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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 107, September, 1866
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 107, September, 1866" ***

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available by Cornell University Digital Collections).



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


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

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



The sickness of the nation not being unto death, we now begin to number
its advantages. They will not all be numbered by this generation; and as
for story-tellers, essayists, letter-writers, historians, and
philosophers, if their "genius" flags in half a century with such
material as hearts, homes, and battle-fields beyond counting afford
them, they deserve to be drummed out of their respective regiments, and
banished into the dominion of silence and darkness, forever to sit on
the borders of unfathomable ink-pools, minus pen and paper, with
fool's-caps on their heads.

I know of a place which you may call Dalton, if it must have a name. At
the beginning of our war,--for which some true spirits thank Almighty
God,--a family as wretched as Satan wandering up and down the earth
could wish to find lived there, close beside the borders of a lake which
the Indians once called--but why should not your fancy build the lowly
cottage on whatsoever green and sloping bank it will? Fair as you please
the outside world may be,--waters pure as those of Lake St. Sacrament,
with islands on their bosom like those of Horicon, and shores
beautifully wooded as those of Lake George,--but what delight will you
find in all the heavenly mansions, if love be not there?

"I'll enlist," said the master of this mansion of misery in the midst of
the garden of delight, one day.

"I would," replied his wife.

They spoke with equal vigor, but neither believed in the other. The
instant the man dropped the book he had been reading, he was like Samson
with his hair shorn, for his wife couldn't tell one letter from another;
and when she saw him sit down on the stone wall which surrounded their
potato-field, overgrown with weeds, she marched out boldly to the corner
of the wood-shed, where never any wood was, and attacked him thus:--

"S'pose you show fight awhile in that potato-patch afore you go to fight
Ribils. Gov'ment don't need you any more than I do. May be it'll find
out getting ain't gaining!"

She had no answer. The man was thinking, when she interrupted him, as
she was always doing, that, if he could secure the State and town
bounty, that would be some provision for the woman and child. As for
himself, he was indifferent as to where he was sent, or how soon. But if
he went away, they might look for him to come again. Gabriel's trumpet,
he thought, would be a more welcome sound than his wife's voice.

He enlisted. The bounties paid him were left in the hands of a trusty
neighbor, and were to be appropriated to the supply of his family's
needs; and he went away along with a boat-load of recruits,--his own man
no longer. Even his wife noticed the change in him, from the morning
when he put on his uniform and began to obey orders, for she had time to
notice. Several days elapsed after enlistment before the company's ranks
were complete, and the captain would not report at head-quarters, he
said, until his own townsfolk had supplied the number requisite.

_Even_ his wife noticed the change, I said; for, contrary to what is
usual and expected, she was not the first to perceive that the slow and
heavy step had now a spring in it, and that there was a light in his
clouded eyes. She supposed the new clothes made the difference.

Nearly a year had passed away, and this woman was leaning over the rail
fence which surrounded a barren field, and listening, while she leaned,
to the story of Ezra Cramer, just home from the war. She listened well,
even eagerly, to what he had to tell, and seemed moved by the account in
ways various as pride and indignation.

"I wish I had him here!" she said, when he had come to the end of his
story,--the story of her husband's promotion.

Ezra looked at her, and thought of the pretty girl she used to be, and
wondered how it happened that such a one could grow into a woman like
this. The vindictiveness of her voice accorded well with her
person,--expressed it. Where were her red cheeks? What had become of her
brown hair? She was once a free one at joking with, and rallying the
young men about; but now how like a virago she looked! and her tongue
was sharp as a two-edged sword.

Ezra was sorry that he had taken the trouble to ascertain in the village
where Nancy Elkins lived. Poor fellow! While enduring the hardships of
the past year, his imagination had transformed all the Dalton women into
angels, and the circuit of that small hamlet had become to his loving
thought as the circuit of Paradise.

Some degree of comprehension seemed to break upon him while he stood
gazing upon her, and he said: "O well, Miss Nancy, he's got his hands
full, and besides he didn't know I was coming home so quick. I didn't
know it myself till the last minute. He would 'a' sent some
message,--course he would!"

"I guess there ain't anything to hender his _writing_ home to his
folks," she answered, unappeased and unconvinced. "Other people hear
from the war. There's Mynders always a-writing and sending money to the
old folks, and that's the difference."

"We've been slow to get our pay down where we was," said Ezra. "It's
been a trouble to me all the while, having nothing to show for the time
I was taking from father."

The woman looked at the young fellow who had spoken so seriously, and
her eyes and her voice softened.

"Nobody would mind about your not sending money hum, Ezra. They'd know
_you_ was all right. Such a hard-working set as you belong to! You're
looking as if you wondered what I was doing here 'n this lot. I'm living
in that shanty! Like as not I'll have its pictur' taken, and sent to my
man. Old Uncle Torry said we might have it for the summer; and I expect
the town was glad enough to turn me and my girl out anywhere. They won't
do a thing towards fixing the old hut up. Say 't ain't worth it. We
can't stay there in cold weather. Roof leaks like a sieve. If he don't
send me some money pretty quick, I'll list myself, and serve long enough
to find _him_ out, see 'f I don't."

At this threat, the soldier, who knew something about WAR, straightened
himself, and with a cheery laugh limped off towards the road. "I'll see
ye ag'in, Miss Nancy, afore you start," said he, looking back and
nodding gayly at her. Things weren't so bad as they seemed about her, he
guessed. He was going home, and his heart was soft. Happiness is very
kind; but let it do its best it cannot come very near to misery.

Nancy stood and watched the young man as he went, commenting thus:
"Well, _he_'s made a good deal out of 'listing, any way." His pale face
and his hurt did not make him sacred in her sight.

She was speaking to herself, and not to her little daughter, who, when
she saw her mother talking to a soldier, ran up to hear the
conversation. A change that was wonderful to see had passed over the
child's face, when she heard that her father had been promoted from the
ranks. The bald fact, unilluminated by a single particular, seemed to
satisfy her. She hadn't a question to ask. Her first thought was to run
down to the village and tell Miss Ellen Holmes, who told _her_, not long
ago, so proud and wonderful a story about her brother's promotion.

If it were not for this Jenny, my story would be short. Is it not for
the future we live? For the children the world goes on.

Does this little girl--she might be styled a beauty by a true catholic
taste, but oh! I fear that the Boston Convention "ORTHODOX," lately
convened to settle all great questions concerning the past, present, and
future, would never recognize her, on any showing, as a babe of
grace!--does she, as she runs down the hill and along the crooked street
of Dalton, look anything like a messenger of Heaven to your eyes? Must,
the angels show their wings before they shall have recognition?

Going past the blacksmith's shop she was hailed by the blacksmith's
self, with the blacksmith's own authority. "See here, Jenny!" At the
call, she stood at bay like a fair little fawn in the woods.

"I'm writing a letter to my boy," he continued. "Step in here. Did you
know Ezra Cramer had come back?"

"I saw him just now," she answered. "He told us about father." She said
it with a pride that made her young face shine.

"So! what about him, I wonder?" asked the blacksmith.

And that he really did wonder, Jenny could not doubt. She heard more in
his words than she liked to hear, and answered with a tremulous voice,
in spite of pride, "O, he's been promoted."

"The deuse! what's _he_ permoted to?"

"I don't know," she said, and for the first time she wondered.

"Where is he, though?" asked the blacksmith.

"I don't know,--in the war."

"That's 'cute. Well, see here, sis, we'll find that out,--you and me
will." The angry voice of the blacksmith became tender. "You sit down
there and write him a letter. My son, he'll find out if your pa is
alive. As for Ezra, he don't know any more 'n he did when he went away;
but, poor fellow, he's been mostually in the hospertal, instead of
fighting Ribils, so p'r'aps he ain't to blame. You write to yer pa, and
I'll wage you get an answer back, and he'll tell you all about his
permotion quick enough."

Jenny stood looking at the blacksmith for a moment, with mouth and eyes
wide open, so much astonished by the proposition as not to know what
answer should be made to it. She had never written a line in her life,
except in her old copy-book. If her hand could be made to express what
she was thinking of, it would be the greatest work and wonder in the
world. But then, it never could!

That decisive _never_ seemed to settle the point. She turned forthwith
to the blacksmith, smiling very seriously. At the same time she took
three decided steps, which led her into his dingy shop, as awed as
though she were about to have some wonderful exhibition there. But she
must be her own astrologer.

The blacksmith, elated by his own success that morning in the very
difficult business of letter-writing, was mightily pleased to have under
direction this little disciple in the work of love, and forthwith laid
his strong hands on the bench and brought it out into the light, setting
it down with a force that said something for the earnestness of his
purpose in regard to Miss Jenny.

When he wrote his own letter, he did it in retirement and solitude,
having sought out the darkest corner of his shop for the purpose. A
mighty man in the shoeing of horses and the handling of hammers, he
shrank from exposing his incompetence in the management of a miserable
pen, even to the daylight and himself.

His big account-book placed against his forge, with a small sheet of
paper spread thereon, his pen in Jenny's hands, and the inkstand near
by, there was nothing for him to do but to go away and let her do her

"Give him a tall letter!" said he. "And you must be spry about it. He'll
be glad to hear from his little girl, I reckon. See, the stage 'll be
along by four o'clock, and now it's----"--he stepped to the door and
looked out on the tall pine-tree across the road,--that was his
sun-dial,--"it's just two o'clock now, Jenny. Work away!" So saying, he
went off as tired, after the exertion he had made, as if he had shod all
the Dalton horses since daybreak.

She had just two hours for doing the greatest piece of work she had done
in her short life. And consciously it was the greatest work. Every
stroke of that pen, every straight line and curve and capital, seemed to
require as much deliberation as the building of a house; and how her
brain worked! Fly to and fro, O swallows, from your homes beneath the
eaves of the blacksmith's old stone shop in the shade of the
far-spreading walnut,--stretch forth your importunate necks and lift
aloft your greedy voices, O young ones in the nests!--the little girl
who has so often stood to watch you is sitting in the shadow within
there, blind and deaf to you, and unaware of everything in the great
world except the promotion of her father "in the war," and the letter he
will be sure to get, because the blacksmith is going to send it along
with _his_ letter to his son.

She was doing her work well. Any one who had ever seen the girl before
must have asked with wonder what had happened to her,--it was so evident
that something had happened which stirred heart and soul to the depths.

So, even so, unconsciously, love sometimes works out the work of a
lifetime, touches the key-note of an anthem of everlasting praise,--does
it with as little ostentation as the son of science draws yellow gold
from the quartz rock which tells no tale on the face of it concerning
its "hid treasure." So, wisely and without ostentation, work the true
agents, the apostles of liberty in this world.

"O dear papa! my dear papa!" she wrote, "Ezra has come home, and he says
you are promoted! But he couldn't tell for what it was, or where you
were, or anything. And O, it seems as if I couldn't wait a minute, I
want to hear so all about it." When she had written thus far the spirit
of the mother seemed to stir in the child. She sat and mused for a
moment. Her eyes flashed. Her right hand moved nervously. Strange that
her father had not sent some word by Ezra; but then he didn't know, of
course, that Ezra was coming. Ay! that was a lucky thought. What she had
written seemed to imply some blame. So, with many a blot and erasure,
her loving belief that all was right must make itself evident.

At the end of the two hours she found herself at the bottom of the page
the blacksmith had spread before her. Twice he had come into the shop
and assured himself that the work was going on, and smiled to see the
progress she was making. The third time he came he was under
considerable excitement.

"Ready!" he shouted. "The stage 'll be along now in ten minutes."

She did not answer, she was so busy, and so _hard_ at work, signing her
name to the sheet that was covered with what looked like hieroglyphics.

When she had made the last emphatic pen-stroke, she turned towards him,
flushed and smiling. "There!" she said.

He looked over her shoulder.

"Good!" said he. "But you haven't writ his name out. Give me the pen
here, quick!" Then he took the quill and wrote her father's name up in
one blank corner, and dried the ink with a little sand, and put the note
into the envelope containing his own, and the great work was done.

Do you know how great a work, you dingy old Dalton blacksmith?

Do _you_ know, fair child,--who must fight till the day of your death
with alien, opposite forces, because the blood-vessels of Nancy Elkins,
as they sail through the grand canals of the city of your life, so often
hang out piratical banners, and bear down on better craft as they near
the dangerous places, or put out, like wreckers after a storm, seeking
for treasure the owners somehow lost the power to hold?

In a few minutes after the letter was inscribed and sealed, the stage
came rattling along, and Jenny stood by and saw the blacksmith give it
to the driver, and heard him say: "Now be kerful about that ere letter.
It's got two inside. One's my boy's, as ye'll see by the facing on it;
t' other's this little girl's. She's been writin' to her pa. So be

They stood together watching the stage till it was out of sight, then
the blacksmith nodded at Jenny as if they had done a good day's work,
and proceeded to light his pipe. That was not her way of celebrating the
event. She remembered now that she had promised a little girl, Miss
Ellen Holmes indeed, that she would some time show her where the
red-caps and fairy-cups grew, and there was yet time, before sunset, for
a long walk in the woods.

The little town-bred lady happened to come along just then, while Jenny
stood hesitating whether to go home first and tell her mother of this
great thing she had done. The question was therefore settled; and now
let them go seeking red-caps. Good luck attend the children! Jenny will
be sure to say something about promotions before they separate. She will
say that something with a genuine human pride; and the end of the hunt
for red-caps may be, conspicuously, success in finding them; but still
more to the purpose, it will be the child's establishment on a better
basis--a securer basis of equality--than she has occupied before. She
forgets about Dalton and poverty. She thinks about camps and honor. She
has something to claim of all the world. She is the citizen of a great
nation. She bears the name of one who is fighting for the Union, who
_has_ fought, and fought so well that those in authority have beckoned
him up higher. Why, it is as though a crown were placed on her dear
father's head.


Going out of quiet and beautiful green Dalton, and into the hospital of
Frere's Landing, 't is a wonderful change we make.

The silence of one place is as remarkable as the silence of the other,
perhaps. That of the hospital does not resemble that of the hamlet,
however. At times it grows oppressive and appalling, being the silence
of anguish or of death. A stranger reaching Dalton in the night might
wonder in the morning if there were in reality any passage out of it,
for there the lake, on one of whose western slopes is the
"neighborhood," seems locked in completely by the hills, and an ascent
towards heaven is apparently the only way of egress. Yet there's
another way; for I am not writing this true story among celestial
altitudes for you. I returned from Dalton by a mundane road.

Out of Frere's Hospital, however, _its_ silence and seclusion, many a
stranger never found his way except by the high mountains of
transfiguration, in the chariots of fire, driven by the horsemen of
Heaven, covered with whose glory they departed.

Through the wards of this well-ordered hospital a lady passed one night,
and, entering a small apartment separated from the others, advanced with
noiseless step to a bedside, and there sat down. You may guess if her
heart was beating fast, and whether it was with difficulty that she kept
her gray eyes clear of tears. There were about her traces of long and
hurried journeying.

Under no limitations of caution had she passed so noiselessly through
the wards. Involuntary was that noiselessness,--involuntary also the
surprise with which one and another of the more wakeful patients turned
to follow her, with hopeless, weary eyes, as she passed on. Now and then
some feeble effort was made to attract her attention and arrest her
progress, but she went, absorbed beyond observation by the errand that
constrained her steps and thoughts.

When she reached the door of the apartment to which the surgeon had
directed her, she seemed for an instant to hesitate; then she pushed the
door open and passed into the room. The next instant she sank into a
chair by the bedside of a man who was lying there asleep. It seemed as
if the silent room had a profounder stillness added to it since she

It was Colonel Ames whom she saw lying on the cot before her with a
bandage round his forehead, so evidently asleep. He was smiling in a
dream. He was not going to give up the ghost, it seemed, though he had
given up so much--how much!--with that passion of giving which possessed
this nation, North and South, during four awful, glorious years. _He_
had given up the splendor and the beauty of this world. All its radiance
was blotted out in that moment of fury and of death when the shot struck
him, and left him blind upon the field.

Never on earth would it be said to him, "Receive thy sight." The lady
knew this who sat down by his bedside to wait for his awaking. The
surgeon had told her this, when at last, after having searched for her
brother long among the dead, she came to Frere's Hospital and found him

She sat so close beside him it seemed that he could not remain a moment
unconscious of her immediate presence after waking. Her hand lay just
where his hand, moving when he wakened, must touch it. She had rightly
calculated the chances; he did touch it, and started and said: "Who's
here? Doctor!" Then with a firmer grasp he seized the unresisting
fingers, and exclaimed, "My God, am I dreaming? it ought to be Lizzie's

"The doctor told me I should find you here, and might come," she
answered; and, disguised as the voice was by the feeling that tore her
heart, the Colonel, poor young fellow, listening as if for life, knew
it, and said, "O Lizzie, my child, I don't know about this,--why
couldn't you wait?"

"I waited and waited forever," she answered. "You're not sorry that I've
found you out after such a hunt? Of course you'll make believe, but
then--you needn't; I'm here, any way!"

Just then the surgeon came in. The Colonel knew his step, and said,
"Doctor, look here; is this Lizzie?"

"I believe you're right," said the doctor. "She said she had a hero for
a brother, and I have no doubt about that myself."

"O Dan, we had given you up! Though I knew all the time we shouldn't. I
could not believe--"

"Must come to that Lizzie,--do it over again; for what you have here
isn't your old Dan."

"My old Dan!" she exclaimed, and then there was a little break in the
conversation the two heroes were endeavoring to maintain.

Meanwhile the surgeon had seated himself on the edge of the bed waiting
the moment when there should be a positive need of him. He saw when it

"Colonel," said he, in his hearty, cheery voice, which alone had lifted
many a poor fellow from the slough of misery, and put new heart and soul
in him, since his ministrations began in the hospital,--"Colonel, your
aids are in waiting."

The soldier smiled; his face flushed. "My aids can wait," said he.

"That is a fine thing to say. Here he has been bothering me, madam, not
to say browbeating me, and I've been moving heaven and earth for my
part, and at last have secured the aids, and now hear him dismiss them!"

"Bring them round here," said the patient suddenly.

The surgeon quietly lifted from the floor a pair of crutches, and placed
them in his patient's hands.

"How many years must I rely on my aids?" he asked quietly.

"Perhaps three months. By that time you will be as good as ever."

A change passed over the young man's face at this. Whatever the emotion
so expressed, it had otherwise no demonstration. He turned now abruptly
toward his sister, and said: "They can wait. I've got another kind of
aid now. Come, Lizzie, say something."

A sudden radiance flashed across his face when he ceased to speak, and
waited for that voice.

"I shall be round again in an hour," said the surgeon.

He could well be spared. The brother and sister had now neither eye nor
thought except for each other.

The surgeon's face changed as he closed the door. Every one of their
faces changed. As for the gentleman whose duty took him now from ward to
ward, from one sick-bed to another, it was only by an effort that he
gave his cheerful words and courageous looks to the men who had found
day after day a tonic in his presence.

The brother and sister clasped each other's hands. Few were the words
they spoke. He was looking forward to the years before him, endeavoring
to steady himself, in a moment of weakness, by the remembrance of past
months of active service.

She was thinking of the days when she walked with her hero out of
delightsomeness and ease into danger and anxiety, all for the nation's
succor, in the nation's time of need. Some had deemed it a needless
sacrifice. Of old, when sacrifice was to be offered, it was not the
worthless and the worst men dared or cared to bring. The spotless, the
pure, the beautiful, these were no vain oblations. These two said in
solemn conference, "We will make an offering of our all." And their all
they offered. See how much had been accepted!

Having offered, having sacrificed, it was not in either of these to
repent the doing, or despise the honor that was put upon them. No going
back for them! No looking back! No secret repining! The Colonel had done
his work. As for the Colonel's sister, there was no place on earth where
she would not find work to do.

And here in this hospital, in her brother's room, she found a sphere.
Going and coming through the various wards, singing hymns of heavenly
love and purest patriotism, scattering comforts with ministering hands,
which found brothers on all those beds of languishing, how many learned
to look for her appearing, and to bless her when she came! But
concerning her work there, and that of other women, some of whom will go
crippled to the grave from their service,--soldiers and veterans of the
army of the Union,--enough has everywhere been said.

Among all these patients there was one, a sick man, to whom her coming
and her going, her speech and her silence, became most notable events.
Living within the influence of such manner and degree of social life as
her presence in the hospital established, he was like a returned exile,
who, yet under ban, felt all the awkwardness, constraint, and danger of
his position. This man, who discovered in himself merely helplessness,
was not accounted helpless, but the helper of many. He was, in short,
the surgeon of the hospital.

One day the Colonel said to him, "You don't like to have my sister here.
Are the hired nurses making a row?"

The surgeon's face betrayed so much interest in this subject, and so
much embarrassment, it seemed probable he would come out with an
absolute "Yes"; but his speech contradicted him, for he said with
indifference, "Where did you get that pretty notion?"

"Out of you, and nowhere else. What puzzles me, though, is, she seems to
think she is doing some good here. And didn't you say you'd no objection
to her visiting the wards?"

"I should think it a positive loss if she were called or sent away from
the hospital," said the surgeon, speaking now seriously enough. "She is
of the greatest service, out of this room as well as in it."

"Why do I feel then as if something had happened,--something
disagreeable? We don't have such good times as we used to have when you
sat here and told stories, and let me run on like a school-boy."

"You have better company, that's all. I'm not such a fool that I can't
see it. You have better times, lad,--if I don't."

"Then all you did for me before she came was for pity's sake! Who's in
the ditch now, getting all the favor you used to show to me?"

The voice and manner with which these words were spoken produced an
effect not readily yielded to, though the surgeon was perfectly aware
that his emotion was unperceived and unguessed by the man on the bed
there, who was investigating a difficulty which had puzzled him.

       *       *       *       *       *

So we have come to _this_ point. Away down at Frere's Landing, amid
scenes of anguish, tribulation, and death, where elect souls did
minister, there was found ministration by these elect souls in their own

They had gained a "Landing-Place" that was sacred ground, and if
Philosophy and Science would also stand there they must put their shoes
from off their feet, for the ground was holy. Priests whose right it was
to stand within the veil were servants there; and day by day, as they
discerned each other's work, it was not required of them always to dwell
upon the nature of sacrifice.

Each, in such work as now was occupying the doctor and Miss Ames, had
need of the other's strengthening sympathy, day by day, and of all the
consolations of friendship, such as royal souls are permitted to bestow
on one another.

With the surgeon, not a young man in anything except happiness, it was
as if there were broad openings, not _rents_, in the heavy leaden skies.
Pure, bright lights shone along the horizon, warmth overspread the cold.

With her, perpetual and sufficient are the compensations of love. To him
who plants of this it is returned out of earth, and out of heaven, in
good measure, pressed down, and running over. Nay, let us not argue.

The sick man lying on his cot, the convalescent guided by her to balcony
or garden, the crippled and the dying, had all to give her of their
hearts' best bloom. And if it proved that there was one among these who,
to her apprehension, walked in white, like an angel, of whom she asked
no thanks, no praise, only aid and sympathy, what mortal should look
surprise? The constant, the pure, the alive through all generations, the
Alive Forever, will not. And the rest may apologize for overhearing a
story not intended for their ears.

It happened one evening that the surgeon and Miss Ames met outside the
hospital doors, near the old sea-wall. They were walking in no haste,
watching, it seemed, the flight of the brave little sea-birds, as they
made their way now above and now among the breakers. After the
heart-trying labors of the day, an hour like this was full of balm to
those who were now entered on its rest. But it was not secure from
invasion. Even now a voice was shouting to the surgeon, and he heard it,
though he walked on as if he were determined not to hear. He had taken
to himself this hour; he had earned it, he needed it; surely the world
could go on for one hour without him!

But the importunity of the call was not to be resisted. So, because the
irresistible must be met, the surgeon stood still and looked around. A
poor little fellow was making toward him with all speed.

"Mail for you, sir," he said, as he came nearer, and he gave a package
of newspapers, and one little letter, into the surgeon's hands.

So Miss Ames and he sat down on the stone wall to scan those newspapers,
and the surgeon opened his note.

Obviously a scrawl from some poor fellow who had obtained a discharge on
account of sickness, and gone home. It was not rare for the surgeon to
receive such missives from the men who had been under his charge.
Wonderful was the influence he gained over the majority of his patients.
Wonderful? No. The man of meanest talents, who gives himself body and
spirit to a noble work, can no more fail of his great reward, than the
seasons of their glory. Never man on this Landing thought meanly of the
hospital surgeon's skill, or questioned his right to rank among the
ablest of his tribe,--no man, and certainly not the woman who was making
a hero out of him, to her heart's great content.

While Miss Ames looked at the papers, he proceeded, without much
interest in the business, to open and read his note.

One glance down the blurred and blotted page served to arrest his
attention, in a way that letters could not always do. Here was not a cup
of cold water to sip and put aside. He glanced at Miss Ames. She was
absorbed in a report of "the situation," getting items of renown out of
one column and another, which should ease many an aching body, smooth
many a sick man's pillow, ere the night-lamps were lighted in the wards.

If she had chanced to look up at him just then, while he, with scared,
astonished eyes, was glancing at her, it is impossible to say what words
might have escaped him, or what might have forever been prevented
utterance. But she was not looking. What heavenly angel turned her eyes

And now, before him whose prerogative was Victory, what vision did
arise? An apocalyptic vision: blackness of darkness forever, and side by
side with chaos, fair fields of living green, through which a young girl
walked towards a womanhood as fair as hers who sat beside him.
Unconscious of wrong that child, and yet how deeply, how variously
wronged! If he had meditated a great robbery, he could not have quailed
in the light of the discovered enormity as he did now before the vision
of his Janet.

Years upon years of struggle and of conquest could hardly give to the
surgeon of Frere's a more notable victory, one which could fill his soul
with a serener sense of triumph, than this hour gave, when he sat on the
old stone wall that guarded shore from sea, with the child's letter in
his hands, which had not miscarried, but had moved straight,
straight--do not Divine providences always?--as an arrow to its mark.

       *       *       *       *       *

Out of the secret place of strength he came, and he held that letter
open towards Miss Ames.

"Here's something to be thought of," said he, endeavoring to speak in a
natural and easy tone of voice. "I don't know that I could ask for
better counsel than yours. My little girl has written me a letter. I
didn't know that she could write. See what work she has made of it. But
what sort of parents can she have, do you think, twelve years old, and
writing a thing like that?"

Miss Ames laid aside, or rather, to speak correctly, she _dropped_ the
newspapers. There was nothing in all their printed columns to compare
with this item of intelligence,--that the surgeon had a living wife and
a living daughter. She took the letter he was holding towards her, and
said, "Indeed, Doctor," quite as naturally as he had spoken. But she did
not look at him. She read the letter,--every misspelled word of
it,--then she said: "Perhaps it doesn't say much for the parents. But
something--I should think a great deal--for the child. Strange you
didn't tell me about her before. But I like to have her introduce

"You do!"

"Promotion, eh!" she was looking the scrawl over again.

The word, as she pronounced it, was not an interrogation. Miss Ames
seemed to be musing, yet with no activity of curiosity, on the one idea
which had evidently possessed the child's mind in writing.

There was silence for a moment after this ejaculation; then the surgeon

"I enlisted as a private," said he, speaking with a difficulty that
might not have been manifest to any ordinary hearer. "My daughter did
not know that I had a profession; but my diploma satisfied the
Department when my promotion was spoken of. When I became a live man in
the service, I wished to serve where I could bring the most to pass, and
it was not in camp, or on the field,--except as a healer." He looked at
his watch as he uttered these last words, and arose as if his hour of
rest had expired; but then, instead of taking one step forward, he
turned and looked at Miss Ames, and she seemed to hear him saying, "Is
this a time for flight?"

He answered that question, for he had asked it of himself, by sitting
down again.

"I _ought_ to take a few minutes to myself," he said, with grave
deliberation, "I shall have no time like this to speak of my child,--for
her, I mean"; and if, while he spoke thus, he lacked perfect composure,
the hour was his, and he knew it. "More than a dozen years ago," he
continued, "I went to Dalton. I was sick and dying, as I thought.
Janet's mother nursed me through a fever, and was the means of saving my
life. I married her. I was grateful for the care she had taken of me;
and while regaining my strength, during that September and October, I
fell into the mistake of thinking that it was she who made the world
seem beautiful to me again, and life worth keeping. But you have seen
enough since you have been in this hospital to understand that this war
has been salvation to a good many men, as it will prove to the nation. I
enlisted as much as anything to get away from--where I was. The Devil
himself couldn't hold me there any longer. He had managed things long
enough. The child is capable of love, you see. Can you help us? I don't
know, but I think you were sent from above to do it, somehow. I see--I
must live for Janet. When I think that she might live in the same world
where you do, that I have no right to surround her with any other
conditions--does God take me for a robber? No! for he managed to get
this letter to me when--" He stopped speaking,--it seemed as if he were
about to look at his watch again; but instead of that, he said "Good
evening" to Miss Ames, and bowed, and walked back towards the hospital.

His assistant gathered up the newspapers, and then sat down again and
looked out towards the sea. The tide was coming in. She sat awhile and
watched the great waves lift aloft the graceful branches of green and
purple sea-weed, and saw the stormy petrels going to and fro, and
listened to the ocean's roar. She was sounding deeper depths than those
awful caverns which were hidden by the green and shining water from her

If Janet Saunders, child of Nancy Elkins, at that moment felt a thrill
of joy, and broke forth into singing, would you deem the fact
inconsequent, not to be classed among the wonders of telegraphic

I think her little cold, pinched, meagre life--nay, _lot_--was
brightened consciously on that great day of being,--that the sun felt
warmer, and the skies looked fairer than they ever had before. The
destiny which had seemed to be in the hands or charge of no one on earth
was in the hands of two as capable as any in this world for services of

       *       *       *       *       *

But now what was to be done by Dr. Saunders? Every man and woman sees
the "situation." For the present, of course, he was sufficiently
occupied; he was in the service of his country. But when these urgent
demands on his time, patience, and humanity, which were now incessant,
should no longer be made, because the country had need of him no
longer,--what then? Men mustered out of service generally went home;
family and neighborhood claimed them. What family, what neighborhood,
claimed him? His very soul abhorred the thought of Dalton, where he had
died to life; where he had buried his manhood. The very thought that the
neighbors would not be able to recognize him was a thought which made
him say to himself they never _should_ recognize him. He would _not_ be
identified as the poor creature who went out of Dalton with one hope,
and only one,--that the first day's engagement might see him lying among
the unnamed and unknown dead. But if the neighbors and his wife exposed
to him relations which he swore he would not degrade himself so far as
to resume, what was to become of his daughter? That was more easily
managed. He could send her away from home to school, if he could find a
lady in the land who would compassionate that neglected little girl, and
teach her, and train her, and be a mother to her.

Miss Ames knew such a one. Let the little girl be sent to Charlestown to
Miss Hall, Miss Ames's dear friend, and no better training than she
would have in her school could be found for her throughout the land.
Miss Ames gave this advice the day she went away from Frere's, for she
had decided, for her brother, that he never would recover his strength
until he was removed to a cooler climate. So they were going on a
government transport, which would sail for Charlestown direct. This
little business in regard to Janet Saunders could be managed by her
immediately on arrival home. And so the surgeon wrote a letter, which he
sent by his assistant, to Miss Hall, and another to the minister of
Dalton, and another still to Janet and her mother. And all these
concerned little Jenny; and all this grew out of the letter written in
the blacksmith's shop, and the doctor's recovered integrity.

But the question yet remained, What could be done for Nancy? If
education in that direction were possible,--to what purpose? That she
might become his equal when the strength of his hope that he had done
with her was lying merely in this, that they were unequal? But
hope,--what had he to do with hope, especially with such a hope as this?
What had he to do with hope, who had come forth from Dalton as from a
pit of despair? There were no foes like those of his own household; he
was hoping that for all time he had rid himself of them. That would have
been desertion, in point of fact. Well; but all that a man hath will he
give for his life. He was safely distant from that place of disaster and
death; but he must recognize his home duties, at least by the
maintenance of his family. Yes, that he would do. He began to consider
how much was due to him for services rendered to the government,--for
the first time to consider.

So, long before winter came, Nancy Saunders found herself on intimate
terms with the minister and his wife,--for the minister had received his
letters from the surgeon, and promptly accepted his commission, securing
comfortable winter quarters for Nancy, and escorting Janet to
Charlestown, after his wife had aided the doctor's wife in preparing the
child for boarding-school. All these changes and transactions excited
talk in Dalton. Every kind of rumor went abroad that you can imagine;
and it was currently believed at last that the doctor had made a fortune
by some army contract. So well persuaded of this fact was his wife,
that, as time wore on, she began to think, and to say, that, if such was
the case, she didn't know why she should be kept on short allowance, and
to inquire among the neighbors the easiest and the shortest route from
Dalton to Frere's Landing. Nobody seemed able to answer the question so
well as Ezra Cramer; and he assured her that she would lose her head
before she got half through the army lines which stretched between her
and the hospital. But then Ezra was a born know-nothing, said
Nancy,--that everybody knew.

Walking up and down the sea-wall, night after night, during the hour of
rest he appropriated to himself,--knowing that these things were
accomplished, for in due time letters came informing him of the
fulfilment of his wishes,--the surgeon had ample leisure for considering
and reconsidering this case. It was one that would not stay disposed of.
What adjournments were made! what exceptions were taken! and what
appeals to higher courts were constantly being made!

As often as a scrawl came from Colonel Ames reporting progress, and the
plans he and his sister were making, the deeds they were doing, the
grand-jury was sworn and the surgeon arraigned before it; the chief
justice came into court, and all the witnesses, and the accusation was
read. Then the counsel for the defendant and the counsel for the
plaintiff appeared. But, with every new trial of the case, new charges
and new specifications were brought forward and made, and it was equal
to being in chancery. If the war lasted through a generation, it was
likely that the surgeon's suit would last as long.

This was as notable a divorce case as ever was made public.

On the plaintiff's behalf the argument ran thus: Here was a man, a
gentleman by birth, education, and profession, legally united to a woman
low-born, low-bred, and so ignorant that she could neither read nor
write. He had come to the neighborhood where she lived, to the door of
the very house she occupied, sick in body and in mind. Disappointments
and ill-health had reduced him to the shadow of himself in person, and
his mind, of course, shared his body's disaffection.

A sick person, as all experience in practice has proved over and over
again, is hardly to be called a responsible being. Invalids love and
hate without reason,--which is contrary, he said, as he stood in the
presence of the court,--contrary to what is done among persons in sound

Under the shelter of her uncle's roof he had lain for weeks, sick of a
fever. He was saved alive, but so as by fire. This girl waited on him
through that time as a servant. He was thrown chiefly on her hands,--no
other person could be spared to wait on the poor stranger. She comforted
him. Her ways were not refined and gentle as if she had been taught
refinement and tenderness by precept or example. She had strong
good-sense. So far as she understood his orders, she obeyed them. When
he could not give any, she made use of her own judgment, and sought
first of all his comfort. She was kind. In her rough honesty and
unwearied attention he found cause for gratitude.

Rising for the first time from his bed of sickness, he would have fallen
if she had not lifted him and laid him back upon his bed. When he became
strong enough to stand, but not without support, she gave him that
support. She assisted him from the little room, and the little house
when the walls became intolerable to him, and it happened to be in the
early morning of a day so magnificent that it seemed another could never
be made like it. He could not forget how the world looked that morning;
how the waters shone; how the islands stood about; how the surrounding
hills were arrayed in purple glory; how the birds sang. This land to
which he was a stranger, which he had seen before only on that night
when he came in the dark to her uncle's door, looked like Paradise to
him; he gazed and gazed, and silent tears ran down his pale face through
the furrows of his wasted cheeks. She saw them shining in his beard, and
said something to soothe him in a comforting way, as any woman would
have spoken who saw any creature in weakness and pain. The manner or the
word, whatever it was, expressed a superiority of health, if of no other
kind, and he was in no condition to investigate either its quality or
its degree.

When, with voice feeble and broken as a sick child's, he thanked her for
all she had done, and she answered that it was nothing but a pleasure,
and he need not thank her, he did not forthwith forget that she had
watched day and night over him for nearly two months; that many a time
weariness so overpowered her that she sat and slept in the broad
daylight, and looked paler than when he lay like a dead weight on her

He remembered in court, and could not deny it, that when, believing that
this was destiny as it was also pleasure, he asked the girl to marry
him, she answered, "No,"--as if she did not trust what he said, that she
was necessary to his happiness. She told him that he did not belong in
Dalton, and that he would not be happy there with her and her people. He
answered that all he desired to know was whether she loved him. By and
by he was able to gather from the answers she gave, as well as failed to
give, all he desired to know, and they were married.

And, since he was beginning life anew, it was shown in court, nothing of
the old life should enter into this of Dalton. He buried his profession
in the past, and undertook other labors,--labors like those of Uncle
Elkins; he would abide on that level where he found himself on his
recovery, and make no effort to lift his wife to that he had renounced.
She was a child of Nature. He would learn life anew of her; but he
failed of success in all his undertakings. Shall a man attempt to
extenuate his failures? It seemed new to him; he acknowledged it in open
court, that from the day of his entrance into Dalton to the day he left
it, he was under some enchantment there. And if an insane man is not to
be held responsible in law for his offences, he had the amplest title to
a quitclaim deed from that which had grown out of the Dalton experience.

So the lower courts disposed of the case. He was free. But after a time
the suit was carried up before superior powers, and thus the advocate
for the defendant showed cause on the new trial.

She was living among the people of whom she had been born. In person she
was attractive as any girl to be found on all the lake or hillside; a
rosy-cheeked, fair-faced, fair-haired blue-eyed girl, with a frank voice
and easy address. She had a "Hail fellow! well met!" for every man,
woman, and child of the vicinity. She had lovers, all the way up from
her childhood, rustic admirers, and one who looked at her from a not far
distance, who dressed himself in his best and went to her uncle's house
on Sundays and other holidays, and who was courting Nancy after his
fashion, with all plans for their future marked out fully in his
mind,--and these would have fulfilment if his suit were only successful;
and in regard to that he had no fears or doubts.

Until this stranger came to Uncle Elkins's house! During his long
sickness the young lover was helpful in many ways to Nancy. But he
began to be suspicious by and by of the results of this much waiting. At
last, before he was himself ready to do it, he asked Nancy to be his
wife; but he was too late. She had "given her word" to the poor fellow
whom she had lured back from Death's door.

The court was admonished to take cognizance of this fact, that, if Nancy
had married the man in whom her heart had been interested up to the time
when the stranger came, she would have married in her own sphere, a man
of her own rank, and would have loved him as he did her, with an equal
love; they would have lived out their lives, animating them with
skirmishes and small warfare, and winning victories over each other,
which would have proved disastrous as defeats to neither.

It would have been no high crime to such a man that Nancy was ignorant
up and down through the range of knowledge; he would not have turned
away in disgust from his endeavors to teach her, if she took it into her
head to learn, though she dropped and regained the ambition through
every winter of her life. He would have plodded on in his accustomed
ways, would have protected his wife and child from starvation and cold,
without imagining that a husband and father could retire from his
position as such, or abrogate his duties. No vague expectations in
regard to herself, no bitter disappointment in regard to him, would have
attended her. The very changes in her character, which had made her not
to be endured,--how far was he whose name she bore responsible for them?
She had been accustomed to thrift and labor, she saw in him idleness and
waste of power and life. She had exhausted the resources readiest to her
hand in vain, and had only then given up her expectation.

It was not be denied that it was humiliation and wrath to live with her;
but her husband had sought her,--she had not sought him! If he could
plead for himself the force and constraint of circumstances, should not
the same defence be set up for her? And what might not patience, and
better management, and gentler and more noble demeanor towards her, have
done for her? Was _he_ the same man he was when he went away from
Dalton? Was he the same man in Dalton that he had been in his youth? Was
it not out of the pit that he himself had been digged? It became evident
that the arguments for the defendant were producing a result in court.
The judge on his throne, as well as the grand-jury, listened to the
argument in favor of the woman. And at last the case was decided; for
the judge charged the jury, that, if it could be shown that there was
mere incompatibility, it was the business of the superior mind to make
straight a highway for the Lord across those lives. Let every valley be
exalted, every hill be brought low.

Dr. Saunders _acquiesced_ in this verdict, and wrote a letter to his
wife. He knew she could not read it, but he knew also that she could
procure it to be read to her. He filled it with accounts of his
situation, occupation, expectation; and he sent her money. He said that,
if he could get a furlough, he might run up North for a few days, as
other men went home who could get leave of absence, to see that those
whom he had left behind him were doing well; and they would both perhaps
be able to go and see their daughter Jenny, or else they might have her
home for a holiday. He wrote a letter saying these things and others,
and any wife might have been proud to receive such from her husband, "in
the war."

And when he had sent it, he looked for no answer. This was a kind of
giving which must look for no return. And yet an answer was sent him. He
did not receive it, however, it was sent at so late a date; he was then
on his way to Dalton.

When the whistle of the miniature boat which plied the lake sent a
warning along the hillside that a passenger was on board who wished to
land, or that mail was to be sent ashore, a small boat was rowed from
the Point by a lad who was lingering about, waiting to know if any such
signal were to come, and one passenger stood at the head of the ladder,
waiting for him to come alongside. This was Dr. Saunders, who, having
been rowed ashore, walked three miles down the road, and up along the
mountain, to the Dalton neighborhood.

The first man whom he met as he walked on was the blacksmith, who had
been instrumental in getting Jenny's letter written. He was sitting in
front of his shop, alone. There was nothing about this man who was
walking into Dalton to excite a suspicion in the mind of the shrewdest
old inhabitant who should meet him that his personality was familiar to
Dalton eyes. He might safely ask what questions he would, and pursue his
way if he chose to do it. Nobody would recognize him.

The doctor lingered as he went past the shop; but the blacksmith did not
speak, and he walked on; and he passed others, his old neighbors, as he
went. This was hardly pleasant, though it might be the thing he desired.

He walked on until he came to the red farm-gate of Farmer Elkins,
Nancy's uncle. There he stopped. Under the chestnut-trees, before the
door, the farmer sat. The doctor walked in, and towards him like a man
at home, and said, "Good evening, Uncle."

The wrinkled old farmer looked up from his drowse. He had hardly heard
the words spoken; but the voice that spoke had in it a tone that was
familiar, were it not for the cheeriness of it; and--but no! one glance
at the figure before him assured him of anything rather than Saunders!
Yet the old man, either because of his vague expectation or because of
the confusion of his half-awake condition, said something audibly, of
which the name of Nancy, and her name alone, was intelligible.

"Well, where _is_ Nancy," said the other, laying his hand on the
farmer's shoulder in a manner calculated to dissipate his dream.

The old man looked at the doctor with serious, suspicious eyes, scanned
him from head to foot, and there was a dash of anger, of unbelief, of
awe, and of deference in the spirit with which he said, "If you're
Saunders, I'm glad you've come, but you might 'a' come sooner."

"You're right, and you're wrong, Uncle. I'm Saunders, true enough. But I
couldn't come before,--this is my first furlough."

"Did you get the letter?"

"No, what letter? Who wrote to me?"

The judge and the jury looked down from the awful circle, in the midst
of which stood Saunders, and surveyed the little hard-faced,
yellow-haired farmer, with eyes which seemed intent on searching him
through all his shadowy ambiguity. If only he would make such answer as
any other man in all the land might expect,--thought the
prisoner,--"Why, your wife, of course." The doctor was prepared to
believe in a miracle. Since he went away his wife might have been
spurred on by the ambition to rival her daughter, who was being
educated. She perhaps had learned to write, and in her pride had written
to her husband!

The answer Elkins gave was the only one of which the doctor's mind had
taken no thought.

"Nancy died a month ago." There the old man paused. But as the doctor
made no answer, merely stood looking at him, he went on. "She got your
letter first, though, Nancy did. I think, if anything could a-hindered
her dying, that would. She came out here to read your letter," (he did
not say to hear it read, and Saunders noticed that,) "and my folks, she
found, was busy, and nobody was round to talk it over with her, so
nothing could stop her, but she put right in and worked till night, and
on top o' that she would go back to the village, and it was raining, and
so dark you could scurce see the road; but she'd made up her mind to go
South and find you, and so we couldn't persuade her to stop over night.
But the next day, when she come back to tell us when she was going to
start for Dixie, she was took down right here, that suddin. There's been
a good deal of that sickness round here sense, and fatalish, most
always. But I tell 'em it took the smartest of the lot off first, when
it took Nancy."

The doctor stood there when the teller of this story had stopped
speaking. He was not looking at _him_,--of that the old man was certain.
He seemed to be looking nowhere, and to see nothing that was near or

"Come into the house and take something," said Uncle Elkins, for he
began to be alarmed.

"Was Janet here?" asked the doctor, as if he had not heard the

"We had to send for her. Nancy was calling for her all the time," said
Farmer Elkins, as if he doubted how far this story ought to be
continued, for he did not understand the man before him. He only knew
that once he had fallen down on his door-step, and lain helpless beneath
his roof hard on to two months; and he watched him now as if he
anticipated some renewal of that old attack,--and there was no Nancy now
to nurse, and watch, and slave herself to death for him; for that was
the way folk in the house were talking about Nancy and her husband in
these days.

"Did she get here in time? Who went after her?"

"The minister went. We had 'em here a fortnight,--well on to 't."

"What, the minister, too?"

"No, I mean the young woman who come from Charlestown with Jenny. Her
name was--" He paused long, endeavoring to recall that name. It trembled
on the doctor's lips, but he did not utter it. At last said Farmer
Elkins, "There! it was Miss Amey,--Amey? Yes. She took the little girl
back hum with her. It was right in there, in the room where you had that
spell of fever of yourn. She got you well through that! Ef anything
could 'a' brought her through that turn, your letter would. It came
across my mind once that, as she'd saved _your_ life, may be you was
going to save hern by that are letter! And she was so determined to get
to your hospital!"

"Thank God she got the letter, any way!" exclaimed the doctor.

At that the old man walked into the house to set its best cheer before
Nancy's husband, who looked so much like a mourner as he stood there
under the trees, with the bitter recollections of the past overwhelming
every other thought and feeling of the present.

Because it seemed to him that he could not sleep under old Elkins's roof
that night, he remained there and slept there,--in the room where his
fever ran its course,--in the room where Nancy died.

Because this story of the last months of her life was as gall and
wormwood to him, he refused it not, but went over it with his wife's
relations, and helped them spread a decent pall, according to the custom
of mourners; over what had been.

Was he endeavoring to deceive himself and others into the belief that he
was a mourning man? He was but accepting the varied humiliations of
death; for they do not all pertain to the surrendering life. He was not
thinking at all of his loss through her, nor of his gain by her. He was
thinking, as he stood above the grave of fifteen years, how high
Disgrace and Misery had heaped the mound. So bitterly he was thinking of
the past, it was without desire that he at last arose and faced the

       *       *       *       *       *

When he went to Charlestown--for a man on furlough had no time to
lose--and saw his Janet in the Colonel's house,--Miss Ames took Janet
home with her after that death and funeral,--when he saw how fair and
beautiful a promise of girlhood was budding on the poor neglected
branch, he said to his assistant, "Will you keep this child with you
until the war is over? I am afraid to touch her, or interfere with her
destiny. It has been so easy for me to mar, so hard to mend."

