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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 108, October, 1866
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 108, October, 1866" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

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

VOL. XVIII.--OCTOBER, 1866.--NO. CVIII.

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

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



CHILDHOOD: A STUDY.


There is a rushing southwest wind. It murmurs overhead among the
willows, and the little river-waves lap and wash upon the point below;
but not a breath lifts my hair, down here among the tree-trunks, close
to the water. Clear water ripples at my feet; and a mile and more away,
across the great bay of the wide river, the old, compact brick-red city
lies silent in the sunshine. Silent, I say truly: to me, here, it is
motionless and silent. But if I should walk up into State Street and say
so, my truth, like many others, when uprooted from among their
circumstances, would turn into a disagreeable lie. Sharp points rise
above the irregular profile of the line of roofs. Some are church
spires, and some are masts,--mixed at the rate of about one church and a
half to a schooner. I smell the clear earthy smell of the pure gray
sand, and the fresh, cool smell of the pure water. Tiny bird-tracks lie
along the edge of the water, perhaps to delight the soul of some
millennial ichnologist. A faint aromatic perfume rises from the stems of
the willow-bushes, abraded by the ice of the winter floods. I should not
perceive it, were they not tangled and matted all around so close to my
head.

Just this side of the city is the monstrous arms factory; and over the
level line of its great dike, the chimneys of the attendant village of
boarding-houses peep up like irregular teeth. A sail-boat glides up the
river. A silent brown sparrow runs along the stems of the willow
thicket, and delicate slender flies now and then alight on me. They will
die to-night. It is too early in the spring for them.

The air is warm and soft. Now, and here, I can write. Utter solitude,
warmth, a landscape, and a comfortable seat are the requisites. The
first and the last are the chiefest; if but one of the four could be
had, I think that (as a writer) I should take the seat. That which, of
all my writing, I wrote with the fullest and keenest sense of creative
pleasure, I did while coiled up, one summer day, among the dry branches
of a fallen tree, at the tip of a long, promontory-like stretch of
meadow, on the quiet, lonely, level Glastenbury shore, over against the
Connecticut State Prison at Wethersfield.

Well, here on the river-shore, I begin; but I shall not tell when I
stop. Doubtless there will be a jog in the composition. The blue sky and
clear water will fade out of my words all at once, and a carpet and
hot-air furnace, perhaps, will appear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing.

Then, a life. And so I entered this world: a being, sliding obscurely in
among human beings. But whence, or whither? Those questions belong among
the gigantic, terrible ones, insoluble, silent,--the unanswering
primeval sphinxes of the mind. We can sit and stare at such questions,
and wonder; but staring and wondering are not thought. They are close to
idiocy: both states drop the lower jaw and open the mouth; and assuming
the idiotic _physique_ tends, if there be any sympathetic and imitative
power, to bring on the idiotic state. If we stare and wonder too long at
such questions, we may make ourselves idiots,--never philosophers.

I do not recollect the innocent and sunny hours of childhood.[A] As to
innocence, the remark of a certain ancient and reverend man, though
sour, was critically accurate,--that "it is the weakness of infants'
limbs, and not their minds, which are innocent." It is most true. Many
an impotent infantine screech or slap or scratch embodies an abandonment
and ecstasy of utter uncontrolled fury scarcely expressible by the
grown-up man, though he should work the bloodiest murder to express it.
And what adult manifestation, except in the violent ward of an insane
retreat, or perhaps among savages,--the infants of the world,--equals,
in exquisite concentration and rapture of fury, that child's trick of
flinging himself flat down, and, with kicks and poundings and howls,
banging his head upon the ground? Without fear or knowledge, his whole
being centres in the one faculty of anger; he hurls the whole of himself
slap against the whole world, as readily as at a kitten or a playmate.
He would fain scrabble down through the heart of the earth and kill it,
rend it to pieces, if he could! If human wickedness can be expressed in
such a mad child, you have the whole of it,--perfectly ignorant,
perfectly furious, perfectly feeble, perfectly useless.

And as to the sunny hours, I believe those delights are like the
phantasmal glories of elf-land. When the glamour is taken away, the
splendid feasts and draperies, and gold and silver, and gallant knights
and lovely ladies, are seen to have been a squalid misery of poor roots
and scraps, tatters and pebbles and bark and dirt, misshapen dwarfs and
old hags. Or else, the deceitful vision vanishes all away, and was only
empty, unconscious time. Or am I indeed unfortunate, and inferior to
other men in innate qualities, in social faculty, in truthfulness of
remembrance?

Let me see. Let me "set it out," as an attorney would say. Let me state
and judge those primeval, or preliminary, or forming years of my life.

How many were they? More at the North, than in the hot, hurrying South.
As a rule, the Northerner should be twenty-five years old before
assuming to be a man. For my own part, I have always had an unpleasant
consciousness, which I am only now escaping from, of non-precocity,
anti-precocity, in fact, _post_cocity. I have been relatively immature.
In important particulars I have been, somehow, ten years behind
men--boys if you like--of my own age. The particulars I mean are those
of intercourse with other people.

The first ten years of my life seem to me now to have been almost
totally empty. I can conjure up, not without some effort, a scanty
platoon of small, dim images from school and Sunday school and church
and home; but they are few and faint.

I remember a little dirty-faced rampant girl at an infant school in
Pine Street, who was wont to scratch us with such fell and witch-like
malignity and persistence, that the teacher was fain to sew up her small
fists in unbleached cotton bags,--Miss Roquil's school (I never found
out that the name was Rockwell until ten years afterwards,--so phonetic
is nature!) in Parade Street, where the huge, cunning Anakim of the
first class used to cajole me, poor little man, always foolishly
benevolent, into bestowing upon them all the gingerbread of my lunch,
which I gave, and found a dim, vague sense of incorrectness remaining in
my childish mind. They must have been boys of fourteen or fifteen; but I
remember them as of giantly stature and vast age.

A grisly being haunted the neighborhood through which I had afterwards
to pass to another school,--a great, hulking, brutal fellow, Tom
Reddiford by name, from whom I apprehended unimaginable tortures. I
crept back and forth in such dumb, nameless frights as frontier children
may have felt, who, in old times of Indian war, passed through woods
where the red hand of a Wyandot might grasp them out of any bush. I have
not the least idea why this wretched Reddiford used to hunt me so, as
when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains, unless out of pure
beastly enjoyment of my childish frights. He did, once or twice, hustle
me about, I believe, but never inflicted actual bodily harm. I told my
parents; but they helped me not at all. Either they thought I was not
really scared, or that the experience would do me good; but it was a
mistake. My father should have searched out this young bully and
effectually quieted him. Fright is a most beneficial thing for bullies,
but a sadly harmful one for a little boy. How fervently I vowed to
"lick" that Tom Reddiford, if I ever grew half as big as he! Very likely
he has died in a brawl or a poor-house by this time. But his outrages
burnt into my mind scars so deep that they are part of its structure. I
will pay him off yet, if I meet him.

Another awful figure haunted the same neighborhood,--"Old Britt," a
street sot,--an old, filthy, unshorn hog of a man, moving in a halo of
rags and effluvium,--whom I used to meet lurching along the pavement, or
sometimes prone by the roadside in a nauseous rummy sleep. Him I passed
by with a wide circuit of fear and disgust and detestation.

My local attachments must have been stunted, like the roots of plants
often transplanted. They twine close and strong about no place. How
could they, when in my native city alone--not to mention the six other
towns where I have sojourned, four of whose names begin with the
syllable "New"--I can count twenty houses where I remember to have
lived? The Wandering Jew is a parable for a tenant housekeeper that
"moves" every spring; and I might be his son. Cursed be moving! What a
long list of houses! There is the A---- house, which I dimly recollect,
and where I think we had some beehives; the S---- house, where we
boarded, and I fell down and broke a bone; the L---- house, where also
we boarded, and there were many young girls. There I dreamed of an
angel,--a person about eight feet long, flying along past the
second-story side-windows, in the conventional horizontal attitude, so
suggestive of a "crick in the neck," with great, wide wings, tooting
through a trumpet as long as himself; and out of each temple, as I
distinctly remember, grew a thing like a knitting-needle, with a cherry
on the end. There was also the Cl---- house, where was a tree of
horrible, nauseating red plums; the W---- house, quaint and many-gabled;
the C---- house, where I had my last whipping. Ah, that whipping,--those
other whippings! How resolutely did they each make me vow that the next
ugly thing which I could safely do should surely be done! A whipping
inflicted upon a child old enough to remember it is almost certainly a
horrible mistake. No one knows how often it happens that a child's sense
of personal insult or degradation, though incapable of expression, is
every whit as quick and deep as a man's.

Other houses I remember,--in broad streets, narrow streets,--in
close-built blocks, in open outskirts,--even a mile or two away among
the green fields,--lived in, boarded in. I am cheated in heart by
injurious superfluity of houses. One home, remembered alone, would stand
embowered forever,--if not among ancestral trees and vines, then in
clustering memories far more lovely and more cherished. But what dignity
or beauty or quiet or distinctness can attach to the score of tenements
that scurry helter-skelter through my memory? It is little better than
the vision of the drunken men-at-arms in the castle of the parodist:--

    "Then straight there did appear, to each gallant Gorbalier,
    _Forty_ castles dancing near, all around!"

An unblest memory!

I believe I once stole a quantity of rather moist brown sugar, and hid
it, a clumsy, sticky, brown-paper parcel, between my bed and the
sacking. A chambermaid discovered the _corpus delicti_, and something
was done,--I forget what. But I wish I had never done anything worse!

O dear! I used to have to go to church twice every Sunday, and to Sunday
school before forenoon service beside. I cannot express the extreme
dreariness to me, poor little boy, of perching on those uncomfortable,
old-fashioned, grown-up seats, too high for my little legs, too wide for
my short thighs, so that I sat backless above and dangling below. What
had I to do with those grown-up sermons? Men's talk is babble to a
child, as much as children's to a man. The wind that blew past my ears
meant as much, and sounded better. Or what were the prayers to me, or
the singing? This perfunctory, formal early piety of mine had much
influence, long afterward, by natural reaction. Nothing can better
shadow forth the weariness of those weekly _jornadas del muerto_ than
the fact that I found now and then an oasis of delight in pious stories
for children, out of the Sabbath-school library. Thus we hear of
starving men chewing upon an old boot, or famished desert-travellers
sucking rapturously at a hole full of mud. I remember once being so
absorbed in a story during sermon-time, that, coming to a word of new
and queer physiognomy, and having forgotten all circumstance, I repeated
it, according to my custom, quite aloud. "Cuddy," I said, in the middle
of the silence of a pause in the sermon. Everybody stared quickly at me.
I might as well have uttered a round oath. The awful shame that flushed
me and crushed me cannot be imagined. My parents talked kindly, but
seriously, to me for such an irreverence; yet I suspect that by
themselves they laughed. This book was a story called "Erminia," with an
East India voyage in it. I don't know why the name should stick so fast
in my memory these thirty years.

My parents, alike inflexible in hygiene and morality, had reasons out of
either realm against those stomachic reinforcements to religion which
can mollify so sweetly the child's desert pathway through "meeting."
Neither cooky, raisin, nor peppermint lozenge would they dispense. It
would violate two important rules,--"Attend to the sermon," and "No
eating between meals";--the latter law, otherwise of Medo-Persic
stringency, having only this severe and secular exception: "My son, if
you are hungry, you can eat a piece of good dry bread. You may have
that."

So much the more lovely is the remembrance of that kind interceder,
usually an occupant of the same pew with ourselves, who, regarding the
minister the while with unmoved countenance, was wont ever and anon,
with quiet hand, to insinuate within my childish grasp the beatifying
lozenge, or the snow-white and aromatic sassafras or wintergreen "pipe."
The sweet savor of those frequent gifts, sweeter for their half-secret,
half-forbidden conferring, will never disappear out of my memory. That
candy, if I had the power, should be paid for with rewards (not one whit
more worth, if loving-kindness in giving be any criterion), in a place
where, we are told, "congregations ne'er break up, and Sabbaths have no
end,"--and where, therefore, let us earnestly hope, their delights are
superior to those of their earthly antetypes.

Behind us, all one year, there sat in church a platoon of imps. They
were children of a red-eyed father, who must have been a drinker; they
were curiously ugly in countenance; and they used at once to prove and
practise their petty demonism by tormenting us who sat in the pew just
before them. They slyly pulled our hair; poked us, and then, when we
turned round, made frightful, malignant faces close to ours; talked loud
in sermon-time; dropped crumbs down the backs of our necks; and
whispered loudly in our scandalized ears that standing, supreme reproach
and insult of my childish days--then confined to little boys, since
adopted by the great Democratic party--of "Nigger! Nigger!"

We had not, perhaps, too many rules at home. (There were sometimes too
many at school.) Some of them were well enough. We might not have both
butter and molasses, or butter and sugar, on the same piece of bread.
One luxury was enough. Flavors too compound coax toward the Epicurean
sty; the most compound of all is doubtless that of the feast which the
pig eateth. "Shut the door,"--a good rule. "No reading before breakfast,
nor by firelight, nor by lamp-light, nor between daylight and dark,"--an
indispensable rule for such book-devouring children as we were. But on
the question of rules it is to be observed, that the thing to be desired
is to train a child to understand or feel a principle, and to apply it,
not merely to remember and obey a rule. The reason and the moral nature
should be enlisted in support of the law. The theory of American mental
and moral education is, Minimum, of formal law and brute force, maximum
of intelligent self-control and kindly adaptation. Mere codes of rules,
whether at home or at school, set the children at work, with all their
sharp, unregenerate little wits, to pick flaws, draw distinctions, and
quibble on interpretations. They become abominably shrewd in a
degrading, casuistical strict-constructionism. In spite of everything,
the little, cunning, irresponsible, non-moral beings will be
successfully appealing to the letter of the law against the spirit, and
warping and drying up all their tenderness of conscience, all their
capability of broad and generous applications of right and noble
principle.

I disliked fat meat and fat people. I used to like to be with the hired
girls in the kitchen. I was entirely untouched by the often-repeated
expositions made to me of the vulgarity of such habits, and of the low
esteem in which I should be held in consequence. What is vulgarity to a
child? Spontaneity, unconscious existence, has no vulgarities. Vulgarity
comes of restraints and distortions; and a child's life is commonly for
a time untouched by the girdling and compression of forms and
conventionalities. Besides, to a child of positive traits, those
persuasions are utterly forceless which, instead of being addressed to
the prominent faculties, are directed to those comparatively deficient.
It is no matter how well such considerations are suited to the character
of the persuader, to a conventional human nature, to the _a priori_
child. Thus, in the matter of kitchen-haunting, the appeal was made to
my regard for the opinions of others. As I was naturally disregardful of
the opinions of others, the appeal did not affect me.

Besides, we used to have hired girls as superior to the Biddies of
to-day as a patriarch is to a _laquais de place_. Possibly hereditary
friendly relations with a few individuals may have made us more
fortunate than some other families. From whatever cause, we enjoyed
through most of my childhood the ministrations of two or three women of
American race, of intelligence, character, and self-respect. It is
scarcely possible that the vulgarity which my parents apprehended was
anything worse than colloquial New England provincialism. It is possible
that they may have feared lest in time the kitchen-door should introduce
me to that Devil's school for boys, the city street.

These domestics were themselves competent housekeepers, and could have
maintained good repute and creditable hospitality, had they possessed
the means, even among the far-renowned "old-fashioned H----
housekeepers." My remembrances of them are scanty. There were Lois and
Hannah, tall, thin, angular Yankee women, grave, trustworthy, and
efficient. There was Emily, a dignified personage, portly and composed,
an excellent and faithful woman and a good manager, unfailingly kind to
us little folks, a wondrously skilful compounder of pies, cakes, and
gingerbreads. She was wont to wear a white turban or similar head-dress
of wreathed draperies; and often, with serious face, she puzzled me, and
silenced my childish inquiries about the nature or purpose of ingredient
or process, by saying that it was "Laro for meddlers." In those days I
speculated deeply as to whether there did exist any such real substance
as "Laro." In this mystic and apparently underived term, the _a_ is
broad, as in "ah!" It may be spelled "Lahro," for what I know.

I do remember, in particular, a tidy, laborious, parsimonious,
pragmatical little Scotchwoman, Christiana. Once upon a time, in the
days of allopathic rule, my mother compounded a mighty pitcher of senna
mixture. This--its actual deglutition, by some blessed chance, not
becoming necessary--she set up, with a housekeeper's saving instinct, on
the pantry shelf, instead of pouring it into the gutter. So Christiana,
thrifty soul, and still more saving, could not endure the wasting of so
much virtue, and set herself stoutly to utilize the decoction by
consuming it to her own sole use and behoof, which she accomplished by
way of relaxation, so to speak, in single doses, at leisure times,
within a few days. Her own and her employer's respective economies were
fitly rewarded by an illness, through which my mother had to take care
of her.

One morning, so early that it was not quite light, I hung about the
kitchen table, slyly securing little lumps of the cold hasty-pudding
which was being sliced in order to be fried for breakfast. Having
snapped up a very nice one, as big as a walnut, lo and behold! when I
chewed, it was lard. There was direful retching and hasty ejection. The
disagreeable, cold, soft, greasy rankness of the morsel is extreme: if
you don't believe it, try it. I think this affair may have been a
cold-blooded scheme of the hired-girl. But it was years before I became
so suspicious as to place this sad construction upon the occurrence,
though I often remembered it.

Like all children, I was fond of candy, sweetmeats, and spices. Yet not
of allspice or nutmeg, nor of mace, which tastes of soap. I have known
of cases where parents claimed that their children were not fond of such
things. Believe them not. I liked pie, but not pudding; the rich, heavy
fruit-cake of weddings, good, honest gingerbread, the brisk, crispy heat
of the brittle ginger-snap, but not "plain cake,"--absurd viand! It is
of the essence of cake not to be plain. As well say, acid sweetness. Nor
did I like the hereditary election-cake of my ancient State and city.
Fat pork I could not swallow; nor onions nor cabbage,--gross, indelicate
vegetables! And even now, as well present upon my table that other
diabolic cabbage of the New England swamps,--in old legend said to have
been conjured up out of the ground by the Indian pow-wows, to beautify
and perfume the dank and gloomy resorts where Satan was wont to drill
them in their hellish exercises,--as its grandchild, the big booby of
the garden. For is it not deservedly, if disrespectfully, named a
cabbage-head? That is because it is the Vegetable Booby.

Naturally, I did not like that concoction so dear to the heart of good
old-fashioned Connecticut folks, a biled-dish (accent on _biled_). This,
O vast majority of ignoramuses, is corned beef and cabbage boiled
together. As for onions, if I could not escape them in any other way, I
would organize a party on the Great Wethersfield Question, and lead it,
a Connecticut Cato, with the motto, "Censeo Wethersfieldiam delendam
esse." Nor would I rest until that alliaceous metropolis was fairly
tipped over into Connecticut River, and sent drowning down to Long
Island Sound.

There is yet another cell in the cavern of memory,--a gloomy and horrid
one,--the torture-chamber. It is the remembrance of sickness and its
attendant pharmaceutic devils. O ye witch's oils, hell-broths
red and black, pills, and electuaries! the unsuccessful
experiments--instrumentalities of death too slow for the occasion, but
masterly in their kind--of the Pandemoniac host in those Miltonian,
infernal chemics which resulted in gunpowder and cannon-balls! What
agonies from horrific stench and flavor, in close, dreary rooms, under
hot, unwelcome blankets, do ye recall!

It is not that I complain of all those inexplicable diseases, _opprobria
medicinæ_, so pusillanimously submitted to by civilized humanity and its
physicians,--chicken-pox, measles, whooping-cough, mumps. I complain,
indeed, of no diseases, but of their treatment. But let me not delay
longer than is needful amid such distressful recollections. Three
hateful decoctions were known to me by the phonetics, Lixipro,
Lixaslutis, and Lixusmatic. I don't know what they were, and I don't
want to know. Devil's elixirs were they all. Rubbub and
magnesia,--endless imprecations rest upon that obnoxious red mixture!
And chiefest of them all--Arimanes of the whole bad crew, though Agag is
the only really suitable royal name I can think of--is that slow, greasy
horror, whose superhuman excess of unutterable abomination no words can
express, and even inarticulate ejaculations made on purpose cannot at
all show forth,--as urk! huk! agh!--chiefest among them all, castor oil!

I hurry away from the awful scene. Let me be thankful that I swallowed
but little calomel. Let me be thankful that, after a time, I could not
swallow castor oil. Spasmodic regurgitations, as if one had attempted to
load a gun having a live coal at the far end, closed perforce that
chapter of torments. And soon thereafter arose the benign genius of
homoeopathy, with healing in its neat little white-paper wings.
Beautiful Homoeopathy, the real Angel in the House, if Mr. Coventry
Patmore had only known it! Hast thou not long ago appeared, veiled in an
allegory, before an unrecognizing world? Surely, what but homoeopathic
medicine was that wondrous talisman with which Adonbec El Hakim cured
the Melech Ric? To be taken in a tumbler about two thirds full of water,
as now; but in those early times, and for such a very large man, at one
gulp, instead of by hourly teaspoonfuls. Or perhaps the manuscripts may
have been corrupted in that passage by unscrupulous mediæval physicians
of the school of Salerno, or other regular institutions.

I suppose I must have played a good deal; but there are reasons why this
may not have been the case. The chief of them is, that whereas I have
subsequently commonly attained a fair degree of excellence in what I
have learned, I did not in the staple games of my childhood do so. In
marbles, spinning top, and ball I was inferior,--indeed, scarcely at
home in the technics of some of them. The games of marbles which I see
now-a-days seem to centre upon the projection of the missile into a hole
in the ground. In my day we used to play upon the surface of the earth;
sometimes "in the big ring," where each combatant fired at the marbles
grouped in the centre, from any point upon the external orbit;
sometimes "in the little ring," where the shot was made from the place
where the projectile lodged last; sometimes "at chasings," where the
players fired alternately, each at the marble of his adversary.
Concerning this last game, I remember the following terms: "ebs," which,
seasonably vociferated, that is, when it is the speaker's turn to play
and before his adversary can say anything, serves as an incantation
authorizing the speaker to deliver his fire from any point other than
that where his marble lies, equally distant from the objective point;
"clearings," in like manner, authorizing the preparation of a reasonably
unobstructed line of fire; and "fen ebs," "fen clearings," and "fen
everythings," to be pronounced before the other player speaks, and
which, by virtue of the prohibitory syllable "fen" (_défendre_, Fr.),
prevent respectively ebs, clearings, and everything,--that is to say,
any elusion or amelioration of the existing conditions of fire.

In games of ball, to confess the truth, I was but feeble. Scarce,
indeed, was I of average skill in any of them except the simplest
two,--"bung-ends," and "one old cat." In the first of these, one boy
throws the ball against the side of a house, or other perpendicular
unelastic plane, while the other smites it with his club at the rebound.
In the second, played as a trio, boy A throws the ball at boy B,
standing opposite, whose duty is to smite, while boy C, behind B,
catches B out in case of a miss.

I was pretty good at "tag" and "catch," games of running and dodging. In
these, one boy is called "it," i. e. leader, or victim. He pursues the
rest; and the games are alike, except that in "catch" he who is to be
made "it" must be caught and held by him who is "it," whereas in "tag" a
touch is sufficient to transfer the responsibility, and inaugurate the
new choragus.

There. Such quaint scraps are all that is left me of my existence as a
little child. I know men who say, that, within their own consciousness
and memories, they have the witness and knowledge of a life even before
that of this humanity. But, for my own part, I should never know, by
anything in my own memory, that I had been a baby,--that I was or did
anything before that first school where the ferocious little girl was
handcuffed in unbleached-cotton bags, for scratching.

"The child is father of the man," saith the great poet of dry
sentimentalizing. Therefore the man's endeavor to remember about his
childhood might reasonably be expected to bring him into _limbo patrum_.
But it is a dim and narrow field to grope in. It is not wandering in a
darkened world,--it is feeling in a dark closet.

It was an unconscious brief advance from nothing to very little. Yes,
but still there must have been some dim features of the dawning
character. No doubt. The heedless, complying, unjudging benevolence, for
instance, that gave away _all_ my gingerbread to the young Anakim of
Parade Street, was one. It was liable afterwards to invert, by reacting
from such over-operation as that, into an equally unjudging disregard of
the wants and needs of others.

And now, What was it? This is no foolish nor unimportant inquiry. If I
could answer it sufficiently, I should at once supply the basis of whole
systems of mental and moral art and science. Such whole systems
indeed--for instance, the muddy distractions of the Scotch
metaphysicians--have already been based upon the phantasms of wiggy old
doctors who dived backward into themselves,--jumping down their own
throats, as it were, in their search after knowledge, as did the seventh
Arabian Brother in the Spectator (is it not?) "with seven candles in
each hand, lighted at both ends,"--and said, "When I began to think, I
must necessarily have thought thus and thus." This was all very
scientific. But for usefulness it would have been better to inquire, not
what they must have thought, but what they did think.

Indeed, hitherto the history of mental philosophy is the history of the
ignorance of man about himself; and since science must be built
upon induction, and since phrenology has now established a
classification--approximately correct and sufficient for working
purposes--of the mental faculties, it is now quite in order to review
the old inductions from the history of the individual, and to accumulate
new ones. Even the mere trifles of these recollections of mine, some of
them at least, must have an actual philosophical value, if only they are
true and well enough stated.

Thank goodness, that, at any rate, I was not a remarkable child! It is
the average record which has most value. The remarkable child is not a
magnified child, but a distorted one; not a young giant, but a young
monster.

No tract or little 24mo. would have been published about me by the
American Sunday-School Union, if I had died young. No brilliant
repartees by me are on record. No sweet remembrance is in blossom about
me of a grim, unchildish pleasure in preferring the convenience or
enjoyment of others to my own. In an instance where I remember to have
tried to do as the good boys do in the story-books, by giving away my
one cooky, the quick reaction into common sense sent me in grief to my
mother, making use of natural tears and a specious plea of what I had
done to get me another cooky, or perchance two. It was a dead failure.
My mother knew too well the importance of the great moral lesson to let
me reap material advantage from my good deed. She relegated me to the
unfailing good dry bread, explaining how I could find abundant
satisfaction within my own breast for doing a kind action,--how virtue
was to be its own reward. I looked for the said reward, but could not
see it. It was not satisfaction within my breast that I wanted, but
within my stomach and on my palate. Benevolence will not supplement
alimentiveness in the small boy. If I gathered any reward at all, it was
in the hard wisdom of my resolve not to be caught in any such nonsense
again.

I had not, as had a little monster of misplaced piety whose case is
recorded in the good children's books, "at the early age of six made up
my mind on all the great questions of the day." Yet I think I can
remember yelling out "Hurra for Jackson!" because it was a good easy
shout, although my father was a strong, steady Whig. There is practical
democracy in that. First choice of shouts is much toward winning the
battle.

I was not remarkable for early piety, sweetness of disposition, wit,
beauty (I must certainly have been, as a child, skinny), or helpful
kindness (except that irrational benevolence of mine).

I have been told that I learned to read, nobody knew how, all by myself,
by the time I was four years old. How that may be I don't know; but I do
know that I did not know how to read when I was twenty years old.

I was a "natural speller." It is no joke, but one of the proverbial
fools' truths, which Dogberry enounces when he says that "reading and
writing come by nature." They do. And so does spelling. Abundance of
well-educated people never escape from occasional perturbations in
orthography, just as they never learn a desirable handwriting, nor how
to read silently fast and well, or well aloud. It is because they
cannot; because they have not what Nature gave Neighbor Seacoal; because
spelling and reading and writing are "gifts,"--they come by nature.

What I learned at school in those first ten years I do not know. Almost
nothing. I have utterly forgotten what. I might have been much better
taught. I might have been instructed in thinking. I do not mean that a
child of eight or nine years old can or should be made to see, judge,
and conclude upon new matters with the discovering and advancing power
of a philosopher. But he may be made to perform his own proper little
mental operations, no matter how small they are, on the same
principle,--on the principle of actual understanding, instead of mere
sole memorizing.

All my instructors, whether they meant to do so or not, did in fact
proceed as if they believed children's minds to be, not live fountains,
but empty cisterns; not to be capable of thought; like an empty house,
to be furnished for a tenant; needing to be fitted up with a store of
lifeless forms, which the adult life, when it came, was to breathe
vitality into and turn to living uses. I learned rules. "Here, little
boy," they said, "swallow these oyster-shells. They will lie naturally
and easily in your stomach until you grow up, because little boys'
stomachs are adapted for the storage of oyster-shells; and when you are
a man, and want oysters, put some in there." But does it stand to reason
that children, who manipulate words and figures, and produce results
without understanding the rules they apply,--just as a wizard's
apprentice could evoke his master's demons without knowing the meaning
of the awful syllables he recited, so that Southey's arcanum of
Aballiboozobanganorribo might respectably serve as one of them,--does it
stand to reason that these unhappy young jugglers will the better learn
to do the same work intelligently afterwards? No; for they have to
dislodge the bad habit which has pre-empted, before they can install the
good one. As well undertake to train a new Mozart by making the bright
little music-loving boy grind ten years on a barrel-organ with _La ci
darem_ in its bowels.

I remember a fondness for long, large, grown-up words; doubtless, in
some measure, a result of my constant practice of reading grown-up
people's books. It was a mere verbal memory, the driest of all the
intellectual faculties. Scarcely a faint perfume of meaning lingered
about the rattling piles of husks that I could say and spell.

What I learned at Sunday school and church was to be inexpressibly weary
of them. What I learned at home I can perhaps define but little better.
I gained no important result from any direct instruction. I gained
something of good-boy behavior and decent manners, diligently trained
into me. But what was most valuable in my home education was unconscious
infiltration from a good home-atmosphere. This is an influence of
incalculable importance, a thousand times outweighing all the schools.
It is that for which God established the family; the one single possible
real and efficient means of well bringing up the young. And whatever
shades of repression, misunderstanding, ungeniality, restraint, may have
sometimes troubled me, still I constantly feel and fully know that that
pure, calm, quiet, bright, loving, intelligent, refined atmosphere of my
home silently and unconsciously penetrated and vivified all my being. If
now I should be told, "You are no very splendid exemplar of the results
of such influences," I should still say, "Most true, unfortunately true;
but what should I have been without them?"

I had brothers and sisters,--a few playmates; but neither they, nor any
other human beings, not even my parents, seem to have been during those
years, to any important extent, directly operative within or upon the
sphere and character of my own real conscious existence. That life
figures itself in my memory much like a magic circle, within which I was
alone, and did my scanty little thinkings and imaginings alone. The rest
of the living were outside, unreal,--phantoms moving to and fro, around
and without, but never coming within that limit,--never entering into
living communion with me. This constitutional solitude of mind has a
useful office, perhaps not to be easily explained, but sometimes not
otherwise to be performed.

This isolation was, in part, unnecessary. To a certain extent the
necessity for it still remains. But in part it was artificial,--my
unconscious reaction against an ill-adapted influence,--the resisting
force of a trait which, like all those other early traits, has become
visible to me, like the blind paths over bogs, now that I am a long way
off. This trait I have already spoken of. It was an insensibility to a
certain motive, rather prominent among those commonly proposed to me for
my own government of myself. This was variously framed thus:--It is not
usual to do this; it is usual to do that; if you proceed so and so, it
will seem singular; people will talk about it; you will offend people's
usages and habits; you will seem singular and odd. Against such cautions
I rebelled with a mute, indignant impulse, which I was not old enough to
enounce or to argue. It was, however, the result of two
characteristics;--one, the natural lack of instinctive desire for the
good opinion of others; and the other, a corresponding instinct for
living out my own life fully and freely, not so as to infringe upon the
just rights of others, but not stinting or distorting or amputating
myself, even though others set the example. It was the old fable
reversed,--the fox disinclined to cut off his tail, even though all the
other foxes had cut off theirs. And the fact that people older than I,
and several of them, and for year after year, urged upon me the
considerations I have spoken of, never availed. That key would not move
the mechanism of my mind. It did not fit.

My childhood seems to me far more memorable for what it had not, was
not, than for what it had and was. I do not believe this is because mine
was an especially unfortunate or unhappy childhood. As I have hinted
before, it was because childhood is empty,--an unconscious, imperfect
life,--almost animal,--germinal,--a life in the egg, in the jelly, in
the sap. The experiences of childhood are seed-leaves. They drop quickly
away and utterly disappear, and even the scars where they grew cease to
show on the stem. Probably I seemed to myself to enjoy life when I was a
child. Children whom I see daily seem to do so. But thought is life.
Mere enjoyment is dreaming. It may seem to cover hours or days or years
of experience, but when we awake it has been only a point of time. But
this pleasure-dream is worse than a sleep-dream. Over its costly
actuality of time, cut out and dropped down out of life, the hither and
thither ends of the shortened thread of existence must be knotted
together into a cord of diminished length, strength, and value.

In sum: This child which I was was a semi-embryonic creature, mostly
unconscious, whose ten years' career, now chiefly faded into entire
blankness, showed not many mental traits. The chief were quick and
retentive verbal memory, quick, undiscriminating, impulsive,
unreasonable kind-heartedness, and an insensibility, even an instinctive
opposition, to the approvings or disapprovings of others. Or the child
might be stated thus: Nervous and sensitive organization, intellect
predominant; in the intellect the perceptive faculties most active, and
of these chiefly that which notices and compares exteriors; beside the
intellect, a kind-heartedness without balance, and therefore too great;
too little caution, and too little love of approbation. Around these
features others have grown up, of course; but these were, so to speak,
the primary strata of the formation, underlying the other elements,
determining their tendencies, and cropping out through them.

This child was all but empty, unsubstantial, imperfect; incapable, then,
of much life from within itself, little helped by thoughts or other aid
from without. The efforts made by others to operate on it were faithful,
kindly, well meant, but not adapted to its individuality. The fact is,
that, so far as they had any supposed basis on system, it was on the
Scotch empirical analysis of perception, conception, reason, will; a
Procrustean mental philosophy which absolutely ignores individuality,
and assumes that all human beings are alike. It is as good as the little
boys' conventional system of portraiture. A round O, two dots, a
perpendicular line between them, and a horizontal one across below,
displays every face. Such was Christ and such was Judas; such was
Messalina and such was Florence Nightingale. But there is a better
philosophy of the mind.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] The paragraphs here following were written in the summer of 1862,
and had been meditated or memorandumed long before. Thus they were not
derived from the similar disquisitions of Gail Hamilton in the Atlantic
for January, 1863. There is no danger that anybody will suspect that
_spirituelle_ lady of extracting her sunbeams out of my poor old
cucumbers.



HER PILGRIMAGE.

IN MEMORIAM, JANUARY 12, 1866.


    The snow-flakes floated many a star
      To earth, from pale December's skies,
    When a fair spirit from afar
      Smiled through an infant's violet eyes.

    And as she sweetly breathed, the hours
      Wove, like a robe of gossamer,
    All grace about her, while the flowers
      Their tints and perfumes gave to her.

    In after time, when violets grew,
      And pale anemones veiled the land,
    She drooped her modest eyes of blue,
      And gave to Love her maiden hand.

    Four times the holy angels came,
      To greet her with a dear unrest;
    And, in a mother's saintly name,
      Left a young angel on her breast.

    Eight lustrums pure celestial eyes
      Beamed through her tender, loving gaze,
    Commingling all the sweet surprise
      Of heavenly with the earthly rays.

    _At last_, her gentle face grew pale
      As the anemones of spring;
    And whiter than her bridal veil
      Was that in which she took her wing.

    And than that fixed despair more white,
      Softly the stars, in feathery snows,
    Came, covering with serener light
      Her folded hands, her meek repose.

    Pale stars, through which the Night looked down,
      Until they wept away in showers
    On those dear hands, which clasped the crown,
      And closer still the cross, of flowers.

    The snow-flakes melt on earth in tears;
      The eternal stars in glory shine;
    While in the shroud of desolate years
      Dead Love awaits the immortal sign.



FARMER HILL'S DIARY.

     In looking over the papers of our deceased friend, the
     following diary was discovered. It being too lengthy to copy in
     full, we omit many of the incidents, as well as the "Account of
     the Ohio Prophetess," and some religious discussions, chiefly
     on doctrinal points.--J. S.


DIARY.

_April 13, 18--._--Captain Welles was here this morning, advising daddy
to buy a horse-cart. Frederic favors it; but daddy doesn't approve of
newfangled contrivances. He says we can do as we always have done, viz.,
carry the grain to mill on horseback, or, when there's a heavy load,
take the oxen.

Captain Welles's kindness to me is wonderful, considering that I can in
no way favor him, being poor, and without knowledge, and wellnigh
friendless. He talked with me to-day, while I was working on the fences,
about my mind and my soul, and also about getting along in the world. He
counselled me to keep a diary, mentioning many advantages arising
therefrom. As what I write is only for my own eye, I will put down that
he warned me against being vain of a comely face.

He was a sailor in the ship that brought over Mr. Murray, the preacher
of that belief which daddy says is a sin to speak of. But Captain Welles
has told me of many things he said on board the vessel, which sound
heavenly; also of sermons he preached to the crew, that seem in no way
blasphemous, as Aunt Bethiah says the new doctrines are.

They were shipwrecked on the Jersey coast, and experienced great
suffering. Shortly after they gained the shore, a man came along, who
cried out, as soon as he saw the preacher: "Why, you are the very man
I've waited for so long! I have built a meeting-house on purpose for
you!" This is very wonderful, when we think that Mr. Murray was never in
our country before, and that the man was never out of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 1._--Twenty years old to-day! Just ten years since daddy took me
out of the poor-house! How kind they've all been to me! Frederic and
Elinor and mammy, and, for the most part, Aunt Bethiah, though she is
very precise. If I could only forget where I came from. Captain Welles
says it is false pride; but that doesn't hinder its plaguing me. When a
thorn pricks, it pricks, whether of a rose-bush or a bramble.

As long as I went to school the boys called me "Poor'us," "Poor'us,"
only when Frederic was by they didn't dare, for fear of his thrashing
them, he was so stout and tall; and he has been growing ever since. Aunt
Bethiah says it is reaching and tiptoeing up to the high shelves after
company-cake, that makes him so tall. I heard her telling mammy that she
fairly laid awake nights, contriving places where to hide things.

"Poor Freddy," says mammy, "he don't have no great of an appetite to
eat."

"News to me," says Aunt Bethiah.

She's always on the look-out for him; but, with the whole house on her
shoulders, she can't be everywhere. Last fall, while the shoemaker was
here making up our winter shoes, Frederic got him to put squeaking
leather into one of hers, and not into the mate of it. Then he could
tell her step, for she would go "squeak," "----," "squeak," "----."
Mammy knew, for her arm-chair wasn't a great ways off from the
shoe-bench; but then Frederic's her idol, and all he does is right.
Many's the nice bit she has tucked away for him, when Aunt Bethiah's
back was turned; and does yet, for all he's a man grown.

He laughs at his grandmother about her plasters and medicines; but he is
as full of feeling as he is of fun. Gets up the coldest nights in
winter, when she's taken worse, to run for the neighbors, crying, when
he thinks nobody sees. Who would think, to see him in his capers, he
could ever shed a tear? Nights, when the chores are done, he sits down
close to mammy, till the candles are lit. When he was little, 't would
be on a cricket, with his head in her lap, and saying his verses; and
she would tell him of his pious mother, who had a lovely countenance,
and who died young, being willing to go; or of his father, who mourned
himself into the grave, for the loss of his dear young wife.

But now he has grown up, he relates to her whatever has happened through
the day, if it is only the finding of a hen's nest. This serves to take
up her mind, and gives her something to look forward to. After that he
reads, or does odd jobs of mending; and, two nights a week, brushes up
and goes a-courting. And he's only a year older than I am! I shall never
go a-courting. "Poor'us," "Poor'us." Who would want a "poor'us?"

In a few weeks, Elinor will come home for good. Her father's relations
have done well by her, and would be glad to keep her always. People say
she has bad great advantages, and Hope she will not be spoiled; but that
can't be. She was always good, and always will be.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 5._--'T was just about such a day as this, ten years ago, that Aunt
Bethiah came out into the porch, and found me leaning up against the
meal-chest. Daddy had just brought me home. He wasn't blind then, though
he wore a green shade. How scared I was at Aunt Bethiah!--she looked so
tall, and dark, and--hard, like Greatheart's wife, if he ever had one.
It doesn't seem possible that she can be mammy's own sister.

Daddy said, "Mammy, suppose we keep him?" And she made answer, that
mebby I might save poor Freddy some steps. Then Aunt Bethiah said, "More
men folks, more work," and that Frederic knew how to save his own steps.
But I stayed, for daddy's mind was made up beforehand, and daddy always
has his will, though it is in a gentle way.

Elinor was a little girl then. She sat down with me in the window-seat,
and showed me her new primer, and whispered softly that Aunt Bethiah
would like me, if I wiped my feet.

Poor mammy! How long she has been sick! She sits in the same chair and
in the same corner that she did the night I was brought. Some women
wouldn't think of anybody but themselves; but she has a care over the
whole neighborhood. She's always steeping up herbs or spreading plasters
for somebody. Should like to know how many weight of Burgundy pitch and
Dr. Oliver's salve I've run to the doctor's for. I remember how I
coughed that first night.

"What a dreadful cough that poor child's got!" said she. "Elinor, reach
me the bellows, and hold the blade o' the knife to the fire, and warm it
warm. He must have a plaster between his shoulders."

So she laid the bellows across her lap, and spread a plaster, and told
me not to tear it off as soon as it began to tickle me, but to rub my
back against the door. And there were doors enough, I thought, set round
that big kitchen. Nine poor boys, with dreadful coughs, could have found
room.

I remember how we used to climb up to the easterly room door, which had
squares of glass set in the top, and look through at the best things
that were kept shut up there. And how every Sunday night we used to go
into the westerly room, and watch for the sun to go down, before we
could step out of doors.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 8._--Helped Frederic to-day to weed out mammy's herb-garden. He
keeps it neat as a pin, but has his fun out of it all the same. It is
right under the window, where she can see growing her saffron and sage,
peppermint, cumfrey, and all the rest. I don't know the names of half.
Frederic calls them "health-root," "lullaby-root," "doctor's defiances,"
"step-quickeners," or whatever comes into his head.

Besides these, which he calls the regular practics, there are all the
wild herbs to be gathered in. Mullein, motherwort, thoroughwort,
golden-rod, everlasting, burdock-leaves, may-weed, must all be dried and
hung up in the garret. Aunt Bethiah groans, but grabs them up with her
long fingers, and has them out of the way in less than no time. Daddy
calls it mammy's harvest.

Poor old man! How pitiful it is to see him groping about so, with his
white face and silvery hair! Yet, to look at his countenance, nobody
would say he was blind; for, though his eyes are closed, he seems to see
with his whole face. I don't know how to write it down; but I mean, that
the look which most people have only in their eyes seems to be spread
over his whole countenance, and lights it up and makes it beautiful.
Sometimes I turn my eyes away, for it seems as if I were looking at his
soul,--and the soul is so mysterious!

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 12._--Frederic's great-uncle Frederic has died, and left him a
little bag of silver dollars. He sat down on the floor, and made me sit
down on the other side, and we rolled them to each other, just like
little boys. He has given us one apiece, and put one in the drawer for
Elinor. Elinor and I always used to keep our money together. When it is
full, the box is to be broken open, and we shall buy the best books
there are. Daddy has been asking when she will come back. By the 1st of
June certainly. We've heard of several poor people finding a silver
dollar under their plates. Frederic never can keep anything to himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 20._--Frederic has been to Boston, and bought cloth for a
tail-coat, and had it cut out by a Boston tailor. It is blue, and cost
ten dollars a yard. Mary Swift has been here all the week, making it up.
The buttons are gilt, and cost six dollars a dozen. A good many of the
neighbors have been in to see it. Those who live farther off will have a
chance to-morrow, when he goes to meeting.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 22._--Yesterday was the Sabbath, and Frederic wore his coat to
meeting. Aunt Bethiah took extra pains with his ruffles, so as to have
everything correspond. He had on his new boots, with tassels on the
tops, and they shone like glass bottles. He frizzed his front hair
himself. But I had to braid his cue, and tie on the bow. Blue becomes
him, on account of his fairness and his fresh color. I was never struck
before with the resemblance of brother and sister; only she is more
delicate looking.

She will be very proud of him. We all are, but try not to let it be
seen. Mammy is, for all she counselled him to fix his attention on the
discourse, and think only such thoughts as he would like to remember at
the day of judgment. As we walked out of the yard, I caught sight of her
twinkling black eyes over the window-curtain. Such a piece of work too
as she makes getting up out of her chair! How handsome and noble he
looked, fit for an emperor! Dreadful red, though, by the time we got sot
down in meeting; for our pew is a good way up, and his boots squeaked,
and we'd heard that all the singers were going early, to see him come
into meeting, and Lucy sits in the seats.

After sundown took a pleasant walk through the woods, over to the
schoolmaster's boarding-place, to carry back the two last books he lent
me,--the poems of Burns and of Henry Kirke White.

Aunt Bethiah found one of them amongst the hay, when she was hunting for
her setting-hen. She declares that reading is a dreadful waste of time,
and poetry-books are worse than all, and nothing but sing-song.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 26._--I wish I knew whether there was any merit in me or not. Most
people can tell, by the manners of others towards them. But I had such a
mean start! No matter how well people treat me, it all, in my
estimation, settles down to one thing,--"Poor'us."

It is either, "I will treat you well _because_ you came out of the
poor-house," or, "I will treat you well _notwithstanding_ you came from
the poor-house." Captain Welles tells me I can make myself just what I
want to be; but Aunt Bethiah says that is dreadful wicked doctrine, and
daddy rather agrees with her; but it seems to me there can't be any harm
in doing my best.

I am very ignorant, and not only so, but I hardly even know what there
is to learn. From the schoolmaster's books I get but scraps of
knowledge. Supposing I never saw a flower, and somebody should bring me
a leaf of a violet, or a clover-head. What should I know of tulips and
pinks, or the smell of roses, or of all the flowers that grow in the
fields and gardens? The books speak of music, of pictures, of great
authors, of the wonders of the sea, of rocks, of stars. Shall I ever
learn about all these?

       *       *       *       *       *

_May 30._--In a week Elinor comes. Mammy thinks she will be all run
down, and is steeping up white-oak bark and cherry-tree twigs. Elinor
will make up faces, I know; but mammy will make her take it. She didn't
see Frederic when he dropped in the red pepper. I wouldn't have him know
for anything that I skimmed it out.

Captain Welles has bought a chaise. There are now two in the place. His
is green-bottomed. It has a most agreeable leathery smell, and a gentle
creak which is very pleasant. The minister's is dark blue. They are set
high, and the tops tip forward, serving to keep out both sun and rain.
Poor Mrs. Scott was buried to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June_ 7.--Elinor came yesterday, late in the afternoon. Frederic
brought her from the tavern. The horse shied at an old coat thrown over
a fence and came nigh throwing them both.

I expected to be very glad when Elinor got home, but I'm feeling many
things besides gladness.

The people she's been staying with are fashionable and polite, and she
has caught their ways, and I can't say but they hang prettily about her.
Her aunt is a minister's wife, and akin to a judge, so she has seen the
very best of company, and heard the talk of educated people.

But she was glad enough to get home, and said pretty things to us all.
Aunt Bethiah says she looks very genteel. She has had her gowns altered
to the new fashion, and had on her neck a handsome handkerchief which
she worked at the boarding-school. She has also worked a long white
veil, very rich, and has made a cape of silk-weed. Besides this, she has
painted a light-stand. It is made of bird's-eye maple, and has a green
silk bag hanging from underneath. They don't speak of these in daddy's
hearing.

After supper, he took her up on his knee and stroked her hair, and said,
"Now let us sing rock-a-by as we used to." So, with her head on his
shoulder, he rocked and sang rock-a-by, while she laughed. At last she
jumped up and ran off to see the bossy.

When she was gone, daddy heaved a deep sigh; but mammy cheered him up,
telling how thankful they ought to be for the safe return of their
child. 'T was touching to hear them talk, each telling the other how
good she was, and how from a child she had followed their wishes.

And to see how tender mammy was of his feelings! Never praising her
pretty face, or saying that she looked like her mother, but only
speaking of what he could take comfort in too.

Nobody but we three were in the room. At times they would keep silence.
Then something long forgotten would come to mind,--some good thing she
did, or said, or prayed, when a child,--and they would begin with, "And
don't you remember," and so go on with the whole story. Truly pleasant
were these memories of the past. Pleasant and sweet as the fragrance
which was brought to us by the evening wind from far-off flowery fields.

A time of greater satisfaction I never experienced. Suddenly came in
Aunt Bethiah and began to rattle the chairs, and to gather up whatever
was lying about. Mammy asked me to shut down the window, for the wind
seemed to have changed to the eastward. Frederic's girl came in the
evening with some others,--good-looking girls enough. All flowers can't
be roses.

In the night, I lay thinking, and thinking, and wishing for I knew not
what, and sighing for I knew not what, and looking forwards and
backwards till I was all in a whirl.

Is this, I said to myself, the little girl that used to hear me say my
catechism? And then I remembered how we used to sit opposite each other
on two crickets, while she put out the questions; and how her little
toes peeped out, for it was the spring of the year, and she was wearing
off her stockings ready to go barefooted. Her shoes were gone long
before.

And I remembered, too, how, ever since we were little children, we had
gone of summer mornings after wild roses for Old Becky to still; for
mammy never could do without rose-water. She used to start us early,
before the dew was off, for they were stronger then.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 8._--I thought last night that we should never go after roses any
more; but this morning, just as I was about to set off with the cows, I
heard the house-door shut, and then a light step on the grass. I kept
myself hid, and peeped through a knot-hole. She had a basket on her arm,
and looked about, and took a few steps softly, this way and that, as if
looking for somebody. At last I came out, innocent as a lamb. "Good
morning, Elinor," says I. "Have you forgot the roses, Walter?" says she,
a little bashful. As if I could forget the roses! The hills were all
scattered over with children and young people; for it was a fine
morning, and the roses were in their prime.

The sun shone, the children shouted, the birds sang, and the air was
cool and fresh. It is good to be with the day at its beginning. Elinor
laughed, and chatted, and danced up hill and down hill, and snapped her
scissors, and snapped off the roses, and stuck the prettiest in her hair
and in her apron-string, till at last I told her she looked like a
rose-bush all in bloom.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 11._--To-day Elinor and Frederic walked to meeting together. He
had on his new things, and she had on a white chip hat with blue inside
and outside, and blue ribbons tied under her chin, and a white gown, and
a white mantle. Everybody in the meeting-house was looking at them, and
several times the minister's eyes appeared to be directed that way. I
could hardly tell preaching from praying, and once I let the pew-seat
slam down in prayer-time. 'T would be better if they couldn't turn up at
all, and then there wouldn't be such a rattling and clattering the
minute the minister says, "Amen."

'T was a young preacher. I hope our minister won't exchange with him
very often. He is too young to give satisfaction,--under thirty, I
should judge.

       *       *       *       *       *

_August 10._--The summer is passing. It has brought me plenty of work
and but little pleasure. Elinor has had much out-of-town
company,--frolicking girls and sometimes their brothers. They often come
out to rake hay or ride in the cart.

My diary has been neglected. I don't believe anybody writes down their
unhappiest feelings, especially when they don't know justly what they
are unhappy about.

Something about Elinor. And what is it about Elinor? Do I want to become
to her what Frederic is to Lucy? Do I want to make her "Mrs. Poor'us"?
Do I want to drag her down and keep her plodding all her days, clad in a
homespun gown, and she fit to be a lady in her silks and satins? What is
it I would be at?

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 3._--Our summer company is gone, and Aunt Bethiah is glad. We
are having longer evenings. When the candles are lit Frederic bids mammy
good night and goes off. Sometimes she sits up and puts on her
spectacles, and reads Watts's hymns loud to daddy. Aunt Bethiah pares
apples and slices them, and Elinor strings them up with a
darning-needle. I am tired and sit in the chimney-corner to rest.

Yesterday Mr. Colman preached again, and to-day he took supper at our
house,--rainy, and out of his way too! He was unmannerly enough to
address most of his remarks to a young person when her elders were
present. So seldom, too, as daddy has a chance to talk with an
out-of-town minister! He is not at all good-looking. His hair is
yellowish and stands up stiff on his forehead, and his eyes are no
color. I don't see how he can be agreeable to any young girl. But being
a minister goes a good ways.

