
the thrush's hymn is felt.

My attention is soon arrested by a pair of Humming-Birds, the
Ruby-Throated, disporting themselves in a low bush a few yards from me.
The female takes shelter amid the branches, and squeaks exultingly as
the male, circling above, dives down as if to dislodge her. Seeing me,
he drops like a feather on a slender twig, and in a moment both are
gone. Then, as if by a preconcerted signal, the throats are all atune. I
lie on my back with eyes half closed, and analyze the chorus of
Warblers, Thrushes, Finches, and Flycatchers; while, soaring above all,
a little withdrawn and alone, rises the divine soprano of the Hermit.
That richly modulated warble proceeding from the top of yonder birch,
and which unpractised ears would mistake for the voice of the Scarlet
Tanager, comes from that rare visitant, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It
is a strong, vivacious strain, a bright noonday song, full of health and
assurance, indicating fine talents in the performer, but not genius. As
I come up under the tree he casts his eye down at me, but continues his
song. This bird is said to be quite common in the Northwest, but he is
rare in the Eastern districts. His beak is disproportionately large and
heavy, like a huge nose, which slightly mars his good looks; but Nature
has made it up to him in a blush rose upon his breast, and the most
delicate of pink linings to the under side of his wings. His back is
variegated black and white, and when flying low the white shows
conspicuously. If he passed over your head, you would note the delicate
flush under his wings.

That bit of bright scarlet on yonder dead hemlock, glowing like a live
coal against the dark background, seeming almost too brilliant for the
severe Northern climate, is his relative, the Scarlet Tanager. I
occasionally meet him in the deep hemlocks, and know no stronger
contrast in nature. I almost fear he will kindle the dry limb on which
he alights. He is quite a solitary bird, and in this section seems to
prefer the high, remote woods, even going quite to the mountain's top.
Indeed, the event of my last visit to the mountain was meeting one of
these brilliant creatures near the summit, in full song. The breeze
carried the notes far and wide. He seemed to enjoy the elevation, and I
imagined his song had more scope and freedom than usual. When he had
flown far down the mountain-side, the breeze still brought me his finest
notes. In plumage he is the most brilliant bird we have. The Bluebird is
not entirely blue; nor will the Indigo-bird bear a close inspection, nor
the Goldfinch, nor the Summer Redbird. But the Tanager loses nothing by
a near view; the deep scarlet of his body and the black of his wings and
tail are quite perfect. This is his holiday suit; in the fall he becomes
a dull green,--the color of the female the whole season.

One of the leading songsters in this choir of the old Barkpeeling is the
Purple Finch or Linnet. He sits somewhat apart, usually on a dead
hemlock, and warbles most exquisitely. He is one of our finest
songsters, and stands at the head of the Finches, as the Hermit at the
head of the Thrushes. His song approaches an ecstasy, and, with the
exception of the Winter Wren's, is the most rapid and copious strain to
be heard in these woods. It is quite destitute of the trills and the
liquid, silvery, bubbling notes that characterize the Wren's; but there
runs through it a round, richly modulated whistle, very sweet and very
pleasing. The call of the Robin is brought in at a certain point with
marked effect, and, throughout, the variety is so great and the strain
so rapid that the impression is as of two or three birds singing at the
same time. He is not common here, and I only find him in these or
similar woods. His color is peculiar, and looks as if it might have been
imparted by dipping a brown bird in diluted pokeberry juice. Two or
three more dippings would have made the purple complete. The female is
the color of the Song-Sparrow, a little larger, with heavier beak, and
tail much more forked.

In a little opening quite free from brush and trees I step down to bathe
my hands in the brook, when a small, light slate-colored bird flutters
out of the bank, not three feet from my head, as I stoop down, and, as
if severely lamed or injured, flutters through the grass and into the
nearest bush. As I do not follow, but remain near the nest, she _chips_
sharply, which brings the male, and I see it is the Speckled Canada
Warbler. I find no authority in the books for this bird to build upon
the ground, yet here is the nest, made chiefly of dry grass, set in a
slight excavation in the bank, not two feet from the water, and looking
a little perilous to anything but ducklings or sandpipers. There are two
young birds and one little specked egg, just pipped. But how is this?
what mystery is here? One nestling is much larger than the other,
monopolizes most of the nest, and lifts its open mouth far above that of
its companion, though obviously both are of the same age, not more than
a day old. Ah! I see;--the old trick of the Cow-Bunting, with a stinging
human significance. Taking the interloper by the nape of the neck, I
deliberately drop it into the water, but not without a pang, as I see
its naked form, convulsed with chills, float down stream. Cruel! So is
Nature cruel. I take one life to save two. In less than two days this
pot-bellied intruder would have caused the death of the two rightful
occupants of the nest; so I step in and divert things into their proper
channel again.

It is a singular freak of Nature, this instinct which prompts one bird
to lay its eggs in the nests of others, and thus shirk the
responsibility of rearing its own young. The Cow-Buntings always resort
to this cunning trick; and when one reflects upon their numbers it is
evident that these little tragedies are quite frequent. In Europe the
parallel case is that of the Cuckoo, and occasionally our own Cuckoo
imposes upon a Robin or a Thrush in the same manner. The Cow-Bunting
seems to have no conscience about the matter, and, so far as I have
observed, invariably selects the nest of a bird smaller than itself. Its
egg is usually the first to hatch; its young overreaches all the rest
when food is brought; it grows with great rapidity, spreads and fills
the nest, and the starved and crowded occupants soon perish, when the
parent bird removes their dead bodies, giving its whole energy and care
to the foster-child.

The Warblers and smaller Flycatchers are generally the sufferers, though
I sometimes see the Slate-colored Snowbird unconsciously duped in like
manner; and the other day, in a tall tree in the woods, I discovered the
Black-throated Green-backed Warbler devoting itself to this dusky,
overgrown foundling. An old farmer to whom I pointed out the fact was
much surprised that such things should happen in his woods without his
knowledge.

From long observation it is my opinion that the male Bunting selects the
nest into which the egg is to be deposited, and exercises a sort of
guardianship over it afterward, lingering in the vicinity and uttering
his peculiar, liquid, glassy note from the tops of the tall trees.

The Speckled Canada is a very superior Warbler, having a lively,
animated strain, reminding you of certain parts of the Canary's, though
quite broken and incomplete; the bird the while hopping amid the
branches with increased liveliness, and indulging in fine sibilant
chirps, too happy to keep silent.

His manners are very marked. He has a habit of curtsying when he
discovers you, which is very pretty. In form he is a very elegant bird,
somewhat slender, his back of a bluish lead-color becoming nearly black
on his crown; the under part of his body, from his throat down, is of a
light, delicate yellow, with a belt of black dots across his breast. He
has a very fine eye, surrounded by a light yellow ring.

The parent birds are much disturbed by my presence, and keep up a loud,
emphatic chirping, which attracts the attention of their sympathetic
neighbors, and one after another they come to see what has happened. The
Chestnut-Sided and the Blackburnian come in company. The
Black-and-Yellow Warbler pauses a moment and hastens away; the Maryland
Yellow-Throat peeps shyly from the lower bushes and utters his "Fip!
fip!" in sympathy; the Wood-Pewee comes straight to the tree overhead,
and the Red-eyed Vireo lingers and lingers, eying me with a curious,
innocent look, evidently much puzzled. But all disappear again, one
after another, apparently without a word of condolence or encouragement
to the distressed pair. I have often noticed among birds this show of
sympathy,--if indeed it be sympathy, and not merely curiosity, or a
feeling of doubt concerning their own safety.

An hour afterward I approach the place, find all still, and the mother
bird upon the nest. As I draw near she seems to sit closer, her eyes
growing large with an inexpressibly wild, beautiful look. She keeps her
place till I am within two paces of her, when she flutters away as at
first. In the brief interval the remaining egg has hatched, and the two
little nestlings lift their heads without being jostled or overreached
by any strange bedfellow. A week afterward and they are flown away,--so
brief is the infancy of birds. And the wonder is that they escape, even
for this short time, the skunks and minks and muskrats that abound here,
and that have a decided partiality for such tidbits.

I pass on through the old Barkpeeling, now threading an old cow-path or
an overgrown wood-road; now clambering over soft and decayed logs, or
forcing my way through a network of briers and hazel; now entering a
perfect bower of wild-cherry, beech, and soft-maple; now emerging into a
little grassy lane, golden with buttercups or white with daisies, or
wading waist-deep in the red raspberry-bushes.

Whir! whir! whir! and a brood of half-grown Partridges start up like an
explosion, a few paces from me, and, scattering, disappear in the bushes
on all sides. Let me sit down here behind this screen of ferns and
briers, and hear this wild-hen of the woods call together her brood.
Have you observed at what an early age the Partridge flies? Nature seems
to concentrate her energies on the wing, making the safety of the bird a
point to be looked after first; and while the body is covered with down,
and no signs of feathers are visible, the wing-quills sprout and unfold,
and in an incredibly short time the young make fair headway in flying.

The same rapid development of wing may be observed in chickens and
turkeys, but not in water-fowls, nor in birds that are safely housed in
the nest till full-fledged. The other day, by a brook, I came suddenly
upon a young Sandpiper, a most beautiful creature, enveloped in a soft
gray down, swift and nimble, and apparently a week or two old, but with
no signs of plumage either of body or wing. And it needed none, for it
escaped me by taking to the water as readily as if it had flown with
wings.

Hark! There arises over there in the brush a soft, persuasive cooing, a
sound so subtile and wild and unobtrusive that it requires the most
alert and watchful ear to hear it. How gentle and solicitous and full of
yearning love! It is the voice of the mother hen. Presently a faint,
timid "Yeap!" which almost eludes the ear, is heard in various
directions,--the young responding. As no danger seems near, the cooing
of the parent bird is soon a very audible clucking call, and the young
move cautiously in the direction. Let me step never so carefully from my
hiding-place, and all sounds instantly cease, and I search in vain for
either parent or young.

The Partridge (_Bonasa umbellus_) is one of our most native and
characteristic birds. The woods seem good to be in where I find him. He
gives a habitable air to the forest, and one feels as if the rightful
occupant was really at home. The woods where I do not find him seem to
want something, as if suffering from some neglect of Nature. And then he
is such a splendid success, so hardy and vigorous. I think he enjoys the
cold and the snow. His wings seem to rustle with more fervency in
midwinter. If the snow falls very fast, and promises a heavy storm, he
will complacently sit down and allow himself to be snowed under.
Approaching him at such times, he suddenly bursts out of the snow at
your feet, scattering the flakes in all directions, and goes humming
away through the woods like a bomb-shell,--a picture of native spirit
and success.

His drum is one of the most welcome and beautiful sounds of spring.
Scarcely have the trees showed their buds, when, in the still April
mornings, or toward nightfall, you hear the hum of his devoted wings. He
selects not, as you would predict, a dry and resinous log, but a decayed
and crumbling one, seeming to give the preference to old oak-logs that
are partially blended with the soil. If a log to his taste cannot be
found, he sets up his altar on a rock, which becomes resonant beneath
his fervent blows. Have you seen the Partridge drum? It is the next
thing to catching a weasel asleep, though by much caution and tact it
may be done. He does not hug the log, but stands very erect, expands his
ruff, gives two introductory blows, pauses half a second, and then
resumes, striking faster and faster till the sound becomes a continuous,
unbroken whir, the whole lasting less than half a minute. The tips of
his wings barely brush the log, so that the sound is produced rather by
the force of the blows upon the air and upon his own body as in flying.
One log will be used for many years, though not by the same drummer. It
seems to be a sort of temple, and held in great respect. The bird always
approaches it on foot, and leaves it in the same quiet manner, unless
rudely disturbed. He is very cunning, though his wit is not profound. It
is very difficult to approach him by stealth; you will try many times
before succeeding; but seem to pass by him in a great hurry, making all
the noise possible, and with plumage furled he stands as immovable as a
knot, allowing you a good view and a good shot, if you are a sportsman.

Passing along one of the old barkpeelers' roads which wander aimlessly
about, I am attracted by a singularly brilliant and emphatic warble,
proceeding from the low bushes, and quickly suggesting the voice of the
Maryland Yellow-Throat. Presently the singer hops up on a dry twig, and
gives me a good view. Lead-colored head and neck, becoming nearly black
on the breast; clear olive-green back, and yellow belly. From his habit
of keeping near the ground, even hopping upon it occasionally, I know
him to be a Ground-Warbler; from his dark breast the ornithologist has
added the expletive Mourning, hence the Mourning Ground-Warbler.

Of this bird both Wilson and Audubon confessed their comparative
ignorance, neither ever having seen its nest or become acquainted with
its haunts and general habits. Its song is quite striking and novel,
though its voice at once suggests the class of Warblers, to which it
belongs. It is very shy and wary, flying but a few feet at a time, and
studiously concealing itself from your view. I discover but one pair
here. The female has food in her beak, but carefully avoids betraying
the locality of her nest. The Ground-Warblers all have one notable
feature,--very beautiful legs, as white and delicate as if they had
always worn silk stockings and satin slippers. High tree Warblers have
dark brown or black legs and more brilliant plumage, but less musical
ability.

The Chestnut-Sided belongs to the latter class. He is quite common in
these woods, as in all the woods about. He is one of the rarest and
handsomest of the Warblers; his white breast and throat, chestnut sides,
and yellow crown show conspicuously. Audubon did not know his haunts,
and had never seen his nest or known any naturalist who had. Last year I
found the nest of one in an uplying beech-wood, in a low bush near the
roadside, where cows passed and browsed daily. Things went on smoothly
till the Cow-Bunting stole her egg into it, when other mishaps followed,
and the nest was soon empty. A characteristic attitude of the male
during this season is a slight drooping of the wings, and tail a little
elevated, which gives him a very smart, bantam-like appearance. His song
is fine and hurried, and not much of itself, but has its place in the
general chorus.

A far sweeter strain, falling on the ear with the true sylvan cadence,
is that of the Black-throated Green-backed Warbler, whom I meet at
various points. He has no superiors among the true _Sylvia_. His song is
very plain and simple, but remarkably pure and tender, and might be
indicated by straight lines, thus, ---- ----\/----; the first two marks
representing two sweet, silvery notes, in the same pitch of voice, and
quite unaccented; the latter marks, the concluding notes, wherein the
tone and inflection are changed. The throat and breast of the male are a
rich black, like velvet, his face yellow, and his back a yellowish
green.

Beyond the Barkpeeling, where the woods are mingled hemlock, beech, and
birch, the languid midsummer note of the Black-throated Blue-Back falls
on my ear. "Twea, twea, twea-e-e!" in the upward slide, and with the
peculiar _z-ing_ of certain insects, but not destitute of a certain
plaintive cadence. It is one of the most languid, unhurried sounds in
all the woods. I feel like reclining upon the dry leaves at once.
Audubon says he has never heard his love-song; but this is all the
love-song he has, and he is evidently a very plain hero with his little
brown mistress. He is not the bird you would send to the princess to
"cheep and twitter twenty million loves"; she would go to sleep while he
was piping. He assumes few attitudes, and is not a bold and striking
gymnast, like many of his kindred. He has a preference for dense woods
of beech and maple, moves slowly amid the lower branches and smaller
growths, keeping from eight to ten feet from the ground, and repeating
now and then his listless, indolent strain. His back and crown are dark
blue; his throat and breast, black; his belly, pure white; and he has a
white spot on each wing.

Here and there I meet the Black and White Creeping-Warbler, whose fine
strain reminds me of hair-wire. It is unquestionably the finest
bird-song to be heard. Few insect strains will compare with it in this
respect; while it has none of the harsh, brassy character of the latter,
being very delicate and tender.

That sharp, interrupted, but still continued warble, which, before one
has learned to discriminate closely, he is apt to confound with the
Red-eyed Vireo's, is that of the Solitary Warbling Vireo,--a bird
slightly larger, much rarer, and with a louder, less cheerful and happy
strain. I see him hopping along lengthwise of the limbs, and note the
orange tinge of his breast and sides and the white circle around his
eye.

But the declining sun and the deepening shadows admonish me that this
ramble must be brought to a close, even though only the leading
characters in this chorus of forty songsters have been described, and
only a small portion of the venerable old woods explored. In a secluded
swampy corner of the old Barkpeeling, where I find the great purple
orchis in bloom, and where the foot of man or beast seems never to have
trod, I linger long, contemplating the wonderful display of lichens and
mosses that overrun both the smaller and the larger growths. Every bush
and branch and sprig is dressed up in the most rich and fantastic of
liveries; and, crowning all, the long bearded moss festoons the branches
or sways gracefully from the limbs. Every twig looks a century old,
though green leaves tip the end of it. A young yellow birch has a
venerable, patriarchal look, and seems ill at ease under such premature
honors. A decayed hemlock is draped as if by hands for some solemn
festival.

Mounting toward the upland again, I pause reverently as the hush and
stillness of twilight come upon the woods. It is the sweetest, ripest
hour of the day. And as the Hermit's evening hymn goes up from the deep
solitude below me, I experience that serene exaltation of sentiment of
which music, literature, and religion are but the faint types and
symbols.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] For December, 1858.



LAST DAYS OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.


PART III.

CONCLUSION.

Landor has frequently been ridiculed for insisting upon an orthography
peculiar at present to himself, and this ridicule has been bestowed most
mercilessly, because of the supposition that he was bent upon
revolutionizing the English language merely for the sake of singularity.
But Landor has logic on his side, and it would be wise to heed
authoritative protests against senseless innovations that bid fair to
destroy the symmetry of words, and which, fifty years hence, will render
the tracing of their derivation an Herculean task, unless Trenches
multiply in proportion to the necessities of the times. If I ever wished
the old lion to put forth all the majesty of his indignation, I had only
to whisper the cabalistic words, "Phonetic spelling!" Yet Landor was not
very exacting. In the "Last Fruit off an Old Tree," he says, through his
medium, Pericles, who is giving advice to Alcibiades: "Every time we
pronounce a word different from another, we show our disapprobation of
his manner, and accuse him of rusticity. In all common things we must do
as others do. It is more barbarous to undermine the stability of a
language than of an edifice that hath stood as long. This is done by the
introduction of changes. Write as others do, but only as the best of
others; and, if one eloquent man forty or fifty years ago spoke and
wrote differently from the generality of the present, follow him, though
alone, rather than the many. But in pronunciation we are not indulged in
this latitude of choice; we must pronounce as those do who favor us with
their audience." Landor only claimed to write as the best of others do,
and in his own name protests to Southey against misconstruction. "One
would represent me as attempting to undermine our native tongue;
another, as modernizing; a third, as antiquating it. _Wheras_" (Landor's
spelling) "I am trying to underprop, not to undermine; I am trying to
stop the man-milliner at his ungainly work of trimming and flouncing; I
am trying to show how graceful is our English, not in its stiff
decrepitude, not in its riotous luxuriance, but in its hale mid-life. I
would make bad writers follow good ones, and good ones accord with
themselves. If all cannot be reduced into order, is that any reason why
nothing should be done toward it? If languages and men too are
imperfect, must we never make an effort to bring them a few steps
nearer to what is preferable?"

It is my great good fortune to possess a copy of Landor's works made
curious and peculiarly valuable by the author's own revisions and
corrections, and it is most interesting to wander through these volumes,
wherein almost every page is a battle-field between the writer and his
arch-enemy, the printer. The final _l_ in _still_ and _till_ is
ignominiously blotted out; _exclaim_ is written _exclame_; a _d_ is put
over the obliterated _a_ in _steady_; _t_ is substituted _t_ is
substituted for the second _s_ in _confessed_ and kindred words;
_straightway_ is shorn of _gh_; _pontiff_ is allowed but one _f_. Landor
spells _honor_ in what we call the modern way, without the _u_; and the
_r_ and _e_ in _sceptre_ change places. A dash of the pen cancels the
_s_ in _isle_ and the final _e_ in _wherefore_, _therefore_, &c.
_Simile_ is terminated with a _y_; the imperfect of the verbs _to milk_,
_to ask_, etc., is spelled with a _t_; _whereat_ loses its second _e_,
and _although_ is deprived of its last three letters. To his poem of
"Guidone and Lucia" has been added this final verse:--

    "The sire had earned with gold his son's release
    And led him home; at home he died in peace.
    His soul was with Lucia, and he praid
    To meet again soon, soon, that happier maid.
    This wish was granted, for the Powers above
    Abound in mercy and delight in love."

And to this verse is appended the following note: "If the pret. and
partic. of _lay_ is _laid_, of _say_, _said_, that of _pray_ must be
_praid_. We want a lexiconomist."

In his lines entitled "New Style," which are a burlesque on Wordsworth,
Landor introduces a new verse:--

    "Some one (I might have asked her who)
      Has given her a locket;
    I, more considerate, brought her two
      Potatoes in each pocket."

Landor has been accused of an unwarrantable dislike to the manufacture
of words; but so far from true is this, that I have known him to indulge
with great felicity in words of his own coining, when conversation
chanced to take a humorous turn. He makes Sam. Johnson say that "all
words are good which come when they are wanted; all which come when they
are not wanted should be dismissed." Tooke, in the same conversation,
cites Cicero as one who, not contented with new spellings, created new
words; but Tooke further declares, that "only one valuable word has been
received into our language since my birth, or perhaps since yours. I
have lately heard _appreciate_ for _estimate_." To which Johnson
replies: "Words taken from the French should be amenable, in their
spelling, to English laws and regulations. _Appreciate_ is a good and
useful one; it signifies more than _estimate_ or _value_; it implies 'to
value justly.'"

Taking up one day Dean Trench's excellent little book on "The Study of
Words," which lay on my table, Landor expressed a desire to read it. He
brought it back not long afterward, enriched with notes, and declared
himself to have been much pleased with the manner in which the Dean had
treated a subject so deeply interesting to himself. I have singled out a
few of these notes, that student of etymology may read the criticisms of
so able a man. Dean Trench is taken to task for a misuse of _every
where_ in making two words of it. Landor puts the question, "Is the Dean
ignorant that _everywhere_ is one word, and _where_ is no substantive?"
Trench asserts that _caprice_ is from _capra_, "a goat," whereupon his
critic says, "No,--then it would be capr_a_cious. It is from
_caper_--_capere_." _To retract_, writes Trench, means properly, as its
derivation declares, no more than to handle over again, to reconsider;
Landor declares that "it means more. _Retrahere_ is _to draw back_." But
he very vehemently approves of the Dean's remarks on the use of the word
_talents_. We should say "a man of talents," not "of talent," for that
is nonsense, though "of a talent" would be allowable.

"[Greek: Kosmos] is both 'world' and 'ornament,' hence 'cosmetic,'"
writes Landor in answer to a doubt expressed by Trench whether the
well-known quotation from St. James, "The tongue is a world of
iniquity," could not also be translated, as some maintain, "the
ornament of iniquity." Making use of the expression "redolent of scorn"
in connection with words that formerly expressed sacred functions and
offices, Landor adds: "Gray is highly poetical in his 'redolent of joy
and youth.' The word is now vilely misused daily." "By and bye," writes
the Dean. "Why write _bye_?" asks his commentator. Once or twice Landor
credits Horne Tooke with what the Dean gives as his own, and
occasionally scores an observation as old. "Why won't people say
_messager_?" he demands. "By what right is _messenger_ made out of
_message_?"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Have you nothing else for the old man to read? have you nothing
American?" Landor inquired upon returning Trench. Desiring to obtain the
verdict of one so high in authority, I gave him Drake's "Culprit Fay,"
and some fugitive verses by M. C. Field, whose poems have never been
collected in book form. Of the latter's "Indian Hunting the Buffaloes,"
"Night on the Prairie," "Les Très Marias," and others, known to but few
readers now, Landor spoke in high commendation, and this praise will be
welcome to those friends of "Phazma" still living, and still loving the
memory of him who died early, and found, as he wished, an ocean grave.
With "The Culprit Fay" came a scrap of paper on which was written: "The
Culprit Fay is rich in imagination,--few poems more so. Drake is among
the noblest of names, and this poem throws a fresh lustre on it."
Observing in this poem a misuse of the exclamation "Oh!" Landor
remarked, "'Oh!' properly is an expression of grief or pain. 'O!'
without the aspirate may express pleasure or hope." Current literature
rarely makes any distinction between the two, and even good writers
stumble through carelessness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Style in writing was one of Landor's favorite topics, and his ire was
rarely more quickly excited than by placing before him a specimen of
high-flown sentimentality. He would put on his spectacles, exclaim,
"What is this?" and, having read a few lines, would throw the book down,
saying, "I have not the patience to read such stuff. It may be very
fine, but I cannot understand it. It is beyond me." He had little mercy
to bestow upon transcendentalists, though he praised Emerson one day,--a
marvellous proof of high regard when it is considered how he detested
the school to which Emerson belongs. "Emerson called on me when he was
in Florence many years ago, and a very agreeable visit I had from him.
He is a very clever man, and might be cleverer if he were less
sublimated. But then you Americans, practical as you are, are fond of
soaring in high latitudes." Carlyle in his last manner had the same
effect upon Landor's nerves as a discord in music produces upon a
sensitive ear. "Ah," said he with a quizzical smile, "'Frederick the
Great' convinces me that I write two dead languages,--Latin and
English!"

       *       *       *       *       *

English hexameter was still another pet detestation which Landor nursed
with great volubility. In 1860 all Anglo-Saxon Florence was reading with
no little interest a poem in this metre, which had recently appeared,
and which of course passed under the critical eye of the old Grecian.
"Well, Mr. Landor, what do you think of the new poem?" I asked during
its nine days' reign. "Think of it? I don't think of it. I don't want to
be bothered with it. The book has driven all the breath out of my body.
I am lame with galloping. I've been on a gallop from the beginning to
the end. Never did I have so hard and long a ride. But what else to
expect when mounted on a _nightmare_! It may be very fine. I dare say it
is, but Giallo and I prefer our ease to being battered. I am too old to
hop, skip, and jump, and he is too sensible. It may be very bad taste,
but we prefer verse that stands on two feet to verse that limps about on
none. Now-a-days it is better to stumble than to walk erect. Giallo and
I, however, have registered an oath not to encourage so base a fashion.
We have consulted old Homer, and he quite approves our indignation."

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking of certain Americanisms and of our ridiculous squeamishness in
the use of certain honest words, Landor remarked: "You Americans are
very proper people; you have difficulties, but not diseases. Legs are
unknown,--you have limbs; and under no consideration do you go to
bed,--you retire." Much of this I could not gainsay, for only a few days
previously I had been severely frowned upon for making inquiries about a
broken leg. "My dear," said Landor to a young American girl who had been
speaking of the city of New Or_leens_,--such being the ordinary Southern
pronunciation,--"that pretty mouth of yours should not be distorted by
vulgar dialect. You should say Or'leans." But he was never pedantic in
his language. He used the simplest and most emphatic words.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are those who accuse Landor of having sacrificed all things to
style: it were as wise to assert that Beethoven sacrificed harmony to
time. If his accusers would but read Landor before criticising, a proper
regard for their own reputations would prevent them from hazarding such
an opinion. "Style," writes Landor, "I consider as nothing, if what it
covers be unsound: wisdom in union with harmony is oracular. On this
idea, the wiser of ancient days venerated in the same person the deity
of oracles and of music; and it must have been the most malicious and
the most ingenious of satirists who transferred the gift of eloquence to
the god of thieves." Those who by the actual sweat of their brows have
got at the deep, hidden meaning of the most recent geniuses, will honor
and thank Landor for having practically enforced his own refreshing
theory. There are certain modern books of positive value which the
reader closes with a sense of utter exhaustion. The meaning is
discovered, but at too great an outlay of vitality. To render simple
things complex, is to fly in the face of Nature; and after such mental
"gymnastics," we turn with relief to Landor. "The greater part of those
who are most ambitious of style are unaware of all its value. Thought
does not separate man from the brutes; for the brutes think: but man
alone thinks beyond the moment and beyond himself. Speech does not
separate them; for speech is common to all, perhaps more or less
articulate, and conveyed and received through different organs in the
lower and more inert. Man's thought, which seems imperishable, loses its
form, and runs along from proprietor to impropriator, like any other
transitory thing, unless it is invested so becomingly and nobly that no
successor can improve upon it by any new fashion or combination. For
want of dignity or beauty, many good things are passed and forgotten;
and much ancient wisdom is overrun and hidden by a rampant verdure,
succulent, but unsubstantial.... Let those who look upon style as
unworthy of much attention ask themselves how many, in proportion to men
of genius, have excelled in it. In all languages, ancient and modern,
are there ten prose-writers at once harmonious, correct, and energetic?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Popular as is the belief that Landor's gifts were the offspring of
profound study, he himself says: "Only four years of my life were given
up much to study; and I regret that I spent so many so ill. Even these
debarred me from no pleasure; for I seldom read or wrote within doors,
excepting a few hours at night. The learning of those who are called the
learned is learning at second hand; the primary and most important must
be acquired by reading in our own bosoms; the rest by a deep insight
into other men's. What is written is mostly an imperfect and unfaithful
copy." This confession emanates from one who is claimed as a university
rather than a universal man. Landor remained but two years at Oxford,
and, though deeply interested in the classics, never contended for a
Latin prize. Speaking of this one day, he said: "I once wrote some
Latin verses for a fellow of my college who, being in great trouble,
came to me for aid. What was hard work to him was pastime to me, and it
ended in my composing the entire poem. At the time the fellow was very
grateful, but it happened that these verses excited attention and were
much eulogized. The supposed author accepted the praise as due to
himself. This of course I expected, as he knew full well I would never
betray him; but the amusing part of the matter was that the fellow never
afterwards spoke to me, never came near me,--in fact, treated me as
though I had done him a grievous wrong. It was of no consequence to me
that he strutted about in my feathers. If they became him, he was
welcome to them,--but of such is the kingdom of cowards."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Poetry," writes Landor, "was always my amusement, prose my study and
business." In his thirtieth year he lived in the woods, "did not
exchange twelve sentences with men," and wrote "Gebir," his most
elaborate and ambitious poem, which Southey took as a model in blank
verse, and which a Boston critic wonders whether anyone ever read
through. "Pericles and Aspasia," and the finest of his "Imaginary
Conversations," were the flowering of half a century of thought. There
are few readers who do not prefer Landor's prose to his verse, for in
the former he does not aim at the dramatic: the passion peculiar to
verse is not congenial to his genius. He sympathizes most fully with men
and women in repose, when intellect, not the heart, rules. His prose has
all the purity of outline and harmony of Greek plastic art. He could not
wield the painter's brush, but the great sculptor had yet power to
depict the grief of a "Niobe," the agony of the "Laocoön," or the
majesty of a "Moses." Like a sculptor, he rarely groups more than two
figures.

It is satisfactory then to know that in the zenith of physical strength
Landor was at his noblest and best, for his example is a forcible
protest against the feverish enthusiasm of young American authors, who
wear out their lives in the struggle to be famous at the age of Keats,
never remembering that "there must be a good deal of movement and
shuffling before there is any rising from the ground; and those who have
the longest wings have the most difficulty in the first mounting. In
literature, as at football, strength and agility are insufficient of
themselves; you must have your _side_, or you may run till you are out
of breath, and kick till you are out of shoes, and never win the game.
There must be some to keep others off you, and some to prolong for you
the ball's rebound.... Do not, however, be ambitious of an early fame:
such is apt to shrivel and to drop under the tree." The poetical dictum,
"Whom the gods love, die young," has worked untold mischief, having
created a morbid dislike to a fine physique, on the theory that great
minds are antagonistic to noble bodies. There never was error so fatal:
the larger the brain, the larger should be the reservoir from which to
draw vitality. Were Seneca alive now, he would write no such letter as
he once wrote to Lucilius, protesting against the ridiculous devotion of
his countrymen to physical gymnastics. "To be wise is to be well," was
the gospel he went about preaching. "To be well is to be wise," would
answer much better as the modern article of faith. The utmost that a
persistent brain-worker of this century can do is to keep himself bodily
up to mental requirements. Landor, however, was an extraordinary
exception. He could boast of never having worn an overcoat since
boyhood, and of not having been ill more than three times in his life.
Even at eighty-six his hand had none of the wavering of age; and it was
with no little satisfaction that, grasping an imaginary pistol, he
showed me how steady an aim he could still take, and told of how famous
a shot he used to be. "But my sister was more skilful than I," he
added.

One day conversation chanced upon Aubrey De Vere, the beautiful Catholic
poet of Ireland, whose name is scarcely known on this side of the
Atlantic. This is our loss, though De Vere can never be a popular poet,
for his muse lives in the past and breathes ether rather than air. "De
Vere is charming both as man and as poet," said Landor enthusiastically,
rising as he spoke and leaving the room to return immediately with a
small volume of De Vere's poems published at Oxford in 1843. "Here are
his poems given to me by himself. Such a modest, unassuming man as he
is! Now listen to this from the 'Ode on the Ascent of the Alps.' Is it
not magnificent?

    'I spake.--Behold her o'er the broad lake flying,
    Like a great Angel missioned to bestow
    Some boon on men beneath in sadness lying:
    The waves are murmuring silver murmurs low:
        Over the waves are borne
    Those feeble lights which, ere the eyes of Morn
    Are lifted, through her lids and lashes flow.
        Beneath the curdling wind
    Green through the shades the waters rush and roll,
    (Or whitened only by the unfrequent shoal,)
    Till two dark hills, with darker yet behind,
    Confront them,--purple mountains almost black,
    Each behind each self-folded and withdrawn,
    Beneath the umbrage of yon cloudy rack.--
    That orange-gleam! 't is dawn!
    Onward! the swan's flight with the eagle's blending,
    On, wingèd Muse! still forward and ascending!'

"This sonnet on 'Sunrise,'" continued Landor, "is the noblest that ever
was written:--

    'I saw the Master of the Sun. He stood
    High in his fiery car, himself more bright,
    An archer of immeasurable might.
    On his left shoulder hung his quivered load;
    Spurred by his steeds, the eastern mountain glowed;
    Forward his eager eye and brow of light
    He bent; and while both hands that arch embowed,
    Shaft after shaft pursued the flying Night,
    No wings profaned that godlike form: around
    His polished neck an ever-moving crowd
    Of locks hung glistening; while each perfect sound
    Fell from his bow-string, _that th' ethereal dome
    Thrilled as a dew-drop_; while each passing cloud
    Expanded, whitening like the ocean foam.'

"Is not this line grand?--

    'Peals the strong, voluminous thunder!'

And how incomparable is the termination of this song!--

    'Bright was her soul as Dian's crest
    Showering on Vesta's fane its sheen:
    Cold looked she as the waveless breast
    Of some stone Dian at thirteen.
    Men loved: but hope they deemed to be
    A sweet Impossibility!'

Here are two beautiful lines from the Grecian Ode:--

    'Those sinuous streams that blushing wander
    Through labyrinthine oleander.'

This is like Shakespeare:--

    'Yea, and the Queen of Love, as fame reports,
    Was caught,--no doubt in Bacchic wreaths,--for Bacchus
    Such puissance hath, that he old oaks will twine
    Into true-lovers' knots, and laughing stand
    Until the sun goes down.'

And an admirable passage is this, too, from the same poem,--'The Search
after Proserpine':--

    'Yea, and the motions of her trees and harvests
    Resemble those of slaves, reluctant, cumbered,
    By outward force compelled; _not like our billows,
    Springing elastic in impetuous joy,
    Or indolently swayed_.'

"There!" exclaimed Landor, closing the book, "I want you to have this.
It will be none the less valuable because I have scribbled in it," he
added with a smile.

"But, Mr. Landor--"

"Now don't say a word. I am an old man, and if both my legs are not in
the grave, they ought to be. I cannot lay up such treasures in heaven,
you know,--saving of course in my memory,--and De Vere had rather you
should have it than the rats. There's a compliment for you! so put the
book in your pocket."

This little volume is marked throughout by Landor with notes of
admiration, and if I here transcribe a few of his favorite poems, it
will be with the hope of benefiting many readers to whom De Vere is a
sealed book.

"Greece never produced anything so exquisite," wrote Landor beneath the
following song:--

    "Give me back my heart, fair child;
    To you as yet 't is worth but little.
    Half beguiler, half beguiled,
    Be you warned: your own is brittle.
    I know it by your redd'ning cheeks,--
    I know it by those two black streaks
    Arching up your pearly brows
    In a momentary laughter,
    Stretched in long and dark repose
    With a sigh the moment after.

    "'Hid it! dropt it on the moors!
    Lost it, and you cannot find it,'--
    My own heart I want, not yours:
    You have bound and must unbind it.
    Set it free then from your net,
    We will love, sweet,--but not yet!
    Fling it from you:--we are strong;
    Love is trouble, love is folly:
    Love, that makes an old heart young,
    Makes a young heart melancholy."

And for this Landor claimed that it was "finer than the best in
Horace":--

    "Slanting both hands against her forehead,
    On me she levelled her bright eyes.
    My whole heart brightened as the sea
    When midnight clouds part suddenly:--
    Through all my spirit went the lustre,
    Like starlight poured through purple skies.

    "And then she sang a loud, sweet music;
    Yet louder as aloft it clomb:
    Soft when her curving lips it left;
    Then rising till the heavens were cleft,
    As though each strain, on high expanding,
    Were echoed in a silver dome.

    "But hark! she sings 'she does not love me':
    She loves to say she ne'er can love.
    To me her beauty she denies,--
    Bending the while on me those eyes,
    Whose beams might charm the mountain leopard,
    Or lure Jove's herald from above!"

Below the following exquisite bit of melody is written, "Never was any
sonnet so beautiful."

    "She whom this heart must ever hold most dear
    (This heart in happy bondage held so long)
    Began to sing. At first a gentle fear
    Rosied her countenance, for she is young,
    And he who loves her most of all was near:
    But when at last her voice grew full and strong,
    O, from their ambush sweet, how rich and clear
    Bubbled the notes abroad,--a rapturous throng!
    Her little hands were sometimes flung apart,
    And sometimes palm to palm together prest;
    While wave-like blushes rising from her breast
    Kept time with that aerial melody,
    As music to the sight!--I standing nigh
    Received the falling fountain in my heart."

"What sonnet of Petrarca equals this?" he says of the following:--

    "Happy are they who kiss thee, morn and even,
    Parting the hair upon thy forehead white;
    For them the sky is bluer and more bright,
    And purer their thanksgivings rise to Heaven.
    Happy are they to whom thy songs are given;
    Happy are they on whom thy hands alight;
    And happiest they for whom thy prayers at night
    In tender piety so oft have striven.
    Away with vain regrets and selfish sighs!
    Even I, dear friend, am lonely, not unblest:
    Permitted sometimes on that form to gaze,
    Or feel the light of those consoling eyes,--
    If but a moment on my cheek it stays,
    I know that gentle beam from all the rest!"

"Like Shakespeare's, but better, is this allegory:--

    "You say that you have given your love to me.
    Ah, give it not, but lend it me; and say
    That you will ofttimes ask me to repay,
    But never to restore it: so shall we,
    Retaining, still bestow perpetually:
    So shall I ask thee for it every day,
    Securely as for daily bread we pray;
    So all of favor, naught of right shall be.
    The joy which now is mine shall leave me never.
    Indeed, I have deserved it not; and yet
    No painful blush is mine,--so soon my face
    Blushing is hid in that beloved embrace.
    Myself I would condemn not, but forget;
    Remembering thee alone, and thee forever!"

"Worthy of Raleigh and like him," is Landor's preface to the following
sonnet:--

    "Flowers I would bring, if flowers could make thee fairer,
    And music, if the Muse were dear to thee;
    (For loving these would make thee love the bearer.)
    But sweetest songs forget their melody,
    And loveliest flowers would but conceal the wearer:--
    A rose I marked, and might have plucked; but she
    Blushed as she bent, imploring me to spare her,
    Nor spoil her beauty by such rivalry.
    Alas! and with what gifts shall I pursue thee,
    What offerings bring, what treasures lay before thee,
    When earth with all her floral train doth woo thee,
    And all old poets and old songs adore thee.
    And love to thee is naught, from passionate mood
    Secured by joy's complacent plenitude!"

Occasionally Landor indulges in a little humorous indignation,
particularly in his remarks on the poem of which Coleridge is the hero.
De Vere's lines end thus:--

    "Soft be the sound ordained thy sleep to break!
    When thou art waking, wake me, for thy Master's sake!"

"And let me nap on," wrote the august critic, who had no desire to meet
Coleridge, even as a celestial being.

