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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858
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 2, No. 14, December 1858" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. II.--DECEMBER, 1858.--NO. XIV.



THE IDEAL TENDENCY.


We are all interested in Art; yet few of us have taken pains to justify
the delight we feel in it. No philosophy can win us away from
Shakspeare, Plato, Angelo, Beethoven, Goethe, Phidias,--from the masters
of sculpture, painting, music, and metaphor. Their truth is larger than
any other,--too large to be stated directly and lodged in systems,
theories, definitions, or formulas. They suggest and assure to us what
cannot be spoken. They communicate life, because they do not endeavor to
measure life. Philosophy will present the definite; Art refers always to
the vast,--to that which cannot be comprehended, but only enjoyed and
adored. Art is the largest expression. It is not, like Science, a basket
in which meat and drink may be carried, but a hand which points toward
the sky. Our eyes follow its direction, and our souls follow our eyes.
Man needs only to be shown an open space. He will rise into it with
instant expansion. We are made partakers of that illimitable energy.
Only poetry can give account of poetry, only Art can justify Art; and we
cannot hope to speak finally of this elastic Truth, to draw a circle
around that which is vital, because it has in it something of
infinity,--but we may hope to remove a doubt growing out of the very
largeness which exalts and refreshes us. Art is not practical. It offers
no precept, but lies abroad like Nature, not to be grasped and
exhausted. Neither is it anxious about its own reception, as though any
man could long escape the benefit which it brings. Every principle of
science, every deduction of philosophy, is a tool. Our very religion, as
we dare to name it, is a key which opens the heavens to admit myself and
family. Art offers only life; but perhaps that will appear worth taking
without looking beyond. Can we look beyond? Life is an end in itself,
and so better than any tool.

What is that which underlies all arts as their essence, the thing to be
expressed and celebrated? What is poetry, the creation from which the
artist is named? We shall answer boldly: it is no shaping of forms, but
a making of man. Nature is a _plenum_, is finished, and the Divine
account with her is closed; but man is only yet a chick in the egg. With
him it is still the first day of creation, and he has not received the
benediction of a completed work. And yet the completion is involved and
promised in our daily experience. Man is a perpetual seeker. He sees
always just before him his own power, which he must hasten to overtake.
He weighs himself often in thought; yet it is not his present, but a
presumptive value, of which he is taking account. We are continually
entering into our future, and it is so near us, we are already in every
hour so full of it, that we draw without fraud on the credit of
to-morrow. The student who has bought his first law-book is already a
great counsellor. With the Commentaries he carries home consideration
and the judicial habit. Some wisdom he imbibes through his pores and
those of the sheepskin cover. Now he is grave and prudent, a man of the
world and of authority; but if he had chosen differently, and brought
home the first book of Theology, his day would have been tinted with
other colors. For every choice carries a future involved in itself, and
we begin to taste that when we take our course toward it. The habit of
leaning forward and living in advance of himself has made its mark upon
every man. We look not at the history or performance of the stranger,
but at his pretensions. These are written in his dress, his air and
attitude, his tone and occupation. The past is already nothing, the
present is sliding away; to know any man, we must keep our eyes out in
advance on the road he is following. For man is an involuntary, if not a
willing traveller. Time does not roll from under his feet, but he is
carried along with the current, and can never again be where or what he
was. Nothing in his experience can ever be quite repeated. If you see
the same trees and hills, they do not appear the same from year to year.
Yesterday they were new and strange; you and they were young together.
To-day they are familiar and disregarded. Soon they will be old friends,
prattling to gray hairs of the brown locks and bounding breath of youth.

The pioneer of our growth is Imagination. Desire and Hope go on before
into the wilderness of the unknown; they open paths; they make a
clearing; they build and settle firmly before we ourselves in will and
power arrive at this opening, but they never await our coming. They are
the "Fore-runners," off again deeper into the vast possibility of being.
The boy walks in a dream of to-morrow. Two bushels of hickory-nuts in
his bag are no nuts to him, but silver shillings; yet neither are the
shillings shillings, but shining skates, into which they will presently
be transmuted. Already he is on the great pond by the roaring fire, or
ringing away into distant starry darkness with a sparkling brand.
Already, before his first skates are bought, before he has seen the coin
that buys them, he is dashing and wheeling with his fellows, a leader of
the flying train.

That early fore-reaching is a picture of our entire activity. "Care is
taken," said Goethe, "that the trees do not grow into the sky"; but man
is that tree which must outgrow the sky and lift its top into finer air
and sunshine. The essential seed is Growth; not shell and bark, nor
kernel, but a germ which pierces the soil and lifts the stone. Spirit is
such a germ, and perpetual reinforcement is its quality; so that the
great Being is known to us as a becoming Creator, adding himself to
himself, and life to life, in perpetual emanation.

The boy's thought never stops short of some personal prowess. It is
ability that charms him. To be a man, as he understands manliness, is to
have the whole planet for a gymnasium and play-ground. He would like to
have been on the other side of Hydaspes when Alexander came to that
stream. But he soon discovers that wit is the sword of sharpness,--that
he is the ruler who can reach the deepest desire of man and satisfy
that. If there is power in him, he becomes a careful student, examines
everything, examines his own enthusiasm, examines his last examination,
tries every estimate again and again. He distrusts his tools, and then
distrusts his own distrust, lifting himself by the very boot-straps in
his metaphysics, to get at some foundation which will not move. He will
know what he is about and what is great. He puts Cæsar, Milton, and
Whitfield into his crucible; but that which went in Cæsar comes out a
part of himself. The bold yet modest young chemist is egotistical. He
cannot be anybody else but John Smith. Why should he? Who knows yet what
it is to be John Smith? Napoleon and Washington are only playing his own
game for him, since he so easily understands and accepts their play. A
boy reads history as girls cut flowers from old embroidery to sew them
on a new foundation. They are interested in the new, and in the old only
for what they can make of it. So he sucks the blood of kings and
captains to help him fight his own battles. He reads of Bunker's Hill
and the Declaration of Independence with constant reference to the part
he shall take in the politics of the world. His motto is, _Sic semper
tyrannis_! Benjamin Franklin, and after him John Smith,--perhaps a
better man than he. We live on that _perhaps_. Every great man departed
has played out his last card, has taken all his chances. We are glad to
see his power limited and scaled up. Shakspeare, we say, did not know
everything; and here am I alone with the universe, nothing but a little
sleepiness between me and all that Shakspeare and Plato knew or did not
know. If I should be jostled out of my drowsiness, who can tell what may
be given me to see, to say, or to do? Let us make ready and get upon
some high ground from which we may overlook the work of the world; for
the secret of all mastery is dormant, yet breathing and stirring in you
and me.

Out of such material as we can gather we make a world in which we walk
continually up and down. In it we find friends and enemies, we love and
are loved, we travel and build. In it we are kings; we ordain and
arrange everything, and never come away worsted from any encounter. For
this sphere arises in answer to the practical question, What can I be
and do? It is an embodiment of the force that is in me. Every dreamer,
therefore, goes on to see himself among men and things which he can
understand and master, with which he can deal securely. The stable-boy
has hid an old volume among the straw, and he walks with Portia and
Desdemona while he grooms the horses. Already in his smock-frock he is a
companion for princes and queens. But the rich man's son, well born, as
we say, in the great house yonder, has one only ambition in life,--to
turn stable-boy, to own a fast team and a trotting-wagon, to vie with
gamesters upon the road. That is an activity to which he is equal, in
which his value will appear. Both boys, and all boys, are looking
upward, only from widely different levels and to different heights.

The young blasphemer does not love blasphemy, but to have his head and
be let alone by Old Aunty, who combs his hair as if he were a girl. So
always there is some ideal aim in the mixed motive. Out of six gay young
men who drive and drink together, only one cares for the meat and the
bottle. With the rest this feasting gallantly on the best, regardless of
expense, is part of a system. It is in good style, is convivial. For
these green-horns of society to live together, to be _convivæ_, is not
to think and labor together, as wise men use, but to laugh and be
drunken in company.

Into the lowest courses there enters something to keep the filth from
overwhelming self-respect. The advocates of slavery have not, as it
appears, lost all pretence of honor and honesty. Thieves are sustained
by a sense of the injustice of society. They do but right an old wrong,
taking bravely what was accumulated by cautious cunning. They cultivate
many virtues, and, like the best of us, make much of these, identify
themselves with these. If a man is harsh and tyrannical, he regrets that
he has too much force of character. And it is not safe to accuse a
harlot of stealing and lying. She has her ideal also, and strives to
keep the ulcer of sin within bounds,--to save a sweet side from
corruption.

Is this stooping very low to look for the Ideal Tendency? The greater
gain, if we find it prevailing in these depths. We may doubt whether
thieves and harlots are subject to the same law which irresistibly lifts
us, for we know that our own sin is not quite like other sin. But I must
not offer all the cheerful hope I feel for the worst offenders, because
too much faith passes for levity or impiety; and men thank God only for
deliverance from great dangers, not for preservation from all danger.
For gratitude we must not escape too easily and clean, but with some
smell of fire upon us.

Yet in our own experience this planning what we shall do and become is
constant, and always we escape from the present into larger air. The boy
will not be content with that skill in skating which occupies his mind
to-day. That belongs to the day and place, but next year he goes to the
academy and fresh exploits engage him. He works gallantly in this new
field and harness, because his thought has gone forward again, and he
sees through these studies the man of thought. Already as a student he
is a philosopher, a poet, a servant of the Muse. Bacon and Milton look
kindly on him in invitation, he is walking to their company and in their
company. The young hero-worshipper cannot remain satisfied with mere
physical or warlike prowess. He soon sees the superiority of mental and
moral mastery, of creation of good counsel. He will reverence the
valiant reformer who brings justice in his train, the saint in whom
goodness is enamored of goodness, the gentleman whose heart-beat is
courtesy, the prophet in whom a religion is born, all who have been
inspired with liberal, not dragged by sordid aims.

How beautiful to him is the society of poets! He reads with idolatry the
letters and anecdotes of Coleridge and Wordsworth, Goethe and Schiller,
Beethoven and Raphael. Look at the private thought of these men in
familiar intercourse: no plotting for lucre, but a conspiracy to reach
the best in life. The saints are even more ardent in aspiration, for
their tender hearts were pressed and saddened by fear. They are now set
on fire by a sense of great redemption. They are prisoners pardoned.

For scholars the world is peopled only with saints, philosophers, and
poets, and the studious boy seeks his own amid their large activity. So
much of it meets his want, yet the whole does not meet all his want. He
must combine and balance and embrace conflicting qualities. Every day
his view enlarges. What was noble last year will now by no means content
his conscience. Duty and beauty have risen.

The Ideal Tendency characterizes man, affords the only definition of
him; and it is a perpetual, irresistible expansion. No matter on what it
fastens, it will not stay, but spreads and soars like light in the
morning sky.

To-day we are charmed with our partners, and think we can never tire of
Alfred and Emily. To-morrow we discover without shame, after all our
protestations and engagements, that their future seems incommensurate
with our own. To our surprise, they also feel their paths diverging from
ours. We part with a show of regret, but real joy to be free.

Both parties have gained from their intercourse a certainty of power and
promise of greater power. Silly people fill the world with lamentation
over human inconstancy; but if we follow love, we cannot cling to the
beloved. We must love onward, and only when our friends go before us can
we be true both to friendship and to them.

How eager and tremulous his excitement when at last the youth encounters
all beauty in a maiden! Now he is on his trial. Can he move her? for he
must be to her nothing or all. How stately and far-removed she seems in
her crystal sphere! All her relations are fair and poetic. Her book is
not like another book. Her soft and fragrant attire, can it be woven of
ribbons and silk? She, too, has dreamed of the coming man, heroic,
lyrical, impassioned; the beat of his blood a pæan and triumphal march;
a man able to cut paths for her and lead her to all that is worthiest in
life. Her day is an expectation; her demand looks out of proud eyes.
Can he move this stately creature, pure and high above him as the clear
moon yonder, never turning from her course,--this Diana, who will love
upward and stoop to no Endymion? Now it will appear whether he can pass
with another for all he is to himself. This will be the victory for
which he was born, or blackest defeat. If she could love him! If he
should, after all, be to her only such another as her cousin Thomas, who
comes and goes with all his pretensions as unregarded as Rover the
house-dog! Between these _ifs_ he vacillates, swung like a ship on
stormy waters, touching heaven and hell.

Meanwhile the maiden dares hardly look toward this generous new-comer,
whose destiny lies broad open in his courage and desire. Others she
could conciliate and gently allure, but she will not play with the lion.
She will throw no web around his strength to tear her heart away, if it
does not hold him. For the first time she guards her fancy. She will not
think of the career that awaits him, of the help there is in him for
men, and the honor that will follow him from them,--of the high studies,
tasks, and companionship to which he is hastening. What avails this
avoidance, this turning-away of the head? A fancy that must be kept is
already lost. She read his quality in the first glance of deep-meaning
eyes. When at last he speaks, she sees suddenly how beyond all recovery
he had carried away her soul in that glance. They marry each the
expectation of the other. It was a promise in either that shone so fair.
Happy lovers, if only as wife and husband they can go on to fulfil the
promise! For love cannot be repeated; every day it must have fresh food
in a new object; and unless character is renewed, love must leave it
behind and wander on.

If the wife is still aspiring,--if she lays growing demands on her
hero,--if her thought enlarges and she stands true to it, separate from
him in integrity as he saw her first, following not his, but her own
native estimate,--she will always be his mistress. She will still have
that charm of remoteness which belongs only to those who do not lean and
borrow, to natures centred for themselves in the deep. There is
something incalculable in such independence. It is full of surprise for
the most intimate. In one breast the true wife prepares for her husband
a course of loves. Every day she offers a new heart to be won. Every day
the woman he could reach is gone, and there again before him is the
inaccessible maiden who will not accept to-day the behavior of
yesterday. This withdrawal and advancement from height to height is true
virginity, which never lies down with love but keeps him always on foot
and girded for fresh pursuit. Noble lovers rely on no pledges, point to
no past engagements, but prefer to renew their relation from hour to
hour. The heroic woman will command, and not solicit love. Let him go,
when I cease to be all to him, when I can no longer fill the horizon of
his imagination and satisfy his heart. But if there is less ascension in
a woman, she is no mate for an advancing man. He must leave her; he
walks by her side alone. So we pass many dear companions, outgrowing
alike our loves and our fears.

Once or twice in youth we meet a man of sounding reputation or real
wisdom, whose secret is hid above our discovery. His manners are
formidable while we do not understand them. In his presence our tongues
are tied, our limbs are paralyzed. Thought dies out before him, the will
is unseated and vacillates, we are cowed like Antony beside Cæsar. In
solitude we are ashamed of this cowardice and resolve to put it away;
but when the great man returns, our knees knock and we are as weak as
before. It is suicide to fly from such mortification. A brave boy faces
it as well as he can. By-and-by the dazzle abates, he sees some flaw,
some coarseness or softness, in this shining piece of metal; he begins
to fathom the motives and measure the orbit of this tyrannous
benefactor. They are the true friends who daunt and overpower us, to
whom for a little we yield more than their due.

This rule is universal, that no man can admire downward. All enthusiasm
rises and lifts the subject of it. That which seems to you so base an
activity is lifted above low natures. What matter, then, where the
standard floats at this moment, since it cannot remain fixed?

Perfection retreats, as the horizon withdraws before a traveller, and
lures us on and on. It even travels faster than our best endeavors can
follow, and so beckons to us from farther and farther away. We may give
ourselves to the ideal, or we may turn aside to appetite and sleep; but
in every moment of returning sanity we are again on our feet and again
upon an endless ascending road.

When a man has tasted power, when he sees the supply there is so near in
Nature for all need, he hungers for reinforcement. That desire is
prayer. It opens its own doors and takes supplies from God's hand. No
wise man can grudge the necessary use of the mind to serve the body with
shelter and food, for we go merrily to Nature, and with our milk we
drink order, justice, beauty, and benignity. We cannot take the husks on
which our bodies are fed, without expressing these juices also, which
circulate as sap and blood through the sphere. We cannot touch any
object but some spark of vital electricity is shot through us. Every
creature is a battery, charged not with mere vegetable or animal, but
with moral life. Our metaphysical being is fed from something hidden in
rocks and woods, in streams and skies, in fire, water, earth, and air.
While we dig roots, and gather nuts, and hunt and roast our meat, our
blood is quickened not in the heart alone. Deeper currents are swelled.
The springs of our humanity are opened in Nature; for that which streams
through the landscape, and comes in at the eye and ear, is plainly the
same fluid which enters as consciousness, and is the life by which we
live. While we enjoy this spiritual refreshment and keep ourselves open
to it, we may dig without degradation; but if our minds fasten on the
thing to be done, on commodity and safety, on getting and having, those
avenues seem to close by which the soul was fed. Then we forget our
incalculable chances and certainties; we go mad, and make the mind a
muck-rake. If a man will direct his faculties to any limited and not to
illimitable ends, he cripples his faculties. No matter whether he is
deluded by a fortune or a reputation or position, if he does not give
himself wholly to grow and be a man, regardless of minor advantages, he
has lost his way in the world. "Be true," said Schiller, "to the dream
of thy youth." That dream was generous, not sordid. We must be
surrendered to the perfection which claims us, and suffer no narrow aim
to postpone that insatiable demand.

But the potency of life will bring back every wanderer, as he well
knows. Every sinner keeps his trunk packed, ready to return to the good.
The poor traders really mean to buy love with their gold. Feeling the
hold of a chain which binds us even when we do not cling to it, we grow
prodigal of time and power. The essence of life, as we enjoy it, is a
sense of the inextinguishable ascending tendency in life; and this gives
courage when there is yet no reverence or devotion.

In development of character is involved great change of circumstances.
We cannot grow or work in a corner. It is not for greed alone or mainly
that men make war and build cities and found governments, but to try
what they can do and become, to justify themselves to themselves and to
their fellows. We desire to please and help,--but still more, at first,
to be sure that we can please and help. If he hears any man speak
effectually in public, the ambitious boy will never rest till he can
also speak, or do some other deed as difficult and as well worth doing.
For the trial of faculty we must go out into the world of institutions,
range ourselves beside the workers, take up their tools and strike
stroke for stroke with them. Every new situation and employment dazzles
till we find out the trick of it. The boy longs to escape from a farm to
college, from college to the city and practical life. Then he looks up
from his desk, or from the pit in the theatre, to the gay world of
fashion,--harder to conquer than even the world of thought. At last he
makes his way upward into the sacred circle, and finds there a little
original power and a great deal of routine. These fine parts are like
those of players, learned by heart. The men who invented them, with whom
they were spontaneous, seem to have died out and left their manners with
their wardrobes to narrow-breasted children, whom neither clothes nor
courtesies will fit. So in every department we find the snail freezing
in an oyster-shell. The judges do not know the meaning of justice. The
preacher thinks religion is a spasm of desire and fear. A young man soon
loses all respect for titles, wigs, and gowns, and looks for a muscular
master-mind. Somebody wrote the laws, and set the example of noble
behavior, and founded every religion. Only a man capable of originating
can understand, sustain, or use any institution. The Church, the State,
the Social System come tumbling ruinous over the heads of bunglers, who
cannot uphold, because they never could have built them, and the rubbish
obstructs every path in life. An honest, vigorous thinker will clear
away these ruins and begin anew at the earth. When the boy has broken
loose from home, and fairly entered the world that allured him, he finds
it not fit to live in without revolutions. He is as much cramped in it
as he was in the ways of the old homestead. Feeding the pigs and picking
up chips did not seem work for a man, but he finds that almost all the
activity of the race amounts to nothing more; no more thought or purpose
goes into it. Men find Church and State and Custom ready-made, and they
fall into the procession, ask no searching questions, but take things
for granted without reason; and their imitation is as easy as picking up
chips. It is no doing, but merely sliding down hill. The way of the
world will not suit a valiant boy. To make elbow-room and get
breathing-space, he becomes a reformer; and when now he can find no new
worlds to conquer, he will make a world, laying in truth and justice
every stone. The same seeker, who was so fired by the sight of his eyes,
looking out from a mill-yard or a shoe-shop on the many-colored activity
of his kind, who ran such a round of arts and sciences, pursuing the
very secret of his being in each new enterprise, is now discontented
with all that has been done. He begins again to look forward,--he
becomes a prophet, instead of the historian he was. He easily sees that
a true manhood would disuse our ways of teaching and worshipping, would
unbuild and rebuild every town and house, would tear away the jails and
abolish pauperism as well as slavery. He sees the power of government
lying unused and unsuspected in spelling-books and Bibles. Now he has
found a work, not for one finger, but for fighting Hercules and singing
Apollo, worthy of Minerva and of Jove. He will try what man can do for
man.

The history of every brave girl is parallel with that of her play-fellow
and yoke-fellow. She sighs for sympathy, for a gallant company of youths
and maidens worthy of all desire. Her music, drawing, and Italian are
only doors which she hopes to open upon such a company. She longs for
society to make the hours lyrical, for tasks to make them epic and
heroic. The attitudes and actions of imaginative young persons are
exalted every moment by the invisible presence of lovers, poets,
inspired and inspiring companions. Such as they are we also shall be;
when we walk among them and with them, we shall wash our hands of all
injustice, meanness, and pretension. Women are as tired as men of our
silly civilization, its compliments, restraints, and compromises. They
feel the burden of routine as heavily, and keep their elasticity under
it as long as we. What they cannot hope to do, a great-hearted man,
some lover of theirs, shall do for them; and they will sustain him with
appreciation, anticipating the tardy justice of mankind. Every generous
girl shares with her sex that new development of feminine consciousness,
which the vulgar have named, in derision, a movement for woman's rights.
She will seek to be more truly woman, to assert her special power and
privilege, to approach from her own side the common ideal, offering a
pure soprano to match the manly bass.

We all look for a future, not only better than our won past, but better
than any past. Humanity is our inheritance, but not historical humanity.
Man seems to be broken and scattered all abroad. The great lives are
only eminent examples of a single virtue, and by admiration of every
hero we have been crippled on some one side. If he is free, he is also
coarse; if delicate, he is overlaid by the gross world; saints are timid
and feverish, afraid of being spattered in the first puddle; heroes are
profane. We must melt up all the old metal to make a new man and carry
forward the common consciousness. Every failure was part of the final
success. We go over a causeway in which every timber is some soldier
fallen in this enterprise. Who doubts the result doubts God. We say,
regretfully "If I could only continue at my best!" and we ach with the
little ebb, between wave and wave, of an advancing tide. But this tide
is Omnipotence. It rises surely, if it were only an inch in a thousand
years. The changes in society are like the geologic upheaval and sinking
of continents; yet man is morally as far removed from the savage as he
is physically superior to the saurian. We do not see the corn grow or
the world revolve; yet if motion be given as the primal essence, we must
look for inconceivable results. Wisdom will take care of wisdom, and
extend. Consider the growth of intellect in the history of your own
parish for twenty years. See how old views have died out of New England
and new ones come in. Every man is fortified in his opinions, yet no man
can hold his opinions. The closer they are hugged, the faster in any
community they change. The ideas of such men as Swedenborg, Goethe,
Emerson, float in the air like spores, and wherever they light they
thrive. The crabbedest dogmatist cannot escape; for, if he open his eyes
to seek his meet, some sunshine will creep in. We have combustibles
stored in the stupidest of us, and a spark of truth kindles our
slumbering suspicion. Since the great reality is organized in man, and
waits to be revealed in him, it is of no avail to shut out the same
reality from our ears. Thinkers have held to be dangerous, and excluded
from the desks of public instruction; but the boys were already occupied
with the same thoughts. They would hear nothing new at the lecture, and
they are more encouraged by the terror of the elders than by any word
the wise man could speak. In pursuit of truth, the difficulty is to ask
a question; for in the ability to ask is involved ability to reach an
answer. The serious student is occupied with problems which the doctors
have never been able to entertain, and he knows that their discourse is
not addressed to him. If you have not wit to understand what I seek, you
may croak with the frogs: you are left out of my game.

And the old people, unhappily, suspect that this boy, whose theory they
do not comprehend, is master of their theory. They are puzzled and
panic-stricken; they strike in the dark. In all controversy, the strong
man's position is unassailed. His adversary does not see where he is,
but attacks a man of straw, some figment of his own, to the amusement of
intelligent spectators. Always our combatant is talking quite wide of
the whole question. So the wise man can never have an opponent; for
whoever is able to face and find him has already gone over to his side.
By material defences, we shut our light for a little, by going where
only our own views are repeated, and so boxing ourselves from all
danger of conviction; but if a strong thinker could gain the mere brute
advantage of having an audience confined in their seats to hear him out,
he would carry them all inevitably to his conclusion. They know it and
run away. But the press has made our whole world of civilization one
great lecture-room, from which no reading man can escape, and the only
defence against progress is stolid preoccupation with trade or trifles.
Yet this persistency is holding the breath, and can no more be continued
in the mind than that in the body. Blundering and falsehood become
intolerable to the blunderers; they must return to thought, and that is
proper in a single direction, is approached by ten thousand avenues
toward the One. It is religious, not ignorance or dogma. We cannot think
without exploration of the divine order and recognition of its divinity,
without finding ourselves carried away by it to service and adoration.
All good is assured to us in Truth, and Truth follows us hard, drives us
into many a corner, and will have us at last. So Love surprises all, and
every virtue has a pass-key to every heart. Out of conflicting
experience, amid barbarism and dogmatism, from feathers that float and
stones that fall, we deduce the great law of moral gravitation, which
binds spirit to spirit, and all souls to the best. Recognition of that
law is worship. We rejoice in it without a taint of selfishness. We
adore it with entire satisfaction. Worship is neither belief nor hope,
but this certainty of repose upon Perfection. We explore over our heads
and under our feet a harmony that is only enriched by dissolving
discords. The drag of time, the cramp of organization, are only false
fifths. It is blasphemy to deny the dominant. We cannot escape our good;
we shall be purified. When our destiny is thus assured to us, we become
impatient of sleep and sin, and redouble exertion. We devote ourselves
to this certainty, and our allegiance is religion. There is nothing in
man omitted from the uplift of Ideality. That is a central and total
expansion of him, is an inmost entering into his inmost, is more himself
than he is himself. All reverence is directed toward this Creator
revealed in flesh, though not compassed. We adore him in others, while
yet we despise him in ourselves. Every other motion of man has an
external centre, is some hunger or passion, acts on us from its seat in
Nature or the body, and we can face it, deny and repudiate it with the
body; but this is the man flowing down from his source.

We must not be tempted to call things by too fine names, lest we should
disguise them. All that is great is plain and familiar. The Ideal
Tendency is simple love of life, felt first as desire and then as
satisfaction. The men who represent it are not seekers, but finders, who
go on to find more and more; for in the poet desire has fulfilled
itself. Enjoyment makes the artist. He has gone on before us, reaching
into the abyss of possibility; but he has reached more mightily. He
begins to know what is promised in the universal attraction, in this
eager turning of all faces toward our future. There is a centre from
which no eye can be diverted, for it is the beam of sight. Look which
way you will, that centre is everywhere. The universe is flooded with a
ray from it, and the light of common day on every object is a refraction
or reflection of that brightness.

Shallow men think of Ideality as another appetite, to be fed with pretty
baubles, as the body is satisfied with meat and sleep; but the
representative of that august impulse feels in it his immortality, and
by all his lovely allegories, mythologies, fables, pictures, statues,
manners, songs, and symphonies, he seeks to communicate his own feeling,
that by specific gravity man must rise. It is no wonder, then, that we
love Art while it offers us reinforcement of being, and despise the
pretenders, for whom it is pastime, not prophecy.

For, in spite of all discouragement from the materialists, men
stultified by trade or tradition, we have trusted the high desire and
followed it thus far. We felt the sacredness of life even in ourselves,
and there was always reverence in our admiration. We could not be made
to doubt the divinity of that which walked with us in the wood or looked
on us in the morning. The grasses and pebbles, the waters and rocks,
clouds and showers, snow and wind, were too brother-like to be denied.
They sang the same song which fills the breast, and our love for them
was pure. The men and women we sought, were they not worthy of honor?
The artist comes to bid us trust the Ideal Tendency, and not dishonor
him who moves therein. He is no trifler, then, to be thrust aside by the
doctors with their sciences, or the economists with production and use.
He offers manhood to man and womanhood to woman.

We have named Ideality a love of life. Nay, what is it but life
itself,--and that loving but true living? What word can have any value
for us, unless it is a record of inevitable expansions in character. The
universe is pledged to every heart, and the artist represents its
promise. He sings, because he sees the manchild advancing, by blind
paths it may be, but under sure guidance, propelled by inextinguishable
desires toward the largest experience. He is no longer afraid of old
bugbears. He feels for one, that nothing in the universe, call it by
what ugly name you will, can crush or limit the lift of that leaven
which works in the breast. Out of all eyes there looks on him the same
expectation, and what for others is a great _perhaps_ for him has become
unavoidable certainty.



THE HOUR BEFORE DAWN.

     "The mind of man is first led to adore the forces of Nature,
     and certain objects of the material world; at a later period,
     it yields to religious impulses of a higher and purely
     spiritual character."

HUMBOLDT


CHAPTER I.

Alpheus and Eleusa, Thessalian Greeks, travelled in their old age, to
escape poverty and misfortune, which had surely taken joint lease with
themselves of a certain hut among the hills, and managed both household
and flock.

The Halcyon builds its nest upon a floating weed; so to the drifting
fortunes of these wanderers clung a friendless child, innocent and
beautiful Evadne.

Some secret voice, the country-people say, lured the shepherd from his
home, to embark on the Ægean Sea, and lead the little one away, together
with his aged wife, to look for a new home in exile. Mariners bound for
Troas received them into their vessel, and the voyage began.

The Greeks lamented when they beheld the shores of Asia. Heavy clouds
and the coming night concealed the landmarks which should have guided
their approach, and, buffeted by the uncertain winds, they waited for
the morning. By the light of dawn, they saw before them an unknown
harbor, and the dwellings of men; and here the mariners determined to be
rid of their passengers, who vexed them by their fears; while to these
three any port seemed desirable, and they readily consented to put off
towards the shore. At the hour when the winds rise, at early dawn, they
gladly parted from the seamen and the tossing ship, and took the way
before them to the little town.

No fisherman, shadowless, trod the sands; no pious hand lighted the fire
of sacrifice in the vanishing twilight; even the herds failed to cry
out for the coming day. Strange fears began to chill the hearts of the
Thessalians. They walked upon a trackless way, and when they entered the
dwellings they found them untenanted. Over the doorways hung vines
dropping their grapes, and birds flew out at the open windows. They
climbed a hill behind the town, and saw how the sea surrounded them. The
land on which they stood was no promontory, but an island, separated by
a foaming interval of water from the shore, which they now saw, not
distant, but inaccessible.

Then these miserable ones clung to each other on the summit of the rock,
gazing, until they were fully persuaded of their misfortune. The winds
waved and fluttered their garments, the waters uttered a voice breaking
on the rocky shore, and rose mute upon the farther coast. The rain now
began to fall from a morning cloud, and the travellers, for the first
time, found shelter under a foreign roof.

All day they watched the sails approaching the headlands, or veering
widely away and beating towards unseen harbors, as when a bird driven by
fear abandons its nest, but drawn by love returns and hovers around it.
Four days and nights had passed before the troubled waves ceased to
hinder the craft of the fisherman. The Greeks saw with joy that their
signals were answered, and a boat approached, so that they could hear a
man's voice crying to them,--

"What are you who dwell on the island of the profane, and gather fruits
sacred to Apollo?"

"If I may be said to dwell here," replied the old man, "it is contrary
to my own will. I am a Greek of Thessaly. Apollo himself should not have
forbidden me to gather the wild grapes of this island, since I and this
child and Eleusa, my wife, have not during many days found other food."

"It is indeed true," exclaimed the boatman, "that madness presently
falls upon those who eat of these grapes, since you speak impious words
against the god. Behold, yonder is woody Tenedos, where his altar
stands; it is now many years, since, filled with wrath against the
dwellers here, he seized this rock, and hurled it into the sea; the very
hills melted in the waves. I myself, a child then, beheld the waters
violently urged upon the land. Moved without winds, they rose, climbing
upon the very roofs of the houses. When the sea became calm, a gulf lay
between this and the coast, and what had been a promontory was left
forever an island. Nor has any man dared to dwell upon it, nor to gather
its accursed fruits. Many men have I known who saw gods walking upon
this shore, visible sometimes on the high cliffs inaccessible to human
feet. Therefore, if you, being a stranger, have ignorantly trespassed on
this garden, which the divinities reserve, perhaps for their own
pleasure, strive to escape their resentment and offer sacrifices on the
altar of Tenedos."

"Give me a passage in your boat to the land yonder, and I will depart
out of your coasts," replied the Greek.

The fisherman, hitherto so friendly, remained silent, and words were
wanting to him wherewith to instruct the stranger. When he again spoke,
he said,--

"Why, old man, not having the vigor or the carelessness of youth, have
you quitted your home, leading this woman into strange lands, and this
child, whose eyes are tearful for the playmates she has left? I call a
little maid daughter, who is like unto her, and she remains guarded at
home by her mother, until we shall give her in marriage to one of her
own nation and language."

"Waste no more words," answered the old man, "I will narrate my story as
we row towards your harbor."

"It were better for you," said the boatman, "that they who brought you
hither should take you into their ship again. Enter our town, if you
will, but be not amazed at what shall befall you. It is a custom with us
to make slaves of those who approach us unsolicited, in order to
protect ourselves against the pirates and their spies, who have formerly
lodged themselves among us in the guise of wayfaring men, and so robbed
us of our possessions. Therefore it is our law, that those who land on
our coast shall, during a year, serve us in bondage."

Anger flamed in the eye of the stranger.

"You do well," he cried, "to ask of me why I left the land which bore
me. Never did I there learn to suspect vile and inhospitable customs. If
you have pity for the aged and the unfortunate, and would not gladly see
them cast into slavery, bring hither some means of life to this rock,
which cowards have abandoned for me. Meanwhile, I will watch for some
friendly sail, which, approaching, may bear me to any harbor, where
worse reception can hardly await me.--Know that I fear not the anger of
your gods; many years have I lived, and I have never yet beheld a god.
My father has told me, that, in all his wanderings, among lonely hills,
at the hour of dawn, or by night, or, again, in populous places, he has
never seen one whom he believed to be a god. Moreover, in Athens itself
are those who doubt their existence. Leave me to gather the grapes of
Apollo!"

So saying, he turned away from the shore, not deigning to ask more from
the stranger.

When the golden crescent moon, no sooner visible than ready to vanish in
the rosy western sky, was smiling on the exiles with the old familiar
look she wore above the groves of Thessaly, the sad-hearted ones were
roused again by the voice of their unknown friend.

"Come down to the shore," he cried; "I have returned to you with gifts;
my heart yearns to the child; she is gentle, and her eyes are like those
of the stag when the hunters surround him. Take my flasks of oil and
wine, and these cakes of barley and wheat. I bring you nets, and cords
also, which we fishermen know how to use. May the gods, whom you
despise, protect you!"

Late into the night the Greeks remained upon the border of the sea,
wondering at their strange fate. To the idle the day is never
sufficiently long,--the night also is wasted in words.


CHAPTER II.

The days which the exiles passed in solitude were not unhappy. The child
Evadne pruned the large-leaved vines, and gave the rugged cheeks of
certain melons to the sun. The continual hope of departure rendered all
privations supportable.

Was it hope, or was it fear, that stirred their bosoms when at last a
sail appeared not distant? They hoped that its white wings might turn
seaward!

"Mother," cried the shepherd, "no seaman willingly approaches this
shore, for the white waves warn him how the rocks He beneath the water.
Even walls and roofs of houses are seen, or guessed at, ingulfed
formerly by the sea; and the tale of that disaster, as told us by the
fisherman, is doubtless known to mariners, who, fearing Apollo, dare not
land upon this island. While, on the other hand, we have heard how
pirates, and even poor wayfaring folk, are so ill-received in the bay,
that from them, though they be not far off, we yet look for no
assistance. Let us, then, be content, and cease to seek after our fate,
which doubtless is never at rest from seeking after us. And let us not
be in haste to enter again into a ship, (so fearful and unnatural a
thing for those born to walk upon the land,) nor yet to beg our way
along painful and unknown roads, in search of men of a new religion and
a different language from that of Greeks. Neither, dear wife, if we must
suffer it, let us dread slavery too much. Life is long enough for those
who die young, and too long for the aged. One year let us patiently
give, more especially if it be unavoidable to give it. Vex me with no
more lamentations; some unforeseen accident may relieve us from our
misfortunes."

Eleusa, the good old wife, ever obedient to the husband of her youth,
talked no more of departure, nor yet complained of their miserable
lodgings in the ruined huts, on which her housewifely care grieved to
expend itself in vain.

Evadne would not be restrained from wandering. She penetrated alone the
wildest thickets; the nests of timid birds were known to her; and she
traced the bee to his hidden city. Deep in the woods she discovered a
wide chasm, in which the water of the sea palpitated with the beating of
the great heart of Ocean from which it flowed. Trees were still erect,
clasped by the salt waves, but quite dead; and all around their base
were hung fringes of marine growth, touched with prismatic tints when
seen through the glittering water, but brown and hideous when gathered,
as the trophy remaining in the hand which has dared to seize old Proteus
by the locks. All around this avenue, into which the sea sometimes
rushed like an invading host of armed men, the laurels and the delicate
trees that love to bend over the sources of the forest-streams hung
half-uprooted and perilously a-tiptoe over the brink of shattered rocks,
and withered here and there by the touch of the salt foam, towards which
they seemed nevertheless fain to droop, asking tidings of the watery
world beyond.

The skeleton-arms of the destroyed ones were feeble to guard the passage
of the ravine. Evadne broke a way over fallen trees and stepping-stones
imbedded in sea-sand, and gained the opposite bank. The solitude in
which she found herself appeared deeper, more awful, than before the
chasm lay between the greater island and the less. She listened
motionless to the soft, but continual murmur of the wood, the music of
leaves and waves and unseen wings, by which all seeming silence of
Nature is made as rich to the ear as her fabrics to the eye, so that, in
comparison, the garments of a king are mean, though richly dyed,
embroidered on every border, and hung with jewels.

While the little wood-ranger stood and waited, as it were, for what the
grove might utter, her eye fell upon the traces of a pathway, concealed,
and elsewhere again disclosed, overgrown by sturdy plants, but yet
threading the shady labyrinth. She followed the often reappearing line
upon the hillside, and as she climbed higher, with her rose the
mountains and the sea. The shore, the sands, the rocky walls, showed
every hue of sunbeams fixed in stone. The leafy sides of Tenedos had
caught up the clear, green-tinted blue of the sea, and wore it in a
noonday dream under the slumberous light that rested on earth and sea
and sky. Above the horizon, far away, the very clouds were motionless;
and where the sunbeams marked a tranquil sail, it seemed, with wave and
cloud, to express only Eternal Repose. But the eager child pressed
onward, for the crown of the hill seemed almost reached, and she longed
for a wider, wider view of the beautiful Ægean.

Suddenly she arrived where a sculptured stone lay in the pathway. Some
patient and skilful hand had wrought there the emblem of a rose, and
among the chiselled petals stood drops of rain, collected as in a cup.
On the border a pure white bird had just alighted, and Evadne watched
how it bent and rose and seemed to caress the flower of stone, while it
drank of the dew around and within it. Her eyes filled with tears as she
mused on the vanished hand of Art, whose work Nature now reclaimed for
this humble, but grateful use. The dove took wing, and the child
proceeding came to a level turf where a temple of white marble stood.
Eight slender columns upheld a marble canopy, beneath which stood the
image of a god. One raised hand seemed to implore silence, while the
other showed clasping fingers, but they closed upon nothing. Around the
statue's base lay scattered stones. Evadne gathered them, and reunited
they formed the lyre of Apollo. She replaced, for an instant, in the
cold and constant grasp a fragment of the ruined harp. Then the aspect
of the god became regretful, sad, as of one who desires a voice from
the lips of the dead. Hastily she flung the charm away, and gentle grace
returned to the listening boy, from whom, sleeping, some nymph might
have stolen his lyre, whose complaining chords now vibrated to his ear
and called their master to the pursuit. Evadne reposed on the steps of
the temple, and fixedly gazed upon the god. Her fancy endowed the firm
hand with an unbent bow; then the figure seemed to pause in the chase,
and listen for the baying of the hounds. Then she imaged a shepherd's
staff, and the shepherd-god waited tenderly for the voice of a lost
lamb.

"So stood Apollo in Thessaly," she softly said, "when he carried the
shepherd's staff. Oh that I were the lost Thessalian lamb for whom he
waits, that he might descend and I die for joy on his breast!"

Then, half afraid that the lips might break their marble stillness in
reply, she asked the protection of the deity, whom she was fain to
adore, but whom her adopted parents dared to despise.

Sole worshipper at a deserted shrine, she had no offering to place
there, but of flowers. She wove a crown and laid it at his feet, and,
while she bent by the pedestal, to hang a garland there, oh, terror! a
voice cried, "Evadne! Evadne!" A tide of fear rushed to her heart. The
god stood motionless yet. Who could have uttered her name? A falling
branch, a swift zephyr, may have seemed for an instant articulate, and
yet it was surely a human voice which had called her. Her reverie was
broken now, like a cataract brought to its downfall. A moment since, all
was peace and joyfulness; now she remembered, with alarm, how long she
had left her foster-parents alone, and the way by which she had come was
unknown, as if she had never traced it. She crossed the floor of the
temple, and, as she turned to whisper, "Farewell! beautiful god!" the
form gently inclined itself, and the uplifted hand stirred lightly.
Evadne darted forward and looked no more behind. She bounded over chasms
in the pathway, and broke the tender branches before her with impatient
hands, so that her descent from the temple was one mad flight.


CHAPTER III.

When Evadne returned to Alpheus and to her foster-mother, she was silent
concerning her discovery, and it seemed the more sweet to her for being
secret. Her thoughts made pilgrimages to the temple hidden by the
laurels once set to adorn it, and the deserted God of Youth and Immortal
Beauty drew from her an untaught and voiceless worship. How tedious now
appeared the labors of their half-savage life!--for the ensnaring of
fish and the gathering of fruits for the little household gave the child
no leisure to climb the hill a second time, to seek the lost temple, now
all her own. Two weary days had passed, and on the morning of the third
Evadne performed all her labors, such as they were, of field or of the
house.

Eleusa was absorbed in the art, new to her, of repairing a broken net,
when the child abruptly fled away into the forest, crying out, "I go to
seek wild grapes." She would not hear the voices calling her back. She
gained rapidly the path, already familiar, and wherein every bough and
every leaf seemed expectant of her coming footsteps.

Hamadryads veiled themselves, each in her conscious tree, eluding human
approach. She steals more gently along, that she may haply surprise a
vision. The little grassy plain appears beyond the wavering
oak-branches. It is reached at last, and there,--surely it is no
delusion,--there rests a sleeping youth! Another step, and she bent
aside the boughs. He stands erect, listening.

"It is the god!" she cries; and, falling back, would have been
precipitated from the rock, had not the youth rapidly bounded forward
and grasped her hand.

"Little one, beautiful child," he cried, "do not fear me! I have indeed
played the god formerly, to scare from my hunting-ground the poor fools
who dread the anger of Apollo. Tell me, who are you, thus wandering in
the awful garden of the gods? Who brought you hither, and what name has
been given you?"

Trembling still, and not knowing how to relate it, Evadne stammered
forth some words of her history. Her senses were bewildered by the
beauty of the hunter-boy, who now appeared how different from the marble
god! Bold, and as if ever victorious, with an undaunted brow, like
Bacchus seen through the tears of sad Ariadne awakened. Strong and swift
were his limbs, as those of a panther. His cheek was ruddy, and his
half-naked form was brown, as those appear who dwell not under a roof,
but in the uncertain shade of the forest. His locks were black and
wildly disordered, and his eyes were most like to a dark stream lighted
with golden flashes; but the laughing beauty of his lip no emblem could
convey.

Soon, seated on the turf, the story of each child was related.

"I am nobly born," said the boy, "but I love the life of a hunter. My
father has left me alone, and when I am a man, I, too, shall follow him
to Rome. But liberty is sweeter than honor or power. I escape often from
my tutor, who suspects not where I hide myself, and range all the
forests. Embarking by night, in former years, I often visited this
island. I know where to gather fruits and seek vineyards among the
ruined huts of the village beneath us. By night I descend and gather
them, for my free wanderings by day caused the fishermen to relate that
a god walked upon the shore. When some, more curious or bold, turned
their prows hitherward, to observe what form moved upon the hill, I
rolled great rocks down, with a thundering noise, into the sea, and have
terrified all men from the spot."

"We now call the vineyards and gardens ours," said Evadne, "but it
appears they truly belong to you. Descend to the shore and we will share
with you, not only the ripest clusters of the vines, but wine and loaves
which the fisherman brings us."

"Bring me hither the wine, and I will gladly drink of it, nor waste one
drop in oblation; but I must not descend to the shore, and you must be
silent concerning me, for my tutor offers large rewards to any one who
will disclose where I hide myself. The slaves on the coast here are
ready to betray me. I have watched them sailing near the island, lured
by the promise of a handful of gold, but not daring to land upon it,
lest they should behold, against his will, a divine being."

"Then I will climb up hither and bring you the fruits," said Evadne.

"Nay, my bird," answered the boy, "lay them only on the altar, below,
and when it is safe to descend, call me."

"If I call softly, you cannot hear me; and I cannot call loudly enough
to reach you upon this hill."

"The secrets of the island are not known to you," her companion said,
and arose quickly; "follow me,--I will teach you. You know not why
Apollo is listening? It is for the good of the worshippers, who care not
to mount the hill to adore him. Above the town stands an altar; voices
uttered there are brought up hither by an echo. There the pious repaired
once, and laid their gifts, and songs and the music of flutes sounded in
honor of the deity, who was held too sacred to be approached. Hold me
not too sacred, little one!--you shall approach without fear; but give
me your voice at this altar, when your foster-father sleeps."

"But what shall I call you?" cried the laughing Evadne.

"Call _Hylas_. Echo has often repeated, the name, they say, in the
country of Mysia, and these groves shall learn it of you! Now follow me
over the floor of the temple,--but lightly! lightly! See how the god
would warn us away! He nods on his pedestal; even the loud thunder may
some day cause his fall; already he is half shaken down from his shrine
by earthquakes."

Then, firmly, bold Hylas held trembling Evadne, who glanced for an
instant down the leafy passage of echoes.


CHAPTER IV.

When the day was over, Alpheus called to him his foster-child.

"You have willingly followed us into our exile," he said, "nor have you
ever inquired whither we lead you. Listen to me; I shall confide to you
a secret, so that, if evil befall us, you may go on and fulfil your
journey.

"In Asia stands a city, called Thyatira, and there dwell men of a new
religion, called Christians. Of this faith I know as yet but little.
But, dear Evadne, your father is yet living, and has sent, praying me to
conduct you to him, that you may be taught among Christians. I have
labored to fulfil his wish, for in our youth we were dear to each other.
The moon saw us nightly upon the hills, guarding our flocks, and by day
we practised the labors and the sports of Greeks."

"What is the religion of my father?" asked the child.

"I cannot tell it to you; I know only that the Christians worship one
god."

"Apollo, then, is my choice."

"Not so, child. The god of Christians is not known to us; but he shall
overthrow the idols of the whole world. The bow of Diana, the lyre of
Apollo, are already broken."

The child started. Was the temple known to Alpheus, too? Had he seen
there the fragments of a shattered harp?

The old man continued his discourse, but Evadne's thoughts had flown
away towards the lost temple.

"There alone will I worship," she murmured to herself. She dreamed of
adoring the deity of stone, but Hylas haunted all her thoughts. Yes,
Evadne! one god is sufficient for you!

Under cover of the darkness, the friendly boatman drew near, and the
islanders heard the unaccustomed sound of the boat drawn up the beach by
the youth, whose superstitious fears began to vanish as he observed that
no calamity fell upon these dwellers on the sacred spot.

"I come," he said, "with gifts truly, but also with good tidings. Have
patience yet awhile. Your retreat is still unknown, and, after a few
days, I may find you the means of escape."

Evadne alone was silent, and her tears flowed secretly.

The sun was already set, on the following day, before she stole away to
meet the hunter-boy. In his hand, as he advanced joyously to greet her,
he bore a white dove, which his arrow had pierced.

"I struck it," he said, while he pointed to its broken wing and bleeding
breast, "when it alighted on the edge of a stone fallen from the
temple."

Evadne concealed her ready tears and uttered no reproach against her
hero; but she pressed the dead bird to her bosom.

"Tell me, Hylas," she asked, "do you worship this god before us, or that
of the Christians?"

The boy laughed gayly.

"I worship this strong right arm," he said, "and my own bold will, which
has conquered and shall conquer again! The stories of the gods are but
fables. To us who are brave nothing can be forbidden; it is the weak who
are unfortunate, and no god is able either to assist or to destroy us.
As to the Christians, they are a despised people, a race of madmen, who,
pretending to love poverty and martyrdom, are followed by the rude and
ignorant. As for us, we are gods, both to them and to ourselves."

Evadne knew that she herself must be counted among the rude and
ignorant; she dared not raise her eyes to the young noble, who watched
her quivering lip, and but dimly guessed how he had wounded her.

"Leave caressing the dead bird," he said, at last, "and I will tell you
tales of Rome and its glories."

And he charmed back again her innocent smiles, with noble traditions of
kings, of gods, and of heroes, till the round moon stood above Gargarus,
cold, in a rose-tinted heaven.

But again at sunrise the child sought the spot to bring a basket, heavy
with gifts, for Hylas. He came at the call of Evadne, fresh, glowing,
beautiful as a child rocked on the breast of Aurora, and upheld by her
cool, fanning wings. His cheek wore the kiss of the Sun, and his closely
curling locks were wet by the scattered fountain, cold in the shaded
grove. He broke the early silence of the air with song and story, and
named for the admiring child the towns, the headlands, and the hills,
over which the eye delighted to wander.