I knew mammy would ask him to stay to tea. As soon as anybody comes, no
matter if it is only in the middle of the afternoon, she always says,
"Now take your things right off. Come, Bethiah, clap on the tea-kettle,
and we'll have tea airly." They say she was always just so about liking
to have company.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 18._--Mr. Scott has begun to come here evenings. He owns a
house and farm and wood-lot. His wife left him no children, and he lives
in a lonely house all alone; and poor enough company he must find
himself.

He comes here and sits all the evening, talking with daddy and looking
at Elinor. Poor hand at talking, though,--so dull and heavy both in
looks and words. I wonder what countryman he is. Very dark and
thick-set. That doesn't seem like any country in particular. Captain
Welles would know; for his father picked him up among the wharves in
London, a little ragged boy, running about.

But then who cares what he is? He needn't trouble himself about
remembering the heads of the sermon to tell mammy. I always have done
it, and can yet. If he's a mind to scratch his hands getting
sarsaparilla and snapwood for her off his wood-lot, he may. Have no
objection, either, to his bringing Elinor boxberry plums. I never read
yet of any maiden losing her heart on boxberry plums; though, to be
sure, he might bewitch them. He looks like that.

       *       *       *       *       *

_November 21._--So Winter is coming in earnest. Well, we are all ready
for him. Garret and cellar, both barns and the crib, are full. Candy
frolic this evening at Lucy's. Had part of the candy stolen coming home.
Elinor said she had a good tell for me. What could it be? Made believe I
didn't care; but do wish I knew. She said 't wasn't the first one she'd
heard, either. Ever since we were children we've come and gone together;
but when I was old enough to offer my arm, I didn't dare. If she hadn't
been away so much, out of town to school, why I might have been more
forward.

       *       *       *       *       *

_November 28._--Frederic seems rather dull of late. Mammy has tried to
discover his ailments, so as to know what to steep up. But daddy, by
questioning and guessing, has found out that both he and his girl are
ready to be married, but have nowhere to live. Daddy brags now that he
can find out more without eyes than we all can with, and asked mammy
which of her herbs would suit his case. Mr. Scott is getting very bold
in his attention, and goes about with the young people. Last night he
walked home on the other side of Elinor.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December 2._--It is all settled. Daddy knows how to manage Aunt
Bethiah. Frederic and Lucy are to be published next Sabbath. They are
going to housekeeping in our easterly front-room, and have a bedroom and
one chamber. Another pair of andirons will be put in the kitchen
fireplace, and another crane. Aunt Bethiah is in a great flurry about
her dye-pot, and can't tell where to put it. I remember, the night I was
brought, how mammy made me sit down on it and heat my feet hot.

Lucy has a few things. Frederic's got a little money laid by, and his
folks will see that they have what is comfortable. Daddy is going to
send me to buy half a dozen spoked chairs, painted blue, with flowers on
the backs. Mammy has ordered me to get also a warming-pan.

Aunt Bethiah called me one side this afternoon and asked me, in a
whisper, to buy for them a skillet and a pair of green belluses, with a
sprig of flowers painted on them, and a brass nose. Who'd thought of a
wedding setting her topsy-turvy!

Frederic is happy as a lord. Ever since he had his new clothes he has
stood up at all the weddings, because no other fellow, for miles around,
had a tail-coat. Now he will have a chance to stand up at his own.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December 13._--The schoolmaster called again this evening. He and
Elinor converse well together. He brought me Thomson's "Seasons." He is
a kind, thoughtful man, very entertaining. Told many stories of the
different places where he had kept school. Very accommodating, too; for,
our district being short for money, he has agreed to take his pay in
spinning-wheels.

'T is a pleasure to listen while a man of knowledge talks, but a pain,
afterwards, to feel the difference between us.

Aunt Bethiah was the first one that made me think about learning. "What!
don't know his catechise?" said she. That was the first night I was
brought here.

"Elinor can learn him that," said daddy. And Elinor was much younger
than I. I hope the schoolmaster won't think anything of my telling him
that I wouldn't put him to the trouble of bringing books to me, when I
could just as well go after them.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December 14._--This afternoon, Frederic came running into the barn, and
threw himself down upon the hay, laughing, and rolling over.

"What's the matter," says I.

"O dear," says he, "I've been overhearing Aunt Bethiah exalt Mr. Scott.
She and Elinor were in the unfinished room, and the partition's thin.

"Says she: 'Elinor, I wonder at your being so offish with Mr. Scott.
Now, he's a nice man, and well off, and why don't you like him?'

"'O, he don't bring me nigh boxberries enough,' says Elinor, laughing.

"'Laugh now, and cry by and by,' says Aunt B. 'You'll pick over a
peck-measure and get a bitter apple at last. You are old enough to have
more consideration. There he has got a house all finished off and
furnished, English carpet in the spare room, and yellow chairs up
chamber, brass andirons and fire-tongs, great wheel and little wheel,
rugs braided, quilts quilted, kiverlids wove and counterpanes worked,
sheets and piller-cases all made to your hand. Nothing to do, but step
right into Mrs. Scott's shoes. Cow in the barn and pig in the sty,
cellar all banked up, and knocker on the front door.'

"Elinor laughed so she couldn't speak. I stuffed my mittens into my
mouth, and waited.

"'Besides,' she went on, 'he wouldn't be forever under foot, like most
men, running in and out all day tracking the floor, and wanting to be
waited upon. He eats his breakfast early, goes off with his men to the
woods, and you won't see him from morning to night. Nothing to do but
snug up, and sit down and take comfort.'

"At this, I gave a great shout and run. But," said Frederic, growing
quite serious, "Scott will get her, for all she laughs at him, because
he's in earnest; and I never yet knew a man to be dead set upon having a
girl, that he didn't get her."

And then he capered off, and left me to consider of his doctrine, as
follows:--

"Because he is in earnest." Well, suppose two are in earnest about the
same one. What then? It must depend on the kind, or degree. Captain
Welles says Scott is set as the east wind. Let him be the very east wind
itself, and welcome; and I'll be the sunshine, or a gentle breeze of
May, or the sweet breath of summer. The old fable may come true again.
No doubt, a man should be honest, even to his own diary. So I must put
down here that these pretty words came out of one of the books the
schoolmaster lent me. But the application I made myself.

Afterwards Elinor came out into the barn to find a knitting-core. I mean
to make her one, like a beauty I saw Lucy have. 'T was made of light
wood, painted white, with a wreath of flowers running round it, and
varnished. I shall give it to her on New-Year's Day. What a mean
present! I wish I could give her something grand, something gold.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, December 17._--Mr. Colman preached to-day. I can't deny that
his sermon was good. He showed himself very glad to meet Elinor.
To-morrow he will be over here. He never comes into the place but what
he comes a-visiting at our house.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December 22._--Frederic was married this evening. I was about as happy
as he, for Elinor and I stood up. Lucy would have her for bridesmaid;
and Frederic made her choose who should be bridesman. 'T was three days
ago he told me of it. I was sitting down on the cellar-door, in the
sunshine. He came up and clapped me on the shoulder, and said he:--

"Come, Walter, brush up your best clothes, for Elinor has chosen you to
stand up, and fuss enough she made about it, too. First, she wouldn't
choose anyway. Decided. Then she'd a good deal rather not; then she
begged me to pick one out myself; and at last she hung down her head and
looked sheepish, and jammed the tongs into the ashes, and said, in a
little faint voice, 'I guess I'll have Walter.' Now, you know you're a
handsome chap, and I expect you'll look your best."

'T was a great wedding. Everybody was there. Lucy is a little, pale,
gentle creature. "The lily and the damask rose," I heard the Squire's
wife say to the Squire. Our minister being called away to an ordination,
Mr. Colman stayed and performed the ceremony. He hung about long after
't was time for the minister to leave, and let the young folks enjoy
themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January 1, 18--._--To-day is New-Year's Day, and I gave Elinor the
knitting-core, which I was afterwards sorry I did. She said 't was a
beauty, and tucked it in her apron-string.

Mr. Scott sent her a white merino shawl, with a border of red flowers
and green leaves. Aunt Bethiah thinks 't wasn't bought new, but was one
Mrs. Scott kept laid away, and never wore.

Towards night, the stage-driver brought a small box, very heavy, marked
with Elinor's name. It contained beautiful books, with beautiful
pictures. She read the note which came with them, then looked at me and
blushed.

The box was from Mr. Colman, That present of mine was mean enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

_February 2._--I have been reading in the schoolmaster's books tales
setting forth the sentiment of love and its manifestations, by which it
appeareth that the modest maiden aimeth to conceal her love, appearing
oftentimes cold and unmoved, when the contrary is the case. These are
truly most delightful books, and I do esteem the reading of them a
great privilege.

As I read, I say, Perhaps so doth Elinor. Just so good, and so sweet,
and so fair is Elinor. And at the end I say, And with the same love, I
hope will Elinor love me.

But shall I say, My dear love, take me and poverty? When she asks for
bread, shall I give her a kiss? or for raiment, looks of tenderness? No.
When I speak, it shall be to say, I have everything to make life
comfortable; come, let us enjoy it together.


_April 4._--Captain Welles talks of going to Ohio, with a few others, to
take up land, and wants I should go. This seems a good way to get the
money I want so much; though I should, of course, have to wait a few
years for it. Daddy is anxious to have me do what is for my advantage.
He will have to hire another man to work on the farm; for Frederic can't
leave his trade now.


_April 10._--It is decided that I shall go to Ohio.

They are all sorry to part with me. Elinor says nothing; but there is a
heaviness in her countenance delightful to my soul. This morning she got
a scolding from Aunt Bethiah for putting more sand on the floor, when it
was on new yesterday, and only wanted to be herring-boned.

I shall leave and say nothing.


_April 13._--Last night proved that I have some steadfastness.

After eating dinner at Captain Welles's I took a walk over the hills,
thinking to find some Mayflowers. I had found a few, and was scratching
away the dry leaves, when I heard a rustling quite near me. Then the
bushes parted and showed me a lovely face,--the lovely, rosy face of
Elinor, growing lovelier and rosier every minute. She had come to find
Mayflowers too.

She wanted some very pink ones, and so we went wandering about, down in
deep hollows, where the moss was damp, and by little sheep-paths, and
through the woods, until at last I perceived the sun was setting, and we
had scarcely any flowers.

Upon climbing a tree to discover whereabouts we were, I saw, a little
below us, a scraggly, one-sided cedar-tree, which I knew to be a long
way from home. The Beaver Brook road led directly past it.

We gained that road, walking quickly at first, but afterwards, more
slowly. Daylight left us, and the stars came out. We walked on and on
along the lonely road, walked slow, and scarcely spoke. For my
resolution was taken. Elinor should not be bound by any promises or
confessions. Only, just as we were stepping over the door-sill, I heard
a little sigh, and these few words would blunder out, "When I come back
from the West, I shall--want to tell--" But there I left off, and didn't
go into the house, but walked about the place till nigh midnight.


_Ohio, June 6, 18--._--Two years in the wilderness, and nothing gained.
Gloom gathers around me. No little spot of blue sky can I discover. The
hurricane has destroyed everything. I am sick, weak. O the deathly
chills, the burning fever! O the lonesomeness, the heart-loneliness, of
this dreary place! The lake, the sickening, freshwater lake, I can't
endure. If I could but set foot on the hillside at the old place, and
look out upon the great sea, and draw one long breath! If I could but
stand on White Rock, with the spray dashing over me, and the wind, from
across the broad Atlantic, rushing past! All night I dream of blue,
sparkling waters, where little white-sailed boats are gliding so gently,
gently off from the shore, and away into the distance. If I could but
lay me down in one of these, and so float on and on, no matter where!

Why do I never dream of Elinor? Are we so utterly separated that even in
visions I may not behold her face? What have I done, that God refuses me
all joy? I don't know of being so bad. But I suppose this not knowing
is the very badness itself.

Captain Welles and the others don't show me their letters now. But
haven't we more than five senses? Else how is it I know that in these
letters is the neighborhood talk of her connection with Mr. Colman? She
never mentions it; neither does Frederic. But that is because they have
very kind hearts.

I will drag myself once more over these hills. Better wearisome motion
than wearisome rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 7._--Yesterday I wandered very far away among the hills, knowing
well where I wanted to go, and where I should probably go; but circling
round about as if to hide from myself my own intentions. I knew of
people who had been there, but had never felt heart to go myself. I
crossed a desolate plain, where a fire had passed. Every bush, stump,
and tree was blackened. After this came green hills, with woods and
grape-vines.

On the side of a hill there stood a hut, built up against a mass of
rocks. This hut was what I came to find.

I walked softly up, and looked in at the open door. A dark-looking,
beautiful young girl, with long hair, sat crouching in a corner. Close
by her was a great shaggy dog.

I had heard of the Prophetess, but thought to find a wrinkled old woman,
and this beautiful girl startled me. Startled, but not pleased me; for
there was no young look in her face. Such strange eyes I never saw. 'T
was as if an old person's face had been smoothed and rounded out, and
the expression left there still. By her dress I saw that she was Indian.

The hut was a damp, gloomy place, extending far back into a cavern among
the rocks. She arose and beckoned me to follow her farther in,--farther
from the light and sunshine. There, in half darkness, half light, she
stood, with her terrible eyes fixed upon mine. I longed to step back
into the sunshine, for a chill had half taken hold of me; but some power
kept me standing there,--neither could I turn my eyes from hers.

Presently I became conscious of a drowsiness. Her face, her whole
figure, faded from my sight. Then, in the midst of the darkness, I
perceived a spot of light, which soon took unto itself the semblance of
a hand,--a pale hand, which held a damask rose, seemingly just plucked,
full of fragrance and wet with dew.

While I gazed upon it, I saw that it faded and drooped, till at last its
head hung lifeless upon the stalk. There only remained the pale,
crumpled leaves. I wept at the sight, thinking of my own damask rose so
far away.

But while I wept, the rose revived. A ray of light streamed in from
above. The drooping leaves expanded; their color, even their fragrance,
returned; and it sat upright upon its stalk, a perfect flower, wanting
nothing save the dew-drops.

The vision passed, and after a pause there came strains of mournful
music. O, so mournful, so sad, so hopeless! I seemed to hear in it
groans of the dying. Tears streamed from my eyes; I sobbed like a child.

But after a little the chords were swept by a more joyous hand, and gave
forth a charming melody,--strains ravishing and delightful beyond
description. Again I wept, but now tears of joy. A heavenly rapture
pervaded my whole being.

As the last strain melted away, consciousness returned. I was standing
alone in the damp, chill cavern. The girl, with that same awful look in
her face, was crouching in her corner. I tottered towards the open door,
towards the sunshine, and sank, shivering, upon the ground. The girl
brought me something in a cup to drink,--something dark and fiery. It
put new life in my veins, and strength to my limbs.

       *       *       *       *       *

_August 18._--God be thanked for a sight of the old place once more. I
could hug the very trees. The grass seems too good to walk on.

God be thanked, too, for bringing me once more under the same roof with
Elinor. Captain Welles was right. I could never have survived another
winter at the West.

They were all glad to see me. As I went in, Elinor burst out crying.
Daddy sat shelling beans.

"What are you crying for?" said he.

"Walter has come," she sobbed out.

"And what is that to be crying about?" said he.

But I saw, as he grasped my hand, that he too brushed away a tear.

Frederic and his Lucy cannot do enough for me. He tries to laugh, scold,
tease, and coax me into health. Mammy is steeping up gin and mustard,
which, they say, is a sure cure for the chills. Dearly beloved friends!
They little know how soothingly their kindness falls upon the heart of
the lonely one.

Elinor looks troubled.

They tell me of a great revival here, the like of which was never known.

I miss Aunt Bethiah. She has gone away to visit another sister of hers.

Lucy tells me that Mr. Scott has gone to England to discover his
relatives, and that his going was hastened by a talk he had with Elinor.
Poor fellow! No doubt his heart can ache, as well as other people's.
Lucy says that Elinor was very tender of his feelings when she refused
him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_August 2._--There is to be a four days' meeting here. A great many
ministers are expected from abroad. Some mighty influence is sweeping
over the place. The proud and haughty are bowed low before it. Little
children leave their play, and persuade each other to come to Christ.
They meet to pray and sing, likewise, very solemn hymns.

       *       *       *       *       *

_August 29._--This is the second day. The meeting-house was crowded
full, way up into the galleries and negro seats. Four ministers in the
pulpit, besides others in the front pews, and delegates back of them. It
is wonderful to hear them tell of the workings of the Spirit in their
own churches. The congregation was deeply moved. Many wept. I too feel
my sinfulness. I too would come under this mighty influence, but cannot.
My heart is like a stone within me. With life and warmth all around, I
remain cold and dead.

Elinor rose for prayers. How she can be made any better is what I cannot
understand.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 2._--The meeting is over; but Mr. Colman remains to assist
our minister to gather in the abundant harvest. In a few months, he goes
to India as a missionary. I must say that his departure will add to my
happiness, or at least take from my uneasiness.

Elinor is in great distress, calling herself a monster of iniquity. Mr.
Colman labors with her incessantly. She cannot declare it to be the true
feeling of her heart, that, for the glory of God, she is willing all her
friends should be forever damned.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 4._--Last night was spent, nearly the whole of it, in prayer
and exhortation. I could plainly hear my dear girl sobbing and crying.
Towards morning I heard a shout of joy, and immediately afterwards
Elinor's voice, singing, in rapturous tones,

    "I know that my Redeemer lives."

Then she broke forth into prayer. Her voice rose high and sweet. 'T was
as if she was conversing with the angels around the throne of God. I
trembled lest, in its ecstatic rapture, her soul should burst its
fleshly bonds and soar away.

This afternoon she talked most earnestly with me. Her face was radiant
with the warmth and joy of her heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 21._--Mr. Colman wishes to marry Elinor, and take her with
him to India.

O God, I beseech thee to spare me this great affliction! Remove not my
only joy!

But will she do this? Has there not been, without words, an
understanding between us two?

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 23._--I open my journal on purpose to write down, while I am
calm, that I believe Mr. Colman to be a worthy, sincere man, and truly
anxious for the spread of the Gospel. I wish to set this down, because I
am sensible that at times my jealous feelings have caused me to misjudge
him, and may do so again. He knows nothing of my hopes and fears. He is
not to blame for wishing to brighten his days of exile with the sweetest
face that ever smiled. It is natural, when you see a lovely flower, to
wish to gather it and have it for your own. He does not know the flower
is mine. I speak boldly, but it is only to myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 25._--The Rev. Mr. D----, agent of the Missionary Society,
preached last evening a powerful discourse. What a man he is! His soul
is all on fire! And what language! There was deep silence in the
congregation. They were with him among the heathen. They saw what he had
seen. They heard what he had heard. They felt what he had felt. He
closed with an earnest appeal for fresh laborers in the vineyard. From a
high key he came suddenly down to a low, solemn tone, which suited well
with the agitated state of the audience.

"Beware," said he, "of permitting earthly joys, earthly hopes, earthly
loves, to come in the way of services due to Christ. Souls are perishing
for want of heavenly food, and you withhold it. Thousands, millions, are
on the broad road to destruction, and you refuse to extend a helping
hand. And why? Because you would enjoy a few short years of earthly
happiness. How mean, how worthless, how dearly bought, will appear these
few short years, when, at the judgment-day, the souls of these miserable
wretches shall cry out against you,--'We might have been saved! We might
have been saved!' And still, as the endless ages of eternity roll on,
the cry shall come up to you,--'We might have been saved! We might have
been saved!'"

Elinor was greatly agitated, weeping often. Sitting next her, I could
not help but take her hand in mine, to show my sympathy for her
distress. I fear she will consider it a sacred duty to sacrifice
herself. O, if she were a little, only a little less good! May God
forgive me such a sinful wish! But I love her with an earthly love, and
would not have her an angel, lest she soar away and leave me. Still, if
I love her truly, ought I not to wish for her the highest holiness? For
what shall I wish? For what shall I pray? My mind is perplexed.

I think I will speak to her. She may not have understood my looks, my
actions. Yes, I must speak. My pride is gone. I will say: "Elinor, you
are all the world to me. I am very poor. But don't leave me alone."

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 26._--This morning Frederic came up to me and clapped me on
the shoulder (just in the way he did when he asked me to stand up with
him), and said, in a low voice, "Walter, don't you like Elinor?"

The tears rushed to my eyes; I could not speak.

"Come," said he, "let us walk awhile together." And he took my arm in
his.

It was very early. We walked miles into the woods. I told him
everything.

When I had finished, he said: "Walter, marry Elinor. You must. She shall
not leave us. She loves you better than anybody on earth. I guessed it
before you went away; and while you were gone, I knew it. No matter
about means. You are the same to me as a brother. All the farm shall be
yours. My trade is enough for me. I have some money, too, that you can
borrow, and repay at your leisure. I should have spoken of this long
ago, if I had only known. Why did you keep so close? Ever since you came
back, Lucy and I have watched, and she felt so sure that I ventured to
speak. You must speak before it gets fixed in her mind that it is a
duty to go. For what she thinks she ought to do she will do, and always
would.

"And now," he went on in a lighter tone, for Frederic can never keep
serious long, "now that I have offered you my sister, I hope you won't
reject her. Lucy and I take so much comfort together, just think what a
houseful of happiness there will be when you and Elinor are married!"

"O Frederic," I said, as soon as I could speak, "you are too kind; but I
am afraid I am not worthy. Besides being poor, I am not a Christian, and
I have had but few advantages. And she--she is pure and lovely, and has
a mind that is well informed, and the manners of a lady."

"Well," said he, "you want to be good, don't you? and you want to get
learning?"

"Yes."

"And you love her with all your heart?"

"I do."

"Well. Now, Walter, I tell you what I think. If a man knows his
ignorance and seeks for knowledge, if he feels his badness, and longs
for goodness, and loves with all his heart, he is fit to marry the
king's daughter, and inherit the throne."

       *       *       *       *       *

_September 27._--I went this evening into Lucy's room, and found Elinor
there alone. I sat down near her.

She looked up, with a smile on her face, and said: "I have been wanting
to see you, Walter, and tell you what a glorious path is opened before
me. I believe myself to be a chosen instrument for carrying the Gospel
to the heathen. And Mr. Colman" (this lower) "thinks me worthy to labor
with him in the vineyard."

"And you will marry him?" I asked in a constrained voice.

"Yes," said she, faintly; "I have promised."

I arose and walked many times across the room. When power of speech
came, I said, standing still near her: "Elinor, do you remember, the
night before I went away, I wanted so much to tell you something? Let me
tell it now. But you know. You must have known--you must have seen--I
have been waiting to make myself worth offering. I am almost sure I can
make you happy, and--have thought you loved me--a little. If I could
only hear you say so!"

"Walter," she replied, "I must not seek for happiness. I have loved you,
not a little." Here the bright color spread over her face; for while the
woman spoke, the angel blushed. "I have loved you. O God, sustain me in
this my trial hour!"

This little prayer dropped softly from her lips. I scarce caught the
sound of it. Then she spoke in a firmer tone: "What have I to do with
happiness or unhappiness? The path of duty lies straight before me. And
therein I must walk, though thorns pierce my feet."

"But," I asked, "is it right to marry without--Elinor, do you love Mr.
Colman?"

"With my soul I do. He was with me in the Valley of the Shadow of
Death,--spiritual, not bodily death. With his help I obtained my
heavenly joy. My soul is bound to his. I have loved you, Walter, more
than"--and again came the bright blushes, speaking more sweetly than her
lips--"more than you can ever know. But the greater the love, the
greater the glory of crushing it out. The heavier the cross, the
brighter will be the crown, and with the greater rapture shall I wake
the music of my golden harp through the countless years of eternity.
What is this life? A puff, a breath of air. In it we must prepare for
the real life, which lies beyond. When the heavens are rolled up like a
scroll, what will it avail me that I passed with one whom I loved with
an earthly love this brief existence?"

I prayed for calmness to reason with her, but it was not given me. I sat
down, and bowed my face upon my hands. Elinor knelt, and offered up a
most touching prayer,--beseeching strength for us both. As she
finished, Lucy entered, and I went out without speaking.

It is now past midnight. Frederic has been up to see me. Lucy had a long
talk with Elinor. It is a comfort, and still it is not a comfort, to
know that she spends long solitary hours in self-communion, during which
she strives to crush out the love for me, which, as she tells Lucy,
fills all her heart. She had loved me almost from a child. She pined for
me in my absence, and wept tears of joy at my return.

What a dear comforter is Frederic! He persuades me that before the time
arrives she will grow more calm, and will view all these things
differently. He advises me to be constantly near her, that my hold on
her affections may not be loosened. Did ever man retire to sleep upon
sweeter counsel?

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 5._--How shall I write? What words will express the anguish of
my heart? O, how much of misery one short week may bring! My pen moves
unguided, burning tears blind my eyes. And one week ago it had not
happened. One week ago that pleasant face was still among us. But I
cannot write.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 6._--Since I cannot sleep, let me spend the dragging hours in
writing the sad account. Let me sit face to face with my own misery,
since only misery can I know.

Just one week ago yesterday it was that a man came hurrying through the
place, telling that a ship of war was off Rocky Point Village, and that
the British were expected to land in the night, to burn, steal, and may
be kill. Help was wanted. Every able man prepared himself to hasten to
the spot. Frederic and I got our guns and ammunition ready with all
speed.

Lucy put up for us great stores of provisions. She was pale as ashes,
but said no discouraging word. I rejoiced in the occasion; for, at the
prospect of my life being in peril, Elinor could not hide her
tenderness. "O Walter!" she whispered, as I stooped to say good by, "may
God keep you safe!"

Just as we were stepping out of the house, mammy, all wrapped up in
blankets, came out into the porch,--a thing she had not done before for
years. Laying her hand on Frederic's arm, she said, in a trembling
voice, "Now, Frederic, be sure and not go into any danger."

He laughed, as young folks do always at the fears of their elders, and
then helped her back to her arm-chair.

Rocky Point Village was ten miles off. We were going by water,--that way
being the shortest,--about twenty of us in a little pinky. We kept quite
close to the land, and arrived there about midnight. The moon was just
rising. People were collected from all the villages about. All were
watching out for boats from the ship, but none came, and in the morning
no ship was to be seen, even from the tall steeple. So it proved a false
alarm.

After breakfast, some of the young men proposed going to Pine Island to
eat up our good things, and to fill our baskets with beach-plums. This
took up all the day.

We had to wait for the tide, so that, by the time we hoisted sail, it
was late in the evening. The wind blew fresh, and was dead ahead; and
when we had been an hour or two on our course, there was not one aboard
but would have been glad to feel the solid land beneath his feet. The
little pinky, her sails close reefed, tossed up and down, like an
egg-shell. Black clouds spread over the sky, threatening rain and
tempest.

Then it was that this terrible calamity took place. I was holding by the
rail, comparing in my mind things outward with things internal. The
soul, too, encountered storms and darkness.

All at once I perceived that the boom was swinging over, and sprang to
get out of the way. As I sprang, I heard a cry, and caught sight of a
man pitching headlong into the water.

"Walter! Walter!" That was the cry, and then I knew it to be Frederic,
and took a great leap into the darkness.

I strove to shout, but the water rushed into my mouth and ears, and I
could make no sound. Once more I heard that cry,--"Walter! Walter!"--but
fainter this time, and by it I knew I should never reach him. Still,
when the next wave lifted me high, I gathered all my strength, and
shouted, "Frederic, wait!"

The boat had been lowered, and that shout saved my own worthless life.
But Frederic's was gone forever. O the dreadful words!

They dragged me into the boat, with scarce the breath of life left in
me. The vessel lay to, and boats were kept out till morning. But our
Frederic was seen no more. And he was the very best of us all.

O what a night! I was watched. They would not let me come near the rail.
No doubt there was reason.

I shall never forget the morning. The wind had gone down; the sun rose
bright, and burned into my brain; the waves were to me like live
creatures, dancing and laughing around us. They seemed to say, "We've
had our victim, and are now at peace with mankind. Pass on. Pass on."

As we neared the shore, I made great efforts to be calm; for at home
were those to whom I must say, "Here I am safe, but Frederic is
drowned."

What would they want of me?

It was still early when we landed. I could only creep along the path,
holding on by the fence; for my feet were like leaden weights. My form
bowed itself like an old man's. The fields, the trees, were not green,
but ghastly.

The sumachs prevented my being seen from the house. As I drew near, I
saw Lucy standing at the back door, looking down at the vessel.

Frederic had never left home before, since their marriage. Such a happy
look as there was on her face!

I crept off to a clump of willows, and from there ran down the hill and
across the Little Swamp to the minister's.

They were in the midst of family prayers. All of them started to their
feet, asking what had happened. I had just strength enough to gasp out,
"You must tell them. I can't. Frederic is drowned,"--and then fell down
in a faint.

O what a desolate home is ours! Poor Lucy! Poor heart-broken young
thing!

On that same night a strange thing happened here at home. Mammy could
not be got off to bed. She was anxious, and would sit up. At length,
(this was about midnight,) she leaned her head back, and seemed to fall
into a sleep, so quiet that they could scarce hear her breath. Then a
beautiful smile spread over her face. Her lips moved, and spoke, as they
thought, Frederic's name. She awoke soon after, but has never since that
hour been quite herself,--never seemed conscious of Frederic's loss. She
speaks of him as of one gone a journey. Some talk of her exertions the
night before, of her anxiety, or of a partial stroke. But I think, and
shall always think, that Frederic's angel appeared to her, and, in some
way, deadened her mind to the dreadful suffering his loss would
occasion.

We have sent for Aunt Bethiah. We need her firmness now.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 20._--Elinor is in a strange way. I have never seen her either
weep, or smile, or work, or read, since that terrible day. I must take
back part of that. She does smile, as she sits idle, playing with her
fingers,--smiles and moves her lips like--But I cannot bear to write
what she is like. I will never believe it. She was in a state of
excitement, and this blow has staggered her. But she will recover. God
will not deal with us so hardly.

Mr. Colman is away, making his preparations. He surely will not take
with him this poor, helpless girl.

       *       *       *       *       *

_November 7._--O, he was so good, so lovely!--noble-looking, and in his
very best days. Always was something cheering or lively dropping from
his lips. And to think that the last words he uttered were those cries
of agony from the dark waters,--"Walter! Walter!"

All night I toss among the dreadful waves, with that cry ringing in my
ears; or I strive to clutch at a man's form, as it pitches headlong; or
take again that fearful leap, and, at the shock, wake in horror.

Such a dear friend as he was to me! I remember that last night he came
to my chamber, so kind, so comforting. And what did I ever do for him?
O, if I could only think of anything I ever did for him!

       *       *       *       *       *

_December 12._--The minister talked with me soothingly to-day of the
love of God for his children. I feel to-night willing to trust all to
Him.

Let the worst happen that can happen, I will bow my head in submission.
What matters the few years' sadness of an obscure being? Nothing in the
universe stands affected by my grief. Can I not bear what is mine own?
Still, even Jesus prayed that the cup might pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January 9._--Mr. Colman is in the place. I am sorry. Let me try my
best, I have to hate that man--a little. In my secret thoughts I call
him my enemy. Did he think, because he was a preacher, that he could
pick and choose,--that nothing was too good for him?

I must write down my bad thoughts sometimes. No doubt he is a good man,
after all. But he must not meet Elinor now, not if he were a seraph.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January 10._--He came this afternoon, and I met him at the gate. He
inquired for Elinor. I asked if he would like to see her, and drew him
towards the window of the east room, Lucy's room (Lucy is with her
mother). The shutters of this window were partly open. All the others
were closed.

Elinor was at the farther end of the room. A little light came in from
the window over the kitchen door, or we could hardly have seen her. She
was sitting on a low stool, bending forward a little, her head drooping,
her hands loosely clasped, and oh! so thin, so white, so lifeless, so
like a blighted, wilted flower! What semblance was there of the rosy,
smiling face that had so long brightened the old home?

Once she smiled, and then her lips moved as they do often. He shuddered
at the sight. "She mourns for her brother," said he. "I will go in and
speak to her some words of consolation."

"No, sir," said I. "What you see is not grief, but almost insanity.
Shall I tell you the cause?"

Then I drew him from the house to a wide field near by, and as we walked
talked to him mildly, but with some boldness.

I made known my love for her, and her own confession to Lucy. I made it
plain to him that, in striving against nature, her mind had become
unsettled, and so unable to bear that terrible shock. And, finally, I
implored him not to take away so frail a being to perish among
strangers.

I was surprised that he made no answer. He left me abruptly and walked
towards the minister's. Was he offended?

       *       *       *       *       *

_January 11._--This morning a boy brought a note from Mr. Colman,
requesting me to come and see him. I went as soon as I could leave home.

He came down to the door and asked me up into his chamber. After handing
me a chair, he seated himself at the table, where he remained for some
minutes with his head bowed. When he looked up, I was startled at the
pale and sorrow-stricken look of his face.

"Young man," said he, "I have passed the night in self-examination, and
now I wish to confess that I have deceived myself, injured you, and
destroyed the peace of one precious to us both. In gaining a laborer for
Christ, I hoped also to gain comfort for my own heart. Still," he added,
earnestly, "I was not wholly selfish. I really believed that, under
God, she might become a mighty instrument for good. Who so fitted to
teach the Gospel as the pure-hearted? I hoped to gain her love. She
seemed--there was something in her manner that--but let it pass. I was
walking in a dream. 'T was surely a dream, or I should have known that
such happiness was not for me.

"Love met me once. It was in early youth. As fair, as lovely a being as
God ever made yielded up to me her young heart, and then drooped and
died. Years passed. I never thought to meet love again.

"It was while preaching here that I first saw Elinor. I was struck with
the resemblance to her who once bloomed in just such loveliness. There
was the same purity, the same sweetness, the same dewy freshness. Even
the dress was similar,--the lovely blue and white, harmonizing so well
with that fair beauty.

"My agitation was so great I could scarcely go on with the services.
From that day my dead heart became alive again. Fountains of feeling,
which I had deemed sealed forever, burst forth afresh. I dreamed I
should walk in light, and not in darkness.

"But it is all past. False hopes shall mislead me no more. I will live
solely for the glory of God, since such is His will. Was not that will
made plain to me in my early youth? I have asked His forgiveness, and
now," he added, extending his hand, "I ask yours. She will recover. With
her your life will be blest.

"I will not even bid her farewell. But when health and strength return,
when she is yours and you are hers, will you not sometimes speak
together of me? Shall you be unwilling to cast for a moment a shadow
across the brightness of life, by remembering a lonely man passing his
days in exile, without one flower of love to cheer him?"

He was deeply agitated, and from the first had grown more and more
earnest. I stood like one confounded. A minister of the Gospel was
asking my forgiveness. He whom I had thought proud and haughty was
shedding tears. The moment he humbled himself, I seemed to sink below
him, O so far!

I told him this, and every feeling I had ever had against him. And,
sitting there together, we had a long and friendly talk about Elinor and
Frederic and the old people. Before I left, he handed me a letter
addressed to Elinor, which he requested me, when she should recover, to
give to her.

       *       *       *       *       *

_February 27._--To-day, upon going suddenly into Frederic's room, I
found Elinor there, weeping. This was a welcome sight. She had found in
the drawer a pair of his mittens,--gray, spotted with red; also a little
box which he had given her, and a picture, with "To my sister" written
on the back.

She was crouched upon the floor, with these spread out before her,
weeping bitterly. I raised her up, speaking soothing words, and drew her
towards the window, where the sun shone in, bright and warm.

It was long before she grew calm. I judged it best to say but little.
But O the joy of knowing she is saved!

       *       *       *       *       *

_March 17._--To-day Elinor did many little things for mammy, who is now
very feeble, and requires constant attention. It is long since she has
risen from her bed, and she is for the greater part of the time in a
sleep or stupor. Sometimes she revives a little, and seeing, perhaps,
some neighbors or friends in the room, will say, "Now you must all stay
to tea," or, "Is anybody sick in your neighborhood?" and then drop off
again.

I watched Elinor, as she bent over the bed, with tears in my eyes, but
joy in my heart. When I left the room, she followed me out, and sat down
near me, and whispered, "Let us talk about _him_."

And then we spoke freely of our dear Frederic,--spoke of his noble
heart, of his goodness, of all his pleasant ways. Many little incidents
of his life were remembered.

"Frederic is in heaven," I whispered.

"I know he is," she answered calmly, and as if she knew with a knowledge
not of earth.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April 15._--Elinor has been growing more like herself ever since the
day I found her crying in Frederic's room. She busies herself about the
house, talks cheerfully with her grandfather, and does much for his
comfort. Good old man! He said to me, the other day: "Walter, I am very
wicked. I do not mourn for Frederic. My days here are but few; and I
rejoice to think that, when I pass over the river, he will welcome me to
the other shore. I strive against this happy thought, but it will come.
I wanted to tell somebody of my wicked feelings."

"O, don't talk to me so!" I said, "don't call yourself wicked."

I shall always love Aunt Bethiah, she is so kind to him and to us all.
She loved Frederic dearly, in her way. I have noticed that she never
sets on the table, at meal-times, the things he used to like best.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 9._--All my anxiety about Elinor is gone. The color and the smiles
are coming back to her face, and the light to her eye. She is almost her
old self again. Only, when people have suffered a great deal, some sign
of it will always remain.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 12._--Yesterday, I brought in to her a bunch of wild-roses. She
put them in a tumbler, and carried them into mammy's room. This morning
she came out with her basket. "Let us be children again," she said. "Let
us go for some roses."

So we went over the hills; and, as we passed along the pasture-road, we
found ourselves walking hand in hand.

Every day I think I will ask her to be my wife, and every day I put it
off till another time. The reason is, that I fear to disturb this
pleasant season. I don't know what she thinks about Mr. Colman. She has
never mentioned his name.

There are more ways of telling things than by word of mouth. I set my
love before her in a thousand ways, and she never throws it back upon
me. I shall give her the letter to-morrow.

       *       *       *       *       *

_June 16._--Yesterday, after tea, we sat all together, in mammy's room,
till almost dark. She was in an uneasy way, and daddy calmed her down by
saying hymns to her,--the very ones she used to read to him. Elinor was
making a wreath of oak-leaves for a young girl in the next house, who
was going to have a party. I was picking out for her the fairest leaves,
equal in size. Daddy said his verses in a sing-song way, so that mammy
at last fell quietly asleep, and we spoke to each other softly, so as
not to disturb her.

All at once daddy spoke out; and says he, in a slow, quiet way: "Blind
folks, you know, hear very quick. I do myself, and sometimes even more
than is spoken. For instance, to-night, when Walter says, 'Here is a
beautiful leaf for you,' I can hear, 'I love you with all my heart.' And
when Elinor says, 'And it will just match this one,' I can hear, 'You
can't love me any more than I do you.' Now, children, what are you
waiting for?"

Dear old man! I felt like throwing my arms right about his neck, and
started up for that purpose. But Elinor came first, and so--

"Never mind me," says daddy, "I'm blind, you know."

Whereupon, I explained that Elinor had taken what was meant for him.

And when we grew a little calm he began to plan plans.

And after that we two took a long walk; and neither of us knew whither
we went, or how long we stayed. But during the walk she confessed to me
her belief, that God made the heart, as well as the soul, and would
never require one to be crushed for the sake of the other. She gave me
Mr. Colman's letter. It was as follows:--

[Omitted.]

About one o'clock, I should think it was, that night, something
happened, and, when daylight came, I hardly knew whether it had happened
or not.

I had been lying awake some hours, recalling all my past life,--thinking
over and over again how a poor, friendless boy had reached a great
happiness; and every time I came to the happiness, tears of joy would
fill my eyes, and I could not sleep, and did not wish to.

And while I lay in this blissful state, there came floating upon the air
strains of the most heavenly music. The whole room was filled with
melody. And with the music came the consciousness of its being familiar
to me. Where had I heard those sweet strains before? They grew fainter.
Raising my head, that no note might escape me, I awoke myself from a
sort of trance into which I did not know of having fallen; for I was
sure my eyes had not once been closed.

The last, faint sounds died away. Instantly there flashed upon my mind
the remembrance of that strange music in the Western wilderness.



THE DARWINIAN THEORY.


Great interest has been awakened, of late, by the promulgation of a new
"Theory of Creation"; and non-scientific readers have met with numerous
controversial articles in the journals, magazines, and newspapers of the
day. The name of Darwin, after having been honorably known for a quarter
of a century to the scientists of the world, has become familiar to us
all as that of the author of this new theory. A word has been added to
our vocabulary. "Darwinian" is now a distinctive epithet wherewith to
individualize the new school of thought, and an appellation to designate
its votaries. Notwithstanding the interest which Mr. Darwin's writings
and the replies of his opponents have created, and the constant allusion
to them in publications of all kinds; in spite of the active warfare
they have incited; in spite of the sneers and sarcasms which have been
launched by writers, lecturers, and preachers,--sure means of
advertisement among the people,--few really and thoroughly comprehend
Mr. Darwin's idea. A lecturer, alluding to it lately, says that it will
be worthy of consideration when we see an ape turn into a man; and this
is about the extent, we imagine, to which the great mass of people
understand a theory which has been received as revelation by many of the
first scientific men of the age,--men who have given their lives to
patient, profound, untiring, unimpassioned study of nature, and who rank
among the foremost thinkers of the world.

Leaving the argumentative detail to those whose learning is the only
armory which can supply weapons adequate to the maintenance of the
struggle, let us see if we cannot explain the idea which causes it; nor
consider its verification to lie in the metamorphosis of an ape into a
man.

Darwin's idea is generally conceived to be a new one. This is not
strictly the case. The real foundation was laid long ago. It is the law
of persistent force, acting on the universe. This is as old as Buddha,
and was a dogma of Buddhism. It has been enunciated in some form or
other for ages. But Darwin has infused into it a new vital strength,
has given it new application, has clearly explained its workings, has
been its prophet to the people. To fully understand the history and
progress of the Darwinian theory, we must look back many years, and
trace the influence which theology has had upon the advance of
scientific knowledge.

For centuries the Bible was understood to contain a perfect, exact,
undoubted account of the origin of the world. It was believed by
everybody that the world was made in six days. The very imperfect
acquaintance which the ancients had with geology and physics allowed
them to accept this relation unchallenged. Faith was far stronger than
reason; and, during the long ages in which the Church ruled supreme,
this statement was accepted and implicitly believed by the whole race of
Christians. But as men began to grow more enlightened,--as, one by one,
the secrets of nature were revealed to the students whose desire for
knowledge overbore their tacit acceptance of tradition,--doubts began to
arise as to the possibility of the truth of this long-cherished idea.
When the printing-press came, and enabled these ardent explorers to
communicate freely the results of their studious labors, the leaven of
discredit, thus disseminated, began to work in the mass, and the reason
of men began to rise beneath the superincumbent theological pressure
which had so long weighed upon it. The multitude of facts gathered
together by these careful students became, by and by, so vast, and the
conclusions to which they led so indubitable, that the theologians were
forced, out of simple common-sense, to revise their expoundings of the
sacred writings.

When it was found that the earth was made up of vast depositions of
matter which contained the remains of long-extinct creatures, whose
fragments were buried in solid rocks, once soft, oozy mud; when it was
found that other rocks, hundreds of feet in thickness, were wholly
composed of the imperishable remains of other extinct animals, which
once lived and died and were gathered together in waters which broke
over the very spot where these rocks now rise; when it was found that
untold millions of years were necessary for the formation of one single
group of these rocks, among many equally vast; when it was found that,
in the memory of man, during the lapse of at least five thousand years,
the earth had undergone no appreciable change; when it was found that
the earth was the result of the action of laws existent in matter,--an
upheaving, a washing away, a hardening, a disintegrating through a
period of time beyond the conception of man,--the theologians were
forced to substitute _periods_ for _days_. When the old walls which had
circumscribed man's mind became so crumbled as to allow of egress,
individuals broke through them and revelled in the freedom of
intelligent thought. When these walls were demolished by those who had
themselves erected them, they were leaped, in all directions, by ardent
explorers; and naturalists, no longer restrained by tradition, rushed
upon voyages of discovery into the teeming world before them.

For a while this emancipation exhausted itself in the contemplation of
the physical world, and an inquiry into brute life. Speculations and
theories might riot in a past which was a practical eternity. They had
unlimited space wherein to project, backward, the structure of the
universe. But this long-stretching past was to be peopled only by the
lower orders of animal life. The rocks were found to be filled with
stony remains of animals who perished when the sandstone, which built
old crumbling castles, was sea-shore mud; the chalk hills which bore
them were found to be made up of myriads of little creatures. These
humble representatives of life might be, must be, credited with a remote
antiquity. But man was not an animal. He was a being apart. Although he
was liable to heat and cold, disease and death, although his body was
made of the same materials as the brute's, and was subject to the same
laws of life, he was invested with an individuality which separated him
from them. For a while the old influence of theological rule held even
these venturous explorers to the ancient landmarks of human origin. By
and by, the same impulse which had before led men to examine the proofs
of physical creation induced them to consider the evidence of their own
advent upon earth. Certain Scriptural statements did not appear
reconcilable with each other. Cain went forth and builded a city; and
there were artificers in brass and iron. Now Cain was only one of two
men when he went forth. Whence came the citizens of that early
settlement, and how did they understand the production of brass, a
composite metal? How was it that man always met man wherever he went on
the globe? Five thousand years ago the varied races were known to be
distinct as now, and yet man was formerly said to be but about six
thousand years old. Could one thousand years have produced the changes
then evident, while five thousand succeeding years have scarce altered
these different races? These and many other difficulties led thinkers to
question whether man might not look much farther back into the past for
his origin, and whether the same laws which had governed the birth,
continuance, and distribution of other animals were not always in action
to produce in him kindred results. The old belief, that all men
descended from one man, began to be shaken; and good, honest, faithful
Christians expressed their doubts of the matter. It was surmised that
they were created in numbers. The old idea, that animals were all
created in individual pairs, was found to be incompatible with the
discovery of animal remains, in profusion, in rocks which were mud ages
before any Adam could have existed to give them Hebrew names. Then,
breaking away from the theological bonds, there sprang into active
thought men of far-reaching minds, who began a thorough reconstruction
of the whole theory of creation. The handwriting on the wall was NATURAL
LAW. All creation, man included, was but the result of one undeviating,
unceasing, eternal, all-pervading law, and the state of the universe at
any given moment was the state of evolution which that universe
exhibited. Behind this law was the great inscrutable Spirit-power.

The infinite number of varied, aggregated facts stored up by man's
patient study of this universe are irrelevant here, in a sketch of the
progressive advance of his knowledge of creation. Those who desire to
examine the evidence which has led to this verdict must go over the
records themselves, or accept, out of their own convictions, the result
of the examination. To entirely comprehend the Darwinian idea, one
should be, to a certain extent, familiar with the principles of science.
In other words, he should know more or less of what Darwin knows. He
should be familiar with the general results of man's study in the
different branches of science. He need not be an astronomer, a
physicist, a geologist, a zoölogist, a botanist; but he should have a
general acquaintance with the results of the labors of those who are
such. He should, to a certain extent, understand the workings of Natural
Law.

This is the great battle-ground on which the struggle is now taking
place. The point at issue is, whether the physical changes of the
material world, the introduction, continuance, and variation of
organized beings, are due to the direct, special intervention of Deity,
or whether they are the results of primeval laws, inherent in matter,
and out of whose workings spring the phenomena of nature. The adherents
to the former opinion maintain that the Deity has created all animals
individually, or in individual species, by direct action, apart from
natural forces, and indeed by an interference therewith. The votaries of
the latter deny special creation, and maintain that all animals are,
like the rest of the universe, the results of forces acting through all
time, producing, by their diverse changing influences, the variations
which, as they have widened and strengthened, have resulted in the
difference exhibited among animals. The first is the old traditional
idea, having its foundation in belief, and drawing its support from the
Scriptures. The last is the modern conviction, having its foundation in
reason, and drawing its support from the study of nature. How are these
differences among animate creatures--these wide contrasts of form, size,
and habits--produced, if not by God's special creation? This is the
question which Mr. Darwin and his school of thinkers are seeking to
answer.

Some half a century ago, M. Lamarck, a French naturalist, propounded a
theory which excited the derision of the whole world. He accounted for
these variations by suggesting that, as any special want was felt by an
animal, the body took on that structure which was required to relieve
it. To give a broad illustration: if men needed to fly for the support
of life, wings would gradually grow out from their shoulders. Ridiculous
as this may be, it showed that thinkers were at that time endeavoring to
account, on purely natural grounds, for what they considered natural,
and not supernatural phenomena.

Some twenty years ago, a book made its appearance which startled the
whole reading world, and caused as much dispute as Darwin has since
done. This was "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation." It was
anonymous, and the author has never acknowledged it: to this day he is
unknown. This book was learned and lucid. It was received with delight
by those who were still looking for some explanation of animal origin on
natural grounds; and was derided quite as much as Lamarck's work by the
adherents to the old traditional belief. Scouted by the great majority
of naturalists, who still clung with tenacity to the notions of their
predecessors, stigmatized as atheistic and abominable by theologians, it
was first read with eagerness, and then put aside; and though it went
through many editions, it is now almost forgotten. But this book was the
beginning of Darwinism. It says:--

     "We have seen powerful evidence that the construction of this
     globe and its associates, and, inferentially, that of all the
     other globes in space, was the result, not of any immediate or
     personal exertion on the part of Deity, but of natural laws
     which are expressions of his will. What is to hinder our
     supposing that the organic creation is also the result of
     natural laws, which are in like manner an expression of his
     will?"

Referring to the Deity as the great motive-power of all the universe,
the author says:--

     "To a reasonable mind the Divine attributes must appear, not
     diminished or reduced in any way, by supposing a creation by
     law, but infinitely exalted. It is the narrowest of all views
     of the Deity, and characteristic of a humble class of
     intellects, to suppose him acting constantly in particular ways
     for particular occasions. It, for one thing, greatly detracts
     from his foresight,--the most undeniable of all the attributes
     of Omnipotence. It lowers him towards the level of our own
     humble intellects. Much more worthy of him it surely is to
     suppose that all things have been commissioned by him from the
     first, though neither is he absent from a particle of the
     current of natural affairs in one sense, seeing that the whole
     system is continually supported by his providence.... When all
     is seen to be the result of law, the idea of an Almighty author
     becomes irresistible, for the creation of a law for an endless
     series of phenomena--an act of intelligence above all else we
     can conceive--could have no other imaginable source, and tells,
     moreover, as powerfully for a sustaining as for an originating
     power."

He sums up the hypothesis which he seeks to sustain thus:--

     "I suggest, then, as an hypothesis already countenanced by much
     that is ascertained, and likely to be further sanctioned by
     much that remains to be known, that the first step was _an
     advance, under favor of peculiar circumstances, from the
     simplest forms of being to the next more complicated, and this
     through the medium, of the ordinary process of generation._"

And further:--

     "_That the simplest and most primitive type, under a law to
     which that of like production is subordinate, gave birth to the
     type next above it; that this again produced the next higher,
     and so on to the very highest_, the stages of advance being in
     all cases very small, namely, from one species to another; so
     that the phenomenon has always been of a simple and modest
     character."

In a Sequel which the author wrote, in answer to the numerous attacks
made upon him, he has the following:--

     "The probable fact is, that the modification takes place in an
     offshoot of the original tribe, which has removed into a
     different set of circumstances, these circumstances being the
     cause of the change; thus there is no need to presume that the
     original tribe is at all affected by any such modification."

The author thus supposes that the variations among animals were
periodical and sudden, the results of some peculiar impetus given at
special periods. Later knowledge--the study of nature by the light of
greater experience--has exposed many errors in this work. Its crudities
have been made apparent; but the thought which pervaded it was
intrinsically right. The last passage quoted above foreshadows the more
elaborate speculations of the later philosopher.

In 1859 appeared Darwin's work, "On the Origin of Species, by Means of
Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle
for Life." Like its predecessors, it was a firebrand thrown into the
scientific camp. Like his predecessors, the author drew down obloquy and
anathemas from the clergy, sarcasm and vituperation from the laity, and
a host of replies from writers of all grades. Like his predecessor, the
author of the "Vestiges," he might have said, in the words of Agassiz:--

     "The history of the sciences is present to tell us that there
     are few of the great truths now recognized which have not been
     treated as chimerical and blasphemous before they were
     demonstrated."