Now and then there is a dash of the pencil across some final verse, with
the remark, "Better without these." Twice or thrice Landor finds fault
with a word. He objects to the expression, "eyes so fair," saying _fair_
is a bad word for eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The subject of Latin being one day mentioned, Landor very eagerly
proposed that I should study this language with him.

The thought was awful, and I expostulated. "But, Mr. Landor, you who are
so noble a Latinist can never have the patience to instruct such a
stumbling scholar."

"I insist upon it. You shall be my first pupil," he said, laughing at
the idea of beginning to teach in his extreme old age. "It will give the
old man something to do."

"But you will get very tired of me, Mr. Landor."

"Well, well, I'll tell you when I am tired. You say you have a grammar;
then I'll bring along with me to-morrow something to read."

True to his promise, the "old pedagogue," for so he was wont to call
himself, made his appearance with a time-worn Virgil under his arm,--a
Virgil that in 1809 was the property, according to much pen and ink
scribbling, of one "John Prince, ætat. 12. College School, Hereford."

"Now, then, for our lesson," Landor exclaimed, in a cheery voice.
"Giallo knows all about it, and quite approves of the arrangement. Don't
you, Giallo?" And the wise dog wagged his sympathetic tail, jumped up on
his master's knees, and put his fore paws around Landor's neck. "There,
you see, he gives consent; for this is the way Giallo expresses
approbation."

The kindness and amiability of my teacher made me forget his greatness,
and I soon found myself reciting with as much ease as if there had been
nothing strange in the affair. He was very patient, and never found
fault with me, but his criticisms on my Latin grammar were frequent and
severe. "It is strange," he would mutter, "that men cannot do things
properly. There is no necessity for this rule; it only confuses the
pupil. That note is absurd; this, unintelligible. Grammars should be
made more comprehensible."

Expressing a preference for the Italian method of pronunciation, I dared
to say that it seemed to be the most correct, inasmuch as the Italian
language was but bastard Latin. The master, however, would not listen to
such heresy, and declared that, with the exception of the French, the
Italian was the worst possible pronunciation to adopt; that the German
method was the most correct, and after that came the English.

It was only a few hours after the termination of our first lesson that
Landor's little maid entered the room laden with old folios, which she
deposited with the following pleasant note:--"As my young friend is
willing to become a grammarian, an old fellow sends her for her gracious
acceptance these books tending to that purpose." I was made rich,
indeed, by this generous donation, for there were a ponderous Latin
Dictionary in Landor's handwriting, a curious old Italian and French
Dictionary of 1692,--published at Paris, "per uso del Serenissimo
Delfino,"--a Greek Grammar, and a delightfully rare and musty old Latin
Grammar by Emmanuel Alvarus, the Jesuit, carefully annotated by Landor.
Then, too, there was a valuable edition, in two volumes, of Annibal
Caro's Italian translation of the Æneid, published at Paris in 1760, by
permission of "Louis, par le grace de Dieu Roi de France et de Navarre,"
and very copiously illustrated by Zocchi. Two noble coats-of-arms adorn
its fly-leaves, those of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Louther and of
George, Earl of Macartney, Knight of the Order of the White Eagle and of
the Bath.

The lessons, as pleasant as they were profitable, were given several
times a week for many weeks, and would have been continued still longer
had not a change of residence on our part rendered frequent meetings
impossible. On each appointed day Landor entered the room with a bouquet
of camellias or roses,--the products of his little garden, in which he
took great pride,--and, after presenting it with a graceful speech,
turned to the Latin books with infinite gusto, as though they reflected
upon him the light of other days. No voice could be better adapted to
the reading of Latin than that of Landor, who uttered the words with a
certain majestic flow, and sounding, cataract-like falls and plunges of
music. Occasionally he would touch upon the subject of Greek. "I wonder
whether I've forgotten all my Greek," he said one day. "It is so long
since I have written a word of it that I doubt if I can remember the
alphabet. Let me see." He took up pen and paper, and from Alpha to Omega
traced every letter with far more distinctness than he would have
written the English alphabet. "Why, Landor," he exclaimed, looking with
no little satisfaction on the work before him, "you have not grown as
foolish as I thought. You know your letters,--which proves that you are
in your second childhood, does it not?" he asked, smiling, and turning
to me.

After my recitation he would lean back in the arm-chair and relate
anecdotes of great men and women to a small, but deeply interested
audience of three, including Giallo. A few well-timed questions were
quite sufficient to open his inexhaustible reservoir of reminiscences.
Nor had Landor reason to complain of his memory in so far as the dim
past was concerned; for, one morning, reference having been made to Monk
Lewis's poem of "Alonzo the Brave and the Fair Imogene," he recited it
in cadences from beginning to end, without the slightest hesitation or
the tripping of a word. "Well, this is indeed astonishing," he said at
its conclusion; "I have not _thought_ of that poem for thirty years!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Landor was often very brilliant. At Sienna, during the summer of 1860,
an American lady having expressed a desire to meet him the following
season, he replied, "Ah, by that time I shall have gone farther and
fared worse!" Sometimes, when we were all in a particularly merry mood,
Landor would indulge in impromptu _doggerel_ "to please _Giallo_"!
Absurd couplets would come thick and fast,--so fast that it was
impossible to remember them.

Advising me with regard to certain rules in my Latin Grammar he
exclaimed,

    "What you'd fain know, you will find:
    What you want not, leave behind."

Whereupon Giallo walked up to his master and caressed his hand. "Why,
Giallo," added Landor, "your nose is hot, but

    He is foolish who supposes
    Dogs are ill that have hot noses!"

Attention being directed to several letters received by Landor from
well-meaning but intensely orthodox friends, who were extremely anxious
that he should join the Church in order to be saved from perdition, he
said: "They are very kind, but I cannot be redeemed in that way.

    When I throw off this mortal coil,
    I will not call on you, friend Hoil;
    And I think that I shall do,
    My good Tompkins, without you.
    But I pray you, charming Kate,
    You will come, but not too late."

"How wicked you are, Mr. Landor!" I replied, laughingly. "It is well
that _I_ am not orthodox."

    "For if you were orthodox
    I should be in the wrong box!"

was the ready response.

Landor held orthodoxy in great horror, having no faith in creeds which
set up the highly comfortable doctrine, "I am holier than thou, for I am
in the Church." "Ah! I have given dear, good friends great pain because
of my obstinacy. They would have me believe as they do, which is utterly
impossible." By Church, Landor did not mean religion, nor did he pass
judgment on those who in sincerity embraced any particular faith, but
claimed for himself perfect freedom of opinion, and gave as much to
others. In his paper on "Popery, British and Foreign," Landor freely
expresses himself. "The people, by their own efforts, will sweep away
the gross inequalities now obstructing the church-path,--will sweep away
from amidst the habitations of the industrious the moral cemeteries, the
noisome markets around the house of God, whatever be the selfish
interests that stubbornly resist the operation.... It would grieve me to
foresee a day when our cathedrals and our churches shall be demolished
or desecrated; when the tones of the organ, when the symphonies of
Handel, no longer swell and reverberate along the groined roof and dim
windows. But let old superstitions crumble into dust; let Faith, Hope,
and Charity be simple in their attire; let few and solemn words be
spoken before Him 'to whom all hearts are open, all desires known.'
Principalities and powers belong not to the service of the Crucified;
and religion can never be pure, never 'of good report,' among those who
usurp or covet them."

Landor was no exception to the generality of Protestants in Italy, who
become imbued with a profound aversion to Romanism, while retaining
great respect and regard for individual members of its clergy. He never
passed one of the _preti_ that he did not open his batteries, pouring
grape and canister of sarcasm and indignation on the retreating
enemy,--"rascally beetles," "human vampires," "Satan's imps." "Italy
never can be free as long as these locusts, worse than those of Egypt,
infest the land. They are as plentiful as fleas, and as great a curse,"
he exclaimed one day. "They are fleas demoralized!" he added, with a
laugh.

"It is reported that Pio Nono is not long for this world," I said, on
another occasion. "Erysipelas is supposed to have settled in his legs."

"Ah, yes," Landor replied, "he has been on his _last legs_ for some
time, but depend upon it they are legs that will _last_. The Devil is
always good to his own, you know!"

In Italy the advanced party will not allow virtue in the Pope even as a
man. A story is told, that when, as the Cardinal Mastai Ferretti, he was
made Pontiff, his sister threw up her hands and exclaimed, "Guai a
Roma!" (Woe to Rome!) "Se non è vero è ben trovato." And this is told in
spite of Mrs. Kemble's story of the conversation which took place
between the Cardinals Micara and Lambruschini prior to this election, in
which the former remarked: "If the powers of darkness preside over the
election, you'll be Pope; if the people had a voice, I'm the man; but if
Heaven has a finger in the business, 't will be Ferretti!" Apropos of
Popes, Landor writes: "If the Popes are the servants of God, it must be
confessed that God has been very unlucky in the choice of his household.
So many and so atrocious thieves, liars, and murderers are not to be
found in any other trade; much less would you look for them at the head
of it." And because of faithless servants Landor has wisely made
Boccaccio say of Rome: "She, I think will be the last city to rise from
the dead."

"How surprised St. Peter would be," continued Landor,--resuming our
conversation, which I have thus parenthetically interrupted,--"how
surprised he would be to return to earth and find his apostolic
successors living in such a grand house as the Vatican. Ah, they are
jolly fishermen!--Landor, Landor! how can you be so wicked?" he said,
checking himself with mock seriousness; "Giallo does not approve of such
levity. He tells me he is a good Catholic, for he always refuses meat on
Friday, even when I offer him a tempting bit. He is a pious dog, and
will intercede for his naughty old _Padrone_ when he goes to heaven."

       *       *       *       *       *

A young friend of mine, Charles C. Coleman, an art-student in Italy,
having visited Landor, was struck by the nobility of his head, and
expressed a wish to make a study of it. To fulfil such a desire,
however, was difficult, inasmuch as Landor had an inherent objection to
having his likeness taken either by man or the sun. Not long before the
artist's visit, Mr. Browning had persuaded him to sit for his
photograph, but no less a person could have induced the old man to mount
the numberless steps which seem to be a necessary condition of
photography. This sitting was most satisfactory; and to Mr. Browning's
zealous friendship is due the likeness by which the octogenarian Landor
will probably be known to the world. Finding him in unusually good
spirits one day, I dubiously and gradually approached the subject.

"Mr. Landor, do you remember the young artist who called on you one
day?"

"Yes, and a nice fellow he seemed to be."

"He was greatly taken with your head."

(Humorously.) "You are quite sure he was not smitten with my face?"

"No, I am not sure, for he expressed himself enthusiastically about your
beard. He says you are a fine subject for a study."

No answer.

"Would you allow him to make a sketch of you, Mr. Landor? He is
exceedingly anxious to do so."

"No; I do not wish my face to be public property. I detest this
publicity that men now-a-days seem to be so fond of. There is a painting
of me in England. D'Orsay, too, made a drawing of me" (I think he said
drawing) "once when I was visiting Gore House,--a very good thing it was
too,--and there is a bust executed by Gibson when I was in Rome. These
are quite sufficient. I have often been urged to allow my portrait to be
inserted in my books, but never would I give my consent."
(Notwithstanding this assertion, it may be found in the "Last Fruit.")
"It is a custom that I detest."

"But, Mr. Landor, you had your photograph taken lately."

"That was to oblige my good friend Browning, who has been so exceedingly
kind and attentive to me. I could not refuse him."

"But, Mr. Landor, this is entirely between ourselves. It does not
concern the public in the least. My friend wants to make a study of your
head, and I want the study."

"O, the painting is for you, is it?"

"Yes. I want to have something of you in oil colors."

"Ah, to be sure! the old creature's complexion is so fresh and fair.
Well, I'll tell you what I will do. Your friend may come, provided you
come with him,--and act as chaperon!" This was said laughingly.

"That I will do with pleasure."

"But stop!" added Landor after a pause. "I must be taken without my
beard!"

"O no! Mr. Landor. That cannot be. Why, you will spoil the picture. You
won't look like a patriarch without a beard."

"I ordered my barber to come and shear me to-morrow. The weather is
getting to be very warm, and a heavy beard is exceedingly uncomfortable.
I _must_ be shaved to-morrow."

"Pray countermand the order, dear Mr. Landor. Do retain your beard until
the picture is completed. You will not be obliged to wait long. We shall
all be so disappointed if you don't."

"Well, well, I suppose I must submit."

And thus the matter was amicably arranged, to our infinite satisfaction.

Those sittings were very pleasant to the artist and his chaperon, and
were not disagreeable, I think, to the model. Seated in his arm-chair,
with his back to the window that the light might fall on the top of his
head and form a sort of glory, Landor looked every inch a seer, and
would entertain us with interesting though unseerlike recollections,
while the artist was busy with his brush.

Putting out his foot one day, he said, "Who could suppose that that ugly
old foot had ever been good-looking? Yet they say it was once. When I
was in Rome, an artist came to me, and asked to take a cast of my foot
and leg."

"Ah, Mr. Landor, you don't know how good-looking you might be now, if
you would get a new suit of clothes and a nice pair of boots."

"No, no. I never intend to buy anything more for myself. My old clothes
are quite good enough. They are all-sufficient for this world, and in
the next I sha'n't need any; that is, if we are to believe what we are
told."

"But, indeed, Mr. Landor, you really ought to get a new cap."

"No, the one I wear is quite grand enough. I may have it made over.
Napier gave it to me," (I think he said Napier,) "and for that reason I
value it."

"Mr. Landor, you do look like a lion," I said at another time.

He smiled and replied, "You are not the only person who has said so. One
day, when Napier was dining with me, he threw himself back in his chair,
exclaiming, with a hearty laugh, 'Zounds! Landor, I've just discovered a
resemblance. You look like an old lion.'"

"That was a compliment, Mr. Landor. The lion is the king of beasts."

"Yes, but he's only a beast after all," was the quick retort.

Landor always spoke with enthusiasm of General Sir William Napier, and
in fact lavished praise upon all the family. It was to General Napier
that he dedicated his "Hellenics," published in 1859, wherein he pays
the following chivalric tribute: "An illustrious man ordered it to be
inscribed on his monument, that he was _the friend of Sir Philip
Sidney_; an obscurer one can but leave this brief memorial, that he was
the friend of Sir William Napier." Not long after the conversation last
referred to, Landor said, very sadly, as he welcomed us, "I have just
heard of the death of my dear old friend Napier. Why could not I have
been taken, and he left? I have lived too long."

The portrait was soon painted, for Landor, with great patience and
good-nature, would pose for an hour and a half at a time. Then, rising,
he would say by way of conclusion to the day's work, "Now it is time for
a little refreshment." After talking awhile longer, and partaking of
cake and wine, we would leave to meet a few days later. This was the
last time Landor sat for his picture.

       *       *       *       *       *

Landor could never have greatly admired Italian music, although he spoke
in high praise of the singing of Catalani, a _prima donna_ whom he knew
and liked personally. He was always ready to point out the absurdity of
many operatic situations and conventionalities, and often confessed that
he had been rarely to the theatre. But that he was exceedingly fond of
old English, Scotch, and German ballads, I had the best possible
evidence. Frequently he entered our rooms, saying playfully, "I wish to
make a bargain with you. I will give you these flowers if you will give
me a song!" I was only too happy to comply, thinking the flowers very
cheaply purchased. While I sang Italian cavatinas, Landor remained away
from the piano, pleased, but not satisfied. At their conclusion he used
to exclaim, "Now for an English ballad!" and would seat himself beside
the piano, saying, "I must get nearer to hear the words. These old deaf
ears treat me shabbily!" "Kathleen Mavourneen," Schubert's "Ave Maria,"
and "Within a Mile of Edinboro' Town," were great favorites with him;
but "Auld Robin Gray" came first in his affections and was the ballad he
always asked for. Upon first hearing it, the tears streamed down his
face, and with a sigh he said: "I have not heard that for many, many
years. It takes me back to very happy days, when ---- used to sing to
me. Ah, you did not know what thoughts you were recalling to the
troublesome old man." As I turned over the leaves he added, "Ah, Landor!
when you were younger, you knew how to turn over the leaves: you've
forgotten all your accomplishments!"

Apropos of old songs, Landor has laid his offering upon their neglected
altar. I shall not forget that evening at Casa Guidi--I can forget no
evening passed there--when, just as the tea was being placed upon the
table. Robert Browning turned to Landor, who was that night's honored
guest, gracefully thanked him for his defence of old songs, and, opening
the "Last Fruit," read in his clear, manly voice the following passages
from the Idyls of Theocritus: "We often hear that such or such a thing
'is not worth an old song.' Alas! how very few things are! What precious
recollections do some of them awaken! what pleasurable tears do they
excite! They purify the stream of life; they can delay it on its
shelves and rapids; they can turn it back again to the soft moss amidst
which its sources issue."

"Ah, you are kind," replied the gratified author. "You always find out
the best bits in my books."

I have never seen anything of its kind so chivalric as the deference
paid by Robert Browning to Walter Savage Landor. It was loyal homage
rendered by a poet in all the glow of power and impulsive magnetism to
an "old master."

       *       *       *       *       *

Landor often berated the custom of dinner-parties. "I dislike large
dinners exceedingly. This herding together of men and women for the
purpose of eating, this clatter of knives and forks, is barbarous. What
can be more horrible than to see and hear a person talking with his
mouth full? But Landor has strange notions, has he not, Giallo? In fact
_Padrone_ is a fool if we may believe what folks say. Once, while
walking near my villa at Fiesole, I overheard quite a flattering remark
about myself, made by one _contadino_ to another. My beloved countrymen
had evidently been the subject of conversation, and, as the two fellows
approached my grounds, one of them pointed towards the villa and
exclaimed: 'Tutti gli Inglesi sono pazzi, ma questo poi!' (All the
English are mad,--but _this one_!) Words were too feeble to express the
extent of my lunacy, and so both men shrugged their shoulders as only
Italians can. Yes, Giallo, those _contadini_ pitied your old master, and
I dare say they were quite right."

       *       *       *       *       *

While talking one day about Franklin, Landor said: "Ah, Franklin was a
great man; and I can tell you an anecdote of him that has never been in
print, and which I had directly from a personal friend of Franklin's,
who was acting as private secretary to Lord Auckland, the English
ambassador at Paris during Franklin's visit to the French Court. On one
occasion, when Franklin presented himself before Louis, he was most
cavalierly treated by the king, whereupon Lord Auckland took it upon
himself to make impertinent speeches, and, notwithstanding Franklin's
habitually courteous manners, sneered at his appearing in court dress.
Upon Franklin's return home, he was met by ----, who, being much
attached to him,--a bit of a republican, too,--was anxious to learn the
issue of the visit. 'I was received badly enough,' said Franklin. 'Your
master, Lord Auckland, was very insolent. I am not quite sure that,
among other things, he did not call me a rebel.' Then, taking off his
court coat, which, after carefully folding and laying upon the sofa, he
stroked, he muttered, 'Lie there now; you'll see better days yet.'"

Being asked if he had ever seen Daniel Webster, Landor replied, "I once
met Mr. Webster at a dinner-party. We sat next each other, and had a
most agreeable conversation. Finally Mr. Webster asked me if I would
have taken him for an American; and I answered, 'Yes, for the best of
Americans!'"

Landor had met Talma, "who spoke English most perfectly,"--had been in
the society of Mrs. Siddons, "who was not at all clever in
private,"--had conversed with Mrs. Jordan, "and a most handsome and
agreeable woman she was; but that scoundrel, William IV., treated her
shamefully. He even went so far as to appropriate the money she received
on her benefit nights." Malibran, too, Landor described as being most
fascinating off the stage.

"I never studied German," he remarked at another time. "I was once in
Germany four months, but conversed with the professors in Latin. Their
Latin was grammatical, but very like dog-Latin for all that. What an
offence to dogs, if they only knew it!" Then, lowering his voice, he
laughingly added, "I hope Giallo did not hear me. I would not offend him
for the world. A German Baroness attempted to induce me to learn her
language, and read aloud German poetry for my benefit; but the noise was
intolerable to me. It sounded like a great wagon banging over a
pavement of boulders. It was very ungrateful in me not to learn, for my
fair teacher paid me many pretty compliments. Yes, Giallo, _Padrone_ has
had pleasant things said to him in his day. But the greatest compliment
I ever received was from Lord Dudley. Being confined to his bed by
illness at Bologna, a friend read aloud to him my imaginary conversation
between the two Ciceros. Upon its conclusion, the reader exclaimed, 'Is
not that exactly what Cicero would have said?' 'Yes, if he could!' was
Lord Dudley's answer. Now was not that a compliment worth having?"

One day when I was sitting with Landor, and he, as usual, was
discoursing of "lang syne," he rose, saying, "Stop a bit; I've something
to show you,"--and, leaving the room for a moment, returned with a small
writing-desk, looking as old as himself. "Now I want you to look at
something I have here," he continued, seating himself and opening the
desk. "There, what do you think of that?" he asked, handing me a
miniature of a very lovely woman.

"I think the original must have been exceedingly handsome."

"Ah, yes, she was," he replied, with a sigh, leaning back in his chair.
"That is the 'Ianthe' of my poems."

"I can well understand why she inspired your muse, Mr. Landor."

"Ah, she was far more beautiful than her picture, but much she cared for
my poetry! It couldn't be said that she liked me for my books. She, too,
has gone,--gone before me."

It is to "Ianthe" that the first seventy-five of his verses marked
"Miscellaneous" are addressed, and it is of her he has written,--

    "It often comes into my head
    That we may dream when we are dead,
    But I am far from sure we do.
    O that it were so! then my rest
    Would be indeed among the blest;
    I should forever dream of you."

In the "Heroic Idyls," also, there are lines

    "ON THE DEATH OF IANTHE.

    "I dare not trust my pen, it trembles so;
    It seems to feel a portion of my woe,
    And makes me credulous that trees and stones
    At mournful fates have uttered mournful tones.
    While I look back again on days long past,
    How gladly would I yours might be my last!
    Sad our first severance was, but sadder this,
    When death forbids one hour of mutual bliss."

"Ianthe's portrait is not the only treasure this old desk contains,"
Landor said, as he replaced it and took up a small package, very
carefully tied, which he undid with great precaution, as though the
treasure had wings and might escape, if not well guarded. "There!" he
said, holding up a pen-wiper made of red and gold stuff in the shape of
a bell with an ivory handle,--"that pen-wiper was given to me by ----,
Rose's sister, forty years ago. Would you believe it? Have I not kept it
well?" The pen-wiper looked as though it had been made the day before,
so fresh was it. "Now," continued Landor, "I intend to give that to
you."

"But, Mr. Landor--"

"Tut! tut! there are to be no buts about it. My passage for another
world is already engaged, and I know you'll take good care of my
keepsake. There, now, put it in your pocket, and only use it on grand
occasions."

Into my pocket the pen-wiper went, and, wrapped in the same old paper,
it lies in another desk, as free from ink as it was four years ago.

Who Rose was no reader of Landor need be told,--she to whom "Andrea of
Hungary" was dedicated, and of whom Lady Blessington, in one of her
letters to Landor, wrote: "The tuneful bird, inspired of old by the
Persian rose, warbled not more harmoniously its praise than you do that
of the English Rose, whom posterity will know through your beautiful
verses." Many and many a time the gray-bearded poet related incidents of
which this English Rose was the heroine, and for the moment seemed to
live over again an interesting episode of his mature years.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Dear! dear! what is the old creature to do for reading-matter?" Landor
exclaimed after having exhausted his own small stock and my still
smaller one. "Shakespeare and Milton are my daily food, but at times,
you know, we require side-dishes."

"Why not subscribe to Vieusseux's Library, Mr. Landor?"

"That would be the best thing to do, would it not? Very well, you shall
secure me a six months' subscription to-morrow. And now what shall I
read? When Mr. Anthony Trollope was here, he called on me with his
brother, and a clever man he appeared to be. I have never read anything
of his. Suppose I begin with his novels?"

And so it happened that Landor read all of Anthony Trollope's works with
zest, admiring them for their unaffected honesty of purpose and truth to
nature. He next read Hood's works, and when this writer's poems were
returned to me there came with them a scrap of paper on which were named
the poems that had most pleased their reader.

"Song of a Shirt.

"To my Daughter.

"A Child embracing.

"My Heart is sick.

"False Poets and True.

"The Forsaken.

"The last stanza of Inez is beautiful."

Of the poem which heads the list, he wrote:--

    "'Song of the Shirt' Strange! very strange,
    This shirt will never want a change,
    Nor ever will wear out so long
    As Britain has a heart or tongue."

Hood commanded great love and respect from Landor. Soon the reign of G.
P. R. James set in, and when I left Florence he was still in power. I
cannot but think that a strong personal friendship had much to do with
Landor's enthusiasm for this novelist.

       *       *       *       *       *

We took many drives with Landor during the spring and summer of 1861,
and made very delightful jaunts into the country. Not forgetful in the
least of things, the old man, in spite of his age, would always insist
upon taking the front seat, and was more active than many a younger man
in assisting us in and out of the carriage. "You are the most genuinely
polite man I know," once wrote Lady Blessington to him. The verdict of
1840 could not have been overruled twenty-one years later. Once we drove
up to "aerial Fiesole," and never can I forget Landor's manner while in
the neighborhood of his former home. It had been proposed that we should
turn back when only half-way up the hill. "Ah, go a little farther,"
Landor said nervously; "I should like to see my villa." Of course his
wish was our pleasure, and so the drive was continued. Landor sat
immovable, with head turned in the direction of the Villa Gherardesca.
At first sight of it he gave a sudden start, and genuine tears filled
his eyes and coursed down his cheeks. "There's where I lived," he said,
breaking a long silence and pointing to his old estate. Still we mounted
the hill, and when at a turn in the road the villa stood out before us
clearly and distinctly, Landor said, "Let us give the horses a rest
here!" We stopped, and for several minutes Landor's gaze was fixed upon
the villa. "There now, we can return to Florence, if you like," he
murmured, finally, with a deep sigh. "I have seen it probably for the
last time." Hardly a word was spoken during the drive home. Landor
seemed to be absent-minded. A sadder, more pathetic picture than he made
during this memorable drive is rarely seen. "With me life has been a
failure," was the expression of that wretched, worn face. Those who
believe Landor to have been devoid of heart should have seen him then.

       *       *       *       *       *

During another drive he stopped the horses at the corner of a dirty
little old street, and, getting out of the carriage, hurriedly
disappeared round a corner, leaving us without explanation and
consequently in amazement. We had not long to wait, however, as he soon
appeared carrying a large roll of canvas. "There!" he exclaimed, as he
again seated himself, "I've made a capital bargain. I've long wanted
these paintings, but the man asked more than I could give. To-day he
relented. They are very clever, and I shall have them framed." Alas!
they were not clever, and Landor in his last days had queer notions
concerning art. That he was excessively fond of pictures is undoubtedly
true; he surrounded himself with them, but there was far more quantity
than quality about them. He frequently attributed very bad paintings to
very good masters; and it by no means followed because he called a
battle-piece a "Salvator Rosa," that it was painted by Salvator. But the
old man was tenacious of his art opinions, and it was unwise to argue
the point.

       *       *       *       *       *

The notes which I possess in Landor's handwriting are numerous, but they
are of too personal a character to interest the public. Sometimes he
signs himself "The Old Creature," at another, "The Restless Old Man,"
and once, "Your Beardless Old Friend." This was after the painting of
his portrait, when he had himself shorn of half his patriarchal
grandeur. The day previous to the fatal deed, he entered our room
saying, "I've just made an arrangement with my barber to shear me
to-morrow. I must have a clean face during the summer."

"I wish you had somewhat of the Oriental reverence for beards, Mr.
Landor, for then there would be no shaving. Why, think of it! if you've
no beard, how can you swear?"

"Ah, _Padrone_ can swear tolerably well without it, can he not, Giallo?
he will have no difficulty on that score. Now I'll wager, were I a young
man, you would ask me for a lock of my hair. See what it is to be old
and gray."

"Why, Mr. Landor, I've long wanted just that same, but have not dared to
ask for it. May I cut off a few stray hairs?" I asked, going toward him
with a pair of scissors.

"Ah no," he replied, quizzically, "there can be but one 'Rape of the
Lock!' Let me be my own barber." Taking the scissors, he cut off the
longest curl of his snow-white beard, enclosed it in an envelope with a
Greek superscription, and, presenting it, said, "One of these days, when
I have gone to my long sleep, this bit of an old pagan may interest some
very good Christians."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following note is worthy to be transcribed, showing, as it does, the
generosity of his nature at a time when he had nothing to give away but
ideas.

     "MY DEAR FRIEND,--Will you think it worth your while to
     transcribe the enclosed? These pages I have corrected and
     enlarged. Some of them you have never seen. They have occupied
     more of my time and trouble, and are now more complete, than
     anything you have favored me by reading. I hope you will be
     pleased. I care less about others.... I hope you will get
     something for these articles, and keep it. I am richer by
     several crowns than you suspect, and I must scramble to the
     kingdom of Heaven, to which a full pocket, we learn, is an
     impediment.

                        "Ever truly yours,

                                    W. S. L."

The manuscripts contained the two conversations between Homer and
Laertes which two years ago were published in the "Heroic Idyls." I did
not put them to the use desired by their author. Though my copies differ
somewhat from the printed ones, it is natural to conclude that Landor
most approved of what was last submitted to his inspection, and would
not desire to be seen in any other guise. The publicity of a note
prefixed to one of these conversations, however, is warranted.

"It will be thought audacious, and most so by those who know the least
of Homer, to represent him as talking so familiarly. He must often have
done it, as Milton and Shakespeare did. There is homely talk in the
'Odyssey.'

"Fashion turns round like Fortune. Twenty years hence, perhaps, this
conversation of Homer and Laertes, in which for the first time Greek
domestic manners have been represented by any modern poet, may be
recognized and approved.

"Our sculptors and painters frequently take their subjects from
antiquity; are our poets never to pass beyond the mediæval? At our own
doors we listen to the affecting 'Song of the Shirt'; but some few of
us, at the end of it, turn back to catch the 'Song of the Sirens.'

"Poetry is not tied to chronology. The Roman poet brings Dido and Æneas
together,--the historian parts them far asunder. Homer may or may not
have been the contemporary of Laertes. Nothing is idler or more
dangerous than to enter a labyrinth without a clew."

       *       *       *       *       *

At last the time came when there were to be no more conversations, no
more drives, with Walter Savage Landor. Summoned suddenly to America, we
called upon him three or four days before our departure to say good by.

"What? going to America?" Landor exclaimed in a sorrowful voice. "Is it
really true? Must the old creature lose his young friends as well as his
old? Ah me! ah me! what will become of Giallo and me? And America in the
condition that it is too! But this is not the last time that I am to see
you. Tut! tut! now no excuses. We must have one more drive, one more cup
of tea together before you leave."

Pressed as we were for time, it was still arranged that we should drive
with Landor the evening previous to our departure. On the morning of
this day came the following note:--

     "I am so stupid that everything puzzles me. Is not this the day
     I was to expect your visit? At all events you will have the
     carriage at your door at _six_ this evening.

    To drive or not to drive,
    That is the question.

     You shall not be detained one half-hour,--but tea will be ready
     on your arrival.

     "I fell asleep after the jolting, and felt no bad effect. See
     what it is to be so young.

                        "Ever yours affectionately,

                                     "W. S. L."

There was little to cheer any of us in that last drive, and few words
were spoken. Stopping at his house on our way home, we sipped a final
cup of tea in almost complete silence. I tried to say merry things and
look forward a few years to another meeting, but the old man shook his
head sadly, saying: "I shall never see you again. I cannot live through
another winter, nor do I desire to. Life to me is but a counterpart of
Dead Sea fruit; and now that you are going away, there is one less link
to the chain that binds me."

Landor, in the flood-tide of intellect and fortune, could command
attention; Landor, tottering with an empty purse towards his ninth
decade, could count his Florentine friends in one breath; thus it
happened that the loss of the least of these made the old man sad.

At last the hour of leave-taking arrived. Culling a flower from the
little garden, taking a final turn through those three little rooms,
patting Giallo on the head, who, sober through sympathy, looked as
though he wondered what it all meant, we turned to Landor, who entered
the front room dragging an immense album after him. It was the same that
he had bought years before of Barker, the English artist, for fifty
guineas, and about which previous mention has been made. "You are not to
get rid of me yet," said Landor, bearing the album toward the stairs. "I
shall see you home, and bid you good by at your own door."

"But, dear Mr. Landor, what are you doing with that big book? You will
surely injure yourself by attempting to carry it."

"This album is intended for you, and you must take it with you
to-night."

Astonished at this munificent present, I hardly knew how to refuse it
without offending the generous giver. Stopping him at the door, I
endeavored to dissuade him from giving away so valuable an album; and,
finding him resolute in his determination, begged him to compromise by
leaving it to me in his will.

"No, my dear," he replied, "I at least have lived long enough to know
that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Whereupon he carried
the book down stairs and deposited it in the carriage, deaf to our
entreaties, and obstinately refusing assistance. "Now I am sure that you
will have the album," he continued, after we were all seated in the
carriage. "A will is an uncanny thing, and I'd rather remember my
friends out of one than in one. I shall never see you again, and I want
you to think of the foolish old creature occasionally."

The carriage stopped at our door, and "the good by" came. "May God bless
you!" murmured the lonely old man, and in a moment Walter Savage Landor
was out of sight.

He was right. We were never to meet again. Distance did not entirely
sever the friendly link, however, for soon there came to me, across the
sea, the following letters:--

                                        August 28, 1861.

     "By this time, my dear friend, you will be far on your way over
     the Atlantic, and before you receive the scribble now before
     you, half your friends will have offered you their
     congratulations on your return home.

     "People, I hear, are flocking fast into Florence for the
     exhibition. This evening I received another kind note from the
     Countess, who tells me that she shall return to Florence on
     Saturday, and invites me to accompany her there. But I abhor
     all crowds, and am not fascinated by the eye of kings. I never
     saw him of Italy when he was here before, and shall not now.

     "I am about to remove my terrace, and to place it under the
     window of the small bedroom, substituting a glass door for the
     present window. On this terrace I shall spend all my October
     days, and--and--all my money! The landlord will not allow one
     shilling toward the expense, which will make his lower rooms
     lighter and healthier. To him the advantage will be
     permanent,--to me (God knows) it must be very temporary. In
     another summer I shall not sit so high, nor, indeed, _sit_
     anywhere, but take instead the easiest and laziest of all
     positions.

     "I am continuing to read the noble romances of my friend James.
     I find in them thoughts as profound as any in Charron, or
     Montaigne, or Bacon,--I had almost added, or Shakespeare
     himself,--the wisest of men, as the greatest of poets. On the
     morning after your departure I finished the 'Philip Augustus.'
     In the thirty-eighth chapter is this sentence: 'O Isidore! 't
     is not the present, I believe, that ever makes our misery; 't
     is its contrast with the past; 't is the loss of some hope, or
     the crushing of some joy; the disappointment of expectation, or
     the regrets of memory. The present is nothing, nothing,
     nothing, but in its relation to the future or the past.' James
     is inferior to Scott in wit and humor, but more than his equal
     in many other respects; but then Scott wrote excellent poetry,
     in which James, when he attempted it, failed.

     "Let me hear how affairs are going on in America. I believe we
     have truer accounts from England than your papers are disposed
     to publish. Louis Napoleon is increasing his naval force to a
     degree it never reached before. We must have war with him
     before a twelvemonth is over. He will also make disturbances in
     Louisiana, claiming it on the dolorous cry of France for her
     lost children. They will _invite_ him, as the poor Savoyards
     were _invited_ by him to do. So long as this perfidious
     scoundrel exists there will be no peace of quiet in any quarter
     of the globe. The Pope is heartily sick of intervention; but
     nothing can goad his fat sides into a move.

     "Are you not tired? My wrist is. So adieu.

                        "Ever affectionately,

                                    "W. S. L."

With this letter came a slip of paper, on which were these lines:--

    "TO GIALLO,

    "Faithfullest of a faithful race,
    Plainly I read it in thy face,
    Thou wishest me to mount the stairs,
    And leave behind me all my cares.
      No: I shall never see again,
    Her who now sails across the main,
    Nor wilt thou ever as before
    Rear two white feet against her door."

    "Written opposite Palazzo Pitti,
        September, 1861."

                                            "February 15, 1862.

     ".... The affairs of your country interest me painfully. The
     Northern States had acknowledged the right of the Southern to
     hold slaves, and had even been so iniquitous as to surrender a
     fugitive from his thraldom. I would propose an accommodation:--

     "1. That every slave should be free after ten years' labor.

     "2. That none should be imported, or sold, or separated from
     wife and children.

     "3. That an adequate portion of land should be granted in
     perpetuity to the liberated.

     "The proprietor would be fully indemnified for his purchase by
     ten years' labor. France and England will not permit their
     commerce with the Southern States to be interrupted much
     longer. It has caused great discontent in Manchester and Leeds,
     where the artificers suffer grievously from want of employment.

     ".... May you continue to improve in health as the warmer
     weather advances. Mine will not allow me to hope for many more
     months of life, but I shall always remember you, and desire
     that you also will remember

                                    "W. S. LANDOR."

                                            "January, 1863.

     ".... Your account of your improved health is very satisfactory
     and delightful to me. Hardly can I expect to receive many such.
     This month I enter on my eighty-ninth year, and am growing
     blind and deaf.... I hope you may live long enough to see the
     end of your disastrous civil war. Remember, the Southrons are
     fighting for their acknowledged rights, as established by the
     laws of the United States. Horrible is the idea that one man
     should be lord and master of another. But Washington had
     slaves, so had the President his successor. If your government
     had been contented to decree that no slave henceforth should be
     imported, none sold, none disunited from his family, your
     Northern cause would be more popular in England and throughout
     Europe than it is. You are about to see detached from the Union
     a third of the white population. Is it not better that the
     blacks should be contented slaves than exasperated murderers or
     drunken vagabonds? Your blacks were generally more happy than
     they were in Africa, or than they are likely to be in America.
     Your taxes will soon excite a general insurrection. In a war of
     five years they will be vastly heavier than their amount in all
     the continent of Europe. And what enormous armies must be kept
     stationary to keep down not only those who are now refractory,
     but also those whom (by courtesy and fiction) we call free.

     "I hope and trust that I shall leave the world before the end
     of this winter. My darling dog, Giallo, will find a fond
     protectress in ----.... Present my respectful compliments to
     Mrs. F., and believe me to continue

                        "Your faithful old friend,

                                    "W. S. LANDOR."

                                            "September 11, 1863.

     ".... You must be grieved at the civil war. It might have been
     avoided. The North had no right to violate the Constitution.
     Slavery was lawful, execrable as it is.... Congress might have
     liberated them [the slaves] gradually at no expense to the
     nation at large.

     "1. Every slave after fifteen years should be affranchised.

     "2. None to be imported or sold.

     "3. No husband and wife separated.

     "4. No slave under twelve compelled to labor.

     "5. Schools in every township; and children of both sexes sent
     to them at six to ten.

     "A few days before I left England, five years ago, I had an
     opportunity of conversing with a gentleman who had visited the
     United States. He was an intelligent and zealous Abolitionist.
     Wishing to learn the real state of things, he went on board a
     vessel bound to New York. He was amazed at the opulence and
     splendor of that city, and at the inadequate civilization of
     the inhabitants. He dined at a public table, at a principal
     inn. The dinner was plenteous and sumptuous. On each side of
     him sat two gentlemen who spat like Frenchmen the moment a
     plate was removed. This prodigy deprived him of appetite. Dare
     I mention it, that the lady opposite cleared her throat in like
     manner?

     "The Englishman wished to see your capital, and hastened to
     Washington. There he met a member of Congress to whom he had
     been introduced in London by Webster. Most willingly he
     accepted his invitation to join him at Baltimore, his
     residence. He found it difficult to express the difference
     between the people of New York and those of Baltimore, whom he
     represented as higher-bred. He met there a slaveholder of New
     Orleans, with whom at first he was disinclined to converse, but
     whom presently he found liberal and humane, and who assured him
     that his slaves were contented, happy, and joyous. 'There are
     some cruel masters,' he said, 'among us; but come yourself,
     sir, and see whether we consider them fit for our society or
     our notice.' He accepted the invitation, and remained at New
     Orleans until a vessel was about to sail for Bermuda, where he
     spent the winter.

     "Your people, I am afraid, will resolve on war with England.
     Always aggressive, they already devour Canada. I hope Canada
     will soon be independent both of America and England. Your
     people should be satisfied with a civil war of ten or twelve
     years: they will soon have one of much longer duration about
     Mexico. God grant that you, my dear friend, may see the end of
     it. Believe me ever,

                        "Your affectionate old friend,

                                    "W. S. LANDOR."

