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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. 22, March, 1852, Volume 4.
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. 22, March, 1852, Volume 4." ***

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                                 Harper’s

                           New Monthly Magazine

                     No. XXII.—March, 1852.—Vol. IV.



CONTENTS


Rodolphus.—A Franconia Story. By Jacob Abbott.
Recollections Of St. Petersburg.
A Love Affair At Cranford.
Anecdotes Of Monkeys.
The Mountain Torrent.
A Masked Ball At Vienna.
The Ornithologist.
A Child’s Toy.
“Rising Generation”-Ism.
A Taste Of Austrian Jails.
Who Knew Best?
My First Place.
The Point Of Honor.
Christmas In Germany.
The Miracle Of Life.
Personal Sketches And Reminiscences. By Mary Russell Mitford.
   Recollections Of Childhood.
   Married Poets.—Elizabeth Barrett Browning—Robert Browning.
   Incidents Of A Visit At The House Of William Cobbett.
   A Reminiscence Of The French Emigration.
The Dream Of The Weary Heart.
New Discoveries In Ghosts.
Keep Him Out!
Story Of Rembrandt.
The Viper.
Esther Hammond’s Wedding-Day.
My Novel; Or, Varieties In English Life.
A Brace Of Blunders By A Roving Englishman.
Public Executions In England.
What To Do In The Mean Time?
The Lost Ages.
Blighted Flowers.
Monthly Record of Current Events.
   United States.
   Mexico.
   Great Britain.
   France.
   Austria And Hungary.
Editor’s Table.
Editor’s Easy Chair
Editor’s Drawer.
Literary Notices.
A Leaf from Punch.
Fashions for March.
Footnotes



RODOLPHUS.—A FRANCONIA STORY.(1) BY JACOB ABBOTT.


SCENE OF THE STORY.

Franconia, a village among the mountains at the North.

PRINCIPAL PERSONS.

RODOLPHUS.

ELLEN LINN: his sister, residing with her aunt up the glen.

ANNIE LINN, a younger sister.

ANTOINE BIANCHINETTE, a French boy, at service at Mrs. Henry’s, a short
distance from the village. He is called generally by grown people Antonio,
and by the children Beechnut.

MALLEVILLE, Mrs. Henry’s niece.

ALPHONZO, called commonly Phonny, her son.

MR. KEEP, a lawyer.



Chapter I.


The manner in which indulgence and caprice on the part of the parent, lead
to the demoralization and ruin of the child, is illustrated by the history
of Rodolphus.



I. Bad Training.


Rodolphus, whatever may have been his faults, was certainly a very
ingenious boy. When he was very young he made a dove-house in the end of
his father’s shed, all complete, with openings for the doves to go in and
out in front, and a door for himself behind. He made a ladder, also, by
which he could mount up to the door. He did all this with boards, which he
obtained from an old fence, for material, and an ax, and a wood saw, for
his only tools. His father, when he came to see the dove-house, was much
pleased with the ingenuity which Rodolphus had displayed in the
construction of it—though he found fault with him for taking away the
boards from the fence without permission. This, however, gave Rodolphus
very little concern.

                             [Illustration.]

                            The Rabbit House.


When the dove house was completed, Rodolphus obtained a pair of young
doves from a farmer who lived about a mile away, and put them into a nest
which he made for them in a box, inside.

At another time not long after this, he formed a plan for having some
rabbits, and accordingly he made a house for them in a corner of the yard
where he lived, a little below the village of Franconia. He made the house
out of an old barrel. He sawed a hole in one side of the barrel, near the
bottom of it, as it stood up upon one end—for a door, in order that the
rabbits might go in and out. He put a roof over the top of it, to keep out
the rain and snow. He also placed a _keg_ at the side of the barrel, by
way of wing into the building. There was a roof over this wing, too, as
well as over the main body of the house, or, rather, there was a board
placed over it, like a roof, though in respect to actual use this covering
was more properly a _lid_ than roof, for the keg was intended to be used
as a _store-room_, to keep the provisions in, which the rabbits were to
eat. The board, therefore, which formed the roof of the wing of the
building, was fastened at one edge, by leather hinges, and so could be
lifted up and let down again at pleasure.

Rodolphus’s mother was unwilling that he should have any rabbits. She
thought that such animals in Rodolphus’s possession would make her a great
deal of trouble. But Rodolphus said that he _would_ have some. At least,
he said, he would have _one_.