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Ames kept the child; the war ended. The surgeon then, like other
men, returned home; his regiments were disbanded, and now, one duty, to
mankind and the ages, well discharged, another, less conspicuous, but as
urgent, claimed him. There was Janet, and Janet's mother,--she who had
risen, not from the grave indeed, but from the midst of dangers,
sacredly to guard and guide the child.

On his way to them he asked himself this question, "How many times must
a man be born before he is fit to live?"

He did not answer that question; neither can I.

He informed his assistant of the court's decision in reference to the
plea of "incompatibility," and she said that the justice of the sentence
was not to be controverted with success by any counsellor on earth; but
the reader may smile, and say that it was not difficult to come to this
decision under the circumstances.

We will not argue that point. I had only the story to tell, and have
told it.



    I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
        With forms of Saints and holy men who died,
        Here martyred and hereafter glorified;
        And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
    Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays,
        With splendor upon splendor multiplied;
        And Beatrice, again at Dante's side,
        No more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise.
    And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs
        Sing the old Latin hymns of peace and love
        And benedictions of the Holy Ghost;
    And the melodious bells among the spires
        O'er all the house-tops and through heaven above
        Proclaim the elevation of the Host!


              "King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
    Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
    Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
    Upon the hidden bases of the hills."

Sir Bedivere's heart misgave him twice ere he could obey the dying
commands of King Arthur, and fling away so precious a relic. The lonely
maiden's industry has been equalled by many of her mortal sisters,
sitting, not indeed "upon the hidden bases of the hills," but in all the
varied human habitations built above them since the days of King Arthur.

The richness, beauty, and skill displayed in the needle-work of the
Middle Ages demonstrate the perfection that art had attained; while
church inventories, wills, and costumes represented in the miniatures of
illuminated manuscripts and elsewhere, amaze us by the quantity as well
as the quality of this department of woman's work. Though regal robes
and heavy church vestments were sometimes wrought by monks, yet to
woman's taste and skill the greater share of the result must be
attributed, the professional hands being those of nuns and their pupils
in convents. The life of woman in those days was extremely monotonous.
For the mass of the people, there hardly existed any means of
locomotion, the swampy state of the land in England and on the Continent
allowing few roads to be made, except such as were traversed by
pack-horses. Ladies of rank who wished to journey were borne on litters
carried upon men's shoulders, and, until the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, few representations of carriages appear. Such a conveyance is
depicted in an illustration of the Romance of the Rose, where Venus,
attired in the fashionable costume of the fifteenth century, is seated
in a _chare_, by courtesy a chariot, but in fact a clumsy covered wagon
without springs. Six doves are perched upon the shafts, and fastened by
mediæval harness. The goddess of course possessed superhuman powers for
guiding this extraordinary equipage, but to mere mortals it must have
been a slow coach, and a horribly uncomfortable conveyance even when
horses were substituted for doves. An ordinance of Philip le Bel, in
1294, forbids any wheel carriages to be used by the wives of citizens,
as too great a luxury. As the date of the coach which Venus guides is
two hundred years later, it is difficult to imagine what style of
equipage belonged to those ladies over whom Philip le Bel tyrannized.

With so little means of going about, our sisters of the Middle Ages were
perforce domestic; no wonder they excelled in needle-work. To women of
any culture it was almost the only tangible form of creative art they
could command, and the love of the beautiful implanted in their souls
must find some expression. The great pattern-book of nature, filled with
graceful forms, in ever-varied arrangement, and illuminated by delicate
tints or gorgeous hues, suggested the beauty they endeavored to
represent. Whether religious devotion, human affection, or a taste for
dress prompted them, the needle was the instrument to effect their
purpose. The monogram of the blessed Mary's name, intertwined with pure
white lilies on the deep blue ground, was designed and embroidered with
holy reverence, and laid on the altar of the Lady-chapel by the
trembling hand of one whose sorrows had there found solace, or by
another in token of gratitude for joys which were heightened by a
conviction of celestial sympathy. The pennon of the knight--a silken
streamer affixed to the top of the lance--bore his crest, or an
emblematic allusion to some event in his career, embroidered, it was
supposed, by the hand of his lady-love. A yet more sacred gift was the
scarf worn across the shoulder, an indispensable appendage to a knight
fully equipped. The emotions of the human soul send an electric current
through the ages, and women who during four years of war toiled to aid
our soldiers in the great struggle of the nineteenth century felt their
hearts beat in unison with hers who gave, with tears and prayers, pennon
and scarf to the knightly and beloved hero seven hundred years ago.

Not only were the appointments of the warriors adorned by needle-work,
but the ladies must have found ample scope for industry and taste in
their own toilets. The Anglo-Saxon women as far back as the eighth
century excelled in needle-work, although, judging from the
representations which have come down to us, their dress was much less
ornamented than that of the gentlemen. During the eighth, ninth, and
tenth centuries there were few changes in fashion. A purple gown or
robe, with long yellow sleeves, and coverchief wrapt round the head and
neck, frequently appears, the edges of the long gown and sleeves being
slightly ornamented by the needle. How the ladies dressed their hair in
those days is more difficult to decide, as the coverchief conceals it.
Crisping-needles to curl and plat the hair, and golden hair-cauls, are
mentioned in Saxon writings, and give us reason to suppose that the
locks of the fair damsels were not neglected. In the eleventh century
the embroidery upon the long gowns becomes more elaborate, and other
changes of the mode appear.

From the report of an ancient Spanish ballad, the art of needle-work and
taste in dress must have attained great perfection in that country while
our Anglo-Saxon sisters were wearing their plain long gowns. The fair
Sybilla is described as changing her dress seven times in one evening,
on the arrival of that successful and victorious knight, Prince Baldwin.
First, she dazzles him in blue and silver, with a rich turban; then
appears in purple satin, fringed and looped with gold, with white
feathers in her hair; next, in green silk and emeralds; anon, in pale
straw-color, with a tuft of flowers; next, in pink and silver, with
varied plumes, white, carnation, and blue; then, in brown, with a
splendid crescent. As the fortunate Prince beholds each transformation,
he is bewildered (as well he may be) to choose which array becomes her
best; but when

    "Lastly in white she comes, and loosely
      Down in ringlets floats her hair,
    'O,' exclaimed the Prince, 'what beauty!
      Ne'er was princess half so fair.'"

Simplicity and natural grace carried the day after all, as they
generally do with men of true taste. "Woman is fine for her own
satisfaction alone," says that nice observer of human nature, Jane
Austen. "Man only knows man's insensibility to a new gown." We hope,
however, that the dressmakers and tirewomen of the fair Sybilla, who had
expended so much time and invention, were handsomely rewarded by the
Prince, since they must have been most accomplished needle-women and
handmaids to have got up their young lady in so many costumes and in
such rapid succession.

A very odd fashion appears in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,
of embroidering heraldic devices on the long gowns of the ladies of
rank. In one of the illuminations of a famous psalter, executed for Sir
Geoffery Loutterell, who died in 1345, that nobleman is represented
armed at all points, receiving from the ladies of his family his tilting
helmet, shield, and _pavon_. His coat of arms is repeated on every part
of his own dress, and is embroidered on that of his wife, who wears also
the crest of her own family.

Marie de Hainault, wife of the first Duke of Bourbon, 1354, appears in a
corsage and train of ermine, with a very fierce-looking lion rampant
embroidered twice on her long gown. Her jewels are magnificent. Anne,
Dauphine d'Auvergne, wife of Louis, second Duke of Bourbon, married in
1371, displays an heraldic dolphin of very sinister aspect upon one side
of her corsage, and on the skirt of her long gown,--which, divided in
the centre, seems to be composed of two different stuffs, that opposite
to the dolphin being powdered with _fleurs de lis_. Her circlet of
jewels is very elegant, and is worn just above her brow, while the hair
is braided close to the face. An attendant lady wears neither train nor
jewels, but her dress is likewise formed of different material, divided
like that of the Dauphine. Six little parrots are emblazoned on the
right side, one on her sleeve, two on her corsage, and three on her
skirt. The fashion of embroidering armorial bearings on ladies' dresses
must have given needle-women a vast deal of work. It died out in the
fifteenth century.

It was the custom in feudal times for knightly families to send their
daughters to the castles of their suzerain lords, to be trained to weave
and embroider. The young ladies on their return home instructed the more
intelligent of their female servants in these arts. Ladies of rank in
all countries prided themselves upon the number of these attendants, and
were in the habit of passing the morning surrounded by their workwomen,
singing the _chansons à toile_, as ballads composed for these hours were

Estienne Jodelle, a French poet, 1573, addressed a fair lady whose
cunning fingers plied the needle in words thus translated:--

    "I saw thee weave a web with care,
    Where at thy touch fresh roses grew,
    And marvelled they were formed so fair,
    And that thy heart such nature knew.
    Alas! how idle my surprise,
    Since naught so plain can be:
    Thy cheek their richest hue supplies,
    And in thy breath their perfume lies;
    Their grace and beauty all are drawn from thee."

If needle-work had its poetry, it had also its reckonings. Old
account-books bear many entries of heavy payments for working materials
used by industrious queens and indefatigable ladies of rank. Good
authorities state that, before the sixth century, all silk materials
were brought to Europe by the Seres, ancestors of the ancient
Bokharians, whence it derived its name of Serica. In 551, silk-worms
were introduced by two monks into Constantinople, but the Greeks
monopolized the manufacture until 1130, when Roger, king of Sicily,
returning from a crusade, collected some Greek manufacturers, and
established them at Palermo, whence the trade was disseminated over

In the thirteenth century, Bruges was the great mart for silk. The
stuffs then known were velvet, satin (called samite), and taffeta,--all
of which were stitched with gold or silver thread. The expense of
working materials was therefore very great, and royal ladies
condescended to superintend sewing-schools.

Editha, consort of Edward the Confessor, was a highly accomplished lady,
who sometimes intercepted the master of Westminster School and his
scholars in their walks, questioning them in Latin. She was also skilled
in all feminine works, embroidering the robes of her royal husband with
her own hands.

Of all the fair ones, however, who have wrought for the service of a
king, since the manufacture of Excalibur, let the name of Matilda of
Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, stand at the head of the
record, in spite of historians' doubts. Matilda, born about the year
1031, was carefully educated. She had beauty, learning, industry; and
the Bayeux tapestry connected with her name still exists, a monument of
her achievements in the art of needle-work. It is, as everybody knows, a
pictured chronicle of the conquest of England,--a wife's tribute to the
glory of her husband.

As a specimen of ancient stitchery and feminine industry, this work is
extremely curious. The tapestry is two hundred and twenty-two feet in
length and twenty in width. It is worked in different-colored worsteds
on white cloth, now brown with age. The attempts to represent the human
figure are very rude, and it is merely given in outline. Matilda
evidently had very few colors at her disposal, as the horses are
depicted of any hue,--blue, green, or yellow; the arabesque patterns
introduced are rich and varied.

During the French Revolution, this tapestry was demanded by the
insurgents to cover their guns; but a priest succeeded in concealing it
until the storm had passed. Bonaparte knew its value. He caused it to be
brought to Paris and displayed, after which he restored the precious
relic to Bayeux.

We have many records of royal ladies who practised and patronized
needle-work. Anne of Brittany, first wife of Louis XII. of France,
caused three hundred girls, daughters of the nobility, to be instructed
in that art under her personal supervision. Her daughter Claude pursued
the same laudable plan. Jeanne d'Albret, queen of Navarre, and mother of
Henry IV. of France, a woman of vigorous mind, was skilled also in the
handicraft of the needle, and wrought a set of hangings called "The
Prison Opened," meaning that she had broken the bonds of the Pope.

The practice of teaching needle-work continued long at the French court,
and it was there that Mary of Scotland learned the art in which she so
much excelled. When cast into prison, she beguiled the time, and soothed
the repentant anxieties of her mind, with the companionship of her
needle. The specimens of her work yet existing are principally
bed-trimmings, hangings, and coverlets, composed of dark satin, upon
which flowers, separately embroidered, are transferred.

The romances and lays of chivalry contain many descriptions of the
ornamental needle-work of those early days. In one of the ancient
ballads, a knight, after describing a fair damsel whom he had rescued
and carried to his castle, adds that she "knewe how to sewe and marke
all manner of silken worke," and no doubt he made her repair many of his
mantles and scarfs frayed and torn by time and tourney.

The beautiful Elaine covered the shield of Sir Launcelot with a case of
silk, upon which devices were braided by her fair hands, and added, from
her own design,

    "A border fantasy of branch and flower,
    And yellow-throated nestling in the nest."

When he went to the tourney she gave him a red sleeve "broidered with
great pearls," which he bound upon his helmet. It is recorded that, in a
tournament at the court of Burgundy in 1445, one of the knights received
from his lady a sleeve of delicate dove-color, which he fastened on his
left arm. These sleeves were made of a different material from the
dress, and generally of a richer fabric elaborately ornamented; so they
were considered valuable enough to form a separate legacy in wills of
those centuries. Maddalena Doni, in her portrait, painted by Raphael,
which hangs in the Pitti Palace at Florence, wears a pair of these rich,
heavy sleeves, fastened slightly at the shoulder, and worn over a
shorter sleeve belonging to her dress. Thus we see how it was that a
lady could disengage her sleeve at the right moment, and give it to the
fortunate knight.

The art of adorning linen was practised from the earliest times. Threads
were drawn and fashioned with the needle, or the ends of the cloth
unravelled and plaited into geometrical patterns. St. Cuthbert's curious
grave-clothes, as described by an eyewitness to his disinterment in the
twelfth century, were ornamented with cut-work, which was used
principally for ecclesiastical purposes, and was looked upon in England
till the dissolution of the monasteries as a church secret. The
open-work embroidery, which went under the general name of cut-work, is
the origin of lace.

The history of lace by Mrs. Bury Palliser, recently published in London,
is worthy of the exquisite fabric of which it treats. The author has
woven valuable facts, historical associations, and curious anecdotes
into the web of her narrative, with an industry and skill rivalling the
work of her mediæval sisters. The illustrations of this beautiful volume
are taken from rare specimens of ancient and modern lace, so perfectly
executed as quite to deceive the eye, and almost the touch.

Italy and Flanders dispute the invention of point or needle-made lace.
The Italians probably derived the art of needle-work from the Greeks who
took refuge in Italy during the troubles of the Lower Empire. Its origin
was undoubtedly Byzantine, as the places which were in constant
intercourse with the Greek Empire were the cities where point-lace was
earliest made. The traditions of the Low Countries also ascribe it to an
Eastern origin, assigning the introduction of lace-making to the
Crusaders on their return from the Holy Land. A modern writer, Francis
North, asserts that the Italians learned embroidery from the Saracens,
as Spaniards learned the same art from the Moors, and, in proof of his
theory, states that the word _embroider_ is derived from the Arabic, and
does not belong to any European language. In the opinion of some
authorities, the English word _lace_ comes from the Latin word _licina_,
signifying the hem or fringe of a garment; others suppose it derived
from the word _laces_, which appears in Anglo-Norman statutes, meaning
braids which were used to unite different parts of the dress. In England
the earliest lace was called _passament_, from the fact that the threads
were passed over each other in its formation; and it is not until the
reign of Richard III. that the word _lace_ appears in royal accounts.
The French term _dentelle_ is also of modern date, and was not used
until fashion caused _passament_ to be made with a toothed edge, when
the designation _passament dentelé_ appears.

But whatever the origin of the name, lace-making and embroidery have
employed many fingers, and worn out many eyes, and even created
revolutions. In England, until the time of Henry VIII., shirts,
handkerchiefs, sheets, and pillow-cases were embroidered in silks of
different colors, until the fashion gave way to cut-work and lace. Italy
produced lace fabrics early in the fifteenth century; and the Florentine
poet, Firenzuola, who flourished about 1520, composed an elegy upon a
collar of raised point lace made by the hand of his mistress. Portraits
of Venetian ladies dated as early as 1500 reveal white lace trimmings;
but at that period lace was, professedly, only made by nuns for the
service of the Church, and the term _nuns' work_ has been the
designation of lace in many places to a very modern date. Venice was
famed for point, Genoa for pillow laces. English Parliamentary records
have statutes on the subject of Venice laces; at the coronation of
Richard III., fringes of Venice and mantle laces of gold and white silk

    "To know the age and pedigrees
    Of points of Flanders and Venise,"

depends much upon the ancient pattern-books yet in existence. Parchment
patterns, drawn and pricked for pillow lace, bearing the date of 1577,
were lately found covering old law-books, in Albisola, a town near
Savona, which was a place celebrated for its laces, as we infer from the
fact that it was long the custom of the daughters of the nobles to
select these laces for their wedding shawls and veils. There is a pretty
tradition at Venice, handed down among the inhabitants of the Lagoons,
which says that a sailor brought home to his betrothed a branch of the
delicate coralline known as "mermaids' lace." The girl, a worker in
points, attracted by the grace of the coral, imitated it with her
needle, and after much toil produced the exquisite fabric which, as
Venice point, soon became the mode in all Europe. Lace-making in Italy
formed the occupation of many women of the higher classes, who wished to
add to their incomes. Each lady had a number of workers, to whom she
supplied patterns, pricked by herself, paying her workwomen at the end
of every week, each day being notched on a tally.

In the convent of Gesù Bambino, at Rome, curious specimens of old
Spanish conventual work--parchment patterns with lace in progress--have
been found. They belonged to Spanish nuns, who long ago taught the art
of lace-making to novices. Like all point lace, this appears to be
executed in separate pieces, given out by the nuns, and then joined
together by a skilful hand. We see the pattern traced, the work partly
finished, and the very thread left, as when "Sister Felice Vittoria"
laid down her work, centuries ago. Mrs. Palliser received from Rome
photographs of these valuable relics, engravings from which she has
inserted in her history of lace. Aloe-thread was then used for
lace-making, as it is now in Florence for sewing straw-plait. Spanish
point has been as celebrated as that of Flanders or Italy. Some
traditions aver that Spain taught the art to Flanders. Spain had no
cause to import laces: they were extensively made at home, and were less
known than the manufacture of other countries, because very little was
exported. The numberless images of the Madonna and patron saints dressed
and undressed daily, together with the albs of the priests and
decorations of the altars, caused an immense consumption for
ecclesiastical uses. Thread lace was manufactured in Spain in 1492, and
in the Cathedral of Granada is a lace alb presented to the church by
Ferdinand and Isabella,--one of the few relics of ecclesiastical
grandeur preserved in the country. Cardinal Wiseman, in a letter to Mrs.
Palliser, states that he had himself officiated in this vestment, which
was valued at ten thousand crowns. The fine church lace of Spain was
little known in Europe until the revolution of 1830, when splendid
specimens were suddenly thrown into the market,--not merely the heavy
lace known as Spanish point, but pieces of the most exquisite
description, which could only have been made, says Mrs. Palliser, by
those whose time was not money.

Among the Saxon Hartz Mountains is the old town of Annaburg, and beneath
a lime-tree in its ancient burial-ground stands a simple monument with
this inscription:--

"Here lies Barbara Uttman, died on the 14th of January, 1576, whose
invention of lace in the year 1561 made her the benefactress of the
Hartz Mountains.

    'An active mind, a skilful hand,
    Bring blessings down on Fatherland.'"

Barbara was born in 1514. Her parents, burghers of Nuremberg, removed to
the Hartz Mountains for the purpose of working a mine in that
neighborhood. It is said that Barbara learned the art of lace-making
from a native of Brabant, a Protestant, whom the cruelties of the Duke
of Alva had driven from her country. Barbara, observing the mountain
girls making nets for the miners to wear over their hair, took great
interest in the improvement of their work, and succeeded in teaching
them a fine knitted _tricot_, and afterwards a lace ground. In 1561,
having procured aid from Flanders, she set up a work-shop in Annaburg
for lace-making. This branch of industry spread beyond Bavaria, giving
employment to thirty thousand persons, and producing a revenue of one
million thalers.

Italy and Flanders dispute the invention of lace, but it was probably
introduced into both countries about the same time. The Emperor Charles
V. commanded lace-making to be taught in schools and convents. A
specimen of the manufacture of his day may be seen in his cap, now
preserved in the museum at Hôtel Cluny, Paris. It is of fine linen, with
the Emperor's arms embroidered in relief, with designs in lace, of
exquisite workmanship. The old Flemish laces are of great beauty and
world-wide fame.

Many passages in the history of lace show how severely the manufacture
of this beautiful fabric has strained the nerves of eye and brain. The
fishermen's wives on the Scottish coast apostrophize the fish they sell,
after their husbands' perilous voyages, and sing,

    "Call them lives o' men."

Not more fatal to life are the blasts from ocean winds than the tasks
of laborious lace-makers; and this thought cannot but mingle with our
admiration for the skill displayed in this branch of woman's endless
toil and endeavor to supply her own wants and aid those who are dear to
her, in the present as well as in the past centuries.

In the British Museum there is a curious manuscript of the fourteenth
century, afterwards translated "into our maternall englisshe by me
William Caxton, and emprynted at Westminstre the last day of Januer, the
first yere of the regne of King Richard the thyrd," called "the booke
which the Knight of the Towere made for the enseygnement and teching of
his doughtres."

The Knight of the Tower was Geoffory Landry, surnamed De la Tour, of a
noble family of Anjou. In the month of April, 1371, he was one day
reflecting beneath the shade of some trees on various passages in his
life, and upon the memory of his wife, whose early death had caused him
sorrow, when his three daughters walked into the garden. The sight of
these motherless girls naturally turned his thoughts to the condition of
woman in society, and he resolved to write a treatise, enforced by
examples of both good and evil, for their instruction. The state of
society which the "evil" examples portray might well cause a father's
heart to tremble.

The education of young ladies, as we have before stated, was in that age
usually assigned to convents or to families of higher rank. It consisted
of instruction in needle-work, confectionery, surgery, and the rudiments
of church music. Men were strongly opposed to any high degree of mental
culture for women; and although the Knight of the Tower thinks it good
for women to be taught to read their Bibles, yet the pen is too
dangerous an instrument to trust to their hands. The art of writing he
disapproves,--"Better women can naught of it." Religious observances he
strictly recommends; but we shudder at some of the stories which even
this well-meaning father relates as illustrations of the efficacy of
religious austerities. Extravagance in dress prevailed at that time
among men and women to such a degree that Parliament was appealed to on
the subject in 1363. From the Knight's exhortations on the subject, this
mania seems to have affected the women alarmingly, and the examples
given of the passion for dress appear to surpass what is acknowledged in
our day. Yet the vast increase of materials, as well as the extended
interests and objects opened to woman now, renders the extravagance of
dress in the Middle Ages far less reprehensible.

The record of woman's work in the Middle Ages includes far more than the
account of what her needle accomplished. The position of the mistress of
a family in those centuries was no sinecure. When we look up at castles
perched on rocks, or walk through the echoing apartments of baronial
halls, we know that woman must have worked there with brain and fingers.
The household and its dependencies, in such mansions, consisted of more
than a score of persons, and provisions must be laid in during the
autumn for many months. As we glance at the enormous fireplaces and
ovens in the kitchens of those castles and halls, and remember the
weight of the armor men wore, we can readily imagine that no trifling
supply of brawn and beef was needed for their meals; and the sight of a
husband frowning out of one of those old helmets because the dinner was
scanty, must have been a fearful trial to feminine nerves. The title of
"Lady" means the "Giver of bread" in Saxon, and the lady of the castle
dispensed food to many beyond her own household.

The task of preparing the raiment of the family devolved upon the women;
for there were no travelling dealers except for the richest and most
expensive articles. Wool, the produce of the flock, was carded and spun;
flax was grown, and woven into coarse linen; and both materials were
prepared and fashioned into garments at home. Glimpses of domestic life
come down to us through early legends and records, some of which modern
genius has melodized. Authentic history and romantic story often show us
that women of all ranks were little better, in fact, than household
drudges to these splendid knights and courtly old barons. The fair Enid
sang a charming song as she turned her wheel; but when Geraint arrived,
she not only assisted her mother to receive him, but, by her father's
order, led the knight's charger to the stall, and gave him corn. If she
also relieved the noble animal of his heavy saddle and horse-furniture,
gave him water as well as corn, and shook down the dry furze for his
bed, she must have had the courage and skill of a feminine Rarey; and we
fear her dress of faded silk came out of the stable in a very
dilapidated condition. After the horse was cared for, Enid put her wits
and hands to work to prepare the evening meal, and spread it before her
father and his guest. The knight, indeed, condescended to think her
"sweet and serviceable"!

The women of those days are often described only as they appeared at
festivals and tournaments,--Ladies of Beauty, to whom knights lowered
their lances, and of whom troubadours sang. They had their amusements
and their triumphs, doubtless; but they also had their work, domestic,
industrial, and sanitary. They knew how to bind up wounds and care for
the sick, and we read many records of their knowledge in this
department. Elaine, when she found Sir Launcelot terribly wounded in the
cave, so skilfully aided him that, when the old hermit came who was
learned in all the simples and science of the times, he told the knight
that "her fine care had saved his life,"--a pleasing assurance that
there were medical men in those days, as well as in our own, who
expressed no unwillingness to allow a woman credit for success in their
own profession.

Illuminated books sometimes show us pictures of women of the humbler
ranks of life at their work. On the border of a fine manuscript of the
time of Edward IV. there is the figure of a woman employed with her
distaff, her head and neck enveloped in a coverchief. The figure rises
out of a flower. In a manuscript of 1316, a country-woman is engaged in
churning, dressed in a comfortable gown and apron, the gown tidily
pinned up, and her head and neck in a coverchief. The churn is of
considerable height, and of very clumsy construction. A blind beggar
approaches her, led by his dog, who holds apparently a cup in his mouth
to receive donations. In another part of the same volume is a beautiful
damsel with her hair spread over her shoulders, while her maid arranges
her tresses with a comb of ivory set in gold. The young lady holds a
small mirror, probably of polished steel, in her hand. Specimens of
these curious combs and mirrors yet exist in collections. A century
later we see a pretty laundress, holding in her hands a number of
delicately woven napkins, which look as if they might have come out of
the elaborately carved napkin press of the same period in the collection
of Sir Samuel Myrick at Goodrich Court.

Although the Knight of the Tower disapproved of young ladies being
taught to write, there were women whose employment writing seems to have
been; but these were nuns safely shut up from the risk of
_billets-doux_. In Dr. Maitland's Essays on the Dark Ages, he quotes
from the biography of Diemudis, a devout nun of the eleventh century, a
list of the volumes which she prepared with her own hand, written in
beautiful and legible characters, to the praise of God, and of the holy
Apostles Peter and Paul, the patrons of the monastery, which was that of
Wessobrunn in Bavaria. The list comprises thirty-one works, many of them
in three or four volumes; and although Diemudis is not supposed to have
been an authoress, she is certainly worthy of having her name handed
down through eight centuries in witness of woman's indefatigable work in
the scriptorium. One missal prepared by Diemudis was given to the
Bishop of Treves, another to the Bishop of Augsburg, and one Bible in
two volumes is mentioned, which was exchanged by the monastery for an

We can picture to ourselves Diemudis in her conventual dress, seated in
the scriptorium, with her materials for chirography. The sun, as it
streams through the window, throws a golden light over the vellum page,
suggesting the rich hue of the gilded nimbus, while in the convent
garden she sees the white lily or the modest violet, which, typical of
the Madonna, she transfers to her illuminated borders. Thus has God ever
interwoven truth and love with their correspondences of beauty and
development in the natural world, which were open to the eyes of
Diemudis eight hundred years ago, perhaps as clearly as to our own in
these latter days. That women of even an earlier century than that of
Diemudis were permitted to read, if not to write, is proved by the
description of a private library, given in the letters of C. S. Sidonius
Apollinaris, and quoted in Edwards's "History of Libraries." This
book-collection was the property of a gentleman of the fifth century,
residing at his castle of Prusiana. It was divided into three
departments, the first of which was expressly intended for the ladies of
the family, and contained books of piety and devotion. The second
department was for men, and is rather ungallantly stated to have been of
a higher order; yet, as the third department was intended for the whole
family, and contained such works as Augustine, Origen, Varro,
Prudentius, and Horace, the literary tastes of the ladies should have
been satisfied. We are also told that it was the custom at the castle of
Prusiana to discuss at dinner the books read in the morning,--which
would tend to a belief that conversation at the dinner-tables of the
fifth century might be quite as edifying as at those of the nineteenth.

A few feminine names connected with the literature of the Middle Ages
have come down to us. The lays of Marie de France are among the
manuscripts in the British Museum. Marie's personal history, as well as
the period when she flourished, is uncertain. Her style is extremely
obscure; but in her Preface she seems aware of this defect, yet defends
it by the example of the ancients. She considers it the duty of all
persons to employ their talents; and as her gifts were intellectual, she
cast her thoughts in various directions ere she determined upon her
peculiar mission. She had intended translating from the Latin a good
history, but some one else unluckily anticipated her; and she finally
settled herself down to poetry, and to the translation of numerous lays
she had treasured in her memory, as these would be new to many of her
readers. Like other literary ladies, she complains of envy and
persecution, but she perseveres through all difficulties, and dedicates
her book "to the King."

Marie was born in France. Some authorities suppose she wrote in England
during the reign of Henry III., and that the patron she names was
William Langue-espée, who died in 1226; others, that this _plus
vaillant_ patron was William, Count of Flanders, who accompanied St.
Louis on his first crusade in 1248, and was killed at a tournament in
1251. A later surmise is that the book was dedicated to Stephen, French
being his native language. Among the manuscripts of the Bibliothèque
Royale at Paris, is Marie's translation of the fables which Henry
Beauclerc translated from Latin into English, and which Marie renders
into French. A proof that Marie's poems are extremely ancient is deduced
from the names in one of these fables applied to the wolf and the fox.
She uses other names than those of Ysengrin and Renard, which were
introduced as early as the reign of Coeur de Lion, and it would seem
that she could not have failed to notice these remarkable names, had
they existed in her time. A complete collection of the works of Marie de
France was published in Paris in 1820, by M. de Roquefort, who speaks
of her in the following terms: "She possessed that penetration which
distinguishes at first sight the different passions of mankind, which
seizes upon the different forms they assume, and, remarking the objects
of their notice, discovers at the same time the means by which they are
attained." If this be a true statement, the acuteness of feminine
observation has gained but little in the progress of the centuries, and
her literary sisters of the present era can hardly hope to eclipse the
penetration of Marie de France.

The Countesses de Die, supposed to be mother and daughter, were both
poetesses. The elder lady was beloved by Rabaud d'Orange, who died in
1173, and the younger is celebrated by William Adhémar, a distinguished
troubadour. He was visited on his death-bed by both these ladies, who
afterwards erected a monument to his memory. The younger countess
retired to a convent, and died soon after Adhémar.

In the Harleian Collection is a fine manuscript containing the writings
of Christine de Pisan, a distinguished woman of the fourteenth century.
Her father, Thomas de Pisan, a celebrated _savant_ of Bologna, had
married a daughter of a member of the Grand Council of Venice. So
renowned was Thomas de Pisan that the kings of Hungary and France
determined to win him away from Bologna. Charles V. of France, surnamed
the Wise, was successful, and Thomas de Pisan went to Paris in 1368; his
transfer to the French court making a great sensation among learned and
scientific circles of that day. Charles loaded him with wealth and
honors, and chose him Astrologer Royal. According to the history, as
told by Louisa Stuart Costello, in her "Specimens of the Early Poetry of
France," Christine was but five years old when she accompanied her
parents to Paris, where she received every advantage of education, and,
inheriting her father's literary tastes, early became learned in
languages and science. Her personal charms, together with her father's
high favor at court, attracted many admirers. She married Stephen
Castel, a young gentleman of Picardy, to whom she was tenderly attached,
and whose character she has drawn in most favorable colors. A few years
passed happily, but, alas! changes came. The king died, the pension and
offices bestowed upon Thomas de Pisan were suspended, and the Astrologer
Royal soon followed his patron beyond the stars. Castel was also
deprived of his preferments; and though he maintained his wife and
family for a time, he was cut off by death at thirty-four years of age.

Christine had need of all her energies to meet such a succession of
calamities, following close on so brilliant a career. Devoting herself
anew to study, she determined to improve her talents for composition,
and to make her literary attainments a means of support for her
children. The illustrations in the manuscript volume of her works
picture to us several scenes in Christine's life. In one, the artist has
sliced off the side of a house to allow us to see Christine in her
study, giving us also the exterior, roof, and dormer-windows, with
points finished by gilt balls. The room is very small, with a crimson
and white tapestry hanging. Christine wears what may be called the
regulation color for literary ladies,--blue, with the extraordinary
two-peaked head-dress of the period, put on in a decidedly strong-minded
manner. At her feet sits a white dog, small, but wise-looking, with a
collar of gold bells round his neck. Before Christine stands a plain
table, covered with green cloth; her book, bound in crimson and gold, in
which she is writing, lies before her.

Christine's style of holding the implements,--one in each hand,--and the
case of materials for her work which lies beside her, are according to
representations of the _miniatori caligrafi_ at their labors; and, as
the art of caligraphy was well known at Bologna, so learned a man as
Thomas de Pisan must have been acquainted with it, and would have caused
his talented daughter to be instructed in so rare an accomplishment. It
is not therefore unreasonable to believe that, in the beautiful volume
now in the British Museum, the work of Christine's hand, as well as the
result of her genius, is preserved. The next picture shows us Christine
presenting her book to Charles VII. of France, who is dressed in a black
robe edged with ermine; he wears a golden belt, order, and crown. The
king is seated beneath a canopy, blue, powdered with _fleurs de lis_.
Four courtiers stand beside him, dressed in robes of different
colors,--one in pink, and wearing a large white hat of Quaker-like
fashion. Christine has put on a white robe over her blue dress, perhaps
as a sign of mourning,--she being then a widow. A white veil depends
from the peaks of her head-dress. She kneels before the king, and
presents her book.

Another and more elaborate picture represents the repetition of the same
ceremony before Isabelle of Bavaria, queen of Charles VI. We are here
admitted into the private royal apartments of the fourteenth century.
The hangings of the apartment consist of strips, upon which are
alternately emblazoned the armorial devices of France and Bavaria. A
couch or bed, with a square canopy covered with red and blue, having the
royal arms embroidered in the centre, stands on one side of the room.
The queen is seated upon a lounge of modern shape, covered to correspond
with the couch. She is dressed in a splendid robe of purple and gold,
with long sleeves sweeping the ground, lined with ermine; upon her head
arises a structure of stuffed rolls, heavy in material and covered with
jewels, which shoots up into two high peaks above her forehead. Six
ladies are in waiting, two in black and gold, with the same enormous
head-gears. They sit on the edge of her Majesty's sofa, while four
ladies of inferior rank and plainer garments are contented with low
benches. Christine reappears in her blue dress, and white-veiled, peaked
cap. She kneels before the queen, on a square carpet with a
geometrical-patterned border, and presents her book. A white Italian
hound lies at the foot of the couch, while beside Isabelle sits a small
white dog, resembling the one we saw in Christine's study. As we can
hardly suppose Christine would bring her pet on so solemn an
occasion,--far less allow him to jump up beside the queen,--and as this
little animal wears no gold bells, we are led to suppose that little
white dogs were in fashion in the fourteenth century.

We cannot say that the portrait of Isabelle gives us any idea of her
splendid beauty; but "handsome is that handsome does," and as Isabelle's
work was a very bad one in the Middle Ages, we will say no more about

Christine was but twenty-five years of age when she became a widow, and
her personal charms captivated the heart of no less a personage than the
Earl of Salisbury, who came ambassador from England to demand the hand
of the very youthful princess, Isabelle, for his master.

They exchanged verses; and although Salisbury spoke by no means
mysteriously, the sage Christine affected to view his declarations only
in the light of complimentary speeches from a gallant knight. The Earl
considered himself as rejected, bade adieu to love, and renounced
marriage. To Christine he made a very singular proposal for a rejected
lover,--that of taking with him to England her eldest son, promising to
devote himself to his education and preferment. The offer was too
valuable to be declined by a poor widow, whose pen was her only means of
supporting her family. That such a proof of devotion argued a tenderer
feeling than that of knightly gallantry must have been apparent to
Christine; but for reasons best understood by herself,--and shall we not
believe with a heart yet true to her husband's memory?--she merely
acknowledged the kindness shown to her son; and the Earl and his
adopted boy left France together. When Richard II. was deposed, Henry
Bolingbroke struck off the head of the Earl of Salisbury. Among the
papers of the murdered man the lays of Christine were found by King
Henry, who was so much struck with their purity and beauty, that he
wrote to the fair authoress of her son's safety, under his protection,
and invited her to his court.

This invitation was at once a compliment and an insult, for the hand
that sent it was stained with the blood of her friend. Christine,
however, had worldly wisdom enough to send a respectful, though firm
refusal, to a crowned head, a successful soldier, and one, moreover, who
held her son in his power. Feminine tact must have guided her pen, for
Henry was not offended, and twice despatched a herald to renew the
invitation to his court. She steadily declined to leave France, but
managed the affair so admirably that she at last obtained the return of
her son from England.

Like her father, Thomas de Pisan, Christine seems to have been sought as
an ornament of their courts by several rulers. Henry Bolingbroke could
not gain her for England, and the Duke of Milan in vain urged her to
reside in that city. Seldom has a literary lady in any age received such
tempting invitations; yet Christine refused to leave France, although
her own fortunes were anything but certain. The Duke of Burgundy took
her son under his protection, and urged Christine to write the history
of her patron, Charles V. of France. This was a work grateful to her
feelings, and she had commenced the memoir when the death of the Duke
deprived her of his patronage, and threw her son again upon her care,
involving her in many anxieties. But Christine bore herself through all
her trials with firmness and prudence, and her latter days were more
tranquil. She took a deep interest in the affairs of her adopted
country, and welcomed in her writings the appearance of the Maid of
Orleans. We believe, however, that she was spared the pain of witnessing
the last act in that drama of history, where an innocent victim was
given up by French perfidy to English cruelty.

The deeds of Joan of Arc need no recital here. A daughter of France in
the nineteenth century had a soul pure enough to reflect the image of
the Maid of Orleans, and with a skilful hand she embodied the vision in
marble. The statue of Joan of Arc, modelled by the Princess Marie,
adorns--or rather sanctifies--the halls of Versailles.

Of woman's work as an artist in the early centuries we have a curious
illustration in a manuscript belonging to the Bibliothèque Royale at
Paris, which exhibits a female figure painting the statue of the
Madonna. The artist holds in her left hand a palette, which is the
earliest notice of the use of that implement with which antiquarians are
acquainted. The fashion of painting figures cut in wood was once much
practised, and we see here the representation of a female artist of very
ancient date. Painting, music, and dancing come under the designation of
accomplishments; yet to obtain distinction in any of these branches
implies a vast amount of work. An illustration of Lygate's Pilgrim shows
us a young lady playing upon a species of organ with one hand; in the
other she holds to her lips a mellow horn, through which she pours her
breath, if not her soul; lying beside her is a stringed instrument
called a sawtry. Such varied musical acquirements certainly argue both
industry and devotion to art. Charlemagne's daughters were distinguished
for their skill in dancing; and we read of many instances in the Middle
Ages of women excelling in these fine arts.

The period of time generally denominated the Middle Ages commences with
the fifth century, and ends with the fifteenth. We have in several
instances ventured to extend the limits as far as a part of the
sixteenth century, and therefore include among female artists the name
of Sofonisba Anguisciola, who was born about 1540. She was a noble lady
of Cremona, whose fame spread early throughout Italy. In 1559, Philip
II. of Spain invited her to his court at Madrid, where on her arrival
she was treated with great distinction. Her chief study was portraiture,
and her pictures became objects of great value to kings and popes.

Her royal patrons of Spain married their artist to a noble Sicilian,
giving her a dowry of twelve thousand ducats and a pension of one
thousand ducats, beside rich presents in tapestries and jewels. She went
with her husband to Palermo, where they resided several years. On the
death of her husband the king and queen of Spain urged her to return to
their court; but she excused herself on account of her wish to visit
Cremona. Embarking on board a galley for this purpose, bound to Genoa,
she was entertained with such gallantry by the captain, Orazio
Lomellini, one of the merchant princes of that city, that the heart of
the distinguished artist was won, and she gave him her hand on their
arrival at Genoa.

History does not tell us whether she ever revisited Cremona, but she
dwelt in Genoa during the remainder of her long life, pursuing her art
with great success. On her second marriage, her faithful friends in the
royal family of Spain added four hundred crowns to her pension. The
Empress of Germany visited Sofonisba on the way to Spain, and accepted
from her hand a little picture. Sofonisba became blind in her old age,
but lost no other faculty. Vandyck was her guest when at Genoa, and said
that he had learned more of his art from one blind old woman than from
any other teacher. A medal was struck in her honor at Bologna. The
Academy of Fine Arts at Edinburgh contains a noble picture by Vandyck,
painted in his Italian manner. It represents individuals of the
Lomellini family, and was probably in progress when he visited this
illustrious woman, who had become a member of that house.

Stirling in his "Artists of Spain" states that few of Sofonisba's
pictures are now known to exist, and that the beautiful portrait of
herself, probably the one mentioned by Vasari in the wardrobe of the
Cardinal di Monte at Rome, or that noticed by Soprani in the palace of
Giovanni Lomellini at Genoa, is now in the possession of Earl Spencer at
Althorp. The engraving from this picture, in Dibdin's _Ædes
Althorpianæ_, lies before us. We think the better of kings and queens
who prized a woman with eyes so clear, and an expression of such honesty
and truth. The original is said to be masterly in its drawing and
execution. Sofonisba is represented in a simple black dress, and wears
no jewels. She touches the keys of a harpsichord with her beautiful
hands; a duenna-like figure of an old woman stands behind the
instrument, apparently listening to the melody.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whatever of skill or fame women have acquired through the ages in other
departments, the nursery has ever been an undisputed sphere for woman's
work. Nor have we reason to think that, in the centuries we have been
considering, she was not faithful to this her especial province. The
cradle of Henry V., yet in existence, is one of the best specimens of
nursery furniture in the fourteenth century which have come down to us.
Beautifully carved foliage fills the space between the uprights and
stays and stand of the cradle, which is not upon rockers, but apparently
swings like the modern crib. On each of these uprights is perched a
dove, carefully carved, whose quiet influences had not much effect on
the infant dreams of Prince Hal.

Henry was born at Monmouth, 1388, and sent to Courtfield, about seven
miles distant, where the air was considered more salubrious. There he
was nursed under the superintendence of Lady Montacute, and in that
place this cradle was preserved for many years. It was sold by a steward
of the Montacute property, and, after passing through several hands,
was in the possession of a gentleman near Bristol when engraved for
Shaw's "Ancient Furniture," in 1836.

In the Douce Collection of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, there is
figured in a manuscript of the fifteenth century a cradle, with the baby
very nicely tucked up in it. The cradle resembles those of modern date,
and is upon rockers. Another illustration of the same period shows us a
cradle of similar form, the "cradle, baby, and all" carried on the head
of the nursery-maid,--a caryatid style of baby-tending which we cannot
suppose to have been universal. The inventories of household furniture
belonging to Reginald de la Pole, after enumerating some bed-hangings of
costly stuff, describe: "Item, a pane" (piece of cloth which we now call
counterpane) "and head-shete for y'e cradell, of same sute, bothe furred
with mynever,"--giving us a comfortable idea of the nursery
establishment in the De la Pole family. The recent discovery in England
of that which tradition avers to be the tomb of Canute's little
daughter, speaks of another phase in nursery experience. The relics,
both of the cradle and the grave, bear their own record of the joys,
cares, and sorrows of the nursery in vanished years, and bring near to
every mother's heart the baby that was rocked in the one, and the grief
which came when that little form was given to the solemn keeping of the

A miniature in an early manuscript, called "The Birth of St. Edmund,"
gives us a picture of a bedroom and baby in the fifteenth century. St.
Edmund himself was born five hundred years previous to that date; but as
saints and sinners look very much alike when they are an hour old, we
can imagine that, as far as the baby is concerned, it may be considered
a portrait. A pretty young woman, in a long white gown, whose cap looks
like magnified butterflies' wings turned upside down, sits on a low seat
before the blazing wood-fire burning on great andirons in a wide
fireplace, which, instead of a mantelpiece, has three niches for
ornamental vases. She holds the baby very nicely, and, having warmed his
feet, has wrapt him in a long white garment, so that we see only his
little head in a plain night-cap, surrounded indeed by the gilded nimbus
of his saintship, which we hope was not of tangible substance, as it
would have been an appendage very inconvenient to all parties concerned.
The mother reposes in a bed with high posts and long curtains. She must
have been a woman of strong nerves to have borne the sight of such
stupendous head-gears as those in which her attendants are nid-nodding
over herself and baby, or to have supported the weight of that which she
wears by way of night-cap. One nurse raises the lady, while another,
who, from her showy dress, appears to be the head of the department,
offers a tall, elegant, but very inconveniently-shaped goblet, which
contains, we presume, mediæval gruel. The room has a very comfortable
aspect, from which we judge that some babies in those times were
carefully attended.

Many centuries ago, a young woman sat one day among the boys to whom she
had come, as their father's bride, from a foreign land, to take the name
and place of their mother. She showed to them a beautiful volume of
Saxon poems, one of her wedding-gifts,--perhaps offered by the artists
of the court of Charles le Chauve, of whose skill such magnificent
specimens yet exist. As the attention of the boys was arrested by the
brilliant external decorations, Judith, with that quick instinct for the
extension of knowledge which showed her a true descendant of
Charlemagne, promised that the book should be given to him who first
learned to read it. Young Alfred won the prize, and became Alfred the

We are brought near to the presence of a woman of the Middle Ages when
we stand beside the monument of Eleanor of Castile, queen of Edward I.,
in Westminster Abbey. The figure is lifelike and beautiful, with flowing
drapery folded simply around it. The countenance, with its delicate
features, wears a look of sweetness and dignity as fresh to-day as when
sculptured seven hundred years ago. The hair, confined by a coronet,
falls on each side of her face in ringlets; one hand lies by her side,
and once held a sceptre; the other is brought gracefully upward; the
slender fingers, with trusting touch, are laid upon a cross suspended
from her neck.

Historians have done their best, or their worst, to throw doubt upon the
story of Eleanor's sucking the poison with her lips from the arm of her
husband when a dastardly assassin of those days struck at the life of
Edward. But such a tradition, whether actually a fact or not, is a
tribute to the affection and strength of Eleanor's character; and all
historians agree that she instilled no poison into the life of king or
country. As a wife, a mother, and a queen, Eleanor of Castile stands
high on the record of the women of the Middle Ages.

Coming from Westminster Abbey, in the spring of 1856, we stood one day
at a window in the Strand, and watched a multitude which no man could
number, pulsing through that great artery of the mighty heart of London.
It was the day of the great Peace celebration, and a holiday. Hour after
hour the mighty host swept on, in undiminished numbers. The place where
we stood was Charing Cross, and our thoughts went back seven hundred
years, when Edward, following the mortal remains of his beloved Eleanor,
erected on this spot, then a country suburb of London, the last of that
line of crosses which marked those places where the mournful procession
paused on its way from Hereby to Westminster. It was the cross of the
dear queen, _la chère reine_, which time and changes of language have
since corrupted into Charing Cross. Through this pathway crowds have
trodden for many centuries, and few remember that its name is linked
with the queenly dead or with a kingly sorrow. Thus it is, as we hasten
on through the busy thoroughfares of life from age to age, even as one
of our own poets hath said,--

    "We pass, and heed each other not."