Darwin, as he himself tells us in his Preface, spent twenty years in a
patient, laborious study of nature, having special reference to this
topic,--the origin of species. Certain observations made in the course
of his explorations in South America led him to the convictions which
subsequent study only strengthened; and, after having spent years in the
collection of facts bearing upon the subject, he gave his theory to the
world in the volume mentioned, which was merely a digest of the facts.
It is perhaps needless to say, that Charles Darwin is a naturalist of
the highest rank; that he stands among the foremost men of the day as a
clear-minded, trustworthy, accurate, profound thinker.

The Darwinian theory is erected on the primary foundation of a natural
law acting through all time,--a persistent force which is applied to all
creation, immutable, unceasing, eternal; which determined the
revolutions of the igneous vapor out of which worlds were first evolved;
which determines now the color and shape of a rose-bud, the fall of the
summer leaves, the course of a rippling brook, the sparkle of a diamond;
which gives light to the sun and beauty to a woman's eye. It rejects
utterly the idea of special creation, and maintains that the globe, as
it exists to-day with all its myriad inhabitants, is only one phase of
that primeval vapor which by the force of that law has reached its
present state. As a little microscopic egg becomes in time a full-grown,
living, breathing, loving animal by the operation of natural laws which
we term growth, so has the universe, with its denizens, become what it
is by the workings of Natural Law.

The precise process by which sentient existence first became evolved
from inorganic matter seems to be beyond the scrutiny of man. It is so
far without the scope of his experience, his speculation even, that it
is futile to attempt to surmise it; although certain interesting
phenomena have attended the experiments of naturalists, especially those
of Professor Jeffries Wyman. Darwin takes the subject up at the
appearance of animal life, and seeks to work out the causes of the
present variation among animals, and to detect the _modus operandi_ by
which the law of evolution has produced the multiform changes now
apparent. "Natural Selection" is his password into the great workshop of
Nature. The three great agencies at work there are the tendency of all
animals to transmit their peculiarities to their offspring, the tendency
of all animals to vary from their ancestors under varying influences
around them, and the constant changes taking place in their
surroundings. "Natural Selection" are the words chosen to express the
action of animals under these conflicting forces. The power of external
influence upon structure is exhibited in the remarkable results of man's
treatment of plants and animals. The varieties of pears and apples are
of his producing; and the different breeds of domestic animals are the
direct consequences of his influence. The most astonishing instance of
his power is shown in pigeons, which are made, by skilful breeders, to
assume a great variety of shapes, colors, and habits. To what is this
change due? If a rock-pigeon were left to itself, it would produce only
rock-pigeons, unless some new influences were brought to bear by natural
causes. Man gives a rock-pigeon some peculiar food, subjects it to some
peculiar treatment, and the creature begins at once to change; that is,
to accommodate itself to the new circumstances by which it is
surrounded. The plastic nature undergoes an alteration correspondent to
the new state of existence. In a few generations these varieties are
indefinitely multiplied; and then, by crossing these varieties, new ones
are again produced. What is then the state of affairs? We have a series
of birds which, were they discovered in new countries, would be
considered to be new species. They differ in shape and color, in the
number of their vertebræ and ribs, the number of wing and tail feathers,
the number of scales on their toes, and various other anatomical
peculiarities. Here then is proof that animals, when exposed to
influences different from those which surrounded their ancestors, take
on new forms and characteristics. This is man's work. But is not man one
of the many agents in the work of the Great Prime Mover? Let us suppose
that the peculiar circumstances which produced a pouter or a fan-tail
were to remain in force for centuries; would not pouters or fan-tails
continue to procreate, and thus a new species be added to the genus?
What, then, becomes of special creation of every species of animal, if
man in a few years can produce a dozen forms out of one, any one of
which dozen is so distinct as to be deemed a new species, were it
Nature's work and not man's? The fact is thus demonstrated that animals
become varied in accordance with variations in their surroundings. This
simple fact, once substantiated, is the key to the whole subject. Man's
influence ceases when he leaves the animal to itself. But Nature never
leaves the animal to itself. Her changes are slight and slow; but they
never go back. They are permanent, only to be reaffected as the
environment alters. When we consider the incalculable, inconceivable
lapse of time through which organic life has been swayed by the
never-ceasing action of the forces around it, we can imagine what a vast
variety of animal forms may have been evolved from some one primal
ancestor.

Darwin endeavors to explain, in detail, how this differentiation takes
place. The largest or strongest get the best food or the most attractive
females, and then transmit their strength or their peculiarities to
their progeny. These peculiarities are the results of the environment,
and if this shall go on changing in the direction of these
peculiarities, they will increase. Suppose that the climate should
gradually grow colder; the result might be a denser growth of hair.
Those which, by strength or otherwise, chanced to have denser hair than
others, would more readily endure the change, and would transmit the
habit to their young; others less fitted to endure the change would die
out. In a short time the young would be born with the dense hair, as it
is well known that any new habit assumed by animals is exhibited earlier
and earlier in the young, as long as it is a necessity of life. These
variations are never due to one single cause. Organized life is wrought
upon by a wonderfully complex web of influences. Darwin has the
following passage touching the action of vegetable and animal life upon
each other.

"In Staffordshire, on the estate of a relation where I had ample means
of investigation, there was a large and extremely barren heath, which
had never been touched by the hand of man; but several hundred acres of
exactly the same nature had been enclosed twenty-five years previously,
and planted with Scotch fir. The change in the native vegetation of the
planted part of the heath was most remarkable,--more than is generally
seen in passing from one quite different soil to another; not only the
proportional numbers of the heath plants were wholly changed, but twelve
species of plants (not counting grasses and carices) flourished in the
plantations, which could not be found on the heath. The effect on the
insects must have been still greater, for six insectivorous birds were
very common in the plantations which were not to be seen on the heath;
and the heath was frequented by two or three distinct insectivorous
birds. Here we see how potent has been the effect of the introduction of
a single tree, nothing whatever else having been done, with the
exception that the land had been enclosed, so that cattle could not
enter. But how important an element enclosure is, I plainly saw near
Farnham in Surrey. Here there are extensive heaths, with a few clumps of
old Scotch firs on the distant hill-tops; within the last ten years
large spaces have been enclosed, and self-sown firs are now springing up
in multitudes, so close together that all cannot live. When I
ascertained that these young trees had not been sown or planted, I was
so much surprised at their numbers that I went to several points of
view, whence I could examine hundreds of acres of the unenclosed heath,
and, literally, I could not see a single Scotch fir, except the old
planted clumps. But on looking closely between the stems of the heath, I
found multitudes of seedlings and little trees, which had been
perpetually browsed down by the cattle. In one square yard, at a point
some hundred yards distant from one of the old clumps, I counted
thirty-two little trees; and one of them, judging from the rings of
growth, had during twenty-six years tried to raise its head above the
stems of the heath, and had failed. No wonder that, as soon as the land
was enclosed, it became thickly clothed with vigorously growing young
firs. Yet the heath was so barren and so extensive that no one would
ever have imagined that cattle would have so closely and effectually
searched it for food.

"Here we see that cattle absolutely determine the existence of the
Scotch fir; but in several parts of the world insects determine the
existence of cattle. Perhaps Paraguay offers the most curious instance
of this; for here neither cattle nor horses nor dogs have ever run wild,
though they swarm southward and northward in a feral state; and Azara
and Rengger have shown that this is caused by the greater number in
Paraguay of a certain fly, which lays its eggs in the navels of these
animals when first born. The increase of these flies, numerous as they
are, must be habitually checked by some means, probably by birds. Hence
if certain insectivorous birds (whose numbers are probably regulated by
hawks or beasts of prey) were to increase in Paraguay, the flies would
decrease,--then cattle and horses would become feral; and this would
certainly greatly alter (as indeed I have observed in parts of South
America) the vegetation: this, again, would largely affect the insects;
and this, as we just have seen in Staffordshire, the insectivorous
birds, and so onwards in ever-increasing circles of complexity."

In the struggle for life, the strongest live; or, in other words, those
best fitted to live in the environment endure. Animals and plants
produce in vast excess of the possibility of life. A destruction of life
is going on to an almost incredible amount. Were this not the case, the
slowest breeders in existence would soon cover the earth so as to occupy
every inch of space. Darwin reckons that the elephant, the slowest
breeder, if allowed to go on unchecked, and to live his allotted term of
years, would in five centuries produce fifteen millions of elephants
from one pair. If every cod's egg had developed into a full-grown fish,
the whole ocean would, ages ago, have been packed with them, like
herrings in a box. In this destruction, the weaker animals and
plants--those least fitted to thrive under the influences around--become
the prey of others better fitted for the struggle, or die of their own
lack of assimilative force. Thus, through untold ages of shifting
outward circumstances, the plastic forms of organic life have been
remoulded. A little obscure plant, the food of an insect, dies out; the
insect itself, deprived of its food, dies out or migrates; the bird
which fed upon it dies out or migrates; the bird of prey follows the
like course. Migration introduces them to an entirely new state of
existence, temperature, food, and antagonists. The migrating animals are
replaced by others, which likewise experience new surroundings; and thus
the extirpation of a single plant may determine a long series of
changes. Instances of this kind are not uncommon. What must these
changes have been throughout the remote ages which have turned sea-shore
mud into uplifted mountain chains, and sunk long-stretching, sunny hills
into the ocean depths!

Darwin constructs his theory of gradual differentiation on the evidence
thus obtained. He takes a given specific animal form, and supposes that,
owing to some external change in a given locality, it takes on some
correspondent variation. But all of the individuals of the species may
not be likewise affected. The circumstances may alter in one place and
not in another. The result will be two varieties of animal. The variety
goes on increasing in diversity, while the original still continues to
produce its like. By and by the variety, having a greater tendency to
vary, from its having already done so, undergoes a new differentiation,
the difference being, in all cases, slight, and the time between the
periods of maximum change being hundreds, thousands of years. One of the
new varieties may by peculiar circumstances take on a special amplitude
of growth, while the other, peculiarly circumstanced, may be contracted
and dwarfed. One of the original varieties may by this time have
disappeared. The original itself may have disappeared. Thus the
connecting link between the two forms is lost. The more individualized
form may go on accenting its own peculiar characters, and again be
broken into new varieties, some of which may retain the old characters
in circumscribed areas, while others may increase in greater abundance
and occupy a much wider area. The wider the field of life, the more
numerous the differing influences and the more diverse the conditions
the animal must undergo. Thence arise more differentiations. After the
lapse of some millions of ages, these constantly forking growths will
have taken on a diversity to which that of the pouters and fan-tails is
trifling.

Some forms may be less plastic than others, and give way less readily to
the incident forces. These may remain unchanged for a far longer period
than subsequent varieties, and be coexistent with them. Some varieties
may take on a cerebral growth as widely different and as strongly
individualized as frame structure. Man himself is a striking instance.
The Negro, the Malay, the Mongolian, are almost precisely what they were
five thousand years ago. The Bushman, the Hottentot, the Patagonian, and
the Digger Indian are to-day not much above the animals about them;
while the Caucasian has gone on in a wonderful advancement, leaving the
other races in the same state of development in which they were when the
Caucasian was no farther advanced than they. And here is perhaps the
place to allude to the derisive objection to Darwinism, that it makes
man an improved monkey. Darwin's theory certainly gives to both some
vastly remote common ancestor; but it does not maintain the
metamorphosis of one into the other. It does not suppose that man was
once a gorilla. It supposes that from out of some of the
differentiations of some animal form arose the first man-like creature,
and that, gradually changing, like other animal forms, some of the
varieties eventually evolved into apes and orangoutangs, to stop there
and die out like hosts of other forms now extinct. But from some
strongly individualized variety sprang, with more rapid and advancing
growth, the primitive man, who has, under complex influences,
differentiated into the so-called races of mankind. We talk of man as
being something infinitely above all animals. There is a vast difference
between the highest and lowest species of the genus _homo_. Were the
race confined to those lowest species, we imagine that European and
American pride of nature would go before a grievous fall. These
constantly succeeding changes are supposed to have taken place during
the whole time that this earth has been fitted for animal life,--a
period of time so long that the human mind is unable to grasp it.

One objection to this theory, strongly insisted on, is the absence of
any evidence of connecting links between man and the lower animals, or
between the strongly defined demarcations of the animal orders. The
answer to this is, that little is known of the whole earth: much of it
is submerged now that was once above the waters and served for a
dwelling-place for organized beings. A great deal is known of the
sequence of forms which have been unearthed from their stony sepulchres.
The negative evidence is as weighty as the positive. Besides this,
millions of air-breathing animals die, without leaving anything behind
them to mark their existence. Preyed upon by other animals, devoured at
their death by myriads of insects, exposed to the action of destructive
chemical agents, they soon decay, and leave no trace behind. Who ever
finds the dead bodies of the thousands of animals and birds which perish
yearly? Who finds the remains of the familiar creatures which frequent
our woods and meadows? For one which is accidentally buried so as to
resist the destructive forces of air and water, millions are resolved
into their primitive elements, and are annihilated as structural forms.
And yet, because in portions of the vast deposits of rock the remains of
certain ancient forms are discovered, it is asked that the Darwinians
should furnish a perfect progressive sequence of fossils to elucidate
the theory, and prove it beyond dispute. Recent discoveries have brought
to light human remains in caves, where they are associated with bones of
extinct animals. That they are of very ancient origin is beyond
doubt,--older than any civilization, as we understand the term. But even
they are doubtless modern, when we take into consideration the time that
the earth has been as it now is. How many thousands of ages has it taken
the Niagara Falls to cut their way through the solid rock back from
Ontario to Erie? It is highly probable that the earth has been
approximately the same as it now is for many millions of years. Reaching
still farther back into the past, before this state of comparative
quiescence, can we not find adequate time for the gradual succession of
organized beings on this earth, and for the structural differentiations
which have finally resulted in the present position of things? Because
we see one day succeed another with no change in the organic life
around, because the written history of man records no vital change in
his structure, men deny the possibility of antecedent variation. Man's
written history is a thing of to-day. The builders of the Pyramids were
our brothers. The five thousand years which have elapsed since the
cultivated civilization of Egypt are but a day to the previous ages upon
ages of man's existence before that civilization was dreamed of. The
bones of untold myriads of human kind crumbled into dust before Egypt
saw the rudest mud-hut that foreshadowed the temples of her prime.

The imperfectness of the geological record is certainly a great
hindrance to the exact proof of the Darwinian theory, and is a strong
weapon in the hands of its opponents. But while so much of the dim,
remote past is attainable only by inference and deduction, the argument
is decisive for neither side. One weighty argument for the Darwinians is
the general plan upon which animals are constructed. All vertebrates
have the same typical form. Take off the skins from some dozen
air-breathing vertebrates, place the bodies in an upright attitude, and
they are in general structure identical. The position of the head, eyes,
and ears, the neck, the central vertebral column, the fore legs, which
are arms in that position, the pelvis, the hind legs, all bear a close
resemblance. Of course there are material differences; but they are
evidently moulded upon one general plan. If there were a special
creation for each species, why should they all necessarily have a
kindred structure? To be sure the question may be answered, that they
might as well be similar as dissimilar. But how much more in consonance
with the known action of natural laws is it, to suppose that from some
original type these various forms have gradually differentiated into
their present diversity of structure; the original typical plan, the
least variable characteristic, having maintained its individuality,
while the more plastic appendages have been swayed by incident forces.
This will logically and naturally account for the unlikeness, and yet
the resemblance.

The Darwinian theory then is, that Natural Law or Persistent Force,
acting through all time upon the universe, has evolved from certain
primitive organic forms of a very low order of existence the present
diversified races on the earth. It does not stop here. With the eye of
prescience it sees the process going on far into the ages yet to come.
What may be the result in that distant day, finite speculation may not
determine. But the laws which have swayed the world sway it still, and
will sway it forevermore. As in the past they have evolved order out of
disorder, heterogeneous beauty out of homogeneous crudity, progressive
individuality of being and thought out of chaotic vapor, so will they
continue their evolving force through all time, till the boasted
perfectness of this day of ours, perfect because it is our day, will be
as primitive to the later denizens of this globe as the barbarity of the
cave savages is to modern civilization.

A host of noble minds, each in its own peculiar province, is exploring
the vast field of knowledge. Darwin, Spencer, Huxley, Tyndal, Lyell,
Hooker, and many others, are giving their profound thought to the
elucidation of the laws which govern the vast universe of which they are
a part. Their intellects touch the scarce-seen planets; they turn over
the stony pages of earth's autobiography; they anatomize to their
ultimate atoms the structure of its organisms; they use the intelligence
evolved from their own growth to search for the law which has determined
that evolution. And they speak out their convictions manfully and
earnestly. They proclaim what is to them a revelation of truth in the
records which the past and the present offer to their understanding.
Herbert Spencer thus maintains the necessity of the expression of man's
deepest convictions, in a passage instinct with nobleness of thought and
dignity of utterance:--

"Whoever hesitates to utter that which he thinks the highest truth, lest
it should be too much in advance of the time, may reassure himself by
looking at his acts from an impersonal point of view. Let him duly
realize the fact, that opinion is the agency through which character
adapts external arrangements to itself,--that his opinion rightly forms
part of this agency,--is a unit of force, constituting, with other such
units, the general power which works out social changes,--and he will
perceive that he may properly give full utterance to his innermost
conviction, leaving it to produce what effect it may. It is not for
nothing that he has in him these sympathies with some principles and
repugnance to others. He, with all his capacities and aspirations and
beliefs, is not an accident, but a product of the time. He must remember
that, while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the
future; and that his thoughts are as children born to him, which he may
not carelessly let die. He, like every other man, may properly consider
himself as one of the myriad agencies through whom works the Unknown
Cause; and when the Unknown Cause produces in him a certain belief, he
is thereby authorized to profess and act out that belief. For, to render
in their highest sense the words of the poet,

          'Nature is made better by no mean,
    But nature makes that mean: over that art
    Which you say adds to nature, is an art
    That nature makes.'

"Not as adventitious, therefore, will the wise man regard the faith
which is in him. The highest truth he sees he will fearlessly utter;
knowing that, let what may come of it, he is thus playing his right part
in the world,--knowing that, if he can effect the change he aims at,
well: if not, well also, though not _so_ well."



VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE WOMAN QUESTION.


_Diogenes._ Eve did not enter into the original plan; she was an unlucky
afterthought. Listen to Milton:--

                          "O, why did God,
    Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven
    With spirits masculine...?"

You observe that there are no feminine angels in heaven?

_Aristippus._ So much the better for us, if we have them all here.

_Diogenes._ For the same reason, probably, we are told that there will
be neither marrying nor giving in marriage hereafter.

_Aristippus._ Not at all. There will be so many more women in heaven
than men, that any marriage, except of the Mormon kind, would be
impossible.

_Diogenes._

                "O, why did God
                    ... create at last
    This novelty on earth, this fair defect
    Of nature?"

I have always wondered why.

_Aristippus._ You forget that it was Eve who first picked fruit from the
tree of knowledge.

_Diogenes._ The only use she made of it was to get the idea of dress;
and the primeval curse still clings to man, in the shape of milliners'
bills.

_Aristippus._ Nevertheless we ought to be grateful to her for her
enterprising spirit. Whatever her motives may have been, you must admit
that her move was in the right direction. Where would we be now, had the
future of the race been left to Adam alone? And if woman did turn man
out of Paradise, she has done her best ever since to make it up to him.
Every pretty girl one sees is a reminiscence of the garden of Eden.

_Diogenes._

          "This mischief had not then befallen,
    And more that shall befell, innumerable
    Disturbances on earth through female snares."

It was an excellent fancy of the ancients to make woman the incarnation
of original sin,--the tempter and the temptation in one,--a combination
of the apple and the serpent. King David, Herod, and even the terrible
Bluebeard, might have behaved well in a world without women. It is
proverbial that there is no quarrel without a woman in it.

_Aristippus._ Because, as Steele said, there is nothing else worth
quarrelling about.

_Hipparchia._ Admirable! You remind me of the two shepherds in a
pastoral who sing in alternate strains.

    "Be mine your tuneful struggle to deride."

You, Diogenes, should recollect that woman is a fact you cannot get rid
of, and that the only remedy for your complaints is to improve her
condition. And you, Aristippus, like a thousand other sentimental
conservatives, cannot hear the suggestion that woman might do something
more in this world than she is now doing without giving tongue at once:
"Woman's sphere is the home,"--"Woman's mission is to be beautiful, to
cheer, and to elevate." Suppose she has no home, and is old and ugly;
what then? I know nothing more cheering and elevating than intelligence
and efficiency; and I have never heard that either was detrimental to
beauty. Is your ideal a woman who is good for nothing?--

    "Bred only and completed to the taste
    Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
    To dress and troll the tongue and roll the eye"?

_Aristippus._ Not at all. I believe in the old Roman notion, that
woman's domestic honor and chief praise is, _Domi mansit, lanam
fecit_,--with the qualification, that _lanam_ shall not mean
worsted-work. I understand the Scriptural word "helpmeet," as applied to
wife, in the New England sense of "help." She should, above all, be a
creature not too bright and good to know how to prepare and serve up
human nature's daily food. I have never seen without emotion the epitaph
placed by a high legal dignitary in a neighboring State on the tomb of
his first wife:--

    "An excellent woman and a good cook."

And when I hear an able-bodied woman in easy circumstances speak of
housekeeping as too much for her strength, or "too wearing," I set her
down very low on my list of contemptibles, and ask her, mentally, "What
the devil then are you good for?" But you and your friends, Hipparchia,
would make a world all cubes, parallelopipedons, and pyramids,--an
achromatic world, peopled with wise creatures who could demonstrate the
usefulness of all they did, and the economy of the processes by which
they did it. As there is no place in such a world for women as we know
them, you wish to create Eve over again, or rather to call forth a
female Adam. I object. Man cannot live by pure mathematics alone.
Imagination is a faculty of the mind, as much as reason. Now, women are
the imaginative side of the human race; not only imaginative themselves,
but the cause of imagination in others. I like mountains and clouds,
trees, birds, and flowers,--the raw material of poetry; but to me
handsome women are more pleasant than all of them,--they are little
poems ready made. I like their rustling dresses, their bright, graceful
ways, the "flash of swift white feet" in ball-room; even their roguish
airs and childlike affectations. And if some of them do not trim their
souls quite as much as their gowns, or perhaps venture into society with
minds naked to the verge of indecent ignorance, then I say to these,
"Talk to me only with your eyes,"--and they can be more eloquent than
any Demosthenes of your New England Athens. Women are younger than men,
and nearer to nature; they have more animal life and spirits and glee.
Their lively, frolicsome, sunshiny chatter keeps existence from growing
mouldy and stale. We have it on the authority of the wittiest of
Frenchmen, that for the purposes of pleasant, every-day life,
_L'enjouement vaut mieux que l'esprit_. If I wish to discuss a question
of political economy, or of metaphysics, I can go to men; but the art of
talking the men of to-day have lost. They either lecture, dispute, or
twaddle. A Rabbinical story relates that twelve baskets of chit-chat
fell from heaven, and that Eve secured nine while Adam was picking up
the other three. Since then, Eve seems to have obtained possession of
all.

What do you "earnest women" want? You have your own way in everything. I
cannot take up a paper without reading something about lovely, delicate,
refined females; or an item announcing that some ungallant fellow has
been turned out of an omnibus because he would not offer his seat to an
Irish lady, who had probably twice his muscular power and endurance.

_Hipparchia._ Hotel elegance, railway manners, and penny-a-liner
sentiment are alike contemptible. Do you suppose that any sensible
female cares for those second-hand phrases and vulgar civilities? This
deference you boast of is a mere habit, worn threadbare: the feeling has
died out. What does it really amount to, when, in this city, a woman,
even of my age, cannot go alone to an evening lecture or to the theatre
without the risk of an insult? English and French women have more
liberty of action than we have, although the men do not offer them their
seats on every occasion. I had rather take my chance with the crowd at a
hotel ordinary, and have more independence in daily life. The time will
come, I trust, when women will no longer be contented with the few empty
and exaggerated compliments in which men pay them off,--"Angelic
creatures!" "Poet's theme!" and so on,--stuff that springs from what
Diogenes calls the spooney view of women, and only applicable to the
young and handsome,--a very small minority. It is sad to see the
graceless, the "gone-off," and the downright elderly smirk complacently
at a few phrases which are only aimed at them in derision. The others,
too, one would think, ought to care little for adulation that fades away
with their good looks.

The supremacy of woman in this country is like that of the Mikado in
Japan,--a sovereign sacred and irresponsible, but on condition of
sitting still, and leaving the management of affairs, the real business
of life, to others. It is the same theory of government with which the
constitutionalists tormented the late Louis Philippe,--_Le roi régne et
ne gouverne pas_. He was unwilling to accept such a position, and so am
I. I cannot take a pride in insignificance and uselessness, although I
confess with shame that most women do,--the result of which is, that we
have not the kind of influence we ought to have, and that a real,
hearty, genuine respect for women does not exist. In every man's heart
there lurks a mild contempt for us, because of our ignorance of
business, politics, and practical matters generally outside of the
nursery and the milliner's shop. The best of you look upon us and our
doings as grown people look at pretty children and their plays,--with a
good-natured feeling of superiority, and a smile half pleasure and half
pity. The truth is, that men have always despised us, from the earliest
times. At first, we were mere slaves and drudges; then, playthings, if
handsome and lively,--something to be brought on with the wine at a
feast. Chivalry, which in newspaper rhetoric means devotion to women and
respect, knew little of either, when it was alive and vigorous. The
_droits de bottage et de cuissage_ alone are enough to prove that. In
our times, indeed, the savage view of woman as a slave has been softened
by civilization into housekeeper and nurse; but it still lingers in
every man's feelings. Woman's mission in his eyes is simply babies; to
which is superadded the duty of making the father comfortable. But the
high prices of living are teaching people who have never heard of
Malthus or of Mill the necessity of celibacy; and women must find
something else to do than to rock a cradle.

_Diogenes._ Yes, unlimited issues on an insufficient capital lead to
ruin. That ivy clinging to the oak view of the woman question still
finds a place in print; but in practice I think the oaks are getting
rather tired of it They find that the graceful wreaths of the ivy draw
heavily upon their substance, and they would prefer a more
self-sustaining simile.

_Hipparchia._ So much the better. I desire to see females support
themselves.

_Aristippus._ Don't say female again, Hipparchia! I hate the word used
in that sense, as much as Swift hated the word _bowels_. It is a term of
natural history. A mare is a female; so is a cow, and so is a female
dog. It would be curious to analyze the feeling that led euphuistic
donkeys to choose it as a compromise word between lady and woman.

_Hipparchia._ They must have been male donkeys. All the terms of
reproach you apply to us when you forget your chivalry manners, such as
_witch_, _shrew_, _termagant_, _slut_, and so on, were all originally
made by men for men,--at least so Archdeacon Trench tells us. You have
gradually shuffled them off upon us; and worse yet, when you wish to
describe in two words a pompous, prosing, dull-witted man, you call him
an old woman. This is not just. Old women always have some imagination;
and their gossip does not pretend to be the highest wisdom, which makes
a great difference.

_Diogenes._ True! The elderly male fossil of the Silurian age,--the age
of mollusks,--whose _habitat_ is some still-water club, or public
reading-room, where he babbles of the morning's news, is a thousand
times more tiresome than any loquacious elderly lady. We excel in this
as in everything. We beat you at your own weapons. Sewing seems to be
instinctive with women; yet tailors tell me that they are obliged to
give out their best work to men.

_Hipparchia._ Dress and want of method are two radical weaknesses women
must extirpate if they ever hope to rise from their present secondary
position. Their dress is the outward and visible sign of it,--the livery
of their lower condition. Everything about it is absurd, from the
spurious waterfall pinned to the back of their heads down to the train
that sweeps the muddy pavement. Their hair is infested with beads, bits
of lace and of ribbons, or mock jewelry. A bonnet is an epitome of
fag-ends. The poor crazy creatures in the asylum, who pick up any rag,
or wisp of straw, or scrap of tin, they may find, and wear it proudly
upon their frocks, are not a whit more absurd.

_Diogenes._ Women go to and fro like that funny little crab we saw
lately in Aquaria, who adorns his head and shoulders with bits of
sea-weed, or any other stuff within his reach, and paddles about his
tank self-satisfied and ridiculous. Women must and will trim, as spiders
spin webs, and bees make honeycombs. They even trim bathing-dresses: one
would think that nothing could redeem them from their hideousness. But
they obey a law of their being. The special aptitudes of the lower
animals are brought into play when no other reason can be given than the
necessity for discharging an accumulation of the inward energy,--a
saying of the physico-psychologists that is verified in this instance.

_Hipparchia._ A man's raiment is of plain color and of good, strong
material,--ugly if you please, but durable and serviceable; but a woman
puts on textures that cost hundreds of dollars and that a drop of water
may ruin. Then fashions change daily. The bonnet idolized yesterday is
offered up without a sigh if it refuses to adopt the new shape,--cast
into the flames, or thrown to wild Biddies to be worn to pieces.

_Diogenes._ The great M. Comte, with whose works you, Hipparchia, are no
doubt familiar, divides philosophy into the three stages of Theological,
Metaphysical, and Positive. This general theorem he completes by
particular applications,--to costume among others. In this he
distinguishes the three stages of Tattooing (including paint), Frippery,
and Clothes. Man has reached the third stage, he says; woman is in the
second, and not entirely out of the first.

_Hipparchia._ Everything about a woman's dress is uncomfortable.
Everything is pinned on and false. There is nothing real but the trouble
and the expense; and women whose love of appearances exceeds their
incomes must work hard with their own needles. But they undergo it all
without a murmur,--I may say, with pleasure.

_Diogenes._ "For 't is their nature to," as I remarked just now. Women
are compounds of plain-sewing and make-believe, daughters of Sham and of
Hem. I consider dress an epidemic disease,--a moral cholera that
originates in the worst quarters of Paris. Every ship that comes from
those regions is infected with French _trollopism_, and should be
quarantined and fumigated until every trace of the contagious novelty
has been expurgated.

_Hipparchia._ Could a stranger, ignorant of our customs, suppose it
possible that beings capable of reason would habitually go out of a
winter evening less clad by half than during the day? I say nothing of
the propriety or good taste of this fashion. When Eve ate of the apple,
she knew she was naked. I have often thought, as I looked at her dancing
daughters, that another bite would be of service to them: it might open
their eyes to their uncovered condition.

_Diogenes._ Let us put that reform down among those we mean to carry out
last; unless, indeed, the neck of age commits the fault, then, I
confess, I should like to complain to the Board of Health and have the
nuisance abated. There is nothing sadder than to look at dressy old
things, who have reached the frozen latitudes beyond fifty, and who
persist in appearing in the airy costume of the tropics. They appear to
think, as Goldsmith says, that they can conceal their age by exposing
their persons.

_Hipparchia._ Their case is hopeless, I fear: we must teach sounder
ideas on all these subjects to the young.

_Aristippus._ You have tried it already. Did not a wise woman come from
the West preaching to her sisters that one of their lost rights was, to
dress like men? What did Bloomerism amount to? A few forlorn creatures
shortened their petticoats a few inches, adopted most of the ugly in a
man's attire with none of the practical, and retained the follies of a
woman's dress without the taste. Their shoes were neither stouter nor
larger. They wore a thing on their heads more unsightly than a bonnet,
and no better a protection against sun or rain. They made their jackets
and their trouserettes of the same flimsy stuffs as before, and
sprinkled an unusual quantity of incongruous and unsuitable trimmings
over all. Luckily they have disappeared, and now are probably devoting
their energies to some other right that does less violence to woman's
nature. Do you suppose that you will be listened to when you preach from
the text, "Take no thought for your body what ye shall put on"? How many
lady free-thinkers in fashionable doctrines do you know? I see a
superfluous ribbon even in your cap, Hipparchia; and, if I mistake not,
your magisterial skirts are expanded by a wirework cage.

_Diogenes._ Men say knowledge is power; women think dress is power. Look
at a woman who is certain that she is well dressed,--"the correct
thing,"--how she walks along with stately steps, head well up, parasol
held with two fingers at the present, and skirts expanding luxuriantly
behind her,--proud, self-satisfied, conscious of being stared at and
admired. She feels like the just man made perfect,--who knows that he
has done his duty, and that the by-standers also know it and respect him
for it. Dress overgrows and smothers every other feeling in a woman's
heart. Love, marriage, children, religion, the death of friends, are
regarded as affording new and various opportunities for dress. The
becoming is the greatest good. For finery and fashion women risk
comfort, health, life, even reputation. What matter ignorance,
ill-breeding, ill-nature, if she dress well? A camel's-hair shawl, like
charity, will cover a multitude of sins. On the other hand, though she
speak French and German, and understand all onomies and ologies, and the
mysteries of housekeeping, and is treasurer of Dorcas societies,
_crèches_, and dispensaries, and have not style, it profiteth her
nothing. On this great question women never have a misgiving. You may
find creatures so lost as to be castaways from fashion, but they believe
in it. The scepticism of the age has left this subject untouched.

_Hipparchia._ The same amount of thought and labor applied to useful
subjects would make them all that I desire them to be. A thorough reform
in the education of woman is necessary for this. What is their education
now? Even the girls of the richer class get next to none. They are
taught to say "How d' ye do" in two languages, and to irritate the
nervous system of their relations for some hours every day with a
piano,--the most gigantic, useless, and expensive instrument of torture
ever invented. These for serious work. A little drawing, worsted-work,
and catechism are added as accomplishments; and then at eighteen--the
age when a boy really begins his training--their education is completed,
they are told; and they are turned into the world to devote their time
and talents to trimmings, novels, and idle tittle-tattle.

_Aristippus._ There can be no objection to good gossip, or even to a
little scandal, when its teeth have been drawn. If the noblest study of
mankind is man, surely his sayings and doings cannot be improper
subjects for conversation.

_Hipparchia._ Education is not the teaching of this thing or that. It is
the training of the mind for the work of daily life. The few women of
fortune who pride themselves on their cleverness get a parrot-like
acquaintance with the contents of books, enunciate charmingly, and are
very learned on the syntax and spelling of an invitation to dinner; but
of the great topics of the day, political, social, economical,
financial, scientific, mechanical, theological, they are utterly
ignorant and careless. I know some brilliant exceptions, who show what
women might be if they chose.

The consequence of no education, no thought, no practical experiences,
and no real responsibility is, that, whenever moral questions are
disconnected with feeling, a woman's moral standard is lower than a
man's. Truth, rare in both sexes, is very rare in women; not that they
love truth less, but that usually they love exaggeration more,--truth is
so often commonplace and tiresome; they dress it up to hide its
nakedness.

_Aristippus._ What does it matter? We all understand them when they say
"Splendid!" "Shocking!" "Awful!" "Glorious!" in describing a walk or a
tea-party. We believe in the vivacity of their impressions, if not in
the accuracy of the terms they use. And besides, there are many things
pleasant to listen to, even though we know them to be false.

    "When my love swears that she is made of truth,
    I do believe her, though I know she lies."

Women have such a wonderful power of secreting adjectives that they
cannot speak the truth when they try. There is no moral obliquity in the
case. It is psychical incapacity.

_Hipparchia._ Ambition in a man is the resolution to become powerful,
useful, great, rich. A woman means by ambition the desire to shine in
the society she belongs to, or perhaps to work her way into a set she
considers better. And honor and virtue are, I think, used in a different
sense.

_Diogenes._ Yes; the meaning is very much "localized."

_Hipparchia._ I admit that women have caught from the men a little of
the dissatisfied, dyspeptic philosophy of this generation. But the men
do not know what they want, and the ideas of the women are still more
vague. They only know that they would like a change of some kind. Their
imaginations are not contented with the commonplaces of every-day life.
They long for more excitement, and to get it are willing, as Punch has
it,

    "To do or suffer ere they die
    They know not what, they care not why."

But the "mission" must be exotic, meteoric, dazzling. Home missions
present as little attraction as bonnets that do not come from Paris. The
little opportunities for doing good that spring up about their feet are
neglected. I know so many of those gifted, enthusiastic transcendental
natures, at least in their own opinion, who cannot condescend to the
meaner duties of life,--such as being faithful to their husbands, taking
care of their children, and making themselves agreeable to their
relatives.

Then really "earnest" women, who mean to be useful to their
fellow-creatures, often do as much harm as good for the want of
practical sense. Their dear little foundlings all die of measles,
diphtheria, or scarlet-fever. They give their pet paupers a regular
allowance, which supplies them bountifully with tobacco and grog. They
quack pauperism, and increase the malady instead of curing it, because
impulses of weakness miscalled feelings are consulted, instead of the
hard, dry details of eleemosynary science; for science it is,--a branch
of political economy. Benevolence like this is only another form of the
love for excitement. Women will never take the trouble to consider the
principle of things.

_Diogenes._ I have read somewhere a definition of woman,--"An
unreasoning animal that pokes the fire on top."

_Aristippus._ Diogenes was converted to this hopeless condition of
infidelity by a little French treatise, _Le Mal qu'on dit des Femmes_. I
give him over to it. His doctrine, like unwholesome food, carries its
punishment with it. But you, Hipparchia, have pulled woman to pieces for
a purpose; and I should like to know on what practicable principle you
propose to make her over again.

_Hipparchia._ Some one said wittily,--I think it was Mrs. Howe,--"Man
carves his destiny; woman is helped to hers." Women have been kept so
long in this state of dependence, that their characters have become
dwarfed. The thirst for excitement that drives them restless from one
amusement to another, and which finds relief in the extravagances of
dress,--this passionate devotion to the frivolous and the
absurd,--spring from the want of a reasonable employment for mind and
body. My great principle is to exchange their passive condition for an
active one. I would establish schools, where girls may receive a
thorough education, such as is given to boys. In these schools, I should
insist upon mathematical training as earnestly as Plato in his Republic.
Women must be made to feel the magical power that numbers have in
regulating the mind. Once get them really to believe that twice two make
four, and can never make more or less,--once bring them to feel that a
foot always means twelve inches, and that correct measurement is
indispensable, even for seamstresses and cooks,--and the spirit of
accuracy which now passes all their understanding will be with them and
remain with them forever. Next, I should insist that the employments now
monopolized by men should be thrown open to women. Why should we be
excluded from all the well-paid trades and professions? Why should we
not hold office, "commissioned, paid, and uniformed by the state"? Do
you think it fair to limit us to scrubbing and plain-sewing as the only
means of earning a livelihood?

_Aristippus._ I admit that many occupations for which women are
admirably calculated are carried on by men, and I hope that some day a
more manly public opinion will make all such persons as ridiculous as a
male seamstress is now. I do not envy the feelings of men who can
invent, manufacture or sell baby-jumpers, dress elevators, hoop-skirts,
or those cosmetics I see "indorsed by pure and high-toned females." But
when you and your friend seek the positions of "night-patrols or
inspectors of police," you run into ultraism, the parent of all _isms_;
but, luckily a parent like Saturn, who destroys its offspring.

_Hipparchia._ Marriage is now to women what all trades and professions
are to men. Spinsters are supposed to have no chance in life,--neither
liberty of action nor of ideas. Hence, rather than not marry at all, a
woman will marry anybody; and, like Shenstone's Gratia,

    "Choose to attend a monkey here
    Before an ape below."

This prejudice is almost as strong and as absurd as the Mormon notion
that a woman cannot get to heaven unless she is sealed to some saint. It
has driven hundreds of women, who might have been happy single, into a
slavery for life from which there is no relief. A husband, if he find
that the connubial paradise he dreamed of turns out to be the other
place, has the world all before him where to choose; but the lady is
"cabined, cribbed,--confined" possibly: it is in the course of things.
But when new fields of employment are thrown open to women, those who
cannot marry, or who do not wish to marry, will lead useful and pleasant
lives, and cease to be "superfluous existences,--inartistic figures,
crowding the canvas of life without adequate effect." But all our
reforms centre in one great point, on which our eyes are hopefully
fixed,--I mean, the right to vote. Give women a vote, and at once they
will take a direct interest in the business of life. They will have
something to think of, and something to do. It will be the best form of
education. Mr. Lecky, in his interesting, though perhaps rather windy,
"History of Rationalism," has a passage that expresses my opinion and my
hope. "If the suffrage should ever be granted to women, it would
probably, after two or three generations, effect a complete revolution
in their habits of thought, which, by acting upon the first period of
education, would influence the whole course of opinion." Mr. Mill, it is
well known, is warmly in favor of it. He has been abundantly sneered at
in England for this crotchet, as they call it,--although it is not easy
to see why it should be ridiculous for women to vote in a country
governed by a queen.

_Aristippus._ In this I am with you. I have always thought it absurd
that the ignorant Irishman who drives the carriage of a rich widow
should have a voice in the government of the country, and that the
employer, whose money enables him to live, should have none. In Austria,
women who hold real property in their own right have the right to vote.
I would go a step further, and give the suffrage to every independent,
self-supporting widow or single woman. Wives I would exclude,--not from
the fear of adding to the stock subjects of domestic disputation,--the
usual reason given,--but because they are not independent. The same
reason should apply to daughters residing under the paternal roof. And,
in all fairness, I would extend my rule to men. I would make, not a
property, but an independence qualification. A man who lives on a dollar
a day, if he owns it or earns it, should vote; but the son who depends
upon a rich father for support, and the pauper who lives upon public
charity, should not vote. Socially, both are minors. We might even say,
that, financially, both are unweaned. Why should they not be minors
politically? This plan would really be manhood suffrage.

_Hipparchia._ Justice and wisdom are both upon our side. We must
eventually succeed; and then the emancipation of woman will be complete,
and her equality with man established. The resolution passed in our
Convention, "that a just government and a true church are alike opposed
to class and caste, whether the privileged order be feudal baron,
British lord, or American white male," ought to be true, and will be
true at a future day.

_Diogenes._ Vigorously expressed! The feudal baron, indeed, is an
extinct species, and was hardly worth mentioning, unless to adorn your
rhetoric and point your resolution. But let me tell you that the white
male can show an older and a better patent of nobility than the British
lord with whom you associate him. Is it not recorded in Genesis, that
Adam was created first, and Eve from him?--a copy only, you observe; and
a copy never comes up to the original. As Dryden has it:--

    "He to God's image, she to his, was made;
    So farther from the fount the stream at random strayed."

And in the same inspired history we read: "Thy desire shall be to thy
husband, and he shall rule over thee."

_Hipparchia._ Nonsense! I thought that the argument from Scripture had
died out with slavery polemics. You forget that every Eve has not an
Adam. On what ground do you ask a single woman to occupy an inferior
position? I admit that the married may sometimes do so with propriety.

_Aristippus._ On the ground of an inferiority, and of infirmities
absolutely incurable. Between the female man of your theories and the
real male man there is a great gulf you cannot pass over. A negro is a
man,--we can imagine him a brother; but no effort of philanthropic
self-abnegation can work the same miracle for a woman. When you preach
the natural equality of the sexes, you injure your cause. The facts are
too strong and too visible for you. A man can rest his claim to
superiority on brute force, if on nothing else; and force is, after all,
the ultimate basis of all government. I do not mean to underrate the
cleverness of women. The first man was overreached by Eve; and the last
woman will probably turn the head of the laggard who brings up the rear
of the human race. If a wife is only half of the scissors, as Franklin
suggests, she is often the half with the point. But feminine ability is
not of the ruling kind. You dance, for instance, better than men, if the
gymnastic capers of acrobats and tumblers can be called dancing at all;
but you cannot wield a sledge-hammer as vigorously, and your excellent
performances, numerous in literature, rarer in art, and still more rare
in science, seem to me to be mostly of the dancing rather than of the
sledge-hammer order.

But success would be your ruin. If you could establish the complete
equality you long for, your relative inferiority would become so
manifest as to be humiliating. In most of the vocations of men, women
would be as ridiculous, morally, as they are physically in men's
clothes. If a woman is nothing but a smaller man, the savage contempt
for the sex is logical. Place two races together, of which the one is
weaker, less energetic, less pugnacious than the other; and the result
will inevitably be that the strong and the fierce will make the mild and
the feeble do all their hard work. The barbarous ages would return
again. We should sit by, like the Indian, smoking the pipe of laziness,
while you were furnishing us with board, lodging, clothes, and tobacco.
The Amazons, the earliest known advocates of women's rights, saw this
point clearly; and consequently excluded men altogether from their
communities, except at their yearly camp-meetings. Men worship women for
their gentleness, affection, imagination, refinement,--for the fond,
cosey, nestling way they have with them,--for their femininity (in one
awkward word), the contrast and complement to the masculine character.
There is a sex in soul quite as much as in body. In the mythology, no
god falls in love with Minerva. A mannish woman only attracts a feminine
man. A woman's power lies in her petticoats, as Samson's strength lay in
his hair. Cut them off, and you leave her at the mercy of every brutal
Philistine, who now dares not be rude to her because she is sacred. Do
you not see that, instead of gaining something, you will lose all?--sink
into fifth-rate mannikins, with fewer opportunities,--boys in
petticoats?

_Diogenes._ And we be obliged to set our amorous eclogues to the tune of
_Formosus Pastor Corydon_?

_Aristippus._ I might quote a suggestive remark from Pepys's Diary,
namely, that the only female animal which gives a name to both sexes is
the goose. But, seriously, your chances of success are not
brilliant,--at least for the present. There are two kinds of women, both
of them excellent; but almost as distinct as diamonds and black lead,
which are both pure carbon;--one is made to be admired, the other to be
useful. The girl who wakes the poet's sigh is a very different creature
from the girl who makes his soup. You have read of the loves of the
Angels with the daughters of the Antediluvians. I sometimes think that
the diamonds can claim descent from the high-bred race that sprang from
those aristocratic relations. The late Monsieur Balzac, who handled this
subject with ingenuity, was struck by this difference. He divided woman
into two classes: woman, and the female of the order Mammalia, genus
Bimanis, species Homo. In his essays he overlooks altogether the second
class. But in it you must seek your disciples. The heaven-descended
sisters will not go with you. You may try to make them useful and
self-supporting; but you will lose your pains. They have only to show
themselves, to receive the attention and applause that a man of genius
must work a lifetime to earn. Their world is at their feet. Wealth,
power, gratified vanity, are theirs without an effort. Madame de Staël
said she would willingly give all her fame for one season of the reign
of a youthful beauty. She, it is true, was a woman; but David Hume, a
keen observer, and moderate in his statements, noticed that even a
"little miss, dressed in a new gown for a dancing-school ball, receives
as complete enjoyment as the greatest orator who triumphs in the
splendor of his eloquence, while he governs the passions and resolutions
of a numerous assembly." You ask them to give up these pleasures and
these triumphs, and to abdicate their thrones,--to become implements
instead of ornaments, and to help to bring down the high price of labor
in the present scarcity of laborers; and you offer them in exchange the
right to wear trousers, to drive an omnibus, or to wear a policeman's
uniform! Do you think that they will listen to you? No,--not even the
respectable members of the second class. The Cinderellas with no glass
slippers and no protecting fairy might join with you, if they did not
look up to the first class as their rulers and models. They feel
instinctively that the glory of the Angelidæ illuminates even them; and
they all, or almost all, have a faint yet abiding and comforting hope
that some unheard-of miracle, or yet undiscovered cosmetic, may place
them among the blessed.

You cannot, my dear Hipparchia, by any process of teaching, not even by
magazine-articles, make a canary-bird into a useful barn-door fowl. It
will wear yellow feathers, and it will sing and nibble at sugar.



SCARABÆI ED ALTRI.


Down by the sands, where the midland sea surges and draws off its feeble
tides, and the sheltering beaches, the delight of antique mariners,
tempt straying ruminants with their salt herbage, and no voracious
spring-tide floods the beach, I made my first positive acquaintance with
the _Scarabæus pilularius_, and guessed at the mystery of his worship in
those Eastern lands where sand and sun are the rulers, and he their
chief subject. Wonderful in his knowledge of statics and dynamics I
found him; heroic in fight and magnanimous in victory, as ungrudging in
his acceptance of defeat; and altogether a creature of rare and
wonderful instincts.

A line of tracks, so similar to hieroglyphics as to justify an
initiatory reverence in a Cadmian mind, drawn indefinitely across the
smooth-spread yellow sand, led me, curious, to the arena of his
achievements. A dozen similar tracks led from different directions,
converging to a pile of dung, and here half a dozen Scarabæi, of as many
sizes, were cutting and carving, and every now and then another came
buzzing up from the leeward, flying in the eye of the wind, and dropped
heavily on the sand, ready to make one of the busy crowd. I selected as
subject of my observations the largest, a fellow of prodigious
proportions and exemplary industry. He had commenced the excavation of a
mass of the pilulary, making a circular cut downwards, and was half
buried in the fosse which was to isolate a sufficient fragment. Round
and round he went in a perfect arc, cutting deeper and deeper until he
reached the sand below and the separation was complete. He traversed it
to and fro, time after time, to be sure that the cut was direct and
absolute; then, bracing his head against the sand foundation, he began
pushing with his hind legs to move off the selected portion. I thought
to help him, and carefully pushed it with a small reed until it rolled
over on the sand, and he with it, innocuously hoist by his own petard.

Finding himself free on the level sand, he commenced to roll and round
it, kneading the irregularities back and dragging upwards at the same
time with his fore feet, so that in less than a minute after his
liberation he had worked his lump into a close approximation to globular
form, and had started on his voyage; but after a few turns he stopped,
seemed to try the weight of his load, deliberately rolled it back into
its original bed, and then began to excavate another portion, which he
set himself to work into the original ball, which when weighed had been
found wanting. The surface of the latter was thoroughly sanded by its
revolutions, and adhesion was impossible; so he began working the new
material under the coating of sand in so dexterous a way that he quickly
completed the integration, and at the same time restored the globular
form to the whole; then he started anew, to roll it off to its future
depository.

The worst of his mechanical difficulties was overcome; but now began a
series of struggles with Scarabæi unprovided with the objects of
beetling ambition, and whose education seemed to have stopped at the
days when power and possession were words nearer their root and each
other than now,--when to justify piracy you must organize some sort of
government.

I recognized in the deportment of these rovers of the sands another
claim to the reverence of the early ages of human civilization,--another
reason for their canonization by the Egyptians, in whose calendar is
mentioned St. Scarabæus. For the moment any wandering and pilless
Scarabæus met the hero of my story he made an examination of the size
and general perfections of his work, going up the side opposite to that
on which its lawful owner had established his motive power; and, as the
bolus was at least a dozen times the size of its owner, he sometimes
took a considerable ramble before he met that important individual. But
they no sooner met than the tug of war began. They fought like Ajax and
Hector for the dead body of Patroclus. They clenched, wrestled,
struggled, pushed, until the stronger got uppermost, when he employed
all his remaining force to push the other off and keep him down. If
nearly matched, sometimes the under one got a shoulder-lock on his
adversary, and, by an Herculean effort, threw him over his head, and to
a distance of two or three inches across the sand. This usually
terminated the battle, and the whipped Scarabæus made his way off as
rapidly as his legs would carry him. If the Scarabæus in possession
could keep the other off the ball for a few seconds, the latter gave up
the struggle and sought his fortunes on another field.

I had wisely chosen my hero so strong that there was little fear of his
being ousted; so my sympathies were on the winning side. But once he met
his master, and was pitched with terrific violence across the sand,
striking on his head, to his evident stupefaction. When he recovered he
gave up his property without demur, and started for another venture.
Then I, the _deus ex machina_, stepped into the epic, pitched the
usurper three times as far as he had thrown my friend, then rolled the
"apple of discord" directly in the path of its rightful owner, and saw
him commencing his task anew, with unabated energy. A little declivity
stood in his way, and it was a Sysiphus-labor to get beyond it. Time
after time, poising himself squarely and solidly on his head, and
bracing himself after the manner of equestrian performers by his
superior extremities, he walked backwards, pushing the ball before him,
and gingerly meeting the tendency to escape, first on one side, and then
on the other; finally, missing, it rolled down the whole slope, carrying
him in dizzy revolutions with it; but without hesitation he recommenced
his work undiscouraged.