Rodolphus was standing in the path, in front of the door of his mother’s
house, when he said this. His mother was upon the great flat stone which
served for a step.

“But Beechnut asks a quarter of a dollar for his rabbits.” said his
mother, in an expostulating tone, “and you have not got any money.”

“Ah, but I know where I can get some money,” said Rodolphus.

“Where?” said his mother.

“Father will give it to me,” said Rodolphus.

“But I shall ask him not to give it to you,” said his mother.

“I don’t care,” said Rodolphus. “I can get it, if you do.”

“How?” asked his mother.

Rodolphus did not answer, but began to turn summersets and cut capers on
the grass, making all sorts of antic gestures and funny grimaces toward
his mother. Mrs. Linn, for that was his mother’s name, laughed, and then
went into the house, saying, as she went, “Oh, Rolf, Rolf, what a little
rogue you are!”

Rodolphus’s father was a workman, and he was away from home almost all the
day, though sometimes Rodolphus himself went to the place where he worked,
to see him. When Mr. Linn came home at night, sometimes he _played_ with
Rodolphus, and sometimes he quarreled with him: but he never really
_governed_ him.

For example, when Rodolphus was a very little boy, he would climb up into
his father’s lap, and begin to feel in his father’s waistcoat pockets for
money. If his father directed him not to do so, Rodolphus would pay no
regard to it. If he attempted to take Rodolphus’s hands away by force,
Rodolphus would scream, and struggle; and so his father, not wishing to
make a disturbance, would desist. If Mr. Linn frowned and spoke sternly,
Rodolphus would tickle him and make him laugh.

Finally, Rodolphus would succeed in getting a cent, perhaps, or some other
small coin, from his father’s pocket, and would then climb down and run
away. The father would go after him, and try all sorts of coaxings and
threatenings, to induce Rodolphus to bring the cent back—while Mrs. Linn
would look on, laughing, and saying, perhaps, “Ah; let him have the cent,
husband. It is not much.”

Being encouraged thus by his mother’s interposition, Rodolphus would of
course persevere, and the contest would end at last by his keeping the
money. Then he would insist the next day, on going into the little village
close by, and spending it for gingerbread. He would go, while eating his
gingerbread, to where his father was at work, and hold it up to his father
as in triumph—making it a sort of trophy, as it were, of victory. His
father would shake his finger at him, laughing at the same time, and
saying, “Ah, Rolf! Rolf! what a little rogue you are!”

Rodolphus, in fact, generally contrived to have his own way in almost
every thing. His mother did not attempt to govern him; she tried to
_manage_ him; but in the end it generally proved that he managed her. In
fact, whenever he was engaged in any contest with his mother, his father
would usually take the boy’s part, just as his mother had done in his
contests with his father.

For instance, one winter evening when he was quite a small boy, he was
sitting in a corner playing with some blocks. He was building a saw-mill.
His mother was at work in a little kitchen which opened into the room
where he was at play. His father was sitting on the settle, by the fire,
reading a newspaper. The door was open which led into the kitchen, and
Rodolphus, while he was at work upon his mill, watched his mother’s
motions, for he knew that when she had finished the work which she was
doing, and had swept up the room, she would come to put him to bed. So
Rodolphus went on building the mill, and the bridge, and the flume which
was to convey the water to his mill, listening all the time to the sounds
in the kitchen, and looking up from time to time, with a very watchful
eye, at the door.

At length he heard the sound of the sweeping, and a few minutes afterward
his mother appeared at the door, coming in. Rodolphus dropped his blocks,
sprang to his feet, and ran round behind the table—a round table which
stood out in the middle of the room.

“Now, Rodolphus,” said his mother, in a tone of remonstrance, looking at
the same time very seriously at him. “It is time for you to go to bed.”

Rodolphus said nothing, but began to dance about, looking at his mother
very intently all the time, and moving this way and that, as she moved, so
as to keep himself exactly on the opposite side of the table from her.

“Rodolphus!” said his mother, in a very stern and commanding tone. “Come
to me this minute.”

Rodolphus continued his dancing.

Rodolphus’s mother was a very beautiful young woman. Her dark glossy hair
hung in curls upon her neck.

When she found that it did no good to command Rodolphus, the stern
expression of her face changed into a smile, and she said,

“Well, if you won’t come, I shall have to catch you, that’s all.”