In these pages we have made some record of woman's work in past
centuries, and also caught glimpses of duties, loves, hopes, fears, and
sorrows not unlike our own. A wider sphere is now accorded, and a deeper
responsibility devolves upon woman to fill it wisely and well. We should
never forget that, as far as they were faithful to the duties appointed
to them, they elevated their sex to a higher and nobler position, and
therein performed the best work of the women of the Middle Ages.



Concord, _Thursday, Sept. 1, 1842._--Mr. Thoreau dined with us
yesterday.... He is a keen and delicate observer of nature,--a genuine
observer,--which, I suspect, is almost as rare a character as even an
original poet; and Nature, in return for his love, seems to adopt him as
her especial child, and shows him secrets which few others are allowed
to witness. He is familiar with beast, fish, fowl, and reptile, and has
strange stories to tell of adventures and friendly passages with these
lower brethren of mortality. Herb and flower, likewise, wherever they
grow, whether in garden or wild wood, are his familiar friends. He is
also on intimate terms with the clouds, and can tell the portents of
storms. It is a characteristic trait, that he has a great regard for the
memory of the Indian tribes, whose wild life would have suited him so
well; and, strange to say, he seldom walks over a ploughed field without
picking up an arrow-point, spear-head, or other relic of the red man, as
if their spirits willed him to be the inheritor of their simple wealth.

With all this he has more than a tincture of literature,--a deep and
true taste for poetry, especially for the elder poets, and he is a good
writer,--at least he has written a good article, a rambling disquisition
on Natural History, in the last Dial, which, he says, was chiefly made
up from journals of his own observations. Methinks this article gives a
very fair image of his mind and character,--so true, innate, and literal
in observation, yet giving the spirit as well as letter of what he sees,
even as a lake reflects its wooded banks, showing every leaf, yet giving
the wild beauty of the whole scene. Then there are in the article
passages of cloudy and dreamy metaphysics, and also passages where his
thoughts seem to measure and attune themselves into spontaneous verse,
as they rightfully may, since there is real poetry in them. There is a
basis of good sense and of moral truth, too, throughout the article,
which also is a reflection of his character; for he is not unwise to
think and feel, and I find him a healthy and wholesome man to know.

After dinner, (at which we cut the first watermelon and muskmelon that
our garden has grown,) Mr. Thoreau and I walked up the bank of the
river, and at a certain point he shouted for his boat. Forthwith a young
man paddled it across, and Mr. Thoreau and I voyaged farther up the
stream, which soon became more beautiful than any picture, with its dark
and quiet sheet of water, half shaded, half sunny, between high and
wooded banks. The late rains have swollen the stream so much that many
trees are standing up to their knees, as it were, in the water, and
boughs, which lately swung high in air, now dip and drink deep of the
passing wave. As to the poor cardinals which glowed upon the bank a few
days since, I could see only a few of their scarlet hats, peeping above
the tide. Mr. Thoreau managed the boat so perfectly, either with two
paddles or with one, that it seemed instinct with his own will, and to
require no physical effort to guide it. He said that, when some Indians
visited Concord a few years ago, he found that he had acquired, without
a teacher, their precise method of propelling and steering a canoe.
Nevertheless he was desirous of selling the boat of which he was so fit
a pilot, and which was built by his own hands; so I agreed to take it,
and accordingly became possessor of the Musketaquid. I wish I could
acquire the aquatic skill of the original owner.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept. 2._--Yesterday afternoon Mr. Thoreau arrived with the boat. The
adjacent meadow being overflowed by the rise of the stream, he had rowed
directly to the foot of the orchard, and landed at the bars, after
floating over forty or fifty yards of water where people were lately
making hay. I entered the boat with him, in order to have the benefit of
a lesson in rowing and paddling.... I managed, indeed, to propel the
boat by rowing with two oars, but the use of the single paddle is quite
beyond my present skill. Mr. Thoreau had assured me that it was only
necessary to will the boat to go in any particular direction, and she
would immediately take that course, as if imbued with the spirit of the
steersman. It may be so with him, but it is certainly not so with me.
The boat seemed to be bewitched, and turned its head to every point of
the compass except the right one. He then took the paddle himself, and
though I could observe nothing peculiar in his management of it, the
Musketaquid immediately became as docile as a trained steed. I suspect
that she has not yet transferred her affections from her old master to
her new one. By and by, when we are better acquainted, she will grow
more tractable.... We propose to change her name from Musketaquid (the
Indian name of the Concord River, meaning the river of meadows) to the
Pond-Lily, which will be very beautiful and appropriate, as, during the
summer season, she will bring home many a cargo of pond-lilies from
along the river's weedy shore. It is not very likely that I shall make
such long voyages in her as Mr. Thoreau has made. He once followed our
river down to the Merrimack, and thence, I believe, to Newburyport, in
this little craft.

In the evening, ---- ---- called to see us, wishing to talk with me
about a Boston periodical, of which he had heard that I was to be
editor, and to which he desired to contribute. He is an odd and clever
young man, with nothing very peculiar about him,--some originality and
self-inspiration in his character, but none, or very little, in his
intellect. Nevertheless, the lad himself seems to feel as if he were a
genius. I like him well enough, however; but, after all, these originals
in a small way, after one has seen a few of them, become more dull and
commonplace than even those who keep the ordinary pathway of life. They
have a rule and a routine, which they follow with as little variety as
other people do their rule and routine, and when once we have fathomed
their mystery, nothing can be more wearisome. An innate perception and
reflection of truth give the only sort of originality that does not
finally grow intolerable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept. 4._--I made a voyage in the Pond-Lily all by myself yesterday
morning, and was much encouraged by my success in causing the boat to go
whither I would. I have always liked to be afloat, but I think I have
never adequately conceived of the enjoyment till now, when I begin to
feel a power over that which supports me. I suppose I must have felt
something like this sense of triumph when I first learned to swim; but I
have forgotten it. O that I could run wild!--that is, that I could put
myself into a true relation with Nature, and be on friendly terms with
all congenial elements.

We had a thunder-storm last evening; and to-day has been a cool, breezy
autumnal day, such as my soul and body love.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept. 18._--How the summer-time flits away, even while it seems to be
loitering onward, arm in arm with autumn! Of late I have walked but
little over the hills and through the woods, my leisure being chiefly
occupied with my boat, which I have now learned to manage with tolerable
skill. Yesterday afternoon I made a voyage alone up the North Branch of
Concord River. There was a strong west wind blowing dead against me,
which, together with the current, increased by the height of the water,
made the first part of the passage pretty toilsome. The black river was
all dimpled over with little eddies and whirlpools; and the breeze,
moreover, caused the billows to beat against the bow of the boat, with a
sound like the flapping of a bird's wing. The water-weeds, where they
were discernible through the tawny water, were straight outstretched by
the force of the current, looking as if they were forced to hold on to
their roots with all their might. If for a moment I desisted from
paddling, the head of the boat was swept round by the combined might of
wind and tide. However, I toiled onward stoutly, and, entering the North
Branch, soon found myself floating quietly along a tranquil stream,
sheltered from the breeze by the woods and a lofty hill. The current,
likewise, lingered along so gently that it was merely a pleasure to
propel the boat against it. I never could have conceived that there was
so beautiful a river-scene in Concord as this of the North Branch. The
stream flows through the midmost privacy and deepest heart of a wood,
which, as if but half satisfied with its presence, calm, gentle, and
unobtrusive as it is, seems to crowd upon it, and barely to allow it
passage; for the trees are rooted on the very verge of the water, and
dip their pendent branches into it. On one side there is a high bank,
forming the side of a hill, the Indian name of which I have forgotten,
though Mr. Thoreau told it to me; and here, in some instances, the trees
stand leaning over the river, stretching out their arms as if about to
plunge in headlong. On the other side, the bank is almost on a level
with the water; and there the quiet congregation of trees stood with
feet in the flood, and fringed with foliage down to its very surface.
Vines here and there twine themselves about bushes or aspens or
alder-trees, and hang their clusters (though scanty and infrequent this
season) so that I can reach them from my boat. I scarcely remember a
scene of more complete and lovely seclusion than the passage of the
river through this wood. Even an Indian canoe, in olden times, could not
have floated onward in deeper solitude than my boat. I have never
elsewhere had such an opportunity to observe how much more beautiful
reflection is than what we call reality. The sky, and the clustering
foliage on either hand, and the effect of sunlight as it found its way
through the shade, giving lightsome hues in contrast with the quiet
depth of the prevailing tints,--all these seemed unsurpassably beautiful
when beheld in upper air. But on gazing downward, there they were, the
same even to the minutest particular, yet arrayed in ideal beauty, which
satisfied the spirit incomparably more than the actual scene. I am half
convinced that the reflection is indeed the reality, the real thing
which Nature imperfectly images to our grosser sense. At any rate, the
disembodied shadow is nearest to the soul.

There were many tokens of autumn in this beautiful picture. Two or three
of the trees were actually dressed in their coats of many colors,--the
real scarlet and gold which they wear before they put on mourning. These
stood on low, marshy spots, where a frost has probably touched them
already. Others were of a light, fresh green, resembling the hues of
spring, though this, likewise, is a token of decay. The great mass of
the foliage, however, appears unchanged; but ever and anon down came a
yellow leaf, half flitting upon the air, half falling through it, and
finally settling upon the water. A multitude of these were floating here
and there along the river, many of them curling upward, so as to form
little boats, fit for fairies to voyage in. They looked strangely
pretty, with yet a melancholy prettiness, as they floated along. The
general aspect of the river, however, differed but little from that of
summer,--at least the difference defies expression. It is more in the
character of the rich yellow sunlight than in aught else. The water of
the stream has now a thrill of autumnal coolness; yet whenever a broad
gleam fell across it, through an interstice of the foliage, multitudes
of insects were darting to and fro upon its surface. The sunshine, thus
falling across the dark river, has a most beautiful effect. It burnishes
it, as it were, and yet leaves it as dark as ever.

On my return, I suffered the boat to float almost of its own will down
the stream, and caught fish enough for this morning's breakfast. But,
partly from a qualm of conscience, I finally put them all into the water
again, and saw them swim away as if nothing had happened.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, October 10, 1842._--A long while, indeed, since my last date.
But the weather has been generally sunny and pleasant, though often very
cold; and I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal
sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the
daylight hours in the open air. My chief amusement has been boating up
and down the river. A week or two ago (September 27 and 28) I went on a
pedestrian excursion with Mr. Emerson, and was gone two days and one
night, it being the first and only night that I have spent away from
home. We were that night at the village of Harvard, and the next morning
walked three miles farther, to the Shaker village, where we breakfasted.
Mr. Emerson had a theological discussion with two of the Shaker
brethren; but the particulars of it have faded from my memory; and all
the other adventures of the tour have now so lost their freshness that I
cannot adequately recall them. Wherefore let them rest untold. I
recollect nothing so well as the aspect of some fringed gentians, which
we saw growing by the roadside, and which were so beautiful that I
longed to turn back and pluck them. After an arduous journey, we arrived
safe home in the afternoon of the second day,--the first time that I
ever came home in my life; for I never had a home before. On Saturday of
the same week, my friend D. R---- came to see us, and stayed till
Tuesday morning. On Wednesday there was a cattle-show in the village, of
which I would give a description, if it had possessed any picturesque
points. The foregoing are the chief outward events of our life.

In the mean time autumn has been advancing, and is said to be a month
earlier than usual. We had frosts, sufficient to kill the bean and
squash vines, more than a fortnight ago; but there has since been some
of the most delicious Indian-summer weather that I ever
experienced,--mild, sweet, perfect days, in which the warm sunshine
seemed to embrace the earth and all earth's children with love and
tenderness. Generally, however, the bright days have been vexed with
winds from the northwest, somewhat too keen and high for comfort. These
winds have strewn our avenue with withered leaves, although the trees
still retain some density of foliage, which is now embrowned or
otherwise variegated by autumn. Our apples, too, have been falling,
falling, falling; and we have picked the fairest of them from the dewy
grass, and put them in our store-room and elsewhere. On Thursday, John
Flint began to gather those which remained on the trees; and I suppose
they will amount to nearly twenty barrels, or perhaps more. As usual
when I have anything to sell, apples are very low indeed in price, and
will not fetch me more than a dollar a barrel. I have sold my share of
the potato-field for twenty dollars and ten bushels of potatoes for my
own use. This may suffice for the economical history of our recent life.

_12 o'clock_, A. M.--Just now I heard a sharp tapping at the window of
my study, and, looking up from my book (a volume of Rabelais), behold!
the head of a little bird, who seemed to demand admittance! He was
probably attempting to get a fly, which was on the pane of glass against
which he rapped; and on my first motion the feathered visitor took wing.
This incident had a curious effect on me. It impressed me as if the bird
had been a spiritual visitant, so strange was it that this little wild
thing should seem to ask our hospitality.

       *       *       *       *       *

_November 8._--I am sorry that our journal has fallen so into neglect;
but I see no chance of amendment. All my scribbling propensities will be
far more than gratified in writing nonsense for the press; so that any
gratuitous labor of the pen becomes peculiarly distasteful. Since the
last date, we have paid a visit of nine days to Boston and Salem, whence
we returned a week ago yesterday. Thus we lost above a week of delicious
autumnal weather, which should have been spent in the woods or upon the
river. Ever since our return, however, until to-day, there has been a
succession of genuine Indian-summer days, with gentle winds or none at
all, and a misty atmosphere, which idealizes all nature, and a mild,
beneficent sunshine, inviting one to lie down in a nook and forget all
earthly care. To-day the sky is dark and lowering, and occasionally lets
fall a few sullen tears. I suppose we must bid farewell to Indian summer
now, and expect no more love and tenderness from Mother Nature till next
spring be well advanced. She has already made herself as unlovely in
outward aspect as can well be. We took a walk to Sleepy Hollow
yesterday, and beheld scarcely a green thing, except the everlasting
verdure of the family of pines, which, indeed, are trees to thank God
for at this season. A range of young birches had retained a pretty
liberal coloring of yellow or tawny leaves, which became very cheerful
in the sunshine. There were one or two oak-trees whose foliage still
retained a deep, dusky red, which looked rich and warm; but most of the
oaks had reached the last stage of autumnal decay,--the dusky brown hue.
Millions of their leaves strew the woods, and rustle underneath the
foot; but enough remain upon the boughs to make a melancholy harping
when the wind sweeps over them. We found some fringed gentians in the
meadow, most of them blighted and withered; but a few were quite
perfect. The other day, since our return from Salem, I found a violet;
yet it was so cold that day, that a large pool of water, under the
shadow of some trees, had remained frozen from morning till afternoon.
The ice was so thick as not to be broken by some sticks and small stones
which I threw upon it. But ice and snow too will soon be no
extraordinary matters with us.

During the last week we have had three stoves put up, and henceforth no
light of a cheerful fire will gladden us at eventide. Stoves are
detestable in every respect, except that they keep us perfectly

       *       *       *       *       *

_Thursday, November 24._--This is Thanksgiving Day, a good old festival,
and we have kept it with our hearts, and, besides, have made good cheer
upon our turkey and pudding, and pies and custards, although none sat at
our board but our two selves. There was a new and livelier sense, I
think, that we have at last found a home, and that a new family has been
gathered since the last Thanksgiving Day. There have been many bright,
cold days latterly, so cold that it has required a pretty rapid pace to
keep one's self warm a-walking. Day before yesterday I saw a party of
boys skating on a pond of water that has overflowed a neighboring
meadow. Running water has not yet frozen. Vegetation has quite come to a
stand, except in a few sheltered spots. In a deep ditch we found a tall
plant of the freshest and healthiest green, which looked as if it must
have grown within the last few weeks. We wander among the wood-paths,
which are very pleasant in the sunshine of the afternoons, the trees
looking rich and warm,--such of them, I mean, as have retained their
russet leaves; and where the leaves are strewn along the paths, or
heaped plentifully in some hollow of the hills, the effect is not
without a charm. To-day the morning rose with rain, which has since
changed to snow and sleet; and now the landscape is as dreary as can
well be imagined,--white, with the brownness of the soil and withered
grass everywhere peeping out. The swollen river, of a leaden hue, drags
itself sullenly along; and this may be termed the first winter's day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, March 31, 1843._--The first month of spring is already gone;
and still the snow lies deep on hill and valley, and the river is still
frozen from bank to bank, although a late rain has caused pools of water
to stand on the surface of the ice, and the meadows are overflowed into
broad lakes. Such a protracted winter has not been known for twenty
years, at least. I have almost forgotten the wood-paths and shady places
which I used to know so well last summer; and my views are so much
confined to the interior of our mansion, that sometimes, looking out of
the window, I am surprised to catch a glimpse of houses at no great
distance which had quite passed out of my recollection. From present
appearances, another month may scarcely suffice to wash away all the
snow from the open country; and in the woods and hollows it may linger
yet longer. The winter will not have been a day less than five months
long; and it would not be unfair to call it seven. A great space,
indeed, to miss the smile of Nature, in a single year of human life.
Even out of the midst of happiness I have sometimes sighed and groaned;
for I love the sunshine and the green woods, and the sparkling blue
water; and it seems as if the picture of our inward bliss should be set
in a beautiful frame of outward nature.... As to the daily course of our
life, I have written with pretty commendable diligence, averaging from
two to four hours a day; and the result is seen in various magazines. I
might have written more, if it had seemed worth while; but I was content
to earn only so much gold as might suffice for our immediate wants,
having prospect of official station and emolument which would do away
with the necessity of writing for bread. Those prospects have not yet
had their fulfilment; and we are well content to wait, because an office
would inevitably remove us from our present happy home,--at least from
an outward home; for there is an inner one that will accompany us
wherever we go. Meantime, the magazine people do not pay their debts; so
that we taste some of the inconveniences of poverty. It is an annoyance,
not a trouble.

Every day, I trudge through snow and slosh to the village, look into the
post-office, and spend an hour at the reading-room; and then return
home, generally without having spoken a word to a human being.... In the
way of exercise I saw and split wood, and, physically, I never was in a
better condition than now. This is chiefly owing, doubtless, to a
satisfied heart, in aid of which comes the exercise above mentioned, and
about a fair proportion of intellectual labor.

On the 9th of this month, we left home again on a visit to Boston and
Salem. I alone went to Salem, where I resumed all my bachelor habits for
nearly a fortnight, leading the same life in which ten years of my youth
flitted away like a dream. But how much changed was I! At last I had
caught hold of a reality which never could be taken from me. It was good
thus to get apart from my happiness, for the sake of contemplating it.
On the 21st, I returned to Boston, and went out to Cambridge to dine
with Longfellow, whom I had not seen since his return from Europe. The
next day we came back to our old house, which had been deserted all this
time; for our servant had gone with us to Boston.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, April 7._--My wife has gone to Boston to see her sister M----,
who is to be married in two or three weeks, and then immediately to
visit Europe for six months.... I betook myself to sawing and splitting
wood; there being an inward unquietness which demanded active exercise,
and I sawed, I think, more briskly than ever before. When I re-entered
the house, it was with somewhat of a desolate feeling; yet not without
an intermingled pleasure, as being the more conscious that all
separation was temporary, and scarcely real, even for the little time
that it may last. After my solitary dinner, I lay down, with the Dial in
my hand, and attempted to sleep; but sleep would not come.... So I
arose, and began this record in the journal, almost at the commencement
of which I was interrupted by a visit from Mr. Thoreau, who came to
return a book, and to announce his purpose of going to reside at Staten
Island, as private tutor in the family of Mr. Emerson's brother. We had
some conversation upon this subject, and upon the spiritual advantages
of change of place, and upon the Dial, and upon Mr. Alcott, and other
kindred or concatenated subjects. I am glad, on Mr. Thoreau's own
account, that he is going away, as he is out of health and may be
benefited by his removal; but, on my account, I should like to have him
remain here, he being one of the few persons, I think, with whom to hold
intercourse is like hearing the wind among the boughs of a forest-tree;
and with all this wild freedom, there is high and classic cultivation
in him too....

I had a purpose, if circumstances would permit, of passing the whole
term of my wife's absence without speaking a word to any human being;
but now my Pythagorean vow has been broken, within three or four hours
after her departure.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, April 8._--After journalizing yesterday afternoon, I went out
and sawed and split wood till tea-time, then studied German,
(translating Lenore,) with an occasional glance at a beautiful sunset,
which I could not enjoy sufficiently by myself to induce me to lay aside
the book. After lamp-light, finished Lenore, and drowsed over Voltaire's
Candide, occasionally refreshing myself with a tune from Mr. Thoreau's
musical box, which he had left in my keeping. The evening was but a dull

I retired soon after nine, and felt some apprehension that the old
Doctor's ghost would take this opportunity to visit me; but I rather
think his former visitations have not been intended for me, and that I
am not sufficiently spiritual for ghostly communication. At all events,
I met with no disturbance of the kind, and slept soundly enough till six
o'clock or thereabouts. The forenoon was spent with the pen in my hand,
and sometimes I had the glimmering of an idea, and endeavored to
materialize it in words; but on the whole my mind was idly vagrant, and
refused to work to any systematic purpose. Between eleven and twelve I
went to the post-office, but found no letter; then spent above an hour
reading at the Athenæum. On my way home, I encountered Mr. Flint, for
the first time these many weeks, although he is our next neighbor in one
direction. I inquired if he could sell us some potatoes, and he promised
to send half a bushel for trial. Also, he encouraged me to hope that he
might buy a barrel of our apples. After my encounter with Mr. Flint, I
returned to our lonely old abbey, opened the door without the usual
heart-spring, ascended to my study, and began to read a tale of Tieck.
Slow work, and dull work too! Anon, Molly, the cook, rang the bell for
dinner,--a sumptuous banquet of stewed veal and macaroni, to which I sat
down in solitary state. My appetite served me sufficiently to eat with,
but not for enjoyment. Nothing has a zest in my present widowed state.
[Thus far I had written, when Mr. Emerson called.] After dinner, I lay
down on the couch, with the Dial in my hand as a soporific, and had a
short nap; then began to journalize.

Mr. Emerson came, with a sunbeam in his face; and we had as good a talk
as I ever remember to have had with him. He spoke of Margaret Fuller,
who, he says, has risen perceptibly into a higher state since their last
meeting. [There rings the tea-bell.] Then we discoursed of Ellery
Channing, a volume of whose poems is to be immediately published, with
revisions by Mr. Emerson himself and Mr. Sam G. Ward.... He calls them
"poetry for poets." Next Mr. Thoreau was discussed, and his approaching
departure; in respect to which we agreed pretty well.... We talked of
Brook Farm, and the singular moral aspects which it presents, and the
great desirability that its progress and developments should be observed
and its history written; also of C. N----, who, it appears, is passing
through a new moral phasis. He is silent, inexpressive, talks little or
none, and listens without response, except a sardonic laugh; and some of
his friends think that he is passing into permanent eclipse. Various
other matters were considered or glanced at, and finally, between five
and six o'clock, Mr. Emerson took his leave. I then went out to chop
wood, my allotted space for which had been very much abridged by his
visit; but I was not sorry. I went on with the journal for a few minutes
before tea, and have finished the present record in the setting sunshine
and gathering dusk....


19, 1866.

We meet to-day under auspices how different from those which attended
our last triennial assembling! We were then in the midst of a civil war,
without sight of the end, though not without hope of final success to
the cause of national integrity. The three days' agony at Gettysburg had
issued in the triumph of the loyal arms, repelling the threatened
invasion of the North. The surrender of Vicksburg had just reopened the
trade of the Mississippi. The capture of Port Hudson was yet fresh in
our ears, when suddenly tidings of armed resistance to conscription in
the city of New York gave ominous note of danger lurking at the very
heart of the Union. In the shadow of that omen, we celebrated our
academic festival of 1863.

The shadow passed. With varying fortunes, but unvarying purpose, the
loyal States pursued the contest. And when, in the autumn of 1864, by a
solemn act of self-interrogation, they had certified their will and
their power to maintain that contest to the end of disunion, and when a
popular election expressing that intent had overcome the land like a
summer-cloud without a bolt in its bosom, the victory was sown with the
ballot which Grant and Sherman reaped with the sword.

Secession collapsed. Its last and most illustrious victim, borne to his
rest through territories draped in mourning, through sobbing
commonwealths, through populations of uncovered heads, revealed to all
time the spirit that was in it and the spirit that subdued it. And
to-day, as we meet our Reverend Mother in this scene of old affections,
the stupendous struggle has already receded into the shadow-land of
History. The war is a thing of the past. If hatred still rankles, open
hostilities have ceased. If rumblings of the recent tempest still mutter
along the track of its former desolation, the storm is over. The
conflict is ended. No more conscription of husbands, sons, and brothers
for the weary work of destruction; no more the forced march by day, the
bivouac at night, and to-morrow the delirium of carnage. No more anxious
waiting in distant homes for tidings from the front, and breathless
conning of the death-list to know if the loved ones are among the slain.
No more the fresh grief-agony over the unreturning brave. All that is

    "For the terrible work is done,
    And the good fight is won
        For God and for Fatherland."

The sword has returned to its sheath. The symbol-flags that shed their
starry pomp on the field of death hang idly drooping in the halls of
state. And before new armies in hostile encounter on American soil shall
unfurl new banners to the breeze, may every thread and thrum of their
texture ravel and rot and resolve itself into dust!

Another and nearer interest distinguishes this occasion and suggests its
appropriate theme,--our Alma Mater.

The General Court of Massachusetts, which has hitherto elected the Board
of Overseers of Harvard College, after so many years of fitful and
experimental legislation, has finally enacted, that "the places of the
successive classes in the Board of Overseers of Harvard College, and the
vacancies in such classes, shall hereafter be annually supplied by
ballot of such persons as have received from the College a degree of
Bachelor of Arts, or Master of Arts, or any honorary degree, voting on
Commencement-day in the city of Cambridge; such election to be first
held in the year 1866."

This act initiates a radical change in the organization of this
University. It establishes for one of its legislative Houses a new
electorate. The State hereby discharges itself of all active
participation in the conduct of the College, and devolves on the body of
the Alumni responsibilities assumed in former enactments extending
through a period of more than two hundred years. The wisdom or justice
of this measure I am not inclined to discuss. Certainly there is nothing
in the history of past relations between the Commonwealth and the
University that should make us regret the change. That history has not
been one of mere benefactions on one side, and pure indebtedness on the
other. Whatever the University may owe to the State, the balance of
obligation falls heavily on the other side. In the days of Provincial
rule the Colony of Massachusetts Bay appears to have exhausted its zeal
for collegiate education in the much-lauded promissory act by which the
General Court, in 1636, "agree to give four hundred pounds towards a
school or college, whereof two hundred pounds shall be paid next year."
The promise was not fulfilled, and the record of those years leaves it
doubtful whether legislative action alone would during that or the next
generation have accomplished the work, had not a graduate of Emanuel
College in English Cambridge, who seems providentially enough to have
dropped on these shores, where he lived but a year, for that express
purpose, supplied the requisite funds.

The College once started and got under way, the fathers of the Province
assumed a vigilant oversight of its orthodoxy, but discharged with a lax
and grudging service the responsibility of its maintenance. They ejected
the first President, the protomartyr of American learning, the man who
sacrificed more to the College than any one individual in the whole
course of its history, on account of certain scruples about infant
baptism, of which, in the language of the time, "it was not hard to
discover that they came from the Evil One," and for which poor Dunster
was indicted by the grand-jury, sentenced to a public admonition, and
laid under bonds for good behavior.

They starved the second President for eighteen years on a salary payable
in Indian corn; and in answer to his earnest prayer for relief, alleging
instant necessity, the sacrifice of personal property, and the custom of
English universities, a committee of the General Court reported that
"they conceive the country to have done honorably toward the petitioner,
and that his parity with English colleges is not pertinent."

The third President, by their connivance and co-operation, was
sacrificed to the machinations of the students, egged on, it is thought,
by members of the Corporation, and died, "as was said, with a broken

Meanwhile, through neglect of the Province to provide for its support,
the material fortunes of the College, in the course of thirty years, had
fallen into such decay that extinction was inevitable, had not the
people of another Colony come to the rescue. The town of Portsmouth, in
New Hampshire, hearing, says their address, "the loud groans of the
sinking College,... and hoping that their example might provoke ... the
General Court vigorously to act for the diverting of the omen of
calamity which its destruction would be to New England," pledged
themselves to an annual contribution of sixty pounds for seven years.
This act of chivalrous generosity fairly shamed our lagging Commonwealth
into measures for the resuscitation of an institution especially
committed to its care.

The most remarkable feature of this business is that the Province all
this while was drawing, not only moral support, but pecuniary aid, from
the College. "It is manifest," says Quincy,[A] "that the treasury of
the Colony, having been the recipient of many of the early donations to
the College, was not a little aided by the convenience which these
available funds afforded to its pecuniary necessities. Some of these
funds, although received in 1647, were not paid over to the treasury of
the College until 1713; then, indeed, the College received an allowance
of simple interest for the delay. With regard, therefore, to the annual
allowance of £100, whereby," during the first seventy years, "they
enabled the President of the College simply to exist, it is proper to
observe, that there was not probably one year in the whole seventy in
which, by moneys collected from friends of the institution in foreign
countries, by donations of its friends in this country, by moneys
brought by students from other Colonies, and above all by furnishing the
means of education at home, and thus preventing the outgoing of domestic
wealth for education abroad, the College did not remunerate the Colony
for that poor annual stipend five hundred fold."

The patronage extended to the College after the Revolution was not more
cordial and not more adequate than the meagre succors of Colonial
legislation. The first Governor of independent Massachusetts, from the
height of his impregnable popularity, for more than twelve years defied
the repeated attempts of the Corporation, backed by the Overseers, to
obtain the balance of his account as former Treasurer of the College,
and died its debtor in a sum exceeding a thousand pounds. The debt was
finally paid by his heirs, but not without a loss of some hundreds of
dollars to the College.

At the commencement of hostilities between the Colonies and the mother
country, the Revolutionary authorities had taken possession of these
grounds. Reversing the old order, "Cedant arma togæ," they drove out the
_togæ_ and brought in the arms. The books went one way, the boys
another,--the books to Andover, the boys to Concord. The dawn of
American liberty was not an "Aurora musis amica." The Muse of History
alone remained with Brigadier Putnam and General Ward. The College was
turned into a camp,--a measure abundantly justified by public necessity,
but causing much damage to the buildings occupied as barracks by the
Continentals. This damage was nominally allowed by the General Court,
but was reckoned in the currency of that day, whereby the College
received but a quarter of the cost.

In 1786, the State saw fit to discontinue the small pittance which till
then had been annually granted toward the support of the President; and
from that time to this, with the exception of the proceeds of a
bank-tax, granted for ten years in 1814, and the recent large
appropriation from the School Fund for the use of the Museum of Natural
History, the College has received no substantial aid from the State. The
State has, during the last ten years, expended two millions of dollars
in a vain attempt to bore a hole through one of her hills: in the whole
two hundred and thirty years of our academic history she has not
expended a quarter of that sum in filling up this hole in her
educational system.

I intend no disrespect to the noble Commonwealth of which no native can
be insensible to the glory of his birthright. No State has done more for
popular education than the State of Massachusetts. But for reasons
satisfactory, no doubt, to themselves, her successive legislators have
not seen fit to extend to her colleges the fostering care bestowed on
her schools. And certainly, if one or the other must be neglected, we
shall all agree in saying, Let the schools be cherished, and let the
colleges take care of themselves. Let due provision be made for popular
instruction in the rudiments of knowledge, which are also rudiments of
good citizenship; let every citizen be taxed for that prime exigency,
and let literature and science find patrons where they can. Literature
and science will find patrons, and here in Massachusetts have always
found them. If the legislators of the State have been sparing of their
benefactions, the wealthy sons of the State have been prodigal of
theirs. In no country has the private patronage of science been more
liberal and prompt than in Massachusetts. Seldom, in the history of
science, has there been a nobler instance of that patronage than this
University is now experiencing, in the mission of one of her professors
on an enterprise of scientific exploration, started and maintained by a
private citizen of Boston. When our Agassiz shall return to us
reinforced with the lore of the Andes, and replenished with the spoils
of the Amazon,--_tot millia squamigeræ gentis_,--the discoveries he
shall add to science, and the treasures he shall add to his Museum,
whilst they splendidly illustrate his own qualifications for such a
mission, will forever attest the liberality of a son of Massachusetts.

The rich men of the State have not been wanting to literature and
science. They have not been wanting to this University. Let their names
be held in everlasting remembrance. When the Memorial Hall, which your
committee have in charge, shall stand complete, let its mural records
present, together with the names of those who have deserved well of the
country by their patriotism, the names of those who have deserved well
of the College by their benefactions. Let these fautors of science, the
heroes of peace, have their place side by side with the heroes of war.

Individuals have done their part, but slow is the growth of institutions
which depend on individual charity for their support. As an illustration
of what may be done by public patronage, when States are in earnest with
their universities, and as strangely contrasting the sluggish fortunes
of our own _Alma_, look at the State University of Michigan. Here is an
institution but twenty-five years old, already numbering thirty-two
professors and over twelve hundred students, having public buildings
equal in extent to those which two centuries have given to Cambridge,
and all the apparatus of a well-constituted, thoroughly furnished
university. All this within twenty-five years! The State itself which
has generated this wonderful growth had no place in the Union until
after Harvard had celebrated her two hundredth birthday. In twenty-five
years, in a country five hundred miles from the seaboard,--a country
which fifty years ago was known only to the fur trade,--a University has
sprung up, to which students flock from all parts of the land, and which
offers to thousands, free of expense, the best education this continent
affords. Such is the difference between public and private patronage,
between individual effort and the action of a State.

A proof of the broad intent and oecumenical consciousness of this
infant College appears in the fact that its Medical Department, which
alone numbers ten professors and five hundred students, allows the
option of one of four languages in the thesis required for the medical
degree. It is the only seminary in the country whose liberal scope and
cosmopolitan outlook satisfy the idea of a great university. Compared
with this, our other colleges are all provincial; and unless the State
of Massachusetts shall see fit to adopt us, and to foster our interest
with something of the zeal and liberality which the State of Michigan
bestows on her academic masterpiece, Harvard cannot hope to compete with
this precocious child of the West.

Meanwhile, Alumni, the State has devolved upon us, as electors of the
Board of Overseers, an important trust. This trust conveys no right of
immediate jurisdiction, but it may become the channel of an influence
which shall make itself felt in the conduct of this University. It
invites us to take counsel concerning her wants and her weal. I
therefore pursue the theme which this crisis in our history suggests.

Of existing universities the greater part are the product of an age
whose intellectual fashion differed as widely from the present as it did
from that of Greek and Roman antiquity. Our own must be reckoned with
that majority, dating, as it does, from a period antecedent, not only to
all other American colleges, but to some of the most eminent of other
lands. Half of the better known and most influential of German
universities are of later origin than ours. The University of Göttingen,
once the most flourishing in Germany, is younger than Harvard by a
hundred years. Halle is younger, and Erlangen, and Munich with its vast
library, and Bonn, and Berlin, by nearly two hundred years.

When this College was founded, two of the main forces of the
intellectual world of our time had scarcely come into play,--modern
literature and modern science. Science knew nothing as yet of chemistry,
nothing of electricity, of geology, scarce anything of botany. In
astronomy, the Copernican system was just struggling into notice, and
far from being universally received. Lord Bacon, I think, was the latest
author of note in the library bequeathed by John Harvard; and Lord Bacon
rejected the Copernican system. English literature had had its great
Elizabethan age; but little of the genius of that literature had
penetrated the Puritan mind. It is doubtful if a copy of Shakespeare had
found its way to these shores in 1636. Milton's star was just climbing
its native horizon, invisible as yet to the Western world.

The College was founded for the special and avowed purpose of training
young men for the service of the Church. All its studies were arranged
with reference to that object: endless expositions of Scripture,
catechetical divinity, "commonplacing" of sermons,--already, one
fancies, sufficiently commonplace,--Chaldee, Syriac, Hebrew without
points, and other Semitic exasperations. Latin, as the language of
theology, was indispensable, and within certain limits was practically
better understood, perhaps, in Cambridge of the seventeenth century,
than in Cambridge of the nineteenth. It was the language of official
intercourse. Indeed, the use of the English was forbidden to the
students within the College walls. _Scholares vernacula lingua intra
Collegii limites nullo prætextu utuntor_, was the law,--a law which
Cotton Mather complains was so neglected in his day "as to render our
scholars very unfit for a conversation with strangers." But the purpose
for which chiefly the study of Latin is now pursued--acquaintance with
the Roman classics--was no recognized object of Puritan learning. Cicero
appears to have been for a long time the only classic of whom the
students were supposed to have any knowledge. The reading of Virgil was
a daring innovation of the eighteenth century. The only Greek required
was that of the New Testament and the Greek Catechism. The whole rich
domain of ancient Greek literature, from Homer to Theokritos, was as
much an unexplored territory as the Baghavad-Gita or the Mababharata.
Logic and metaphysic and scholastic disputations occupied a prominent
place. As late as 1726, the books most conspicuous in Tutor Flynt's
official report of the College exercises, next to Cicero and Virgil, are
such as convey to the modern scholar no idea but that of intense
obsoleteness,--Ramus's Definitions, Burgersdicius's Logic, Heereboord's
Meletemata; and for Seniors, on Saturday, Ames's Medulla. This is such a
curriculum as Mephistopheles, in his character of Magister, might have
recommended in irony to the student who sought his counsel.

With the multiplication of religious sects, with the progress of secular
culture, with the mental emancipation which followed the great
convulsions of the eighteenth century, the maintenance of the
ecclesiastical type originally impressed on the College ceased to be
practicable,--ceased to be desirable. The preparation of young men for
the service of the Church is still a recognized part of the general
scheme of University education, but is only one in the multiplicity of
objects which that scheme embraces, and can never again have the
prominence once assigned to it. This secularization, however it might
seem to compromise the design of the founders of the College, was
inevitable,--a wise and needful concession to the exigencies of the
altered time. Nor is there, in a larger view, any real contravention
here of the purpose of the founders. The secularization of the College
is no violation of its motto, "_Christo et Ecclesiæ_." For, as I
interpret those sacred ideas, the cause of Christ and the Church is
advanced by whatever liberalizes and enriches and enlarges the mind. All
study, scientifically pursued, is at bottom a study of theology; for all
scientific study is the study of Law; and "of Law nothing less can be
acknowledged than that her seat is in the bosom of God."

But something more than secularization of the course of study is
required to satisfy the idea of a university. What is a university? Dr.
Newman answers this question with the ancient designation of a _Studium
Generale_,--a school of universal learning. "Such a university," he
says, "is in its essence a place for the communication and circulation
of thought by means of personal intercourse over a wide tract of
country."[B] Accepting this definition, can we say that Harvard College,
as at present constituted, is a University? Must we not rather describe
it as a place where boys are made to recite lessons from text-books, and
to write compulsory exercises, and are marked according to their
proficiency and fidelity in these performances, with a view to a
somewhat protracted exhibition of themselves at the close of their
college course, which, according to a pleasant academic fiction, is
termed their "Commencement"? This description applies only, it is true,
to what is called the Undergraduate Department. But that department
stands for the College, constitutes the College, in the public
estimation. The professional schools which have gathered about it are
scarcely regarded as a part of the College. They are incidental
appendages, of which, indeed, one has its seat in another city. The
College proper is simply a more advanced school for boys, not differing
essentially in principle and theory from the public schools in all our
towns. In this, as in those, the principle is coercion. Hold your
subject fast with one hand, and pour knowledge into him with the other.
The professors are task-masters and police-officers, the President the
chief of the College police.

Now, considering the great advance of our higher town schools, which
carry their pupils as far as the College carried them fifty years ago,
and which might, if necessary, have classes still more advanced of such
as are destined for the university, I venture to suggest that the time
has come when this whole system of coercion might, with safety and
profit, be done away. Abolish, I would say, your whole system of marks,
and college rank, and compulsory tasks. I anticipate an objection drawn
from the real or supposed danger of abandoning to their own devices and
optional employment boys of the average age of college students. In
answer, I say, advance that average by fixing a limit of admissible age.
Advance the qualifications for admission; make them equal to the studies
of the Freshman year, and reduce the college career from four years to
three; or else make the Freshman year a year of probation, and its
closing examination the condition of full matriculation. Only give the
young men, when once a sufficient foundation has been laid, and the
rudiments acquired, the freedom of a true University,--freedom to select
their own studies and their own teachers from such material, and such
_personnel_, as the place supplies. It is to be expected that a portion
will abuse this liberty, and waste their years. They do it at their
peril. At the peril, among other disadvantages, of losing their degree,
which should be conditioned on satisfactory proof that the student has
not wholly misspent his time.

An indispensable condition of intellectual growth is liberty. That
liberty the present system denies. More and more it is straitened by
imposed tasks. And this I conceive to be the reason why, with increased
requirements, the College turns out a decreasing proportion of
first-class men. If the theory of college rank were correct, the highest
marks should indicate the men who are to be hereafter most conspicuous,
and leaders in the various walks of life. This is not the case,--not so
much so now as in former years. Of the present chief lights of American
literature and science, how many, if graduates of Harvard, took the
first honors of the University here? Or, to put the question in another
form, Of those who took the first honors at Harvard, within the last
thirty years, how many are now conspicuous among the great lights of
American literature and science?

Carlyle, in his recent talk to the students at Edinburgh, remarks that,
"since the time of Bentley, you cannot name anybody that has gained a
great name for scholarship among the English, or constituted a point of
revolution in the pursuits of men, in that way." The reason perhaps is,
that the system of the English universities, though allowing greater
liberty than ours, is still a struggle for college honors, in which
renown, not learning for the sake of learning, is the aim. The seeming
proficiency achieved through the influence of such motives--knowledge
acquired for the nonce, not assimilated--is often delusive, and is apt
to vanish when the stimulus is withdrawn. The students themselves have
recorded their judgment of the value of this sort of learning in the
word "cramming," a phrase which originated in one of the English

The rudiments of knowledge may be instilled by compulsory tasks; but to
form the scholar, to really educate the man, there should intervene
between the years of compulsory study and the active duties of life a
season of comparative leisure. By leisure I mean, not cessation of
activity, but self-determined activity,--command of one's time for
voluntary study.

There are two things which unless a university can give, it fails of its
legitimate end. One is opportunity, the other inspiration. But
opportunity is marred, not made, and inspiration quenched, not kindled,
by coercion. Few, I suspect, in recent years, have had the love of
knowledge awakened by their college life at Harvard,--more often
quenched by the rivalries and penalties with which learning here is
associated. Give the student, first of all, opportunity; place before
him the best apparatus of instruction; tempt him with the best of
teachers and books; lead him to the fountains of intellectual life. His
use of those fountains must depend on himself. There is a homely proverb
touching the impossibility of compelling a horse to drink, which applies
to human animals and intellectual draughts as well. The student has been
defined by a German pedagogue as an animal that cannot be forced, but
must be persuaded. If, beside opportunity, the college can furnish also
the inspiration which shall make opportunity precious and fruitful, its
work is accomplished. The college that fulfils these two
conditions--opportunity and inspiration--will be a success, will draw to
itself the frequency of youth, the patronage of wealth, the consensus of
all the good. Such a university, and no other, will be a power in the

Nothing so fatal to inspiration as excessive legislation. It creates two
parties, the governors and the governed, with efforts and interests
mutually opposed; the governors seeking to establish an artificial
order, the governed bent on maintaining their natural liberty. I need
not ask you, Alumni, if these two parties exist at Cambridge. They have
always existed within the memory of "the oldest graduate."

Professors should not be responsible for the manners of students, beyond
the legitimate operation of their personal influence. Academic
jurisdiction should have no criminal code, should inflict no penalty
but that of expulsion, and that only in the way of self-defence against
positively noxious and dangerous members. Let the civil law take care of
civil offences. The American citizen should early learn to govern
himself, and to re-enact the civil law by free consent. Let easy and
familiar relations be established between teachers and taught, and
personal influence will do more for the maintenance of order than the
most elaborate code. Experience has shown that great reliance may be
placed on the sense of honor in young men, when properly appealed to and
fairly brought into play. Raumer, in his "History of German
Universities," testifies that the Burschenschaften abolished there the
last vestige of that system of hazing practised on new-comers, which
seems to be an indigenous weed of the college soil. It infested the
ancient universities of Athens, Berytus, Carthage,[C] as well as the
mediæval and the modern. Our ancestors provided a natural outlet for it
when they ordained that the Freshmen should be subject to the Seniors,
should take off their hats in their presence, and run of their errands.
This system, under the name of "Pennalism," had developed, in the German
universities, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a degree of
oppression and tyrannous abuse of the new-comer unknown to American
colleges, and altogether incredible were it not sufficiently vouched by
contemporary writers, and by the acts of the various governments which
labored to suppress it. A certain German worthy writes to his son, who
is about to enter the university: "You think, perhaps, that in the
universities they sup pure wisdom by spoonfuls,... but when you are
arrived there, you will find that you must be made a fool of for the
first year.... Consent to be a fool for this one year; let yourself be
plagued and abused; and when an old veteran steps up to you and tweaks
your nose, let it not appear singular; endure it, harden yourself to it.
_Olim meminisse juvabit._"[D] The universities legislated against this
barbarism; all the governments of Germany conspired to crush it; but in
spite of all their efforts, which were only partially successful, traces
of it still lingered in the early years of this century. It was not
completely abolished until, in 1818, there was formed at Jena by
delegates from fourteen universities a voluntary association of students
on a moral basis, known as "The General German Burschenschaft," the
first principle in whose constitution was, "Unity, freedom, and equality
of all students among themselves,--equality of all rights and
duties,"--and whose second principle was "Christian German education of
every mental and bodily faculty for the service of the Fatherland."
This, according to Raumer, was the end of Pennalism in Germany. What the
governments, with their stringent enactments and formidable penalties,
failed to accomplish, was accomplished at last by a voluntary
association of students, organizing that sense of honor which, in youth
and societies of youth, if rightly touched, is never appealed to in

       *       *       *       *       *

The question has been newly agitated in these days, whether knowledge of
Greek and Latin is a necessary part of polite education, and whether it
should constitute one of the requirements of the academic course. It has
seemed to me that those who take the affirmative in this discussion give
undue weight to the literary argument, and not enough to the
glossological. The literary argument fails to establish the supreme
importance of a knowledge of these languages as a part of polite
education. The place which the Greek and Latin authors have come to
occupy in the estimation of European scholars is due, not entirely to
their intrinsic merits, great as those merits unquestionably are, but in
part to traditional prepossessions. When after a millennial occultation
the classics, and especially, with the fall of the Palæologi, the Greek
classics burst upon Western Europe, there was no literature with which
to compare them. The Jewish Scriptures were not regarded as literature
by readers of the Vulgate. Dante, it is true, had given to the world his
immortal vision, and Boccaccio, its first expounder, had shown the
capabilities of Italian prose. But the light of Florentine culture was
even for Italy a partial illumination. On the whole, we may say that
modern literature did not exist, and the Oriental had not yet come to
light. What wonder that the classics were received with boundless
enthusiasm! It was through the influence of that enthusiasm that the
study of Greek was introduced into schools and universities with the
close of the fifteenth century. It was through that influence that
Latin, still a living language in the clerical world, was perpetuated,
instead of becoming an obsolete ecclesiasticism. The language of Livy
and Ovid derived fresh impulse from the reappearing stars of secular

It is in vain to deny that those literatures have lost something of the
relative value they once possessed, and which made it a literary
necessity to study Greek and Latin for their sakes. The literary
necessity is in a measure superseded by translations, which, though they
may fail to communicate the aroma and the verbal felicities of the
original, reproduce its form and substance. It is furthermore superseded
by the rise of new literatures, and by introduction to those of other
and elder lands. The Greeks were masters of literary form, but other
nations have surpassed them in some particulars. There is but one Iliad,
and but one Odyssee; but also there is but one Job, but one Sakoontalà,
but one Hafiz-Nameh, but one Gulistan, but one Divina Commedia, but one
Don Quixote, but one Faust. If the argument for the study of Greek and
Latin is grounded on the value of the literary treasures contained in
those tongues, the same argument applies to the Hebrew, to the Sanscrit,
to the Persian, to say nothing of the modern languages, to which the
College assigns a subordinate place.