Some I saw who seemed to have partners in their toils,--a smaller,
demurer-looking Scarabæus,--working side by side and in peace with the
greater originator, to get their burden into some quiet spot. What their
relations were, and what they wanted to do with bolus, I don't know, and
doubt if the wisest man in the court of the first of the Pharaohs did.
Whether the Scarabæi are a nation of Amazons, and the hero I had chosen
was a heroine, or whether the lesser partner was a patient waiter for
conjugal content and the fruition of marital hopes, I of course can't
tell. Perhaps Agassiz or Wyman could, but Moses, I am sure, couldn't;
and as what he knew of the _Scarabæus pilularius_ lies behind all he is
to me in connection with my present subject of dissertation, I take the
beetle from the Pharaonic point of view, and, looking over all I know of
the reasons for reverence, and for being cut in stone, I make them
these:--

Firstly, he was a scavenger, and the wise men taught the people to
respect him as a means of preserving the race undiminished. The common
people have always a profound contempt for the beings who do their dirty
work, and contempt with them goes before enmity. In this the Egyptians
would only show that they were a Southern people, and so had much dirty
work to do. And in this connection I must say, that I consider that, an
undeveloped people not being awake to fine distinctions, and being
predisposed to despise everything differing from themselves, we must
attribute all the respect paid the _Scarabæus pilularius_ to the advice
and influence of their wise men, who, so long as they _were_ wise, would
persuade them to protect every useful creature.

Secondly, the mechanical instincts of the _Scarabæus pilularius_ must
have always excited the interest of the geometers and mechanists at a
time when geometry and mechanics were known in their simplest elements
mainly, and considered the marvellous secrets of creation. The absolute
rotundity of the pedifacture of the insect must have seemed the result
of a sense little less than preternatural, to people who were not
accustomed to reason away all recognition of the preternatural. But that
which was wonderful to me, the power of weighing so accurately the load
he was to propel, must have been not a little amazing to them, less
familiar than we have become, through subsequent researches in natural
history, with the powers of the brute creation.

Thirdly, that the _Scarabæus pilularius_ was a soldier and hero was less
noteworthy in those days than in modern times; for then he was no man
who was no soldier, and to be brave was only a human virtue, but was
still marvellous in an insect.

And, if last, not least of the claims of our friend to reverence was the
strange line of hieroglyph he left on the _tabula rasa_ sea-washed, in
column like the message written down an obelisk; and that the most high
priest had no key to the cipher only made it more curious and more
revered.

I do not know that anything so simple ever impressed me more strangely
than the meeting for the first time on the solitary sands of Antium,
amid thoughts of Egypt's queen and her sad loves, this line of curious
figures, sand-written. And who shall say that the original Cadmus was
not our Pilularius? Certainly he left a record of the life he led, and
the journeys he took, long before the first emigration from the
flood-fertilized lands around Thebes-on-Nile carried civilization into
northern lands.

It may have been from this trick of his of writing on the sand that they
took his image for the signet; or perhaps it was only that the broad
under-surface of the stone or smalt of which they made the Scarabæus was
too tempting to be left vacant, and the portable shape and size of the
stone gave it the preference over the images of crocodile or cat. Be
that as it may, it became the form universal for signets, and bore the
monogram or polygram of kings unnumbered and of chiefs unknown, so that
the fictle Scarabæus doubtless carries to-day more strange messages for
us than did the great original to his first observers. Being as ignorant
of what hieroglyphs tell as the man who died when Champollion was born,
I do not venture a conjecture on the significance or value of the
"cartouches" inscribed on the plane surface of the Scarabæus. There can
be no doubt that they were tokens of rank, and mainly bore direct
reference to the history or condition of the wearer, with occasional
mystic sentences, perhaps serving at once as signet and amulet.

My purpose, however, is to treat only of certain artistic relations, and
to me, therefore, the Egyptian Scarabæus is only of value as it leads
to, and is connected with, the Etruscan. The former is utterly
unartistic,--a rude, but tolerably accurate imitation of the _Scarabæus
pilularius_, the specific character being sufficiently developed,--the
whole value of the work, both in its figure and the incisions under it,
being evidently in its significance, and all conditions required of it
being sufficiently answered by intelligibility. This is, indeed,
characteristic of all Egyptian so-called art. It is not art at all, it
is only writing; and the transfer of the Scarabæus from Egypt to Etruria
only forms another evidence of the inevitable antithesis existing
between art and record. The identical types which on the Nile told the
same story age after age, unchanging in their form as in their meaning,
once in the hands of the Etruscan, entered on a course of refinement and
artistic development into objects of beauty; but in this they entirely
lost sight of their original meaning. This is strikingly the case with
the Scarabæus which, under the hands of the Etruscan cutter, lost at
once all specific character. He might be Scarabæus anything: he is not
_pilularius_; and, instead of being made of basalt, porphyry, smalt, and
very rarely of _pietra dura_, as in Egypt, he is engraved in carnelian,
onyx, sardonyx, and all the rare and lovely varieties of _pietra
dura_,--which, being essentially the same, change their names with
their colors,--but mainly in an opaque carnelian, admirably calculated
to show off the beauty of the workmanship. The change from use to
ornament is abrupt, and perceivable in the earliest Etruscan examples,
and proves conclusively to me two disputed points; namely, that the
_Scarabæus pilularius_ and his allied notions came from Egypt to
Etruria, and that the Etruscan and Egyptian races were utterly diverse
in origin and antithetic in intellectual character. The eminent
utilitarianism of the latter leaves no room for purely artistic effort,
while the former literally _non tetiget quod non ornavit_. Even the
pictorial and sculptural representations of the Egyptians were
absolutely subservient to history or worship; but the Etruscans cared so
little for their own history as to leave us almost no inscribed
monuments, though the remains of their taste and skill stand side by
side with what we have of Greek work. They seem, indeed, to have been a
more absolutely artistic people even than the Greeks, in whom art was
exalted by a certain union with intellectual culture, the result of
which was, of course, a larger growth and nobler ideal than the more
ornamental Etrurian mind could attain. This points to an Eastern origin
more in kinship with the Persian than the Greek, and to-day only
illustrated by the Persian ornamentation.

The Scarabæus then, instead of the rude, straightforward representation
of the Egyptian workman, assumes a more elegant form, with elaborate
sculpture of all the insect characteristics, the edges of the wings and
the lines that divide them from the chest being exquisitely beaded and
wrought, and the claws being relieved and modelled with the highest care
and most artistic finish. The form of the image, in fact, generally
resembles more the beautiful green beetle which I have often caught in
the mountains around Rome, than his plebeian and utilitarian cousin, the
_Scarabæus pilularius_. The contour of the stone beneath the Scarabæus
proper is markedly distinguished from the insect portion, and ornamented
with a relieved cornice, more or less elaborate according to the general
finish of the stone. I have one in which this cornice of .073 inch in
width contains an upper and a lower bead and a U moulding of which the
parts are only one fourth the height of the cornice in breadth, and yet
are cut with mathematical regularity and completeness. The bead that
marks the junction of the wings and chest is divided into squares of
.0045 inch in dimension. If this care is given to the less important
part of the stone, what may we not expect from the intaglii which make
the more important objects of the lapidary's work! A stone, three
fourths of an inch in length, contains two full-length figures seated in
conversational attitudes, the extended hand of one of which, with the
thumb and four fingers perfectly defined, is only .063 inch in length.

The great inequality between the power of design and the executive skill
and taste in mere ornamentation in the characteristic Etruscan work is
comparable only to those Eastern products which I have before alluded
to,--the Persian fabrics. The animals are drawn without any regard to
anatomical or optical truth,--foreshortening taken by a royal road, and
grace thrown overboard. The hog is generally shown as flatted out, the
legs appearing two on each side of the body; and the members of all
animals are stowed away with more direct reference to composition of
masses than of animal organisms. I remember one of a horse, in which,
there not being room for the four legs in their natural places, one was
hung up at the side where a vacant space offered itself.

The earliest work seems to be done by a graving process, as if cutting
were by lines; the later is evidently done by the drilling operation now
in use, and the process is much more apparent, especially in the
drill-like terminations. This was probably owing to the use of the
diamond itself for the incision, instead of the steel point and diamond
dust, as in modern times, and to the great difficulty in getting a point
on the implement.

The purely ornamental manner of treating the Scarabæus seems to indicate
that it had neither religious nor historical value. Had the contrary
been the case, we should inevitably have found some artistic quality
sacrificed to their meaning, which is not the case with the intaglio
more than with the insect representation. The subjects include all the
objects known to familiar life, with all the incidents of martial
experience,--horses, chariots, arms,--warriors wounded, defeated, dying,
victorious, struggling. One I remember of a surgeon dressing the wound
of a warrior, who throws up his hands in expression of the pain he
suffers; another, of the Genius of Death coming to Hercules; another
still, of two winged genii burying a warrior; one, of two warriors
dividing the dead body of a third, etc., etc. The style of cutting
gradually changes, probably under the influence of Greek artists,--who
are known to have emigrated to Etruria from Corinth, exiled by their
native tyrants,--and becomes quite Greek in delicacy of finish and grace
of proportion; and the subject becomes almost entirely of Greek history
or mythology,--the heroes of the Trojan war figuring largely.

Some of these are the perfection of intaglio: nothing in the gem-cutting
of the Greeks could be more exquisite and purely beautiful than they are
_as intaglio_. Yet, excellent as is the work, there is an essential
difference between the Etruscan and Greek design, which no similarity of
workmanship will ever conceal,--a difference as radical as that between
Roman and Greek sculpture, and still more marked. The Etruscan, in its
highest artistic development, preserves something of an Oriental fantasy
and want of repose, and invariably falls short of the dignified and
purely imaginative character of the Greek. It makes no exception to this
rule, that there are Etruscan Scarabæi which have purely Greek intaglii,
since we know that there were Greek artists of the highest rank among
those who emigrated to Etruria, and that it was customary for one
workman to make the Scarabæus, and another the incision. But these are
rare, and the trained eye of an artist need not be more puzzled to
determine the Greek or Etruscan character of an intaglio, than to
distinguish a Florentine picture from a Venetian. The difference is
radical,--that between the objective and subjective art,--between an
Indian shawl and a bit of drapery by Paul Veronese.

As to the uses of the Scarabæus, we may be sure that they were at first
intended as signets and mounted as rings in the simple and charming way
of which we find so many examples in the Etruscan tombs, each end of a
gold wire being passed through the perforated Scarabæus, and the
extremities secured by being wound round the wire at the opposite side
of the stone. As soon as they become mere ornaments, a more elaborate
mounting is seen on those worn as rings; and they appear in bracelets,
necklaces, etc., in such profusion and confusion of subject, and style
and date of workmanship, as to show plainly that they had lost all
superstitious value or personal significance, and had become, like
diamonds and pearls, a part of the gold-worker's material.

What the wealth and luxuriousness of those cities, now more deeply
buried than Thebes or Nineveh, must have been, we can only imagine from
the few traditions preserved by Roman historians,--grudging the glory of
rivals so long and masters so often, though finally subjects of the
irresistible force of crescent empire,--and from the gold-work known
after so many centuries of sepulture. We know that Porsenna built
himself a tomb in the solid rock,--a labyrinth whose secret no searchers
of modern times have yet found, though they have burrowed around Clusium
like marmots; and that over this he raised himself a monument,--five
towers of stone, on the top of which was laid a domed platform of brass,
and above this still towers and other brass, and higher yet, towers and
a crowning bronze dome; and that from the edges of all these platforms
hung thousands of bells, rung by the sea-breeze which every midday came
up, and still comes, across the low Etrurian hills, to find the children
she wafted from the land of the Parsee and Chaldee. It is hard to define
a "civilization"; and we talk of the ages of gold and of bronze as if we
knew the history of the whole world and its generations; but to me the
few glimpses I get through the crevices of the ages that hide Etruria,
as the hills of the Black Forest hide the fairies from the German child,
indicate an age more fitting the epithet Golden than any since, and a
nation the like of which, as of the good-folk, we shall see no more on
earth. There were confederation without over-centralization; states side
by side, without mutual hate or subjugation; wealth and power, without
the corruption that destroys nations; and military prowess, without the
unscrupulous ambition that cannot live and let live. They were
instructors of Rome in all that Rome knew of civilization; many times
masters of the imperial city, without ever envying it its existence;
mild conquerors, and just lawgivers; and the City of the Seven Hills
owed to the proximity of her seven Etrurian sisters all her early wisdom
in politics, all her knowledge of the arts which refine and preserve;
and to their love of those arts, and of the peace in which they
flourish, the permission of her existence in those early centuries which
preceded the fall of Veii.

It is not here the place to develop the moral of Etruscan history, or to
investigate the political and social condition of the Etruscan people;
though the links we have of the former, and the glimpses of the latter
seen athwart the prejudices and mortified pride of the Roman historians,
give the subject a fascinating interest. It is said that when the Roman
armies invaded the territory of the northern Etruscan states, and their
commander asked the name of the first city they approached, the
unsuspecting subject of the Lars replied only,--not understanding the
barbarian language,--[Greek: Chaire], "Hail!" and ever since the city
has been known as Cære (and to its present inhabitants as
Cerevetere,--_Cære vetus_). Until the fatal dissension which permitted
the Romans to conquer Veii, the Etruscan states calmly and steadily
repelled all invasion,--rarely, as in the time of Porsenna, turning
aside to retaliate on Rome,--and still pursued their peaceful career,
the sages of Egypt and the artists and poets of Greece giving wisdom and
grace to their daily lives,--their temples the richest, their domestic
life the fairest, their political condition the most prosperous, and
their commerce the widest of all Italy, if not of all Europe.

Of it all, we have only the grave into which art sought to carry an
immortality of its own, and from which religion strove to banish the
drear gloom of the uncertain by surrounding the dead with all the
objects familiar to their daily lives and the incidents which were the
most antagonistic in impression to the darkness and silence to which
they abandoned the beloved ones only when conquest and destruction had
concealed the portals of their tombs, and ancestor and descendant had
yielded to the same oblivion. Among the most interesting tombs at
Tarquinii is one painted round with a wedding feast, the bridegroom
kissing his bride, the wine-cups and garlands, the dance and song with
the timing pipes, in colors fresh and sharp to-day amid the grave-damps,
giving the challenge strangely to the all-destroyer. One much later in
style of decoration has a procession of spirits driven by two
demons,--Dantesque in power and simplicity of conception and evident
faith, but telling a stranger story, in its contrast with the former,
than anything we know in the history of the time,--a change from the
golden to the iron days of Etruria.

The marvellous treasures of these tombs,--though only the few which, by
comparative insignificance or fortunate accident, have escaped the
unintelligent ravage of Roman or of Goth,--are like the scale or bone of
Agassiz's saurian; and a necklace of Scarabæi alternated with the
little pendent fantasies in gold, which we may see in the Campana
collection, is the fragment from which we build Etruria, taking a little
help from the time-defying walls, and a hint from the sarcophagus whose
mutually embracing effigies of the two made one tell that position given
to woman which made Rome what she was after the fraud of Romulus gave to
Romans Etruscan wives.

The Etrurians were the gold-workers of all time. Like shawls of
Cashmere, Greek statuary, Gothic architecture, and Saracenic tracery,
Etruscan gold-work stands absolutely alone,--the result of an artistic
instinct deeper than any rules or any instruction, and therefore not to
be improved or repeated. It is characterized by the most subtile and
lovely use of decorative masses and lines,--not for representation or
imitation, which are not motives to enter into pure ornament, but for
the highest effect of beautiful form and rich color, without giving the
eye or mind any associative or intellectual suggestion. The vice of all
modern ornamentation is, that it insists on mixing natural history with
decoration. It cannot avoid preaching, as fairy stories now-a-days
cannot stop without a moral for good children, and consequently is, like
them, stupid and unreal. The best ornamentation is that which is
farthest from imitation; and that, in gold-work, is the Etruscan. As we
had occasion to say in the preceding pages, the Scarabæus marks the
difference between the moralizing Egyptian mind and the beauty-loving
Etruscan. And if we might point a moral in an article defiant of morals,
it would be in comparing the black, blood-stained history of Egypt with
the fair record of the Larthian people. Beauty is its own moral and its
own redeemer, and a mind that loves it may be corrupted to decay, but
cannot be led into brutality or sunk into obscurity. Of the magnificence
of the living people we can scarcely judge, since all we have now is the
gorgeous array of those who were robed for the eternal rest. Castellani,
in his pamphlet on the antique gold-work (_Dell' Oreficeria Antica,
Discorso di August Castellani_), says: "But the excavations of Etruria
which have preserved, what with pictures, apparel, and fabrics, so many
of the antique sacerdotal ornaments, add almost nothing to the little we
know about the names and uses of them. Micali says that 'the mechanism
of the whole Etruscan government was beyond doubt priestly in its
institutions.' After such a declaration by one of the most accurate
narrators of ancient Italian history, I should scarcely know what to add
to convey an idea of the pomp in which the priestly class of Etruria
lived and robed itself. We can conjecture that the great poitrel in the
Etruscan museum in the Vatican, the two magnificent bridles of the
Campana museum, all the collars of extraordinary size and the large
bullæ of various forms and dimensions which come from the various
collections, and the innumerable vases, pateræ, cups, and goblets of
gold, silver, and bronze found in the sepulchres, were all implements,
furniture, and ornaments devoted to the service of religion. And such a
multitude of objects may give some indication both of the multiplicity
of the mysteries and sacred functions, and of the treasures which must
have been contained in the antique temples, plundered by the barbarians,
and then destroyed by the intolerant zeal of ignorant disciples of a
new, triumphant religion."

What the wealth of the favored Etruscan fanes must have been may be
conjectured from the fact that Dionysius carried from one on the
sea-coast treasures to the amount of $40,000,000.

Of the gold-working, Castellani's restorations and imitations will give
us a tolerable idea, so far as workmanship is concerned, though he
himself confesses to be unable to equal all its qualities. I translate
an interesting passage.

"Having proposed to ourselves, then, to restore as far as we could, and,
so to speak, to renew the antique gold-work, we first set ourselves to
search for the methods which the ancients must have used. It was
observed that in the ornaments of gold all the parts in relief were by
the ancients superimposed; that is to say, prepared separately and then
placed in position by means of soldering or some chemical process, and
not raised by stamping, casting, or chiselling. From this arises,
perhaps, the something spontaneous, the freedom and artistic neglect
which is seen in the works of the ancients, which appear all made by
hands guided by thought, while the moderns impress, I would say, a
certain perfect exactness on the things produced by them, which reveals
the work of mechanical implements, and shows a want of the creative
thought of the artist. Here, then, they sought to find means to compose
and solder together so many pieces of gold of different forms, and of
such minuteness, that, as we have said, it goes to the very extreme.

"We made innumerable experiments, and put in operation successively all
the chemical agents, many metallic alloys, and the most powerful fluxes.
We searched the writings of Pliny, of Theophilus, and of Cellini; the
works of the Indian gold-workers and those of Genoa and of Malta were
studied with all care; in short, there was forgotten no one of those
sources whence we might hope for some hint. Finally, whence least we
expected it came some real assistance.

"Hidden in the highest mountains of the Apennine range is a little town
called St. Angelo in Vado, where are made gold and silver ornaments,
with which the fair mountaineers decorate themselves. Here it appears
that they preserve, at least in part, the oldest traditions of the art
of working in gold and silver; and these workmen,... shut, so to speak,
from all contact with modern things, make crowns of filigree strung with
gilded pearls and ear-rings of that peculiar form which is called the
'navicella,' by such methods as perhaps the antique were made, so that
these jewels resemble not a little those found in the Greek and Etruscan
sepulchres, although for elegance of form and for taste they are far
from equalling them....

"Not long since, when, examining with a lens the Etruscan jewels of our
own collection, I discerned in the zones of the tiny grains (which are
characteristic of the work of these patient artists) certain defects,
such as those which are made in enamel by the melting of the gold. These
observations suggested to me to try a new process, in order to reproduce
this exceedingly fine grain-work, believed hitherto impossible to be
even distantly imitated by modern gold-workers. I immediately commenced
the new experiments, and the results were sufficiently satisfactory to
enable me to say, at present, that the problem is nearly solved which
for almost twenty years has defied us."

And even now Castellani's best grain-work is far from equalling in
delicacy and perfection of workmanship some of the antiques in his own
collection.

Our Scarabæus has got into magnificent company, and modern taste finds
that he deserved it; and certainly, _me judice_, nothing can be more
purely artistic than a fine Scarabæus, and the fascination that comes
over whoever has ventured to dabble in that kind of wares is as
dangerous as the chances of play. Be content with a single one! If you
once get into comparison, you have abandoned yourself to the witchery of
the unknown and unattainable perfection.

Engraved gems or simple intaglios in _pietra dura_ seem to belong to
Greek art rather than Etruscan. The style of finishing the stone was
more in accordance with the simple and elegant ideal of the Greek
intellect. The intaglio was all to the Greek artist, and anything more
was labor worse than wasted. His intaglio ceased to be ornamentation,
and passed into the category of ideal work. And there are intaglii of
Greek workmanship which are as lovely as it is possible to conceive
anything,--all the spirit and perfect proportion of the antique
sculpture concentrated in an oval, an inch by three quarters of an
inch, executed with a delicacy which defies the naked eye to measure it!

A critical study of gems is an affair of years; yet, so far as all
principles of design are concerned or characteristics of art, we may
always consider the intaglii with the sculpture of the same epoch. The
spirit and manner and perfections are the same. The first are, of
course, the Greek; and a fine example is rarely found,--heads only, of
Dioscorides or any equally famous artist, being valued at from $400 to
$800, and even $1200 in the case of the Ariadne. The next in value are
Etruscan, very fine examples being nearly as much esteemed as Greek,
while the best Roman is, like Roman sculpture, but a far-off emulation
in design, though often admirable in execution and finish. Very fine
examples of either are not largely current, being taken up by collectors
and consigned at once to public or private cabinets; but now and then
one turns up, or is turned up by an unenterprising share-holder of the
Campagna of Rome, or by some excavator or vineyard-digger in Sicily,
Magna Græcia, or Greece proper, and, if it gets into commerce, finds its
way generally to Rome, the centre of exchange for classical antiquities.
The Scarabæi are mostly found in the Etruscan tombs, and occasionally
outside the walls of the Etruscan cities,--swept out, may be, with the
antique dust. But there are Roman imitations, made doubtless for some
aristocratic descendant of the mythic Etrurian kings, like Mæcenas,
proud of that remote if subjugated ancestry, and looking wistfully
backward to the Arcadia of which his family traditions only preserved
the record. The Roman lapidaries were not nice workmen, and their
imitations are most palpable.

Then, in the fifteenth century, came other and better lapidaries, and of
better taste, many of whose Scarabæi are of great value, though still
not difficult to distinguish from the Etruscan, when we study the
design. The modern demand for them has produced innumerable impositions
in the shape of copies,--poor Scarabæi retouched to fine ones, still
bearing the marks of antiquity, and others whose under surface, being
originally left blank, is engraved by the hired workmen of the modern
Roman antiquaries, by whom they are sold as guaranteed antiques. This is
the most common and dangerous cheat, and one which the easy conscience
of the Italian merchant regards as perfectly justifiable; for has not
the stone all the aroma of antiquity? A little shade darker in iniquity
is the selling of stones entirely recut from broken larger ones, so
that, though the stone remains identical, the workman puts a new face on
it; and even this the antiquary will sell you as a veritable antique.
Then there is the unmitigated swindle of the pure imitation, oftentimes
so perfect that the most experienced judges are deceived. There is in
fact no absolute certainty in the matter. There are antiques of which no
doubt can be entertained, with characteristics utterly inimitable; but
there are others as certainly antique which have none of these, but,
taken without reference to their _placer_, are not to be distinguished
with absolute certainty. I remember a necklace in the Campana museum,
which, in a large number of unmistakable Scarabæi, had one for which I
would not have paid two scudi on the Piazza Navona, so like the modern
imitations did it look. The only reliable criterion for the majority of
cases is the spirit of the design in the intaglio. Castellani says:
"Antique Etruscan, Greek, or Roman Scarabæi are at present very rare,
and their high price tempts the moderns to counterfeit them. And to such
a perfection have they carried their business that it is with difficulty
the best-trained eye can discover the fraud. It is not the stone, not
the polish, nor even the incision, but a peculiar smoothness and
_morbidezza_, which distinguishes the antique; and which only they who
for many years have studied such kinds of work, or who, either in the
way of trade or otherwise, have seen and handled many of the gems, are
able to perceive."

A friend in Rome came to me one day with a request that I would go with
him to see a Scarabæus which he had taken a fancy to, and had engaged to
buy if it were counted genuine by good judges. It was a superb stone, a
deep carnelian, nearly opaque, exquisitely elaborated, and with an
intaglio which I doubt not was Greek. It was the most beautiful one I
had ever seen, and I gave my opinion, such as it was, in favor of its
antiquity. It was purchased, and afterwards shown to a well-known
dealer, by whom it was pronounced a cheat; and on inquiry it was
discovered that the seller had had a copy made of the original, and,
while he offered the latter for sale, delivered the former, which was so
carefully and perfectly copied as to puzzle the eye even of the
best-instructed amateur.

A merchant of antiquities with whom I have occasional dealings--we will
call him A. because that is not his initial--brought me one day a large
intaglio, which had the appearance of an archaic Etruscan work. A. is
known as one of the _piu cognoscenti_ of Rome; and his dictum is worth
any other two. He declared it an original antique of the rarest quality;
and Odelli, the best gem-cutter in Rome, coincided in the opinion. He
held it at two thousand francs, but would have sold it to me for
eighteen hundred, I suppose. I didn't bite, and after a few weeks lured
the collector of whom he had bought it--one of those who make it a
business to haunt the markets, and visit distant cities and excavations,
to purchase and sell again to the Roman antiquaries--to boast his
prowess as compared with that of A., who had bitten him severely
several times in their dealings; and, in the full tide of his
self-glorification, I turned the conversation on the black agate, now
become famous among the dealers. He could not resist the temptation, and
told me all about it. "A. believes it to be antique, don't he?" "O, he
is certain of it," said I. "Well, I'll tell you how it is: I bought the
thing of the man who made it, and paid him three scudi for it. I took it
to A. and offered it to him for six; but he refused it, thinking it to
be a paste. I took it away again, and, having had it tested as a stone,
offered it to him for twenty. After examining it and keeping it a few
days, he offered me twelve. I said no,--eighteen. _He_ said no. I said
sixteen, and he offered me fourteen, which I took. The fact is," said
he, "no one is able to say for certain if a stone is antique or not. A.
has the best judgment in Rome, but you see how he is deceived." I bought
of the same man a small engraved emerald, which he had just purchased of
a peasant, and, without much examination, sold me for one scudo, as a
basso-impero of ordinary quality. My eyes were better, and had seen, in
what he thought a handful of flowers, a cross; and on cleaning it we
found it to be an early Christian stone of much greater value than he
supposed, to his great chagrin.

If the perfections of our Scarabæus give us a glimpse of Etruscan
existence, we may perhaps gather from the gems some notion of what Rome
was, beyond what historians have written, or the ruins of her palaces
and tombs have shown. The quantity of intaglii alone, such as they are,
which are dug up in the gardens and vineyards around Rome every year, is
incredible to one who has not watched day by day the acquisitions of the
antiquity shops, and the stalls of the Piazza Navona. Very few of them
are of any artistic value; but the fact that so many were made use of is
a marvel in itself, and implies a greater luxury than marble palaces
even hint at. I one day remarked to a peasant who brought me some
intaglii to sell, that the ancients must have worn a great many rings;
and he replied, that in his country the richer people wore so many that
they had to hold their hands up to keep them from falling off. On
inquiry I found that he came from the Abruzzi, where it seems that the
people still hold on to something of the antique customs; for we know
that the Romans began the fashion of covering the fingers to that
extravagant degree, so that the number of rings possessed by a family of
great wealth must have been almost inestimable. At every irruption of
the barbarians, the villas that covered the Campagna for miles around
Rome must have felt the first fury of their ravages; and as the stones
contained in the ornaments were of no use to the plunderers, they were
broken out and thrown away, many of them to be uncovered, more than a
thousand years later, by the spade of the trencher in the vineyards. One
of a number of peasants playing at bowls in one of the roads near Rome
struck with his ball a point of hardened mud, which flew in pieces,
disclosing an exquisite intaglio head of Nero in carnelian, in perfect
condition, for which the finder received ten scudi.

The laborers in the fields have so far learned the value of the stones
they find, that it becomes almost impossible anywhere in the vicinity of
Rome to buy them of the finders, even at the most extravagant prices.
Unable to distinguish in quality, and knowing that certain stones have
brought such and such prices, they refuse to sell any for a smaller
price, but retain them until the next _festa_, when they carry them in
succession to all the _mercanti di pietre_ in Rome, to see which will
offer the highest price,--a kind of vendue which evinces greater
trade-cleverness than the Italians get credit for, and which has the
effect of bringing the dealers at once to their best terms. No matter
what price you offer, they never accept it until they have tried the
value it has for others. It is only when a stone has such great value
that it justifies paying a price passing the imagination of the peasant,
that the buyer can profit by buying from the first hand.

Of the finer kind of intaglii, there is little danger of buying
counterfeits, since the art of gem-cutting is too low now to permit of
such counterfeits as might be mistaken for first-rate antiques. Of the
common kind, again, there are those which, cut with a certain
conventionalism in design and a facility in execution which incessant
repetition only can produce, cannot be imitated except at a cost utterly
beyond their market value. Like the designs on the Etruscan vases, their
main excellence is, that, being so good, they should be done so
facilely. An imitator loses the rapidity and spirit of execution. The
mass of imitations are of things only tolerably good, and of things
whose characteristics are in the execution merely, as in the Roman and
conventional Etruscan work.

I will close with one bit of advice to my readers. If your fancy finds
any satisfaction in _Scarabæi ed altri_, let your acquisition stop with
the first example,--take a sample brick from antiquity. If you once
commence collecting them in ever so small a way, or with any excuse to
your own pocket, you will find yourself subject to a fascination more
irresistible than the love of money,--more absorbing than the search for
the philosopher's stone. While you are in Rome, you will find yourself
unable to keep your feet from ways that lead to the antiquaries, or your
money out of the hands of a class (with two or three exceptions) of
cheats. You will find the extravagances of one day coming to be the
niggardness of the next; and feverish anxieties lest you should not
succeed in getting this gem, and irritating regrets that you too soon
bought that, will divide your tortured soul. And when you finally leave
Rome, as you must some day, you will always harbor a small canker-worm
of immitigable grief, that you did not purchase one stone you saw and
thought too high-priced; and will pass thenceforward no curiosity-shop
without looking in the windows a moment, in the hope of finding some gem
strayed away into parts where no man knows its value. If you feel in you
the capacity of loving them, let them alone.



MIANTOWONA.


    Long ere the Pale Face
    Crossed the Great Water,
    Miantowona
    Passed, with her beauty,
    Into a legend
    Pure as a wild-flower
    Found in a broken
    Ledge by the sea-side.

    Let us revere them,--
    These wildwood legends,
    Born of the camp-fire!
    Let them be handed
    Down to our children,--
    Richest of heirlooms!
    No land may claim them:
    They are ours only,
    Like our grand rivers,
    Like our vast prairies,
    Like our dead heroes!

    In the pine-forest,
    Guarded by shadows,
    Lieth the haunted
    Pond of the Red Men.
    Ringed by the emerald
    Mountains, it lies there
    Like an untarnished
    Buckler of silver,
    Dropped in that valley
    By the Great Spirit!
    Weird are the figures
    Traced on its margins,--
    Vine-work and leaf-work,
    Knots of sword-grasses,
    Moonlight and starlight,
    Clouds scudding northward!
    Sometimes an eagle
    Flutters across it;
    Sometimes a single
    Star on its bosom
    Nestles till morning.

    Far in the ages,
    Miantowona,
    Rose of the Hurons,
    Came to these waters.
    Where the dank greensward
    Slopes to the pebbles,
    Miantowona
    Sat in her anguish.
    Ice to her maidens,
    Ice to the chieftains,
    Fire to her lover!
    Here he had won her,
    Here they had parted,
    Here could her tears flow.

    With unwet eyelash,
    Miantowona
    Nursed her old father,
    Oldest of Hurons,
    Soothed his complainings,
    Smiled when he chid her
    Vaguely for nothing,--
    He was so weak now,
    Like a shrunk cedar
    White with the hoar-frost
    Sometimes she gently
    Linked arms with maidens,
    Joined in their dances:
    Not with her people,
    Not in the wigwam,
    Wept for her lover.

    Ah! who was like him?
    Fleet as an arrow,
    Strong as a bison,
    Lithe as a panther,
    Soft as the south-wind,
    Who was like Wawah?
    There is one other
    Stronger and fleeter,
    Bearing no wampum,
    Wearing no war-paint,
    Ruler of councils,
    Chief of the war-path,--
    Who can gainsay him,
    Who can defy him?
    His is the lightning,
    His is the whirlwind.
    Let us be humble,
    We are but ashes,--
    'T is the Great Spirit!

    Ever at nightfall
    Miantowona
    Strayed from the lodges,
    Passed through the shadows
    Into the forest:
    There by the pond-side
    Spread her black tresses
    Over her forehead.
    Sad is the loon's cry
    Heard in the twilight;
    Sad is the night-wind,
    Moaning and moaning;
    Sadder the stifled
    Sob of a widow!

    Low on the pebbles
    Murmured the water:
    Often she fancied
    It was young Wawah
    Playing the reed-flute.
    Sometimes a dry branch
    Snapped in the forest:
    Then she rose, startled,
    Ruddy as sunrise,
    Warm for his coming!
    But when he came not,
    Back through the darkness,
    Half broken-hearted,
    Miantowona
    Went to her people.

    When an old oak dies,
    First 't is the tree-tops,
    Then the low branches,
    Then the gaunt stem goes:
    So fell Tawanda,
    Oldest of Hurons,
    Chief of the chieftains.

    Miantowona
    Wept not, but softly
    Closed the sad eyelids;
    With her own fingers
    Fastened the deer-skin
    Over his shoulders;
    Then laid beside him
    Ash-bow and arrows,
    Pipe-bowl and wampum,
    Dried corn and bear-meat,--
    All that was needful
    On the long journey.
    Thus old Tawanda
    Went to the hunting
    Grounds of the Red Man.

    Then, as the dirges
    Rose from the village,
    Miantowona
    Stole from the mourners,
    Stole through the cornfields,
    Passed like a phantom
    Into the shadows
    Through the pine-forest.

    One who had watched her--
    It was Nahoho,
    Loving her vainly--
    Saw, as she passed him,
    That in her features
    Made his stout heart quail.
    He could but follow.
    Quick were her footsteps,
    Light as a snow-flake,
    Leaving no traces
    On the white clover.

    Like a trained runner,
    Winner of prizes,
    Into the woodlands
    Plunged the young chieftain.
    Once he abruptly
    Halted, and listened;
    Then he sped forward
    Faster and faster
    Toward the bright water.
    Breathless he reached it.
    Why did he crouch then,
    Stark as a statue?
    What did he see there
    Could so appall him?
    Only a circle
    Swiftly expanding,
    Fading before him;
    But, as he watched it,
    Up from the centre,
    Slowly, superbly
    Rose a Pond-Lily.

    One cry of wonder,
    Shrill as the loon's call,
    Rang through the forest,
    Startling the silence,
    Startling the mourners
    Chanting the death-song.
    Forth from the village,
    Flocking together
    Came all the Hurons,--
    Striplings and warriors,
    Maidens and old men,
    Squaws with pappooses.

    No word was spoken:
    There stood the Hurons
    On the dank greensward,
    With their swart faces
    Bowed in the twilight.
    What did they see there?
    Only a Lily
    Rocked on the azure
    Breast of the water.

    Then they turned sadly
    Each to the other,
    Tenderly murmuring,
    "Miantowona!"
    Soft as the dew falls
    Down through the midnight,
    Cleaving the starlight,
    Echo repeated,
    "Miantowona!"



PASSAGES FROM HAWTHORNE'S NOTE-BOOKS.


X.

Sunday, _April 9_, 1843.--....After finishing my record in the journal,
I sat a long time in grandmother's chair, thinking of many things.... My
spirits were at a lower ebb than they ever descend to when I am not
alone; nevertheless, neither was I absolutely sad. Many times I wound
and rewound Mr. Thoreau's little musical box; but certainly its peculiar
sweetness had evaporated, and I am pretty sure that I should throw it
out of the window were I doomed to hear it long and often. It has not an
infinite soul. When it was almost as dark as the moonlight would let it
be, I lighted the lamp, and went on with Tieck's tale, slowly and
painfully, often wishing for help in my difficulties. At last I
determined to learn a little about pronouns and verbs before proceeding
further, and so took up the phrase-book, with which I was commendably
busy, when, at about a quarter to nine, came a knock at my study-door,
and, behold, there was Molly with a letter! How she came by it I did not
ask, being content to suppose it was brought by a heavenly messenger. I
had not expected a letter; and what a comfort it was to me in my
loneliness and sombreness! I called Molly to take her note (enclosed),
which she received with a face of delight as broad and bright as the
kitchen fire. Then I read, and re-read, and re-re-read, and quadruply,
quintuply, and sextuply re-read my epistle, until I had it all by heart,
and then continued to re-read it for the sake of the penmanship. Then I
took up the phrase-book again; but could not study, and so bathed and
retired, it being now not far from ten o'clock. I lay awake a good deal
in the night, but saw no ghost.

I arose about seven, and found that the upper part of my nose, and the
region round about, was grievously discolored; and at the angle of the
left eye there is a great spot of almost black purple, and a broad
streak of the same hue semicircling beneath either eye, while green,
yellow, and orange overspread the circumjacent country. It looks not
unlike a gorgeous sunset, throwing its splendor over the heaven of my
countenance. It will behoove me to show myself as little as possible;
else people will think I have fought a pitched battle.... The Devil take
the stick of wood! What had I done, that it should bemaul me so?
However, there is no pain, though, I think, a very slight affection of
the eyes.

This forenoon I began to write, and caught an idea by the skirts, which
I intend to hold fast, though it struggles to get free. As it was not
ready to be put upon paper, however, I took up the Dial, and finished
reading the article on Mr. Alcott. It is not very satisfactory, and it
has not taught me much. Then I read Margaret's article on Canova, which
is good. About this time the dinner-bell rang, and I went down without
much alacrity, though with a good appetite enough.... It was in the
angle of my _right_ eye, not my left, that the blackest purple was
collected. But they both look like the very Devil.

_Half past five o'clock._--After writing the above,... I again set to
work on Tieck's tale, and worried through several pages; and then, at
half past four, threw open one of the western windows of my study, and
sallied forth to take the sunshine. I went down through the orchard to
the river-side. The orchard-path is still deeply covered with snow; and
so is the whole visible universe, except streaks upon the hillsides, and
spots in the sunny hollows, where the brown earth peeps through. The
river, which a few days ago was entirely imprisoned, has now broken its
fetters; but a tract of ice extended across from near the foot of the
monument to the abutment of the old bridge, and looked so solid that I
supposed it would yet remain for a day or two. Large cakes and masses of
ice came floating down the current, which, though not very violent,
hurried along at a much swifter pace than the ordinary one of our
sluggish river-god. These ice-masses, when they struck the barrier of
ice above mentioned, acted upon it like a battering-ram, and were
themselves forced high out of the water, or sometimes carried beneath
the main sheet of ice. At last, down the stream came an immense mass of
ice, and, striking the barrier about at its centre, it gave way, and the
whole was swept onward together, leaving the river entirely free, with
only here and there a cake of ice floating quietly along. The great
accumulation, in its downward course, hit against a tree that stood in
mid-current, and caused it to quiver like a reed; and it swept quite
over the shrubbery that bordered what, in summer-time, is the river's
bank, but which is now nearly the centre of the stream. Our river in its
present state has quite a noble breadth. The little hillock which formed
the abutment of the old bridge is now an island with its tuft of trees.
Along the hither shore a row of trees stand up to their knees, and the
smaller ones to their middles, in the water; and afar off, on the
surface of the stream, we see tufts of bushes emerging, thrusting up
their heads, as it were, to breathe. The water comes over the stone
wall, and encroaches several yards on the boundaries of our orchard.
[Here the supper-bell rang.] If our boat were in good order, I should
now set forth on voyages of discovery, and visit nooks on the borders of
the meadows, which by and by will be a mile or two from the water's
edge. But she is in very bad condition, full of water, and, doubtless,
as leaky as a sieve.

On coming from supper, I found that little Puss had established herself
in the study, probably with intent to pass the night here. She now lies
on the footstool between my feet, purring most obstreperously. The day
of my wife's departure, she came to me, talking with the greatest
earnestness; but whether it was to condole with me on my loss, or to
demand my redoubled care for herself, I could not well make out. As
Puss now constitutes a third part of the family, this mention of her
will not appear amiss. How Molly employs herself, I know not. Once in a
while, I hear a door slam like a thunder-clap; but she never shows her
face, nor speaks a word, unless to announce a visitor or deliver a
letter. This day, on my part, will have been spent without exchanging a
syllable with any human being, unless something unforeseen should yet
call for the exercise of speech before bedtime.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, April 10._--I sat till eight o'clock, meditating upon this
world and the next,... and sometimes dimly shaping out scenes of a tale.
Then betook myself to the German phrase-book. Ah! these are but dreary
evenings. The lamp would not brighten my spirits, though it was duly
filled.... This forenoon was spent in scribbling, by no means to my
satisfaction, until past eleven, when I went to the village. Nothing in
our box at the post-office. I read during the customary hour, or more,
at the Athenæum, and returned without saying a word to mortal. I
gathered from some conversation that I heard, that a son of Adam is to
be buried this afternoon from the meeting-house; but the name of the
deceased escaped me. It is no great matter, so it be but written in the
Book of Life.

My variegated face looks somewhat more human to-day; though I was
unaffectedly ashamed to meet anybody's gaze, and therefore turned my
back or my shoulder as much as possible upon the world. At dinner,
behold an immense joint of roast veal! I would willingly have had some
assistance in the discussion of this great piece of calf. I am ashamed
to eat alone; it becomes the mere gratification of animal appetite,--the
tribute which we are compelled to pay to our grosser nature; whereas in
the company of another it is refined and moralized and spiritualized;
and over our earthly victuals (or rather _vittles_, for the former is a
very foolish mode of spelling),--over our earthly vittles is diffused a
sauce of lofty and gentle thoughts, and tough meat is mollified with
tender feelings. But oh! these solitary meals are the dismallest part of
my present experience. When the company rose from table, they all, in my
single person, ascended to the study, and employed themselves in reading
the article on Oregon in the Democratic Review. Then they plodded onward
in the rugged and bewildering depths of Tieck's tale until five o'clock,
when, with one accord, they went out to split wood. This has been a gray
day, with now and then a sprinkling of snow-flakes through the air....
To-day no more than yesterday have I spoken a word to mortal.... It is
now sunset, and I must meditate till dark.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April 11._--I meditated accordingly, but without any very wonderful
result. Then at eight o'clock bothered myself till after nine with this
eternal tale of Tieck. The forenoon was spent in scribbling; but at
eleven o'clock my thoughts ceased to flow,--indeed, their current has
been wofully interrupted all along,--so I threw down my pen, and set out
on the daily journey to the village. Horrible walking! I wasted the
customary hour at the Athenæum, and returned home, if home it may now be
called. Till dinner-time I labored on Tieck's tale, and resumed that
agreeable employment after the banquet.

Just when I was at the point of choking with a huge German word, Molly
announced Mr. Thoreau. He wished to take a row in the boat, for the last
time, perhaps, before he leaves Concord. So we emptied the water out of
her, and set forth on our voyage. She leaks, but not more than she did
in the autumn. We rowed to the foot of the hill which borders the North
Branch, and there landed, and climbed the moist and snowy hillside for
the sake of the prospect. Looking down the river, it might well have
been mistaken for an arm of the sea, so broad is now its swollen tide;
and I could have fancied that, beyond one other headland, the mighty
ocean would outspread itself before the eye. On our return we boarded a
large cake of ice, which was floating down the river, and were borne by
it directly to our own landing-place, with the boat towing behind.

Parting with Mr. Thoreau I spent half an hour in chopping wood, when
Molly informed me that Mr. Emerson wished to see me. He had brought a
letter of Ellery Channing, written in a style of very pleasant humor.
This being read and discussed, together with a few other matters, he
took his leave, since which I have been attending to my journalizing
duty; and thus this record is brought down to the present moment.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April 25._--Spring is advancing, sometimes with sunny days, and
sometimes, as is the case now, with chill, moist, sullen ones. There is
an influence in the season that makes it almost impossible for me to
bring my mind down to literary employment; perhaps because several
months' pretty constant work has exhausted that species of
energy,--perhaps because in spring it is more natural to labor actively
than to think. But my impulse now is to be idle altogether,--to lie in
the sun, or wander about and look at the revival of Nature from her
deathlike slumber, or to be borne down the current of the river in my
boat. If I had wings, I would gladly fly; yet would prefer to be wafted
along by a breeze, sometimes alighting on a patch of green grass, then
gently whirled away to a still sunnier spot.... O, how blest should I be
were there nothing to do! Then I would watch every inch and hair's
breadth of the progress of the season; and not a leaf should put itself
forth, in the vicinity of our old mansion, without my noting it. But
now, with the burden of a continual task upon me, I have not freedom of
mind to make such observations. I merely see what is going on in a very
general way. The snow, which, two or three weeks ago, covered hill and
valley, is now diminished to one or two solitary specks in the visible
landscape; though doubtless there are still heaps of it in the shady
places in the woods. There have been no violent rains to carry it off:
it has diminished gradually, inch by inch, and day after day; and I
observed, along the roadside, that the green blades of grass had
sometimes sprouted on the very edge of the snowdrift, the moment that
the earth was uncovered.

The pastures and grass-fields have not yet a general effect of green;
nor have they that cheerless brown tint which they wear in later autumn,
when vegetation has entirely ceased. There is now a suspicion of
verdure,--the faint shadow of it,--but not the warm reality. Sometimes,
in a happy exposure,--there is one such tract across the river, the
carefully cultivated mowing-field, in front of an old red
homestead,--such patches of land wear a beautiful and tender green,
which no other season will equal; because, let the grass be green as it
may hereafter, it will not be so set off by surrounding barrenness. The
trees in our orchard, and elsewhere, have as yet no leaves; yet to the
most careless eye they appear full of life and vegetable blood. It seems
as if, by one magic touch, they might instantaneously put forth all
their foliage, and the wind, which now sighs through their naked
branches, might all at once find itself impeded by innumerable leaves.
This sudden development would be scarcely more wonderful than the gleam
of verdure which often brightens, in a moment, as it were, along the
slope of a bank or roadside. It is like a gleam of sunlight. Just now it
was brown, like the rest of the scenery: look again, and there is an
apparition of green grass. The Spring, no doubt, comes onward with
fleeter footsteps, because Winter has lingered so long that, at best,
she can hardly retrieve half the allotted term of her reign.

The river, this season, has encroached farther on the land than it has
been known to do for twenty years past. It has formed along its course
a succession of lakes, with a current through the midst. My boat has
lain at the bottom of the orchard, in very convenient proximity to the
house. It has borne me over stone fences; and, a few days ago, Ellery
Channing and I passed through two rails into the great northern road,
along which we paddled for some distance. The trees have a singular
appearance in the midst of waters. The curtailment of their trunks quite
destroys the proportions of the whole tree; and we become conscious of a
regularity and propriety in the forms of Nature, by the effect of this
abbreviation. The waters are now subsiding, but gradually. Islands
become annexed to the mainland, and other islands emerge from the flood,
and will soon, likewise, be connected with the continent. We have seen
on a small scale the process of the deluge, and can now witness that of
the reappearance of the earth.

Crows visited us long before the snow was off. They seem mostly to have
departed now, or else to have betaken themselves to remote depths of the
woods, which they haunt all summer long. Ducks came in great numbers,
and many sportsmen went in pursuit of them, along the river; but they
also have disappeared. Gulls come up from seaward, and soar high
overhead, flapping their broad wings in the upper sunshine. They are
among the most picturesque birds that I am acquainted with; indeed,
quite the most so, because the manner of their flight makes them almost
stationary parts of the landscape. The imagination has time to rest upon
them; they have not flitted away in a moment. You go up among the
clouds, and lay hold of these soaring gulls, and repose with them upon
the sustaining atmosphere. The smaller birds,--the birds that build
their nests in our trees, and sing for us at morning-red,--I will not
describe.... But I must mention the great companies of blackbirds--more
than the famous "four-and-twenty" who were baked in a pie--that
congregate on the tops of contiguous trees, and vociferate with all the
clamor of a turbulent political meeting. Politics must certainly be the
subject of such a tumultuous debate; but still there is a melody in each
individual utterance, and a harmony in the general effect. Mr. Thoreau
tells me that these noisy assemblages consist of three different species
of blackbirds; but I forget the other two. Robins have been long among
us, and swallows have more recently arrived.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April 26._--Here is another misty day, muffling the sun. The lilac
shrubs under my study-window are almost in leaf. In two or three days
more, I may put forth my hand and pluck a green bough. These lilacs
appear to be very aged, and have lost the luxuriant foliage of their
prime. Old age has a singular aspect in lilacs, rose-bushes, and other
ornamental shrubs. It seems as if such things, as they grow only for
beauty, ought to flourish in immortal youth, or at least to die before
their decrepitude. They are trees of Paradise, and therefore not
naturally subject to decay; but have lost their birthright by being
transplanted hither. There is a kind of ludicrous unfitness in the idea
of a venerable rose-bush; and there is something analogous to this in
human life. Persons who can only be graceful and ornamental--who can
give the world nothing but flowers--should die young, and never be seen
with gray hairs and wrinkles, any more than the flower-shrubs with mossy
bark and scanty foliage, like the lilacs under my window. Not that
beauty is not worthy of immortality. Nothing else, indeed, is worthy of
it; and thence, perhaps, the sense of impropriety when we see it
triumphed over by time. Apple-trees, on the other hand, grow old without
reproach. Let them live as long as they may, and contort themselves in
whatever fashion they please, they are still respectable, even if they
afford us only an apple or two in a season, or none at all. Human
flower-shrubs, if they will grow old on earth, should, beside their
lovely blossoms, bear some kind of fruit that will satisfy earthly
appetites; else men will not be satisfied that the moss should gather on
them.

Winter and Spring are now struggling for the mastery in my study; and I
yield somewhat to each, and wholly to neither. The window is open, and
there is a fire in the stove. The day when the window is first thrown
open should be an epoch in the year; but I have forgotten to record it.
Seventy or eighty springs have visited this old house; and sixty of them
found old Dr. Ripley here,--not always old, it is true, but gradually
getting wrinkles and gray hairs, and looking more and more the picture
of winter. But he was no flower-shrub, but one of those fruit-trees or
timber-trees that acquire a grace with their old age. Last Spring found
this house solitary for the first time since it was built; and now again
she peeps into our open windows and finds new faces here....

It is remarkable how much uncleanness winter brings with it, or leaves
behind it.... The yard, garden, and avenue, which should be my
department, require a great amount of labor. The avenue is strewed with
withered leaves,--the whole crop, apparently, of last year,--some of
which are now raked into heaps; and we intend to make a bonfire of
them.... There are quantities of decayed branches, which one tempest
after another has flung down, black and rotten. In the garden are the
old cabbages which we did not think worth gathering last autumn, and the
dry bean-vines, and the withered stalks of the asparagus-bed; in short,
all the wrecks of the departed year,--its mouldering relics, its dry
bones. It is a pity that the world cannot be made over anew every
spring. Then, in the yard, there are the piles of firewood, which I
ought to have sawed and thrown into the shed long since, but which will
cumber the earth, I fear, till June, at least. Quantities of chips are
strewn about, and on removing them we find the yellow stalks of grass
sprouting underneath. Nature does her best to beautify this disarray.
The grass springs up most industriously, especially in sheltered and
sunny angles of the buildings, or round the door-steps,--a locality
which seems particularly favorable to its growth; for it is already high
enough to bend over and wave in the wind. I was surprised to observe
that some weeds (especially a plant that stains the fingers with its
yellow juice) had lived, and retained their freshness and sap as
perfectly as in summer, through all the frosts and snows of last winter.
I saw them, the last green thing, in the autumn; and here they are
again, the first in the spring.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Thursday, April 27._--I took a walk into the fields, and round our
opposite hill, yesterday noon, but made no very remarkable observation.
The frogs have begun their concerts, though not as yet with a full
choir. I found no violets nor anemones, nor anything in the likeness of
a flower, though I looked carefully along the shelter of the stone
walls, and in all spots apparently propitious. I ascended the hill, and
had a wide prospect of a swollen river, extending around me in a
semicircle of three or four miles, and rendering the view much finer
than in summer, had there only been foliage. It seemed like the
formation of a new world; for islands were everywhere emerging, and
capes extending forth into the flood; and these tracts, which were thus
won from the watery empire, were among the greenest in the landscape.
The moment the deluge leaves them, Nature asserts them to be her
property, by covering them with verdure; or perhaps the grass had been
growing under the water. On the hill-top where I stood, the grass had
scarcely begun to sprout; and I observed that even those places which
looked greenest in the distance were but scantily grass-covered when I
actually reached them. It was hope that painted them so bright.