So saying, she ran round the table to catch him. Rodolphus ran too. His
mother turned first one way and then the other, but she could not get any
nearer to the fugitive. Rodolphus kept always on the farthest side of the
table from her. Presently Mr. Linn himself looked up and began to cheer
Rodolphus, and encourage him to run; and once when Mrs. Linn nearly caught
him and he yet escaped, Mr. Linn clapped his hands in token of his joy.

Mrs. Linn was now discouraged: so she stopped, and looking sternly at
Rodolphus again, she said,

“Now, Rodolphus, you _must_ come to me. Come this minute. If you don’t
come, I shall certainly punish you.” She spoke these words with a great
deal of force and emphasis, in order to make Rodolphus think that she was
really in earnest. But Rodolphus did not believe that she was in earnest,
and so it was evident that he had no intention to obey.

Mrs. Linn then thought of another plan for catching the fugitive, which
was to push the table along to one side of the room, or up into a corner,
and get Rodolphus out from behind it in that way. So she began to push.
Rodolphus immediately began to resist her attempt, by pushing against the
table himself, on the other side. His mother was the strongest, however,
and she succeeded in gradually working the table, with Rodolphus before
it, over to the further side of the room, notwithstanding all the efforts
that he made to prevent it. When he found at last that he was likely to be
caught, he left the table and ran behind the settle where his father was
reading. His mother ran after him and caught him in the corner.

She attempted to take him, but Rodolphus began to struggle and scream, and
to shake his shoulders when she took hold of them, evincing his
determination not to go with her. At the same time he called out, “Father!
father!”

His father looked around at the end of the settle to see what was the
matter.

“He won’t let me put him to bed,” said Mrs. Linn, “and it was time half an
hour ago.”

“Oh, let him sit up a little while longer if he likes,” said Mr. Linn.
“It’s of no use to make him cry.”

Mrs. Linn reluctantly left Rodolphus, murmuring to herself that he ought
to go to bed. Very soon, she said, he would be asleep upon the floor. “I
would _make_ him go,” she added, “only if he cries and makes a noise, it
will wake Annie.”

In fact Annie was beginning to move a little in the cradle then. The
cradle in which Annie was sleeping was by the side of the fire, opposite
to the settle. Mrs. Linn went to it, to rock it, so that Annie might go to
sleep again, and Rodolphus returned victorious to his mill.

These are specimens of the ways in which Rodolphus used to manage his
father and mother, while he was quite young. He became more and more
accomplished and capable in attaining his ends as he grew older, and
finally succeeded in establishing the ascendency of his own will over that
of his father and mother, almost entirely.

He was about four years old when the incidents occurred which have been
just described. When he was about five years old, he used to begin to go
and play alone down by the water. His father’s house was near the water,
just below the bridge. There were some high rocks near the shore, and a
large flat rock rising out of the water. Rodolphus liked very much to go
down to this flat rock and play upon it. His mother was very much afraid
to have him go upon this rock, for the water was deep near it, and she was
afraid that he might fall in. But Rodolphus would go.

The road which led to Mr. Linn’s from the village, passed round the rocks
above, at some distance above the bank of the stream. There was a fence
along upon the outer side of the road, with a little gate where Rodolphus
used to come through. From the gate there was a path, with steps, which
led down to the water. At one time, in order to prevent Rodolphus from
going down there, Mr. Linn fastened up the gate. Then Rodolphus would
climb over the fence. So his father, finding that it did no good to fasten
up the gate, opened it again.

Not content with going down to the flat stone contrary to his mother’s
command, Rodolphus would sometimes threaten to go there and jump off, by
way of terrifying her, when his mother would not give him what he wanted.
This would frighten Mrs. Linn very much, and she would usually yield at
once to his demands, in order to avert the danger. Finally she persuaded
her husband to wheel several loads of stones there and fill up the deep
place, after which she was less uneasy about Rodolphus’s jumping in.

Rodolphus was about ten years old when he made his rabbit house. Annie,
his sister, had grown up too. She was two years younger than Rodolphus,
and of course was eight. She was beautiful like her mother. She had blue
eyes, and her dark hair hung in curls about her neck. She was a gentle and
docile girl, and was often much distressed to see how disobedient and
rebellious Rodolphus was toward his father and mother.

She went out to see the rabbit house which Rodolphus had made, and she
liked it very much See wished that her mother would allow them to have a
rabbit to put into it, and she said so, as she stood looking at it, with
her hands behind her.