But, above all, the literary importance of Greek and Latin for the
British and American scholar is greatly qualified by the richness and
superiority of the English literature which has come into being since
the Græcomania of the time of the Tudors, when court ladies of a
morning, by way of amusement, read Plato's Dialogues in the original. If
literary edification is the object intended in the study of those
languages, that end is more easily and more effectually accomplished by
a thorough acquaintance with English literature, than by the very
imperfect knowledge which college exercises give of the classics.
Tugging at the Chained Prometheus, with the aid of grammar and lexicon,
may be good intellectual discipline, but how many of the subjects of
that discipline ever divine the secret of Æschylus's wonderful creation,
or receive any other impression from it than the feeling perhaps that
the worthy Titan's sense of constraint could hardly have been more
galling than their own.

Give them Shakespeare's Tempest to read, and with no other pony than
their own good will, though they may not penetrate the deeper meaning of
that composition, they will gain more ideas, more nourishment from it,
than they will from compulsory study of the whole trio of Greek
tragedians. And if this be their first introduction to the great
magician, they will say, with Miranda,

            "O, wonder!
    How many goodly creatures are there here!
    ... O brave new world,
    That has such people in it!"

The literary argument for enforced study of Greek and Latin in our day
has not much weight. What I call the glossological argument has more.
Every well-educated person should have a thorough understanding of his
own language, and no one can thoroughly understand the English without
some knowledge of languages which touch it so nearly as the Latin and
the Greek. Some knowledge of those languages should constitute, I think,
a condition of matriculation. But the further prosecution of them should
not be obligatory on the student once matriculated, though every
encouragement be given and every facility afforded to those whose genius
leans in that direction. The College should make ample provision for the
study of ancient languages, and also for the study of the mathematics,
but should not enforce those studies on minds that have no vocation for
such pursuits. There is now and then a born philologer, one who studies
language for its own sake,--studies it perhaps in the spirit of "the
scholar who regretted that he had not concentrated his life on the
dative case." There are also exceptional natures that delight in
mathematics, minds whose young affections run to angles and logarithms,
and with whom the computation of values is itself the chief value in
life. The College should accommodate either bias, to the top of its
bent, but should not enforce either with compulsory twist. It should not
insist on making every alumnus a linguist or a mathematician. If mastery
of dead languages is not an indispensable part of polite education,
mathematical learning is still less so. Excessive requirements in that
department have not even the excuse of intellectual discipline. More
important than mathematics to the general scholar is the knowledge of
history, in which American scholars are so commonly deficient. More
important is the knowledge of modern languages and of English
literature. More important the knowledge of Nature and Art. May the
science of sciences never want representatives as able as the learned
gentlemen who now preside over that department in the mathematical and
presidential chairs. Happy will it be for the University if they can
inspire a love for the science in the pupils committed to their charge.
But where inspiration fails, coercion can never supply its place. If the
mathematics shall continue to reign at Harvard, may their empire become
a law of liberty.

I have ventured, fellow-graduates, to throw out these hints of
University Reform, well aware of the opposition such views must
encounter in deep-rooted prejudice and fixed routine; aware also of the
rashness of attempting, within the limits of such an occasion, to
grapple with such a theme; but strong in my conviction of the pressing
need of a more emancipated scheme of instruction and discipline, based
on the facts of the present and the real wants of American life. It is
time that the oldest college in the land should lay off the _prætexta_
of its long minority, and take its place among the universities,
properly so called, of modern time.

       *       *       *       *       *

One thing more I have to say while standing in this presence. The
College has a duty beyond its literary and scientific functions,--a duty
to the nation,--a patriotic, I do not scruple to say a political duty.

Time was when universities were joint estates of the realms they
enlightened. The University of Paris was, in its best days, an
association possessing authority second only to that of the Church. The
faithful ally of the sovereigns of France against the ambition of the
nobles and against the usurpations of Papal Rome, she bore the proud
title of "The eldest Daughter of the King,"--_La Fille aînée du Roi_.
She upheld the Oriflamme against the feudal gonfalons, and was largely
instrumental in establishing the central power of the crown.[E] In the
terrible struggle of Philip the Fair with Boniface VIII., she furnished
the legal weapons of the contest. She furnished, in her Chancellor
Gerson, the leading spirit of the Council of Constance. In the Council
of Bâle she obtained for France the "Pragmatic Sanction." Her voice was
consulted on the question of the Salic Law; unhappily, also in the trial
of Jeanne d'Arc; and when Louis XI. concluded a treaty of peace with
Maximilian of Austria, the University of Paris was the guaranty on the
part of France.

Universities are no longer political bodies, but they may be still
political powers,--centres and sources of political influence. Our own
College in the time of the Revolution was a manifest power on the side
of liberty, the political as well as academic mother of Otis and the
Adamses. In 1768, "when the patronage of American manufactures was the
test of patriotism," the Senior Class voted unanimously to take their
degrees apparelled in the coarse cloths of American manufacture. In
1776, the Overseers required of the professors a satisfactory account of
their political faith. So much was then thought of the influence on
young minds of the right or wrong views of political questions
entertained by their instructors. The fathers were right. When the life
of the nation is concerned,--in the struggle with foreign or domestic
foes,--there is a right and a wrong in politics which casuistry may seek
to confuse, but which sound moral sentiment cannot mistake, and which
those who have schools of learning in charge should be held to respect.
Better the College should be disbanded than be a nursery of treason.
Better these halls even now should be levelled with the ground, than
that any influence should prevail in them unfriendly to American
nationality. No amount of intellectual acquirements can atone for
defective patriotism. Intellectual supremacy alone will not avert the
downfall of states. The subtlest intellect of Greece, the sage who could
plan an ideal republic of austere virtue and perfect proportions, could
not preserve his own; but the love of country inspired by Lycurgus kept
the descendants of the Dorians free two thousand years after the
disgrace of Chæronea had sealed the fate of the rest of Greece.

In my college days it was the fashion with some to think lightly of our
American birthright, to talk disparagingly of republics, and to sigh for
the dispositions and pomps of royalty.

    "Sad fancies did we then affect
    In luxury of disrespect
    To our own prodigal excess
    Of too familiar happiness."

All such nonsense, if it had not already yielded to riper reason, would
ere this have been washed out of us by the blood of a hundred thousand
martyrs. The events of recent years have enkindled, let us hope, quite
other sentiments in the youth of this generation. May those sentiments
find ample nutriment within these precincts evermore.

Soon after the conquest of American independence, Governor Hancock, in
his speech at the inauguration of President Willard, eulogized the
College as having "been in some sense the parent and nurse of the late
happy Revolution in this Commonwealth." Parent and nurse of American
nationality,--such was the praise accorded to Harvard by one of the
foremost patriots of the Revolution! Never may she cease to deserve that
praise! Never may the Mother refuse to acknowledge the seed herself has
propagated! Never may her seed be repelled by the Mother's altered mind!

    "Mutatam ignorent subito ne semina matrem."

When Protagoras came to Athens to teach in the university as
self-appointed professor, or sophist, according to the fashion of that
time, it was not to instruct Athenian youth in music or geometry or
astronomy, but to teach them the art of being good citizens,--[Greek:
Tên politikên technên, kai poiein andras agathous politas.] That was his
profession. With which, as we read, Hippocrates was so well pleased,
that he called up Socrates in the middle of the night to inform him of
the happy arrival. We have no professorship at Cambridge founded for the
express purpose of making good citizens. In the absence of such, may all
the professorships work together for that end. The youth intrusted to
their tutelage are soon to take part, if not as legislators, at least
as freemen, in the government of our common land. May the dignity and
duty and exceeding privilege of an American citizen be impressed upon
their minds by all the influences that rule this place! Trust me,
Alumni, the country will thank the University more for the loyalty her
influences shall foster, than for all the knowledge her schools may
impart. Learning is the costly ornament of states, but patriotism is the
life of a nation.


[A] The History of Harvard University, by Josiah Quincy, LL. D., Vol. I.
pp. 42, 43. All the facts relating to the history of the College are
taken from this work.

[B] The Office and Work of Universities, by John Henry Newman.

[C] St. Augustine records his connection, when a student at Carthage,
with the "Eversores" (Destructives), an association which flourished at
that university.

[D] Raumer's "History of German Universities." Translated by Frederic B.

[E] "C'est ainsi que peu à peu ils [that is, "les lettres"] parvinrent à
sapper les fondements du pouvoir féodal et à élever l'étendard royal là
où flottait la bannière du baron."--_Histoire de l'Université_, par M.
Eugene Dubarle, Vol. I. p. 135.


    A saintly Voice fell on my ear,
    Out of the dewy atmosphere:--
    "O hush, dear Bird of Night, be mute,--
    Be still, O throbbing heart and lute!"
    The Night-Bird shook the sparkling dew
    Upon me as he ruffed and flew:
    My heart was still, almost as soon,
    My lute as silent as the moon:
    I hushed my heart, and held my breath,
    And would have died the death of death,
    To hear--but just once more--to hear
    That Voice within the atmosphere.

    Again The Voice fell on my ear,
    Out of the dewy atmosphere!--
    The same words, but half heard at first,--
    I listened with a quenchless thirst;
    And drank as of that heavenly balm,
    The Silence that succeeds a psalm:
    My soul to ecstasy was stirred:--
    It was a Voice that I had heard
    A thousand blissful times before;
    But deemed that I should hear no more
    Till I should have a spirit's ear,
    And breathe another atmosphere!

    Then there was Silence in my ear,
    And Silence in the atmosphere,
    And silent moonshine on the mart,
    And Peace and Silence in my heart:
    But suddenly a dark Doubt said,
    "The fancy of a fevered head!"
    A wild, quick whirlwind of desire
    Then wrapt me as in folds of fire.
    I ran the strange words o'er and o'er,
    And listened breathlessly once more:
    And lo, the third time I did hear
    The same words in the atmosphere!

    They fell and died upon my ear,
    As dew dies on the atmosphere;
    And then an intense yearning thrilled
    My Soul, that all might be fulfilled:
    "Where art thou, Blessed Spirit, where?--
    Whose Voice is dew upon the air!"
    I looked, around me, and above,
    And cried aloud: "Where art thou, Love?
    O let me see thy living eye,
    And clasp thy living hand, or die!"--
    Again upon the atmosphere
    The self-same words fell: "_I Am Here._"

    "Here? Thou art here, Love!"--"_I Am Here._"
    The echo died upon my ear!
    I looked around me--everywhere,--
    But ah! there was no mortal there!
    The moonlight was upon the mart,
    And awe and wonder in my heart.
    I saw no form!--I only felt
    Heaven's Peace upon me as I knelt,
    And knew a Soul Beatified
    Was at that moment by my side:--
    And there was Silence in my ear,
    And Silence in the atmosphere!


One of the subjects which for some time has commanded the public
attention is that of Life Assurance: the means by which a man may,
through a moderate annual expenditure, make provision for his family
when death shall have deprived them of his protection.

The number of companies organized for this purpose, their annual
increase, the assiduity with which their agents press their respective
claims, the books, pamphlets, and circulars which are disseminated, and
the large space occupied by their announcements in the issues of the
press, all unite in creating a spirit of inquiry on this interesting
subject. We propose in this article to submit a few statements, the
collection of which has been greatly furthered by recourse to the
treatises of Babbage, Park, Duer, Ellis, Angell, Bunyon, Blayney, and
other writers on insurance.

In the early history of insurance, objection was continually made that
it was of the nature of a wager, and consequently not only unlawful, but
_contra bonos mores_; yet the courts of law in England from the first
drew a distinction between a wager and a contract founded on the
principle of indemnity, which principle runs through and underlies the
whole subject of insurance. Lord Mansfield denominated insurance "a
contract upon speculation," and it has universally been considered as a
contract of indemnity against loss or damage arising from some uncertain
and future events.

Insurance may be defined generally as "a contract by which one of the
parties binds himself to the other to pay him a sum of money, or
otherwise indemnify him, in the case of the happening of a fortuitous
event provided for in a general or special manner in the contract, in
consideration of the sum of money which the latter party pays or binds
himself to pay"; or, in the words of an eminent English judge, "It is a
contract to protect men against uncertain events which in any wise may
be a disadvantage to them."

The contract securing this indemnity is called a policy, from the
Italian _polizza d' assicurazione_, or _di sicurtà_, which signifies a
memorandum in writing, or bill of security. The sum paid for the
indemnity is called a premium, or price; the party taking upon himself
the risk being termed the underwriter, because his name is written at
the bottom of the policy, while the person protected by the instrument
is called the assured. Says one, "The premium paid by the latter and the
peril assumed by the former are two correlatives inseparable from each
other, and the union constitutes the essence of the contract."

Some writers, Mr. Babbage among others, use the words "assurance" and
"insurance" as having distinct meanings; but with all underwriters at
this day they are considered synonymous.

Insurance in the first instance was exclusively maritime, and great
efforts have been made to prove its antiquity. Some have endeavored, by
appeals to Livy, Suetonius, Ulpian, and Cicero, to show that insurance
was in use in ancient Rome, and that it was invented at Rhodes a
thousand years before the Christian era; while others claim that it
existed at Tyre, Carthage, Corinth, Athens, and Alexandria.

There is little doubt, however, that it was first practised by the
Lombards, and was introduced into England by a Lombard colony, which in
the thirteenth century settled in London, and controlled entirely the
foreign trade of the kingdom. After the great fire in London, in 1666,
the protection hitherto afforded by insurance to ships only was extended
to goods and houses; and insurance as a contract of indemnity was
subsequently extended to human life.

It is a singular fact that the subject of effecting insurance on lives
was largely and excitingly discussed on the continent of Europe before
it had attracted the slightest attention in England; yet at this day it
prevails throughout Great Britain, while upon the Continent it is
comparatively unknown; its operations there being chiefly confined to
France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.

In Holland, as early as 1681, Van Hadden and De Witt produced elaborate
works upon the subject, while no publication appeared in England until
twenty years after. These writers were followed by Struyck, in 1740, and
by Kirseboon, in 1743; while Parcieux, father and son, St. Cyran, and
Duvillard, in France, with Euler, Suchmilch, and Wargentin, in Germany,
were with great ability pressing the subject upon the notice of their
countrymen. But these efforts led to no practical results, and it was
reserved for England at a later day to illustrate the principles of life
assurance, and enable the public to enjoy extensively its privileges.

Policies of life assurance were issued in England before any companies
were organized to prosecute the business. Like marine policies, they
were subscribed by one or more individuals; and the first case we find
is that of a ship captain, in 1641, whose life had been insured by two
persons who had become his bail. The policy was subscribed by individual
underwriters, and an able author observes that the case singularly
illustrates the connection which probably once existed between life and
maritime insurance, and shows how naturally the latter may have sprung
from the former.

No business, with the exception, perhaps, of the express system and of
photography, has grown in the United States so rapidly as that of life
assurance. There is scarcely a State that has not one or more companies
organized for the prosecution of this business. There are six chartered
under the laws of Massachusetts, and twenty-six of those organized in
other States are doing business in this Commonwealth, These companies
had in force, November 1, 1865, 211,537 policies, assuring the sum of
$563,396,862.30. In 1830 the New York Life and Trust Company was the
only life assurance company in New York. At the close of the year 1865
there were eighteen companies chartered under the laws of that State.
They had 101,780 policies in force, assuring the sum of $289,846,316.50,
while their gross combined assets reach the sum of $32,296,832.03.

An insurance upon life is defined as "a contract by which the
underwriter, for a certain sum proportioned to the age, health,
profession, and other circumstances of the person whose life is the
object of insurance, engages that that person shall not die within the
time limited in the policy; or if he do, that he will pay a sum of money
to him in whose favor the policy was granted."

A person desiring to effect an insurance on his life usually procures
from the office in which he proposes to insure a blank form, containing
a series of interrogatories, all of which must be answered in writing by
the applicant. To these answers must be appended the certificate of his
usual medical attendant as to his present and general state of health,
with a like certificate from an intimate personal friend. The party is
then subjected to an examination by the medical examiner of the company,
and, if the application is in all respects satisfactory, a policy is

On the death of the party assured, and due proof being made thereof, the
company must pay the full sum insured. The time fixed for this payment
varies with different companies. Some agree to pay at thirty, some at
sixty, and some at ninety days after the proofs of death have been
received and duly approved.

The peculiarity of life assurance companies is, that they are required
to pay the entire sum assured on the happening of a single event, making
the loss a total one; but in fire and marine policies there is a
distinction made between total and partial loss.

A clause is usually inserted declaring the policy void in case the
assured should fall in a duel, die by the hands of justice, or by his
own hand, or while engaged in the violation of any public law. An
interesting case in point is reported in the English books. On the 25th
of November, 1824, Henry Fauntleroy, a celebrated banker in London, was
executed for forgery. The Amicable Society of London, the first company
established in England, had written a policy on his life, upon which all
the premiums had been paid. The rules of the company declared that in
such cases the policy was vitiated, but the clause was not inserted in
the instrument. The company resisted payment, but a decision was given
sustaining the validity of the contract, which was, however, reversed,
on an appeal being made to the House of Lords.

This clause, declaring a policy void in case the assured commits
suicide, has given rise to much litigation. Some companies use the word
"suicide," while others insert the words "shall die by his own hand";
but the courts of law in various adjudications have considered the
expressions as amounting to the same thing. The word "suicide" is not to
be found in any English author anterior to the reign of Charles II.
Lexicographers trace it to the Latin word _suicidum_, though that word
does not appear in the older Latin dictionaries. It is really derived
from two Latin words, _se_ and _cædere_,--to slay one's self. The great
commentator on English law, Sir William Blackstone, defines suicide to
be "the act of designedly destroying one's own life. To constitute
suicide, the person must be of years of discretion and of sound mind."

In a case submitted to the Supreme Court of the State of New York,
Chief-Justice Nelson settled the whole question. A life company
resisted payment of the amount specified in their policy, on the ground
that the assured had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Hudson
River. To this it was replied, that, when he so drowned himself, he was
of unsound mind, and wholly unconscious of the act.

Judge Nelson, after stating the question to be whether the act of
self-destruction by a man in a fit of insanity can be deemed a death by
his own hand within the meaning of the policy, decided that it could not
be so considered. That the terms "commit suicide," and "die by his own
hand," as used indiscriminately by different companies, express the same
idea, and are so understood by writers in this branch of law. That
self-destruction by a man bereft of reason can with no more propriety be
ascribed to the act of his own hand, than to the deadly instrument that
may have been used for the purpose. That the drowning was no more the
act of the assured, in the sense of the law, than if he had been
impelled by irresistible physical power; and that the company could be
no more exempt from payment, than if his death had been occasioned by
any uncontrollable means. That suicide involved the deliberate
termination of one's existence while in the full possession of the
mental faculties. That self-slaughter by an insane man or a lunatic was
not suicide within the meaning of the law.

This opinion of Judge Nelson was subsequently affirmed by the Court of

The whole current of legal decisions, the suggestions thrown out by
learned judges, and the growing opinion that no sane man would be guilty
of self-slaughter, have induced several new companies to exclude this
proviso from their policies, while many older ones have revised their
policies and eliminated the obnoxious clause. It is not that any man
contemplates the commission of suicide; but every one feels that, if
there should be laid upon him that most fearful of all afflictions,
insanity, or if, when suffering from disease, he should, in the frenzy
of delirium, put an end to his existence, every principle of equity
demands that the faithful payments of years should not be lost to his

Another important principle, which has involved much discussion, is,
that "the party insuring upon a life must have an interest in the life
insured." Great latitude has been given in the construction of the law
as to this point; the declaration of a real, subsisting interest being
all that is required by the underwriters. In fact, the offices are
constantly taking insurances where the interest is upon a contingency
which may very shortly be determined, and if the parties choose to
continue the policy, _bona fide_, after the interest ceases, they never
meet with any difficulty in recovering. So also offices frequently grant
policies upon interests so slender that, although it may be difficult to
deny some kind of interest, it is such as a court of law would scarcely
recognize. This practice of paying upon policies without raising the
question of interest is so general, that it has even been allowed in
courts of law.

The great advantages derived from life assurance are proved by its rapid
progress, both in Great Britain and the United States, after its
principles had once been fully explained. As already stated, the first
society for the general assurance of life was the Amicable, founded in
1706; but, most unreasonably, its rates of premium were made uniform for
all ages assured; nor was any fixed amount guaranteed in case of death.
Hence very little was done; and it was not until 1780 that the business
of life assurance may be said to have fairly begun. Since then,
companies have been formed from time to time, so that at present there
are in Great Britain some two hundred in active operation, and the
amount assured upon life is estimated at more than £200,000,000.

In America, the first life-assurance company open to all was the
Pennsylvania, established in 1812. And though many others, devoted in
whole or in part to this object, were formed in the interim, so little
pains was taken to inform the public upon the system, that in 1842 the
amount assured probably did not exceed $5,000,000. But, in a Christian
country, all material enterprises go swiftly forward, and of late years
the progress of life assurance has equalled that of railroads and
telegraphs; so that there are in the United States at least fifty
companies, which are disbursing in claims, chiefly to widows and
orphans, about five millions of dollars annually.

With this large extension of business, the fundamental principles of
life assurance are now universally agreed on; but, in carrying them out,
there are differences deserving attention.

Life-assurance companies may be divided into three classes,--the stock,
the mutual, and the mixed. In the stock company, the management is in
the hands of the stockholders, or their agents, with whom the applicant
for insurance contracts to pay so much while living, in consideration of
a certain sum to be paid to his representatives at his death; and here
his connection with it ceases; the profits of the business being divided
among the stockholders. In the mutual company the assured themselves
receive all the surplus premium or profit. The law of the State of New
York passed in 1849 requires that all life-insurance companies organized
in the State shall have a capital of at least one hundred thousand
dollars. Mutual life-insurance companies organized in that State since
1849 pay only seven per cent on their capital, which their stock by
investment may produce. In the mixed companies there are various
combinations of the principles peculiar to the other two. They differ
from the mutual companies only in the fact that, besides paying the
stockholders legal interest, they receive a portion of the profits of
the business, which in some cases in this country has caused the capital
stock to appreciate in value over three hundred per cent, and in England
over five hundred per cent.

To decide which of these is most advantageous to the assured, we must
consider the subject of premiums, and understand whence companies derive
their surplus, or, as it is sometimes called, the profits. This is
easily explained. As the liability to death increases with age, the
proper annual premium for assurance would increase with each year of
life. But as it is important not to burden age too heavily, and as it is
simpler to pay a uniform sum every year, a mean rate is taken,--one too
little for old age, but greater than is absolutely necessary to cover
the risk in the first years of the assurance. Hence the company receives
at first more than it has to pay, and thus accumulates funds to provide
for the time when its payments will naturally be in excess of its
receipts. Now these funds may be invested so as of themselves to produce
an income, and the increase thence derived may, by the magical power of
compound interest, reaching through a long series of years, become very
large. In forming rates of premium, regard is had to this; but, to gain
security in a contract which may extend far into the future, it is
prudent to base the calculations on so low a rate of interest that there
can be a certainty of obtaining it. The rate adopted is usually three
per cent in England, and four or five per cent in this country. But, in
point of fact, the American companies now obtain on secure investments
six or seven per cent.

Again, in order to cover expenses and provide against possible
contingencies, it is common to add to the rates obtained by calculation
from correct tables of mortality a certain percentage, called _loading_,
which is usually found more than is necessary, and forms a second source
of profit.

Again, most tables of mortality are derived from the experience of whole
communities, while all companies now subject applicants to a medical
examination, and reject those found diseased; it being possible to
discover, through the progress of medical science, even incipient signs
of disease. Hence one would expect that among these selected lives the
rates of mortality would be less than by ordinary statistics; and this
is confirmed by the published experience of many companies. Here we find
a third source of profit.

In these three ways, and others incidental to the business, it happens
that all corporations managed with ordinary prudence accumulate a much
larger capital than is needed for future losses. The advocates of the
stock plan contend that, by a low rate of premium, they furnish their
assured with a full equivalent for that division of profits which is the
special boast of other companies. In a corporation purely mutual, the
whole surplus is periodically applied to the benefit of the assured,
either by a dividend in cash, or by equitable additions to the amount
assured without increase of premium, or by deducting from future
premiums, while the amount assured remains the same. The advantages of
the latter system must be evident to every one.

It is of course important in all companies, whether mutual or not, that
the officers should be men of integrity, sagacity, and financial
experience, as well as that due precautions should be taken in the care
and investment of the company's fund; and it is now proved by experience
in this country, that, when a company is thus managed, so regular are
the rates of mortality, so efficient the safeguards derived from the
selection of lives, the assumption of low rates of interest, and the
loading of premiums, that no company, when once well established, has
ever met with disaster. On the other hand, there has been a rapid
accretion of funds, in some instances to the amount of many millions of
dollars. The characteristics of a good company are security and
assurance at cost. It should sell, not policies merely, but assurance;
and it should not make a profit for the capitalist out of the widow and

The policies issued by life companies vary in their form and nature. The
ordinary one is called the life policy, by which the company contracts
to pay, on the death of the assured, the sum named in the policy, to the
person in whose behalf the assurance is made.

In mutual (cash) companies, when the premium has been paid in full for
about sixteen years, judging from past experience, the policy-holder may
expect that his annual dividend on policy and additions will exceed the
annual premium, thus obviating the necessity of further payments to the
company, while his policy annually increases in amount for the remainder
of life. But, on the contrary, when the dividends have been anticipated,
as in the note system, by giving a note for part of the premium, the
policy-holder insuring in this way, although he may at first receive a
larger policy than he has the ability to pay for in cash, may lose the
chief benefit of life insurance. For should he become unable, either by
age, disease, or loss of property, to continue the payment of his
premiums, his policy must lapse, because there is no accumulation of
profits to his credit on which it can be continued.

In other forms of life policies, called "Non-forfeitable," premiums are
made payable in "one," "five," or "ten" annual payments. In all cash
companies, and in some of the note companies, after the specified number
of premiums have been paid, the policy-holder draws an annual dividend
in cash.

A further advantage arising from this plan is, that the policy-holder,
at any time after two annual payments have been made, is always entitled
to a "paid-up" policy for as many "fifths" or "tenths" of the sum
assured as he shall have paid annual premiums. For example: a
"five-annual-payment policy" for $10,000, on which three premiums had
been paid, would entitle the holder to a "paid-up policy" for $6,000; a
"ten-annual-payment policy" for $10,000, on which three payments had
been made, would entitle the holder to $3,000; and so on for any number
of payments and for any amount, in accordance with the face of the

Another form is denominated the Endowment Policy, in which the amount
assured is payable when the party attains a certain age, or at death,
should he die before reaching that age. This policy is rapidly gaining
favor, as it provides for the man himself in old age, or for his family
in case of his death. It is also fast becoming a favorite form of
investment. We can show instances where the policy-holders have received
a _surplus_ above all they have paid to the company, with compound
interest at six per cent, and no charge whatever for expenses or cost of
insurance meanwhile.

The Term Policy, as its name implies, is issued for a term of one or
more years.

Policies are also issued on joint lives, payable at the death of the
first of two or more parties named in the policy; and on survivorship,
payable to a party named in case he survives another.

Some companies require all premiums to be paid in cash, while others
take the note of the assured in part payment. These are denominated cash
and note companies, and much difference of opinion exists as to their
comparative merits.

The latter is at first sight an attractive system, and its advocates
present many specious arguments in its favor. The friends of cash
payments, however, contend that the note system is detrimental and
delusive, from the fact that these notes are liable to assessment, and,
in case of death, to be deducted from the amount assured; also that the
notes accumulate as the years roll on, the interest growing annually
larger, and the total cash payment consequently heavier, while the
actual amount of assurance, that is, the difference between its nominal
amount and the sum of the notes, steadily lessens; and thus a provision
for one's family gradually changes into a burden upon one's self.

But whatever differences of opinion may exist as to the comparative
value of various systems, few will deny the advantages which life
assurance has conferred upon the public, especially in America, whose
middle classes, ambitiously living up to their income, are rich mostly
in their labor and their homesteads,--in their earnings rather than
their savings; and whose wealthy classes are rich chiefly through the
giddy uncertainties of speculation,--magnificent to-day, in ruins
to-morrow. In a country like this, no one can estimate the amount of
comfort secured by investment in life assurance. It is the one measure
of thrift which remains to atone for our extravagance in living and
recklessness in trade.

Henry Ward Beecher spoke wisely when he advised all men to seek life
assurance. He says:--

"It is every man's duty to provide for his family. That provision must
include its future contingent condition. That provision, in so far as it
is material, men ordinarily seek to secure by their own accumulations
and investments. But all these are uncertain. The man that is rich
to-day, by causes beyond his reach is poor to-morrow. A war in China, a
revolution in Europe, a rebellion in America, overrule ten thousand
fortunes in every commercial community.

"But _in life assurance there are no risks or contingencies_. Other
investments may fail. A house may burn down. Banks may break; and their
stock be worthless. Bonds and mortgages may be seized for debt, and all
property or evidences of property may fall into the bottomless gulf of
bankruptcy. But money secured to your family by life assurance will go
to them without fail or interruption, provided you have used due
discretion in the selection of a sound and honorable assurance company.
Of two courses, one of which _may_ leave your family destitute, and the
other of which _assures_ them a comfortable support at your decease, can
there be a doubt which is to be chosen? Can there be a doubt about


In order to prevent conjectures which might not be entirely pleasant to
one or two persons whom I have in my mind, I prefer to state, at once
and frankly, that I, Dionysius Green, am the author of this article. It
requires some courage to make this avowal, I am well aware; and I am
prepared to experience a rapid diminution of my present rather extensive
popularity. One result I certainly foresee, namely, a great falling-off
in the number of applications for autographs ("accompanied with a
sentiment"), which I daily receive; possibly, also, fewer invitations to
lecture before literary societies next winter. Fortunately, my recent
marriage enables me to dispense with a large portion of my popularity,
without great inconvenience; or, rather, I am relieved from the very
laborious necessity of maintaining it in the face of so many aggressive

The day may arrive, therefore, when I shall cease to be a Distinguished
Character. Since I have admitted this much, I may as well confess that
my reputation--enviable as it may be considered by the public--is of
that kind which seems to be meant to run for a certain length of time,
at the expiration whereof it must be wound up again. I was fortunate
enough to discover this secret betimes, and I have since then known
several amiable and worthy persons to slip out of sight, from the lack
of it. There was Mr. ----, for example, whose comic articles shook the
fat sides of the nation for one summer, and whose pseudonyme was in
everybody's mouth. Alas! what he took for perpetual motion was but an
eight-day clock, and I need not call your attention to the present dead
and leaden stillness of its pendulum.

Although my earliest notoriety was achieved in very much the same
way,--that is, by a series of comic sketches, as many of my admirers no
doubt remember,--I soon perceived the unstable character of my
reputation. I was at the mercy of the next man who should succeed in
inventing a new slang, or a funnier way of spelling. These things, in
literature, are like "fancy drinks" among the profane. They tickle the
palates of the multitude for a while, but they don't wear like the plain
old beverages. I saw very plainly, that much more was to be gained, in
the long run, by planting myself--not with a sudden and startling jump,
but by a graceful, cautious pirouette--upon a basis of the Moral and the
Didactic. I should thus reach a class of slow, but very tough stomachs,
which would require ample time to assimilate the food I intended to
offer. If this were somewhat crude, that would be no objection whatever:
they always mistake their mental gripings for the process of digestion.
Why, bless your souls! I have known Tupper's "Proverbial Philosophy" to
fill one of them to repletion, for the space of ten years!

I owe this resolution to my natural acuteness of perception, but my
success in carrying it into execution was partly the result of luck. The
field, now occupied by such a crowd, (I name no names,) was at that time
nearly clear; and I managed to shift my costume before the public fairly
knew what I was about. I found, indeed, that a combination of the two
styles enabled me to retain much of my old audience while acquiring the
new. It was like singing a hymn of serious admonition to a lively,
rattling tune. One is diverted: there is a present sense of fun, while a
gentle feeling of the grave truths inculcated lingers in one's mind
afterwards. The pious can find no fault with the matter, nor the profane
with the manner. Instead of approaching the moral consciousness of
one's readers with stern, lugubrious countenance, and ponderous or
lamentable voice, you make your appearance with a smile and a joke,
punch the reader playfully in the ribs, and say, as it were, "Ha! ha!
I've a good thing to tell you!" Although I have many imitators, some of
whom have attained an excellence in the art which may be considered
classic, yet I may fairly claim to have originated this branch of
literature, and, while it retains its present unbounded popularity, my
name cannot wholly perish.

Nevertheless, greatness has its drawbacks. I appeal to all distinguished
authors, from Tupper to Weenie Willows, to confirm the truth of this
assertion. I have sometimes, especially of late, doubted seriously
whether it is a good thing to be distinguished. Alas! my dear young
gentleman and lady, whose albums would be so dismally incomplete without
my autograph ("accompanied with a sentiment"), would that you could
taste the bitter with the sweet,--the honey and aloes of an American
author's life! At first, it is exceedingly pleasant. You are like a
newly-hatched chicken, or a pup at the end of his nine-days' blindness.
You are petted, and stroked, and called sweet names, and fed with
dainties, and carried in the arms of the gentlemen, and cuddled in the
laps of the ladies. But when you get to be a big dog or a full-grown
game-cock, take care! If people would but fancy that you still wore your
down or silken skin, they might continue to be delighted with every
gambol of your fancy. But they suspect pin-feathers and bristles,
whether the latter grow or not; and, after doing their best to spoil
you, they suddenly demand the utmost propriety of behavior. However, let
me not anticipate. I can still call myself, without the charge of
self-flattery, a Distinguished Character; at least I am told so, every
day, each person who makes the remark supposing that it is an entirely
original and most acceptable compliment. While this distinction lasts,
(for I find that I lose it in proportion as I gain in sound knowledge
and independent common-sense,) I should like to describe, for the
contemplation of future ages, some of the penalties attached to
popularity at present.

I was weak enough, I admit, to be immensely delighted with the first
which I experienced,--not foreseeing whitherward they led. The timid,
enthusiastic notes of girls of fifteen, with the words "sweet" and
"exquisite," duly underscored, the letters of aspiring boys, enclosing
specimens of their composition, and the touching pleas of individuals of
both sexes, in reduced circumstances, were so many evidences of success,
which I hugged to my bosom. Reducing the matter to statistics, I have
since ascertained that about one in ten of these letters is dictated
either by honest sympathy, the warm, uncritical recognition of youth
(which I don't suppose any author would diminish, if he could), or the
craving for encouragement, under unpropitious circumstances of growth.
But how was I, in the beginning, to guess at the motives of the writers?
They offered sugar-plums, which I swallowed without a suspicion of the
drastic ingredients so many of them contained. Good Mrs. Sigourney kept
a journal of her experiences in this line. I wish I had done the same.

The young lady correspondent, I find, in most cases replies to your
reply, proposing a permanent correspondence. The young gentleman, who
desires, above all things, your "_candid opinion_ of the poems
enclosed,--be sure and point out the _faults_, and how they can be
_improved_"--is highly indignant when you take him at his word, and do
so. You receive a letter of defence and explanation, showing that what
you consider to be faults are not such. Moreover, his friends have
assured him that the poem which you advise him to omit is one of his
finest things! The distressed aspirant for literary fame, who only
requests that you shall read and correct his or her manuscript, procure
a publisher, and prefix a commendatory notice, signed with your name,
to the work, writes that he or she is at last undeceived in regard to
the character of authors. "I thank you, Mr. Green, for the _lesson_! The
remembrance of _your_ former struggles is _happily_ effaced in your
present success. It is hard for a heart throbbing with warmth to be
chilled, and a guileless confidence in human brotherhood to be crushed
forever! I will strive to bury my disappointed hopes in my own darkened
bosom; and that you may be saved from the experience which you have
prepared for another, is the wish of, _Sir_, yours, ----."

For a day or two I went about with a horrible feeling of dread and
remorse. I opened the morning paper with trembling hands, and only
breathed freely when I found no item headed "Suicide" in the columns. A
year afterwards, chance threw me in the way of my broken-hearted victim.
I declare to you I never saw a better specimen of gross animal health.
She--no, he (on second thoughts, I won't say which)--was at an evening
party, laughing boisterously, with a plate of chicken-salad in one hand
and a glass of champagne in the other.

One of my first admirers was a gentleman of sixty, who called upon me
with a large roll of manuscript. He had retired from business two years
before, so he informed me, and, having always been a great lover of
poetry, he determined to fill up the tedium of his life of ease by
writing some for himself. Now everybody knows that I am not a poet,--the
few patriotic verses which I wrote during the war having simply been the
result of excitement,--and why should he apply to me? O, there was a
great deal of poetry in my prose, he said. My didactic paper called
"Wait for the Wagon!" showed such a knowledge of metaphor! I looked over
the innumerable leaves, here and there venturing the remark that "rain"
and "shame" were not good rhymes, and that my friend's blank verse had
now and then lines of four and six feet. "Poetic license, sir!" was the
reply. "I thought you were aware that poets are bound to no rules!"

What could I do with such a man? What, indeed, but to return him the
manuscript with that combined gentleness and grace which I have
endeavored to cultivate in my demeanor, and to suggest, in the tenderest
way, that he should be content to write, and not publish? He got up,
stiffened his backbone, placed his conventional hat hard upon his head,
gave a look of mingled mortification and wrath, and hurried away without
saying a word. That man, I assure you, will be my secret enemy to the
day of his death. He is no doubt a literary authority in a small circle
of equal calibre. When my name is mentioned, he will sneer down my
rising fame, and his sneer will control the sale of half a dozen copies
of my last volume.

This is a business view of the subject, I grant; but then _I_ have
always followed literature with an eye to business. The position of a
popular writer is much more independent than that of a teacher or a
clergyman, for which reason I prefer it. The same amount of intellect,
made available in a different way, will produce material results just as
satisfactory. Compensation, however, is the law of the world; hence I
must pay for my independence; and this adventure with the old gentleman
is one of the many forms in which the payment is made.

When the applications for autographs first began to pour in upon me, I
gladly took a sheet of Delarue's creamiest note-paper and wrote thereon
an oracular sentence from one of my most popular papers. After a while
my replies degenerated to "Sincerely, Your Friend, Dionysius Green," and
finally, (daily blessings come at last to be disregarded,) no
application was favored, which did not enclose a postage-stamp. When
some school-boy requested an autograph, "accompanied with a sentiment,"
and forwarded slips of paper on behalf of "two other boys," I sometimes
lost my patience, and left the letters unanswered for a month at a
time. There was a man in Tennessee, just before the war, who had a
printed circular, with a blank for the author's name; and I know of one
author who replied to him with a printed note, and a printed address on
the envelope, not a word of manuscript about it!

Next in frequency are the applications for private literary
contributions,--such as epithalamia, obituaries, addresses for lovers,
and the like. One mourning father wished me to write an article about
the death of his little girl, aged four months, assuring me that "her
intellect was the astonishment of all who knew her." A young lady wished
for something that would "overwhelm with remorse the heart of a
gentleman who had broken off an engagement without any cause." A young
gentleman, about to graduate, offered five dollars for an oration on
"The Past and Probable Future History of the Human Race," long enough to
occupy twenty minutes in speaking, and "to be made very fine and
flowery." (I had a mind to punish this youth by complying with his
request, to the very letter!) It is difficult to say what people won't
write about, when they write to a Distinguished Character.

There is a third class of correspondents, whose requests used to
astonish me profoundly, until I surmised that their object was to
procure an autograph in a roundabout way. One wants to know who is the
publisher of your book; one, whether you can give the post-office
address of Gordon Cumming or Thomas Carlyle; one, which is the best
Latin Grammar; one, whether you know the author of that exquisite poem,
"The Isle of Tears"; and one, perhaps, whether Fanny Forrester was the
grandmother of Fanny Fern. And when you consider that what letters I get
are not a tithe of what older and more widely known authors receive, you
may form some idea of the immense number of persons engaged in this sort
of correspondence.

But I have not yet come to the worst. So long as you live at home,
whether it's in the city or country, (the city would be preferable, if
you could keep your name out of the Directory,) the number of applicants
in person is limited; and as for the letters, we know that the
post-office department is very badly managed, and a great many epistles
never reach their destination. Besides, it's astonishing how soon and
how easily an author acquires the reputation of being unapproachable. If
he don't pour out his heart, in unlimited torrents and cascades of
feeling, to a curious stranger, the latter goes away with the report
that the author, personally, is "icy, reserved, uncommunicative; in the
man, one sees nothing of his works; it is difficult to believe that that
cold, forbidding brow conceived, those rigid, unsmiling lips uttered,
and that dry, bloodless hand wrote, the fervid passion of"--such or such
a book. When I read a description of myself, written in that style, I
was furious; but I afterwards noticed that the number of my visitors
fell off very rapidly.

Most of us American authors, however, now go to the people, instead of
waiting for them to come to us. And this is what I mean by coming to the
worst. Four or five years ago, I determined to talk as well as write.
Everybody was doing it, and well paid; nothing seemed to be requisite
except a little distinction, which I had already acquired by my comic
and didactic writings. There was Mr. E---- declaiming philosophy; Drs.
B---- and C---- occupying secular pulpits; Mr. C---- inculcating loftier
politics; Mr. T---- talking about all sorts of countries and people; Mr.
W---- reading his essays in public; and a great many more, whom you all
know. Why should I not also "pursue the triumph and partake the gale"? I
found that the lecture was in most cases an essay, written in short,
pointed sentences, and pleasantly delivered. The audience must laugh
occasionally, and yet receive an impression strong enough to last until
next morning. The style which, as I said before, I claim to have
invented, was the very thing! I noticed, further, that there was a
great deal in the title of the lecture. It must be alliterative,
antithetical, or, still better, paradoxical. There was profound skill in
Artemus Ward's "Babes in the Wood." Such titles as "Doubts and Duties,"
"Mystery and Muffins," "Here, There, and Nowhere," "The Elegance of
Evil," "Sunshine and Shrapnel," "The Coming Cloud," "The Averted Agony,"
and "Peeps at Peccadillos," will explain my meaning. The latter, in
fact, was the actual title of my first lecture, which I gave with such
signal success,--eighty-five times in one winter.

The crowds that everywhere thronged to hear me gave me a new and
delicious experience of popularity. How grand it was to be escorted by
the president of the society down the central aisle, amid the rustling
sound of turning heads, and audible whispers of "There he is! there he
is!" And always, when the name of Dionysius Green was announced, the
applause which followed! Then the hush of expectation, the faint smile
and murmur coming with my first unexpected flash of humor
(_unexpectedness_ is one of my strong points), the broad laugh breaking
out just where I intended it, and finally the solemn peroration, which
showed that I possessed depth and earnestness as well as brilliancy!
Well, I must say that the applauses and the fees were honestly earned. I
did my best, and the audiences must have been satisfied, or the
societies wouldn't have invited me over and over again to the same

If my literary style was so admirably adapted to this new vocation, it
was, on the other hand, a source of great annoyance. Only a small class
was sufficiently enlightened to comprehend my true aim in inculcating
moral lessons under a partly humorous guise. All the rest,
unfortunately, took me to be either one thing or the other. While some
invited me to family prayer-meetings, as the most cheering and welcome
relief after the fatigue of speaking, the rougher characters of the
place would claim me (on the strength of my earlier writings) as one of
themselves, would slap me on the back, call me familiarly "Dionysius,"
and insist on my drinking with them. Others, again, occupied a middle or
doubtful ground; they did not consider that my personal views were
strictly defined, and wanted to be enlightened on this or that point of
faith. They gave me a deal of trouble. Singularly enough, all these
classes began their attacks with the same phrase, "O, we have a right to
ask it of you: you're a Distinguished Character, you know!"

It is hardly necessary to say that I am of rather a frail constitution:
so many persons have seen me, that the public is generally aware of the
fact. A lecture of an hour and a quarter quite exhausts my nervous
energy. Moreover, it gives me a vigorous appetite, and my two
overpowering desires, after speaking, are, first to eat, and then to
sleep. But it frequently happens that I am carried, perforce, to the
house of some good but ascetic gentleman, who gives me a glass of cold
water, talks until midnight, and then delivers me, more dead than alive,
to my bed. I am so sensitive in regard to the relation of guest and host
that I can do naught but submit. Astræa, I am told, always asks for what
she wants, and does what she feels inclined to do,--indeed, why
shouldn't she?--but I am cast in a more timid mould.

There are some small country places which I visit where I have other
sufferings to undergo. Being a Distinguished Character, it would be a
neglect and a slight if I were left alone for two minutes. And the
people seem to think that the most delightful topic of conversation
which they can select is--myself. How weary of myself I become! I have
wished, a thousand times, that my popular work, "The Tin Trumpet," had
never been written. I cannot blame the people, because there are ----
and ----, who like nothing better than to be talked about to their
faces, and to take the principal part in the conversation. Of course the
people think, in regard to lecturers, _ex uno disce omnes_.

In travelling by rail, the same thing happens over and over. When I
leave a town in the morning, some one is sure to enter the car and greet
me in a loud voice: "How are you, Mr. Green? What a fine lecture you
gave us last night!" Then the other travellers turn and look at me,
listen to catch my words, and tell the new-comers at every station,
until I'm afraid to take a nap for fear of snoring, afraid to read lest
somebody should be scandalized at my novel, or to lunch lest I should be
reported as a drunkard for taking a sip of sherry (the physician
prescribes it) from a pocket-flask. At such times I envy the fellow in
homespun on the seat in front of me, who loafs, yawns, eats, and drinks
as he pleases, and nobody gives him a second glance.

When I am not recognized, I sometimes meet with another experience,
which was a little annoying until I became accustomed to it. I am the
subject of very unembarrassed conversation, and hear things said of me
that sometimes flatter and sometimes sting. It is true that I have
learned many curious and unsuspected facts concerning my birth,
parentage, history, and opinions; but, on the other hand, I am
humiliated by the knowledge of what texture a great deal of my
reputation is made. Sometimes I am even confounded with Graves, whom, as
an author, I detest; my "Tin Trumpet" being ascribed to him, and his
"Drippings from the Living Rock" being admired as mine! At such times,
it is very difficult to preserve my incognito. I have wondered that
nobody ever reads the truth in my indignant face.