It was sad to receive such letters from the old man, for they showed how
a mind once great was tottering ere it fell. Blind, deaf, shut up within
the narrow limits of his own four walls, dependent upon English
newspapers for all tidings of America,--is it strange that during those
last days Landor failed to appreciate the grandeur of our conflict, and
stumbled as he attempted to follow the logic of events? Well do I
remember that in conversations he had reasoned far differently, his
sympathy going out most unreservedly to the North. Living in the dark,
he saw no more clearly than the majority of Europeans, and a not small
minority of our own people. Interesting as is everything that so
celebrated an author as Landor writes, these extracts, so unfavorable to
our cause and to his intellect, would never have been published had not
English reviewers thoroughly ventilated his opinions on the American
war. Their insertion, consequently, in no way exposes Landor to severer
comment than that to which the rashly unthinking have already subjected
him, but, on the contrary, increases our regard for him, denoting, as
they do, that, however erroneous his conclusions, the subject was one to
which he devoted all the thought left him by old age. The record of a
long life cannot be obliterated by the unsound theories of the
octogenarian. It was only ten years before that he appealed to America
in behalf of freedom in lines beginning thus:--

    "Friend Jonathan!--for friend thou art,--
    Do, prithee, take now in good part
    Lines the first steamer shall waft o'er.
    Sorry am I to hear the blacks
    Still bear your ensign on their backs;
    The stripes they suffer make me sore.
    Beware of wrong. The brave are true;
    The tree of Freedom never grew
    Where Fraud and Falsehood sowed their salt."

In his poem, also, addressed to Andrew Jackson, the "Atlantic Ruler" is
apostrophized on the supposition of a prophecy that remained
unfulfilled.

    "Up, every son of Afric soil,
    Ye worn and weary, hoist the sail,
    For your own glebes and garners toil
    With easy plough and lightsome flail.
    A father's home ye never knew,
    A father's home your sons shall have from you.
    Enjoy your palmy groves, your cloudless day,
    Your world that demons tore away.
    Look up! look up! the flaming sword
    Hath vanished! and behold your Paradise restored."

This is Landor in the full possession of his intellect.

       *       *       *       *       *

For Landor's own sake, I did not wish to drink the lees of that rich
wine which Lady Blessington had prophesied would "flow on pure, bright,
and sparkling to the last." It is the strength, not the weakness, of our
friends that we would remember, and therefore Landor's letter of
September, 1863, remained unanswered. It was better so. A year later he
died of old age, and during this year he was but the wreck of himself.
He became gradually more and more averse to going out, and to receiving
visitors,--more indifferent, in fact, to all outward things. He used to
sit and read, or, at all events, hold a book in his hand, and would
sometimes write and sometimes give way to passion. "It was the swell of
the sea after the storm, before the final calm," wrote a friend in
Florence. Landor did not become physically deafer, but the mind grew
more and more insensible to external impressions, and at last his
housekeeper was forced to write down every question she was called upon
to ask him. Few crossed the threshold of his door saving his sons, who
went to see him regularly. At last he had a difficulty in swallowing,
which produced a kind of cough. Had he been strong enough to expectorate
or be sick, he might have lived a little longer; but the frame-work was
worn out, and in a fit of coughing the great old man drew his last
breath. He was confined to his bed but two or three days. I am told he
looked very grand when dead,--like a majestic marble statue. The funeral
was hurried, and none but his two sons followed his remains to the
grave!

One touching anecdote remains to be told of him, as related by his
housekeeper. On the night before the 1st of May, 1864, Landor became
very restless, as sometimes happened during the last year. About two
o'clock, A. M., he rang for Wilson, and insisted upon having the room
lighted and the windows thrown open. He then asked for pen, ink, and
paper, and the date of the day. Being told that it was the dawn of the
1st of May, he wrote a few lines of poetry upon it; then, leaning back,
said, "I shall never write again. Put out the lights and draw the
curtains." Very precious would those lines be now, had they been found.
Wilson fancies that Landor must have destroyed them the next morning on
rising.

       *       *       *       *       *

The old man had his wish. Years before, when bidding, as he supposed, an
eternal farewell to Italy, he wrote sadly of hopes which then seemed
beyond the pale of possibility.

    "I did believe, (what have I not believed?)
    Weary with age, but unopprest by pain,
    To close in thy soft clime my quiet day,
    And rest my bones in the Mimosa's shade.
    Hope! hope! few ever cherisht thee so little;
    Few are the heads thou hast so rarely raised;
    But thou didst promise this, and all was well.
    For we are fond of thinking where to lie
    When every pulse hath ceast, when the lone heart
    Can lift no aspiration, ... reasoning
    As if the sight were unimpaired by death,
    Were unobstructed by the coffin-lid,
    And the sun cheered corruption! Over all
    The smiles of Nature shed a potent charm,
    And light us to our chamber at the grave."

Italy recalled her aged yet impassioned lover, and there, beneath the
cypresses of the English burying-ground at Florence, almost within sound
of the murmur of his "own Affrico," rest the weary bones of Walter
Savage Landor. It is glorified dust with which his mingles. Near by, the
birds sing their sweetest over the grave of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Not far off, an American pine watches vigilantly while Theodore Parker
sleeps his long sleep; and but a little distance beyond, Frances
Trollope, the mother, and Theodosia Trollope, her more than devoted
daughter, are united in death as they had been in life.

    "Nobly, O Theo! has your verse called forth
    The Roman valor and Subalpine worth,"

sang Landor years ago of his _protégée_, who outlived her friend and
critic but a few months. With the great and good about him, Landor
sleeps well. His genius needs no eulogy: good wine needs no bush. Time,
that hides the many in oblivion, can but add to the warmth and
mellowness of his fame; and in the days to come no modern writer will be
more faithfully studied or more largely quoted than Walter Savage
Landor.

            "We upon earth
    Have not our places and our distances
    Assigned, for many years; at last a tube,
    Raised and adjusted by Intelligence,
    Stands elevated to a cloudless sky,
    And place and magnitude are ascertained."

Landor "will dine late; but the dining-room will be well lighted, the
guests few and select." He will reign among crowned heads.



THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL.


    What flecks the outer gray beyond
      The sundown's golden trail?
    The white flash of a sea-bird's wing,
      Or gleam of slanting sail?
    Let young eyes watch from Neck and Point,
      And sea-worn elders pray,--
    The ghost of what was once a ship
      Is sailing up the bay!

    From gray sea-fog, from icy drift,
      From peril and from pain,
    The home-bound fisher greets thy lights,
      O hundred-harbored Maine!
    But many a keel shall seaward turn,
      And many a sail outstand,
    When, tall and white, the Dead Ship looms
      Against the dusk of land.

    She rounds the headland's bristling pines.
      She threads the isle-set bay;
    No spur of breeze can speed her on,
      Nor ebb of tide delay.
    Old men still walk the Isle of Orr
      Who tell her date and name,
    Old shipwrights sit in Freeport yards
      Who hewed her oaken frame.

    What weary doom of baffled quest,
      Thou sad sea-ghost, is thine?
    What makes thee in the haunts of home
      A wonder and a sign?
    No foot is on thy silent deck,
      Upon thy helm no hand;
    No ripple hath the soundless wind
      That smites thee from the land!

    For never comes the ship to port
      Howe'er the breeze may be;
    Just when she nears the waiting shore
      She drifts again to sea.
    No tack of sail, nor turn of helm,
      Nor sheer of veering side.
    Stern-fore she drives to sea and night
      Against the wind and tide.

    In vain o'er Harpswell Neck the star
      Of evening guides her in;
    In vain for her the lamps are lit
      Within thy tower, Seguin!
    In vain the harbor-boat shall hail,
      In vain the pilot call;
    No hand shall reef her spectral sail,
      Or let her anchor fall.

    Shake, brown old wives, with dreary joy,
      Your gray-head hints of ill;
    And, over sick-beds whispering low,
      Your prophecies fulfil.
    Some home amid yon birchen trees
      Shall drape its door with woe;
    And slowly where the Dead Ship sails,
      The burial boat shall row!

    From Wolf Neck and from Flying Point,
      From island and from main,
    From sheltered cove and tided creek,
      Shall glide the funeral train.
    The dead-boat with the bearers four,
      The mourners at her stern,--
    And one shall go the silent way
      Who shall no more return!

    And men shall sigh, and women weep,
      Whose dear ones pale and pine,
    And sadly over sunset seas
      Await the ghostly sign.
    They know not that its sails are filled
      By pity's tender breath,
    Nor see the Angel at the helm
      Who steers the Ship of Death!



DOCTOR JOHNS.


LXIII.

Reuben had heard latterly very little of domestic affairs at Ashfield.
He knew scarce more of the family relations of Adèle than was covered by
that confidential announcement of the parson's which had so set on fire
his generous zeal. The spinster, indeed, in one of her later letters had
hinted, in a roundabout manner, that Adèle's family misfortunes were not
looking so badly as they once did,--that the poor girl (she believed)
felt tenderly still toward her old playmate,--and that Mr. Maverick was,
beyond all question, a gentleman of very easy fortune. But Reuben was
not in a mood to be caught by any chaff administered by his most
respectable aunt. If, indeed, he had known all,--if that hearty burst of
Adèle's gratitude had come to him,--if he could once have met her with
the old freedom of manner,--ah! then--then--

But no; he thinks of her now as one under social blight, which he would
have lifted or borne with her had not her religious squeamishness
forbidden. He tries to forget what was most charming in her, and has
succeeded passably well.

"I suppose she is still modelling her heroes on the Catechism," he
thought, "and Phil will very likely pass muster."

The name of Madam Maverick as attaching to their fellow-passenger--which
came to his ear for the first time on the second day out from
port--considerably startled him. Madam Maverick is, he learns, on her
way to join her husband and child in America. But he is by no means
disposed to entertain a very exalted respect for any claimant of such
name and title. He finds, indeed, the prejudices of his education (so he
calls them) asserting themselves with a fiery heat; and most of all he
is astounded by the artfully arranged religious drapery with which this
poor woman--as it appears to him--seeks to cover her short-comings. He
had brought away from the atmosphere of the old cathedrals a certain
quickened religious sentiment, by the aid of which he had grown into a
respect, not only for the Romish faith, but for Christian faith of
whatever degree. And now he encountered what seemed to him its gross
prostitution. The old Doctor then was right: this Popish form of
heathenism was but a device of Satan,--a scarlet covering of iniquity.
Yet, in losing respect for one form of faith, he found himself losing
respect for all. It was easy for him to match the present hypocrisy with
hypocrisies that he had seen of old.

Meantime, the good ship Meteor was skirting the shores of Spain, and had
made a good hundred leagues of her voyage before Reuben had ventured to
make himself known as the old schoolmate and friend of the child whom
Madam Maverick was on her way to greet after so many years of
separation. The truth was, that Reuben, his first disgust being
overcome, could not shake off the influence of something attractive and
winning in the manner of Madam Maverick. In her step and in her lithe
figure he saw the step and figure of Adèle. All her orisons and aves,
which she failed not to murmur each morning and evening, were reminders
of the earnest faith of her poor child. It is impossible to treat her
with disrespect. Nay, it is impossible,--as Reuben begins to associate
more intimately the figure and the voice of this quiet lady with his
memories of another and a younger one,--quite impossible, that he should
not feel his whole chivalrous nature stirred in him, and become prodigal
of attentions. If there were hypocrisy, it somehow cheated him into
reverence.

The lady is, of course, astounded at Reuben's disclosure to her. "_Mon
Dieu!_ you, then, are the son of that good priest of whom I have heard
so much! And you are Puritan? I would not have thought that. They love
the vanities of the world then,"--and her eye flashed over the
well-appointed dress of Reuben, who felt half an inclination to hide, if
it had been possible, the cluster of gairish charms which hung at his
watch-chain. "You have shown great kindness to my child, Monsieur. I
thank you with my whole heart."

"She is very charming, Madam," said Reuben, in an easy, _dégagé_ manner,
which, to tell truth, he put on to cover a little embarrassing revival
of his old sentiment.

Madam Maverick looked at him keenly. "Describe her to me, if you will be
so good, Monsieur."

Whereupon Reuben ran on,--jauntily, at first, as if it had been a
ballet-girl of San Carlo whose picture he was making out; but his old
hearty warmth declared itself by degrees; and his admiration and his
tenderness gave such warm color to his language as it might have shown
if her little gloved hand had been shivering even then in his own
passionate clasp. And as he closed, with a great glow upon his face,
Madam Maverick burst forth,--

"_Mon Dieu_, how I love her! Yet is it not a thing astonishing that I
should ask you, a stranger, Monsieur, how my own child is looking?
_Culpa mea! culpa mea!_" and she clutched at her rosary, and mumbled an
ave, with her eyes lifted and streaming tears.

Reuben looked upon her in wonder, amazed at the depth of her emotion.
Could this be all hypocrisy?

"_Tenez!_" said she, recovering herself, and reading, as it were, his
doubts. "You count these" (lifting her rosary) "bawbles yonder, and our
prayers pagan prayers; my husband has told me, and that she, Adèle, is
taught thus, and that the _Bon Dieu_ has forsaken our Holy Church,--that
He comes near now only to your--what shall I call them?--meeting-houses?
Tell me, Monsieur, does Adèle think this?"

"I think," said Reuben, "that your daughter would have charity for any
religious faith which was earnest."

"Charity! _Mon Dieu!_ Charity for sins, charity for failings,--yes, I
ask it; but for my faith! No, Monsieur, no--no--a thousand times, no!"

"This is real," thought Reuben.

"Tell me, Monsieur," continued she, with a heat of language that excited
his admiration, "what is it you believe there? What is the horror
against which your New England teachers would warn my poor Adèle? May
the Blessed Virgin be near her!"

Whereupon, Reuben undertook to lay down the grounds of distrust in which
he had been educated; not, surely, with the fervor or the logical
sequence which the old Doctor would have given to the same, but yet
inveighing in good set terms against the vain ceremonials, the
idolatries, the mummeries, the confessional, the empty absolution; and
summing up all with the formula (may be he had heard the Doctor use the
same language) that the piety of the Romanist was not so much a deep
religious conviction of the truth, as a sentiment.

"Sentiment!" exclaims Madam Maverick. "What else? What but love of the
good God?"

But not so much by her talk as by the every-day sight of her serene,
unfaltering devotion is Reuben won into a deep respect for her faith.

Those are rare days and rare nights for him, as the good ship Meteor
slips down past the shores of Spain to the Straits,--days all sunny,
nights moon-lit. To the right,--not discernible, but he knows they are
there,--the swelling hills of Catalonia and of Andalusia, the marvellous
Moorish ruins, the murmurs of the Guadalquivir; to the left, a broad
sweep of burnished sea, on which, late into the night, the moon pours a
stream of molten silver, that comes rocking and widening toward him, and
vanishes in the shadow of the ship. The cruise has been a splendid
venture for him,--twenty-five thousand at the least. And as he paces the
decks,--in the view only of the silent man at the wheel and of the
silent stars,--he forecasts the palaces he will build. The feeble
Doctor shall have ease and every luxury; he will be gracious in his
charities; he will astonish the old people by his affluence; he will
live--

Just here, he spies a female figure stealing from the companion-way, and
gliding beyond the shelter of the wheelhouse. Half concealed as he
chances to be in the shadow of the rigging, he sees her fall upon her
knees, and, with head uplifted, cross her hands upon her bosom. 'T is a
short prayer, and the instant after she glides below.

"Good God! what trust!"--it is an ejaculatory prayer of Reuben's, rather
than an oath. And with it, swift as the wind, comes a dreary sense of
unrest. The palaces he had built vanish. The stars blink upon him
kindly, and from their wondrous depths challenge his thought. The sea
swashes idly against the floating ship. He too afloat,--afloat. Whither
bound? Yearning still for a belief on which he may repose. And he
bethinks himself,--does it lie somewhere under the harsh and dogmatic
utterances of the Ashfield pulpit? At the thought, he recalls the weary
iteration of cumbersome formulas, that passed through his brain like
leaden plummets, and the swift lashings of rebuke, if he but reached
over for a single worldly floweret, blooming beside the narrow path; and
yet,--and yet, from the leaden atmosphere of that past, saintly faces
beam upon him,--a mother's, Adèle's,--nay, the kindly fixed gray eyes of
the old Doctor glow upon him with a fire that must have been kindled
with truth.

Does it lie in the melodious aves, and under the robes of Rome? The
sordid friars, with their shaven pates, grin at him; some Rabelais head
of a priest in the confessional-stall leers at him with mockery: and yet
the golden letters of the great dome gleam again with the blazing
legend, _Ædificabo meam Ecclesiam!_--and the figure of the Magdalen
yonder has just now murmured, in tones that must surely have reached a
gracious ear,--

    "Tibi Christe, redemptori,
    Nostro vero salvatori!"

Is the truth between? Is it in both? Is it real? And if real, why may
not the same lips declare it under the cathedral or the meeting-house
roof? Why not--in God's name--charity?


LXIV.

The Meteor is a snug ship, well found, well manned, and, as the times
go, well officered. The captain, indeed, is not over-alert or fitted for
high emergencies; but what emergencies can belong to so placid a voyage?
For a week after the headlands of Tarifa and Spartel have sunk under the
eastern horizon, the vessel is kept every day upon her course,--her
top-gallant and studding sails all distent with the wind blowing freely
from over Biscay. After this come light, baffling, westerly breezes,
with sometimes a clear sky, and then all is overclouded by the drifting
trade-mists. Zigzagging on, quietly as ever, save the bustle and whiz
and flapping canvas of the ship "in stays," the good Meteor pushes
gradually westward.

Meantime a singular and almost tender intimacy grew up between Reuben
and the lady voyager. It is always agreeable to a young man to find a
listening ear in a lady whose age puts her out of the range of any
flurry of sentiment, and whose sympathy gives kindly welcome to his
confidence. All that early life of his he detailed to her with a
particularity and a warmth (himself unconscious of the warmth) which
brought the childish associations of her daughter fresh to the mind of
poor Madam Maverick. No wonder that she gave a willing ear! no wonder
that the glow of his language kindled her sympathy! Nor with such a
listener does he stop with the boyish life of Ashfield. He unfolds his
city career, and the bright promises that are before him,--promises of
business success, which (he would make it appear) are all that fill his
heart now. In the pride of his twenty-five years he loves to represent
himself as _blasé_ in sentiment.

Madam Maverick has been taught, in these latter years, a large amount of
self-control; so she can listen with a grave, nay, even a kindly face,
to Reuben's sweeping declarations. And if, at a hint from her,--which he
shrewdly counts Jesuitical,--his thought is turned in the direction of
his religious experiences, he has his axioms, his common-sense formulas,
his irreproachable coolness, and, at times, a noisy show of distrust,
under which it is easy to see an eager groping after the ends of that
great tangled skein of thought within, which is a weariness.

"If you could only have a talk with Father Ambrose!" says Madam Maverick
with half a sigh.

"I should like that of all things," says Reuben, with a touch of
merriment. "I suppose he 's a jolly old fellow, with rosy cheeks and
full of humor. By Jove! there go the beads again!" (He says this latter
to himself, however, as he sees the nervous fingers of the poor lady
plying her rosary, and her lips murmuring some catch of a prayer.)

Yet he cannot but respect her devotion profoundly, wondering how it can
have grown up under the heathenisms of her life; wondering perhaps, too,
how his own heathenism could have grown up under the roof of a
parsonage. It will be an odd encounter, he thinks, for this woman, with
the people of Ashfield, with the Doctor, with Adèle.

There are gales, but the good ship rides them out jauntily, with but a
single reef in her topsails. Within five weeks from the date of her
leaving Marseilles she is within a few days' sail of New York. A few
days' sail! It may mean overmuch; for there are mists, and hazy weather,
which forbid any observation. The last was taken a hundred miles to the
eastward of George's Shoal. Under an easy offshore wind the ship is
beating westward. But the clouds hang low, and there is no opportunity
for determining position. At last, one evening, there is a little lift,
and, for a moment only, a bright light blazes over the starboard bow.
The captain counts it a light upon one of the headlands of the Jersey
shore; and he orders the helmsman (she is sailing in the eye of an easy
westerly breeze) to give her a couple of points more "northing"; and the
yards and sheets are trimmed accordingly. The ship pushes on more
steadily as she opens to the wind, and the mists and coming night
conceal all around them.

"What do you make of the light, Mr. Yardley?" says the captain,
addressing the mate.

"Can't say, sir, with such a bit of a look. If it should be Fire Island,
we 're in a bad course, sir."

"That's true enough," said the captain thoughtfully. "Put a man in the
chains, Mr. Yardley, and give us the water."

"I hope we shall be in the bay by morning, Captain," said Reuben, who
stood smoking leisurely near the wheel. But the captain was preoccupied,
and answered nothing.

A little after, a voice from the chains came chanting full and loud, "By
the mark--nine!"

"This 'll never do, Mr. Yardley," said the captain, "Jersey shore or any
other. Let all hands keep by to put the ship about."

A voice forward was heard to say something of a roar that sounded like
the beat of surf; at which the mate stepped to the side of the ship and
listened anxiously.

"It 's true, sir," said he coming aft. "Captain, there 's something very
like the beat of surf, here away to the no'th'ard."

A flutter in the canvas caught the captain's attention. "It 's the wind
slacking; there's a bare capful," said the mate, "and I 'm afeard
there's mischief brewing yonder." He pointed as he spoke a little to the
south of east, where the darkness seemed to be giving way to a luminous
gray cloud of mist.

"And a half--six!" shouts again the man in the chains.

The captain meets it with a swelling oath, which betrays clearly enough
his anxiety. "There 's not a moment to lose, Yardley; see all ready
there! Keep her a good full, my boy!" (to the man at the wheel).

The darkness was profound. Reuben, not a little startled by the new
aspect of affairs, still kept his place upon the quarter-deck. He saw
objects flitting across the waist of the ship, and heard distinctly the
coils flung down with a clang upon the wet decks. There was something
weird and ghostly in those half-seen figures, in the indistinct maze of
cordage and canvas above, and the phosphorescent streaks of spray
streaming away from either bow.

"Are you ready there?" says the captain.

"Ay, ay, sir," responds the mate.

"Put your helm a-lee, my man!--Hard down!"

"Hard down it is, sir!"

The ship veers up into the wind; and, as the captain shouts his order,
"Mainsail haul!" the canvas shakes; the long, cumbrous yard groans upon
its bearings; there is a great whizzing of the cordage through the
blocks; but, in the midst of it all,--coming keenly to the captain's
ear,--a voice from the fore-hatch exclaims, "By G--, she touches!"

The next moment proved it true. The good ship minded her helm no more.
The fore-yards are brought round by the run and the mizzen, but the
light wind--growing lighter--hardly clears the flapping canvas from the
spars.

In the sunshine, with so moderate a sea, 't would seem little; in so
little depth of water they might warp her off; but the darkness
magnifies the danger; besides which, an ominous sighing and murmur are
coming from that luminous misty mass to the southward. Through all this,
Reuben has continued smoking upon the quarter-deck; a landsman under a
light wind, and with a light sea, hardly estimates at their true worth
such intimations as had been given of the near breaking of the surf, and
of the shoaling water. Even the touch upon bottom, of which the grating
evidence had come home to his own perceptions, brought up more the fate
of his business venture than any sense of personal peril. We can surely
warp her off in the morning, he thought; or, if the worst came,
insurance was full, and it would be easy boating to the shore.

"It's lucky there's no wind," said he to Yardley.

"Will you obleege me, Mr. Johns? Take a good strong puff of your
cigar,--here, upon the larboard rail, sir," and he took the lantern from
the companion-way that he might see the drift of the smoke. For a moment
it lifted steadily; then, with a toss it vanished away--shoreward. The
first angry puffs of the southeaster were coming.

The captain had seen all, and with an excited voice said, "Mr. Yardley,
clew up, fore and aft,--clew up everything; put all snug, and make ready
the best bower."

"Mr. Johns," said he, approaching Reuben, "we are on a lee shore; it
should be Long Island beach by the soundings; with calm weather, and a
kedge, we might work her off with the lift of the tide. But the Devil
and all is in that puff from the sou'east."

"O, well, we can anchor," says Reuben.

"Yes, we can anchor, Mr. Johns; but if that sou'easter turns out the
gale it promises, the best anchor aboard won't be so good as a
gridiron."

"Do you advise taking to the boats, then?" asked Reuben, a little
nervously.

"I advise nothing, Mr. Johns. Do you hear the murmur of the surf yonder?
It's bad landing under such a pounding of the surf, with daylight; in
the dark, where one can't catch the drift of the waves, it might
be--death!"

The word startled Reuben. His philosophy had always contemplated it at a
distance, toward which easy and gradual approaches might be made: but
here it was, now, at a cable's length!

And yet it was very strange; the sea was not high; no gale as yet; only
an occasional grating thump of the keel was a reminder that the good
Meteor was not still afloat. But the darkness! Yes, the darkness was
complete, (hardly a sight even of the topmen who were aloft--as in the
sunniest of weather--stowing the canvas,) and to the northward that
groan and echo of the resounding surf; to the southward, the whirling
white of waves that are lifting now, topped with phosphorescent foam.

The anchor is let go, but even this does not bring the ship's head to
the wind. Those griping sands hold her keel fast. The force of the
rising gale strikes her full abeam, giving her a great list to shore. It
is in vain the masts are cut away, and the rigging drifts free; the hulk
lifts only to settle anew in the grasping sands. Every old seaman upon
her deck knows that she is a doomed ship.

From time to time, as the crashing spars or the leaden thump upon the
sands have startled those below, Madam Maverick and her maid have made
their appearance, in a wild flutter of anxiety, asking eager questions;
(Reuben alone can understand them or answer them;) but as the
southeaster grows, as it does, into a fury of wind, and the poor hulk
reels vainly, and is overlaid with a torrent of biting salt spray, Madam
Maverick becomes calm. Instinctively, she sees the worst.

"Could I only clasp Adèle once more in these arms, I would say,
cheerfully, '_Nunc dimittis_.'"

Reuben regarded her calm faith with a hungry eagerness. Not, indeed,
that calmness was lacking in himself. Great danger, in many instances,
sublimates the faculties of keenly strung minds. But underneath his
calmness there was an unrest, hungering for repose,--the repose of a
fixed belief. If even then the breaking waves had whelmed him in their
mad career, he would have made no wailing outcry, but would have
clutched--how eagerly!--at the merest shred of that faith which, in
other days and times, he had seen illuminate the calm face of the
father. Something to believe,--on which to float upon such a sea!

But the waves and winds make sport of beliefs. Prayers count nothing
against that angry surge. Two boats are already swept from the davits,
and are gone upon the whirling waters. A third, with infinite pains, is
dropped into the yeast. It is hard to tell who gives the orders. But,
once afloat, there is a rush upon it, and away it goes,--overcrowded,
and within eyeshot lifts, turns, and a crowd of swimmers float for a
moment,--one with an oar, another with a thwart that the waves have torn
out,--and in the yeast of waters they vanish.

One boat only remains, and it is launched with more careful handling;
three cling by the wreck; the rest--save only Madam Maverick and
Reuben--are within her, as she tosses still in the lee of the vessel.

"There 's room!" cries some one; "jump quick! for God's sake!"

And Reuben, with some strange, generous impulse, seizes upon Madam
Maverick, and, before she can rebel or resist, has dropped her over the
rail. The men grapple her and drag her in; but in the next moment the
little cockle of a boat is drifted yards away.

The few who are left--the boatswain among them--are toiling on the wet
deck to give a last signal from the little brass howitzer on the
forecastle. As the sharp crack breaks on the air,--a miniature sound in
that howl of the storm,--the red flash of the gun gives Reuben, as the
boat lurches toward the wreck again, a last glance of Madam
Maverick,--her hands clasped, her eyes lifted, and calm as ever. More
than ever too her face was like the face of Adèle,--such as the face of
Adèle must surely become, when years have sobered her and her buoyant
faith has ripened into calm. And from that momentary glance of the
serene countenance, and that flashing associated memory of Adèle, a
subtile, mystic influence is born in him, by which he seems suddenly
transfused with the same trustful serenity which just now he gazed upon
with wonder. If indeed the poor lady is already lost,--he thinks it for
a moment,--her spirit has fanned and cheered him as it passed. Once
more, as if some mysterious hand had brought them to his reach, he
grapples with those lost lines of hope and trust which in that youthful
year of his exuberant emotional experience he had held and lost,--once
more, now, in hand,--once more he is elated with that wonderful sense of
a religious poise, that, it would seem, no doubts or terrors could
overbalance. Unconsciously kneeling on the wet deck, he is rapt into a
kind of ecstatic indifference to winds, to waves, to danger, to death.

The boom of a gun is heard to the northward. It must be from shore.
There are helpers at work, then. Some hope yet for this narrow tide of
life, which just seemed losing itself in some infinite flow beyond. Life
is, after all, so sweet! The boatswain forward labors desperately to
return an answering signal; but the spray, the slanted deck, the
overleaping waves, are too much for him. Darkness and storm and despair
rule again.

The wind, indeed, has fallen; the force of the gale is broken; but the
waves are making deeper and more desperate surges. The wreck, which had
remained fixed in the fury of the wind, lifts again under the great
swell of the sea, and is dashed anew and anew upon the shoal. With every
lift her timbers writhe and creak, and all the remaining upper works
crack and burst open with the strain.

Reuben chances to espy an old-fashioned round life-buoy lashed to the
taffrail, and, cutting it loose, makes himself fast to it. He overhears
the boatswain say, yonder by the forecastle, "These thumpings will break
her in two in an hour. Cling to a spar, Jack."

The gray light of dawn at last breaks, and shows a dim line of shore, on
which parties are moving, dragging some machine, with which they hope to
cast a line over the wreck. But the swell is heavier than ever, the
timbers nearer to parting. At last a flash of lurid light from the dim
shore-line,--a great boom of sound, and a line goes spinning out like a
spider's web up into the gray, bleak sky. Too far! too short! and the
line tumbles, plashing into the water. A new and fearful lift of the sea
shatters the wreck, the fore part of the ship still holding fast to the
sands; but all abaft the mainmast lifts, surges, reels, topples over;
with the wreck, and in the angry swirl and torment of waters, Reuben
goes down.


LXV.

That morning,--it was the 22d of September, in the year 1842,--Mr.
Brindlock came into his counting-room some two hours before noon, and
says to his porter and factotum, as he enters the door, "Well, Roger, I
suppose you 'll be counting this puff of a southeaster the equinoctial,
eh?"

"Indeed, sir, and it 's an awful one. The Meteor 's gone ashore on Long
Beach; and there 's talk of young Mr. Johns being lost."

"Good Heavens!" said Brindlock, "you don't tell me so!"

By half past three he was upon the spot; a little remaining fragment
only of the Meteor hanging to the sands, and a great _débris_ of bales,
spars, shattered timbers, bodies, drifted along the shore,--Reuben's
among them.

But he is not dead; at least so say the wreckers, who throng upon the
beach; the life-buoy is still fast to him, though he is fearfully
shattered and bruised. He is borne away under the orders of Brindlock to
some near house, and presently revives enough to ask that he may be
carried--"home."

As, in the opening of this story, his old grandfather, the Major, was
borne away from the scene of his first battle by easy stages homeward,
so now the grandson, far feebler and after more terrible encounter with
death, is carried by "easy stages" to his home in Ashfield. Again the
city, the boat, the river,--with its banks yellowing with harvests, and
brightened with the glowing tints of autumn; again the sluggish brigs
drifting down with the tide, and sailors in tasselled caps leaning over
the bulwarks; again the flocks feeding leisurely on the rock-strewn
hills; again the ferryman, in his broad, cumbrous scow, oaring across;
again the stoppage at the wharf of the little town, from which the coach
still plies over the hills to Ashfield.

On the way thither, a carriage passes them, in which are Adèle and her
father. The news of disaster flies fast; they have learned of the wreck,
and the names of passengers. They go to learn what they can of the
mother, whom the daughter has scarce known. The passing is too hasty for
recognition. Brindlock arrives at last with his helpless charge at the
door of the parsonage. The Doctor is overwhelmed at once with grief and
with joy. The news had come to him, and he had anticipated the worst.
But "Thank God! 'Joseph, my son, is yet alive!' Still a probationer;
there is yet hope that he may be brought into the fold."

He insists that he shall be placed below, upon his own bed, just out of
his study. For himself, he shall need none until the crisis is past. But
the crisis does not pass; it is hard to say when it will. The wounds are
not so much; but a low fever has set in, (the physician says,) owing to
exposure and excitement, and he can predict nothing as to the result.
Even Aunt Eliza is warmed into unwonted attention as she sees that poor
battered hulk of humanity lying there; she spares herself no fatigue,
God knows, but she sheds tears in her own chamber over this great
disaster. There are good points even in the spinster; when shall we
learn that the best of us are not wholly good, nor the worst wholly bad?

Days and days pass. Reuben hovering between life and death; and the old
Doctor, catching chance rest upon the little cot they have placed for
him in the study, looks yearningly by the dim light of the sick-lamp
upon that dove which his lost Rachel had hung upon his wall above the
sword of his father. He fancies that the face of Reuben, pinched with
suffering, resembles more than ever the mother. Of sickness, or of the
little offices of friends which cheat it of pains, the old gentleman
knows nothing: sick souls only have been his care. And it is pitiful to
see his blundering, eager efforts to do something, as he totters round
the sick-chamber where Reuben, with very much of youthful vigor left in
him, makes fight against the arch-enemy who one day conquers us all. For
many days after his arrival there is no consciousness,--only wild words
(at times words that sound to the ears of the good Doctor strangely
wicked, and that make him groan in spirit),--tender words, too, of
dalliance, and eager, loving glances,--murmurs of boyish things, of
sunny, school-day noonings,--hearing which, the Doctor thinks that, if
this light must go out, it had better have gone out in those days of
comparative innocence.

Over and over the father appeals to the village physician to know what
the chances may be,--to which that old gentleman, fumbling his
watch-key, and looking grave, makes very doubtful response. He hints at
a possible undermining of the constitution in these later years of city
life.

God only knows what habits the young man may have formed in these last
years; surely the Doctor does not; and he tells the physician as much,
with a groan of anguish.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meantime, Maverick and Adèle have gone upon their melancholy search;
and, as they course over the island to the southern beach, the sands,
the plains, the houses, the pines, drift by the eye of Adèle as in a
dream. At last she sees a great reach of water,--piling up, as it rolls
lazily in from seaward, into high walls of waves, that are no sooner
lifted than they break and send sparkling floods of foam over the sands.
Bits of wreck, dark clots of weed, are strewed here and
there,--stragglers scanning every noticeable heap, every floating thing
that comes in.

Is she dead? is she living? They have heard only on the way that many
bodies are lying in the near houses,--many bruised and suffering ones;
while some have come safe to land, and gone to their homes. They make
their way from that dismal surf-beaten shore to the nearest house. There
are loiterers about the door; and within,--within, Adèle finds her
mother at last, clasps her to her heart, kisses the poor dumb lips that
will never more open,--never say to her rapt ears, "My child! my
darling!"

Maverick is touched as he has never been touched before; the age of
early sentiment comes drifting back to his world-haunted mind; nay,
tears come to those eyes that have not known them for years. The grief,
the passionate, vain tenderness of Adèle, somehow seems to sanctify the
memory of the dead one who lies before him, her great wealth of hair
streaming dank and fetterless over the floor.

Not more tenderly, scarce more tearfully, could he have ministered to
one who had been his life-long companion. Where shall the poor lady be
buried? Adèle answers that, with eyes flashing through her
tears,--nowhere but in Ashfield, nowhere except beside the sister,
Marie.

It is a dismal journey for the father and the daughter; it is almost a
silent journey. Does she love him less? No, a thousand times, no. Does
he love her less? No, a thousand times, no. In such presence love is
awed into silence. As the mournful _cortége_ enters the town of
Ashfield, it passes the home of that fatherless boy, Arthur, for whom
Adèle had shown such sympathy. The youngster is there swinging upon the
gate, his cap gayly set off with feathers, and he looking wonderingly
upon the bier. He sees, too, the sad face of Adèle, and, by some strange
rush of memory, recalls, as he looks on her, the letter which she had
given him long ago, and which till then had been forgotten. He runs to
his mother: it is in his pocket,--it is in that of some summer jacket.
At last it is found; and the poor woman herself, that very morning, with
numberless apologies, delivers it at the door of the parsonage.

Phil is the first to meet this exceptional funeral company, and is the
first to tell Adèle how Reuben lies stricken almost to death at the
parsonage. She thanks him: she thanks him again for the tender care
which he shows in all relating to the approaching burial. When an enemy
even comes forward to help us bury the child we loved or the parent we
mourn, our hearts warm toward him as they never warmed before; but when
a friend assumes these offices of tenderness, and takes away the
harshest edge of grief by assuming the harshest duties of grief, our
hearts shower upon him their tenderest sympathies. We never forget it.

Of course, the arrival of this strange freight in Ashfield gives rise to
a world of gossip. We cannot follow it; we cannot rehearse it. The poor
woman is buried, as Adèle had wished, beside her sister. No _De
Profundis_ except the murmur of the winds through the crimson and the
scarlet leaves of later September.

The Tourtelots have been eager with their gossip. The dame has queried
if there should not be some town demonstration against the burial of the
Papist. But the little Deacon has been milder; and we give our last
glimpse of him--altogether characteristic--in a suggestion which he
makes in a friendly way to Squire Elderkin, who is the host of the
French strangers.

"Square, have they ordered a moniment yit for Miss Maverick?"

"Not that I 'm aware of, Deacon."

"Waal, my nevvy's got a good slab of Varmont marble, which he ordered
for his fust wife; but the old folks did n't like it, and it's in his
barn on the heater-piece. 'T ain't engraved, nor nothin'. If it should
_suit_ the Mavericks, I dare say they could git it tol'able low."


LXVI.

Reuben is still floating between death and life. There is doubt whether
the master of the long course or of the short course will win. However
that may be, his consciousness has returned; and it has been with a
great glow of gratitude that the poor Doctor has welcomed that look of
recognition in his eye,--the eye of Rachel!

He is calm,--he knows all. That calmness which had flashed into his soul
when last he saw the serene face of his fellow-voyager upon that mad sea
is _his_ still.

The poor father had been moved unwontedly by that unconsciousness which
was blind to all his efforts at spiritual consolation; but he is not
less moved when he sees reason stirring again,--a light of eager inquiry
in those eyes fearfully sunken, but from their cavernous depths seeing
farther and more keenly than ever.

"Adèle's mother,--was she lost?" He whispers it to the Doctor; and Miss
Eliza, who is sewing yonder, is quickened into eager listening.

"Lost! my son, lost! Lost, I apprehend, in the other world as well as
this, I fear the true light never dawned upon her."

A faint smile--as of one who sees things others do not see--broke over
the face of Reuben. "'T is a broad light, father; it reaches beyond our
blind reckoning."

There was a trustfulness in his manner that delighted the Doctor. "And
you see it, my son?--Repentance, Justification by Faith, Adoption,
Sanctification, Election?"

"Those words are a weariness to me, father; they suggest methods,
dogmas, perplexities. Christian hope, pure and simple, I love better."

The Doctor is disturbed; he cannot rightly understand how one who seems
inspired by so calm a trust--the son of his own loins too--should find
the authoritative declarations of the divines a weariness. Is it not
some subtle disguise of Satan, by which his poor boy is being cheated
into repose?

Of course the letter of Adèle, which had been so long upon its way, Miss
Eliza had handed to Reuben after such time as her caution suggested, and
she had explained to him its long delay.

Reading is no easy matter for him; but he races through those delicately
penned lines with quite a new strength. The spinster sees the color come
and go upon his wan cheek, and with what a trembling eagerness he folds
the letter at the end, and, making a painful effort, tries to thrust it
under his pillow. The good woman has to aid him in this. He thanks her,
but says nothing more. His fingers are toying nervously at a bit of torn
fringe upon the coverlet. It seems a relief to him to make the rent
wider and wider. A little glimpse of the world has come back to him,
which disturbs the repose with which but now he would have quitted it
forever.