“I am sorry, that mother is not willing that you should have a rabbit,”
said she.

“Oh, never mind that,” said Rodolphus, “I’ll have one for all that, you
may depend.”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

That evening when Mr. Linn came home from his work, he took a seat near
the door, where he could look out upon the little garden. His mother was
busy setting the table for tea.

“Father,” said Rodolphus, “I wish you would give me a quarter of a
dollar.”

“What for,” said Mr. Linn.

“To buy a rabbit,” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said his mother, “I wish you would not give him any money. I have
told him that I don’t wish him to have any rabbits.”

“Yes,” said Rodolphus, speaking to his father. “Do, it only costs a
quarter of a dollar to get one, and I have got the house all ready for
him.”

“Oh, no, Rolfy,” said his father. “I would not have any rabbits. They are
good for nothing but to gnaw off all the bark and buds in the garden.”

Here there followed a long argument between Rodolphus on the one side, and
his father and mother on the other, they endeavoring in every possible way
to persuade him that a rabbit would be a trouble and not a pleasure. Of
course, Rodolphus was not to be convinced. His father however, refused to
give him any money, and Rodolphus ceased to ask for it. His mother thought
that he submitted to his disappointment with very extraordinary
good-humor. But the fact was, he was not submitting to disappointment at
all. He had formed another plan.

He began playing with Annie about the yard and garden, saying no more, and
apparently thinking no more about his rabbit, for some time. At last he
came up to his father’s side and said,

“Father, will you lend me your keys?”

“What do you want my keys for?” asked his father.

“I want to whistle with them,” said Rodolphus. “Annie is my dog, and I
want to whistle to her.”

“No,” said his father, “you will lose them. You must whistle with your
mouth.”

“But I can’t whistle with my mouth, Annie makes me laugh so much. I must
have the keys.”

So saying, Rodolphus began to feel in his father’s pockets for the keys.
Mr. Linn resisted his efforts a little, remonstrating with him all the
time, and saying that he could not let his keys go. Rodolphus, however,
persevered, and finally succeeded in getting the keys, and running away
with them.

His father called him to come back, but he would not come.

Rodolphus whistled in one of the keys a few minutes, playing with Annie,
and then, after a little while, he said to her, in a whisper, and in a
very mysterious manner,

“Annie, come with me!”

So saying, he went round the corner of the house, and there entering the
house by means of a door which led into the kitchen, he passed through
into the room where his father was sitting, without being seen by his
father. He walked very softly as he went, too, and so the sound of his
footsteps was not heard. Annie remained at the door when Rodolphus went
in. She asked him as he went in what he was going to do, but Rodolphus
only answered by saying in a whisper, “Hush! Wait here till I come back.”

Rodolphus crept slowly up to a bureau which stood behind a door. There was
a certain drawer in this bureau where he knew that his father kept his
money. He was going to open this drawer and see if he could not find a
quarter of a dollar. He succeeded in putting the key into the key-hole,
and in unlocking the drawer without making much noise. He made a little
noise, it is true, and though his father heard it as he sat at the door
looking out toward the garden, his attention was not attracted by it. He
thought, perhaps, that it was Rodolphus’s mother, doing something in that
corner of the room.

Rodolphus pulled the drawer open as gently and noiselessly as he could. In
a corner of the drawer he saw a bag. He knew that it was his father’s
money-bag. He pulled it open and put his hand in, looking round at the
same time stealthily, to see whether his father was observing him.

Just at that instant, Mr. Linn looked round.

“Rolf, you rogue,” said he, “what are you doing’”

Rodolphus did not answer, but seized a small handful of money and ran. His
father started up and pursued him. Among the coins which Rodolphus had
seized there was a quarter of a dollar, and there were besides this
several smaller silver coins, and two or three cents. Rodolphus took the
quarter of a dollar in one hand, as he ran, and threw the other money down
upon the kitchen floor. His father stopped to pick up this money, and by
this means Rodolphus gained distance. He ran out from the kitchen into the
yard, and from the yard into the road—his father pursuing him. Rodolphus
went on at the top of his speed, filling the air with shouts of laughter.

He scrambled up a steep path which led to the top of the rocks; his father
stopped below.

“Ah, Rolfy!” said his father, in an entreating sort of tone. “Give me back
that money; that’s a good boy.”

Rolfy did not answer, but stood upon a pinnacle of the rock, holding one
of his hands behind him.