As a consequence of all these trials, I sometimes become impatient,
inaccessible to compliment, and--since the truth must be told--a little
ill-tempered. My temperament, as my family and friends know, is of an
unusually genial and amiable quality, and I never snub an innocent but
indiscreet admirer without afterwards repenting of my rudeness. I have
often, indeed, a double motive for repentance; for those snubs carry
their operation far beyond their recipients, and come back to me
sometimes, after months or even years, in "Book Notices," or other
newspaper articles. Thus the serene path of literature, which the
aspiring youth imagines to be so fair and sunny, overspread with the
mellowest ideal tints, becomes rough and cloudy. No doubt I am to blame:
possibly I am rightly treated: I "belong to the public," I am told with
endless congratulatory iteration, and therefore I ought not to feel the
difference between the public's original humoring of my moods, and my
present enforced humoring of its moods. But I _do_ feel it, somehow. I
have of late entertained the suspicion, that I am not wholly the
creation of popular favor. "The public," I am sure, never furnished me
with my comic or my lively-serious vein of writing. If either of those
veins had not been found good, they would not have encouraged me to work
them. I declare, boldly, that I give an ample return for what I get, and
when I satisfy curiosity or yield to unreasonable demands upon my
patience and good-humor, it is "to boot."

Nevertheless, it is a generous public, on the whole, and gives trouble
only through thoughtlessness, not malice. It delights in its favorites,
because imagining that they so intensely enjoy its favor. And don't we,
after all? (I say _we_ purposely, and my publisher will tell you why.)
Now that I have written away my vexation, I recognize very clearly that
my object in writing this article is apology rather than complaint. All
whom I have ever rudely treated will now comprehend the unfortunate
circumstances under which the act occurred. If some one should visit me
to-morrow, I have no doubt he will write: "Mr. Dionysius Green is all,
and more than all, one would anticipate from reading his charming works.
Benevolence beams from his brow, fancy sparkles from his eyes, and
genial sympathy with all mankind sits enthroned upon his lips. It was a
rare pleasure to me to listen to his conversation, and I could but wish
that the many thousands of his admirers might enjoy the privilege of an
interview with so Distinguished a Character!"


    When Nature had made all her birds,
      And had no cares to think on,
    She gave a rippling laugh--and out
      There flew a Bobolinkon.

    She laughed again,--out flew a mate.
      A breeze of Eden bore them
    Across the fields of Paradise,
      The sunrise reddening o'er them.

    Incarnate sport and holiday,
      They flew and sang forever;
    Their souls through June were all in tune,
      Their wings were weary never.

    The blithest song of breezy farms,
      Quaintest of field-note flavors,
    Exhaustless fount of trembling trills
      And demisemiquavers.

    Their tribe, still drunk with air and light
      And perfume of the meadow,
    Go reeling up and down the sky,
      In sunshine and in shadow.

    One springs from out the dew-wet grass,
      Another follows after;
    The morn is thrilling with their songs
      And peals of fairy laughter.

    From out the marshes and the brook,
      They set the tall reeds swinging,
    And meet and frolic in the air,
      Half prattling and half singing.

    When morning winds sweep meadow lands
      In green and russet billows,
    And toss the lonely elm-tree's boughs,
      And silver all the willows,

    I see you buffeting the breeze,
      Or with its motion swaying,
    Your notes half drowned against the wind,
      Or down the current playing.

    When far away o'er grassy flats,
      Where the thick wood commences,
    The white-sleeved mowers look like specks
      Beyond the zigzag fences,

    And noon is hot, and barn-roofs gleam
      White in the pale-blue distance,
    I hear the saucy minstrels still
      In chattering persistence.

    When Eve her domes of opal fire
      Piles round the blue horizon,
    Or thunder rolls from hill to hill
      A Kyrie Eleison,--

    Still, merriest of the merry birds,
      Your sparkle is unfading,--
    Pied harlequins of June, no end
      Of song and masquerading.

    What cadences of bubbling mirth
      Too quick for bar or rhythm!
    What ecstasies, too full to keep
      Coherent measure with them!

    O could I share, without champagne
      Or muscadel, your frolic,
    The glad delirium of your joy,
      Your fun un-apostolic,

    Your drunken jargon through the fields,
      Your bobolinkish gabble,
    Your fine anacreontic glee,
      Your tipsy reveller's babble!

    Nay,--let me not profane such joy
      With similes of folly,--
    No wine of earth could waken songs
      So delicately jolly!

    O boundless self-contentment, voiced
      In flying air-born bubbles!
    O joy that mocks our sad unrest,
      And drowns our earth-born troubles!

    Hope springs with you: I dread no more
      Despondency and dullness;
    For Good Supreme can never fail
      That gives such perfect fullness.

    The Life that floods the happy fields
      With song and light and color
    Will shape our lives to richer states,
      And heap our measures fuller.



She recoiled with a violent shudder at first; and hid her face with one
hand. Then she gradually stole a horror-stricken side-glance.

She had not looked at it a moment, when she uttered a loud cry, and
pointed at its feet with quivering hand.


With this she fell into violent hysterics, and was carried out of the
room at Houseman's earnest entreaty.

As soon as she was gone, Mr. Houseman, being freed from his fear that
his client would commit herself irretrievably, recovered a show of
composure, and his wits went keenly to work.

"On behalf of the accused," said he, "I admit the suicide of some person
unknown, wearing heavy hobnailed shoes; probably one of the lower order
of people."

This adroit remark produced some little effect, notwithstanding the
strong feeling against the accused.

The coroner inquired if there were any bodily marks by which the remains
could be identified.

"My master had a long black mole on his forehead," suggested Caroline

"'Tis here!" cried a juryman, bending over the remains.

And now they all gathered in great excitement round the _corpus
delicti_; and there, sure enough, was a long black mole.

Then was there a buzz of pity for Griffith Gaunt, followed by a stern
murmur of execration.

"Gentlemen," said the coroner solemnly, "behold in this the finger of
Heaven. The poor gentleman may well have put off his boots, since, it
seems, he left his horse; but he could not take from his forehead his
natal sign; and that, by God's will, hath strangely escaped mutilation,
and revealed a most foul deed. We must now do our duty, gentlemen,
without respect of persons."

A warrant was then issued for the apprehension of Thomas Leicester. And,
that same night, Mrs. Gaunt left Hernshaw in her own chariot between two
constables, and escorted by armed yeomen.

Her proud head was bowed almost to her knees, and her streaming eyes
hidden in her lovely hands. For why? A mob accompanied her for miles,
shouting, "Murderess!--Bloody Papist!--Hast done to death the kindliest
gentleman in Cumberland. We'll all come to see thee hanged.--Fair face
but foul heart!"--and groaning, hissing, and cursing, and indeed only
kept from violence by the escort.

And so they took that poor proud lady and lodged her in Carlisle jail.

She was _enceinte_ into the bargain. By the man she was to be hanged for


The county was against her, with some few exceptions. Sir George Neville
and Mr. Houseman stood stoutly by her.

Sir George's influence and money obtained her certain comforts in jail;
and, in that day, the law of England was so far respected in a jail that
untried prisoners were not thrown into cells, nor impeded, as they now
are, in preparing their defence.

Her two stanch friends visited her every day, and tried to keep her
heart up.

But they could not do it. She was in a state of dejection bordering upon

"If he is dead," said she, "what matters it? If, by God's mercy, he is
alive still, he will not let me die for want of a word from him.
Impatience hath been my bane. Now, I say, God's will be done. I am
weary of the world."

Houseman tried every argument to rouse her out of this desperate frame
of mind; but in vain.

It ran its course, and then, behold, it passed away like a cloud, and
there came a keen desire to live and defeat her accusers.

She made Houseman write out all the evidence against her; and she
studied it by day, and thought of it by night, and often surprised both
her friends by the acuteness of her remarks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Atkins discontinued his advertisements. It was Houseman, who now
filled every paper with notices informing Griffith Gaunt of his
accession to fortune, and entreating him for that, and other weighty
reasons, to communicate in confidence with his old friend, John
Houseman, attorney at law.

Houseman was too wary to invite him to appear and save his wife; for, in
that case, he feared the Crown would use his advertisements as evidence
at the trial, should Griffith not appear.

The fact is, Houseman relied more upon certain _lacunæ_ in the evidence,
and the absence of all marks of violence, than upon any hope that
Griffith might be alive.

The assizes drew near, and no fresh light broke in upon this mysterious

Mrs. Gaunt lay in her bed at night, and thought and thought.

Now the female understanding has sometimes remarkable power under such
circumstances. By degrees Truth flashes across it, like lightning in the

After many such nightly meditations, Mrs. Gaunt sent one day for Sir
George Neville and Mr. Houseman, and addressed them as follows:--"I
believe he is alive, and that I can guess where he is at this moment."

Both the gentlemen started, and looked amazed.

"Yes, sirs; so sure as we sit here, he is now at a little inn in
Lancashire, called the 'Packhorse,' with a woman he calls his wife."
And, with this, her face was scarlet, and her eyes flashed their old

She exacted a solemn promise of secrecy from them, and then she told
them all she had learned from Thomas Leicester.

"And so now," said she, "I believe you can save my life, if you think it
is worth saving." And with this, she began to cry bitterly.

But Houseman, the practical, had no patience with the pangs of love
betrayed, and jealousy, and such small deer, in a client whose life was
at stake. "Great Heaven! madam," said he, roughly: "why did you not tell
me this before?"

"Because I am not a man--to go and tell everything, all at once," sobbed
Mrs. Gaunt. "Besides, I wanted to shield his good name, whose dear life
they pretend I have taken."

As soon as she recovered her composure, she begged Sir George Neville to
ride to the "Packhorse" for her. Sir George assented eagerly, but asked
how he was to find it. "I have thought of that, too," said she. "His
black horse has been to and fro. Ride that horse into Lancashire, and
give him his head: ten to one but he takes you to the place, or where
you may hear of it. If not, go to Lancaster, and ask about the
'Packhorse.' He wrote to me from Lancaster: see." And she showed him the

Sir George embraced with ardor this opportunity of serving her. "I'll be
at Hernshaw in one hour," said he, "and ride the black horse south at

"Excuse me," said Houseman; "but would it not be better for me to go? As
a lawyer, I may be more able to cope with her."

"Nay," said Mrs. Gaunt, "Sir George is young and handsome. If he manages
well, she will tell him more than she will you. All I beg of him is to
drop the chevalier for this once, and see women with a woman's eyes and
not a man's,--see them as they are. Do not go telling a creature of
this kind that she has had my money, as well as my husband, and ought to
pity me lying here in prison. Keep me out of her sight as much as you
can. Whether Griffith hath deceived her or not, you will never raise in
her any feeling but love for him, and hatred for his lawful wife. Dress
like a yeoman; go quietly, and lodge in the house a day or two; begin by
flattering her; and then get from her when she saw him last, or heard
from him. But indeed I fear you will surprise him with her."

"Fear?" exclaimed Sir George.

"Well, hope, then," said the lady; and a tear trickled down her face in
a moment. "But if you do, promise me, on your honor as a gentleman, not
to affront him. For I know you think him a villain."

"A d----d villain, saving your presence."

"Well, sir, you have said it to me. Now promise me to say naught to
_him_, but just this: 'Rose Gaunt's mother, she lies in Carlisle jail,
to be tried for her life for murdering you. She begs of you not to let
her die publicly upon the scaffold; but quietly at home, of her broken

"Write it," said Sir George, with the tears in his eyes, "that I may
just put it in his hand; for I can never utter your sweet words to such
a monster as he is."

Armed with this appeal, and several minute instructions, which it is
needless to particularize here, that stanch friend rode into Lancashire.

And next day the black horse justified his mistress's sagacity, and his

He seemed all along to know where he was going, and late in the
afternoon he turned off the road on to a piece of green: and Sir George,
with beating heart, saw right before him the sign of the "Packhorse,"
and, on coming nearer, the words


He dismounted at the door, and asked if he could have a bed.

Mrs. Vint said yes; and supper into the bargain, if he liked.

He ordered a substantial supper directly.

Mrs. Vint saw at once it was a good customer, and showed him into the

He sat down by the fire. But the moment she retired, he got up and made
a circuit of the house, looking quietly into every window, to see if he
could catch a glance of Griffith Gaunt.

There were no signs of him; and Sir George returned to his parlor
heavy-hearted. One hope, the greatest of all, had been defeated
directly. Still, it was just possible that Griffith might be away on
temporary business.

In this faint hope Sir George strolled about till his supper was ready
for him.

When he had eaten his supper, he rang the bell, and, taking advantage of
a common custom, insisted on the landlord, Thomas Leicester, taking a
glass with him.

"Thomas Leicester!" said the girl. "He is not at home. But I'll send
Master Vint."

Old Vint came in, and readily accepted an invitation to drink his
guest's health.

Sir George found him loquacious, and soon extracted from him that his
daughter Mercy was Leicester's wife, that Leicester was gone on a
journey, and that Mercy was in care for him. "Leastways," said he, "she
is very dull, and cries at times when her mother speaks of him; but she
is too close to say much."

All this puzzled Sir George Neville sorely.

But greater surprises were in store.

The next morning, after breakfast, the servant came and told him Dame
Leicester desired to see him.

He started at that, but put on nonchalance, and said he was at her

He was ushered into another parlor, and there he found a grave, comely
young woman, seated working, with a child on the floor beside her. She
rose quietly; he bowed low and respectfully; she blushed faintly; but,
with every appearance of self-possession, courtesied to him; then eyed
him point-blank a single moment, and requested him to be seated.

"I hear, sir," said she, "you did ask my father many questions last
night. May I ask you one?"

Sir George colored, but bowed assent.

"From whom had you the black horse you ride?"

Now, if Sir George had not been a veracious man, he would have been
caught directly. But, although he saw at once the oversight he had
committed, he replied, "I had him of a lady in Cumberland, one Mistress

Mercy Vint trembled. "No doubt," said she, softly. "Excuse my question:
you shall understand that the horse is well known here."

"Madam," said Sir George, "if you admire the horse, he is at your
service for twenty pounds, though indeed he is worth more."

"I thank you, sir," said Mercy; "I have no desire for the horse
whatever. And be pleased to excuse my curiosity: you must think me

"Nay, madam," said Sir George, "I consider nothing impertinent that hath
procured me the pleasure of an interview with you."

He then, as directed by Mrs. Gaunt, proceeded to flatter the mother and
the child, and exerted those powers of pleasing which had made him
irresistible in society.

Here, however, he found they went a very little way. Mercy did not even
smile. She cast out of her dove-like eyes a gentle, humble, reproachful
glance, as much as to say, "What! do I seem so vain a creature as to
believe all this?"

Sir George himself had tact and sensibility; and by and by became
discontented with the part he was playing, under those meek, honest

There was a pause; and, as her sex have a wonderful art of reading the
face, Mercy looked at him steadily, and said, "_Yes_, sir, 'tis best to
be straightforward, especially with women-folk."

Before he could recover this little facer, she said, quietly, "What is
your name?"

"George Neville."

"Well, George Neville," said Mercy, very slowly and softly, "when you
have a mind to tell me what you came here for, and who sent you, you
will find me in this little room. I seldom leave it now. I beg you to
speak your errand to none but me." And she sighed deeply.

Sir George bowed low, and retired to collect his wits. He had come here
strongly prepossessed against Mercy. But, instead of a vulgar, shallow
woman, whom he was to surprise into confession, he encountered a
soft-eyed Puritan, all unpretending dignity, grace, propriety, and

"Flatter her!" said he, to himself. "I might as well flatter an iceberg.
Outwit her! I feel like a child beside her."

He strolled about in a brown study, not knowing what to do.

She had given him a fair opening. She had invited him to tell the truth.
But he was afraid to take her at her word; and yet what was the use to
persist in what his own eyes told him was the wrong course?

Whilst he hesitated, and debated within himself, a trifling incident
turned the scale.

A poor woman came begging, with her child, and was received rather
roughly by Harry Vint. "Pass on, good woman," said he, "we want no
tramps here."

Then a window was opened on the ground floor, and Mercy beckoned the
woman. Sir George flattened himself against the wall, and listened to
the two talking.

Mercy examined the woman gently, but shrewdly, and elicited a tale of
genuine distress. Sir George then saw her hand out to the woman some
warm flannel for herself, a piece of stuff for the child, a large piece
of bread, and a sixpence.

He also caught sight of Mercy's dove-like eyes as she bestowed her alms,
and they were lit with an inward lustre.

"She cannot be an ill woman," said Sir George. "I'll e'en go by my own
eyes and judgment. After all, Mrs. Gaunt has never seen her, and I

He went and knocked at Mercy's door.

"Come in," said a mild voice.

Neville entered, and said, abruptly, and with great emotion, "Madam, I
see you can feel for the unhappy; so I take my own way now, and appeal
to your pity. I _have_ come to speak to you on the saddest business."

"You come from _him_," said Mercy, closing her lips tight; but her bosom
heaved. Her heart and her judgment grappled like wrestlers that moment.

"Nay, madam," said Sir George, "I come from _her_."

Mercy knew in a moment who "her" must be.

She looked scared, and drew back with manifest signs of repulsion.

The movement did not escape Sir George: it alarmed him. He remembered
what Mrs. Gaunt had said,--that this woman would be sure to hate Gaunt's
lawful wife. But it was too late to go back. He did the next best thing,
he rushed on.

He threw himself on his knees before Mercy Vint.

"O madam," he cried, piteously, "do not set your heart against the most
unhappy lady in England. If you did but know her, her nobleness, her
misery! Before you steel yourself against me, her friend, let me ask you
one question. Do you know where Mrs. Gaunt is at this moment?"

Mercy answered coldly, "How should I know where she is?"

"Well, then, she lies in Carlisle jail."

"She--lies--in Carlisle jail?" repeated Mercy, looking all confused.

"They accuse her of murdering her husband."

Mercy uttered a scream, and, catching her child up off the floor, began
to rock herself and moan over it.

"No, no, no," cried Sir George, "she is innocent, she is innocent."

"What is that to _me_?" cried Mercy, wildly. "He is murdered, he is
dead, and my child an orphan." And so she went on moaning and rocking

"But I tell you he is not dead at all," cried Sir George. "'Tis all a
mistake. When did you see him last?"

"More than six weeks ago."

"I mean, when did you hear from him last?"

"Never, since that day."

Sir George groaned aloud at this intelligence.

And Mercy, who heard him groan, was heart-broken. She accused herself of
Griffith's death. "'T was I who drove him from me," she said. "'T was I
who bade him go back to his lawful wife; and the wretch hated him. I
sent him to his death." Her grief was wild, and deep. She could not hear
Sir George's arguments.

But presently she said, sternly, "What does that woman say for herself?"

"Madam," said Sir George, dejectedly, "Heaven knows you are in no
condition to fathom a mystery that hath puzzled wiser heads than yours
or mine; and I am little able to lay the tale before you fairly; for
your grief, it moves me deeply, and I could curse myself for putting the
matter to you so bluntly and so uncouthly. Permit me to retire a while
and compose my own spirits for the task I have undertaken too rashly."

"Nay, George Neville," said Mercy, "stay you there. Only give me a
moment to draw my breath."

She struggled hard for a little composure, and, after a shower of tears,
she hung her head over the chair like a crushed thing, but made him a
sign of attention.

Sir George told the story as fairly as he could; only of course his bias
was in favor of Mrs. Gaunt; but as Mercy's bias was against her, this
brought the thing nearly square.

When he came to the finding of the body, Mercy was seized with a deadly
faintness; and though she did not become insensible, yet she was in no
condition to judge, or even to comprehend.

Sir George was moved with pity, and would have called for help; but she
shook her head. So then he sprinkled water on her face, and slapped her
hand; and a beautifully moulded hand it was.

When she got a little better she sobbed faintly, and sobbing thanked
him, and begged him to go on.

"My mind is stronger than my heart," she said. "I'll hear it all, though
it kill me where I sit."

Sir George went on, and, to avoid repetition, I must ask the reader to
understand that he left out nothing whatever which has been hitherto
related in these pages; and, in fact, told her one or two little things
that I have omitted.

When he had done, she sat quite still a minute or two, pale as a statue.

Then she turned to Neville, and said, solemnly, "You wish to know the
truth in this dark matter: for dark it is in very sooth."

Neville was much impressed by her manner, and answered, respectfully,
Yes, he desired to know,--by all means.

"Then take my hand," said Mercy, "and kneel down with me."

Sir George looked surprised, but obeyed, and kneeled down beside her,
with his hand in hers.

There was a long pause, and then took place a transformation.

The dove-like eyes were lifted to heaven and gleamed like opals with an
inward and celestial light; the comely face shone with a higher beauty,
and the rich voice rose in ardent supplication.

"Thou God, to whom all hearts be known, and no secrets hid from thine
eye, look down now on thy servant in sore trouble, that putteth her
trust in thee. Give wisdom to the simple this day, and understanding to
the lowly. Thou that didst reveal to babes and sucklings the great
things that were hidden from the wise, O show us the truth in this dark
matter: enlighten us by thy spirit, for His dear sake who suffered more
sorrows than I suffer now. Amen. Amen."

Then she looked at Neville; and he said "Amen," with all his heart, and
the tears in his eyes.

He had never heard real live prayer before. Here the little hand gripped
his hard, as she wrestled; and the heart seemed to rise out of the bosom
and fly to Heaven on the sublime and thrilling voice.

They rose, and she sat down; but it seemed as if her eyes once raised to
Heaven in prayer could not come down again: they remained fixed and
angelic, and her lips still moved in supplication.

Sir George Neville, though a loose liver, was no scoffer. He was smitten
with reverence for this inspired countenance, and retired, bowing low
and obsequiously.

He took a long walk, and thought it all over. One thing was clear, and
consoling. He felt sure he had done wisely to disobey Mrs. Gaunt's
instructions, and make a friend of Mercy, instead of trying to set his
wits against hers. Ere he returned to the "Packhorse" he had determined
to take another step in the right direction. He did not like to agitate
her with another interview, so soon. But he wrote her a little letter.

     "MADAM,--When I came here, I did not know you; and therefore I
     feared to trust you too far. But, now I do know you for the
     best woman in England, I take the open way with you.

     "Know that Mrs. Gaunt said the man would be here with you; and
     she charged me with a few written lines to him. She would be
     angry if she knew that I had shown them to any other. Yet I
     take on me to show them to you; for I believe you are wiser
     than any of us, if the truth were known. I do therefore entreat
     you to read these lines, and tell me whether you think the hand
     that wrote them can have shed the blood of him to whom they are

    "I am, madam, with profound respect,

        "Your grateful and very humble servant,

            "GEORGE NEVILLE."

He very soon received a line in reply, written in a clear and beautiful

     "Mercy Vint sends you her duty; and she will speak to you at
     nine of the clock to-morrow morning. Pray for light."

At the appointed time, Sir George found her working with her needle. His
letter lay on a table before her.

She rose and courtesied to him, and called the servant to take away the
child for a while. She went with her to the door and kissed the bairn
several times at parting, as if he was going away for good. "I'm loath
to let him go," said she to Neville; "but it weakens a mother's mind to
have her babe in the room,--takes her attention off each moment. Pray
you be seated. Well, sir, I have read these lines of Mistress Gaunt, and
wept over them. Methinks I had not done so, were they cunningly devised.
Also I lay all night, and thought."

"That is just what she does."

"No doubt, sir; and the upshot is, I don't _feel_ as if he was dead.
Thank God."

"That is something," said Neville. But he could not help thinking it was
very little; especially to produce in a court of justice.

"And now," said she, thoughtfully, "you say that the real Thomas
Leicester was seen thereabouts as well as my Thomas Leicester. Then
answer me one little question. What had the real Thomas Leicester on his
feet that night?"

"Nay, I know not," was the half-careless reply.

"Bethink you. 'Tis a question that must have been often put in your

"Begging your pardon, it was never put at all; nor do I see--"

"What, not at the inquest?"


"That is very strange. What, so many wise heads have bent over this
riddle, and not one to ask how was yon pedler shod!"

"Madam," said Sir George, "our minds were fixed upon the fate of Gaunt.
Many did ask how was the pedler armed, but none how was he shod."

"Hath he been seen since?"

"Not he; and that hath an ugly look; for the constables are out after
him with hue and cry; but he is not to be found."

"Then," said Mercy, "I must e'en answer my own question. I do know how
that pedler was shod. WITH HOBNAILED SHOES."

Sir George bounded from his chair. One great ray of daylight broke in
upon him.

"Ay," said Mercy, "she was right. Women do see clearer in some things
than men. The pair went from my house to hers. He you call Griffith
Gaunt had on a new pair of boots; and by the same token 't was I did pay
for them, and there is the receipt in that cupboard: he you call Thomas
Leicester went hence in hobnailed shoes. I think the body they found was
the body of Thomas Leicester, the pedler. May God have mercy on his poor
unprepared soul."

Sir George uttered a joyful exclamation. But the next moment he had a
doubt. "Ay, but," said he, "you forget the mole! 'T was on that they

"I forget naught," said Mercy, calmly. "The pedler had a black mole over
his left temple. He showed it me in this very room. You have found the
body of Thomas Leicester, and Griffith Gaunt is hiding from the law that
he hath broken. He is afeared of her and her friends, if he shows his
face in Cumberland; he is afeared of my folk, if he be seen in
Lancashire. Ah, Thomas, as if I would let them harm thee."

Sir George Neville walked to and fro in grand excitement. "O blessed day
that I came hither! Madam, you are an angel. You will save an innocent,
broken-hearted lady from death and dishonor. Your good heart and rare
wit have read in a moment the dark riddle that hath puzzled a county."

"George," said Mercy, gravely, "you have gotten the wrong end of the
stick. The wise in their own conceit are blinded. In Cumberland, where
all this befell, they went not to God for light, as you and I did,

In saying this, she gave him her hand to celebrate their success.

He kissed it devoutly, and owned afterward that it was the proudest
moment of his life, when that sweet Puritan gave him her neat hand so
cordially, with a pressure so gentle yet frank.

And now came the question how they were to make a Cumberland jury see
this matter as they saw it.

He asked her would she come to the trial as a witness?

At that she drew back with manifest repugnance.

"My shame would be public. I must tell who I am; and what. A ruined

"Say rather an injured saint. You have nothing to be ashamed of. All
good men would feel for you."

Mercy shook her head. "Ay, but the women. Shame is shame with us. Right
or wrong goes for little. Nay, I hope to do better for you than that. I
must find _him_, and send him to deliver her. 'Tis his only chance of

She then asked him if he would draw up an advertisement of quite a
different kind from those he had described to her.

He assented, and between them they concocted the following:--

     "If Thomas Leicester, who went from the 'Packhorse' two months
     ago, will come thither at once, Mercy will be much beholden to
     him, and tell him strange things that have befallen."

Sir George then, at her request, rode over to Lancaster, and inserted
the above in the county paper, and also in a small sheet that was issued
in the city three times a week. He had also handbills to the same effect
printed, and sent into Cumberland and Westmoreland. Finally, he sent a
copy to his man of business in London, with orders to insert it in all
the journals.

Then he returned to the "Packhorse," and told Mercy what he had done.

The next day he bade her farewell, and away for Carlisle. It was a two
days' journey. He reached Carlisle in the evening, and went all glowing
to Mrs. Gaunt. "Madam," said he, "be of good cheer. I bless the day I
went to see her; she is an angel of wit and goodness."

He then related to her, in glowing terms, most that had passed between
Mercy and him. But, to his surprise, Mrs. Gaunt wore a cold, forbidding

"This is all very well," said she. "But 't will avail me little unless
_he_ comes before the judge and clears me; and she will never let him do

"Ay, that she will,--if she can find him."

"If she can find him? How simple you are!"

"Nay, madam, not so simple but I can tell a good woman from a bad one,
and a true from a false."

"What! when you are in love with her? Not if you were the wisest of your

"In love with her?" cried Sir George; and colored high.

"Ay," said the lady. "Think you I cannot tell? Don't deceive yourself.
You have gone and fallen in love with her. At your years! Not that 'tis
any business of mine."

"Well, madam," said Sir George, stiffly, "say what you please on that
score; but at least welcome my good news."

Mrs. Gaunt begged him to excuse her petulance, and thanked him kindly
for all he had just done. But the next moment she rose from her chair in
great agitation, and burst out, "I'd as lief die as owe anything to that

Sir George remonstrated. "Why hate her? She does not hate you."

"O, yes, she does. 'Tis not in nature she should do any other."

"Her acts prove the contrary."

"Her acts! She has _done_ nothing, but make fair promises; and that has
blinded you. Women of this sort are very cunning, and never show their
real characters to a man. No more; prithee mention not her name to me.
It makes me ill. I know he is with her at this moment Ah, let me die,
and be forgotten, since I am no more beloved."

The voice was sad and weary now, and the tears ran fast.

Poor Sir George was moved and melted, and set himself to flatter and
console this impracticable lady, who hated her best friend in this sore
strait, for being what she was herself, a woman; and was much less
annoyed at being hanged than at not being loved.

When she was a little calmer, he left her, and rode off to Houseman.
That worthy was delighted.

"Get her to swear to those hobnailed shoes," said he, "and we shall
shake them." He then let Sir George know that he had obtained private
information which he would use in cross-examining a principal witness
for the crown. "However," he added, "do not deceive yourself, nothing
can make the prisoner really safe but the appearance of Griffith Gaunt.
He has such strong motives for coming to light. He is heir to a fortune,
and his wife is accused of murdering him. The jury will never believe he
is alive till they see him. That man's prolonged disappearance is
hideous. It turns my blood cold when I think of it."

"Do not despair on that score," said Neville. "I believe our good angel
will produce him."

Three days only before the assizes, came the long-expected letter from
Mercy Vint. Sir George tore it open, but bitter was his disappointment.
The letter merely said that Griffith had not appeared in answer to her
advertisements, and she was sore grieved and perplexed.

There were two postscripts, each on a little piece of paper.

First postscript, in a tremulous hand, "Pray."

Second postscript, in a firm hand, "Drain the water."

Houseman shrugged his shoulders impatiently. "Drain the water? Let the
crown do that. We should but fish up more trouble. And prayers quo' she!
'Tis not prayers we want, but evidence."

He sent his clerk off to travel post night and day, and subpoena
Mercy, and bring her back with him to the trial. She was to have every
comfort on the road, and be treated like a duchess.

The evening before the assizes, Mrs. Gaunt's apartments were Mr.
Houseman's head-quarters, and messages were coming and going all day, on
matters connected with the defence.

Just at sunset, up rattled a post-chaise, and the clerk got out and came
haggard and bloodshot before his employer. "The witness has disappeared,
sir. Left home last Tuesday, with her child, and has never been seen nor
heard of since."

Here was a terrible blow. They all paled under it: it seriously
diminished the chances of an acquittal.

But Mrs. Gaunt bore it nobly. She seemed to rise under it.

She turned to Sir George Neville, with a sweet smile. "The noble heart
sees base things noble. No wonder then an artful woman deluded _you_. He
has left England with her, and condemned me to the gallows, in cold
blood. So be it. I shall defend myself."

She then sat down with Mr. Houseman, and went through the written case
he had prepared for her, and showed him notes she had taken of full a
hundred criminal trials great and small.

While they were putting their heads together, Sir George sat in a brown
study, and uttered not a word. Presently he got up a little brusquely,
and said, "I'm going to Hernshaw."

"What, at this time of night? What to do?"

"To obey my orders. To drain the mere."

"And who could have ordered you to drain my mere?"

"Mercy Vint."

Sir George uttered this in a very curious way, half ashamed, half
resolute, and retired before Mrs. Gaunt could vent in speech the
surprise and indignation that fired her eye.

Houseman implored her not to heed Sir George and his vagaries, but to
bend her whole mind on those approved modes of defence with which he had
supplied her.

Being now alone with her, he no longer concealed his great anxiety.

"We have lost an invaluable witness in that woman," said he. "I was mad
to think she would come."

Mrs. Gaunt shivered with repugnance. "I would not have her come, for all
the world," said she. "For Heaven's sake never mention her name to me. I
want help from none but friends. Send Mrs. Houseman to me in the
morning; and do not distress yourself so. I shall defend myself far
better than you think. I have not studied a hundred trials for naught."

Thus the prisoner cheered up her attorney, and soon after insisted on
his going home to bed; for she saw he was worn out by his exertions.

And now she was alone.

All was silent.

A few short hours, and she was to be tried for her life: tried, not by
the All-wise Judge, but by fallible men, and under a system most
unfavorable to the accused.

Worse than all this, she was a Papist; and, as ill-luck would have it,
since her imprisonment an alarm had been raised that the Pretender
meditated another invasion. This report had set jurists very much
against all the Romanists in the country, and had already perverted
justice in one or two cases, especially in the North.

Mrs. Gaunt knew all this, and trembled at the peril to come.

She spent the early part of the night in studying her defence. Then she
laid it quite aside, and prayed long and fervently. Towards morning she
fell asleep from exhaustion.

When she awoke, Mrs. Houseman was sitting by her bedside, looking at
her, and crying.

They were soon clasped in each other's arms, condoling.

But presently Houseman came, and took his wife away rather angrily.

Mrs. Gaunt was prevailed on to eat a little toast and drink a glass of
wine, and then she sat waiting her dreadful summons.

She waited and waited, until she became impatient to face her danger.

But there were two petty larcenies on before her. She had to wait.

At last, about noon, came a message to say that the grand jury had found
a true bill against her.

"Then may God forgive them!" said she.

Soon afterwards she was informed her time drew very near.

She made her toilet carefully, and passed with her attendant into a
small room under the court.

Here she had to endure another chilling wait, and in a sombre room.

Presently she heard a voice above her cry out, "The King _versus_
Catharine Gaunt."

Then she was beckoned to.

She mounted some steps, badly lighted, and found herself in the glare of
day, and greedy eyes, in the felon's dock.

In a matter entirely strange, we seldom know beforehand what we can do,
and how we shall carry ourselves. Mrs. Gaunt no sooner set her foot in
that dock, and saw the awful front of Justice face to face, than her
tremors abated, and all her powers awoke, and she thrilled with love of
life, and bristled with all those fine arts of defence that Nature lends
to superior women.

She entered on that defence before she spoke a word; for she attacked
the prejudices of the court, by deportment.

She courtesied reverently to the Judge, and contrived to make her
reverence seem a willing homage, unmixed with fear.

She cast her eyes round and saw the court thronged with ladies and
gentlemen she knew. In a moment she read in their eyes that only two or
three were on her side. She bowed to those only; and they returned her
courtesy. This gave an impression (a false one) that the gentry
sympathized with her.

After a little murmur of functionaries, the Clerk of Arraigns turned to
the prisoner, and said, in a loud voice, "Catharine Gaunt, hold up thy

She held up her hand, and he recited the indictment, which charged that,
not having the fear of God before her eyes, but being moved by the
instigation of the Devil, she had on the fifteenth of October, in the
tenth year of the reign of his present Majesty, aided and abetted one
Thomas Leicester in an assault upon one Griffith Gaunt, Esq., and him,
the said Griffith Gaunt, did with force and arms assassinate and do to
death, against the peace of our said Lord the King, his crown and

After reading the indictment, the Clerk of Arraigns turned to the
prisoner: "How sayest thou, Catharine Gaunt; art thou guilty of the
felony and murder whereof thou standest indicted,--or not guilty?"

"I am not guilty."

"Culprit, how wilt thou be tried?"

"Culprit I am none, but only accused. I will be tried by God and my

"God send thee a good deliverance."

Mr. Whitworth, the junior counsel for the crown, then rose to open the
case; but the prisoner, with a pale face, but most courteous demeanor,
begged his leave to make a previous motion to the court. Mr. Whitworth
bowed, and sat down. "My Lord," said she, "I have first a favor to ask;
and that favor, methinks, you will grant, since it is but justice,
impartial justice. My accuser, I hear, has two counsel; both learned and
able. I am but a woman, and no match for their skill Therefore I beg
your Lordship to allow me counsel on my defence, to matter of fact as
well as of law. I know this is not usual; but it is just, and I am
informed it has sometimes been granted in trials of life and death, and
that your Lordship hath the _power_, if you have the _will_, to do me so
much justice."

The Judge looked towards Mr. Serjeant Wiltshire, who was the leader on
the other side. He rose instantly and replied to this purpose: "The
prisoner is misinformed. The truth is, that from time immemorial, and
down to the other day, a person indicted for a capital offence was never
allowed counsel at all, except to matters of law, and these must be
started by himself. By recent practice the rule hath been so far relaxed
that counsel have sometimes been permitted to examine and cross-examine
witnesses for a prisoner; but never to make observations on the
evidence, nor to draw inferences from it to the point in issue."

_Mrs. Gaunt._ So, then, if I be sued for a small sum of money, I may
have skilled orators to defend me against their like. But if I be sued
for my life and honor, I may not oppose skill to skill, but must stand
here a child against you that are masters. 'Tis a monstrous iniquity,
and you yourself, sir, will not deny it.

_Serjeant Wiltshire._ Madam, permit me. Whether it be a hardship to deny
full counsel to prisoners in criminal cases, I shall not pretend to say;
but if it be, 'tis a hardship of the law's making, and not of mine nor
of my lord's; and none have suffered by it (at least in our day) but
those who had broken the law.

The Serjeant then stopped a minute, and whispered with his junior. After
which he turned to the Judge. "My Lord, we that are of counsel for the
crown desire to do nothing that is hard where a person's life is at
stake. We yield to the prisoner any indulgence for which your Lordship
can find a precedent in your reading; but no more: and so we leave the
matter to you."

_The Clerk of Arraigns._ Crier, proclaim silence.

_The Crier._ Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! His Majesty's Justices do strictly charge
all manner of persons to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment.

_The Judge._ Prisoner, what my Brother Wiltshire says, the law is clear
in. There is no precedent for what you ask, and the contrary practice
stares us in the face for centuries. What seems to you a partial
practice, and, to be frank, some learned persons are of your mind, must
be set against this,--that in capital cases the burden of proof lies on
the crown, and not on the accused. Also it is my duty to give you all
the assistance I can, and that I shall do. Thus then it is: you can be
allowed counsel to examine your own witnesses, and cross-examine the
witnesses for the crown, and speak to points of law, to be started by
yourself,--but no further.

He then asked her what gentleman there present he should assign to her
for counsel.

Her reply to this inquiry took the whole court by surprise, and made her
solicitor, Houseman, very miserable. "None, my Lord," said she.
"Half-justice is injustice; and I will lend it no color. I will not set
able men to fight for me with their hands tied, against men as able
whose hands be free. Counsel, on terms so partial, I will have none. My
counsel shall be three, and no more,--Yourself, my Lord, my Innocence,
and the Lord God Omniscient."

These words, grandly uttered, caused a dead silence in the court, but
only for a few moments. It was broken by the loud mechanical voice of
the crier, who proclaimed silence, and then called the names of the jury
that were to try this cause.

Mrs. Gaunt listened keenly to the names,--familiar and bourgeois names,
that now seemed regal; for they who owned them held her life in their

Each juryman was sworn in the grand old form, now slightly curtailed.

"Joseph King, look upon the prisoner.--You shall well and truly try, and
true deliverance make, between our Sovereign Lord the King and the
prisoner at the bar, whom you shall have in charge, and a true verdict
give, according to the evidence. So help you God."

Mr. Whitworth, for the crown, then opened the case, but did little more
than translate the indictment into more rational language.

He sat down, and Serjeant Wiltshire addressed the court somewhat after
this fashion:--

     "May it please your Lordship, and you, gentlemen of the jury,
     this is a case of great expectation and importance. The
     prisoner at the bar, a gentlewoman by birth and education, and,
     as you must have already perceived, by breeding also, stands
     indicted for no less a crime than murder.

     "I need not paint to you the heinousness of this crime: you
     have but to consult your own breasts. Who ever saw the ghastly
     corpse of the victim weltering in its blood, and did not feel
     his own blood run cold through his veins? Has the murderer
     fled? With what eagerness do we pursue! with what zeal
     apprehend! with what joy do we bring him to justice! Even the
     dreadful sentence of death does not shock us, when pronounced
     upon him. We hear it with solemn satisfaction; and acknowledge
     the justice of the Divine sentence, 'Whoso sheddeth man's
     blood, by man shall his blood be shed.'

     "But if this be the case in every common murder, what shall be
     thought of her who has murdered her husband,--the man in whose
     arms she has lain, and whom she has sworn at God's altar to
     love and cherish? Such a murderer is a robber as well as an
     assassin; for she robs her own children of their father, that
     tender parent, who can never be replaced in this world.

     "Gentlemen, it will, I fear, be proved that the prisoner at the
     bar hath been guilty of murder in this high degree; and, though
     I will endeavor rather to extenuate than to aggravate, yet I
     trust [_sic_] I have such a history to open as will shock the
     ears of all who hear me.

     "Mr. Griffith Gaunt, the unfortunate deceased, was a man of
     descent and worship. As to his character, it was inoffensive.
     He was known as a worthy, kindly gentleman, deeply attached to
     her who now stands accused of his murder. They lived happily
     together for some years; but, unfortunately, there was a thorn
     in the rose of their wedded life: he was of the Church of
     England; she was, and is, a Roman Catholic. This led to
     disputes; and no wonder, since this same unhappy difference
     hath more than once embroiled a nation, let alone a single

     "Well, gentlemen, about a year ago there was a more violent
     quarrel than usual between the deceased and the prisoner at the
     bar; and the deceased left his home for several months.

     "He returned upon a certain day in this year, and a
     reconciliation, real or apparent, took place. He left home
     again soon afterwards, but only for a short period. On the 15th
     of last October he suddenly returned for good, as he intended;
     and here begins the tragedy, to which what I have hitherto
     related was but the prologue.

     "Scarce an hour before he came, one Thomas Leicester entered
     the house. Now this Thomas Leicester was a creature of the
     prisoner's. He had been her gamekeeper, and was now a pedler.
     It was the prisoner who set him up as a pedler, and purchased
     the wares to start him in his trade.

     "Gentlemen, this pedler, as I shall prove, was concealed in the
     house when the deceased arrived. One Caroline Ryder, who is the
     prisoner's gentlewoman, was the person who first informed her
     of Leicester's arrival, and it seems she was much moved: Mrs.
     Ryder will tell you she fell into hysterics. But, soon after,
     her husband's arrival was announced, and then the passion was
     of a very different kind. So violent was her rage against this
     unhappy man that, for once, she forgot all prudence, and
     threatened his life before a witness. Yes, gentlemen, we shall
     prove that this gentlewoman, who in appearance and manners
     might grace a court, was so transported out of her usual self
     that she held up a knife,--a knife, gentlemen,--and vowed to
     put it into her husband's heart. And this was no mere temporary
     ebullition of wrath. We shall see presently that, long after
     she had had time to cool, she repeated this menace to the
     unfortunate man's face. The first threat, however, was uttered
     in her own bedroom, before her confidential servant, Caroline
     Ryder aforesaid. But now the scene shifts. She has, to all
     appearance, recovered herself, and sits smiling at the head of
     her table; for, you must know, she entertained company that
     night,--persons of the highest standing in the county.

     "Presently her husband, all unconscious of the terrible
     sentiments she entertained towards him, and the fearful purpose
     she had announced, enters the room, makes obeisance to his
     guests, and goes to take his wife's hand.

     "What does she? She draws back with so strange a look, and such
     forbidding words, that the company were disconcerted.
     Consternation fell on all present; and erelong they made their
     excuses, and left the house. Thus the prisoner was left alone
     with her husband; but, meantime, curiosity had been excited by
     her strange conduct, and some of the servants, with foreboding
     hearts, listened at the door of the dining-room. What did they
     hear, gentlemen? A furious quarrel, in which, however, the
     deceased was comparatively passive, and the prisoner again
     threatened his life, with vehemence. Her passion, it is clear,
     had not cooled.

     "Now it may fairly be alleged, on behalf of the prisoner, that
     the witnesses for the crown were on one side of the door, the
     prisoner and the deceased on the other, and that such evidence
     should be received with caution. I grant this--where it is not
     sustained by other circumstances, or by direct proofs. Let us
     then give the prisoner the benefit of this doubt, and let us
     inquire how the deceased himself understood her,--he, who not
     only heard the words, and the accents, but saw the looks,
     whatever they were, that accompanied them.

     "Gentlemen, he was a man of known courage and resolution; yet
     he was found, after this terrible interview, much cowed and
     dejected. He spoke to Mrs. Ryder of his death as an event not
     far distant, and so went to his bedroom in a melancholy and
     foreboding state. And where was that bedroom? He was thrust, by
     his wife's orders, into a small chamber, and not allowed to
     enter hers,--he, the master of the house, her husband, and her

     "But his interpretation of the prisoner's words did not end
     there. He left us a further comment by his actions next
     ensuing. He dared not--(I beg pardon, this is my inference:
     receive it as such)--he _did_ not, remain in that house a
     single night. He at all events bolted his chamber door inside;
     and in the very dead of night, notwithstanding the fatigues of
     the day's journey, (for he had ridden some distance,) he let
     himself out by the window, and reached the ground safely,
     though it was a height of fourteen feet,--a leap, gentlemen,
     that few of us would venture to take. But what will not men
     risk when destruction is at their heels? He did not wait even
     to saddle his horse, but fled on foot. Unhappy man, he fled
     from danger, and met his death.

     "From the hour when he went up to bed, none of the inmates of
     the house ever saw Griffith Gaunt alive; but one Thomas Hayes,
     a laborer, saw him walking in a certain direction at one
     o'clock that morning; and behind him, gentlemen, there walked
     another man.

     "Who was that other man?

     "When I have told you (and this is an essential feature of the
     case) how the prisoner was employed during the time that her
     husband lay quaking in his little room, waiting an opportunity
     to escape,--when I have told you this, I fear you will divine
     who it was that followed the deceased, and for what purpose.

     "Gentlemen, when the prisoner had threatened her husband in
     person, as I have described, she retired to her own room, but
     not to sleep. She ordered her maid, Mrs. Ryder, to bring Thomas
     Leicester to her chamber. Yes, gentlemen, she received this
     pedler, at midnight, in her bedchamber.

     "Now, an act so strange as this admits, I think, but of two
     interpretations. Either she had a guilty amour with this
     fellow, or she had some extraordinary need of his services. Her
     whole character, by consent of the witnesses, renders it very
     improbable that she would descend to a low amour. Moreover, she
     acted too publicly in the matter. The man, as we know, was her
     tool, her creature: she had bought his wares for him, and set
     him up as a pedler. She openly summoned him to her presence,
     and kept him there about half an hour.

     "He went from her, and very soon after is seen, by Thomas
     Hayes, following Griffith Gaunt, at one o'clock in the
     morning,--that Griffith Gaunt who after that hour was never
     seen alive.

     "Gentlemen, up to this point, the evidence is clear, connected,
     and cogent; but it rarely happens in cases of murder that any
     human eye sees the very blow struck. The penalty is too severe
     for such an act to be done in the presence of an eyewitness;
     and not one murderer in ten could be convicted without the help
     of circumstantial evidence.