Last evening we saw a bright light on the river, betokening that a
boat's party were engaged in spearing fish. It looked like a descended
star,--like red Mars,--and, as the water was perfectly smooth, its gleam
was reflected downward into the depths. It is a very picturesque sight.
In the deep quiet of the night I suddenly heard the light and lively
note of a bird from a neighboring tree,--a real song, such as those
which greet the purple dawn, or mingle with the yellow sunshine. What
could the little bird mean by pouring it forth at midnight? Probably the
note gushed out from the midst of a dream, in which he fancied himself
in Paradise with his mate; and, suddenly awaking, he found he was on a
cold, leafless bough, with a New England mist penetrating through his
feathers. That was a sad exchange of imagination for reality; but if he
found his mate beside him, all was well.

This is another misty morning, ungenial in aspect, but kinder than it
looks; for it paints the hills and valleys with a richer brush than the
sunshine could. There is more verdure now than when I looked out of the
window an hour ago. The willow-tree opposite my study-window is ready to
put forth its leaves. There are some objections to willows. It is not a
dry and cleanly tree; it impresses me with an association of sliminess;
and no trees, I think, are perfectly satisfactory, which have not a firm
and hard texture of trunk and branches. But the willow is almost the
earliest to put forth its leaves, and the last to scatter them on the
ground; and during the whole winter its yellow twigs give it a sunny
aspect, which is not without a cheering influence in a proper point of
view. Our old house would lose much were this willow to be cut down,
with its golden crown over the roof in winter, and its heap of summer
verdure. The present Mr. Ripley planted it, fifty years ago, or
thereabouts.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, June 2._--Last night there came a frost, which has done great
damage to my garden. The beans have suffered very much, although,
luckily, not more than half that I planted have come up. The squashes,
both summer and winter, appear to be almost killed. As to the other
vegetables, there is little mischief done,--the potatoes not being yet
above ground, except two or three; and the peas and corn are of a
hardier nature. It is sad that Nature will so sport with us poor
mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her; and then, when
we are entirely in her power, striking us to the heart. Our summer
commences at the latter end of June, and terminates somewhere about the
first of August. There are certainly not more than six weeks of the
whole year when a frost may be deemed anything remarkable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, June 23._--Summer has come at last,--the longest days, with
blazing sunshine, and fervid heat. Yesterday glowed like molten brass.
Last night was the most uncomfortably and unsleepably sultry that we
have experienced since our residence in Concord; and to-day it scorches
again. I have a sort of enjoyment in these seven times heated furnaces
of midsummer, even though they make me droop like a thirsty plant. The
sunshine can scarcely be too burning for my taste; but I am no enemy to
summer-showers. Could I only have the freedom to be perfectly idle
now,--no duty to fulfil, no mental or physical labor to perform,--I
should be as happy as a squash, and much in the same mode; but the
necessity of keeping my brain at work eats into my comfort, as the
squash-bugs do into the heart of the vines. I keep myself uneasy and
produce little, and almost nothing that is worth producing.

The garden looks well now: the potatoes flourish; the early corn waves
in the wind; the squashes, both for summer and winter use, are more
forward, I suspect, than those of any of my neighbors. I am forced,
however, to carry on a continual warfare with the squash-bugs, who,
were I to let them alone for a day, would perhaps quite destroy the
prospects of the whole summer. It is impossible not to feel angry with
these unconscionable insects, who scruple not to do such excessive
mischief to me, with only the profit of a meal or two to themselves. For
their own sakes they ought at least to wait till the squashes are better
grown. Why is it, I wonder, that Nature has provided such a host of
enemies for every useful esculent, while the weeds are suffered to grow
unmolested, and are provided with such tenacity of life, and such
methods of propagation, that the gardener must maintain a continual
struggle or they will hopelessly overwhelm him? What hidden virtue is
there in these things, that it is granted them to sow themselves with
the wind, and to grapple the earth with this immitigable stubbornness,
and to flourish in spite of obstacles, and never to suffer blight
beneath any sun or shade, but always to mock their enemies with the same
wicked luxuriance? It is truly a mystery, and also a symbol. There is a
sort of sacredness about them. Perhaps, if we could penetrate Nature's
secrets, we should find that what we call weeds are more essential to
the well-being of the world than the most precious fruit or grain. This
may be doubted, however, for there is an unmistakable analogy between
these wicked weeds and the bad habits and sinful propensities which have
overrun the moral world; and we may as well imagine that there is good
in one as in the other.

Our peas are in such forwardness that I should not wonder if we had some
of them on the table within a week. The beans have come up ill, and I
planted a fresh supply only the day before yesterday. We have
watermelons in good advancement, and muskmelons also within three or
four days. I set out some tomatoes last night, also some capers. It is
my purpose to plant some more corn at the end of the month, or sooner.
There ought to be a record of the flower-garden, and of the procession
of the wild-flowers, as minute, at least, as of the kitchen vegetables
and pot-herbs. Above all, the noting of the appearance of the first
roses should not be omitted; nor of the Arethusa, one of the delicatest,
gracefullest, and in every manner sweetest of the whole race of flowers.
For a fortnight past I have found it in the swampy meadows, growing up
to its chin in heaps of wet moss. Its hue is a delicate pink, of various
depths of shade, and somewhat in the form of a Grecian helmet. To
describe it is a feat beyond my power. Also the visit of two friends,
who may fitly enough be mentioned among flowers, ought to have been
described. Mrs. F. S---- and Miss A. S----. Also I have neglected to
mention the birth of a little white dove.

I never observed, until the present season, how long and late the
twilight lingers in these longest days. The orange hue of the western
horizon remains till ten o'clock, at least, and how much later I am
unable to say. The night before last, I could distinguish letters by
this lingering gleam between nine and ten o'clock. The dawn, I suppose,
shows itself as early as two o'clock, so that the absolute dominion of
night has dwindled to almost nothing. There seems to be also a
diminished necessity, or, at all events, a much less possibility, of
sleep than at other periods of the year. I get scarcely any sound repose
just now. It is summer, and not winter, that steals away mortal life.
Well, we get the value of what is taken from us.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, July 1._--We had our first dish of green peas (a very small
one) yesterday. Every day for the last week has been tremendously hot;
and our garden flourishes like Eden itself, only Adam could hardly have
been doomed to contend with such a ferocious banditti of weeds.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, July 9._--I know not what to say, and yet cannot be satisfied
without marking with a word or two this anniversary.... But life now
swells and heaves beneath me like a brim-full ocean; and the endeavor to
comprise any portion of it in words is like trying to dip up the ocean
in a goblet.... God bless and keep us! for there is something more awful
in happiness than in sorrow,--the latter being earthly and finite, the
former composed of the substance and texture of eternity, so that
spirits still embodied may well tremble at it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_July 18._--This morning I gathered our first summer-squashes. We should
have had them some days earlier, but for the loss of two of the vines,
either by a disease of the roots or by those infernal bugs. We have had
turnips and carrots several times. Currants are now ripe, and we are in
the full enjoyment of cherries, which turn out much more delectable than
I anticipated. George Hillard and Mrs. Hillard paid us a visit on
Saturday last. On Monday afternoon he left us, and Mrs. Hillard still
remains here.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, July 28._--We had green corn for dinner yesterday, and shall
have some more to-day, not quite full grown, but sufficiently so to be
palatable. There has been no rain, except one moderate shower, for many
weeks; and the earth appears to be wasting away in a slow fever. This
weather, I think, affects the spirits very unfavorably. There is an
irksomeness, a restlessness, a pervading dissatisfaction, together with
an absolute incapacity to bend the mind to any serious effort. With me,
as regards literary production, the summer has been unprofitable; and I
only hope that my forces are recruiting themselves for the autumn and
winter. For the future, I shall endeavor to be so diligent nine months
of the year that I may allow myself a full and free vacation of the
other three.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, July 31._--We had our first cucumber yesterday. There were
symptoms of rain on Saturday, and the weather has since been as moist as
the thirstiest soul could desire.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, September 13._--There was a frost the night before last,
according to George Prescott; but no effects of it were visible in our
garden. Last night, however, there was another, which has nipped the
leaves of the winter-squashes and cucumbers, but seems to have done no
other damage. This is a beautiful morning, and promises to be one of
those heavenly days that render autumn, after all, the most delightful
season of the year. We mean to make a voyage on the river this
afternoon.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, September 23._--I have gathered the two last of our
summer-squashes to-day. They have lasted ever since the 18th of July,
and have numbered fifty-eight edible ones, of excellent quality. Last
Wednesday, I think, I harvested our winter squashes, sixty-three in
number, and mostly of fine size. Our last series of green corn, planted
about the 1st of July, was good for eating two or three days ago. We
still have beans; and our tomatoes, though backward, supply us with a
dish every day or two. My potato-crop promises well; and, on the whole,
my first independent experiment of agriculture is quite a successful
one.

This is a glorious day,--bright, very warm, yet with an unspeakable
gentleness both in its warmth and brightness. On such days it is
impossible not to love Nature, for she evidently loves us. At other
seasons she does not give me this impression, or only at very rare
intervals; but in these happy, autumnal days, when she has perfected the
harvests, and accomplished every necessary thing that she had to do, she
overflows with a blessed superfluity of love. It is good to be alive
now. Thank God for breath,--yes, for mere breath! when it is made up of
such a heavenly breeze as this. It comes to the cheek with a real kiss;
it would linger fondly around us, if it might; but, since it must be
gone, it caresses us with its whole kindly heart, and passes onward, to
caress likewise the next thing that it meets. There is a pervading
blessing diffused over all the world. I look out of the window and
think, "O perfect day! O beautiful world! O good God!" And such a day is
the promise of a blissful eternity. Our Creator would never have made
such weather, and given us the deep heart to enjoy it, above and beyond
all thought, if He had not meant us to be immortal. It opens the gates
of heaven, and gives us glimpses far inward.

Bless me! this flight has carried me a great way; so now let me come
back to our old abbey. Our orchard is fast ripening; and the apples and
great thumping pears strew the grass in such abundance that it becomes
almost a trouble--though a pleasant one--to gather them. This happy
breeze, too, shakes them down, as if it flung fruit to us out of the
sky; and often, when the air is perfectly still, I hear the quiet fall
of a great apple. Well, we are rich in blessings, though poor in
money....

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, October 6._--Yesterday afternoon I took a solitary walk to
Walden Pond. It was a cool, windy day, with heavy clouds rolling and
tumbling about the sky, but still a prevalence of genial autumn
sunshine. The fields are still green, and the great masses of the woods
have not yet assumed their many-colored garments; but here and there are
solitary oaks of deep, substantial red, or maples of a more brilliant
hue, or chestnuts either yellow or of a tenderer green than in summer.
Some trees seem to return to their hue of May or early June before they
put on the brighter autumnal tints. In some places, along the borders of
low and moist land, a whole range of trees were clothed in the perfect
gorgeousness of autumn, of all shades of brilliant color, looking like
the palette on which Nature was arranging the tints wherewith to paint a
picture. These hues appeared to be thrown together without design; and
yet there was perfect harmony among them, and a softness and a delicacy
made up of a thousand different brightnesses. There is not, I think, so
much contrast among these colors as might at first appear. The more you
consider them, the more they seem to have one element among them all,
which is the reason that the most brilliant display of them soothes the
observer, instead of exciting him. And I know not whether it be more a
moral effect or a physical one, operating merely on the eye; but it is a
pensive gayety, which causes a sigh often, and never a smile. We never
fancy, for instance, that these gayly-clad trees might be changed into
young damsels in holiday attire, and betake themselves to dancing on the
plain. If they were to undergo such a transformation, they would surely
arrange themselves in funeral procession, and go sadly along, with their
purple and scarlet and golden garments trailing over the withering
grass. When the sunshine falls upon them, they seem to smile; but it is
as if they were heart-broken. But it is in vain for me to attempt to
describe these autumnal brilliancies; or to convey the impression which
they make on me. I have tried a thousand times, and always without the
slightest self-satisfaction. Fortunately there is no need of such a
record, for Nature renews the picture year after year; and even when we
shall have passed away from the world, we can spiritually create these
scenes, so that we may dispense with all efforts to put them into words.

Walden Pond was clear and beautiful as usual. It tempted me to bathe;
and, though the water was thrillingly cold, it was like the thrill of a
happy death. Never was there such transparent water as this. I threw
sticks into it, and saw them float suspended on an almost invisible
medium. It seemed as if the pure air were beneath them, as well as
above. It is fit for baptisms; but one would not wish it to be polluted
by having sins washed into it. None but angels should bathe in it; but
blessed babies might be dipped into its bosom.

In a small and secluded dell that opens upon the most beautiful cove of
the whole lake, there is a little hamlet of huts or shanties, inhabited
by the Irish people who are at work upon the railroad. There are three
or four of these habitations, the very rudest, I should imagine, that
civilized men ever made for themselves,--constructed of rough boards,
with the protruding ends. Against some of them the earth is heaped up to
the roof, or nearly so; and when the grass has had time to sprout upon
them, they will look like small natural hillocks, or a species of
ant-hills,--something in which Nature has a larger share than man. These
huts are placed beneath the trees, oaks, walnuts, and white-pines,
wherever the trunks give them space to stand; and by thus adapting
themselves to natural interstices, instead of making new ones, they do
not break or disturb the solitude and seclusion of the place. Voices are
heard, and the shouts and laughter of children, who play about like the
sunbeams that come down through the branches. Women are washing in open
spaces, and long lines of whitened clothes are extended from tree to
tree, fluttering and gambolling in the breeze. A pig, in a sty even more
extemporary than the shanties, is grunting and poking his snout through
the clefts of his habitation. The household pots and kettles are seen at
the doors; and a glance within shows the rough benches that serve for
chairs, and the bed upon the floor. The visitor's nose takes note of the
fragrance of a pipe. And yet, with all these homely items, the repose
and sanctity of the old wood do not seem to be destroyed or profaned. It
overshadows these poor people, and assimilates them somehow or other to
the character of its natural inhabitants. Their presence did not shock
me any more than if I had merely discovered a squirrel's nest in a tree.
To be sure, it is a torment to see the great, high, ugly embankment of
the railroad, which is here thrusting itself into the lake, or along its
margin, in close vicinity to this picturesque little hamlet. I have
seldom seen anything more beautiful than the cove on the border of which
the huts are situated; and the more I looked, the lovelier it grew. The
trees overshadowed it deeply; but on one side there was some brilliant
shrubbery which seemed to light up the whole picture with the effect of
a sweet and melancholy smile. I felt as if spirits were there,--or as if
these shrubs had a spiritual life. In short, the impression was
indefinable; and, after gazing and musing a good while, I retraced my
steps through the Irish hamlet, and plodded on along a wood-path.

According to my invariable custom, I mistook my way; and, emerging upon
the road, I turned my back instead of my face towards Concord, and
walked on very diligently till a guide-board informed me of my mistake.
I then turned about, and was shortly overtaken by an old yeoman in a
chaise, who kindly offered me a drive, and soon set me down in the
village.



THE NORMAN CONQUEST.


This month of October completes the eighth century since the battle of
Hastings, perhaps the most important action that the modern world has
known, with the single exception of the conflict that checked the
advance of the Saracens in Europe in the eighth century,--if the battle
of Tours can properly be considered an event of modern history. The
issue of the battle of Hastings determined the course of English
history; and when we observe how influential has been the part of
England ever since it was fought, and bear in mind that the English
race, great as it is, can scarcely be said to have got beyond the
morning-time of its existence, we find it difficult to exaggerate the
importance of a conflict by which its career for eight hundred years has
been deeply and permanently colored. There is not a great event in
English or American annals which is not directly traceable to what was
done in the year 1066 by that buccaneering band which William the
Bastard led from Normandy to England, to enforce a claim that had
neither a legal nor a moral foundation, and which never could have been
established had Harold's conduct been equal to his valor, and had
Fortune favored the just cause. The sympathies of every fair-minded
reader of the story of the Conquest must be with the Saxons; and yet is
it impossible to deny that the event at Hastings was well for the world.
It is with Harold as it is with Hannibal: our feelings are at war with
our judgment as we read their histories. It is not possible to peruse
the noble account that Dr. Arnold has left us of the Carthaginian's
splendid struggle against the Roman aristocracy without feeling pained
by its result. The feelings of men are with the man, and adverse to the
order before which his genius failed. So is it with respect to Harold.
Hastings, like Zama, impresses us as having been a "dishonest victory,"
to borrow the words with which Milton so emphatically characterizes
Chæronea. But "cool reflection" leads to other conclusions, and
justifies the earthly course of Providence, against which we are so
often disposed to complain. There can be no doubt, in the mind of any
moral man, that the invasion of England by Duke William was a wicked
proceeding,--that it was even worse than Walker's invasions of
Spanish-American countries, and as bad as an unprovoked attack on Cuba
by this country, such as would have been made had the pro-slavery party
remained in power. But it is not the less true that much good came from
William's action, and that nearly all that is excellent in English and
American history is the fruit of that action. The part that England has
had in the world's course for eight centuries, including her stupendous
work of colonization, is second to nothing that has been done by any
nation, not even to the doings of the Roman republic: and to that part
Saxon England never could have been equal.

The race that ruled in England down to the day of Hastings--call it the
Saxon race, if you like the name, and for convenience' sake--was a slow,
a sluggish, and a stupid race; and it never could have made a
first-class nation of the insular kingdom. There is little in the
history of the Saxons that allows us to believe they were capable of
accomplishing anything that was great. The Danish invasions, as they are
called, were of real use to England, as they prevented that country from
reverting to barbarism, which assuredly would have been its fate had the
Anglo-Saxons remained its undisturbed possessors. "In the ninth, tenth,
and eleventh centuries," says Mr. Worsaae, "the Anglo-Saxons had
greatly degenerated from their forefathers. Relatives sold one another
into thraldom; lewdness and ungodliness were become habitual; and
cowardice had increased to such a degree that, according to the old
chroniclers, one Dane would often put ten Anglo-Saxons to flight. Before
such a people could be conducted to true freedom and greatness it was
necessary that an entirely new vigor should be infused into the decayed
stock. This vigor was derived from the Scandinavian North, where neither
Romans nor any other conquerors had domineered over the people, and
where heathenism, with all its roughness and all its love of freedom and
bravery, still held absolute sway."[B]

The work which the Danes began was completed by the Normans; and it may
well be doubted if the Normans ever could have effected much in England
had they not been preceded by the Danes. The Danes were Northmen, as are
the Swedes and Norwegians. By Normans are meant the governing race in
Neustria, the duchy of Normandy. The Northmen who settled in Neustria,
and who became the foremost people of those times,--they and their
descendants,--did in a portion of France what their kinsmen the Danes
were doing in England. Circumstances gave to the _Normans_ a consequence
in history that is denied to the _Danes_; but the influence of the
latter was very great on English life, and on the course of English
events; and Norman influence on that life, and over those events, was
materially aided by the earlier action of the Danish invaders of
England. The difference between the Northmen in France and the Northmen
in England was this: the former, to a very great extent, became
Frenchmen, while the latter did not become Englishmen. The former, from
Northmen, became Normans, and took much from the people among whom they
settled. The latter remained Northmen, for the most part, taking little
or nothing from the English, while they bestowed a good deal upon them.
But the Northmen who became Normans underwent changes that rendered it
impossible that the Northmen in England should coalesce with them after
Duke William's victory in 1066. The English Northmen were strongly
attached to individual freedom, as all Northmen were originally; but the
Normans had learned to be feudalists in France, and this necessarily
made foes of men who by blood ought to have been friends. Many of those
who offered the stoutest resistance to the Conqueror were Danes; and it
was not until many years after Hastings that the English Northmen
submitted to the French Normans. The English Northmen, nevertheless,
were of real use to the Normans, by what they had effected long before
the expedition of William was thought of, and when the Normans had not
become the chief champions of feudalism. The immediate effect of Danish
action on William's fortunes, too, was very great. The Saxon Harold was
compelled to fight a battle with the Scandinavian invaders of England
but twenty days before Hastings; and these invaders sought to place a
Danish or Norwegian dynasty on the English throne. Harold was victorious
in his conflict with the Northmen; but the weakness and exhaustion
consequent on the exertions necessary to repel them were among the
leading causes of his failure before the Normans.

The people who gave their name to what is called the Norman Conquest of
England[C] were the most extraordinary race of the Middle Ages. This can
be said of them, too, without subscribing to the extravagant eulogies
of their ardent admirers, who are too much in the habit of speaking of
them in terms that would be misplaced were they applied to Athenians of
the age of Pericles. The simple truth concerning them shows that they
were superior in every respect to all their contemporaries, unless an
exception be made on behalf of the Mussulmans of Spain. The Northmen who
came first upon Southern Europe were mere barbarians, but there were
among them men of great natural powers, as there were among those
barbarians who overran the Roman empire; and they were able to take
advantage of the wretched condition of Europe, as earlier barbarians had
profited from the wretched condition of Rome. Of these men, Rollo was
one of the most eminent; and beyond all others of the Northmen his
action has had the largest influence on human affairs,--an influence,
too, that promises to last; for it is working vigorously at this moment,
though he has been more than nine centuries in his grave, and though to
most persons he is as much a mythical character as Hercules, and more so
than Romulus. We know that he was the founder of Normandy in the early
part of the tenth century; and but for his action in obtaining a
southern home for himself and his heathen followers, the conquest of
England never could have been attempted in a regular manner; and the
stream of English history must have run altogether differently, in a
political sense, even had Northmen, as distinguished from Normans,
succeeded in establishing themselves in that country. It was the French
character of the Normans which rendered their subjugation of England so
important an event, giving to it its peculiar significance, and causing
it to bear so strongly on European, Asiatic, and American history. The
Northmen became Christians and Normans. It is not uncommon to speak of
them as if they retained their Norwegian characteristics in "the
pleasant land of France," and were in the habit of looking back to the
home of their youth, or of their fathers, with that sort of fondness and
regret which were felt by those Englishmen who founded the American
nation. This is all wrong. The Northmen had left the North for the same
reason that other men leave their countries,--the only reason that ever
causes them to do so,--because the North did not afford them means of
support. Had they remained at home, they would have starved; and
therefore they turned their backs on that home, and became plunderers.
Some returned home, bearing with them much spoil; but others settled
abroad, and thought no more of the North. They cut the connection
entirely. Like an earlier "brood of winter," they found ample
compensation for all they had left behind in "the brighter day and skies
of azure hue" of Southern lands. They thought they had made a good
exchange of "Northern pines for Southern roses."

Of these last, the Normans proper were the most noted, and they have the
first place of all their race in the world's annals. They changed in
everything, from soul to skin. They became Christians, and they took new
names. Their original language was soon displaced by the French, and
became so utterly lost that hardly more is known of it than we know of
the Etruscan tongue. "The Danish language," says Sir Francis Palgrave,
"was never prevalent or strong in Normandy. The Northmen had long been
talking themselves into Frenchmen; and in the second generation, the
half-caste Northmen, the sons of French wives and French concubines,
spoke the Romane-French as their mothers' tongue." The same great
authority says: "In the cities, Bayeux only excepted, hardly any
language but French was spoken. Forty years after Rollo's establishment,
the Danish language struggled for existence. It was in Normandy that the
_Langue d'oil_ acquired its greatest polish and regularity. The earliest
specimens of the French language, in the proper sense of the term, are
now surrendered by the French philologists to the Normans. The
phenomenon of the organs of speech yielding to social or moral
influences, and losing the power of repeating certain sounds, was
prominently observable amongst the Normans. No modern French
gazette-writer could disfigure English names more whimsically than the
Domesday Commissioners. To the last, the Normans never could learn to
say 'Lincoln,'--they never could get nearer than 'Nincol,' or 'Nicole.'"
The "chivalry" of Virginia and the Carolinas--our Southern
Northmen--might cite this last fact in evidence of their tongues having
a Norman twang. They never have been able to say "Lincoln," though they
make a nearer approach to proper pronunciation of the word than was
vouchsafed to the genuine Normans when they say "Abe Linkin." That the
Normans cherished the thought of their Northern origin is a modern
error. Sir F. Palgrave, with literal accuracy, assures us that they
"dismissed all practical recollection in their families of their
original Scandinavian ancestry. Not one of their nobles ever thought of
deducing his lineage from the Hersers or Jarls or Vikings who occupy so
conspicuous a place in Norwegian history, not even through the medium of
any traditional fable. Roger de Montgomery designated himself as
'Northmannus Northmannorum'; but, for all practical purposes, Roger was
a Frenchman of the Frenchmen, though he might not like to own it. This
ancestorial reminiscence must have resulted from some peculiar fancy; no
Montgomery possessed or transmitted any memorial of his Norman
progenitors. The very name of Rollo's father, 'Senex quidam in partibus
Daciæ,' was unknown to Rollo's grandchildren, and if not known, worse
than unknown, neglected."[D]

Another unfounded notion respecting the Normans relates the purity of
lineage. To read some historians, you might come to the conclusion that
the Normans were an unmixed race, and that they prided themselves on the
blueness of their blood, and were the most exclusive of peoples. Nothing
of the kind. Like most peoples who have done much, the Normans were a
mixed race. They took to themselves all who would come to them, who were
worth the taking. The old Roman lay of the asylum on the Palatine Hill
might almost serve as matter for a Norman _sirvente_, for the policy
which it attributes to Romulus, and which was followed by his
successors, was the policy adopted by Rollo, and which his successors
maintained. Says Sir F. Palgrave, "When treating of the 'Normans,' we
must always consider the appellation as descriptive rather than
ethnographical, indicative of political relations rather than of race.
Like William, the Conqueror's army, the hosts of Rollo were augmented by
adventurers from all countries. Rollo exhibited a remarkable flexibility
of character; he encouraged settlers from all parts of France and the
Gauls and England, and his successors systematically obeyed the
precedent." Most such adventurers in any age of the world must be of the
most ancient of families, the families, to wit, of "robbers and
reivers," the enlisted rascality of the earth, but none the worse
workmen because their patron is St. Cain. There is a great deal of work
to be done that can be done only by such fellows. It is sagely said that
the world would be but ill peopled if none but the wise were to marry.
It is certain that the world would get forward very slowly if none but
the mild and the moral were active in its business. There is an immense
amount of business to be accomplished that the mild cannot do, and which
the moral will not do. How can it be expected of mild men that they
should cut human throats, when they cannot be trusted even to stick the
sheep which they have no hesitation in eating? How unreasonable it would
be to expect moral men to become soldiers,--and the soldier's trade is
the only permanent pursuit, save the pursuits of the grave-digger and
the hangman,--when so exemplary a personage as the great Duke of
Wellington gravely said, on his oath and on his honor, that the army is
no place for moral and religious men? The felons who flocked to Rollo's
standard wellnigh a thousand years ago were recruited from the
"dangerous classes" of those remote days, and were probably as useful in
the task of civilizing the world as, according to the assertion of one
of the most eminent of English divines and historians, are rough and
lawless men in that of Europeanizing Polynesia.[E]

Dr. Lappenberg, whose authority is great in all that relates to the
history of the Normans, confirms what is said by Sir F. Palgrave of the
ignorance of the North and the indifference to it which characterized
the Normans. Speaking of the Norman literature, he observes: "In vain we
seek herein imitations of the old Norse poesy, or allusions to the
history or customs of Scandinavia. There may, perhaps, exist more
resemblance between the heroic sagas of the North and the romances of
chivalry of the South of Europe, both having for subjects wonderful
adventures, and the praise of heroism and beauty; but from this
resemblance it cannot be concluded that the Anglo-Norman poets have
borrowed their fictions from the Norman skalds. We have not a single
proof that they were acquainted with any saga or any skaldic
composition. All remembrance of their national poetry was as completely
obliterated among the posterity of the Northmen in France, as if, in
traversing the ocean, they had drank of the water of Lethe. This total
oblivion of their original home they have in common with the West Goths,
who in Castilian poesy have not left the faintest trace of their
original manners and opinions. The same remark has been applied to the
Vareger, who founded a royal dynasty in Russia, and to whom that
country, as a Russian author remarks, is not indebted for a single new
idea. The causes are here the same with those that effected a complete
oblivion of their mother tongue, namely, their inferior civilization,
their intermixture with the natives, their marriages with the women of
the country, who knew no other traditions than those of their native
land. In Normandy, too, the Christian clergy must have suppressed every
memorial of the ancient mythology."[F] Further, "Whatever partiality the
Normans may have entertained for history, they nevertheless betrayed an
almost perfect indifference for their original country. The historians
of Normandy describe the heathen North as a den of robbers. After an
interval of two centuries, they knew nothing of the events that had
caused the founder of their ruling family to forsake the North; they did
not even know where Denmark and Norway lay. Benoît de Ste More begins
his chronicle with a geographic sketch, in which he takes Denmark for
Dacia, and places it at the mouth of the Danube, between the extensive
countries of the Alani and the Getæ, which are always covered with ice,
and surrounded by a chain of mountains." The excellent chronicler's
geographical notions seem to have been about as clear as those of Lolah,
who tells Katinka that

           "Spain's an island near
    Morocco, betwixt Egypt and Tangier."

The earliest Norman chroniclers show that the Normans, or rather the
Northmen, bore much ill-will toward the French; and this prejudice, it
has correctly been said, "probably lasted as long as their Northern
physiognomy, their fair hair, and other characteristics whereby they
were distinguished from the French." But they soon became the flower of
French races, and were regarded as Frenchmen in all the lands to which
they were led by their valor, their enterprise, their ambition, and
their avarice. They continued to avail themselves of the talents of
other races long after Northmen had been converted into Normans, greatly
to their own advantage, and considerably to the advantage of others.
"Inclination, policy, interest," says Palgrave, "strengthened the
impulse given by the diffusion of the Romane speech. Liberality was the
Norman virtue. 'Norman talent,' or 'Norman taste,' or 'Norman, art,' are
expressions intelligible and definite, conveying clear ideas,
substantially true and yet substantially inaccurate. What, for example,
do we intend when we speak of Norman architecture? Who taught the Norman
architect? Ah, when you contemplate the structures raised by Lanfranc or
Anselm, will not the reply conduct you beyond the Alps, and lead you to
Pavia or Aosta,--the cities where these fathers of the Anglo-Norman
Church were nurtured, their learning acquired, or their taste informed?
Amongst the eminent men who gloriously adorn the Anglo-Norman annals,
perhaps the smallest number derive their origin from Normandy.
Discernment in the choice of talent, and munificence in rewarding
ability, may be truly ascribed to Rollo's successors; open-handed,
open-hearted, not indifferent to birth or lineage, but never allowing
station or origin, nation or language, to obstruct the elevation of
those whose talent, learning, knowledge, or aptitude gave them their
patent of nobility."[G] The Normans won their fame, as the Romans their
empire, through aid of various races, and by borrowing and assimilating
whatever they found of good among all the peoples with whom they came in
contact,--meaning by good what was useful for the promotion of their
purposes.

The old Northmen in Neustria did not give way without a struggle, not
for existence only, but for victory, of which at one time their prospect
was by no means bad. The Danish party was strong in the time of Rollo,
and it might have established itself over Normandy in the early years of
his son, William I., who deemed his Norman sovereignty lost, and who at
one time showed the white feather in a very unNorman-like manner, and in
quite the reverse fashion to that adopted by Henri IV. at Ivry. At
length he recovered his courage, and, delivering battle, he won a
complete victory, which was ruinous to the vanquished. They were
exterminated, and Riulph, their leader, was captured, and blinded by
William's orders. It is supposed he died under the operation. William's
cruelty is attributed to his earlier cowardice, and it is an old saw
that no one is so cruel as a victorious coward; but cruelty was not so
uncommon a thing in the year 933 that there should be any necessity for
attributing the Norman's savageness to the reaction from fear. He
probably had called his cowardice caution. His success settled the
character of Normandy, which became, or rather continued to be, a French
country; and its people were Normans, the result of a liberal mixture of
many races, from whom were to issue the rulers of many lands. The combat
of the _Pré de la Bataille_ took place just four generations before
Hastings, and had its issue been different the current of history might
have run in a very different direction from that in which it has set for
eight centuries; but the consequences of such a change "must be left to
that superhuman knowledge which the schoolmen call _media scientia_, and
which consists in knowing all that would have happened had events been
otherwise than they have been." The question at issue was whether the
Normans should live as Frenchmen or disappear; and William's triumph
secured the ascendency of the Romane party, who alone could establish
Normandy. When his son, Richard sans Peur, became chief of the Normans,
A. D. 943, Normandy was a power in Europe, and virtually a free
state,--for its rulers were "independent as the kings of France, whose
superiority they acknowledged, but whose behests they never held
themselves bound to obey."

The Normans soon made themselves felt in Europe. They became the
foremost of Christian communities, and were distinguished in arts and
arms and letters. They were the politest people of their time, and in
their manners and modes of life they presented strong contrasts to the
general coarseness of the period in which they flourished. Their valor
seemed to increase with their culture; and if they were admired by the
few because of their intellectual superiority, they were dreaded by the
many because of their dauntless bravery and the energy and success which
characterized their military exploits. Though often fighting at great
odds, they were rarely defeated. They furnished the most distinguished
adventurers of an adventurous age. There is nothing more romantic than
the history of the Norman family of Hauteville, which sent forth a
number of men whose exertions in Southern Europe had great effect in the
eleventh century. Foremost of his countrymen in courage and capacity was
the adventurer Robert de Hauteville, better known as Robert Guiscard,
substantially the founder of that Neapolitan kingdom which we have seen
absorbed into the new kingdom of Italy. His daughter married a son of
one of the Byzantine Emperors, who was dethroned; and Robert was thus
enabled to enter on a series of Eastern conquests, which would have
ended in the taking of Constantinople had not imperative circumstances
compelled him to return to Italy. A few years later he resumed his
Oriental schemes, but died before he could complete them, and when
everything promised him success. Had a Norman dynasty been established
at Constantinople, at the close of the eleventh century, by so able a
man as Robert Guiscard, it is probable the Lower Empire would have
renewed its life, and that the Normans would have become as influential
in the East as their contemporary conquest of England had made them in
the West. The feudal system, of which they were the great masters, might
as easily have been introduced into Greece as it was into England, and
with the effect of producing an order of men who would have proved
themselves more than a match for any force that the Mussulman could have
brought against the new nation. There would have been a regular flow of
Normans and other hardy adventurers to Byzantium, and the Turks never
would have been allowed to cross the Hellespont to establish themselves
in Europe, and would have been fortunate had they been able to keep the
Normans from crossing the Hellespont to establish themselves in Asia.
Thousands of those fanatics who were so soon to cover the Syrian sands
with their bones, as Crusaders, would have been attracted to Greece,
and would have done Christendom better service there than ever they were
allowed to render it under the Godfreys and Baldwins and Raymonds, the
Louises and Richards and Fredericks, who piously fought for the
redemption of the Redeemer's sepulchre. Indeed the Holy Sepulchre could
best have been freed from infidel pollution by operations from Greece,
had Greece renewed her life under a dynasty worthy of the Greeks of old;
and Asia, the Land of Light, might have been relieved from the thick
darkness under which it has so long labored, had Norman genius and
Norman valor been authoritatively employed to direct the Christian
populations of the East, reinforced by the surplus adventurers of the
West, against the Mussulmans. The West might have liquidated its debt to
the East, by restoring Christianity to it.

All this was on the cards, had Robert Guiscard lived a few years
longer,--and he was one of many sons of a poor and petty Norman baron,
and superior to thousands of his countrymen only in the circumstance
that he was more favored by Fortune. We are not to judge of what might
have been effected by a Norman dynasty in Greece by the miserable
failure of that Latin empire of which Greece was the scene in the
thirteenth century, and which grew out of the capture of Constantinople
by the French and the Venetians. That empire had not the elements of
success in it; and it was established too late, and on foundations too
feeble, to meet the demands of the time. Its founders lacked that
legislative capacity with which the Normans were so liberally endowed.
Though we cannot subscribe in full to Mr. Acton Warburton's enthusiastic
estimate of the Norman race, we believe him to be substantially correct
in what he says of their legislative genius. He dwells with unction on
the strong tendency to institutions that ever characterized them. This
tendency, he observes, strongly indicates "the profound sentiment of
perpetuity, inherent in the Norman mind, to which everything was
valueless that shared not in some degree its own enduring character.
Abhorrent alike of despotism and license, they imparted this love of
institutions wherever they came. In their days the world was passing
through a fierce ordeal. A stern necessity lay on the whole system of
things, a necessity which may be expressed in this brief formula,--the
sword. In their several missions, if I may so speak, the Normans were
forced to use the appointed instrument of the hour; but the readiness
with which the sword was sheathed, the facility with which the soldier
changed into the citizen, shows how deeply they felt that a state of
hostilities, bloodshed, and disorder could not be the normal condition
of man. And so we see them pass at once from the battle-field to the
council-chamber. The fierce warrior of yesterday is the thoughtful
legislator of to-day. The first interval of repose was ever employed in
devising means for giving stability to their acquisitions, and a
constitutional form to the society in which they were to be vested.
Among the Teutons, such a task was never referred to the wisdom of any
one leader, however successful,--any oligarchy of chiefs, however
eminent. From time immemorial, the provisions from which their laws were
derived, and on which their societies were based, were the emanations of
free public opinion. Their armies were triumphant, because the soldier
yielded up his will implicitly to his general; their societies were
vigorous and stable, because, when the soldier became a citizen, he
resumed that will again. No sooner had conquest and peace transmuted the
army into a society, than the dominant sentiment appeared,--the
sentiment of rational independence,--resulting, as the community formed,
in liberal institutions."[H] Had this legislative spirit been applied to
Greece at the close of the eleventh century, the effect would have been
to create there a powerful nation; and the Crescent never would have
triumphed over the Cross in that land from which the West has drawn so
much that is of the highest value in all its processes of intellectual
culture.

There is a reverse to this picture of the Normans. They had some very
bad qualities, for they had no higher claims to perfection than is found
in the case of any other people. Mr. James Augustus St. John, speaking
of the Norman princess Emma, who married the English Ethelred, says,
after admitting her great personal beauty, that "her mental qualities
were very far from corresponding with the charms of her person. Like all
other Normans, she was greedy of gold, ambitious, selfish, voluptuous,
and in an eminent degree prone to treachery."[I] This may stand for a
portrait of the whole Norman race. Nor does it detract from their
aristocratical spirit that they were ever fond of money, or from their
chivalrous spirit that they were faithless when they supposed treachery
would best promote their interests. Aristocracies are always
money-seekers, and often money-grubbers; and they plunder all whom they
have the power to spoil. _Alieni uppetens_ is ever their motto, but _sui
profusus_ does always go with it. The American slavocracy were the
aristocracy of this country, and they were far more "greedy of gold"
than ever "Yankees" have been. Treachery is common to the chivalrous
classes, and the history of chivalry is full of instances of its display
by men who claimed a monopoly of honor. Our Southern "chivalry" were
unfaithful to every compact they made, and it was their infidelity that
brought about their fall. The dangers that now threaten the country
exist only because the party vanquished in the late civil war are bent
upon breaking the terms on which they were admitted to mercy. They are
fond of calling themselves Normans, though we have not heard much of
their Norman origin since their Hastings went against them; but in
respect to treachery and cruelty, and disregard of the rights of the
poor and the helpless, they are the match of all the barons of Normandy.

The Normans were often cruel, and some of their modes of punishing their
defeated enemies--blinding them, and cutting off their feet and hands,
and inflicting on them the most degrading of mutilations--might lead one
to suppose they were of Eastern origin, were not such practices
traceable to the Northmen. These practices imply a grossness of mind
that is much at war with the common notion of the gentleness and
cultivation of the Norman nobles. They were noted for their craft, their
spirit of intrigue, and their readiness to get possession of the
property of others by any and all means. The most unscrupulous modern
devotee of Mammon would be ashamed of deeds that never disturbed the
placid egotism of men who considered themselves the flower of humanity
and the salt of the earth,--and whose estimate of themselves has seldom
been called in question. The fairer side of their conduct with regard to
money is visible in their sensible encouragement of "business" in all
the forms which it then knew. "Annual Mercantile Fairs," says Sir F.
Palgrave, "were accustomed in Normandy. Established by usage and
utility, ere recognized by the law, their origin bespake a healthy
energy. Foreign manufacturers were welcomed as settlers in the
Burghs,--the richer the better. No grudge was entertained against the
Fleming; and the material prosperity of the country and the briskness of
commerce carried on in all the great towns, proves that the pack-horses
could tramp along the old Roman roads with facility. Indeed, amongst the
Normans the commercial spirit was indigenous. The Danes and the folk of
Danish blood were diligent traders. The greed of gain unites readily
with desperate bravery. When occasion served, Drake would deal like a
Dutchman. Any mode of making money enters into facile combination with
the bold rapacity of the Flibustier." There was much material prosperity
in Normandy at the close of the tenth century, or less than a hundred
years after Rollo had established himself and his followers on French
soil. The burgher class throve amazingly, and were the envy of all who
knew their condition; and their military skill and valor were as famous
as their success in the industrial arts, and their wealth, which was its
consequence. Free they were, or they would have been neither rich nor
valiant. The peasantry, too, were a superior people, who enjoyed much
freedom, and who exhibited their bravery whenever there was call for its
exhibition,--facts which show that they must have been well governed,
and which tend to elevate our conception of the merits of their rulers.

There was no such thing as a caste of nobles in Normandy for very many
years after that country passed into the hands of the Northmen. About
two generations after the death of Rollo, Richard le Bon, one of the
most popular of his descendants, set up the standard of exclusion, and
created that Norman nobility of which the world has heard so much for
eight hundred years. The clergy were too powerful in those days to be
much affected by his action, and the burghers were too rich to be put
down by a newly created nobility; but the peasantry were greatly injured
by the change, as it created an order who were interested in oppressing
them. They conspired, and their course bears some resemblance to that of
the Fenians of our day. The "Commune" was a word as alarming to Richard
le Bon and his nobility as "Fenian" was at first to the most bigoted of
Orangemen. The Duke employed Raoul, Count of Ivri, to crush the
Communists. Raoul was the son of a rich peasant, but he had no sympathy
with his father's order. As in modern life the most determined
aristocrat is often the man whose origin is the lowest, so was it nine
centuries ago, in Normandy. Raoul was a sort of Claverhouse and Jeffreys
in one person, and he "enjoyed the sport of dogging the Villainage. He
fell upon the Communists;--caught them in the very fact,--holding a
Lodge,--swearing in new members. Terrible was the catastrophe. No trial
vouchsafed. No judge called in. Happy the wretch whose weight stretched
the halter. The country was visited by fire and flame; the rebels were
scourged, their eyes plucked out, their limbs chopped off, they were
burnt alive; whilst the rich were impoverished and ruined by
confiscations and fines." Such were the good old times, which never can
return. Heaven be praised! Such was the origin of the Norman nobility,
destined to become the patricians of the world. The cruelty with which
the peasants were treated by the new nobles is a type of the system that
ever was pursued by men of "the gentle Norman blood" toward a restless
people. "The folk of Normandie" had no mercy on men who disputed, or
even called in question, their right to unrestricted dominion.

The Cotentin was the most important part of Normandy,--was to Normandy
what Normandy was to the rest of Europe. It has been well described as
"not merely the physical bulwark of Normandy, but the very kernel of
Norman nationality." It now forms a part of the _Département de la
Manche_, and it holds Cherbourg in its bosom,--the _Cæsaris Burgus_ of
the Romans, which the French imperial historian of the first Cæsar is
completing as a defiance to England, thus finishing what was long since
begun under the old monarchy. Ages ago--even before the Romans had
entered Gaul--what we call Cherbourg is believed to have attracted
Gaulish attention because of its marine advantages. It is all but
certain that the Romans fortified it. The Normans were children of the
sea, and they did not neglect it. The Normans of the Cotentin were the
purest men of their race. They kept up that connection with the ocean
from which some other Normans revolted; and they were led from the land
to the sea by the same inducement that had sent their ancestors out of
Scania,--the inability to find food there. "The population," we are
assured, "was teeming, the sterile land could not feed them, but the
roaring surges surrounded them. All loved the sea, and upon, the waves,
and beyond the waves, they were ever seeking their fortunes. From
Hauteville, nigh Coutances, came the conquerors of Apulia and Sicily.
And when we call over Battle-Abbey Roll, or search the Domesday record,
or trace the lineage of our [the British] aristocracy, we shall find
that the lords of these same Cotentin castles, with scarcely an
exception, served in the Conqueror's army, or settled in the realm they
won." The plain English of which is, that they were the cleverest, the
most active, and the most successful robbers of their day and nation.

England was too near Normandy not to be an object of the first interest
to the Normans. At the close of the tenth century King Ethelred II.
adopted a course that was destined to have the most memorable
consequences. Richard le Bon bore himself toward the English much the
same as the English of to-day bore themselves toward us in the Secession
war. The Danes were then the worst enemies of England, and the Norman
government so far anticipated the Palmerstonian policy of neutrality,
which consists in favoring the enemies of those whom you hate, as to
throw open its ports to the ravagers of Normandy's neighbor. "Without
sharing the danger," observes Sir F. Palgrave, "Normandy prospered upon
the prey which the Danskerman made in England. The Normans were a
thriving and money-getting people. The great fair of Guipry attests
their national tendency. The liberal policy of the Dukes is also
forcibly illustrated by the remarkable treaty of peace concluded between
Richard le Bon and Olave, the Norskman, securing to the rovers the right
of free trade in Normandy. No certificate of origin was required when
the big bales of English stuffs were offered to the chapman at the
bridge-head of Rouen; and the perils of England were much enhanced by
the _entente cordiale_--this expression has become technical, and
therefore untranslatable--subsisting between Romane Normandy and the
Northmen of the North."

There is something amusing in this extract; for it describes, as it
were, and in advance, the state of things that existed during our late
war. The Secessionists were our Danes, who, if they did not ravage our
lands, cut up our commerce at a fearful rate, and not only found shelter
and aid wherever the English flag flies in authority, but were furnished
with ships by England and with men to work and to fight them, so that
our last sea-fight was won over our old foe on that summer day when the
Kearsarge sent the Alabama to look after the old Raven craft of the
Northmen that may be lying under the old Norman waters, and did it, too,
off the Cotentin shore, just where the conflict between Saxons and
Normans began.

King Ethelred, like President Lincoln in the case of the English, was so
unreasonable as to complain of the conduct of the Normans; and, again
like our lamented chief, he could not find any excuse for piratical
action in the fact that "the Normans were a thriving and money-getting
people," and supposed they had the right to get money by encouraging
robbery. But, unlike the American President, the Saxon king determined
to have prompt and ample vengeance--if he could get it. He indulged in
as much loud language as was uttered in Vienna last June, when Sadowa
was yet an unknown, name. He was bent upon vengeance, stern and
terrible. Now, vengeance is a commodity that is dear when it is
procurable _gratis_, but sometimes it is not obtainable at any price.
And so Ethelred found it, to his cost. Having formed his resolution to
invade Normandy, and lay it waste with fire and sword, and bring back
Richard le Bon with him in chains to England, it remained only to
execute his design. The English fleet sailed for the Cotentin, and
landed a force which should have done great things. But if the Normans
of the Cotentin were stout thieves, not the less were they stout
soldiers. No greater error than that men must have clean consciences to
be good warriors. The Normans rose to a man--and even to a
woman--against the invaders. Knights and seamen and peasants and the
peasants' wives, all armed; and the English were beaten so badly that
they could not have been beaten worse, had their cause been utterly
devilish. But few of them escaped,--probably those who had the sense to
run first; and they got off in six ships, all the rest of the fleet
falling into the hands of the Normans. The Norman Duke and the British
Basileus proceeded to make peace, and the peace-making business led to a
marriage, one of many royal marriages which have produced extraordinary
consequences, and led to much fighting, as if there were a natural
connection between wedlock and war. In private life, marriage not
unfrequently leads to contention; in public life, contention often leads
to marriage. Ethelred sought to "engraft the branch of Cerdic upon the
stem of Rollo," in the hope of increasing the power of England. He asked
for the hand of Emma, sister of Richard le Bon, and obtained it. This
union was every way unfortunate, and prepared the road for the Conquest.
The Normans who accompanied Emma to England, and those who followed her,
are described as "subtle, intriguing, false, and capable of any act of
treason which promised to further their own fortunes." They behaved as
members of "superior races" generally behave in countries inhabited by
"inferior races." They obtained power and place, and used their
influence to the detriment of England. The king and queen did not live
happily. One of their children was Edward the Confessor, who is
popularly considered the very personification of the Saxon race, but who
was half a Norman by birth, and wholly Norman by education; for the
successes of the Danes compelled his family to become exiles, and his
youth and earlier manhood were passed in Normandy.[J] When he became
king, the Normans had matters pretty much their own way in England. He
remembered that Robert, Duke of Normandy, father of William the
Conqueror, had once made an attempt to restore the Saxon line in
England, and that he failed only because his fleet was destroyed by a
storm. Duke William's influence had aided in his elevation to the
English throne. His gratitude was expressed at the expense of his
people. Once crowned, Edward invited his Norman friends to England. That
country soon swarmed with foreigners, with whom the king was more at
home than he was with his own subjects. Their language, the Romane, was
his language. It was the language of the higher classes, the language of
fashion, "the court tune." Such strong places as then stood in England
were garrisoned by foreigners, and other Normans were settled in the
towns. The country was half conquered years before the year of Hastings.

Duke William visited England in 1051. He was most hospitably received,
and it is supposed that what he saw caused him to form the plan that led
to the Conquest. Edward admired his visitor; and on the death of Edward
the Outlaw,--whom he had recalled from Hungary, with the intention of
proclaiming him as heir to the crown,--he determined that William should
be his successor. He bequeathed the English crown to the ruler of
Normandy. Harold agreed to support this arrangement. On his death-bed,
Edward said to Harold and his kinsmen, "Ye know full well, my lords,
that I have bequeathed my kingdom to the Duke of Normandy, and are there
not those _here_ whose oaths have been given to secure his succession?"
The person to whom the crown should have gone was Edgar Atheling, son of
Edward the Outlaw, and a lineal descendant of Ironside. Neither William
nor Harold had any _claim_ to the succession, whereas Edgar's claim was
as good as that of the Prince of Wales to the throne of Great Britain is
to-day. That Edward did not nominate Edgar must be attributed, in part
at least, to the conviction that his nomination would be treated with
contempt by the partisans of both William and Harold. He feared, it is
probable, that the nomination of Edgar would give England up to the
horrors of war, and that, after that prince should be disposed of by a
union of Saxons and Normans against his claim, there would be another
contest between the two factions of the victors. He was incapable of the
grim humor of the Macedonian Alexander, who on his death-bed bequeathed
his kingdom "to the strongest"; but his bequest was virtually of the
same nature as that which so long before was made in Babylon. His death
led to great funeral games, which are not yet over.

"Harold," says Palgrave, "afterward founded his title upon Edward's
_last_ will; many of our historians prove his claim, and the different
statements are difficult to be reconciled; yet, taken altogether, the
circumstances are exactly such as we meet with in private life. The
childless owner of a large estate at first leaves his property to his
cousin on the mother's side, from whose connections he has received much
kindness. He advances in age, and alters his intentions in favor of a
nephew on his father's side,--an amiable young man, living abroad,--and
from whom he had been estranged in consequence of a family quarrel of
long standing. The young heir comes to the testator's house, is received
with great affection, and is suddenly cut off by illness. The testator
then returns to his will in favor of his cousin, who resides abroad. His
acute and active brother-in-law has taken the management of his affairs;
is well informed of this will; and, when the testator is on his
death-bed, he contrives to tease and persuade the dying man to alter the
will again in his favor. This is exactly the state of the case; and
though considerable doubts have been raised relating to the
contradictory bequests of the Confessor, there can be no difficulty in
admitting that the conflicting pretensions of William and Harold were
grounded upon the acts emanating from a wavering and feeble mind. If
such disputes take place between private individuals, they are decided
by a court of justice; but if they concern a kingdom, they can only be
settled by the sword."[K] And to the sword Harold and William remitted
the settlement of the question.