“Did you throw down all the money that you took,” said his father.

“No,” said Rodolphus.

“How much have you got now?” said his father.

“A quarter of a dollar,” said the boy.

“Come down, then, and give it to me,” said his father. “Come down this
minute.”

“No,” said Rodolphus, “I want it to buy my rabbit.”

Mr. Linn paused a moment, looking perplexed, as if uncertain what to do.

At length he said,

“Yes, bring back the money, Rolfy, that’s a good boy, and to-morrow I’ll
go and buy you a rabbit myself.”

Rodolphus knew that he could not trust to such a promise, and so he would
not come. Mr. Linn seemed more perplexed than ever. He began to be
seriously angry with the boy, and he resolved, that as soon as he could
catch him, he would punish him severely: but he saw that it was useless to
attempt to pursue him.

Rodolphus looked toward the house, and there he saw his mother standing at
the kitchen-door, laughing. He held up the quarter of a dollar toward her,
between his thumb and finger, and laughed too.

“If you don’t come down, I shall come up there after you,” said Mr. Linn.

“You can’t catch me, if you do,” said Rodolphus.

Mr. Linn began to ascend the rocks. Rodolphus, however, who was, of
course, more nimble than his father, went on faster than his father could
follow. He passed over the highest portion, of the hill, and then
clambered down upon the other side, to the road. He crossed the road, and
then began climbing down the bank, toward the shore. He had often been up
and down that path before, and he accordingly descended very quick and
very easily.

When he reached the shore, he went out to the flat rock, and there stopped
and turned round to look at his father. Mr. Linn was standing on the brink
of the cliff, preparing to come down.

“Stop,” said Rodolphus to his father. “If you come down, I will throw the
quarter of a dollar into the water.”

So saying, Rodolphus extended his hand as if he were about to throw the
money off, into the stream.

                             [Illustration.]

                               The Pursuit.


Mrs. Linn and Annie had come out from the house, to see how Mr. Linn’s
pursuit of the fugitive would end; but instead of following Rodolphus and
his father over the rocks, they had come across the road to the little
gate, where they could see the flat rock on which Rodolphus was standing,
and his father on the cliffs above. Mrs. Linn stood in the gateway. Annie
had come forward, and was standing in the path, at the head of the steps.
When she saw Rodolphus threatening to throw the money into the river, she
seemed very much concerned and distressed. She called out to her brother,
in a very earnest manner.

“Rodolphus! Rodolphus! That is my father’s quarter of a dollar. You _must
not_ throw it away.”

“I _will_ throw it away,” said Rodolphus, “and I’ll jump into the water
myself, in the deepest place that I can find, if he won’t let me have it
to buy my rabbit with.”

“I would let him have it, husband,” said Mrs. Linn, “if he wants it so
very much. I don’t care much about it, on the whole. I don’t think the
rabbit will be any great trouble.”

When Rodolphus heard his mother say this, he considered the case as
decided, and he walked off from the flat rock to the shore, and from the
shore up the path to his mother. There was some further conversation
between Rodolphus and his parents in respect to the rabbit, but it was
finally concluded that the rabbit should be bought, and Rodolphus was
allowed to keep the quarter of a dollar accordingly.

Such was the way in which Rodolphus was brought up in his childhood. It is
not surprising that he came in the end to be a very bad boy.



II. Ellen.


The next morning after Rodolphus had obtained his quarter of a dollar in
the manner we have described, he proposed to Annie to go with him to buy
his rabbit. It would not be very far, he said.

“I should like to go very much,” said Annie, “if my mother will let me.”

“O, she will let you,” said Rodolphus, “_I_ can get her to let you.”

Rodolphus waited till his father had gone away after breakfast, before
asking his mother to let Annie go with him. He was afraid that his father
might make some objection to the plan. After his father had gone, he went
to ask his mother.

At first she said very decidedly that Annie could not go.

“Why not?” asked Rodolphus.

“Oh, I could not trust her with you so far,” replied his mother, “she is
too little.”

There followed a long and earnest debate between Rodolphus and his mother,
which ended at last in her consent that Annie should go.

Rodolphus found a basket in the shed, which he took to bring his rabbit
home in. He put a cloth into the basket, and also a long piece of twine.
The cloth was to spread over the top of the basket, and the twine to tie
round it, in order to keep the rabbit in.