"Now is the hour," he said, "when mariners far away behold for a little
while the dome of this temple. They believe that the gods have rendered
it invisible except at the rising day; but, in truth, the oaks, the
laurels, and the unpruned ivy conceal it from view, at all times, except
when the rays from the east strike upward. I have delighted to teach the
people fables concerning this island and the lost temple; for as long as
they fear to tread upon this spot, I have a retreat for myself, where I
range unmolested.

"See yonder, so white among the dark cypress-trees, my father's villa!
It has gardens and shady groves, but I love best the wild branching oaks
which give their shade to Evadne! Far away in the purple distance stands
the Mount of Ida. There dwelt Paris, content with the love of Oenone,
until he knew himself to be the son of a king, for whom Argive Helen
alone was found worthy; for his eyes had rested once upon immortal
charms, of which the green eternal pines of Ida are still whispering the
story. See how the people of this village of Athos flock together! Some
festival occupies them. I see them going forth from the gates in
hurrying crowds; and now a band of men approaches. Some one is about to
enter their town, to whom they wish to do honor, and doubtless they bear
green branches to strew in the way. I know not what festival they
celebrate, for the altars are all deserted."

"I see a boat put off from the shore," said Evadne, "and it seems to
turn its prow hitherward."

But it soon was concealed by the woody hill-top, although its course was
seen to be directed towards the ruined huts upon the shore. Not long
after, the children heard the name of "Evadne," brought faintly by the
echoes, like the words of unseen ghosts who strive to awaken some
beloved sleeper unconscious of their presence.

Evadne feared to return, and dared not stay. For the first time, the
voice of her foster-father failed to bring her obedient footsteps; for
her fluttering heart suspected something strange and unwelcome awaiting
her. She wept at parting from Hylas, and the boy detained her. He also
seemed troubled.

"Dear little one," he said, "betray me not! These men of Athos have seen
me, and have authority to bring me bound before some ruler who has
entered their town. They come to look for me now. I fly to my
hiding-place, and you will deny that you saw any one in this forest."

He was gone down the face of the cliff, with winged feet, light of tread
as Jove's messenger. More slowly, Evadne retraced the downward path, and
lingered on the banks of the ravine, where the bitter waters were
sobbing among the rocks. She lay down upon the ground, and dreamed,
while yet waking, of her home in Thessaly, of her unknown father in the
Christian city of Thyatira, and of Hylas, ever Hylas, and the pain of
parting. How long she hid herself she guessed not, until the sun at the
zenith sent down his brightest beam to discover the lost Thessalian
lamb. Then, subdued and despairing, she travelled on to meet the
reproaches that could not fail to await her.


CHAPTER V.

At midnight the sleepless girl stole from her couch, and laid on the
altar beyond the village heavy clusters of grapes and the richest fruits
from her store of dainties. "Hylas!" she softly cried, and the
sleepless echo repeated the name; but though she watched long, no form
emerged from the forest. Timidly she flitted back to her dwelling, and
waited for an eastern gleam. At last the veil of night was lifted a
little, a wind ruffled the waves, and the swaying oaks repeated to the
hills the message of coming splendors from the Orient. Evadne gladly saw
that the stars were fewer and paler in the sky, and she walked forth
again, brushing cold dews from the vines and the branches. A foreboding
fear led her first to look at the altar where she had left her offering.
It was untouched. Then she entered the still benighted wood, and passed
the cold gray waters. Arrived at the temple, she felt a hateful
stillness in the place.

"Hylas!" she loudly called, "come to me! For _you_ there is no danger;
but for me, they will take me away at sunrise. The Christians will come
to-day and carry me hence. Oh, Hylas! where do you hide yourself?"

But only a strong and angry wind disturbed the laurels around the
temple, and all was still. Then the song of the birds began all around
her, and a silver gleam shot across the eastern horizon. Suddenly
rosy-tinged signals stood among the sad-colored torn clouds above her
head. The hour for her departure was approaching. She gazed intently
down among the pines, where Hylas had disappeared, and painfully and
slowly began to descend. The wild-eyed hares glanced at her and shrank
into concealment again. The birds uttered cries of alarm, and the
motionless lizards lay close to her feet. Her heart beat anxiously when
she heard the sudden stroke of a bird's wing, scared from its nest, and
she paused often to listen, but no human voice was heard.

She penetrated slowly thus to that shore of the island which she had
never yet visited. She reached a border of white sand, and studied its
surface. She found a record there,--traces of footsteps, and the long
trail of a boat, drawn from a thicket of laurels to the shore, and down
to the water's edge. She stood many minutes contemplating these signs.
She imaged to herself the retreat by night, by the late rising light of
the waning moon. She seemed to see the youth, his manly arm urging the
boat from its hiding-place. In this spot his foot pressed the sand.
There he walked before and drew the little craft behind him. He launched
it here, and, had not the winds urged the water up the shore, his last
footstep might have remained for Evadne to gaze at.

He is surely gone! To return for the smiles of Evadne? She knows not if
he will return; but she glances upward at the sky, and feels that she
soon will have quitted the island, this happy island, forever!

Upward through the wood again she toils to take a last look at the
temple. The spot seemed already to have forgotten her. And yet here lies
a withered crown she wove once for Hylas; and here she finds at last the
dart she lost for him, when she drew his bow in play. Now she sees on
the shore at Athos an assembly of the people, and the men push off their
boats. The village is already alive, and awake. The rising of the sun is
looked for, and the clouds are like a golden fleece. Slowly above the
tree-tops the swans are waving their great pinions, to seek the stream
of Cayster. All creatures recognize the day, and only one weeps to see
the light.

Evadne knew that on yonder shore waited the dreaded messengers who would
gather the homeless into the Christian fold. She stayed to utter one
farewell to the cold, the cruel marble, with its unvaried smile.

"Be my god!" she cried, aloud. "In whatever strange land, to whatever
unknown religion I may be led, the god of this forgotten temple shall
have the worship of my heart!"

She crossed the marble pavement. She clasped with her white cold arms
the knees of Apollo--Hold! the form totters!--it is too late!--it must
fall! She rises to flee away, but the very floor is receding from her
tread. And slowly, with a majesty even in destruction, the god bows
himself, and drops from his pedestal.

The crashing fall is over. The foundations of the shrine, parted long
ago by earthquakes, and undermined by torrents, have slipped from their
place. Stones slide gradually to the brink of the rock, and some have
fallen near the sculptured rose; and yet some portions of the graceful
temple stand, and will support the dome yet, until some boisterous storm
shakes roughly the remaining columns.

But the god is dethroned, shivered, ruined. Evadne should arise and go.
The daylight overflows the sky, and she is quite, quite still, where the
hand of Apollo has laid her. Her forehead was but touched by fingers
that once held the lyre; and a crimson stream flows through the locks
upon her brow. A smile like that which the god wore is fixed and
changeless now upon her lip. Why does she smile? Because, in the dawn of
life, of grief, of love, she found peace.

The sun was up, and there was no more silence or repose along the coast.
Vigor and toil gave signs of their awakening. Sails were unfurled upon
the wavering masts, and showed white gleams, as the sunlight struck each
as it broadened out and swayed above its bright reflection below. Oars
were dipped in the smooth sea, and an eager crowd stood waiting to visit
the exiles on the once dreaded island. Evadne was already missed. Again
and again voices called upon her, the echoes repeated the sound, and the
groves had but one voice,--"Evadne!" She stirred not at the sound, but
her smile grew sweeter, and her brow paler, and cold as the marble hand
that pressed it.

Oh, Alpheus! oh, Eleusa! chide not! you will be weeping soon! She has,
indeed, angered you of late. She left her foster-parents alone, and
threaded the forest. She hid herself when you called, and, when the
fisher's boat was waiting to convey her with you to the shore, where
friends were ready to receive her and lead her to her father, then she
was wandering!

Eleusa is querulous. No wonder! for the child is sadly changed. They
will see her soon; a Christian prophet comes to break the heathen spell
of the island. The men of yonder village consent to abjure the worship
of Apollo. They come with the teacher of a new religion to consecrate
the spot anew. The busy crowd, as on a day of festival, embark to claim
again the once deserted spot.

Alpheus and Eleusa wait sadly for their approach, for trouble possesses
their hearts. They pine for their once gentle, submissive child. But the
teacher comes, and hails them in words of a new benediction. _The Great
Name_ is uttered also in their hearing. Calmness returns to them, in the
presence of the holy man. It is not Paul, mighty to reprove, and learned
as bold,--it is that "one whom Jesus loved." He has rested on his bosom,
and looked on him pierced on the cross. The look from his dying eyes and
the tones of his tender love are ever present in the soul of this
beloved disciple. The awful revelations of Patmos had not yet illumined
his eyes. His locks were white as the first blossoms of the spring, but
his heart was not withered by time, and men believed of him that he
should never see death. Those who beheld him loved him, and listened
because they loved. What he desired was accomplished as if a king had
commanded it, and what he taught was gathered in among the treasures of
the heart.

The first care of the Apostle was to seek the lost child, and the youths
of his company went on, and scaled the hill. Meanwhile, not far from the
altar, on which an unregarded offering lay, the people gathered round
their master, while to Alpheus and Eleusa he related the immortal story
of Judea.

Before mid-day the villagers had returned to their dwellings. With John,
their friend and consoler, two mourners departed from the island, where
fabled Apollo no longer possessed a shrine. His altar was torn away; a
newly-made grave was marked by a cross roughly built of its broken
stones.

"I will return here," said the fisherman of Athos, "when you are far
away in some Christian city of Asia. I will return and carve here the
name of 'Evadne.'"



THE SKATER.


    The skater lightly laughs and glides,
      Unknowing that beneath the ice
      Whereon he carves his fair device
    A stiffened corpse in silence slides.

    It glareth upward at his play;
      Its cold, blue, rigid fingers steal
      Beneath the trendings of his heel;
    It floats along and floats away.

    He has not seen its horror pass;
      His heart is blithe; the village hears
      His distant laughter; he careers
    In festive waltz athwart the glass.--

    We are the skaters, we who skim
      The surface of Life's solemn flood,
      And drive, with gladness in our blood,
    A daring dance from brim to brim.

    Our feet are swift, our faces burn,
      Our hopes aspire like soaring birds;
      The world takes courage from our words,
    And sees the golden time return.

    But ever near us, silent, cold,
      Float those who bounded from the bank
      With eager hearts, like us, and sank
    Because their feet were overbold.

    They sank through breathing-holes of vice,
      Through treacherous sheens of unbelief;
      They know not their despair and grief:
    Their hearts and minds are turned to ice.



THOMAS JEFFERSON.[1]

[Concluded.]


Mr. Jefferson returned from France in the autumn of 1789, and the
following spring took office as Secretary of State. He was unwilling to
abandon his post abroad, but the solicitations of Washington controlled
him. He plainly was the most suitable person for the place. Franklin,
the father of American diplomacy, was rapidly approaching the close of
his long and busy life, and John Adams, the only other statesman whose
diplomatic experience could be compared with that of Thomas Jefferson,
was Vice President.

It would be a tedious task to enter into a detail of the disputes which
arose in Washington's Cabinet, nor is it necessary to do so. Most candid
persons, who have examined the subject, are convinced that the
differences were unavoidable, that they were produced by exigencies in
affairs upon which men naturally would disagree, by conflicting social
elements, and by the dissimilar characters, purposes, and political
doctrines of Jefferson and Hamilton. Jefferson's course was in
accordance with the general principles of government which from his
youth he had entertained.

As to the accusation, so often made, that he opposed an administration
of which he was a member and which by the plainest party-rules he was
bound to support, it is completely answered by the statement, that his
conduct was understood by Washington, that he repeatedly offered to
resign, and that when he retired it was in opposition to the President's
wish. It is not worth while for us to apply a higher standard of party
loyalty to Washington's ministers than he himself applied.

One great difficulty encountered by the politicians of that day seems to
have been purely fanciful. Strictly speaking, the government did not
have a policy. It went into operation with the impression that it would
be persistently resisted, that its success was doubtful, and that any
considerable popular disaffection would be fatal to it. These fears
proved to be unfounded. The day Washington took the oath, the government
was as stable as it now is. Disturbing elements undoubtedly existed, but
they were controlled by great and overruling necessities, recognized by
all men. Thus the final purpose of the administration was accomplished
at the outset. The labor which it was expected would task the patriotism
and exercise the skill of the most generous and experienced was
performed without an effort,--as it were, by a mere pulsation of the
popular heart. The question was not, How shall the government be
preserved? but, How shall it be administered? This is evident now, but
was not seen then. The statesmen of the time believed that the Union was
constantly in danger, and that their best efforts were needed to protect
it. In this spirit they approached every question which presented
itself. Thinking that every measure directly affected the safety of the
republic, a difference of opinion could not be a mere disagreement upon
a matter of policy. In proportion to the intensity of each man's
patriotism was his conviction that in his way alone could the government
be preserved, and he naturally thought that his opponents must be either
culpably neglecting or deliberately plotting against the interests of
the country. Real difficulties were increased by imaginary ones.
Opposition became treason. Parties called themselves Republicans and
Federalists;--they called each other monarchists and anarchists. This
delusion has always characterized our politics; noisy politicians of
the present day stigmatize their adversaries as disunionists; but during
the first twenty years it was universal, and explains the fierce
party-spirit which possessed the statesmen of that period, and likewise
accounts for many of their errors.

Among these errors must be placed the belief which Jefferson had, that
there was a party of monarchists in the country. Sir. Randall makes a
long argument in support of this opinion, and closes with an intimation
that those who refuse to believe now cannot be reached by reason. He may
rank us with these perverse skeptics; for, in our opinion, his argument
not only fails to establish his propositions, but is strong against
them. Let it be understood;--the assertion is not, that there were some
who would have preferred a monarchy to a republic, but that, after the
government was established, Ames, Sedgwick, Hamilton, and other Federal
leaders, were plotting to overturn it and create a monarchy. Upon this
we have no hesitation in taking issue. The real state of the case, and
the circumstances which deceived Mr. Jefferson, may be briefly set
forth.

Jefferson left France shortly after the taking of the Bastile. He saw
the most auspicious period of the Revolution. During the session of the
Estates General, the evils which afflicted France were admitted by all,
but the remedies proposed were, as yet, purely speculative. The roseate
theories of poets and enthusiasts had filled every mind with vague
expectations of some great good in the future. Nothing had occurred to
disturb these pleasing anticipations. There was no sign of the fearful
disasters then impending. The delirium of possession had not seized upon
the nation,--her statesmen had not learned how much easier it is to plan
than to achieve,--nor had the voice of Burke carried terror throughout
Europe. Even now, it is impossible to read the first acts of that drama
without being moved to sympathetic enthusiasm. What emotions must it not
have excited while the awful catastrophe was yet concealed! Tried by any
received test, France, for centuries, had been the chief state in
Europe,--inferior to none in the arts of war, superior to any in the
arts of peace. Fashion and letters had given her an empire more
permanent than that which the enterprise of Columbus and the fortune of
Charles gave to Spain, more extended than that which Trafalgar and
Waterloo have since given to England. Though her armies were resisted,
her wit and grace were irresistible; every European prince was her
subject, every European court a theatre for the display of her address.
The peculiar spirit of her genius is not more distinctly to be seen in
the verse of Boileau than in that of Pope,--in the sounding periods of
Bossuet than in Addison's easy phrase. The spectacle of a nation so
distinguished, which had carried tyranny to a perfection and invested it
with a splendor never before seen, becoming the coryphæus of freedom,
might easily have fascinated a mind less impressible by nature, and less
disposed by education for favorable impressions, than that of Jefferson.
He shared the feeling of the hour. His advice was asked, and
respectfully listened to. This experience, while, as he says, it
strengthened his preconceived convictions, must have prevented him from
carefully observing, certainly from being affected by, the influences
which had been at work in his own country. He came home more assured in
republicanism, and expecting to find that America had kept pace with
him.

But many things had occurred in America to excite doubts of the
efficiency of republican institutions. The government of the
Confederation was of little value. During the war, common interests and
dangers had bound the Colonies together; with peace came commercial
rivalries, boundary disputes, relations with other countries, the
burdens of a large debt,--and the scanty powers with which Congress had
been clothed were inadequate to the public exigencies. The Congress was
a mere convention, in which each State had but one vote. To the most
important enactments the consent of nine States was necessary. The
concurrence of the several legislatures was required to levy a tax,
raise an army, or ratify a treaty. The executive power was lodged in a
committee, which was useless either for deliberation or action. The
government fell into contempt; it could not protect itself from insult;
and the doors of Congress were once besieged by a mob of mutinous
soldiery. The States sometimes openly resisted the central government,
and to the most necessary laws, those for the maintenance of the
national credit, they gave but a partial obedience. They quarrelled with
each other. New York sent troops into the field to enforce her claims
upon her New England neighbors. The inhabitants of the Territories
rebelled. Kentucky, Vermont, and Tennessee, under another name, declared
themselves independent, and demanded admission into the Union. In New
Hampshire and Pennsylvania, insurrections took place. In Massachusetts,
a rebellion was set on foot, which, for a time, interrupted the sessions
of the courts. An Indian war, attended by the usual barbarities, raged
along the northern frontier. Foreign states declined to negotiate with a
government which could not enforce its decrees within its own borders.
England haughtily refused to withdraw her troops from our soil; Spain
closed the Mississippi to the commerce and encroached upon the territory
of the Confederation. Every consideration of safety and advantage
demanded a government with strength enough to secure quiet at home and
respect abroad. It is not to be denied that many thoughtful and
experienced men were discouraged by the failure of the Confederation,
and thought that nothing but a monarchy could accomplish the desired
purpose.

There were also certain social elements tending in the same direction,
and these were strongest in the city of New York, where Jefferson first
observed them. That city had been the centre of the largest and most
powerful Tory community in the Colonies. The gentry were nearly all
Tories, and, during the long occupation of the town, the tradespeople,
thriving upon British patronage, had become attached to the British
cause. There, and, indeed, in all the cities, there were aristocratic
circles. Jefferson was of course introduced into them. In these circles
were the persons who gave dinners, and at whose tables he heard the
opinions expressed which astonished and alarmed him.

What is described as polite society has never been much felt in American
politics; it was not more influential then. Besides, in many cases,
these opinions were more likely to have been the expression of
affectation than of settled conviction. Nothing is more common than a
certain insincerity which leads men to profess and seemingly believe
sentiments which they do not and cannot act upon. The stout squire who
prides himself upon his obstinacy, and whose pretty daughter manages him
as easily as she manages her poodle, is a favorite character in English
comedy. Every one knows some truculent gentleman who loudly proclaims
that one half of mankind are knaves and the other half would be if they
dared, but who would go mad with despair if he really believed the
atrocious principles he loves to announce. Jefferson was not so
constituted as to make the proper allowance for this kind of
insincerity. Though undemonstrative, he was thoroughly in earnest. In
fact, he was something of a precisian in politics. He spoke of kings and
nobles as if they were personal foes, and disliked Scott's novels
because they give too pleasing a representation of the institution of
chivalry. He probably looked upon a man who spoke covetously of titles
much as a Salem elder a century before would have looked upon a
hard-swearing Virginia planter. In the purse-proud citizens, who, after
dinner, used to talk grandly about the British Constitution, he saw a
set of malignant conspirators, when in fact not one in ten had ever
thought seriously upon the subject, or had enough force of character to
attempt to carry out his opinions, whatever they might have been.

The political discontents were hardly more formidable. We have admitted
that some influential persons were in favor of a monarchy; but no one
took a decided step in that direction. In all the published
correspondence there is not a particle of evidence of such a movement.
Even Hamilton, in his boldest advances towards a centralization of
power, did not propose a monarchy. Those who were most doubtful about
the success of a republic recognized the necessity of making the
experiment, and were the most active in establishing the present one.
The sparsity of the population, the extent of the country, and its
poverty, made a royal establishment impossible. The people were
dissatisfied with the Confederation, not with republicanism. The breath
of ridicule would have upset the throne. The King, the Dukes of
Massachusetts and Virginia, the Marquises of Connecticut and Mohawk,
Earl Susquehanna and Lord Livingston, would have been laughed at by
every ragamuffin. The sentiment which makes the appendages of royalty,
its titles and honors, respectable, is the result of long education, and
has never existed in America. Washington was the only person mentioned
in connection with the crown; but had he attempted to reach it, he would
have lost his power over the people. He was strong because he had
convinced his country that he held personal objects subservient to
public ones,--that, with him, "the path of duty was the way to glory."
He had none of the magnetism which lulls the senses and leads captive
the hearts of men. Had he clothed himself in the vulgar robes of
royalty,--had he taken advantage of the confidence reposed in him for a
purpose of self-aggrandizement, and that of so petty and commonplace a
kind,--he would have sunk to a level with the melodramatic heroes of
history, and that colossal reputation, which rose, a fair exhalation
from the hearts of grateful millions, and covered all the land, would
have vanished like a mist.

Whatever individuals may have wished for, the charge of monarchical
designs cannot be brought against the Federalists as a party. New
England was the mother of the Revolution, and became the stronghold of
Federalism. In South Carolina and New York, a majority of the
inhabitants were Tories; the former State voted for Mr. Jefferson every
time he was a candidate, the latter gave him his election in 1800. It
requires a liberal expenditure of credulity to believe that the children
of the Puritans desired a monarchy more than the descendants of the
Cavaliers and the adherents of De Lancy and Ogden. Upon this subject
Jefferson does not seem to have understood that disposition which can be
dissatified with a measure, and yet firm and honest in supporting it.
Public men constantly yield or modify their opinions under the pressure
of political necessity. He himself gives an instance of this, when, in
stating that he was not entirely content with the Constitution, he
remarks that not a member of the Federal Convention approved it in all
its parts. Why may we not suppose that Hamilton and Ames sacrificed
their opinions, as well as Mr. Jefferson and the framers of the
Constitution?

The evidence with which Mr. Randall fortifies his position is
inconclusive. It consists of the opinions of leading Republicans, and
extracts from the letters of leading Federalists. The former are liable
to the objection of having been prompted by political prejudices; the
latter will not bear the construction which he places upon them. They
are nothing more than expressions of doubt as to the stability of the
government, and of regret that one of a different kind was not
adopted,--most of which were made after the Federalists were defeated.
We should not place too literal a construction upon the repinings of
disappointed placemen. Mr. Randall, we believe, has been in political
life, and ought to be accustomed to the disposition which exists among
public men to think that the country will be ruined, if it is deprived
of their services. After every election, our ears are vexed by the
gloomy vaticinations of defeated candidates. This amiable weakness is
too common to excite uneasiness.

An argument of the same kind, and quite as effective as Mr. Randall's,
might be made against Jefferson. His letters contain predictions of
disaster in case of the success of his opponents, and the Federalists
spoke as harshly of him as he of them. They charged him with being a
disciple of Robespierre, said that he was in favor of anarchy, and would
erect a guillotine in every market-place. He called them monarchists,
and said they sighed after King, Lords, and Commons. Neither charge will
be believed. The heads of the Federalists were safe after the election
of Mr. Jefferson, and the republic would have been safe if Hamilton and
Adams had continued in power.

Both parties formed exaggerated opinions. That Jefferson did so, no one
can doubt who observes the weight he gave to trifles,--his annoyance at
the etiquette of the capital,--at the levees and liveries,--at the
President's speech,--the hysterical dread into which he was thrown by
the mere mention of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the "chill" which
Mr. Randall says came over him "when he heard Hamilton praise Cæsar."
This spirit led him to the act which every one must think is a stain
upon his character: we refer to the compilation of his "Ana." As is well
known, that book was written mainly for the purpose of proving that the
Federalists were in favor of a monarchy. It consists chiefly of reports
of the conversations of distinguished characters. Some of these
conversations--and it is noticeable that they are the most innocent
ones--took place in his presence. The worst expressions are mere reports
by third parties. One story rests upon no better foundation than that
Talleyrand told it to Volney, who told it to Jefferson. At one place we
are informed, that, at a St. Andrew's Club dinner, the toast to the
President (Mr. Adams) was coldly received, but at that to George the
Third "Hamilton started to his feet and insisted on a bumper and three
cheers." This choice bit of scandal is given on the authority of "Mr.
Smith, a Hamburg merchant," "who received it from Mr. Schwarthouse, _to
whom it was told by one of the dinner-party_." At a dinner given by some
members of the bar to the federal judges, this toast was offered: "Our
_King_ in old England,"--Rufus King being the American minister in that
country. Whereupon Mr. Jefferson solemnly asks us "to observe the
_double entendre_ on the word King." Du Ponceau told this to Tenche
Coxe, who told it to Jefferson. Such stuff is repeated in connection
with descriptions of how General and Mrs. Washington sat on a raised
sofa at a ball, and all the dancers bowed to them,--and how Mrs. Knox
mounted the steps unbidden, and, finding the sofa too small for three,
had to go down. We are told that at one time John Adams cried, "Damn
'em! you see that an elective government will not do,"--and that at
another he complimented a little boy who was a Democrat, saying, "Well,
a boy of fifteen who is not a Democrat is good for nothing,--and he is
no better who is a Democrat at twenty." Of this bit of treason Jefferson
says, "Ewen told Hurt, and Hurt told me." These are not mere scraps,
published by an indiscreet editor. They were revised by Mr. Jefferson in
1818, when he was seventy-five years old, after, as he says, the
passions of the time were passed away,--with the intention that they
should be published. It is humiliating to record this act. No
justification for it is possible. It is idle to say that these
revelations were made to warn the country of its danger. As evidence
they are not entitled to a thought. More flimsy gossip never floated
over a tea-table. Besides, for such a purpose they should have been
published when the contest was in progress, when the danger was
imminent, not after the men whom he arraigned were defeated and most of
them in their graves. Equally unsatisfactory is the excuse, that they
illustrate history. This may be true, but it does not acquit Mr.
Jefferson. Pepys tells us more than Hume about the court of Charles II.,
and Boswell's Life of Johnson is the best biography in the
language,--but he must be a shabby fellow who would be either a Boswell
or a Pepys. Mr. Randall's excuse, that the act was done in
self-vindication, is the worst of all. Jefferson was the victor and
needed no defence, surely not so mean and cowardly a defence. That a
grave statesman should stoop to betray the confidence of familiar
intercourse,--that a skeptical inquirer, who systematically rejected
everything which did not stand the most rigid tests, should rely on the
ridiculous gossip of political circles,--that a deliberate and
thoughtful man should jump to a conclusion as quickly as a child, and
assert it with the intolerance of a Turk, certainly is a strange
anomaly. We can account for it only by supposing that upon the subject
of a monarchy he was a little beside himself. It is certain, that,
through some weakness, he was made to forget gentlemanly propriety, and
the plainest rules for the sifting of testimony;--let us believe that
the general opinions which he formed, and which his biographer
perpetuates, resulted from the same unfortunate weakness.

We have dwelt upon this subject, both on account of the prominence which
Mr. Randall has given it, and because, as admirers of Mr. Jefferson, we
wished to make a full and distinct statement of the most common and
reasonable complaint against him. The biographer has done his hero a
great injury by reviving this absurd business, and has cast suspicion
upon the accuracy of his book. It is time that our historians approached
their subjects with more liberal tempers. They should cease to be
advocates. Whatever the American people may think about the policy of
the Federalists, they will not impute to them unpatriotic designs. That
party comprised a majority of the Revolutionary leaders. It is not
strange that many of them fell into error. They were wealthy and had the
pride of wealth. They had been educated with certain ideas about rank,
which a military life had strengthened. The liberal theories which the
war had engendered were not understood, and, during the French
Revolution, they became associated with acts of atrocity which Mr.
Jefferson himself condemned. Abler men than the Federalists failed to
discriminate between the crime and the principles which the criminals
professed. Students of affairs are now in a better position than Mr.
Jefferson was, to ascertain the truth, and they will not find it
necessary to adopt his prejudices against a body of men who have adorned
our history by eloquence, learning, and valor.

Jefferson's position in Washington's government must have been extremely
disagreeable. There was hardly a subject upon which he and Hamilton
agreed. Washington had established the practice of disposing of the
business before the Cabinet by vote. Each member was at liberty to
explain his views, and, owing to the wide differences in opinion, the
Cabinet Council became a debating society. This gave Hamilton an
advantage. Jefferson never argued, and, if he had attempted it, he would
have been no match for his adversary. He contented himself with a plain
statement of his views and the reasons which influenced him, made in the
abstract manner which was habitual with him. Hamilton, on the other
hand, was an adroit lawyer, and a painstaking dialectician, who
carefully fortified every position. He made long speeches to the
Cabinet, with as much earnestness as one would use in court. Though
Jefferson had great influence with the President, he was generally
outvoted. Knox, of course, was against him. Randolph, the
Attorney-General, upon whose support he had a right to depend, was an
ingenious, but unsteady, sophist. He had so just an understanding, that
his appreciation of his opponent's argument was usually stronger than
his confidence in his own. He commonly agreed with Jefferson, and voted
with Hamilton. The Secretary of State was not allowed to control his
own department. Hamilton continually interfered with him, and had
business interviews with the ministers of foreign countries. The dispute
soon spread beyond the Cabinet, and was taken up by the press. Jefferson
again and again asked leave to resign; Washington besought him to
remain, and endeavored to close the breach between the rival
Secretaries. For a time, Jefferson yielded to these solicitations; but
finally, on the 31st of December, 1793, he left office, and was soon
followed by Hamilton.

After reaching Monticello, Mr. Jefferson announced, that he had
completely withdrawn from affairs, and that he did not even read the
journals, preferring to contemplate "the tranquil growth of lucern and
potatoes." These bucolic pleasures soon palled. Cultivating lucern and
potatoes is, without doubt, a dignified and useful employment, but it is
not likely to content a man who has played a great part, and is
conscious that he is still able to do so. We soon find him a candidate
for the Presidency, and, strange as it may seem, in 1797, he was
persuaded to leave his "buckwheat-dressings" and take the seat of
Vice-President.

Those who are interested in party tactics will find it instructive to
read Mr. Randall's account of the opposition to Adams's administration.
His correspondence shows that Adams was the victim of those in whom he
confided. He made the mistake of retaining the Cabinet which Washington
had during the last year or two of his term, and a weaker one has never
been seen. His ministers plotted against him,--his party friends opposed
and thwarted him. The President had sufficient talent for a score of
Cabinets, but he likewise had many foibles, and his position seemed to
fetter his talents and give full play to his foibles. The opposition
adroitly took advantage of the dissensions of their adversaries. In
Congress, the Federalists were compelled to carry every measure by main
force, and every inch of ground was contested. The temporizing Madison,
formerly leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, had
been succeeded by Albert Gallatin, a man of more enterprising spirit and
firmer grasp of thought. He was assisted by John Randolph, who then
first displayed the resources of his versatile and daring intellect. Mr.
Jefferson, also, as the avowed candidate for the succession, may be
supposed to have contributed his unrivalled knowledge of the springs of
human action. Earnest as the opposition were, they did not abuse the
license which is permitted in political contests. But the Federalists
pursued Mr. Jefferson with a vindictiveness which has no parallel, in
this country. They boasted of being gentlemen, and prided themselves
upon their standing and culture, yet they descended to the vilest tricks
and meanest scandal. They called Jefferson a Jacobin,--abused him
because he liked French cookery and French wines, and wore a red
waistcoat. To its shame, the pulpit was foremost in this disgraceful
warfare. Clergymen did not hesitate to mention him by name in their
sermons. Cobbett said, that Jefferson had cheated his British creditors.
A Maryland preacher improved this story, by saying that he had cheated a
widow and her daughters, of whose estate he was executor. He was
compared to Rehoboam. It was said, that he had a negro mistress, and
compelled his daughters to submit to her presence,--that he would not
permit his children to read the Bible,--and that, on one occasion, when
his attention was called to the dilapidated condition of a church, he
remarked, "It is good enough for him who was born in a manger."
According to his custom, he made no reply to these slanders, and, except
from a few mild remarks in his letters, one cannot discover that he
heard of them.

Mr. Adams did not show his successor the customary courtesy of attending
his inauguration, leaving Washington the same morning. The new
President, entirely unattended and plainly dressed, rode down the avenue
on horseback. He tied his horse to the paling which surrounded the
Capitol grounds, and, without ceremony, entered the Senate Chamber. The
contrast between this somewhat ostentatious simplicity and the parade at
the inaugurations of Washington and Adams showed how great a change had
taken place in the government.

The Presidency is the culmination of Mr. Jefferson's political career,
and we gladly turn to a contemplation of his character in other aspects.

The collections of Jefferson's writings and correspondence, which have
been published, throw no light upon his domestic relations. We have
complained of the prolixity of Mr. Randall's book, but we do not wish to
be understood as complaining of the number of family letters it
contains. They form its most pleasing and novel feature. They show us
that the placid philosopher had a nature which was ardent, tender, and
constant. His wife died after but ten years of married life. She was the
mother of six children, of whom two, Martha and Maria, reached maturity.
Though still young, Mr. Jefferson never married again, finding
sufficient opportunity for the indulgence of his domestic tastes in the
society of his daughters. Martha, whom he nicknamed Patsey, was plain,
resembling her father in features, and having some of his mental
characteristics. Maria, the youngest, inherited the charms of her
mother, and is described as one of the most beautiful women of her time.
Her natural courtesy procured for her, while yet a child, from her
French attendants, the _sobriquet_ of Polie, a name which clung to her
through life.

Charged with the care of these children, Jefferson made their education
one of his regular occupations, as systematically performed as his
public duties. He planned their studies, and descended to the minutest
directions as to dress and deportment. While they were young, he himself
selected every article of clothing for them, and even after they were
married, continued their constant and confidential adviser. When they
were absent, he insisted that they should inform him how they occupied
themselves, what books they read, what tunes they played, dwelling on
these details with the fond particularity of a lover. Association with
his daughters seemed to awaken his noblest and most refined impulses,
and to reveal the choicest fruit of his reading and experience. His
letters to them are models of their kind. They contain not only those
general precepts which an affectionate parent and wise man would
naturally desire to impress upon the mind of a child, but they also show
a perception of the most subtile feminine traits and a sympathy with the
most delicate feminine tastes, seldom seen in our sex, and which
exhibits the breadth and symmetry of Jefferson's organization. One of
the most characteristic of these letters is in the possession of the
Queen of England, to whom it was sent by his family, in answer to a
request for an autograph.

His daughters were in France with him, and were placed at school in a
convent near Paris. Martha was captivated by the ceremonials of the
Romish Church, and wrote to her father asking that she might be
permitted to take the veil. It is easy to imagine the surprise with
which the worldly diplomatist read the epistle. He did not reply to it,
but soon made a visit to the Abbaye. He smiled kindly at the young
enthusiast, who came anxiously to meet him, told the girls that he had
come for them, and, without referring to Martha's letter, took them back
to Paris. The account-book shows that after this incident the young
ladies did not diminish their attention to the harpsichord, guitar, and
dancing-master.

Maria, who was married to John W. Eppes, died in 1804, leaving two
children. Martha, wife of Thomas M. Randolph, survived her father. She
was the mother of ten children. The Randolphs lived on Mr. Jefferson's
estate of Monticello, and after he retired from public life he found his
greatest pleasure in the society of the numerous family which surrounded
him,--a pleasure which increased with his years. Mr. Randall publishes
a few letters from some of Jefferson's grand-daughters, describing their
happy child-life at Monticello. Besides being noticeable for grace of
expression, these letters breathe a spirit of affection for Mr.
Jefferson which only the warmest affection on his part could have
elicited. The writers fondly relate every particular which illustrates
the habits and manners of the retired statesman; telling with what
kindness be reproved, with what heartiness he commended them; how the
children loved to follow him in his walks, to sit with him by the fire
during the winter twilight, or at the window in summer, listening to his
quaint stories; how he directed their sports, acted as judge when they
ran races in the garden, and gathered fruit for them, pulling down the
branches on which the ripest cherries hung. All speak of the pleasure it
gave him to anticipate their wishes by some unexpected gift. One says
that her Bible and Shakspeare came from him,--that he gave her her first
writing-desk, her first watch, her first Leghorn hat and silk dress.
Another tells how he saw her tear her dress, and in a few days brought a
new and more beautiful one to mend it, as he said,--that she had refused
to buy a guitar which she admired, because it was too expensive, and
that when she came to breakfast the next morning the guitar was waiting
for her. One of these ladies seems to give only a natural expression to
the feelings which all his grand-children had for him, when she prettily
calls him their good genius with magic wand, brightening their young
lives by his kindness and his gifts.

Indeed, the account which these volumes give of Monticello life is very
interesting. The house was a long brick building, in the Grecian style,
common at that time. It was surmounted by a dome; in front was a
portico; and there were piazzas at the end of each wing. It was situated
upon the summit of a hill six hundred feet high, one of a range of such.
To the east lay an undulating plain, unbroken save by a solitary peak;
and upon the western side a deep valley swept up to the base of the Blue
Ridge, which was twenty miles distant. The grounds were tastefully
decorated, and, by a peculiar arrangement which the site permitted, all
the domestic offices and barns were sunk from view. The interior of the
mansion was spacious, and even elegant; it was decorated with natural
curiosities,--Indian and Mexican antiquities, articles of _virtù_, and a
large number of portraits and busts of historical characters. The
library--which was sold to the government in 1815--contained between
nine and ten thousand volumes. He had another house upon an estate
called Poplar Forest, ninety miles from Monticello.

Mr. Jefferson was too old to attempt any new scientific or literary
enterprise, but as soon as he reached home he began to renew his former
acquaintances. His meteorological observations were continued, he
studied botany, and was an industrious reader of three or four
languages. When nearly eighty, we find him writing elaborate
disquisitions on grammar, astronomy, the Epicurean philosophy, and
discussing style with Edward Everett. The coldness between him and John
Adams passed away, and they used to write one another long letters, in
which they criticized Plato and the Greek dramatists, speculated upon
the end for which the sensations of grief were intended, and asked each
other whether they would consent to live their lives over again.
Jefferson, with his usual cheerfulness, promptly answered, Yes.

He dispensed a liberal hospitality, and in a style which showed the
influence of his foreign residence. Though temperate, he understood the
mysteries of the French _cuisine_, and liked the wines of Médoc. These
tastes gave occasion to Patrick Henry's sarcasm upon gentlemen "_who
abjured their native victuals_." Mr. Randall tells an amusing anecdote
of a brandy-drinking Virginian, who wondered how a man of so much taste
could drink cold, sour French wine, and insisted that some night he
would be carried off by it.

No American has ever exerted so great and universal an attraction. Men
of all parties made pilgrimages to Monticello. Foreigners of distinction
were unwilling to leave the country without seeing Mr. Jefferson; men of
fashion, artists, _littérateurs_, _savants_, soldiers, clergymen,
flocked to his house. Mrs. Randolph stated, that she had provided beds
for fifty persons at a time. The intrusion was often disagreeable
enough. Groups of uninvited strangers sometimes planted themselves in
the passages of his house to see him go to dinner, or gathered around
him when he sat on the portico. A female once broke a window-pane with
her parasol to got a better view of him. But no press of company was
permitted to interfere with his occupations. The early morning was
devoted to correspondence; the day to his library, to his workshop, or
to business; after dinner he gave himself up to society.

Making every allowance for the exaggerations of his admirers, it cannot
be doubted that Jefferson was a master of conversation. It had
contributed too much to his success not to have been made the subject of
thought. It is true, he had neither wit nor eloquence; but this was a
kind of negative advantage; for he was free from that striving after
effect so common among professed wits, neither did he indulge in those
monologues into which eloquence betrayed Coleridge and seduces Macaulay.
He had great tact, information, and worldly knowledge. He never
disputed, and had the address not to attempt to control the current of
conversation for the purpose of turning it in a particular direction,
but was always ready to follow the humor of the hour. His language, if
seldom striking, never failed to harmonize with his theme, while, of
course, the effect of everything he said was heightened by his age and
reputation.

Unfortunately, his latter days were clouded by pecuniary distress.
Although prudent and methodical, partly from unavoidable circumstances,
and partly from the expense of his enormous establishment, his large
estate became involved. The failure of a friend for whom he had indorsed
completed his ruin and made it necessary to sell his property. This,
however, was not done until after his death, when every debt was paid,
even to a subscription for a Presbyterian church.

As is well known, the chief labor of his age was the establishment of
the University of Virginia. He was the creator of that institution, and
displayed in behalf of it a zeal and energy truly wonderful. When unable
to ride over to the University, which was eight miles from Monticello,
he used to sit upon his terrace and watch the workmen through a
telescope. He designed the buildings, planned the organization and
course of instruction, and selected the faculty. He seemed to regard
this enterprise as crowning and completing a career which had been
devoted to the cause of liberty, by providing for the increase and
diffusion of knowledge.

In February, 1826, the return of a disease by which he had at intervals
been visited convinced Jefferson that he should soon die. With customary
deliberation and system, he prepared for his decease, arranging his
affairs and giving the final directions as to the University. To his
family he did not mention the subject, nor could they detect any change
in his manner, except an increased tenderness in each night's farewell,
and the lingering gaze with which he followed their motions. His mental
vigor continued. His will, quite a long document, was written by
himself; and on the 24th of June he wrote a reply to an invitation to
the celebration at Washington of the ensuing Fourth of July. It is
difficult to discover in what respect this production is inferior to his
earlier performances of the same kind. It has all of the author's ease
and precision of style, and more than his ordinary distinctness and
earnestness of thought. This was his last letter. He rapidly declined,
but preserved possession of his faculties. He remarked, as if surprised
at it, upon his disposition to recur to the scenes of the Revolution,
and seemed to wish that his life might be prolonged until the Fourth of
July. This wish was not denied to him; he expired at noon of that day,
precisely fifty years after the Declaration of Independence. A few hours
afterwards the great heart of John Adams ceased to beat.

So much has been said about Mr. Jefferson's religious opinions, and our
biographer gives them such prominence, that we shall be pardoned for
alluding to them, although they are not among the topics which a critic
generally should touch. Mr. Randall says that Jefferson was "a public
professor of his belief in the Christian religion." We do not think that
this unqualified statement is supported by Jefferson's explanation of
his views upon Christianity, which Mr. Randall subsequently gives.
Religion, in the sense which is commonly given to it, as a system of
faith and worship, he did not connect with Christ at all. He was a
believer in the existence of God, in a future life, and in man's
accountability for his actions here: in so far as this, he may be said
to have had a system of worship, but not of Christian worship. He
regarded Christ simply as a man, with no other than mortal power,--and
to worship him in any way would, in his opinion, have been idolatry. His
theology recognized the Deity alone. The extracts from his public
papers, upon which Mr. Randall relies, contain nothing but those general
expressions which a Mohammedan or a follower of Confucius might have
used. He said he was a Christian "in the only sense in which Christ
wished any one to be"; but received Christ's teachings merely as a
system, and not a perfect system, of morals. He rejected the narratives
which attest the Divine character or the Divine mission of the Saviour,
thinking them the fictions of ignorance and superstition.

He was, however, far from being a scoffer. He attended the Episcopal
service regularly, and was liberal in his donations to religious
enterprises. Nor do we think that this conformity arose from weakness or
hypocrisy, but rather from a profound respect for opinions so generally
entertained, and a lively admiration for the character and life of
Christ.

If a Christian is one who sincerely believes and implicitly obeys the
teachings of Jesus so far as they affect our relations with our
fellow-men, then Mr. Jefferson was a Christian in a sense in which few
can be called so. Though the light did not unseal his vision, it filled
his heart. Among the statesmen of the world there is no one who has more
rigidly demanded that the laws of God shall be applied to the affairs of
Man. His political system is a beautiful growth from the principles of
love, humility, and charity, which the New Testament inculcates.

When reflecting upon Mr. Jefferson's mental organization, one is
impressed by the variety and perfectness of his intellectual faculties.
He united the powers of observation with those of reflection in a degree
hardly surpassed by Bacon. Yet he has done nothing which entitles him to
a place among the first of men. It may be said, that, devoted to the
inferior pursuit of politics, he had no opportunity to exercise himself
in art or philosophy, where alone the highest genius finds a field. But
we think his failure--if one can fail who does not make an attempt--was
not for want of opportunity. He did not possess any imagination. He was
so deficient in that respect as to be singular. The imagination seems to
assist the mental vision as the telescope does that of the eye; he saw
with his unaided powers only.

He says, "Nature intended him for the tranquil pursuits of science," and
it is impossible to assign any reason why he should not have attained
great eminence among scientific men. The sole difficulty might have
been, that, from very variety of power, he would not give himself up to
any single study with the devotion which Nature demands from those who
seek her favors.

Within his range his perception of truth was as rapid and unfailing as
an instinct. Without difficulty he separated the specious from the
solid, gave great weight to evidence, but was skeptical and cautious
about receiving it. Though a collector of details, he was never
incumbered by them. No one was less likely to make the common mistake of
thinking that a particular instance established a general proposition.
He sought for rules of universal application, and was industrious in the
accumulation of facts, because he knew how many are needed to prove the
simplest truth. The accuracy of his mental operations, united with great
courage, made him careless of authority. He clung to a principle because
he thought it true, not because others thought it so. There is no
indication that he valued an opinion the more because great men of
former ages had favored it. His self-reliance was shown in his
unwillingness to employ servants. Even when very feeble, he refused to
permit any one to assist him. He had extraordinary power of
condensation, and, always seeing the gist of a matter, he often exposed
an argument of hours by a single sentence. Some of his brief papers,
like the one on Banking, contain the substance of debates, which have
since been made, filling volumes. He was peculiar in his manner of
stating his conclusions, seldom revealing the processes by which he
arrived at them. He sets forth strange and disputed doctrines as if they
were truisms. Those who have studied "The Prince" for the purpose of
understanding its construction will not think us fanciful when we find a
resemblance between Jefferson's mode of argumentation and that of
Machiavelli. There is the same manner of approaching a subject, the same
neglect of opposing arguments, and the same disposition to rely on the
force of general maxims. Machiavelli exceeded him in power of
ratiocination from a given proposition, but does not seem to have been
able to determine whether a given proposition was right or wrong.

In force of mind Jefferson has often been surpassed: Hamilton was his
superior. As an executive officer, where action was required, he could
not have been distinguished. It is true, he was a successful President,
but neither the time nor the place demanded the highest executive
talents. When Governor of Virginia, during the Revolution, he was more
severely tried, and, although some excuse may be made for him, he must
be said to have failed.

Upon matters which are affected by feeling and sentiment, the judgment
of woman is said to surpass that of our sex,--her more sensitive
instincts carrying her to heights which our blind strength fails to
reach. If this be true, Jefferson in some respects resembled woman. We
have already alluded to the delicacy of his organization; it was
strangely delicate, indeed, for one who had so many solid qualities.
Like woman, he was constant rather than passionate; he had her
refinement, disliking rude company and coarse pleasures,--her love of
luxury, and fondness for things whose beauty consists in part in their
delicacy and fragility. His political opponents often refused to speak
with him, but their wives found his society delightful. Like woman, his
feelings sometimes seemed to precede his judgment. Such an organization
is not often a safe one for business; but in Mr. Jefferson, with his
homely perceptions, it accomplished great results.

The attributes which gave him his great and peculiar influence seem to
us to have been qualities of character, not of the mind. Chief among
these must be placed that which, for want of a better term, we will call
sympathy. This sympathy colored his whole nature, mental and moral. It
gave him his many-sidedness. There was no limit to his intellectual
tastes. Most persons cherish prejudices, and think certain pursuits
degrading or useless. Thus, business-men sneer at artists, and artists
sneer at business-men. Jefferson had nothing of this. He understood and
appreciated the value of every employment. No knowledge was too trivial
for him; with the same affectionate interest, he observed the courses
of the winds and the growth of a flower.

Sympathy in some sort supplied the place of imagination, making him
understand subjects of which the imagination alone usually informs us.
Thus, he was fond of Art. He had no eye for color, but appreciated the
beauties of form, and was a critic of sculpture and architecture. He
valued everything for that which belonged to it; but tradition
sanctified nothing, association gave no additional value. He committed
what Burke thought a great crime, that of thinking a queen nothing but a
woman. He went to Stratford-on-Avon, and tells us that it cost him a
shilling to see Shakspeare's tomb, but says nothing else. He might have
admired the scenery of the place, and he certainly was an admirer of
Shakspeare; but Stratford had no additional beauty in his eyes because
Shakspeare was born and buried there. After his death, in a secret
drawer of his secretary, mementoes, such as locks of hair, of his wife
and dead children, even of the infant who lived but a few hours after
birth, were found, and accompanying each were some fond words. The
packages were neatly arranged, and their envelopes showed that they had
often been opened. It needed personal knowledge and regard to awaken in
him an interest in objects for their associations.

The characteristic of which we speak showed itself in the intensity and
quality of his patriotism. There never was a truer American. He
sympathized with all our national desires and prejudices, our enterprise
and confidence, our love of dominion and boundless pride. Buffon
asserted that the animals of America were smaller than those of Europe.
Jefferson flew to the rescue of the animals, and certainly seems to have
the best of the argument. Buffon said, that the Indian was cold in love,
cruel in war, and mean in intellect. Had Jefferson been a descendant of
Pocahontas, he could not have been more zealous in behalf of the Indian.
He contradicted Buffon upon every point, and cited Logan's speech as
deserving comparison with the most celebrated passages of Grecian and
Roman eloquence. Nowhere did he see skies so beautiful, a climate so
delightful, men so brave, or women so fair, as in America. He was not
content that his country should be rich and powerful; his ardent
patriotism carried him forward to a time when the great Republic should
give law to the world for every department of thought and action.

But this sympathetic spirit is most clearly to be seen in that broad
humanity which was the source of his philosophy. He sympathized with
man,--his sufferings, joys, fears, hopes, and aspirations. The law of
his nature made him a democrat. Men of his own rank, when introduced to
him, found his manner cold and reserved; but the young and the ignorant
were attracted from the first. Education and interest did not affect
him. Born a British subject, he became the founder of a democracy. He
was a slaveholder and an abolitionist. The fact, that the African is
degraded and helpless, to his, as to every generous mind, was a reason
why he should be protected, not an excuse for oppressing him.