     "The next link, however, is taken up by an ear-witness; and, in
     some cases, the ear is even better evidence than the eye,--for
     instance, as to the discharge of firearms,--for, by the eye
     alone, we could not positively tell whether a pistol had gone
     off or had but flashed in the pan. Well, then, gentlemen, a few
     minutes after Mr. Gaunt was last seen alive,--which was by
     Thomas Hayes,--Mrs. Ryder, who had retired to her bedroom,
     heard the said Gaunt distinctly cry for help; she also heard a
     pistol-shot discharged. This took place by the side of a lake
     or large pond near the house, called the mere. Mrs. Ryder
     alarmed the house, and she and the other servants proceeded to
     her master's room. They found it bolted from the inside. They
     broke it open. Mr. Gaunt had escaped by the window, as I have
     already told you.

     "Presently in comes the prisoner from out of doors. This was at
     one o'clock in the morning. Now she appears to have seen at
     once that she must explain her being abroad at that time, so
     she told Mrs. Ryder she had been out--praying."

(Here some people laughed harshly, but were threatened severely, and

     "Is that credible? Do people go out of doors at one o'clock in
     the morning, to pray? Nay, but I fear it was to do an act that
     years of prayer and penitence cannot efface.

     "From that moment Mr. Gaunt was seen no more among living men.
     And what made his disappearance the more mysterious was that he
     had actually at this time just inherited largely from his
     namesake, Mr. Gaunt of Biggleswade; and his own interest, and
     that of the other legatees, required his immediate presence.
     Mr. Atkins, the testator's solicitor, advertised for this
     unfortunate gentleman; but he did not appear to claim his
     fortune. Then plain men began to put this and that together,
     and cried out, 'Foul play!'

     "Justice was set in motion at last, but was embarrassed by the
     circumstance that the body of the deceased could not be found.

     "At last, Mr. Atkins, the solicitor, being unable to get the
     estate I have mentioned administered, for want of proof of
     Griffith Gaunt's decease, entered heartily in this affair, on
     mere civil grounds. He asked the prisoner, before several
     witnesses, if she would permit him to drag that piece of water
     by the side of which Mr. Gaunt was heard to cry for help and,
     after that seen no more.

     "The prisoner did not reply, but Mr. Houseman, her solicitor, a
     very worthy man, who has, I believe, or had, up to that moment,
     a sincere conviction of her innocence, answered for her, and
     told Mr. Atkins he was welcome to drag it or drain it. Then the
     prisoner said nothing. She fainted away.

     "After this, you may imagine with what expectation the water
     was dragged. Gentlemen, after hours of fruitless labor, a body
     was found.

     "But here an unforeseen circumstance befriended the prisoner.
     It seems that piece of water swarms with enormous pike and
     other ravenous fish. These had so horribly mutilated the
     deceased, that neither form nor feature remained to swear by;
     and, as the law wisely and humanely demands that in these cases
     a body shall be identified beyond doubt, justice bade fair to
     be baffled again. But lo! as often happens in cases of murder,
     Providence interposed and pointed with unerring finger to a
     slight, but infallible mark. The deceased gentleman was known
     to have a large mole over his left temple. It had been noticed
     by his servants and his neighbors. Well, gentlemen, the greedy
     fish had spared this mole,--spared it, perhaps, by His command,
     who bade the whale swallow Jonah, yet not destroy him. There it
     was, clear and infallible. It was examined by several
     witnesses, it was recognized. It completed that chain of
     evidence, some of it direct, some of it circumstantial, which I
     have laid before you very briefly, and every part of which I
     shall now support by credible witnesses."

He called thirteen witnesses, including Mr. Atkins, Thomas Hayes, Jane
Banister, Caroline Ryder, and others; and their evidence in chief bore
out every positive statement the counsel had made.

In cross-examining these witnesses, Mrs. Gaunt took a line that
agreeably surprised the court. It was not for nothing she had studied a
hundred trials, with a woman's observation and patient docility. She had
found out how badly people plead their own causes, and had noticed the
reasons: one of which is that they say too much, and stray from the
point. The line she took, with one exception, was keen brevity.

She cross-examined Thomas Hayes as follows.




"One, two, three, four,--this makes the fifth accident on the Fourth of
July, in the two papers I have just read," said Jenny.

"A very moderate allowance," said Theophilus Thoro, "if you consider the
Fourth as a great national saturnalia, in which every boy in the land
has the privilege of doing whatever is right in his own eyes."

"The poor boys!" said Mrs. Crowfield. "All the troubles of the world are
laid at their door."

"Well," said Jenny, "they did burn the city of Portland, it appears. The
fire arose from fire-crackers, thrown by boys among the shavings of a
carpenter's shop,--so says the paper."

"And," said Rudolph, "we surgeons expect a harvest of business from the
Fourth, as surely as from a battle. Certain to be woundings, fractures,
possibly amputations, following the proceedings of our glorious

"Why cannot we Americans learn to amuse ourselves peaceably, like other
nations?" said Bob Stephens. "In France and Italy, the greatest national
festivals pass off without fatal accident, or danger to any one. The
fact is, in our country we have not learned _how to be amused_.
Amusement has been made of so small account in our philosophy of life,
that we are raw and unpractised in being amused. Our diversions,
compared with those of the politer nations of Europe, are coarse and
savage,--and consist mainly in making disagreeable noises and disturbing
the peace of the community by rude uproar. The only idea an American boy
associates with the Fourth of July is that of gunpowder in some form,
and a wild liberty to fire off pistols in all miscellaneous directions,
and to throw fire-crackers under the heels of horses, and into crowds of
women and children, for the fun of seeing the stir and commotion thus
produced. Now take a young Parisian boy and give him a fête, and he
conducts himself with greater gentleness and good breeding, because he
is part of a community in which the art of amusement has been refined
and perfected, so that he has a thousand resources beyond the very
obvious one of making a great banging and disturbance.

"Yes," continued Bob Stephens, "the fact is, that our grim old Puritan
fathers set their feet down resolutely on all forms of amusement; they
would have stopped the lambs from wagging their tails, and shot the
birds for singing, if they could have had their way; and in consequence
of it, what a barren, cold, flowerless life is our New England
existence! Life is all, as Mantalini said, one 'demd horrid grind.'
'Nothing here but working and going to church,' said the German
emigrants,--and they were about right. A French traveller, in the year
1837, says that attending the Thursday-evening lectures and church
prayer-meetings was the only recreation of the young people of Boston;
and we can remember the time when this really was no exaggeration. Think
of that, with all the seriousness of our Boston east winds to give it
force, and fancy the provision for amusement in our society! The
consequence is, that boys who have the longing for amusement strongest
within them, and plenty of combativeness to back it, are the standing
terror of good society, and our Fourth of July is a day of fear to all
invalids and persons of delicate nervous organization, and of real,
appreciable danger of life and limb to every one."

"Well, Robert," said my wife, "though I agree with you as to the actual
state of society in this respect, I must enter my protest against your
slur on the memory of our Pilgrim fathers."

"Yes," said Theophilus Thoro, "the New-Englanders are the only people, I
believe, who take delight in vilifying their ancestry. Every young
hopeful in our day makes a target of his grandfather's gravestone, and
fires away, with great self-applause. People in general seem to like to
show that they are well-born, and come of good stock; but the young
New-Englanders, many of them, appear to take pleasure in insisting that
they came of a race of narrow-minded, persecuting bigots.

"It is true, that our Puritan fathers saw not everything. They made a
state where there were no amusements, but where people could go to bed
and leave their house doors wide open all night, without a shadow of
fear or danger, as was for years the custom in all our country villages.
The fact is, that the simple early New England life, before we began to
import foreigners, realized a state of society in whose possibility
Europe would scarcely believe. If our fathers had few amusements, they
needed few. Life was too really and solidly comfortable and happy to
need much amusement.

"Look over the countries where people are most sedulously amused by
their rulers and governors. Are they not the countries where the people
are most oppressed, most unhappy in their circumstances, and therefore
in greatest need of amusement? It is the slave who dances and sings, and
why? Because he owns nothing, and _can_ own nothing, and may as well
dance and forget the fact. But give the slave a farm of his own, a wife
of his own, and children of his own, with a school-house and a vote, and
ten to one he dances no more. He needs no _amusement_, because he is

"The legislators of Europe wished nothing more than to bring up a people
who would be content with amusements, and not ask after their rights or
think too closely how they were governed. 'Gild the dome of the
Invalides,' was Napoleon's scornful prescription, when he heard the
Parisian population were discontented. They gilded it, and the people
forgot to talk about anything else. They were a childish race, educated
from the cradle on spectacle and show, and by the sight of their eyes
could they be governed. The people of Boston, in 1776, could not have
been managed in this way, chiefly because they were brought up in the
strict schools of the fathers."

"But don't you think," said Jenny, "that something might be added and
amended in the state of society our fathers established here in New
England? Without becoming frivolous, there might be more attention paid
to rational amusement."

"Certainly," said my wife, "the State and the Church both might take a
lesson from the providence of foreign governments, and make liberty, to
say the least, as attractive as despotism. It is a very unwise mother
that does not provide her children with play-things."

"And yet," said Bob, "the only thing that the Church has yet done is to
forbid and to frown. We have abundance of tracts against dancing,
whist-playing, ninepins, billiards, operas, theatres,--in short,
anything that young people would be apt to like. The General Assembly of
the Presbyterian Church refused to testify against slavery, because of
political diffidence, but made up for it by ordering a more stringent
crusade against dancing. The theatre and opera grow up and exist among
us like plants on the windy side of a hill, blown all awry by a constant
blast of conscientious rebuke. There is really no amusement young people
are fond of, which they do not pursue, in a sort of defiance of the
frown of the peculiarly religious world. With all the telling of what
the young shall _not_ do, there has been very little telling what they
shall do.

"The whole department of amusements--certainly one of the most important
in education--has been by the Church made a sort of outlaws' ground, to
be taken possession of and held by all sorts of spiritual ragamuffins;
and then the faults and short-comings resulting from this arrangement
have been held up and insisted on as reasons why no Christian should
ever venture into it.

"If the Church would set herself to amuse her young folks, instead of
discussing doctrines and metaphysical hair-splitting, she would prove
herself a true mother, and not a hard-visaged step-dame. Let her keep
this department, so powerful and so difficult to manage, in what are
morally the strongest hands, instead of giving it up to the weakest.

"I think, if the different churches of a city, for example, would rent a
building where there should be a billiard-table, one or two
ninepin-alleys, a reading-room, a garden and grounds for ball-playing or
innocent lounging, that they would do more to keep their young people
from the ways of sin than a Sunday school could. Nay, more: I would go
further. I would have a portion of the building fitted up with scenery
and a stage, for the getting up of tableaux or dramatic performances,
and thus give scope for the exercise of that histrionic talent of which
there is so much lying unemployed in society.

"Young people do not like amusements any better for the wickedness
connected with them. The spectacle of a sweet little child singing
hymns, and repeating prayers, of a pious old Uncle Tom dying for his
religion, has filled theatres night after night, and proved that there
really is no need of indecent or improper plays to draw full houses.

"The things that draw young people to places of amusement are not at
first gross things. Take the most notorious public place in Paris,--the
Jardin Mabille, for instance,--and the things which give it its first
charm are all innocent and artistic. Exquisite beds of lilies, roses,
gillyflowers, lighted with jets of gas so artfully as to make every
flower translucent as a gem; fountains where the gas-light streams out
from behind misty wreaths of falling water and calla-blossoms; sofas of
velvet turf, canopied with fragrant honeysuckle; dim bowers overarched
with lilacs and roses; a dancing ground under trees whose branches bend
with a fruitage of many-colored lamps; enchanting music and graceful
motion; in all these there is not only no sin, but they are really
beautiful and desirable; and if they were only used on the side and in
the service of virtue and religion, if they were contrived and kept up
by the guardians and instructors of youth, instead of by those whose
interest it is to demoralize and destroy, young people would have no
temptation to stray into the haunts of vice.

"In Prussia, under the reign of Frederick William II., when one good,
hard-handed man governed the whole country like a strict schoolmaster,
the public amusements for the people were made such as to present a
model for all states. The theatres were strictly supervised, and actors
obliged to conform to the rules of decorum and morality. The plays and
performances were under the immediate supervision of men of grave
morals, who allowed nothing corrupting to appear; and the effect of this
administration and restraint is to be seen in Berlin even to this day.
The public gardens are full of charming little resorts, where, every
afternoon, for a very moderate sum, one can have either a concert of
good music, or a very fair dramatic or operatic performance. Here whole
families may be seen enjoying together a wholesome and refreshing
entertainment,--the mother and aunts with their knitting, the baby, the
children of all ages, and the father,--their faces radiant with that
mild German light of contentment and good-will which one feels to be
characteristic of the nation. When I saw these things, and thought of
our own outcast, unprovided boys and young men, haunting the streets
and alleys of cities, in places far from the companionship of mothers
and sisters, I felt as if it would be better for a nation to be brought
up by a good strict schoolmaster king than to try to be a republic."

"Yes," said I, "but the difficulty is to _get_ the good schoolmaster
king. For one good shepherd, there are twenty who use the sheep only for
their flesh and their wool. Republics can do all that kings
can,--witness our late army and Sanitary Commission. Once fix the idea
thoroughly in the public mind that there ought to be as regular and
careful provision for public amusement as there is for going to church
and Sunday school, and it will be done. Central Park in New York is a
beginning in the right direction, and Brooklyn is following the example
of her sister city. There is, moreover, an indication of the proper
spirit in the increased efforts that are made to beautify Sunday-school
rooms, and make them interesting, and to have Sunday-school fêtes and
picnics,--the most harmless and commendable way of celebrating the
Fourth of July. Why should saloons and bar-rooms be made attractive by
fine paintings, choice music, flowers, and fountains, and Sunday-school
rooms be four bare walls? There are churches whose broad aisles
represent ten and twenty millions of dollars, and whose sons and
daughters are daily drawn to circuses, operas, theatres, because they
have tastes and feelings, in themselves perfectly laudable and innocent,
for the gratification of which no provision is made in any other place."

"I know one church," said Rudolph, "whose Sunday-school room is as
beautifully adorned as any haunt of sin. There is a fountain in the
centre, which plays into a basin surrounded with shells and flowers; it
has a small organ to lead the children's voices, and the walls are hung
with oil-paintings and engravings from the best masters. The festivals
of the Sabbath school, which are from time to time held in this place,
educate the taste of the children, as well as amuse them; and, above
all, they have through life the advantage of associating with their
early religious education all those ideas of taste, elegance, and
artistic culture which too often come through polluted channels.

"When the _amusement_ of the young shall become the care of the
experienced and the wise, and the floods of wealth that are now rolling
over and over, in silent investments, shall be put into the form of
innocent and refined pleasures for the children and youth of the state,
our national festivals may become days to be desired, and not dreaded.

"On the Fourth of July, our city fathers do in a certain dim wise
perceive that the public owes some attempt at amusement to its children,
and they vote large sums, principally expended in bell-ringing, cannons,
and fireworks. The sidewalks are witness to the number who fall victims
to the temptations held out by grog-shops and saloons; and the papers,
for weeks after, are crowded with accounts of accidents. Now, a yearly
sum expended to keep up, and keep pure, places of amusement which hold
out no temptation to vice, but which excel all vicious places in real
beauty and attractiveness, would greatly lessen the sum needed to be
expended on any one particular day, and would refine and prepare our
people to keep holidays and festivals appropriately."

"For my part," said Mrs. Crowfield, "I am grieved at the opprobrium
which falls on the race of _boys_. Why should the most critical era in
the life of those who are to be men, and to _govern_ society, be passed
in a sort of outlawry,--a rude warfare with all existing institutions?
The years between ten and twenty are full of the nervous excitability
which marks the growth and maturing of the manly nature. The boy feels
wild impulses, which ought to be vented in legitimate and healthful
exercise. He wants to run, shout, wrestle, ride, row, skate; and all
these together are often not sufficient to relieve the need he feels of
throwing off the excitability that burns within.

"For the wants of this period what safe provision is made by the Church,
or by the State, or any of the boy's lawful educators? In all the
Prussian schools amusements are as much a part of the regular
school-system as grammar or geography. The teacher is with the boys on
the play-ground, and plays as heartily as any of them. The boy has his
physical wants anticipated. He is not left to fight his way, blindly
stumbling, against society, but goes forward in a safe path, which his
elders and betters have marked out for him.

"In our country, the boy's career is often a series of skirmishes with
society. He wants to skate, and contrives ingeniously to dam the course
of a brook, and flood a meadow which makes a splendid skating-ground.
Great is the joy for a season, and great the skating. But the water
floods the neighboring cellars. The boys are cursed through all the
moods and tenses,--boys are such a plague! The dam is torn down with
emphasis and execration. The boys, however, lie in wait some cold night,
between twelve and one, and build it up again; and thus goes on the
battle. The boys care not whose cellar they flood, because nobody cares
for their amusement. They understand themselves to be outlaws, and take
an outlaw's advantage.

"Again, the boys have their sleds; and sliding down hill is splendid
fun. But they trip up some grave citizen, who sprains his shoulder. What
is the result? Not the provision of a safe, good place, where boys _may_
slide down hill without danger to any one, but an edict forbidding all
sliding, under penalty of fine.

"Boys want to swim: it is best they should swim; and if city fathers,
foreseeing and caring for this want, should think it worth while to mark
off some good place, and have it under such police surveillance as to
enforce decency of language and demeanor, they would prevent a great
deal that now is disagreeable in the unguided efforts of boys to enjoy
this luxury.

"It would be _cheaper_ in the end, even if one had to build
sliding-piles, as they do in Russia, or to build skating-rinks, as they
do in Montreal,--it would be cheaper for every city, town, and village
to provide legitimate amusement for boys, under proper superintendence,
than to leave them, as they are now left, to fight their way against

"In the boys' academies of our country, what provision is made for
amusement? There are stringent rules, and any number of them, to prevent
boys making any noise that may disturb the neighbors; and generally the
teacher thinks that, if he keeps the boys _still_, and sees that they
get their lessons, his duty is done. But a hundred boys ought not to be
kept still. There ought to be noise and motion among them, in order that
they may healthily survive the great changes which Nature is working
within them. If they become silent, averse to movement, fond of indoor
lounging and warm rooms, they are going in far worse ways than any
amount of outward lawlessness could bring them to.

"Smoking and yellow-covered novels are worse than any amount of
hullabaloo; and the quietest boy is often a poor, ignorant victim, whose
life is being drained out of him before it is well begun. If mothers
could only see the _series of books_ that are sold behind counters to
boarding-school boys, whom nobody warns and nobody cares for,--if they
could see the poison, going from pillow to pillow, in books pretending
to make clear the great, sacred mysteries of our nature, but trailing
them over with the filth of utter corruption! These horrible works are
the inward and secret channel of hell, into which a boy is thrust by the
pressure of strict outward rules, forbidding that physical and
out-of-door exercise and motion to which he ought rather to be
encouraged, and even driven.

"It is melancholy to see that, while parents, teachers, and churches
make no provision for boys in the way of amusement, the world, the
flesh, and the Devil are incessantly busy and active in giving it to
them. There are ninepin-alleys, with cigars and a bar. There are
billiard-saloons, with a bar, and, alas! with the occasional company of
girls who are still beautiful, but who have lost the innocence of
womanhood, while yet retaining many of its charms. There are theatres,
with a bar, and with the society of lost women. The boy comes to one and
all of these places, seeking only what is natural and proper he should
have,--what should be given him under the eye and by the care of the
Church, the school. He comes for exercise and amusement,--he gets these,
and a ticket to destruction besides,--and whose fault is it?"

"These are the aspects of public life," said I, "which make me feel that
we never shall have a perfect state till women vote and bear rule
equally with men. State housekeeping has been, hitherto, like what any
housekeeping would be, conducted by the voice and knowledge of man

"If women had an equal voice in the management of our public money, I
have faith to believe that thousands which are now wasted in mere
political charlatanism would go to provide for the rearing of the
children of the state, male and female. My wife has spoken for the boys;
I speak for the girls also. What is provided for their physical
development and amusement? Hot, gas-lighted theatric and operatic
performances, beginning at eight, and ending at midnight; hot, crowded
parties and balls; dancing with dresses tightly laced over the laboring
lungs,--these are almost the whole story. I bless the advent of croquet
and skating. And yet the latter exercise, pursued as it generally is, is
a most terrible exposure. There is no kindly parental provision for the
poor, thoughtless, delicate young creature,--not even the shelter of a
dressing-room with a fire, at which she may warm her numb fingers and
put on her skates when she arrives on the ground, and to which she may
retreat in intervals of fatigue; so she catches cold, and perhaps sows
the seed which with air-tight stoves and other appliances of hot-house
culture may ripen into consumption.

"What provision is there for the amusement of all the shop girls,
seamstresses, factory girls, that crowd our cities? What for the
thousands of young clerks and operatives? Not long since, in a
respectable old town in New England, the body of a beautiful girl was
drawn from the river in which she had drowned herself,--a young girl
only fifteen, who came to the city, far from home and parents, and fell
a victim to the temptation which brought her to shame and desperation.
Many thus fall every year who are never counted. They fall into the
ranks of those whom the world abandons as irreclaimable.

"Let those who have homes and every appliance to make life pass
agreeably, and who yet yawn over an unoccupied evening, fancy a lively
young girl all day cooped up at sewing in a close, ill-ventilated room.
Evening comes, and she has three times the desire for amusement and
three times the need of it that her fashionable sister has. And where
can she go? To the theatre, perhaps, with some young man as thoughtless
as herself, and more depraved; then to the bar for a glass of wine, and
another; and then, with a head swimming and turning, who shall say where
else she may be led? Past midnight and no one to look after her,--and
one night ruins her utterly and for life, and she as yet only a child!

"John Newton had a very wise saying: 'Here is a man trying to fill a
bushel with chaff. Now if I fill it with wheat first, it is better than
to fight him.' This apothegm contains in it the whole of what I would
say on the subject of amusements."


The coast-road between Nice and Genoa,--known throughout the world for
its unrivalled beauty of scenery, the altitudes to which it climbs, and
the depths to which it dives,--now on the olive-clad heights, now close
down upon the shore shaded by palm or carob-trees, now stretching inland
amid orange-grounds and vineyards, now rounding some precipitous point
that hangs hundreds of feet over the Mediterranean,--is generally seen
with all the advantage of an unclouded sky above, and a sea as blue

It was the fortune of a certain party of four to behold it under the
unusual aspect of bad weather. They set out in the diligence one winter
evening, expecting to arrive at Genoa by the same time next day,
according to ordinary course. But no one unaccustomed to the effect of
rain, continuous rain, in mountainous districts, can conceive the
wonders worked by a long succession of wet days. The arrival was
retarded six hours, and the four found themselves in _Genova la superba_
somewhere about midnight. However, this was only the commencement of the
pouring visitation; and the roads had been rendered merely so "heavy" as
to make the horses contumacious when dragging the ponderous vehicle up
hill, which contumacy had occasioned the delay in question. Despite the
hopes entertained that the weather would clear, the rain set in; and
during no interval did it hold up, with the exception of a short period,
which permitted one gentleman of the party of four to visit on business
two bachelor brothers, manufacturers in Genoa. The residence of these
brothers being in rather an out-of-the-way quarter of the city, and
being very peculiar in itself, the gentleman advised the rest of his
party to accompany him on this visit.

The four, only too glad to find themselves able to get out of doors, set
forth on foot through the steep and narrow streets of Genoa, which make
driving in a carriage a fatigue, and walking a feat of great excitement,
especially when mud prevails. Trucks, ponderously laden with bales
of goods, and pushed along at a reckless rate of speed by
mahogany-complexioned men; dashing coaches, impelled by drivers
hallooing when close upon you with distracting loudness and abruptness;
mules coming onward with the blundering obtuseness peculiar to their
tribe, or with their heads fastened to doorways, and their flanks
extending across the street, affording just space enough for the
passenger to slide behind their heels; a busy, jostling crowd of people
hurrying to and fro, with no definite current, but streaming over any
portion of the undistinguishable carriage-way and foot-way,--all combine
to make Genoese pedestrianism a work only less onerous than driving.

Choosing the minor trouble, our party trusted to their own legs; and,
after picking their way through sludge and mire, along murky alleys that
branched off into wharves and quays, and up slippery by-ways that looked
like paved staircases without regular steps, the four emerged upon an
open space in front of a noble church. Leaving this on their left hand,
they turned short into a place that wore something the appearance of a
stable-yard,--with this difference, that there were neither steeds nor
stabling to be seen; but instead there were blank walls, enclosing a
kind of court adjoining a huge old mansion, and beyond there was a steep
descent leading down to the sea-side.

On ringing a bell that hung beside a gate in the wall enclosure, the
door opened apparently of itself, and a dismal scream ensued. The scream
proceeded from a sea-gull, peering out of a kind of pen formed by a
wooden paling in one corner of a grass-grown patch, half cabbage-garden,
half excavated earth and rock; and the mysterious opening of the door
was explained by a connecting cord pulled by some unseen hand within a
smaller house that stood near to the huge old mansion. From the house
appeared, advancing towards us, the two bachelor brothers, who welcomed
our friend and his three companions with grave Italian courtesy.
Understanding the curiosity the four felt to see their premises, they
did the honors of their place, with a minuteness as politely considerate
towards the strangers as it was gratifying to the interest felt by them.

First the visitors were led by the bachelor brothers to see the huge old
mansion, which they called the _Palazzo_. Let no one who has seen an
ordinary Genoese palace, magnificent with gilding, enriched by priceless
pictures, supplied with choice books, and adorned with gorgeous
furniture, figure to himself any such combination in the _palazzo_ in
question. This was a vast pile of building, that would make five
moderate-sized dwelling-houses, one in the roof, and the other four in
the habitable portion of the edifice. A general air of ramshackledness
pervaded the exterior, while the interior presented an effect of
interminable ranges of white-washed walls, divided off into numberless
apartments of various sizes, from a saloon on the _piano nobile_, or
principal floor, measuring more than forty feet long, to small square
attic rooms that were little more than cupboards. But this attic story
was not all composed of chambers thus dimensioned. Among its apartments
were rooms that might have accommodated a banqueting assemblage, had
diners been so inclined; while among the accommodations comprised in
this garret range was a kitchen, with spacious dressers, stoves,
closets, and a well of water some hundred and odd feet deep. It was
impossible for the imagination to refrain from picturing the troops of
ghosts which doubtless occupied these upper chambers of the old
_palazzo_, and held nightly vigil, undisturbed, amid the silence and
solitude of their neglected spaces. Through one of the dwarf windows
that pierced at intervals all sides of the mansion, just beneath the
lofty roof, and which gave light to the attic story, we were directed to
look by the emphatic words of the elder bachelor brother,--"Ma, veda che
vista c' è!"

The view thence was indeed well worthy his praise; and he himself formed
an appropriate companion-picture to the scene. Bluish-gray eyes, a
fairer complexion than usually belongs to men of his clime and country,
a look of penetration, combined with an expression of quiet content,
were surmounted by a steeple-crowned hat that might have become a Dutch
burgomaster, or one of Teniers's land-proprietors, rather than a denizen
of a southern city. Yet the association which his face, figure, and
costume had with some of George Cruikshank's illustrations of German
tales afforded pictorial harmony with the range of ghostly rooms we were
viewing. He "marshalled us the way that we should go," by leading us
down a steep flight of steps, which landed us on the _piano nobile_.
This, for the present, was tenanted by a set of weavers, to whom the
principal floor of the _palazzo_ had been let for a short term. They had
proved but turbulent occupants, being in a constant state of
refractoriness against their landlords, the bachelor brothers, who
seemed to be somewhat in awe of them. On the present occasion, for
instance, the brothers apologized for being unable to show us the grand
saloon, as the weavers (whom we could hear, while he spoke, singing in a
loud, uproarious, insurgent kind of way, that might well have drawn
three souls out of one of their own craft, and evidently made the souls
of their two landlords quail) did not like to be disturbed.

Their contumacious voices, mingled with the clamor of their looms, died
off in the distance, while we proceeded down the back staircase to the
ground-floor. We at first fancied that this apparently surreptitious
proceeding was perhaps traceable to the awe entertained by the bachelor
brothers for their unruly tenants; but we were relieved from the sense
of acting in a style bordering on poltroonery, by finding that the
principal staircase had been boarded up to preserve its marble steps and
sides from injury. On arriving at the foot we found ourselves in a
spacious hall, opposite the approach to the grand staircase, which
looked like an archway built for giants, toweringly defined above the
scaffold-planks by which it was barricaded. Many doors opened from this
hall, to each of which, in turn, one of the bachelor brothers applied
successive keys from a ponderous bunch that he held in his hand. These
doors led to vast suites of apartments, all unfurnished, like the upper
rooms, with the exception of one suite, which the brothers had lent to a
friend of theirs, and which was sparely supplied with some old Italian
furniture, of so antique a fashion that each article might have been a
family heirloom ever since the times of that famous Genoese gentleman,
Christopher Columbus. One peculiarity the four remarked, which spoke
volumes for the geniality of the climate: in all this huge rambling
edifice they saw only one room which could boast of a fireplace. The
sun's warmth evidently supplied all the heat necessary, and--as might be
conjectured from its other peculiarities as well as this--anything like
what the English call "the joys and comforts of the domestic hearth"
seemed an impossible attainment in this dreary old _palazzo_. The social
amenities must wither in its desolate atmosphere, and dwindle to chill
shadows, like the ghosts that haunt the attic story.

To complete the air of saddening vacancy that clung like a damp to the
really arid white walls, when the brothers led us down a wide staircase
to the vaulted space beneath the basement, we came upon some hundreds of
small bird-cages, containing each a miserable linnet, titmouse, or
finch, condemned to chirp out its wretched existence in this airless
underground region. In reply to our pitying exclamation, we were told
that the bachelors' friend who occupied the corner apartment on the
ground-floor was a great sportsman, and devotedly fond of _la caccia_;
that these unhappy little prisoners were employed by him in the season
as decoy-birds; that they were kept in these dungeons during the other
months of the year; and that they were BLINDED to make them sing better
and be more serviceable at the period when he needed them. As we looked
shudderingly at these forlorn little creatures, and expressed our
commiseration at their fate, the younger brother stepped forward, and,
examining one of the cages, in which sat hunched up in one corner a
stiff lump of feathers, coolly announced that "this goldfinch" was dead.

It was with a feeling of relief that we left the death-released bird,
and the vaults beneath the old _palazzo_, to return once more to the
fresh air and the breathing-space of the broad earth and sky. Our next
visit was to the bachelor brothers' factory, which was for the
fabrication of wax candles. Adjoining this was a terrace-plot of ground,
dotted over with what looked like Liliputian tombstones. We were
beginning to wonder whether this were a cemetery for the dead
birds,--speculating on the probability that these might be the
monumental tributes placed over their graves by the sportsman friend of
the two brothers,--when the elder informed us that this was the place
they used for bleaching the wax, and that the square stones we saw were
the supports on which rested the large flat stands whereon it was laid
to whiten in the sun. From this terrace-plot of ground,--which projected
in a narrowish green ledge, skirted by a low ivy-grown wall, over the
sea,--we beheld a prospect of almost matchless beauty. Before us
stretched a wide expanse of Mediterranean waters; to the extreme left
was just visible the bold rocky point of Porto Fino; to the right
extended westward a grand line of picturesque coast, including the
headlands of Capo di Noli and Capo delle Mele; and near at hand lay the
harbor of Genoa, with its shipping, its amphitheatre of palaces,
surmounted by the high ground above, and crowned by the fortressed
summits beyond.

We were roused from the absorbing admiration which this majestic sea and
land view had excited, by one of the four asking whether there were any
access to the _palazzo_ from this terrace. Whereupon the brothers showed
us a winding turret staircase, which led by a subterranean passage into
one of the lower vaulted rooms. Nothing more like a place in a wonderful
story-book ever met us in real life; and while we were lost in a dream
of romantic imaginings, one of the brothers was engaged in giving a
prosaic relation of how the old _palazzo_ had come into their family by
a lawsuit, which terminated in their favor, and left them possessors of
this unexpected property. During the narrative a brood of adolescent
chickens had come near to where we stood listening on the green plot,
and eyed us with expectant looks, as if accustomed to be fed or noticed.
The elder brother indulged the foremost among the poultry group--a white
bantam cock of courageous character--by giving him his foot to assault.
Valiantly the little fellow flew at, and spurred, and pecked the boot
and trousers; again and again he returned to the charge, while the
blue-gray eyes beamed smilingly down from beneath the steeple-crowned
hat, as the old man humored the bird's pugnacious spirit.

Presently a shy little girl of some ten or twelve years came peering out
at the strangers from beneath a row of evergreen oaks that ornamented
the back of the dwelling-house overlooking the terrace. There she stood
at the foot of the ilexes, shading her eyes with one hand, (for the sun
coyly gleamed through the rain-clouds at that moment,) while the other
was employed in restraining the lumbering fondness of two large
bull-dogs, that gambolled heavily round her. She was introduced to us as
the daughter of the younger of the two brothers; who proved after all to
be no bachelor, but a widower. One ponderous brindled brute poked his
black muzzle against the child with such a weight of affection that we
expected to see her overturned on the sward; but she seemed to have
complete control over her canine favorites, and to live with them and a
large macaw she had up stairs in her own room (we afterwards found it
perched there, when taken to see the upper floor of the bachelor
residence), as her familiars and sole associates,--like some enchanted
princess in a fairy-tale.

On entering the house from the terrace, we found ourselves in its
kitchen, which strongly resembled a cavern made habitable. It was hewn
out of the rock on which the dwelling stood; and it only required the
presence of the black man and the old woman who figure in Gil Blas's
story to give, to the life, the cooking-department of the robbers' cave
there. As we ascended a rude stone staircase that led from it, we heard
the lowing of cows; and, turning, we saw two of these animals
comfortably stalled in a side recess, not far from the rocky ledge on
which the culinary apparatus for dressing the food of the establishment
was deposited. Mounting into the parlor, we discovered a good-sized
apartment, its windows looking out through the foliage of the ilexes
over the sea, skirted by the extensive coast view. Behind was the
dining-room; on each side were the brothers' bedrooms; and leading from
a small entrance-hall at the back was a large billiard-room. This opened
on a small garden nook, in which were orange-trees and camellias, full
of bud and blossom,--from which some of the flowers were gathered for us
by the Italian brethren, on our taking leave and thanking them for the
unusual treat we had had in going over their curious abode.

The transient gleam of sunshine that had shone forth while we were
there was the only intermission vouchsafed by the rain, which afterwards
poured down with a steady vehemence and pertinacity seldom seen on the
Ligurian Riviera. The effects of this rare continuance of wet weather
were soon made impressively perceptible to the four as they emerged upon
the open road, after passing the Lighthouse of Genoa and the long
straggling suburbs of San Pier d'Arena, Pegli, and Voltri. The horses
splashed through channels of water which filled the spongy ruts,
smoking, and toiling, and plunging on; while the whoops and yells of the
postilion urging them forward, together with the loud smacks of his
whip, made a savage din. This was farther increased as we crashed along
a ledge road, cut in a cliff overhanging the sea;--the waves tearing up
from beneath with a whelming roar; the rocks jutting forth in points,
every one of which was a streaming water-spout; the rain pelting, the
wind rushing, the side-currents pouring and dashing. These latter,
ordinarily but small rills, carrying off the drainage of the land by
gentle course, were now swollen to rough cataracts, leaping with furious
rapidity from crag to crag in deluges of turbid water, discolored to a
dingy yellow-brown by the heaps of earth and stone which they dislodged
and brought down with them, and hurled hither and thither over the
precipitous projections, and occasionally flung athwart the highway. At
one spot, where a heap of such stones--large, flat slabs--had been
tossed upon the road, and a few of their companions were in the very act
of plunging down after them, our postilion drew up to guide his cattle
among those already fallen; and, raising his voice above the thunder of
the sea-waves, rain, wind, and waters, shouted out in broad Genoese to
the falling ones, "Halloo, you there, up above! Stop a bit, will you?
Wait a moment, you up there!" Then, driving on carefully till he had
steered by the largest of the fragments that lay prostrate, he turned
back his head, shook his whip at it, and apostrophised it with, "Ah, you
big pig! I've passed you, for this time!"

The first change of horses took place at a village close down on the
sea-shore, where some fishermen were busily employed hauling up the last
of a row of boats that lay upon the beach. Every available hand, not
occupied in aiding the conductor and postilion to unharness the
diligence horses and put to the fresh team, was enlisted in the service
of the boat-hauling. Young gentlemen out for an evening's amusement,
attired in sacks or tarpaulins thrown over their shoulders, while their
nether garments were rolled up tightly into a neat twist that encircled
the top of each thigh, were frisking about a line of men with
weather-beaten countenances and blown hair, who tugged bare-legged at
the sides of the fishing-boat, half in the water and half out.
Occasionally one of these young gentry, feeling perhaps that he had
aided sufficiently in the general work, betook himself to a doorway
near, dripping and shaking himself, and looking out through the sheeted
rain at his companions, who were still in the excitement of whisking
round the heaving and tugging fishermen, while the waves rose high, the
spray dashed up in mist over their grizzled heads and beards, and the
wind whistled sharply amid the deeper tumult of the sea and torrent
waters. To heighten the grim wildness of the scene, the shades of
evening were closing round, and by the time the four travellers were off
again and proceeding on their way, darkness was fast setting in.

Nightfall found them toiling up a steep ascent that diverges inland for
a few miles, winding round the estate of some inflexible proprietor,
upon whom nothing can prevail to permit the high-road to take its
passage through his land, there bordering the sea-side. Up the ascent we
labored, and down the descent we lunged, the wheels lodging in deep mire
at every moment, and threatening to abide in the deeper holes and
furrows which the water-courses (forced from their due channels by
overflowing and by obstructive fallen masses) had cut and dug into the
road as they strayed swiftly over it.

By the time the next stage was reached, the conductor consulted the four
on the advisability of stopping to sleep, instead of proceeding on such
a tempestuous night, the like of which, for perilous effects, he said he
had but once before encountered during the whole of the sixteen years he
had been in office on this road. The three _coupé_ passengers,
consisting of two ladies--sisters--and a ruddy-faced, cheerful gentleman
in a velvet travelling-cap, who made it a principle, like Falstaff, to
take things easily, and "not to sweat extraordinarily," warmly approved
the conductor's proposal as a sensible one; and even the alert gentleman
in the _banquette_ agreed that it would be more prudent to remain at the
first good inn the diligence came to. This, the conductor replied, was
at Savona, one stage farther, as the place they now were at was a mere
boat-building hamlet, that scarcely boasted an inn at all,--certainly
not "good beds." A group of eager, bronzed faces were visible by
lamp-light, assembled round the conductor, listening to him as he held
this conference with his coach-passengers; and at its close the
bronze-faced crowd broke into a rapid outburst of Genoese dialect, which
was interrupted by our conductor's making his way through them all, and
disappearing round the corner of the small _piazza_ wherein the
diligence stood to have its horses changed. After some moments'
pause,--not in the rain, or wind, or sea-waves, for they kept pouring
and rushing and roaring on,--but in the hurly-burly of rapid talk, which
ceased, owing to the talkers' hurrying off in pursuit of the vanished
conductor, he returned, saying, "Andiamo a Savona." It soon proved that
he had been to ascertain the feasibility of what the group of
bronze-faced men had proposed, namely, that they would undertake to
convey the diligence (without its horses, its "outsides," and its
"insides") bodily over a high, steep, slippery mule-bridge, which
crossed a torrent near at hand, now swollen to an unfordable depth and
swiftness. The four beheld this impassable stream, boiling and surging
and sweeping on to mingle itself with the madly leaping sea-waves out
there in the dim night-gloom to the left, as they descended from the
diligence and prepared to go on foot across something that looked like a
rudely-constructed imitation of the Rialto Bridge at Venice, seen
through a haze of darkness, slanting rain, faintly-beaming coach-lamps,
pushing and heaving men, panting led horses, passengers muffled up and
umbrellaed, conductor leading and directing. Then came the reharnessing
of the horses, the reassembling of the passengers, the remounting of the
"insides," the reclambering to his seat of the alert _banquette_
"outside" (after a hearty interchange of those few brief, smiling words
with his _coupé_ companions which, between English friends, say so much
in so little utterance at periods of mutual anxiety and interest), the
payment of the agreed-for sum by the conductor to the bronze-faced
pushers and heavers, amid a violent renewal of the storm of Genoese
jargon, terminated by an authoritative word from the payer as he swung
himself up into his place by a leathern strap dangling from the
coach-side, a smart crack of the postilion's whip, a forward plunge of
the struggling horses, an onward jerk of the diligence, and the final
procedure into the wet and dark and roar of the wild night.

The gas and stir of Savona came as welcome tokens of repose to the
toilsome journey; and the four alighted at one of the hotels there with
an inexpressible sense of relief. His fellow-travellers were warned,
however, by the alert gentleman, that they must hold themselves in
readiness to start before dawn next morning, as the conductor wished to
avail himself of the first peep of daylight in passing several torrents
on the road which lay beyond Savona. Velvet-cap assented with a grunt;
one of the sisters--all briskness at night, but fit for nothing of a
morning--proposed not to go to bed at all; while the other--quite used
up at night, but "up to everything" of a morning--undertook to call the
whole party in time for departure.

This she did,--ordering coffee, seeing that some was swallowed by the
sister who had been unwillingly roused from the sleep she had willingly
offered to forego overnight, collecting cloaks, baskets, and
travelling-rugs, and altogether looking so wakeful and ready that she
wellnigh drove her drowsy sister to desperation.

The preannounced torrents proved as swollen as were expected; so that
the passengers had to unpack themselves from the heaps of wrappings
stowed snugly round their feet and knees, and issue forth into the keen
morning air, armed with difficultly-put-up umbrellas, to traverse
certain wooden foot-bridges, in the midst of which they could not help
halting to watch the lightened diligence dragged splashingly through the
deep and rapid streams, expecting, at every lunge it made into the
water-dug gullies, to see it turn helplessly over on its side in the
very midst of them. Nevertheless, no such accident occurred; and the
four jogged on, along soaking, soppy, drenched roads, that seemed never
to have known dust or drought. At one saturated village, they saw a
dripping procession of people under crimson umbrellas, shouldering two
rude coffins of deal boards, which were borne to the door of a church
that stood by the wayside,--where the train waited in a kind of moist
dejection to be admitted, and to look dispiritedly after the passing
diligence. The alert gentleman heard from what the conductor gathered
from an old woman wrapped in a many-colored gaudy-patterned scarf of
chintz, which, wet through, covered her head and shoulders clingingly,
that this was the funeral of a poor peasant-man and his wife, who had
both died suddenly and both on the same day. The old woman held up her
brown, shrivelled hands, and gesticulated pityingly with them in the
pouring rain, as she mumbled her hurried tale of sorrow; while the
postilion involuntarily slackened pace, that her words might be heard
where he and the conductor sat.

The horses were suffered to creep on at their own snail pace, while the
influence of the funeral scene lasted; but soon the long lash was plied
vivaciously again, and we came to another torrent, more deep, more
rapid, more swollen than any previous one. Fortunately for us, a day or
two before there had been a postilion nearly drowned in attempting to
drive through this impassable ford; and still more fortunately for us,
this postilion chanced to have a relation who was a servant in the
household of Count Cavour, then prime-minister to King Victor Emanuel.
"Papa Camillo's" servant's kinsman's life being endangered, an order had
come from Turin only a few hours before our diligence arrived at the
bank of the dangerous stream,--now swollen into a swift, broad
river,--decreeing that the new road and bridge, lately in course of
construction on this spot, should be opened immediately for passage to
and fro. The road was more like a stone-quarry than a carriageable
public highway, so encumbered was it with granite fragments, heaped
ready for top-dressing and finishing; and the bridge led on to a raised
embankment, coming to a sudden fissure, where the old coach-road crossed
it. Still, our conductor, finding that some few carts and one diligence
had actually passed over the ground, set himself to the work of getting
ours also across. First, the insides and outsides were abstracted from
the coach,--which they had by this time come to regard as quite an
extraneous part of their travelling, not so much a "conveyance" as
something to be conveyed,--and the four took their way over the stones,
amused at this new and most unexpected obstacle to their progress.
Hastening across the fissure, they went and placed themselves (always
under umbrellas) beside a troop of little vagabond boys,--who had come
to see the fun, and had secured good front places on the opposite
bank,--to view the diligence brought down the sharp declivity of the
embankment to the old road below. The spectators beheld the jolting
vehicle come slowly and gratingly along, like a sturdy recusant, holding
back, until the straining horses had tugged it by main force to the
brink of the fissure. Here the animals stopped, snorted, eyed the sheer
descent with twitching ears and quivering skins, as though they said in
equine language, "We're surely not required to drag it down _this_!"
They were soon relieved from their doubt, by being taken out of the
traces, patted, and gently led down the embankment, leaving their
burdensome charge behind. There it stuck, helplessly alone,--even more
thoroughly belying its own name than diligences usually do,--perched on
the edge of a declivity of the height of a tall house, stock still,
top-heavy with piled luggage, deserted by its passengers, abandoned of
its friend in the velvet cap, a motionless and apparently objectless
coach. How it was to be dislodged and conveyed down the "vast abrupt"
became matter of conjecture to the four, when presently some men came to
the spot with a large coil of cable-cord, which they proceeded to pass
through the two hindmost side-windows of the diligence, threading it
like a bead on a string; and then they gradually lowered the lumbering
coach down the side of the descent, amid the _evvivas_ of the vagabond
boys, led by an enthusiastic "_Bravissimo!_" from Velvet-cap.

This incident occupied much time; and though the travellers made some
progress during the afternoon, the gray shades of twilight were
gathering over and deepening the gloom of the already gray sky and gray
landscape,--deadened to that color from their naturally brilliant hues
by the prevailing wet,--as the travellers stopped to change horses again
at the entrance of the town of Oneglia. Here, while the conductor ran
into a house to make purchase of a loaf about half a yard in length and
a corpulent bottle of wine, the four saw another funeral train
approaching. This time it was still more dreary, being attended by a
show of processional pomp, inexpressibly forlorn and squalid. The coffin
was palled with a square of rusty black velvet, whence all the pile had
long been worn, and which the soaking rain now helped age to embrown and
make flabby; a standard cross was borne by an ecclesiastical official,
who had on a quadrangular cap surmounted by a centre tuft; two priests
followed, sheltered by umbrellas, their sacerdotal garments dabbled and
draggled with mud, and showing thick-shod feet beneath the dingy serge
and lawn that flapped above them, as they came along at a smart pace,
suggestive of anything but solemnity. As little of that effect was there
in the burial-hymn which they bawled, rather than chanted, in a
careless, off-hand style, until they reached the end of the street and
of the town, when the bawlers suddenly ceased, took an abrupt leave of
the coffin and its bearers, fairly turned on their heels, accompanied by
the official holy standard-bearer, and went back at a brisk trot,
having, it seems, fulfilled the functions required of them. Obsequies
more heartless in their manner of performance, it was never the fate of
the four to behold. The impression left by this sight assorted well with
the deep and settled murkiness that dwelt like a thick veil on all
around. Even the cheery tones of Velvet-cap's voice lost their
elasticity, and the sprightliness of the sister's spirits, that
invariably rose with the coming on of night, failed under the depressing
influence of that rain-hastened funeral and that "set-in" rainy evening.
As for the sister whose spirits fell with the fall of day, she was fast
lapsing into a melancholy condition of silence and utter "giving-up."