Adèle has been into the sick-chamber from time to time,--once led away
weeping by the good Doctor, when the son had fallen upon his wild talk
of school-days; once, too, since consciousness has come to him again,
but before her letter had been read. He had met her with scarce more
than a touch of those fevered fingers, and a hard, uncertain quiver of a
smile, which had both shocked and disappointed the poor girl. She
thought he would have spoken some friendly consoling word of her mother;
but his heart, more than his strength, failed him. Her mournful, pitying
eyes were a reproach to him; they had haunted him through the wakeful
hours of two succeeding nights, and now, under the light of that laggard
letter, they blaze with a new and an appealing tenderness. His fingers
still puzzle wearily with that tangle of the fringe. The noon passes.
The aunt advises a little broth. But no, his strength is feeding itself
on other aliment. The Doctor comes in with a curiously awkward attempt
at gentleness and noiselessness of tread, and, seeing his excited
condition, repeats to him some texts which he believes must be
consoling. Reuben utters no open dissent; but through and back of all he
sees the tender eyes of Adèle, which, for the moment, outshine the
promises, or at the least illuminate them with a new meaning.

"I must see Adèle," he says to the Doctor; and the message is
carried,--she herself presently bringing answer, with a rich glow upon
her cheek.

"Reuben has sent for me,"--she murmurs it to herself with pride and joy.

She is in full black now; but never had she looked more radiantly
beautiful than when she stepped to the side of the sick-bed, and took
the hand of Reuben with an eager clasp--that was met, and met again. The
Doctor is in his study, (the open door between,) and the spinster is
fortunately just now busy at some of her household duties.

Reuben fumbles under his pillow nervously for that cherished bit of
paper, (Adèle knows already its history,) and when he has found it and
shown it (his thin fingers crumpling it nervously) he says, "Thank you
for this, Adèle!"

She answers only by clasping his hand with a sudden mad pressure of
content, while the blood mounted into either cheek with a rosy
exuberance that magnified her beauty tenfold.

He saw it,--he felt it all; and through her beaming eyes, so full of
tenderness and love, saw the world to which he had bidden adieu shining
before him more beguilingly than ever. Yesterday it was a dim and weary
world that he could leave without a pang; to-day it is a brilliant
world, where hopes, promises, joys pile in splendid proportions.

He tells her this. "Yesterday I would have died with scarce a regret;
to-day, Adèle, I would live."

"You will, you will, Reuben!" and she grappled more and more
passionately those shrunken fingers. "'T is not hopeless!" (sobbing).

"No, no, Adèle, darling, not hopeless. The cloud is lifted,--not
hopeless!"

"Thank God, thank God!" said she, dropping upon her knees beside him,
and with a smile of ecstasy he gathered that fair head to his bosom.

The Doctor, hearing her sobs, came softly in. The son's smile, as he met
his father's inquiring look, was more than ever like the smile of
Rachel. He has been telling the poor girl of her mother's death, thinks
the old gentleman; yet the Doctor wonders that he could have kept so
radiant a face with such a story.

Of these things, however, Reuben goes on presently to speak: of his
first sight of the mother of Adèle, and of her devotional attitude as
they floated down past the little chapel of Nôtre Dame to enter upon the
fateful voyage; he recounts their talks upon the tranquil moon-lit
nights of ocean; he tells of the mother's eager listening to his
description of her child.

"I did not tell her the half, Adèle; yet she loved me for what I told
her."

And Adèle smiles through her tears.

At last he comes to those dismal scenes of the wreck, relating all with
a strange vividness; living over again, as it were, that fearful
episode, till his brain whirled, his self-possession was lost, and he
broke out into a torrent of delirious raving.

He sleeps brokenly that night, and the next day is feebler than ever.
The physician warns against any causes of excitement. He is calm only at
intervals. The old school-days seem present to him again; he talks of
his fight with Phil Elderkin as if it happened yesterday.

"Yet I like Phil," he says (to himself), "and Rose is like Amanda, the
divine Amanda. No--not she. I've forgotten: it's the French girl. She's
a ---- Pah! who cares? She's as pure as heaven; she's an angel. Adèle!
Adèle! Not good enough! I'm not good enough. Very well, very well, now
I'll be bad enough! Clouds, wrangles, doubts! Is it my fault? _Ædificabo
meam Ecclesiam._ How they kneel! Puppets! mummers! No, not mummers, they
see a Christ. What if they see it in a picture? You see him in words.
Both in earnest. Belief--belief! That is best. Adèle, Adèle, I believe!"

The Doctor is a pained listener of this incoherent talk of his son. "I
am afraid,--I am afraid," he murmurs to himself, "that he has no clear
views of the great scheme of the Atonement."

The next day Reuben is himself once more, but feeble, to a degree that
startles the household. It is a charming morning of later September;
the window is wide open, and the sick one looks out over a stretch of
orchard (he knew its every tree), and upon wooded hills beyond (he knew
every coppice and thicket), and upon a background of sky over which a
few dappled white clouds floated at rest.

"It is most beautiful!" said Reuben.

"All things that He has made are beautiful," said the Doctor; and
thereupon he seeks to explore his way into the secrets of Reuben's
religious experience,--employing, as he was wont to do, all the
Westminster formulas by which his own belief stood fast.

"Father, father, the words are stumbling-blocks to me," says the son.

"I would to God, Reuben, that I could make my language always clear."

"No, father, no man can, in measuring the Divine mysteries. We must
carry this draggled earth-dress with us always,--always in some sort
fashionists, even in our soberest opinions. The robes of light are worn
only Beyond. Thought, at the best, is hampered by this clog of language,
that tempts, obscures, misleads."

"And do you see any light, my son?"

"I hope and tremble. A great light is before me; it shines back upon
outlines of doctrines and creeds where I have floundered for many a
year."

"But some are clear,--some are clear, Reuben!"

"Before, all seems clear; but behind--"

"And yet, Reuben," (the Doctor cannot forbear the discussion,) "there is
the cross,--Election, Adoption, Sanctification--"

"Stop, father; the cross, indeed, with a blaze of glory, I see; but the
teachers of this or that special form of doctrine I see only catching
radiations of the light. The men who teach, and argue, and declaim, and
exorcise, are using human weapons; the great light only strikes here and
there upon some sword-point which is nearest to the cross."

"He wanders," says the Doctor to Adèle, who has slipped in and stands
beside the sick-bed.

"No wandering, father; on the brink where I stand, I cannot."

"And what do you see, Reuben, my boy?" (tenderly).

Is it the presence of Adèle that gives a new fervor, a kind of crazy
inspiration to his talk? "I see the light-hearted clashing cymbals; and
those who love art, kneeling under blazing temples and shrines; but the
great light touches the gold no more effulgently than the steeple of
your meeting-house, father, but no less. I see eyes of chanting girls
streaming with joy in the light; and haggard men with ponderous
foreheads working out contrivances to bridge the gap between the finite
and the infinite. Father, they are no nearer to a passage than the
radiant girls who chant and tell their beads. Angels in all shapes of
beauty flit over and amid the throngs I see,--in shape of fleecy clouds
that fan them,--in shape of brooks that murmur praise,--in shape of
leafy shadows that tremble and flicker,--in shape of birds that make a
concert of song." The birds even then were singing, the clouds floating
in his eye, the leafy shadows trailing on the chamber floor, and, from
the valley, the murmur of the brook came to his sensitive ear.

"He wanders,--he wanders!" said the poor Doctor.

Reuben turns to Adèle. "Adèle, kiss me!" A rosy tint ran over her face
as she stooped and kissed him with a freedom a mother might have
shown,--leaving one hand toying caressingly with his hair. "The cloud is
passing, Adèle,--passing! God is Justice; Christ is Mercy. In him I
trust."

"Reuben, darling," says Adèle, "come back to us!"

"Darling,--darling!" he repeated with a strange, eager, satisfied
smile,--so sweet a sound it was.

The chamber was filled with the delightful perfume of a violet bed
beneath the window. Suddenly there came from the Doctor, whose old eyes
caught sooner than any the change, a passionate outcry. "Great God! Thy
will be done!"

With that one loud, clear utterance, his firmness gave way,--for the
first time in sixty years broke utterly; and big tears streamed down his
face as he gazed yearningly upon the dead body of his first-born.


LXVII.

In the autumn of 1845, three years after the incidents related in our
last chapter, Mr. Philip Elderkin, being at that time president of a
railroad company, which was establishing an important connection of
travel that was to pass within a few miles of the quiet town of
Ashfield, was a passenger on the steamer Caledonia, for Europe. He
sailed, partly in the interest of the company,--to place certain
bonds,--and partly in his own interest, as an intelligent man, eager to
add to his knowledge of the world.

At Paris, where he passed some time, it chanced that he was one evening
invited to the house of a resident American, where, he was gayly
assured, he would meet with a very attractive American heiress, the only
daughter of a merchant of large fortune.

Philip Elderkin--brave, straightforward fellow that he was--had never
forgotten his early sentiment. He had cared for those French graves in
Ashfield with an almost religious attention. In all the churchyard there
was not such scrupulously shorn turf, or such orderly array of bloom. He
counted--in a fever of doubt--upon a visit to Marseilles before his sail
for home.

But at the _soirée_ we have mentioned he was amazed and delighted to
meet, in the person of the heiress, Adèle Maverick,--not changed
essentially since the time he had known her. That life at
Marseilles--even in the well-appointed home of her father--has none of
that domesticity which she had learned to love; and this first winter in
Paris for her does not supply the lack. That she has a great company of
admirers it is easy to understand; but yet she gives a most cordial
greeting to Phil Elderkin,--a greeting that by its manner makes the
pretenders doubtful. Philip finds it possible to reconcile the demands
of his business with a week's visit to Marseilles. To the general
traveller it is not a charming region. The dust abounds; the winds are
terrible; the sun is scalding. But Mr. Philip Elderkin found it
delightful. And, indeed, the country-house of Mr. Maverick had
attractions of its own; attractions so great that his week runs over
into two,--into three. There are excursions to the Pont du Gard, to the
Arène of Arles. And, before he leaves, he has an engagement there (which
he has enforced by very peremptory proposals) for the next spring.

On his return to Ashfield, he reports a very successful trip. To his
sister Rose (now Mrs. Catesby, with a blooming little infant, called
Grace Catesby) he is specially communicative. And she thinks it was a
glorious trip, and longs for the time when he will make the next. He,
furthermore, to the astonishment of Dame Tourtelot (whose husband sleeps
now under the sod), has commenced the establishment of a fine home, upon
a charming site, overlooking all Ashfield. The Squire, still stalwart,
cannot resist giving a hint of what is expected to the old Doctor, who
still wearily goes his rounds, and prays for the welfare of his flock.

He is delighted at the thought of meeting again with Adèle, though he
thinks with a sigh of his lost boy. Yet he says in his old manner, "'T
is the hand of Providence; she first bloomed into grace under the roof
of our church; she comes back to adorn it with her faith and her works."

       *       *       *       *       *

At a date three years later we take one more glimpse at that quiet
village of Ashfield, where we began our story. The near railway has
brought it into more intimate connection with the shore towns and the
great cities. But there is no noisy clatter of the cars to break the
quietude. On still days, indeed, the shriek of the steam-whistle or the
roar of a distant train is heard bursting over the hills, and dying in
strange echoes up and down the valley. The stage-driver's horn is heard
no longer; no longer the coach whirls into the village and delivers its
leathern pouch of letters. The Tew partners we once met are now partners
in the grave. Deacon Tourtelot (as we have already hinted) has gone to
his long home; and the dame has planted over him the slab of "Varmont"
marble, which she has bought at a bargain from his "nevvy."

The Boody tavern-keeper has long since disappeared; no teams wheel up
with the old dash at the doors of the Eagle Tavern. The creaking
sign-board even is gone from the overhanging sycamore.

Miss Almira is still among the living. She sings treble, however, no
longer; she wears spectacles; she writes no more over mystical asterisks
for the Hartford Courant. Age has brought to her at least this much of
wisdom.

The mill groans, as of old, in the valley. A new race of boys pelt the
hanging nests of the orioles; a new race of school-girls hang swinging
on the village gates at the noonings.

As for Miss Johns, she lives still,--scarce older to appearance than
twenty years before,--prim, wiry, active,--proof against all ailments,
it would seem. It is hard to conceive of her as yielding to the great
conqueror. If the tongue and an inflexibility of temper were the
weapons, she would whip Death from her chamber at the last. It seems
like amiability almost to hear such a one as she talk of her
approaching, inevitable dissolution,--so kindly in her to yield that
point!

And she does; she declares it over and over, there are far feebler ones
who do not declare it half so often. If she is to be conquered and the
Johns banner go down, she will accept the defeat so courageously and so
long in advance that the defeat shall become a victorious confirmation
of the Johns prophecy.

She is still earnest in all her duties; she gives cast-away clothing to
the poor, and good advice with it. She is rigorous in the observance of
every propriety; no storm keeps her from church. If the children of a
new generation climb unduly upon the pew-backs, or shake their curly
heads too wantonly, she lifts a prim forefinger at them, which has lost
none of its authoritative meaning. She is the impersonation of all good
severities. A strange character! Let us hope that, as it sloughs off its
earthly cerements, it may in the Divine presence scintillate charities
and draw toward it the love of others. A good, kind, bad
gentlewoman,--unwearied in performance of duties. We wonder as we think
of her! So steadfast, we cannot sneer at her,--so true to her line of
faith, we cannot condemn her,--so utterly forbidding, we cannot love
her! May God give rest to her good, stubborn soul!

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon Sundays of August and September there may be occasionally seen in
the pew of Elderkin Junior a gray-haired old gentleman, dressed with
scrupulous care, and still carrying an erect figure, though somewhat
gouty in his step. This should be Mr. Maverick, a retired merchant, who
is on a visit to his daughter. He makes wonderful gifts to a certain
little boy who bears a Puritan name, and gives occasional ponderous sums
to the parish. In winter, his head-quarters are at the Union Club.

And Doctor Johns? Yes, he is living still,--making his way wearily each
morning along the street with his cane. Going oftenest, perhaps, to the
home of Adèle, who is now a matron,--a tender, and most womanly and
joyful matron,--and with her little boy--Reuben Elderkin by name--he
wanders often to the graves where sleep his best beloved,--Rachel, so
early lost,--the son, in respect to whom he feels at last a "reasonable
assurance" that the youth has entered upon a glorious inheritance in
those courts where one day he will join him, and the sainted Rachel too,
and clasp again in his arms (if it be God's will) the babe that was his
but for an hour on earth.



TIED TO A ROPE.


You don't know what a Hircus Oepagrus is, Tommy? Well, it is a big
name for him, isn't it? And if you should ask that somewhat slatternly
female, who appears to employ tubs for the advantage of others rather
than herself, what the animal is, she would tell you it is a goat. See
what a hardy, sturdy little creature he is; and how he lifts up his
startled head, as the cars come thundering along, and bounds away as if
he were on the rugged hills that his ancestors climbed, ages ago, in
wild freedom. O that cruel rope! how it stops him in his career with a
sudden jerk that pulls him to the ground! See where it has worn away the
hair round his neck, in his constant struggles to escape. See how he has
browsed the scanty grass of that dry pasture, in the little circle to
which he is confined, and is now trying to reach an uncropped tuft, just
beyond his tether. And the sun is beating down upon him, and there is
not the shade of a leaf for him to creep into, this July day. Poor
little fellow!

Not waste my sympathy on a common goat? My dear Madam, I can assure you
that ropes are not knotted around the neck of Hirci Oepagri alone. And
when I was bemoaning the captivity of yonder little browser we have left
behind, I was bewailing the fortune of another great order of the
Mammalian class,--an order that Mr. Huxley and Mr. Darwin and other
great thinkers of the day are proving to be close connections of their
humbler brethren that bleat and bark and bray. The bimanal species of
this order are similarly appendaged, though they are not apt to be
staked beside railways or confined to a rood of ground.

Do you see Vanitas at the other end of the car? Does he look as though
he carried about with him a "lengthening chain"? No one would certainly
suppose it. Yet he is bound as securely as the poor little goat. We may
go to the fresh air of his country-seat this July day, or to the
sea-breezes of his Newport cottage next month, or he may sit here, "the
incarnation of fat dividends," while you and I envy him his wealth and
comforts; but he can never break his bonds. They are riveted to the
counters of the money-changers, knotted around the tall masts of his
goodly ships, bolted to the ore of his distant mines. He bears them to
his luxurious home, and his fond wife, his caressing children, his
troops of friends, can never strike them off. Ever and anon, as the car
of fortune sweeps by to start him from his comfortable ease, they gall
him with their remorseless restraint. You may cut the poor goat's rope
and set him free, to roam where he will; but Vanitas has forged his own
fetters, and there comes to him no blessed day of emancipation.

My dear Madam, the bright blue ether around us is traversed by a
wonderful network of these invisible bonds that hold poor human beings
to their fate. Over the green hills and over the blue waters, far, far
away they reach,--a warp and woof of multiform, expansive strands, over
which the sense of bondage moves with all the wondrous celerity of that
strange force which, on the instant, speaks the thought of the
Antipodes. You don't know that you carry about any such? Ah! it is well
that they weigh so lightly. Utter your grateful thanks, to-night, when
you seek your pillow, that the chains you wear are not galling ones. But
you are most irrevocably bound. Frank holds you fast. One of these days,
when you are most peaceful and content in your bondage, scarcely
recognized, there may come a stately tread, a fiery eye, a glowing
heart, to startle you from your quiet ease; and when you bound,
trembling and breathless in their mighty sway, you may feel the
chain--before so light--wearing its way deep into your throbbing heart.
May you never wake on the morn of that day, Madam! You don't carry any
such? Round a little white tablet, half hidden in the sighing grass, is
linked a chain which holds you, at this moment, by your inmost soul. You
are not listening to me now; for I have but touched it, and your breast
is swelling 'neath its pressure, and the tears start to your eyes at its
momentary tightness. You don't carry any such? We all carry them; and
were human ears sensitive to other than the grosser sounds of nature,
they would hear a strange music sweeping from these mystic chords, as
they tremble at the touch of time and fate.

Master Tommy seems to be tolerably free from any sort of restraint, I
acknowledge. In fact, it is he who keeps myself and Mrs. A. in the most
abject servitude. He holds our nasal appendages close to the grindstone
of his imperious will. And yet--please take him into the next car,
Madam, while I speak of him. You cannot? What is this? Let me see, I
pray you. As I live, it is his mother's apron-string. Ah! I fear, Madam,
that all your efforts cannot break that tie. In the years to come, it
will doubtless be frayed and worn; and, some day or other, he will bound
loose from his childhood's captivity; but long ere that he will have
other bonds thrown around him, some of which he can never break. He will
weave with his own hands the silken cord of love, coil it about him,
knot it with Gordian intricacy, net it with Vulcan strength, and then,
with blind simplicity, place it in Beauty's hand to lead him captive to
her capricious will. My dear Madam, did not Tommy's father do the same
foolish thing? And is he not grateful to the lovely Mrs. Asmodeus for
the gentleness with which she holds him in her power? Some of our bonds
are light to bear. We glory in them, and hold up our gyves to show them
to the world. Tommy may be a little shamefaced when his playmates jeer
at the maternal tie; but he will walk forth, glowing with pride and joy,
to parade his self-woven fetters ostentatiously in the sight of men.
When you had done some such foolish thing yourself, did not your young
mates gather round to view, with wondering and eager eyes, the result of
your own handiwork at the cordage of love? Were there not many
loquacious conclaves held to sit in secret judgment thereon? Were there
not many soft cheeks flushing, and bright eyes sparkling, and fresh
hearts beating, as you brought forth, with a pride you did not pretend
to hide, the rose-colored fabric you had woven? And did they not all
envy you, and wonder when their distaffs were to whirl to the tread of
their own ready feet?

But we are not always eager or proud to exhibit our bonds. Indeed, we
sedulously conceal them from every eye; we cover up the marks upon our
scarred hearts with such jealous care, that none, not even our bosom
friends, can ever see them. They hold us where the sweet herbage of life
has become dry and sere, where no shelter offers us a grateful retreat.
Vanitas can bear away with him his "lengthening chain" to his leafy
groves; but Scripsit is confined to the torrid regions of his scanty
garret. In vain he gazes afar, beyond the smoky haze of his stony
prison, upon the green slopes and shady hills. In vain he toils and
strains to burst the links that bind him. His soul is yearning for the
cooling freshness, the sweet fragrance, the beauty, the glory, of the
outer world. It is just beyond his reach; and, wearied with futile
exertions, he sinks, fainting and despairing, in his efforts to rend the
chain of penury. And there are many other bonds which hold us to areas
of life from which we have gathered all the fresh bloom and the rich
fruit. We may tread their barren soil with jewelled sandals, wrap around
us ermined robes in winter's cold, and raise our silken tents in
summer's glare, while our souls are hungering and thirsting for the
ambrosia and the nectar beyond our tethered reach. We are held fast by
honor, virtue, fidelity, pity,--ties which we dare not break if we
could. We must not even bear their golden links to their extremest
length; we must not show that they are chains which bind us; we must not
show that we are hungering and thirsting in the confines to which they
restrain us. We must seem to be feasting as from the flesh-pots of
Egypt,--fattening on the husks which we have emptied,--while our souls
are starving and fainting and dying within us. 'T is a sad music that
swells from these chords. How fortunate that our ears are not attuned to
their notes. And we are not always solitary in our bondage; nor do we
tread round the cropped circuit, held to senseless pillars. We are
chained to each other; and unhappy are they who, straining at the bond,
seek food for their hearts in opposite directions. We are chained to
each other; and light or heavy are the bonds, as Fortune shall couple
us. Now you and Frank, I know, are leashed with down; and when Mrs.
Asmodeus went to the blacksmith, the Vulcan of our days, to order my
fetters, she bespoke gossamers, to which a spider's web were cable. But
we are among the favored of Fortune's children. There are many poor
unfortunates whose daily round is but the measured clank of hateful
chains; who eat, drink, sleep, live together, in a bondage worse than
that of Chillon,--round whom the bright sun shines, the sweet flowers
bloom, the soft breezes play,--and yet who stifle in the gloom of a
domestic dungeon.

And there are others fettered as firmly,--but how differently! The
clasping links are soft, caressing arms; the tones their sounding chains
give out are cheerful voices, joyous accents, words of love, that echo
far beyond the little circle that they keep, and spread their harmony
through many hearts. That little circle is a happy home; love spun the
bonds that hold them close therein, and many are the strands that bind
them there. They come from beauteous eyes that beam with light; from
lisping tongues more sweet than seraph choirs; from swelling hearts that
beat in every pulse with fond affection, which is richer far than all
the nectar of the ancient gods. Bind me with these, O Fortune! and I hug
my chains o'erjoyed. Be these the cords which hold me to the rock around
which break the surging waves of time, and let the beak of Fate tear as
it will, I hold the bondage sweet and laugh at liberty.

My dear Madam, there are chains which hold us as the cable holds the
ship; and, in their sure restraint, we safely ride through all the
howling blasts of adverse fate. The globe we tread whirls on through
endless space, kept ever in the circuit that it makes by that
restraining force which holds it to the pillar of the sun. Loose but the
bond an instant, and it flies in wild, tangential flight, to shatter
other worlds. The very bondage that we curse, and seek, in fretful mood,
to break and burst, may keep us to the orbit that is traced, by
overruling wisdom, for our good. We gravitate towards duty, though we
sweep with errant course along the outer marge of the bare area of its
tightened cord. Let but the wise restraint be rudely broke, and through
life's peopled space we heedless rush, trampling o'er hearts, and
whirling to our fate, leaving destruction on our reckless way.

Did you ever chance to see, Madam, a picture of those venturous hunters,
who are lowered by a rope to the nests of sea-birds, built on some
inaccessible cliff? Hanging between heaven and earth they sway;--above,
the craggy rock, o'er which the single cord is strained that holds them
fast; below, a yawning chasm, whose jagged depth would be a fearful
grave to him who should fall. You and I would never dream of
bird-nesting under such circumstances. I can see you shudder, even now,
at the bare idea. Yet do we not sometimes hang ourselves over cliffs
from which a fall were worse than death? Do we not trust ourselves, in
venturous mood, to the frail tenure of a single strand which sways
'twixt heaven and earth? Not after birds' eggs, I grant you. We are not
all of us so fond of omelettes. But over the wild crags of human passion
many drop, pursuing game that shuns the beaten way, and sway above the
depths of dark despair. Intent upon their prey, they further go, secure
in the firm hold they think they have, nor heed the fraying line that,
grating on the edge of the bare precipice, at last is worn and weak;
while, one by one, the little threads give way, and they who watch above
in terror call to warn them of the danger. But in vain! no friendly
voice can stay their flushed success; till, at its height, the cord is
suddenly snapped, and crushed upon the rocks beneath they lie. You and I
will never go bird-nesting after this fashion, my dear Madam. Let us
hover then around the crags of life, and watch the twisting strands that
others, more adventurous than we, have risked themselves upon. Be ours
the part to note the breaking threads, and, with our words of kindly
warning, seek to save our fellows from a fall so dread.

And, if the ties of earth keep us from falling, so also do they keep us
from rising above the level of grosser things. They hold us down to the
dull, tedious monotony of worldly cares, aims, purposes. Like birds
withheld from flight into the pure regions of the upper air by cruel,
frightening cords, we fluttering go, stifled amid the vapors men have
spread, and panting for the freedom that we seek.

Madam, our bright-eyed little goat has, by this time, settled himself
calmly on the grass; and I see, near at hand, the shady groves where
King Tommy is wont to lead Mrs. A. and myself in his summer wanderings.
Let me hope that all our bonds may be those which hold us fast to peace,
content, and virtue; and that, when the silver cord which holds us here
to earth shall be loosed, we then on sweeping pinions may arise, pure
and untrammelled, into cloudless skies.



GIOTTO'S TOWER.


    How many lives, made beautiful and sweet
      By self-devotion and by self-restraint,--
      Whose pleasure is to run without complaint
      On unknown errands of the Paraclete,--
    Wanting the reverence of unshodden feet,
      Fail of the nimbus which the artists paint
      Around the shining forehead of the saint,
      And are in their completeness incomplete.
    In the old Tuscan town stands Giotto's tower,
      The lily of Florence blossoming in stone,--
      A vision, a delight, and a desire,--
    The builder's perfect and centennial flower,
      That in the night of ages bloomed alone,
      But wanting still the glory of the spire.



PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.


VI.

Brook Farm, _Oct. 9, 1841._--A walk this afternoon to Cow Island. The
clouds had broken away towards noon, and let forth a few sunbeams, and
more and more blue sky ventured to appear, till at last it was really
warm and sunny,--indeed, rather too warm in the sheltered hollows,
though it is delightful to be too warm now, after so much stormy
chillness. O the beauty of grassy slopes, and the hollow ways of paths
winding between hills, and the intervals between the road and wood-lots,
where summer lingers and sits down, strewing dandelions of gold, and
blue asters, as her parting gifts and memorials! I went to a grape-vine,
which I have already visited several times, and found some clusters of
grapes still remaining, and now perfectly ripe. Coming within view of
the river, I saw several wild ducks under the shadow of the opposite
shore, which was high, and covered with a grove of pines. I should not
have discovered the ducks had they not risen and skimmed the surface of
the glassy stream, breaking its dark water with a bright streak, and,
sweeping round, gradually rose high enough to fly away. I likewise
started a partridge just within the verge of the woods, and in another
place a large squirrel ran across the wood-path from one shelter of
trees to the other. Small birds, in flocks, were flitting about the
fields, seeking and finding I know not what sort of food. There were
little fish, also, darting in shoals through the pools and depths of the
brooks, which are now replenished to their brims, and rush towards the
river with a swift, amber-colored current.

Cow Island is not an island,--at least, at this season,--though, I
believe, in the time of freshets, the marshy Charles floods the meadows
all round about it, and extends across its communication with the
mainland. The path to it is a very secluded one, threading a wood of
pines, and just wide enough to admit the loads of meadow hay which are
drawn from the splashy shore of the river. The island has a growth of
stately pines, with tall and ponderous stems, standing at distance
enough to admit the eye to travel far among them; and, as there is no
underbrush, the effect is somewhat like looking among the pillars of a
church.

I returned home by the high-road. On my right, separated from the road
by a level field, perhaps fifty yards across, was a range of young
forest-trees, dressed in their garb of autumnal glory. The sun shone
directly upon them; and sunlight is like the breath of life to the pomp
of autumn. In its absence, one doubts whether there be any truth in what
poets have told about the splendor of an American autumn; but when this
charm is added, one feels that the effect is beyond description. As I
beheld it to-day, there was nothing dazzling; it was gentle and mild,
though brilliant and diversified, and had a most quiet and pensive
influence. And yet there were some trees that seemed really made of
sunshine, and others were of a sunny red, and the whole picture was
painted with but little relief of darksome hues,--only a few evergreens.
But there was nothing inharmonious; and, on closer examination, it
appeared that all the tints had a relationship among themselves. And
this, I suppose, is the reason that, while Nature seems to scatter them
so carelessly, they still never shock the beholder by their contrasts,
nor disturb, but only soothe. The brilliant scarlet and the brilliant
yellow are different hues of the maple-leaves, and the first changes
into the last. I saw one maple-tree, its centre yellow as gold, set in a
framework of red. The native poplars have different shades of green,
verging towards yellow, and are very cheerful in the sunshine. Most of
the oak-leaves have still the deep verdure of summer; but where a change
has taken place, it is into a russet-red, warm, but sober. These colors,
infinitely varied by the progress which different trees have made in
their decay, constitute almost the whole glory of autumnal woods; but it
is impossible to conceive how much is done with such scanty materials.
In my whole walk I saw only one man, and he was at a distance, in the
obscurity of the trees. He had a horse and a wagon, and was getting a
load of dry brush-wood.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, October 10._--I visited my grape-vine this afternoon, and ate
the last of its clusters. This vine climbs around a young maple-tree,
which has now assumed the yellow leaf. The leaves of the vine are more
decayed than those of the maple. Thence to Cow Island, a solemn and
thoughtful walk. Returned by another path, of the width of a wagon,
passing through a grove of hard wood, the lightsome hues of which make
the walk more cheerful than among the pines. The roots of oaks emerged
from the soil, and contorted themselves across the path. The sunlight,
also, broke across in spots, and otherwheres the shadow was deep; but
still there was intermingling enough of bright hues to keep off the
gloom from the whole path.

Brooks and pools have a peculiar aspect at this season. One knows that
the water must be cold, and one shivers a little at the sight of it; and
yet the grass about the pool may be of the deepest green, and the sun
may be shining into it. The withered leaves which overhanging trees shed
upon its surface contribute much to the effect.

Insects have mostly vanished in the fields and woods. I hear locusts
yet, singing in the sunny hours, and crickets have not yet finished
their song. Once in a while I see a caterpillar,--this afternoon, for
instance, a red, hairy one, with black head and tail. They do not appear
to be active, and it makes one rather melancholy to look at them.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tuesday, October 12._--The cawing of the crow resounds among the woods.
A sentinel is aware of your approach a great way off, and gives the
alarm to his comrades loudly and eagerly,--Caw, caw, caw! Immediately
the whole conclave replies, and you behold them rising above the trees,
flapping darkly, and winging their way to deeper solitudes. Sometimes,
however, they remain till you come near enough to discern their sable
gravity of aspect, each occupying a separate bough, or perhaps the
blasted tip-top of a pine. As you approach, one after another, with loud
cawing, flaps his wings and throws himself upon the air.

There is hardly a more striking feature in the landscape now-a-days than
the red patches of blueberry and whortleberry bushes, as seen on a
sloping hillside, like islands among the grass, with trees growing in
them; or crowning the summit of a bare, brown hill with their somewhat
russet liveliness; or circling round the base of an earth-embedded rock.
At a distance, this hue, clothing spots and patches of the earth, looks
more like a picture than anything else,--yet such a picture as I never
saw painted.

The oaks are now beginning to look sere, and their leaves have withered
borders. It is pleasant to notice the wide circle of greener grass
beneath the circumference of an overshadowing oak. Passing an orchard,
one hears an uneasy rustling in the trees, and not as if they were
struggling with the wind. Scattered about are barrels to contain the
gathered apples; and perhaps a great heap of golden or scarlet apples is
collected in one place.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, October 13._--A good view, from an upland swell of our
pasture, across the valley of the river Charles. There is the meadow, as
level as a floor, and carpeted with green, perhaps two miles from the
rising ground on this side of the river to that on the opposite side.
The stream winds through the midst of the flat space, without any banks
at all; for it fills its bed almost to the brim, and bathes the meadow
grass on either side. A tuft of shrubbery, at broken intervals, is
scattered along its border; and thus it meanders sluggishly along,
without other life than what it gains from gleaming in the sun. Now,
into the broad, smooth meadow, as into a lake, capes and headlands put
themselves forth, and shores of firm woodland border it, covered with
variegated foliage, making the contrast so much the stronger of their
height and rough, outline with the even spread of the plain. And beyond,
and far away, rises a long, gradual swell of country, covered with an
apparently dense growth of foliage for miles, till the horizon
terminates it; and here and there is a house, or perhaps two, among the
contiguity of trees. Everywhere the trees wear their autumnal dress, so
that the whole landscape is red, russet, orange, and yellow, blending in
the distance into a rich tint of brown-orange, or nearly that,--except
the green expanse so definitely hemmed in by the higher ground.

I took a long walk this morning, going first nearly to Newton, thence
nearly to Brighton, thence to Jamaica Plain, and thence home. It was a
fine morning, with a northwest wind; cool when facing the wind, but warm
and most genially pleasant in sheltered spots; and warm enough
everywhere while I was in motion. I traversed most of the by-ways which
offered themselves to me; and, passing through one in which there was a
double line of grass between the wheel-tracks and that of the horses'
feet, I came to where had once stood a farm-house, which appeared to
have been recently torn down. Most of the old timber and boards had been
carted away; a pile of it, however, remained. The cellar of the house
was uncovered, and beside it stood the base and middle height of the
chimney. The oven, in which household bread had been baked for daily
food, and puddings and cake and jolly pumpkin-pies for festivals, opened
its mouth, being deprived of its iron door. The fireplace was close at
hand. All round the site of the house was a pleasant, sunny, green
space, with old fruit-trees in pretty fair condition, though aged. There
was a barn, also aged, but in decent repair; and a ruinous shed, on the
corner of which was nailed a boy's windmill, where it had probably been
turning and clattering for years together, till now it was black with
time and weather-stain. It was broken, but still it went round whenever
the wind stirred. The spot was entirely secluded, there being no other
house within a mile or two.

No language can give an idea of the beauty and glory of the trees, just
at this moment. It would be easy, by a process of word-daubing, to set
down a confused group of gorgeous colors, like a bunch of tangled skeins
of bright silk; but there is nothing of the reality in the glare which
would thus be produced. And yet the splendor both of individual clusters
and of whole scenes is unsurpassable. The oaks are now far advanced in
their change of hue; and, in certain positions relatively to the sun,
they light up and gleam with a most magnificent deep gold, varying
according as portions of the foliage are in shadow or sunlight. On the
sides which receive the direct rays, the effect is altogether rich; and
in other points of view it is equally beautiful, if less brilliant. This
color of the oak is more superb than the lighter yellow of the maples
and walnuts. The whole landscape is now covered with this indescribable
pomp; it is discerned on the uplands afar off; and Blue Hill in Milton,
at the distance of several miles, actually glistens with rich, dark
light,--no, not glistens, nor gleams,--but perhaps to say glows
subduedly will be a truer expression for it.

Met few people this morning;--a grown girl, in company with a little
boy, gathering barberries in a secluded lane; a portly, autumnal
gentleman, wrapped in a great-coat, who asked the way to Mr. Joseph
Goddard's; and a fish-cart from the city, the driver of which sounded
his horn along the lonesome way.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, October 18._--There has been a succession of days which were
cold and bright in the forenoon, and gray, sullen, and chill towards
night. The woods have now taken a soberer tint than they wore at my last
date. Many of the shrubs which looked brightest a little while ago are
now wholly bare of leaves. The oaks have generally a russet-brown shade,
although some of them are still green, as are likewise other scattered
trees in the forests. The bright yellow and the rich scarlet are no more
to be seen. Scarcely any of them will now bear a close examination; for
this shows them to be rugged, wilted, and of faded, frost-bitten hue;
but at a distance, and in the mass, and enlivened by the sun, they have
still somewhat of the varied splendor which distinguished them a week
ago. It is wonderful what a difference the sunshine makes; it is like
varnish, bringing out the hidden veins in a piece of rich wood. In the
cold, gray atmosphere, such as that of most of our afternoons now, the
landscape lies dark,--brown, and in a much deeper shadow than if it were
clothed in green. But, perchance, a gleam of sun falls on a certain spot
of distant shrubbery or woodland, and we see it brighten with many hues,
standing forth prominently from the dimness around it. The sunlight
gradually spreads, and the whole sombre scene is changed to a motley
picture,--the sun bringing out many shades of color, and converting its
gloom to an almost laughing cheerfulness. At such times I almost doubt
whether the foliage has lost any of its brilliancy. But the clouds
intercept the sun again, and lo! old Autumn appears, clad in his cloak
of russet-brown.

Beautiful now, while the general landscape lies in shadow, looks the
summit of a distant hill (say a mile off), with the sunshine brightening
the trees that cover it. It is noticeable that the outlines of hills,
and the whole bulk of them at the distance of several miles, become
stronger, denser, and more substantial in this autumn atmosphere and in
these autumnal tints than in summer. Then they looked blue, misty, and
dim. Now they show their great humpbacks more plainly, as if they had
drawn nearer to us.

A waste of shrubbery and small trees, such as overruns the borders of
the meadows for miles together, looks much more rugged, wild, and savage
in its present brown color than when clad in green.

I passed through a very pleasant wood-path yesterday, quite shut in and
sheltered by trees that had not thrown off their yellow robes. The sun
shone strongly in among them, and quite kindled them; so that the path
was brighter for their shade than if it had been quite exposed to the
sun.

In the village graveyard, which lies contiguous to the street, I saw a
man digging a grave, and one inhabitant after another turned aside from
his way to look into the grave and talk with the digger. I heard him
laugh, with the hereditary mirthfulness of men of that occupation.

In the hollow of the woods, yesterday afternoon, I lay a long while
watching a squirrel, who was capering about among the trees over my head
(oaks and white-pines, so close together that their branches
intermingled). The squirrel seemed not to approve of my presence, for he
frequently uttered a sharp, quick, angry noise, like that of a
scissors-grinder's wheel. Sometimes I could see him sitting on an
impending bough, with his tail over his back, looking down pryingly upon
me. It seems to be a natural posture with him, to sit on his hind legs,
holding up his forepaws. Anon, with a peculiarly quick start, he would
scramble along the branch, and be lost to sight in another part of the
tree, whence his shrill chatter would again be heard. Then I would see
him rapidly descending the trunk, and running along the ground; and a
moment afterwards, casting my eye upward, I beheld him flitting like a
bird among the high limbs at the summit, directly above me. Afterwards,
he apparently became accustomed to my society, and set about some
business of his. He came down to the ground, took up a piece of a
decayed bough, (a heavy burden for such a small personage,) and, with
this in his mouth, again climbed up, and passed from the branches of one
tree to those of another, and thus onward and onward till he went out of
sight. Shortly afterwards he returned for another burden, and this he
repeated several times. I suppose he was building a nest,--at least, I
know not what else could have been his object. Never was there such an
active, cheerful, choleric, continually-in-motion fellow as this little
red squirrel, talking to himself, chattering at me, and as sociable in
his own person as if he had half a dozen companions, instead of being
alone in the lonesome wood. Indeed, he flitted about so quickly, and
showed himself in different places so suddenly, that I was in some doubt
whether there were not two or three of them.

I must mention again the very beautiful effect produced by the masses of
berry-bushes, lying like scarlet islands in the midst of withered
pasture-ground, or crowning the tops of barren hills. Their hue, at a
distance, is lustrous scarlet, although it does not look nearly as
bright and gorgeous when examined close at hand. But at a proper
distance it is a beautiful fringe on Autumn's petticoat.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, October 22._--A continued succession of unpleasant, Novembery
days, and Autumn has made rapid progress in the work of decay. It is now
somewhat of a rare good fortune to find a verdant, grassy spot, on some
slope, or in a dell; and even such seldom-seen oases are bestrewn with
dried brown leaves,--which, however, methinks, make the short, fresh
grass look greener around them. Dry leaves are now plentiful everywhere,
save where there are none but pine-trees. They rustle beneath the tread,
and there is nothing more autumnal than that sound. Nevertheless, in a
walk this afternoon I have seen two oaks which retained almost the
greenness of summer. They grew close to the huge Pulpit Rock, so that
portions of their trunks appeared to grasp the rough surface; and they
were rooted beneath it, and, ascending high into the air, overshadowed
the gray crag with verdure. Other oaks, here and there, have a few green
leaves or boughs among their rustling and rugged shade.