Though fitness for the highest effort be denied to Jefferson, yet in the
pursuit to which he devoted himself, considered with reference to
elevation and wisdom of policy and actual achievement, he may be
compared with any man of modern times. It is the boast of the most
accomplished English historian, that English legislation has been
controlled by the rule, "Never to lay down any proposition of wider
extent than the particular case for which it is necessary to provide."
Therefore politics in England have not reached the dignity of a science;
and her public men have been tacticians, rather than statesmen. Burke
may be mentioned as an exception. No one will claim for Jefferson
Burke's amplitude of thought and wealth of imagination, but he surpassed
him in justness of understanding and practical efficiency. Burke was
never connected with the government, except during the short-lived
Rockingham, administration. Among Frenchmen, the mind instinctively
recurs to the wise and virtuous Turgot. But it was the misfortune of
Turgot to come into power at the beginning of the reign of Louis XVI. It
became his task to reform a government which was beyond reform, and to
preserve a dynasty which could not be preserved. His illustrious career
is little more than a brilliant promise. Jefferson undoubtedly owed much
to fortune. He was placed in a country removed from foreign
interference, with boundless resources, and where the great principles
of free government had for generations been established,--among a people
sprung from many races, but who spoke the same language, were governed
by similar laws, and whose minds' rebellion had prepared for the
reception of new truths and the abandonment of ancient errors. To be
called upon to give symmetry and completeness to a political system
which seemed to be Providentially designed for the nation over which it
was to extend, to be able to connect himself with the future progress of
an agile and ambitious people, was certainly a rare and happy fortune,
and must be considered, when we claim superiority for him over those who
were placed in the midst of apathy and decay. His influence upon us may
be seen in the material, but still more distinctly in the social and
moral action of the country. With those laws which here restrain
turbulent forces and stimulate beneficent ones,--with the bright visions
of peace and freedom which the unhappy of every European race see in
their Western skies, tempting them hither,--with the kind spirit which
here loosens the bonds of social prejudice, and to ambition sings an
inspiring strain,--with these, which are our pride and boast, he is
associated indissolubly and forever. With the things which have brought
our country into disrepute--we leave it for others to recall the dismal
catalogue--his name cannot be connected.

Not the least valuable result of his life is the triumphant refutation
which it gives to the assertion, so often made by blatant sophisters,
that none but low arts avail in republics. He has been called a
demagogue. This charge is the charge of misconception or ignorance. It
is true, he believed that his doctrines would prevail; he was sensitive
to the opinions of others, nor was he "out of love with noble fame"; but
his successes were fairly, manfully won. He had none of the common
qualifications for popularity. No glare of military glory surrounded
him; he had not the admired gift of eloquence; he was opposed by wealth
and fashion, by the Church and the press, by most of the famous men of
his day,--by Jay, Marshall, the Pinckneys, Knox, King, and Adams; he had
to encounter the vehement genius of Hamilton and the _prestige_ of
Washington; he was not in a position for direct action upon the people;
he never went beyond the line of his duty, and, from 1776 to his
inaugural address, he did not publish a word which was calculated to
excite lively, popular interest;--yet, in spite of all and against all,
he won. So complete was the victory, that, at his second election,
Massachusetts stood beside Virginia, supporting him. He won because he
was true to a principle. Thousands of men, whose untutored minds could
not comprehend a proposition of his elaborate philosophy, remembered
that in his youth he had proclaimed the equality of men, knew that in
maturity he remained true to that declaration, and, believing that this
great assurance of their liberties was in danger, they gathered around
him, preferring the scholar to orators and soldiers. They had confidence
in him because he had confidence in them. There is no danger in that
demagogism the art of which consists in love for man. Fortunate, indeed,
will it be for the Republic, if, among the aspirants who are now
pressing into the strife, and making their voices heard in the great
exchanges of public opinion, there are some who will imitate the civic
virtues and practise the benign philosophy of Thomas Jefferson!

We take leave of this book with reluctance. It is verbose and dull, but
it has led us along the path of American renown; it recites a story
which, however awkwardly told, can never fall coldly on an American ear.
It has, besides, given us an opportunity, of which we have gladly
availed ourselves, to make some poor amends for the wrongs which
Jefferson suffered at the hands of New England, to bear our testimony to
his genius and services, and to express our reverent admiration for a
life which, though it bears traces of human frailty, was bravely devoted
to grand and beneficent aims.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _The Life of Thomas Jefferson._ By HENRY S. RANDALL, LL.D.
In three volumes. New York: Derby & Jackson. 1858.]



A BUNDLE OF IRISH PENNANTS.


"Did you ever see the 'Three Chimneys,' Captain Cope?" I asked.

"I can show you where they are on the chart, if that'll do. I've been
right over where they're laid down, but I never saw the Chimneys myself,
and I never knew anybody that had seen them."

"But they are down on the chart," broke in a pertinacious matter-of-fact
body beside us.

"What of that?" replied the captain; "there's many a shoal and lone rock
down on the charts that nobody ever could find again. I've had my ship
right over the Chimneys, near enough to see the smoke, if they had been
there."

So opened the series of desultory conversations here set down. It is
talk on board ship, or specimen "yarns," such as really are to be picked
up from nautical men. The article usually served up for
magazine-consumption is, of course, utterly unlike anything here given,
and is as entirely undiscoverable anywhere on salt water as the three
legendary rocks above alluded to. The place was the deck of the "Elijah
Pogram," one of Carr & Co.'s celebrated Liverpool liners, and the time,
the dog-watches of a gusty April night; the latitude and longitude,
anywhere west of Greenwich and north of the line that is not
inconsistent with blue water.

The name "Irish Pennant" is given, on the _lucus-a-non_ principle, (just
as a dead calm is "an Irish hurricane, straight up and down,") to any
dangling end of rope or stray bit of "shakings," and its appropriateness
to the following sketches will doubtless be perceived by the reader, on
reaching the end.

The question was asked, not so much from a laudable desire of obtaining
information as to set the captain talking. It was a mistake on my part.
Sailors do not like point-blank questions. They remind them
unpleasantly, I suppose, of the Courts of Admiralty, or they betray
greenness or curiosity on the asker's part, and thus effectually bar all
improving conversation.

There is one exception. If the inquirer be a lady, young and fair, the
chivalry of the sea is bound to tell the truth, the whole truth, and
often a good deal more than the truth.

And at the last reply a pair of bewitching dark eyes were turned upon
that weather-beaten mariner; that is to say, in plain English, a young
and rather pretty lady-passenger looked up at Captain Cope, and said,--

"Do tell us some of your sea-stories, Captain Cope,--do, please!"

"Why, Ma'am," replied he, "I've no stories. There's Smith of the
'Wittenagemot' can tell them by the hour; but I never could."

"Weren't you ever wrecked, Captain Cope?"

"No,--I can't say I ever was, exactly. I was mate of the 'Moscow' when
she knocked her bottom out in Bootle Bay; but she wasn't lost, for I
went master of her after that."

"Were you frightened, Captain Cope?"

"Well, no,--I can't say I was; though I must say I never expected to see
morning again. I never saw any one more scared than was old Captain
Tucker that night. We dragged over the outer bar and into Bootle Bay,
and there we lay, the ship full of water, and everything gone above the
monkey-rail. The only place we could find to stand was just by the cabin
gangway. The 'Moscow' was built with an old-fashioned cabin on deck, and
right there we hung, all hands of us. The old man he read the service to
us,--and that wouldn't do, he was so scared; so he got the black cook,
who was a Methodist, and made him pray; and every two minutes or so, a
sea would come aboard and all in among us,--like to wash us clean out of
the ship.

"After midnight the life-boat got alongside, and all hands were for
scrambling aboard; but I'd got set in my notion the ship would live the
gale out, and I wouldn't go aboard. Well, the old man was too scared to
make long stories, and he tumbled aboard the life-boat in a hurry. The
last words he said to me, as he went over the side, were,--'Good-bye,
Mr. Cope! I never shall see you again!' However, he got up to the city,
to Mrs. McKinney's, and there he found a lot of the captains, and he was
telling them all how he'd lost his ship, and what a fool poor Cope was
to stick aboard of her, and all that. When the morning came, the gale
had broke, and the old man began to think he'd been in too much of a
fright, and he'd better get the tug and go down to look after the ship.

"I was so knocked up, for want of sleep, and the gale and all, that,
when they got down to us, my head was about gone. I don't remember
anything, myself; but they told me, that, when they got aboard, I was
poking about decks as if I was looking for something.

"'How are you, Mr. Cope?' sung out old Tucker. 'I never expected to see
_you_ again in _this_ world.'

"'I can't find my razor-strop,' says I; I've lost my razor-strop.'

"'Never mind your strop,' says he. 'What you want is to go aboard the
tug and be taken care of. We'll find your strop.'

"Well, they could hardly get me away, I was so set that I must have that
strop; but after I got up to town, and had a bath and some breakfast,
and a couple of hours' sleep or so, I was all right again. That was the
end of old Tucker's going to sea; and when the 'Moscow' was docked and
refitted, I got her, and kept her until the firm built me the 'Pogram,'
here."

"Mr. Brown, isn't it about time we were getting in that mizzen
to'gall'nt-s'l? It's coming on to blow to-night."

"Steward," (as that functionary passed us,) "put a handful of cigars in
my monkey-jacket pocket, and have a cup of coffee ready for me about
twelve."

"Then you mean to be up, to-night?" said the father of pretty Mrs.
Bates,--the only one of us to whom Captain Cope fairly opened his heart.

"Why, yes, Mr. Roberts--I think I shall. It looks rather dirty to the
east'ard, and the barometer has fallen since morning. I've two as good
mates as sail; but if anything is going to happen, I'd rather have it
happen when I'm on deck,--that's all."

"Wasn't Stewart, of the 'Mexican,' below, when she struck?"

"Yes, he was,--and got blamed for it, too. I don't blame him, myself; he
was on deck the next minute; and if he had been there before, it would
have made no difference with that ship; but if _I_ lose a vessel, I
don't want to be talked about as he was. I went mate with him two
voyages, and he'd put on his night-gown and turn in comfortably every
night, and leave his mates to call him; but I never could do that. I
don't find fault with any man that can; only it's not my way."

"But don't you feel sleepy, Captain Cope?" asked Mrs. Bates.

"Not when I'm on deck, Ma'am; though, when I first went mate, I could
sleep anyhow and anywhere. I sailed out of Boston to South America, in a
topsail-schooner, with an old fellow by the name of Eaton,--just the
strangest old scamp you ever dreamed of. I suppose by rights he ought to
have been in the hospital; he certainly was the nearest to crazy and not
be it. He used to keep a long pole by him on deck,--a pole with a sharp
spike in one end,--and any man who'd get near enough to him to let him
have a chance would feel that spike. I've known him to keep the cook up
till midnight frying doughnuts; then he'd call all hands aft and range
'em on the quarter-deck, and go round with his hat off and a plate of
doughnuts in his hand, saying, as polite as you please, 'Here, my man,
won't you take a doughnut?--they won't hurt you; nice and light; had
them fried a purpose for you.' And then he'd get a bottle of wine or
Curaçoa cordial, and go round with a glass to each man, and make him
take a drink. You'd see the poor fellows all of a shake, not knowing how
to take it,--afraid to refuse, and afraid still more, if they didn't,
that the old man would play 'em some confounded trick. In the midst of
it all, he'd seem as if he'd woke up out of a dream, and he'd sing out,
in a way that made them fellows scatter, 'What the ---- are all you men
doing here at this time of night? Go forrard, every man jack of you! Go
forrard, I tell you!' and it was 'Devil take the hindmost!'

"Well,--the old man was always on the look-out to catch the watch
sleeping. He never seemed to sleep much himself;--I've heard _that's_ a
sign of craziness;--and the more he tried, the more sure we were to try
it every chance we had. So sure as the old man caught you at it, he'd
give you a bucketful of water, slap over you, and then follow it up with
the bucket at your head. Fletcher, the second mate, and I, got so we
could tell the moment he put foot on the companion-way, and, no matter
how sound we were, we'd be on our feet before he could get on deck. But
Fletcher got tired of his vagaries, and left us at Pernambuco, to ship
aboard a homeward-bound whaler, and in his place we got a fellow named
Tubbs, a regular duff-head,--couldn't keep his eyes open in the daytime,
hardly.

"Well,--we were about two days out of Pernambuco, and Tubbs had the
middle watch, of a clear starlight night, with a steady breeze, and
everything going quietly, and nothing in sight. So, in about ten minutes
after the watch got on deck, every mother's son of them was hard and
fast. The wind was a-beam, and the old schooner could steer herself; so,
even the man at the helm was sitting down on a hencoop, with one arm
round the tiller, and snoring like a porpoise. I heard the old man rouse
out of his bunk and creep on deck, and, guessing fun was coming, I
turned out and slipped up after him. The first thing I saw was old Eaton
at work at the tiller. He got it unshipped and braced up with a pair of
oars and a hencoop, without waking the man at the helm,--how, I couldn't
tell,--but he was just like a cat; and then he blew the binnacle-light
out; and then he started forrard, with his trumpet in his hand. He
caught sight of me, standing halfway up the companion-way, and shook his
fist at me to keep quiet and not to spoil sport. He slipped forward and
out on to the bowsprit, clear out to the end of the flying-jib-boom, and
stowed himself where he couldn't be well seen to leeward of the sail.
Then he sung out with all his might through the trumpet, '_Schooner
ahoy, there! Port your hellum!--port_ H-A-A-A-RD! I say,--you're right
aboard of us!'--And then he'd drop the trumpet, and sing out as if in
the other craft to his own crew, and then again to us. Of course, every
man was on his feet in a second, thinking we were all but afoul of
another vessel. The man who was steering was trying, with all his might,
to put his helm a-port,--and when he found what was to pay there, to
ship the tiller. This wasn't so easy; for the old man had passed the
slack of the main-sheet through the head of the rudder, and belayed it
on one of the boom-cleats, out of reach,--and, what with just waking up,
and half a dozen contradictory orders sung out at once, besides
expecting to strike every minute, he had almost lost what little wits he
had.

"As for Tubbs, he was like a hen with her head cut off,--one minute at
the lee rail, and the next in the weather-rigging, then forrard to look
out for the strange craft, and then aft to see why the schooner didn't
answer her helm. Meanwhile, he was singing out to the watch to brace
round the fore-topsail and help her, to let fly the jib-sheets, and to
haul aft the main-boom; the watch below came tumbling up, and everybody
was expecting to feel the bunt of our striking the next minute. I
laughed as though I should split; for nobody could see me where I stood,
in the shadow of the companion-way, and everybody was looking out ahead,
for the other vessel. First I knew, the old man had got in board again,
and was standing there aft, as if he'd just come on deck. 'What's all
this noise here?' says he.--'What are you doing on deck, Mr. Cope? Go
below, Sir!--Go below, the larboard watch, and let's have no more of
this! Who's seen any vessel? Vessel, your eye, Mr. Tubbs! I tell you,
you've been dreaming.' Then, as he got his head about to the level of
the top of the companion-way, and out of the reach of any spare
belaying-pin that might come that way, says he,--'I've just come in from
the end of the flyin'-jib-boom, and there was no vessel in sight, except
one topsail-schooner, _with the watch all asleep_,--so it can't be her
that hailed you.'

"That cured all sleeping on the watch for _that_ voyage, I tell you. And
as for Tubbs, you had only to say, 'Port your helm,' and he was off."

Just then Mr. Brown came aft to ask if it wasn't time to have in the
fore-topgallant-sail,--and a little splash of rain falling broke up our
party and drove most of us below. I knew that reefing topsails would
come in the course of an hour or so, if the wind held on to blow as it
did; so, as I waited to see that same, I lighted a cheroot, and as soon
as the fore-topgallant-sail was clewed up I made my way forward, for a
chat with Mr. Brown, the English second mate.

Mr. Brown was a character. He was a thorough English sailor;--could do,
as he owned to me in a shamefaced way, that was comical enough,
"heverything as could be done with a rope aboard a ship." He had been
several India voyages, where the nice work of seamanship is to be
learned, which does not get into the mere "ferry-boat" trips of the
Liverpool packet-service. He had been in an opium clipper, the
celebrated ---- of Boston,--and left her, as he told her agent, "because
he liked a ship as 'ad a lee-rail to her; and the ----'s lee-rail," he
said, "was commonly out of sight, pretty much all the way from the
Sand'eads to the Bocca Tigris." He was rich in what he called "'ats,"
having one for every hour of the day, and, for aught I know, every day
in the year. It was Fred ----'s and my daily amusement to watch him, and
we never seemed to catch him coming on deck twice in the same head-gear.
He took quite a fancy to me, because I did not bother him when busy, and
because I liked to listen to his talk. So, handing him a cigar, as a
prefatory to conversation, I asked him our whereabouts. "Four hundred
miles to the heast'ard of Georges we were this noon, and we've made
nothink to speak of since, Sir. This last tack has lost us all we made
before. I hought to know where we are. I've drifted 'ere without even a
'en-coop hunder me. I was third mate aboard the barque 'Jenny,' of
Belfast, when she was run down by the steamer 'United States.' The
barque sunk in less than seven minutes after the steamer struck us, and
I come up out of her suction-like. I found myself swimming there, on
top, and not so much as a capstan-bar to make me a life-buoy. I knew the
steamer was hove to, for I could hear her blow hoff steam; and once, as
I came up on a wave, I got a sight of her boats. They were ready enough
to pick us up, and we was ready enough to be picked up, such as were
left; but how to do it was another matter, with a sea like this
running, and a cloud over the moon every other minute. I soon see that
swimming wouldn't 'old out much longer, and I must try something helse.
Now, Sir, what I'm a-telling you may be some use to you some day, if you
have to stay a couple of hours in the water. If you can swim about as
well as most men can, you can tell 'ow long a man's strength would last
him 'ereaways to-night. Besides, I was spending my breath, when I rose
on a sea, in 'ollering,--and you can't swim and 'oller. So I tried a
trick I learned, when a boy, on the Cornish coast, where I was born,
Sir;--it's one worth knowing. I doubled back my feet hunder me till my
'eels come to the small of my back, and I could float as long as I
wanted to, and, when I rose on a wave, 'oller. They 'eard me, it seems,
and pulled round for me, but it was an hour before they found me, and my
strength was nigh to gone. I couldn't 'oller no more, and was about
giving up. But they picked up the cook, and he told 'em he knowed it was
Mr. Brown's voice, and begged 'em to keep on. The last I remember was,
as the steamer burned a blue light for her boats, when they caught a
sight of me in the trough of the sea. I saw them too, and gave a last
screech, and then I don't remember hanythink, Sir, till Cookie was
'elping 'aul (Mr. Brown always dropped his aspirates as he grew excited)
me into the boat. Now, just you remember what I've been a-telling you
about floating."--"_Forrard there! Stand by to clew up and furl the main
to'gall'n-s'l! Couple of you come aft here and brail up the spanker!
Lively, men, lively!_"--And Mr. Brown was no longer my Scheherazade.

When I got back to the shelter of the wheel-house, I found the captain
and old Roberts still comfortably braced up in opposite corners and
yarning away. There was nothing to be done but to watch the ship and the
wind, which promised in due time to be a gale, but as yet was not even a
reefing breeze. They had got upon a standing topic between the
two,--vessels out of their course. The second night out, we had made a
light which the captain insisted was a ship's light, but old Roberts
declared was one of the lights on the coast of Maine,--Mount Desert, or
somewhere thereabouts. He was an old shipping-merchant, had been many a
time across the water in his own vessels, and thought he knew as much as
most men. So, whenever other subjects gave out, this, of vessels drifted
by unsuspected currents out of their course, was unfailing. They were at
it now.

"When I was last in Liverpool," said the captain, "there was a brig from
Machias got in there, and her captain came up to Mrs. McKinney's. He
told us that it was thick weather when he got upon the Irish coast, and
he was rather doubtful about his reckoning; so he ordered a sharp
look-out for Cape Clear. According to his notion, he ought to be up with
it about noon, and, as the sun rose and the fog lifted a little, he was
hoping to sight the land. Once or twice he fancied he had a glimpse of
it, but wasn't sure,--when the mate came aft and reported that they
could hear a bell ringing. 'Sure enough,' he said, 'there was the toll
of a bell coming through the mist.'

"'That's some ship's bell,' said he to the mate; 'only it's wonderful
heavy for a ship, and it can't be a church-bell on shore, can it?'

"And while they were arguing about it, a cutter shot out of the fog and
hailed if they wanted a pilot.

"'Pilot!' says the Down-Easter,--'pilot!--where for? No, thank ye, not
yet,--I can find my way up George's without a pilot. What bell's that?'

"'Rather think you can, Captain; but you'll want a pilot here;--that's
the bell on the floating light off Liverpool.'

"'What!' says the captain,--have I come all the way up Channel without
knowing it? I've been on the look-out for Cape Clear ever since
daybreak, and here, by ginger, I've overrun my reckoning _three hundred
miles_.'"

"Well," said old Roberts, "one of my captains, Brandegee, you know, who
had the 'China,' got caught, one November, just as he was coming on the
coast, in a gale from the eastward. He knew he was somewhere near
Provincetown, but how near he couldn't say. It was snowing, and blowing,
and ice-making all over the decks and rigging, and an awful night
generally. He did not dare to run before it, because it was blowing at a
rate to take him halfway in Worcester County in the next twenty-four
hours. He couldn't stand to the south'ard, because that would put the
back of Cape Cod under his lee. He was afraid to stand to the north'ard,
not knowing precisely where the coast of Maine might be. So he hove the
ship to, under as little sail as he could, and let her drift. I've heard
him say, he heard the breakers a hundred times that night," ('I'll bet
he did,' ejaculated the captain.) "and it seemed like three nights in
one before morning came. When it did come, wind and sea appeared to have
gone down. The lookouts were half dead with cold and sleep and all; but
they made out to hail land on the weather bow.

"'Good George!' said old Brandegee, 'how did land get on the _weather_
bow? We must have got inside of Cape Cod, and that must be Sharkpainter
Hill.'

"'Land on the lee quarter,' hailed the watch, again: and in a minute
more, 'Land on the lee beam,--land on the lee bow.'

"Brandegee sung out to heave the lead and let go both anchors, and he
said that, but for the gale having gone down so, he should have expected
to strike the next minute. Just as the anchors came home and the ship
headed to the wind, the second mate came aft, rubbing his eyes and
looking very queer.

"'Captain Brandegee,' says he, 'if I was in Boston Harbor, I should say
that there was Nix's Mate.'

"'Well, Mr. Jones,' says the old man, dropping out the words very
slowly, 'if--that's--Nix's Mate,--Rainsford Island--ought--to--be--here
away, and--as--I'm--a--living--man, THERE IT IS!'

"Half-frozen as they were, there was a cheer rung out from that crew
that waked half the North-End out of their morning nap.

"'Just my plaguy luck!' said the old fellow to me, as he told it. 'If
I'd held on to my anchors another half-hour, I might have come
handsomely alongside of Long Wharf and been up to the custom-house
before breakfast.'

"He had drifted broadside square into Boston Harbor, past Nahant, the
Graves, Cohasset Rocks, and everything."

"I've heard of that," said the captain,--"and as it's my opinion it
couldn't be done twice, I don't mean to try it."

    "I hear the noise about thy keel,
      I hear the bell struck in the night,
      I see the cabin-window bright,
    I see the sailor at the wheel,"--

repeated Fred ----, in my ear. "Come below out of this wet and rain,"
added he.

We passed the door of the mate's state-room as we went below, and,
seeing it ajar, and Mr. Pitman, the mate, sitting there, we looked in.

"Come in, gentlemen," said he; "my watch on deck is in half an hour, and
I'm not sleepy to-night."

F---- took up a carved whale's tooth, and asked if Mr. Pitman had ever
been in the whaling business.

"Two voyages,--one before the mast, one boat-steerer;--both in the
Pacific. But whaling didn't suit me. I've a Missus now, and a couple of
as fine boys as ever you saw; and I rather be where I can come home
oftener than once in three years."

"How did you like whaling?" said I.

"Well, I don't believe there's any man but what feels different
alongside of a whale from what he does on the ship's deck. Some of those
Nantucket and New Bedford men, who've been brought up to it, as you may
say, take it naturally, and think of nothing but the whale. I've heard
of one of them boat-steerers who got ketched in a whale's mouth and
didn't come out of it quite as whole as he went in. When they asked him
what he thought when the whale nabbed him, he said he 'thought she'd
turn out about forty barrels.'

"There's a good many things about the whale, gentlemen, that everybody
don't know. Why does one whale sink when he's killed, and another don't?
Where do the whales go to, now and then?--I sailed with one captain who
used to say, that, books or no books, can't live under water or not, _he
knew_ that whales do live under water months at a time. I can't say,
myself; but this I can say,--they go ashore. You may look hard at that,
but I've seen it. We were off the coast of South America, in company
with five other ships; and all our captains were ashore one afternoon.
We had to pull some two miles or so to go off to them, and, starting
off, all hands were for racing. I was pulling stroke in the captain's
boat, and the old man gives us the word to pull easy, and let 'em head
on us. It was hard work to hold in, with every one of the boats giving
way, strong, the captains singing out bets, and cheering their
men,--singing out, 'Break your backs and bend your oars!' 'There she
blows!' and all that. But the old man kept muttering to us to take it
easy and let them head on us. We were soon the last boat, and then, as
if he'd given up the race, he gave the word to 'easy.'

"'Good-night, Capt. T----! we'll send your ship in to tow you off,' was
the last words they said to us.

"'There'll be something else to tow off,' says he. 'It's the race, who
shall see Palmer's Island first, that I'm bound to win.'

"He gave the boat a sheer in for the beach, to a little bight that made
up in the land,--across the mouth of which we had to pull, in going off.

"'D'ye see that rock on the beach, boys,' says he, 'in range of that
lone tree, on the point? Did any of you ever see that rock before? I
wish this bloody coast had a few more such rocks! That's a cow whale,
and this bight is her nursery, and she is up on the beach for her calf's
convenience. Now, then,'--as we opened the bight and got a fair sight of
it,--'give way, strong as you please,--and we'll head her off, before
she knows it.'

"We got her and got the calf, and when, next morning, the other ships
saw us cutting in, they didn't say much about that race; and 'Old T.'s
Nursery' was a byword on the coast as long as we staid there.

"There goes eight bells, and I rather think Mr. Brown will want me on
deck." We followed, for there was the prospect of seeing topsails
reefed,--the most glorious event of a landsman's sea-experiences. We had
begun the day with a dead calm, but toward night the wind had come out
of the eastward. Each plunge the ship gave was sharper, each shock
heavier. The topmasts were working, the lee-shrouds and backstays
straining out into endless curves. A deeper plunge than usual, a pause
for a second, as if everything in the world suddenly stood still, and a
great white giant seems to spring upon our weather-bow and to leap on
board. We hear the crash and feel the shock, and presently the water
comes pouring aft,--and Captain Cope calls out to reef
topsails,--double-reef fore and mizzen,--one reef in the main. The mates
are in the weather-rigging before the word is out of the captain's lips,
to take the earings of their respective topsails; and then follows the
rush of men up the shrouds and out along the yards. The sails are
slatting and flapping, and one can hardly see the row of broad backs
against the dusky sky as they bend over the canvas. There are hoarse
murmurs, and calls to "light up the sail to windward"; and presently
from the fore-topsail-yard comes the cry, ringing and clear,--"Haul away
to leeward!"--repeated next moment from the main and echoed from the
mizzen. Sheltered by the weather-bulwarks, and with one arm round a
mizzen-backstay, there is a capital place to watch all this and feel the
glorious thrill of the sea,--to look down the sloping deck into the
black billows, with here and there a white patch of foam, and while the
organ-harp overhead is sounding its magnificent symphony. It is but
wood and iron and hemp and canvas that is doing all this, with some
thirty poor, broken-down, dissipated wretches, who, being fit for
nothing else, of course _are_ fit for the fo'castle of a Liverpool
Liner. Yet it is, for all that, something which haunts the memory
long,--which comes back years after in inland vales and quiet
farm-houses like brown-moss agates set in emerald meadows, in book-lined
studios, and in close city streets. For it is part of the might and
mystery of the sea, the secret influence that sets the blood on fire and
the heart throbbing,--of any in whose veins runs some of the true
salt-water sympathy. Men are born landsmen, and are born on land, but
belong to the Ocean's family. Sooner or later, whatever their calling,
they recognize the tie. They may struggle against it, and scotch it, but
cannot kill it. They may not be seamen,--they may wear black coats and
respectable white ties, and have large balances in the bank, but they
are the Sea's men,--brothers by blood-relationship, if not by trade, of
Ulysses and Vasco, of Columbus and Cabot, of Frobisher and Drake.

Other stories of the sea are floating through my memory as I
write,--tales told with elbows leaning on cabin-tables, while the
swinging-lamp oscillated drearily overhead, and sent uncertain shadows
into the state-room doors. There is the story which Vivian Grey told us
of the beautiful clipper "Nighthawk,"--her who sailed with the "Bonita"
and "Driving-Scud" and "Mazeppa," in the great Sea-Derby, whose course
lay round the world. How, one Christmas-day, off the pitch of Cape Horn,
he, standing on her deck, saw her dive bodily into a sea, and all of her
to the mainmast was lost in ocean,--her stately spars seemingly rising
out of blue water unsupported by any ship beneath;--it seemed an age to
him, he said, before there was any forecastle to be seen rising from the
brine. Also, how, caught off that same wild cape, they had to make sail
in a reef-topsail-breeze to claw off its terrible rocks, seen but too
plainly under their Ice. How, as he said, "about four in the afternoon
it seemed to blow worse than ever, and you could see the staunch boat
was pressed down under her canvas, and every spar was groaning and
quivering, while the ship went bodily to leeward." And next, "how she
seemed to come to herself, as it were, with a long staggering roll, and
to spring to windward as if relieved of a dead weight; for the gale had
broken, and the foam-belt along the cliffs grew dimmer and dimmer, and
the land fainter and fainter. And then," he said, "to hear the
fo'castle-talk, you would have said that never was such a ship, such
spars, such a captain, such seamanship, and such luck, since Father
Jason cleared the 'Argo' from the Piræus, for Colchis and a market."

Or I might tell you how Dr. ----, the ship-surgeon, was in that Collard
steamer which ran down the fishing-boat in the fog off Cape Race,--and
how, looking from his state-room window, he saw a mighty cliff so near
that he could almost lay his hand upon it. How Fanshaw was on board the
"Sea-King" when she was burned, off Point Linus,--and how he hung in the
chains till he was taken off, and his hair was repeatedly set on fire by
the women--emigrant-passengers--jumping over his head into the sea.

But not so near a-shaking hands with Death did any of them tell, as Ned
Kennedy,--who, poor fellow, lies buried in some lone _cañon_ of the
Sierra Madre. Let us hear him give it in his wild, reckless way. Ned was
sitting opposite us, his thick, black hair curling from under his plaid
travelling-cap,--his thick eyebrows working, and his hands occupied in
arranging little fragments of pilot-biscuit on the table. He broke in
upon the last man who was talking, with a--

"Tell you what, boys,--I've a better idea of what all that means. I
suppose you both know what the Mediterranean lines of steamers are, and
what capital seamanship, and travelling comfort, and all that, you find
there. The engineers, however, are Scotch, English, or American, always;
because why? A French officer once told me the reason. 'You see, _mon
ami_,' he said, 'this row of handles which are used to turn these
different stops and cocks. Now, my countrymen will take them down and
use them properly, each one, just as well as your countrymen; but they
will put them back again in their places never.' So it is, and the
engineers are all as I say.

"I left Naples for Genoa in the 'Ercolano,' of the Naples line. There
were not many passengers on board,--no women,--and what there were were
all priests or soldiers. Nobody went by the Neapolitan line except
Italians, at that time,--the French company having larger, handsomer,
and decidedly cleaner vessels. Of course, as a heretic and a civilian, I
had nobody to talk to; so, finding that the engineer had a Saxon tongue
in his head, I dove down into his den and made acquaintance. Being shut
up there with Italians so much, he thawed out to me at once, and we were
sworn brothers by the time we reached Civita Vecchia.

"The 'Ercolano' was as crazy an old tub as every floated: judging from
the extensive colonies which tenanted her berths, she must have been
launched about the same time as Fulton's 'Clermont,' or the old 'Ben
Franklin,' Captain Bunker, once so well known off the end of Newport
wharf. You know how those boats are managed,--stopping all day in port
and running at night. We brought up at Leghorn in that way, and Marston,
the engineer, proposed to me to have a run ashore. I had no _visé_ for
Tuscany then, and the Austrian police are very strict; but Marston
proposed to pass me off for one of the steamer's officers. So he fished
out an old uniform coat of his and made me put it on; and, sure enough,
the bright buttons and shoulder-straps carried me through,--only I was
dreadfully embarrassed." (Ned never was disturbed at anything.--if an
elephant had walked into the cabin, he would have offered him a seat and
cigar.) "by the sentries all presenting arms to my coat, which sat upon
me as a shirt is supposed to on a bean-pole. I overheard one man
attribute my attenuated frame to the effects of sea-sickness. We went
into various shops, and finally into one where all sorts of sea-notions
were kept, and Marston said, 'Here's what I've been in search of this
month past. I began to think I should have to send to London for it. The
'Ercolano' is a perfect sieve, and may go down any night with all
aboard; and here's a swimming-jacket to wear under your coat,--just the
thing.' He fitted and bought one, and was turning to go, when a fancy
popped into my head: 'Marston,' said I, 'is this coat of yours so very
baggy on me?' 'H-e-em,' said he. 'I've known more waxy fits; a trifle of
padding wouldn't hurt your looks.' 'I know it,' said I; 'every soldier
we passed seemed to me to smoke me for an impostor, knowing the coat
wasn't made for me. Here, let's put one of these things underneath.' I
put it on, buttoned the coat over it, inflated it, and the effect was a
marvel;--it made a portly gentleman of me at once. I couldn't bear to
take it off. 'Just the thing for diligence-travelling in the South of
France,' said I; 'keep your neighbor's elbows from your ribs.' I never
thought that I must buy a coat to match it. I was so tickled at my own
fancy that buy it I would, in spite of Marston's remonstrance. Then we
went off and dined, and got very jolly together,--at least, I did,--so
that, when we pulled off to the steamer, I thought nothing about my coat
or the jacket under it.

"There was a dirty-looking sky overhead, and a nasty cobbling sea
getting up under foot as we ran out of Leghorn Harbor, and a little
French screw which we left at her anchor was fizzing off steam from her
waste-pipe,--evidently meaning to stay where she was. But our captain,
having been paid in advance for all the dinners of the voyage, preferred
being at sea before the cloth was laid. That made sure of at least
twenty out of every twenty-five passengers as non-comedents, and
lightened the cook's labors wonderfully. So we were soon jumping and
bobbing about and throwing water in a lively way enough; and our black
gowns and blue coats were lying about decks in every direction, with
what had been _padres_ and soldiers an hour before inside. I lit a cigar
and picked out the driest place I could find, and hugged myself on my
luck,--another man's coat getting wet on my back, while the air-tight
jacket was keeping me dry as a bone.

"As night fell, it grew worse and worse; and the little Sicilian captain
came on deck, looking rather wild. He called his pilots and mates into
consultation, and from where I lay I could hear the words, 'Spezzia,'
and 'Porto Venere,' several times; so I suppose they were debating
whether or no to keep her head to the gale, or to edge away a point or
two, and run for that bay. But with a head sea and a Mediterranean gale
howling down from the gorges of the Ligurian Alps, that thing wasn't so
easy. The boat would plunge into a sea and bury to her paddle-boxes,
then pitch upward as if she were going to jump bodily out of water, and
slap down into it again, while her guards would spring and quiver like
card-board. The engine began to complain, as they will when a boat is
laboring heavily. You could hear it take, as it were, long breaths, and
then stop for a second altogether. I slipped below into the engine-room,
and found Marston looking very sober. 'Kennedy,' said he, 'the
'Ercolano' will be somebody's coffin before to-morrow morning, I'm
afraid. I'm carrying more steam than is prudent or safe, and the
_padrone_ has just sent orders to put on more. We are not making a mile
an hour, he says; and our only chance is to get under the lee of the
land. Look at those eccentrics and that connecting-rod! I expect to see
something go any minute; and then--there's no use saying what will come
next.' He sat down on his bench and covered his face with his hands.

"It seems, the 'Spezzia' question was decided about that time on deck,
and the 'Ercolano's' bow suffered to fall off in the direction of that
bay. The effect was that the next sea caught us full on the weather-bow
with a shock that pitched everything movable out of its place. There was
a twist and a grind from the machinery, a snap and a crash, and then
part after part gave way, as the strain fell upon it in turn. Marston,
with an engineer's instinct, shut off the steam; but the mischief was
done. We felt the 'Ercolano' give a wild sheer, and then a long,
sickening roll, as if she were going down bodily,--and we sprang for the
companion-ladder. Everything on deck was at sixes and sevens when we
reached it '_Sangue di San Gennaro! siamo perduli!_' howled the captain;
and even the poor sea-sick passengers seemed to wake up a little. It was
a bad look-out. We got pretty much of every wave that was going, so
there was hardly any standing forward; and, having no steam on, the wind
and the sea had their own way with us. The gallant little _padrone_
seemed to keep up his pluck, and made out to show a little sail, so as
to bring her by the wind; but that, in a long, sharp steamer, didn't
mend matters much. To make things completely cheerful and comfortable,
word was passed up that we were leaking badly. I confess I didn't see
much hope for us; and having lugged up my valise from below, where there
was already a foot of water over the cabin-floor, I picked out the
little valuables I could stow about me and kicked the rest into a
corner. Still we had our boats, and, as the gale seemed to be breaking a
little, there was hope for us. At last they managed to get them into the
water, and keep them riding clear under our lee. The priests were
bundled in like so many wet bales of black cloth, and then the soldiers,
and Marston and I tried to follow; but a 'No room for heretics here,'
enforced by a bit of brown steel in a soldier's hands, kept us back. The
chance wasn't worth fighting for, after all. I didn't believe the
steamer would sink, any way. I was aboard the 'San Francisco' when she
drifted for nine days. However, there wasn't much time left for us to
speculate on that,--for a rush of firemen and crew and the like into
the boats was the next thing, and then the fasts were cast off or cut,
and the wind and sea did the rest. They shot away into the darkness. A
couple of firemen, two of the priests, and a soldier were left on board.
The firemen went to getting drunk,--the priests were too sick to move or
care for anything,--the soldier sat quietly down on the cabin-skylight;
Marston and I climbed on to the port paddle-box to look out for a sail.

"The clouds had broken with the dying of the gale, and the moon shone
out, lighting up the foaming sea far and wide, and showing our
water-logged or sinking craft. Every wave that swept over us found its
way below, and we settled deeper and deeper. Still, if we could only
hold on till morning, those seas are alive with small craft, and we
stood a good chance of being picked off. I was saying as much to Marston
when the 'Ercolano' gave a lurch and then dove bows first into the sea.
A great wave seemed to curl over us, and then to thrust us by the
shoulders down into the depths, and all was darkness and water. I went
down, down, and still I was dragged lower still, though the pressure
from above ceased, and I was struggling to rise. I struck out with hands
and feet;--I was held fast. I felt behind me and found a hand grasping
my coat-tails. Marston had seized me, and with the other hand was
clinging to the iron rail on the top of the paddle-box,--clinging with
the death-grip of a drowning man, if you know what that is. I tried to
unclasp the fingers,--to drive him from his hold on the rail. Of course
I couldn't; it was Death's hand, not his, that was holding there, and my
own strength was going, when a thought flashed into my mind. I tore open
my coat, and it slipped from me like a grape-skin from the grape, and I
went up like an arrow.

"Never shall I forget the blessed light of heaven, and the sweet air in
my lungs once more. Bad off as I was, it was better than being anchored
to a sinking wreck by a dead man's grasp. I heard a voice near me that
night repeating the Latin prayers of the Romish Church for the departing
soul, but I couldn't see the speaker. The moon had gone under a cloud
again, but there was light enough for me to catch a glimpse of some
floating wreck on the crest of a wave above me; and then it came down
right on top of me,--a lot of rigging and a spar or two,--our topmast
and yard, which had gone over the side just before we foundered. I
climbed on to it, and found my prospects hugely improving,--especially
as clinging to the other end was the soldier left on board. As soon as I
could persuade him I was no spook or mermaid, he was almost as pleased
as I was, especially when he found I was the '_eretico_.' He was a
Swiss, it seemed, of King Ferdinand's regiments, going home on furlough,
and a Protestant, which was why he was left on board.

"Between us both we managed to get the spars into some sort of a
raft-shape, so that they would float us more comfortably; and there we
watched for the morning. When that came, the sea had smoothed itself,
and the wind died away considerably,--as it does in the Mediterranean at
short notice. We looked every way for the white lateen-sails of the
coasting and fishing craft, but in vain. It grew hotter and hotter as
the sun got higher, and hope and strength began to give out. I lay down
on the raft and slept,--how long I don't know, for my first
consciousness was my friend's cry of "A ship!" I looked up, and there,
sure enough, in the northeast, was a large ship, running before the
wind, right in our direction. I suspect poor Fritzeli must have been
asleep also, that he hadn't seen her before,--for she was barely a
couple of miles off. She was apparently from Genoa or Spezzia; but the
main thing was, that she was travelling our road, and that with a will.
I tore off my shirt-sleeve at the shoulder, and waved it, while Fritzeli
held up his red sash. But it was an anxious time. On she came,--a big
frigate. We could see a commodore's pendant flying at the main, and
almost hear the steady rush of water under her black bows. Did they see
us, or not? There was no telling; a man-of-war walks the sea's roads
without taking hats off to everybody that comes along. A quiet report
goes up to the officer of the deck, a long look with a glass, and the
whole affair would be settled without troubling us to come into council.
On she came, till we could see the guns in her bow ports, and almost
count the meshes in her hammock netting. The shadow of her lofty sails
was already fallen upon us before she gave a sign of recognition. Then
her bow gave a wide sheer, and her whole broadside came into view, as
she glided by the spars where we were crouching. An officer appeared at
her quarter and waved his gold-banded cap to us, as the frigate rounded
to, to the leeward of us,--and the glorious stripes and stars blew out
clear against the hot sky. A light dingey was in the water before the
main yard had been well swung aback, and a midshipman was urging the
men, who needed no urging, to give way strong. I didn't know how weak I
had got, till they were lifting me aboard the boat. An hour after, when
I had had something to eat and was a little restored and had told my
story, the officer of the deck was relieved and came below to see me.

"'I fancy, Sir, we've just passed something of your steamer,' he
said,--'a yawlboat, bottom up, with a name on the stern which we
couldn't well make out: _Erco_ something, it looked like. Hadn't been
long in the water, I should say.'

"And that was the last of the steamer. Fritzeli and I were the sole
survivors."



THE JOLLY MARINER:

A BALLAD.

    It was a jolly mariner
      As ever hove a log;
    He wore his trousers wide and free,
      And always ate his prog,
    And blessed his eyes, in sailor-wise,
      And never shirked his grog.

    Up spoke this jolly mariner,
      Whilst walking up and down:--
    "The briny sea has pickled me,
      And done me very brown;
    But here I goes, in these here clo'es,
      A-cruising in the town!"

    The first of all the curious things
      That chanced his eye to meet,
    As this undaunted mariner
      Went sailing up the street,
    Was, tripping with a little cane,
      A dandy all complete!

    He stopped,--that jolly mariner,--
      And eyed the stranger well;--
    "What that may be," he said, says he,
      "Is more than I can tell;
    But ne'er before, on sea or shore,
      Was such a heavy swell!"

    He met a lady in her hoops,
      And thus she heard him hail:--
    "Now blow me tight!--but there's a sight
      To manage in a gale!
    I never saw so small a craft
      With such a spread o' sail!

    "Observe the craft before and aft,--
      She'd make a pretty prize!"
    And then, in that improper way,
      He spoke about his eyes,
    That mariners are wont to use,
      In anger or surprise.

    He saw a plumber on a roof,
      Who made a mighty din:--
    "Shipmate, ahoy!" the rover cried,
      "It makes a sailor grin
    To see you copper-bottoming
      Your upper-decks with tin!"

    He met a yellow-bearded man,
      And asked about the way;
    But not a word could he make out
      Of what the chap would say,
    Unless he meant to call him names
      By screaming, "Nix furstay!"

    Up spoke this jolly mariner,
      And to the man said he,
    "I haven't sailed these thirty years
      Upon the stormy sea,
    To bear the shame of such a name
      As I have heard from thee!

    "So take thou that!"--and laid him flat.
      But soon the man arose,
    And beat the jolly mariner
      Across his jolly nose,
    Till he was fain, from very pain,
      To yield him to the blows.

    'Twas then this jolly mariner,
      A wretched jolly tar,
    Wished he was in a jolly-boat
      Upon the sea afar,
    Or riding fast, before the blast,
      Upon a single spar!

    'Twas then this jolly mariner
      Returned unto his ship,
    And told unto the wondering crew
      The story of his trip,
    With many oaths and curses, too,
      Upon his wicked lip!--

    As hoping--so this mariner
      In fearful words harangued--
    His timbers might be shivered, and
      His le'ward scuppers danged,
    (A double curse, and vastly worse
      Than being shot or hanged!)

    If ever he--and here again
      A dreadful oath he swore--
    If ever he, except at sea,
      Spoke any stranger more,
    Or like a son of--something--went
      A-cruising on the shore!



SUGGESTIONS.

    "Waste words, addle questions."

    BISHOP ANDREWS.


AFFAIRS.

When affairs are at their worst, a bold project may retrieve them by
giving an assurance, else wanting, that hope, spirit, and energy still
exist.


AFFINITIES.

Place an inferior character in contact with the finest circumstances,
and, from wanting affinities with them, he will still remain, from no
fault of his own, insensible to their attractions. Take him up the mount
of vision, and show him the finest scene in Nature, and, instead of
taking in the whole circle of its beauty, he will, quite as likely, have
his attention engrossed by something mean and insignificant under his
nose. I was reminded of this, on taking a little boy, three years old,
to the top of the New York Reservoir. Placing him on one of the
parapets, I endeavored to call his attention to the more salient and
distant features of the extended prospect; but the little fellow's mind
was too immature to be at all appreciative of them. His interest was
confined to what he saw going on in a dirty inclosure on the opposite
side of the street, where two or three goats were moving about. After
watching them with curious interest for some time, "See, see!" said he,
"dem is pigs down dare!" Was there need for quarrelling with my fine
little man for seeing pigs where there were only goats, or goats where
there was much worthier to be seen?


AFTER THE BATTLE.

A brave deed performed, a noble object accomplished, gives a fillip to
the spirits, an exhilaration to the feelings, like that imparted by
Champagne, only more permanent. It is, indeed, admirably well said by
one wise to discern the truth of things, and able to give to his thought
a vigorous expression, that "a man feels relieved and gay when he has
put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or
done otherwise shall give him no peace."


APPLAUSE.

Noble acts deserve a generous appreciation. Indeed, it is a species of
injustice not to warmly applaud whatever is wisely said or ably done.
Fine things are shown that they may be admired. When the peacock struts
about, it is to show what a fine tail he has.


ARTISTS.

The artist's business is with the beautiful. The repugnant is outside of
his province. Let him study only the beautiful, and he will always be
pleased; let him treat only of the beautiful, with a true feeling for
it, and he will always give pleasure.

The artist must love both his art and the subjects of his art. Nothing
that is not lovable is worth portraying. In the portrait of Rosa
Bonheur, she is appropriately represented with one arm thrown
affectionately around the neck of a bull. She must have loved this order
of animals, to have painted them so well.


AUTHORS.

Instead of the jealousies that obtain among them, there is no class that
ought to stand so close together, united in a feeling of common
brotherhood, to strengthen, to support, and to encourage, by mutual
sympathy and interchange of genial criticism, as authors. A sensitive
race, neglect pierces like sharp steel into the very marrow of their
being. And still they stand apart! Alive to praise, and needing its
inspiration, their relations are those of icebergs,--cold, stiff, lofty,
and freezing. What infatuation is this! They should seek each other out,
extend the hand of fellowship, and bridge the distance between them by
elaborate courtesies and kindly recognitions.


AN AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK.

No man is a competent judge of what he himself does. An author, on the
eve of his first publication, and while his book is going through the
press, is in a predicament like that of a man mounted on a fence, with
an ugly bull in the field that he is obliged to cross. The apprehended
silence of the journals concerning his merits--for no notice is the
worst notice--constitutes one of the "horns of his dilemma"; while their
possibly invidious comments upon his want of them constitute another and
equally formidable "horn." Between these, and the uncertainty as to
whether he will not in a little time be cut by one-half of his
acquaintances and only indulgently tolerated by the other half, his
experience is apt to be very peculiar, and certainly not altogether
agreeable. Never, therefore, envy an author his feelings on such an
occasion, on the score of their superior enjoyment, but rather let him
be visited with your softest pity and tenderest commiseration.


BOOKS.

A book is only a very partial expression of its author. The writer is
greater than his work; and there is in him the substance, not of one, or
a few, but of many books, were they only written out.


CAUSE AND EFFECT.

Small circumstances illustrate great principles. To-day my dinner cost
me sixpence less than usual. This is an incident not quite so important
as some others recorded in history, but the causes of it originated more
than two thousand years ago. It will also serve to explain the
principle, that causes are primary and secondary, remote and
immediate,--and that historians, when they speak of certain effects as
produced by certain causes. Socrates one day had a conversation with
Aristippus, in which he threw out certain remarks on the subject of
temperance. Being overheard by Xenophon, they were subsequently
committed to writing and published by him. These, falling in my way last
evening, made such an impression on my mind, that I was induced to-day
to forego my customary piece of pudding after dinner, to the loss of the
eating-house proprietor, whose receipts were thus diminished, first, by
a few observations of an ancient Greek, secondly, by a report given of
them by a bystander, and, thirdly, by the accidental perusal of them,
after twenty centuries, by one of his customers.


CHEERFULNESS.

Sullen and good, morbid and wise, are impossible conditions. The best
test, both of a man's wisdom and goodness, is his cheerfulness. When one
is not cheerful, he is almost invariably stupid. A sad face seldom gets
into much credit with the world, and rarely deserves to. "Sorrow," says
old Montaigne, "is a base passion."