The two men who were thus arrayed in deadly opposition to each other
were not unworthy of being competitors for a crown. Harold belonged to
the greatest Saxon family of his time, of which he had been the head
ever since the death of his father, the great Earl Godwin, which took
place in 1053. Earl Godwin was one of the foremost men of the
ante-Norman period of England, though his character, as Mr. St. John
observes, "lies buried beneath a load of calumny"; and he quotes Dr.
Hook as saying that "Godwin was the connecting link between the Saxon
and the Dane, and, as the leader of the united English people, became
one of the greatest men this country has ever produced, although, as is
the English custom, one of the most maligned." "Calm, moderate, and
dignified, reining in with wisdom the impetuosity of his nature," says
Mr. St. John, "he presented to those around him the _beau ideal_ of an
Englishman, with all his predilections and prejudices, the warmest
attachment to his native land, and a somewhat overweening contempt of
foreigners. He was without question the greatest statesman of his age;
and, indeed, statesmanship in England may almost be said to have
commenced with him. Whether we look at home or abroad, we discover no
man in Christendom worthy to be ranked with him, in genius or wisdom, in
peace or war. His figure towers far above all his contemporaries; he
constitutes the acme of the purely Saxon mind. No taint of foreign blood
was in him.... Godwin's lot was cast upon evil days. The marriage of
Ethelred with Emma originated a fatal connection between this country
and Normandy, the first fruits of which, forcing themselves but too
obviously on his notice, he prevented, while he lived, from growing to
maturity. The efforts, public and secret, which he found it necessary to
make in the performance of this patriotic task, laid him open to the
charge of craft and subtlety. Let it be granted that he deserved the
imputation; but it must be added, that, if foreign invasion and conquest
be an evil, from that evil England was preserved as long as his crafty
and subtle head remained above ground; and had he lived thirteen years
longer, the accumulated and concentrated scoundrelism of Europe would
have been dashed away in foam and blood from the English shore. Properly
understood, Godwin's whole life was one protracted agony for the
salvation of his country. He had to contend with every species of
deleterious influence,--ferocious, drunken, dissolute, and imbecile
kings, the reckless intrigues of monasticism at the instigation of Rome,
and the unprincipled and infamous ambition of the Norman Bastard, who
crept into England during this great man's exile, and fled in all haste
at his return. What he had to contend with, what plots he frustrated,
what malice he counteracted, what superstition and stupidity he rendered
harmless, will never be known in detail. We perceive the indefinite and
indistinct forms of these things floating through the mists of history,
but cannot grasp and fix them for the instruction of posterity."[L] This
portraiture may be somewhat too highly colored, but it is better
painting than we get from Norman writers, who were no more capable of
writing justly of Godwin and Harold, than Roman authors of Hannibal and
Spartacus. Godwin was an abler man than his son and successor, and
probably the latter would never have been able to aspire to royalty, and
for a few months to wear a crown, had not the fortunes of his house been
raised so high by his father. Nevertheless, Harold was worthy of his
inheritance, and possessed rare qualities, such as made him not
undeserving a throne, and of better fortune than he found at Hastings.
He was patriotic, magnanimous, brave, humane, honorable, and energetic.
His chief fault seems to have been a deficiency in judgment, which led
him rashly to engage in undertakings that might better have been
deferred. Such, at least, is the impression that we derive from his
fighting the battle of Hastings, when he had everything to gain from
delay, and when every day that an action was postponed was as useful to
the Saxon cause as it was injurious to that of the Normans.

Harold's rival was the illegitimate son of Robert the Devil, as he is
commonly called, because he has been, though improperly, "identified
with a certain imaginary or legendary hero," but who was a much better
man than his diabolic _sobriquet_ implies. William's mother was Arletta,
or Herleva, daughter of a tanner of Falaise. The Conqueror never escaped
the reproach of his birth, into which bastardy and plebeianism entered
in equal proportions. He was always "William the Bastard," and he is so
to this day. "William the Conqueror," says Palgrave, "the founder of the
most noble empire in the civilized world, could never rid himself of the
contumelious appellation which bore indelible record of his father's
sin. In all history, William is the only individual to whom such an
epithet has adhered throughout his life and fortunes. Was the word of
affront ever applied to Alphonso, the stern father of the noble house of
Braganza, by any one except a Castilian? Not so William;--a bastard was
William at the hour of his birth; a bastard in prosperity; a bastard in
adversity; a bastard in sorrow; a bastard in triumph; a bastard in the
maternal bosom; a bastard when borne to his horror-inspiring grave.
'William the Conqueror' relatively, but 'William the Bastard'
positively; and a bastard he will continue so long as the memory of man
shall endure." Sir Francis seems to have forgotten the Bastard of
Orleans. Nevertheless, and in spite of his illegitimacy, William became
ruler of Normandy when he was but a child, his father abdicating the
throne, and forcing the Norman baronage to accept the boy as his
successor; and that boy thirty years later founded a royal line, that
yet endures in full strength, Queen Victoria being the legitimate
descendant of William of Normandy.[M] The training that William received
developed his faculties, and made him one of the chief men of his age;
and in 1066 he prepared to assert his right to the English crown.

The Norman barons were at first disinclined to support their lord's
claim upon England. Their tenures did not bind them to cross the sea.
But at last they were won over to the support of his cause, on the
promise of receiving the lands of the English. He called upon foreigners
to join his army, promising them the plunder of England. "All the
adventurers and adventurous spirits of the neighboring states were
invited to join his standard," and his invitation was accepted. "William
published his ban," says Thierry, "in the neighboring countries; he
offered gold, and the pillage of England to every able man who would
serve him with lance, sword, or crossbow. A multitude accepted the
invitation, coming by every road, far and near, from north and south.
They came from Maine and Anjou, from Poitiers and Brittany, from France
and Flanders, from Aquitaine and Burgundy, from the Alps and the banks
of the Rhine. All the professional adventurers, all the military
vagabonds of Western Europe, hastened to Normandy by long marches; some
were knights and chiefs of war, the others simple foot-soldiers and
sergeants-of-arms, as they were then called; some demanded money-pay,
others only their passage, and all the booty they might win. Some asked
for land in England, a domain, a castle, a town; others simply required
some rich Saxon in marriage. Every thought, every desire of human
avarice presented itself. William rejected no one, says the Norman
chronicle, and satisfied every one as well as he could. He gave,
beforehand, a bishopric in England to a monk of Fescamp, in return for a
vessel and twenty armed men."[N] The Pope was William's chief supporter.
Harold and all his adherents were excommunicated, and William received a
banner and ring from Rome, the double emblem of military and
ecclesiastical investiture. Of the sixty thousand men that formed the
Norman army, Normans formed the smallest portion, and most of their
number were not of noble birth.

William sailed on the 28th of September, and landed his army on the
29th, without experiencing any resistance. Harold was in the North,
contending with and defeating the Northmen, one of whose leaders was his
brother Tostig. As soon as he received intelligence of William's landing
he marched south, bent upon giving immediate battle, though his mother
and his brother Gurth and other relatives, and many of his friends,
strongly counselled delay. This counsel was good, for his force was to
William's as one to four; and even a week's delay might have so far
strengthened the Saxons as to have enabled them to fight on an approach
to equal terms with the invaders. But Harold rejected all advice, and
pressed forward to action so imprudently as to countenance, in a
superstitious age, the notion that he was urged on by an irresistible
power, which had decreed his destruction. Certainly he did not display
much sagacity before battle, though both skill and bravery in it were
not wanting on his part The battle of Hastings was fought on the 14th of
October, 1066. The Normans were the assailants; but for six hours--from
nine in the morning till three in the afternoon--they were repulsed; and
had the Saxons been content to hold their ground, victory would have
been theirs. But they left the position they had so valiantly
maintained, to pursue the Normans, when the latter feigned to fly. Even
then they fought with heroic resolution, and might have regained the
day, had not Harold fallen. Soon after, the English position was
stormed, and the king's brother, Gurth, was slain. The combat lasted
till the coming on of darkness. Fifteen thousand of the victors are said
to have fallen,--a number as great as the entire English army.

The event of the battle of Hastings placed all England, ultimately, at
the disposition of the Normans, though many years elapsed before the
country was entirely conquered. Had the English possessed a good
government, or leaders who enjoyed general confidence, their defeat at
Hastings would not have reduced them to bondage, or have converted their
country into a new world. But they, who were even slavishly dependent on
their government for leading, had no government; and they were just as
destitute of chiefs who were competent to assume the lead at so dark a
crisis. Taking advantage of circumstances so favorable to his purpose,
William soon made himself king, but had most of his work to do long
after he was crowned. The battle of Hastings, therefore, was decisive of
the future of England and of the British race. Saxon England
disappeared; Norman England rose. The change was perfect, and quite
warrants Lord Macaulay's emphatic assertion, that "the battle of
Hastings, and the events which followed it, not only placed a Duke of
Normandy on the English throne, but gave up the whole population of
England to the tyranny of the Norman race,"--and that "the subjugation
of a nation by a nation has seldom, even in Asia, been more complete."
The nation that finally was formed by a union of the Saxons and the
Normans, and which was seven or eight generations in forming, was a very
different nation from that which had been ruled by the Confessor. It was
a nation that was capable of every form of action, and had little in
common with the Saxons of the eleventh century. It matters nothing
whether the Conqueror introduced the feudal system into England, or
whether he found it there, or whether that system is almost entirely an
imaginary creation, as most probably is the fact. We know that the event
called the Norman Conquest wrought great changes in England, and through
England in the world; and that Napoleon III. reigns over the French, and
Victor Emanuel II. over the Italians, that the House of Hohenzollern has
triumphed over the House of Hapsburg, that President Johnson rules at
Washington, and that Queen Victoria sits in the seat of Akbar or
Aurungzebe, are facts which must all be attributed to the decision made
by the sword at Hastings, no matter what may have been the particular
process of events after that battle. It is possible that the misery
consequent on the victory of the Normans has been exaggerated, though a
great deal of suffering must have followed from it. But there can be no
exaggeration of the general consequence of the success of the Normans.
That determined the future course of the world, and will continue to
determine it long after the Valley of the Amazon shall be far more
thickly inhabited, and better known, than to-day is the Valley of the
Danube.

There is one popular error with regard to the Norman Conquest which it
may not be amiss to correct. It is taken for granted by most persons who
have written on it, that the triumph of William was the triumph of an
aristocracy over a people, and we often hear the Saxons spoken of as
democrats who were subdued by aristocrats. This is an entirely erroneous
view of the whole subject. So far as there was a contest at Hastings
between aristocrats and democrats, the Normans were champions of
democracy, and the Saxons of the opposite principle. The Saxon
aristocracy was very powerful, and its power was steadily increasing for
generations before the Conquest; and had there not been a foreign
invasion, it is altogether probable that the English system soon would
have become strictly oligarchical. One of the chief causes of Harold's
failure was his inability to command the prompt support of some of the
greatest nobles, as Earls Edwin and Morcar, who paid bitterly for their
backwardness in after days. Something of this may be attributed to the
weakness of his title to the crown, but the mere fact that such men
could so powerfully influence events at a time when the very existence
of the country was at stake, is enough to show how strong were the
insular aristocrats; and it was this selfish aristocracy that was
destroyed by the Normans, most of whom were upstarts, the very scum of
Europe having entered William's army. We doubt if ever there was a
greater triumph effected by the poor and the lowly-born over the rich
and the well-born, than that which was gained at Hastings, though it
required some years to make it complete. "According to the common
report," says Sir F. Palgrave, "sixty thousand knights received their
fees, or rather their livings, to use the old expression, from the
Conqueror. This report is exaggerated as to number; but the race of the
Anglo-Danish and English nobility and gentry, the Earls and the greater
Thanes, disappears; and with some exceptions, remarkable as exemplifying
the general rule, all the superiorities of the English soil became
vested in the Conqueror's Baronage. Men of a new race and order, men of
strange manners and strange speech, ruled in England. There were,
however, some great mitigations, and the very sufferings of the
conquered were so inflicted as to become the ultimate means of national
prosperity; but they were to be gone through, and to be attended with
much present desolation and misery. The process was the more painful
because it was now accompanied by so much degradation and contumely. The
Anglo-Saxons seem to have had a very strong aristocratic feeling,--a
great respect for family and dignity of blood. The Normans, or rather
the host of adventurers whom we must of necessity comprehend under the
name of Normans, had comparatively little; and not very many of the real
old and powerful aristocracy, whether of Normandy or Brittany, settled
in England. The great majority had been rude, and poor, and despicable
in their own country,---the rascallions of Northern Gaul: these,
suddenly enriched, lost all compass and bearing of mind; and no one
circumstance vexed the spirit of the English more, than to see the fair
and noble English maidens and widows compelled to accept these
despicable adventurers as their husbands. Of this we have an example in
Lucia, the daughter of Algar, for Talboys seems to have been a person of
the lowest degree." Ivo Talboys, or Taillebois, was one of the
Conqueror's followers, and his chief gave him lands in the fen country,
near the monastery of Croyland; and this chance of a locality may have
had something to do with the reputation he has, for it brought him under
the lash of the famous Ingulphus, Chronicler of Croyland, (if he was
that Chronicler,) who charges him with all manner of crimes,--and with
reason good, for he bore himself with great harshness toward the
brethren of the great Croyland monastery,--an unpardonable offence. Low
as he was by birth, Taillebois received the hand of Lucia, sister of the
Saxon Earls Edwin and Morcar, and became very wealthy. From this union
came "the great line whence sprang the barons of Kendal and Lancaster."
The last descendant of this Norman baron of William's creation and of
the Saxon Lucia died in 1861, a pauper in the workhouse of
Shrewsbury,--Emily Taillebois, a girl of eighteen.

There were thousands of such fellows as Taillebois in William's army,
and, though all were not so lucky as he, many of them drew good prizes
in the lottery of war, and founded, at the expense of the noblest
Saxons, families from which men are proud to be descended. Sir Walter
has used this fact in "Ivanhoe," when he makes the usually silent
Athelstane reply with so much eloquence to De Bracy's insolent remark
that the princes of the House of Anjou conferred not their wards on men
of such lineage as his. "My lineage, proud Norman," replied Athelstane,
"is drawn from a source more pure and ancient than that of a beggarly
Frenchman, whose living is won by selling the blood of the thieves whom
he assembles under his paltry standard. Kings were my ancestors, strong
in war and wise in council, who every day feasted in their hall more
hundreds than thou canst number individual followers; whose names have
been sung by minstrels, and their laws recorded by Wittenagemotes; whose
bones were interred amid the prayers of saints, and over whose tombs
minsters have been builded." There can be no doubt that Saxons as
far-descended as Scott represents Athelstane to have been were treated
worse than he, and that Saxon ladies of the highest birth and greatest
wealth experienced the fate of the conquered in much severer measure
than it became known to Rowena. Scott has been accused of exaggerating
the effects of the Conquest, but his glowing picture is by no means
overcharged, if we look at the effect of that change on the higher
classes of the vanquished people. The Saxons were very wealthy, and the
invaders obtained an amount of spoil that astonished them, the accounts
of which remind the reader of what was told of the extraordinary
acquisitions made by the ruffians who formed the force of Pizarro in
Peru. Years after the day of Hastings, we are told, William "bore back
with him, to his eager and hungry country, the plunder of England, which
was so varied in kind, so prodigious in amount, that the awe-stricken
chroniclers maintain that all the Gauls, if ransacked from end to end,
would have failed to supply treasures worthy to be compared with it. The
silver, the gold, the vases, vestments, and crucifixes crested with
jewels, the silken garments for men and women, the rings, necklaces,
bracelets, wrought delicately in gold and resplendent in gems, inspired
the Continental barbarians with rapture, and in their imaginations made
England appear the Dorado of those times." One of the writers of that
day states that "incredible treasures in gold and silver were sent from
the plunder of England to the Pope, together with costly ornaments,
which would have been held in the highest estimation even at Byzantium,
then universally regarded as the most opulent city in the world." All
this implies that the Saxon aristocracy were very rich, and it is far
from unlikely that it was the desire to preserve their property that led
them to offer so little resistance to William,--a fatally mistaken
course, for the invading adventurers had entered England in search of
other men's property, and were not to be kept quiet by the quietness of
the owners thereof. The aristocracy alone could afford such plunder as
that described, and that so much of it was obtained shows how extensive
must have been the spoliation, and how thoroughly Saxon nobles were
stripped of their possessions by the low-born ragamuffins who were
induced by William's recruiting sergeants to enlist under his black
banner.

FOOTNOTES:

[B] An Account of the Danes and Norwegians in England, Scotland, and
Ireland, by J. J. Worsaae, Sec. I. p. 6.

[C] "What we call purchase, _perquisitio_," says Blackstone, "the
feudists called conquest, _conquisitio_; both denoting any means of
acquiring an estate out of the common course of inheritance. And this is
still the proper phrase in the law of Scotland, as it was among the
Norman jurists, who styled the first purchaser (that is, him who bought
the estate into the family which at present owns it) the conqueror, or
_conquereur_, which seems to be all that was meant by the appellation
which was given to William the Norman." Had Harold been victorious at
Hastings, he would, according to the feudists, have been the Conqueror;
that is, the man who brought England into his family.

[D] The History of Normandy and of England, Vol. I. pp. 703, 704. One of
the greatest historical works of a country and an age singularly rich in
historical literature, but incomplete, like the works of Macaulay,
Niebuhr, and Arnold, and the last work of Prescott. The third and fourth
volumes, posthumously published in 1864,--Sir Francis died in 1861,--are
well edited by the author's son, Mr. Francis Turner Palgrave, who
honorably upholds the honored name he inherits.

[E] Merivale, History of the Romans under the Empire; Vol. IV. p. 297,
note: "The civilization of barbarians, at least their material
cultivation, has been generally more advanced by instructors whose moral
superiority was less strongly marked, than where the teachers and the
taught have few common sympathies and points of contact. Thus, in our
own times, rough whalers and brutal pirates have done more to
Europeanize the natives of Polynesia than the missionaries."

[F] A History of England under the Norman Kings, etc., pp. 84, 85, and
87. Dr. Lappenberg is emphatic on the subject of the formation of the
Norman race through the junction of various races. "Rolf [Rollo] and his
companions were like those meteors which traverse the air with
incredible swiftness," he says, "and in vanishing leave behind them long
streams of fire which the eye gazes on with amazement. The Northmen who
settled in Neustria gradually became lost among the French, a mixture of
Gauls and Romans, Franks and Burgundians, West Goths and Saracens,
friends and foes, barbarians and civilized nations. Ten sorts of
language, and with them, perhaps, as many forms of government, were lost
amid this mass of peoples. French and foreigners have visited Normandy
in search of some traces of the old Scandinavian colonies, or at least
of some testimonial of their long sojourn there, and one or other
memorial characteristic of this daring people. All have admired the
prosperity of the province, to which the fertility of the soil and its
manufactures and commerce have contributed; but vainly have they sought
for the original Northmen in the present inhabitants. With the exception
of some faint resemblances, they have met with nothing Norsk."--pp. 65,
66.

[G] The History of Normandy and of England, Vol. I. pp. 704, 705.
Lanfranc, who was made Archbishop of Canterbury by the Conqueror, was a
native of Pavia, and Anselm, his successor, a native of Aosta.

[H] Rollo and his Race: or, Footsteps of the Normans, Vol. II. pp.
107-109.

[I] What Sir F. Palgrave says of the famous son of Robert Guiscard is
applicable generally to the Normans: "Bohemond was affectionate and true
to father, wife, and children, pleasant, affable, and courteous: yet
wrapped up in selfishness, possessed by insatiate ambition and almost
diabolical cruelty, proud and faithless, but in spite of all these vices
so seductive as to command the admiration even of those who knew him to
be a heartless demon."--_History_ Vol. IV. p. 471.

[J] "The heart of Emma clung more and more to her native land. Her
feelings were inherited by the children who were afterward born to
her,--they imbibed them at their mother's breast. Their hearts were
thoroughly alienated from England, and the Normans and Normandy became
as their kindred and their home."--Palgrave, Vol. III. p. 112. Edward's
wife was Editha, daughter of Earl Godwin, and sister of Harold.

[K] The History of Normandy and of England, Vol. III. pp. 293, 294.

[L] History of the Four Conquests of England, Vol. II. pp. 176-178.

[M] The legitimate descent of Queen Victoria from the Conqueror is
sometimes disputed, because it is not correctly traced, in consequence
of the line of descent being carried back through Henry VII., instead of
being carried through his wife, _née_ Elizabeth Plantagenet. It may not
be uninteresting to state the royal pedigree, which is at times rather
intricate, and full of sinuosities,--in part due to the occurrences of
political revolutions, old English statesmen never having paid much
regard to political legitimacy, which is a modern notion. Queen Victoria
is the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, who was son of George III., who
was son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was son of George II., who
was son of George I., who was son of the Electress Sophia (by Ernest
Augustus, Elector of Hanover), who was daughter of Elizabeth Stuart (by
Frederick V., Elector Palatine and "Winter King" of Bohemia), who was
daughter of James I. (Sixth of Scotland), who was son of Mary, Queen of
Scots (by Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley), who was daughter of James V., who
was son of Margaret Tudor (by James IV.), who was daughter of Elizabeth
Plantagenet (by Henry VII.), who was daughter of Edward IV., who was son
of Richard, Duke of York, who was son of Anne Mortimer (by Richard
Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, son of Edmund, Duke of York, fifth son
of Edward III.), who was daughter of Roger, Earl of Marche, who was son
of Philippe (by Edmund, Earl of Marche), who was daughter of Lionel,
Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III., who was son of Edward II.,
who was son of Edward I., who was son of Henry III., who was son of
John, who was son of Henry II., who was son of Matilda (by Geoffrey
Plantagenet, Count of Anjou), who was daughter of Henry I. (by Matilda
of Scotland, sister of Edgar Atheling, and therefore of the Saxon blood
royal), who was son of William the Conqueror. Thus Queen Victoria is
descended legitimately from the Conqueror, not only through Lionel, Duke
of Clarence, Edward III.'s third son, but also through that monarch's
fifth son, Edmund, Duke of York, whose second son, the Earl of
Cambridge, married the great-granddaughter of the Duke of Clarence. Had
the great struggle of the English throne in the fifteenth century been
correctly named, it would stand in history as the contest between the
lines of Clarence (not York) and Lancaster. In virtue of her descent
from Henry VII., Queen Victoria shares "the aspiring blood of
Lancaster," which was so mounting that it brought the worst of woes on
England. Henry VII. was the son of Margaret Beaufort (by Edmund Tudor,
Earl of Richmond), who was the daughter of John, Duke of Somerset, who
was the son of John, Earl of Somerset, who was the son of John of Gaunt,
Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III.; but the mother of the Earl
of Somerset was, at the time of his birth, not the wife, but the
mistress of the Duke of Lancaster, though he married her late in life,
and in various ways obtained the legitimation of the children she had
borne him,--facts that could not remove the great fact of their
illegitimacy, if marriage is to count for anything and which no good
historian has treated with respect. Lord Macaulay calls the Tudors "a
line of bastards," and ranks them with the "succession of impostors" set
up by the adherents of the White Rose. Froude's great work has created a
new interest in the question of the English succession, for he bases his
peculiar view of the character of Henry VIII., and his justification of
all his acts of heartless tyranny, on the necessities that grew out of
that perplexing question, which troubled England for two centuries, thus
forming a practical satire on that theory which represents that the
peculiar excellence of hereditary monarchy is found in its power to
prevent disputes for the possession of government, and to promote the
preservation of society's peace,--a theory which has often been thrown
into the teeth of republicans, and particularly since the occurrence of
our unhappy civil troubles. Yet one would think that Gettysburg and
Shiloh were not worse days than Towton and Barnet. Those persons who are
interested in the English succession question, and who would see how
wide a one it was, and how far and how long and variously it affected
the politics of Continental Europe as well as those of England, should
read the chapter on the subject in Miss Cooper's "Life and Letters of
Arabella Stuart," a learned and lively work, and not the least
meritorious of those admirable historical productions which we owe to
the genius, the industry, and the honesty of Englishwomen,--Agnes
Strickland, Caroline A. Halsted, Lucy Aiken, Mrs. Everett Green,
Elizabeth Cooper, and others,--whose writings do honor to the sex, and
fairly entitle their authors to be ranked with those accomplished ladies
of the sixteenth century whose solid attainments have so long been
matter of despairing admiration.

[N] _Histoire de la Conquête de l'Angleterre par les Normans_, Tom. I.
pp. 237, 238.



THE NOVELS OF GEORGE ELIOT.


The critic's first duty in the presence of an author's collective works
is to seek out some key to his method, some utterance of his literary
convictions, some indication of his ruling theory. The amount of labor
involved in an inquiry of this kind will depend very much upon the
author. In some cases the critic will find express declarations; in
other cases he will have to content himself with conscientious
inductions. In a writer so fond of digressions as George Eliot, he has
reason to expect that broad evidences of artistic faith will not be
wanting. He finds in "Adam Bede" the following passage:--

"Paint us an angel if you can, with a floating violet robe and a face
paled by the celestial light; paint us yet oftener a Madonna, turning
her mild face upward, and opening her arms to welcome the divine glory;
but do not impose on us any æsthetic rules which shall banish from the
region of art those old women scraping carrots with their work-worn
hands,--those heavy clowns taking holiday in a dingy pot-house,--those
rounded backs and stupid weather-beaten faces that have bent over the
spade and done the rough work of the world,--those homes with their tin
cans, their brown pitchers, their rough curs, and their clusters of
onions. In this world there are so many of these common, coarse people,
who have no picturesque, sentimental wretchedness. It is so needful we
should remember their existence, else we may happen to leave them quite
out of our religion and philosophy, and frame lofty theories which only
fit a world of extremes.... There are few prophets in the world,--few
sublimely beautiful women,--few heroes. I can't afford to give all my
love and reverence to such rarities; I want a great deal of those
feelings for my every-day fellowmen, especially for the few in the
foreground of the great multitude, whose faces I know, whose hands I
touch, for whom I have to make way with kindly courtesy.... I herewith
discharge my conscience," our author continues, "and declare that I have
had quite enthusiastic movements of admiration toward old gentlemen who
spoke the worst English, who were occasionally fretful in their temper,
and who had never moved in a higher sphere of influence than that of
parish overseer; and that the way in which I have come to the conclusion
that human nature is lovable--the way I have learnt something of its
deep pathos, its sublime mysteries--has been by living a great deal
among people more or less commonplace and vulgar, of whom you would
perhaps hear nothing very surprising if you were to inquire about them
in the neighborhoods where they dwelt."

But even in the absence of any such avowed predilections as these, a
brief glance over the principal figures of her different works would
assure us that our author's sympathies are with common people. Silas
Marner is a linen-weaver, Adam Bede is a carpenter, Maggie Tulliver is a
miller's daughter, Felix Holt is a watchmaker, Dinah Morris works in a
factory, and Hetty Sorrel is a dairy-maid. Esther Lyon, indeed, is a
daily governess; but Tito Melema alone is a scholar. In the "Scenes of
Clerical Life," the author is constantly slipping down from the
clergymen, her heroes, to the most ignorant and obscure of their
parishioners. Even in "Romola" she consecrates page after page to the
conversation of the Florentine populace. She is as unmistakably a
painter of _bourgeois_ life as Thackeray was a painter of the life of
drawing-rooms.

Her opportunities for the study of the manners of the solid lower
classes have evidently been very great. We have her word for it that she
has lived much among the farmers, mechanics, and small traders of that
central region of England which she has made known to us under the name
of Loamshire. The conditions of the popular life in this district in
that already distant period to which she refers the action of most of
her stories--the end of the last century and the beginning of the
present--were so different from any that have been seen in America, that
an American, in treating of her books, must be satisfied not to touch
upon the question of their accuracy and fidelity as pictures of manners
and customs. He can only say that they bear strong internal evidence of
truthfulness. If he is a great admirer of George Eliot, he will indeed
be tempted to affirm that they _must_ be true. They offer a
completeness, a rich density of detail, which could be the fruit only of
a long term of conscious contact,--such as would make it much more
difficult for the author to fall into the perversion and suppression of
facts, than to set them down literally. It is very probable that her
colors are a little too bright, and her shadows of too mild a gray, that
the sky of her landscapes is too sunny, and their atmosphere too
redolent of peace and abundance. Local affection may be accountable for
half of this excess of brilliancy; the author's native optimism is
accountable for the other half. I do not remember, in all her novels, an
instance of gross misery of any kind not directly caused by the folly of
the sufferer. There are no pictures of vice or poverty or squalor. There
are no rags, no gin, no brutal passions. That average humanity which she
favors is very _borné_ in intellect, but very genial in heart, as a
glance at its representatives in her pages will convince us. In "Adam
Bede," there is Mr. Irwine, the vicar, with avowedly no qualification
for his profession, placidly playing chess with his mother, stroking his
dogs, and dipping into Greek tragedies; there is the excellent Martin
Poyser at the Farm, good-natured and rubicund; there is his wife,
somewhat too sharply voluble, but only in behalf of cleanliness and
honesty and order; there is Captain Donnithorne at the Hall, who does a
poor girl a mortal wrong, but who is, after all, such a nice,
good-looking fellow; there are Adam and Seth Bede, the carpenter's sons,
the strongest, purest, most discreet of young rustics. The same broad
felicity prevails in "The Mill on the Floss." Mr. Tulliver, indeed,
fails in business; but his failure only serves as an offset to the
general integrity and prosperity. His son is obstinate and wilful; but
it is all on the side of virtue. His daughter is somewhat sentimental
and erratic; but she is more conscientious yet. Conscience, in the
classes from which George Eliot recruits her figures, is a universal
gift. Decency and plenty and good-humor follow contentedly in its train.
The word which sums up the common traits of our author's various groups
is the word _respectable_. Adam Bede is pre-eminently a respectable
young man; so is Arthur Donnithorne; so, although he will persist in
going without a cravat, is Felix Holt. So, with perhaps the exception of
Maggie Tulliver and Stephen Guest, is every important character to be
found in our author's writings. They all share this fundamental
trait,--that in each of them passion proves itself feebler than
conscience.

The first work which made the name of George Eliot generally known,
contains, to my perception, only a small number of the germs of her
future power. From the "Scenes of Clerical Life" to "Adam Bede" she made
not so much a step as a leap. Of the three tales contained in the former
work, I think the first is much the best. It is short, broadly
descriptive, humorous, and exceedingly pathetic. "The Sad Fortunes of
the Reverend Amos Barton" are fortunes which clever storytellers with a
turn for pathos, from Oliver Goldsmith downward, have found of very good
account,--the fortunes of a hapless clergyman of the Church of England
in daily contention with the problem how upon eighty pounds a year to
support a wife and six children in all due ecclesiastical gentility.
"Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story," the second of the tales in question, I cannot
hesitate to pronounce a failure. George Eliot's pictures of drawing-room
life are only interesting when they are linked or related to scenes in
the tavern parlor, the dairy, and the cottage. Mr. Gilfil's love-story
is enacted entirely in the drawing-room, and in consequence it is
singularly deficient in force and reality. Not that it is vulgar,--for
our author's good taste never forsakes her,--but it is thin, flat, and
trivial. But for a certain family likeness in the use of language and
the rhythm of the style, it would be hard to believe that these pages
are by the same hand as "Silas Marner." In "Janet's Repentance," the
last and longest of the three clerical stories, we return to middle
life,--the life represented by the Dodsons in "The Mill on the Floss."
The subject of this tale might almost be qualified by the French
epithet _scabreux_. It would be difficult for what is called _realism_,
to go further than in the adoption of a heroine stained with the vice of
intemperance. The theme is unpleasant; the author chose it at her peril.
It must be added, however, that Janet Dempster has many provocations.
Married to a brutal drunkard, she takes refuge in drink against his
ill-usage; and the story deals less with her lapse into disgrace than
with her redemption, through the kind offices of the Reverend Edgar
Tryan,--by virtue of which, indeed, it takes its place in the clerical
series. I cannot help thinking that the stern and tragical character of
the subject has been enfeebled by the over-diffuseness of the narrative
and the excess of local touches. The abundance of the author's
recollections and observations of village life clogs the dramatic
movement, over which she has as yet a comparatively slight control. In
her subsequent works the stouter fabric of the story is better able to
support this heavy drapery of humor and digression.

To a certain extent, I think "Silas Marner" holds a higher place than
any of the author's works. It is more nearly a masterpiece; it has more
of that simple, rounded, consummate aspect, that absence of loose ends
and gaping issues, which marks a classical work. What was attempted in
it, indeed, was within more immediate reach than the heart-trials of
Adam Bede and Maggie Tulliver. A poor, dull-witted, disappointed
Methodist cloth-weaver; a little golden-haired foundling child; a
well-meaning, irresolute country squire, and his patient, childless
wife;--these, with a chorus of simple, beer-loving villagers, make up
the _dramatis personæ_. More than any of its brother-works, "Silas
Marner," I think, leaves upon the mind a deep impression of the grossly
material life of agricultural England in the last days of the old
_régime_,--the days of full-orbed Toryism, of Trafalgar and of Waterloo,
when the invasive spirit of French domination threw England back upon a
sense of her own insular solidity, and made her for the time doubly,
brutally, morbidly English. Perhaps the best pages in the work are the
first thirty, telling the story of poor Marner's disappointments in
friendship and in love, his unmerited disgrace, and his long, lonely
twilight-life at Raveloe, with the sole companionship of his loom, in
which his muscles moved "with such even repetition, that their pause
seemed almost as much a constraint as the holding of his breath." Here,
as in all George Eliot's books, there is a middle life and a low life;
and here, as usual, I prefer the low life. In "Silas Marner," in my
opinion, she has come nearest the mildly rich tints of brown and gray,
the mellow lights and the undreadful corner-shadows of the Dutch masters
whom she emulates. One of the chapters contains a scene in a pot-house,
which frequent reference has made famous. Never was a group of honest,
garrulous village simpletons more kindly and humanely handled. After a
long and somewhat chilling silence, amid the pipes and beer, the
landlord opens the conversation "by saying in a doubtful tone to his
cousin the butcher:--

"'Some folks 'ud say that was a fine beast you druv in yesterday, Bob?'

"The butcher, a jolly, smiling, red-haired man, was not disposed to
answer rashly. He gave a few puffs before he spat, and replied, 'And
they wouldn't be fur wrong, John.'

"After this feeble, delusive thaw, silence set in as severely as before.

"'Was it a red Durham?' said the farrier, taking up the thread of
discourse after the lapse of a few minutes.

"The farrier looked at the landlord, and the landlord looked at the
butcher, as the person who must take the responsibility of answering.

"'Red it was,' said the butcher, in his good-humored husky treble,--'and
a Durham it was.'

"'Then you needn't tell me who you bought it of,' said the farrier,
looking round with some triumph; 'I know who it is has got the red
Durhams o' this country-side. And she'd a white star on her brow, I'll
bet a penny?'

"'Well; yes--she might,' said the butcher, slowly, considering that he
was giving a decided affirmation. 'I don't say contrairy.'

"'I knew that very well,' said the farrier, throwing himself back
defiantly; 'if I don't know Mr. Lammeter's cows, I should like to know
who does,--that's all. And as for the cow you bought, bargain or no
bargain, I've been at the drenching of her,--contradick me who will.'

"The farrier looked fierce, and the mild butcher's conversational spirit
was roused a little.

"'I'm not for contradicking no man,' he said; 'I'm for peace and
quietness. Some are for cutting long ribs. I'm for cutting 'em short
myself; but _I_ don't quarrel with 'em. All I say is, its a lovely
carkiss,--and anybody as was reasonable, it'ud bring tears into their
eyes to look at it.'

"'Well, its the cow as I drenched, whatever it is,' pursued the farrier,
angrily; 'and it was Mr. Lammeter's cow, else you told a lie when you
said it was a red Durham.'

"'I tell no lies,' said the butcher, with the same mild huskiness as
before; 'and I contradick none,--not if a man was to swear himself
black; he's no meat of mine, nor none of my bargains. All I say is, its
a lovely carkiss. And what I say I'll stick to; but I'll quarrel wi' no
man.'

"'No,' said the farrier, with bitter sarcasm, looking at the company
generally; 'and p'rhaps you didn't say the cow was a red Durham; and
p'rhaps you didn't say she'd got a star on her brow,--stick to that, now
you are at it.'"

Matters having come to this point, the landlord interferes _ex officio_
to preserve order. The Lammeter family having come up, he discreetly
invites Mr. Macey, the parish clerk and tailor, to favor the company
with his recollections on the subject. Mr. Macey, however, "smiled
pityingly in answer to the landlord's appeal, and said: 'Ay, ay; I know,
I know: but I let other folks talk. I've laid by now, and gev up to the
young uns. Ask them as have been to school at Tarley: they've learn't
pernouncing; that's came up since my day.'"

Mr. Macey is nevertheless persuaded to dribble out his narrative;
proceeding by instalments, and questioned from point to point, in a kind
of Socratic manner, by the landlord. He at last arrives at Mr.
Lammeter's marriage, and how the clergyman, when he came to put the
questions, inadvertently transposed the position of the two essential
names, and asked, "Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded wife?" etc.

"'But the partic'larest thing of all,' pursues Mr. Macey, 'is, as nobody
took any notice on it but me, and they answered straight off "Yes," like
as if it had been me saying "Amen" i' the right place, without listening
to what went before.'

"'But _you_ knew what was going on well enough, didn't you, Mr. Macey?
You were live enough, eh?' said the butcher.

"'Yes, bless you!' said Mr. Macey, pausing, and smiling in pity at the
impatience of his hearer's imagination,--'why, I was all of a tremble;
it was as if I'd been a coat pulled by two tails, like; for I couldn't
stop the parson, I couldn't take upon me to do that; and yet I said to
myself, I says, "Suppose they shouldn't be fast married," 'cause the
words are contrairy, and my head went working like a mill, for I was
always uncommon for turning things over and seeing all round 'em; and I
says to myself, "Is 't the meaning or the words as makes folks fast i'
wedlock?" For the parson meant right, and the bride and bridegroom meant
right. But then, when I came to think on it, meaning goes but a little
way i' most things, for you may mean to stick things together and your
glue may be bad, and then where are you?'"

Mr. Macey's doubts, however, are set at rest by the parson after the
service, who assures him that what does the business is neither the
meaning nor the words, but the register. Mr. Macey then arrives at the
chapter--or rather is gently inducted thereunto by his hearers--of the
ghosts who frequent certain of the Lammeter stables. But ghosts
threatening to prove as pregnant a theme of contention as Durham cows,
the landlord again meditates: "'There's folks i' my opinion, they can't
see ghos'es, not if they stood as plain as a pikestaff before 'em. And
there's reason i' that. For there's my wife, now, can't smell, not if
she'd the strongest o' cheese under her nose. I never seed a ghost
myself, but then I says to myself', "Very like I haven't the smell for
'em." I mean, putting a ghost for a smell or else contrairiways. And so
I'm for holding with both sides.... For the smell's what I go by.'"

The best drawn of the village worthies in "Silas Marner" are Mr. Macey,
of the scene just quoted, and good Dolly Winthrop, Marner's kindly
patroness. I have room for only one more specimen of Mr. Macey. He is
looking on at a New Year's dance at Squire Case's, beside Ben Winthrop,
Dolly's husband.

"'The Squire's pretty springy, considering his weight,' said Mr. Macey,
'and he stamps uncommon well. But Mr. Lammeter beats 'em all for shapes;
you see he holds his head like a sodger, and he isn't so cushiony as
most o' the oldish gentlefolks,--they ran fat in gineral;--and he's got
a fine leg. The parson's nimble enough, but he hasn't got much of a leg:
it's a bit too thick downward, and his knees might be a bit nearer
without damage; but he might do worse, he might do worse. Though he
hasn't that grand way o' waving his hand as the Squire has.'

"'Talk o' nimbleness, look at Mrs. Osgood,' said Ben Winthrop.... 'She's
the finest made woman as is, let the next be where she will.'

"'I don't heed how the women are made,' said Mr. Macey, with some
contempt 'They wear nayther coat nor breeches; you can't make much out
o' their shapes!'"

Mrs. Winthrop, the wheelwright's wife who, out of the fulness of her
charity, comes to comfort Silas in the season of his distress, is in her
way one of the most truthfully sketched of the author's figures. "She
was in all respects a woman of scrupulous conscience, so eager for
duties that life seemed to offer them too scantily unless she rose at
half past four, though this threw a scarcity of work over the more
advanced hours of the morning, which it was a constant problem for her
to remove.... She was a very mild, patient woman, whose nature it was to
seek out all the sadder and more serious elements of life and pasture
her mind upon them." She stamps I. H. S. on her cakes and loaves without
knowing what the letters mean, or indeed without knowing that they are
letters, being very much surprised that Marner can "read 'em
off,"--chiefly because they are on the pulpit cloth at church. She
touches upon religious themes in a manner to make the superficial reader
apprehend that she cultivates some polytheistic form of faith,--extremes
meet. She urges Marner to go to church, and describes the satisfaction
which she herself derives from the performance of her religious duties.

"If you've niver had no church, there's no telling what good it'll do
you. For I feel as set up and comfortable as niver was, when I've been
and heard the prayers and the singing to the praise and glory o' God, as
Mr. Macey gives out,--and Mr. Crackenthorp saying good words and more
partic'lar on Sacramen' day; and if a bit o' trouble comes, I feel as I
can put up wi' it, for I've looked for help i' the right quarter, and
giv myself up to Them as we must all give ourselves up to at the last:
and if we've done our part, it isn't to be believed as Them as are above
us 'ud be worse nor we are, and come short o' Theirn."

"The plural pronoun," says the author, "was no heresy of Dolly's, but
only her way of avoiding a presumptuous familiarity." I imagine that
there is in no other English novel a figure so simple in its elements as
this of Dolly Winthrop, which is so real without being contemptible, and
so quaint without being ridiculous.

In all those of our author's books which have borne the name of the hero
or heroine,--"Adam Bede," "Silas Marner," "Romola," and "Felix
Holt,"--the person so put forward has really played a subordinate part.
The author may have set out with the intention of maintaining him
supreme; but her material has become rebellious in her hands, and the
technical hero has been eclipsed by the real one. Tito is the leading
figure in "Romola." The story deals predominantly, not with Romola as
affected by Tito's faults, but with Tito's faults as affecting first
himself, and incidentally his wife. Godfrey Cass, with his lifelong
secret, is by right the hero of "Silas Marner." Felix Holt, in the work
which bears his name, is little more than an occasional apparition; and
indeed the novel has no hero, but only a heroine. The same remark
applies to "Adam Bede," as the work stands. The central figure of the
book, by virtue of her great misfortune, is Hetty Sorrel. In the
presence of that misfortune no one else, assuredly, has a right to claim
dramatic pre-eminence. The one person for whom an approach to equality
may be claimed is, not Adam Bede, but Arthur Donnithorne. If the story
had ended, as I should have infinitely preferred to see it end, with
Hetty's execution, or even with her reprieve, and if Adam had been left
to his grief, and Dinah Morris to the enjoyment of that distinguished
celibacy for which she was so well suited, then I think Adam might have
shared the honors of pre-eminence with his hapless sweetheart. But as it
is, the continuance of the book in his interest is fatal to him. His
sorrow at Hetty's misfortune is not a _sufficient_ sorrow for the
situation. That his marriage at some future time was quite possible, and
even natural, I readily admit; but that was matter for a new story. This
point illustrates, I think, the great advantage of the much-censured
method, introduced by Balzac, of continuing his heroes' adventures from
tale to tale. Or, admitting that the author was indisposed to undertake,
or even to conceive, in its completeness, a new tale, in which Adam,
healed of his wound by time, should address himself to another woman, I
yet hold that it would be possible tacitly to foreshadow some such event
at the close of the tale which we are supposing to end with Hetty's
death,--to make it the logical consequence of Adam's final state of
mind. Of course circumstances would have much to do with bringing it to
pass, and these circumstances could not be foreshadowed; but apart from
the action of circumstances would stand the fact that, to begin with,
the event was _possible_. The assurance of this possibility is what I
should have desired the author to place the sympathetic reader at a
stand-point to deduce for himself. In every novel the work is divided
between the writer and the reader; but the writer makes the reader very
much as he makes his characters. When he makes him ill, that is, makes
him indifferent, he does no work; the writer does all. When he makes him
well, that is, makes him interested, then the reader does quite half the
labor. In making such a deduction as I have just indicated, the reader
would be doing but his share of the task; the grand point is to get him
to make it. I hold that there is a way. It is perhaps a secret; but
until it is found out, I think that the art of story-telling cannot be
said to have approached perfection.

When you re-read coldly and critically a book which in former years you
have read warmly and carelessly, you are surprised to see how it changes
its proportions. It falls away in those parts which have been
pre-eminent in your memory, and it increases in the small portions.
Until I lately read "Adam Bede" for a second time, Mrs. Poyser was in my
mind its representative figure; for I remembered a number of her
epigrammatic sallies. But now, after a second reading, Mrs. Poyser is
the last figure I think of, and a fresh perusal of her witticisms has
considerably diminished their classical flavor. And if I must tell the
truth, Adam himself is next to the last; and sweet Dinah Morris third
from the last. The person immediately evoked by the title of the work is
poor Hetty Sorrel. Mrs. Poyser is _too_ epigrammatic; her wisdom smells
of the lamp. I do not mean to say that she is not natural, and that
women of her class are not often gifted with her homely fluency, her
penetration, and her turn for forcible analogies. But she is too
sustained; her morality is too shrill,--too much in _staccato_; she too
seldom subsides into the commonplace. Yet it cannot be denied that she
puts things very happily. Remonstrating with Dinah Morris on the undue
disinterestedness of her religious notions, "But for the matter o'
that," she cries, "if everybody was to do like you, the world must come
to a stand-still; for if everybody tried to do without house and home
and eating and drinking, and was always talking as we must despise the
things o' the world, as you say, I should like to know where the pick of
the stock, and the corn, and the best new milk-cheeses 'ud have to go?
_Everybody 'ud be wanting to make bread o' tail ends_, and everybody 'ud
be running after everybody else to preach to 'em, i'stead o' bringing up
their families and laying by against a bad harvest." And when Hetty
comes home late from the Chase, and alleges in excuse that the clock at
home is so much earlier than the clock at the great house: "What, you'd
be wanting the clock set by gentlefolks' time, would you? an' sit up
burning candle, and lie a-bed wi' the sun a-bakin' you, like a cowcumber
i' the frame?" Mrs. Poyser has something almost of Yankee shrewdness and
angularity; but the figure of a New England rural housewife would lack a
whole range of Mrs. Poyser's feelings, which, whatever may be its effect
in real life, gives its subject in a novel at least a very picturesque
richness of color; the constant sense, namely, of a superincumbent layer
of "gentlefolks," whom she and her companions can never raise their
heads unduly without hitting.

My chief complaint with Adam Bede himself is that he is too good. He is
meant, I conceive, to be every inch a man; but, to my mind, there are
several inches wanting. He lacks spontaneity and sensibility, he is too
stiff-backed. He lacks that supreme quality without which a man can
never be interesting to men,--the capacity to be tempted. His nature is
without richness or responsiveness. I doubt not that such men as he
exist, especially in the author's thrice-English Loamshire; she has
partially described them as a class, with a felicity which carries
conviction. She claims for her hero that, although a plain man, he was
as little an ordinary man as he was a genius.

"He was not an average man. Yet such men as he are reared here and there
in every generation of our peasant artisans, with an inheritance of
affections nurtured by a simple family life of common need and common
industry, and an inheritance of faculties trained in skilful, courageous
labor; they make their way upward, rarely as geniuses, most commonly as
painstaking, honest men, with the skill and conscience to do well the
tasks that lie before them. Their lives have no discernible echo beyond
the neighborhood where they dwelt; but you are almost sure to find there
some good piece of road, some building, some application of mineral
produce, some improvement in farming practice, some reform of parish
abuses, with which their names are associated by one or two generations
after them. Their employers were the richer for them; the work of their
hands has worn well, and the work of their brains has guided well the
hands of other men."

One cannot help feeling thankful to the kindly writer who attempts to
perpetuate their memories beyond the generations which profit
immediately by their toil. If she is not a great dramatist, she is at
least an exquisite describer. But one can as little help feeling that it
is no more than a strictly logical retribution, that in her hour of need
(dramatically speaking) she should find them indifferent to their duties
as heroes. I profoundly doubt whether the central object of a novel may
successfully be a passionless creature. The ultimate eclipse, both of
Adam Bede and of Felix Holt would seem to justify my question. Tom
Tulliver is passionless, and Tom Tulliver lives gratefully in the
memory; but this, I take it, is because he is strictly a subordinate
figure, and awakens no reaction of feeling on the reader's part by
usurping a position which he is not the man to fill.

Dinah Morris is apparently a study from life; and it is warm praise to
say, that, in spite of the high key in which she is conceived, morally,
she retains many of the warm colors of life. But I confess that it is
hard to conceive of a woman so exalted by religious fervor remaining so
cool-headed and so temperate. There is in Dinah Morris too close an
agreement between her distinguished natural disposition and the action
of her religious faith. If by nature she had been passionate,
rebellious, selfish, I could better understand her actual
self-abnegation. I would look upon it as the logical fruit of a profound
religious experience. But as she stands, heart and soul go easily hand
in hand. I believe it to be very uncommon for what is called a religious
conversion merely to intensify and consecrate pre-existing inclinations.
It is usually a change, a wrench; and the new life is apt to be the more
sincere as the old one had less in common with it. But, as I have said,
Dinah Morris bears so many indications of being a reflection of facts
well known to the author,--and the phenomena of Methodism, from the
frequency with which their existence is referred to in her pages, appear
to be so familiar to her,--that I hesitate to do anything but thankfully
accept her portrait. About Hetty Sorrel I shall have no hesitation
whatever: I accept her with all my heart. Of all George Eliot's female
figures she is the least ambitious, and on the whole, I think, the most
successful. The part of the story which concerns her is much the most
forcible; and there is something infinitely tragic in the reader's sense
of the contrast between the sternly prosaic life of the good people
about her, their wholesome decency and their noonday probity, and the
dusky sylvan path along which poor Hetty is tripping, light-footed, to
her ruin. Hetty's conduct throughout seems to me to be thoroughly
consistent. The author has escaped the easy error of representing her as
in any degree made serious by suffering. She is vain and superficial by
nature; and she remains so to the end. As for Arthur Donnithorne, I
would rather have had him either better or worse. I would rather have
had a little more premeditation before his fault, or a little more
repentance after it; that is, while repentance could still be of use.
Not that, all things considered, he is not a very fair image of a
frank-hearted, well-meaning, careless, self-indulgent young gentleman;
but the author has in his case committed the error which in Hetty's she
avoided,--the error of showing him as redeemed by suffering. I cannot
but think that he was as weak as she. A weak woman, indeed, is weaker
than a weak man; but Arthur Donnithorne was a superficial fellow, a
person emphatically not to be moved by a shock of conscience into a
really interesting and dignified attitude, such as he is made to assume
at the close of the book. Why not see things in their nakedness? the
impatient reader is tempted to ask. Why not let passions and foibles
play themselves out?