Yet, dreary as the woods are in a bleak, sullen day, there is a very
peculiar sense of warmth and a sort of richness of effect in the slope
of a bank and in sheltered spots, where bright sunshine falls, and the
brown oaken foliage is gladdened by it. There is then a feeling of
comfort, and consequently of heart-warmth, which cannot be experienced
in summer.

I walked this afternoon along a pleasant wood-path, gently winding, so
that but little of it could be seen at a time, and going up and down
small mounds, now plunging into a denser shadow and now emerging from
it. Part of the way it was strewn with the dusky yellow leaves of
white-pines,--the cast-off garments of last year; part of the way with
green grass, close-cropped and very fresh for the season. Sometimes the
trees met across it; sometimes it was bordered on one side by an old
rail-fence of moss-grown cedar, with bushes sprouting beneath it, and
thrusting their branches through it; sometimes by a stone wall of
unknown antiquity, older than the wood it closed in. A stone wall, when
shrubbery has grown around it, and thrust its roots beneath it, becomes
a very pleasant and meditative object. It does not belong too evidently
to man, having been built so long ago. It seems a part of nature.

Yesterday I found two mushrooms in the woods, probably of the preceding
night's growth. Also I saw a mosquito, frost-pinched, and so wretched
that I felt avenged for all the injuries which his tribe inflicted upon
me last summer, and so did not molest this lone survivor.

Walnuts in their green rinds are falling from the trees, and so are
chestnut-burrs.

I found a maple-leaf to-day, yellow all over, except its extremest
point, which was bright scarlet. It looked as if a drop of blood were
hanging from it. The first change of the maple-leaf is to scarlet; the
next, to yellow. Then it withers, wilts, and drops off, as most of them
have already done.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 27._--Fringed gentians,--I found the last, probably, that will
be seen this year, growing on the margin of the brook.

       *       *       *       *       *

1842.--Some man of powerful character to command a person, morally
subjected to him, to perform some act. The commanding person suddenly to
die; and, for all the rest of his life, the subjected one continues to
perform that act.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Solomon dies during the building of the temple, but his body remains
leaning on a staff, and overlooking the workmen, as if it were alive."

       *       *       *       *       *

A tri-weekly paper, to be called the Tertian Ague.

       *       *       *       *       *

Subject for a picture,--Satan's reappearance in Pandemonium, shining out
from a mist, with "shape star-bright."

       *       *       *       *       *

Five points of Theology,--Five Points at New York.

       *       *       *       *       *

It seems a greater pity that an accomplished worker with the hand should
perish prematurely, than a person of great intellect; because
intellectual arts may be cultivated in the next world, but not physical
ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

To trace out the influence of a frightful and disgraceful crime in
debasing and destroying a character naturally high and noble, the guilty
person being alone conscious of the crime.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man, virtuous in his general conduct, but committing habitually some
monstrous crime,--as murder,--and doing this without the sense of guilt,
but with a peaceful conscience,--habit, probably, reconciling him to it;
but something (for instance, discovery) occurs to make him sensible of
his enormity. His horror then.

       *       *       *       *       *

The strangeness, if they could be foreseen and forethought, of events
which do not seem so strange after they have happened. As, for instance,
to muse over a child's cradle, and foresee all the persons in different
parts of the world with whom he would have relations.

       *       *       *       *       *

A man to swallow a small snake,--and it to be a symbol of a cherished
sin.

       *       *       *       *       *

Questions as to unsettled points of history, and mysteries of nature, to
be asked of a mesmerized person.

       *       *       *       *       *

Gordier, a young man of the Island of Jersey, was paying his addresses
to a young lady of Guernsey. He visited the latter island, intending to
be married. He disappeared on his way from the beach to his mistress's
residence, and was afterwards found dead in a cavity of the rocks. After
a time, Galliard, a merchant of Guernsey, paid his addresses to the
young lady; but she always felt a strong, unaccountable antipathy to
him. He presented her with a beautiful trinket. The mother of Gordier,
chancing to see this trinket, recognized it as having been bought by her
dead son as a present for his mistress. She expired on learning this;
and Galliard, being suspected of the murder, committed suicide.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _curé_ of Montreux in Switzerland, ninety-six years old, still
vigorous in mind and body, and able to preach. He had a twin-brother,
also a preacher, and the exact likeness of himself. Sometimes strangers
have beheld a white-haired, venerable clerical personage, nearly a
century old; and, upon riding a few miles farther, have been astonished
to meet again this white-haired, venerable, century-old personage.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the body of Lord Mohun (killed in a duel) was carried home,
bleeding, to his house, Lady Mohun was very angry because it was "flung
upon the best bed."

       *       *       *       *       *

A prophecy, somewhat in the style of Swift's about Partridge, but
embracing various events and personages.

       *       *       *       *       *

An incident that befell Dr. Harris, while a Junior at college. Being in
great want of money to buy shirts or other necessaries, and not knowing
how to obtain it, he set out on a walk from Cambridge to Boston. On the
way, he cut a stick, and after walking a short distance perceived that
something had become attached to the end of it. It proved to be a gold
ring, with the motto, "God speed thee, friend."

       *       *       *       *       *

Brobdignag lay on the northwest coast of the American continent.

       *       *       *       *       *

A gush of violets along a wood-path.

       *       *       *       *       *

People with false hair and other artifices may be supposed to deceive
Death himself, so that he does not know when their hour is come.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bees are sometimes drowned (or suffocated) in the honey which they
collect. So some writers are lost in their collected learning.

       *       *       *       *       *

Advice of Lady Pepperell's father on her marriage,--never to work one
moment after Saturday sunset,--never to lay down her knitting except in
the middle of the needle,--always to rise with the sun,--to pass an hour
daily with the housekeeper,--to visit every room daily from garret to
cellar,--to attend herself to the brewing of beer and the baking of
bread,--and to instruct every member of the family in their religious
duties.

       *       *       *       *       *

Service of plate, presented by the city of London to Sir William
Pepperell, together with a table of solid silver. The table very narrow,
but long; the articles of plate numerous, but of small dimensions,--the
tureen not holding more than three pints. At the close of the
Revolution, when the Pepperell and Sparhawk property was confiscated,
this plate was sent to the grandson of Sir William, in London. It was so
valuable, that Sheriff Moulton of old York, with six well-armed men,
accompanied it to Boston. Pepperell's only daughter married Colonel
Sparhawk, a fine gentleman of the day. Andrew Pepperell, the son, was
rejected by a young lady (afterwards the mother of Mrs. General Knox),
to whom he was on the point of marriage, as being addicted to low
company and low pleasures. The lover, two days afterwards, in the
streets of Portsmouth, was sun-struck, and fell down dead. Sir William
had built an elegant house for his son and his intended wife; but after
the death of the former he never entered it. He lost his cheerfulness
and social qualities, and gave up intercourse with people, except on
business. Very anxious to secure his property to his descendants by the
provisions of his will, which was drawn up by Judge Sewall, then a young
lawyer. Yet the Judge lived to see two of Sir William's grandchildren so
reduced that they were to have been numbered among the town's poor, and
were only rescued from this fate by private charity.

The arms of the Pepperell family were displayed over the door of every
room in Sir William's house, and his crest on every door. In Colonel
Sparhawk's house there were forty portraits, most of them in full
length. The house built for Sir William's son was occupied as barracks
during the Revolution, and much injured. A few years after the peace,
it was blown down by a violent tempest, and finally no vestige of it was
left, but there remained only a summer-house and the family tomb.

At Sir William's death, his mansion was hung with black, while the body
lay in state for a week. All the Sparhawk portraits were covered with
black crape, and the family pew was draped with black. Two oxen were
roasted, and liquid hospitality dispensed in proportion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Old lady's dress seventy or eighty years ago. Brown brocade gown, with a
nice lawn handkerchief and apron,--short sleeves, with a little ruffle,
just below the elbow,--black mittens,--a lawn cap, with rich lace
border,--a black velvet hood on the back of the head, tied with black
ribbon under the chin. She sat in an old-fashioned easy-chair, in a
small, low parlor,--the wainscot painted entirely black, and the walls
hung with a dark velvet paper.

A table, stationary ever since the house was built, extending the whole
length of a room. One end was raised two steps higher than the rest. The
Lady Ursula, an early Colonial heroine, was wont to dine at the upper
end, while her servants sat below. This was in the kitchen. An old
garden and summer-house, and roses, currant-bushes, and tulips, which
Lady Ursula had brought from Grondale Abbey in Old England. Although a
hundred and fifty years before, and though their roots were propagated
all over the country, they were still flourishing in the original
garden. This Lady Ursula was the daughter of Lord Thomas Cutts of
Grondale Abbey in England. She had been in love with an officer named
Fowler, who was supposed to have been slain in battle. After the death
of her father and mother, Lady Ursula came to Kittery, bringing twenty
men-servants and several women. After a time, a letter arrived from her
lover, who was not killed, but merely a prisoner to the French. He
announced his purpose to come to America, where he would arrive in
October. A few days after the letter came, she went out in a low
carriage to visit her work-people, and was blessing the food for their
luncheon, when she fell dead, struck by an Indian tomahawk, as did all
the rest save one. They were buried, where the massacre took place, and
a stone was erected, which (possibly) still remains. The lady's family
had a grant from Sir Ferdinando Gorges of the territory thereabout, and
her brother had likewise come over and settled in the vicinity. I
believe very little of this story. Long afterwards, at about the
commencement of the Revolution, a descendant of Fowler came from
England, and applied to the Judge of Probate to search the records for a
will, supposed to have been made by Lady Ursula in favor of her lover as
soon as she heard of his existence. In the mean time the estate had been
sold to Colonel Whipple. No will could be found. (Lady Ursula was old
Mrs. Cutts, widow of President Cutts.)

The mode of living of Lady Ursula's brother in Kittery. A drawbridge to
the house, which was raised every evening, and lowered in the morning,
for the laborers and the family to pass out. They kept thirty cows, a
hundred sheep, and several horses. The house spacious,--one room large
enough to contain forty or fifty guests. Two silver branches for
candles,--the walls ornamented with paintings and needlework. The floors
were daily rubbed with wax, and shone like a mahogany-table. A domestic
chaplain, who said prayers every morning and evening in a small
apartment called the chapel. Also a steward and butler. The family
attended the Episcopal Church at Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday, and
gave a grand entertainment once a year.

Madam Cutts, at the last of these entertainments, wore a black damask
gown, and cuffs with double lace ruffles, velvet shoes, blue silk
stockings, white and silver stomacher. The daughter and granddaughters
in rich brocades and yellow satin. Old Major Cutts in brown velvet,
laced with gold, and a large wig. The parson in his silk cassock, and
his helpmate in brown damask. Old General Atkinson in scarlet velvet,
and his wife and daughters in white damask. The Governor in black
velvet, and his lady in crimson tabby trimmed with silver. The ladies
wore bell-hoops, high-heeled shoes, paste buckles, silk stockings, and
enormously high head-dresses, with lappets of Brussels lace hanging
thence to the waist.

Among the eatables, a silver tub of the capacity of four gallons,
holding a pyramid of pancakes powdered with white sugar.

The date assigned to all this about 1690.

       *       *       *       *       *

What is the price of a day's labor in Lapland, where the sun never sets
for six months?

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Asphyxia Davis!

       *       *       *       *       *

A life, generally of a grave hue, may be said to be _embroidered_ with
occasional sports and fantasies.

       *       *       *       *       *

A father confessor,--his reflections on character, and the contrast of
the inward man with the outward, as he looks around on his congregation,
all whose secret sins are known to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

A person with an ice-cold hand,--his right hand, which people ever
afterwards remember when once they have grasped it.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stove possessed by a Devil.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 1, 1842._--One of my chief amusements is to see the boys sail
their miniature vessels on the Frog Pond. There is a great variety of
shipping owned among the young people, and they appear to have a
considerable knowledge of the art of managing vessels. There is a
full-rigged man-of-war, with, I believe, every spar, rope, and sail,
that sometimes makes its appearance; and, when on a voyage across the
pond, it so identically resembles a great ship, except in size, that it
has the effect of a picture. All its motions,--its tossing up and down
on the small waves, and its sinking and rising in a calm swell, its
heeling to the breeze,--the whole effect, in short, is that of a real
ship at sea; while, moreover, there is something that kindles the
imagination more than the reality would do. If we see a real, great
ship, the mind grasps and possesses, within its real clutch, all that
there is of it; while here the mimic ship is the representation of an
ideal one, and so gives us a more imaginative pleasure. There are many
schooners that ply to and fro on the pond, and pilot-boats, all
perfectly rigged. I saw a race, the other day, between the ship above
mentioned and a pilot-boat, in which the latter came off conqueror. The
boys appear to be well acquainted with all the ropes and sails, and can
call them by their nautical names. One of the owners of the vessels
remains on one side of the pond, and the other on the opposite side, and
so they send the little bark to and fro, like merchants of different
countries, consigning their vessels to one another.

Generally, when any vessel is on the pond, there are full-grown
spectators, who look on with as much interest as the boys themselves.
Towards sunset, this is especially the case: for then are seen young
girls and their lovers; mothers, with their little boys in hand;
school-girls, beating hoops round about, and occasionally running to the
side of the pond; rough tars, or perhaps masters or young mates of
vessels, who make remarks about the miniature shipping, and occasionally
give professional advice to the navigators; visitors from the country;
gloved and caned young gentlemen;--in short, everybody stops to take a
look. In the mean time, dogs are continually plunging into the pond, and
swimming about, with noses pointed upward, and snatching at floating
ships; then, emerging, they shake themselves, scattering a horizontal
shower on the clean gowns of ladies and trousers of gentlemen; then
scamper to and fro on the grass, with joyous barks.

Some boys cast off lines of twine with pin-hooks, and perhaps pull out a
horned-pout, that being, I think, the only kind of fish that inhabits
the Frog Pond.

The ship-of-war above mentioned is about three feet from stem to stern,
or possibly a few inches more. This, if I mistake not, was the size of a
ship of the line in the navy of Liliput.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fancy pictures of familiar places which one has never been in, as the
green-room of a theatre, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The famous characters of history,--to imagine their spirits now extant
on earth, in the guise of various public or private personages.

       *       *       *       *       *

The case quoted in Combe's Physiology of a young man of great talents
and profound knowledge of chemistry, who had in view some new discovery
of importance. In order to put his mind into the highest possible
activity, he shut himself up for several successive days, and used
various methods of excitement. He had a singing-girl, he drank spirits,
smelled penetrating odors, sprinkled Cologne-water round the room, &c.,
&c. Eight days thus passed, when he was seized with a fit of frenzy
which terminated in mania.

       *       *       *       *       *

Flesh and Blood,--a firm of butchers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Polly Syllable, a schoolmistress.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mankind are earthen jugs with spirits in them.

       *       *       *       *       *

A spendthrift,--in one sense he has his money's worth by the purchase of
large lots of repentance and other dolorous commodities.



THE MOUNTAIN.


    Two thousand feet in air it stands
    Betwixt the bright and shaded lands,
    Above the regions it divides
    And borders with its furrowed sides.
    The seaward valley laughs with light
    Till the round sun o'erhangs this height;
    But then the shadow of the crest
    No more the plains that lengthen west
    Enshrouds, yet slowly, surely creeps
    Eastward, until the coolness steeps
    A darkling league of tilth and wold,
    And chills the flocks that seek their fold.

    Not like those ancient summits lone,
    Mont Blanc, on his eternal throne,--
    The city-gemmed Peruvian peak,--
    The sunset portals landsmen seek,
    Whose train, to reach the Golden Land,
    Crawls slow and pathless through the sand,--
    Or that, whose ice-lit beacon guides
    The mariner on tropic tides,
    And flames across the Gulf afar,
    A torch by day, by night a star,--
    Not thus, to cleave the outer skies,
    Does my serener mountain rise,
    Nor aye forget its gentle birth
    Upon the dewy, pastoral earth.

    But ever, in the noonday light,
    Are scenes whereof I love the sight,--
    Broad pictures of the lower world
    Beneath my gladdened eyes unfurled.
    Irradiate distances reveal
    Fair nature wed to human weal;
    The rolling valley made a plain;
    Its checkered squares of grass and grain;
    The silvery rye, the golden wheat,
    The flowery elders where they meet,--
    Ay, even the springing corn I see,
    And garden haunts of bird and bee;
    And where, in daisied meadows, shines
    The wandering river through its vines,
    Move specks at random, which I know
    Are herds a-grazing to and fro.

    Yet still a goodly height it seems
    From which the mountain pours his streams,
    Or hinders, with caressing hands,
    The sunlight seeking other lands.
    Like some great giant, strong and proud,
    He fronts the lowering thunder-cloud,
    And wrests its treasures, to bestow
    A guerdon on the realm below;
    Or, by the deluge roused from sleep
    Within his bristling forest-keep,
    Shakes all his pines, and far and wide
    Sends down a rich, imperious tide.
    At night the whistling tempests meet
    In tryst upon his topmost seat,
    And all the phantoms of the sky
    Frolic and gibber, storming by.
    By day I see the ocean-mists
    Float with the current where it lists,
    And from my summit I can hail
    Cloud-vessels passing on the gale,--
    The stately argosies of air,--
    And parley with the helmsmen there;
    Can probe their dim, mysterious source,
    Ask of their cargo and their course,--
    _Whence come? where bound?_--and wait reply,
    As, all sails spread, they hasten by.

    If foiled in what I fain would know,
    Again I turn my eyes below
    And eastward, past the hither mead
    Where all day long the cattle feed,
    A crescent gleam my sight allures
    And clings about the hazy moors,--
    The great, encircling, radiant sea,
    Alone in its immensity.

    Even there, a queen upon its shore,
    I know the city evermore
    Her palaces and temples rears,
    And wooes the nations to her piers;
    Yet the proud city seems a mole
    To this horizon-bounded whole;
    And, from my station on the mount,
    The whole is little worth account
    Beneath the overhanging sky,
    That seems so far and yet so nigh.
    Here breathe I inspiration rare,
    Unburdened by the grosser air
    That hugs the lower land, and feel
    Through all my finer senses steal
    The life of what that life may be,
    Freed from this dull earth's density,
    When we, with many a soul-felt thrill,
    Shall thrid the ether at our will,
    Through widening corridors of morn
    And starry archways swiftly borne.

    Here, in the process of the night,
    The stars themselves a purer light
    Give out, than reaches those who gaze
    Enshrouded with the valley's haze.
    October, entering Heaven's fane,
    Assumes her lucent, annual reign:
    Then what a dark and dismal clod,
    Forsaken by the Sons of God,
    Seems this sad world, to those which march
    Across the high, illumined arch,
    And with their brightness draw me forth
    To scan the splendors of the North!
    I see the Dragon, as he toils
    With Ursa in his shining coils,
    And mark the Huntsman lift his shield,
    Confronting on the ancient field
    The Bull, while in a mystic row
    The jewels of his girdle glow
    Or, haply, I may ponder long
    On that remoter, sparkling throng,
    The orient sisterhood, around
    Whose chief our Galaxy is wound;
    Thus, half enwrapt in classic dreams,
    And brooding over Learning's gleams,
    I leave to gloom the under-land,
    And from my watch-tower, close at hand,
    Like him who led the favored race,
    I look on glory face to face!

    So, on the mountain-top, alone,
    I dwell, as one who holds a throne;
    Or prince, or peasant, him I count
    My peer, who stands upon a mount,
    Sees farther than the tribes below,
    And knows the joys they cannot know;
    And, though beyond the sound of speech
    They reign, my soul goes out to reach,
    Far on their noble heights elsewhere,
    My brother-monarchs of the air.



THE CHIMNEY-CORNER FOR 1866.


VI.

THE CATHEDRAL.

"I am going to build a cathedral one of these days," said I to my wife,
as I sat looking at the slant line of light made by the afternoon sun on
our picture of the Cathedral of Milan.

"That picture is one of the most poetic things you have among your house
ornaments," said Rudolph. "Its original is the world's chief beauty,--a
tribute to religion such as Art never gave before and never can
again,--as much before the Pantheon, as the Alps, with their virgin
snows and glittering pinnacles, are above all temples made with hands.
Say what you will, those Middle Ages that you call Dark had a glory of
faith that never will be seen in our days of cotton-mills and Manchester
prints. Where will you marshal such an army of saints as stands in
yonder white-marble forest, visibly transfigured and glorified in that
celestial Italian air? Saintship belonged to the mediæval Church; the
heroism of religion has died with it."

"That's just like one of your assertions, Rudolph," said I. "You might
as well say that Nature has never made any flowers since Linnæus shut up
his herbarium. We have no statues and pictures of modern saints, but
saints themselves, thank God, have never been wanting. 'As it was in the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be--'"

"But what about your cathedral?" said my wife.

"O yes!--my cathedral, yes. When my stocks in cloud-land rise, I'll
build a cathedral larger than Milan's; and the men, but more
particularly the _women_, thereon shall be those who have done even more
than St. Paul tells of in the saints of old, who 'subdued kingdoms,
wrought righteousness, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge
of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens.' I am not now thinking of
Florence Nightingale, nor of the host of women who have been walking
worthily in her footsteps, but of nameless saints of more retired and
private state,--domestic saints, who have tended children not their own
through whooping-cough and measles, and borne the unruly whims of
fretful invalids,--stocking-darning, shirt-making saints,--saints who
wore no visible garment of hair-cloth, bound themselves with no belts of
spikes and nails, yet in their inmost souls were marked and seared with
the red cross of a life-long self-sacrifice,--saints for whom the
mystical terms _self-annihilation_ and _self-crucifixion_ had a real and
tangible meaning, all the stronger because their daily death was marked
by no outward sign. No mystical rites consecrated them; no organ-music
burst forth in solemn rapture to welcome them; no habit of their order
proclaimed to themselves and the world that they were the elect of
Christ, the brides of another life: but small eating cares, daily
prosaic duties, the petty friction of all the littleness and all the
inglorious annoyances of every day, were as dust that hid the beauty and
grandeur of their calling even from themselves; they walked unknown even
to their households, unknown even to their own souls; but when the Lord
comes to build his New Jerusalem, we shall find many a white stone with
a new name thereon, and the record of deeds and words which only He that
seeth in secret knows. Many a humble soul will be amazed to find that
the seed it sowed in such weakness, in the dust of daily life, has
blossomed into immortal flowers under the eye of the Lord.

"When I build my cathedral, _that_ woman," I said, pointing to a small
painting by the fire, "shall be among the first of my saints. You see
her there, in an every-day dress-cap with a mortal thread-lace border,
and with a very ordinary worked collar, fastened by a visible and
terrestrial breastpin. There is no nimbus around her head, no sign of
the cross upon her breast; her hands are clasped on no crucifix or
rosary. Her clear, keen, hazel eye looks as if it could sparkle with
mirthfulness, as in fact it could; there are in it both the subtile
flash of wit and the subdued light of humor; and though the whole face
smiles, it has yet a certain decisive firmness that speaks the soul
immutable in good. That woman shall be the first saint in my cathedral,
and her name shall be recorded as Saint Esther. What makes saintliness
in my view, as distinguished from ordinary goodness, is a certain
quality of magnanimity and greatness of soul that brings life within the
circle of the heroic. To be really great in little things, to be truly
noble and heroic in the insipid details of every-day life, is a virtue
so rare as to be worthy of canonization,--and this virtue was hers. New
England Puritanism must be credited with the making of many such women.
Severe as was her discipline, and harsh as seems now her rule, we have
yet to see whether women will be born of modern systems of tolerance and
indulgence equal to those grand ones of the olden times whose places now
know them no more. The inconceivable austerity and solemnity with which
Puritanism invested this mortal life, the awful grandeur of the themes
which it made household words, the sublimity of the issues which it hung
upon the commonest acts of our earthly existence, created characters of
more than Roman strength and greatness; and the good men and women of
Puritan training excelled the saints of the Middle Ages, as a soul fully
developed intellectually, educated to closest thought, and exercised in
reasoning, is superior to a soul great merely through impulse and
sentiment.

"My earliest recollections of Aunt Esther, for so our saint was known,
were of a bright-faced, cheerful, witty, quick-moving little middle-aged
person, who came into our house like a good fairy whenever there was a
call of sickness or trouble. If an accident happened in the great
roistering family of eight or ten children, (and when was not something
happening to some of us?) and we were shut up in a sick-room, then duly
as daylight came the quick step and cheerful face of Aunt Esther,--not
solemn and lugubrious like so many sick-room nurses, but with a
never-failing flow of wit and story that could beguile even the most
doleful into laughing at their own afflictions. I remember how a fit of
the quinsy--most tedious of all sicknesses to an active child--was
gilded and glorified into quite a _fête_ by my having Aunt Esther all to
myself for two whole days, with nothing to do but amuse me. She charmed
me into smiling at the very pangs which had made me weep before, and of
which she described her own experiences in a manner to make me think
that, after all, the quinsy was something with an amusing side to it.
Her knowledge of all sorts of medicines, gargles, and alleviatives, her
perfect familiarity with every canon and law of good nursing and
tending, was something that could only have come from long experience in
those good old New England days when there were no nurses recognized as
a class in the land, but when watching and the care of the sick were
among those offices of Christian life which the families of a
neighborhood reciprocally rendered each other. Even from early youth she
had obeyed a special vocation as sister of charity in many a sick-room,
and, with the usual keen intelligence of New England, had widened her
powers of doing good by the reading of medical and physiological works.
Her legends of nursing in those days of long typhus-fever and other
formidable and protracted forms of disease were to our ears quite
wonderful, and we regarded her as a sort of patron saint of the
sick-room. She seemed always so cheerful, so bright, and so devoted,
that it never occurred to us youngsters to doubt that she enjoyed, above
all things, being with us, waiting on us all day, watching over us by
night, telling us stories, and answering, in her lively and always
amusing and instructive way, that incessant fire of questions with which
a child persecutes a grown person.

"Sometimes, as a reward of goodness, we were allowed to visit her in her
own room, a neat little parlor in the neighborhood, whose windows looked
down a hillside on one hand, under the boughs of an apple orchard, where
daisies and clover and bobolinks always abounded in summer time, and, on
the other, faced the street, with a green yard flanked by one or two
shady elms between them and the street. No nun's cell was ever neater,
no bee's cell ever more compactly and carefully arranged; and to us,
familiar with the confusion of a great family of little ones, there was
something always inviting about its stillness, its perfect order, and
the air of thoughtful repose that breathed over it. She lived there in
perfect independence, doing, as it was her delight to do, every office
of life for herself. She was her own cook, her own parlor and chamber
maid, her own laundress; and very faultless the cooking, washing,
ironing, and care of her premises were. A slice of Aunt Esther's
gingerbread, one of Aunt Esther's cookies, had, we all believed, certain
magical properties such as belonged to no other mortal mixture. Even a
handful of walnuts that were brought from the depths of her mysterious
closet had virtues in our eyes such as no other walnuts could approach.
The little shelf of books that hung suspended by cords against her wall
was sacred in our regard; the volumes were like no other books; and we
supposed that she derived from them those stores of knowledge on all
subjects which she unconsciously dispensed among us,--for she was always
telling us something of metals, or minerals, or gems, or plants, or
animals, which awakened our curiosity, stimulated our inquiries, and,
above all, led us to wonder where she had learned it all. Even the
slight restrictions which her neat habits imposed on our breezy and
turbulent natures seemed all quite graceful and becoming. It was right,
in our eyes, to cleanse our shoes on scraper and mat with extra
diligence, and then to place a couple of chips under the heels of our
boots when we essayed to dry our feet at her spotless hearth. We
marvelled to see our own faces reflected in a thousand smiles and winks
from her bright brass andirons,--such andirons we thought were seen on
earth in no other place,--and a pair of radiant brass candlesticks, that
illustrated the mantle-piece, were viewed with no less respect.

"Aunt Esther's cat was a model for all cats,--so sleek, so intelligent,
so decorous and well-trained, always occupying exactly her own cushion
by the fire, and never transgressing in one iota the proprieties
belonging to a cat of good breeding. She shared our affections with her
mistress, and we were allowed as a great favor and privilege, now and
then, to hold the favorite on our knees, and stroke her satin coat to a
smoother gloss.

"But it was not for cats alone that she had attractions. She was in
sympathy and fellowship with everything that moved and lived; knew every
bird and beast with a friendly acquaintanceship. The squirrels that
inhabited the trees in the front-yard were won in time by her
blandishments to come and perch on her window-sills, and thence, by
trains of nuts adroitly laid, to disport themselves on the shining
cherry tea-table that stood between the windows; and we youngsters used
to sit entranced with delight as they gambolled and waved their feathery
tails in frolicsome security, eating rations of gingerbread and bits of
seed-cake with as good a relish as any child among us.

"The habits, the rights, the wrongs, the wants, and the sufferings of
the animal creation formed the subject of many an interesting
conversation with her; and we boys, with the natural male instinct of
hunting, trapping, and pursuing, were often made to pause in our career,
remembering her pleas for the dumb things which could not speak for
themselves.

"Her little hermitage was the favorite resort of numerous friends. Many
of the young girls who attended the village academy made her
acquaintance, and nothing delighted her more than that they should come
there and read to her the books they were studying, when her superior
and wide information enabled her to light up and explain much that was
not clear to the immature students.

"In her shady retirement, too, she was a sort of Egeria to certain men
of genius, who came to read to her their writings, to consult her in
their arguments, and to discuss with her the literature and politics of
the day,--through all which her mind moved with an equal step, yet with
a sprightliness and vivacity peculiarly feminine.

"Her memory was remarkably retentive, not only of the contents of books,
but of all that great outlying fund of anecdote and story which the
quaint and earnest New England life always supplied. There were pictures
of peculiar characters, legends of true events stranger than romance,
all stored in the cabinets of her mind; and these came from her lips
with the greater force because the precision of her memory enabled her
to authenticate them with name, date, and circumstances of vivid
reality. From that shadowy line of incidents which marks the twilight
boundary between the spiritual world and the present life she drew
legends of peculiar clearness, but invested with the mysterious charm
which always dwells in that uncertain region; and the shrewd flash of
her eye, and the keen, bright smile with which she answered the
wondering question, 'What _do_ you suppose it was?' or, 'What could it
have been?' showed how evenly rationalism in her mind kept pace with
romance.

"The retired room in which she thus read, studied, thought, and surveyed
from afar the whole world of science and literature, and in which she
received friends and entertained children, was perhaps the dearest and
freshest spot to her in the world. There came a time, however, when the
neat little independent establishment was given up, and she went to
associate herself with two of her nieces in keeping house for a
boarding-school of young girls. Here her lively manners and her gracious
interest in the young made her a universal favorite, though the cares
she assumed broke in upon those habits of solitude and study which
formed her delight. From the day that she surrendered this independency
of hers, she had never, for more than a score of years, a home of her
own, but filled the trying position of an accessory in the home of
others. Leaving the boarding-school, she became the helper of an invalid
wife and mother in the early nursing and rearing of a family of young
children,--an office which leaves no privacy and no leisure. Her bed was
always shared with some little one; her territories were exposed to the
constant inroads of little pattering feet; and all the various
sicknesses and ailments of delicate childhood made absorbing drafts upon
her time.

"After a while she left New England with the brother to whose family she
devoted herself. The failing health of the wife and mother left more and
more the charge of all things in her hands; servants were poor, and all
the appliances of living had the rawness and inconvenience which in
those days attended Western life. It became her fate to supply all other
people's defects and deficiencies. Wherever a hand failed, there must
her hand be. Whenever a foot faltered, she must step into the ranks. She
was the one who thought for and cared for and toiled for all, yet made
never a claim that any one should care for her.

"It was not till late in my life that I became acquainted with the deep
interior sacrifice, the constant self-abnegation, which all her life
involved. She was born with a strong, vehement, impulsive nature,--a
nature both proud and sensitive,--a nature whose tastes were passions,
whose likings and whose aversions were of the most intense and positive
character. Devoted as she always seemed to the mere practical and
material, she had naturally a deep romance and enthusiasm of temperament
which exceeded all that can be written in novels. It was chiefly owing
to this that a home and a central affection of her own were never hers.
In her early days of attractiveness, none who would have sought her
could meet the high requirements of her ideality; she never saw her
hero,--and so never married. Family cares, the tending of young
children, she often confessed, were peculiarly irksome to her. She had
the head of a student, a passionate love for the world of books. A
Protestant convent, where she might devote herself without interruption
to study, was her ideal of happiness. She had, too, the keenest
appreciation of poetry, of music, of painting, and of natural scenery.
Her enjoyment in any of these things was intensely vivid whenever, by
chance, a stray sunbeam of the kind darted across the dusty path of her
life; yet in all these her life was a constant repression. The eagerness
with which she would listen to any account from those more fortunate
ones who had known these things, showed how ardent a passion was
constantly held in check. A short time before her death, talking with a
friend who had visited Switzerland, she said, with great feeling: 'All
my life my desire to visit the beautiful places of this earth has been
so intense, that I cannot but hope that after my death I shall be
permitted to go and look at them.'

"The completeness of her self-discipline may be gathered from the fact,
that no child could ever be brought to believe she had not a natural
fondness for children, or that she found the care of them burdensome. It
was easy to see that she had naturally all those particular habits,
those minute pertinacities in respect to her daily movements and the
arrangement of all her belongings, which would make the meddling,
intrusive demands of infancy and childhood peculiarly hard for her to
meet. Yet never was there a pair of toddling feet that did not make free
with Aunt Esther's room, never a curly head that did not look up, in
confiding assurance of a welcome smile, to her bright eyes. The
inconsiderate and never-ceasing requirements of children and invalids
never drew from her other than a cheerful response; and to my mind
there is more saintship in this than in the private wearing of any
number of hair-cloth shirts or belts lined with spikes.

"In a large family of careless, noisy children there will be constant
losing of thimbles and needles and scissors; but Aunt Esther was always
ready, without reproach, to help the careless and the luckless. Her
things, so well kept and so treasured, she was willing to lend, with
many a caution and injunction it is true, but also with a relish of
right good-will. And, to do us justice, we generally felt the sacredness
of the trust, and were more careful of her things than of our own. If a
shade of sewing-silk were wanting, or a choice button, or a bit of braid
or tape, Aunt Esther cheerfully volunteered something from her well-kept
stores, not regarding the trouble she made herself in seeking the key,
unlocking the drawer, and searching out in bag or parcel just the
treasure demanded. Never was more perfect precision, or more perfect
readiness to accommodate others.

"Her little income, scarcely reaching a hundred dollars yearly, was
disposed of with a generosity worthy a fortune. One tenth was sacredly
devoted to charity, and a still further sum laid by every year for
presents to friends. No Christmas or New Year ever came round that Aunt
Esther, out of this very tiny fund, did not find something for children
and servants. Her gifts were trifling in value, but well timed,--a ball
of thread-wax, a paper of pins, a pincushion,--something generally so
well chosen as to show that she had been running over our needs, and
noting what to give. She was no less gracious as receiver than as giver.
The little articles that we made for her, or the small presents that we
could buy out of our childish resources, she always declared were
exactly what she needed; and she delighted us by the care she took of
them and the value she set upon them.

"Her income was a source of the greatest pleasure to her, as maintaining
an independence without which she could not have been happy. Though she
constantly gave, to every family in which she lived, services which no
money could repay, it would have been the greatest trial to her not to
be able to provide for herself. Her dress, always that of a true
gentlewoman,--refined, quiet, and neat,--was bought from this restricted
sum, and her small travelling expenses were paid out of it. She abhorred
anything false or flashy: her caps were trimmed with _real_ thread-lace,
and her silk dresses were of the best quality, perfectly well made and
kept; and, after all, a little sum always remained over in her hands for
unforeseen exigencies.

"This love of independence was one of the strongest features of her
life, and we often playfully told her that her only form of selfishness
was the monopoly of saintship,--that she who gave so much was not
willing to allow others to give to her,--that she who made herself
servant of all was not willing to allow others to serve her.

"Among the trials of her life must be reckoned much ill-health; borne,
however, with such heroic patience that it was not easy to say when the
hand of pain was laid upon her. She inherited, too, a tendency to
depression of spirits, which at times increased to a morbid and
distressing gloom. Few knew or suspected these sufferings, so completely
had she learned to suppress every outward manifestation that might
interfere with the happiness of others. In her hours of depression she
resolutely forbore to sadden the lives of those around her with her own
melancholy, and often her darkest moods were so lighted up and adorned
with an outside show of wit and humor, that those who had known her
intimately were astonished to hear that she had ever been subject to
depression.

"Her truthfulness of nature amounted almost to superstition. From her
promise once given she felt no change of purpose could absolve her; and
therefore rarely would she give it absolutely, for she _could not_ alter
the thing that had gone forth from her lips. Our belief in the
certainty of her fulfilling her word was like our belief in the
immutability of the laws of nature. Whoever asked her got of her the
absolute truth on every subject, and, when she had no good thing to say,
her silence was often truly awful. When anything mean or ungenerous was
brought to her knowledge, she would close her lips resolutely; but the
flash in her eyes showed what she would speak were speech permitted. In
her last days she spoke to a friend of what she had suffered from the
strength of her personal antipathies. 'I thank God,' she said, 'that I
believe at last I have overcome all that too, and that there has not
been, for some years, any human being toward whom I have felt a movement
of dislike.'

"The last year of her life was a constant discipline of unceasing pain,
borne with that fortitude which could make her an entertaining and
interesting companion even while the sweat of mortal agony was starting
from her brow. Her own room she kept as a last asylum, to which she
would silently retreat when the torture became too intense for the
repression of society, and there alone, with closed doors, she wrestled
with her agony. The stubborn independence of her nature took refuge in
this final fastness; and she prayed only that she might go down to death
with the full ability to steady herself all the way, needing the help of
no other hand.

"The ultimate struggle of earthly feeling came when this proud
self-reliance was forced to give way, and she was obliged to leave
herself helpless in the hands of others. 'God requires that I should
give up my last form of self-will,' she said; 'now I have resigned
_this_, perhaps he will let me go home.'

"In a good old age, Death, the friend, came and opened the door of this
mortal state, and a great soul, that had served a long apprenticeship to
little things, went forth into the joy of its Lord; a life of
self-sacrifice and self-abnegation passed into a life of endless rest."

"But," said Rudolph, "I rebel at this life of self-abnegation and
self-sacrifice. I do not think it the duty of noble women, who have
beautiful natures and enlarged and cultivated tastes, to make themselves
the slaves of the sick-room and nursery."

"Such was not the teaching of our New England faith," said I. "Absolute
unselfishness,--the death of self,--such were its teachings, and such as
Esther's the characters it made. 'Do the duty nearest thee,' was the
only message it gave to 'women with a mission'; and from duty to duty,
from one self-denial to another, they rose to a majesty of moral
strength impossible to any form of mere self-indulgence. It is of souls
thus sculptured and chiselled by self-denial and self-discipline that
the living temple of the perfect hereafter is to be built. The pain of
the discipline is short, but the glory of the fruition is eternal."



A PIONEER EDITOR.


The historian who, without qualification of his statement, should date
the commencement of our late civil war from the attack on Fort Sumter,
instead of the first attempt by the slaveholders to render a single
property interest paramount in the relations of the country, would prove
himself unfit for his task. The battles fought in the press, pulpit, and
forum, in ante-war days, were as much agencies in the great conflict as
the deadlier ones fought since, on land and sea. Men strove in the
former, as in the latter case, for the extension of the slave system on
one side, and for its total suppression on the other; and it is the
proud distinction of the early partisans of freedom to be recognized now
as the pioneers--the advance-guard--of the armed hosts who at last won
the victory for humanity.

This view of the actual beginning of the war makes the facts in the
lives of those antislavery men who took the lead in the good fight, and
especially of such as died with their armor on, of the utmost value to
the historian. We therefore propose to offer a contribution to the
record, by tracing the career of one who acted a distinguished part in
the struggle, as an antislavery journalist.