"The quarrel between Gray and me," said Horace Walpole, "arose from his
being too serious a companion." In my opinion, this was a good ground
for cutting the connection. What right has any one to be "too serious a
companion?"


COWARDS.

In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that
imperil the brave. For cowards the road of desertion to the enemy should
be left open; they will carry over to them nothing but their fears. The
poltroon, like the scabbard, is an incumbrance when once the sword is
drawn.


CRITICISM.

No work deserves to be criticized which has not much in it that deserves
to be applauded. The legitimate aim of criticism is to direct attention
to what is excellent The bad will dig its own grave, and the imperfect
may be safely left to that final neglect from which no amount of present
undeserved popularity can rescue it.

Ever so critical of things: never but good-naturedly so of persons.


CULTURE.

Partial culture runs to the ornate; extreme culture to simplicity.


DEATH.

Without death in the world, existence in it would soon become, through
over-population, the most frightful of curses. To death we owe our life;
the passing of one generation clears the way for another; and thus, in
the economy of Providence, the very extinction of being is a provision
for extending the boon of existence. Even wars and disease are _a good
misunderstood_. Without them, child-murder would be as common in
Christendom as it is in over-populated China.


DEBTORS AND CREDITORS.

To interest a number of people in your welfare, get in debt to them. If
they will not then promote your interest, it is because they are not
alive to their own. It is to the advantage of creditors to aid their
debtors. Cæsar owed more than a million of dollars before he obtained
his first public employment, and at a later period his liabilities
exceeded his assets by ten millions. His creditors constituted an
important constituency, and doubtless aided to secure his elections.


DIFFICULTIES.

Great difficulties, when not succumbed to, bring out great virtues.


DISGUST.

A fit of disgust is a great stimulator of thought. Pleasure represses
it.


EARNESTNESS.

M. de Buffon says that "genius is only great patience." Would it not be
truer to say that genius is great earnestness? Patience is only one
faculty; earnestness is the devotion of all the faculties: it is the
cause of patience; it gives endurance, overcomes pain, strengthens
weakness, braves dangers, sustains hope, makes light of difficulties,
and lessens the sense of weariness in overcoming them. Yes, War yields
its victories, and Beauty her favors, to him who fights or wooes with
the most passionate ardor,--in other words, with the greatest
earnestness. Even the simulation of earnestness accomplishes much,--such
a charm has it for us. This explains the success of libertines, the
coarseness of whose natures is usually only disguised by a certain
conventional polish of manners: "their hearts seem in earnest, because
their passions are."


EDUCATION OF THE SEXES.

Girls are early taught deceit, and they never forget the lesson. Boys
are more outspoken. This is because boys are instructed that to be frank
and open is to be manly and generous, while their sisters are
perpetually admonished that "this is not pretty," or "that is not
becoming," until they have learned to control their natural impulses,
and to regulate their conduct by precepts and example. The result of all
this is, that, while men retain much of their natural dispositions,
women have largely made-up characters.


EMERSON'S ESSAYS.

I have not yet been able to decide whether it is better to read certain
of Emerson's essays as poetry or philosophy. Perhaps, though, it would
be no more than just to consider them as an almost complete and perfect
union of the two. Certainly, no modern writer has more of vivid
individuality, both of thought and expression,--and few writers, of any
age, will better bear reperusal, or surpass him in the grand merit of
suggestiveness. There is much in his books that I cannot clearly
understand, and passages sometimes occur that once seemed to me
destitute of meaning; but I have since learned, from a greater
familiarity with what he has written, to respect even his obscurities,
and to have faith that there is at all times behind his words both a man
and a meaning.


ENGLISHMEN.

There is in the character of perhaps a majority of Englishmen a singular
commingling of the haughty and the subservient,--the result, doubtless,
of the mixed nature, partly aristocratic and partly democratic, of the
government, and of the peculiar structure of English society, in which
every man indemnifies himself for the subserviency he is required to
exhibit to the classes above, by exacting a similar subserviency from
those below him. Thackeray, who is to be considered a competent judge of
the character of his countrymen, puts the remark into the mouth of one
of his characters, that, "if you wish to make an Englishman respect you,
you must treat him with insolence." The language is somewhat too strong,
and it would not be altogether safe to act upon the suggestion; but the
witticism embodies a modicum of truth, for all that.


EXAMPLE.

Example has more followers than reason.


EXCITEMENT COUNTERVAILS PAIN.

We wince under little pains, but Nature in us, through the excitement
attendant upon them, seems to brace us to endure with fortitude greater
agonies. A curious circumstance, that will serve as an illustration of
this, is told by an eminent surgeon of a person upon whom it became
necessary to perform a painful surgical operation. The surgeon, after
adjusting him in a position favorable to his purpose, turned for a
moment to write a prescription; then, taking up the knife, he was about
making an "imminent deadly breach" in the body of his subject, when he
observed an expression of distress upon his countenance. Wishing to
reassure him, "What disturbs you?" he inquired. "Oh," said the sufferer,
"you have left the pen in the inkstand!" and this being removed, he
submitted to the operation with extraordinary composure.


FACT AND FANCY.

"See, nurse I see!" exclaimed a delighted papa, as something like a
smile irradiated the face of his infant child,--"an angel is whispering
to it!" "No, Sir," replied the more matter-of-fact nurse,--"it is only
wind from its stomach."


FINE HOUSES.

To build a huge house, and furnish it lavishly,--what is this but to
play baby-house on a large scale?


FINE LADIES.

If you would know how many of the "airs" of a fine lady are "put on,"
contrast her with a woman who has never had the advantages of a genteel
training. What appear as the curvettings and prancings of a high-mettled
nature turn out, from the light thus afforded, to be only the tricks of
a skilful grooming.


FUTURE LIFE

Altogether too much thought is given to the next world. One world at a
time ought to be sufficient for us. If we do our duty manfully in this,
much consideration of our relations to that next world may be safely
postponed until we are in it.


GREAT MEN.

Oh, the responsibility of great men! Could some of these the originators
of new beliefs, of new methods in Art, of new systems of state and
ecclesiastical polity, of novel modes of practice in medicine, and the
like.--"revisit the pale glimpses of the moon," and look upon the
streams of blood and misery that have flowed from fountains they have
unsealed, they would skulk back to their graves faster and more
affrighted than when they first descended into them.


HABITS.

Habit to a great extent, is the forcing of Nature to your way, instead
of leaving her to her own. Struck by this consideration, "He is a fool,
then, who has any habits," said W. Softly, my dear Sir,--the position is
an extreme one. Bad habits are very bad, and good habits, blindly
followed, are not altogether good, for they make machines of us.
Occasional excesses may be wholesome; and Nature accommodates herself to
irregularities, as a ship to the action of waves. Good habits are in the
nature of allies: we may strengthen ourselves by an alliance with them,
but they should not outnumber the forces they act with. Habits are the
Hessians of our moral warfare: the good or the ill they do depends on
the side they fight on.


HEROISM.

The race of heroes, though not prolific, is never extinct. Nature,
liberal in this, as in all things else, has sown the constituent
qualities of heroism broadcast. Elements of the heroic in character
exist in almost every individual; it is only the felicitous combination
of them all in one that is rare.


IDEAS.

Ideas, in regard to their degrees of merit, may be divided, like the
animal kingdom, into classes or families. First in rank are those ideas
that have in them the germs of a great moral unfolding,--as the ideas of
a religious teacher, like Socrates or Confucius. Next in merit are those
ideas that lay open the secrets of Nature, or add to the combinations of
Art,--as the ideas of inventors and discoverers. Next in the order of
excellence are all new and valuable ideas on diseases and their
treatment, on the redress of social abuses, on government and laws and
their administration, and all similar ideas on all other subjects
connected with material welfare or intellectual and moral advancement.
Last and least, ideas that are only the repetition of other ideas,
previously known, though not so well expressed.


INSTITUTIONS.

When an institution, not designed to be stationary, ceases to be
progressive, it is usually because its officers have lost their
ambition to make it so. In such a contingency, they had better be called
upon to resign, and thus to open the way for a more executive and
energetic management.


LAWYERS.

The lawyer's relation to society is like that of the scarecrow to the
cornfield; concede that he effects nothing of positive good, and he
still exerts a wholesome influence from the terror his presence
inspires.


LEADERSHIP.

He who aspires to be leader must keep in advance of his column. His
fears must not play traitor to his occasions. The instant he falls into
line with his followers, a bolder spirit may throw himself at the head
of the movement initiated, and from that moment his leadership is gone.


LET THE RIGHT PREVAIL.

It is better that ten times ten thousand men should suffer in their
interests than that a right principle should not be vindicated. Granting
that all these will be injured by the suppression of the false, an
infinitely greater number will as certainly be prejudiced by throwing
off the allegiance due to truth. Throughout the future, all have an
interest in the establishment of sound principles, while only a few in
the present can have even a partial interest in the perpetuation of
error.


LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.

It is pleasanter and more amiable to applaud than to condemn, and they
who look wisely to their happiness will endeavor, as they go through
life, to see as much to admire, and as few things that are repugnant, as
possible. Nothing that is not distinctively excellent is worthy of
particular study or comment.


LOVERS' DIFFERENCES.

Their love for each other is only partial who differ much and widely.
When a loving heart speaks to a heart that loves in return, an
understanding is easily arrived at.


WHAT LOVE PROVES.

The existence of so much love in the world establishes that there is in
it much of the excellence that justifies so exalted a passion. Almost
every man has been a lover at some period in his life, and, out of so
many lovers, it is unreasonable to suppose that all of them have been
mistaken in their estimates.


MAGNANIMITY.

Justice to the defeated exalts the victor from a subject of admiration
to an object of love. To the fame of superior courage or address he
thereby adds the glory of a greater magnanimity. Praise, too, of a
vanquished opponent makes our victory over him appear the more signal.


MANHOOD.

The question is not, the number of facts a man knows, but how much of a
fact he is himself.


MEAN MEN.

If a man is thoroughly mean by nature, let him give full swing to his
meanness. Such a fellow brings discredit upon generosity by putting on
its semblance. If he attempts to disguise the smallness of his soul, he
only adds to his contemptible trait of meanness the still more
despicable vice of hypocrisy. Mean by the sacred institution of Nature,
and without a generous trait to mar the excellence of his native
meanness, so long as he continues unqualifiedly mean, he exists a
perfect type of a particular character, and presents to us a fine
illustration of the vast capabilities of Nature.


METHODS OF THE ENTERPRISING.

Great personal activity at times, and closely sedentary and severely
thoughtful habits at other times, are the forces by which able men
accomplish notable enterprises. Sitting with thoughtful brows by their
evening firesides, they originate and mature their plans; after which,
with energies braced to their work, they move to the easy conquest of
difficulties accounted formidable, because they have deliberated upon
and mastered the _best methods_ for overcoming them.


MILITARY SCHOOLS.

The existence of military schools is a proof that the other schools have
not done their duty.


NATURE AND ART.

The art of being interesting is largely the art of being _real_,--of
being without art.


NEWSPAPERS.

The world is not fairly represented by its newspapers. Life is something
better than they make it out to be. They are mainly the records of the
crimes that curse and the casualties that afflict it, the contests of
litigants and the strifes of politicians; but of the sweet amenities of
home and social life they are and must be silent. Not without a reason
has the poet fled from the "poet's corner."


NON-COMMUNICANTS.

Certain minds are formed to take in truths, but not to utter them. They
hoard their knowledge, as misers their gold. Their communicativeness is
small. Their appreciation of principles is greater than their sympathy
for persons.


OPINIONS.

The best merit of an opinion is, that it is sound; its next best merit,
that it is briefly expressed.


POETS AND POETRY.

The "twelve rules for a poet" are eleven too many. The poet needs but
one rule for his guidance as a poet,--namely, never to write poetry.[2]


POPULAR ASPIRANTS.

The fate of a popular aspirant is often like that of a prize ox. When in
his best condition, he is put up for exhibition, decorated with flowers
and ribbons, and afterwards led out to be slaughtered.


PRAISE.

No one, probably, was ever injured by having his good qualities made the
subject of judicious praise. The virtues, like plants, reward the
attention bestowed upon them by growing more and more thrifty. A lad who
is told often that he is a good boy will in time grow ashamed to exhibit
the qualities of a bad one.


PRIDE.

Pride is like the beautiful acacia, that carries its head proudly above
its neighbor plants,--forgetting that it, too, like them, has its root
in the dirt.


PROVERBS.

Invention and the Graces preside at the birth of a good proverb. Aside
from the ideas expressed in them, they are deserving of the attention of
literary men and all students of expression, from the infinite variety
of turns of style they exhibit. "If you don't want to be tossed by a
bull, toss the bull." Here, for instance, the thought is not only
spirited, but it is so rendered as to give to the idea both the force of
novelty and the agreeableness of wit. The words are as hard and compact,
and the thought flies as swift, as a bullet.


PUBLIC MEN.

A public man may reasonably esteem it a piece of good fortune to be
vigorously attacked in the newspapers. In the first place, it lifts him
prominently into notice. Then, a plausible defence will divide public
opinion, while a triumphant vindication will more fully establish him in
the popular regard. Even if unable to offer either, the notoriety so
acquired will in time soften into a counterfeit of celebrity so like the
original that it will easily pass for it. Besides, the world is
charitable, and will forget old sins in consideration of later virtues.


MANNERS OF REFORMERS.

Reformers, from being deeply impressed with the evils they seek to
redress, and actively engaged in a warfare against them, are apt to
contract a certain habit of denunciation, extending to persons and
things at large, and by which their character for amiability is
injuriously affected. This is particularly noticeable in that portion of
the press devoted to Progress.


REQUESTS.

It is well to dress in your best when you go to press a request. It is
not so easy to resist the solicitations of a well-dressed importunate.


RICH AND POOR.

Grace resides with the cultivated, but strength is the property of the
people. Art with these has not emasculated Nature.


RICH TO EXCESS.

Intellectually, as many suffer from too much physical health as too
little. A fat body makes a lean mind.


RULE OR RUIN.

A thoroughly vigorous man will not actively belong to any associated
body, except to rule in it. Not to control in its affairs is to have his
individuality cut down to the standard of those that do. He must stamp
himself upon the institution, or its enfeebling influence will be
stamped upon him.


SANS PEUR.

No man is competent greatly to serve the cause of truth till he has made
audacity a part of his mental constitution.

There are some dangers that are to be courted,--courted and braved as a
coy mistress is to be wooed, with all the more vigor as the day makes
against us. When Fortune frowns upon her worthy wooer, it is still
permitted him to think how pleasant it will be ere long to bask in her
smiles.


SLIGHTS.

In seasons when the energies flag and our ambition fails us, a rebuff is
a blessing, by rousing us from inaction, and stirring us to more
vigorous efforts to make good our pretensions.


SOCIAL REGENERATION.

Private worth is the only true basis of public prosperity. Still,
ministers and moralists do but tinker at the regeneration of the world
in merely recommending individual improvement. The most prolific cause
of depravity is the social system that forms the character to what it
is. The virtues, like plants, to flourish, must have a soil and air
adapted to them. A plant at the seaside yields soda; the same plant
grown inland produces potash. What society most needs, for its permanent
advancement, is uniformity of inheritance.


SPEAKERS.

A speaker should put his character into what he says. So many speakers,
like so many faces, have no individuality in them.


SPEAKING AND TALKING.

There is often a striking contrast between a man's style of writing and
of talking,--for which I offer this explanation: He ponders what he
writes; he talks without system. As an author, therefore, he is
sententious; as a conversationist, loose and verbose;--or the reverse of
this may be true.


SPEECH.

Language was given to us that we might say pleasant things to each
other.


PREVAILING STYLES.

In literary performances, as in Gothic architecture, the taste of the
age is largely in favor of the pointed styles. Our churches and our
books must bristle all over with points, or they are not so much thought
of.


SUNDAY.

The poor man's rich day.


THINGS WORTH KNOWING.

Only the good is worth knowing, and only the beautiful worth studying.


TOBACCO.

Tobacco in excess fouls the breath, discolors the teeth, soils the
complexion, deranges the nerves, reduces vitality, impairs the
sensibility to beauty and to pleasure, abets intemperance, promotes
idleness, and degrades the man.


TRADE-LIFE.

Formerly, when great fortunes were made only in war, war was a business;
but now, when great fortunes are made only by business, business is war.


TRUTH-SEEKERS.

Hamlet, in the ghost scene, is a fine example of the _questioning
spirit_ pursuing its inquiries regardless of consequences. The
apparition which affrights and confounds his companions only spurs his
not less timid, perhaps, but more speculative nature into following and
plying it with questions. Only thus should Truth be followed, with an
interest great enough to overmaster all fears as to whither she may lead
and what she may disclose.


UGLY MEN.

When a man is hideously ugly his only safety is in glorying in it. Let
him boldly claim it as a distinction.


THE WALK.

The walk discloses the character. A placid and composed walk bespeaks
the philosopher. He walks as if the present was sufficient for him. A
measured step is the expression of a disciplined intellect, not easily
stirred to excesses. A hurried pace denotes an eager spirit, with a
tendency to precipitate measures. The confident and the happy swing
along, and need a wide sidewalk; while an irregular gait reveals a
composite of character,--one thing to-day, another to-morrow, and
nothing much at any time.


WINE.

_In vino_ there is not only _veritas_, but sensibility. It makes the
face of him who drinks it to excess blush for his habits.


WISDOM.

Wisdom comes to us as guest, but her visits are liable to sudden
terminations. In our efforts to retain the wisdom we have acquired, an
embarrassment arises like that of the little boy who was scolded for
having a dirty nose. "Blow your nose, Sir." "Papa, I do blow my nose,
but it won't stay blowed."


WOMEN AS JUDGES OF CHARACTER.

It is more honorable to have the regards of a few noble women than to be
popular among a much greater number of men. Having in themselves the
qualities that command our love, they are, for that reason, the better
able to appreciate the traits that deserve to inspire it. The heart must
be judged by the heart, and men are too intellectual in the processes by
which they form their regards.


AVERAGE WORTH.

A wife should accept her husband, and a friend his friend, upon a
general estimate. Particulars in character and conduct should be
overlooked.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 2: I speak, of course, only of the discreet poet. Great poets
are never discreet. Their genius overrides their discretion.]



BULLS AND BEARS.


CHAPTER I

THE ARTISTS' EXHIBITION, AND WHAT CAME OF IT.

There was an exhibition of pictures in an upper room on Washington
Street. The artists had collected their unsold productions, and proposed
to offer them at auction. There were sketches of White Mountain scenery,
views of Nahant and other beaches, woodland prospects, farm-houses with
well-sweeps, reedy marshes and ponds, together with the usual variety of
ideal heads and figures,--a very pretty collection. The artists had gone
forth like bees, and gathered whatever was sweetest in every field
through a wide circuit, and now the lover of the beautiful might have
his choice of the results without the fatigue of travel. Defects enough
there were to critical eyes,--false drawing, cold color, and
unsuccessful distances; still there was much to admire, and the spirit
and intention were interesting, even where the inexperience of the
painter was only too apparent.

A group of visitors entered the room: a lady in the prime of beauty,
richly but modestly dressed, casting quick glances on all sides, yet
with an air of quiet self-possession; a gentleman, her brother
apparently, near forty years of age, dignified and prepossessing; a
second lady, in widow's weeds; and a young gentleman with successful
moustaches, lemon-colored gloves, and one of those bagging coats which
just miss the grace of flowing outline without the compensation of
setting off a good figure. The lady first mentioned seemed born to take
the lead; it was no assumption in her; _incedo regina_ was the
expression of her gracefully poised head and her stately carriage. "A
pretty bit," she said, carelessly pointing with her parasol to a picture
of a rude country bridge and dam.

"Yes," said her elder brother, "spirited and lifelike. Who is the
painter, Marcia?"

The beauty consulted her catalogue.

"Greenleaf, George Greenleaf."

"A new name. Look at that distant spire," he continued, "faintly showing
among the trees in the background. The water is surprisingly true. A
charming picture. I think I'll buy it."

"How quickly you decide," said the lady, with an air of languor. "The
picture is pretty enough, but you haven't seen the rest of the
collection yet. Gamboge paints lovely landscapes, they say. I wouldn't
be enthusiastic about a picture by an artist one doesn't know anything
about."

A gentleman standing behind a screen near by moved away with a changed
expression and a deepening flush. Another person, an artist evidently,
now accosted the party, addressing them as Mr. and Miss Sandford. After
the usual civilities, he called their attention to the picture before
them.

"We were just admiring it," said Mr. Sandford.

"Do you like it, Mr. Easelmann?" asked the lady.

"Yes, exceedingly."

"Ah! the generosity of a brother artist," replied Miss Sandford.

"No; you do the picture injustice,--and me too, for that matter; for,"
he added, with a laugh, "I am not generally supposed to ruin my friends
by indiscriminate flattery. This young painter has wonderfully improved.
He went up into the country last season, found a picturesque little
village, and has made a portfolio of very striking sketches."

Miss Sandford began to appear interested.

"Quite pwomising," said the Adonis in the baggy coat, silent until now.

"Yes, he has blossomed all at once. He talks of going abroad."

"Bettah stay at home," said the young gentleman, languidly. "I've been
thwough all the gallewies. It's always the same stowy,--always the same
old humbugs to be admired,--always a doosid boah."

"One relief you must have had in the galleries," retorted Easelmann;
"your all-round shirt-collar wouldn't choke you quite so much when your
head was cocked back."

Adonis-in-bag adjusted his polished all-rounder with a delicately gloved
finger, and declared that the painter was "a jol-ly fel-low."

The gentleman who had blushed a moment before, when the picture was
criticized, was still within earshot; he now turned an angry glance upon
the last speaker, and was about to cross the room, when Mr. Easelmann
stopped him.

"With your permission, Miss Sandford," said the painter, nodding
meaningly towards the person retreating.

"Certainly," replied the lady.

"Mr. Greenleaf," said Easelmann, "I wish you to know some friends of
mine."

The gentleman so addressed turned and approached the party, and was
presented to "Miss Sandford, Mr. Sandford, Mrs. Sandford, and Mr.
Charles Sandford." Miss Sandford greeted him with her most fascinating
smile; her brother shook his hand warmly; the other lady, a widowed
sister-in-law, silently curtsied; while the younger brother inclined his
head slightly, his collar not allowing any sudden movement. In a moment
more the party were walking about the room, looking at the pictures.

When at length the Sandfords were about to leave the room, the elder
gentleman said to Mr. Greenleaf,--

"We should be happy to see you with our friend, Mr. Easelmann, at our
house. Come without ceremony."

Miss Sandford's eyes also said, "Come!" at least, so Greenleaf thought.

Mr. Charles Sandford, meanwhile, who was cultivating the sublime art of
indifference, the distinguishing feature and the ideal of his tribe,
only tapped his boot with his slender ratan, and then smoothed his silky
moustaches.

Greenleaf briefly expressed his thanks for the invitation, and, when the
family had gone, turned to his friend with an inquiring look.

"Famous, my boy!" said Easelmann. "Sandford knows something about
pictures, though rather stingy in patronage; and he is evidently
impressed. The beauty, Marcia, is not a judge, but she is a valuable
friend,--now that you are recognized. The widow is a most charming
person. Charles, a puppy, as every young man of fashion thinks he must
be for a year or two, but harmless and good-natured. The friendship of
the family will be of service to you."

"But Marcia, as you call her, was depreciating my picture not a minute
before you called me."

"Precisely, my dear fellow; but she didn't know who had painted it, and,
moreover, she hadn't seen you."

Greenleaf blushed again.

"Don't color up that way; save your vermilion for your canvas. You _are_
good-looking; and the beauty desires the homage of every handsome man,
especially if he is likely to be a lion."

"A lion! a painter of landscapes a lion! Besides, I am no gallant. I
never learned the art of carrying a lady's fan."

"I hope not; and for that very reason you are the proper subject for
her. Your simplicity and frankness are all the more charming to a woman
who needs new sensations. Probably she is tired of her _blasé_ and wary
admirers just now. She will capture you, and I shall see a new and
obsequious slave."

Greenleaf attempted to speak, but could not get in a word.

"I felicitate you," continued Easelmann. "You will have a valuable
experience, at any rate. To-morrow or next day we will call upon them.
Good morning!"

Greenleaf returned his friend's farewell; then walking to a window, he
took out a miniature. It was the picture of a young and beautiful girl.
The calm eyes looked out upon him trustfully; the smile upon the mouth
had never seemed so lovely. He thought of the proud, dazzling coquette,
and then looked upon the image of the tender, earnest, truthful face
before him. As he looked, he smiled at his friend's prophecy.

"This is my talisman," he said; and he raised the picture to his lips.

       *       *       *       *       *

An evening or two later, as Easelmann was putting his brushes into
water, Greenleaf came into his studio. The cloud-compelling meerschaums
were produced, and they sat in high-backed chairs, watching the thin
wreaths of smoke as they curled upwards to the skylight. The sale of
pictures had taken place, and the prices, though not high enough to make
the fortunes of the artists, were yet reasonably remunerative; the
pictures were esteemed almost as highly, Easelmann thought, as the
decorative sketches in an omnibus.

"And did Sandford buy your picture, Greenleaf?"

"Yes, I believe so. In fact, I saw it in his drawing-room, yesterday."

"Certainly; how could I have forgotten it? I must have been thinking of
the animated picture there. What is paint, when one sees such a glowing,
glancing, fascinating, arch, lovely, tantalizing"--

"Don't! Don't pelt me with your parts of speech!"

"I was trying to select the right adjective."

"Well, you need not shower down a basketful, merely to pick out one."

"But confess, now, you are merely the least captivated?"

"Not the least."

"No little palpitations at the sound of her name? No short breath nor
upturned eyes? No vague longings nor 'billowy unrest'?"

"None."

"You slept well last night?"

"Perfectly."

"No dreams of a sea-green palace, with an Undine in wavy hair, and a big
brother with fan-coral plumes, who afterwards turned into a sea-dog?"

"No,--I cut the late suppers you tempt me with, and preserve my
digestion."

"A great mistake! One good dream in a nightmare will give you more
poetical ideas than you can paint in a month: I mean a reasonable
nightmare, that you can ride,--not one that rides you. The imagination
then seems to scintillate nothing but beautiful images."

"I don't care to become a red-hot iron for the sake of seeing the sparks
I might radiate."

"Prosaic again! Now sin and sorrow have their advantages; the law of
compensation, you see. Poets, according to Shelley, learn in suffering
what they teach in song. And if novelists were always scrupulous, what
do you think they would write? Only milk-and-water proprieties,
tamely-virtuous platitudes. Do you think Dickens never saw a taproom or
a thief's den?--or that Thackeray is unacquainted with the "Cave of
Harmony"? No,--all the piquancy of life comes from the slight _soupçon_
of wickedness wherewithal we season it."

"I like amazingly to have you wander off in this way; you are always
entertaining, whether your ethics are sound or not."

"Don't trouble yourself about ethics. You and I are artists; we want
effects, contrasts; we must have our enthusiasms, our raptures, and our
despair."

"You ride a theory well."

"Now, my dear Greenleaf, listen. Kindly I say it, but you are a trifle
too innocent, too placid,--in short, too youthful. To paint, you must be
intense; to be intense, you must feel; and--you see I come back on the
sweep of the circle--to feel, one must have incentives, objects."

"So, you will roast your own liver to make a _pâté_."

"Better so than to have the Promethean vulture peck it out for you."

"Well, if I am as you say, what am I to do? I am docile, to-day."

"Fall in love."

"I have tried the experiment."

"It must have been with some insipid girl, not out of her teens, odorous
of bread and butter, innocent of wiles, and ignorant of her
capabilities and your own."

"Perhaps, but still I have been in love,--and am."

"Bless me! that was a sigh! The sleeping waters then did show a dimple.
Why, man, _you_ talk about love, with that smooth, shepherd's face of
yours, that contented air, that smoothly sonorous voice! Corydon and
Phyllis! You should be like a grand piano after Satter has thundered out
all its chords, tremulous with harmonies verging so near to discord that
pain would be mixed with pleasure in the divinest proportions."

Greenleaf clapped his hands. "Bravo, Easelmann! you have mistaken your
vocation; you should turn musical critic."

"The arts are all akin," he replied, calmly refilling his pipe.

"I think I can put together the various parts of your lecture for you,"
said Greenleaf. "You think I see Nature in her gentler moods, and
reproduce only her placid features. You think I have feeling, though
latent,--undeveloped. My nerves need a banging, just enough not to
wholly unstring them. For that pleasant experience, I am to fall in
love. The woman who has the nature to magnetize, overpower, transport me
is Miss Marcia Sandford. I am, therefore, to make myself as
uncomfortable as possible, in pursuit of a pleasure I know beforehand I
can never obtain. Then, from the rather prosaic level of Scumble, I
shall rise to the grand, gloomy, and melodramatic style of Salvator
Rosa. _Voilà tout!_

"An admirable summary. You have listened well. But tell me now,--what do
_you_ think? Or do you wander like a little brook, without any will of
your own, between such banks as Fate may hem you in withal?"

"I will be frank with you. Until last season, I never had a serious,
definite purpose in life. I fell in love then with the most charming of
country-girls."

"I know," interrupted Easelmann, in a denser cloud than usual,--"a
village Lucy,--'a violet 'neath a mossy stone, fair as a star when only
one,'--you know the rest of it. She was fair because there _was_ only
one."

"Silence, Mephistopheles! it is my turn; let me finish my story. I never
told her my love"----

"'But let concealment'"----

"Attend to your pipe; it is going out. I did _look_, however. The
language of the eyes needs no translation. I often walked, sketched,
talked with the girl, and I felt that there was the completest sympathy
between us. I knew her feelings towards me, as well, I am persuaded, as
she knew mine. I gave her no pledge, no keepsake; I only managed, by an
artifice, to get her daguerreotype at a travelling saloon."

Easelmann laughed. "Let me see it, most modest of lovers!"

"You sha'n't. Your evil eye shall not fall upon it After I came to
Boston, I took a room and began working up my sketches"----

"Where I found you brushing away for dear life."

"I meant to earn enough to go abroad, if it were only for one look at
the great pictures of which I have so often dreamed. Then I meant to
come back"----

"To find your Lucy married to a schoolmaster, and with five sickly
children."

"No,--she is but seventeen; she will not marry till I see her."

"I admire your confidence, Greenleaf; it is an amiable weakness."

"After I had been here a month or two, I was filled with an unutterable
sense of uneasiness. Something was wrong, I felt assured. I daily kissed
the sweet lips"----

"Of a twenty-five-cent daguerreotype."

Greenleaf did not notice the interruption. "I thought the eyes looked
troubled; they even seemed to reproach me; yet the soul that beamed in
them was as tender as ever."

"_Diablerie!_ I believe you are a spiritualist."

"At last I could bear it no longer. I shut up my room and took the cars
for Innisfield."

"I remember; that was when you gave out that you had gone to see your
aunt."

"I found Alice seriously ill. I won't detain you further than to say
that I did not leave her until she was completely restored, until my
long cherished feelings had found utterance, and we were bound by ties
that nothing but death will divide."

"Really, you are growing sentimental. The waters verily are moved."

"That is because an angel has troubled them. You will mock, I know; but
it is nevertheless true, as I am told, that, for the week before I left
Boston, she was in a half-delirious state, and constantly called my
name."

"And you heard her and came. Sharp senses, and a good, dutiful boy!"

"My presentiment was strange, wasn't it?"

"Oh, don't try to coax me into believing all that! It's very pretty, and
would make a nice little romance for a magazine; but you and I have
passed the age of measles and chicken-pox. Now, to follow your example,
let me make a summary. You are in love, you say, which, for the sake of
argument, I will grant. You are engaged. But you are ambitious. You want
to go to Italy, and you hope to surpass Claude, as Turner has done--over
the left. Then you will return and marry the constant Alice, and live in
economical splendor, on a capital--let me see--of eighty-seven dollars
and odd cents, being the proceeds of a certain auction-sale. Promising,
isn't it?"

Greenleaf was silent,--his pipe out.

"Don't be gloomy," continued Easelmann, in a more sympathetic tone. "Let
us take a stroll round the Common. I never walk through the Mall at
sunset without getting a new hint of effect."

"I agree to the walk," said Greenleaf.

"Let us take Charbon along with us."

"He doesn't talk."

"That's what I like him for; he thinks the more."

"How is one to know it?"

"Just look at him! talk your best,--parade your poetry, your criticism,
your epigrams, your puns, if you have any, and then look at him! By
Jove! I don't want a better talker. I know it's _in_ him, and I don't
care whether he opens his mouth or not."


CHAPTER II.

SHOWING HOW MUCH IT SOMETIMES COSTS TO BE THOUGHT CHARITABLE.

Mr. Sandford was a bachelor, and resided in a pleasant street at the
West End,--his sister being housekeeper. His house was simply
furnished,--yet the good taste apparent in the arrangement of the
furniture gave the rooms an air of neatness, if not of elegance. There
were not so many pictures as might be expected in the dwelling of a
lover of Art, and in many cases the frames were more noticeable than the
canvas; for upon most of them were plates informing the visitor that
they were presented to Henry Sandford for his disinterested services as
treasurer, director, or chairman of the Society for the Relief of Infirm
Wood-sawyers, or some other equally benevolent association. The silver
pitcher and salver, always visible upon a table, were a testimonial from
the managers of a fair for the aid of Indigent Widows. A massive silver
inkstand bore witness to the gratitude of the Society of Merchants'
Clerks. And numerous Votes of Thanks, handsomely engrossed on parchment,
with eminent names appended, and preserved in gilt frames, filled all
the available space upon the walls. It was evident that this was the
residence of a Benefactor of Mankind.

It was just after breakfast, and Mr. Sandford was preparing to go out.
His full and handsome face was serene as usual, and a general air of
neatness pervaded his dress. He was, in fact, unexceptionable in
appearance, wearing the look that gets credit in State Street, gives
respectability to a public platform, and seems to bring a blessing into
the abodes of poverty. Nothing but broad and liberal views, generous
sentiments, and a noble self-forgetfulness would seem to belong to a
man with such a presence. But his sister Marcia, this morning, seemed
far from being pleased with his plans; her tones were querulous, and
even severe.

"Now, Henry," she exclaimed, "you are not going to sell that picture.
We've had enough changes. Every auction a new purchase, which you
immediately fling away."

"You are a very warm-hearted young woman," replied the brother, "and you
doubtless imagine that I am able with my limited resources to buy a
picture from every new painter, besides answering the numberless calls
made upon me from every quarter."

"Why did you bid for the picture, then?"

"I wished to encourage the artist."

"But why do you sell it, then?"

"Monroe wants it, and will give a small advance on its cost."

"But Monroe was at the sale; why didn't he bid for it then?"

"A very natural question, Sister Marcia; but it shows that you are not a
manager. However, I'll explain. Monroe was struck with the picture, and
would have given a foolish price for it. So I said to him,--'Monroe,
don't be rash. If two connoisseurs like you and me bid against each
other for this landscape, other buyers will think there is something in
it, and the price will be run up to a figure neither of us can afford to
pay. Let me buy it and keep it a month or so, and then we'll agree on
the terms. I sha'n't be hard with you.' And I won't be. He shall have it
for a hundred, although I paid eighty-seven and odd."

"So you speculate, where you pretend to patronize Art?"

"Don't use harsh words, Sister Marcia. Half the difficulties in the
world come from a hasty application of terms."

"But I want the picture; and I didn't ask you to buy it merely to oblige
Mr. Greenleaf."

"True, sister, but he will paint others, and better ones, perhaps. I
will buy another in its place."

"And sell it when you get a good offer, I suppose."

"Sister Marcia, you evince a thoughtless disposition to trifle with--I
hope not to wound--my feelings. How do you suppose I am able to maintain
my position in society, to support Charles in his elegant idleness, to
supply all your wants, and to help carry on the many benevolent
enterprises in which I have become engaged, on the small amount of
property left us, and with the slender salary of fifteen hundred dollars
from the Insurance Office? If I had not some self-denial, some
management, you would find quite a different state of things."

"But I remember that you drew your last year's salary in a lump. You
must have had money from some source for current expenses meanwhile."

"Some few business transactions last year were fortunate. But I am poor,
quite poor; and nothing but a sense of duty impels me to give so much of
my time and means to aid the unfortunate and the destitute, and for the
promotion of education and the arts that beautify and adorn life."

His wits were probably "wool-gathering"; for the phrases which had been
so often conned for public occasions slipped off his tongue quite
unawares. His countenance changed at once when Marcia mischievously
applauded by clapping her hands and crying, "Hear!" He paused a moment,
seeming doubtful whether to make an angry reply; but his face
brightened, and he exclaimed,--

"You are a wicked tease, but I can't be offended with you."

"Bye-bye, Henry," she replied. "Some committee is probably waiting for
you." Then, as he was about closing the door, she added,--"I was going
to say, Henry, if your charities are not more expensive than your
patronage of Art, you might afford me that _moire antique_ and the set
of pearls I asked you for."

       *       *       *       *       *

We will follow Mr. Sandford to the Insurance Office. It was only nine
o'clock, and the business of the day did not begin until ten. But the
morning hour was rarely unoccupied. As he sat in his arm-chair, reading
the morning papers, Mr. Monroe entered. He was a clerk in the commission
house of Lindsay and Company, in Milk Street,--a man of culture and
refined taste, as well as attentive to business affairs. With an active,
sanguine temperament, he had the good-humor and frankness that usually
belong to less ardent natures. Simple-hearted and straightforward, he
was yet as trustful and affectionate as a child. He was unmarried and
lived with his mother, her only child.

"Ah, Monroe," said Sandford, with cordiality, "you don't want the
picture yet? Let it remain as long as you can, and I'll consider the
favor when we settle."

"No,--I'm in no hurry about the picture. I have a matter of business I
wish to consult you about. My mother had a small property,--about ten
thousand dollars. Up to this time I haven't made it very profitable, and
I thought"--

Just then a visitor entered. The President of the Society for the
Reformation of Criminals came with a call for a public meeting.

"You know, my dear Sir," said the President, "that we don't expect you
to pay; we consider the calls made upon your purse; but we want your
name and influence."

Mr. Sandford signed the call, and made various inquiries concerning the
condition and prospects of the society. The President left with a smile
and a profusion of thanks. Before Mr. Sandford was fairly seated another
person came in. It was the Secretary of the Society for the Care of
Juvenile Offenders.

"We want to have a hearing before the city government," said he, "and we
have secured the aid of Mr. Greene Satchel to present the case. Won't
you give us your name to the petition, as one of the officers? No
expense to you; some wealthy friends will take care of that. We don't
desire to tax a man who lives on a salary, and especially one who
devotes so much of his time and money to charity."

"Thank you for your consideration," said Mr. Sandford, signing his name
in a fair round hand.

Once more the friends were left alone, and Monroe proceeded,--

"I was going on to say that perhaps you might know some chance for a
safe investment."

Mr. Sandford appeared thoughtful for a moment.

"Yes,--I think I may find a good opportunity; seven per cent., possibly
eight."

"Excellent!" said Monroe.

There was another interruption. A tall, stately person entered the
office, wearing a suit of rather antique fashion, apparently verging on
sixty years, yet with a clear, smooth skin, and a bright, steady eye. It
was the Honorable Charles Wyndham, the representative of an ancient
family, and beyond question one of the most eminent men in the city. Mr.
Sandford might have been secretly elated at the honor of this visit, but
he rose with a tranquil face and calmly bade Mr. Wyndham good morning.

"My young friend," began the great man, "I am happy to see you looking
so well this morning. I have not come to put any new burdens on your
patient shoulders; we all know your services and your sacrifices. This
time we have a little recompense,--if, indeed, acts of beneficence are
not their own reward. The Board are to have a social meeting at my house
to-night, to make arrangements for the anniversary; and we think a
frugal collation will not be amiss for those who have worked for the
Society so freely and faithfully."

Mr. Sandford softly rubbed his white hands and bowed with a deprecatory
smile.

"I know your modesty," said Mr. Wyndham, "and will spare you further
compliment. Your accounts are ready, I presume? I intend to propose to
the Board, that, as we have a surplus, you shall receive a substantial
sum for your disinterested services."

They were standing near together, leaning on a tall mahogany desk, and
the look of benevolent interest on one side, and of graceful humility on
the other, was touching to see. Mr. Sandford laid his hand softly on his
distinguished friend's shoulder, and begged him not to insist upon
payment for services he had been only too happy to render.

"We won't talk about that now; and I must not detain you longer from
business. _Good_ morning!" And with the stateliest of bows, and a most
gracious smile, the Honorable Mr. Wyndham retreated through the glass
door.

When Mr. Sandford had bowed the visitor out, he returned to Monroe with
an expression of weariness on his handsome face. "So many affairs to
think of! so many people to see! Really, it is becoming vexatious. I
believe I shall turn hunks, and get a reputation for downright
stinginess."

"But your visitors are pleasant people," said Monroe,--"and the last,
certainly, was a man whom most men think it an honor to know."

"You mean Wyndham. Oh, yes, Wyndham _is_ a good fellow; a little prosy
sometimes, but means well. We endure the Dons, you know, if they _are_
slow."

Monroe thought his friend hardly respectful to the head of the Wyndham
family, but set it down as an awkward attempt at being facetious.

"Well, about that money of yours?" said Sandford.

"I left it, as a loan on call, at Danforth's. But how do you propose to
invest it?"

"I haven't fully made up my mind. Perhaps it is best you should not
know. I will guaranty you eight per cent., and agree to return the
principal on thirty days' notice. So you can try, meanwhile, and see if
you can do better."

Monroe agreed to the proposal, and drew a check on the broker for the
amount, for which Sandford signed a note, payable thirty days after
presentation. The friends now separated, and Monroe went to his
warehouse.

Stockholders began to come to look over the morning papers, and chat
about the news, the stocks, and the degeneracy of the times. What a club
is to an idle man of fashion,--what a sewing-society is to a
scandal-loving woman,--what a billiard-room is to a man about
town,--what the Athenæum is to the sober and steadfast
bibliolater,--that is the Insurance Office to the retired merchant, bald
and spectacled, who wanders like a ghost among the scenes of his former
activity. The comfortable chairs, and in winter the social fires in open
grates,--the slow-going and respectable newspapers, the pleasant view of
State Street, and, above all, the authoritative disposition of public
affairs upon the soundest mercantile principles of profit and loss,--all
these constitute an attraction which no well-brought-up Bostonian, who
has money to buy shares, cares to resist, at least until the increasing
size of his buckskin shoes renders locomotion difficult.

To all these solid men Mr. Sandford gave a hearty good-morning, and a
frank, cheerful smile. They took up the journals and looked over the
telegraphic dispatches, thinking, as they were wont, that the old Vortex
was lucky, above all Companies, in its honest, affable, and intelligent
Secretary.

Mr. Sandford retired to his private room and looked hastily at his
morning letters; but his mind did not seem to be occupied with the
business before him. He rang the bell for the office-boy. "Tom," said
he, "go and ask Mr. Fletcher to step down here a minute." He mused after
the boy left, tapping his fingers on the table to the time of a familiar
air. "If I can keep Fletcher from dabbling in stocks, I shall make a
good thing of this. I shall keep a close watch on him. To manage men,
there is nothing like knowing how to go to work at them. ALL the fools
are jack-a-dandies, and one has only to find where the strings hang to
make them dance as he will. I have Fletcher fast. I heard a fellow
talking about taming a man, Rarey-fashion, by holding out a pole to him
with a bunch of flowers. Pooh! The best thing is a bit of paper with a
court seal at the corner, stuck on the end of a constable's staff."

Mr. Fletcher entered presently,--the office where he was employed being
only a few doors off. He was a slender young man, with strikingly
regular features and delicate complexion; his mobile mouth was covered
by a fringy moustache, and his small keen eyes were restless to a
painful degree. The sudden summons appeared to have flustered him; for
his eyes danced more than usual, giving him the startled and perplexed
look of a hunted animal at bay. He was speedily reassured by Sandford's
bland voice and encouraging smile.

"A new opening, Fletcher,--a 'pocket,' as the Californians call it. Is
there any chance to operate? Just look about. I have the funds ready.
Something safe, and fat, too."

"Plenty of chances to those who look for them," replied Fletcher. "The
men who are hard up are the best customers; they will stand a good slice
off; and if a man is sharp, he can deal as safely with them as with the
A 1s, who turn up their noses at seven per cent."

"You understand, I see."

"I think I ought. Papyrus, only yesterday, was asking if anything could
be done for him,--about fifteen hundred; offers Sandbag's note with only
thirty days to run. The note was of no use to _him_, because the banks
require two names, and his own isn't worth a straw. But Sandbag is
good."

"We'll take it. About a hundred off?"

Fletcher nodded.

"I've plenty more to invest, Fletcher. Let me know if you see any paper
worth buying."

Fletcher nodded again, but looked expectant, much like a dog (not
wishing to degrade him by the comparison) waiting with longing eyes
while his master eats his morning mutton-chop.

"Fletcher," said Sandford, "I'll make this an object to you. I don't
mind giving you five dollars, as soon as we have Papyrus's indorsement
on the note. And, speaking of the indorsement, let him sign his name,
and then bring me the note. I wish to put on the name of the person to
whose order it is to be payable."

"Then it is on the account"--

"Of whom it may concern," broke in Sandford. "Don't stand with your
mouth open. That is my affair."

"But if you pay me only five dollars"--

"That is so much clear gain to you. Do you suppose that we--my backer
and I--shall run the risk for nothing? Good morning! Attend to your own
affairs at Danforth's properly. Don't burn your fingers with any new
experiments. There's a crash coming and stocks will fall. Good morning!"

The Secretary looked relieved when Fletcher closed the door, and
speedily dispatched the necessary letters and orders for the Company.
Then leaving the affairs of the Vortex in the hands of his clerk, he
strolled out for his usual lunch. Wherever he walked, he was met with
smiles and greetings of respect. He turned into an alley, entered an
eating-house, and took his place at a table; he ordered and ate his
lunch, and then left, with a nod towards the counter. The landlord, who
began on credit, expected no pay from the man who procured him money
accommodations. No waiter had ever seen a sixpence from his purse. How
should a man be expected to pay, who spent his substance and his time so
freely in charity?


CHAPTER III.

CONTAINING SOME CONFESSIONS NOT INTENDED FOR THE PUBLIC EAR.

Miss Marcia Sandford, after breakfast, was sitting in her chamber with
her widowed sister-in-law, who had come to spend a few months with her
late husband's family. The widow no longer wore the roses of youth, but
was yet on friendly terms with Time; indeed, so quietly had their annual
settlements passed off, that it would have puzzled any one not in their
confidence to tell how the account stood. The simplicity of her dress,
the chastened look, and the sobriety of phrase, of which her recent
affliction was the cause, might have hinted at thirty-five; but when her
clear, placid eye was turned upon you, and you saw the delicate flush
deepening or vanishing upon a smooth cheek, and noted the changeful
expression that hovered like a spiritual presence around her mouth, it
would have been treason to think of a day beyond twenty. She had known
but little of Marcia, and that little had shown her only as a lover of
dress and of admiration, besides being capricious to a degree unusual
even in a spoiled favorite.

A musical _soirée_ was under consideration. Marcia was a proficient upon
the harp and piano, and, as she had heard that Mr. Greenleaf, the
handsome painter, as she called him, was a fine singer, she determined
to practise some operatic duets with him, that should move all her
musical friends to envy.

"You seem to have taken a strong liking to this Mr. Greenleaf, Marcia."

"Yes, Lydia," replied the beauty, "I do like him, exceedingly,--what I
have seen of him. He will do--for a month or so. People are frequently
quite charming at first, like fresh bouquets,--but dull and tame enough
when the dew is off."

"But you can't have a new admirer, as you have fresh flowers, every
day."

"That's true, and pity 'tis, 'tis true."

"What a female Bluebeard you are!"

"Wouldn't you, now, like to meet some new, delightful person every day?
Consider how prosaic a man is, after you know all about him."

"I always find something new in a man really worth knowing."

"Do you? I wish I could. I always look them through as I used to my
toys. I never cared for my 'crying babies,' after I found out what made
them squeak."

"I am afraid the comparison will hold out farther than you intended. You
were never satisfied with your toys until you had not only explored
their machinery, but smashed them into the bargain."

"But men stand it better than toys. If they get smashed, as you say,
they heal wonderfully. I sometimes think, that, like lobsters, they can
repair their injuries by new growths,--fresh claws, and fins, and
feelers."

"Complimentary, truly! but I notice that you don't speak of vital
organs."

"Hearts, you mean, I suppose. That is an obsolete idea,--a relic of
superstition."

"But how many of these broken idols have you thrown aside, Marcia? Have
you kept account?"

"Dear me! no! Why should I?"

"It would be interesting, I think, to a student of social statistics, to
know how many engagements there are to one marriage, how many offers to
one engagement, how many flirtations to one offer, and how many tender
advances to one flirtation."

"Oh, Lydia! Love and Arithmetic! they never went together. I leave all
calculations to my wise and busy brother. I like to wander like a
hummingbird, that keeps no account of the flowercups it has sipped out
of."

"Let us reckon. I can help you, perhaps. I have heard you talk of half a
dozen. There is Colonel Langford,--one."

"Handsome, proud, and shallow. Let him go!"

"There is Lieutenant Allen,--two."

"Fierce, impatient, and exacting. He can go also. I had as lief be loved
by a lion."

"Next is Mr. Lanman,--three."

"Wily, plausible, passionate, and treacherous. He is only a cat in a new
sphere of existence."

"Then there is Denims,--I am not sure about the order,--four."

"Rich, vain, and stupid;--there never was such a dolt."

"But you kept him for a longer time than usual."

"Yes, rather; but he was too dull to understand my ironical compliments,
or to resent my studied neglect."

"Jaunegant makes five."

"Oh, the precious crony of my brother Charles! The best specimen of the
dandy race. The man who gives so much love to himself and his clothes,
that he has none to spare for any one else. But, Lydia, this is tedious;
we shall never get through at this rate. Besides," with a
mock-sentimental air, "you have not been here long enough to know the
melancholy history,--to count the wrecks that are strewn along the
coast, where the Siren resorts. Let me take up the list. Corning, who
really loved me, (six,) and went to sea to cure the heart-ache. I heard
of him in State Street a month ago,--with a blue shirt and leather belt,
and chewing a piece of tobacco as large as his thumb. He seemed happy as
a king."