Rattling over the pavement of the long, straggling town,--plashing
along a few miles of level road,--struggling up hill,--rattling through
another pavemented town,--striking into the country again,--we came to
another long ascent. As we toiled to the top, a postilion, having the
care of five return horses, joined company with ours, the two men
walking up hill together, while their beasts paced slowly on, with
drooping heads and smoking sides. Now and then, when the road was less
steep, and levelled into trotting-ground, the postilions climbed to
their seats,--ours on his rightful box-seat, the other on an impromptu
one, which he made for himself upon a sack of corn slung beneath the
front windows of the _coupé_,--and while our horses fell into an easy
jog, we could see the return ones go on before at a swagging run, with
their loosened harness tossing and hanging from them as they took their
own course, now on one side of the way, now on the other, according to
the promptings of their unreined fancy.

Suddenly, at a turn of the road, we came upon an undistinguishable
something, which, when our eyes could pierce through and beyond the
immediate light afforded by our diligence-lamp, we discovered to be
another diligence leaning heavily over a ditch, while its conductor and
postilion were at their horses' heads, endeavoring to make them
extricate it from its awkward position. This, however, was a feat beyond
the poor beasts' strength; and our conductor, after a few "Sacramentos"
at this new delay, got down and ran to see what could be done to help
them out of the scrape. It had been occasioned partly by the
carelessness of the conductor, who, unlike ours, (for the latter was a
man of good sense and judgment, self-possessed, and perfectly attentive
to the duties of his office,) had neglected to light the diligence-lamp,
and partly by the obstinacy of a drunken postilion, who insisted on
keeping too close to the ditch side of the road, while he instinctively
avoided the precipice side. Nearly two mortal hours was our diligence
detained, during which time our cattle were taken from their traces and
harnessed to those of the half-overturned coach, in various attempts to
dislodge it. The first resulted in a further locking of the wheel
against a projecting point of rock, and an additional bundling sideways
of the leaning diligence; the second was made by attaching the horses to
the back of it, while the men set their strength to the wheels,
endeavoring to push them round by main force in aid of the straining
team. The weight of the heavily-loaded coach resisted their efforts to
move it; and then the passengers were requested to descend. Out into the
rain and mud and darkness they came, warned by our conductor, in his
prompt, thoughtful way, to beware of stumbling over the precipitous
cliff, which dropped straight from the roadside there, hundreds of feet
down, into the sea. We could hear the dash of the waves far below, as
our conductor's voice sounded out clear and peremptory, uttering
the timely reminder; we could hear the words of two French
_commis-voyageurs_, coming from the ditch-sunk diligence, making some
facetious remark, one to the other, about their present adventure being
very much like some of Alexandre Dumas's _Impressions de Voyage_; we
could hear the cries and calls of the men refastening the horses, and
preparing to push anew at the wheels; we could distinguish a domestic
party dismounting from the back portion of the other diligence,
consisting of a father and mother with their baby and the _bonne_; we
could see the little white cap covered up carefully with a handkerchief
by the young mother, while the father held an umbrella over their heads,
and conducted them to the counterpart portion of our diligence, where
the family took refuge during the fresh attempts to drag theirs forth.

Then there came a tap against our _coupé_ window, and an unmistakably
British accent was heard to say: "Anglais? Anglais?" Tap--tap--tap. "Any
English here?"

Velvet-cap let the window down, and answered in his cheerfullest tone,

This reply seemed to rejoice the heart of the inquirer, who immediately
rejoined, "Oh!--Well, I really wished to know if there were any one here
who could understand me. These fellows don't comprehend one word that I
say; and I can't speak one word of their jabber. Just listen to them!
What a confounded row they keep up! Parcel of stupid brutes! If I could
only have made myself understood, I could have told them how to get it
out in a minute. Confounded thing this, ain't it? Kept last night, too,
by something of the same kind of accident; and I couldn't get those
stupid fellows to make out what I meant, and give me my carpet-bag."

Polite condolences from Velvet-cap.

"I say, are these your Italian skies? Is Nice no better than this? By
George, I didn't come here for this, though!"

Assurances of the unusually bad weather this season from Velvet-cap.

"No, but just hark! what a confounded row and jabber those fellows keep

A simultaneous "Ee-ye-ho! ee-yuch-yuch!" came from the striving men at
this moment, and our British acquaintance, with a hasty "Good night!"
hurried off to see the result. It was this time a successful one; the
leaning diligence was plucked out, restored to an upright position, and
its passengers were reassembled. Once more on its way, our conductor
returned to his own coach; and, with the help of our postilion,
reharnessed our horses. But the difficulty now was to start them. Tired
with their unexpected task of having to tug at another and a stuck-fast
diligence,--made startlish with having to stand in the rain and chill
night air, in the open road, while the debates were going on as to the
best method of attaching them to the sunken vehicle,--when once put back
into their own traces, they took to rearing and kicking instead of
proceeding. It is by no means amusing to sit in a diligence behind five
plunging horses, on a cliff-road,--one edge of which overhangs the sea,
and the other consists of a deep ditch or water-way, beneath a sheer
upright rock,--"when rain and wind beat dark December"; and even after
whip and whoop had succeeded in prevailing on the rearers and kickers to
"take the road" again, that road proved so unprecedentedly bad as almost
to render futile the struggles of the poor beasts. They did their best;
they strained their haunches, they bent their heads forward, they
actually made leaps of motion, in trying to lug the clogged wheels on
through the sludge and clammy soil; but this was a _mauvais pas_, where
the _cantonniers'_ good offices in road-mending had been lately
neglected, and it seemed almost an impossibility to get through with our
tired cattle. However, the thing was achieved, and the town of San Remo
at length reached.

Here, with a change of horses, it was now our turn to have a drunken
postilion; whom our conductor, after seizing him by the collar with both
hands, permitted to mount to his high seat and gather up the reins,
there being no other driver to be had. Smacking his long whip with an
energy that made the night-echoes resound far and wide, galloping his
horses up hill at a rate that swayed the coach to and fro and threatened
speedy upsetting, screaming and raving like a wild Indian uttering his
battle-cry, our charioteer pursued his headlong course, until brought to
a stop by something that suddenly obstructed his career.

A voice before us shouted out, "We must all go back to San Remo!"

A silence ensued; and then our conductor got down, running forward to
see what was the matter. The three in the _coupé_ saw their alert friend
of the _banquette_ descend; which caused Velvet-cap to bestir himself,
and let down the window. Not obtaining any satisfactory information by
looking out into the darkness and confusion, he opened the door also,
and called to some one to help him forth. Whereupon he found himself in
the arms of the maudlin postilion; who, taking him doubtless for some
foreign lady passenger in great alarm, hugged him affectionately,
stuttering out, "N'ayez pas peur! Point de danger! point de danger!"

"Get off with you, will you?" was the ejaculation from Velvet-cap, as he
pushed away the man, and went in search of his alert friend.

The latter soon came running back to the coach-side, bidding the sisters
get out quickly and come and look at what was well worth seeing.

It was indeed! There lay a gigantic mass of earth, stones, and trees,
among which were several large blocks of solid rock, hurled across the
road, showing a jagged outline against the night-sky, like an
interposing mountain-barrier but just recently dropped in their path.
The whole had fallen not an hour ago; and it was matter of
congratulation to the four, that it had not done so at the very moment
their diligence passed beneath.

There was nothing to be done but what the voice (which proved to be that
of the conductor belonging to the other diligence) had proposed, namely,
to go back to San Remo.

Here the travellers of both diligences soon arrived; the four, as they
passed to their rooms, hearing the British accent on the landing, in
disconsolate appeal to a waiter: "Oh!--look here,--sack, you know, sack,

"Oui, monsieur; votre sac de nuit. Il est en bas,--en bas, sur la
diligence. On le montera bientôt."

The lady whose spirits rose at night was flitting about, brisk as a bee,
getting morsels of bread and dipping them into wine to revive her
sister; who, worn out with fatigue and exhaustion, sat in a collapsed
and speechless state on a sofa.

Next morning, however, she was herself again, and able to note the owner
of the British accent, who had certainly obtained his desired
carpet-bag, since there he was, at the _coupé_ window, brushed and
beaming, addressing Velvet-cap with, "Excuse me, as an Englishman; but,
could you oblige me with change for a napoleon? I want it to pay my bill
with. They could get some from the next shop, if these jabbering fellows
would but understand, and go and try."

The morning-animated sister was now also able to observe upon the more
promising aspect of the weather, which was evidently clearing up; for it
not only did not rain, but showed streaks of brightness over the sea, in
lines between the hitherto unbroken gray clouds. She adverted to the
pleasant look of the cap-lifting _cantonniers_, as they stood drawn up
and nodding encouragement at the diligence, near the mass of earth which
had fallen overnight; and which they, by dint of several hours' hard
work from long before dawn, had sufficiently dug away to admit of
present passage. She said how comforting the sight of their honest
weather-lined faces was, bright with the touch of morning and early

This brought a muttered rejoinder from the other sister; who, huddled up
in one corner, still half asleep, remarked that the faces of the
_cantonniers_ were surely far more comforting when visible by the light
of the diligence-lamp, coming to bring succor amid darkness and danger.

"But it is precisely because they are never to be seen during the
darkness, when danger is increased by there rarely being help at hand,
that I dread and dislike night," returned Morning-lover.

"How oppressive the scent of those truffles is, the first thing after
breakfast!" exclaimed Night-favorer.

"I had not yet perceived it," replied Morning-lover. "Last evening,
indeed, after a whole day's haunting with it, the smell of that hamper
of truffles which the conductor took up at Finale was almost
insupportable; but now, in the fresh morning air, it is anything but
disagreeable. I shall never hereafter encounter the scent of truffles
without being forcibly reminded of all the incidents of this journey.
That smell seems absolutely interwoven with images of torrent-crossing,
cliff-falling, pouring rain, and roaring waves."

The talk fell upon associations of sense with events and places; sounds,
sights, and scents, intimately connected with and vividly recalling
certain occurrences of our lives. We had missed the glimpse of the baby
face and little white cap from the back of the diligence that preceded
us during the first portion of the day, owing to our coach having been
delayed at Ventimiglia by some peculiar arrangement which required the
team that had dragged us up a steep ascent to stop and bait,--merely
resting instead of changing, before we went on again.

The Pont St. Louis, with the picturesque ravine it crosses, had been
passed, and the pretty town of Mentone was full in view, when we caught
sight of the other diligence, some way on the road before us, brought
once more to a stand-still, while a crowd of persons surrounded it, and
its passengers were to be seen, in the distance, descending, with the
baby cap among them. At this instant, an excited French official darted
out from a doorway by the side of the road near us, raising his arms
distractedly, and throwing his sentences up at the conductor, who
understood him to say that there was no going on; that a whole garden
had come tumbling down across the road just at the entrance to Mentone,
and prevented passing.

We drove on to the spot, and found it was indeed so; the grounds of a
villa, skirting the highway on a terrace-ledge, had been loosened by the
many days' rain, and had fallen during the forenoon, a heap of
ruins,--shrubs, plants, garden-walls, flowers, borders, railings,--one
mass of obstruction.

With a glance at the _coupé_ passengers, another French official (the
newly-appointed frontier custom-house being close at hand) stepped
forward to suggest that the "insides" could be accommodated, during the
interim required for the _cantonniers_ to do their work, at a
lately-built hotel he pointed to; but the four agreed to spend the time
in walking round by the path above the obstruction, so as to see its
whole extent.

The wet, percolating and penetrating through the softer soil, gradually
accumulates a weight of water behind and beneath the harder and rockier
portions, which dislodges them from their places, pushes them forward,
and finally topples them over headlong. This is generally prevented
where terrace-walls are built up, by leaving holes here and there in the
structure, which allow the wet to drain through innocuously; but if, as
in the present instance, this caution be neglected, many days'
successive rain is almost sure to produce the disaster in question. It
had a woful look,--all those garden elegances cast there, flung out upon
the high-road, like discarded rubbish; pots of selected flowers,
favorite seats, well-worn paths, carefully-tended beds, trailing
climbers, torn and snapped branches, all lying to be shovelled away as
fast as the road-menders could ply their pickaxes and spades.

At length this task was accomplished; the diligences were hauled over
the broken ground (their contents being also "hauled over" at the
custom-house); the passengers (after the important ceremonial of handing
their passports for inspection, and having them handed back by
personages who kept their countenances wonderfully) were in again and
off again.

But one more torrent to cross,--where the foremost coach had nearly been
overset, and where the occupants of the hindmost one, profiting by
example, got out and walked over the footbridge, in time to behold the
owner of the British accent wave his hat triumphantly from the _coupé_
with a hearty (English) "Huzza!" as the vehicle recovered, by a violent
lurch to the left, from an equally violent one to the right, issuing
scathless from the last flood that lay in the way,--and then both
diligences began at a leisurely pace to crawl up a long ascent of road,
bordered on each side by olive-grounds;--until the view opened to a
fine stretch of prospect, now colored and vivified by a glance of the
afternoon sun,--the diminutive peninsular kingdom of Monaco, lying down
in the very sea, bright, and green, and fairy-like; the bold barren crag
of the Turbia rock frowning sternly in front, with its antique Roman
tower and modern Italian church; the rocky heights above to the right,
with their foreground of olive-trees, vine-trellises, and orange-groves,
interspersed with country-houses; while through all wound the
ever-climbing road, a white thread in the distance, with the telegraphic
poles, dwindled to pin-like dimensions, indicating its numberless turns
and bends.

As the sun sank over the far western lines of the Estrelle Mountains,
and the sky faded into grayish purple, succeeded by an ever-deepening
suffusion of black, unpierced by a single star, the high reach of road
above Villafranca Bay was passed; and, on our turning the corner of the
last intervening upland, full in view came the many lights of Nice, with
its castled rock, its minarets and cupolas, its stretch of sea, its look
of sheltered repose;--all most welcome to sight, after our sensational
journey on the Cornice Road in a great rain.


Never had Portland looked more beautiful than when the sunrise-gun
boomed across the waters, announcing the ninetieth anniversary of our
independence. The sun, which on another day should look down on the
city's desolation, rose unclouded over the houses, that stood forth from
the foliage of the embowering elms, or nestled in their shadow; over the
quaintness of the old-fashioned churches and the beauty of the more
modern temples; over the stately public edifices, and the streets
everywhere decked with flags and thronged with crowds of happy,
well-dressed people. Of course, the popular satisfaction expressed
itself in the report of pistols, guns, and fire-crackers; and all
through the day the usual amusements went on, and in the afternoon
almost everybody was on the street.

A few minutes before five o'clock, when the festivity was at its
wildest, the alarm of fire rang out. Every circumstance was favorable
for a conflagration,--the people scattered, the city dry and heated by a
July sun, and a high southwesterly wind blowing. It needed only the
exciting cause in the shape of a fire-cracker, and lo! half the city was

My youngest brother, at the first sound of the bell, came and begged me
to take him to the fire; so I went, to please him. Poor child! I little
thought that by twelve o'clock at night there would be no place at home
to lay the little head.

We found the fire near Brown's sugar-house, where there was a large
crowd already assembled. But, though the smoke and masses of flame were
rising only from one house, the wind was blowing a perfect gale; and a
foreboding of the calamity impending seemed to possess the spectators.
There was none of the usual noise, and men appeared to look at the
burning house with a feeling of awe. We did not stop there at all; and
some idea of the rapid progress of the fire may be gathered from the
fact, that about four squares distant, where, on the way up, we could
see one fire, on our return we saw three,--two lighted by sparks from
the first. We slowly retraced our way, and met people on every side
quickening their steps in the direction of the fire.

About seven o'clock, mother and I thought it would be wise to pack up
our silver and valuables; for it seemed as if we were directly in the
path of the conflagration. Down Fore Street, and from Fore to Free, it
was rushing on. The southwestern heavens were entirely shut from our
view by the flames and smoke; cinders, ashes, and blazing embers were
falling like rain down Middle Street, and across to Congress, as far as
the eye could see. The scene was terrible; but it was soon surpassed in
fearfulness, for the work of desolation was not half completed. The
Irish population were the chief sufferers up to this hour. It was
heart-rending to see the women rushing hither and thither, trying to
save their few possessions. Here, a poor creature was dragging a
mattress, followed by several little crying children, her face the
picture of despair; there, another, with her family, stood over the
remnants of her scanty stock. A poor woman, who was in the habit of
working for us, lived near the corner of Cross and Fore Streets. She had
five children and a sick husband to care for. Almost all her energies
were bent in getting them to a place of safety; and the few little
things which she succeeded in rescuing from the flames were afterwards
stolen from her by some one of the many wretches who gathered the spoils
that awful night.

It soon became evident that we must decide upon some plan of action, in
case it should come to the worst. We had two married sisters,--one
living in India Street, the other at the west end of the city. As the
former had no family, and was alone, even her husband being away, and as
the latter had three children, and a house full of company, we decided
that, if we must move, it should be to India Street. We sent off one
team, and my youngest brother with it, before the fire was anywhere near
us; and then, while my two little sisters assisted mother in getting
things together, I worked with my brother and cousin, hanging wet
blankets against the walls, pouring water on the roof, and taking other
precautionary measures. But all was useless. On came the fire with a
steady sweep. We saw that it was idle to combat it longer, and turned
all our energies to saving what we could. Our home was to be ours no
longer. The dear old roof-tree, under which had assembled so many loved
ones, now gone forever,--where the eyes of all our home circle first saw
the light of life,--where three of that number closed theirs in
death,--the centre of the hopes and joys of a lifetime,--was to be
abandoned to the flames. It was like tearing our heart-strings to leave
it so; but there was no time for lingering. With streaming eyes and
aching hearts we started out, taking what we could in our hands. There
was by this time no vehicle to be obtained in which we could ride; and,
supporting my mother, my sisters clinging to us in silent terror, we
were borne along with the crowd down Middle Street to India. I cannot
remember any incidents of that walk. The hurrying throng around me, the
flying sparks, and the roar of the engines, seem like the confusion of a

Our sister, who met us at the door, felt perfectly secure, and had done
nothing towards packing. I gave her an account of our proceedings,
thinking each moment of some precious thing I might have brought away.
We went to the front door, and looked out on the scene before us. The
fire seemed to come on the wings of the wind. Middle Street was ablaze;
Wood's marble hotel was in flames, together with the beautiful dwelling
opposite. The fire leaped from house to house, and, if for a moment
checked, it was but to rush on in wilder fury. Churches, one by one,
were seized by the flame, and crumbled into ruin before it. No human
power could arrest its fierce progress. In vain the firemen put forth a
strength almost superhuman: their exertions seemed but to add to its
fury. Explosion after explosion gave greater terror to the scene:
buildings were successively blown up in the useless effort to bar its
pathway; the fire leaped the chasm and sped on. Fugitives of every age
and condition were hurrying through the streets, laden with everything
imaginable,--especially looking-glasses, which seem the one important
thing to be saved during a fire. My brother and cousin had not yet made
their appearance, nor had we seen anything of my brother-in-law, from
the other end of the city. But we knew they must be at their places of
business, which were now in the heart of the burning district. Swiftly
the destruction hurried towards us; and people were now seen bringing in
their goods and seeking shelter on our premises. O what heart-broken
faces surrounded us that fearful night! Friends, and people we had never
seen, alike threw themselves on our kindness; and I must say that a
spirit of humanity and good-will seemed everywhere prevalent among the
citizens. We were now ourselves tortured by suspense. Could we escape,
or should we again have to seek refuge from the flames? Surely the work
of destruction would stop before it reached India Street? The hot breath
of the maddening fire, and its lurid glare, were the only response. O,
if the wind would only change! But a vane, glistening like gold in the
firelight, steadfastly pointed to the southeast. For one moment it
veered, and our hearts almost stood still with hope; but it swung back,
and a feeling of despair settled upon us.

Our house was full. One poor lady, with a little baby only a week old,
lay on a sofa in one of the rooms; near her, bent over in a
rocking-chair, sat an old woman who had not been out of her house for
five years, with a look of hopeless bewilderment on her wrinkled face.
But people were now beginning to move from our house. India Street was
almost blocked up. Every kind of vehicle that went upon wheels, from a
barouche to a wheelbarrow, passed by laden with furniture.

At this moment my brother and brother-in-law approached, blackened
almost beyond recognition. It was not until C---- spoke that I really
knew him.

"We must be calm and collected, and save what we can. John is trying to
get a team to carry mother up to L----'s; the rest of us will have to go
to the graveyard. But John may not be successful, so you stay here, and
see if you can get any one to take mother: they may do it for you, when
they wouldn't for a man."

I stood on the edge of the sidewalk, clinging to the horse-post, and
appealed in vain to wagons going by.

"_Won't_ you take a lady and children away from here?"

"I _can't_, ma'am, not if you was to give me twenty-five dollars,--not
if you was to give me five hundred. I'm taking a load for a gentleman

So it was in every case. Very many were worse off than we were,--had not
even a man to help. One well-known citizen was appealed to for help, in
the early part of the evening, by a poor woman,--a sort of dependant of
his family. He took her and her daughter, with their effects, outside
the city, and returned to find India Street on fire and no means of
getting through the crowd to his house, which was burned, with all that
was not saved by the exertions of his wife. They had visiting them a
lady whose child lay dead in the house, awaiting burial. The mother took
the little corpse in her arms and carried it herself up to the other end
of the city!

While I was making these vain attempts, John drove up in a light,
open-topped buggy. We hurriedly got mother and E---- into it, and gave
into their charge the jewelry and silver, and they drove away. I could
not but tremble for their safety. The road seemed impassable, so dense
was the struggling crowd. On every side the fire was raging. Looking up
India Street it was one sheet of flame, and equally so before us. It
looked like a world on fire, for we could see no smoke,--it was too near
for that,--and the heat was terribly intense.

There was no time to be lost. Both our servants and M----'s were away
spending the Fourth, so we had to depend entirely on ourselves. Our
back fence was soon torn down, and we all worked as we never had before.
We saved a good deal, but not one half of what we brought from our house
in the first place. We had thrown things out of the window, and C----
and J---- worked hard dragging them out of the yard, until, scorched and
almost suffocated, they were compelled to desist. The flames were upon
us so quickly, it seemed incredible that they could have seized the
house so soon after we thought we were in danger.

"Thank God, we are all safe!" cried M----, sinking upon the ground in
the graveyard, where we took refuge. She tried to look cheerful; but the
sight before her--her house in flames--and the thought of her husband's
absence overcame her, and she burst into tears. I laid the two little
girls upon the grass; and, wearied out, they soon fell asleep. It was a
strange scene in that quiet old cemetery, where the dead of more than a
century had lain undisturbed in their graves. Where only the reverent
tread of the mourner, or of some visitor carefully threading his way
among the grassy mounds, was wont to be known, crowds of frantic people
were hurrying across; while here and there were family groups clustered
together, watching the destruction of their property.

How long the remaining hours seemed! Would the daylight never come? The
children slept on, and we four talked in low tones of the morrow.

At length, faint, rosy lights began to streak the eastern horizon, and
slowly the day dawned. The sun rose unclouded above the hills, sending
down his beams upon the desolation which the night had wrought, lighting
up the islands and the blue waters, flecked with sail-boats.

Not less welcome to us, J---- now also appeared,--with a hay-cart, whose
driver he had engaged to come and remove us. Our goods were put into it;
we took our places among them, and, as soon as the tardy oxen could
carry us, were safe in my sister's house, living over again in words
that fearful night, and relating to each other some of those incidents
of the fire which can never all be told. A little friend of ours, when
leaving her home, took in her arms her doll, nearly as large as herself;
obliged to flee a second time, her mother told her it was useless to try
and save the doll, and she must leave it there. With many tears she laid
it on the sofa, feeling, no doubt, as if she were leaving a human being
to be burnt. The next day, a friend brought to her the identical dolly,
which had been found in the graveyard! The little one's joy may be

One of the women in the Irish quarter picked up her big pig in her arms
and carried it to a place of safety, then returned to take care of her
children and furniture. A woman went by our house in the early part of
the evening bent nearly double beneath the weight of a trunk strapped
upon her back. We saw women that night with loads under which almost any
man would have staggered in ordinary circumstances.

Before we were supposed to be in danger, I walked out with a young
friend to see what progress the fire was making. At a corner we observed
a woman with a child about eight years old, talking, in great agitation,
to a lady, and evidently urging her to accede to some request. My
companion suggested that we should see if we could aid her in any way.
As we approached, the lady had taken the child by the hand, with the
words, "What is your address?" which was given. We inquired if we could
be of any service. "No, thank you," was the reply. "I asked that lady to
take care of my daughter. I keep store on that street over there. My
husband is out of town, and I don't know what I shall do!"--and,
wringing her hands, she hurried away. I have wondered since what was the
fate of the little girl thus intrusted to the care of strangers; for the
lady went in the direction, afterwards swept by the fire.

One family, whose house the flames did not reach until near two o'clock
in the morning, behaved with great coolness. The head of the household
lay ill. It was their first care to provide for him. Then they went
deliberately about, gathering up their valuables, taking just what they
wanted. They secured a wagon to carry away their things. Their house,
meanwhile, had been full of refugees from the flames. One of the young
ladies, going for the last time through the deserted rooms, found, on a
sofa in the parlor, a sick woman, utterly unable to move. At first, she
felt almost in despair at sight of this poor creature, so near meeting a
fearful fate. But quickly recovering her presence of mind, she called in
men from the street, and, by their united efforts, they carried her out,
and forced a passing wagon to take her to a safe place. A young lady,
who lived at a little distance from this family, was spending the night
at the other end of the city. They sat up till half past twelve, and she
was then in the act of retiring, never dreaming that her home was in
danger, when a loaded wagon stopped at the door, and out stepped her
sister and child. She went back in the same vehicle, and worked till
twelve the next day, getting things out of the house, collecting and
guarding them till they could be removed.

There was, of course, the usual difference shown amongst people in such
circumstances,--energy and coolness contrasted with imbecility and
frantic excitement. A friend who moved three times, with her husband so
ill that he had to be carried from place to place, never once forgot to
administer his medicine at regular intervals,--with a steady hand
pouring out the drops by the light of the fire.

A gentleman was carrying some of his books, preceded by an assistant,
who also had his arms full. The latter walked so rapidly that his
employer could not keep up with him. He called upon him to slacken his
pace; but, as no attention was paid to this, the gentleman dropped his
books upon the ground, and, running forward, knocked him down,
determined to be obeyed, fire or no fire.

But all were not so cool. One man, seeing the flames advancing in the
direction of his house, rushed thither to save his property. He worked
with might and main, but, when the house was nearly emptied, became
aware of the fact that it was his neighbor's. By this time his own
dwelling was on fire, from which he saved scarcely anything. I know one
person who passed through his hall perfectly empty-handed, while all
around him were bundles and boxes, which were consumed in the fire;
another walked out of his house with a package of envelopes in his hand,
leaving, close by, an article worth thirty dollars.

I must mention one of many instances of unselfishness that came under my
observation. A gentleman was comfortably established in a house which he
had recently bought and furnished, expecting there to enjoy the
pleasures of a home. One half of the house he had rented; but the
husband of the woman to whom it was let was not in town. Their dwelling
shared the fate of those around them, being burnt. He first set to work
to save his own things; but, struck by the forlorn condition of his
tenant, he did his best to save her effects, even to the detriment of
his own; for when they were examined, the greater portion of them was
found to be hers. Time has not exhausted the truth and beauty of the
saying, that "in the night the stars shine forth," and the stars did not
pale even in the terrible light of the fire that consumed half a city.


There were nine of us, all told, when mother died; myself, the eldest,
aged twenty, a plain and serious woman, well fitted by nature and
circumstance to fill the place made vacant by death.

I cannot remember when I was young. Indeed, when I hear other women
recount the story of their early days, I think I had no childhood, for
mine was like no other.

Mother was married so young, that at the age when most women begin to
think seriously of marriage she had around her a numerous brood, of
which I was less the elder sister than the younger mother. She was
delicate by nature, and peevish by reason of her burdens, and I think
could never have been a self-reliant character; so she fretted and
sighed through life, and when death came, unawares, she seemed not sorry
for the refuge.

She called me to her bed one day in a tone so cheerful that I wondered,
and when I saw the calm and brightness in her face, hope made me glad,
"Margaret," she said, "you have been a good daughter. I never did you
justice until this illness opened my eyes. You have shamed me by your
patience and your sacrifices so gently borne. You are more fit to be a
mother than I ever was; and I leave the children to your care without a
fear. It is not likely you will ever marry, and I die content, knowing
that you will do your duty."

After this came many sad days,--the parting, the silent form which death
had made majestic, the funeral hymns, the tolling bell, the clods upon
the coffin-lid; and when the sun shone out and the birds sang again, it
seemed to me I had dreamed it all, and that the sun could not shine nor
the birds sing above a grave on which the grass had not yet had time to
grow. But I had not dreamed, nor had I time for dreaming. Mother was
dead, and eight children claimed from me a mother's care,--the youngest
a wailing babe but seven days old, whom I came to cherish and love as my
little boy.

When I had settled down, and grown accustomed to the vacuum which never
could be filled for me, I thought a great deal upon mother's last words.
I was proud of the trust she reposed in me, and I meant to be faithful
to it. I wondered much why she had thought it likely I should never
marry; for I was a woman with strong instincts, and, amid all the toil
and care of my barren life, I had seen afar, through gleaming mists, the
mountains of hope arise, and beyond the heat and dust and labor of duty
caught glimpses of green ways made pleasant by quiet waters.

I do not think my burden seemed heavier now that mother no longer helped
me to bear it; for my sense of responsibility had been increased by her
complaining spirit. Her discouraging views of life held in check the
reins of my eager fancy: it seemed wrong to enjoy a happiness I could
not share with her. Now I no longer felt this restraint; but, knowing
that somehow she had missed this happiness for which I waited, the
knowledge invested her memory with a tender pity, and tempered my
pleasure with a feeling akin to pain.

I was never idle. Behind the real work of life, my fancy wrought on,
unknown and unsuspected by the world; my lamp of joy, fed by the sweet
oil of hope, was ready for the lighting, and I was content to wait.

My little boy throve bravely. Every morning I awoke him with a kiss;
and, perhaps because each day seemed but a continuation of the other,
time stood still for him. He was for me the incarnation of all
loveliness. The fair face, and blond hair, and brown, brooding eyes,
were beautiful as an angel's, and goodness set its seal on his
perfections. He gave me no trouble: grief brings age, joy confirms
youth, and I and my little boy grew young together. He was with me
everywhere, lightening my labor with his prattling tongue, helping me
with his sweet, hindering ways; and when the kisses had been many that
had waked him many morns, he stood beside me, my little boy, hardly a
hand's breadth lower than myself.

The world had changed for all but him and me. My father had wandered off
to foreign parts; sisters and brothers, one by one, had gone forth to
conquer kingdoms and reign in their own right, and one young sister,
just on the border-land of maiden fancies, (O friends, I write this line
with tears!) turned from earth and crossed the border-land of heaven.

But he and I remained alone in the old homestead, and walked together
sweetly down the years.

If I came upon disappointment, I had not sought it, neither did I fall
by it; but that which was my future slid by me and became the past, so
gently that I scarce remember where one ended or the other began; and
though all other lovers failed me, one true remained, to whom I ever
would be true. The future did not look less fair; nay, I deemed it more
full of promise than ever. It was as though I had passed from my old
stand-point of observation to a more easterly window; and the prospect
was not the less enchanting that I looked upon it over the shoulder of
my little boy. We talked much of it together; and though he had the
nearer view, it was my practised vision that saw pathways of beauty not
yet suspected by him.

But we were still happy in the present, and did not speculate much upon
the future. The rolling years brought him completeness, and to the
graces of person were added the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. The down
that shaded his cheek, like the down upon a ripe peach, had darkened and
strengthened to the symbol of manhood, and his words had the clear ring
of purpose. For there was a cloud upon the horizon which at first was no
bigger than a man's hand, but it grew until it filled the land with
darkness, and the fair prospect on which I had so loved to gaze was
hidden behind the storm. My little boy and I looked into each other's
faces, and he cried, "Margaret, I must go!"

I did not say nay,--for the tears which were not in my eyes were in my
voice, and to speak was to betray them,--but I turned about to make him

In these days my little boy's vision was finer than my own; and when we
stood together, looking from our orient window, he saw keener and
farther than I had ever done; for my eyes now looked through a veil of
tears, while his, like the eagle's, penetrated the cloud to the sunshine
behind it. He was full of the dream of glory; and his words, fraught
with purpose and power, stirred me like a trumpet. I caught the
inspiration that thrilled his soul; for we had walked so long together
that all paths pursued by him must find me ever at his side.

One day I was summoned to meet a visitor; and going, a tall figure in
military dress gave me a military salute. It was my little boy, who,
half abashed at his presumption, drew himself up, and sought refuge from
shyness in valor. It was not a sight to make me smile, though I smiled
to please my warrior, who, well pleased, displayed his art, to show how
fields were won. Won! He had no thought of loss; for youth and hope
dream not of defeat, and he talked of how the war was to be fought and
ended, and all should be well.

I kissed my little boy good night; and he slept peacefully, dreaming of
fields of glory, as Jacob dreamed and saw a heavenly vision.

He went; and then it seemed as if there had been with him one fair long
summer day, and this was the evening thereof; and my heart was heavy
within me.

But many letters reached me from the distant field,--long and loving
letters, full of hope, portraying all the poetry and beauty of
camp-life, casting the grosser part aside; and to me at home, musing
amid peaceful scenes, it seemed a great, triumphant march, which must
crush, with its mere _display_ of power, all wicked foes. But the
sacrifice of blood was needed for the remission of sin, and these
holiday troops--heroes in all save the art of war--lost the day, and,
returning, brought back with their thinned ranks my little boy unharmed.
Unharmed, thank God! but bronzed and bearded like the pard, and
tarnished with the wear and burnished with the use of war.

How he talked and laughed, making light of danger, and, growing serious,
said the fight had but begun,--the business of the nation must, for
years, be war,--and that his strength and manhood, nay, his life if need
be, should be given to his country. Then his words made me brave, and
his looks made me proud. I blessed him with unfaltering lips; and above
the hills of promise, which my little boy and I saw looking from our
orient window, rose higher yet the mountains of truth, with the straight
path of duty leading to the skies. But when he was gone
again,--gone,--there fell a shadow of the coming night, and the evening
and the morning were the second day.

His frequent letters dissipated the sense of danger, and brought me
great comfort. War is not a literary art, and letters from the "imminent
deadly breach," made it seem less deadly. His self-abnegation filled me
with wonder. "It is well that few should be lost, that many may be
saved," he wrote. In what school had this tender youth learned heroism,
I asked myself, as I read his noble words and trembled at his courage.

My dreams and my gaze turned southward. No eastern beams lured me to
that lookout so long endeared; for the eyes through which I once gazed
looked through the smoke of battle, and hope and faith had fled with
him, and left me but suspense.

Now came hot work. The enemy pressed sorely, and men's--ay, and
women's--souls were tried. Long days of silence passed, days of
sickening doubt, and then came the news of _victory_,--victory bought
with precious blood and heavy loss. Over the ghastly hospital lists I
hung, fearing and dreading to meet the name of my little boy, taking
hope, as the list shortened, from the despair of others, _and no
mention_. Thank God, who giveth _us_ the victory!

And later, when details come in, I see in "official report" my little
boy's name mentioned for meritorious and gallant conduct, and
recommended for promotion. Ah! the groans of the dying are lost in the
shouts of the victor; and, forgetting the evil because of this good, a
woman's heart cried, _Laus Deo_!

After the battle, hardly fought and dearly purchased, my hero came home
on furlough. War had developed him faster than the daily kisses of love
had done; for my little boy--crowned with immortal youth for me--for all
the world came from this rude embrace a man in stature and wisdom, a
hero in valor and endurance, a leader beloved and revered.

But for all this I tucked him in o' nights, and shut off harmful
draughts from him who oft had lain upon the sod, and for covering had
but the cloudy sky.

These were blissful days,--marked in the past by white memories,--in
which we talked of future plans, the future so near, yet to our vision
so remote, and purposed this and that, not considering that Heaven
disposes all things.

And when he must be off, I kissed him lightly; for success brings
security, and I was growing accustomed to these partings; but he drew me
to his breast, struck by some pang of coming evil, and called me
_mother_. Ah! then my heart yearned over my little boy, and I would fain
have stayed his going; but, dashing the tears from his eyes, he hurried
away, nor looked behind him once.

All through the winter, which for him was summer, my heart lay lightly
in its place, and I waited calmly the coming of the end. The struggle
was almost over; the storm-cloud had rolled back, after deluging the
land in blood; in this consecrated soil slavery was forever buried; the
temple of freedom was reared in the name of all men, and the dove of
peace sat brooding in its eaves.

All this my little boy had said must come to pass before he sheathed his
sword; and this had come to pass.

He had marched "to the sea," my conquering hero, and was "coming up,"
crowned with new laurels. I was waiting the fulness of time, lulled with
the fulness of content. Sherman had gathered his hosts for another
combat,--the last,--and then the work would be done, and well done. Thus
wrote my little boy; and my heart echoed his words, "well done."

This battle-day I worked out of doors from morning until night, seeking
to bring order and beauty out of confusion and decay, striving to have
all things ready when he came. My sleep was sweet that night, and I
awoke with these words in my mind:--

    "Lord, in the morning Thou shall hear
      My voice ascending high."

The sun streamed in through the eastern window, and all the hills beyond
were bathed in glory; the earth was fair to look upon, and happiness,
descending from the skies, nestled in my heart.

I planted all this day, covering precious seed, thinking on their summer
beauty; and, as the evening fell, I stood at the garden gate watching
the way he must come for whose coming I longed with a longing that could
not be uttered.

As I looked, idly speculating on his speed, a horseman dashed up in mad
haste, his steed spent and flecked with foam. Men do not ride so hot
with good tidings,--what need to make such haste with evil?

Still, no sense of loss, no shadow of the coming night. Peace covered my
heart, and would not be scared away. Blind infatuation! that could not

"Was it not then a victory?" I cried; for sadness and defeat were
written in his face.

"Nay, not that." The outstretched hand turned white with pity. "But

Too kind to speak the words, at sight of which I fell, struck by a bolt
that, riving _his_ heart, through leagues of space had travelled
straight to mine.

       *       *       *       *       *

Months later, when the long night had passed away, and the dawn brought
patience and resignation, one who saw him fall, gloriously, told me the
story. I could bear it then; for in my soul's eclipse I had beheld him
walking on the heavenly hills, and knew that there he was waiting for

He lies buried, at his own request, where he fell, on Southern soil.

O pilgrim to those sacred shrines, if in your wandering ye come upon a
nameless grave, marked by a sunken sword, tread lightly above the
slumbers of my little boy!


    Not thoughtless let us enter thy domain;
      Well did the tribes of yore,
    Who sought the ocean from the distant plain,
      Call thee their country's door.[F]

    And as the portals of a saintly pile
      The wanderer's steps delay,
    And, while he musing roams the lofty aisle,
      Care's phantoms melt away

    In the vast realm where tender memories brood
      O'er sacred haunts of time,
    That woo his spirit to a nobler mood
      And more benignant clime,--

    So in the fane of thy majestic hills
      We meekly stand elate;
    The baffled heart a tranquil rapture fills
      Beside thy crystal gate:

    For here the incense of the cloistered pines,
      Stained windows of the sky,
    The frescoed clouds and mountains' purple shrines,
      Proclaim God's temple nigh.

    Through wild ravines thy wayward currents glide,
      Round bosky islands play;
    Here tufted headlands meet the lucent tide,
      There gleams the spacious bay;

    Untracked for ages, save when crouching flew,
      Through forest-hung defiles,
    The dusky savage in his frail canoe,
      To seek the thousand isles,

    Or rally to the fragrant cedar's shade
      The settler's crafty foe,
    With toilsome march and midnight ambuscade
      To lay his dwelling low.

    Along the far horizon's opal wall
      The dark blue summits rise,
    And o'er them rifts of misty sunshine fall,
      Or golden vapor lies.

    And over all tradition's gracious spell
      A fond allurement weaves;
    Her low refrain the moaning tempest swells,
      And thrills the whispering leaves.

    To win this virgin land,--a kingly quest,--
      Chivalric deeds were wrought;
    Long by thy marge and on thy placid breast
      The Gaul and Saxon fought.

    What cheers of triumph in thy echoes sleep!
      What brave blood dyed thy wave!
    A grass-grown rampart crowns each rugged steep,
      Each isle a hero's grave.

    And gallant squadrons manned for border fray,
      That rival standards bore,
    Sprung from thy woods and on thy bosom lay,--
      Stern warders of the shore.

    How changed since he whose name thy waters bear,
      The silent hills between,
    Led by his swarthy guides to conflict there,
      Entranced beheld the scene!

    Fleets swiftly ply where lagged the lone batteau,
      And quarries trench the gorge;
    Where waned the council-fire, now steadfast glow
      The pharos and the forge.

    On Adirondack's lake-encircled crest
      Old war-paths mark the soil,
    Where idly bivouacks the summer guest,
      And peaceful miners toil.

    Where lurked the wigwam, cultured households throng;
      Where rung the panther's yell
    Is heard the low of kine, a blithesome song,
      Or chime of village bell.

    And when, to subjugate the peopled land,
      Invaders crossed the sea,
    Rushed from thy meadow-slopes a stalwart band,
      To battle for the free.

    Nor failed the pristine valor of the race
      To guard the nation's life;
    Thy hardy sons met treason face to face,
      The foremost in the strife.

    When locusts bloom and wild-rose scents the air,
      When moonbeams fleck the stream,
    And June's long twilights crimson shadows wear,
      Here linger, gaze, and dream!


[F] One of the aboriginal names of Lake Champlain signifies the open
door of the country.


There is a gleam of ultramarine,--which, most of all tints, say the
painters, possesses the quality of light in itself,--banished to the
farthest horizon of the ocean, where it lies all day, a line of infinite
richness, not to be drawn by Apelles, and in its compression of
expanse--leagues of sloping sea and summer calm being written in that
single line--suggestive of more depth than plummet or diver can ever
reach. Such an enchantment of color deepens the farther and interior
horizon with most men,--whether it is the atmosphere of one's own
identity still warming and enriching it, or whether the orbed course of
time has dropped the earthy part away, and left only the sunbeams
falling there. But Leonardo da Vinci supposed that the sky owed its blue
to the darkness of vast space behind the white lens of sunlit air; and
perhaps where the sea presents through the extent of its depth, as it
slips over into other hemispheres, tangents with the illumined
atmosphere beyond, it affords a finer filter for these blue rays, and
thenceforth hoards in its heart the wealth and beauty of tint found in
that line of ultramarine. Thus too, perhaps, in the eyes of these
fortunate men, every year of their deepening past presents only a purer
strain for such sunshine as is theirs, until it becomes indeed

    "The light that never was, on sea or land."

The child's conjecture of the future is one of some great, bright, busy
thing beyond the hills or over the river. But the thought is not
definite: having nothing to remember, he has nothing by which to model
his idea.

The man looks back at the past in much the same manner, to be
sure,--always with something between,--if not the river or the hills, at
least a breath of mist out of which rises the vision he invokes; but the
vision has a shape, precise and clear.

If it is sadness that he seeks, sadness comes, dark as the nun of the
Penseroso, without a glimmer of the countless and daily trifles of
fairer aspect that made her actual presence possible to suffer,--comes
to flatter his memory with assurance of strength in having endured so
much and yet survived, or to stab him with her phantom poniards freshly
and fiercely as ever,--no diffused affair, but a positive shape of

But if the phase to be recalled is of a cheerful sort, how completely
likewise does it assert its essence,--a sunbeam falling through that
past from beginning to end. All the vexatious annoyances of the period
that then seemed to counterbalance pleasure are lost to view, and only
the rosy face of an experience that was happiness itself smiles upon
him. What matter the myriad frets that then beset him in the flesh? They
were superficial substance,--burrs that fell; he was happy in spite of
them; he does not remember them; he sees nothing but the complete
content; he in fact possesses his experience only in the ideal.

It is the dropping out of detail that accomplishes this in one case and
the other. In either, the point of view alone is fixed. The rest is
variable, and depends, it may be, on the nature of that subtile and
volatile ether through which each man gazes.

That the latter, the brighter vision, predominates, is as true as that
sunny days outnumber rainy ones. Though Argemone, rather than remember,
may have blotted out her memory; or though Viviani, after fifty years of
renowned practice in his profession, may be unable to look back at it
without a shudder,--then endowed with youth, health, energy,
ambition,--now lacking these, the recollection of the suffering he has
seen overwhelming his sensitive nature blackly and heavily as clods of
burial might do;--yet they are but those points of shadow that throw
the fact into prominence. It has been said that pain, remembered, is
delight. This is true only of physical pain. Mental agony ever remains
agony; for it is the body that perishes and the affections of the body.
Still, with most men the past is an illuminated region, forever throwing
the present into the shade. In the Zend Avesta, a farsang is defined to
be the space within which a long-sighted man can see a camel and
distinguish whether it be white or black; but the milestones of the
memory are even less arbitrary than this: no matter how far the glance
flies, in those distances every man's camel is white. Thus the backward
view is ever of

        "Summits soft and fair,
    Clad in colors of the air,
    Which to those who journey near
    Barren, brown, and rough appear."

The maidens of to-day are not so beautiful as the maidens were when our
young senses could drink in their beauty; the St. Michael pears have
died out; the blight has got possession of the roses. When we married, a
white one climbed up the house-side and thrust its snowy sprays in at
the casement of the wedding-chamber. Find us such climbers now! A young
girl once on the beach, watching her father's ship slip away on the
wind, had her glance caught by a sparkle in the sand; and there lay a
treasure at her feet, a heap of crimson crystals, a mine of jewels. What
wealth! What possibilities! No more going to sea! No more watching ships
out of sight! She gathered a double-handful of the splendid cubes as
earnest, and ran back to the house with them. Such assurance having been
displayed, there was no hesitation. The man-servant followed her swift
guidance to the shore again, with shovel and sack and a train of the
whole household,--but the tide had come in, and the place was not there.
Day after day was search made for that mass of garnets, but always in
vain. It was one of those deposits that Hugh Miller somewhere speaks of,
as disclosed by one tide and hidden by another. But all her life long,
though she wore jewels and scattered gold, no gem rivalled the blood-red
lustre of that sudden sparkle in the sands; and no wealth equalled the
fabulous dreams that were born of it. It was to her as precious and
irreparable as to the poet the Lost Bower.

          "I affirm that since I lost it
            Never bower has seemed so fair;
          Never garden-creeper crossed it,
            With so deft and brave an air;
    Never bird sang in the summer, as I saw and heard them there."