When Rodolphus was ready to go, his mother told him that she was afraid
that he might lose his quarter of a dollar on the way, and in order to
make it more secure, she proposed to tie it up for him in the corner of a
pocket handkerchief.

“Why, that would not do any good, mother,” said Rodolphus, “for then I
should only lose handkerchief and all.”

“No,” replied his mother. “You would not be so likely to lose the
handkerchief. The handkerchief could not be shaken out of your pocket so
easily, nor get out through any small hole. Besides, if you should by any
chance lose the money, you could find it again much more readily if it was
tied up in a handkerchief, that being so large and easily seen.”

So Mrs. Linn tied the money in the corner of a pocket handkerchief, and
then put the handkerchief itself in Rodolphus’s pocket.

The place where Rodolphus lived was in Franconia, just below the village.
There was a bridge in the middle of the village with a dam across the
stream just above it. There were mills near the dam. Just below the dam
the water was very rapid.

Rodolphus walked along with Annie till he came to the bridge. On the way,
as soon as he got out of sight of the house, he pulled the handkerchief
out of his pocket, and began untying the knot.

“What are you going to do?” asked Annie.

“I am going to take the money out of this pocket handkerchief,” said
Rodolphus.

So saying he untied the knot, and when he had got the money out he put the
money itself in one pocket and the handkerchief in the other, and then
walked along again.

When Rodolphus reached the bridge he turned to go over it. Annie was at
first afraid to go over it. She wanted to go some other way.

“There _is_ no other way,” said Rodolphus.

“Where is it that you are going to get the rabbit?” asked Annie.

“To Beechnut’s,” said Rodolphus.

“Beechnut’s,” repeated Annie, “that’s a funny name.”

“Why, his real name is Antonio,” said Rodolphus. “But, come, walk along;
there is no danger in going over the bridge.”

Notwithstanding her brother’s assurances that there was no danger, Annie
was very much afraid of the bridge. She however walked along, but she kept
as near the middle of the roadway as she could. Sometimes she came to wide
cracks in the floor of the bridge, through which she could see the water
foaming and tumbling over the rocks far below. There was a sort of
balustrade or railing each side of the bridge, but it was very open.
Rodolphus went to this railing and putting his head between the bars of
it, looked down.

Annie begged him to come back. But he said he wished to look and see if
there were any fishes down there in the water. In the mean time Annie
walked along very carefully, taking long steps over the cracks, and
choosing her way with great caution. Presently she heard a noise behind
her, and looking round she saw a wagon coming. This frightened her more
than ever. So she began to run as fast as she could run, and very soon she
got safely across the bridge. When she reached the land, she went out to
the side of the road to let the wagon go by, and sat down there to wait
for her brother.

Presently Rodolphus came. Annie left her seat and went back into the road
to meet him, and so they walked along together.

“If his name is truly Antonio,” said Annie, “why don’t you call him
Antonio?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Rodolphus, “the boys always call him Beechnut.”

“_I_ mean to call him Antonio,” said Annie, “if I see him.”

“Well, you _will_ see him,” said Rodolphus, “for we go right where he
lives.”

“Where does he live?” asked Annie.

“He lives at Phonny’s,” said Rodolphus.

“And where is Phonny’s?” asked Annie.

“Oh, it is a house up here by the valley. Didn’t you ever go there?”

“No,” said Annie.

“It is a very pleasant house,” said Rodolphus. “There is a river in front
of it, and a pier, and a boat. There is a boat-house, too. There used to
be a little girl there, too—just about as big as you.”

“What was her name?” asked Annie.

“Malleville,” replied Rodolphus.

“I have heard about Malleville,” said Annie.

“How did you hear about her?” asked Rodolphus.

“My sister Ellen told me about her,” said Annie.

“We can go and see Ellen,” said Rodolphus, “after we have got the rabbit.”

“Well,” said Annie, “I should like to go and see her very much.”

Rodolphus and Annie had a sister Ellen. She was two years older than
Rodolphus. Rodolphus was at this time about ten. Ellen was twelve. Antonio
was fourteen. Ellen did not live at home. She lived with her aunt. She
went to live with her aunt when she was about eight years old. Her aunt
lived in a small farm-house among the mountains, and when Ellen was about
eight years old, she was taken sick, and so Ellen went to the house to
help take care of her.

Ellen was a very quiet and still, and at the same time a very diligent and
capable girl. She was very useful to her aunt in her sickness. She took
care of the fire, and kept the room in order; and she set a little table
very neatly at the bedside, when her aunt got well enough to take food.