"I saw a kind of tobacco advertised as '_The Solace_';--the name was
given by some disappointed swain, I suppose."

"Probably," said Marcia, smiling. "Then there was Outrack, (seven,) who
was so furious at the refusal, that he immediately married the gay Miss
Flutter Budget, forty-five, short, stout, and fifty thousand
dollars,--he twenty-six, tall, slender, and some distant expectations. I
heard him, at a party, call her 'Dear'!"

"I don't think you get on any faster than I did. We shall have to finish
the tour of the portrait-gallery another day."

"You are not tired? I wanted to tell you of several more. Yet I don't
know why I should. I declare to you seriously, that I never before
mentioned the names of these persons in this way, nor referred to them
as rejected lovers."

"I have no doubt of it. It has seemed like a fresh, spontaneous
confession."

"There is some magic about you, Sister Lydia. You invite confidence; or
rather, you seem to be like one of those chemical agents that penetrate
everything; there's no resisting you. Don't protest. I know what you
would say. It isn't your curiosity. You are no Paulina Pry; if you were,
precious little you would get from me."

"But, Marcia, let me return a moment to what you were saying. Did the
reason never occur to you, why you so soon become tired of your
admirers? You see through them, you say. Is it not possible that a lady
who has the reputation of caprice,--a flirt, as the world is apt to call
her,--though ever so brilliant, witty, and accomplished, may not attract
the kind of men that can bear scrutiny, but only the butterfly race, fit
for a brief acquaintance? Believe me, Marcia, there is a reason for
everything, and, with all your beauty and fascination, you must yourself
have the element of constancy, to win the admiration of the best and
worthiest men."

"So, you are going to preach?" said Marcia, rather crestfallen.

"No, I don't preach. But what I see, I ought to tell you; I should not
be a good sister otherwise."

"I'll think about it. But now for the musical party. I mean to send for
Mr. Greenleaf, to practise some songs and duets. He is not a butterfly,
I am sure."

"But, Marcia, is it well, is it right, for you to try to fascinate this
new friend of yours, unless you feel something more than a transient
interest in him?"

"How can I tell what interest I shall feel in him, until I know him
better?"

"But you know his circumstances and his prospects. You are not the woman
to marry a poor painter. You have too many wants; or rather, you have
become accustomed to luxuries that now seem to be necessaries."

"True, I haven't the romance for love in a cottage. But a painter is not
necessarily a bad match; if he doesn't become rich, he may be
distinguished. And besides, no one knows what will happen from the
beginning of an acquaintance. We will enjoy the sunshine of to-day; and
if to-morrow brings a darker sky, we must console ourselves as we can."

"What an Epicurean! Well, Marcia, you are not a child; you must act for
yourself."

Marcia made no reply, but sat down to her desk to write a note; and her
sister-in-law soon after went to her own room.

During all this conversation, Mrs. Sandford was struck by the tone which
the beautiful coquette assumed. Her words were aptly chosen, her
sentences smoothly constructed; she never hesitated; and there was an
ever-present air of consciousness, that left no conviction of sincerity.
Whether she uttered sentiments of affection, or sharp criticism upon
character, there was the same level flow of language, the same nicely
modulated intonation. There was no flash of enthusiasm, none of those
outbursts in which the hearer feels sure that the heart has spoken. Mrs.
Sandford was thoroughly puzzled. Marcia had never been otherwise than
kind; in fact; she seemed to be studiously careful of the feelings of
others, except when her position as reigning belle made it necessary to
cut a dangler. This methodical speech and unruffled grace of manner
might be only the result of discipline. Truth and honesty _might_ exist
as well under this artificial exterior as in a more impulsive nature.
But the world generally thinks that whoever habitually wears a smiling
mask has some secret end to serve thereby. "I like this painter,
Greenleaf," she soliloquized, "and I mean to look out for him. I am
persuaded that Marcia would never marry him; and I think he is too
sensitive, too manly, to be a fit subject for her experiments."


CHAPTER IV.

CONCERNING CONSTANCY AND THE AFFINITIES.

"A Musical _soirée_? Famous, my boy!" said Easelmann, as he sat, smoking
as usual, in his fourth-story _atelier_ with Greenleaf, watching the sun
go down. "Making progress, I see. You have nothing to do; the affair
will take care of itself."

"What affair?"

"Don't be stupid (_puff_). Your affair with Miss Sandford (_puff_).
There's a wonderful charm in music (_puff_). Two such young people might
fall in love, to be sure, without singing together (_puff_). But music
is the true _aqua regia_; it dissolves all into its own essence. A piano
and a tenor voice will do more than a siege of months, though aided by a
battery of bouquets."

"How you run on! I have called twice,--once with you, and the second
time by the lady's invitation. Besides, I told you--indiscreetly, I am
afraid--that I am really engaged to be married."

"Oh, yes, I have not forgotten the touching story (_puff_); but we get
over all things, even such passions as yours. We are plants, that thrive
very well for a while in the pots we sprouted in, but after a time we
must have a change of soil."

"I don't think we outgrow affection, honor, truth."

"That is all very pretty; but our ideas of honor and truth are apt to
change."

"I don't believe you are half so bad a fellow, Easelmann, as you would
have me think. You utter abominable sentiments, but you behave as well
as other people--nearly."

"Thank you. But listen a moment. (_Laying down his pipe._) Do you have
the same tastes you had at eighteen? I don't refer to the bumpkins with
whom you played when a boy, and who, now that you have outgrown them,
look enviously askance at you. I don't care to dwell on your literary
tastes,--how you have outgrown Moore and Festus-Bailey, and are fast
getting through Byron. I won't pose you, by showing how your ideas in
Art have changed,--what new views you have of life, society;--but think
of your ideas of womanly, or rather, girlish beauty at different ages.
By Jove, I should like to see your innamoratas arranged in
chronological order!"

"It would be a curious and instructive spectacle."

"You may well say that! Let me sketch a few of them."

"I think I could do it better."

"No, every man thinks his own experience peculiar; but life has a
wonderful sameness, after all. Besides, you would flatter the portraits.
Not to begin too early, and without being particular about names, there
was, first, Amanda, aged fourteen; face circular, cheeks cranberry, eyes
hazel, hair brown and wavy, awkward when spoken to, and agreeable only
in an osculatory way. Now, being twenty-five, she is married, has two
children, is growing stout, and always refers to her lord and master as
'He,' never by any accident pronouncing his name. Second, Julia;
sixteen, flaxen-haired, lithe, not ungraceful, self-possessed, and
perhaps a little pert. She is unmarried; but, having fed her mind with
no more solid aliment than country gossip, no sensible man could talk to
her five minutes. Third, Laura; eighteen, black hair, with sharp
outlines on the temples, eyes heavily shaded and coquettishly managed,
jewelry more abundant than elegant, repeats poetry by the page, keeps a
scrap-book, and writes endless letters to her female friends. She is
still romantic, but has learned something from experience,--is not so
impressible as when you knew her. I won't stop to sketch the pale
poetess, nor the dancing hoyden, nor the sweet blue-eyed creature that
lisped, nor the mature and dangerously-charming widow that caused some
perturbations in your regular orbit.

"Now, my dear fellow," Easelmann continued, "you fancied that your whole
existence depended upon the hazel or the blue or the black eyes, in
turn; but at this time you could see their glances turned in rapture
upon your enemy, if you have one, without a pang."

"One would think you had just been reading Cowley's charming poem,
'Henrietta first possest.' But what is the moral to your entertaining
little romance? That love must always be transient?"

"Not necessarily, but generally. We are travelling at different rates of
progress and on different planes. Happy are the lovers who advance with
equal step, cultivating similar tastes, with agreeing theories of life
and its enjoyments!"

"Wise philosopher, how comes it, that, with so just an appreciation of
the true basis of a permanent attachment, you remain single? I see a
gray hair or two, not only on your head, but in that favorite moustache
of yours."

"Gray? Oh, yes! gray as a badger, but immortally young. As for marriage,
I'm rather past that. I had my chance; I lost it, and shall not throw
again."

Easelmann did not seem inclined to open this sealed book of his personal
history, and the friends were silent. Greenleaf at length broke the
pause.

"I acknowledge the justice of your ideas in their general application,
but in my own case they do not apply at all. I was not in my teens when
I went to Innisfield, but in the maturity of such faculties as I have.
Alice satisfies my ideal of a lovely, loving woman. She has
capabilities, taste, a thirst for improvement, and will advance in
everything to which I am led."

"I won't disturb your dreams, nor play the Mephistopheles, as you
sometimes call me. I am rather serious to-day. But here you are where
every faculty is stimulated, where you unconsciously draw in new ideas
with your daily breath. Alice remains in a country town, without
society, with few books, with no opportunity for culture in Art or in
the minor graces of society. You are not ready to marry; your ambition
forbids it, and your means will not allow it. And before the time comes
when you are ready to establish yourself, think what a difference there
may be between you! The thought is cruel, but worth your consideration
none the less.--But let us change the subject. What are you doing? Any
new orders?"

"Two new orders. One for a large picture from Mr. Sandford. The price
is not what it should be, but it will give me a living, and I am
thankful for any employment. I loathe idleness. I die, if I haven't
something to do."

"Mere uneasiness, my youthful friend! Be tranquil, and you will find
that laziness has its comforts. However, to-morrow let me see your
pictures. You lack a firmness and certainty of touch that nothing but
practice will give. But your forms are faithfully drawn, your eye for
color is sharp and true, and, what is more than all, you have the poetry
which informs, harmonizes, and crowns all."

"I am grateful for your friendly criticism," said Greenleaf, with a
sudden flush. "You know that people call you blunt, and that most of the
artists think you almost malicious in your severity; but you are the
only man who ever talks sincerely to me."

Easelmann noticed the emotion, and spoke abruptly,--

"Depend upon it, if I see anything faulty, you will know it; if you
think _that_ friendly, I am your friend. But look over there, where the
sunset clouds are reflected in the Back Bay. Now, if I should put those
tints of gold and salmon and crimson and purple, with those delicate
shades of apple-green, into a picture, the mob would say, 'What an
absurd fellow this painter is! Where did he find all that Joseph's coat
of colors?' The mob is a drove of asses, Greenleaf."

"Come, let us take our evening stroll."

"Have you seen Charbon, to-day?"

"No. But I should like to."

"We'll call for him."

"Yes, I rather like his brilliant silence."

"Next week, let us go to Nahant. I want you to try your hand on a coast
view. But what, what are you about? At that trumpery daguerreotype
again? Let me see the beauty,--that's a good boy!"

"No!"

"Then put it up. If you won't show it, don't aggravate a fellow in that
way."

[To be continued.]



SPIRITS IN PRISON.[3]


    I.

    O ye, who, prisoned in these festive rooms,
      Lean at the windows for a breath of air,
    Staring upon the darkness that o'erglooms
      The heavens, and waiting for the stars to bare
    Their glittering glories, veiled all night in cloud,
      I know ye scorn the gas-lights and the feast!
    I saw you leave the music and the crowd,
      And turn unto the windows opening east;
    I heard you sigh,--"When will the dawn's dull ashes
      Kindle their fires behind yon fir-fringed height?
    When will the prophet clouds with golden flashes
      Unroll their mystic scrolls of crimson light?"
    Fain would I come and sit beside you here,
      And silent press your hands, and with you lean
    Into the midnight, mingling hope and fear,
      Or pining for the days that might have been!


    II.

    Are we not brothers? In the throng that fills
      These strange enchanted rooms we met. One look
    Told that we knew each other. Sudden thrills,
      As of two lovers reading the same book,
    Ran through our hurried grasp. But when we turned,
      The scene around was smitten with a change:
    The lamps with lurid fire-light flared and burned;
      And through the wreaths and flowers,--oh, mockery strange!--
    The prison-walls with ghastly horror frowned;
      Scarce hidden by vine-leaves and clusters thick,
    A grim cold iron grating closed around.
      Then from our silken couches leaping quick,
    We hurried past the dancers and the lights,
      Nor heeded the entrancing music then,
    Nor the fair women scattering delights
      In flower-like flush of dress,--nor paused till when,
    Leaning against our prison-bars, we gazed
      Into the dark, and wondered where we were.
    Speak to me, brothers, for ye stand amazed!
      I come, your secret burthen here to share!


    III.

    I know not this mysterious land around.
      Black giant trees loom up in form obscure.
    Odors of gardens and of woods profound
      Blow in from out the darkness, fresh and pure.
    Faint sounds of friendly voices come and go,
      That seem to lure us forth into the air;
    But whence they come perchance no ear may know,
      And where they go perchance no foot may dare.


    IV.

    A realm of shadowy forms out yonder lies.
      Beauty and Power, fair dreams pursued by Fate,
    Wheel in unceasing vortex; and the skies
      Flash with strange lights that bear no name nor date.
    Sweet winds are breathing that just fan the hair,
      And fitful gusts that howl against the bars,
    And harp-like songs, and groans of wild despair,
      And angry clouds that chase the trembling stars.
    And on the iron grating the hot cheek
      We press, and forth into the night we call,
    And thrust our arms, that, manacled and weak,
      Clutch but the empty air, and powerless fall.


    V.

    And yet, O brothers! we, who cannot share
      This life of lies, this stifling day in night,--
    Know we not well, that, if we did but dare
      Break from our cell, and trust our manhood's might,
    When once our feet should venture on these wilds,
      The night would prove a sweet, still solitude,--
    Not dark for eyes that, earnest as a child's,
      Strove in the chaos but for truth and good?
    And oh, sweet liberty, though wizard gleams
      And elfin shapes should frighten or allure,
    To find the pathway of our hopes and dreams,--
      By toil to sweeten what we should endure,--
    To journey on, though but a little way,
      Towards the morning and the fir-clad heights,--
    To follow the sweet voices, till the day
      Bloomed in its flush of colors and of lights,--
    To look back on the valley and the prison,
      The windows smouldering still with midnight fires,
    And know the joy and triumph to have risen
      Out of that falsehood into new desires!
    O friends! it may be hard our chains to burst,
      To scale the ramparts, pass the sentinels;
    Dark is the night; but we are not the first
      Who break from the enchanter's evil spells.
    Though they pursue us with their scoffs and darts,
      Though they allure us with their siren song,
    Trust we alone the light within our hearts!
      Forth to the air! Freedom will dawn ere long!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: 1 Peter, iii. 19.]



PUNCH.


Not inebriating, but exhilarating punch; not punch of which the more a
man imbibes the worse he is, but punch of which the deeper the quaffings
the better the effects; not a compound of acids and sweets, hot water
and fire-water, to steal away the brains,--but a finer mixture of
subtler elements, conducive to mental and moral health; not, in a word,
punch, the drink, but "Punch," the wise wag, the genial philosopher,
with his brevity of stature, goodly-conditioned paunch, next-to-nothing
legs, protuberant back, bill-hook nose, and twinkling eyes,--to speak
respectfully, Mr. Punch, attended by the solemnly-sagacious,
ubiquitously-versatile "Toby," together with the invisible company of
skirmishers of the quill and pencil, producing in his name those
ever-welcome sheets, flying forth the world over, with hebdomadal
punctuality. Of the ingredients and salutary influence of this Punch--an
institution and power of the age, no more to be overlooked among the
forces of the nineteenth century than is the steam-engine or the
magnetic telegraph--we propose to speak;--not, however, because of the
comicality of the theme; for the fun that surrounds, permeates, and
saturates it would hardly move us to discourse of it here, if it had not
higher claims to attention. To take Punch only for a clown is to
_mis_take him egregiously. Joker as he is, he himself is no joke. The
fool's-cap he wears does not prove him to be a fool; and even when he
touches the tip of his nasal organ with his fore-finger and winks so
irresistibly, meaning lurks in his facetious features, to assure you he
does not jest without a purpose, or play the buffoon only to coin
sixpences. The fact, then, we propose to illustrate is this:--that Punch
is a teacher and philanthropist, a lover of truth, a despiser of cant,
an advocate of right, a hater of shams,--a hale, hearty old gentleman,
whose notions are not dyspeptic croakings, but healthful opinions of
good digestion, and who, though he wear motley and indulge in drolleries
without measure, is full of sense and sensibility.

The birth-place and parentage of Punch are involved in some doubt,--a
fate he shares with several of the world's other heroes, ancient and
modern. Accounts differ; and as he has not chosen to settle the question
autobiographically, we follow substantially the narrative[4]--that ought
to be true; for, mythical or historical, it appropriately localizes and
fitly circumstances the nativity of the humorist of the age.

In 1841, Mark Lemon, a writer of considerable ability, was the landlord
of the Shakspeare Head, Wych Street, London. A tavern with such a
publican and such a name was, of course, frequented by a circle of wits,
with whom, in the year just mentioned, originated "Punch." Lemon (how
could there be punch without a lemon?) has been the editor from the
outset. From which of the knot of good fellows the bright idea of the
unique journal first emanated does not appear. The paternity has been
ascribed to Douglas Jerrold. Its name might have been suggested by the
place of its birth. If so, it at once lost all associations with the
ladle and the bowl, and received a wider and better interpretation. The
hero of the famous puppet-show was chosen for the typical presiding
genius and sponsor of the novel enterprise. And there is no neater piece
of allegorical writing in our language than the introductory article of
the first number, wherein is exquisitely shadowed forth "the moral" of
the work, "Punch,"--suggestive of that "graver puppetry," the "visual
and oral cheats," "by which mankind are cajoled." Punch, the exemplar of
boldness and philosophic self-control, is the quaint embodiment of the
intention to pursue a higher object than the amusement of thoughtless
crowds,--an intention which has been adhered to with remarkable
fidelity. The first number appeared July 17th, and the serial has lived
over a decade and a half, and grown to the bulk of thirty-four or
thirty-five volumes. It was not, however, built in a day. It knew a
rickety infancy and hours of peril, and owes its rescue from neglect and
starvation, its subsequent and constantly increasing prosperity, to the
enterprising publishers,--Bradbury and Evans,--who nursed and
resuscitated it at the critical moment. Well-known contributors to the
letter-press have been Jerrold, Albert Smith, à Beckett, Hood, and
Thackeray; whilst Henning, Leech, Meadows, Browne, Forrester, Gilbert,
and Doyle have acted as designers. Of these men of letters and art,
Lemon and Leech, it is said, alone remain; some of the others broke off
their connection with the work at different periods, and some have
passed away from earth. Their places have been supplied by the Mayhews,
Tom Taylor, Angus Reach, and Shirley Brooks, and the historical painter,
Tenniel. These changes have mostly been made behind the scenes; the
impersonality of the paper--to speak after the Hibernian style--being
personified by Mr. Punch himself,--ostensibly, by a well-preserved and
well-managed conceit, its sole conductor through all its vicissitudes
and during the whole of its brilliant career. Whatever becomes of
correspondents, Punch never resigns and never dies. The baton never
falls from his grasp. He sits in his arm-chair, the unshaken Master of
the Revels,--though thrones totter, kings abdicate, and revolutions
convulse empires. Troubles may disturb his household; but thereby the
public does not suffer. He still lives,--immortal in his funny and
fascinating idiosyncrasies.

The ingredients of Punch, the instrumentalities by which he has won fame
and victories, are almost too multifarious for enumeration. All the
merry imps which beset Leigh Hunt, when about to compile selections from
the comic poets, belong to Punch's retinue. Doubles of Similes,
Buffooneries of Burlesques, Stalkings of Mock Heroics, Stings in the
Tails of Epigrams, Glances of Innuendoes, Dry Looks of Irony,
Corpulencies of Exaggerations, Ticklings of Mad Fancies, Claps on the
Backs of Horse Plays, Flounderings of Absurdities, Irresistibilities of
Iterations, Significances of Jargons, Wailings of Pretended Woes,
Roarings of Laughter, and Hubbubs of Animal Spirits, all appear, singly
or in companies, to flash, ripple, dance, shoot, effervesce, and
sparkle, in prose and verse, vignettes, sketches, or elaborate pictures,
on the ever-shifting and always entertaining pages of the London
Charivari. Of one prominent form of the exhibition of this inexhaustible
arsenal, namely, _the illustrations_, special notice is to be taken.
These, notwithstanding their oddity, extravagance, and burlesqueness, by
reason of their grace, finish, and good taste, frequently get into the
proximity of the fine arts. This elevation of sportive drawing is mainly
to be put to the credit of manly John Leech,--"the very Dickens of the
pencil." He and his associates have proved that the humorous side of
things may be limned with mirth-provoking truth, and that vices and
follies may be depicted with a vigorous and accurate crayon, without
coarseness or vulgarity, or pandering to depraved sentiments. Herein is
most commendable success. Punch's gallery--with but few, if any
exceptions--may be opened to the purest eyes. In it there is much of
Hogarthian genius, without anything that needs a veil. In alluding to
the agencies of Punch, it would be doing him great injustice to leave
the impression that they are all of a mirthful character. Often is he
tearfully, if at the same time smilingly, pathetic. Seriousness,
certainly, is not his forte, and he is not given to homilies and moral
essays. Usually he gilds homoeopathic pills of wisdom with a thick
coating of humor. Yet, now and then, his vein is an earnest vein, and he
speaks from the abundance of a tender and deeply-moved heart. This is
especially true of some of his poetical effusions, which rank high among
the best fugitive pieces of the times. That Hood's "Song of the Shirt"
was an original contribution to his columns is almost enough of itself
to show that Punch, like some other famous comedians, can start the
silent tear, as well as awaken peals of laughter. And this is but one of
many instances in point that might be cited. In his productions you
often meet golden sentences of soberest counsel, beautiful tributes to
real worth, stirring appeals for the oppressed, and touching eulogies of
the loved and lost.

Thus much of the history and machinery of Punch. His salutary influence
is to be spoken of next. But before venturing upon what may seem
indiscriminate praise, let it be confessed that our hero is not without
his weaknesses. Nothing human is perfect, and Punch is very human. The
good Homer sometimes nods; so doth the good Punch. He does not always
perform equally well,--keep up to his highest level. If he never
entirely disappoints his audience, he fails sometimes to shoot the
brightest arrows of his quiver and hit his mark so as to make the
scintillating splinters fly. Now and then he has been slightly dull,
forgotten himself and his manners, gone too far, got into the wrong box,
missed seizing the auricular appendage of the right pig, run things into
the ground,--blundered as common and uncommon people will. Under these
general charges we must, painful as it is to speak of the errors of a
favorite, enter a few specifications.

The writer of the prospectus, before referred to, seems to have had a
premonitory fear--growing out of his bad treatment of Judy--that Punch
in his new vocation might fail of uniform gentlemanliness towards the
ladies; and time has shown that there were some little grounds for the
apprehension. The droll hunchback's virulent dislike of mothers-in-law
seems the nursed-up wrath of an unhappy personal experience. Vastly
amusing as were the "Caudle Lectures," it is a question whether
excessive indulgence in the luxury of satire upon a prolific theme did
not infuse into them over-bitter exaggeration, not favorable to the
culture of domestic felicity. Did these celebrated curtain-homilies
stand alone, their sharp and unrivalled humor might save Punch from the
censure of being once in a while the least bit of a Bluebeard. But, for
the most gallant gentleman, on the whole, in the United Kingdom, he is
not so invariable in fairness towards the fair as could be wished. The
follies and frivolities of absurd fashions are his proper game; and he
does brave service in hunting them down. Still, his warfare against
crinoline, small bonnets, and other feminine fancies in dress, has been
tiresomely inveterate. Even Mr. Punch had better, as a general rule,
leave the management of the female toilette to those whom it most nearly
concerns. But in his case, the scolding or pouting should not be
inexorable; for in one way he atones amply for all his impertinence. He
paints his young ladies pretty and graceful, being, with all his sly
satire, evidently fond of the sex, the juvenile portion at least.
Surely, a Compliment so uniform and tasteful must more than outweigh his
teasing and banter with the amiable subjects of both.

Of Punch as a local politician we are hardly fair judges, and it may be
a mistaken suspicion that he has occasionally given up to party what was
meant for mankind. With respect to "foreign affairs," we shall be safer
in saying, that, with all his cosmopolitanism, he is a shade or two
John-Bullish. Thanking him for his fraternal cordiality towards
"Jonathan," we must doubt if it will do to trust implicitly his reports
and impressions of men and things across the Channel. That he is more
than half right, however, when lingering remains of insular prejudice
tinge his solicitude to save his native land from entangling alliances,
and keep its free government from striking hands with despotism, we
incline to believe; and we honor him that his loyalty is not mere
adulation, but duly seasoned with the democratic principle that would
have the stability of the throne the people's love,--the people being of
infinitely greater importance than the propping-up or the propagation of
royal houses. In one sad direction Punch's patriotism and humanity, it
seems to us, were wrathful exaggerations, open to graver objection than
yielding unconsciously to a natural bias. In his zeal against terrible
outrages, he forgot that two wrongs never make a right. We refer to his
course on the Indian Revolt. From the way he raised his voice for war,
almost exterminating, and with no quarter, one would think the British
rule in the East had been the rule of Christian love,--that Sepoys and
other subjects had known the reigning power only as patriarchal
kindness,--and so, without excuse, a highly civilized, justly and
tenderly treated people, suddenly, and without provocation, became
rebellious devils, and rebellious only because they were devils. In the
hour of horror-struck indignation, was not Punch too blood-thirsty,
vindictive, unjust, and oblivious to the truth of history, that the
insurgents are poor superstitious heathens, whom a selfish policy may
have kept superstitious and heathenish? True, he was the witness of
broken hearts and desolate hearth-stones at home, and daily heard of
hellish atrocities inflicted on the women and children abroad,--enough
to crush out for the moment every thought but the thought of vengeance.
Yet, even at such a crisis, he should have remembered, that England, in
strict accordance with the stern, unrelenting logic of events, having
sown to the wind, might therefore have reaped the whirlwind. It is among
the mysteries of Providence, that retributive justice, when visiting
nations, often involves innocent victims,--but it is retributive justice
still; and tracing up rightly the chain of causes and effects, it may
be that the tragedies of Delhi and Lucknow are attributable, to say the
least, as much to the avarice of the dominant as to the depravity of the
subjugated race. The bare possibility that this might be the truth a
philosopher like Punch ought not to have overlooked, in the suddenness
and fire of his anger.

Finally, Punch is no ascetic, but quite the reverse. He cannot be
expected, any more than his namesake, the beverage, to go down with the
apostles of temperance. He is a convivialist,--moderately so,--and no
teetotaler. He evidently prefers roast-beef and brown-stout to
bran-bread and cold water, and has gone so far as to sing the praises of
pale-ale. He thinks the laboring classes should have their pot of beer,
if the nobility and gentry are to eat good dinners and take airings in
Hyde Park, on Sundays. He is a Merry Englishman, as to the
stomach,--and, like a Merry Englishman, enjoys good living. There is no
denying this fact; but here is the whole front of his offending.
Remember that he was born at the Shakspeare's Head, and has had a
publican for his right-hand man.

These are defects, it may be; and yet not by its defects are we to judge
of a work of Art. Of that generous and just canon Punch should have the
full benefit. Try him by that, and he has abounding virtues to flood and
conceal with lustrous and far-raying light his exceptional errors. To
brief notices of some of these--regretting the want of room to enlarge
upon them as it would be pleasant to do--we gladly turn.

Punch is to be loved and cherished as the maker of mirth for the
million. Saying this, we do not propose to go into an argument to
excuse, justify, or recommend hilarity for its own sake or its medicinal
effects on overtasked bodies and souls. Desperate attempts have been
made to prove the innocence of fun, and the allowableness of wit and
humor. Assuming or conceding that the jocose elements or capacities of
human nature need apology and defence, very nice distinctions have been
drawn, and very ingenious sophistry employed, to prove that the best of
people may, within certain limits, crack jokes, or laugh at jokes
cracked for them. These efforts to accommodate stern dogmas to that
pleasant stubborn fact in man's constitution, his irresistible craving
for play, and irresistible impulse to laugh at whatever is really
laughable, are about as necessary as would be an essay maintaining the
harmlessness of sunshine. The _fact_ has priority over the dogmas, and
is altogether too strong to need the patronizing special-pleading they
suggest. Instead of going into the metaphysics of the question about the
lawfulness and blamelessness of humor shown or humor relished, suppose
we cut the knot by a delightful illustration of the compatibility of
humor with the highest type of character.

No one will deny the sincerity, earnestness, devotedness, sublime
consecration to duty, of the heroine of the hospitals of Scutari. No one
will dispute the practical piety of the gentle, but fearless, the
tenderhearted, but truly strong-minded woman, who made the lazar-house
her home for months together,--ministered to its sick, miserable, and
ignorant inmates,--put, by the unostentatious exercise of indomitable
faith and unswerving self-sacrifice, the love and humanity of the Gospel
in direct and strongest contrast with the barbarisms of war. No one will
deny or dispute this now. That heroic English maiden, whose shadow, as
it fell on his pillow, the rude soldier kissed with almost idolatrous
gratitude, has won, without thought of seeking it, and without the loss
of a particle of humility and womanly delicacy, the loving admiration of
all Christendom. Well, she

      "whose presence honors queenly guests,
    Who wears the noblest jewel of her time,
    And leaves her race a nobler, in her name,"

shall be the sufficient argument here,--especially as none have paid
finer, more delicate, or truer tributes to her virtue than Punch. In a
recent sketch of her career, accompanying her portrait in the gallery
of noted women, this sentence is given from a descriptive letter:--"Her
general demeanor is quiet and rather reserved; still, I am much
mistaken, if she is not gifted with a very lively sense of the
ridiculous." Here is a delightful, and, we doubt not, true intimation.
Since the springs of pathos lie very near the springs of humor, in the
richest souls, the fair Florence must, in moments of weariness, have
glanced with merry eyes over the pages of Punch, or handed, with smiling
archness, his inimitable numbers to her wan and wounded patients, kindly
to cheat them into momentary forgetfulness of their agonies. If this
were so, who shall say that the use or enjoyment of wit is not as right
as it is natural? None, unless it be the narrowest of bigots,--like
those who objected to this heroic lady's mission of mercy to the East,
because she did not echo their sectarian shibboleths, and would not ask
whether a good nurse were Protestant or Romanist.

We may repeat, therefore, as a prime excellence of Punch, that he is the
maker of mirth for the million. He is mainly engaged in furnishing
titillating amusement,--and he furnishes an article, not only
marketable, but necessary. All work makes Jack a dull boy,--and not
infrequently an unhappy, if not bad boy,--whether Jack be in the pulpit,
the counting-room, the senate-house, or digging potatoes; and what is
true of Jack is equally true of Gill, his sister, sweetheart, or wife.
That Punch every week puts a girdle of smiles round the earth,
interrupts the serious business of thousands by his merry visits, and
with his ludicrous presence delights the drawing-room, cheers the study,
and causes side-shakings in the kitchen,--entitles him to be called a
missionary of good. Grant this,--then allow, on the average, five
minutes of merriment to each reader of each issue of Punch,--then
multiply these 5 minutes by--say 50,000, and this again by 52 weeks, and
this, finally, by 17 years, and thus cipher out, if you have a tolerably
capacious imagination, the amount of happiness which has flowed and
spread, like a river of gladness, through the world, from that
inexhaustible, bubbling, and sparkling fountain, at 85, Fleet Street,
London.

Punch is the advocate of true manliness. Velvet robes and gilded
coronets go for nothing with him, if not worn by muscular integrity; and
fustian is cloth-of-gold, in his eyes, when it covers a stout heart in
the right place. He has no mercy on snobbism, flunkeyism, or dandyism.
He whips smartly the ignoble-noble fops of the
household-troops,--parading them on toy-horses, and making them, with
suicidal irony, deplore the hardships of comrades in the Crimea. He
sneers at the loungers, and the delicate, dissipated _roués_ of the
club-house,--though their names were once worn by renowned ancestors,
and are in the peerage. Fast young men are to him befooled prodigals,
wasting the wealth of life in profitless living. He is not, however, an
anchorite, or hard upon youth. On the contrary, he is an indulgent old
fellow, and too sagacious to expect the wisdom of age from those
sporting their freedom-suits. Still, he has no patience with the foppery
whose whole existence advertises fine clothes, patronizes taverns,
saunters along fashionable promenades, and ogles opera-dancers. In this
connection, his hits at "the rising generation" will be called to mind.
Punch has found out that in England there are no boys now,--only male
babies and precocious men;--no growing up,--only a leap from the cradle,
robe, and trousers to the habiliments and manners of a false manhood.
Punch has found out and frequently illustrates this fact, and furnishes
a series of pictures of Liliputians aping the questionable doings of
their elders. It is observable, however, that he confines these
portraits of precocity chiefly to one sex. Whether this be owing to his
innate delicacy and habitual gallantry, or to the English custom of
keeping little girls--and what we should call large girls also--at home
longer, and under more restraint, than in our republic, we cannot say.
Were he on this side of the Atlantic, he might possibly find occasion to
be less partial in the use of his reproving fun. Young misses seem to be
growing scarce, and young ladies becoming alarmingly numerous. The early
date at which the cry comes for long skirts, parties, balls, and late
hours, for lace, jewelry, and gold watches, threatens to rob our homes
of one of their sweetest charms,--the bright presence of joyous, gentle,
and modest lasses, willing to be happy children for as many years as
their mothers were, on their way to maidenhood and womanhood.

Punch is a reformer,--and of the right type, too; not destructive,
declamatory, vituperative; not a monomaniac, snarly, and
ill-natured,--as if zeal in riding a favorite hobby excused
exclusiveness of soul and any amount of bad temper. He would not
demolish the social system and build on its ruins a new one; being
clearly of the opinion that the growths of ages and the doings of six
thousands of years are to be respected,--that progress means improvement
upon the present, rather than overthrow of the entire past. Calm,
hopeful, cheerful, and patient, he is at the same time bold and
uncompromising, and a bit radical into the bargain. In his own delicious
way, he has been no mean advocate of liberal principles and measures. He
has argued for the repeal of the corn and the modification of the game
laws, the softening of the cruelties of the criminal code, and the fair
administration of law for all orders and conditions of men and women. He
has had no respect for ermine, lawn, or epaulets, in his assaults upon
the monopolies and sinecures of Church and State, circumlocution
offices, nepotism, patronage, purchase, and routine, in army or navy. He
wants the established religion to be religious, not a cover for
aristocratic preferments and dog-in-the-manger laziness,--and government
administered for the whole people, and not merely dealing out
treasury-pap and fat offices for the pensioned few. Punch is loyal,
sings lustily, "God Save the Queen," and stands by the Constitution. He
is a true-born Englishman, and patriotic to the backbone; but none are
too high in place or name for his merciless ridicule and daring wit, if
they countenance oppressive abuses. It is a tall feather in his
fool's-cap, that his fantastic person is a dread to evil-doers on
thrones, in cabinets, and red-tape offices. Crowned tyrants, bold
usurpers, and proud statesmen are sensitive, like other mortals, to
ridicule, and know very well how much easier it is to cannonade
rebellious insurgents than to put down the general laugh, and that the
point of a joke cannot be turned by the point of the bayonet. "Punch"
was seized in Paris on account of the caricature of the "Sphinx," but
after twenty-four hours' consideration the order of confiscation was
rescinded, and the irreverent publication now lies upon the tables of
the reading-rooms. So, iron power is not beyond the reach of the shafts
of wit; once make it ridiculous, and it may continue to lie dreaded, but
will cease to be respected.

Limits permitting, it would be pleasant to refer at length to various
other marked graces of Punch,--such, for example, as his care for true
Art, by exposing to merited contempt the abortions of statuary,
painting, and architecture that come under his accurate eye,--his
concern for good letters, exhibited in fantastic parodies of
affectations, mannerisms, absurdities of plot, and vices of style in
modern poets and novelists,--his "_nil nisi bonum_," and, where there is
no "_bonum_," his silent "_nil_," of the dead, whom when living he
pursued with unrelenting raillery,--his cool, eclectic judgments,
freedom from extremes, and other manifestations of clear-headedness and
refined sentiment, glimmering and shooting through his rollicking
drollery, quick wit, and quiet humor. But we must pass them by, to
emphasize a quality that out-tops and outshines them all,--his humanity.

This is Mr. Punch's specialty, generating his purest fun and
consecrating his versatile talents to highest ends. Wherever he catches
meanness, avarice, selfishness, force, preying upon the humble and the
weak, he is sure to give them hard knocks with his baton, or
home-thrusts with his pen and pencil. His practical kindness is
charmingly comprehensive, too. He speaks for the dumb beast, pleads for
the maltreated brutes of Smithfield Market, craves compassion for
skeleton omnibus-horses, with the same ready sympathy that he fights for
cheated fellow-mortals. In the court of public opinion, he is volunteer
counsel for all in any way defrauded or kept in bondage by pitiless
pride, barbarous policy, thoughtless luxury, or wooden-headed prejudice.
His sound ethics do not admit that the lower law of man's enactment can,
under any circumstances, override or abrogate the higher laws of God.
Consequently, he judges with unbiased, instinctive rectitude, when he
shows up in black and white the Model Republic's criminal anomaly, by
making the African Slave a companion-piece to the Greek Slave, among
"Jonathan's" contributions to the great Crystal Palace Exhibition. In
this same vein of a wide-ranging application of the Golden Rule, he is
ever on the alert to brand inhuman deeds and institutions, wherever
found. You cannot very often hit him with the "_tu quoque_" retort,
insinuate that he lives in a house of glass, or charge him with visiting
his condemnation upon distant iniquities whilst winking at iniquities of
equal magnitude directly under his nose.

Punch is no Mrs. Jellyby, brimful of zeal for Borrio boolas in far-off
Africas, and utterly stolid to disorders and distresses under his own
roof. Proud of the glory, he feels and confesses the shame of England;
and the grinding injustice of her caste-system, aristocracy, and
hierarchy does not escape the lash of his rebuke. He is the friend of
the threadbare curate, performing the larger half of clerical duty and
getting but a tittle of the tithes,--of the weary seamstress, wetting
with midnight tears the costly stuff which must be ready to adorn
heartless rank and fashion at to-morrow's pageant,--of the pale
governess, grudgingly paid her pittance of salary without a kind word to
sweeten the bitterness of a lonely lot. He is the friend even of the
workhouse juveniles, and, as their champion, castigates with cutting
sarcasm and stinging scorn the reverend and honorable guardians, who,
just as, full of hope, they had reached the door of the theatre,
prohibited a band of these wretched orphans from availing of a
kind-hearted manager's invitation to an afternoon performance of "Jack
and the Bean-Stalk." Truly, Punch is more than half right, as, in his
indignation, he declares, "It will go luckily with some four-faced
Christians, if, with the fullest belief in their own right of entry of
paradise, they are not '_stopped at the very doors_'"; and the parson,
in the case, gets but his deserts, when at his lugubrious sham-piety are
hurled stanzas like these:--

    "Their little faces beamed with joy
     Two miles upon their way,
    As they supposed, each girl and boy,
     About to see the play.
    Their little cheeks with tears were wet,
     As _back again_ they went,
    Balked by a sanctimonious set,
     Led by a Reverend Gent.

    "And if such Reverend Gents as he
     Could get the upperhand,
    Ah, what a hateful tyranny
     Would override the land!
    That we may never see that time,
     Down with the canting crew
    That would _out of their pantomime_
    Poor little children _do_!"

Punch is the friend of all who are friendless, and, with a generous
spirit of protection, gives credit to whom credit is due, whatever
conventionality, precedent, monopoly, or routine may say to the
contrary. During the Crimean War, he took care of the fame of the
rank-and-file of the army. The dispatches to Downing Street, reporting
the gallantry of titled officers, were more than matched by Punch's
imitative dispatches from the seat of war, setting forth the exploits of
Sergeant O'Brien, Corporal Stout, or Private Gubbins. He saw to it that
those who had the hardest of the fight, the smallest pay, and the
coarsest rations, should not be forgotten in the gazetting of the
heroes. Indeed, our comic friend's fellowship of soul with the humblest
members of the human family is a notable trait; it is so ready, and yet
withal so judicious. It is no part of his philosophy, as already
intimated, violently and rashly to disturb the existing order of things,
and set one class in rebellion against other classes. He simply insists
upon the recognition of the law of mutual dependence all round. This is
observable in his dealing with the vexed question of domestic service.
The prime trouble of housekeeping comes in frequently for a share of his
attention; and underneath ironical counsels, you may trace, quietly
insinuating itself into graphic sketches, the genial intent fairly to
adjust the relations between life above and life below stairs.
Accordingly, Punch sees no reason why Angelina may have a lover in the
parlor, whilst Bridget's engagement forbids her to entertain a fond
"follower" in the kitchen; and he perversely refuses to see how it can
be right for Miss Julia to listen to the soft nonsense of Captain
Augustus Fitzroy in the drawing-room, and entirely wrong for Molly, the
nursery-maid, to blush at the blunt admiration of the policeman, talking
to her down the area. Punch is independent and original in this respect.
His strange creed seems to be, that human nature _is_ human
nature,--whether, in its feminine department, you robe it in silk or
calico, and, in its male department, button a red coat over the breast
of an officer of the Guards, or put the coarse jerkin on the broad back
of the industrious toilsman. And according to this whimsical belief, he
writes and talks jocosely, but with covert common sense. His warm and
catholic humanity runs up and down the whole social scale with a
clear-sighted equity. His philanthropy is what the word literally
signifies,--the love of man as man, and because he is a man. Without
being an impracticable fanatic, advocating impossible theories, or
theories that can grow into realities only with the gradual progress of
the race,--without indulging in fanciful visions of unapproached
Utopias,--without imagining that all, wherever born and however
nurtured, can reach the same level of wealth and station,--he holds, not
merely that

    "Honor and shame from no condition rise,"

but also, be the condition high or low, the worthy occupant of it, by
reason of the common humanity he shares with all above and all beneath
and all around him, has a brother's birthright to brotherly treatment,
to even-handed justice and open-handed charity.

We have taken it for granted that Punch is a household necessity and
familiar friend of our readers; and, resisting as far as possible the
besetting temptation to refer in detail to the many pictorial and
letter-press illustrations of his merits, have spoken of him as "a
representative man,"--the universally acknowledged example of the
legitimate and beneficent uses of the sportive faculties; thus
indirectly claiming for these faculties more than toleration.

The variety in human nature must somehow be brought into unity, and its
diversified, strongly contrasted elements shown to be parts of a
symmetrical and harmonious whole. The philosophy, the religion, which
overlooks or condemns any of these elements, is never satisfactory, and
fails to win sincere belief, because of its felt incompleteness. All men
have an instinctive faith that in God's plan no incontestable facts are
exceptional or needless facts. Science assumes this in regard to the
phenomena of the natural world; and, in its progressive searches,
expects to discover continual proof that all manifestations, however
opposite and contradictory, are parts of one beneficent scheme.
Accordingly, Science starts on its investigations with the conviction
that the storm is as salutary as the sunshine,--that there is utility in
what seems mere luxury,--and that Nature's loveliness and grandeur,
Nature's oddity and grotesqueness, have a substantial value, as well as
Nature's wheat-harvests. Now the same principle is to be recognized in
dealing with things spiritual. It may not be affirmed that anything
appertaining to universal consciousness--spontaneous, irresistible, as
breathing--is of itself base, and therefore to be put away; since so to
do is to question the Creative Wisdom. The work of the Infinite Spirit
must be consistent; and you might as truly charge the bright stars with
malignity as denounce as vile one faculty or capacity of the mind.
Consequently, there is a use for all forms of wit and humor.

Punch represents a genuine phase of human nature,--none the less genuine
because human nature has other and far different phases. That there is a
time to mourn does not prove there is no time to dance. Punch has his
part, and his times to play it, in the melodrama, the mixed comedy and
tragedy, of existence. What we have to do is to see that he interferes
with no other actor's _rôle_, comes upon the stage in fitting scenes,
keeps to the text and the impersonations which right principle and pure
taste assign him. His grimaces are not for the church. He may not sing
his catches when penitent souls are listening to the "Miserere," drop
his torpedo-puns when life's mystery and solemnity are pressed heavily
upon the soul,--be irreverent, profane, or vulgar. He must know and keep
his place. But he should have his place, and have it confessed; and that
place is not quite at the end of the procession of the benefactors of
the race. Punch, as we speak of him now, is but a generic name for
Protean wit and humor, well and wisely employed. As such, let Punch have
his mission; there is ample room for him and his merry doings, without
interfering with soberer agencies. _Let_ him go about tickling mankind;
it does mankind good to be tickled occasionally. Let him broaden
elongated visages; there are many faces that would be improved by
horizontal enlargement, by having the corners of the mouth curved
upward. Let him write and draw "as funny as he can"; there are dull
talking and melancholy pictures in abundance to counterbalance his
pleasantry. Let him amuse the children, relax with jocosity the
sternness of adults, and wreathe into smiles the wrinkles of old age.
Let him, in a word, be a Merry Andrew,--the patron and promoter of
frolicsomeness. To be only this is nothing to his discredit; and to
esteem him for being only this is not to pay respect to a worthless
mountebank.

But Punch is and can be something more than a caterer of sport. Kings,
in the olden time, had their jesters, who, under cover of blunt
witticisms, were permitted, to utter home-truths, which it would have
cost grave counsellors and dependent courtiers their heads to even
whisper. Punch should enjoy a similar immunity in this age,--and society
tolerate his free and smiling speech, when it would thrust out sager
monitors. If it be true that

    "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,"

something like the converse of this saying is also true. Not fools
exactly, but wisdom disguised in the motley of wit, often gains entrance
to ears deaf to angelic voices. There are follies that are to be laughed
out of their silliness and sinfulness. There are tyrants, big and
little, to be dethroned by ridicule. There are offences, proof against
appeals to conscience, that wince and vanish before keen satire. Even as
a well-aimed joke brings back good-humor to an angry mob, or makes mad
and pugnacious bullies cower and slink away from derision harder to
stand than hard knocks,--even so will a quizzical Punch be efficient as
a philanthropist, when sedate exhortations or stern warnings would fail
to move stony insensibility.

As an element in effective literature, a force in the cause of reform,
the qualities Punch personifies have been and are of no slight service.
And herein those qualities have an indefeasible title to regard. Let
there be no vinegar-faced, wholesale denunciation of them, because
sometimes their pranks are wild and overleap the fences of propriety.
Rather let appreciation of their worthiness accompany all reproving
checks upon their extravagances. Let nimble fun, explosive jokes,
festoon-faced humor, the whole tribe of gibes and quirks, every light,
keen, and flashing weapon in the armory of which Punch is the keeper, be
employed to make the world laugh, and put the world's laughter on the
side of all right as against all wrong. If this be not done, the
seriousness of life will darken into gloom, its work become slavish
tasks, and the conflict waged be a terrible conflict between grim
virtues and fiendish vices. If you could shroud the bright skies with
black tempest-clouds, burn to ashes the rainbow-hued flowers, strike
dumb the sweet melodies of the grove, and turn to stagnant pools the
silver streams,--if you could do this, thinking thereby to make earth
more of a paradise, you would be scarcely less insane than if you were
to denounce and banish all

    "Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
    Nods, and becks, and wreathèd smiles,
    Sport, that wrinkled care derides,
    And laughter, holding both his sides."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 4: See _Parton's Humorous Poetry_.]



THE SUBJECTIVE OF IT.


Toward the close of a dreamy, tranquil July day, a day made impressive
beyond the possible comprehension of a dweller in civilization by its
sun having risen for us over the unbroken wilderness of the Adirondack,
a mountain-land in each of whose deep valleys lies a blue lake, we, a
party of hunters and recreation-seekers, six beside our guides, lay on
the fir-bough-cushioned floor of our dark camp, passing away the little
remnant of what had been a day of rest to our guides and of delicious
idleness to ourselves. The camp was built on the bold shore of a lake
which yet wants a name worthy its beauty, but which we always, for want
of such a one, call by that which its white discoverer left
it,--Tupper's Lake,--whose waters, the untremulous mirror of the forests
and mountains around and the sky above, gleamed to us only in blue
fragments through the interstices of the leafy veil that intervened. The
forest is unbroken to the water's edge, and even out over the water
itself it stretches its firs and cedars, gray and moss-draped, with here
and there a moisture-loving white-birch, so that from the very shore one
sees only suggestive bits of distance and sky; and from where we were
lying, sky, hills, and the water below were all blue alike, and
undistinguishable alike, glimpses of a world of sunlight, which the
grateful shadow we lay in made delicious to the thought. We were
sheltered right woodsman-like;--our little house of fresh-peeled bark of
spruces, twelve feet by nine, open only to the east, on which side lay
the lake, shielded us from wind and rain, and the huge trees shut around
us so closely that no eye could pierce a pistol-shot into their glades.
There were blue-jays all about us, making the woods ring with their
querulous cries, and a single fish-hawk screamed from the blue overhead,
as he sailed round and round, watching the chances of a supper in the
lake. Between us and the water's edge, and a little to one side of the
path we had bushed out to the shore, was the tent of the guides, and
there they lay asleep, except one who was rubbing up his "man's" rifle,
which had been forgotten the night before when we came in from the hunt,
and so had gathered rust.

Three of our party were sleeping, and the others talked quietly and low,
desultorily, as if the drowsiness had half conquered us too. The
conversation had rambled round from a discussion on the respective
merits of the Sharp's and the Kentucky rifles (consequent on a trial of
skill and rifles which we had had after dinner) to Spiritualism,--led to
this last topic by my relation of some singular experiences I had met in
the way of presentiments and what seemed almost like second-sight,
during a three-months' sojourn in the woods several summers before.
There is something wonderfully exciting to the imagination in the
wilderness, after the first impression of monotony and lonesomeness has
passed away and there comes the necessity to animate this so vacant
world with something. And so the pines lift themselves grimly against
the twilight sky, and the moanings of the woods become full of meaning
and mystery. Living, therefore, summer after summer, as I had done, in
the wilderness, until there is no place in the world which seems so much
like a home to me as a bark camp in the Adirondack, I had come to be
what most people would call morbid, but what I felt to be only sensitive
to the things around, which we never see, but to which we all at times
pay the deference of a tremor of inexplicable fear, a quicker and less
deeply drawn breath, an involuntary turning of the head to see something
which we know we shall not see, yet are glad to find that we do
not,--all which things we laugh at as childish when they have passed,
yet tremble at as readily when they come again. J., who was both poet
and philosopher, singularly clear and cold in his analyses, and at the
same time of so great imaginative power that he could set his creations
at work and then look on and reason out the law of their working as
though they were not his, had wonders to tell which always passed mine
by a degree; his experiences were more various and marvellous than mine,
yet he had a reason for everything, to which I was compelled to defer
without being convinced. "Yes," said he, finally knocking out the ashes
from his meerschaum, as we rose, at the Doctor's suggestion, to take a
row out on the lake while the sun was setting,--"Yes, I believe in
_your_ kind of a 'spiritual world,'--but that it is purely subjective."