Gamaliel Bailey was born in New Jersey,--a State where antislavery men,
or, indeed, men of progress in any direction, are so far from being a
staple growth, that they can barely be said to be indigenous to her
soil. His birthday was December 3, 1807. He was the son of a Methodist
preacher noted for his earnestness and devotion to the duties of his
calling. His mother was a woman of active brain and sympathetic heart.
It was from her, as is not unusual with men of marked traits, that the
son derived his distinguishing mental characteristics. His education was
such as was obtainable in the private schools of Philadelphia, which,
whatever their advantages to others, were not particularly well
calculated to prepare young Bailey for the study of the learned
profession he subsequently chose; and he had to seek, without their aid,
the classical knowledge necessary to a mastery of the technicalities of
medical science. Nevertheless he graduated with credit in the Jefferson
Medical College, and at so early an age--for he was then only
twenty--that the restriction in its charter deprived him of the usual
diploma for a year. The statutes of New Jersey, however, while
forbidding him to prescribe for the physical ailments of her citizens,
did not pronounce him too young to undertake the mental training of her
children, and he eagerly availed himself of the pedagogue's privilege of
bending the twigs of mind amid the pine forests of his native State. By
the time he was entitled to his diploma, he was satisfied that the
overdraught upon his vitality had been so great, during his college
years, as utterly to unfit him for the field of action on which, but a
twelvemonth before, he had been so desirous to enter. A sea voyage was
chosen as the best means of resting his brain while strengthening his
body and preparing it for the heavy demands which his profession would
naturally make.

Having, with the scanty income from his year's teaching, equipped
himself for his voyage, he obeyed at once the dictates of necessity and
of judgment, and shipped on a vessel bound for China. Instead of a
successful physician winning golden opinions from all, Dr. Bailey was
now a common sailor before the mast, receiving from his superiors oaths
or orders as the case might be. The ship's destination was Canton, and
its arrival in port was attended by such an unusual amount of sickness
among the crew, that it became necessary to assign young Bailey the
office of surgeon. This he filled with promptness and skill, and when
the vessel set sail for Philadelphia, the sailor was again found at his
post, performing his duties as acceptably as could have been expected
from a greenhorn on his first cruise. Once more on his native shore, and
in some degree reinvigorated by travel, he opened his office for the
practice of medicine. At the end of three months he found himself out of
patients, and in a situation far from enjoyable to one of his active
temperament.

But, luckily for Dr. Bailey, whatever it may have been for the church of
his fathers, just at this time the so-called "Radicals" had begun their
reform movement against Methodist Episcopacy, which resulted in the
secession of a number of the clergy and laity, principally in the Middle
States, and the organization of the Methodist Protestants. These
"Radicals" had their head-quarters at Baltimore. There they started an
organ under the title of "The Methodist Protestant," and to the
editorship of this journal Dr. Bailey was called. His youthful
inexperience as a writer was not the only remarkable feature of this
engagement; for he had not even the qualification of being at that time
a professor of religion. His connection with "The Methodist Protestant"
was a brief one; but it was terminated by lack of sufficient funds to
sustain a regular editor, and not by lack of ability in the editor.

Dr. Bailey was again adrift, and we next find him concerned in "Kelley's
Expedition to Oregon." This had been projected at St. Louis, which was
to be its starting-point; and thither hastened our adventurous young
physician--to learn that the expedition, having had little more to rest
upon than that baseless fabric so often supplied by printers' ink, was
an utter failure. Finding himself without funds to pay for the costly
means of conveyance then used in the West, he made his way back as far
as Cincinnati on foot. Soon after his arrival there the cholera broke
out. This presented an aspect of affairs rather inviting to a courageous
spirit. He gladly embraced the opening for practice; and, happening to
be known to some of the faculty of the place, he was recommended for the
appointment of Physician to the Cholera Hospital. Thus he was soon
introduced to the general confidence of the profession and the public,
and seemed to be on the highway to fame. Dr. Eberlie, a standard medical
authority at that day, as he still is among many practitioners of the
old school in the West, was then preparing his work on the Diseases of
Children, and he availed himself of Dr. Bailey's aid. This opened an
unexpected field to the latter for the exercise of his ability as a
writer; and the work in question contains abundant evidence that he
would have succeeded in the line of medical authorship. But
circumstances proved unfavorable to his connection with Dr. Eberlie, and
he again devoted himself to the practice of his profession, in which he
continued for a time with great success.

At this date, however, an event of great interest occurred in connection
with the agitation of the slavery question,--an event exercising a most
decided influence on the career of Dr. Bailey,--in fact, changing
entirely the current of his eventful life. We allude to the discussions
of slavery at Lane Seminary, and the memorable expulsion of a number of
the students for their persistence in promulging antislavery doctrines.
Dr. Bailey was then engaged at the Seminary in the delivery of a course
of lectures on Physiology. He became interested in the pending
discussion, and espoused the proslavery side. For this his mind had
probably been unconsciously prepared by the current of thought in
Cincinnati, then under the mercantile control of her proslavery
customers from Kentucky and other Southern States. But erelong he
appeared as a convert to the antislavery side of the discussion. This he
himself was wont to attribute, in great part, to the light which an
honest comparison of views threw upon the subject; but it is evident
that his conversion was somewhat accelerated by the expulsion of his
antislavery antagonists in debate. Following the lead of these new
sympathies, he became (in 1835) editorially associated with that great
pioneer advocate of freedom, James G. Birney, whose venerated name has
been so honorably connected with the recent triumph of the Union arms,
through the courage of three of his sons. The paper was "The Cincinnati
Philanthropist," so well remembered by the earlier espousers of
antislavery truth. The association continued about a year. Dr. Bailey
then became sole editor of the Philanthropist, and soon after sole
proprietor. It was from the pages of this journal that a series of
antislavery tracts were reprinted, which had not a little to do in
giving fresh impulse to the discussions of that day. They were entitled
"Facts for the People."

The relation of Dr. Bailey to a journal which was regarded by the
slave-owners as the organ of their worst enemies made him a marked man,
and called him to endure severe and unexpected ordeals. In 1836, his
opponents incited against him the memorable mob, whose first act was the
secret destruction of his press at midnight. Soon after the riot raged
openly, and not only destroyed the remaining contents of his
printing-office, but the building itself. Mr. Birney, being the older
and more conspicuous of the offenders, was of course more emphatically
the object of the mob's wrath than the junior associate. But the latter
shared with him the personal perils of the day, while bearing the brunt
of the pecuniary losses. As is usual in such outbreaks, after three days
of fury, the lawless spirit of the people subsided. There was a
repetition of violence in 1840, however, and during another three days'
reign of terror two more presses were destroyed. But such was the
indomitable energy of the man in whose person and property the
constitutional liberty of the press was thus assailed, that in three
weeks the Philanthropist was again before the public, sturdily defending
the truth it was established to proclaim; and this, be it remembered,
when the press-work of even weekly journals was not let out, in
Cincinnati, as jobs for "lightning presses," but was done in the
proprietors' own offices, on presses to be obtained only from distant
manufactories.

It was in this year that the Liberty party, of which Dr. Bailey was a
prominent leader, entered for the first time into the Presidential
contest, with James G. Birney as its candidate.

Not yet satiated, the spirit of mob violence manifested itself a third
time in 1843; but it was suppressed by the interference of the military
power, and its demonstration was followed by a growth of liberal
sentiment altogether unlooked for. Availing himself of this favorable
change, Dr. Bailey started a daily paper to which the name of "The
Herald" was given.

The unprecedented ordeal through which Dr. Bailey had passed, involving
not only his family, but Mr. Birney, Mr. Clawson, and other friends of
his enterprise, was, after all, but needful training for the subsequent
work allotted to the reformer. He continued the publication of the Daily
Herald, and the Philanthropist also, but under the name of "The Weekly
Herald and Philanthropist," until 1847. With a growing family and a
meagre income, the intervening years marked a season of self-denial to
himself and his excellent wife such as few, even among reformers, have
been called to pass through. And yet through all his poverty his
cheerfulness was unfaltering, and inspired all who came in contact with
him. There was a better day before him,--better in a pecuniary as well
as a political sense. He had now fairly won a reputation throughout the
country for courage and ability as an antislavery journalist. A project
for establishing an antislavery organ at the seat of the national
government had been successfully carried out by the Executive Committee
of the American and Foreign Antislavery Society, under the lead of that
now venerable and esteemed pioneer of freedom, Lewis Tappan. The
editorial charge of it was tendered, with great propriety, to Dr.
Bailey, and was accepted. He entered upon his duties as editor in chief
of "The National Era" in January, 1847, with the Reverend Amos A.
Phelps, now deceased, and John G. Whittier, as corresponding editors,
and L. P. Noble as publishing agent. "The Daily Herald" and "The Weekly
Herald and Philanthropist" were transferred to Messrs. Sperry and
Matthews, with Stanley Matthews as editor; but the political ambition of
the latter prevented his continuing the paper in the steadfast
antislavery tone of his predecessor, and it soon ceased to appear.[B]

The establishment of the National Era, while it furnished a most
appropriate field for Dr. Bailey's talents, also marked an era in the
antislavery history of the country. At the centres of all governments
there is found a fulcrum whose value politicians have long since
demonstrated by its use,--too frequently for the most unworthy purposes.
There had always been organs for conservatism at Washington, but none
for progress. There were numbers of bold thinkers throughout the
country, who had found, here and there, a representative of their ideas
in the government. But they had no newspaper to keep watch and ward over
him, or to correctly report his acts to his constituents,--no vehicle
through which they could bring their thoughts to bear upon him or
others. This was furnished by the National Era. But this was not the
only direction in which it proved useful. It enabled the friends of
emancipation everywhere to communicate freely with those against whose
gigantic system of wrong they felt it their duty to wage war, where such
were found willing to read their antagonists' arguments, instead of
taking them as perverted by proslavery journals.

The first effect of the Era upon the local antislavery journals which it
found in existence was, unquestionably, to excite not a little
apprehension and jealousy among their conductors. Naturally they felt
that the national reputation of Dr. Bailey and his assistants, aided by
a central position, was calculated to detract from their own importance
in the estimation of their patrons. But, besides this, there was the
actual fact of the Era's large supply of original and high-toned
literary matter, added to the direct and reliable Congressional news it
was expected to furnish, which stared them threateningly in the face.
And we well remember now what pain these petty jealousies gave to the
sensitive nature of our departed friend. But these gradually subsided,
until there was hardly an antislavery editor of average discernment who
did not come to see that a national organ like the Era, by legitimating
discussion and keeping up the heat and blaze of a vigorous agitation, at
the nation's very centre, against that nation's own giant crime, would
prove a benefit, in the end, to all colaborers worthy of the name. And
the increase of antislavery journals, as well as of vigor in conducting
them, in the period subsequent to 1847, proved that this was the correct
view.

Although now so favorably placed for contest with his great foe, Dr.
Bailey was here subjected to a renewal of the assaults which had become
painfully familiar in the West. His paper had not been in existence more
than fifteen months when an event occurred which, although he had in it
no agency whatever, brought down upon his devoted head a fourth
discharge of the vials of popular wrath. Some seventy or eighty slaves
attempted to escape from Washington in the steamer Pearl, and instantly
the charge of complicity was laid at his door. His office and dwelling
were surrounded by a furious crowd, including a large proportion of
office-holding F.F.V.'s, and some "gentlemen of property and standing."
These gentlemen threatened the entire destruction of the press and type
of the Era, while the editor's personal safety, with that of his family,
was again put in peril for the space of three terrific days. The Federal
metropolis had never known such days since the torch applied by a
foreign foe had wrapped the first Capitol in flames. The calm
self-possession of Dr. Bailey, when he made his appearance unarmed
before the swaying mob, and addressed them from the steps of his
dwelling,--as described by the late Dr. Houston in a letter to the New
York Tribune, from notes taken while he was concealed in the house,--was
such that, while disarming the leaders with the simple majesty of the
truth, it did not fail to produce a reaction even in the most
exasperated members of the mob.

It would indeed be an interesting task to trace the public influence of
this last demonstration, for it offered phases of interest to both
parties. It is sufficient to say, that the Era's unmolested existence
ever after was simply due to the instincts of self-preservation in the
community. The issue was practically presented to the owners of real
estate in the District, whether freedom of debate on all topics of
public concern should be tolerated there, or the capital be removed to
some Western centre. The bare possibility of this event was more than
the slaveholding land-owners could face, and produced the desired
effect. The continuance of the paper once acquiesced in, the tact of its
editor, aided by that remarkable suavity of manners which made him a
favorite in the private circles of Washington, was sufficient to forever
forbid the probability of a second mob. And thenceforward the Era
increased in influence as well as circulation. The latter, indeed, soon
reached a figure which entitled it to a share of government patronage,
while the former commanded the respect even of the enemies of the cause
it defended.

But this is not all that is to be said of the Era. To that paper belongs
the honor of introducing to the world the story of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
Although reference has frequently been made to the origin of this
wonderful fiction, the facts of its inception and growth have never been
given to the public. These are so curious, that we are happy to be able
to present what politicians would call the "secret history" of this
book. The account was furnished to a friend by Dr. Bailey himself, when
about to embark for Europe, on his first voyage for health, in 1853; the
manuscript, now used for the first time, was hurriedly penned, without
expectation of its appearance in print, and therefore has all the
dashing freedom which might be looked for in a communication from one
friend to another. We give it _verbatim_, that it may serve for a
_souvenir_, as well as a contribution to the literary history of the
time.

                                          "NEW YORK, May 27, 1853.

     "In the beginning of the year 1851, as my custom has been, I
     sent remittances to various writers whom I wished to furnish
     contributions to the Era, during that volume. Among these was
     Mrs. Stowe. I sent her one hundred dollars, saying to her that
     for that sum she might write as _much_ as she pleased, _what_
     she pleased, and _when_ she pleased. I did not dream that she
     would attempt a novel, for she had never written one. Some time
     in the summer she wrote me that she was going to write me a
     story about 'How a Man became a Thing.' It would occupy a few
     numbers of the Era, in chapters. She did not suppose or dream
     that it would expand to a novel, nor did I. She changed the
     title to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and commenced it in August. I
     read two or three of the first chapters, to see that everything
     was going on right, and read no more then. She proceeded,--the
     story grew,--it seemed to have no end,--everybody talked of it.
     I thought the mails were never so irregular, for none of my
     subscribers was willing to lose a single number of the Era
     while the story was going on. Mrs. Bailey attracted my
     attention by her special devotion to it, and Mr. Chase always
     read it before anything else. Of the hundreds of letters
     received weekly, renewing subscriptions or sending new ones,
     there was scarcely one that did not contain some cordial
     reference to Uncle Tom. I wrote to Mrs. Stowe, and told her
     that, although such a story had not been contracted for, and I
     had, in my programme, limited my remittance to her to one
     hundred dollars, yet, as the thing had grown beyond all our
     calculations, I felt bound to make her another remittance. So I
     sent her two hundred dollars more. The story was closed early
     in the spring of 1852. I had not yet read it; but I wrote to
     Mrs. Stowe that, as I had not contemplated so large an outlay
     in my plans for the volume, as the paper had not received so
     much pecuniary benefit from its publication as it would have
     done could my readers have foreseen what it was to be, and as
     my large circulation had served as a tremendous advertisement
     for the work, which was now about to be published separately,
     and of which she held the copyright alone, I supposed that I
     ought not to pay for it so much as if these circumstances had
     not existed. But I simply stated the case to her,--submitted
     everything to her judgment,--and would pay her additional just
     exactly what she should determine was right. She named one
     hundred dollars more; this I immediately remitted. And thus
     terminated my relations with 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' but not with
     its author, who is still engaged as a regular contributor to
     the Era. Dr. Snodgrass is hereby commended to Mr. Clephane [Dr.
     Bailey's clerk], who is authorized to hand him any letters
     between Mrs. Stowe and myself that may aid him in his
     undertaking."

It may be proper to say that the "undertaking" referred to contemplated
a biographical sketch, not of Dr. Bailey, but of his distinguished
contributor,--a project the execution of which circumstances did not
favor, and which was therefore abandoned.

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," and the remarkable introduction of its author to
fame and pecuniary fortune, were not the only results of a similar
character referable to the Era. Mrs. Southworth also made her literary
_début_ in the same journal. Previous to her connection with the Era,
she had only published some short sketches in the Baltimore Saturday
Visiter, over her initial "E," or "Emma" at most; and even these
signatures gave her much trouble, as her letters to the editor plainly
indicated, so fearful was she of the recognition and unfavorable
criticism of her friends. She had a painful lack of confidence in her
own ability. Just before the transfer of the subscription list of the
Visiter to the Era, she had sent in a story. To this, against her
earnest protest, the editor had affixed her entire name, and the story,
prepared for the Visiter, was transferred with its list to the Era, and
was there published, in spite of the deprecations of Mrs. Southworth. It
served the purpose intended. The attention of Dr. Bailey was called to
one until then unknown to him, although residing in the same city, and
he at once gave her a paying engagement in his journal. This brought her
under new influences, which resulted in her conversion to the principles
of the antislavery reform,--a conversion whose fruits have since been
shown in her deeds as well as her writings. And thus commenced the
literary career of another successful author, who, but for the existence
of the Era, would probably have been left to struggle on in the
adversity from which her pen has so creditably set her free.

Unduly encouraged by the success of his weekly journal, Dr. Bailey
started a daily edition of the Era. Having committed himself to continue
it for a year without regard to pecuniary results, he did so, and here
the publication ceased. The experiment cost him heavily. This, however,
he anticipated, though he of course also anticipated ultimate profit,
notwithstanding the warning which he had received from the equally
unlucky experiment of the Cincinnati Daily Herald. In a letter to the
writer of this, dated December 18, 1853, he said: "I start the Daily
with the full expectation of sinking five thousand dollars on it. Of
course I can afford no extra expenses, but must do nearly all the work
on it myself,"--a statement which shows at once the hopefulness and the
energy of our friend's disposition.

Dr. Bailey died at sea, while on his way to Europe, on the fifth day of
June, 1859. It was the second voyage thither which he had undertaken
within a few years, for the benefit of his broken health. His body was
brought home and interred at Washington. With its editor died the
National Era; for it was discontinued soon after his decease.

Mr. Raymond of the New York Daily Times, who was a fellow-passenger
with Dr. Bailey, wrote an account of his last hours for his paper, which
has by no means lost its melancholy interest. "I gathered from his
conversation," says Mr. Raymond, "that he did not consider himself to be
very ill, at least, that his lungs were not affected, but that a
long-continued dyspepsia, and the nervous excitement which his labors
had induced, had combined to bring about the weakness under which he
suffered. For the first two or three days he was upon deck for the
greater part of the time. The weather was fresh, though not unpleasantly
cold, and the sea not rough enough to occasion any considerable
discomfort. The motion, however, affected him disagreeably. He slept
badly, had no appetite, and could relish nothing but a little fruit now
and then. His eldest son was with him, and attended upon him with all a
fond son's solicitude. Except myself, I do not think he had another
acquaintance on board. He was cheerful and social, and talked with
interest of everything connected with public affairs at home and abroad.
He suffered some inconvenience from the fact that his room was below,
and that he could only reach it by descending two flights of stairs. We
occasionally made a couch of cushions for him upon deck, when he became
fatigued; but this made him too conspicuous for his taste, and he seemed
uneasily fearful of attracting attention to himself as an invalid. After
Tuesday the sea became remarkably smooth, and so continued to the end of
the voyage. But it brought him no relief; his strength failed with
failing appetite; and on Thursday, from staying too long on deck, he
took cold, which confined him to his room next day. Otherwise he seemed
about as usual through that day and Saturday, and on Sunday morning
seemed even better, saying that he had slept unusually well, and felt
strengthened and refreshed. He took some slight nourishment, and
attempted to get up from his berth without assistance; the effort was
too much for him, however, and his son, who had left his room at his
request, but stood at the door, saw him fall as he attempted to stand.
He at once went in, raised him, and laid him upon the couch. Seeing that
he was greatly distressed in breathing, he went immediately for Dr.
Smith, the surgeon of the ship. I met him on deck, and, hearing of his
father's condition, went at once to his room. I found him wholly
unconscious, breathing with difficulty, but perfectly quiet, and
seemingly asleep. Drs. Beale and Dubois were present, and endeavored to
give him a stimulant, but he was unable to swallow, and it was evident
that he was dying. He continued in this state for about half an hour;
his breathing became slower and slower, until finally it ceased
altogether, and that was all! Not a movement of a muscle, not a spasm or
a tremor of any kind, betrayed the moment when his spirit took its
departure. An infant, wearied with play on a summer's eve, could not
have fallen asleep more gently."

As mourners over him who thus passed away in the very prime of manhood,
there were left a wife, whose maiden name was Maria L. Shands, and who
was the daughter of a Methodist preacher and planter of Sussex County,
Virginia, and six children, three sons and three daughters. In Mrs.
Bailey her husband had found a woman of rare intelligence as well as
courage, whose companionship proved most sustaining and consoling amid
the trials of his eventful life. She and five of their children still
live to revere his memory. Two of the survivors are sons; and it is
pleasant to add that one of these has done honor to his parentage, as
well as to himself, by continuing what is virtually the same good fight,
as a commander of colored troops, under General William Birney, the son
of the very James G. Birney who was Dr. Bailey's editorial associate in
Cincinnati.

Subjected as Dr. Bailey was so frequently to the fury of mobs, and the
pressure of social opposition and pecuniary want, he led the hosts of
Antislavery Reform into the very stronghold of the enemy's country; and
to say that he maintained his position with integrity and success is but
to pronounce the common praise of his contemporaries and colaborers. As
a writer he was clear and logical to an uncommon degree, carrying
certain conviction to the mind, wherever it was at all open to the
truth; and with the rare habit of stating fairly the position of his
opponent, he never failed of winning his respect and his confidence. The
death of such a man was well calculated to fill the friends of progress
throughout the world with unfeigned regret. Especially must they lament
that he departed too soon to witness the triumph of liberty, for which
it had so long been his pleasure "to labor and to wait."

We learn with much satisfaction, that a "Life of Dr. Bailey" is in
course of preparation, with the sanction of Mrs. Bailey, which, while
affording much valuable information concerning the antislavery events of
the past, will also offer space, wanting here, to do full justice to the
memory of this estimable man.

FOOTNOTES:

[B] These facts are given because of an erroneous statement which crept
into the brief though kind biographical notice of Dr. Bailey in "The New
American Cyclopædia," to the effect that the subscription list of the
Philanthropist was transferred with its editor to the National Era. It
was the list of "The Saturday Visiter," published for many years, as an
antislavery journal, at Baltimore, which was transferred to the Era,
together with the services of its editor and proprietor (J. E.
Snodgrass) as special correspondent and publishing agent at that
important point. This arrangement admirably served to secure to the Era
a circulation in Southern communities where the Visiter had already
found its way, and where it would otherwise have been difficult to
introduce a paper which was notoriously the central organ of
Abolitionism.



GRIFFITH GAUNT; OR, JEALOUSY.


CHAPTER XXVI.

He was gone for good, this time.

At the fair the wrestling was ended, and the tongues going over it all
again, and throwing the victors; the greasy pole, with leg of mutton
attached by ribbons, was being hoisted, and the swings flying, and the
lads and lasses footing it to the fife and tabor, and the people
chattering in groups; when the clatter of a horse's feet was heard, and
a horseman burst in and rode recklessly through the market-place;
indeed, if his noble horse had been as rash as he was, some would have
been trampled under foot. The rider's face was ghastly: such as were not
exactly in his path had time to see it, and wonder how this terrible
countenance came into that merry place. Thus, as he passed, shouts of
dismay arose, and a space opened before him, and then closed behind him
with a great murmur that followed at his heels.

Tom Leicester was listening, spell-bound, on the outskirts of the
throng, to the songs and humorous tirades of a pedler selling his wares;
and was saying to himself, "I too will be a pedler." Hearing the row, he
turned round, and saw his master just coming down with that stricken
face.

Tom could not read his own name in print or manuscript; and these are
the fellows that beat us all at reading countenances: he saw in a moment
that some great calamity had fallen on Griffith's head; and nature
stirred in him. He darted to his master's side, and seized the bridle.
"What is up?" he cried.

But Griffith did not answer nor notice. His ears were almost deaf, and
his eyes, great and staring, were fixed right ahead; and, to all
appearance, he did not see the people. He seemed to be making for the
horizon.

"Master! for the love of God, speak to me," cried Leicester. "What have
they done to you? Whither be you going, with the face of a ghost?"

"Away, from the hangman," shrieked Griffith, still staring at the
horizon. "Stay me not; my hands itch for their throats; my heart thirsts
for their blood; but I'll not hang for a priest and a wanton." Then he
suddenly turned on Leicester, "Let thou go, or--" and he lifted his
heavy riding-whip.

Then Leicester let go the rein, and the whip descended on the horse's
flank. He went clattering furiously over the stones, and drove the
thinner groups apart like chaff, and his galloping feet were soon heard
fainter and fainter till they died away in the distance. Leicester stood
gaping.

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith's horse, a black hunter of singular power and beauty, carried
his wretched master well that day. He went on till sunset, trotting,
cantering, and walking, without intermission; the whip ceased to touch
him, the rein never checked him. He found he was the master, and he went
his own way. He took his broken rider back into the county where he had
been foaled. But a few miles from his native place they came to the
"Packhorse," a pretty little roadside inn, with farm-yard and buildings
at the back. He had often baited here in his infancy; and now, stiff and
stumbling with fatigue, the good horse could not pass the familiar
place; he walked gravely into the stable-yard, and there fairly came to
an end; craned out his drooping head, crooked his limbs, and seemed of
wood. And no wonder. He was ninety-three miles from his last corn.

Paul Carrick, a young farrier, who frequented the "Packhorse," happened
just then to be lounging at the kitchen door, and saw him come in. He
turned directly, and shouted into the house, "Ho! Master Vint, come
hither. Here's Black Dick come home, and brought you a worshipful
customer."

The landlord bustled out of the kitchen, crying, "They are welcome
both." Then he came lowly louting to Griffith, cap in hand, and held the
horse, poor immovable brute; and his wife courtesied perseveringly at
the door.

Griffith dismounted, and stood there looking like one in a dream.

"Please you come in, sir," said the landlady, smiling professionally.

He followed her mechanically.

"Would your worship be private? We keep a parlor for gentles."

"Ay, let me be alone," he groaned.

Mercy Vint, the daughter, happened to be on the stairs and heard him:
the voice startled her, and she turned round directly to look at the
speaker; but she only saw his back going into the room, and then he
flung himself like a sack into the arm-chair.

The landlady invited him to order supper: he declined. She pressed him.
He flung a piece of money on the table, and told her savagely to score
his supper, and leave him in peace.

She flounced out with a red face, and complained to her husband in the
kitchen.

Harry Vint rung the crown-piece on the table before he committed himself
to a reply. It rang like a bell. "Churl or not, his coin is good," said
Harry Vint, philosophically. "I'll eat his supper, dame, for that
matter."

"Father," whispered Mercy, "I do think the gentleman is in trouble."

"And that is no business of mine, neither," said Harry Vint.

Presently the guest they were discussing called loudly for a quart of
burnt wine.

When it was ready, Mercy offered to take it in to him. She was curious.
The landlord looked up rather surprised; for his daughter attended to
the farm, but fought shy of the inn and its business.

"Take it, lass, and welcome for me," said Mrs. Vint, pettishly.

Mercy took the wine in, and found Griffith with his head buried in his
hands.

She stood awhile with the tray, not knowing what to do.

Then, as he did not move, she said softly, "The wine, sir, an if it
please you."

Griffith lifted his head, and turned two eyes clouded with suffering
upon her. He saw a buxom, blooming young woman, with remarkably
dove-like eyes that dwelt with timid, kindly curiosity upon him. He
looked at her in a half-distracted way, and then put his hand to the
mug. "Here's perdition to all false women!" said he, and tossed half the
wine down at a single draught.

"'T is not to me you drink, sir," said Mercy, with gentle dignity. Then
she courtesied modestly and retired, discouraged, not offended.

The wretched Griffith took no notice,--did not even see he had repulsed
a friendly visitor. The wine, taken on an empty stomach, soon stupefied
him, and he staggered to bed.

He awoke at daybreak: and O the agony of that waking!

He lay sighing awhile, with his hot skin quivering on his bones, and his
heart like lead; then got up and flung his clothes on hastily, and asked
how far to the nearest seaport.

Twenty miles.

He called for his horse. The poor brute was dead lame.

He cursed that good servant for going lame. He walked round and round
like a wild beast, chafing and fuming awhile; then sank into a torpor of
dejection, and sat with his head bowed on the table all day.

He ate scarcely any food; but drank wine freely, remarking, however,
that it was false-hearted stuff, did him no good, and had no taste as
wine used to have. "But nothing is what it was," said he. "Even I was
happy once. But that seems years ago."

"Alas! poor gentleman; God comfort you," said Mercy Vint, and came, with
the tears in her dove-like eyes, and said to her father, "To be sure his
worship hath been crossed in love; and what could she be thinking of?
Such a handsome, well-made gentleman!"

"Now that is a wench's first thought," said Harry Vint; "more likely
lost his money, gambling, or racing. But, indeed, I think 't is his head
is disordered, not his heart. I wish the 'Packhorse' was quit of him,
maugre his laced coat. We want no kill-joys here."

That night he was heard groaning, and talking, and did not come down at
all.

So at noon Mrs. Vint knocked at his door. A weak voice bade her enter.
She found him shivering, and he asked her for a fire.

She grumbled, out of hearing, but lighted a fire.

Presently his voice was heard hallooing. He wanted all the windows open,
he was so burning hot.

The landlady looked at him, and saw his face was flushed and swollen;
and he complained of pain in all his bones. She opened the windows, and
asked him would he have a doctor sent for. He shook his head
contemptuously.

However, towards evening, he became delirious, and raved and tossed, and
rolled his head as if it was an intolerable weight he wanted to get rid
of.

The females of the family were for sending at once for a doctor; but the
prudent Harry demurred.

"Tell me, first, who is to pay the fee," said he. "I've seen a fine coat
with the pockets empty, before to-day."

The women set up their throats at him with one accord, each after her
kind.

"Out, fie!" said Mercy; "are we to do naught for charity?"

"Why, there's his horse, ye foolish man," said Mrs. Vint.

"Ay, ye are both wiser than me," said Harry Vint, ironically. And soon
after that he went out softly.

The next minute he was in the sick man's room, examining his pockets. To
his infinite surprise he found twenty gold pieces, a quantity of silver,
and some trinkets.

He spread them all out on the table, and gloated on them with greedy
eyes. They looked so inviting, that he said to himself they would be
safer in his custody than in that of a delirious person, who was even
now raving incoherently before him, and could not see what he was doing.
He therefore proceeded to transfer them to his own care.

On the way to his pocket, his shaking hand was arrested by another hand,
soft, but firm as iron.

He shuddered, and looked round in abject terror; and there was his
daughter's face, pale as his own, but full of resolution. "Nay, father,"
said she; "_I_ must take charge of these: and well do you know why."

These simple words cowed Harry Vint, so that he instantly resigned the
money and jewels, and retired, muttering that "things were come to a
pretty pass,"--"a man was no longer master in his own house," etc.,
etc., etc.

While he inveighed against the degeneracy of the age, the women paid him
no more attention than the age did, but just sent for the doctor. He
came, and bled the patient. This gave him a momentary relief; but when,
in the natural progress of the disease, sweating and weakness came on,
the loss of the precious vital fluid was fatal, and the patient's pulse
became scarce perceptible. There he lay, with wet hair, and gleaming
eyes, and haggard face, at death's door.

An experienced old crone was got to nurse him, and she told Mrs. Vint he
would live may be three days.

       *       *       *       *       *

Paul Carrick used to come to the "Packhorse" after Mercy Vint, and,
finding her sad, asked her what was the matter.

"What should it be," said she, "but the poor gentleman a-dying overhead;
away from all his friends."

"Let me see him," said Paul.

Mercy took him softly into the room.

"Ay, he is booked," said the farrier, "Doctor has taken too much blood
out of the man's body. They kill a many that way."

"Alack, Paul! must he die? Can naught be done?" said Mercy, clasping her
hands.

"I don't say that, neither," said the farrier. "He is a well-made man:
he is young, _I_ might save him, perhaps, if I had not so many beasts to
look to. I'll tell you what you do. Make him soup as strong as strong;
have him watched night and day, and let 'em put a spoonful of warm wine
into him every hour, and then of soup; egg flip is a good thing, too;
change his bed-linen, and keep the doctors from him: that is his only
chance; he is fairly dying of weakness. But I must be off. Farmer
Blake's cow is down for calving; I must give her an ounce of salts
before 't is too late."

Mercy Vint scanned the patient closely, and saw that Paul Carrick was
right. She followed his instructions to the letter, with one exception.
Instead of trusting to the old woman, of whom she had no very good
opinion, she had the great arm-chair brought into the sick-room, and
watched the patient herself by night and day; a gentle hand cooled his
temples; a gentle hand brought concentrated nourishment to his lips; and
a mellow voice coaxed him to be good and swallow it. There are voices it
is not natural to resist; and Griffith learned by degrees to obey this
one, even when he was half unconscious.

At the end of three days this zealous young nurse thought she discerned
a slight improvement, and told her mother so. Then the old lady came and
examined the patient, and shook her head gravely. Her judgment, like her
daughter's, was influenced by her wishes.

The fact is, both landlord and landlady were now calculating upon
Griffith's decease. Harry had told her about the money and jewels, and
the pair had put their heads together, and settled that Griffith was a
gentleman highwayman, and his spoil would never be reclaimed after his
decease, but fall to those good Samaritans, who were now nursing him,
and intended to bury him respectably. The future being thus settled,
this worthy couple became a little impatient; for Griffith, like Charles
the Second, was "an unconscionable time dying."

We order dinner to hasten a lingering guest; and, with equal force of
logic, mine host of the "Packhorse" spoke to White, the village
carpenter, about a full-sized coffin; and his wife set the old crone to
make a linen shroud, unobtrusively, in the bake-house.

On the third afternoon of her nursing, Mercy left her patient, and
called up the crone to tend him. She herself, worn out with fatigue,
threw herself on a bed in her mother's room, hard by, and soon fell
asleep.

She had slept about two hours when she was wakened by a strange noise in
the sick-chamber. A man and a woman quarrelling.

She bounded off the bed, and was in the room directly.

Lo and behold, there were the nurse and the dying man abusing one
another like pickpockets.

The cause of this little misunderstanding was not far to seek. The old
crone had brought up her work: _videlicet_, a winding-sheet all but
finished, and certain strips of glazed muslin about three inches deep.
She soon completed the winding-sheet, and hung it over two chairs in the
patient's sight; she then proceeded to double the slips in six, and nick
them; then she unrolled them, and they were frills, and well adapted to
make the coming corpse absurd, and divest it of any little dignity the
King of Terrors might bestow on it.

She was so intent upon her congenial task that she did not observe the
sick man had awakened, and was viewing her and her work with an
intelligent but sinister eye.

"What is that you are making?" said he, grimly.

The voice was rather clear, and strong, and seemed so loud and strange
in that still chamber, that it startled the woman mightily. She uttered
a little shriek, and then was wroth. "Plague take the man!" said she;
"how you scared me. Keep quiet, do; and mind your own business." [The
business of going off the hooks.]

"I ask you what is that you are making," said Griffith, louder, and
raising himself on his arm.

"Baby's frills," replied the woman, coolly, recovering that contempt for
the understandings of the dying which marks the veritable crone.

"Ye lie," said Griffith. "And there is a shroud. Who is that for?"

"Who should it be for, thou simple body? Keep quiet, do, till the change
comes. 'T won't be long now; art too well to last till sundown."

"So 't is for me, is it?" screamed Griffith. "I'll disappoint ye yet.
Give me my clothes. I'll not lie here to be measured for my grave, ye
old witch."

"Here's manners!" cackled the indignant crone. "Ye foul-mouthed knave!
is this how you thank a decent woman for making a comfortable corpse of
ye, you that has no right to die in your shoes, let a be such dainties
as muslin neck-ruff, and shroud of good Dutch flax."

At this Griffith discharged a volley in which "vulture," "hag,"
"blood-sucker," etc., blended with as many oaths: during which Mercy
came in.

She glided to him, with her dove's eyes full of concern, and laid her
hand gently on his shoulder. "You'll work yourself a mischief," said
she; "leave me to scold her. Why, my good Nelly, how could ye be so
hare-brained? Prithee take all that trumpery away this minute: none here
needeth it, nor shall not this many a year, please God."

"They want me dead," said Griffith to her, piteously, finding he had got
one friend, and sunk back on his pillow exhausted.

"So it seems," said Mercy, cunningly. "But I'd balk them finely. I'd up
and order a beef-steak this minute."

"And shall," said Griffith, with feeble spite. "Leastways, do you order
it, and I'll eat it: ---- d--n her!"

Sick men are like children; and women soon find that out, and manage
them accordingly. In ten minutes Mercy brought a good rump-steak to the
bedside, and said, "Now for 't. Marry come up, with her winding-sheets!"

Thus played upon, and encouraged, the great baby ate more than half the
steak; and soon after perspired gently, and fell asleep.

Paul Carrick found him breathing gently, with a slight tint of red in
his cheek, and told Mercy there was a change for the better. "We have
brought him to a true intermission," said he; "so throw in the bark at
once."

"What, drench his honor's worship!" said Mercy, innocently. "Nay, send
thou the medicine, and I'll find womanly ways to get it down him."

Next day came the doctor, and whispered softly to Mrs. Vint, "How are we
all up stairs?"

"Why couldn't you come afore?" replied Mrs. Vint, crossly. "Here's
Farrier Carrick stepped in, and curing him out of hand,--the meddlesome
body."

"A farrier rob me of my patient!" cried the doctor, in high dudgeon.

"Nay, good sir, 't is no fault of mine. This Paul is a sort of a kind of
a follower of our Mercy's: and she is mistress here, I trow."

"And what hath his farriership prescribed? Friar's balsam, belike."

"Nay, I know not; but you may soon learn, for he is above, physicking
the gentleman (a pretty gentleman!) and suiting to our Mercy--after a
manner."

The doctor declined to make one in so mixed a consultation.

"Give me my fee, dame," said he; "and as for this impertinent farrier,
the patient's blood be on his head; and I'd have him beware the law."

Mrs. Vint went to the stair-foot, and screamed, "Mercy, the good doctor
wants his fee. Who is to pay it, I wonder?"

"I'll bring it him anon," said a gentle voice; and Mercy soon came down
and paid it with a willing air that half disarmed professional fury.

"'T is a good lass, dame," said the doctor, when she was gone; "and, by
the same token, I wish her better mated than to a scrub of a farrier."

       *       *       *       *       *

Griffith, still weak, but freed of fever, woke one glorious afternoon,
and heard a bird-like voice humming a quaint old ditty, and saw a field
of golden wheat through an open window, and seated at that window the
mellow songstress, Mercy Vint, plying her needle, with lowered lashes
but beaming face, a picture of health and quiet womanly happiness.
Things were going to her mind in that sick-room.

He looked at her, and at the golden corn and summer haze beyond, and the
tide of life seemed to rush back upon him.

"My good lass," said he, "tell me, where am I? for I know not."

Mercy started, and left off singing, then rose and came slowly towards
him, with her work in her hand.

Innocent joy at this new symptom of convalescence flushed her comely
features, but she spoke low.

"Good sir, at the 'Packhorse,'" said she, smiling.

"The 'Packhorse'? and where is that?"

"Hard by Allerton village."

"And where is that? not in Cumberland?"

"Nay, in Lancashire, your worship. Why, whence come you that know not
the 'Packhorse,' nor yet Allerton township? Come you from Cumberland?"

"No matter whence I come. I'm going on board ship,--like my father
before me."

"Alas, sir, you are not fit; you have been very ill, and partly
distraught."

She stopped; for Griffith turned his face to the wall, with a deep
groan. It had all rushed over him in a moment.

Mercy stood still, and worked on, but the water gathered in her eyes at
that eloquent groan.

By and by Griffith turned round again, with a face of anguish, and filmy
eyes, and saw her in the same place, standing, working, and pitying.

"What, are _you_ there still?" said he, roughly.

"Ay, sir; but I'll go, sooner than be troublesome. Can I fetch you
anything?"

"No. Ay, wine; bring me wine to drown it all."

She brought him a pint of wine.

"Pledge me," said he, with a miserable attempt at a smile.

She put the cup to her lips, and sipped a drop or two; but her dove's
eyes were looking up at him over the liquor all the time. Griffith soon
disposed of the rest, and asked for more.

"Nay," said she, "but I dare not: the doctor hath forbidden excess in
drinking."

"The doctor! What doctor?"

"Doctor Paul," said she, demurely. "He hath saved your life, sir, I do
think."

"Plague take him for that!"

"So say not I."

Here, she left him with an excuse. "'T is milking time, sir; and you
shall know that I am our dairymaid. I seldom trouble the inn."