It is as a picture, or rather as a series of pictures, that I find "Adam
Bede" most valuable. The author succeeds better in drawing attitudes of
feeling than in drawing movements of feeling. Indeed, the only attempt
at development of character or of purpose in the book occurs in the case
of Arthur Donnithorne, where the materials are of the simplest kind.
Hetty's lapse into disgrace is not gradual, it is immediate: it is
without struggle and without passion. Adam himself has arrived at
perfect righteousness when the book opens; and it is impossible to go
beyond that. In his case too, therefore, there is no dramatic
progression. The same remark applies to Dinah Morris. It is not in her
conceptions nor her composition that George Eliot is strongest: it is in
her _touches_. In these she is quite original. She is a good deal of a
humorist, and something of a satirist; but she is neither Dickens nor
Thackeray. She has over them the great advantage that she is also a good
deal of a philosopher; and it is to this union of the keenest
observation with the ripest reflection, that her style owes its
essential force. She is a thinker,--not, perhaps, a passionate thinker,
but at least a serious one; and the term can be applied with either
adjective neither to Dickens nor Thackeray. The constant play of lively
and vigorous thought about the objects furnished by her observation
animates these latter with a surprising richness of color and a truly
human interest. It gives to the author's style, moreover, that
lingering, affectionate, comprehensive quality which is its chief
distinction; and perhaps occasionally it makes her tedious. George Eliot
is so little tedious, however, because, if, on the one hand, her
reflection never flags, so, on the other, her observation never ceases
to supply it with material. Her observation, I think, is decidedly of
the feminine kind; it deals, in preference, with small things. This fact
may be held to explain the excellence of what I have called her
pictures, and the comparative feebleness of her dramatic movement. The
contrast here indicated, strong in "Adam Bede," is most striking in
"Felix Holt, the Radical." The latter work is an admirable tissue of
details; but it seems to me quite without character as a composition. It
leaves upon the mind no single impression. Felix Holt's radicalism, the
pretended motive of the story, is utterly choked amidst a mass of
subordinate interests. No representation is attempted of the growth of
his opinions, or of their action upon his character: he is marked by the
same singular rigidity of outline and fixedness of posture which
characterized Adam Bede,--except, perhaps, that there is a certain
inclination towards poetry in Holt's attitude. But if the general
outline is timid and undecided in "Felix Holt," the different parts are
even richer than in former works. There is no person in the book who
attains to triumphant vitality; but there is not a single figure, of
however little importance, that has not caught from without a certain
reflection of life. There is a little old waiting-woman to a great
lady,--Mrs. Denner by name,--who does not occupy five pages in the
story, but who leaves upon the mind a most vivid impression of decent,
contented, intelligent, half-stoical servility.

"There were different orders of beings,--so ran Denner's creed,--and she
belonged to another order than that to which her mistress belonged. She
had a mind as sharp as a needle, and would have seen through and through
the ridiculous pretensions of a born servant who did not submissively
accept the rigid fate which had given her born superiors. She would have
called such pretensions the wrigglings of a worm that tried to walk on
its tail.... She was a hard-headed, godless little woman, but with a
character to be reckoned on as you reckon on the qualities of iron."

"I'm afraid of ever expecting anything good again," her mistress says to
her in a moment of depression.

"'That's weakness, madam. Things don't happen because they are bad or
good, else all eggs would be addled or none at all, and at the most it
is but six to the dozen. There's good chances and bad chances, and
nobody's luck is pulled only by one string.... There's a good deal of
pleasure in life for you yet.'

"'Nonsense! There's no pleasure for old women.... What are your
pleasures, Denner, besides being a slave to me?'

"O, there's pleasure in knowing one is not a fool, like half the people
one sees about. And managing one's husband is some pleasure, and doing
one's business well. Why, if I've only got some orange-flowers to candy,
I shouldn't like to die till I see them all right. Then there's the
sunshine now and then; I like that, as the cats do. I look upon it life
is like our game at whist, when Banks and his wife come to the
still-room of an evening. I don't enjoy the game much, but I like to
play my cards well, and see what will be the end of it; and I want to
see you make the best of your hand, madam, for your luck has been mine
these forty years now.'"

And, on another occasion, when her mistress exclaims, in a fit of
distress, that "God was cruel when he made women," the author says:--

"The waiting-woman had none of that awe which could be turned into
defiance; the sacred grove was a common thicket to her.

"'It mayn't be good luck to be a woman,' she said. 'But one begins with
it from a baby; one gets used to it. And I shouldn't like to be a
man,--to cough so loud, and stand straddling about on a wet day, and be
so wasteful with meat and drink. _They're a coarse lot, I think._'"

I should think they were, beside Mrs. Denner.

This glimpse of her is made up of what I have called the author's
_touches_. She excels in the portrayal of homely stationary figures for
which her well-stored memory furnishes her with types. Here is another
touch, in which satire predominates. Harold Transome makes a speech to
the electors at Treby.

"Harold's only interruption came from his own party. The oratorical
clerk at the Factory, acting as the tribune of the dissenting interest,
and feeling bound to put questions, might have been troublesome; _but
his voice being unpleasantly sharp, while Harold's was full and
penetrating, the questioning was cried down_."

Of the four English stories, "The Mill on the Floss" seems to me to have
most dramatic continuity, in distinction from that descriptive,
discursive method of narration which I have attempted to indicate. After
Hetty Sorrel, I think Maggie Tulliver the most successful of the
author's young women, and after Tito Melema, Tom Tulliver the best of
her young men. English novels abound in pictures of childhood; but I
know of none more truthful and touching than the early pages of this
work. Poor erratic Maggie is worth a hundred of her positive brother,
and yet on the very threshold of life she is compelled to accept him as
her master. He falls naturally into the man's privilege of always being
in the right. The following scene is more than a reminiscence; it is a
real retrospect. Tom and Maggie are sitting upon the bough of an
elder-tree, eating jam-puffs. At last only one remains, and Tom
undertakes to divide it.

"The knife descended on the puff, and it was in two; but the result was
not satisfactory to Tom, for he still eyed the halves doubtfully. At
last he said, 'Shut your eyes, Maggie.'

"'What for?'

"'You never mind what for,--shut 'em when I tell you.'

"Maggie obeyed.

"'Now, which 'll you have, Maggie, right hand or left?'

"'I'll have that one with the jam run out,' said Maggie, keeping her
eyes shut to please Tom.

"'Why, you don't like that, you silly. You may have it if it comes to
you fair, but I sha'n't give it to you without. Right or left,--you
choose now. Ha-a-a!' said Tom, in a tone of exasperation, as Maggie
peeped. 'You keep your eyes shut now, else you sha'n't have any.'

"Maggie's power of sacrifice did not extend so far; indeed, I fear she
cared less that Tom should enjoy the utmost possible amount of puff,
than that he should be pleased with her for giving him the best bit. So
she shut her eyes quite close until Tom told her to 'say which,' and
then she said, 'Left hand.'

"'You've got it,' said Tom, in rather a bitter tone.

"'What! the bit with the jam run out?'

"'No; here, take it,' said Tom, firmly, handing decidedly the best piece
to Maggie.

"'O, please, Tom, have it; I don't mind,--I like the other; please take
this.'

"'No, I sha'n't,' said Tom, almost crossly, beginning on his own
inferior piece.

"Maggie, thinking it was of no use to contend further, began too, and
ate up her half puff with considerable relish as well as rapidity. But
Tom had finished first, and had to look on while Maggie ate her last
morsel or two, feeling in himself a capacity for more. _Maggie didn't
know Tom was looking at her: she was seesawing on the elderbough, lost
to everything but a vague sense of jam and idleness._

"'O, you greedy thing!' said Tom, when she had swallowed the last
morsel."

The portions of the story which bear upon the Dodson family are in their
way not unworthy of Balzac; only that, while our author has treated its
peculiarities humorously, Balzac would have treated them seriously,
almost solemnly. We are reminded of him by the attempt to classify the
Dodsons socially in a scientific manner, and to accumulate small
examples of their idiosyncrasies. I do not mean to say that the
resemblance is very deep. The chief defect--indeed, the only serious
one--in "The Mill on the Floss" is its conclusion. Such a conclusion is
in itself assuredly not illegitimate, and there is nothing in the fact
of the flood, to my knowledge, essentially unnatural: what I object to
is its relation to the preceding part of the story. The story is told as
if it were destined to have, if not a strictly happy termination, at
least one within ordinary probabilities. As it stands, the _dénouement_
shocks the reader most painfully. Nothing has prepared him for it; the
story does not move towards it; it casts no shadow before it. Did such a
_dénouement_ lie within the author's intentions from the first, or was
it a tardy expedient for the solution of Maggie's difficulties? This
question the reader asks himself, but of course he asks it in vain. For
my part, although, as long as humanity is subject to floods and
earthquakes, I have no objection to see them made use of in novels, I
would in this particular case have infinitely preferred that Maggie
should have been left to her own devices. I understand the author's
scruples, and to a certain degree I respect them. A lonely spinsterhood
seemed but a dismal consummation of her generous life; and yet, as the
author conceives, it was unlikely that she would return to Stephen
Guest. I respect Maggie profoundly; but nevertheless I ask, Was this
after all so unlikely? I will not try to answer the question. I have
shown enough courage in asking it. But one thing is certain: a
_dénouement_ by which Maggie should have called Stephen back would have
been extremely interesting, and would have had far more in its favor
than can be put to confusion by a mere exclamation of horror.

I have come to the end of my space without speaking of "Romola," which,
as the most important of George Eliot's works, I had kept in reserve. I
have only room to say that on the whole I think it _is_ decidedly the
most important,--not the most entertaining nor the most readable, but
the one in which the largest things are attempted and grasped. The
figure of Savonarola, subordinate though it is, is a figure on a larger
scale than any which George Eliot has elsewhere undertaken; and in the
career of Tito Melema there is a fuller representation of the
development of a character. Considerable as are our author's qualities
as an artist, and largely as they are displayed in "Romola," the book
strikes me less as a work of art than as a work of morals. Like all of
George Eliot's works, its dramatic construction is feeble; the story
drags and halts,--the setting is too large for the picture; but I
remember that, the first time I read it, I declared to myself that much
should be forgiven it for the sake of its generous feeling and its
elevated morality. I still recognize this latter fact, but I think I
find it more on a level than I at first found it with the artistic
conditions of the book. "Our deeds determine us," George Eliot says
somewhere in "Adam Bede," "as much as we determine our deeds." This is
the moral lesson of "Romola." A man has no associate so intimate as his
own character, his own career,--his present and his past; and if he
builds up his career of timid and base actions, they cling to him like
evil companions, to sophisticate, to corrupt, and to damn him. As in
Maggie Tulliver we had a picture of the elevation of the moral tone by
honesty and generosity, so that when the mind found itself face to face
with the need for a strong muscular effort, it was competent to perform
it; so in Tito we have a picture of that depression of the moral tone by
falsity and self-indulgence, which gradually evokes on every side of the
subject some implacable claim, to be avoided or propitiated. At last all
his unpaid debts join issue before him, and he finds the path of life a
hideous blind alley. Can any argument be more plain? Can any lesson be
more salutary? "Under every guilty secret," writes the author, with her
usual felicity, "there is a hidden brood of guilty wishes, whose
unwholesome, infecting life is cherished by the darkness. The
contaminating effect of deeds often lies less in the commission than in
the consequent adjustment of our desires,--the enlistment of
self-interest on the side of falsity; as, on the other hand, the
purifying influence of public confession springs from the fact, that by
it the hope in lies is forever swept away, _and the soul recovers the
noble altitude of simplicity_." And again: "Tito was experiencing that
inexorable law of human souls, that we prepare ourselves for sudden
deeds by the reiterated choice of good or evil that gradually determines
character." Somewhere else I think she says, in purport, that our deeds
are like our children; we beget them, and rear them and cherish them,
and they grow up and turn against us and misuse us. The fact that has
led me to a belief in the fundamental equality between the worth of
"Romola" as a moral argument and its value as a work of art, is the fact
that in each character it seems to me essentially prosaic. The
excellence both of the spirit and of the execution of the book is
emphatically an obvious excellence. They make no demand upon the
imagination of the reader. It is true of both of them that he who runs
may read them. It may excite surprise that I should intimate that George
Eliot is deficient in imagination; but I believe that I am right in so
doing. Very readable novels have been written without imagination; and
as compared with writers who, like Mr. Trollope, are totally destitute
of the faculty, George Eliot may be said to be richly endowed with it.
But as compared with writers whom we are tempted to call decidedly
imaginative, she must, in my opinion, content herself with the very
solid distinction of being exclusively an observer. In confirmation of
this I would suggest a comparison of those chapters in "Adam Bede" which
treat of Hetty's flight and wanderings, and those of Miss Bronté's "Jane
Eyre" which describe the heroine's escape from Rochester's house and
subsequent perambulations. The former are throughout admirable prose;
the latter are in portions very good poetry.

One word more. Of all the impressions--and they are numerous--which a
reperusal of George Eliot's writings has given me, I find the strongest
to be this: that (with all deference to "Felix Holt, the Radical") the
author is in morals and æsthetics essentially a conservative. In morals
her problems are still the old, passive problems. I use the word "old"
with all respect. What moves her most is the idea of a conscience
harassed by the memory of slighted obligations. Unless in the case of
Savonarola, she has made no attempt to depict a conscience taking upon
itself great and novel responsibilities. In her last work, assuredly
such an attempt was--considering the title--conspicuous by its absence.
Of a corresponding tendency in the second department of her literary
character,--or perhaps I should say in a certain middle field where
morals and æsthetics move in concert,--it is very difficult to give an
example. A tolerably good one is furnished by her inclination to
compromise with the old tradition--and here I use the word "old"
_without_ respect---which exacts that a serious story of manners shall
close with the factitious happiness of a fairytale. I know few things
more irritating in a literary way than each of her final chapters,--for
even in "The Mill on the Floss" there is a fatal "Conclusion." Both as
an artist and a thinker, in other words, our author is an optimist; and
although a conservative is not necessarily an optimist, I think an
optimist is pretty likely to be a conservative.



GRIFFITH GAUNT; OR, JEALOUSY.


CHAPTER XLI.

"You say the pedler was a hundred yards behind my husband. Which of the
two men was walking fastest?"

Thomas Hayes considered a moment. "Well, Dame, I think the Squire was
walking rather the smartest of the two."

"Did the pedler seem likely to overtake him?"

"Nay. Ye see, Dame, Squire he walked straight on; but the pedler he took
both sides of the road at onst, as the saying is."

_Prisoner._ Forgive me, Thomas, but I don't know what you mean.

_Hayes_ (compassionately). How should ye? You are never the worse for
liquor, the likes of you.

_Prisoner_ (very keenly). O, he was in liquor, was he?

_Hayes._ Come, Dame, you do brew good ale at Hernshaw Castle. Ye needn't
go to deny that; for, Lord knows, 't is no sin; and a poor fellow may be
jolly, yet not to say drunk.

_Judge_ (sternly). Witness, attend, and answer directly.

_Prisoner._ Nay, my lord, 't is a plain country body, and means no ill.
Good Thomas, be so much my friend as to answer plainly. Was the man
drunk or sober?

_Hayes._ All I know is he went from one side o' the road to t' other.

_Prisoner._ Thomas Hayes, as you hope to be saved eternally, was the
pedler drunk or sober?

_Hayes._ Well, if I must tell on my neighbor or else be damned, then
that there pedler was as drunk as a lord.

Here, notwithstanding the nature of the trial, the laughter was
irrepressible, and Mrs. Gaunt sat quietly down (for she was allowed a
seat), and said no more.

To the surgeon who had examined the body officially, she put this
question: "Did you find any signs of violence?"

_Surgeon._ None whatever; but then there was nothing to go by, except
the head and the bones.

_Prisoner._ Have you experience in this kind? I mean, have you
inspected murdered bodies?

_Surgeon._ Yes.

_Prisoner._ How many?

_Surgeon._ Two before this.

_Prisoner._ O, pray, pray, do not say "before this"! I have great hopes
no murder at all hath been committed here. Let us keep to plain cases.
Please you describe the injuries in those two undoubted cases.

_Surgeon._ In Wellyn's the skull was fractured in two places. In
Sherrett's the right arm was broken, and there were some contusions on
the head; but the cause of death was a stab that penetrated the lungs.

_Prisoner._ Suppose Wellyn's murderers had thrown his body into the
water, and the fishes had so mutilated it as they have this one, could
you by your art have detected the signs of violence?

_Surgeon._ Certainly. The man's skull was fractured. Wellyn's, I mean.

_Prisoner._ I put the same question with regard to Sherrett's.

_Surgeon._ I cannot answer it; here the lungs were devoured by the
fishes; no signs of lesion can be detected in an organ that has ceased
to exist.

_Prisoner._ This is too partial. Why select one injury out of several?
What I ask is this: could you have detected violence in Sherrett's case,
although the fishes had eaten the flesh off his body.

_Surgeon._ I answer that the minor injuries of Sherrett would have been
equally perceptible; to wit, the bruises on the head, and the broken
arm; but not the perforation of the lungs; and that it was killed the
man.

_Prisoner._ Then, so far as you know, and can swear, about murder, more
blows have always been struck than one, and some of the blows struck in
Sherrett's case, and Wellyn's, would have left traces that fishes' teeth
could not efface?

_Surgeon._ That is so, if I am to be peevishly confined to my small and
narrow experience of murdered bodies. But my general knowledge of the
many ways in which life may be taken by violence--

The judge stopped him, and said that could hardly be admitted as
evidence against his actual experience.

The prisoner put a drawing of the castle, the mere, and the bridge, into
the witnesses' hands, and elicited that it was correct, and also the
distances marked on it. They had, in fact, been measured exactly for
her.

The hobnailed shoes were produced, and she made some use of them,
particularly in cross-examining Jane Bannister.

_Prisoner._ Look at those shoes. Saw you ever the like on Mr. Gaunt's
feet?

_Jane._ That I never did, Dame.

_Prisoner._ What, not when he came into the kitchen on the 15th of
October?

_Jane._ Nay, he was booted. By the same token I saw the boy a cleaning
of them for supper.

_Prisoner._ Those boots, when you broke into his room, did you find
them?

_Jane._ Nay, when the man went his boots went; as reason was. We found
naught of his but a soiled glove.

_Prisoner._ Had the pedler boots on?

_Jane._ Alas! who ever seed a booted pedler?

_Prisoner._ Had he these very shoes on? Look at them.

_Jane._ I couldn't say for that. He had shoon, for they did properly
clatter on my bricks.

_Judge._ Clatter on her bricks! What in the world does she mean?

_Prisoner._ I think she means on the floor of her kitchen. 'T is a brick
floor, if I remember right.

_Judge._ Good woman, say, is that what you mean?

_Jane._ Ay, an 't please you, my lord.

_Prisoner._ Had the pedler a mole on his forehead?

_Jane._ Not that I know on. I never took so much notice of the man. But,
la, dame, now I look at you, I don't believe you was ever the one to
murder our master.

_Wiltshire._ We don't want your opinion. Confine yourself to facts.

_Prisoner._ You heard me rating my husband on that night: what was it I
said about the constables,--do you remember?

_Jane._ La, dame, I wouldn't ask that if I was in your place.

_Prisoner._ I am much obliged to you for your advice; but answer
me--truly.

_Jane._ Well, if you will have it, I think you said they should be here
in the morning. But, indeed, good gentlemen, her bark was always worse
than her bite, poor soul.

_Judge._ Here. That meant at Hernshaw Castle, I presume.

_Jane._ Ay, my lord, an' if it please your lordship's honor's worship.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Gaunt, husbanding the patience of the court, put no questions at
all to several witnesses; but she cross-examined Mrs. Ryder very
closely. This was necessary; for Ryder was a fatal witness. Her memory
had stored every rash and hasty word the poor lady had uttered, and,
influenced either by animosity or prejudice, she put the worst color on
every suspicious circumstance. She gave her damnatory evidence neatly,
and clearly, and with a seeming candor and regret, that disarmed
suspicion.

When her examination in chief concluded, there was but one opinion
amongst the bar, and the auditors in general, namely, that the maid had
hung the mistress.

Mrs. Gaunt herself felt she had a terrible antagonist to deal with, and,
when she rose to cross-examine her, she looked paler than she had done
all through the trial.

She rose, but seemed to ask herself how to begin; and her pallor and her
hesitation, while they excited some little sympathy, confirmed the
unfavorable impression. She fixed her eyes upon the witness, as if to
discover where she was most vulnerable. Mrs. Ryder returned her gaze
calmly. The court was hushed; for it was evident a duel was coming
between two women of no common ability.

The opening rather disappointed expectation. Mrs. Gaunt seemed, by her
manner, desirous to propitiate the witness.

_Prisoner_ (very civilly). You say you brought Thomas Leicester to my
bedroom on that terrible night?

_Ryder_ (civilly). Yes, madam.

_Prisoner._ And you say he stayed there half an hour?

_Ryder._ Yes, madam; he did.

_Prisoner._ May I inquire how you know he stayed just half an hour?

_Ryder._ My watch told me that, madam. I brought him to you at a quarter
past eleven; and you did not ring for me till a quarter to twelve.

_Prisoner._ And when I did ring for you, what then?

_Ryder._ I came and took the man away, by your orders.

_Prisoner._ At a quarter to twelve?

_Ryder._ At a quarter to twelve.

_Prisoner._ This Leicester was a lover of yours?

_Ryder._ Not he.

_Prisoner._ O, fie! Why, he offered you marriage; it went so far as
that.

_Ryder._ O, that was before you set him up pedler.

_Prisoner._ 'T was so; but he was single for your sake, and he renewed
his offer that very night. Come, do not forswear yourself about a
trifle.

_Ryder._ Trifle, indeed! Why, if he did, what has that to do with the
murder? You'll do yourself no good, madam, by going about so.

_Wiltshire._ Really, madam, this is beside the mark.

_Prisoner._ If so, it can do your case no harm. My lord, you did twice
interrupt the learned counsel, and forbade him to lead his witnesses; I
not once, for I am for stopping no mouths, but sifting all to the
bottom. Now, I implore you to let me have fair play in my turn, and an
answer from this slippery witness.

_Judge._ Prisoner, I do not quite see your drift; but God forbid you
should be hampered in your defence. Witness, by virtue of your oath,
reply directly. Did this pedler offer you marriage that night after he
left the prisoner?

_Ryder._ My lord, he did.

_Prisoner._ And confided to you he had orders to kill Mr. Gaunt?

_Ryder._ Not he, madam: that was not the way to win me. He knew that.

_Prisoner._ What! did not his terrible purpose peep out all the time he
was making love to you?

No reply.

_Prisoner._ You had the kitchen to your two selves? Come, don't
hesitate.

_Ryder._ The other servants were gone to bed. You kept the man so late.

_Prisoner._ O, I mean no reflection on your prudence. You went out of
doors with your wooer; just to see him off?

_Ryder._ Not I. What for? _I_ had nobody to make away with. I just
opened the door for him, bolted it after him, and went straight to my
bedroom.

_Prisoner._ How long had you been there when you heard the cry for help?

_Ryder._ Scarce ten minutes. I had not taken my stays off.

_Prisoner._ If you and Thomas Hayes speak true, that gives half an hour
you were making love with the murderer after he left me. Am I correct?

The witness now saw whither she had been led, and changed her manner:
she became sullen, and watched an opportunity to stab.

_Prisoner._ Had he a mole on his brow?

_Ryder._ Not that I know of.

_Prisoner._ Why, where were your eyes then, when the murderer saluted
you at parting?

Ryder's eyes flashed; but she felt her temper tried, and governed it all
the more severely. She treated the question with silent contempt.

_Prisoner._ But you pass for a discreet woman; perhaps you looked
modestly down when the assassin saluted you?

_Ryder._ _If_ he saluted me, _perhaps_ I did.

_Prisoner._ In that case you could not see his mole; but you must have
noticed his shoes. Were these the shoes he wore? Look at them well.

_Ryder_ (after inspecting them). I do not recognize them.

_Prisoner._ Will you swear these were not the shoes he had on?

_Ryder._ How can I swear that? I know nothing about the man's shoes. If
you please, my lord, am I to be kept here all day with her foolish,
trifling questions?

_Judge._ All day, and all night too, if Justice requires it. The law is
not swift to shed blood.

_Prisoner._ My lord and the gentlemen of the jury were here before you,
and will be kept here after you. Prithee, attend. Look at that drawing
of Hernshaw Castle and Hernshaw Mere. Now take this pencil, and mark
your bedroom on the drawing.

The pencil was taken from the prisoner, and handed to Ryder. She waited,
like a cat, till it came close to her; then recoiled with an admirable
scream. "Me handle a thing hot from the hand of a murderess! It makes me
tremble all over!"

This cruel stab affected the prisoner visibly. She put her hand to her
bosom, and, with tears in her eyes, faltered out a request to the judge
that she might sit down a minute.

_Judge._ To be sure you may. And you, my good woman, must not run before
the court. By law a prisoner is innocent till found guilty by his peers.
How do you know what evidence she may have in store? At present we have
only heard one side. Be more moderate.

The prisoner rose promptly to her feet. "My lord, I welcome the insult
that has disgusted your lordship and the gentlemen of the jury, and won
me those good words of comfort." To Ryder: "What sort of a night was
it?"

_Ryder._ Very little moon, but a clear, starry night.

_Prisoner._ Could you see the Mere, and the banks?

_Ryder._ Nay, but so much of it as faced my window.

_Prisoner._ Have you marked your window?

_Ryder._ I have.

_Prisoner._ Now mark the place where you heard Mr. Gaunt cry for help.

_Ryder._ 'T was about here,--under these trees. And that is why I could
not see him: along of the shadow.

_Prisoner._ Possibly. Did you see me on that side the Mere?

_Ryder._ No.

_Prisoner._ What colored dress had I on at that time?

_Ryder._ White satin.

_Prisoner._ Then you could have seen me, even among the trees, had I
been on that side the Mere?

_Ryder._ I can't say. However, I never said you were on the very spot
where the deed was done; but you were out of doors.

_Prisoner._ How do you know that?

_Ryder._ Why, you told me so yourself.

_Prisoner._ Then, that is my evidence, not yours. Swear to no more than
you know. Had my husband, to your knowledge, a reason for absconding
suddenly?

_Ryder._ Yes, he had.

_Prisoner._ What was it?

_Ryder._ Fear of you.

_Prisoner._ Nay, I mean, had he not something to fear, something quite
different from that I am charged with?

_Ryder._ You know best, madam. I would gladly serve you, but I cannot
guess what you are driving at.

The prisoner was taken aback by this impudent reply. She hesitated to
force her servant to expose a husband, whom she believed to be living:
and her hesitation looked like discomfiture; and Ryder was victorious in
that encounter.

By this time they were both thoroughly embittered, and it was war to the
knife.

_Prisoner._ You listened to our unhappy quarrel that night?

_Ryder._ Quarrel! madam, 'twas all on one side.

_Prisoner._ How did you understand what I said to him about the
constables?

_Ryder._ Constables! I never heard you say the word.

_Prisoner._ Oh!

_Ryder._ Neither when you threatened him with your knife to me, nor when
you threatened him to his face.

_Prisoner._ Take care: you forget that Jane Bannister heard me. Was her
ear nearer the keyhole than yours?

_Ryder._ Jane! she is a simpleton. You could make her think she heard
anything. I noticed you put the words in her mouth.

_Prisoner._ God forgive you, you naughty woman. You had better have
spoken the truth.

_Ryder._ My lord, if you please, am I to be miscalled--by a murderess?

_Judge._ Come, come, this is no place for recrimination.

The prisoner now stooped and examined her papers, and took a distinct
line of cross-examination.

_Prisoner_ (with apparent carelessness). At all events, you are a
virtuous woman, Mrs. Ryder?

_Ryder._ Yes, madam, as virtuous as yourself, to say the least.

_Prisoner_ (still more carelessly). Married or single?

_Ryder._ Single, and like to be.

_Prisoner._ Yes, if I remember right, I made a point of that before I
engaged you as my maid.

_Ryder._ I believe the question was put.

_Prisoner._ Here is the answer in your handwriting. Is not that your
handwriting?

_Ryder_ (after inspecting it). It is.

_Prisoner._ You came highly recommended by your last mistress, a certain
Mrs. Hamilton. Here is _her_ letter, describing you as a model.

_Ryder._ Well, madam, hitherto, I have given satisfaction to all my
mistresses, Mrs. Hamilton among the rest. My character does not rest on
her word only, I hope.

_Prisoner._ Excuse me; I engaged you on her word alone. Now, who is this
Mrs. Hamilton?

_Ryder._ A worshipful lady I served for eight months before I came to
you. She went abroad, or I should be with her now.

_Prisoner._ Now cast your eye over this paper.

It was the copy of a marriage certificate between Thomas Edwards and
Caroline Plunkett.

"Who is this Caroline Plunkett?"

Ryder turned very pale, and made no reply.

"I ask you who is this Caroline Plunkett?"

_Ryder_ (faintly). Myself.

_Judge._ Why, you said you were single!

_Ryder._ So I am; as good as single. My husband and me we parted eight
years ago, and I have never seen him since.

_Prisoner._ Was it quite eight years ago?

_Ryder._ Nearly, 'twas in May, 1739.

_Prisoner._ But you have lived with him since.

_Ryder._ Never, upon my soul.

_Prisoner._ When was your child born?

_Ryder._ My child! I have none.

_Prisoner._ In January, 1743, you left a baby at Biggleswade, with a
woman called Church,--did you not?

_Ryder_ (panting). Of course I did. It was my sister's.

_Prisoner._ Do you mean to call God to witness that child was not
your's?

Ryder hesitated.

_Prisoner._ Will you swear Mrs. Church did not see you suckle that child
in secret, and weep over it?

At this question the perspiration stood visible on Ryder's brow, her
cheeks were ghastly, and her black eyes roved like some wild animal's
round the court. She saw her own danger, and had no means of measuring
her inquisitor's information.

"My lord, have pity on me. I was betrayed, abandoned. Why am I so
tormented? _I_ have not committed murder." So, catlike, she squealed and
scratched at once.

_Prisoner._ What! to swear away an innocent life, is not that murder?

_Judge._ Prisoner, we make allowances for your sex, and your peril, but
you must not remark on the evidence at present. Examine as severely as
you will, but abstain from comment till you address the jury on your
defence.

_Sergeant Wiltshire._ My lord, I submit that this line of examination is
barbarous, and travels out of the case entirely.

_Prisoner._ Not so, Mr. Sergeant. 'T is done by advice of an able
lawyer. My life is in peril, unless I shake this witness's credit. To
that end I show you she is incontinent, and practised in falsehood.
Unchastity has been held in these courts to disqualify a female witness,
hath it not, my lord?

_Judge._ Hardly. But to disparage her evidence it has. And wisely; for
she who loses her virtue enters on a life of deceit; and lying is a
habit that spreads from one thing to many. Much wisdom there is in
ancient words. Our forefathers taught us to call a virtuous woman an
honest woman, and the law does but follow in that track; still, however,
leaving much to the discretion of the jury.

_Prisoner._ I would show her more mercy than she has shown to me.
Therefore I leave that matter. Witness, be so good as to examine Mrs.
Hamilton's letter, and compare it with your own. The "y's" and the "s's"
are peculiar in both, and yet the same. Come, confess, Mrs. Hamilton's
is a forgery. You wrote it. Be pleased to hand both letters up to my
lord to compare; the disguise is but thin.

_Ryder._ Forgery there was none. There is no Mrs. Hamilton. (She burst
into tears.) I had my child to provide for, and no man to help me! What
was I to do? A servant must live.

_Prisoner._ Then why not let her mistress live, whose bread she has
eaten? My lord, shall not this false witness be sent hence to prison for
perjury?

_Wiltshire._ Certainly not. What woman on earth is expected to reveal
her own shame upon oath? 'T was not fair nor human to put such
questions. Come, madam, leave torturing this poor creature. Show some
mercy; you may need it yourself.

_Prisoner._ Sir, 'tis not mercy I ask, but justice according to law. But
since you do me the honor to make me a request, I will comply, and ask
her but one question more. Describe my apartment into which you showed
Thomas Leicester that night. Begin at the outer door.

_Ryder._ First there is the anteroom; then the boudoir; then there's
your bedchamber.

_Prisoner._ Into which of those three did you show Thomas Leicester?

_Ryder._ Into the anteroom.

_Prisoner._ Then why did you say it was in my chamber I entertained him?

_Ryder._ Madam, I meant no more than that it was your private apartment
up stairs.

_Prisoner._ You contrived to make the gentlemen think otherwise.

_Judge._ That you did. 'T is down in my notes that she received the
pedler in her bedchamber.

_Ryder_ (sobbing). God is my witness I did not mean to mislead your
lordship: and I ask my lady's pardon for not being more exact in that
particular.

At this the prisoner bowed to the judge, and sat down with one
victorious flash of her gray eye at the witness, who was in an abject
condition of fear, and hung all about the witness-box limp as a wet
towel.

Sergeant Wiltshire saw she was so thoroughly cowed she would be apt to
truckle, and soften her evidence to propitiate the prisoner; so he asked
her but one question.

"Were you and the prisoner on good terms?"

_Ryder._ On the best of terms. She was always a good and liberal
mistress to me.

_Wiltshire._ I will not prolong your sufferings. You may go down.

_Judge._ But you will not leave the court till this trial is ended. I
have grave doubts whether I ought not to commit you.

Unfortunately for the prisoner, Ryder was not the last witness for the
crown. The others that followed were so manifestly honest that it would
have been impolitic to handle them severely. The prisoner, therefore,
put very few questions to them; and, when the last witness went down,
the case looked very formidable.

The evidence for the crown being now complete, the judge retired for
some refreshment; and the court buzzed like a hum of bees. Mrs. Gaunt's
lips and throat were parched and her heart quaked.

A woman of quite the lower order thrust forth a great arm and gave her
an orange. Mrs. Gaunt thanked her sweetly; and the juice relieved her
throat.

Also this bit of sympathy was of good omen, and did her heart good.

She buried her face in her hands, and collected all her powers for the
undertaking before her. She had noted down the exact order of her
topics, but no more.

The judge returned; the crier demanded silence; and the prisoner rose,
and turned her eyes modestly but steadily upon those who held her life
in their hands: and, true to the wisdom of her sex, the first thing she
aimed at was--to please.

"My lord, and you gentlemen of the jury, I am now to reply to a charge
of murder, founded on a little testimony, and a good deal of false, but,
I must needs say, reasonable conjecture.

"I am innocent; but, unlike other innocent persons who have stood here
before me, I have no man to complain of.

"The magistrates who committed me proceeded with due caution and
humanity; they weighed my hitherto unspotted reputation, and were in no
hurry to prejudge me; here, in this court, I have met with much
forbearance; the learned counsel for the crown has made me groan under
his abilities; that was his duty; but he said from the first he would do
nothing hard, and he has kept his word; often he might have stopped me;
I saw it in his face. But, being a gentleman and a Christian, as well as
a learned lawyer, methinks he said to himself, 'This is a poor
gentlewoman pleading for her life; let her have some little advantage.'
As for my lord, he has promised to be my counsel, so far as his high
station, and duty to the crown, admit; and he has supported and consoled
me more than once with words of justice, that would not, I think, have
encouraged a guilty person, but have comforted and sustained me beyond
expression. So then I stand here, the victim, not of man's injustice,
but of deceitful appearances, and of honest, but hasty and loose
conjectures.

"These conjectures I shall now sift, and hope to show you how hollow
they are.

"Gentlemen, in every disputed matter the best way, I am told, is to
begin by settling what both parties are agreed in, and so to narrow the
matter. To use that method, then, I do heartily agree with the learned
counsel that murder is a heinous crime, and that, black as it is at the
best, yet it is still more detestable when 'tis a wife that murders her
husband, and robs her child of a parent who can never be replaced.

"I also agree with him that circumstantial evidence is often sufficient
to convict a murderer; and, indeed, were it not so, that most monstrous
of crimes would go oftenest unpunished; since, of all culprits,
murderers do most shun the eyes of men in their dark deeds, and so
provide beforehand that direct testimony to their execrable crime there
shall be none. Only herein I am advised to take a distinction that
escaped the learned sergeant. I say that first of all it ought to be
proved directly, and to the naked eye, that a man has been murdered; and
then, if none saw the crime done, let circumstances point out the
murderer.

"But here, they put the cart before the horse; they find a dead body,
with no marks of violence whatever; and labor to prove by circumstantial
evidence alone that this mere dead body is a murdered body. This, I am
advised, is bad in law, and contrary to general precedents; and the
particular precedents for it are not examples, but warnings; since both
the prisoners so rashly convicted were proved innocent, after their
execution."

(The judge took a note of this distinction.)

"Then, to go from principles to the facts, I agree and admit that, in a
moment of anger, I was so transported out of myself as to threaten my
husband's life before Caroline Ryder. But afterwards, when I saw him
face to face, then, that I threatened him with _violence_, that I deny.
The fact is, I had just learned that he had committed a capital offence;
and what I threatened him with was the law. This was proved by Jane
Bannister. She says she heard me say the constables should come for him
next morning. For what? to murder him?"

_Judge._ Give me leave, madam. Shall you prove Mr. Gaunt had committed a
capital offence?

_Prisoner._ I could, my lord; but I am loath to do it. For, if I did, I
should cast him into worse trouble than I am in myself.

_Judge_ (shaking his head gravely). Let me advise you to advance nothing
you are not able and willing to prove.

_Prisoner._ "Then I confine myself to this: it was proved by a witness
for the crown that in the dining-room I threatened my husband to his
face with the law. Now this threat, and not that other extravagant
threat, which he never heard, you know, was clearly the threat which
caused him to abscond that night.

"In the next place, I agree with the learned counsel that I was out of
doors at one o'clock that morning. But if he will use me as HIS WITNESS
in that matter, then he must not pick and choose and mutilate my
testimony. Nay, let him take the whole truth, and not just so much as
he can square with the indictment. Either believe me, that I was out of
doors praying, or do not believe me that I was out of doors at all.

"Gentlemen, hear the simple truth. You may see in the map, on the south
side of Hernshaw Castle, a grove of large fir-trees. 'T is a reverend
place, most fit for prayer and meditation. Here I have prayed a thousand
times and more before the 15th of October. Hence 'tis called 'The Dame's
Haunt,' as I shall prove, that am the dame 'tis called after.

"Let it not seem incredible to you that I should pray out of doors in my
grove, on a fine, clear, starry night. For aught I know, Protestants may
pray only by the fireside. But, remember, I am a Catholic. We are not so
contracted in our praying. We do not confine it to little comfortable
places. Nay, but for seventeen hundred years and more we have prayed out
of doors as much as in doors. And this our custom is no fit subject for
a shallow sneer. How does the learned sergeant know that, beneath the
vault of heaven at night, studded with those angelic eyes, the stars, is
an unfit place to bend the knee, and raise the soul in prayer? Has he
ever tried it?"

This sudden appeal to a learned and eminent, but by no means devotional
sergeant, so tickled the gentlemen of the bar, that they burst out
laughing with singular unanimity.

This dashed the prisoner, who had not intended to be funny; and she
hesitated, and looked distressed.

_Judge._ Proceed, madam; these remarks of yours are singular, but quite
pertinent, and no fit subject for ridicule. Gentlemen, remember the
public looks to you for an example.

_Prisoner._ "My lord, 'twas my fault for making that personal which
should be general. But women they are so. 'T is our foible. I pray the
good sergeant to excuse me.

"I say, then, generally, that when the sun retires, then earth fades,
but heaven comes out in tenfold glory; and I say the starry firmament at
night is a temple not built with hands, and the bare sight of it subdues
the passions, chastens the heart, and aids the soul in prayer
surprisingly. My lord, as I am a Christian woman, 'tis true that my
husband had wronged me cruelly and broken the law. 'T is true that I
raged against him, and he answered me not again. 'T is true, as that
witness said, that my bark is worse than my bite. I cooled, and then
felt I had forgotten the wife and the Christian in my wrath. I repented,
and, to be more earnest in my penitence, I did go and pray out o' doors
beneath those holy eyes of heaven that seemed to look down with chaste
reproach on my ungoverned heat. I left my fireside, my velvet cushions,
and all the little comforts made by human hands, that adorn our earthly
dwellings, but distract our eyes from God."

Some applause followed this piece of eloquence, exquisitely uttered. It
was checked, and the prisoner resumed, with an entire change of manner.

"Gentlemen, the case against me is like a piece of rotten wood varnished
all over. It looks fair to the eye; but will not bear handling.

"As example of what I say, take three charges on which the learned
sergeant greatly relied in opening his case:--

"1st. That I received Thomas Leicester in my bedroom.

"2d. That he went hot from me after Mr. Gaunt.

"3d. That he was seen following Mr. Gaunt with a bloody intent.

"How ugly these three proofs looked at first sight! Well, but when we
squeezed the witnesses ever so little, what did those three dwindle down
to?

"1st. That I received Thomas Leicester in an anteroom, which leads to a
boudoir, and that boudoir leads to my bedroom.

"2d. That Thomas Leicester went from me to the kitchen, and there, for a
good half-hour, drank my ale (as it appears), and made love to his old
sweetheart, Caroline Ryder, the false witness for the crown; and went
abroad fresh from _her_, and not from _me_.

"3d. That he was not (to speak strictly) seen following Mr. Gaunt, but
just walking on the same road, drunk, and staggering, and going at such
a rate that, as the crown's own witness swore, he could not in the
nature of things overtake Mr. Gaunt, who walked quicker, and straighter
too, than he.

"So then, even if a murder has been done, they have failed to connect
Thomas Leicester with it, or me with Thomas Leicester. Two broken links
in a chain of but three.

"And now I come to the more agreeable part of my defence. I do think
there has been no murder at all.

"There is no evidence of a murder.

"A body is found with the flesh eaten by fishes, but the bones and the
head uninjured. They swear a surgeon, who has examined the body, and
certainly he had the presumption to guess it looks like a murdered body.
But, being sifted, he was forced to admit that, so far as his experience
of murdered bodies goes, it is not like a murdered body; for there is no
bone broken, nor bruise on the head.

"Where is the body found? In the water. But water by itself is a
sufficient cause of death, and a common cause too; and kills without
breaking bones, or bruising the head. O perversity of the wise! For
every one creature murdered in England, ten are accidentally drowned;
and they find a dead man in the water, which is as much as to say they
find the slain in the arms of the slayer; yet they do not once suspect
the water, but go about in search of a strange and monstrous crime.

"Mr. Gaunt's cry for help was heard _here_, if it was heard at all
(which I greatly doubt), here by this clump of trees; the body was found
here, hard by the bridge; which is, by measurement, one furlong and
sixty paces from that clump of trees, as I shall prove. There is no
current in the mere lively enough to move a body, and what there is runs
the wrong way. So this disconnects the cry for help, and the dead body.
Another broken link!

"And now I come to my third defence.

"I say the body is not the body of Griffith Gaunt.

"The body, mutilated as it was, had two distinguishing marks; a mole on
the brow, and a pair of hobnailed shoes on the feet.

"Now the advisers of the crown fix their eyes on that mole; but they
turn their heads away from the hobnailed shoes. But why? Articles of
raiment found on a body are legal evidence of identity. How often, my
lord, in cases of murder, hath the crown relied on such particulars,
especially in cases where corruption had obscured the features!

"I shall not imitate this partiality, this obstinate prejudice; I shall
not ask you to shut your eyes on the mole, as they do on the shoes, but
shall meet the whole truth fairly.

"Mr. Gaunt went from my house that morning with boots on his feet, and
with a mole on his brow.

"Thomas Leicester went the same road, with shoes on his feet, and, as I
shall prove, with a mole on his brow.

"To be sure, the crown witnesses did not distinctly admit this mole on
him; but you will remember, they dared not deny it on their oaths, and
so run their heads into an indictment for perjury.

"But, gentlemen, I shall put seven witnesses into the box, who will all
swear that they have known Thomas Leicester for years, and that he had a
mole upon his left temple.

"One of these witnesses is--the mother that bore him.

"I shall then call witnesses to prove that, on the 15th of October, the
bridge over the mere was in bad repair, and a portion of the side rail
gone; and that the body was found within a few yards of that defective
bridge; and then, as Thomas Leicester went that way, drunk, and
staggering from side to side, you may reasonably infer that he fell
into the water in passing the bridge. To show you this is possible, I
shall prove the same thing has actually occurred. I shall swear the
oldest man in the parish, who will depose to a similar event that
happened in his boyhood. He hath said it a thousand times before to-day,
and now will swear it. He will tell you that on a certain day,
sixty-nine years ago, the parson of Hernshaw, the Rev. Augustus
Murthwaite, went to cross this bridge at night, after carousing at
Hernshaw Castle with our great-grandfather, my husband's and mine, the
then proprietor of Hernshaw, and tumbled into the water; and his body
was found gnawed out of the very form of humanity by the fishes, within
a yard or two of the spot where poor Tom Leicester was found, that hath
cost us all this trouble. So do the same causes bring round the same
events in a cycle of years. The only difference is that the parson drank
his death in our dining-room, and the pedler in our kitchen.

"No doubt, my lord, you have observed that sometimes a hasty and
involuntary inaccuracy gives quite a wrong color to a thing. I assure
you I have suffered by this. It is said that the moment Mr. Atkins
proposed to drag my mere, I fainted away. In this account there is an
omission. I shall prove that Mr. Atkins used these words: 'And
underneath that water I undertake to find the remains of Griffith
Gaunt.' Now, gentlemen, you shall understand that at this time, and
indeed until the moment when I saw the shoes upon that poor corpse's
feet, I was in great terror for my husband's life. How could it be
otherwise? Caroline Ryder had told me she heard his cry for help. He had
disappeared. What was I to think? I feared he had fallen in with
robbers. I feared all manner of things. So when the lawyer said so
positively he would find his body, I was overpowered. Ah, gentlemen,
wedded love survives many wrongs, many angry words; I love my husband
still; and when the man told me so brutally that he was certainly dead,
I fainted away. I confess it. Shall I be hanged for that?

"But now, thank God, I am full of hope that he is alive, and that good
hope has given me the courage to make this great effort to save my own
life.

"Hitherto I have been able to contradict my accusers positively; but now
I come to a mysterious circumstance that I own puzzles me. Most persons
accused of murder could, if they chose, make a clean breast, and tell
you the whole matter. But this is not my case. I know shoes from boots,
and I know Kate Gaunt from a liar and a murderess. But, when all is
said, this is still a dark, mysterious business, and there are things in
it I can only deal with as you do, gentlemen, by bringing my wits to
bear upon them in reasonable conjecture.

"Caroline Ryder swears she heard Mr. Gaunt cry for help. And Mr. Gaunt
has certainly disappeared.

"My accusers have somewhat weakened this by trying to palm off the body
of Thomas Leicester on you for the body of Mr. Gaunt. But the original
mystery remains, and puzzles me. I might fairly appeal to you to
disbelieve the witness. She is proved incontinent, and a practised liar,
and she forswore herself in this court, and my lord is in two minds
about committing her. But a liar does not always lie, and, to be honest,
I think she really _believes_ she heard Mr. Gaunt cry for help, for she
went straight to his bedroom; and that looks as if she really thought
she heard his voice. But a liar may be mistaken. Do not forget that.
Distance affects the voice; and I think the voice she heard was Thomas
Leicester's, and the place it came from higher up the mere.

"This, my notion, will surprise you less when I prove to you that
Leicester's voice bore a family likeness to Mr. Gaunt's. I shall call
two witnesses who have been out shooting with Mr. Gaunt and Tom
Leicester, and have heard Leicester halloo in the wood, and taken it for
Mr. Gaunt.

"Must I tell you the whole truth? This Leicester has always passed for
an illegitimate son of Mr. Gaunt's father. He resembled my husband in
form, stature, and voice: he had the Gaunt mole, and has often spoken of
it by that name. My husband forgave him many faults for no other
reason--and I bought wares and filled his pack for no other reason--than
this; that he was my husband's brother by nature, though not in law.
'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE.'

"Ah, that is a royal device; yet how often in this business have the
advisers of the crown forgotten it?

"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury, I return from these conjectures to
the indisputable facts of my defence.

"Mr. Gaunt may be alive, or he may be dead. He was certainly alive on
the 15th of October, and it lies on the crown to prove him dead, and not
on me to prove him alive. But as for the body that forms the subject of
this indictment, it is the body of Thomas Leicester, who was seen on the
16th of October, at one in the morning, drunk and staggering, and making
for Hernshaw Bridge, which leads to his mother's house; and on all his
former visits to Hernshaw Castle he went on to his mother's, as I shall
prove. This time, he never reached her, as I shall prove; but on his way
to her did meet his death, by the will of God, and no fault of man or
woman, in Hernshaw Mere.

"Call Sarah Leicester."

_Judge._ I think you say you have several witnesses.

_Prisoner._ More than twenty, my lord.

_Judge._ We cannot possibly dispose of them this evening. We will, hear
your evidence to-morrow. Prisoner, this will enable you to consult with
your legal advisers, and let me urge upon you to prove, if you can, that
Mr. Gaunt has a sufficient motive for hiding and not answering Mr.
Atkins's invitation to inherit a large estate. Some such proof as this
is necessary to complete your defence; and I am sorry to see you have
made no mention of it in your address, which was otherwise able.

_Prisoner._ My lord, I think I can prove my own innocence without
casting a slur upon my husband.

_Judge._ You _think_? when your life is at stake. Be not so mad as to
leave so large a hole in your defence, if you can mend it. Take advice.

He said this very solemnly; then rose and left the court.

Mrs. Gaunt was conveyed back to prison, and there was soon prostrated by
the depression that follows an unnatural excitement.

Mr. Houseman found her on a sofa, pale and dejected, and clasping the
jailer's wife convulsively, who applied hartshorn to her nostrils.

He proved but a Job's comforter. Her defence, creditable as it was to a
novice, seemed wordy and weak to him, a lawyer; and he was horrified at
the admissions she had made. In her place he would have admitted nothing
he could not thoroughly explain.

He came to insist on a change of tactics.

When he saw her sad condition, he tried to begin by consoling and
encouraging her. But his own serious misgivings unfitted him for this
task, and very soon, notwithstanding the state she was in, he was almost
scolding her for being so mad as to withstand the judge, and set herself
against his advice. "There," said he, "my lord kept his word, and became
counsel for you. 'Close that gap in your defence,' says he, 'and you
will very likely be acquitted.' 'Nay,' says you, 'I prefer to chance
it.' What madness! what injustice!"

"Injustice! to whom?"

"To whom? why, to yourself."

"What, may I not be unjust to myself?"

"Certainly not; you have no right to be unjust to anybody. Don't deceive
yourself; there is no virtue in this; it is mere miserable weakness.
What right have you to peril an innocent life merely to screen a
malefactor from just obloquy?"

"Alas!" said Mrs. Gaunt, "'tis more than obloquy. They will kill him;
they will brand him with a hot iron."

"Not unless he is indicted; and who will indict him? Sir George Neville
must be got to muzzle the attorney-general, and the Lancashire jade will
not move against him, for you say they are living together."

"Of course they are; and, as you say, why should I screen him? But 't
will not serve; who can combat prejudice? If what I have said does not
convince them, an angel's voice would not. Sir, I am a Catholic, and
they will hang me. I shall die miserably, having exposed my husband, who
loved me once, O so dearly! I trifled with his love. I deserve it all."

"You will not die at all, if you will only be good and obedient, and
listen to wiser heads. I have subpoenaed Caroline Ryder as your
witness, and given her a hint how to escape an indictment for perjury.
You will find her supple as a glove."

"Call a rattlesnake for my witness?"

"I have drawn her fangs. You will also call Sir George Neville, to prove
he saw Gaunt's picture at the 'Packhorse,' and heard the other wife's
tale. Wiltshire will object to this as evidence, and say why don't you
produce Mercy Vint herself. Then you will call me to prove I sent the
subpoena to Mercy Vint. Come now; I cannot eat or sleep till you
promise me."

Mrs. Gaunt sighed deeply. "Spare me," said she, "I am worn out. O that I
could die before the trial begins again!"

Houseman saw the signs of yielding, and persisted. "Come, promise now,"
said he. "Then you will feel better."

"I will do whatever you bid me," said she. "Only, if they let me off, I
will go into a convent. No power shall hinder me."

"You shall go where you like, except to the gallows. Enough, 'tis a
promise, and I never knew you break one. Now I can eat my supper. You
are a good, obedient child, and I am a happy attorney."

"And I am the most miserable woman in all England."

"Child," said the worthy lawyer, "your spirits have given way, because
they were strung so high. You need repose. Go to bed now, and sleep
twelve hours. Believe me, you will wake another woman."

"Ah! would I could!" cried Mrs. Gaunt, with all the eloquence of
despair.

Houseman murmured a few more consoling words, and then left her, after
once more exacting a promise that she would receive no more visits, but
go to bed directly. She was to send all intruders to him at the "Angel."

Mrs. Gaunt proceeded to obey his orders, and though it was but eight
o'clock, she made preparations for bed, and then went to her nightly
devotions.

She was in sore trouble, and earthly trouble turns the heart
heavenwards. Yet it was not so with her. The deep languor that oppressed
her seemed to have reached her inmost soul. Her beads, falling one by
one from her hand, denoted the number of her supplications; but, for
once, they were _preces sine mente dictæ_. Her faith was cold, her
belief in Divine justice was shaken for a time. She began to doubt and
to despond. That bitter hour, which David has sung so well, and Bunyan,
from experience, has described in his biography as well as in his novel,
sat heavy upon her, as it had on many a true believer before her. So
deep was the gloom, so paralyzing the languor, that at last she gave up
all endeavor to utter words of prayer. She placed her crucifix at the
foot of the wall, and laid herself down on the ground and kissed His
feet, then, drawing back, gazed upon that effigy of the mortal
sufferings of our Redeemer.