It was a long time before her aunt was well enough to leave her bed, and
then she could not sit up much, and she could not walk about at all. She
could only lie upon a sort of sofa, which her husband made for her in his
shop. So Ellen remained to take care of her from week to week, until at
last her aunt’s house became her home altogether.

Ellen liked to live at her aunt’s very much, for the house was quiet, and
orderly, and well-managed, and every thing went smoothly and pleasantly
there. At home, on the other hand, every thing was always in confusion,
and Rodolphus made so much noise and uproar, and encroached so much on the
peace and comfort of the family by his self-will and his domineering
temper, that Ellen was always uneasy and unhappy when she was at her
mother’s. She liked to be at her aunt’s, therefore, better; and as her
aunt liked _her_, she gradually came to make that her home. Rodolphus used
frequently to go and see her, and even Annie went sometimes.

Annie was very much pleased with the plan of going now to make Ellen a
visit. They walked quietly along the road, talking of this plan, when
Annie suddenly called out;

“Oh, Rodolphus, look there!”

Rodolphus looked, and saw a drove of cattle coming along the road. It was
a very large drove, and it filled up the road almost entirely.

“Who cares for that?” said Rodolphus.

Annie seemed to care for it very much. She ran out to the side of the
road.

Rodolphus walked quietly after her, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Annie. You
can climb up on the fence, if you like, till they get by.”

There was a large stump by the side of the fence, at the place where
Rodolphus and Annie approached it, and Rodolphus, running to it, said,
“Quick, Annie, quick! climb up on this stump.”

Rodolphus climbed up on the stump, and then helped Annie up after him.
They had, however, but just got their footing upon it, when Rodolphus
looked down at his feet and saw a hornet crawling out of a crevice in the
side of the stump. “Ah, Annie, Annie! a hornet’s nest! a hornet’s nest!”
exclaimed Rodolphus; “we must run.”

So saying, Rodolphus climbed down from the stump, on the side opposite to
where he had seen the hornet come out, and then helped Annie down.

“We must run across to the other side of the road,” said he.

So saying, he hurried back into the road again, leading Annie by the hand.
They found, however, that they were too late to gain the fence on the
other side, for several of the cattle had advanced along by the green bank
on that side so far that the fence was lined with them, and Rodolphus saw
at a glance, that he could not get near it.

“Never mind, Annie,” said Rodolphus, “we will stay here, right in the
middle of the road. Stand behind me, and I will keep the cattle off with
my basket.”

So Annie took her stand behind Rodolphus, in the middle of the road, while
Rodolphus, by swinging his basket to and fro, toward the cattle as they
came on, made them separate to the right and left, and pass by on each
side. Rodolphus, besides waving his basket at the cattle, shouted to them
in a very stern and authoritative manner, saying, “Hie! Whoh! Hie-up,
there! Ho!” The cattle were slow to turn out—but they did turn out, just
before they came to where Rodolphus and Annie were standing—crowding and
jamming each other in great confusion. The herd closed together again as
soon as they had passed the children, so that for a time Rodolphus and
Annie stood in a little space in the road, with the monstrous oxen all
around them.

At length the herd all passed safely by, and then Rodolphus and Annie went
on. After walking along a little farther, they came to the bank of a
river. The road lay along the bank of this river. There was a smooth sandy
beach down by the water. Rodolphus and Annie went down there a few minutes
to ploy. There was an old raft there. It was floating in the water, but
was fastened by a rope to a stake in the sand.

“Ah, here is a raft, Annie,” said Rodolphus. “I’ll tell you what we will
do. We will go the rest of the way by water, on this raft. I’m tired of
walking so far.”

“Oh, no,” said Annie, “I’m afraid to go on that raft. It will sink.”

“O, no,” said Rodolphus, “it will not sink. See.” So saying, he stepped
upon the raft, to show Annie how stable it was.

“I’ll get a block,” he continued, “for you to sit on.”

Annie was very much afraid of the raft, though she was not quite so much
afraid of it as she had been of the bridge, because the bridge was very
high up above the water, and there was, consequently as she imagined,
danger of a fall. Besides the water where the raft was lying, was smooth
and still, while that beneath the bridge was a roaring torrent. Finally,
Annie allowed herself to be persuaded to get upon the raft. Rodolphus
found a block lying upon the shore, and he put that upon the raft for
Annie to sit upon. When Annie was seated, Rodolphus stepped upon the raft
himself, and with a long pole he pushed it out from the shore, while Annie
balanced herself as well as she could upon the block.