Next day she was on the window-seat, working and beaming. The patient
called to her in peevish accents to put his head higher. She laid down
her work with a smile, and came and raised his head.

"There, now, that is too high," said he; "how awkward you are."

"I lack experience, sir, but not good will. There, now, is that a little
better?"

"Ay, a little. I'm sick of lying here. I want to get up. Dost hear what
I say? I--want--to get up."

"And so you shall. As soon as ever you are fit. To-morrow, perhaps.
To-day you must e'en be patient. Patience is a rare medicine."

       *       *       *       *       *

Tic, tic, tic! "What a noise they are making down stairs. Go, lass, and
bid them hold their peace."

Mercy shook her head. "Good lack-a-day! we might as well bid the river
give over running; but, to be sure, this comes of keeping a hostelry,
sir. When we had only the farm, we were quiet, and did no ill to no
one."

"Well, sing me, to drown their eternal buzzing: it worries me dead."

"Me sing! alack, sir, I'm no songster."

"That is false. You sing like a throstle. I dote on music; and, when I
was delirious, I heard one singing about my bed; I thought it was an
angel at that time, but 't was only you, my young mistress: and now I
ask you, you say me nay. That is the way with you all. Plague take the
girl, and all her d----d, unreasonable, hypocritical sex. I warrant me
you'd sing, if I wanted to sleep, and dance the Devil to a standstill."

Mercy, instead of flouncing out of the room, stood looking on him with
maternal eyes, and chuckling like a bird. "That is right, sir: tax us
all to your heart's content. O, but I'm a joyful woman to hear you; for
't is a sure sign of mending when the sick take to rating of their
nurses."

"In sooth, I am too cross-grained," said Griffith, relenting.

"Not a whit, sir, for my taste. I've been in care for you: and now you
are a little cross, that maketh me easy."

"Thou art a good soul. Wilt sing me a stave after all?"

"La, you now; how you come back to that. Ay, and with a good heart: for,
to be sure, 't is a sin to gainsay a sick man. But indeed I am the
homeliest singer. Methinks 't is time I went down and bade them cook
your worship's supper."

"Nay, I'll not eat nor sup till I hear thee sing."

"Your will is my law, sir," said Mercy, dryly, and retired to the
window-seat; that was the first obvious preliminary. Then she fiddled
with her apron, and hemmed, and waited in hopes a reprieve might come;
but a peevish, relentless voice demanded the song at intervals.

So then she turned her head carefully away from her hearer, lowered her
eyes, and, looking the picture of guilt and shame all the time, sang an
ancient ditty. The poltroon's voice was rich, mellow, clear, and sweet
as honey; and she sang the notes for the sake of the words, not the
words for the sake of the notes, as all but Nature's singers do.

The air was grave as well as sweet; for Mercy was of an old Puritan
stock, and even her songs were not giddy-paced, but solid, quaint, and
tender: all the more did they reach the soul.

In vain was the blushing cheek averted, and the honeyed lips. The
ravishing tones set the birds chirping outside, yet filled the room
within, and the glasses rang in harmony upon the shelf as the sweet
singer poured out from her heart (so it seemed) the speaking-song:--

    "In vain you tell your parting lover
    You wish fair winds may waft him over.
    Alas! what winds can happy prove
    That bear me far from her I love?
    Alas! what dangers on the main
    Can equal those that I sustain
    From stinted love and cold disdain?" etc.

Griffith beat time with his hand awhile, and his face softened and
beautified as the melody curled about his heart. But soon it was too
much for him. He knew the song,--had sung it to Kate Peyton in their
days of courtship. A thousand memories gushed in upon his soul and
overpowered him. He burst out sobbing violently, and wept as if his
heart must break.

"Alas! what have I done?" said Mercy; and the tears ran from her eyes at
the sight. Then, with native delicacy, she hurried from the room.

What Griffith Gaunt went through that night, in silence, was never known
but to himself. But the next morning he was a changed man. He was all
dogged resolution,--put on his clothes unaided, though he could hardly
stand to do it, and borrowed the landlord's staff, and crawled out a
smart distance into the sun. "It was kill or cure," said he. "I am to
live, it seems. Well, then, the past is dead. My life begins again
to-day."

Hen-like, Mercy soon learned this sally of her refractory duckling, and
was uneasy. So, for an excuse to watch him, she brought him out his
money and jewels, and told him she had thought it safest to take charge
of them.

He thanked her cavalierly, and offered her a diamond ring.

She blushed scarlet, and declined it; and even turned a meekly
reproachful glance on him with her dove's eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

He had a suit of russet made, and put away his fine coat, and forbade
any one to call him "Your worship." "I am a farmer, like yourselves,"
said he; "and my name is--Thomas Leicester."

       *       *       *       *       *

A brain fever either kills the unhappy lover, or else benumbs the very
anguish that caused it.

And so it was with Griffith. His love got benumbed, and the sense of his
wrongs vivid. He nursed a bitter hatred of his wife; only, as he could
not punish her without going near her, and no punishment short of death
seemed enough for her, he set to work to obliterate her from his very
memory, if possible. He tried employment: he pottered about the little
farm, advising and helping,--and that so zealously that the landlord
retired altogether from that department, and Griffith, instead of he,
became Mercy's ally, agricultural and bucolical. She was a shepherdess
to the core, and hated the poor "Packhorse."

For all that, it was her fate to add to its attractions: for Griffith
bought a _viol da gambo_, and taught her sweet songs, which he
accompanied with such skill, sometimes, with his voice, that good
company often looked in on the chance of a good song sweetly sung and
played.

The sick, in body or mind, are egotistical. Griffith was no exception:
bent on curing his own deep wound, he never troubled his head about the
wound he might inflict.

He was grateful to his sweet nurse, and told her so. And his gratitude
charmed her all the more that it had been rather long in coming.

He found this dove-like creature a wonderful soother: he applied her
more and more to his sore heart.

As for Mercy, she had been too good and kind to her patient not to take
a tender interest in his convalescence. Our hearts warm more to those we
have been kind to, than to those who have been kind to us: and the
female reader can easily imagine what delicious feelings stole into that
womanly heart when she saw her pale nursling pick up health and strength
under her wing, and become the finest, handsomest man in the parish.

Pity and admiration,--where these meet, love is not far behind.

And then this man, who had been cross and rough while he was weak,
became gentler, kinder, and more deferential to her, the stronger he
got.

Mrs. Vint saw they were both fond of each other's company, and
disapproved it. She told Paul Carrick if he had any thought of Mercy he
had better give over shilly-shallying, for there was another man after
her.

Paul made light of it, at first. "She has known me too long to take up
her head with a new-comer," said he. "To be sure I never asked her to
name the day; but she knows my mind well enough, and I know hers."

"Then you know more than I do," said the mother, ironically.

He thought over this conversation, and very wisely determined not to run
unnecessary risks. He came up one afternoon, and hunted about for Mercy,
till he found her milking a cow in the adjoining paddock.

"Well, lass," said he, "I've good news for thee. My old dad says we may
have his house to live in. So now you and I can yoke next month if ye
will."

"Me turn the honest man out of his house!" said Mercy, mighty
innocently.

"Who asks you? He nobbut bargains for the chimney-corner: and you are
not the girl to begrudge the old man that."

"O no, Paul. But what would father do if I were to leave _his_ house?
Methinks the farm would go to rack and ruin; he is so wrapped up in his
nasty public."

"Why, he has got a helper, by all accounts: and if you talk like that,
you will never wed at all."

"Never is a big word. But I'm too young to marry yet. Jenny, thou jade,
stand still."

The attack and defence proceeded upon these terms for some time; and the
defendant had one base advantage; and used it. Her forehead was wedged
tight against Jenny's ribs, and Paul could not see her face. This, and
the feminine evasiveness of her replies, irritated him at last.

"Take thy head out o' the coow," said he, roughly, "and answer straight.
Is all our wooing to go for naught?"

"Wooing? You never said so much to me in all these years as you have
to-day."

"O, ye knew my mind well enough. There's a many ways of showing the
heart."

"Speaking out is the best, I trow."

"Why, what do I come here for twice a week, this two years past, if not
for thee?"

"Ay, for me, and father's ale."

"And thou canst look at me, and tell me that? Ye false, hard-hearted
hussy. But nay, thou wast never so: 't is this Thomas Leicester hath
bewitched thee, and set thee against thy true lover."

"Mr. Leicester pays no suit to me," said Mercy, blushing. "He is a right
civil-spoken gentleman, and you know you saved his life."

"The more fool I. I wish I had known he was going to rob me of my lass's
heart, I'd have seen him die a hundred times ere I'd have interfered.
But they say if you save a man's life he'll make you rue it. Mercy, my
lass, you are well respected in the parish. Take a thought, now: better
be a farrier's wife than a gentleman's mistress."

Mercy did take her head "out of the cow" at this, and, for once, her
cheek burned with anger; but the unwonted sentiment died before it could
find words, and she said, quietly, "I need not be either, against my
will."

       *       *       *       *       *

Young Carrick made many such appeals to Mercy Vint; but he could never
bring her to confess to him that he and she had ever been more than
friends, or were now anything less than friends. Still he forced her to
own to herself, that, if she had never seen Thomas Leicester, her quiet
affection and respect for Carrick would probably have carried her to the
altar with him.

His remonstrances, sometimes angry, sometimes tearful, awoke her pity,
which was the grand sentiment of her heart, and disturbed her peace.

Moreover, she studied the two men in her quiet, thoughtful way, and saw
that Carrick loved her with all his honest, though hitherto tepid
heart; but Griffith had depths, and could love with more passion than
ever he had shown for her. "He is not the man to have a fever by reason
of me," said the poor girl to herself. But I am afraid even this
attracted her to Griffith. It nettled a woman's soft ambition; which is,
to be as well loved as ever woman was.

And so things went on, and, as generally happens, the man who was losing
ground went the very way to lose more. He spoke ill of Griffith behind
his back: called him a highwayman, a gentleman, an ungrateful,
undermining traitor. But Griffith never mentioned Carrick; and so, when
he and Mercy were together, her old follower was pleasingly obliterated,
and affectionate good-humor reigned. Thus Griffith, _alias_ Thomas,
became her sunbeam, and Paul her cloud.

But he who had disturbed the peace of others, his own turn came.

One day he found Mercy crying. He sat down beside her, and said, kindly,
"Why, sweetheart, what is amiss?"

"No great matter," said she; and turned her head away, but did not check
her tears, for it was new and pleasant to be consoled by Thomas
Leicester.

"Nay, but tell me, child."

"Well, then, Jessie Carrick has been at me; that is all."

"The vixen! what did she say?"

"Nay, I'm not pleased enow with it to repeat it. She did cast something
in my teeth."

Griffith pressed her to be more explicit: she declined, with so many
blushes, that his curiosity was awakened, and he told Mrs. Vint, with
some heat, that Jess Carrick had been making Mercy cry.

"Like enow," said Mrs. Vint, coolly. "She'll eat her victuals all one
for that, please God."

"Else I'll wring the cock-nosed jade's neck, next time she comes here,"
replied Griffith; "but, Dame, I want to know what she can have to say to
Mercy to make her cry."

Mrs. Vint looked him steadily in the face for some time, and then and
there decided to come to an explanation. "Ten to one 't is about her
brother," said she; "you know this Paul is our Mercy's sweetheart."

At these simple words Griffith winced, and his countenance changed
remarkably. Mrs. Vint observed it, and was all the more resolved to have
it out with him.

"Her sweetheart!" said Griffith. "Why, I have seen them together a dozen
of times, and not a word of courtship."

"O, the young men don't make many speeches in these parts. They show
their hearts by act."

"By act? why, I met them coming home from milking t' other evening.
Mercy was carrying the pail, brimful; and that oaf sauntered by her
side, with his hands in his pockets. Was that the act of a lover?"

"I heard of it, sir," said Mrs. Vint, quietly; "and as how you took the
pail from her, willy nilly, and carried it home. Mercy was vexed about
it. She told me you panted at the door, and she was a deal fitter to
carry the pail than you, that is just off a sick-bed, like. But lawk,
sir, ye can't go by the likes of that. The bachelors here they'd see
their sweethearts carry the roof into next parish on their backs, like a
snail, and never put out a hand; 't is not the custom hereaway. But, as
I was saying, Paul and our Mercy kept company, after a manner: he never
had the wit to flatter her as should he, nor the stomach to bid her name
the day and he'd buy the ring; but he talked to her about his sick
beasts more than he did to any other girl in the parish, and she'd have
ended by going to Church with him; only you came and put a coolness
atween 'em."

"I! How?"

"Well, sir, our Mercy is a kind-hearted lass, though I say it, and you
were sick, and she did nurse you; and that was a beginning. And, to be
sure, you are a fine personable man, and capital company; and you are
always about the girl; and, bethink you, sir, she is flesh and blood
like her neighbors; and they say, once a body has tasted venison-steak,
it spoils their stomach for oat-porridge. Now that is Mercy's case, I'm
thinking; not that she ever said as much to me,--she is too reserved.
But, bless your heart, I'm forced to go about with eyes in my head, and
watch 'em all a bit,--me that keeps an inn."

Griffith groaned. "I'm a villain!" said he.

"Nay, nay," said Mrs. Vint. "Gentlefolks must be amused, cost what it
may; but, hoping no offence, sir, the girl was a good friend to you in
time of sickness; and so was this Paul, for that matter."

"She was," cried Griffith; "God bless her. How can I ever repay her?"

"Well, sir," said Mrs. Vint, "if that comes from your heart, you might
take our Mercy apart, and tell her you like her very well, but not
enough to marry a farmer's daughter,--don't say an innkeeper's daughter,
or you'll be sure to offend her. She is bitter against the 'Packhorse.'
Says you, 'This Paul is an honest lad, turn your heart back to him.'
And, with that, mount your black horse and ride away, and God speed you,
sir; we shall often talk of you at the 'Packhorse,' and naught but
good."

Griffith gave the woman his hand, and his breast labored visibly.

Jealousy was ingrained in the man. Mrs. Vint had pricked his conscience,
but she had wounded his foible. He was not in love with Mercy, but he
esteemed her, and liked her, and saw her value, and, above all, could
not bear another man should have her.

Now this gave the matter a new turn. Mrs. Vint had overcome her dislike
to him long ago: still he was not her favorite. But his giving her his
hand with a gentle pressure, and his manifest agitation, rather won her;
and, as uneducated women are your true weathercocks, she went about
directly. "To be sure," said she, "our Mercy is too good for the likes
of him. She is not like Harry and me. She has been well brought up by
her Aunt Prudence, as was governess in a nobleman's house. She can read
and write, and cast accounts; good at her sampler, and can churn and
make cheeses, and play of the viol, and lead the psalm in church, and
dance a minuet, she can, with any lady in the land. As to her nursing in
time of sickness, that I leave to you, sir."

"She is an angel," cried Griffith, "and my benefactress: no man living
is good enough for her." And he went away, visibly discomposed.

Mrs. Vint repeated this conversation to Mercy, and told her Thomas
Leicester was certainly in love with her. "Shouldst have seen his face,
girl, when I told him Paul and you were sweethearts. 'T was as if I had
run a knife in his heart."

Mercy murmured a few words of doubt; but she kissed her mother
eloquently, and went about, rosy and beaming, all that afternoon.

As for Griffith, his gratitude and his jealousy were now at war, and
caused him a severe mental struggle.

Carrick, too, was spurred by jealousy, and came every day to the house,
and besieged Mercy; and Griffith, who saw them together, and did not
hear Mercy's replies, was excited, irritated, alarmed.

Mrs. Vint saw his agitation, and determined to bring matters to a
climax. She was always giving him a side thrust; and, at last, she told
him plainly that he was not behaving like a man. "If the girl is not
good enough for you, why make a fool of her, and set her against a good
husband?" And when he replied she was good enough for any man in
England, "Then," said she, "why not show your respect for her as Paul
Carrick does? He likes her well enough to go to church with her."

With the horns of this dilemma she so gored Kate Peyton's husband that,
at last, she and Paul Carrick, between them, drove him out of his
conscience.

So he watched his opportunity and got Mercy alone. He took her hand and
told her he loved her, and that she was his only comfort in the world,
and he found he could not live without her.

At this she blushed and trembled a little, and leaned her brow upon his
shoulder, and was a happy creature for a few moments.

So far, fluently enough; but then he began to falter and stammer, and
say that for certain reasons he could not marry at all. But if she could
be content with anything short of that, he would retire with her into a
distant country, and there, where nobody could contradict him, would
call her his wife, and treat her as his wife, and pay his debt of
gratitude to her by a life of devotion.

As he spoke, her brow retired an inch or two from his shoulder; but she
heard him quietly out, and then drew back and confronted him, pale, and,
to all appearance, calm.

"Call things by their right names," said she. "What you offer me this
day, in my father's house, is, to be your mistress. Then--God forgive
you, Thomas Leicester."

With this oblique and feminine reply, and one look of unfathomable
reproach from her soft eyes, she turned her back on him; but,
remembering her manners, courtesied at the door; and so retired; and
unpretending Virtue lent her such true dignity that he was struck dumb,
and made no attempt to detain her.

I think her dignified composure did not last long when she was alone; at
least, the next time he saw her, her eyes were red; his heart smote him,
and he began to make excuses and beg her forgiveness. But she
interrupted him. "Don't speak to me no more, if you please, sir," said
she, civilly, but coldly.

Mercy, though so quiet and inoffensive, had depth and strength of
character. She never told her mother what Thomas Leicester had proposed
to her. Her honest pride kept her silent, for one thing. She would not
have it known she had been insulted. And, besides that, she loved Thomas
Leicester still, and could not expose or hurt him. Once there was an
Israelite without guile, though you and I never saw him; and once there
was a Saxon without bile, and her name was Mercy Vint. In this heart of
gold the affections were stronger than the passions. She was deeply
wounded, and showed it in a patient way to him who had wounded her, but
to none other. Her conduct to him in public and private was truly
singular, and would alone have stamped her a remarkable character. She
declined all communication with him in private, and avoided him steadily
and adroitly; but in public she spoke to him, sang with him when she was
asked, and treated him much the same as before. He could see a subtle
difference, but nobody else could.

This generosity, coupled with all she had done for him before,
penetrated his heart and filled him with admiration and remorse. He
yielded to Mrs. Vint's suggestions, and told her she was right; he would
tear himself away, and never see the dear "Packhorse" again. "But oh!
Dame," said he, "'t is a sorrowful thing to be alone in the world again,
and naught to do. If I had but a farm, and a sweet little inn like this
to go to, perchance my heart would not be quite so heavy as 't is this
day at thoughts of parting from thee and thine."

"Well, sir," said Mrs. Vint, "if that is all, there is the 'Vine' to let
at this moment. 'T is a better place of business than this; and some
meadows go with it, and land to be had in the parish."

"I'll ride and see it," said Griffith, eagerly: then, dejectedly, "but,
alas! I have no heart to keep an inn without somebody to help me, and
say a kind word now and then. Ah! Mercy Vint, thou hast spoiled me for
living alone."

This vacillation exhausted Mrs. Vint's patience. "What are ye sighing
about, ye foolish man?" said she, contemptuously; "you have got it all
your own way. If 't is a wife ye want, ask Mercy, and don't take a nay.
If ye would have a housekeeper, you need not want one long. I'll be
bound there's plenty of young women where you came from as would be glad
to keep the 'Vine' under you. And, if you come to that, our Mercy is a
treasure on the farm, but she is no help in the inn, no more than a wax
figure. She never brought us a shilling, till you came and made her sing
to your bass-viol. Nay, what you want is a smart, handsome girl, with a
quick eye and a ready tongue, and one as can look a man in the face, and
not given to love nor liquor. Don't you know never such a one?"

"Not I. Humph, to be sure there is Caroline Ryder. She is handsome, and
hath a good wit. She is a lady's maid."

"That's your woman, if she'll come. And to be sure she will; for to be
mistress of an inn, that's a lady's maid's Paradise."

"She would have come a few months ago, and gladly. I'll write to her."

"Better talk to her, and persuade her."

"I'll do that, too; but I must write to her first."

"So do then; but whatever you do, don't shilly-shally no longer. If
wrestling was shilly-shallying, methinks you'd bear the bell, you or
else Paul Carrick. Why, all his trouble comes on 't. He might have wed
our Mercy a year agone for the asking. Shilly-shally belongs to us that
be women. 'T is despicable in a man."

Thus driven on all sides, Griffith rode and inspected the "Vine" (it was
only seven miles off); and, after the usual chaffering, came to terms
with the proprietor.

He fixed the day for his departure, and told Mrs. Vint he must ride into
Cumberland first to get some money, and also to see about a housekeeper.

He made no secret of all this; and, indeed, was not without hopes Mercy
would relent, or perhaps be jealous of this housekeeper. But the only
visible effect was to make her look pale and sad. She avoided him in
private as before.

Harry Vint was loud in his regrets, and Carrick openly exultant.
Griffith wrote to Caroline Ryder, and addressed the letter in a feigned
hand, and took it himself to the nearest post-town.

The letter came to hand, and will appear in that sequence of events on
which I am now about to enter.


CHAPTER XXVII.

If Griffith Gaunt suffered anguish, he inflicted agony. Mrs. Gaunt was a
high-spirited, proud, and sensitive woman; and he crushed her with foul
words. Leonard was a delicate, vain, and sensitive man, accustomed to
veneration. Imagine such a man hurled to the ground, and trampled upon.

Griffith should not have fled; he should have stayed and enjoyed his
vengeance on these two persons. It might have cooled him a little had he
stopped and seen the immediate consequences of his savage act.

The priest rose from the ground, pale as ashes, and trembling with fear
and hate.

The lady was leaning, white as a sheet, against a tree, and holding it
with her very nails for a little support.

They looked round at one another,--a piteous glance of anguish and
horror. Then Mrs. Gaunt turned and flung her arm round so that the palm
of her hand, high raised, confronted Leonard. I am thus particular
because it was a gesture grand and terrible as the occasion that called
it forth,--a gesture that _spoke_, and said, "Put the whole earth and
sea between us forever after this."

The next moment she bent her head and rushed away, cowering and wringing
her hands. She made for her house as naturally as a scared animal for
its lair; but, ere she could reach it, she tottered under the shame, the
distress, and the mere terror, and fell fainting, with her fair forehead
on the grass.

Caroline Ryder was crouched in the doorway, and did not see her come
out of the grove, but only heard a rustle; and then saw her proud
mistress totter forward and lie, white, senseless, helpless, at her very
feet.

Ryder uttered a scream, but did not lose her presence of mind. She
instantly kneeled over Mrs. Gaunt, and loosened her stays with quick and
dexterous hand.

It was very like the hawk perched over and clawing the ringdove she has
struck down.

But people with brains are never quite inhuman: a drop of lukewarm pity
entered even Ryder's heart as she assisted her victim. She called no one
to help her; for she saw something very serious had happened, and she
felt sure Mrs. Gaunt would say something imprudent in that dangerous
period when the patient recovers consciousness but has not all her wits
about her. Now Ryder was equally determined to know her mistress's
secrets, and not to share the knowledge with any other person.

It was a long swoon; and, when Mrs. Gaunt came to, the first thing she
saw was Ryder leaning over her, with a face of much curiosity, and some
concern.

In that moment of weakness the poor lady, who had been so roughly
handled, saw a woman close to her, and being a little kind to her; so
what did she do but throw her arms round Ryder's neck and burst out
sobbing as if her heart would break.

Then that unprincipled woman shed a tear or two with her, half
crocodile, half impulse.

Mrs. Gaunt not only cried on her servant's neck; she
justified Ryder's forecast by speaking unguardedly: "I've been
insulted--insulted--insulted!"

But, even while uttering these words, she was recovering her pride: so
the first "insulted" seemed to come from a broken-hearted child, the
second from an indignant lady, the third from a wounded queen.

No more words than this; but she rose, with Ryder's assistance, and
went, leaning on that faithful creature's shoulder, to her own bedroom.
There she sank into a chair and said, in a voice to melt a stone, "My
child! Bring me my little Rose."

Ryder ran and fetched the little girl; and Mrs. Gaunt held out both arms
to her, angelically, and clasped her so passionately and piteously to
her bosom, that Rose cried for fear, and never forgot the scene all her
days; and Mrs. Ryder, who was secretly a mother, felt a genuine twinge
of pity and remorse. Curiosity, however, was the dominant sentiment. She
was impatient to get all these convulsions over, and learn what had
actually passed between Mr. and Mrs. Gaunt.

She waited till her mistress appeared calmer; and then, in soft,
caressing tones, asked her what had happened.

"Never ask me that question again," cried Mrs. Gaunt, wildly. Then, with
inexpressible dignity, "My good girl, you have done all you could for
me; now you must leave me alone with my daughter, and my God, who knows
the truth."

Ryder courtesied and retired, burning with baffled curiosity.

Towards dusk Thomas Leicester came into the kitchen, and brought her
news with a vengeance. He told her and the other maids that the Squire
had gone raving mad, and fled the country. "O lasses," said he, "if you
had seen the poor soul's face, a-riding headlong through the fair, all
one as if it was a ploughed field; 't was white as your smocks; and his
eyes glowering on 't other world. We shall ne'er see that face alive
again."

And this was her doing.

It surprised and overpowered Ryder. She threw her apron over her head,
and went off in hysterics, and betrayed her lawless attachment to every
woman in the kitchen,--she who was so clever at probing others.

       *       *       *       *       *

This day of violent emotions was followed by a sullen and sorrowful
gloom.

Mrs. Gaunt kept her bedroom, and admitted nobody; till, at last, the
servants consulted together, and sent little Rose to knock at her door,
with a basin of chocolate, while they watched on the stairs.

"It's only me, mamma," said Rose.

"Come in, my precious," said a trembling voice; and so Rose got in with
her chocolate.

The next day she was sent for early; and at noon Mrs. Gaunt and Rose
came down stairs; but their appearance startled the whole household.

The mother was dressed all in black, and so was her daughter, whom she
led by the hand. Mrs. Gaunt's face was pale, and sad, and stern,--a
monument of deep suffering and high-strung resolution.

       *       *       *       *       *

It soon transpired that Griffith had left his home for good; and friends
called on Mrs. Gaunt to slake their curiosity under the mask of
sympathy.

Not one of them was admitted. No false excuses were made. "My mistress
sees no one for the present," was the reply.

Curiosity, thus baffled, took up the pen; but was met with a short,
unvarying formula: "There is an unhappy misunderstanding between my
husband and me. But I shall neither accuse him behind his back, nor
justify myself."

Thus the proud lady carried herself before the world; but secretly she
writhed. A wife abandoned is a woman insulted, and the wives--that are
not abandoned--cluck.

Ryder was dejected for a time, and, though not honestly penitent,
suffered some remorse at the miserable issue of her intrigues. But her
elastic nature soon shook it off, and she felt a certain satisfaction at
having reduced Mrs. Gaunt to her own level. This disarmed her hostility.
She watched her as keenly as ever, but out of pure curiosity.

One thing puzzled her strangely. Leonard did not visit the house; nor
could she even detect any communication between the parties.

At last, one day, her mistress told her to put on her hat, and go to
Father Leonard.

Ryder's eyes sparkled; and she was soon equipped. Mrs. Gaunt put a
parcel and a letter into her hands. Ryder no sooner got out of her sight
than she proceeded to tamper with the letter. But to her just
indignation she found it so ingeniously folded and sealed that she could
not read a word.

The parcel, however, she easily undid, and it contained forty pounds in
gold and small notes. "Oho! my lady," said Ryder.

She was received by Leonard with a tender emotion he in vain tried to
conceal.

On reading the letter his features contracted sharply, and he seemed to
suffer agony. He would not even open the parcel. "You will take that
back," said he, bitterly.

"What, without a word?"

"Without a word. But I will write, when I am able."

"Don't be long, sir," suggested Ryder. "I am sure my mistress is
wearying for you. Consider, sir, she is all alone now."

"Not so much alone as I am," said the priest, "nor half so unfortunate."

And with this he leaned his head despairingly on his hand, and motioned
to Ryder to leave him.

"Here's a couple of fools," said she to herself, as she went home.

That very evening Thomas Leicester caught her alone, and asked her to
marry him.

She stared at first, and then treated it as a jest. "You come at the
wrong time, young man," said she. "Marriage is put out of countenance.
No, no, I will never marry after what I have seen in this house."

Leicester would not take this for an answer, and pressed her hard.

"Thomas," said this plausible jade, "I like you very well; but I
couldn't leave my mistress in her trouble. Time to talk of marrying when
master comes here alive and well."

"Nay," said Leicester, "my only chance is while he is away. You care
more for his little finger than for my whole body; that they all say."

"Who says?"

"Jane, and all the lasses."

"You simple man, they want you for themselves; that is why they belie
me."

"Nay, nay; I saw how you carried on, when I brought word he was gone.
You let your heart out for once. Don't take me for a fool. I see how 't
is, but I'll face it, for I worship the ground you walk on. Take a
thought, my lass. What good can come of your setting your heart on
_him_? I'm young, I'm healthy, and not ugly enough to set the dogs
a-barking. I've got a good place; I love you dear; I'll cure you of that
fancy, and make you as happy as the day is long. I'll try and make you
as happy as you will make me, my beauty."

He was so earnest, and so much in love, that Mrs. Ryder pitied him, and
wished her husband was in heaven.

"I am very sorry, Tom," said she, softly; "dear me, I did not think you
cared so much for me as this. I must just tell you the truth. I have got
one in my own country, and I've promised him. I don't care to break my
word; and, if I did, he is such a man, I am sure he would kill me for
it. Indeed he has told me as much, more than once or twice."

"Killing is a game that two can play at."

"Ah! but 't is an ugly game; and I'll have no hand in it. And--don't you
be angry with me, Tom--I've known him longest, and--I love him best."

By pertinacity and vanity in lying, she hit the mark at last. Tom
swallowed this figment whole.

"That is but reason," said he. "I take my answer, and I wish ye both
many happy days together, and well spent." With this he retired, and
blubbered a good hour in an outhouse.

Tom avoided the castle, and fell into low spirits. He told his mother
all, and she advised him to change the air. "You have been too long in
one place," said she; "I hate being too long in one place myself."

This fired Tom's gypsy blood, and he said he would travel to-morrow, if
he could but scrape together money enough to fill a pedler's pack.

He applied for a loan in several quarters, but was denied in all.

At last the poor fellow summoned courage to lay his case before Mrs.
Gaunt.

Ryder's influence procured him an interview. She took him into the
drawing-room, and bade him wait there. By and by a pale lady, all in
black, glided into the room.

He pulled his front hair, and began to stammer something or other.

She interrupted him. "Ryder has told me," said she, softly. "I am sorry
for you; and I will do what you require. And, to be sure, we need no
gamekeeper here now."

She then gave him some money, and said she would look him up a few
trifles besides, to put in his pack.

Tom's mother helped him to lay out this money to advantage; and, one
day, he called at Hernshaw, pack and all, to bid farewell.

The servants all laid out something with him for luck; and Mrs. Gaunt
sent for him, and gave him a gold thimble, and a pound of tea, and
several yards of gold lace, slightly tarnished, and a Queen Anne's
guinea.

He thanked her heartily. "Ay, Dame," said he, "you had always an open
hand, married or single. My heart is heavy at leaving you. But I miss
the Squire's kindly face too. Hernshaw is not what it used to be."

Mrs. Gaunt turned her head aside, and the man could see his words had
made her cry. "My good Thomas," said she, at last, "you are going to
travel the country: you might fall in with him."

"I might," said Leicester, incredulously.

"God grant you may; and, if ever you should, think of your poor mistress
and give him--this." She put her finger in her bosom and drew out a
bullet wrapped in silver paper. "You will never lose this," said she. "I
value it more than gold or silver. O, if ever you _should_ see him,
think of me and my daughter, and just put it in his hand without a
word."

As he went out of the room Ryder intercepted him, and said, "Mayhap you
will fall in with our master. If ever you do, tell him he is under a
mistake, and the sooner he comes home the better."

Tom Leicester departed; and, for days and weeks, nothing occurred to
break the sorrowful monotony of the place.

But the mourner had written to her old friend and confessor, Francis;
and, after some delay, involuntary on his part, he came to see her.

They were often closeted together, and spoke so low that Ryder could not
catch a word.

Francis also paid several visits to Leonard; and the final result of
these visits was that the latter left England.

Francis remained at Hernshaw as long as he could; and it was Mrs.
Gaunt's hourly prayer that Griffith might return while Francis was with
her.

He did, at her earnest request, stay much longer than he had intended;
but, at length, he was obliged to fix next Monday to return to his own
place.

It was on Thursday he made this arrangement; but the very next day the
postman brought a letter to the Castle, thus addressed:--

        "To Mistress Caroline Ryder,
    Living Servant with Griffith Gaunt, Esq.,
        at his house, called Hernshaw Castle,
          near Wigeonmoor,
            in the county of Cumberland.
              These with speed."

The address was in a feigned hand. Ryder opened it in the kitchen, and
uttered a scream.

Instantly three female throats opened upon her with questions.

She looked them contemptuously in their faces, put the letter into her
pocket, and, soon after, slipped away to her own room, and locked
herself in while she read it. It ran thus:--

     "GOOD MISTRESS RYDER,--I am alive yet, by the blessing; though
     somewhat battered; being now risen from a fever, wherein I lost
     my wits for a time. And, on coming to myself, I found them
     making of my shroud; whereby you shall learn how near I was to
     death. And all this I owe to that false, perjured woman that
     was my wife, and is your mistress.

     "Know that I have donned russet, and doffed gentility; for I
     find a heavy heart's best cure is occupation. I have taken a
     wayside inn, and think of renting a small farm, which two
     things go well together. Now you are, of all those I know, most
     fitted to manage the inn, and I the farm. You were always my
     good friend; and, if you be so still, then I charge you most
     solemnly that you utter no word to any living soul about this
     letter; but meet me privately where we can talk fully of these
     matters; for I will not set foot in Hernshaw Castle. Moreover,
     she told me once 't was hers; and so be it. On Friday I shall
     lie at Stapleton, and the next day, by an easy journey, to the
     place where I once was so happy.

     "So then at seven of the clock on Saturday evening, be the same
     wet or dry, prithee come to the gate of the grove unbeknown,
     and speak to

                        "Your faithful friend
                            and most unhappy master,

                                "GRIFFITH GAUNT.

     "Be secret as the grave. Would I were in it."

This letter set Caroline Ryder in a tumult. Griffith alive and well, and
set against his wife, and coming to her for assistance!

After the first agitation, she read it again, and weighed every
syllable. There was one book she had studied more than most of us,--the
Heart. And she soon read Griffith's in this letter. It was no
love-letter; he really intended business; but, weak in health and
broken in spirit, and alone in the world, he naturally turned to one who
had confessed an affection for him, and would therefore be true to his
interests, and study his happiness.

The proposal was every way satisfactory to Mrs. Ryder. To be mistress of
an inn, and have servants under her instead of being one herself. And
then, if Griffith and she began as allies in business, she felt very
sure she could make herself, first necessary to him, and then dear to
him.

She was so elated she could hardly contain herself; and all her
fellow-servants remarked that Mrs. Ryder had heard good news.

Saturday came, and never did hours seem to creep so slowly.

But at last the sun set, and the stars come out. There was no moon.
Ryder opened the window and looked out; it was an admirable night for an
assignation.

She washed her face again, put on her gray silk gown, and purple
petticoat,--_Mrs. Gaunt_ had given them to her,--and, at the last
moment, went and made up her mistress's fire, and put out everything she
thought could be wanted, and, five minutes after seven o'clock, tied a
scarlet handkerchief over her head, and stepped out at the back door.

What with her coal-black hair, so streaked with red, her black eyes,
flashing in the starlight, and her glowing cheeks, she looked
bewitching.

And, thus armed for conquest, wily, yet impassioned, she stole out, with
noiseless foot and beating heart, to her appointment with her imprudent
master.



BAD SYMPTOMS.


Mons. Alphonse Karr writes as follows in his _Les Femmes_:--"When I wish
to become invisible, I have a certain rusty and napless old hat, which I
put on as Prince Lutin in the fairy tale puts on his chaplet of roses; I
join to this a certain coat very much out at elbows: _eh bien_! I become
invisible! Nobody on the street sees me, nobody recognizes me, nobody
speaks to me."

And yet I do not doubt that the majority of M. Karr's friends and
acquaintances, as is the case with the friends and acquaintances of
nearly every one else, are well-disposed, good-hearted, average persons,
who would be heartily ashamed, if it could be brought home to them, of
having given him the go-by under such circumstances. What, then, was the
difficulty? In what consisted this change in the man's appearance, so
signal that he trusted to it as a disguise? What was there in hat and
coat thus to eclipse the whole personality of the man? There is a
certain mystery in the philosophy of clothes too deep for me to fathom.
The matter has been descanted upon before; the "Hávámal, or High Song of
Odin," the Essays of Montaigne, the "Sartor" of Thomas Carlyle, all
dwell with acuteness upon this topic; but they merely give instances,
they do not interpret. I am continually meeting with things in my
intercourse with the world which I cannot reconcile with any theories
society professes to be governed by. How shall I explain them? How, for
example, shall I interpret the following cases, occurring within my own
experience and under my own observation?

I live in the country, and am a farmer. If I lived in the city and
occupied myself with the vending of merchandise, I should, in busy
times at least, now and then help my clerks to sell my own goods,--if I
could,--make up the packages, mark them, and attend to having them
delivered. Solomon Gunnybags himself has done as much, upon occasion,
and society has praised Solomon Gunnybags for such a display of devotion
to his business. But I am a farmer, not a merchant; and, though not able
to handle the plough, I am not above my business. One day during the
past summer, while my peach-orchard was in full bearing, my foreman, who
attends market for me, fell sick. The peaches would not tarry in their
ripening, the pears were soft and blushing as sweet sixteen as they lay
upon their shelves, the cantelopes grew mellow upon their vines, the
tomato-beds called loudly to be relieved, and the very beans were
beginning to rattle in their pods for ripeness. I am not a good
salesman, and I was very sorry my foreman could not help me out; but
something must be done, so I made up a load of fruit and vegetables,
took them to the city to market, and sold them. While I was busily
occupied measuring peaches by the half and quarter peck, stolidly deaf
to the objurgations of my neighbor huckster on my right, to whom some
one had given bad money, and equally impervious to the blandishments of
an Irish customer in front of me, who could not be persuaded I meant to
require the price I had set upon my goods, my friend Mrs. Entresol came
along, trailing her parasol with one gloved hand, with the other
daintily lifting her skirts out of the dust and dirt. Bridget, following
her, toiled under the burden of a basket of good things. Mrs. Entresol
is an old acquaintance of mine, and I esteem her highly. Entresol has
just obtained a partnership in the retail dry-goods house for which he
has been a clerk during so many years; the firm is prosperous, and, if
he continues to be as industrious and prudent as he has been, I do not
doubt but my friend will in the course of time be able to retire from
business with money enough to buy a farm. My pears seemed to please Mrs.
Entresol; she approached my stall, looked at them, took one up. "What is
the price of your--" she began to inquire, when, looking up, she
recognized the vender of the coveted fruit. What in the world came over
the woman? I give you my word that, instead of speaking to me in her
usual way, and telling me how glad she was to see me, she started as if
something had stung her; she stammered, she blushed, and stood there
with the pear in her fingers, staring at me in the blankest way
imaginable. I must confess a little of her confusion imparted itself to
me. For a moment the thought entered my mind that I had, in selling my
own pears and peaches, been guilty of some really criminal action, such
as sheep-stealing, lying, or slandering, and it was not pleasant to be
caught in the act. But only for a moment; then I replied, "Good morning,
Mrs. Entresol"; and, stating the price, proceeded to wait upon another
customer.

My highly business-like tone and manner rather added to my charming
friend's confusion, but she rallied surprisingly, put out her little
gloved hand to me, and exclaimed in the gayest voice: "Ah, you eccentric
man! What will you do next? To think of you selling in the market, _just
like a huckster_! You! I must tell Mrs. Belle Étoile of it. It is really
one of the best jokes I know of! And how well you act your part,
too,--just as if it came naturally to you," etc., etc.

Thus she ran on, laughing, and interfering with my sales, protesting all
the while that I was the greatest original in all her circle of
acquaintance. Of course it would have been idle for me to controvert her
view of the matter, so I quietly left her to the enjoyment of such an
excellent joke, and was rather glad when at last she went away. I could
not help wondering, however, after she was gone, why it was she should
think I joked in retailing the products of my farm, any more than Mr.
Entresol in retailing the goods piled upon his shelves and counters.
And why should one be "original" because he handles a peck-measure,
while another is _comme il faut_ in wielding a yardstick? Why did M.
Karr's thread-bare coat and shocking bad hat fling such a cloud of dust
in the eyes of passing friends, that they could not see him,

    "Ne wot who that he ben?"