    "O anima Christiana, respice vulnera morientis,
        pretium redemptionis."

       *       *       *       *       *

She had lain thus a good half-hour, when a gentle tap came to the door.

"Who is that?" said she.

"Mrs. Menteith," the jailer's wife replied, softly, and asked leave to
come in.

Now this Mrs. Menteith had been very kind to her, and stoutly maintained
her innocence. Mrs. Gaunt rose, and invited her in.

"Madam," said Mrs. Menteith, "what I come for, there is a person below
who much desires to see you."

"I beg to be excused," was the reply. "He must go to my solicitor at the
'Angel,' Mr. Houseman."

Mrs. Menteith retired with that message, but in about five minutes
returned to say that the young woman declined to go to Mr. Houseman, and
begged hard to see Mrs. Gaunt. "And, dame," said she, "if I were you,
I'd let her come in; 'tis the honestest face, and the tears in her soft
eyes, at you denying her: 'O dear, dear!' said she, 'I cannot tell my
errand to any but her.'"

"Well, well," said Mrs. Gaunt; "but what is her business?"

"If you ask me, I think her business is your business. Come, dame, do
see the poor thing; she is civil spoken, and she tells me she has come
all the way out of Lancashire o' purpose."

Mrs. Gaunt recoiled, as if she had been stung.

"From Lancashire?" said she, faintly.

"Ay, madam," said Mrs. Menteith, "and that is a long road; and a child
upon her arm all the way, poor thing!"

"Her name?" said Mrs. Gaunt, sternly.

"O, she is not ashamed of it. She gave it me directly."

"What, has she the effrontery to take my name?"

Mrs. Menteith stared at her with utter amazement. "_Your_ name?" said
she. "'T is a simple, country body, and her name is Vint,--Mercy Vint."

Mrs. Gaunt was very much agitated, and said she felt quite unequal to
see a stranger.

"Well, I'm sure I don't know what to do," said Mrs. Menteith. "She says
she will lie at your door all night, but she will see you. 'T is the
face of a friend. She may know something. It seems hard to thrust her
and her child out into the street, after their coming all the way from
Lancashire."

Mrs. Gaunt stood silent awhile, and her intelligence had a severe combat
with her deep repugnance to be in the same room with Griffith Gaunt's
mistress (so she considered her). But a certain curiosity came to the
aid of her good sense; and, after all, she was a brave and haughty
woman, and her natural courage began to rise. She thought to herself,
"What, dares she come to me all this way, and shall I shrink from
_her_?"

She turned to Mrs. Menteith with a bitter smile, and she said, very
slowly, and clenching her white teeth: "Since you desire it, and she
_insists_ on it, I will receive Mistress Mercy Vint."

Mrs. Menteith went off, and in about five minutes returned, ushering in
Mercy Vint, in a hood and travelling-cloak.

Mrs. Gaunt received her standing, and with a very formal courtesy; to
which Mercy made a quiet obeisance, and both women looked one another
all over in a moment.

Mrs. Menteith lingered, to know what on earth this was all about; but as
neither spoke a word, and their eyes were fixed on each other, she
divined that her absence was necessary, and so retired, looking very
much amazed at both of them.



THE USURPATION.


There are three passions to which public men are especially
exposed,--fear, hatred, and ambition. Mr. Johnson is the victim and
slave of all; and, unhappily for himself, and unfortunately for the
country, there is no ground for hope that he will ever free himself from
their malign influence.

It is a common report, and a common report founded upon the statements
of those best acquainted with the President, that he lives in continual
fear of personal harm, and that he anticipates hostile Congressional
action in an attempt to impeach him and deprive him of his office. He
best of all men knows whether he is justly liable to impeachment; and he
ought to know that Congress cannot proceed to impeach him, unless the
offences or misdemeanors charged and proved are of such gravity as to
justify the proceeding in the eyes of the country and the world.

There is nothing vindictive or harsh in the American character. The
forbearance of the American people is a subject of wonder, if it is not
a theme for encomium. They have assented to the pardon of many of the
most prominent Rebels; they have seen the authors of the war restored to
citizenship, to the possession of their property, and even to the
enjoyment of patronage and power in the government; and finally, they
have been compelled, through the policy of the President, to submit to
the dictation, and in some sense to the control, of the men whom they so
recently met and vanquished upon the field of battle. The testimony of
Alexander H. Stephens everywhere suggests, and in many particulars
exactly expresses, the policy of the President.

Mr. Stephens asserts that the States recently in rebellion were always
entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States; and Mr.
Johnson must accept the same position; for, if the right were once lost,
it is impossible to suggest how or when it was regained. It is also
known that, while the Johnston-Sherman negotiations were pending, Mr.
Davis received written opinions from two or more persons who were then
with him, and acting as members of his Cabinet, upon the very question
in dispute between Congress and Mr. Johnson,--the rights of the then
rebellious States in the government of the United States. These opinions
set up and maintained the doctrine that the Rebel States would be at
once entitled to representation in the government of the country, upon
the ratification or adoption of the pending negotiations. It may not be
just to say that the President borrowed his policy from Richmond; but it
is both just and true to say that the leaders of the Rebellion have been
incapable of suggesting a public policy more advantageous to themselves
than that which he has adopted. The President knows that the people have
been quiet and impartial observers of these proceedings; that the House
of Representatives has never in public session, nor in any of its
caucuses or committees, considered or proposed any measure looking to
his impeachment.

The grounds of his fear are known only to himself; but its existence
exerts a controlling influence over his private and public conduct.

Associated with this fear, and probably springing from it, is an intense
hatred of nearly all the recognized leaders of the party by which he was
nominated and elected to office. Evidence upon this point is not needed.
He has exhibited it in a manner and to a degree more uncomfortable to
his friends than to his enemies, in nearly every speech that he has
made, commencing with that delivered on the 22d of February last.

Superadded to these passions, which promise so much of woe to Mr.
Johnson and to the country, is an inordinate, unscrupulous, and
unreasoning ambition. To one theme the President is always constant,--to
one idea he is always true,--"He has filled every office, from that of
alderman of a village to the Presidency of the United States." He does
not forget, nor does he permit the world to forget, this fact. In some
form of language, and in nearly every speech, he assures his countrymen
that he either is, or ought to be, satisfied with this measure of
success. But have not his own reflections, or some over-kind friend,
suggested that he has never been elected President of the United States?
and that there yet remains the attainment of this one object of
ambition?

Inauguration day, 1865, will be regarded as one of the saddest days in
American annals. We pass over its incidents; but it was fraught with an
evil suggestion to our enemies, and it must have been followed by a firm
conviction in the mind of Mr. Johnson that he could not thereafter enjoy
the confidence of the mass of the Republican party of the country. He
foresaw that they would abandon him, and he therefore made hot haste to
abandon them. And, indeed, it must be confessed that there was scarcely
more inconsistency in that course on his part, than there would have
been in continuing his connection with the men who had elected him. His
nomination for the Vice-Presidency was an enthusiastic tribute to his
Union sentiments; beyond a knowledge of these, the Convention neither
had nor desired to have any information. Mr. Johnson was and is a Union
man; but he was not an anti-slavery man upon principle. He was a
Southern State-Rights man. He looked upon the national government as a
necessity, and the exercise of any powers on its part as a danger. His
political training was peculiar. He had carried on a long war with
slaveholders, but he had never made war upon slavery. He belonged to the
poor white class. In his own language he was a plebeian. The
slaveholders were the patricians. He desired that all the white men of
Tennessee, especially, and of the whole South, should be of one
class,--all slaveholders,--all patricians, if that were possible; and he
himself, for a time became one. Failing in this, he was satisfied when
all became non-slaveholders, and the patrician class ceased to exist.
Hence, as far as Mr. Johnson's opinions and purposes are concerned, the
war has accomplished everything for which it was undertaken. The Union
has been preserved, and the patrician class has been broken down.

Naturally, Mr. Johnson is satisfied. On the one hand he has no sympathy
with the opinion that the negro is a man and ought to be a citizen, and
that he should be endowed with the rights of a man and a citizen; and,
on the other hand, he shares not in the desire of the North to limit the
representation of the South so that there shall be equality among the
white men of the country. He is anxious rather to increase the political
strength of the South. He fears the growing power of the North. The same
apprehension which drove Calhoun into nullification, and Davis,
Stephens, and others into rebellion and civil war, now impels Mr.
Johnson to urge the country to adopt his policy, which secures to the
old slaveholding States an eighth of the political power of the nation,
to which they have no just title whatever. To the North this is a more
flagrant political injustice than was even the institution of slavery.
He once expressed equal hostility towards Massachusetts and South
Carolina, and desired that they should be cut off from the main land and
lashed together in the wide ocean. The President appears to be
reconciled to South Carolina; but if the hostility he once entertained
to the two States had been laid upon Massachusetts alone, he ought to
have felt his vengeance satisfied when her representatives entered the
Philadelphia Convention arm in arm with the representatives of South
Carolina, assuming only, what is not true, that the sentiment of
Massachusetts was represented in that Convention. As a perfect
illustration of the President's policy, two men from Massachusetts
should have been assigned to each member from South Carolina, as
foreshowing the future relative power of the white men of the two States
in the government of the country. The States of the North and West will
receive South Carolina and the other Rebel States as equals in political
power and rights, whenever those States are controlled by loyal men; but
they are enemies to justice, to equality, and to the peace of the
country who demand the recognition of the Rebel States upon the unequal
basis of the existing Constitution.

Of these enemies to justice, equality, and the peace of the country, the
President is the leader and the chief; and as such leader and chief he
is no longer entitled to support, confidence, or even personal respect
He has seized upon all the immense patronage of this government, and
avowed his purpose to use it for the restoration of the Rebel States to
authority, regardless of the rights of the people of the loyal States.
He has thus become the ally of the Rebels, and the open enemy of the
loyal white men of the country. The President, and those associated with
him in this unholy project, cannot but know that the recognition of the
ten disloyal States renders futile every attempt to equalize
representation in Congress. The assent of three fourths of the States is
necessary to the ratification of an amendment to the Constitution. The
fifteen old Slave States are largely interested in the present system,
and they will not consent voluntarily to a change. The question between
the President and Congress is then this: Shall the ten States be at once
recognized,--thus securing to the old Slave States thirty
Representatives and thirty electoral votes to which they have no title,
or shall they be required to accept, as a condition precedent, an
amendment to the Constitution which provides an equal system of
representation for the whole country? It is not enough, in the
estimation of the President, that the loyal people should receive these
enemies of the Union and murderers of their sons and brothers as equals,
but he demands a recognition of their superiority and permanent rule in
the government by a voluntary tender of an eighth of the entire
representative force of the republic. When before were such terms ever
exacted of the conqueror in behalf of the conquered? If the victorious
North had demanded of the vanquished South a surrender of a part of its
representative power in the government, as a penalty for its treason,
that demand would have been sustained upon the principles of justice,
although the proceeding would have been unwise as a measure of public
policy. As it is, the victorious North only demands equality for itself,
while it offers equality to the vanquished South. Was there ever a
policy more just, wise, reasonable, and magnanimous?

Yet the President rejects this policy, deserts the loyal men of the
North by whom he was elected, conspires with the traitors in the loyal
States and the Rebels of the disloyal States for the humiliation, the
degradation, the political enslavement of the loyal people of the
country. And this is the second great conspiracy against liberty,
against equality, against the peace of the country, against the
permanence of the American Union; and of this conspiracy the President
is the leader and the chief. Nor can he defend himself by saying that he
desires to preserve the Constitution as it was, for he himself has been
instrumental in securing an important alteration. "The Constitution as
it was" has passed away, and by the aid of Mr. Johnson.

Nor can he say that he is opposed to exacting conditions precedent; for
he made the ratification of the anti-slavery amendment a condition
precedent to his own recognition of their existence as States clothed
with authority. Thus is he wholly without proper excuse for his
conduct. Nor can he assert that the Rebel States are, and ever have
been, States of the Union, and always and ever entitled to
representation and without conditions; for then is he guilty of
impeachable offences in demanding of them the ratification of the
constitutional amendment, in dictating a policy to the Southern States,
in organizing provisional governments, in inaugurating constitutional
conventions, in depriving officers elected or appointed by authority of
those States of their offices, and, in fine, in assuming to himself
supreme authority over that whole region of country for a long period of
time. Thus his only defence of his present policy contains an admission
that he has usurped power, that he has violated the Constitution, that
he is guilty of offences for which he ought to be impeached. Thus do the
suggestions which the President tenders as his defence furnish
conclusive evidence that his conduct is wholly indefensible.

While then the President cannot defend his conduct, it is possible for
others to explain it.

Its explanation maybe found in some one or in several of the following
propositions:--

1. That the Rebel leaders have acquired a control over the President,
through the power of some circumstance not known to the public, which
enables them to dictate a policy to him.

2. That he fears impeachment, and consequently directs all his efforts
to secure more than a third of the Senate, so as to render a conviction
impossible.

3. That he seeks a re-election, and purposes to make the South a unit in
his favor, as the nucleus around which the Democratic party of the North
must gather in 1868.

4. That he desires to reinstate the South as the controlling force in
the government of the country.

In reference to the first proposition, we are restricted to the single
remark, that it is not easy to imagine the Rebels capable of making any
demand upon the Executive which, in his present state of mind, he would
not be prepared to grant. He has pardoned many of the leaders and
principal men of the Rebellion, and some of them he has appointed to
office. He has resisted every attempt on the part of Congress to furnish
protection to the loyal men of the South, and he has witnessed and
discussed the bloody horrors of Memphis and New Orleans with
cold-blooded indifference. Early in his term of office he offered an
immense reward for the person of Jefferson Davis; and now that the
accused has been in the official custody of the President, as the head
of the army, for more than fifteen months, he has neither proclaimed his
innocence and set him at liberty, nor subjected him to trial according
to the laws of the land. Davis is guilty of the crime of treason. Of
this there can be no doubt. He is indicted in one judicial district. The
President holds the prisoner by military authority; and the accused
cannot be arraigned before the civil tribunals. Davis was charged by the
President with complicity in the assassination of Mr. Lincoln. There is
much evidence tending to sustain the charge; but the accused is neither
subjected to trial by a military commission, nor turned over to the
civil tribunals of the country. These acts are offences against justice;
they are offences against the natural and legal rights of the accused,
however guilty he may be; they are offences against the honor of the
American people; they are acts in violation of the Constitution. If the
elections of 1866 are favorable to the President, they will be followed
by the release of Davis, and the country will see the end of this part
of the plot.

Upon any view of the President's case, it is evident that he has thrown
himself into the arms of the South, and that his personal and political
fortunes are identified with Southern success in the coming contest. He
claims to stand upon the Baltimore Platform of 1864, and to follow in
the footsteps of President Lincoln. The enemies of President Lincoln are
reconciled to this assumption, by the knowledge that Mr. Johnson's
counsellors are the Seymours, Vallandigham, Voorhees, and the Woods. Mr.
Johnson, under these evil influences of opinion and counsel, has
succeeded in producing a division of parties in this country
corresponding substantially to the division which Demosthenes says
existed in Greece when Philip was engaged in his machinations for the
overthrow of the liberties of that country. "All Greece is now divided
into two parties;--the one composed of those who desire neither to
exercise nor to be subject to arbitrary power, but to enjoy the benefits
of liberty, laws, and independence; the other, of those who, while they
aim at an absolute command of their fellow-citizens, are themselves the
vassals of another person, by whose means they hope to obtain their
purposes."

The Republican party desires liberty, independence, and equal laws for
all people; the Presidential party seeks to oppress the negro race, to
degrade the white race of the North by depriving every man of his due
share in the government of the country, and, finally, to subject all the
interests of the Republic to the caprice, policy, and passions of its
enemies.

The Presidential party is composed of traitors in the South who had the
courage to fight, of traitors in the North who had not the courage or
opportunity to assail their government, of a small number of persons who
would follow the fortunes of any army if they could be permitted to
glean the offal of the camp, and a yet smaller number who are led to
believe that any system of adjustment is better than a continuance of
the contest.

The Presidential party controls the patronage of the government; and it
will be used without stint in aid of the scheme to which the President
is devoted.

It only remains to be seen whether the courage, capacity, and virtue of
the people are adequate to the task of overthrowing and crushing the
conspiracy in its new form and under the guidance of its new allies. The
Republican party carries on the contest against heavy odds, and with the
fortunes of the country staked upon the result.

One hundred and ninety-one men have been recognized as members of the
present House of Representatives. There are fifty vacancies from the ten
unrecognized States; consequently a full House contains two hundred and
forty-one members. One hundred and twenty-one are a majority,--a quorum
for business, if every State were represented. Of the present House, it
is estimated that forty-six members are supporters of the President's
policy. If to these we add the fifty members from the ten States, the
Presidential party would number ninety-six, or twenty-five only less
than a majority of a full House. No view can be taken of the present
House of Representatives more favorable to the Republican
party,--possibly the President's force should be increased to
forty-eight men. It is worthy of observation that neither the
Philadelphia Convention nor the President has breathed the hope that the
Republicans can be deprived of a majority of the members from the loyal
States. The scheme is to elect seventy-one or more men from the loyal
States, and then resort to revolutionary proceedings for consummation of
the plot. The practical question--the question on which the fortunes of
the country depend--is, Will the people aid in the execution of the plot
contrived for their own ruin? Upon the face of things, we should say
that it is highly improbable that the new party can make any important
gains; indeed, it seems most improbable that the President can survive
the effect of his own speeches. But we must remember that he is
supported by the whole Democratic party, and that that party cast a
large vote in 1864, and that in 1862 the Republican majority in the
House was reduced to about twenty.

In the Thirty-eighth Congress the Democratic party had ten or fifteen
more votes than are now needed to secure the success of the present
plot. To be sure, the elections of 1862 occurred at the darkest period
of the war. The young men of the Republican party were in the army, and
but a small number of them had an opportunity to vote. There was still
hope that a peace could be made through the agency of the Democratic
party. These circumstances were all unfavorable to the cause of the
patriots.

The Democratic party is now weaker than ever before. Its identity with
the Rebellion is better understood. The young men of the country, in the
proportion of three to one, unite themselves with the Republican party.
As an organization, considered by itself, the Democratic party is
utterly powerless and hopeless.

The defection of Mr. Johnson, however, inspires the leaders with fresh
courage. It is possible for them to enjoy the patronage of the
government for two years at least, and it is barely possible for them to
secure the recognition of the ten Rebel States, or, in other equivalent
words, the ten Democratic States, to the Union.

This combination is formidable; but its dangerous nature is due to the
facts that Mr. Seward's name and means of influence are still powerful
in the State of New York, and that he has joined himself to the new
party and become an instrument in the hands of designing men for the
organization of another rebellion. Outside of New York Mr. Johnson's
gains in the elections will be so small that the Union majority will
remain substantially as in the present Congress; nor can we conceive
that the gains in that State will be adequate to the necessities of the
conspirators. It is probable that the undertaking will prove a failure;
but it should never be forgotten that the country is in peril; that it
is in peril in consequence of the uncertain political character of the
State of New York; and that that uncertain character is justly
attributable to the conduct of Mr. Seward. If, then, Mr. Johnson succeed
in the attempt to change the character of this government by setting
aside the Congress of the loyal States, Mr. Seward will be responsible,
equally with Mr. Johnson, for the crime.

Reverting to the statement already made, that neither Mr. Johnson nor
any of his supporters can even hope to secure a majority of the members
elected from the States represented in the present Congress, it only
remains for us to consider more specifically the scheme of revolution
and usurpation in which these desperate men are engaged. The necessary
preliminary condition is the election of seventy-one members of Congress
from the twenty-six States. To these will be added fifty persons from
the ten unrepresented States, making one hundred and twenty-one, or a
majority of Congress if all the States were represented. This
accomplished, the way onward is comparatively easy.

When the Thirty-ninth Congress reassembles in December next, Mr. Johnson
and his Cabinet may refuse to recognize its existence, or, recognizing
it as a matter of form, deny its legitimate authority.

He would summon the members of the Fortieth Congress to assemble in
extra session immediately after the 4th of March. Fifty persons would
appear claiming seats as representatives from the ten States. The
Republicans would deny their right to seats,--the supporters of the
President would maintain it. The supporters of the President, aided
directly or indirectly by the army and police, would take possession of
the hall, remove the Clerk, and organize the assembly by force.

Whether this could be done without bloodshed in Washington and elsewhere
in the North remains to be seen; but as far as relates to the
organization of the House, there can be no doubt of the success of the
undertaking. We should then see a united South with the President at the
head, and a divided North;--the army, the navy, the treasury, in the
hands of the Rebels. This course is the necessity of Mr. Johnson's
opinions and position. It is the natural result of the logic of the
Rebels of the South and of the Democratic party of the North. Mr.
Johnson believes that the present Congress intends to impeach him and
remove him from office. Admit that this fear is groundless, yet, if he
entertains it, he will act as he would act if such were the purpose of
the two Houses. Hence he must destroy the authority of Congress. Hence
he arraigns its members as traitors. Hence he made the significant,
revolutionary, and startling remark, in his reply to Reverdy Johnson as
the organ of the Philadelphia Convention: "_We have seen hanging upon
the verge of the government, as it were, a body called, or which assumed
to be, the Congress of the United States, but in fact a Congress of only
a part of the States._" This is a distinct, specific denial of the right
of Congress to exist, to act, to legislate for the country. It is an
impeachment of all our public doings since the opening of the war,--of
all our legislation since the departure of Davis and his associates from
Washington. It is an admission of the doctrine of Secession; for if the
departure of Davis and his associates rendered null and void the
authority of Congress, then the government, and of course the Union,
ceased to exist. The constitutional amendment abolishing slavery is
void; the loan-acts and the tax-acts are without authority; every fine
collected of an offender was robbery; and every penalty inflicted upon a
criminal was itself a crime. The President may console himself with the
reflection that upon these points he is fully supported by Alexander H.
Stephens, late Vice-President of the so-called Confederacy.

We quote from the report of his examination before the Committee on
Reconstruction.

     "_Question._ Do you mean to be understood, in your last answer,
     that there is no constitutional power in the government, as at
     present organized, to exact conditions precedent to the
     restoration to political power of the eleven States that have
     been in rebellion?

     "_Answer._ That is my opinion.

     "_Question._ Assume that Congress shall, at this session, in
     the absence of Senators and Representatives from the eleven
     States, pass an act levying taxes upon all the people of the
     United States, including the eleven, is it your opinion that
     such an act would be constitutional?

     "_Answer._ I should doubt if it would be. It would certainly,
     in my opinion, be manifestly unjust, and against all ideas of
     American representative government."

Thus it is seen that these two authorities concur in opinion; although
it must be confessed that the late Vice-President of the so-called
Confederate States in urbanity of manner and in the art of diplomacy far
surpasses the late Vice-President (as Mr. Johnson, if his logic does not
fail him, must soon say) of the so-called United States.

Having thus impeached the existing Congress and denied its authority,
the way is clear for the organization of a Congress into which members
from the ten States now excluded shall be admitted.

Representatives who do not concur in these proceedings will have only
the alternative of taking seats among the usurpers, and thus recognizing
their authority, or of absenting themselves and appealing to the people.
The latter course would be war,--civil war, with all the powers of the
government, for the time being, in the hands of the usurpers. The
absenting members would be treated as rebels, and any hostile
organization would be regarded as treasonable. Thus would the Rebels be
installed in power, and engaged in conducting a war against the people
of the North and West.

If, on the other hand, the representatives from the West and North
should deem it wiser to accept the condition, and await an opportunity
to appeal to the country, how degrading and humiliating their condition!
They might for a time endure it; but finally the people of the North
would rise in their might, and renew the war with spirit and power, and
prosecute it until the entire Rebel element of the country should be
exterminated. The success of Mr. Johnson in the elections is then to be
followed by a usurpation and civil war. It means this, or it means
nothing. The incidents of the usurpation would be, first, that the old
Slave States would secure thirty Representatives in Congress and thirty
electoral votes, or an eighth of the government, to which they have no
title whatever unless the negroes should be enfranchised, of which there
would be then no probability; and, secondly, that two white men in the
South would possess the political power of three white men in the North.
The results of the usurpation would be strife and civil war in the
North, and, finally, the overthrow of the usurpers by force, to be
followed, possibly, by an exterminating war against the Rebel population
of the South.

Already has one of Mr. Johnson's agents announced the usurpation in
substance, and tendered to the country a defence in advance of the
commission of the crime. The defence is simple and logical. Congress
refuses to receive the members from ten States. Those States have the
same immediate right of representation as the other States. Congress is,
therefore, a revolutionary body. Any proceeding which secures the right
of all the States to be represented immediately is a constitutional
proceeding. This is intelligible. Alexander H. Stephens is the author of
this cardinal doctrine of the Presidential party. On the other hand,
Congress maintains that enemies vanquished in war, though formerly
citizens and equals, cannot dictate the terms of adjustment; nor even
enjoy the privileges of a constitution which they have violated and
sought to destroy, without a compliance with those terms which the loyal
people may deem essential to the public safety.

The issue is well defined. Shall the Union be restored by usurpation,
with its attendant political inequality and personal injustice to loyal
people, and consequent civil war, or by first securing essential
guaranties for the future peace of the country, and then accepting the
States recently in rebellion as equals, and the people of those States
as friends and citizens with us of a common country?

The question is not whether the Union shall be restored: the Republican
party contemplates and seeks this result. But the question is, shall the
Union be restored by usurpation,--by a policy dictated by the Rebels,
and fraught with all the evils of civil war? The seizure of the
government in the manner contemplated by Johnson and his associates
destroys at once the public credit, renders the public securities
worthless for the time, overthrows the banking system, bankrupts the
trading class, prostrates the laborers, and ends, finally, in general
financial, industrial, and social disorder.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


    _Elements of International Law._ By HENRY WHEATON, LL. D., etc.
    Eighth Edition. Edited, with Notes, by RICHARD HENRY DANA, Jr.,
    LL. D. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1866. 8vo. pp. 749.

LORD WESTBURY, in one of his masterly speeches on law reform, spoke with
much truth, and in terms of severe censure, of the neglect with which
public law has heretofore been treated in England, and the scanty
contributions of English writers to it. And it is undoubtedly true,
that, as the English language has no name by which to designate that
branch of the law called by the civilians _jus_, and by the French
publicists _droit_, so English libraries are without any great national
work on this subject, although the English bar has produced innumerable
treatises on municipal law, which are high models of profound learning,
acute logic, and luminous exposition; and Great Britain is still chiefly
dependent for her international law upon the decisions of Lord Stowell
and a few other judges, and the commentaries of the Continent and
America.

But from an early period in our political history, international law has
been a favorite study in the United States, both with jurists and
statesmen. Our war of independence and the succeeding treaties gave rise
to questions for solution by it of the greatest nicety, and thus
attracted immediate attention to the whole science. To these there
followed in quick succession our long-pending dispute with Great Britain
upon her exercise of the oppressive claims of visitation and search, our
position as a neutral nation during the long wars in Europe, our own war
with England, and the wars between Spain and her revolted colonies. Such
a succession of events, fruitful in international controversies, created
a demand for the study of the law of nations such as is always sure to
be supplied. The state papers of Mr. Madison and Mr. John Quincy Adams
are a permanent monument to their familiarity with this subject.
Contemporaneous with them were the unrivalled decisions of the Supreme
Court when presided over by Chief Justice Marshall, and later have been
published the works of Kent, Wheaton, Story, and other writers. All of
these together comprise a treasure of learning of which we may well be
proud.

Mr. Wheaton, by general consent, occupies the first place among our
commentators. Inferior as a jurist to Chancellor Kent, he is not so high
an authority upon any question which the latter carefully and thoroughly
examined; but long study and training, first before the Supreme Court,
when he was not only the reporter of its decisions during the
international era, but was of counsel in most of the important cases
involving international law, and afterwards in an extended and useful
diplomatic career in Europe, gave him an unequalled familiarity with the
whole subject; and he treated it in a much more elaborate manner than
did Kent, who only discussed it as a branch of the more general science
covered by his Commentaries. No better evidence of the value of Mr.
Wheaton's book is needed than the high estimation in which it is held in
Europe, and particularly in England, where, as the production of a
common-law lawyer, it has a greater value than the works of Continental
scholars, and for reasons of which we shall speak presently. Lord
Lyndhurst early bore testimony to its great merits, and during the last
few years it has been universally regarded as an authority of the
highest standard. No other publicist has been so frequently cited in the
controversies which have grown out of our late civil war. The
translation of the book into Chinese is a most interesting fact,
flattering to the author, and a proof of the progress which Western
thought and civilization are making in the extreme East.

It is of Mr. Dana's edition of this valuable work that we are now called
upon particularly to speak. As a new edition of the book was demanded,
it was of the greatest importance that it should be placed in the hands
of an editor competent to discuss, in a manner worthy of the
distinguished commentator, those numerous and perplexing questions which
have arisen since his death. The representatives of Mr. Wheaton were
singularly fortunate in obtaining the aid of so prominent and so busy a
man as Mr. Dana,--one who is himself a high authority on many branches
of international law; for it is not an easy matter to prevail upon a
leader of the bar, and especially one immersed in the cares of official
as well as of professional duties, to undertake a laborious literary
work, even if it be of a legal character. Of the editor it is a delicate
matter to speak; but we can say without violating good taste, that few
members of his profession unite at once, and to an equal degree with
him, high professional acquirements, an enviable reputation as an orator
and advocate, and the accomplishments of a varied and extensive
scholarship, so that the words with which the President of Harvard
College, at the recent Commencement, conferred upon him the degree of
Doctor of Laws, _Virum eloquentium jurisperitissimum, jurisperitorum
eloquentissimum_, could be applied to him with far less disregard of
strict truth than university dignitaries consider allowable on such
occasions. A large practice for more than twenty years in the maritime
courts has given Mr. Dana an extensive and intimate acquaintance with
one part of the subject he has here undertaken; and his duties as United
States District Attorney for Massachusetts, throughout the late war,
obliged him to examine most carefully the whole law of prize, of neutral
and contraband trade, and of blockade. The results of his labors
comprise nearly half of the volume before us, and deserve some higher
appellation than notes. Nowhere, however, does Mr. Dana push himself
before his author. He never seems to forget that his duty is to prepare
a new edition of Wheaton's Commentaries, not to write a book of his own;
and he is content modestly to illustrate the text, and to supply the
omissions needed to bring the book down to the present day.

It is not necessary to say that, in a literary point of view, Mr. Dana
has done his work well. His style is a model of terseness, vigor, and
perspicuity, and yet the reader is constantly charmed by its chaste
purity and grace. We can say of him what Macaulay said of Bacon, that he
has a wonderful talent of packing thought close and rendering it
portable. It is a long time since we have read a book in which so much
matter was compressed into so small a space. The good taste and polished
courtesy with which Mr. Dana treats of any controverted point cannot be
too much praised; and his calmness and moderation in their discussion
are judicial in their nature and extent, and give additional weight to
his opinions.

We have been surprised to see notices of the work in which Mr. Dana is
criticised for want of enthusiasm. If by this is meant that he lacks
enthusiasm for his subject, the criticism is entirely misplaced. We
doubt whether, without that, he could ever have been induced to edit
this book; and on every page, and in almost every line, convincing proof
can be found of the love and devotion which the editor feels for the
law, and especially for this department of it, to the study and practice
of which he has devoted so many years. It is this enthusiasm that
renders the notes to us more interesting than the text. Things which Mr.
Wheaton discusses as abstractions seem in Mr. Dana's hands to become
living realities. In one the scholar's temperament predominates; in the
other the lawyer's and the politician's. If, however, the criticism
applies to the rigid impartiality which the editor brings to the
discussion of those contemporaneous events concerning which the passions
of men have been most recently and deeply aroused, we regard it as high
praise. If Mr. Dana's views be wrong, it is not likely that the
indulgence of a partisan enthusiasm would have corrected them; if they
be right, the absence of all passion, the studied courtesy and tolerant
moderation which mark every line of argument, add infinite strength to
his conclusions.

The legal merits of Mr. Dana's annotations require other and higher
tests. They depend upon the accuracy of his statements and reasoning,
and the amount of assistance which those will obtain who seek it from
him. To investigate this would require more space than we can now give,
and rather falls within the province of a professional reviewer. A
strong conviction of the soundness of his logic, however, involuntarily
follows a careful perusal of these notes, and will have no little
influence with those who feel it. This is partly owing to the
passionless tone of his discussion, of which we have before spoken. The
amount of historical and general political information which this book
contains will give it value aside from its legal character, and demands
for it a very general circulation.

The note upon the sources of international law is exceedingly
instructive. Notwithstanding his long practice in admiralty and constant
study of civil and foreign law, our editor adheres to his strong Saxon
preference for actual judicial decisions as the best evidence of all
law. The opinion of Continental writers is seen in its strongest light
in a recent French author, who has pushed the doctrine as far as any one
else, if not farther. After quoting several definitions of international
law, Mr. Dana says:--

"Hautefeuille divides international law into two parts, which he calls
_primitif_ and _secondaire_,--the first containing, as he says, the
principles, the absolute basis, of the law; and the second, the measures
or provisions for calling up these principles and securing their
execution. In the application of this theory, it will be found that the
distinguished writer usually treats the primitive law, or the well or
fountain of first principles, as of actual authority, where no express
agreement departs from it; and so much of the practice of nations as
consists in judicial decisions adopted, enforced, and acquiesced in, he
considers as of less authority than the primitive law as it lies in the
breast of the text-writers....

"Commentators seem agreed as to what are the sources of international
law. They differ as to the relative importance and authority of these
sources. Hautefeuille especially gives little weight to the decisions of
prize courts, and places far before them the speculations of writers. It
is noticeable that Continental writers incline the same way, although
they may not go as far; while Wheaton, Kent, Story, Halleck, and
Woolsey in America, and Phillimore, Manning, Wildman, Twiss, and others
in England, give a higher place to judicial decisions. This is
attributable to the different systems of municipal law under which they
are educated. In England and America, judicial decisions are
authoritative declarations of the common law, i. e. the law not enacted
by decrees of legislators, but drawn from the usages and practices of
the people, and from reason and policy. They are at the same time the
highest evidence of what the law is. Under those systems, writers are
brought to the test of judicial decisions; and even those portions of
the opinions of the court itself not necessary to the decision of the
cause before it are termed _obiter dicta_, and are not authority, but
stand on no higher ground than voluntary speculations of learned men as
to what the law might prove to be in a supposed case. The Continental
writers, on the other hand,--living under municipal systems in which
judicial decisions hold no such place, and are neither precedents,
authoritative declarations, nor authentic evidence of the law,--are led
by their education to look to but one authoritative source of law,--the
decrees of legislators; and, in the absence of these, naturally put the
scientific treatises of learned men, systematic, and enriched with
illustrations, above the special decisions of tribunals on single cases,
which, by their systems, do no more than settle the particular
controversy, without settling the principles evoked for its decision."

The editor then sums up the respective merits of these two methods of
deducing the principles of international law at a length which prevents
our quoting the whole for the benefit of our readers. In conclusion he
says:--

"As an offset to this [the supposed impartiality of commentators], it is
to be remembered that the commentator will often be a man of books and
speculations, rather than of affairs; and that the judicial habit of
determining actual controversies, in full view of both their nature and
consequences, is most likely to evoke such rules of law as will be able
to hold their place among the interests, policies, passions, and
necessities of life.

"Attempts to deduce international law from a theory that each individual
is by nature independent, and has, by an implied contract, surrendered
some of his natural rights and assumed some artificial obligations, for
the purpose of establishing society for the common advantage,--and that
each state is, in like manner, independent, and has made like
concessions for a like purpose of international advantages,--such
attempts fall with the theories on which they rested. As no such state
of things ever existed, and no such arrangements or compacts have ever
been made, it is safer to draw principles of law from what is actual.
Later writers, since philosophy has dropped the theory of the social
compact, go upon the assumption, that men and communities are by nature
what they have always been found to be; that the rights and duties of
each man are, by Divine ordination, originally and necessarily, those at
once of an individual and a member of society; and that the rights and
duties of a state are, in like manner, those at once of an individual
state and one among a number of states; and that neither class of these
rights or duties is artificial, voluntary, or secondary.

"In considering, therefore, whether a certain rule should or should not
be adopted, the test is not its capacity to be carried through a
circuitous and artificial course, beginning in a supposed natural
independence of the human being, and ending in another supposed entity
compounded of all civilized states, but various elements enter into the
solution of international questions, and in various degrees, as fitness
to conduce to the highest and most permanent interests of nations as a
whole, of nations taken separately, differing as nations do in power and
pursuits and interests, and of the human beings that compose those
societies. If the question involves high ethics, it must be met in the
faith that the highest justice is the best interest of all. If it be a
question chiefly of national advantage, and of means to an admitted end,
it must be met by corresponding methods of reasoning."

M. Hautefeuille, particularly, finds little favor with Mr. Dana.
Repeatedly rules laid down by him are dismissed with the bare remark,
that "he is without support either by judicial decisions, treaties, the
opinions of commentators of received authority, or diplomatic positions
taken by nations"; or, as in another place, that the principle broached
"is merely a suggestion of the learned commentator as a possible policy,
and has no support either in the practice of nations or the works of
publicists";--but the editor never condescends to meet the French writer
upon his own field of casuistry and speculation. And in this we think
he is right. The discussion of rules existing only in a text-writer's
belief in their abstract justice, would be entirely useless labor in any
writer in the English language; for whatever may be the system of
Continental Europe, neither the United States, nor Great Britain, nor
any one of the future kindred nations that will grow out of the English
colonies, will ever pay much regard to a doctrine so foreign to that
noble system of law which, like their common tongue, will be a permanent
proof of their common origin.

Two of the most admirable of Mr. Dana's notes are those on the
"relations of the United States judiciary to the Constitution and
statutes," and on "the United States a supreme government"; and they
deserve careful perusal from all desirous of fully understanding our
system of government. From the first we cannot refrain from making one
extract, which may help to explain to our non-professional readers a
difficult principle of law which we have never before seen so concisely
and at the same time so clearly stated.

"In cases before it, the Supreme Court has no other jurisdiction over
constitutional questions than is possessed by the humblest judicial
tribunal, State or national, in the land. The only distinction is, that
it is the court of final resort, from whose decision there is no appeal.
The relations of all courts to the Constitution arise simply from the
fact that, being courts of law, they must give to litigants before them
_the law_; and the Constitution of the United States is _law_, and not,
like most European political constitutions, a collection of rules and
principles having only a moral obligation upon the legislative and
executive departments of the government. Accordingly, each litigant,
having the right to the highest law, may appeal from a statute of
Congress, or any other act of any officer or department, State or
national, and invoke the Constitution as the highest law. The court does
not formally set aside or declare void any statute or ordinance
inconsistent with the Constitution. It simply decides the case before it
_according to law_; and if laws are in conflict, according to that law
_which has the highest authority_, that is, the Constitution. The effect
of the decree of the final court on the _status_ of the parties or
property in that suit is of course absolute, and binds all departments
of the government. The constitutional principle involved in the
decision, being ascertained from the opinion,--if the court sees fit to
deliver a full opinion,--has in all future cases in courts of law simply
the effect of a judicial precedent, whatever that may be. Upon the
political department of the government and upon citizens the principle
decided has, in future cases, not the binding force of a portion of the
Constitution, but the moral effect due to its intrinsic weight and to
the character of the tribunal, and the practical authority derived from
the consideration that all acts inconsistent with it will be
inoperative, by reason of the judicial power which any citizen may
invoke against their operation."

Our space will not allow us to make further quotations. Among those
notes which are especially interesting to the non-professional reader we
may mention those on the much misunderstood Monroe doctrine; on
naturalization; on the effect of belligerent occupation on slavery, and
the President's Proclamation of Emancipation,--in which Mr. Dana
maintains the same position that he has heretofore taken in his
political speeches, and of the correctness of which there can be no
doubt; the very excellent examination of the neutrality statutes and
decisions, and the note on the case of the Trent,--a model of calm,
judicial dissertation. The recent agitation of the subjects of all of
these makes them matters of general interest, and we cannot but think
that the timely publication of this edition of Mr. Wheaton's work will
aid efficiently in the satisfactory settlement of some of them. True to
the principles which he holds of the evidences of international law, Mr.
Dana avoids spending much time in discussing questions still unsettled,
satisfying himself with a clear statement of the present state of each
controversy, and leaving it for the future attention of statesmen and
jurists. Attached to the volume is a full and carefully prepared
Index,--sufficient for all the requirements of any reasonably
intelligent reader.

We cannot dismiss this book without alluding to the newspaper
controversy which the editor of the two preceding editions has started,
and seems determined to keep alive, even if he have no antagonist. We
wish to do full justice to Mr. Beach Lawrence's services to the science
of public law. His industry and the extent and variety of his
information will always make his writings valuable as books of
reference,--much as we think this value is lowered by his method of
treatment and partisan views. Some natural disappointment and
irritation would be excusable in him on the announcement that a work, of
which he imagined he enjoyed a monopoly, was receiving the attention of
so formidable a rival; but this does not excuse the bad taste and bad
temper with which he has published his complaints. Of the merits of his
dispute with Mr. Wheaton's heirs we know little, and shall say nothing,
except that they have been guided in their conduct by what they regarded
as high legal opinion of their rights and obligations, and that, if Mr.
Lawrence has been wronged, the courts of which he talks so much, but to
which he seems to be so slow to appeal, will give him redress. But if it
be considered becoming to drag ladies and their private circumstances
before the public in the manner in which Mr. Lawrence has done it, there
must be a grievous decline of the old chivalrous feeling in regard to
women. Still more solemnly must we protest against his recent charges
against Mr. Dana. In these he impugns the honor of a distinguished
contemporary, charging him with gross and impudent piracy of the results
of another's labors. If there be foundation for these charges, they
ought to be made; but there are two ways of making them, and the course
which Mr. Lawrence has taken in bringing them, at a time when Mr. Dana
is absent from the country, and leaving them to rest solely on his own
unsupported assertion--without citing or referring to any of the facts
which he declares exist--is highly censurable. We have found no evidence
of the truth of his charges in a cursory examination of a considerable
part of both works; and a friend upon whose judgment we place full
reliance, and who has carefully compared the labors of the two editors,
assures us that there is nothing which at all substantiates them. Mr.
Lawrence has needlessly involved his own character in this affair; and
the public will demand from him proofs of a most flagrant violation of
the rights of literary property, before it will be inclined to admit any
palliation for the errors he has committed in conducting the
controversy.


     _English Travellers and Italian Brigands. A Narrative of
     Capture and Captivity._ By W. J. C. MOENS. New York: Harper and
     Brothers.

     _Prison-Life in the South: at Richmond, Macon, Savannah,
     Charleston, Columbia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Goldsborough, and
     Andersonville, during the Years 1864 and 1865._ By A. O.
     ABBOTT. New York: Harper and Brothers.

The narrative of Mr. Moens, so far as it relates to the general subject
of brigandage in South Italy, will hardly present anything novel to
those who have at all studied the history or character of that scourge.
In fact, Italian brigandage is a very simple affair, about which it is
hard to say anything new. Given a starving, beaten, superstitious
population in a mountainous country, destitute of roads, and abounding
in easy refuges and inaccessible hiding-places, and you have brigandage
naturally. Given centuries of weak, cruel, and corrupt government, and
you have the perpetuation of brigandage inevitably. From time
immemorial, the social and political conditions in Naples have been
deprivation and oppression; and cause and effect have so long been
convertible, that it is often difficult to know one from the other. The
prevalence of brigandage demands measures on the part of the government
compared with the severity of which martial law is lax and mild; and the
crime which provokes these harsh measures has revived again from the
disaffection which they produce. All authorities on the subject are
agreed that brigandage finds its shield and support in the fears of the
people, and the complete system of espionage which the robbers are
enabled to maintain through their accomplices in society. These are
sometimes priests and persons of station, but more commonly peasants
whose friends or relatives are brigands. During the French-republican
rule of Naples, when Manhès was at the head of the troops assigned the
duty of extirpating brigandage, the robbers were for once destroyed by
the terrible measures taken against their accomplices. No one suspected
of communicating with them in any way was spared. Men were shot for
selling them food. Women and children taking food into the fields to eat
while at work were shot, under an order forbidding this custom lest the
provisions should fall into the hands of the robbers. For once, the
authorities outbid the brigands for the terror of the wretched
inhabitants, and annihilated them. But it was natural, in a country
where every peasant is a possible brigand, and only waits for a lawless
impulse or lawless deed to make him an actual brigand, that brigandage
should flourish again as soon as the rigid procedure against it was
relaxed. The returning Bourbons found it on every hill; and though they
combated it with fitful severity and unremitting treachery, they left it
essentially unimpaired to the Italian government in 1860. It is by no
means true--as Mr. Moens asserts upon the authority of Murray's
Guide-Book--that the late Bourbon government did anything towards
effectually suppressing brigandage. The brigands were put down in one
place to spring up in another, and they swarmed everywhere after a lean
harvest. They never were effectually suppressed, except by Manhès; and,
as the Italian government has mercifully refused to adopt his course for
their destruction, it is probable that they will exist until the country
is generally opened with roads, and the people educated, and, above all,
Protestantized. For it must never be forgotten that, since the union of
Naples with Italy, brigandage has been fostered by the Bourbons and the
Papists, and that the Italians have had to fight, not only the robbers
in Naples, but Francis II. and Pius IX. at Rome.

To the readers of the newspapers, the name of Mr. Moens is known as that
of the English gentleman who was taken by brigands in May of last year,
on his return from a little pleasure excursion to Pæstum. He and his
party--consisting of his wife and the Rev. Mr. Aynsley and wife--had
trusted too implicitly in the notice given by their landlord that the
road from Salerno to the famous temples was free from brigands, and
guarded by troops. Near a little town called Battipaglia, the military
having been withdrawn temporarily to permit the families of some
captives to negotiate their ransom with the band of Giardullo, the band
of Manzo swooped down upon the unhappy tourists, and carried off both
the gentlemen of the party. The troops appeared almost immediately after
the capture, but the brigands escaped with their prisoners, one of whom
they released a few days later, that he might return to Naples, and
raise the ransom demanded for himself and his friend. The book, from
this point, is the relation of Mr. Moens's trials and adventures with
the bandits, and Mrs. Moens's hardly less terrible efforts and anxieties
for his release. It was decided by the band that their captive was a
Milord, and they demanded a ransom of $200,000 for him, subsequently
reducing the sum to $30,000, which was paid them in instalments, and
which having received in full, they released their prisoner after a
captivity of four months. All the negotiations for the ransom of Mr.
Moens had to be carried on in defiance of Italian law, and by indulgence
of its officers; for to supply the brigands with food or money is an
offence punishable with twenty years in the galleys. Generous English
friends at Naples interested themselves in the affair, and the aid which
Mrs. Moens received from Italians in private and official station was no
less cordial and constant. Indeed, the business of Mr. Moens's recapture
became of almost international importance. All the Italian troops in the
region were employed in pursuit of Manzo's band; and a British
man-of-war was sent to a certain point on the coast, in the hope that
the bandits could be induced to go on board by the promise of impunity,
and transfer to England.

In the mean time Mr. Moens remained with his captors, sharing all their
perils and privations, and making perforce the most faithful study ever
made of their life. It must be confessed that the picture has few
features attractive to people at peace with society. Most of the
brigands are men who have placed themselves beyond the law by some
hideous crime,--or misfortune, as they would call it in Naples,--and in
other cases they are idle ruffians, who have taken to robbery because
they like it. They generally look forward to a time when, having placed
a sufficient amount of money at interest, they can surrender themselves
to the authorities, pass a few comfortable years in prison, and issue
forth ornaments to society. To be sure, this scheme is subject to
chances. They are hunted by the soldiers, day and night, like wild
beasts; and, if taken under arms, are shot without trial. Half the time
they are without food, and suffer the agonies of hunger and thirst; and
they are always without shelter, except such as trees or caverns can
give. When they have anything, they "eat their bread with carefulness,
and drink their water with astonishment,"--quarrelling over it a good
deal, and trying to steal from one another. When they have nothing, they
buckle their belts tighter, and bear it as best they may.

Mr. Moens, who fared no better than the rest, does not seem to have
fared much worse. Indeed, he was much more comfortably situated than the
ladies of the band, who, being dressed as men, were armed and obliged to
fight like their comrades, and yet had no share of the spoils, but
received many more cuffs and hard words than we, who have only seen
them in pictures, can well associate with the idea of brigandesses.

Being poor ignorant peasants originally, and being afterwards poor
ignorant robbers, the brigands inflicted little unnecessary suffering
upon their prisoner. Occasionally, to be sure, they struck him; but this
was in hot blood, and he was allowed to strike back and restore the
balance of justice. These wretched creatures, imbruted and stained with
innumerable murders, seem to have had very little idea of the usages of
civilized people in regard to captives; and any one who will compare the
story of Mr. Moens with the narratives of the prisoners given in Mr.
Abbott's book, will see how absurdly the bandits neglected their
advantages. After all, it is your high-toned Southern gentleman, compact
of the best blood of the Cavaliers and the Huguenots, and presenting in
this unhappy hemisphere the finest reflection of the English nobleman's
character, who understands best how to use a prisoner. There is nothing
like having in your power from childhood a number of helpless human
beings, to teach you how to treat a captured enemy; and we cannot help
thinking that Mrs. Moens, who will not spare the American Unionists a
sneer in the first chapter of her diary, would have understood us better
if her husband had been in the hands of Captain Wirz instead of Captain
Manzo. Had Mr. Moens been a soldier of the Union, taken while fighting
to defend his country against rebellion, he would have been carried into
the midst of a people inured to the practice of cruelty by slavery, and
all the more abominable because they believed themselves Christian and
civilized. There he would have been thrust into a roofless close,
already densely thronged with thousands of famished, sick, and maddened
men. He would have had no shelter from the blazing sun or drenching
storm, except such as the happier wild creatures make themselves in
holes and burrows. Guards, emulous in murder, would have been set over
him, with instructions to shoot him, if he reached, in the delirium of
famine, across a certain line to clutch a bone, or stooped to moisten
his lips in a pool less filthy than those at which his comrades quenched
their thirst within the bounds. In the mountains of Naples, the brigands
gave him to eat and drink of their scanty fare, and shared with him the
last crust and the last drop. In Georgia, in the midst of plenty, his
keepers would have slowly starved him to death, and would have driven
away, with threats and curses, any that offered to succor his distress.
If he escaped, they would have hunted him with bloodhounds, and so
brought him back; and if he sickened under his torture, they would have
left him, naked and unsheltered, to languish with wasting disease and
devouring vermin,--to die, or to rot and drop away piecemeal while yet
alive.

Other writers on brigandage, besides Mr. Moens, relate anomalous facts
concerning it, which can, perhaps, be matched only in this country,
where alone the cruelty and impunity of Italian brigandage can be
matched. It is well known that for a long time the heirs of Fra Diavolo
received from the government a pension bestowed in recognition of that
distinguished chief's services to humanity. The retired chief, Talarico,
is now in the undisturbed enjoyment of the gains of brigandage upon his
place near Naples; and Count Saint-Jorioz, in his interesting work, _Il
Brigantaggio alla Frontiera, Pontificia,_ declares that in some cases
the _employés_ of the Italian government in the Neapolitan provinces are
men known to have been in other times _manutengoli_, or accomplices of
brigands; nay, that sometimes the very courts of law have favored,
instigated, and connived at brigandage. Similarly, in our own country,
we find men guilty of the cruelties of Andersonville and Columbia, and
stained with treason, in the enjoyment of offices and honors throughout
the South, while the servants of the law lend themselves to violence and
murder with a boldness unheard of in Naples, where there is some show of
decency in these things. At least, we have not read of the _sindaco_ and
policemen of any town of the Abruzzi who have openly applauded and
joined the brigands in hunting and slaughtering peaceable inhabitants,
as happened lately in New Orleans and Memphis; and we feel quite sure
that, if they had committed such an offence, it would not have been
passed over in silence by the head of the Italian people. But, then,
with all their errors, the Italians have not yet intrusted great power
to the hands of a peasant of the class which produces brigands; whereas
we have taken for our chief magistrate a man in whom everything generous
and noble seems to have been extinguished by the hard conditions of a
poor white's life at the South.





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