I was silenced in a moment;--this single sentence, spoken like the
expression of the experience of a lifetime, produced an effect which all
his logic could not. He had rubbed some talismanic opal, pronouncing the
spirit-compelling sentence engraved thereon, and a new world of doubts
and mysteries, marvels and revelations burst on me. One phase of
existence, which had been hitherto a reality to me, melted away into the
thinness of an uncompleted dream; but as it melted away, there appeared
behind it a whole universe, of which I had never before dreamed. I had
puzzled my brains over the metaphysics of subjectivity and objectivity
and found only words; now I grasped and comprehended the round of the
thing. I looked through the full range of human cognitions, and found,
from beginning to end, a proclamation of the presence of that
arch-magician, Imagination. I had said to myself,--"The universe is
subjective to Deity, objective to me; but if I am his image, what is
that part of me which corresponds to the Creator in Him?" Here I found
myself, at last, the creator of a universe of unsubstantialities, all of
the stuff that dreams are made of, and all alike unconsciously evoked,
whether they were the dreams of sleep or the hauntings of waking hours.
I grew bewildered as the thought loomed up in its eternal significance,
and a thousand facts and phenomena, which had been standing in the
darkness around my little circle of vision, burst into light and
recognition, as though they had been waiting beyond the outer verge for
the magic words. J. had spoken them.

Silent, almost for the moment unconscious of external things, in the
intense exaltation of thought and feeling, I walked down to the shore.
Taking the lightest and fleetest of our boats, we pushed off on the
perfectly tranquil water. There was no flaw in the mirror which gave us
a duplicated world. Line for line, tint for tint, the noble mountain
that lifts itself at the east, robed in primeval forest to its very
summit, and now suffused with rosy light from the sun, already hidden
from us by a low ridge in the west, was reproduced in the void below us.
The shadow of the western ridge began to climb the opposite bluffs of
the lake shore. We pulled well out into the lake and lay on our oars. If
anything was said, I do not remember it. I was as one who had just heard
words from the dead, and hears as prattle all the sounds of common life.
My eyes, my ears, were opened anew to Nature, and it seemed even as if
some new sense had been given me. I felt, as I never felt before, the
cool gloom of the shadow creep up, ridge after ridge, towards the
solitary peak, irresistibly and triumphantly encroaching on the light,
which fought back towards the summit, where it must yield at last. It
drew back over ravines and gorges, over the wildernesses of unbroken
firs which covered all the upper portion of the mountain, deepening its
rose-tint and gaining in intensity what it lost in expanse,--diminished
to a handbreadth, to a point, and, flickering an instant, went out,
leaving in the whole range of vision no speck of sunlight to relieve the
wilderness of shadowy gloom. I had come under a spell,--for, often as I
had seen the sun set in the mountains and over the lakes, I had never
before felt as I now felt, that I was a part in the landscape, and that
it was something more to me than rocks and trees. The sunlight had died
on it. J. took up the oars and our silently-moving boat broke the glassy
surface again. All around us no distinction was visible between the
landscape above and that below, no water-line could be found; and to the
west, where the sky was still glowing and golden, with faint bands of
crimson cirrus swept across the deep and tremulous blue, growing purple
as the sun sank lower, we could distinguish nothing in the landscape.
Neither sound nor motion of animate or inanimate thing disturbed the
scene, save that of the oars, with the long lines of blue which ran off
from the wake of the boat into the mystery closing behind us. A
rifle-shot rang out from the landing and rolled in multitudinous echoes
around the lake, dying away in faintest thunders and murmurings from the
ravines on the side of the mountain. It was the call to supper, and we
pulled back to the light of the fire, which was now glimmering through
the trees from the front of the camp.

Supper over, the smokers lighted their pipes and a rambling conversation
began on the sights and sounds of the day. For my own part, unable to
quiet the uneasy questioning which possessed me, I wandered down to the
shore and took a seat in the stern of one of the boats, which, hauled
part of their length upon the sandy beach, reached out some distance
among the lily-pads which covered the shallow water, and whose folded
flowers dotted the surface, the white points alone visible. The uneasy
question still stirred within me; and now, looking towards the
northwest, where the sky yet glowed faintly with twilight, a long line
of pines, gaunt and humanesque, as no tree but our northern white-pine
is, was relieved in massy blackness against the golden gray, like a long
procession of giants. They were in groups of two and three, with now and
then an isolated one, stretching along the horizon, losing themselves in
the gloom of the mountains at the north. The weirdness of the scene
caught my excited imagination in an instant, and I became conscious of
two mental phenomena. The first was an impression of motion in the
trees, which, whimsical as it was, I had not the slightest power to
dispel. I trembled from head to foot under the consciousness of this
supernatural vitality. My rational faculties were as clear as ever they
had been, and I understood perfectly that the semblance of motion was
owing to two characteristics of the white-pine, namely,--that it follows
the shores of the lakes in lines, rarely growing back at any distance
from the water, except when it follows, in the same orderly
arrangement, the rocky ridges,--and that, from its height above all
other forest-trees, it catches the full force of the prevalent winds,
which here are from the west, and consequently leans slightly to the
east, much as a person leans in walking. These traits of the tree
explained entirely the phenomenon; yet the knowledge of them had not the
slightest effect to undeceive my imagination. I was awe-struck, as
though the phantoms of some antediluvian race had arisen from the
valleys of the Adirondack and were marching in silence to their old
fanes on the mountain-tops. I cowered in the boat under an absolute
chill of nervous apprehension.--The second phenomenon was, that I heard
_mentally_ a voice which said distinctly these words,-"The procession of
the Anakim!"--and at the same time I became conscious of some
disembodied spiritual being standing near me, as we are sometimes aware
of the presence of a friend without having seen him. Every one
accustomed to solitary thought has probably recognized this kind of
mental action, and speculated on the strange duality of Nature implied
in it. The spiritualists call it "impressional communication," and
abandon themselves to its vagaries in the belief that it is really the
speech of angels; men of thought find in it a mystery of mental
organization, and avail themselves of it under the direction of their
reason. I at present speculated with the philosophers; but my
imagination, siding with the spiritualists, assured me that some one
spoke to me, and reason was silenced. I sat still as long as I could
endure it, alone, and then crept back, trembling, to the camp,--feeling
quiet only when surrounded by the rest of the party.

My attendant dæmon did not leave me, I found; for now I heard the
question asked, half-tauntingly,--"Subjective or objective?"

I asked myself, in reply,--"Am I mad or sane?"

"Quite sane, but with your eyes opened to something new!" was the
instantaneous reply.

On such expeditions, men get back to the primitive usages and conditions
of humanity. We had arisen at daybreak; darkness brought the disposition
to rest. We arranged ourselves side by side on the couch of balsam and
cedar boughs which the guides had spread on the ground of the camp, our
feet to the fire, and all but myself soon slept. I lay a long time,
excited, looking out through the open front of the camp at the stars
which shone in through the trees, and even they seemed partakers of my
new state of existence, and twinkled consciously and confidentially, as
to one who shared the secret of their own existence and purposes. The
pine-trees overhead had an added tone in their meanings, and indeed
everything, as I regarded it, seemed to manifest a new life, to become
identified with me: Nature and I had all things in common. I slept, at
length,--a strange kind of sleep; for when the guides awoke me, in the
full daylight, I was conscious of some one having talked with me through
the night.

In broad day, with my companions, and in motion, the influences of the
previous evening seemed to withdraw themselves to a remote
distance,--yet I was aware of their awaiting me when I should be
unoccupied. The day was as brilliant, as tranquil as its predecessor,
and the council decided that it should be devoted to a "drive," for we
had eaten the last of our venison for breakfast. The party were assigned
their places at those points of the lake where the deer would be most
likely to take the water, while my guide, Steve M----, and myself went
up Bog River, to start him. The river, a dark, sluggish stream, about
fifty feet wide, the channel by which the Mud Lakes and Little Tupper's
Lake, with its connected lakes and ponds, empty into Tupper's Lake, is a
favorite feeding-ground with the deer, whose breakfast is made on the
leaves of the _Nuphar lutea_ which edge the stream. We surprised one,
swimming around amongst the leaves, snatching here and there the
choicest of them, and when he turned to go out and rose in the water,
as his feet touched bottom, I gave him a ball without fatal effect, and
landing, we put Carlo on the track, which was marked by occasional drops
and clots of blood, and hearing him well off into the woods, and in that
furious and deep bay which indicates close pursuit, we went back to our
boat and paddled upstream to a run-way Steve knew of, where the deer
sometimes crossed the river. We pushed the boat into the overhanging
alders which fringe the banks, leaning out into and over the water, and
listened to the far-off bay of the hound. It died away and was entirely
lost for a few minutes, and then came into hearing from the nearer side
of the ridge, which lay back from the river a hundred rods or so, and I
cocked my rifle while Steve silently pushed the boat out of the bushes,
ready for a start, if the deer should "water." The baying receded again,
and this time in the direction of the lake. The blood we had found on
the trail was the bright, red, frothy blood which showed that the ball
had passed through the lungs, and, as we knew that the deer would not
run long before watering, we were sure that this would be his last turn
and that he was making in earnest for the lake, where some of the boats
would certainly catch him.

The excitement of the hunt had brought me back to a natural state of
feeling, and now, as I lay in the stern of the boat, drifting slowly
down-stream, and looked up into the hazy blue sky, in the whole expanse
of which appeared no fragment of cloud, and the softened sunshine
penetrated both soul and body, while the brain, lulled into lethargy by
the unbroken silence and monotony of forest around, lost every trace of
its midsummer madness,--I looked back to the state of the last evening
as to a curious dream. I asked myself wherein it differed from a dream,
and instantly my dæmon replied, "In no wise." The instant reply
surprised me, without startling me from my lethargy. I responded, as a
matter of course, "But if no more than a dream, it amounts to nothing."
It answered me, "But when a man dreams wide awake?" I pondered an
instant, and it went on: "And how do you know that dreams are nothing?
They are real while they last, and your waking life is no more; you wake
to one and sleep to the other. Which is the real, and which the false?
since you assume that one is false." I only asked myself again the
eternal question, "Objective or subjective?" and the dæmon made no
further suggestion. At this instant we heard the report of a gun from
the lake. "That's the Doctor's shot-gun," said Steve, and pulled
energetically down-stream; for we knew, that, if the Doctor had fired,
the deer had come in,--and if he had missed the first shot, he had a
second barrel, which we should have heard from.

Among the most charming cascades in the world is certainly that which
Bog River makes where it falls into Tupper's Lake. Its amber water,
black in the deep channel above the fall, dividing into several small
streams, slips with a plunge of, it may be, six feet over the granite
rocks, into a broad, deep pool, round which tall pines stand, and over
which two or three delicate-leaved white-birches lean, from which basin
the waters plunge in the final foamy rush of thirty or forty feet over
the irregularly broken ledge which makes the bold shore of the lake.
Between the two points of rock which confine the stream is thrown a
bridge, part of the military road from the Mohawk settlements to those
on the St. Lawrence, built during the war of 1812. On this bridge I
waited until Steve had carried the boat around, when we reëmbarked for
the camp.

Arriving at the landing, we found two of the guides dressing the
Doctor's deer, and the others preparing for dinner. As night came on my
excitement returned, and I remained in the camp while the others went
out on the lake,--not from fear of such an experience as I had the night
before, for I enjoyed the wild emotions, as one enjoys the raging of the
sea around the rocks he stands on, with a kind of tremulous
apprehension,--but to see what effect the camp would produce on the
state of feeling which I had begun to look at as something normal in my
mental development. The rest of the party had gone out in two boats, and
three of the guides, taking another, went on an excursion of their own;
the two remaining, having cleared the supper-things away and lighted
their pipes, were engaged in their tent, playing _old sledge_ by the
light of a single candle. There was a race out on the lake, and a
far-off merriment, with an occasional halloo, like a suggestion of a
busy world somewhere, but all so softened and toned down that it did not
jar on my tranquillity. There was a crackling fire of green logs as
large as the guides could lift and lay on, and they simmered in the
blaze, and lit up the surrounding tree-trunks and the overhanging
foliage, and faintly explored the recesses of the forest beyond. I lay
on the blankets, and near to me seemed to sit my dæmon, ready to be
questioned.

At this instant there came a doubt of the theological position of my
ghostly _vis-a-vis_, and I abruptly thought the question, "Who are you?"

"Nobody," replied the dæmon, oracularly.

This I knew in one sense to be true; and I replied, "But you know what I
mean. Don't trifle. Of what nature is your personality?"

"Do you think," it replied, "that personality is necessary to existence?
We are spirit."

"But wherein, save in the having or not having a body, do you differ
from me?"

"In all the consequences of that difference."

"Very well,--go on."

"Don't you see that without your circumstances you are only half a
being?--that you are shaped by the action and reaction between your own
mind and surrounding things, and that the body is the only medium of
this action and reaction? Do you not see that without this there would
have been no consciousness of self, and consequently neither
individuality nor personality? Remove those circumstances by removing
the body, and do you not remove personality?"

"But," said I, "you certainly have individuality, and wherein does that
differ from personality?"

"Possibly you commit two mistakes," replied the dæmon. "As to the
distinction, it is one with a difference. You are personal to yourself,
individual to others; and we, though individual to you, may be still
impersonal. If spirit takes form from having something to act on, the
fact that we act on you is sufficient, so far as you are concerned, to
cause an individuality."

I hesitated, puzzled.

It went on: "Don't you see that the inertia of spirit is motion, as that
of matter is rest? Now compare this universal spirit to a river flowing
tranquilly, and which in itself gives no evidence of motion, save when
it meets with some inert point of resistance. This point of resistance
has the effect of action in itself, and you attribute to _it_ all the
eddies and ripples produced. You _must_ see that your own immobility is
the cause of the phenomena of life which give you your apparent
existence;--our individuality to you may be just as much the effect of
your personality; you find us only responsive to your own mental state."

I was conscious of a sophistry somewhere, but could not, for the life of
me, detect it. I thought of the Tempter; I almost feared to listen to
another word; but the dæmon seemed so fair, so rational, and, above all,
so confident of truth, that I could not entertain my fears.

"But," said I, finally, "if my personality is owing to my physical
circumstances, to my body and its immobility, what is the body itself
owing to?"

"All physical or organic existence is owing to the antagonism between
certain particles of matter, fixed and resistant, and the all-pervading,
ever-flowing spirit; the different inertiæ conflict, and end by
combining in an organic being, since neither can be annihilated or
transmuted. Perhaps we can tell you, by-and-by, how this antagonism
commences; at present, you would scarcely be able to comprehend it
clearly."

This I felt, for I was already getting confused with the questions that
occurred to me as to the relations between spirit and matter.

I asked once more, "Have you never been personal, as I am?--have you
never had a body and a name?"

"Perhaps," was the reply,--"but it must have been long since; and the
trifling circumstances which you call life, with all their direct and
recognizable effects, pass away so soon, that it is impossible to recall
anything of it. There seems a kind of consciousness when we have
something to act against, as against your mind at the present moment;
but as to name, and all that kind of distinctiveness, what is the use of
it where there is no possibility of confusion or mistake as to identity?
We have said that we are spirit; and when we say that spirit is one and
matter one, we have gone behind personal identity."

"But," asked I, "am I to lose my individual existence,--to become
finally merged in a universal impersonality? What, then, is the object
of life?"

"You see the plants and animals all around you growing up and passing
away,--each entering its little orbit, and sweeping through this sphere
of cognizance back again to the same mystery it emerged from; you never
ask the question as to them, but for yourself you are anxious. If you
had not been, would creation have been any less creation?--if you cease,
will it not still be as great? Truly, though, your mistake is one of too
little, not of too much. You assume that the animals become nothing;
but, truly, nothing dies. The very crystals into which all the so-called
primitive substances are formed, and which are the first forms of
organization, have a spirit in them; for they obey something which
inhabits and organizes them. If you could decompose the crystal, would
you annihilate the soul which organized it? The plant absorbs the
crystal, and it becomes a part of a higher organization, which could no
more exist without its soul; and if the plant is cut down and cast into
the oven, is the organic impulse food for the flames? You, the animal,
do but exist through the absorption of these vegetable substances, and
why should you not obey the analogical law of absorption and
aggregation? You killed a deer to-day;--the flesh you will appropriate
to supply the wants of your own material organization; but the life, the
spirit which made that flesh a deer, in obedience to which that shell of
external appearance is moulded,--you missed that. You can trace the body
in its metamorphoses; but for this impalpable, active, and only real
part of the being,--it were folly to suppose it more perishable, more
evanescent, than the matter of which it was master. And why should not
you, as well as the deer, go back into the great Life from which you
came? As to a purpose in creation, why should there be any other than
that which existence always shows,--that of existing?"

I now began to notice that all the leading ideas which the dæmon offered
were put in the form of questions, as if from a cautious
non-committalism, or as if it dared not in so many words say that they
were the absolute truth. I felt that there was another side to the
matter, and was confident that I should detect the sophistry of the
dæmon; but then I did not feel able to carry the conversation farther,
and was sensible of a readiness on the part of my interlocutor to cease.
I wondered at this, and if it implied weariness on its part, when it was
replied,--"We answer to your own mind; of course, when that ceases to
act, there ceases to be reaction." I cried out in my own mind, in utter
bewilderment,--"Objective or subjective?" and ceased my questionings.

The camp-fire glowed splendidly through the overhanging branches and
foliage, and I longed for a revel of light. I asked the guides to make a
"blaze," and, after a minute's delay and an ejaculation of "_Game, to
your high, low, jack_," they emerged from the tent and in a few minutes
had cut down several small dead spruces and piled the tops on the fire,
which flashed up through the pitchy, inflammable mass, and we had a
pyrotechnical display which startled the birds, that had gone to rest in
the assurance of night, into a confused activity and clamor. The heat
penetrated the camp and gave me a drowsiness which my disturbed repose
of the night before rendered extremely grateful, and when the rest of
the party returned from their row, I was asleep.

It was determined, the next morning, in council, to move; and one of the
guides having informed us of a newly-opened carry, by which we could
cross from Little Tupper's Lake, ten miles above us, directly to Forked
Lake, and thence following the usual route down the Raquette River and
through Long Lake, we could reach Martin's on Saranac Lake without
retracing our steps, except over the short distance from the Raquette
through the Saranac Lakes,--after breakfast, we hurriedly packed up our
traps and were off as early as might be. It is hard boating up the Bog
River, and hard work both for guides and tourists. All the boats and
baggage had to be carried three miles, on the backs of the guides, and,
help them as much as we could, the day had drawn nearly to its close
before we were fairly embarked on Little Tupper's, and we had then
nearly ten miles to go before reaching Constable's Camp, where we were
to stop for the night. I worked hard all day, but in a kind of dream, as
if the dead weight I carried with weariness were only the phantom of
something, and I were a fantasy carrying it;--the actual had become
visionary, and my imaginings nudged me and jostled me almost off the
path of reason. But I had no time for a _séance_ with my dæmon. The next
day I devoted with the guides to bushing out the carry across to Forked
Lake, about three and a half miles, through perfectly pathless woods;
for we found Sam's statements as to the carry being chopped out entirely
false; only a blazed line existed; so all the guides, except one, set to
work with myself bushing and chopping out, while the other guide and the
rest of the party spent the day in hunting. At the close of the day we
had completed nearly two miles of the path, and returned to Constable's
Camp to sleep. The next day we succeeded in getting the boats and
baggage through to Bottle Pond, two and a half miles, and the whole
party camped on the carry,--the guides anathematizing Sam, whose advice
had led us on this road. The next afternoon found us afloat on Forked
Lake, weary and glad to be in the sunlight on blue water again. Hard
work and the excitement of responsibility in engineering our road-making
operations had kept my visitor from dream-land away, and as we paddled
leisurely down the beautiful lake,--one of the few yet untouched by the
lumbermen,--I felt a healthier tone of mind than I had known since we
had entered the woods. As we ran out of one of the deep bays which
constitute a large portion of the lake, into the principal sheet of
water, one of the most perfectly beautiful mountain-views I have ever
seen burst upon us. We looked down the lake to its outlet, five miles,
between banks covered with tall pines, and far away in the hazy
atmosphere a chain of blue peaks raised themselves sharp-edged against
the sky. One singularly-shaped summit, far to the south, attracted my
attention, and I was about to ask its name, when Steve called out, with
the air of one who communicates something of more than ordinary
significance,--"Blue Mountain!" The name, Steve's manner, and I know not
what of mysterious cause, gave to the place a strange importance. I felt
a new and unaccountable attraction to the mountain. Some enchantment
seemed to be casting its glamour over me from that distance even. There
was thenceforward no goal for my wanderings but the Blue Mountain. It is
a solitary peak, one of the southernmost of the Adirondacks, of a very
quaint form, and lies in a circlet of lakes, three of which in a chain
are named from the mountain. The way by which the mountain is reached is
through these lakes, and their outlet, which empties into Raquette Lake.
I had determined to remain in the woods some weeks, and now concluded to
return, as soon as I had seen the rest of the party on their way home,
and take up quarters on Raquette Lake for the rest of my stay.

That night we camped at the foot of Forked Lake, and not one of the
party will ever forget the thunder-storm that burst on us in our
woods-encampment among the tall pines, two of which, near us, were
struck by the lightning. I tried in vain, when we were quiet for the
night, to get some information on the subject of my attraction to the
Blue Mountain. My dæmon appeared remote and made no responses. It seemed
as if, knowing my resolution to stay alone there, it had resolved to be
silent until I was without any cause for interruption of our colloquies.
Save the consciousness of its remote attendance, I felt no recurrence of
my past experience, until, having seen my friends on the road to
civilization again, I left Martin's with Steve and Carlo for my quarters
on the Raquette. We hurried back up the river as fast as four strong
arms could propel our light boat, and resting, the second night, at
Wilbur's, on Raquette Lake, I the next morning selected a site for a
camp, where we built a neat little bark-house, proof against all
discomforts of an elemental character, and that night I rested under my
own roof, squatter though I was. The dæmon seemed in no haste to renew
our former intimate intercourse,--for what reason I could not divine;
but a few days after my settling, days spent in exploring and planning,
it resumed suddenly its functions. It came to me out on the lake, where
I had paddled to enjoy the starlight in the delicious evening, when the
sky was filled with luminous vapor, through which the stars struggled
dimly, and in which the landscape was almost as clearly visible as by
moonlight.

"Well!" said I, familiarly, as I felt it take its place by my side, "you
have come back."

"_Come back!_" it replied; "will you never get beyond your miserable
ideas of space, and learn that there is no separation but that of
feeling, no nearness but that of sympathy? If you had cared enough for
us, we should have been with you constantly."

I was anxious to get to the subject of present interest, and did not
stop to discuss a point which, in one, and the highest sense, I
admitted.

"What," I asked, "was that impulse which urged me to go to the Blue
Mountain? Shall I find there anything supernatural?"

"_Anything supernatural?_ What is there above Nature, or outside of it?"

"But nothing is without cause; and for an emotion so strong as I
experienced, on the sight of those mountains, there must have been one."

"Very likely! if you go after it, you will find it. You probably expect
to find some beautiful enchantress keeping her court on the
mountain-top, and a suite of fairies."

I started, for, absurd as it may seem, that very idea, half-formed,
undeveloped from very shame at my superstition, had rested in my mind.

"And," said I, at a loss what to say, "are there no such things
possible?"

"All things are possible to the imagination."

"To create?"

"Most certainly! Is not creation the act of bringing into existence? and
does not your Hamlet exist as immortally as your Shakspeare? The only
true existence, is it not that of the Idea? Have you not seen the pines
transfigured?"

"And if I imagined a race of fairies inhabiting the Blue Mountain,
should I find them?"

"If you _imagined_ them, yes! But the imagination is not voluntary; it
works to supply a necessity; its function is creation, and creation is
needed only to fill a vacuum. The wild Arab, feeling his own
insignificance, and comprehending the necessity for a Creating Power,
finds between himself and that Power, which to him, as to you the other
day, assumes a personality, an immense distance, and fills the space
with a race half divine, half human. It was the necessity for the fairy
which created the fairy. You do not feel the same distance between
yourself and a Creator, and so you do not call into existence a creative
race of the same character; but has not your own imagination furnished
you with images to which you may give your reverence? It may be that you
diminish that distance by degrading the Great First Cause to an image of
your personality, and so are not so wise as the Arab, who at once admits
it to be unattainable. Each man shapes that which he looks up to by his
desires or fears, and these in their turn are the results of his degree
of development."

"But God, is not He the Supreme Creator?"

"Is it not as we said, that you measure the Supreme by yourself? Can you
not comprehend a supreme law, an order which controls all things?"

In my meditations this doubt had often presented itself to me, and I had
as often put it resolutely aside; but now to hear it urged on me in this
way from this mysterious presence troubled me, and I shrank from further
discussion of the topic. I earnestly desired a fuller knowledge of the
nature of my colloquist.

"Tell me," said I, "do you not take cognizance of my personality?--do
you read my past and my future?"

"Your past and future are contained in your present. Who can analyze
what you are can see the things which made you such; for effect contains
its cause;--to see the future, it needs only to know the laws which
govern all things. It is a simple problem: you being given, with the
inevitable tendencies to which you are subject, the result is your
future; the flight of one of your rifle-balls cannot be calculated with
greater certainty."

"But how shall we know those laws?" said I.

"You contain them all, for you are the result of them; and they are
always the same,--not one code for your beginning, and another for your
continuance. Man is the complete embodiment of all the laws thus far
developed, and you have only to know yourself to know the history of
creation."

This I could not gainsay, and my mind, wearied, declined to ask further.
I returned to camp and went to sleep.

Several days passed without any remarkable progress in my knowledge of
this strange being, though I found myself growing more and more
sensitive to the presence of it each day; and at the same time the
incomprehensible sympathy with Nature, for I know not what else to call
it, seemed growing stronger and more startling in the effects it
produced on the landscape. The influence was no longer confined to
twilight, but made noon-day mystical; and I began to hear strange sounds
and words spoken by disembodied voices,--not like that of my dæmon, but
unaccompanied by any feeling of personal presence connected therewith.
It seemed as if the vibrations shaped themselves into words, some of
them of singular significance. I heard my name called, and the strangest
laughs on the lake at night. My dæmon seemed averse to answering any
questions on the topic of these illusions. The only reply was,--"You
would be wiser, not knowing too much."

Ere many days of this solitary life had passed, I found my whole
existence taken up by my fantasies. I determined to make my excursion to
the Blue Mountain, and, sending Steve down to the post-office, a
three-days' journey, I took the boat, with Carlo and my rifle, and
pushed off. The outlet of the Blue Mountain Lakes is like all the
Adirondack streams, dark and shut in by forest, which scarcely permits
landing anywhere. Now and then a log fallen into the water compels the
voyager to get out and lift his boat over; then a shallow rapid must be
dragged over; and when the stream is clear of obstruction, it is too
narrow for any mode of propulsion but poling or paddling.

I had worked several weary hours, and the sun had passed the meridian,
when I emerged from the forest into a wild, swampy flat,--"wild meadow,"
the guides call it,--through which the stream wound, and around which
was a growth of tall larches backed by pines. Where the brook seemed to
reënter the wood on the opposite side, stood two immense pines, like
sentinels, and such they became to me; and they looked grim and
threatening, with their huge arms reaching over the gateway. I drew my
boat up on the boggy shore at the foot of a solitary tamarack, into
which I climbed as high as I could to look over the wood beyond.

Never shall I forget what I saw from that swaying look-out. Before me
was the mountain, perhaps five miles away, covered with dense forest to
within a few hundred feet of the summit, which showed bare rock with
firs clinging in the clefts and on the tables, and which was crowned by
a walled city, the parapet of whose walls cut with a sharp, straight
line against the sky, and beyond showed spire and turret and the tops of
tall trees. The walls must have been at least a hundred and fifty feet
high, and I could see here and there between the group of firs traces of
a road coming down the mountain-side. And I heard one of those mocking
voices say, "The city of silence!"--nothing more. I felt strongly
tempted to start on a flight through the air towards the city, and why I
did not launch forth on the impulse I know not. My blood rushed through
my veins with maddest energy, and my brain seemed to have been replaced
by some ethereal substance, and to be capable of floating me off as if
it were a balloon. Yet I clung and looked, my whole soul in my eyes, and
had no thought of losing the spectacle for an instant, even were it to
reach the city itself. The glorious glamour of that place and moment,
who can comprehend it? The wind swung my tree-top to and fro, and I
climbed up until the tree bent with my weight like a twig under a
bird's.

Presently I heard bells and strains of music, as though all the military
bands in the city were coming together on the walls; and the sounds rose
and fell with the wind,--one moment entirely lost, another full and
triumphant. Then I heard the sound of hunting-horns and the baying of a
pack of hounds, deep-mouthed, as if a hunting-party were coming down the
mountain-side. Nearer and nearer they came, and I heard merry laughing
and shouting as they swept through the valley. I feared for a moment
that they would find me there, and drive me, intruding, from the
enchanted land.

But I must fathom the mystery, let what would come. I descended the
tree, and when I had reached the boat again I found the whole thing
changed. I understood that my city was only granite and fir-trees, and
my music only the wind in the tree-tops. The reaction was sickening; the
sunshine seemed dull and cold after the lost glory of that enchantment.
The Blue Mountain was reached, its destiny fulfilled for me, and I
returned to my camp, sick at heart, as one who has had a dear illusion
dispelled.

The next day my mind was unusually calm and clear. I asked my dæmon what
was the meaning of the enchantment of yesterday.

"It was a freak of your imagination," it replied.

"But what is this imagination, then, which, being a faculty of my own,
yet masters my reason?"

"Not at all a faculty, but your very highest self, your own life in
creative activity. Your reason _is_ a faculty, and is subordinate to the
purposes of your imagination. If, instead of regarding imagination as a
pendant to your mental organization, you take it for what it is, a
function, and the noblest one your mind knows, you will see at once why
it is that it works unconsciously, just as you live unconsciously and
involuntarily. Men set their reason and feeling to subdue what they
consider a treacherous element in themselves; they succeed only in
dwarfing their natures, and imagination is inert while reason controls;
but when reason rests in sleep, and you cease to live to the external
world, imagination resumes its normal power. You dream;--it is only the
revival of that which you smother when you are awake. You consider the
sights and sounds of yesterday follies; you reason;--imagination
demonstrates its power by overturning your reason and deceiving your
very senses."

"You speak of its creations; I understand this in a certain sense; but
if these were such, should not they have permanence? and can anything
created perish?"

"Nonsense! what will these trees be tomorrow? and the rocks you sit on,
are they not changing to vegetation under you? The only creation is that
of ideas; things are thin shadows. If man is not creative, he is still
undeveloped."

"But is not such an assumption trenching on the supremacy of God?" I
asked.

"What do you understand by 'God?'"

"An infinitely wise and loving Controller of events, of course," I
replied.

"Did you ever find any one whose ideas on the subject agreed with
yours?"

"Not entirely."

"Then your God is not the same as the God of other men; from the
Fee-Jeean to the Christian there is a wide range. Of course there is a
first great principle of life; but this personality you all worship, is
it not a creation?"

I now felt this to be the great point of the demon's urging; it recurred
too often not to be designed. Led on by the sophistry of my tempter, I
had floated unconsciously to this issue, practically admitting all; but
when this suggestion stood completely unclothed before me, my soul rose
in horror at the abyss before it. For an instant all was chaos, and the
very order of Nature seemed disorder. Life and light vanished from the
face of the earth; my night made all things dead and dark. A universe
without a God! Creation seemed to me for that moment but a galvanized
corse. What my emotions were no human being who has not felt them can
conceive. My first impulse was to suicide; with the next I cried from
the depths of my despair, "God deliver me from the body of this death!"
It was but a moment,--and there came, in the place of the cold
questioning voice of my dæmon, one of ineffable music, repeating words
familiar to me from childhood, words linked to everything loved and
lovely in my past:--"Ye believe in God, believe also in me." The hot
tears for another moment blotted out the world from sight. I said once
more to the questioner, "Now who _are_ you?"

"Your own doubts," was the reply; and it seemed as if only I spoke to
myself.

Since that day I have never reasoned with my doubts, never doubted my
imagination.



ALL'S WELL.


    Sweet-voicèd Hope, thy fine discourse
      Foretold not half life's good to me;
    Thy painter, Fancy, hath not force
      To show how sweet it is to be!
        Thy witching dream
        And pictured scheme
    To match the fact still want the power;
      Thy promise brave
      From birth to grave
    Life's boon may beggar in an hour.

    Ask and receive,--'tis sweetly said;
      Yet what to plead for know I not;
    For Wish is worsted, Hope o'ersped,
      And aye to thanks returns my thought.
        If I would pray,
        I've nought to say
    But this, that God may be God still;
        For Him to live
        Is still to give,
    And sweeter than my wish his will.

    O wealth of life beyond all bound!
      Eternity each moment given!
    What plummet may the Present sound?
      Who promises a _future_ heaven?
        Or glad, or grieved,
        Oppressed, relieved,
    In blackest night, or brightest day,
        Still pours the flood
        Of golden good,
    And more than heartfull fills me aye.

    My wealth is common; I possess
      No petty province, but the whole;
    What's mine alone is mine far less
      Than treasure shared by every soul.
        Talk not of store,
        Millions or more,--
    Of values which the purse may hold,--
        But this divine!
        I own the mine
    Whose grains outweigh a planet's gold.

    I have a stake in every star,
      In every beam that fills the day;
    All hearts of men my coffers are,
      My ores arterial tides convey;
        The fields, the skies,
        And sweet replies
    Of thought to thought are my gold-dust,--
        The oaks, the brooks,
        And speaking looks
    Of lovers' faith and friendship's trust.

    Life's youngest tides joy-brimming flow
      For him who lives above all years,
    Who all-immortal makes the Now,
      And is not ta'en in Time's arrears:
        His life's a hymn
        The seraphim
    Might hark to hear or help to sing,
        And to his soul
      The boundless whole
    Its bounty all doth daily bring.

    "All mine is thine," the sky-soul saith;
      "The wealth I am, must thou become:
    Richer and richer, breath by breath,--
      Immortal gain, immortal room!"
        And since all his
        Mine also is,
    Life's gift outruns my fancies far,
        And drowns the dream
        In larger stream,
    As morning drinks the morning-star.



THE BIRDS OF THE PASTURE AND FOREST.


He who has always lived in the city or its suburbs, who has seldom
visited the interior except for purposes of trade, and whose walks have
not often extended beyond those roads which are bordered on each side by
shops and dwelling-houses, may never have heard the birds that form the
subject of this sketch. These are the birds of the pasture and
forest,--those shy, melodious warblers, who sing only in the ancient
haunts of the Dryads, and of those nymphs who waited upon Diana in her
hunting-excursions, but who are now recognized only by the beautiful
plants which, with unseen hands, they rear in the former abodes of the
celestial huntress. These birds have not probably multiplied, like the
familiar birds, with the increase of human population and the extension
of agriculture. They were perhaps as numerous in the days of King Philip
as they are now. Though they do not shun mankind, they keep aloof from
cultivated grounds, living chiefly in the deep wood or on the edge of
the forest, and in the bushy pasture.

There is a peculiar wildness in the songs of this class of birds, that
awakens a delightful mood of mind, similar to that which is excited by
reading the figurative lyrics of a romantic age. This feeling is,
undoubtedly, to a certain extent, the effect of association. Having
always heard their notes in rude, wild, and wooded places, they never
fail to bring this kind of scenery vividly before the imagination, and
their voices affect us like the sounds of mountain-streams. There is a
little Sparrow which I often hear about the shores of unfrequented
ponds, and in their untrodden islets, and never in any other situations.
The sound of his voice, therefore, always enhances the sensation of rude
solitude with which I contemplate this wild and desolate scenery. We
often see him perched upon a dead tree that stands in the water, a few
rods from the shore, apparently watching our angling operations from his
leafless perch, where he sings so sweetly, that the very desolation of
the scene borrows a charm from his voice that renders every object
delightful. This bird I believe to be the _Fringilla palustris_ of
Wilson.

It is certain that the notes of the solitary birds, compared with those
of the Robin and Linnet, excite a different class of sensations. I can
imagine that there is a similar difference in the flavors of a cherry
and a cranberry. If the former is sweeter, the latter has a spicy zest
that is peculiar to what we call natural fruit. The effect is the same,
however, whether it be attributable to some intrinsic quality, or to
association, which is indeed the source of some of the most delightful
emotions of the human soul.

Nature has made all her scenes, and the sights and sounds that
accompany them, more lovely, by causing them to be respectively
suggestive of a certain class of sensations. The birds of the pasture
and forest are not frequent enough in cultivated places to be associated
with the garden or village inclosure. Nature has confined particular
birds and animals to certain localities, and thereby adds a poetic and a
picturesque attraction to their features. There are also certain flowers
that cannot be cultivated in the garden, as if they were designed for
the exclusive adornment of those secluded arbors which the spade and the
plough have never profaned. Here flowers grow which are too holy for
culture, and birds sing whose voices were never heard in the cage of the
voluptuary, and whose tones inspire us with a sense of freedom known
only to those who often retire from the world, to live in religious
communion with Nature.

When the flowers of early summer are gone, and the graceful neottia is
seen in the meadows, extending its spiral clusters among the nodding
grasses,--when the purple orchis is glowing in the wet grounds, and the
roadsides are gleaming with the yellow blossoms of the hypericum, the
merry voice of the Bobolink has ceased, and many other familiar birds
have become almost silent. At this time, if we stroll away from the farm
and the orchard into more retired and wooded haunts, we may hear, at all
times of the day and at frequent intervals, the pensive and melodious
notes of the Wood-Sparrow, who sings as if he were delighted at being
left almost alone to warble and complain to the benevolent deities of
the grove. He who in his youth has made frequent visits to these
pleasant and solitary places, and wished that he could live and love
forever among the wild-roses, the blushing azaleas, the red
summer-lilies, and the thousands of beautiful and sweet-scented flowers
that spring up among the various spicy and fruit-bearing shrubs which
unite to form a genuine huckleberry-pasture,--he only knows the
unspeakable delights which are awakened by the sweet, simple notes of
this little warbler.

The Wood-Sparrow (_Fringilla pusilla_) is somewhat less than a Canary,
with a chestnut-colored crown; above of a grayish brown hue, and dusky
white beneath. Though he does not seem to be a shy bird, I have never
seen him in cultivated grounds, and the inmates of solitary cottages
alone are privileged to hear his notes from their windows. He loves the
hills which are half covered with young pines, viburnums, cornels, and
huckleberry-bushes, and feeds upon the seeds of grasses and wild
lettuce, with occasional repasts of insects and berries.

His notes are sweet and plaintive, seldom consisting of more than one
strain. He commences slowly, as if repeating the syllable, _de de de de
de de d' d' d' d' d' d' d' r' r' r'_,--increasing in rapidity, and at
the same time rising as it were by semi-tones, or chromatically, to
about a major fourth on the scale. In midsummer, when this bird is most
musical, he occasionally lengthens his song by alternately ascending and
descending, interposing a few chirping notes between the ascending and
descending series. The song loses a part of its simplicity, and, as it
seems to me, is not improved by this variation.

While listening to the notes of the Wood-Sparrow, we are continually
saluted by the agreeable, though less musical song of the Chewink, or
Ground-Robin,--a bird that frequents similar places. This is a very
beautiful bird, elegantly spotted with white, red, and black,--the
female being of a bright bay color where the male is red. Every rambler
knows him, not only by his plumage and his peculiar note, but also by
his singular habit of lurking about among the bushes, appearing and
disappearing like a squirrel, and watching all our movements. Though he
does not avoid our company, it is with difficulty that a marksman can
obtain a good aim at him, so rapidly does he change his position among
the leaves and branches. In this habit he resembles the Wren. While we
are watching his motions, he pauses in his song, and utters that
peculiar note of complaint from which he has derived his name,
_Chewink_, though the sound he utters is more like _chewee_, accenting
the second syllable.

The Chewink (_Fringilla erythrophthalma_) is a very constant singer
during four months of the year, from the middle of April. He is very
untiring in his lays, seldom resting for any considerable time from
morning till night, being never weary in rain or in sunshine, or at
noon-day in the hottest weather of the season. His song consists of two
long notes, the first about a third above the second, and the last part
is made up of several rapidly uttered notes about one tone below the
first note.

There is an expression of great cheerfulness in these notes; but music,
like poetry, must be somewhat plaintive in its character, to take strong
hold of the feelings. I have never known a person to be affected by
these notes as by those of the Wood-Sparrow. While engaged in singing,
the Chewink is usually perched on the lower branch of a tree, near the
edge of a wood, or on the top of a tall bush. He is a true forest-bird,
and builds his nest in the thickets that conceal the boundaries of the
wood.

The notes of the Chewink and his general appearance and habits are well
calculated to render him conspicuous, and they cause him to be always
noticed and remembered. Our birds are like our men of genius. As in the
literary world there is a description of talent that must be discovered
and pointed out by an observing few, before the great mass can
understand it or even know its existence,--so the sweetest songsters of
the wood are unknown to the mass of the community, while many very
ordinary performers, whose talents are conspicuous, are universally
known and admired.

As we advance into the wood, if it be near mid-day, or before the
decline of the sun, the notes of two small birds will be sure to attract
our attention. These notes are very similar, and as slender and piercing
as the chirp of a grasshopper, being distinguished from the latter only
by a different and more pleasing modulation. The birds to which I refer
are the Red Start (_Muscicapa ruticilla_) and the Speckled Creeper
(_Sylvia varia_). The first is the more rarely seen of the two, being a
bird of the deep forest, and shunning observation by hiding himself in
the most obscure parts of the wood. In general appearance, and in the
color of his plumage, he bears a resemblance to the Ground-Robin, though
not more than half his size. He lives entirely on insects, catching them
while they are flying in the air.

His song is similar to that of the Summer Yellow-Bird, so common in our
gardens among the fruit-trees, but it is more shrill and feeble. The
Creeper's song does not differ from it more than the songs of different
individuals of the same species may differ. This bird may be seen
creeping like a Woodpecker around the branches of trees, feeding upon
the grubs and insects that are lodged upon the bark. He often leaves the
forest, and may be seen busily searching the trees in the orchard and
garden. The restless activity of the birds of this species affords a
proof of the countless myriads of insects that must be destroyed by them
in the course of one season,--insects which, if not kept in check by
these and other small birds, would multiply to such an extreme as to
render the earth uninhabitable by man.

While listening with close attention to the slender notes of either of
the last-named birds, often hardly audible amidst the din of
grasshoppers, the rustling of leaves, and the sighing of winds among the
tall oaken boughs, suddenly the wood resounds with a loud, shrill song,
like the sharpest notes of the Canary. The bird that startles one with
this vociferous note is the Oven-Bird, (_Turdus aurocapillus_), or
Golden-Crowned Thrush. It is the smallest of the Thrushes, is confined
exclusively to the wood, and when singing is particularly partial to
noon-day. There is no melody in his song. He begins rather low,
increasing in loudness as he proceeds, until the last notes are so loud
as to seem almost in our immediate presence. He might be supposed to
utter His words, _I see_, _I see_, _I see_, etc.,--emphasizing the first
word, and repeating the words six or eight times, louder and louder with
each repetition. No other bird equals this little Thrush in the emphasis
with which he delivers his brief communication. His notes are associated
with summer noon-days in the deep woods, and, when bursting upon the ear
in the silence of noon, they disperse all melancholy thoughts, and
inspire one with a vivid consciousness of life.

The most remarkable thing connected with the history of this bird is his
oven-shaped nest. It is commonly placed on the ground, under a knoll of
moss or a tuft of grass and bushes, and is formed almost entirely of
long grass neatly woven. It is covered with a roof of the same
materials, and a round opening is made at the side, for the bird's
entrance. The nest is so ingeniously covered with grass and disguised
with the appearance of the general surface around it, that it is very
seldom discovered. The Cow-Bunting, however, is able to find it, and
often selects it as a depository for its own eggs.

Those who are addicted to rambling in pursuit of natural curiosities may
have observed that pine-woods are remarkable for certain collections of
mosses which have cushioned a projecting rock or the decayed stump of a
tree. When weary with heat and exercise, it is delightful to sit down
upon one of these green velveted couches and take note of the objects
immediately around us. We are then prepared to hear the least sound that
invades our retreat. Some of the sweetest notes ever uttered in the wood
are distinctly heard only at such times; for when we are passing over
the rustling leaves, the noise made by our progress interferes with the
perfect recognition of all delicate sounds. It was when thus reclining,
after half a day's search for flowers, under the grateful shade of a
pine-tree, now watching the white clouds that sent a brighter day-beam
into these dark recesses, as they passed luminously overhead, and then
noting the peculiar mapping of the grounds underneath the wood,
diversified with mosses in swelling knolls, little islets of fern, and
parterres of ginsengs and Solomon's-seals,--in one of these cloisters of
the forest, I was first greeted by the pensive note of the Green
Warbler, as he seemed to titter in supplicatory tones, very slowly
modulated, "Hear me, Saint Theresa!" This strain, as I have observed
many times since, is, at certain hours, repeated constantly for ten
minutes at a time, and it is one of those melodious sounds that seem to
belong exclusively to solitude.

The Green Warbler (_Sylvia virens_) is a small bird, and though his
notes may be familiar to all who have been accustomed to strolling in
the woods, the species is not numerous in Massachusetts, the greater
number retiring farther north in the breeding-season. Nuttall remarks in
reference to this bird, "His simple, rather drawling, and somewhat
plaintive song, uttered at short intervals, resembled the syllables '_te
dé teritscá_, sometimes _te derisca_, pronounced pretty loud and slow,
and the tones proceeded from high to low. In the intervals, he was
perpetually busied in catching small cynips, and other kinds of
flies,--keeping up a smart snapping of his bill, almost similar to the
noise made by knocking pebbles together." There is a plaintive
expression in this musical supplication, that is apparent to all who
hear it, no less than if the bird were truly offering prayers to some
tutelary deity. It is difficult, in many cases, to determine why a
certain combination of sounds should affect one with an emotion of
sadness, while another, under the same circumstances, produces a feeling
of joy. This is a part of the philosophy of music which has not been
explained.

While treating of the Sylvias, I must not omit to notice one of the most
important of the tribe, and one with which almost everybody is
acquainted,--the Maryland Yellow-Throat (_Sylvia trichas_). This species
is quite common and familiar. He is most frequently seen in a
willow-grove that borders a stream, or in the shrubbery of moist and low
grounds. The angler is greeted by his notes on the rushy borders of a
pond, and the botanist listens to them when hunting for those
rose-plants that hide themselves under dripping rocks in some wooded
ravine. The song of the Yellow-Throat resembles that of the Warbling
Vireo, delivered with somewhat more precision, as if he were saying, _I
see you_, _I see you_, _I see you_. His notes are simply lively and
agreeable; there is nothing plaintive about them. The bird, however, is
very attractive in his appearance, being of a bright olive-color above,
with a yellow throat and breast, and a black band extending from the
nostrils over the eye. This black band and the yellow throat are the
marks by which he is most easily identified. The Yellow-Throat remains
tuneful till near the last week in August.

But if we leave the wood while those above described are the only
singing-birds we have heard, we have either returned too soon, or we did
not penetrate deeply enough into the forest. The Wood-Sparrow prepared
our ears for a concert more delightful than the Red Start or the
Yellow-Throat are capable of presenting, and we have spent our time
almost in vain, if we have not heard the song of the Wood-Thrush
(_Turdus melodus_). His notes are not startling or conspicuous; some
dull ears might not hear them, though poured forth only a few rods
distant, if their attention were not directed to them. Yet they are
loud, liquid, and sonorous, and they fail to attract attention only on
account of the long pauses between the different strains. We must link
all these strains together to enjoy the full pleasure which the song of
this bird is capable of affording, though any single strain alone is
sufficient to entitle the bird to considerable reputation as a songster.

The song of the Wood-Thrush consists of about eight or ten different
strains, each of considerable length. After each strain the bird makes a
pause of about three or four seconds. I think the effect of this sylvan
music is somewhat diminished by the length of the pauses or rests. It
may be said, however, that during each pause our susceptibility is
increased, and we are thus prepared to be more deeply affected by the
next notes. Whether the one or the other opinion be correct, it is
certain that any one who stops to listen to this bird will become
spellbound, and deaf to almost every other sound in the grove, as if his
ears were enchained to the song of the Siren.

The Wood-Thrush sings at almost all hours of the day, though seldom
after sunset. He delights in a dusky retreat, and is evidently inspired
by solitude, singing no less in gloomy weather than in sunshine. Late in
August, when other birds have mostly become silent, he is sometimes the
only songster in the wood. There is a liquid sound in his tones that
slightly resembles that of a glassichord; though in some parts of the
country he has received the name of Fife-Bird, from the clearness of his
intonations. By many persons this species is called the Hermit-Thrush.

The Veery (_Turdus Wilsonii_) has many habits like those of the
Wood-Thrush, and some similarity of song. He is about the size of a
Blue-Bird, and resembles the Red Thrush, except that the brown of his
back is slightly tinged with olive. He arrives early in May, and is
first heard to sing during some part of the second week of that month,
when the sons of the Bobolink commences. He is not one of our familiar
birds; and unless we live in close proximity to a wood that is haunted
by a stream, we shall never hear his voice from our doors or windows. He
sings neither in the orchard, nor the garden, nor in the suburbs of the
city. He shuns the exhibitions of art, and reserves his wild notes for
those who frequent the inner sanctuary of the groves. All who have once
become familiar with his song await his arrival with impatience, and
take note of his silence in midsummer with regret. Until this little
bird has arrived, I always feel as an audience do at a concert, before
the chief singer has made her appearance, while the other performers are
vainly endeavoring to soothe them by their inferior attempts.