Now for another case. There is Tom Pinch's wife. Tom is an excellent
person, in every respect, and so is his wife. I don't know any woman
with a light purse and four children who manages better, or is possessed
of more sterling qualities, than Mrs. Tom Pinch. She is industrious,
amiable, intelligent; pious as father Æneas; in fact, the most devoted
creature to preachers and sermons that ever worked for a fair. She would
be very angry with you if you were to charge her with entertaining the
doctrine of "justification by works," but I seriously incline to believe
she imagines that seat of hers in that cushioned pew one of the
mainstays to her hope of heaven. And yet, at this crisis, Mrs. Tom Pinch
can't go to church! There is an insurmountable obstacle which keeps the
poor little thing at home every Sunday, and renders her (comparatively)
miserable the rest of the week. She takes a course of Jay's Sermons, to
be sure, but she takes it disconsolately, and has serious fears of
becoming a backslider. What is it closes the church door to her? Not her
health, for that is excellent. It is not the baby, for her nurse, small
as she is, is quite trustworthy. It is not any trouble about dinner, for
nobody has a better cook than Mrs. Tom Pinch,--a paragon cook, in fact,
who seems to have strayed down into her kitchen from that remote
antiquity when servants were servants. No, none of these things keeps
the pious wife at home. None of these things restrains her from taking
that quiet walk up the aisle and occupying that seat in the corner of
the pew, there to dismiss all thought of worldly care, and fit her good
little soul for the pleasures of real worship, and that prayerful
meditation and sweet communion with holy things that only such good
little women know the blessings of;--none of these things at all. It is
Mrs. Tom Pinch's _bonnet_ that keeps her at home,--her last season's
bonnet! Strike, but hear me, ladies, for the thing is simply so. Tom's
practice is not larger than he can manage; Tom's family need quite all
he can make to keep them; and he has not yet been able this season to
let Mrs. Tom have the money required to provide a new fall bonnet. She
will get it before long, of course, for Tom is a good provider, and he
knows his wife to be economical. Still he cannot see--poor innocent that
he is!--why his dear little woman cannot just as well go to church in
her last fall's bonnet, which, to his purblind vision, is quite as good
as new. What, Tom! don't you know the dear little woman has too much
love for you, too much pride in you, to make a fright of herself, upon
any consideration? Don't you know that, were your wife to venture to
church in that hideous condition of which a last year's bonnet is the
efficient and unmistakable symbol, Mrs. A., Mrs. B., Mrs. C., all the
ladies of the church, in fact, would remark it at once,--would sit in
judgment upon it like a quilt committee at an industrial fair, and would
unanimously decide, either that you were a close-fisted brute to deny
such a sweet little helpmeet the very necessaries of life, or that your
legal practice was falling off so materially you could no longer support
your family? O no, Tom, your wife must not venture out to church in her
last season's bonnet! She is not without a certain sort of courage, to
be sure; she has stood by death-beds without trembling; she has endured
poverty and its privations, illness, the pains and perils of childbirth,
and many another hardship, with a brave cheerfulness such as you can
wonder at, and never dream of imitating; but there is a limit even to
the boldest woman's daring; and, when it comes to the exposure and
ridicule consequent upon defying the world in a last season's bonnet,
that limit is reached.

I have one other case to recount, and, in my opinion, the most
lamentable one of all. Were I to tell you the real name of my friend,
Mrs. Belle Étoile, you would recognize one of the most favored daughters
of America, as the newspapers phrase it. Rich, intelligent, highly
cultivated, at the tip-top of the social ladder, esteemed by a wide
circle of such friends as it is an honor to know, loving and beloved by
her noble husband,--every one knows Mrs. Étoile by reputation at least.
Happy in her pretty, well-behaved children, she is the polished
reflection of all that is best and most refined in American society. She
is, indeed, a noble woman, as pure and unsullied in the instincts of her
heart, as she is bright and glowing in the display of her intellect. Her
wit is brilliant; her _mots_ are things to be remembered; her opinions
upon art and life have at once a wide currency and a substantial value;
and, more than all, her modest charities, of which none knows save
herself, are as deep and as beneficent as those subterranean fountains
which well up in a thousand places to refresh and gladden the earth.
Nevertheless, and in spite of her genuine practical wisdom, her lofty
idealism of thought, her profound contempt for all the weak shams and
petty frivolities of life, Mrs. Belle Étoile is a slave! "They who
submit to drink as another pleases, make themselves his slaves," says
that Great Mogul of sentences, Dr. Johnson; and in this sense Mrs. Belle
Étoile is a slave indeed. The fetters gall her, but she has not courage
to shake them off. Her mistress is her next-door neighbor, Mrs. Colisle,
a coarse, vulgar, half-bred woman, whose husband acquired a sudden
wealth from contracts and petroleum speculations, and who has in
consequence set herself up for a leader of _ton_. A certain downright
persistence and energy of character, acquired, it may be, in bullying
the kitchen-maids at the country tavern where she began life, a certain
lavish expenditure of her husband's profits, the vulgar display and
profusion at her numerous balls, and her free-handed patronage of
_modistes_ and shop-keepers, have secured to Mrs. Colisle a sort of
Drummond-light position among the stars of fashion. She imports
patterns, and they become the mode; her caterer invents dishes, and they
are copied throughout the obeisant world. There are confections _à la_
Colisle; the confectioners utter new editions of them. There is a
Colisle head-dress, a Colisle pomade, a Colisle hat,--the world wears
and uses them. Thus, Mrs. Colisle has set herself up as Mrs. Belle
Étoile's rival; and that unfortunate lady, compelled by those
_noblesse-oblige_ principles which control the chivalry of fashion,
takes up the unequal gage, and enters the lists against her. The result
is, that Mrs. Belle Étoile has become the veriest slave in Christendom.
Whatever the other woman's whims and extravagances, Mrs. Belle Étoile is
their victim. Her taste revolts, but her pride of place compels
obedience. She cannot yield, she will not follow; and so Mrs. Colisle,
with diabolical ingenuity, constrains her to run a course that gives her
no honor and pays her no compensation. She scorns Mrs. Colisle's ways,
she loathes her fashions and her company, and--outbids her for them! It
is a very unequal contest, of course. Defeat only inspires Mrs. Colisle
with a more stubborn persistence. Victory cannot lessen the sad regrets
of Mrs. Belle Étoile's soul for outraged instincts and insulted taste.
It is an ill match,--a strife between greyhound and mastiff, a contest
at heavy draught between a thoroughbred and a Flanders mare. Mrs. Étoile
knows this as well as you and I can possibly know it. She is perfectly
aware of her serfdom. She is poignantly conscious of the degrading
character of her servitude, and that it is not possible to gather grapes
of thorns, nor figs of thistles; and yet she will continue to wage the
unequal strife, to wear the unhandsome fetters, simply because she has
not the courage to extricate herself from the false position into which
the strategic arts of Fashion have inveigled her.

Now I do not intend to moralize. I have no purpose to frighten the
reader prematurely off to the next page by unmasking a formidable
battery of reflections and admonitions. I have merely instanced the
above cases, three or four among a thousand of such as must have
presented themselves to the attention of each one of us; and I adduce
them simply as examples of what I call "bad symptoms" in any diagnosis
of the state of the social frame. They indicate, in fact, a total
absence of _social courage_ in persons otherwise endowed with and
illustrious for all the useful and ornamental virtues, and consequently
they make it plain and palpable that society is in a condition of
dangerous disease. Whether a remedy is practicable or not I will not
venture to decide; but I can confidently assure our reformers, both men
and women, that, if they can accomplish anything toward restoring its
normal and healthy courage to society, they will benefit the human race
much more signally than they could by making Arcadias out of a dozen or
two Borrioboola-Ghas.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


1. _Croquet._ By CAPTAIN MAYNE REID. Boston: James Redpath.

2. _Handbook of Croquet._ By EDMUND ROUTLEDGE. London: George Routledge
and Sons.

3. _The Game of Croquet; its Appointments and Laws._ By R. FELLOW. New
York: Hurd and Houghton.

4. _Croquet, as played by the Newport Croquet Club._ By one of the
Members. New York: Sheldon & Co.

The original tower of Babel having been for some time discontinued, and
most of our local legislatures having adjourned, the nearest approach to
a confusion of tongues is perhaps now to be found in an ordinary game of
croquet. Out of eight youths and maidens caught for that performance at
a picnic, four have usually learned the rules from four different
manuals, and can agree on nothing; while the rest have never learned any
rules at all, and cannot even distinctly agree to disagree. With
tolerably firm wills and moderately shrill voices, it is possible for
such a party to exhibit a very pretty war of words before even a single
blow is struck. For supposing that there is an hour of daylight for the
game, they can easily spend fifteen minutes in debating whether the
starting-point should be taken a mallet's length from the stake,
according to Reid, or only twelve inches, according to Routledge.

More than twenty manuals of croquet have been published in England, it
is said, and some five or six in America. Of the four authorities named
above, each has some representative value for American players. Mayne
Reid was the pioneer, Routledge is the most compact and seductive,
Fellow the most popular and the poorest, and "Newport" the newest and by
far the best. And among them all it is possible to find authority for
and against almost every possible procedure.

The first point of grave divergence is one that occurs at the very
outset of the game. "Do you play with or without the roquet-croquet?"
has now come to be the first point of mutual solicitude in a mixed
party. It may not seem a momentous affair whether the privilege of
striking one's own ball and the adversary's without holding the former
beneath the foot, should be extended to all players or limited to the
"rover"; but it makes an immense difference in both the duration and the
difficulty of the game. By skilfully using this right, every player may
change the position of every ball, during each tour of play. It is a
formidable privilege, and accordingly Reid and "Newport" both forbid it
to all but the "rover," and Routledge denies it even to him; while
Fellow alone pleads for universal indulgence. It seems a pity to side
with one poor authority against three good ones, but there is no doubt
that the present tendency of the best players is to cultivate the
roquet-croquet more and more; and after employing it, one is as
unwilling to give it up, as a good billiard-player would be to revert
from the cue to the mace. The very fact, however, that this privilege
multiplies so enormously the advantages of skill is perhaps a good
reason for avoiding it in a mixed party of novices and experts, where
the object is rather to equalize abilities. It should also be avoided
where the croquet-ground is small, as is apt to be the case in our
community,--because in such narrow quarters a good player can often hit
every other ball during each tour of play, even without this added
advantage. If we played habitually on large, smooth lawns like those of
England, the reasons for the general use of the roquet-croquet would be
far stronger.

Another inconvenient discrepancy of the books relates to the different
penalties imposed on "flinching," or allowing one's ball to slip from
under one's foot, during the process of croquet. Here Routledge gives no
general rule; Reid and "Newport" decree that, if a ball "flinches," its
tour terminates, but its effects remain; while, according to Fellow, the
ball which has suffered croquet is restored, but the tour
continues,--the penalties being thus reversed. Here the sober judgment
must side with the majority of authorities; for this reason, if for no
other, that the first-named punishment is more readily enforced, and
avoids the confusion and altercation which are often produced by taking
up and replacing a ball.

Again, if a ball be accidentally stopped in its motion by a careless
player or spectator, what shall be done? Fellow permits the striker
either to leave the ball where the interruption left it, or to place it
where he thinks it would have stopped, if unmolested. This again is a
rule far less simple, and liable to produce far more wrangling, than the
principle of the other authorities, which is that the ball should either
be left where it lies, or be carried to the end of the arena.

These points are all among the commonest that can be raised, and it is
very unfortunate that there should be no uniformity of rule, to meet
contingencies so inevitable. When more difficult points come up for
adjudication, the difficulty has thus far been less in the conflict of
authorities than in their absence. Until the new American commentator
appeared, there was no really scientific treatise on croquet to be had
in our bookstores.

The so-called manual of the "Newport Croquet Club" is understood to
proceed from a young gentleman whose mathematical attainments have won
him honor both at Cambridge and at New Haven, and who now beguiles his
banishment as Assistant Professor in the Naval Academy by writing on
croquet in the spirit of Peirce. What President Hill has done for
elementary geometry, "Newport" aims to do for croquet, making it
severely simple, and, perhaps we might add, simply severe. And yet,
admirable to relate, this is the smallest of all the manuals, and the
cheapest, and the only one in which there is not so much as an allusion
to ladies' ankles. All the others have a few pages of rules and a very
immoderate quantity of slang; they are all liable to the charge of being
silly; whereas the only possible charge to be brought against "Newport"
is that he is too sensible. But for those who hold, with ourselves, that
whatever is worth doing is worth doing sensibly, there is really no
other manual. That is, this is the only one which really grapples with a
difficult case, and deals with it as if heaven and earth depended on the
adjudication.

It is possible that this scientific method sometimes makes its author
too bold a lawgiver. The error of most of the books is in attempting too
little and in doing that little ill. They are all written for beginners
only. The error of "Newport" lies in too absolute an adherence to
principles. His "theory of double points" is excellent, but his theory
of "the right of declining" is an innovation all the more daring because
it is so methodically put. The principle has long been familiar, though
never perhaps quite settled, that where two distinct points were made by
any stroke,--as, for instance, a bridge and a roquet,--the one or the
other could be waived. The croquet, too, could always be waived. But to
assert boldly that "a player may decline any point made by himself, and
play precisely as if the point had not been made," is a thought radical
enough to send a shudder along Pennsylvania Avenue. Under this ruling, a
single player in a game of eight might spend a half-hour in running and
rerunning a single bridge, with dog-in-the-mangerish pertinacity,
waiting his opportunity to claim the most mischievous run as the valid
one. It would produce endless misunderstandings and errors of memory.
The only vexed case which it would help to decide is that in which a
ball, in running the very last bridge, strikes another ball, and is yet
forbidden to croquet, because it must continue its play from the
starting-point. But even this would be better settled in almost any
other way; and indeed this whole rule as to a return to the "spot" seems
a rather arbitrary and meaningless thing.

The same adherence to theory takes the author quite beyond our depth, if
not beyond his own, in another place. He says that a ball may hit
another ball twice or more, during the same tour, between two steps on
the round, and move it each time by concussion,--"but only one (not
necessarily the first) contact is a valid roquet." (p. 34.) But how can
a player obtain the right to make a second contact, under such
circumstances, unless indeed the first was part of a _ricochet_, and was
waived as such? And if the case intended was merely that of ricochet, it
should have been more distinctly stated, for the right to waive ricochet
was long since recognized by Reid (p. 40), though Routledge prohibits,
and Fellow limits it.

Thus even the errors of "Newport" are of grave and weighty nature, such
as statesmen and mathematicians may, without loss of dignity, commit. Is
it that it is possible to go too deep into all sciences, even croquet?
But how delightful to have at last a treatise which errs on that side,
when its predecessors, like popular commentators on the Bible, have
carefully avoided all the hard points, and only cleared up the easy
ones!


_Poetry, Lyrical, Narrative, and Satirical, of the Civil War._ Selected
and Edited by RICHARD GRANT WHITE. New York: The American News Company.

We confess that our heart had at times misgiven us concerning the
written and printed poetry of our recent war; but until Mr. White gave
us the present volume, we did not know how strong a case could be made
against it. The effect is perhaps not altogether intended, but it shows
how bad his material was, and how little inspiration of any sort
attended him in his work, when a literary gentleman of habits of
research and of generally supposed critical taste makes a book so
careless and slovenly as this.

We can well afford the space which the editor devotes to Mr. Lowell's
noble poem, but we must admit that we can regard "The Present Crisis" as
part of the poetry of the war only in the large sense in which we should
also accept the Prophecies of Ezekiel and the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Many pious men beheld the war (after it came) foreshadowed in the poetry
of the awful and exalted prophecies, and we wonder that Mr. White did
not give us a few passages from those books. It is scarcely possible
that he did not know "The Present Crisis" to have been written nearly a
score of years ago; though he seems to have been altogether ignorant of
"The Washers of the Shroud," a poem by the same author actually written
after the war began, and uttering all that dread, suspense, and deep
determination which the threatened Republic felt after the defeats in
the autumn of 1861. As Mr. White advances with his poetical chronology
of the war, he is likewise unconscious of "The Commemoration Ode," which
indeed is so far above all other elegiac poems of the war, as perhaps to
be out of his somewhat earth-bound range. Yet we cannot help blaming him
a little for not looking higher: his book must for some time represent
the feeling of the nation in war time, and we would fain have had his
readers know how deep and exalted this sentiment really was, and how it
could reach, if only once and in only one, an expression which we may
challenge any literature to surpass. Of "The Biglow Papers," in which
there is so much of the national hard-headed shrewdness, humor, and
earnestness, we have but one, and that not the best.

As some compensation, however, Mr. White presents us with two humorous
lyrics of his own, and makes us feel like men who, in the first moments
of our financial disorder, parted with a good dollar, and received
change in car-tickets and envelopes covering an ideal value in
postage-stamps. It seems hard to complain of an editor who puts only two
of his poems in a collection when he was master to put in twenty if he
chose, and when in both cases he does his best to explain and relieve
their intolerable brilliancy by foot-notes; yet, seeing that one of
these productions is in literature what the "Yankee Notions" and the
"Nick-Nax" caricatures of John Bull are in art, and seeing that the
other is not in the least a parody of the Emersonian poetry it is
supposed to burlesque, and is otherwise nothing at all, we cannot help
crying out against them.

The foot-notes to Mr. White's verses _are_ comical, however, we must
acknowledge; and so are all the foot-notes in the book. If the Model of
Deportment had taken to letters with a humorous aim, we could conceive
of his writing them. "If burlesque," says Mr. White of his "Union"
verses, "were all their purpose, they would not be here preserved";
adding, with a noble tenderness for his victim, "Mr. Emerson could well
afford to forgive them, even if they did not come from one of his
warmest admirers,"--in which we agree with Mr. White, whose
consideration for the great transcendentalist is equalled only by his
consideration for the reader's ignorance in regard to most things not
connected with the poetry of the war. "Bully," he tells us, was used as
"an expression of encouragement and approval" by the Elizabethan
dramatists, as well as by our own cherished rowdies; which may be
readily proven from the plays of Shakespeare. But what the author of the
poem in which this word occurs means by "hefty" Mr. White does not know,
and frankly makes a note for the purpose of saying so. Concerning the
expression "hurried up his cakes," he is, however, perfectly _au fait_,
and surprises us with the promptness of his learning. "As long as the
importance of hurrying buckwheat pancakes from the griddle to the
table," says he, with a fine air of annotation, "is impressed upon the
American mind, this vile slang will need no explanation. But the
fame,"--mark this dry light of philosophy, and the delicacy of the humor
through which it plays,--"but the fame of the Rebel march into
Pennsylvania, and of the victory of Gettysburg, will probably outlive
even the taste for these alluring compounds." This is Mr. White's good
humor; his bad humor is displayed in his note to a poem by Fitz James
O'Brien on the "Seventh Regiment," which he says was "written by a young
Irishman, one of its members." The young Irishman's name is probably as
familiar to most readers of the magazines as Mr. White's, and we cannot
help wondering how he knew a writer of singularly brilliant powers and
wide repute only as "a young Irishman."

But there are many things which Mr. White seems not to know, and he has
but a poor memory for names, and in his despair he writes _anonymous_
against the title of every third poem. We might have expected a
gentleman interested in the poetry of the war to attend the lectures of
Dr. Holmes, who has been reading in New York and elsewhere "The Old
Sergeant," as the production of Mr. Forcythe Willson of Kentucky. By
turning to the index of that volume of the Atlantic from which the
verses were taken, Mr. White could have learned that "Spring at the
Capital" was written by Mrs. Akers; and with quite as little trouble
could have informed himself of the authorship of a half-score of other
poems we might name. We have already noted the defectiveness of the
collection, in which we are told "no conspicuous poem elicited by the
war is omitted"; and we note it again in Mr. White's failure to print
Mr. Bryant's pathetic and beautiful poem, "My Autumn Walk," and in his
choosing from Mr. Aldrich not one of the fine sonnets he has written on
the war, but a _jeu d'esprit_ which in no wise represents him. Indeed,
Mr. White's book seems to have been compiled after the editor had
collected a certain number of clippings from the magazines and
newspapers: if by the blessing of Heaven these had the names of their
authors attached, and happened to be the best things the poets had done,
it was a fortunate circumstance; but if the reverse was the fact, Mr.
White seems to have felt no responsibility in the matter. We are
disposed to hold him to stricter account, and to blame him for
temporarily blocking, with a book and a reputation, the way to a work of
real industry, taste, and accuracy on the poetry of the war. It was our
right that a man whose scholarly fame would carry his volume beyond our
own shores should do his best for our heroic Muse, robing her in all
possible splendor; and it is our wrong that he has chosen instead to
present the poor soul in attire so very indifferently selected from her
limited wardrobe.


_The Story of Kennett._ By BAYARD TAYLOR. New York: G. P. Putnam; Hurd
and Houghton.

In this novel Mr. Taylor has so far surpassed his former efforts in
extended fiction, as to approach the excellence attained in his briefer
stories. He has of course some obvious advantages in recounting "The
Story of Kennett" which were denied him in "Hannah Thurston" and "John
Godfrey's Fortunes." He here deals with the persons, scenes, and actions
of a hundred years ago, and thus gains that distance so valuable to the
novelist; and he neither burdens himself with an element utterly and
hopelessly unpicturesque, like modern reformerism, nor assumes the
difficult office of interesting us in the scarcely more attractive
details of literary adventure. But we think, after all, that we owe the
superiority of "The Story of Kennett" less to the felicity of his
subject than to Mr. Taylor's maturing powers as a novelist, of which his
choice of a happy theme is but one of the evidences. He seems to have
told his story because he liked it; and without the least consciousness
(which we fear haunted him in former efforts) that he was doing
something to supply the great want of an American novel. Indeed, but for
the prologue dedicating the work in a somewhat patronizing strain to his
old friends and neighbors of Kennett, the author forgets himself
entirely in the book, and leaves us to remember him, therefore, with all
the greater pleasure.

The hero of the tale is Gilbert Potter, a young farmer of Kennett, on
whose birth there is, in the belief of his neighbors, the stain of
illegitimacy, though his mother, with whom he lives somewhat solitarily
and apart from the others, denies the guilt imputed to her, while some
mystery forbids her to reveal her husband's name. Gilbert is in love
with Martha, the daughter of Dr. Deane, a rich, smooth, proud old
Quaker, who is naturally no friend to the young man's suit, but is
rather bent upon his daughter's marriage with Alfred Barton, a bachelor
of advanced years, and apparent heir of one of the hardest, wealthiest,
and most obstinately long-lived old gentlemen in the neighborhood.
Obediently to the laws of fiction, Martha rejects Alfred Barton, who,
indeed, is but a cool and timid wooer, and a weak, selfish, spiritless
man, of few good impulses, with a dull fear and dislike of his own
father, and a covert tenderness for Gilbert. The last, being openly
accepted by Martha, and forbidden, with much contumely, to see her, by
her father, applies himself with all diligence to paying off the
mortgage on his farm, in order that he may wed the Doctor's daughter, in
spite of his science, his pride, and his riches; but when he has earned
the requisite sum, he is met on his way to Philadelphia and robbed of
the money by Sandy Flash, a highwayman who infested that region, and
who, Mr. Taylor tells us, is an historical personage. He appears first
in the first chapter of "The Story of Kennett," when, having spent the
day in a fox-hunt with Alfred Barton, and the evening at the tavern in
the same company, he beguiles his comrade into a lonely place, reveals
himself, and, with the usual ceremonies, robs Barton of his money and
watch. Thereafter, he is seen again, when he rides through the midst of
the volunteers of Kennett, drinks at the bar of the village tavern, and
retires unharmed by the men assembled to hunt him down and take him.
After all, however, he is a real brigand, and no hero; and Mr. Taylor
manages his character so well as to leave us no pity for the fate of a
man, who, with some noble traits, is in the main fierce and cruel. He is
at last given up to justice by the poor, half-wild creature with whom he
lives, and whom, in a furious moment, he strikes because she implores
him to return Gilbert his money.

As for Gilbert, through all the joy of winning Martha, and the sickening
disappointment of losing his money, the shame and anguish of the mystery
that hangs over his origin oppress him; and, having once experienced the
horror of suspecting that Martha's father might also be his, he suffers
hardly less torture when the highwayman, on the day of his conviction,
sends to ask an interview with him. But Sandy Flash merely wishes to
ease his conscience by revealing the burial-place of Gilbert's money;
and when the young man, urged to the demand by an irresistible anxiety,
implores, "You are not my father?" the good highwayman, in great and
honest amazement, declares that he certainly is not. The mystery
remains, and it is not until the death of the old man Barton that it is
solved. Then it is dissipated, when Gilbert's mother, in presence of
kindred and neighbors, assembled at the funeral, claims Alfred Barton as
her husband; and after this nothing remains but the distribution of
justice, and the explanation that, long ago, before Gilbert's birth, his
parents had been secretly married. Alfred Barton, however, had sworn his
wife not to reveal the marriage before his father's death, at that time
daily expected, and had cruelly held her to her vow after the birth of
their son, and through all the succeeding years of agony and
contumely,--loving her and her boy in his weak, selfish, cowardly way,
but dreading too deeply his father's anger ever to do them justice. The
reader entirely sympathizes with Gilbert's shame in such a father, and
his half-regret that it had not been a brave, bad man like Sandy Flash
instead. Barton's punishment is finely worked out. The fact of the
marriage had been brought to the old man's knowledge before his death,
and he had so changed his will as to leave the money intended for his
son to his son's deeply wronged wife; and, after the public assertion of
their rights at the funeral, Gilbert and his mother coldly withdraw from
the wretched man, and leave him, humiliated before the world he dreaded,
to seek the late reconciliation which is not accomplished in this book.
It is impossible to feel pity for his sufferings; but one cannot repress
the hope that Mary and her son will complete the beauty of their own
characters by forgiving him at last.

It seems to us that this scene of Mary Potter's triumph at the funeral
is the most effective in the whole book. Considering her character and
history, it is natural that she should seek to make her justification as
signal and public as possible. The long and pitiless years of shame
following the error of her youthful love and ambition, during which the
sin of attempting to found her happiness on a deceit was so heavily
punished, have disciplined her to the perfect acting of her part, and
all her past is elevated and dignified by the calm power with which she
rights herself. She is the chief person of the drama, which is so pure
and simple as not to approach melodrama; and the other characters are
merely passive agents; while the reader, to whom the facts are known,
cannot help sharing their sense of mystery and surprise. We confess to a
deeper respect for Mr. Taylor's power than we have felt before, when we
observe with what masterly skill he contrives by a single incident to
give sudden and important development to a character, which, however
insignificant it had previously seemed, we must finally allow to have
been perfectly prepared for such an effect.

The hero of the book, we find a good deal like other heroes,--a little
more natural than most, perhaps, but still portentously noble and
perfect. He does not interest us much; but we greatly admire the
heroine, Martha Deane, whom he loves and marries. In the study of her
character and that of her father, Mr. Taylor is perfectly at home, and
extremely felicitous. There is no one else who treats Quaker life so
well as the author of the beautiful story of "Friend Eli's Daughter";
and in the opposite characters of Doctor Deane and Martha we have the
best portraiture of the contrasts which Quakerism produces in human
nature. In the sweet and unselfish spirit of Martha, the theories of
individual action under special inspiration have created self-reliance,
and calm, fearless humility, sustaining her in her struggle against the
will of her father, and even against the sect to whose teachings she
owes them. Dr. Deane had made a marriage of which the Society
disapproved, but after his wife's death he had professed contrition for
his youthful error, and had been again taken into the quiet brotherhood.
Martha, however, had always refused to unite with the Society, and had
thereby been "a great cross" to her father,--a man by no means broken
under his affliction, but a hard-headed, self-satisfied, smooth, narrow
egotist. Mr. Taylor contrives to present his person as clearly as his
character, and we smell hypocrisy in the sweet scent of marjoram that
hangs about him, see selfishness in his heavy face and craft in the
quiet gloss of his drab broadcloth, and hear obstinacy in his studied
step. He is the most odious character in the book, what is bad in him
being separated by such fine differences from what is very good in
others. We have even more regard for Alfred Barton, who, though a
coward, has heart enough to be truly ashamed at last, while Dr. Deane
retains a mean self-respect after the folly and the wickedness of his
purposes are shown to him.

His daughter, for all her firmness in resisting her father's commands to
marry Barton, and to dismiss Gilbert, is true woman, and submissive to
her lover. The wooing of these, and of the other lovers, Mark Deane and
Sally Fairthorn, is described with pleasant touches of contrast, and a
strict fidelity to place and character. Indeed, nothing can be better
than the faithful spirit in which Mr. Taylor seems to have adhered to
all the facts of the life he portrays. There is such shyness among
American novelists (if we may so classify the writers of our meagre
fiction) in regard to dates, names, and localities, that we are glad to
have a book in which there is great courage in this respect. Honesty of
this kind is vastly more acceptable to us than the aerial romance which
cannot alight in any place known to the gazetteer; though we must
confess that we attach infinitely less importance than the author does
to the fact that Miss Betsy Lavender, Deb. Smith, Sandy Flash, and the
two Fairthorn boys are drawn from the characters of persons who once
actually lived. Indeed, we could dispense very well with the low comedy
of Sally's brothers, and, in spite of Miss Betsy Lavender's foundation
in fact, we could consent to lose her much sooner than any other leading
character of the book: she seems to us made-up and mechanical. On the
contrary, we find Sally Fairthorn, with her rustic beauty and
fresh-heartedness, her impulses and blunders, altogether delightful. She
is a part of the thoroughly _country_ flavor of the book,--the rides
through the woods, the huskings, the raising of the barn,--(how
admirably and poetically all that scene of the barn-raising is
depicted!)--just as Martha somehow belongs to the loveliness and
goodness of nature,--the blossom and the harvest which appear and
reappear in the story.

We must applaud the delicacy and propriety of the descriptive parts of
Mr. Taylor's work: they are rare and brief, and they are inseparable
from the human interest of the narrative with which they are interwoven.
The style of the whole fiction is clear and simple, and, in the more
dramatic scenes,--like that of old Barton's funeral,--rises effortlessly
into very great strength. The plot, too, is well managed; the incidents
naturally succeed each other; and, while some portion of the end may be
foreseen, it must be allowed that the author skilfully conceals the
secret of Gilbert's parentage, while preparing at the right moment to
break it effectively to the reader.


_The South since the War: as shown by Fourteen Weeks of Travel and
Observation in Georgia and the Carolinas._ By SIDNEY ANDREWS. Boston:
Ticknor and Fields.

The simple and clear exhibition of things heard and seen in the South
seems to have been the object of Mr. Andrews's interesting tour, and he
holds the mirror up to Reconstruction with a noble and self-denying
fidelity. It would have been much easier to give us studied theories and
speculations instead of the facts we needed, and we are by no means
inclined to let the crudity of parts of the present book abate from our
admiration of its honesty and straightforwardness.

A great share of the volume is devoted to sketches of scenes and debates
in the Conventions held last autumn in North and South Carolina and
Georgia, for the reconstruction of the State governments; and Mr.
Andrews's readers are made acquainted, as pleasantly as may be, with the
opinions and appearance of the leaders in these bodies. But the value of
this part of his book is necessarily transitory; and we have been much
more interested in the chapters which recount the author's experiences
of travel and sojourn, and describe the popular character and
civilization of the South as affected by the event of the war. It must
be confessed, however, that the picture is not one from which we can
take great courage for the present. The leading men in the region
through which Mr. Andrews passed seem to have an adequate conception of
the fact that the South can only rise again through tranquillity,
education, and justice; and some few of these men have the daring to
declare that regeneration must come through her abandonment of all the
social theories and prejudices that distinguished her as a section
before the war. But in a great degree the beaten bully is a bully still.
There is the old lounging, the old tipsiness, the old swagger, the old
violence. Mr. Andrews has to fly from a mob, as in the merry days of
1859, because he persuades an old negro to go home and not stay and be
stabbed by a gentleman of one of the first families. Drunken life-long
idlers hiccup an eloquent despair over the freedmen's worthlessness;
bitter young ladies and high-toned gentlemen insult Northerners when
opportunity offers; and, while there is a general disposition to accept
the fortune of war, there is a belief, equally general, among our
unconstructed brethren, that better people were never worse off. The
conditions outside of the great towns are not such as to attract
Northern immigration, in which the chief hope of the South lies; and
there is but slight wish on the part of the dominant classes to improve
the industry of the country by doing justice to the liberated slaves.
The military, under the Freedmen's Bureau, does something to enforce
contracts and punish outrage; but it is often lamentably inadequate, and
is sometimes controlled by men who have the baseness to side against the
weak.

Of the three States through which Mr. Andrews travelled, South Carolina
seems to be in the most hopeful mood for regeneration; but it is
probable that the natural advantages of Georgia will attract a larger
share of foreign capital and industry, and place it first in the line of
redemption, though the temper of its people is less intelligent and
frank than that of the South-Carolinians. In North Carolina the
difficulty seems to be with the prevailing ignorance and poverty of the
lower classes, and the lukewarm virtue of people who were also lukewarm
in wickedness, and whose present loyalty is dull and cold, like their
late treason.


_Social Life of the Chinese: with some Account of their Religious,
Governmental, Educational, and Business Customs and Opinions, etc._ By
REV. JUSTUS DOOLITTLE, Fourteen Years Member of the Fuhchan Mission of
the American Board. With over One Hundred and Fifty Illustrations. In
Two Volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Mr. Doolittle speaks of a class of degraded individuals in China, "who
are willing to make amusement for others." The severest critic can
hardly assign him to any such class, for there is no reason to suppose
that he would have made his book amusing, if he could possibly have
helped it. But the Chinese are a race of such amazing and inexhaustible
oddities, that the driest description of them, if it be only truthful,
must be entertaining.

What power of prose can withdraw all interest from a people whose
theology declares that whoever throws printed paper on the ground in
anger "has five demerits, and will lose his intelligence," and that he
who tosses it into water "has twenty demerits, and will have sore eyes"?
A people among whom unmarried women who have forsworn meat are called
"vegetable virgins," and married women similarly pledged are known as
"vegetable dames,"--among whom a present of sugar-cane signifies the
approach of an elder sister, and oysters in an earthen vessel are the
charming signal that a younger brother draws near,--a people among whom
the most exciting confectionery is made of rice and molasses,--how can
the Reverend Justus Doolittle deprive such a people of the most piquant
interest?

And when we come to weightier matters, one finds this to be after all
one of those "dry books" for which Margaret Fuller declared her
preference,--a book where the author supplies only a multiplicity of the
most unvarnished facts, and leaves all the imagination to the reader. To
say that he for one instant makes the individuality of a Chinese
conceivable, or his human existence credible, or that he can represent
the whole nation to the fancy as anything but a race of idiotic dolls,
would be saying far too much. No traveller has ever accomplished so much
as that, save that wonderful Roman Catholic, Huc. But setting all this
apart, there has scarcely appeared in English, until now, so exhaustive
and so honest a picture of the external phenomena of Chinese life.

It is painful to have to single out honesty as a special merit in a
missionary work; but the temptation to filch away the good name of a
Pagan community is very formidable, and few even among lay travellers
have done as faithful justice to the Chinese character as Mr. Doolittle.
He fully recognizes the extended charities of the Chinese and their
filial piety; stoutly declares that tight shoeing is not so injurious as
tight lacing, and that Chinese slavery is not so bad as the late
lamented "institution" in America; shows that the religions of that
land, taken at their worst, have none of the deified sensuality of other
ancient mythologies, and that the greatest practical evils, such as
infanticide, are steadily combated by the Chinese themselves. Even on
the most delicate point, the actual condition of missionary enterprises,
the good man tells the precise truth with the most admirable frankness.
To make a single convert cost seven years' labor at Canton, and nine at
Fuhchan, and it was twenty-eight years ere a church was organized. Out
of four hundred million souls, there are as yet less than three thousand
converts, as the result of the labor of two hundred missionaries, after
sixty years of work. Yet Mr. Doolittle, who has spent more than a third
of his life in China, still finds his courage fresh and his zeal
unabated; and every one must look with respect upon a self-devotion so
generous and so sincere.


_Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, a Story of Life in Holland._ By M.
E. DODGE. New York: James O'Kane.

Hans Brinker is a charming domestic story of some three hundred and
fifty pages, which is addressed, indeed, to young people, but which may
be read with pleasure and profit by their elders. The scene is laid in
Holland, a land deserving to be better known than it is; and the writer
evinces a knowledge of the country, and an acquaintance with the spirit
and habits of its stout, independent, estimable people, which must have
been gathered not from books alone, but from living sources.

Graphically, too, is the quaint picture sketched, and with a pleasant
touch of humor. We all know the main features of Dutch scenery; but they
are seldom brought to our notice with livelier effect. Speaking of the
guardian dikes, Mrs. Dodge says:--

"They are high and wide, and the tops of some of them are covered with
buildings and trees. They have even fine public roads upon them, from
which horses may look down on wayside cottages. Often the keels of
floating ships are higher than the roofs of the dwellings. The stork
chattering to her young on the house-peak may feel that her nest is
lifted out of danger, but the croaking frog in neighboring bulrushes is
nearer the stars than she. Water-bugs dart backward and forward above
the heads of the chimney-swallows, and willow-trees seem drooping with
shame, because they cannot reach as high as the reeds near by....
Farm-houses, with roofs like great slouched hats over their eyes, stand
on wooden legs with a tucked-up sort of air, as if to say, 'We intend to
keep dry if we can.' Even the horses wear a wide stool on each hoof to
lift them out of the mire.... Men, women, and children go clattering
about in wooden shoes with loose heels; peasant-girls, who cannot get
beaux for love, hire them for money to escort them to the _Kermis_; and
husbands and wives lovingly harness themselves, side by side, on the
bank of the canal, and drag their _pakschuyts_ to market....

"'One thing is clear," cries Master Brightside, 'the inhabitants need
never be thirsty.' But no, Odd-land is true to itself still.
Notwithstanding the sea pushing to get in, and the lakes pushing to get
out, and all the canals and rivers and ditches, there is, in many
districts, no water fit to swallow; our poor Hollanders must go dry, or
drink wine and beer, or send inland to Utrecht and other favored
localities for that precious fluid, older than Adam, yet young as the
morning dew.

The book is fresh and flavorous in tone, and speaks to the fancy of
children. Here is a scene on the canal:--

"It was recess-hour. At the first stroke of the school-house bell, the
canal seemed to give a tremendous shout, and grow suddenly alive with
boys and girls. The sly thing, shining so quietly under the noonday sun,
was a kaleidoscope at heart, and only needed a shake from that great
clapper to startle it into dazzling changes.

"Dozens of gayly clad children were skating in and out among each other,
and all their pent-up merriment of the morning was relieving itself in
song and shout and laughter. There was nothing to check the flow of
frolic. Not a thought of school-books came out with them into the
sunshine. Latin, arithmetic, grammar, all were locked up for an hour in
the dingy school-room. The teacher might be a noun if he wished, and a
proper one at that, but _they_ meant to enjoy themselves. As long as the
skating was as perfect as this, it made no difference whether Holland
was on the North Pole or the Equator; and as for philosophy, how could
they bother themselves about inertia and gravitation and such things,
when it was as much as they could do to keep from getting knocked over
in the commotion?"

There is no formal moral, obtruding itself in set phrase. The lessons
inculcated, elevated in tone, are in the action of the story and the
feelings and aspirations of the actors. A young lady, for example, has
been on a visit to aid and console a poor peasant-girl, whom, having
been in deep affliction, she found unexpectedly relieved. Engrossed by
her warm sympathy with her humble friend, she forgets the lapse of time.

"Helda was reprimanded severely that day for returning late to school
after recess, and for imperfect recitation.

"She had remained near the cottage until she heard Dame Brinker laugh,
and heard Hans say, 'Here I am, father!' and then she had gone back to
her lessons. What wonder that she missed them! How could she get a long
string of Latin verbs by heart, when her heart did not care a fig for
them, but would keep saying to itself, 'O, I am so glad! I am so glad!'"

The book contains two things,--a series of lifelike pictures of an
interesting country and of the odd ways and peculiarities and homely
virtues of its inhabitants; and then, interwoven with these, a simple
tale, now pathetic, now amusing, and carrying with it wholesome
influences on the young heart and mind.





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