This light of other days is unfailingly, by its owners, carried over to
every child they meet. As if the caterpillar were in better estate than
the butterfly, each boy is seeing his best days. Yet there is not a
child in the world but is pursued by cares. His desk-mate's marbles
oppress him more than will forcemeat-balls and turtle-soup when he
becomes an alderman; there are lessons to learn, terrible threats of
telling the teacher to brave, and many a smart to suffer. Childhood is
beautiful in truth, but not therefore blest,--that is, for the little
bodiless cherubs of the canvas. It was one of Origen's fancies that the
coats of skins given to Adam and Eve on their expulsion from Paradise
were their corporeal textures, and that in Eden they had neither flesh
nor blood, bones nor nerves. The opening soul, that puts back petal
after petal till the fructifying heart of it is bare to all the sweet
influences of the universe, is something lovely for older eyes to
see,--perhaps no lovelier than the lawful development of later lives to
larger eyes than ours,--perhaps no lovelier than that we are to undergo.
The first moment when the force of beauty strikes a child's perceptions
would be an ineffable one, if he had anything to compare it with or
measure it by; but as it is, even though it pierce him through and
through with rapture, he is not aware of that rapture till after-years
reproduce it for him and sweeten the sensation with full knowledge. The
child is so dear to the parents, because it is their own beings bound
together in one; the baby is so beautiful to all, because so sacred and
mysterious. Where was this life a moment since? Whither will it fleet a
moment hence? He may be a fiend or an archangel by and by, as he and
Fate together please; but now his little skin is like a blush rose-leaf,
and his little kisses are so tender and so dear! yet it is as an object
of nature that he charms, not in his identity as a sufferer of either
pain or pleasure. Childhood, by these blind worshippers of yesterday, is
simply so vaunted and so valued because it is seen again in the ideal:
the detail is lost in distance; the fair fact alone remains.

But yesterday has its uses, of more value than its idolatries. Though
too often with its aerial distances and borrowed hues it is a mere
pleasure region, instead of that great reservoir from which we might
draw fountains of inexhaustible treasure, yet, if we cultivated our
present from our past, homage to it might be as much to the purpose at
least as the Gheber's worship of the sun. The past is an atmosphere
weighing over each man's life. The skilful farmer with his
subsoil-plough lets down the wealthy air of the actual atmosphere into
his furrows, deeper than it ever went before; the greedy loam sucks in
the nitrogen there, and one day he finds his mould stored with ammonia,
the great fertilizer, worth many a harvest. Are they numerous who thus
enrich the present with the disengaged agents of the past, the chemic
powers obtained from that superincumbent atmosphere ever elastically
stretching over them? Let our farmer scatter pulverized marble upon his
soil forever,--crude carbonate of lime,--and it remains unassimilated;
but let him powder burnt bones there, and his crop uses it to golden
advantage,--now merely the phosphate of lime, but material that has
passed through the operations of animal life, of organism. With whatever
manure he work his land, be it wood-ashes or guano or compost, he knows
that that which has received the action of organic tissues fattens it
the best; and so a wise man may fertilize to-day better with the facts
of an experience that he has once lived through, than with any vague and
unorganized dreams. But the fool has never lived;--life, said Bichat, is
the totality of the functions;--his past has endured no more
organization than his future has; he never understood it; he can make no
use of it; so he deifies it, and burns the flying moment like a
joss-stick before the wooden image in which he has caricatured all its
sweet and beneficent capabilities;--as if it were likely that one moment
of his existence could be of any more weight than another.

The sentiment which a generation feels for another long antecedent to
itself, is not utterly dissimilar from this. Its individuals being
regarded with the veneration due to parents and due to the dead, it is
forgotten that they were men, and men whose lessons were necessarily no
wiser than those of the men among us; men, too, of no surpassing
humility, since they presumed to prescribe inviolable laws to ages far
wiser than themselves. Yet though the philosophy of the Greek and Roman
were lost, would it need more than the years of a generation to replace
what scarcely can exceed the introspection of a single experience? If
their art were lost, does not the ideal of humanity remain the same so
long as the nature of humanity endures? But of the seven sciences of
antiquity, two alone deserve the name,--their arithmetic and their
geometry. Their music was a cumbrous and complicated machinery, and the
others were exercises of wit and pleasure and superstition. It is true
that the Egyptian excelled, that the Arabian delved somewhat into the
secrets of nature; but who venerates those people, and who spends all
that season in study of their language that he should spend in putting
oxygen into his blood and lime into his bones? The sensuous Greek loved
beauty; he did not care to puzzle his brain when he could please it
instead. Euclid and Apollonius, indeed, carried the positive science of
mathematics to great height, but physical science is the growth of
comparative to-day; with habits of thought hampered by priesthoods and
systems, the efforts of antiquity were like abortive shoots,--it is
within the last four centuries that the strong stem has sprung up, and
the plant has flowered. Neither do our youth study the classics for
their science; and yet is not the pursuit of science nobler than all
other pursuits, since it leads its followers into the mysteries of the
creation and into the purposes of God? Small is the profit to be found
in recital of the fancies of heathen ages or the warfares of savage
tribes. But so far is the mere breath of the ancients exalted above this
sacred search, that a university will turn out proficients who write
Greek verses by the ream, but cannot spell their own speech; who can
name you the winning athletes of the first Olympiad, but are unable to
state the constituents of the gas that lights their page, and never
dream, as the chemist does, that these "sunbeams absorbed by vegetation
in the primordial ages of the earth, and buried in its depths as
vegetable fossils through immeasurable eras of time, until system upon
system of slowly formed rocks has been piled above, come forth at last,
at the disenchanting touch of science, and turn the night of civilized
man into day." They can paint to you the blush of Rhodope or Phryne,
till you see the delicious color blend and mingle on the ivory of their
tablets; but until, like Agassiz, we can all of us deduce the fish from
the scale, and from that blush alone deduce the human race, we are no
nearer the Divine intentions in the creation of man, for all such lore
as that. An author has somewhere asked, What signify our telegraphs, our
anæsthetics, our railways? What signifies our knowledge of the earth's
structure, of the stars' courses? Are we any the more or less men? But
certainly he is the more a man, he comes nearer to God's meaning in a
man, who conquers matter, circumstance, time, and space. That one who
sees the universe move round him understandingly, and fathoms in some
degree the wonder and the beauty of the eternal laws, must be a
pleasanter object to his Creator than any other who, merely employing
pleasure, makes a fetich of his luxuries, his Aldines and Elzevirs, and,
dying, goes into the unknown world no wiser concerning the ends and aims
of this one than when he entered it. Rather than periods that decay and
sin might bring again, should one remember the wonderful history of the
natural world when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Rather should one read the record of the rain, it seems,--the story of
the weather some morning, cycles since, with the way the wind was
blowing written in the slanting drip of the rain-drops caught and
petrified on the old red sandstone,--marks of the Maker as he passed,
one day, a million years ago,--than decipher on the scroll of any
palimpsest, under the light-headed visions of an anchorite, some
half-erased ode of Anacreon.

But, after all, this veneration for the ancients--who personally might
be forgiven for their misfortune in having lived when the world was
young, were not one so slavish before them--is only because again one
looks at the ideal,--looks through that magical Claude Lorraine glass
which makes even the commonest landscape picturesque. We forget the
dirty days of straw-strewn floors, and see the leather hangings stamped
with gold; we forget the fearful feet of sandal shoon, but see the dust
of a Triumph rising in clouds of glory. We look at that past, feeling
something like gods, too.

    "The gods are happy:
    They turn on all sides
    Their shining eyes,
    And see, below them,
    The earth and men."

We cannot consider those things happening remotely from us on the
earth's surface, even now, without suffering them to partake somewhat of
the property of by-gone days. It makes little difference whether the
distance be that of meridians or of eras. When at sunrise we fancy some
foreign friend beholding dawn upon the silver summits of the Alps, we
are forced directly to remember that with him day is at the noon, and
his sunrise has vanished with those of all the yesterdays,--so that even
our friend becomes a being of the past; or when, bathed in the mellow
air of an autumn afternoon, the sunshine falling on us like the light of
a happy smile, and all the vaporous vistas melting in clouded sapphire,
it occurs to us that possibly it is snowing on the Mackenzie River, and
night has already darkened down over the wide and awful
ice-fields,--then distance seems a paradox, and time and occasion mere
phantasmagoria; there are no beings but ourselves, there is no moment
but the present; all circumstance of the world becomes apparent to us
only like pictures thrown into the perspective of the past. It requires
the comprehensive vision of the poet to catch the light of existing
scenes as they shift along the globe, and harmonize them with the
instant;--whether he view

              "The Indian
        Drifting, knife in hand,
        His frail boat moored to
        A floating isle thick matted
    With large-leaved, low-creeping melon-plants,
        And the dark cucumber.
          He reaps and stows them,
        Drifting,--drifting. Round him,
        Round his green harvest-plot,
        Flow the cool lake waves:
        The mountains ring them";--

or whether, far across the continent, he chance to see

              "The ferry
        On the broad, clay-laden
    Lone Chorasmian stream: thereon,
          With snort and strain,
        Two horses, strongly swimming, tow
        The ferry-boat, with woven ropes
            To either bow
        Firm harnessed by the mane:--a chief
          With shout and shaken spear
    Stands at the prow, and guides them; but astern,
        The cowering merchants, in long robes,
        Sit pale beside their wealth
        Of silk-bales and of balsam-drops,
            Of gold and ivory,
        Of turquoise-earth and amethyst,
            Jasper and chalcedony,
        And milk-barred onyx-stones.
        The loaded boat swings groaning
            In the yellow eddies.
            The gods behold them,"--

the gods and the poets. But, except to these blest beholders, the
inhabitants of the dead centuries are mere spectral shades; for it takes
a poet's fancy to vitalize with warmth and breath again those things
that, having apparently left no impress on their own generation, seem to
have no more signification for this than the persons of the drama or the
heroes of romance.

Yet, in a far inferior way, every man is a poet to himself. In the
microcosm of his own small round, every one has the power to vivify old
incident, every one raises bawbles of the desk and drawer, not only into
life, but into life they never had. With the flower whose leaves are
shed about the box, we can bring back the brilliant morning of its
blossoming, desire and hope and joyous youth once more; with the letter
laid away beside it rises the dear hand that rested on the sheet, and
moved along the leaf with every line it penned: each trinket has its
pretty past, pleasant or painful to recall as it may be. There is no
trifle, however vulgar, but, looking at its previous page, it has a side
in the ideal. When one at the theatre saw so many ringlets arranged as
"waterfalls," he laughed and said, they undoubtedly belonged to the
"dead-heads." But Belinda, who wears a waterfall, and at night puts it
into a box, considers the remark a profanity, and confesses that she
never adorns herself with this addition but she thinks of that girl in
France who cherished her long locks, and combed them out with care until
her marriage-day, when she put on a fair white cap, and sold them for
her dowry. There are more poetic locks of hair, it must be said;--the
keepsake of two lovers; the lock of Keats's hair, too sacred to touch,
lying in its precious salvatory. But that is the ideal of the past
belonging to Belinda's waterfall, a trivial, common thing enough, yet
one that has a right to its ideal, nevertheless, if we accept the
ecstasies of a noted writer upon its magic material. "In spinning and
weaving," says he, "the ideal that we pursue is the hair of a woman. How
far are the softest wools, the finest cottons, from reaching it! At what
an enormous distance from this hair all our progress leaves us, and will
forever leave us! We drag behind and watch with envy this supreme
perfection that every day Nature realizes in her play. This hair, fine,
strong, resistant, vibrant in light sonority, and, with all that, soft,
warm, luminous, and electric,--it is the flower of the human flower.
There are idle disputes concerning the merit of its color. What matter?
The lustrous black contains and promises the flame. The blond displays
it with the splendors of the Fleece of Gold. The brown, chatoyant in the
sun, appropriates the sun itself, mingles it with its mirages, floats,
undulates, varies ceaselessly in its brook-like reflections, by moments
smiles in the light or glooms in the shade, deceives always, and,
whatever you say of it, gives you the lie charmingly.--The chief effort
of human industry has combined all methods in order to exalt cotton.
Rare accord of capital, machinery, arts of design, and finally chemical
science, has produced those beautiful results to which England herself
renders homage in buying them. Alas! all that cannot disguise the
original poverty of the ungrateful tissue which has been so much
adorned. If woman, who clothes herself with it in vanity, and believes
herself more beautiful because of it, would but let her hair fall and
unroll its waves over the indigent richness of our most brilliant
cloths, what must become of them! how humiliated would the vestment
be!--It is necessary to confess that one thing alone sustains itself
beside a woman's hair. A single fabricator can strive there. This
fabricator is an insect,--the modest silkworm."

"A particular charm surrounds the works in silk," our author then goes
on to say. "It ennobles all about it. In traversing our rudest
districts, the valleys of the Ardèche, where all is rock, where the
mulberry, the chestnut, seem to dispense with earth, to live on air and
flint, where low houses of unmortared stone sadden the eyes with their
gray tint, everywhere I saw at the door, under a kind of arcade, two or
three charming girls, with brown skin, with white teeth, who smiled at
the passer-by and spun gold. The passer-by, whirled on by the coach,
said to them under his breath: 'What a pity, innocent fays, that this
gold may not be for you! Instead of disguising it with a useless color,
instead of disfiguring it by art, what would it not gain by remaining
itself and upon these beautiful spinners! How much better than any grand
dames would this royal tissue become yourselves!'"

Perhaps it was the dowry of one of these very maidens that Belinda
wears; and all this would only go to show that to every meanest thing
the past can lend a halo. When one person showed another the "entire
costume of a Nubian woman, purchased as she wore it,"--a necklace of red
beads, and two brass ear-rings simply, hanging on a nail,--how it
brought up the whole scene, the wondrous ruins, the Nile, the lotos, and
the palm-branch, the splendid sky soaring over all, the bronze-skinned
creature shining in the sun! What a past the little glass bits had at
their command, and what a more magnificent past hung yet behind them!
Who would value a diamond, the product of any laboratory, were such a
possibility, so much as that one which, by its own unknown and
inscrutable process, defying philosopher and jeweller, has imprisoned
the sunshine that moss or leaf or flower sucked in, ages since, and set
its crystals in the darkness of the earth,--a drop of dew eternalized?
What tree of swift and sudden springing, that grows like a gourd in the
night to never so stately a height, could equal in our eyes the gnarled
and may be stunted trunk that has thrown the flickering shadows of its
leaves over the dying pillows alike of father, child, and grandchild?
The ring upon the finger is crusted thick with memories, and, looking at
it, far more than in the present do you live in the past. Perhaps it is
for this that we are so jealous of events: we fear to have our memories
impinged upon by pain. The woman whose lover has deserted her mourns not
the man she must despise, but the love that has dropped out of her past,
proving hollow and worthless. But she to whom he remains faithful
borrows perpetually store of old love to enrich the daily feast; she
gilds and glorifies the blest to-day with the light of that love
transfigured in the past. And so, in other shapes and experiences, it is
with all of us indeed; since into this fairy-land all can fly for
refuge, can pick again their roses and ignore their thorns, can

    Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
    Dole with delight,"

Nor is this living in the past entirely the voluntary affair of pleasure
and of memory. In another and more spiritual way it masters us. Never
quite losing the vitality that once it had, with an elastic springiness
it constantly rebounds, and the deed of yesterday reacts upon the deed
of to-day. There is something solemn in the thought that thus the
blemish or the grace of a day that long ago disappeared passes on with
awfully increasing undulations into the demesne of the everlasting. And
though the Judge of all may not cast each deed of other days and weigh
them in the balance for us or against, yet what those deeds have made
us, that we shall stand before him when,

              "'Mid the dark, a gleam
    Of yet another morning breaks;
    And, like the hand which ends a dream,
    Death, with the might of his sunbeam,
    Touches the flesh, and the soul awakes!"

Yesterday, in truth,--looking though it may like a shadow and the
phantom of itself,--is the only substance that we possess, the one
immutable fact. To-day is but the asymptote of to-morrow, that curve
perpetually drawing near, but never reaching the straight line flying
into infinity. To-morrow, the great future, belongs to the heaven where
it tends. Were it otherwise, seeing the indestructible elements, and the
two great central forces forever at their work, we might fancy
ourselves, in one form or another, continual here on the round world.
For when Laplace, through the acceleration of the moon, dropping her ten
seconds a hundred years towards us, discovered the change in the earth's
orbit,--swinging as it does from ellipse to circle and back again to
ellipse, vibrating like a mighty pendulum, the "horologe of eternity"
itself, with tremendous oscillations, through the depths of space,--he
taught us that the earth endures; and so that the clay with which we are
clothed still makes a part of the great revolution. Yet, since the
future is no possession of our own, but a dole and pittance, we know
that the earth does not endure for us, but that when we shall have
submitted to the conditions of eternal spirit, yesterday, to-morrow, and
to-day must alike have ceased to exist, must have vanished like
illusions; for eternity can be no mere duration of time, but rather some
state of being past all our power of cognition.

And though we are to inherit eternity, yet have authority now only over
the period that we have passed, with what wealth then are the aged
furnished! Sweet must it be to sit with folded hands and dream life over
once again. How rich we are, how happy! How dear is the old hand in
ours! Years have added up the sum of all the felicity that we have known
together, and carried it over to to-day. Those that have left our arms
and gone out into other homes are still our own; but little sunny heads
besides cluster round the knees as once before they did. Not only have
we age and wisdom, but youth and gayety as well. On what light and
jocund scenes we look! on what deep and dearer bliss! We see the
meaning of our sorrows now, and bless them that they came. With such
firm feet we have walked in the lighted way that we gaze back upon, how
can we fear the Valley of the Shadow? Ah! none but they, indeed, who
have threescore years and ten hived away in the past, can see the high
design of Heaven in their lives, and from the wrong side of the pattern
picture out the right.

    "So at the last shall come old age,
    Decrepit, as befits that stage.
    How else wouldst thou retire apart
    With the hoarded memories of thy heart,
    And gather all to the very least
    Of the fragments of life's earlier feast,
    Let fall through eagerness to find
    The crowning dainties yet behind?
    Ponder on the entire past,
    Laid together thus at last,
    When the twilight helps to fuse
    The first fresh with the faded hues,
    And the outline of the whole,
    As round Eve's shades their framework roll,
    Grandly fronts for once thy soul!"


The President of the United States has so singular a combination of
defects for the office of a constitutional magistrate, that he could
have obtained the opportunity to misrule the nation only by a visitation
of Providence. Insincere as well as stubborn, cunning as well as
unreasonable, vain as well as ill-tempered, greedy of popularity as well
as arbitrary in disposition, veering in his mind as well as fixed in his
will, he unites in his character the seemingly opposite qualities of
demagogue and autocrat, and converts the Presidential chair into a stump
or a throne, according as the impulse seizes him to cajole or to
command. Doubtless much of the evil developed in him is due to his
misfortune in having been lifted by events to a position which he lacked
the elevation and breadth of intelligence adequately to fill. He was
cursed with the possession of a power and authority which no man of
narrow mind, bitter prejudices, and inordinate self-estimation can
exercise without depraving himself as well as injuring the nation.
Egotistic to the point of mental disease, he resented the direct and
manly opposition of statesmen to his opinions and moods as a personal
affront, and descended to the last degree of littleness in a political
leader,--that of betraying his party, in order to gratify his spite. He
of course became the prey of intriguers and sycophants,--of persons who
understand the art of managing minds which are at once arbitrary and
weak, by allowing them to retain unity of will amid the most palpable
inconsistencies of opinion, so that inconstancy to principle shall not
weaken force of purpose, nor the emphasis be at all abated with which
they may bless to-day what yesterday they cursed. Thus the abhorrer of
traitors has now become their tool. Thus the denouncer of Copperheads
has now sunk into dependence on their support. Thus the imposer of
conditions of reconstruction has now become the foremost friend of the
unconditioned return of the Rebel States. Thus the furious Union
Republican, whose harangues against his political opponents almost
scared his political friends by their violence, has now become the
shameless betrayer of the people who trusted him. And in all these
changes of base he has appeared supremely conscious, in his own mind, of
playing an independent, a consistent, and especially a conscientious

Indeed, Mr. Johnson's character would be imperfectly described if some
attention were not paid to his conscience, the purity of which is a
favorite subject of his own discourse, and the perversity of which is
the wonder of the rest of mankind. As a public man, his real position is
similar to that of a commander of an army, who should pass over to the
ranks of the enemy he was commissioned to fight, and then plead his
individual convictions of duty as a justification of his treachery. In
truth, Mr. Johnson's conscience is, like his understanding, a mere form
or expression of his will. The will of ordinary men is addressed through
their understanding and conscience. Mr. Johnson's understanding and
conscience can be addressed only through his will. He puts intellectual
principles and the moral law in the possessive case, thinks he pays them
a compliment and adds to their authority when he makes them the adjuncts
of his petted pronoun "my"; and things to him are reasonable and right,
not from any quality inherent in themselves, but because they are made
so by his determinations. Indeed, he sees hardly anything as it is, but
almost everything as colored by his own dominant egotism. Thus he is
never weary of asserting that the people are on his side; yet his method
of learning the wishes of the people is to scrutinize his own, and, when
acting out his own passionate impulses, he ever insists that he is
obeying public sentiment. Of all the wilful men who, by strange chance,
have found themselves at the head of a constitutional government, he
most resembles the last Stuart king of England, James II.; and the
likeness is increased from the circumstance that the American James has,
in his supple and plausible Secretary of State, one fully competent to
play the part of Sunderland.

The party which, under the ironical designation of the National Union
Party, now proposes to take the policy and character of Mr. Johnson
under its charge, is composed chiefly of Democrats defeated at the
polls, and Democrats defeated on the field of battle. The few apostate
Republicans, who have joined its ranks while seeming to lead its
organization, are of small account. Its great strength is in its
Southern supporters, and, if it comes into power, it must obey a Rebel
direction. By the treachery of the President, it will have the executive
patronage on its side,--for Mr. Johnson's "conscience" is of that
peculiar kind which finds satisfaction in arraying the interest of
others against their convictions; and having thus the power to purchase
support, it will not fail of those means of dividing the North which
come from corrupting it. The party under which the war for the Union was
conducted is to be denounced and proscribed as the party of disunion,
and we are to be edified by addresses on the indissoluble unity of the
nation by Secessionists, who have hardly yet had time to wash from their
hands the stains of Union blood. The leading proposition on which this
conspiracy against the country is to be conducted is the monstrous
absurdity, that the Rebel States have an inherent, "continuous,"
unconditioned, constitutional _right_ to form a part of the Federal
government, when they have once acknowledged the fact of the defeat of
their inhabitants in an armed attempt to overthrow and subvert it,--a
proposition which implies that victory paralyzes the powers of the
victors, that ruin begins when success is assured, that the only effect
of beating a Southern Rebel in the field is to exalt him into a maker of
laws for his antagonist.

In the minority Report of the Congressional Joint Committee on
Reconstruction, which is designed to supply the new party with
constitutional law, this theory of State Rights is most elaborately
presented. The ground is taken, that during the Rebellion the States in
which it prevailed were as "completely competent States of the United
States as they were before the Rebellion, and were bound by all the
obligations which the Constitution imposed, and entitled to all its
privileges"; and that the Rebellion consisted merely in a series of
"illegal acts of the citizens of such States." On this theory it is
difficult to find where the guilt of rebellion lies. The States are
innocent because the Rebellion was a rising of individuals; the
individuals cannot be very criminal, for it is on their votes that the
committee chiefly rely to build up the National Union Party. Again, we
are informed that, in respect to the admission of representatives from
"such States," Congress has no right or power to ask more than two
questions. These are: "Have these States organized governments? Are
these governments republican in form?" The committee proceed to say:
"How they were formed, under what auspices they were formed, are
inquiries with which Congress has no concern. The right of the people to
form a government for themselves has never been questioned." On this
principle, President Johnson's labors in organizing State governments
were works of supererogation. At the close of active hostilities the
Rebel States had organized, though disloyal, governments, as republican
in form as they were before the war broke out. The only thing,
therefore, they were required to do was to send their Senators and
Representatives to Washington. Congress could not have rightfully
refused to receive them, because all questions as to their being loyal
or disloyal, and as to the changes which the war had wrought in the
relations of the States they represented to the Union, were inquiries
with which Congress had no concern! And here again we have the
ever-recurring difficulty respecting the "individuals" who were alone
guilty of the acts of rebellion. "The right of the people," we are
assured, "to form a government for themselves, has never been
questioned." But it happens that "the people" here indicated are the
very individuals who were before pointed out as alone responsible for
the Rebellion. In the exercise of their right "to form a government for
themselves," they rebelled; and now, it seems, by the exercise of the
same right, they can unconditionally return. There is no wrong anywhere:
it is all "right." The people are first made criminals, in order to
exculpate the States, and then the innocence of the States is used to
exculpate the people. When we see such outrages on common sense gravely
perpetrated by so eminent a lawyer as the one who drew up the
committee's Report, one is almost inclined to define minds as of two
kinds, the legal mind and the human mind, and to doubt if there is any
possible connection in reason between the two. To the human mind it
appears that the Federal government has spent thirty-five hundred
millions of dollars, and sacrificed three hundred thousand lives, in a
contest which the legal mind dissolves into a mere mist of unsubstantial
phrases; and by skill in the trick of substituting words for things, and
definitions for events, the legal mind proceeds to show that these words
and definitions, though scrupulously shielded from any contact with
realities, are sufficient to prevent the nation from taking ordinary
precautions against the recurrence of calamities fresh in its bitter
experience. The phrase "State Rights," translated from legal into human
language, is found to mean, the power to commit wrongs on individuals
whom States may desire to oppress, or the power to protect the
inhabitants of States from the consequences of their own crimes. The
minority of the committee, indeed, seem to have forgotten that there has
been any real war, and bring to mind the converted Australian savage,
whom the missionary could not make penitent for a murder committed the
day before, because the trifling occurrence had altogether passed from
his recollection.

In fact, all attempts to discriminate between Rebels and Rebel States,
to the advantage of the latter, are done in defiance of notorious facts.
If the Rebellion had been merely a rising of individual citizens of
States, it would have been an insurrection against the States, as well
as against the Federal government, and might have been easily put down.
In that case, there would have been no withdrawal of Southern Senators
and Representatives from Congress, and therefore no question as to their
inherent right to return. In Missouri and Kentucky, for example, there
was civil war, waged by inhabitants of those States against their local
governments, as well as against the United States; and nobody contends
that the rights and privileges of those States were forfeited by the
criminal acts of their citizens. But the real strength of the Rebellion
consisted in this, that it was not a rebellion _against_ States, but a
rebellion _by_ States. No loose assemblage of individuals, though
numbering hundreds of thousands, could long have resisted the pressure
of the Federal power and the power of the State governments. They would
have had no means of subsistence except those derived from plunder and
voluntary contributions, and they would have lacked the military
organization by which mobs are transformed into formidable armies. But
the Rebellion being one of States, being virtually decreed by the people
of States assembled in convention, was sustained by the two tremendous
governmental powers of taxation and conscription. The willing and the
unwilling were thus equally placed at the disposition of a strong
government. The population and wealth of the whole immense region of
country in which the Rebellion prevailed were at the service of this
government. So completely was it a rebellion of States, that the
universal excuse of the minority of original Union men for entering
heartily into the contest after it had once begun was, that they thought
it their duty to abide by the decision, and share the fortunes, of their
respective _States_. Nobody at the South believed at the time the war
commenced, or during its progress, that his State possessed any
"continuous" right to a participation in the privileges of the Federal
Constitution, the obligations of which it had repudiated. When confident
of success, the Southerner scornfully scouted the mere suspicion of
entertaining such a degrading notion; when assured of defeat, his only
thought was to "get his State back into the Union on the best terms that
could be made." The idea of "conditions of readmission" was as firmly
fixed in the Southern as in the Northern mind. If the politicians of the
South now adopt the principle that the Rebel States have not, as States,
ever altered their relations to the Union, they do it from policy,
finding that its adoption will give them "better terms" than they ever
dreamed of getting before the President of the United States taught them
that it would be more politic to bully than to plead.

In the last analysis, indeed, the theory of the minority of the
Reconstruction Committee reduces the Rebel States to mere abstractions.
It is plain that a State, in the concrete, is constituted by that
portion of the inhabitants who form its legal people; and that, in
passing back of its government and constitution, we reach a convention
of the legal people as its ultimate expression. By such conventions the
acts of secession were passed; and, as far as the people of the Rebel
States could do it, they destroyed their States considered as organized
communities forming a part of the United States. The claim of the United
States to authority over the territory and inhabitants was of course not
affected by these acts; but in what condition did they place the people?
Plainly in the condition of rebels, engaged in an attempt to overturn
the Constitution and government of the United States. As the whole force
of the people in each of the Rebel communities was engaged in this work,
the whole of the people were rebels and public enemies. Nothing was
left, in each case, but an abstract State, without any external body,
and as destitute of people having a right to enjoy the privileges of the
Constitution as if the territory had been swept clean of population by a
pestilence. It is, then, only this abstract State which has a right to
representation in Congress. But how can there be a right to
representation when there is nobody to be represented? All this may
appear puerile, but the puerility is in the premises as well as in the
logical deductions; and the premises are laid down as indisputable
constitutional principles by the eminent jurists who supply ideas for
the National Union Party.

The doctrine of the unconditional right of the Rebel States to
representation being thus a demonstrated absurdity, the only question
relates to the conditions which Congress proposes to impose. Certainly
these conditions, as embodied in the constitutional amendment which has
passed both houses by such overwhelming majorities, are the mildest ever
exacted of defeated enemies by a victorious nation. There is not a
distinctly "radical" idea in the whole amendment,--nothing that
President Johnson has not himself, within a comparatively recent period,
stamped with his high approbation. Does it ordain universal suffrage?
No. Does it ordain impartial suffrage? No. Does it proscribe,
disfranchise, or expatriate the recent armed enemies of the country, or
confiscate their property? No. It simply ordains that the national debt
shall be paid and the Rebel debt repudiated; that the civil rights of
all persons shall be maintained; that Rebels who have added perjury to
treason shall be disqualified for office; and that the Rebel States
shall not have their political power in the Union increased by the
presence on their soil of persons to whom they deny political rights,
but that representation shall be based throughout the Republic on
voters, and not on population. The pith of the whole amendment is in the
last clause; and is there anything in that to which reasonable objection
can be made? Would it not be a curious result of the war against
Rebellion, that it should end in conferring on a Rebel voter in South
Carolina a power equal, in national affairs, to that of two loyal voters
in New York? Can any Democrat have the face to assert that the South
should have, through its disfranchised negro freemen alone, a power in
the Electoral College and in the national House of Representatives equal
to that of the States of Ohio and Indiana combined?

Yet these conditions, so conciliatory, moderate, lenient, almost timid,
and which, by the omission of impartial suffrage, fall very far below
the requirements of the average sentiment of the loyal nation, are still
denounced by the new party of "Union" as the work of furious radicals,
bent on destroying the rights of the States. Thus Governor James L. Orr
of South Carolina, a leading Rebel, pardoned into a Johnsonian Union
man, implores the people of that region to send delegates to the
Philadelphia Convention, on the ground that its purpose is to organize
"conservative" men of all sections and parties, "to drive from power
that radical party who are daily trampling under foot the Constitution,
and fast converting a constitutional Republic into a consolidated
despotism." The terms to which South Carolina is asked to submit, before
she can be made the equal of Ohio or New York in the Union, are stated
to be "too degrading and humiliating to be entertained by a freeman for
a single instant." When we consider that this "radical party"
constitutes nearly four fifths of the legal legislature of the nation,
that it was the party which saved the country from dismemberment while
Mr. Orr and his friends were notoriously engaged in "trampling the
Constitution under foot," and that the man who denounces it owes his
forfeited life to its clemency, the astounding insolence of the
impeachment touches the sublime. Here is confessed treason inveighing
against tried loyalty, in the name of the Constitution it has violated
and the law it has broken! But why does Mr. Orr think the terms of South
Carolina's restored relations to the Union "too degrading and
humiliating to be entertained by a freeman for a single instant"? Is it
because he wishes to have the Rebel debt paid? Is it because he desires
to have the Federal debt repudiated? Is it because he thinks it
intolerable that a negro should have civil rights? Is it because he
resents the idea that breakers of oaths, like himself, should be
disqualified from having another opportunity of forswearing themselves?
Is it because he considers that a white Rebel freeman of South Carolina
has a natural right to exercise double the political power of a white
loyal freeman of Massachusetts? He must return an affirmative answer to
all these questions in order to make it out that his State will be
degraded and humiliated by ratifying the amendment; and the necessity of
the measure is therefore proved by the motives known to prompt the
attacks of its vilifiers.

The insolence of Mr. Orr is not merely individual, but representative.
It is the result of Mr. Johnson's attempt "to produce harmony between
the two sections," by betraying the section to which he owed his
election. Had it not been for his treachery, there would have been
little difficulty in settling the terms of peace, so as to avoid all
causes for future war; but, from the time he quarrelled with Congress,
he has been the great stirrer-up of disaffection at the South, and the
virtual leader of the Southern reactionary party. Every man at the South
who was prominent in the Rebellion, every man at the North who was
prominent in aiding the Rebellion, is now openly or covertly his
partisan, and by fawning on him earns the right to defame the
representatives of the people by whom the Rebellion was put down. Among
traitors and Copperheads the fear of punishment has been succeeded by
the hope of revenge; elation is on faces which the downfall of Richmond
overcast; and a return to the old times, when a united South ruled the
country by means of a divided North, is confidently expected by the
whole crew of political bullies and political sycophants whose profit is
in the abasement of the nation. It is even said that, if the majority of
the "Rump" Congress cannot be overcome by fair means, it will be by
foul; and there are noisy partisans of the President who assert that he
has in him a Cromwellian capacity for dealing with legislative
assemblies whose notions of the public good clash with his own. In
short, we are promised, on the assembling of the next Congress, a _coup

Garret Davis, of Kentucky, was, we believe, the first to announce this
executive remedy for the "radical" disease of the state, and it has
since been often prescribed by Democratic politicians as a sovereign
panacea. General McClernand, indeed, proposed a scheme, simpler even
than that of executive recognition, by which the Southern Senators and
Representatives might effect a lodgment in Congress. They should,
according to him, have gone to Washington, entered the halls of
legislation, and proceeded to occupy their seats, "peaceably if they
could, forcibly if they must"; but the record of General McClernand, as
a military man, was not such as to give to his advice on a question of
carrying positions by assault a high degree of authority, and, there
being some natural hesitation in following his counsel, the golden
opportunity was lost. Mr. Montgomery Blair, who professes his
willingness to act with any men, "Rebels or any one else," to put down
the radicals, is never weary of talking to conservative conventions of
"two Presidents and two Congresses." There can be no doubt that the
project of a _coup d'état_ has become dangerously familiar to the
"conservative" mind, and that the eminent legal gentlemen of the North
who are publishing opinions affirming the right of the excluded Southern
representatives to their seats are playing into the hands of the
desperate gang of unscrupulous politicians who are determined to have
the right established by force. It is computed that the gain, in the
approaching elections, of twenty-five districts now represented by Union
Republicans, will give the Johnson party, in the next Congress, a
majority of the House of Representatives, should the Southern
delegations be counted; and it is proposed that the Johnson members
legally entitled to seats should combine with the Southern pretenders to
seats, organize as the House of Representatives of the United States,
and apply to the President for recognition. Should the President comply,
he would be impeached by an unrecognized House before an "incomplete"
Senate, and, if convicted, would deny the validity of the proceeding.
The result would be civil war, in which the name of the Federal
government would be on the side of the revolutionists. Such is the
programme which is freely discussed by partisans of the President,
considered to be high in his favor; and the scheme, it is contended, is
the logical result of the position he has assumed as to the rights of
the excluded States to representation. It is certain that the present
Congress is as much the Congress of the United States as he is the
President of the United States; but it is well known that he considers
himself to represent the whole country, while he thinks that Congress
only represents a portion of it; and he has in his character just that
combination of qualities, and is placed in just those anomalous
circumstances, which lead men to the commission of great political
crimes. The mere hint of the possibility of his attempting a _coup
d'état_ is received by some Republicans with a look of incredulous
surprise; yet what has his administration been to such persons but a
succession of surprises?

But whatever view may be taken of the President's designs, there can be
no doubt that the safety, peace, interest, and honor of the country
depend on the success of the Union Republicans in the approaching
elections. The loyal nation must see to it that the Fortieth Congress
shall be as competent to override executive vetoes as the Thirty-Ninth,
and be equally removed from the peril of being expelled for one more in
harmony with Executive ideas. The same earnestness, energy, patriotism,
and intelligence which gave success to the war, must now be exerted to
reap its fruits and prevent its recurrence. The only danger is, that, in
some representative districts, the people may be swindled by
plausibilities and respectabilities; for when, in political contests,
any great villany is contemplated, there are always found some eminently
respectable men, with a fixed capital of certain eminently conservative
phrases, innocently ready to furnish the wolves of politics with
abundant supplies of sheep's clothing. These dignified dupes are more
than usually active at the present time; and the gravity of their speech
is as edifying as its emptiness. Immersed in words, and with no clear
perception of things, they mistake conspiracy for conservatism. Their
pet horror is the term "radical"; their ideal of heroic patriotism, the
spectacle of a great nation which allows itself to be ruined with
decorum, and dies rather than commit the slightest breach of
constitutional etiquette. This insensibility to facts and blindness to
the tendency of events, they call wisdom and moderation. Behind these
political dummies are the real forces of the Johnson party, men of
insolent spirit, resolute will, embittered temper, and unscrupulous
purpose, who clearly know what they are after, and will hesitate at no
"informality" in the attempt to obtain it. To give these persons
political power will be to surrender the results of the war, by placing
the government practically in the hands of those against whom the war
was waged. No smooth words about "the equality of the States," "the
necessity of conciliation," "the wickedness of sectional conflicts,"
will alter the fact, that, in refusing to support Congress, the people
would set a reward on treachery and place a bounty on treason. "The
South," says a Mr. Hill of Georgia, in a letter favoring the
Philadelphia Convention, "sought to save the Constitution out of the
Union. She failed. Let her now bring her diminished and shattered, but
united and earnest counsels and energies to save the Constitution in the
Union." The sort of Constitution the South sought to save by warring
against the government is the Constitution which she now proposes to
save by administering it! Is this the tone of pardoned and penitent
treason? Is this the spirit to build up a "National Union Party"? No;
but it is the tone and spirit now fashionable in the defeated Rebel
States, and will not be changed until the autumn elections shall have
proved that they have as little to expect from the next Congress as from
the present, and that they must give securities for their future conduct
before they can be relieved from the penalties incurred by their past.


_Armadale._ A Novel. By WILKIE COLLINS. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Except for the fact that there is nothing at all automatic in his
inventions, there seems to be no good reason why Mr. Collins should not
make a perpetual motion. He has a surprising mechanical faculty, and
great patience and skill in passing the figures he contrives through the
programme arranged for them. Having read one of his novels, you feel as
if you had been amused with a puppet-show of rare merit, and you would
like to have the ingenious mechanician before the curtain. So much
cleverness, however, seems to be thrown away on the entertainment of a
single evening, and you sigh for its application to some work of more
lasting usefulness; and the perpetual motion occurs to you as the thing
worthiest such powers. Let it be a perpetual literary motion, if the
public please. Given a remarkable dream and a beautiful bad woman to
fulfil it; you have but to amplify the vision sufficiently, and your
beautiful bad woman goes on fulfilling it forever in tens of thousands
of volumes. As the brother of De Quincey said, when proposing to stand
on the ceiling, head downwards, and be spun there like a whip-top, thus
overcoming the attraction of gravitation by the mere rapidity of
revolution, "If you can keep it up for an instant, you can keep it up
all day." Alas! it is just at this point that the fatal defect of Mr.
Collins's mechanism appears. But for the artisan's hand, the complicated
work would not start at all, and we perceive that, if he lifted it for a
moment from the crank, the painfully contrived dream would drop to
pieces, and the beautiful bad woman would come to a jerky stand-still in
the midst of her most atrocious development. A perpetual literary motion
is therefore out of the question, so far as Mr. Collins is concerned;
and we can merely examine his defective machinery, with many a regret
that a plan so ingenious, and devices so labored and costly, should be
of no better effect.

We think, indeed, that all his stories are constructed upon a principle
as false to art as it is false to life. In this world, we have first men
and women, with certain well-known good and evil passions, and these
passions are the causes of all the events that happen in the world. We
doubt if it has occurred to any of our readers to see a set of
circumstances, even of the most relentless and malignant description,
grouping themselves about any human being without the agency of his own
love or hate. Yet this is what happens very frequently in Mr. Collins's
novels, impoverishing and enfeebling his characters in a surprising
degree, and reducing them to the condition of juiceless puppets without
proper will or motion. It is not that they are all wanting in
verisimilitude. Even the entirely wicked Miss Gwilt is a conceivable
character; but, being destined merely to fulfil Armadale's dream, she
loses all freedom of action, and, we must say, takes most clumsy and
hopeless and long-roundabout methods of accomplishing crimes, to which
one would have thought a lady of her imputed sagacity would have found
much shorter cuts. It is amazing and inartistic, however, that after all
her awkwardness she should fail. Given a blockhead like Armadale, and a
dreamer like Midwinter, there is no reason in nature, and no reason in
art, why a lady of Miss Gwilt's advantages should not marry both of
them; and the author's overruling on this point is more creditable to
his heart than to his head. These three people are the chief persons of
the story, and their hands are tied from first to last They are not to
act out their characters: they are to act out the plot; and the author's
designs are accomplished in defiance of their several natures. Some of
the minor persons are not so ruthlessly treated. The Pedgifts, father
and son, are free agents, and they are admirably true to their instincts
of upright, astute lawyers, who love best to employ their legal
shrewdness in a good cause. Their joint triumph over Miss Gwilt is
probable and natural, and would be a successful point in the book, if it
were conceivable that she should expose herself to such a defeat by so
much needless plotting with Mrs. Oldershaw. But to fill so large a
stage, an immense deal of by-play was necessary, and great numbers of
people are visibly dragged upon the scene. Some of these accomplish
nothing in the drama. To what end have we so much of Mr. Brock? Others
elaborately presented only contribute to the result in the most
intricate and tedious way; and in Major Milroy's family there is no
means of discovering that Miss Gwilt is an adventuress, but for Mrs.
Milroy to become jealous of her and to open her letters.

It cannot, of course, be denied that Mr. Collins's stories are
interesting; for an infinite number of persons read them through. But it
is the bare plot that interests, and the disposition of mankind to
listen to story-telling is such that the idlest _conteur_ can entertain.
We must demand of literary art, however, that it shall interest in
people's fortunes by first interesting in people. Can any one of all Mr.
Collins's readers declare that he sympathizes with the loves of Armadale
and Neelie Milroy, or actually cares a straw what becomes of either of
those insipid young persons? Neither is Midwinter one to take hold on
like or dislike; and Miss Gwilt is interesting only as the capable but
helpless spider out of which the plot of the story is spun. Pathos there
is not in the book, and the humor is altogether too serious to laugh at.

_Four Years in the Saddle._ By COLONEL HARRY GILMORE. New York: Harper
and Brothers.

It is sometimes difficult to believe, in reading this book, that it is
not the production of Major Gahagan of the Ahmednuggar Irregulars, or
Mr. Barry Lyndon of Castle Lyndon. Being merely a record of personal
adventure, it does not suggest itself as part of the history of our late
war, and, but for the recurrence of the familiar names of American
persons and places, it might pass for the narrative of either of the
distinguished characters mentioned.

In dealing with events creditable to his own courage and gallantry,
Colonel Gilmore has the unsparing frankness of Major Gahagan, and it
must be allowed that there is a remarkable likeness in all the
adventures of these remarkable men. It is true that Colonel Gilmore does
not fire upon a file of twenty elephants so as to cut away all their
trunks by a single shot; but he does kill eleven Yankees by the
discharge of a cannon which he touches off with a live coal held between
his thumb and finger. Being made prisoner, he is quite as defiant and
outrageous as the Guj-puti under similar circumstances: at one time he
can scarcely restrain himself from throwing into the sea the insolent
captain of a Federal gunboat; at another time, when handcuffed by order
of General Sheridan, he spends an hour in cursing his captors. The
red-hair of the Lord of the White Elephants waved his followers to
victory; Colonel Gilmore's "hat, with the long black plume upon it," is
the signal of triumph to his marauders. Both, finally, are loved by the
ladies, and are alike extravagant in their devotion to the sex. Colonel
Gilmore, indeed, withholds no touch that can go to make him the hero of
a dime novel; and there is not a more picturesque and dashing character
in literature outside of the adventures of Claude Duval. Everywhere we
behold him waving his steel (as he calls his sword); he wheels before
our dazzled eyes like a meteor; he charges, and the foe fly like sheep
before him. And no sooner is he come into town from killing a score or
two of Yankees, than the ladies--who are all good Union women and have
just taken the oath of allegiance--crowd to kiss and caress him; or, as
he puts it in his own vivid language, he receives "a kiss from more than
one pair of ruby lips, and gives many a hearty hug and kiss in return."
In his wild way, he takes a pleasure in evoking the tender solicitude of
the ladies for his safety,--eats a dish of strawberries in a house upon
which the Yankees are charging to capture him, and remains for some
minutes after the strawberries are eaten, while the ladies, proffering
him his arms, are "dancing about, and positively screaming with
excitement." At another time, when the bullets of the enemy are hissing
about his ears, he puts on a pretty girl's slipper for her. "Such," he
remarks, with a pensive air, "are some of the few happy scenes that
brighten a soldier's life."

Colonel Gilmore, who has the diffidence of Major Gahagan, has also the
engaging artlessness which lends so great a charm to the personal
narrative of Mr. Barry Lyndon. He does not reserve from the reader's
knowledge such of his exploits as stealing the chaplain's whiskey, and
drinking the peach-brandy of the simple old woman who supposed she was
offering it to General Lee. "Place him where you may," says Colonel
Gilmore, "and under no matter what adverse circumstances, you can always
distinguish a gentleman." He has a great deal of fine feeling, and can
scarcely restrain his tears at the burning of Chambersburg, after
setting it on fire. Desiring a memento of a brother officer, he takes a
small piece of the dead man's skull. It has been supposed that civilized
soldiers, however brave and resolute, scarcely exulted in the
remembrance of the lives they had taken; and it is thought to be one of
the merciful features of modern warfare, that in the vast majority of
cases the slayer and the slain are unknown to each other. Colonel
Gilmore has none of the false tenderness which shrinks from a knowledge
of homicide. On the contrary, he is careful to know when he has killed a
man; and he recounts, with an exactness revolting to feebler nerves, the
circumstances and the methods by which he put this or that enemy to

We think we could hardly admire Colonel Gilmore if he had been of our
side during the war, and had done to the Rebels the things he professes
to have done to us. As it is, we trust he will forgive us, if we confess
that we have not read his narrative with a tranquil stomach, and that we
think it will impress his Northern readers as the history of a brigand
who had the good luck to be also a traitor.


The Structure of Animal Life. Six Lectures delivered at the Brooklyn
Academy of Music, in January and February, 1862. By Louis Agassiz,
Professor of Zoölogy and Geology in the Lawrence Scientific School. New
York. C. Scribner & Co. 8vo. pp. viii., 128. $2.50.

History of the Life and Times of James Madison. By William C. Rives.
Vol. II. Boston. Little, Brown, & Co. 8vo. pp. xxii., 657. $3.50.

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