This bird is more retiring than any other important singing-bird, except
the Wood-Thrush,--being heard only in solitary groves, and usually in
the vicinity of a pond or stream. Here, especially after sunset, he
pours forth his brilliant and melancholy strains with a peculiar
cadence, and fills the whole forest with sound. It seems as if the
echoes were delimited with his notes, and took pleasure in passing them
round with multiplied reverberations. I am confident this bird refrains
from singing when others are the most vocal, from the pleasure he feels
in listening either to his own notes, or to the melodious responses
which others of his own kindred repeat in different parts of the wood.
Hence he chooses the dusk of evening for his vocal hour, when the little
chirping birds are mostly silent, that their voices may not interrupt
his chant. At this hour, during a period of nine or ten weeks, he charms
the evening with his strains, and often prolongs them in still weather
till after dusk, and whispers them sweetly into the ear of night.

No bird of his size has more strength of voice; but his song, though
loud, is modulated with such a sweet and flowing cadence, that it comes
to the ear with all the mellowness of the softest warbling. It would be
difficult to describe his song. It seems at first to be wanting in
variety. I was long of this opinion, though I was puzzled to account for
its pleasing and extraordinary effect on the mind of the listener. The
song of the Veery consists of five distinct strains or bars. They might,
perhaps, be represented on the musical staff, by commencing the first
note on D above the staff and sliding down with a trill to C, one fifth
below. The second, third, fourth, and fifth bars are repetitions of the
first, except that each commences and ends a few tones lower than the
preceding.

Were we to attempt to perform these notes with an instrument adapted to
the purpose, we should probably fail, from the difficulty of imitating
the peculiar trilling of the notes, and the liquid ventriloquial sounds
at the conclusion of each strain. The whole is warbled in such a manner
as to produce upon the ear the effect of harmony. It seems as if we
heard two or three concordant notes at the same moment. I have never
noticed this effect in the song of any other bird. I should judge that
it might be produced by the rapid descent from the commencing note of
each strain to the last note about a fourth or fifth below, the latter
being heard simultaneously with the reverberation of the first note.

Another remarkable quality of the song is a union of brilliancy and
plaintiveness. The first effect is produced by the commencing notes of
each strain, which are sudden and on a high key; the second, by the
graceful chromatic slide to the termination, which is inimitable and
exceedingly solemn. I have sometimes thought that a part of the
delightful influence of these notes might be attributable to the
cloistered situations from which they were delivered. But I have
occasionally heard them while the bird was singing from a tree in an
open field, when they were equally pleasing and impressive. I am not
peculiar in my admiration of this little songster. I have observed that
people who are strangers to the woods, and to the notes of birds, are
always attracted by the song of the Veery.

In my early days, when I was at school, I boarded in a house near a
grove that was vocal with these Thrushes; and it was then I learned to
love their song more than any other sound in Nature, and above the
finest strains of artificial music. Since that time I have lived in
town, apart from their sylvan retreats, which I have visited only during
my hours of leisure; but I have seldom failed, each returning year, to
make frequent visits to the wood to listen to their notes, which cause
full half the pleasure I derive from a summer-evening walk. If in any
year I fail to hear the song of the Veery, I feel a painful sense of
regret, as when I have missed an opportunity to see an absent friend,
during a periodical visit.

The Veery is not one of our latest singers. His notes are not often
heard after the middle of July.

We should not be obliged to penetrate the wood to learn the habits of
another Thrush, not so remarkable for his musical powers as interesting
on account of his manners. I allude to the Cat-Bird, (_Turdus felivox_,)
well known from his disagreeable habit of mewing like a kitten. He is
most frequently seen on the edge of a wood, among the bushes that have
come up, as it were, to hide its baldness and to harmonize it with the
plain. He is usually attached to low, moist, and retired situations,
though he is often very familiar in his habits. His nest of dry sticks
is sometimes woven into a currant-bush in a garden that adjoins a wood,
and his quaint voice may be heard there as in his own solitary haunts.
The Cat-Bird is not an inveterate singer, and never seems to make music
his employment, though at any hour of the day, from dawn until dusk in
the evening, he may be heard occasionally singing and complaining.

Though I have been all my life familiar with the notes and manners of
the Cat-Bird, I have not yet been able to discover that he is a mocker.
He seems to me to have a definite song, unlike that of any other bird,
except the Red Mavis,--not made up of parts of the songs of other birds,
but as unique and original as that of the Song-Sparrow or the Robin. In
the songs of all birds we may detect occasional strains that resemble
parts of the song of some other species; but the Cat-Bird gives no more
of these imitations than we might reasonably regard as accidental. The
modulation of his song is somewhat similar to that of the Red Thrush,
and it is sometimes difficult to determine, at first, when the bird is
out of sight, whether we are listening to the one or the other; but
after a few seconds, we detect one of those quaint turns that
distinguish the notes of the Cat-Bird. I never yet mistook the note of
the Cat-Bird for that of any species except the Red Thrush. The truth
is, that the Thrushes, though delightful songsters, possess inferior
powers of execution, and cannot equal the Finches in their capacity of
learning and performing the notes of other birds. Even the Mocking-Bird,
as compared with many other species, is a very imperfect imitator of any
notes which are difficult of execution.

The mewing note of the Cat-Bird, from which his name is derived, has
been the occasion of many misfortunes to his species, causing them to
share a portion of that contempt which almost every human being feels
towards the feline race, and that contempt has been followed by
persecution. The Cat-Bird has always been proscribed by the New England
farmers, who from the first settlement of the country have entertained a
prejudice against many of the most useful birds. The Robin and a few
diminutive Fly-Catchers are almost the only exceptions. But the Robin is
now in danger of proscription. Within a few years past, the
horticulturists, who are unwilling lo lose their cherries for the
general benefit of agriculture, have made an effort to obtain an edict
of outlawry against him, accusing him of being entirely useless to the
farmer and the gardener. Their efforts have caused the friends of the
Robin to examine his claims to protection, and the result of their
investigations is demonstrative proof that the Robin is among the most
useful birds in existence. The Cat-Bird and other Thrushes are similar
in their habits of feeding and in their services to agriculture.

The Red Mavis (_Turdus rufus_) has many habits similar to those of the
Cat-Bird, but he is not partial to low grounds. He is one of the most
remarkable of the American birds, and is generally considered the finest
songster in the New England forest. Nuttall says, "He is inferior only
to the Mocking-Bird in musical talent"; but I should question his
inferiority. He is superior to the Mocking-Bird in variety, and is
surpassed by him only in the intonation of some of his notes. But no
person is ever tired of listening to the Red Mavis, who constantly
varies his song, while the Mocking-Bird tires us with his repetitions,
which are often continued to a ludicrous extreme.

It is unfortunate that our ornithologists should, in any cases, have
adopted the disagreeable names which our singularly unpoetical
countrymen have given to the birds. The little Hair-Bird, for example,
is called the "Chipping-Sparrow," as if he were in the habit of making
chips, like the Carpenter-Bird; and the Red Thrush is called the
"Thrasher," which is a low corruption of Thrush, and would signify that
the bird had some peculiar habit of _threshing_ with his wings. The word
"chipping," when used for "chirping," is incorrect English; and
"thrasher" is incorrect in point of fact. No such names should find
sanction in books. Let us repudiate the name of "Thrasher" for the Red
Thrush, as we would repudiate any other solecism.

The Red Mavis, or Thrush, is most musical in the early part of the
season, when he first arrives, or in the month of May; the Veery is most
vocal in June, and the Wood-Thrush in July; the Cat-Bird begins early
and sings late, and fills out with his quaint notes the remainder of the
singing season, after the others have become silent. When one is in a
thoughtful mood, the songs of the Wood-Thrush and the Veery surpass all
others on their delightful influence; and when I am strolling in the
solitary pastures, it seems to me that nothing can exceed the simple
melody of the Wood-Sparrow. But without claiming for the Red Thrush any
remarkable power of exciting poetic inspiration, his song in the open
field has a charm for all ears, and can be appreciated by the dullest of
minds. Without singing badly, he pleases the millions. He sings
occasionally at all hours of the day, and, when employed in singing,
devotes himself entirely to song, with evident enthusiasm.

It would be difficult, either by word or by note, to give one who has
never heard the song of the Red Thrush a correct idea of it. This bird
is not a rapid singer. His performances seem to be a sort of
_recitative_, often resembling spoken words, rather than musical notes,
many of which are short and guttural. He seldom whistles clearly, like
the Robin, but he produces a charming variety of tone and modulation.
Thoreau, in one of his quaint descriptions, gives an off-hand sketch of
the bird, which I will quote:--"Near at hand, upon the topmost spray of
a birch, sings the Brown Thrasher, or Red Mavis, as some love to call
him,--all the morning glad of your society, that would find out another
farmer's field, if yours were not here. While you are planting the seed,
he cries,--'Drop it, drop it,--cover it up, cover it up,--pull it up,
pull it up, pull it up.'"

We have now left the forest and are approaching the cultivated grounds,
under the shade of those fully expanded trees which have grown without
restraint in the open field. Here as well as in the wood we find the
Pewee, or Phoebe. (_Muscicapa nunciola_,) one of our most common and
interesting birds. He seems to court solitude, and his peculiar note
harmonizes well with his obscure and shady retreats. He sits for the
most part in the shade, catching his feast of insects without any noise,
merely flitting from his perch, seizing his prey, and then resuming his
station. This movement is performed in the most graceful manner, and he
often turns a somerset, or appears to do so, if the insect at first
evades his pursuit,--and he seldom fails in capturing it. All this is
done in silence, for he is no singer. The only sounds he utters are an
occasional clicking cherup, and now and then, with a plaintive cadence,
he seems to speak the word _pewee_. As the male and female bird cannot
be readily distinguished, I have not been able to determine whether this
sound is uttered by both sexes, or by the male alone.

So plainly expressive of sadness is this peculiar note, that it is
difficult to believe that the little being that utters it can be free
from sorrow. Certainly he can have no congeniality of feeling with the
sprightly Bobolink. Perhaps, with the rest of his species, he represents
only the fragment of a superior race, which, according to the
metempsychosis, have fallen from their original importance, and this
melancholy note is but the partial utterance of sorrow that still
lingers in their breasts after the occasion of it is forgotten.

Though a shy and retiring bird, the Pewee is known to almost every
person, on account of its remarkable note. Like the swallow, he builds
his nest under a sheltering roof or rock, and it is often fixed upon a
beam or plank under a bridge that crosses a small stream. Near this
place he takes his station, on the branch of a tree or the top of a
fence, and sits patiently waiting for every moth, chafer, or butterfly
that passes along. Fortunately, there are no prejudices existing in the
community against this bird that provoke men to destroy him. As he is
known to feed entirely on insects, he cannot be suspected of doing
mischief on the farm or in the garden, and is considered worthy of
protection.

I would remark in this place, that the Fly-Catchers and Swallows, and a
few other species that enjoy an immunity in our land, would, though
multiplied to infinity, perform only those offices which are assigned
them by Nature. It is a vain hope that leads one to believe, while he is
engaged in exterminating a certain species of small birds, that their
places can be supplied and their services performed by other species
which are allowed to multiply to excess. The preservation of every
species of indigenous birds is the only means that can prevent the
over-multiplication of injurious insects.

As we return homeward, we soon find ourselves surrounded by the familiar
birds that shun the forest and assemble around the habitations of men.
Among them the Blue-Bird meets our sight, upon the roofs and fences as
well as in the field and orchard. At the risk of introducing him into a
company to which he does not strictly belong, I will attempt in this
place to describe some of his habits. The Blue-Bird (_Sylvia sialis_)
arrives very early in spring, and is detained late in the autumn by his
habit of raising two or more broods of young in the season. He is said
to bear a strong resemblance to the English Robin-Redbreast, being
similar in form and size, each having a red breast and short
tail-feathers, with only this manifest difference, that one is
olive-colored above where the other is blue. But the Blue-Bird does not
equal the Redbreast as a songster. His notes are few, not greatly
varied, though melodious and sweetly and plaintively modulated, and
never loud. On account of their want of variety, they do not enchain a
listener, but they constitute a delightful part in the woodland melodies
of morn.

The importance of the inferior singers in making up a general chorus is
not always appreciated. In an artificial musical composition, as in an
oratorio or an anthem, though there is a leading part, which is commonly
the air, that gives character to the whole, yet this principal part
would often be a very indifferent piece of melody, if performed without
its accompaniments. These accompaniments by themselves would seem still
more unimportant and trifling. Yet if the composition be the work of a
master, however trifling and comparatively insignificant these brief
strains or snatches, they are intimately connected with the harmony of
the piece, and could not be omitted without a serious derangement of the
grand effect. The inferior singing-birds, on the same principle, are
indispensable as aids in giving additional effect to the notes of the
chief singers.

Though the Robin is the principal musician in the general orison of
dawn, his notes would become tiresome, if heard without accompaniments.
Nature has so arranged the harmony of this chorus, that one part shall
assist another; and so exquisitely has she combined all the different
voices, that the silence of any one can never fail to be immediately
perceived. The low, mellow warble of the Blue-Bird seems a sort of echo
to the louder voice of the Robin; and the incessant trilling or running
accompaniment of the Hair-Bird, the twittering of the Swallow, and the
loud and melodious piping of the Oriole, frequent and short, are sounded
like the different parts of a regular band of instruments, and each
performer seems to time his part as if by design. Any discordant sound,
that may happen to be made in the midst of this performance, never fails
to disturb the equanimity of the singers, and some minutes must elapse
before they recommence their parts.

It would be difficult to draw a correct comparison between the different
birds and the various instruments in an orchestra. It would be more easy
to signify them by notes on the gamut. But if the Robin were supposed to
represent the German flute, the Blue-Bird might be considered as the
flageolet, frequently, but not incessantly, interposing a few mellow
strains, the Swallow and the Hair-Bird the octave flute, and the Golden
Robin the bugle, sounding occasionally a low but brief strain. The
analogy could not be carried farther without losing force and
correctness.

All the notes of the Blue-Bird--his call-notes, his notes of alarm, his
chirp, and his song--are equally plaintive, and closely resemble each
other. I am not aware that this bird ever utters a harsh note. His
voice, which is one of the earliest to be heard in the spring, is
associated with the early flowers and with all pleasant vernal
influences. When he first arrives, he perches upon the roof of a barn or
upon some still leafless tree, and pours forth his few and frequent
notes with evident fervor, as if conscious of the delights that await
him. These mellow notes are all the sounds he titters for several weeks,
seldom chirping, crying, or scolding like other birds. His song is
discontinued in the latter part of summer; but his peculiar plaintive
call, consisting of a single note pensively modulated, continues all
day, until the time of frost. This sound is one of the melodies of
summer's decline, and reminds us, like the notes of the green nocturnal
grasshopper, of the fall of the leaf, the ripened harvest, and all the
melancholy pleasures of autumn.

The Blue-Bird builds his nest in hollow trees and posts, and may be
encouraged to breed and multiply around our habitations, by erecting
boxes for his accommodation. In whatever vicinity we may reside, whether
in the clearing or in the heart of the village, if we set up a little
bird-house in May, it will certainly be occupied by a Blue-Bird, unless
preoccupied by a bird of some other species. There is commonly so great
a demand for such accommodations among the feathered tribes, that it is
not unusual to see birds of several different species contending for the
possession of one box.

After the middle of August, as a new race of winged creatures awake into
life, the birds, who sing of the seed-time, the flowers, and of the
early summer harvests, give place to the inferior band of
insect-musicians. The reed and the pipe are laid aside, and myriads of
little performers have taken up the harp and the lute, and make the air
resound with the clash and din of their various instruments. An anthem
of rejoicing swells up from myriads of unseen harpists, who heed not the
fate that awaits them, but make themselves merry in every place that is
visited by sunshine or the south-wind. The golden-rod sways its
beautiful nodding plumes in the borders of the fields and by the rustic
roadsides; the purple gerardia is bright in the wet meadows, and the
scarlet lobelia in the channels of the sunken streamlets. But the birds
heed them not; for these are not the wreaths that decorate the halls of
their festivities. Since the rose and the lily have faded, they have
ceased to be tuneful; some, like the Bobolink, assemble in small
companies, and with a melancholy chirp seem to mourn over some sad
accident that has befallen them; others still congregate about their
usual resorts, and seem almost like strangers in the land.

Nature provides inspiration for every sentiment that contributes to the
happiness of man, as she provides sustenance for his various physical
wants. But all is not gladness that elevates the soul into bliss; we may
be made happy by sentiments that come not from rejoicing, even from
objects that waken tender recollections of sorrow. As if Nature designed
that the soul of man should find sympathy, in all its healthful moods,
from the voices of her creatures, and from the sounds of inanimate
objects, she has provided that all seasons should pour into his ear some
pleasant intimations of heaven. In autumn, when the harvest-hymn of the
day-time has ceased, at early nightfall, the green nocturnal
grasshoppers commence their autumnal dirge, and fill the mind with a
keen sense of the rapid passing of time. These sounds do not sadden the
mind, but deepen the tone of our feelings, and prepare us for a renewal
of cheerfulness, by inspiring us with the poetic sentiment of
melancholy. This sombre state of the mind soon passes away, effaced by
the exhilarating influence of the clear skies and invigorating breezes
of autumn, and the inspiriting sounds of myriads of chirping insects
that awake with the morning and make all the meadows resound with the
shout of their merry voices.


SONG OF THE WOOD-SPARROW.

[Illustration: de de de d d d d d r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r
r r r r r r r r r r r r r re.]

NOTE.--In the early part of the season the song ends with the first
double bar; later in the season it is extended, in frequent instances,
as in the notes that follow.

SONG OF THE CHEWINK.

[Illustration: twee ta t' we we we we twee tu t' we we we we]

SONG OF THE GREEN WARBLER.

[Illustration: Hear me St. The - re - sa. Hear me St. The - re - sa.]

SONG OF THE WOOD-THRUSH.

[Illustration: too too tillere ilere tillere tilere

too issele issele tse se se se s s s s se

too tillery tillery oo villilil villilil too too illery ilery

eh villia villia villia oo airvee ehu, etc.]


NOTE.--I have not been able to detect any order in the succession of
these strains, though some order undoubtedly exists, and might be
discovered by long-continued observation. The intervals in the above
sketch cannot be given with exactness.


SONG OF THE VEERY.

[Illustration: e-e ve re a e-e verea e-e verea e-e verea vere lil lily]

or,

[Illustration: e villia villia villia villia ve rehu.]

NOTE.--I am far from being satisfied with the above representation of
the song of the Veery, in which there are certain trilling and liquid
sounds that hardly admit of notation.

SONG OF THE RED MAVIS.

[Illustration: drop it drop it cover it up cover it up]

pull it up pull it up tut tut tut see see see there you
have it hae it hae it

see tut tut work away work away drop it drop it cover it
up cover it up.]

NOTE.--The Red Mavis makes a short pause at the end of each bar. These
pauses are irregular in time, and cannot be correctly noted.


NOTE OF THE PEWEE.

[Illustration: pe - a - wee pe - a - wee.]


SONG OF THE BLUE-BIRD.

[Illustration]



THE MINISTER'S WOOING.


CHAPTER I.

Mrs. Katy Scudder had invited Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Jones, and Deacon
Twitchel's wife to take tea with her on the afternoon of June second,
A.D. 17--.

When one has a story to tell, one is always puzzled which end of it to
begin at. You have a whole corps of people to introduce that _you_ know
and your reader doesn't; and one thing so presupposes another, that,
whichever way you turn your patchwork, the figures still seem
ill-arranged. The small item that I have given will do as well as any
other to begin with, as it certainly will lead you to ask, "Pray, who
was Mrs. Katy Scudder?"--and this will start me systematically on my
story.

You must understand that in the then small seaport-town of Newport, at
that time unconscious of its present fashion and fame, there lived
nobody in those days who did not know "the Widow Scudder."

In New England settlements a custom has obtained, which is wholesome and
touching, of ennobling the woman whom God has made desolate, by a sort
of brevet rank which continually speaks for her as a claim on the
respect and consideration of the community. The Widow Jones, or Brown,
or Smith, is one of the fixed institutions of every New England
village,--and doubtless the designation acts as a continual plea for one
whom bereavement, like the lightning of heaven, has made sacred.

The Widow Scudder, however, was one of the sort of women who reign
queens in whatever society they move in; nobody was more quoted, more
deferred to, or enjoyed more unquestioned position than she. She was not
rich,--a small farm, with a modest, "gambrel-roofed," one-story cottage,
was her sole domain; but she was one of the much-admired class who, in
the speech of New England, are said to have "faculty,"--a gift which,
among that shrewd people, commands more esteem than beauty, riches,
learning, or any otherworldly endowment. _Faculty_ is Yankee for _savoir
faire_, and the opposite virtue to shiftlessness. Faculty is the
greatest virtue, and shiftlessness the greatest vice, of Yankee man and
woman. To her who has faculty nothing shall be impossible. She shall
scrub floors, wash, wring, bake, brew, and yet her hands shall be small
and white; she shall have no perceptible income, yet always be
handsomely dressed; she shall have not a servant in her house,--with a
dairy to manage, hired men to feed, a boarder or two to care for,
unheard-of pickling and preserving to do,--and yet you commonly see her
every afternoon sitting at her shady parlor-window behind the lilacs,
cool and easy, hemming muslin cap-strings, or reading the last new book.
She who hath faculty is never in a hurry, never behindhand. She can
always step over to distressed Mrs. Smith, whose jelly won't come,--and
stop to show Mrs. Jones how she makes her pickles so green,--and be
ready to watch with poor old Mrs. Simpkins, who is down with the
rheumatism.

Of this genus was the Widow Scudder,--or, as the neighbors would have
said of her, she that _was_ Katy Stephens. Katy was the only daughter of
a shipmaster, sailing from Newport harbor, who was wrecked off the coast
one cold December night and left small fortune to his widow and only
child. Katy grew up, however, a tall, straight, black-eyed girl, with
eyebrows drawn true as a bow, a foot arched like a Spanish woman's, and
a little hand which never saw the thing it could not do,--quick of
speech, ready of wit, and, as such girls have a right to be, somewhat
positive withal. Katy could harness a chaise, or row a boat; she could
saddle and ride any horse in the neighborhood; she could cut any garment
that ever was seen or thought of; make cake, jelly, and wine, from her
earliest years, in most precocious style;--all without seeming to
derange a sort of trim, well-kept air of ladyhood that sat jauntily on
her.

Of course, being young and lively, she had her admirers, and some
well-to-do in worldly affairs laid their lands and houses at Katy's
feet; but, to the wonder of all, she would not even pick them up to look
at them. People shook their heads, and wondered whom Katy Stephens
expected to get, and talked about going through the wood to pick up a
crooked stick,--till one day she astonished her world by marrying a man
that nobody ever thought of her taking.

George Scudder was a grave, thoughtful young man,--not given to talking,
and silent in the society of women, with that kind of reverential
bashfulness which sometimes shows a pure, unworldly nature. How Katy
came to fancy him everybody wondered,--for he never talked to her, never
so much as picked up her glove when it fell, never asked her to ride or
sail; in short, everybody said she must have wanted him from sheer
wilfulness, because he of all the young men of the neighborhood never
courted her. But Katy, having very sharp eyes, saw some things that
nobody else saw. For example, you must know she discovered by mere
accident that George Scudder always was looking at her, wherever she
moved, though he looked away in a moment, if discovered,--and that an
accidental touch of her hand or brush of her dress would send the blood
into his cheek like the spirit in the tube of a thermometer; and so, as
women are curious, you know, Katy amused herself with investigating the
causes of these little phenomena, and, before she knew it, got her foot
caught in a cobweb that held her fast, and constrained her, whether she
would or no, to marry a poor man that nobody cared much for but herself.

George was, in truth, one of the sort who evidently have made some
mistake in coming into this world at all, as their internal furniture is
in no way suited to its general courses and currents. He was of the
order of dumb poets,--most wretched when put to the grind of the hard
and actual; for if he who would utter poetry stretches out his hand to a
gainsaying world, he is worse off still who is possessed with the desire
of living it. Especially is this the case, if he be born poor, and with
a dire necessity upon him of making immediate efforts in the hard and
actual. George had a helpless invalid mother to support; so, though he
loved reading and silent thought above all things, he put to instant use
the only convertible worldly talent he possessed, which was a mechanical
genius, and shipped at sixteen as a ship-carpenter. He studied
navigation in the forecastle, and found in its calm diagrams and
tranquil eternal signs food for his thoughtful nature, and a refuge from
the brutality and coarseness of sea-life. He had a healthful, kindly
animal nature, and so his inwardness did not ferment and turn to Byronic
sourness and bitterness; nor did he needlessly parade to everybody in
his vicinity the great gulf which lay between him and them. He was
called a good fellow,--only a little lumpish,--and as he was brave and
faithful, he rose in time to be a shipmaster. But when came the business
of making money, the aptitude for accumulating, George found himself
distanced by many a one with not half his general powers.

What shall a man do with a sublime tier of moral faculties, when the
most profitable business out of his port is the slave-trade? So it was
in Newport in those days. George's first voyage was on a slaver, and he
wished himself dead many a time before it was over,--and ever after
would talk like a man beside himself, if the subject was named. He
declared that the gold made in it was distilled from human blood, from
mothers' tears, from the agonies and dying groans of gasping,
suffocating men and women, and that it would scar and blister the soul
of him that touched it; in short, he talked as whole-souled unpractical
fellows are apt to talk about what respectable people sometimes do.
Nobody had ever instructed him that a slave-ship, with a procession of
expectant sharks in its wake, is a missionary institution, by which
closely-packed heathens are brought over to enjoy the light of the
gospel.

So, though George was acknowledged to be a good fellow, and honest as
the noon-mark on the kitchen floor, he let slip so many chances of
making money as seriously to compromise his reputation among thriving
folks. He was wastefully generous,--insisted on treating every poor dog
that came in his way, in any foreign port, as a brother,--absolutely
refused to be party in cheating or deceiving the heathen on any shore,
or in skin of any color,--and also took pains, as far as in him lay, to
spoil any bargains which any of his subordinates founded on the
ignorance or weakness of his fellow-men. So he made voyage after voyage,
and gained only his wages and the reputation among his employers of an
incorruptibly honest fellow.

To be sure, it was said that he carried out books in his ship, and read
and studied, and wrote observations on all the countries he saw, which
Parson Smith told Miss Dolly Persimmon would really do credit to a
printed book; but then they never _were_ printed, or, as Miss Dolly
remarked of them, they never seemed to come to anything,--and coming to
anything, as she understood it, meant standing in definite relations to
bread and butter.

George never cared, however, for money. He made enough to keep his
mother comfortable, and that was enough for him, till he fell in love
with Katy Stephens. He looked at her through those glasses which such
men carry in their souls, and she was a mortal woman no longer, but a
transfigured, glorified creature,--an object of awe and wonder. He was
actually afraid of her; her glove, her shoe, her needle, thread, and
thimble, her bonnet-string, everything, in short, she wore or touched,
became invested with a mysterious charm. He wondered at the impudence of
men that could walk up and talk to her,--that could ask her to dance
with such an assured air. _Now_ he wished he were rich; he dreamed
impossible chances of his coming home a millionnaire to lay unknown
wealth at Katy's feet; and when Miss Persimmon, the ambulatory
dress-maker of the neighborhood, in making up a new black gown for his
mother, recounted how Captain Blatherem had sent Katy Stephens "'most
the splendidest India shawl that ever she did see," he was ready to tear
his hair at the thought of his poverty. But even in that hour of
temptation he did not repent that he had refused all part and lot in the
ship by which Captain Blatherem's money was made, for he knew every
timber of it to be seasoned by the groans and saturated with the sweat
of human agony. True love is a natural sacrament; and if ever a young
man thanks God for having saved what is noble and manly in his soul, it
is when he thinks of offering it to the woman he loves. Nevertheless,
the India-shawl story cost him a night's rest; nor was it till Miss
Persimmon had ascertained, by a private confabulation with Katy's
mother, that she had indignantly rejected it, and that she treated the
Captain "real ridiculous," that he began to take heart. "He ought not,"
he said, "to stand in her way now, when he had nothing to offer. No, he
would leave Katy free to do better, if she could; he would try his luck,
and if, when he came home from the next voyage, Katy was disengaged,
why, then he would lay all at her feet."

And so George was going to sea with a secret shrine in his soul, at
which he was to burn unsuspected incense.

But, after all, the mortal maiden whom he adored suspected this private
arrangement, and contrived--as women will--to get her own key into the
lock of his secret temple; because, as girls say, "she was _determined_
to know what was there." So, one night, she met him quite accidentally
on the sea-sands, struck up a little conversation, and begged him in
such a pretty way to bring her a spotted shell from the South Sea like
the one on his mother's mantel-piece, and looked so simple and childlike
in saying it, that our young man very imprudently committed himself by
remarking, that, "When people had rich friends to bring them all the
world from foreign parts, he never dreamed of her wanting so trivial a
thing."

Of course Katy "didn't know what he meant,--she hadn't heard of any rich
friends." And then came something about Captain Blatherem; and Katy
tossed her head, and said, "If anybody wanted to insult her, they might
talk to her about Captain Blatherem,"--and then followed this, that, and
the other till finally, as you might expect, out came all that never was
to have been said; and Katy was almost frightened at the terrible
earnestness of the spirit she had evoked. She tried to laugh, and ended
by crying, and saying she hardly knew what; but when she came to herself
in her own room at home, she found on her finger a ring of African gold
that George had put there, which she did not send back like Captain
Blatherem's presents.

Katy was like many intensely matter-of-fact and practical women, who
have not in themselves a bit of poetry or a particle of ideality, but
who yet worship these qualities in others with the homage which the
Indians paid to the unknown tongue of the first whites. They are
secretly weary of a certain conscious dryness of nature in themselves,
and this weariness predisposes them to idolize the man who brings them
this unknown gift. Naturalists say that every defect of organization has
its compensation, and men of ideal natures find in the favor of women
the equivalent for their disabilities among men.

Do you remember, at Niagara, a little cataract on the American side,
which throws its silver sheeny veil over a cave called the Grot of
Rainbows? Whoever stands on a rock in that grotto sees himself in the
centre of a rainbow-circle, above, below, around. In like manner, merry,
chatty, positive, busy, housewifely Katy saw herself standing in a
rainbow-shrine in her lover's inner soul, and liked to see herself so. A
woman, by-the-by, must be very insensible, who is not moved to come upon
a higher plane of being, herself, by seeing how undoubtingly she is
insphered in the heart of a good and noble man. A good man's, faith in
you, fair lady, if you ever have it, will make you better and nobler
even before you know it.

Katy made an excellent wife; she took home her husband's old mother and
nursed her with a dutifulness and energy worthy of all praise, and made
her own keen outward faculties and deft handiness a compensation for the
defects in worldly estate. Nothing would make Katy's black eyes flash
quicker than any reflections on her husband's want of luck in the
material line. "She didn't know whose business it was, if _she_ was
satisfied. She hated these sharp, gimlet, gouging sort of men that would
put a screw between body and soul for money. George had that in him that
nobody understood. She would rather be his wife on bread and water than
to take Captain Blatherem's house, carriages, and horse, and all,--and
she _might_ have had 'em fast enough, dear knows. She was sick of making
money when she saw what sort of men could make it,"--and so on. All
which talk did her infinite credit, because _at bottom_ she _did_ care,
and was naturally as proud and ambitious a little minx as ever breathed,
and was thoroughly grieved at heart at George's want of worldly success;
but, like a nice little Robin Redbreast, she covered up the grave of her
worldliness with the leaves of true love, and sung a "Who cares for
that?" above it.

Her thrifty management of the money her husband brought her soon bought
a snug little farm, and put up the little brown gambrel-roofed cottage
to which we directed your attention in the first of our story. Children
were born to them, and George found, in short intervals between voyages,
his home an earthly paradise. Ho was still sailing, with the fond
illusion, in every voyage, of making enough to remain at home,--when the
yellow fever smote him under the line, and the ship returned to Newport
without its captain.

George was a Christian man;--he had been one of the first to attach
himself to the unpopular and unworldly ministry of the celebrated Dr.
H., and to appreciate the sublime ideality and unselfishness of those
teachings which then were awakening new sensations in the theological
mind of New England. Katy, too, had become a professor with her husband
in the same church, and his death, in the midst of life, deepened the
power of her religious impressions. She became absorbed in religion,
after the fashion of New England, where devotion is doctrinal, not
ritual. As she grew older, her energy of character, her vigor and good
judgment, caused her to be regarded as a mother in Israel; the minister
boarded at her house, and it was she who was first to be consulted in
all matters relating to the well-being of the church. No woman could
more manfully breast a long sermon, or bring a more determined faith to
the reception of a difficult doctrine. To say the truth, there lay at
the bottom of her doctrinal system this stable corner-stone,--"Mr.
Scudder used to believe it,--_I_ will." And after all that is paid about
independent thought, isn't the fact, that a just and good soul has thus
or thus believed, a more respectable argument than many that often are
adduced? If it be not, more's the pity,--since two-thirds of the faith
in the world is built on no better foundation.

In time, George's old mother was gathered to her son, and two sons and a
daughter followed their father to the invisible,--one only remaining of
the flock and she a person with whom you and I, good reader, have joint
concern in the further unfolding of our story.


CHAPTER II.

As I before remarked, Mrs. Katy Scudder had invited company to tea.
Strictly speaking, it is necessary to begin with the creation of the
world, in order to give a full account of anything. But, for popular
use, something less may serve one's turn, and therefore I shall let the
past chapter suffice to introduce my story, and shall proceed to arrange
my scenery and act my little play on the supposition you know enough to
understand things and persons.

Being asked to tea in our New England in the year 17-- meant something
very different from the same invitation in our more sophisticated days.
In those times, people held to the singular opinion, that the night was
made to sleep in; they inferred it from a general confidence they had in
the wisdom of Mother Nature, supposing that she did not put out her
lights and draw her bed-curtains and hush all noise in her great
world-house without strongly intending that her children should go to
sleep; and the consequence was, that very soon after sunset the whole
community very generally set their faces bedward, and the toll of the
nine-o'clock evening-bell had an awful solemnity in it, sounding to the
full. Good society in New England in those days very generally took its
breakfast at six, its dinner at twelve, and its tea, at six. "Company
tea," however, among thrifty, industrious folk, was often taken an hour
earlier, because each of the _invitées_ had children to put to bed, or
other domestic cares at home, and, as in those simple times people were
invited because you wanted to see them, a tea-party assembled themselves
at three and held session till sundown, when each matron rolled up her
knitting-work and wended soberly home.

Though Newport, even in those early times, was not without its families
which affected state and splendor, rolled about in carriages with
armorial emblazonments, and had servants in abundance to every turn
within-doors, yet there, as elsewhere in New England, the majority of
the people lived with the wholesome, thrifty simplicity of the olden
time, when labor and intelligence went hand in hand, in perhaps a
greater harmony than the world has ever seen.

Our scene opens in the great old-fashioned kitchen, which, on ordinary
occasions, is the family dining and sitting-room of the Scudder family.
I know fastidious moderns think that the working-room, wherein are
carried on the culinary operations of a large family, must necessarily
be an untidy and comfortless sitting-place; but it is only because they
are ignorant of the marvellous workings which pertain to the organ of
"faculty," on which we have before insisted. The kitchen of a New
England matron was her throne-room, her pride; it was the habit of her
life to produce the greatest possible results there with the slightest
possible discomposure; and what any woman could do, Mrs. Katy Scudder
could do _par excellence_. Everything there seemed to be always done and
never doing. Washing and baking, those formidable disturbers of the
composure of families, were all over with in those two or three
morning-hours when we are composing ourselves for a last nap,--and only
the fluttering of linen over the green yard, on Monday mornings,
proclaimed that the dreaded solemnity of a wash had transpired. A
breakfast arose there as by magic; and in an incredibly short space
after, every knife, fork, spoon, and trencher, clean and shining, was
looking as innocent and unconscious in its place as if it never had been
used and never expected to be.

The floor,--perhaps, Sir, you remember your grandmother's floor, of
snowy boards sanded with whitest sand; you remember the ancient
fireplace stretching quite across one end,--a vast cavern, in each
corner of which a cozy seat might be found, distant enough to enjoy the
crackle of the great jolly wood-fire; across the room ran a dresser, on
which was displayed great store of shining pewter dishes and plates,
which always shone with the same mysterious brightness; and by the side
of the fire, a commodious wooden "settee," or settle, offered repose to
people too little accustomed to luxury to ask for a cushion. Oh, that
kitchen of the olden times, the old, clean, roomy New England
kitchen!--who that has breakfasted, dined, and supped in one has not
cheery visions of its thrift, its warmth, its coolness? The noon-mark on
its floor was a dial that told of some of the happiest days; thereby did
we right up the shortcomings of the solemn old clock that tick-tacked in
the corner, and whose ticks seemed mysterious prophecies of unknown good
yet to arise out of the hours of life. How dreamy the winter twilight
came in there,--as yet the candles were not lighted,--when the crickets
chirped around the dark stone hearth, and shifting tongues of flame
flickered and cast dancing shadows and elfish lights on the walls, while
grandmother nodded over her knitting-work, and puss purred, and old
Rover lay dreamily opening now one eye and then the other on the family
group! With all our ceiled houses, let us not forget our grandmothers'
kitchens!

But we must pull up, however, and back to our subject-matter, which is
in the kitchen of Mrs. Katy Scudder, who has just put into the oven, by
the fireplace, some wondrous tea-rusks, for whose composition she is
renowned. She has examined and pronounced perfect a loaf of cake, which
has been prepared for the occasion, and which, as usual, is done exactly
right. The best room, too, has been opened and aired,--the white
window-curtains saluted with a friendly little shake, as when one says,
"How d'ye do?" to a friend;--for you must know, clean as our kitchen is,
we are genteel, and have something better for company. Our best room in
here has a polished little mahogany tea-table, and six mahogany chairs,
with claw talons grasping balls; the white sanded floor is crinkled in
curious little waves, like those on the sea-beach; and right across the
corner stands the "buffet," as it is called, with its transparent glass
doors, wherein are displayed the solemn appurtenances of company
tea-table. There you may see a set of real China teacups, which George
bought in Canton, and had marked with his and his wife's joint
initials,--a small silver cream-pitcher, which has come down as an
heirloom from unknown generations,--silver spoons and delicate China
cake-plates, which have been all carefully reviewed and wiped on napkins
of Mrs. Scudder's own weaving.

Her cares now over, she stands drying her hands on a roller-towel in the
kitchen, while her only daughter, the gentle Mary, stands in the doorway
with the afternoon sun streaming in spots of flickering golden light on
her smooth pale-brown hair,--a _petite_ figure in a full stuff petticoat
and white short gown, she stands reaching up one hand and cooing to
something among the apple-blossoms,--and now a Java dove comes whirring
down and settles on her finger,--and we, that have seen pictures, think,
as we look on her girlish face, with its lines of statuesque beauty, on
the tremulous, half-infantine expression of her lovely mouth, and the
general air of simplicity and purity, of some old pictures of the
girlhood of the Virgin. But Mrs. Scudder was thinking of no such Popish
matter, I can assure you,--not she! I don't think you could have done
her a greater indignity than to mention her daughter in any such
connection. She had never seen a painting in her life, and therefore was
not to be reminded of them; and furthermore, the dove was evidently, for
some reason, no favorite,--for she said, in a quick, imperative tone,
"Come, come, child! don't fool with that bird,--it's high time we were
dressed and ready,"--and Mary, blushing, as it would seem, even to her
hair, gave a little toss, and sent the bird, like a silver fluttering
cloud, up among the rosy apple-blossoms. And now she and her mother have
gone to their respective little bedrooms for the adjustment of their
toilettes, and while the door is shut and nobody hears us, we shall talk
to you about Mary.

Newport at the present day blooms like a flower-garden with young ladies
of the best _ton_,--lovely girls, hopes of their families, possessed of
amiable tempers and immensely large trunks, and capable of sporting
ninety changes of raiment in thirty days and otherwise rapidly emptying
the purses of distressed fathers, and whom yet travellers and the world
in general look upon as genuine specimens of the kind of girls formed by
American institutions.

We fancy such a one lying in a rustling silk _négligée_, and, amid a
gentle generality of rings, ribbons, puffs, laces, beaux, and
dinner-discussion, reading our humble sketch;--and what favor shall our
poor heroine find in her eyes? For though her mother was a world of
energy and "faculty," in herself considered, and had bestowed on this
one little lone chick all the vigor and all the care and all the
training which would have sufficed for a family of sixteen, there were
no results produced which could be made appreciable in the eyes of such
company. She could not waltz or polk, or speak bad French or sing
Italian songs; but, nevertheless, we must proceed to say what was her
education and what her accomplishments.

Well, then, she could both read and write fluently in the mother-tongue.
She could spin both on the little and the great wheel, and there were
numberless towels, napkins, sheets, and pillow-cases in the household
store that could attest the skill of her pretty fingers. She had worked
several samplers of such rare merit, that they hung framed in different
rooms of the house, exhibiting every variety and style of possible
letter in the best marking-stitch. She was skilful in all sewing and
embroidery, in all shaping and cutting, with a quiet and deft handiness
that constantly surprised her energetic mother, who could not conceive
that so much could be done with so little noise. In fact, in all
household lore she was a veritable good fairy; her knowledge seemed
unerring and intuitive; and whether she washed or ironed, or moulded
biscuit or conserved plums, her gentle beauty seemed to turn to poetry
all the prose of life.

There was something in Mary, however, which divided her as by an
appreciable line from ordinary girls of her age. From her father she had
inherited a deep and thoughtful nature, predisposed to moral and
religious exaltation. Had she been born in Italy, under the dissolving
influences of that sunny, dreamy clime, beneath the shadow of
cathedrals, and where pictured saints and angels smiled in clouds of
painting from every arch and altar, she might, like fair St. Catherine
of Siena, have seen beatific visions in the sunset skies, and a silver
dove descending upon her as she prayed; but, unfolding in the clear,
keen, cold New England clime, and nurtured in its abstract and positive
theologies, her religious faculties took other forms. Instead of lying
entranced in mysterious raptures at the foot of altars, she read and
ponder treatises on the Will, and listened in rapt attention while her
spiritual guide, the venerated Dr. H., unfolded to her the theories of
the great Edwards on the nature of true virtue. Womanlike, she felt the
subtile poetry of these sublime abstractions which dealt with such
infinite and unknown quantities,--which spoke of the universe, of its
great Architect, of man, of angels, as matters of intimate and daily
contemplation; and her teacher, a grand-minded and simple-hearted man as
ever lived, was often amazed at the tread with which this fair young
child walked through these high regions of abstract thought,--often
comprehending through an ethereal clearness of nature what he had
laboriously and heavily reasoned out; and sometimes, when she turned her
grave, childlike face upon him with some question or reply, the good man
started as if an angel had looked suddenly out upon him from a cloud.
Unconsciously to himself, he often seemed to follow her, as Dante
followed the flight of Beatrice, through the ascending circles of the
celestial spheres.

When her mother questioned him, anxiously, of her daughter's spiritual
estate, he answered, that she was a child of a strange graciousness of
nature, and of a singular genius; to which Katy responded, with a
woman's pride, that she was all her father over again. It is only now
and then that a matter-of-fact woman is sublimated by a real love; but
if she is, it is affecting to see how impossible it is for death to
quench it; for in the child the mother feels that she has a mysterious
and undying repossession of the father.

But, in truth, Mary was only a recast in feminine form of her father's
nature. The elixir of the spirit that sparkled within, her was of that
quality of which the souls of poets and artists are made; but the keen
New England air crystalizes emotions into ideas, and restricts many a
poetic soul to the necessity of expressing itself only in practical
living.

The rigid theological discipline of New England is fitted to produce
rather strength and purity than enjoyment. It was not fitted to make a
sensitive and thoughtful nature happy, however it might ennoble and
exalt.

The system of Dr. H. was one that could have had its origin in a soul at
once reverential and logical,--a soul, moreover, trained from its
earliest years in the habits of thought engendered by monarchical
institutions. For although he, like other ministers, took an active part
as a patriot in the Revolution, still he was brought up under the shadow
of a throne, and a man cannot ravel out the stitches in which early days
have knit him. His theology was, in fact, the turning to an invisible
Sovereign of that spirit of loyalty and unquestioning subjugation which
is one of the noblest capabilities of our nature. And as a gallant
soldier renounces life and personal aims in the cause of his king and
country, and holds himself ready to be drafted for a forlorn hope, to be
shot down, or help make a bridge of his mangled body, over which the
more fortunate shall pass to victory and glory, so he regarded himself
as devoted to the King Eternal, ready in His hands to be used to
illustrate and build up an Eternal Commonwealth, either by being
sacrificed as a lost spirit or glorified as a redeemed one, ready to
throw not merely his mortal life, but his immortality even, into the
forlorn hope, to bridge with a never-dying soul the chasm over which
white-robed victors should pass to a commonwealth of glory and splendor
whose vastness dwarf the misery of all the lost infinitesimal.

It is not in our line to imply the truth or the falsehood of those
systems of philosophic theology which seem for many years to have been
the principal outlet for the proclivities of the New England mind, but
as psychological developments they have an intense interest. He who does
not see a grand side to these strivings of the soul cannot understand
one of the noblest capabilities of humanity.

No real artist or philosopher ever lived who has not at some hours risen
to the height of utter self-abnegation for the glory of the invisible.
There have been painters who would have been crucified to demonstrate
the action of a muscle,--chemists who would gladly have melted
themselves and all humanity in their crucible, if so a new discovery
might arise out of its fumes. Even persons of mere artistic sensibility
are at times raised by music, painting, or poetry to a momentary trance
of self-oblivion, in which they would offer their whole being before the
shrine of an invisible loveliness. These hard old New England divines
were the poets of metaphysical philosophy, who built systems in an
artistic fervor, and felt self exhale from beneath them as they rose
into the higher regions of thought. But where theorists and philosophers
tread with sublime assurance, woman often follows with bleeding
footsteps;--women are always turning from the abstract to the
individual, and feeling where the philosopher only thinks.

It was easy enough for Mary to believe in _self_-renunciation, for she
was one with a born vocation for martyrdom; and so, when the idea was
put to her of suffering eternal pains for the glory of God and the good
of being in general, she responded to it with a sort of sublime thrill,
such as it is given to some natures to feel in view of uttermost
sacrifice. But when she looked around on the warm, living faces of
friends, acquaintances, and neighbors, viewing them as possible
candidates for dooms so fearfully different, she sometimes felt the
walls of her faith closing round her as an iron shroud,--she wondered
that the sun could shine so brightly, that flowers could flaunt such
dazzling colors, that sweet airs could breathe, and little children
play, and youth love and hope, and a thousand intoxicating influences
combine to cheat the victims from the thought that their next step might
be into an abyss of horrors without end. The blood of youth and hope was
saddened by this great sorrow, which lay ever on her heart,--and her
life, unknown to herself, was a sweet tune in the minor key; it was only
in prayer, or deeds of love and charity, or in rapt contemplation of
that beautiful millennial day which her spiritual guide most delighted
to speak of, that the tone of her feelings ever rose to the height of
joy.

Among Mary's young associates was one who had been as a brother to her
childhood. He was her mother's cousin's son,--and so, by a sort of
family immunity, had always a free access to her mother's house. He took
to the sea, as the most bold and resolute young men will, and brought
home from foreign parts those new modes of speech, those other eyes for
received opinions and established things, which so often shock
established prejudices,--so that he was held as little better than an
infidel and a castaway by the stricter religious circles in his native
place. Mary's mother, now that Mary was grown up to woman's estate,
looked with a severe eye on her cousin. She warned her daughter against
too free an association with him,--and so----We all know what comes to
pass when girls are constantly warned not to think of a man. The most
conscientious and obedient little person in the world, Mary resolved to
be very careful. She never would think of James, except, of course, in
her prayers; but as these were constant, it may easily be seen it was
not easy to forget him.

All that was so often told her of his carelessness, his trifling, his
contempt of orthodox opinions, and his startling and bold expressions,
only wrote his name deeper in her heart,--for was not his soul in peril?
Could she look in his frank, joyous fate and listen to his thoughtless
laugh, and then think that a fall from mast-head, or one night's storm,
might----Ah, with what images her faith filled the blank! Could she
believe all this and forget him?

You see, instead of getting our tea ready, as we promised at the
beginning of this chapter, we have filled it with descriptions and
meditations, and now we foresee that the next chapter will be equally
far from the point. But have patience with us; for we can write only as
we are driven, and never know exactly where we are going to land.


CHAPTER III.

A quiet, maiden-like place was Mary's little room. The window looked out
under the overarching boughs of a thick apple-orchard, now all in a
blush with blossoms and pink-tipped buds, and the light came
golden-green, strained through flickering leaves,--and an ever-gentle
rustle and whirr of branches and blossoms, a chitter of birds, and an
indefinite whispering motion, as the long heads of orchard-grass nodded
and bowed to each other under the trees, seemed to give the room the
quiet hush of some little side-chapel in a cathedral, where green and
golden glass softens the sunlight, and only the sigh and rustle of
kneeling worshippers break the stillness of the aisles. It was small
enough for a nun's apartment, and dainty in its neatness as the waxen
cell of a bee. The bed and low window were draped in spotless white,
with fringes of Mary's own knotting. A small table under the
looking-glass bore the library of a well-taught young woman of those
times. "The Spectator," "Paradise Lost," Shakspeare, and "Robinson
Crusoe" stood for the admitted secular literature, and beside them the
Bible and the works then published of Mr. Jonathan Edwards. Laid a
little to one side, as if of doubtful reputation, was the only novel
which the stricter people in those days allowed for the reading of their
daughters: that seven-volumed, trailing, tedious, delightful old bore,
"Sir Charles Grandison,"--a book whose influence in those times was so
universal, that it may be traced in the epistolary style even of the
gravest divines. Our little heroine was mortal, with all her divinity,
and had an imagination which sometimes wandered to the things of earth;
and this glorious hero in lace and embroidery, who blended rank,
gallantry, spirit, knowledge of the world, disinterestedness, constancy,
and piety, sometimes walked before her, while she sat spinning at her
wheel, till she sighed, she hardly knew why, that no such men walked the
earth now. Yet it is to be confessed, this occasional raid of the
romantic into Mary's balanced and well-ordered mind was soon
energetically put to rout, and the book, as we have said, remained on
her table under protest,--protected by being her father's gift to her
mother during their days of courtship. The small looking-glass was
curiously wreathed with corals and foreign shells, so disposed as to
indicate an artistic eye and skilful hand; and some curious Chinese
paintings of birds and flowers gave rather a piquant and foreign air to
the otherwise homely neatness of the apartment.

Here in this little retreat Mary spent those few hours which her
exacting conscience would allow her to spare from her busy-fingered
household-life; here she read and wrote and thought and prayed;--and
here she stands now, arraying herself for the tea company that
afternoon. Dress, which in our day is becoming in some cases the whole
of woman, was in those times a remarkably simple affair. True, every
person of a certain degree of respectability had state and festival
robes; and a certain camphor-wood brass-bound trunk, which was always
kept solemnly locked in Mrs. Katy Scudder's apartment, if it could have
spoken, might have given off quite a catalogue of brocade satin and
laces. The wedding-suit there slumbered in all the unsullied whiteness
of its stiff ground broidered with heavy knots of flowers; and there
were scarfs of wrought India muslin and embroidered crape, each of which
had its history,--for each had been brought into the door with beating
heart on some return voyage of one who, alas, should return no more! The
old trunk stood with its histories, its imprisoned remembrances,--and a
thousand tender thoughts seemed to be shaping out of every rustling fold
of silk and embroidery, on the few yearly occasions when all were
brought out to be aired, their history related, and then solemnly locked
up again. Nevertheless, the possession of these things gave to the women
of an establishment a certain innate dignity, like a good conscience; so
that in that larger portion of existence commonly denominated among them
"every day," they were content with plain stuff and homespun. Mary's
toilette, therefore, was sooner made than those of Newport belles of the
present day; it simply consisted in changing her ordinary "short gown
and petticoat" for another of somewhat nicer materials,--a skirt of
India chintz and a striped jacconet short-gown. Her hair was of the kind
which always lies like satin; but, nevertheless, girls never think their
toilette complete unless the smoothest hair has been shaken down and
rearranged. A few moments, however, served to braid its shining folds
and dispose them in their simple knot on the back of the head; and
having given a final stroke to each side with her little dimpled hands,
she sat down a moment at the window, thoughtfully watching where the
afternoon sun was creeping through the slats of the fence in long lines
of gold among the tall, tremulous orchard-grass, and unconsciously she
began warbling, in a low, gurgling voice, the words of a familiar hymn,
whose grave earnestness accorded well with the general tone of her life
and education:--

    "Life is the time to serve the Lord,
    The time to insure the great reward."

There was a swish and rustle in the orchard-grass, and a tramp of
elastic steps; then the branches were brushed aside, and a young man
suddenly emerged from the trees a little behind Mary. He was apparently
about twenty-five, dressed in the holiday rig of a sailor on shore,
which well set off his fine athletic figure, and accorded with a sort of
easy, dashing, and confident air which sat not unhandsomely on him. For
the rest, a high forehead shaded by rings of the blackest hair, a keen,
dark eye, a firm and determined mouth, gave the impression of one who
had engaged to do battle with life, not only with a will, but with
shrewdness and ability.

He introduced the colloquy by stepping deliberately behind Mary, putting
his arms round her neck, and kissing her.

"Why, James!" said Mary, starting up, and blushing. "Come, now!"

"I have come, haven't I?" said the young man, leaning his elbow on the
window-seat and looking at her with an air of comic determined
frankness, which yet had in it such wholesome honesty that it was
scarcely possible to be angry. "The fact is, Mary," he added, with a
sudden earnest darkening of the face, "I won't stand this nonsense any
longer. Aunt Katy has been holding me at arm's length ever since I got
home; and what have I done? Haven't I been to every prayer-meeting and
lecture and sermon, since I got into port, just as regular as a
psalm-book? and not a bit of a word could I get with you, and no chance
even so much as to give you my arm. Aunt Kate always comes between us
and says, 'Here, Mary, you take my arm.' What does she think I go to
meeting for, and almost break my jaws keeping down the gapes? I never
even go to sleep, and yet I'm treated in this way! It's too bad! What's
the row? What's anybody been saying about me? I always have waited on
you ever since you were that high. Didn't I always draw you to school on
my sled? didn't we always use to do our sums together? didn't I always
wait on you to singing-school? and I've been made free to run in and out
as if I were your brother;--and now she is as glum and stiff, and always
stays in the room every minute of the time that I am there, as if she
was afraid I should be in some mischief. It's too bad!"

"Oh, James, I am sorry that you only go to meeting for the sake of
seeing me; you feel no real interest in religious things; and besides,
mother thinks now I'm grown so old, that----Why, you know things are
different now,--at least, we mustn't, you know, always do as we did when
we were children. But I wish you did feel more interested in good
things."

"I _am_ interested in one or two good things, Mary,--principally in you,
who are the beat I know of. Besides," he said quickly, and scanning her
face attentively to see the effect of his words, "don't you think there
is more merit in my sitting out all these meetings, when they bore me so
confoundedly, than there is in your and Aunt Katy's doing it, who really
seem to find something to like in them? I believe you have a sixth
sense, quite unknown to me; for it's all a maze,--I can't find top, nor
bottom, nor side, nor up, nor down to it,--it's you can and you can't,
you shall and you sha'n't, you will and you won't,"----

"James!"

"You needn't look at me so. I'm not going to say the rest of it. But,
seriously, it's all anywhere and nowhere to me; it don't touch me, it
don't help me, and I think it rather makes me worse; and then they tell
me it's because I'm a natural man, and the natural man understandeth not
the things of the Spirit. Well, I _am_ a natural man,--how's a fellow to
help it?"

"Well, James, why need you talk everywhere as you do? You joke, and
jest, and trifle, till it seems to everybody that you don't believe in
anything. I'm afraid mother thinks you are an infidel, but I _know_ that
can't be; yet we hear of all sorts of things that you say."

"I suppose you mean my telling Deacon Twitchel that I had seen as good
Christians among the Mahometans as any in Newport. _Didn't_ I make him
open his eyes? It's true, too!"

"In every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is
accepted of Him," said Mary; "and if there are better Christians than us
among the Mahometans, I am sure I'm glad of it. But, after all, the
great question is, 'Are we Christians ourselves?' Oh, James, if you only
were a real, true, noble Christian!"

"Well, Mary, you have got into that harbor, through all the sandbars and
rocks and crooked channels; and now do you think it right to leave a
fellow beating about outside, and not go out to help him in? This way of
drawing up, among you good people, and leaving us sinners to ourselves,
isn't generous. You might care a little for the soul of an old friend,
anyhow!"

"And don't I care, James? How many days and nights have been one prayer
for you! If I could take my hopes of heaven out of my own heart and give
them to you, I would. Dr. H. preached last Sunday on the text, 'I could
wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen'; and he
went on to show how we must be willing to give up even our own
salvation, if necessary, for the good of others. People said it was hard
doctrine, but I could feel my way through it very well. Yes, I would
give my soul for yours; I wish I could."

There was a solemnity and pathos in Mary's manner which checked the
conversation. James was the more touched because he felt it all so real,
from one whose words were always yea and nay, so true, so inflexibly
simple. Her eyes filled with tears, her face kindled with a sad
earnestness, and James thought, as he looked, of a picture he had once
seen in a European cathedral, where the youthful Mother of Sorrows is
represented,

    "Radiant and grave, as pitying man's decline;
    All youth, but with an aspect beyond time;
    Mournful, but mournful of another's crime;
    She looked as if she sat by Ellen's door,
    And grieved for those who should return no more."

James had thought he loved Mary; he had admired her remarkable beauty,
he had been proud of a certain right in her before that of other young
men, her associates; he had thought of her as the keeper of his home; he
had wished to appropriate her wholly to himself;--but in all this there
had been, after all, only the thought of what she was to be to him; and
this, for this poor measure of what he called love, she was ready to
offer, an infinite sacrifice.

As a subtile flash of lightning will show in a moment a whole landscape,
tower, town, winding stream, and distant sea, so that one subtile ray of
feeling seemed in a moment to reveal to James the whole of his past
life; and it seemed to him so poor, so meagre, so shallow, by the side
of that childlike woman, to whom the noblest of feelings were
unconscious matters of course, that a sort of awe awoke in him; like the
Apostles of old, he "feared as he entered into the cloud"; it seemed as
if the deepest string of some eternal sorrow had vibrated between them.

After a moment's pause, he spoke in a low and altered voice:--

"Mary, I am a sinner. No psalm or sermon ever taught it to me, but I see
it now. Your mother is quite right, Mary; you are too good for me; I am
no mate for you. Oh, what would you think of me, if you knew me wholly?
I have lived a mean, miserable, shallow, unworthy life. You are worthy,
you are a saint, and walk in white! Oh, what upon earth could ever make
you care so much for me?"

"Well, then, James, you will be good? Won't you talk with Dr. H.?"

"Hang Dr. H.!" said James. "Now, Mary, I beg your pardon, but I can't
make head or tail of a word Dr. H. says. I don't get hold of it, or know
what he would be at. You girls and women don't know your power. Why,
Mary, you are a living gospel. You have always had a strange power over
us boys. You never talked religion much, but I have seen high fellows
come away from being with you as still and quite as one feels when one
goes into a church. I can't understand all the hang of predestination,
and moral ability, and natural ability, and God's efficiency, and man's
agency, which Dr. H. is so engaged about; but I can understand _you_,
_you_ can do me good!"

"Oh, James, can I?"

"Mary, I'm going to confess my sins. I saw, that, somehow or other, the
wind was against me in Aunt Katy's quarter, and you know we fellows who
take up the world in both fists don't like to be beat. If there's
opposition, it sets us on. Now I confess I never did care much about
religion, but I thought, without being really a hypocrite, I'd just let
you try to save my soul for the sake of getting you; for there's nothing
surer to hook a woman than trying to save a fellow's soul. It's a
dead-shot, generally, that. Now our ship sails to-night, and I thought
I'd just come across this path in the orchard to speak to you. You know
I used always to bring you peaches and juneatings across this way, and
once I brought you a ribbon."

"Yes, I've got it yet, James."

"Well, now, Mary, all this seems mean to me, mean, to try and trick and
snare you, who are so much too good for me. I felt very proud this
morning that I was to go out first mate this time, and that I should
command a ship next voyage. I meant to have asked you for a promise, but
I don't. Only, Mary, just give me your little Bible, and I'll promise to
read it all through soberly, and see what it all comes to. And pray for
me; and if, while I'm gone, a good man comes who loves you, and is
worthy of you, why, take him, Mary,--that's my advice."

"James, I am not thinking of any such things; I don't ever mean to be
married. And I'm glad you don't ask me for any promise,--because it
would be wrong to give it; mother don't even like me to be much with
you. But I'm sure all I have said to you to-day is right; I shall tell
her exactly all I have said."

"If Aunt Katy knew what things we fellows are pitched into, who take the
world headforemost, she wouldn't be so selfish. Mary, you girls and
women don't know the world you live in; you ought to be pure and good:
you are not as we are. You don't know what men, what women--no, they're
not women!--what creatures, beset us in every foreign port, and
boarding-houses that are gates of hell; and then, if a fellow comes back
from all this and don't walk exactly straight, you just draw up the hems
of your garments and stand close to the wall, for fear he should touch
you when he passes. I don't mean you, Mary, for you are different from
most; but if you would do what you could, you might save us. But it's no
use talking, Mary. Give me the Bible; and please be kind to my
dove,--for I had a hard time getting him across the water, and I don't
want him to die."

If Mary had spoken all that welled up in her little heart at that
moment, she might have said too much; but duty had its habitual seal
upon her lips. She took the little Bible from her table and gave it with
a trembling hand, and James turned to go. In a moment he turned back,
and stood irresolute.

"Mary," he said, "we are cousins; I may never come back; you might kiss
me this once."

The kiss was given and received in silence, and James disappeared among
the thick trees.

"Come, child," said Aunt Katy, looking in, "there is Deacon Twitchel's
chaise in sight,--are you ready?"

"Yes, mother."

[To be continued.]



THE AUTOCRAT GIVES A BREAKFAST TO THE PUBLIC.


Before my friend the Professor takes his place at our old table, where,
Providence permitting, he means to wish you all a happy New Year on or
about the First of January next, I wish you to do me the favor of being
my guests at the table which you see spread before you.

This table is a very long one. Legs in every Atlantic and inland
city,--legs in California and Oregon,--legs on the shores of 'Quoddy and
of Lake Pontchartrain,--legs everywhere, like a millipede or a
banian-tree.

The schoolmistress that was,--and is,--(there are her little scholars at
the side-table.)--shall pour out coffee or tea for you as you like.

Sit down and make yourselves comfortable.--A teaspoon, my dear, for
Minnesota.--Sacramento's cup is out.

Bridget has become a thought, and serves us a great deal faster than the
sticky lightning of the submarine _par vagum_, as the Professor calls
it.--Pepper for Kansas, Bridget.--A sandwich for Cincinnati.--Rolls and
sardines for Washington.--A bit of the Cape Ann turkey for
Boston.--South Carolina prefers dark meat.--Fifty thousand glasses of
_eau sucrée_ at once, and the rest simultaneously.--Now give us the nude
mahogany, that we may talk over it.--Bridget becomes as a mighty wind
and peels off the immeasurable table-cloth as a northwester strips off
the leafy damask from the autumn woods.

[At this point of the entertainment the Reporter of the "Oceanic
Miscellany" was introduced, and to his fluent and indefatigable pen we
owe the further account of the proceedings.--_Editors of the "Oceanic
Miscellany."_]

--The liberal and untiring editors of the "Oceanic Miscellany"
commissioned their special reporter to be present at the Great Breakfast
given by the personage known as the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,
furnishing him with one of the _caput-mortuum_ tickets usually
distributed on such occasions.

The tables groaned with the delicacies of the season, provided by the
distinguished caterers whose names are familiar in our mouths as
household words. After the usual contest for places,--a proceeding more
honored in the breach than the observance,--the band discoursed sweet
music. The creature comforts were then discussed, consisting of the
various luxuries that flesh is heir to, together with fish and fowl, too
numerous to mention. After the material banquet had cloyed the hungry
edge of appetite, began the feast of reason and the flow of soul. As,
take him for all in all, the bright particular star of the evening was
the distinguished individual who played the part of mine host, we shall
make no apology for confining our report to the


SPEECH OF THE AUTOCRAT.

I think on the whole we have had a good time together, since we became
acquainted. So many pleasant looks and words as have passed between us
must mean something. For one person who speaks well or ill of us we may
safely take it for granted that there are ten or a hundred, or an
indefinite number, who feel in the same way, but are shy of talking.

Now the first effect of being kindly received is unquestionably a
pleasing internal commotion, out of which arises a not less pleasing
secondary sensation, which the unthinking vulgar call conceit, but which
is in reality an increased consciousness of life, and a most important
part of the mechanism by which a man is advertised of his ability to
serve his fellows, and stirred up to use it.

In the present instance, the immediate effects of the warm general
welcome received were the following demonstrations:--

1. The purchase of a glossy bell-crowned hat, which is worn a little
inclined to one side, at the angle of self-reliance,--this being a very
slight dip, as compared to the outrageous slant of country dandies and
the insolent obliquity indulged in by a few unpleasantly conspicuous
city-youth, who prove that "it takes three generations to make a
gentleman."

2. A movement towards the acquisition of a pair of pantaloons with a
stripe running down the leg; also of a slender canary-colored cane, to
be carried as formerly in the time when Mr. Van Buren was
President.--[_A mild veto from the schoolmistress was interposed._]

3. A manifest increase of that _monstraridigitativeness_,--if you will
permit the term,--which is so remarkable in literary men, that, if
public opinion allowed it, some of them would like to wear a smart
uniform, with an author's button, so that they might be known and hailed
everywhere.

4. An undeniable aggravation of the natural tendency to caress and
cosset such products of the writer's literary industry as have met with
special favor. This is shown by a willingness to repeat any given
stanza, a line of which is referred to, and a readiness to listen to
even exaggerated eulogy with a twinkling stillness of feature and
inclination of the titillated ear to the operator, such as the Mexican
Peccary is said to show when its dorsal surface is gently and
continuously irritated with the pointed extremity of a reed or of a
magnolia-branch. What other people think well of, we certainly have a
right to like, ourselves.

All this self-exaltation, which some folks make so much scandal of, is
the most natural thing in the world when one gets an over-dose of fair
words. The more I reflect upon it, the more I am convinced that it is
well for a man to think too highly of himself while he is in the working
state. Sydney Smith could discover no relation between Modesty and
Merit, excepting that they both began with an M. Considered simply as a
machine out of which work is to be got, the wheels of intellect run best
when they are kept well oiled by the public and the publisher.

Therefore, my friends, if any of you have uttered words of kindness, of
flattery, of extreme over-praise, even, let me thank you for it.
Criticism with praise in it is azotized food; it makes muscle; to expect
a man to write without it is like giving nothing but hay to a roadster
and expecting to get ten miles an hour out of him. A young fellow cannot
be asked to go on making love forever, if he does not get a smile now
and then to keep hope alive. The truth is, Bridget would have whisked
off the table-cloth and given notice of quitting, and the whole
establishment would have gone to pieces at the end of No. 1, if you had
not looked so very good-natured about it that it was impossible to give
up such amiable acquaintance.

The above acknowledgments and personal revelations are preliminary to
the following more general statement, which will show how they must be
qualified.

Every man of sense has two ways of looking at himself. The first is an
everyday working view, in which he makes the most of his gifts and
accomplishments. It is the superficial stratum in which praise and blame
find their sphere of action,--the region of comparisons,--the habitat
where envy and jealousy are to be looked for, if they have not been
weeded out and flung into the compost-heap of dead vices, with which, if
we understand moral husbandry, we fertilize our living virtues. It is
quite foolish to abuse this thin upper layer of our mental soil. The
grasses do not strike their roots deep in towards the centre, like the
oaks, but they are the more useful and necessary vegetable of the two.
The cheap, but perpetual activities of life grow out of this upper
stratum of our being. How silly to try to be wiser than Providence!
Don't tell me about the vain illusions of self-love. There is nothing so
real in this world as Illusion. All other things may desert a man, but
this fair angel never leaves him. She holds a star a billion miles over
a baby's head, and laughs to see him clawing and batting himself as he
tries to reach it. She glides before the hoary sinner down the path
which leads to the inexorable gate, jingling the keys of heaven at her
girdle.

Underneath this surface-soil lies another stratum of thought, where the
tap-roots of the larger mental growths penetrate and find their
nourishment. Out of this comes heroism in all its shapes; here the
enterprises that overshadow half the planet, when full grown, lie,
tender, in their cotyledons. Here there is neither praise nor blame,
nothing but a passionless self-estimate, quite as willing to undervalue
as to rate too highly. The less clay and straw the task-master has given
his servant, the smaller the tale of bricks he will be required to
furnish. Many a man not remarkable for conceit has shuddered as some
effort or accident has revealed to him a depth of power of which he
never thought himself the possessor and broken his peace with the fatal
words, "Sleep no more!"

This deeper self-appreciation is a slow and gradual process. At first, a
child thinks he can do everything. I remember when I thought I could
lift a house, if I would only try hard enough. So I began with the hind
wheel of a heavy old family-coach, built like that in which my Lady
Bountiful carried little King Pippin, if you happen to remember the
illustrations of that story. I lifted with all my might, and the planet
pulled down with all its might. The planet beat. After that, my ideas of
the difference between my will and my muscular force were more
accurately defined. Then came the illusion, that I could, of course,
"lick," "serve out," or "polish off," various small boys who had been or
might be obnoxious to me. The event of the different "set-tos" to
which, this hypothesis led not uniformly confirming it, another
limitation of my possibilities was the consequence. In this way I groped
along into a knowledge of my physical relations to the organic and
inorganic universe.

A man must be very stupid indeed, if, by the time he is fully ripened,
he does not know tolerably well what his physical powers are. His
weight, his height, his general development, his constitutional force,
his good or ill looks, he has had time to find out; and he is a fool, if
he does not carry a reasonable consciousness of these conditions with
him always. It is a little harder with the mind; but some qualities are
generally estimated fairly enough by their owners. Thus, a man may be
trusted when he says he has a good or a bad memory. Not so of his
opinion of his own judgment or imagination. It is only by a very slow
process that he finds out how much or how little of those qualities he
possesses. But it is one of the blessed privileges of growing older,
that we come to have a much clearer sense of what we can do and what we
cannot, and settle down to our work quietly, knowing what our tools are
and what we have to do with them.

Therefore, my friends, if I should at any time put on any airs on the
strength of your good-natured treatment, please to remember that these
are only the growth of that thin upper stratum of character I was
telling you of. I conceive that the fact of a man's coming out in a book
or two, even supposing them to have a success such as I should never
think of, is to the sum total of that man's life and character as the
bed of tulips and hyacinths you may see in spring, at the feet of the
"Great Elm," on our Boston Common, is to the solemn old tree itself. The
serene, strong life, reaching deep underground and high overhead, robed
itself in April and disrobed itself in October when the Common was a
cow-pasture, and observes the same seasons now that the old tree is
belted with an iron girdle and finds its feet covered with flowers.
Alas! my friends, the fence and the tulips are painfully suggestive.
Authorship is an iron girdle, and the blossoms of flattery that are
scattered at its feet are useful to it only as their culture keeps the
soil open to the sun and rain. No man can please the reading public ever
so little without being too highly commended for it in the heat of the
moment; and so, if he thinks of starting again for the prize of public
approbation, he finds himself heavily handicapped, and perhaps weighted
down, simply because he has made good running for some former stakes.

I don't like the position of my friend the Professor. I consider him
fully as good a man as myself.--I have, you know, often referred to him
and quoted him, and sometimes got so mixed up with him, that, like the
Schildbürgers at their town-meeting, I was puzzled to disentangle my own
legs from his, when I wanted to stand up by myself, they were got into
such a snarl together.--But I don't like the position of my friend the
Professor.

The first thing, of course, when he opens his mouth, will be to compare
him with his predecessor. Now, if he has the least tact in the world, he
will begin dull, so as to leave a wide margin for improvement. You may
be perfectly certain that he can talk and write just as well as I can;
but you don't think, surely, that he is going to begin where I left off.
Not unless we are to have a wedding in the first number;--and you are
not sure whether or not there is to be any wedding at all while the
Professor holds my seat at the table.

But I will tell you one thing,--if you sit a year or so at a long table,
you will see what life is. Christenings, weddings, funerals,--these are
the three legs it stands on; and you have a chance to see them all in a
twelvemonth, if the table is really a long one. I don't doubt the
Professor will have something to tell besides his opinions and fancies;
and if you like a book of thoughts with occasional incidents, as well as
a book of incidents with occasional thoughts, why, I see no reason why
you should not accept this talk of the Professor's as kindly as if it
had a fancy name and called itself a novel.

Life may be divided into two periods,--the hours of taking food, and the
intervals between them,--or, technically, into the _alimentary_ and the
_non-alimentary_ portions of existence. Now our social being is so
intensified during the first of these periods, that whoso should write
the history of a man's breakfasts or dinners or suppers would give a
perfect picture of his most important social qualities, conditions, and
actions, and might omit the non-alimentary portion of his life
altogether from consideration. Thus I trust that the breakfasts of which
you have had some records have given you a pretty clear idea, not only
of myself, but of those more interesting friends and fellow-boarders of
mine to whom I have introduced you, and with some of whom, in company
with certain new acquaintances, my friend the Professor will keep you in
relation during the following year. So you see that over the new
table-cloth which is going to be spread there may very possibly be a new
drama of life enacted; but all that, if it should be so, is incidental
and by the way;--for what the Professor wishes particularly to do, and
means to do, is to talk about life and men and things and books and
thoughts; but if there should be anything better than talk occurring
before his eyes, either at the small world of the breakfast-table or in
the greater world without, he holds himself at liberty to relate it or
discourse upon it.

I suppose the Professor will receive a good many letters, as I did,
containing suggestions, counsel, and articles in prose and verse for
publication. He desires me to state that he is very happy to hear from
known and unknown friends, provided they will not mistake him for an
editor, and will not be offended if their communications are not made
the subject of individual notice. There may be times when, having
nothing to say, he will be very glad to print somebody's note or copy of
verses; I don't think it very likely; for life, is short, and the world
is brimful, and rammed down hard, with strange things worth seeing and
telling, and Mr. Worcester's great Quarto Dictionary is soon coming out,
crammed with all manner of words to talk with,--so that the Professor
will probably find little room, except for an answer to a question now
and then, or the acknowledgment of some hint he may have thought worth
taking.

       *       *       *       *       *

--The speaker shut himself off like a gas-burner at this point, and the
company soon dispersed. I sauntered down to the landlady's, and obtained
from her the following production from the papers left by the gentleman,
whose pen, ranging from grave to gay, from lively to severe, has held
the mirror up to Nature, and given the form and pressure of his thoughts
and feelings for the benefit of the numerous and constantly-increasing
multitudes of readers of the "Oceanic Miscellany," a journal which has
done and is doing so much for the gratification and improvement of the
masses.


_A Poem from the Autocrat's Lose Papers._

[I find the following note written in pencil on the MSS.--_Reporter Oc.
Misc._]

This is a true story. Avis, Avise, or Avice, (they pronounce it
_Arris_,) is a real breathing person. Her home is not more than an hour
and a half's space from the palaces of the great ladies who might like
to look at her. They may see her and the little black girl she gave
herself to, body and soul, when nobody else could bear the sight of her
infirmity,--leaving home at noon, or even after breakfast, and coming
back in season to undress for the evening's party.


AVIS.

    I may not rightly call thy name,--
      Alas! thy forehead never knew
    The kiss that happier children claim,
      Nor glistened with baptismal dew.

    Daughter of want and wrong and woe,
      I saw thee with thy sister-band,
    Snatched from the whirlpool's narrowing flow
      By Mercy's strong yet trembling hand.

    --"Avis!"--With Saxon eye and cheek,
      At once a woman and a child,
    The saint uncrowned I came to seek
      Drew near to greet us,--spoke and smiled.

    God gave that sweet sad smile she wore
      All wrong to shame, all souls to win,--
    A heavenly sunbeam sent before
      Her footsteps through a world of sin.

    --"And who is Avis?"--Hear the tale
      The calm-voiced matrons gravely tell,--
    The story known through all the vale
      Where Avis and her sisters dwell.

    With the lost children running wild,
      Strayed from the hand of human care,
    They find one little refuse child
      Left helpless in its poisoned lair.

    The primal mark is on her face,--
      The chattel-stamp,--the pariah-stain
    That follows still her hunted race,--
      The curse without the crime of Cain.

    How shall our smooth-turned phrase relate
      The little suffering outcast's ail?
    Not Lazarus at the rich man's gate
      So turned the rose-wreathed revellers pale.

    Ah, veil the living death from sight
      That wounds our beauty-loving eye!
    The children turn in selfish fright,
      The white-lipped nurses hurry by.

    Take her, dread Angel! Break in love
      This bruised reed and make it thine!--
    No voice descended from above,
      But Avis answered, "She is mine."

    The task that dainty menials spurn
      The fair young girl has made her own;
    Her heart shall teach, her hand shall learn
      The toils, the duties yet unknown.

    So Love and Death in lingering strife
      Stand face to face from day to day,
    Still battling for the spoil of Life
      While the slow seasons creep away.

    Love conquers Death; the prize is won;
      See to her joyous bosom pressed
    The dusky daughter of the sun,--
      The bronze against the marble breast!

    Her task is done; no voice divine
      Has crowned her deed with saintly fame;
    No eye can see the aureole shine
      That rings her brow with heavenly flame.

    Yet what has holy page more sweet,
      Or what had woman's love more fair
    When Mary clasped her Saviour's feet
      With flowing eyes and streaming hair?

    Meek child of sorrow, walk unknown.
      The Angel of that earthly throng,
    And let thine image live alone
      To hallow this unstudied song!



LITERARY NOTICES.


_Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time, with other Papers._ By CHARLES
KINGSLEY, Author of "Hypatia," "Two Years Ago," etc. Boston: Ticknor &
Fields. 12mo.

This collection of Mr. Kingsley's miscellaneous writings is marked by
the same qualities of mind and temper which have given celebrity and
influence to his novels. An earnest man, with strong convictions
springing from a fervid philanthropy, fertile in thought, confident in
statement, resolute in spirit, with many valuable ideas and not a few
curious crotchets, and master of a style singularly bold, vivid,
passionate, and fluent, he always stimulates the mind, if he does not
always satisfy it. The defects of his intellect, especially in the
treatment of historical questions, proceed from the warmth of his
temperament. His impulses irritate his reason. Intellectually impatient
with all facts and arguments which obstruct the full sweep of his
theory, he has an offensive habit of escaping from objections he will
not pause to answer, by the calling of names and the introduction of
Providence. He is most petulantly disdainful of others when he has
nothing but paradoxes with which to oppose their truisms. He has a trick
of adopting the manner and expressions of Carlyle, in speaking of
incidents and characters to which they are ludicrously inapplicable, and
becomes flurried and flippant on occasions where Carlyle would put into
the same words his whole scowling and scornful strength. He frequently
mistakes sympathy with suffering for insight into its causes, and an
eloquent statement of what he thinks desirable for an interpretation of
what really is. He has bright glimpses of truth, but they are due rather
to the freedom of his thinking than to its depth; and in the hurry and
impatient pressure of his impulses, he does not discriminate between his
ideas and his whims. He seems to be in a state of insurrection against
the limitations of his creed, his profession, and his own mind, and the
impression conveyed by his best passages is of splendid incompleteness.
It would be ungracious to notice these defects in a writer who possesses
so many excellences, were it not that he forces them upon the attention,
and in their expression is unjust to other thinkers. His intellectual
conceit finds its vent in intellectual sauciness, and is all the worse
from appearing to have its source in conceit of conscience and
benevolence.

In spite of these faults, however, Mr. Kingsley's reputation is not
greater than he deserves. He is one of the most sincere; truthful, and
courageous of writers, has no reserves or concealments, and pours out
his feelings and opinions exactly as they lie in his own heart and
brain. We at least feel assured that he has no imperfections which he
does not express, and that there is no disagreement between the book and
the man. He is commonly on the right side in the social and political
movements of the day, if he does not always give the right reasons for
his position. His love, both of Nature and human nature, is intense and
deep, and this gives a cordiality, freshness, and frankness to his
writings which more than compensate for their defects.

The present volume of his miscellanies contains not only his essays and
reviews, but his four lectures on "Alexandria and her Schools," and his
"Loose Thoughts for Loose Thinkers." Of the essays, those on "North
Devon" and "My Winter Garden" are the best specimens of his descriptive
power, and those on "Raleigh" and "England from Wolsey to Elizabeth," of
his talents and accomplishments as a thinker on historical subjects. The
literary papers on "Tennyson," "Burns," "The Poetry of Sacred and
Literary Art," and "Hours with the Mystics," are full of striking and
suggestive, if somewhat perverse, thought. The volume, as a whole, is
read with mingled feelings of vexation and pleasure; but whether
provoked or delighted, we are always interested both in the author and
his themes.


_A Journey due North: Being Notes of a Residence in Russia._ By GEORGE
AUGUSTUS SALA. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

Although the matter of this brilliant volume is of intrinsic interest,
its charm is due more to the mode of description than even to the things
described. It gives us Russia from a Bohemian point of view. The
characteristics of Mr. Sala are keen observation, vivid description,
lively wit, indomitable assurance, and incapacity of being surprised. To
his resolute belief in himself, in what he sees with his own eyes and
conceives with his own brain, the book owes much of its raciness, its
confident, decisive, "knowing" tone, its independence of the judgments
of others, and its freedom from all the deceptions which proceed from
such emotions as wonder and admiration. The volume is read with a
pleasure similar to that we experience in listening to the animated talk
of an acquaintance fresh from novel scenes of foreign travel, who
reproduces his whole experience in recalling his adventures, and gives
us not merely incidents and pictures, but his own feelings of delight
and self-elation.

The three introductory chapters, describing the journey to St.
Petersburg, are perhaps the most brilliant portions of the book. The
delineations of his fellow-passengers, in the voyage from Stettin to
Cronstadt, especially the portraits of the swearing Captain Smith and
the accomplished Hussian noble, are admirable equally for their humor
and their sagacity. The account of the landing at Cronstadt, the scenes
at the Custom-House, the author's first walk in St. Petersburg, and his
first drive in a droschky, are masterpieces of familiar narration, and
fairly convert the readers of his hook into companions of his journey.
The description of the manners and customs of the Russian people, the
shrewd occasional comments on the policy of the government, and the
thorough analysis of the rascality of the Russian police, are admirable
in substance, if somewhat flippant in expression. In power of holding
the amused attention of the reader, equally by the pertinence of the
matter and the impertinence of the tone, the volume is unexcelled by any
other book on the subject of Russia.


_The New Priest in Conception Bay_. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co.
1858. 2 vols. 12mo.

The southeastern portion of the island of Newfoundland, as may be seen
by a glance at the map, may be well described by that expressive epithet
of "nook-shotten," which in Shakspeare is applied to the mother-island
of which it is a dependent. The land is indented by bays and estuaries,
so that it bears the same relation to the water that the parted fingers
of an outstretched hand do to the spaces of air that are between them.
One of these inlets bears the name of Conception Bay; and it is around
the shores of this bay that the scene of this novel is laid. Everything
in it suffers a sea-change; everything is set to the music of the winds
and the waves. We find ourselves among a people with whom the sea is
all, and the land only an appendage to the sea,--a place to dry fish,
and mend nets, and haul up boats, and caulk ships. But though the view
everywhere, morally and physically, is bounded by the sea, and though
one of the finest of the characters is a fisherman, yet the moving
springs of the story are found in elements only accidentally connected
with the sea, and by no means new to novel-writers or playwrights. The
plot of the novel is taken from, or founded upon, the peculiar relations
existing between the Roman Catholic priesthood and the female sex; and,
with only a change in costume and scenery, the events might have taken
place in Maryland, Louisiana, or France.

The novel is one of a peculiar class. To borrow a convenient phraseology
recently introduced into the language, its interest is more subjective
than objective,--or, in other words, is derived more from marked and
careful delineations of individual character than from the march of
events or brilliant procession of incidents. With a single
exception,--the abduction of the fisherman's daughter,--the occurrences
narrated are such as might happen any day in any small community living
near the sea. Novels constructed on this plan are less likely to be
popular than those in which the interest is derived from a
skilfully-contrived plot and a rapid and stirring succession of moving
events. To what extent the work before us may be popular we wilt not
undertake even to guess; for we have had too frequent experience of the
capriciousness of public taste to hazard any prediction as to the
reception a particular book may meet with, especially if it rely
exclusively upon its own merits, and be not helped by the previous
reputation of the writer. But we certainly can and will say that to
readers of a certain cast it will present strong attractions, and that
no candid critic can read it without pronouncing it to be a remarkable
work and the production of an original mind. The author we should judge
to be a man who had lived a good deal in solitude, or at least removed
from his intellectual peers,--who had been through much spiritual
struggle in the course of his life,--who had been more accustomed to
think than to write, at least for the press,--and whose own observation
had revealed to him some of the darker aspects of the Roman Catholic
faith and practice.

There is very little skill in the construction of the plot. Most of the
events stand to each other in the relation of accidental and not of
necessary succession, and might be transposed without doing any harm.
Many pages are written simply as illustrations of character; and a fair
proportion of the novel might be called with strict propriety a series
of sketches connected by a slight thread of narrative. But it would be
unreasonable to deal sharply with an author for this defect; for the
faculty of making a well-constructed story, in which every event shall
come in naturally, and yet each bring us one step nearer to the
journey's end, is now one of the lost arts of earth. But this is not
all. A considerable portion of it must be pronounced decidedly slow. We
use the word not in its slang application, but in the sense in which
Goldsmith used it in the first line of "The Traveller," or rather, as
Johnson told him he used it, when he said to him,--"You do not mean
tardiness of locomotion; you mean that sluggishness of mind which comes
upon a man in solitude." But the slowness of which novel-readers will
complain is not mere commonplace, least of all is it dulness. It is the
leisurely movement of a contemplative mind full of rich thought and
stored with varied learning. Such a writer _could not_ have any sympathy
with the mercurial, vivacious, light-of-foot story-tellers of the French
school. The author of "The New Priest in Conception Bay," we surmise,
has not been in the habit of packing up his thoughts for the market, by
either writing for the press, or conversing with clever and
nimble-witted men and women, and thus does not always distinguish
between cargo and dunnage. The current of the story often flows with a
very languid movement. It happens, rather unluckily, that this is
particularly true of the first seventy pages of the first volume. We
fear that many professional novel-readers may break down in the course
of these pages; and we confess ourselves to have been a little
discouraged. But after the ninth chapter, and the touching account which
Skipper George gives of the death of his boys,--a story which the most
indifferent cannot peruse without emotion,--the reader may be safely
left in the author's hands. They will go on together to the end, after
this, on good terms. And the prospect brightens, and the horses are
whipped up, as we advance. The second volume is much more interesting,
in the common sense of the word,--more stirring, more rapid, more
animated, than the first.

It is but putting our criticism into another form to say that the novel
is too long, and, as a mere story, might with advantage be compressed
into at least two-thirds of its present bulk. There are, especially, two
departments or points to which this remark is applicable. In the first
place, the conversations are too numerous, too protracted, and run too
much into trivialities and details. In the second place, the
descriptions of scenery are too frequently introduced, and pushed to a
wearisome enumeration of particulars and minute delineation of details.
In this peculiarity the author is kept in countenance by most
respectable literary associates. This sort of Pre-Raphaelite style of
scenery-painting in words is a characteristic of most recent American
novel, especially such as are written by women. Every rock, every clump
of trees, every strip of sea-shore, every sloping hillside, sits for its
portrait, and is reproduced with a tender conscientiousness of touch
wholly disproportioned to the importance of the subject. When human
hearts and human passions are animating or darkening the scene, we do
not want to be detained by a botanist's description of plants or a
geologist's sketch of rocks. The broad, free sweeps of Scott's brush in
"The Pirate" are more effective than the delicate needle-point lines of
the writer before us.

We think, too, that too much use is made of those strange and uncouth
dialects which have to be represented to the eye by bad spelling. We
have the familiar Yankee type in Mr. Bangs, and a new form of
phraseology in the speech of the Newfoundland fishermen. A little of
this is well enough, but it should not be pushed to an extreme. The
author's style, in general, is vigorous and expressive; it is the garb
of an original mind, and often takes striking forms; but in grace and
simplicity there is room for improvement, and we doubt not that
improvement will come with practice.

There are many passages which we should like to quote as specimens of
the imaginative power, forcible description, and apt illustration which
are shown in this work. Whether the author has ever written verse or
not, he is a poet in the best sense of that much-abused word. To him
Nature in all its forms is animated; it sympathizes with all his moods,
and takes on the hues of his thought. There are very few of these
paragraphs that are easily separable; they are fixed in the page, and
cannot be understood apart from it. Besides, many of these beauties are
minute,--a gleaming word here and there,--but making the track of the
story glow like the phosphorescent waters of the tropics.

We give a few paragraphs at random:--

     "Does the sea hold the secret?

     "Along the wharves, along the little beaches, around the
     circuit of the little coves, along the smooth or broken face of
     rock, the sea, which cannot rest, is busy. These little waves
     and this long swell, that now are here at work, have been ere
     now at home in the great inland sea of Europe, breathed on by
     soft, warm winds from fruit-groves, vineyards, and wide fields
     of flowers,--have sparkled in the many-colored lights, and felt
     the trivial oars and dallying fingers of the loiterers, on the
     long canals of Venice,--have quenched the ashes of the
     Dutchman's pipe, thrown overboard from his dull, laboring
     _treckschuyt_,--have wrought their patient tasks in the dim
     caverns of the Indian Archipelago,--have yielded to the little
     builders under water means and implements to rear their
     towering altar, dwelling, monument.

     "These little waves have crossed the ocean, tumbling like
     porpoises at play, and, taking on a savage nature in the Great
     Wilderness, have thundered in close ranks and countless numbers
     against man's floating fortress,--have stormed the breach and
     climbed up over the walls in the ship's riven side,--have
     followed, howling and hungry as mad wolves, the crowded
     raft,--have leaped upon it, snatching off, one by one, the
     weary, worn-out men and women,--have taken up and borne aloft,
     as if on hands and shoulders, the one chance human body that is
     brought in to land, and the long spur, from which man's dancing
     cordage wastes by degrees, find yields its place to long, green
     streamers, much like those that clung to this tall, taper tree
     when it stood in the Northern forest.

     "These waves have rolled their breasts about amid the wrecks
     and weeds of the hot stream that comes up many thousands of
     miles out of the Gulf of Mexico, as the great Mississippi goes
     down into it, and by-and-by these waves will move, all numb and
     chilled, among the mighty icebergs and ice-fields that must be
     brought down from the poles."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "She asked, 'Have you given up being a priest, Mr. Urston?'

     "'Yes!' he answered, in a single word, looking before him, as
     it were along his coming life, like a quoit-caster, to see how
     far the uttered word would strike; then, turning to her, and in
     a lower voice, added, 'I've left that, once and forever.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

     "He stood still with his grief; and, as Mr. Wellon pressed his
     honest, hard hand, he lifted to his pastor one of those
     childlike looks that only come out on the face of the true man,
     that has grown, as oaks grow, ring around ring, adding each
     after-age to the childhood that has never been lost, but has
     been kept innermost. This fisherman seemed like one of those
     that plied their trade, and were the Lord's disciples, at the
     Sea of Galilee, eighteen hundred years ago. The very flesh and
     blood inclosing such a nature keep a long youth through life.
     Witness the genius, (who is only the more thorough man,) poet,
     painter, sculptor, finder-out, or whatever; how fresh and fair
     such an one looks out from under his old age! Let him be
     Christian, too, and he shall look as if--shedding this
     outward--the inward being would walk forth a glorified one."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "As he mentioned his fruitless visits, a startling, most
     repulsive leer just showed itself in Ladford's face; but it
     disappeared as suddenly and wholly as a monster that has come
     up, horrid and hideous, to the surface of the sea, and then has
     sunk again, bodily, into the dark deep, and is gone, as if it
     had never come, except for the fear and loathing that it leaves
     behind. This face, after that look, had nothing repulsive in
     it, but was only the more subdued and sad."

The author's mind so teems with images, that he does not always
discriminate between the good and the bad. Occasionally we find some
that are manifestly faulty and overstrained.

     "It is one on which the tenderness of the deep heart of the
     Common Mother breaks itself; over which _the broad, dark,
     silent wings of a dread mystery are stretched_."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Her voice had in it that tender _touch_ which _lays itself,
     warm and loving_, on the heart."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "And then her voice began _to drop down_, as it were, _from
     step to step_,--and _the steps seemed cold and damp, as it went
     down them lingeringly_:--'or for
     trial,--disappointment,--whatever comes!'--and at the last, _it
     seemed to have gone down into a sepulchral vault_."

We do not admire any one of the above,--least of all the last, in which
the human voice is embodied as a sexton going down the steps of a tomb.
Why, too, as a matter of verbal criticism, should the author use such
words as "tragedist," "exhibitress," and "cheaty?"

In the delineation of character the author shows uncommon power and is
entitled to high praise. His portraits are animated, life-like, and
individual. Father Terence is drawn with a firm and skilful touch. The
task which the author prescribed to himself--to present an ecclesiastic
without learning, without intellectual power, without enthusiasm, and
with the easy habits of a careless and enjoyable temperament, and yet
who should be respectable, and even venerable, by reason of the
soundness of his instincts and his thorough right-heartedness--was not
an easy one; but in the execution he has been entirely successful. We
cannot but surmise that he has met sometime and somewhere a living man
with some of the characteristic traits of Father Terence. Father
Ignatius, the conventional type of the dark, wily, and dangerous
ecclesiastical intriguer, is an easier subject, but not so well done. He
is a little too melodramatic; and we apply with peculiar force to him a
criticism to which all the characters are more or less obnoxious, that
he is too constantly and uniformly manifesting the peculiar traits by
which the author distinguishes him from others. Father Debree and Mrs.
Barré are drawn with powerful and discriminating touch, and we recognize
the skill of the writer in the fact that we had read a considerable
portion of the novel before we had any suspicion of the former relations
between them. We may here say that we think that the women who may read
this work will want to know, a little more fully and distinctly than the
author has seen fit to tell, what were the causes and influences which
led to the severing of those relations. We cannot state our meaning more
clearly, without doing what we think should never be done in the review
of a new novel, and that is, telling the story, and thus removing half
the impulse to read it. Skipper George and his household, and the
smuggler Ladford, are very well drawn,--not distinctly original, and yet
with distinctive individual traits, which sharp observation must, to
some extent, have furnished the author with.

But to our commendation of the characters we must make one exception: we
humbly and respectfully submit that Mr. Bangs is a portentous bore, and
we heartily wish that he had been drowned before he ever set his foot
upon the shores of Newfoundland. It is possible, however, that in this
case we are not impartial judges; for we confess, that, for our own
private reading, we are heartily weary of the Yankee,--we mean as a
literary creation,--of the eternal repetition of the character of which
Sam Slick is the prototype,--which is for the most part a caricature,
and no more to be found upon the solid earth than a griffin or a
centaur. And in our judgment the theological discussions between this
worthy and Father Terence are not in good taste. The author surely would
not have us suppose that the wretched, skimble-skamble stuff which the
latter is made to talk is any fair representative of the arguments by
which the Church of Rome maintains its dogmas and vindicates its claims.
A considerable amount of literary skill and a quick perception of the
ludicrous are shown in the ridiculous aspect which the good Father's
statements and reasonings are made to assume in passing through Mr.
Bangs's mind; but we doubt whether such exhibitions are profitable to
the cause of good religion, and whether the advantage thereby secured to
Protestantism is not purchased at the price of some danger to
Christianity. It is not well to teach men the art of making mysteries
ridiculous.

But we take leave of our author and his book with high respect for his
powers,--we do not know but that we may say his genius,--and with no
small admiration for this particular expression of them. The very
minuteness of our criticism involves a compliment. It has been truly
said, that many men never write a book at all, but that very few write
only one. We think that the author of "The New Priest in Conception Bay"
must and will write more. A mind so fruitful and inventive, a spiritual
nature so high and earnest, and an observation so keen and correct,
cannot fail to accumulate materials for future use. We predict that his
next novel will be better than this,--that it will have all its
substantial and essential merits, and will show more constructive skill
and a more practised hand in literary artisanship. His gold will be more
neatly wrought, and not less pure and abundant.


_Summer Time in the Country._ By Rev. ROBERT ARIS WILLMOTT. London and
New York: George Routledge. Square 12mo. Illustrated.

We first made the acquaintance of this work in a shilling volume, a
"railway-library edition," and were charmed with its genial tone, its
nice appreciation of rural scenery, its agreeable and unpedantic
learning. It is a diary for the summer months, with notes upon the
changing aspects of Nature, reminiscences from the poets, and
appropriate comments. We are glad now to welcome the book in this form,
wherein satin paper, careful typography, delicate engravings, and
handsome binding have been employed to give it an appropriate dress.


_Annual Obituary Notices of Eminent Persons who died in the United
States during the Year 1857._ By NATHAN CROSBY. Boston: Phillips,
Sampson, & Co. 8vo. pp. 430.

The object of this work is best stated in the words of the author, as
being "the result of a long and earnest desire to give a more permanent
and accessible memorial to those who have originated and developed our
institutions,--those whose names should be remembered by the generations
to come, as the statesmen, the soldiers, the men of science and skill,
the sagacious merchants, the eminent clergymen and
philanthropists,--those who have brought our country to the prosperity
and distinction it now enjoys."

Eulogies, funeral sermons, and obituaries soon pass out of remembrance,
and an annual compilation like this cannot fail to be of service. The
work appears to have been done with impartiality and care.


_The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, with an Original Memoir._
Illustrated by F. R. PICKERSGILL, JOHN TENNIEL, BIRKET FOSTER, FELIX
DARLEY, and others. New York: J. S. Redfield. 8vo. pp. 250.

The poems of Poe have taken their place in literature; it is too late to
attempt anything like a contemporaneous criticism, too early to
anticipate the judgement of posterity. But whatever were the faults of
this gifted and erratic genius, much that he has written has become a
part of the thought and memory of the present generation of readers, and
will doubtless go to our children with equal claims.

In this volume it would seem that the arts connected with book-making
have culminated; paper, typography, drawing, and engraving are all
admirable. There are no fewer than fifty-three wood-engravings, of
various degrees of excellence, but all exquisitely finished. The lovers
of fine editions of poetry will find this a gift-book which the most
fastidious taste will approve. If we could add that this mechanical
excellence was from American hands, it would be much more grateful to
our national pride.


_Black's Atlas of North America._ Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

Nothing could well be more convenient than this series of twenty maps.
They are carefully executed, of a size not too large for easy handling,
and bound in a thin, light volume. They are preceded by some
introductory statistical matter which is very useful for purposes of
ready reference, and accompanied by an index so arranged that one can
find the name he seeks on any map with great facility. We have seen no
maps of North America which seemed to us, on the whole, at once so cheap
and good.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the announcements of illustrated works in press, we notice "The
Stratford Gallery, comprising Forty-five Ideal Portraits described by
Mrs. J. W. Palmer. Illustrated with Fine Engravings on Steel, from
Designs by Eminent Hands."

In one vol. 8vo. Antique morocco. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

       *       *       *       *       *

The many admirers of the "AUTOCRAT" will learn with pleasure that a fine
edition of his charming volume is in preparation, with tinted paper,
illustrated by Hoppin, and bound in elegant style. Probably no
holiday-book will be in such demand this season.





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