The water was not very deep, and Rodolphus could push the raft along very
easily, by setting the end of his pole against the bottom Annie sat upon
her block very still. It happened, however, unfortunately, that the place
where Antonio lived was up the stream, not down, and Rodolphus found that
though he could move his raft very easily round and round, and even back
and forth, he could not get forward much on his way, on account of the
force of the current, which was strong against him. He advanced a little
way, however, and then he began to be tired of so difficult a navigation.

“I don’t think we shall go very far, on the raft,” said he, to Annie,
“there is such a strong tide.”

Just then Rodolphus began to look very intently into the water before him.
He thought he saw a pickerel. He was just going to attempt to spear him
with his pole, when his attention was arrested by hearing Annie call out,
“Oh, Rolfy! Rolfy! the raft is all coming to pieces”

                             [Illustration.]

                                The Raft.


Rodolphus looked round, and saw that the boards of which the raft had been
made, were separating from each other at the end of the raft where Annie
was sitting, and one of the boards was shooting out entirely.

“So it is,” said Rodolphus. “Why didn’t they nail it together? You sit
still, and I will push in to the shore.”

Rodolphus attempted to push in to the shore, but in the strenuous efforts
which he made for that purpose, he stepped about upon the raft irregularly
and in such a manner, as to make the boards separate more and more. At
length the water began to come up around Annie’s feet, and Rodolphus
alarmed at this, hurriedly directed her to stand up, on the block. Annie
tried to do so, but before she effected her purpose, the raft seemed
evidently about going to pieces. It had, however, by this time got very
near the shore, so Rodolphus changed his orders, and called out, “Jump,
Annie, jump!”

Annie jumped; but the part of the raft on which she was standing gave way
under her feet, and she came down into the water. The water was not very
deep. It came up, however, almost to Annie’s knees. Rodolphus himself had
leaped over to the shore, and so had, himself, escaped a wetting. He took
Annie by the hand, and led her also out to the dry land.

Annie began to cry. Rodolphus soothed and quieted her as well as he could.
He took off her stockings and shoes. He poured the water out of the shoes,
and wrung out the stockings. He also wrung out Annie’s dress as far as
possible. He told her not to mind it; her clothes would soon get dry. It
was all the fault of the boys, he said, who made the raft, for not nailing
it together.

Rodolphus had had presence of mind enough to seize his basket, when he
leaped ashore, so that that was safe. The raft, however, went all to
pieces, and the fragments of it floated away down the stream.

Rodolphus and Annie then resumed their journey. Rodolphus talked fast to
Annie, and told her a great many amusing stories, to divert her mind from
the misfortune which had happened to them. He charged her not to tell her
mother, when she got home, that she had been in the water, and made her
promise that she would not.

At length they came to a large house which stood back from the road a
little way, at the entrance to a valley. This was the house, Rodolphus
said, where Beechnut lived. Rodolphus opened a great gate, and he and
Annie went into the yard.

“I think that Beechnut is in some of the barns, or sheds, or somewhere,”
said Rodolphus.

So he and Annie went to the barns and sheds. There was a horse standing in
one of the sheds, harnessed to a wagon, but there were no signs of
Beechnut.

“Perhaps he is in the yard,” said Rodolphus.

So Rodolphus led the way through a shed to a sort of back-yard, where
there was a plank-walk, with lilac-bushes and other shrubbery on one side
of it. Rodolphus and Annie walked along upon the planks. Presently, they
came to a place where there was a ladder standing up against the house.

“Ah!” said Rodolphus, “he is upon the house. Here is the ladder. I think
he is doing something on the house. I mean to go and see.”

“No,” said Annie, “you must not go up on such a high place.”

“Oh, this is not a very high ladder,” said Rodolphus. So saying he began
to go up. Annie stood below, looking up to him as he ascended, and feeling
great apprehension lest he should fall.

The top of the ladder reached up considerably above the top of the house,
and Rodolphus told Annie that he was not going to the top of the ladder,
but only high enough to see if Beechnut was on the house. He told her,
too, that if she walked back toward the garden gate, perhaps _she_ could
see too. Annie accordingly walked back, and looking upward all the time,
she presently saw a young man who she supposed was Beechnut, doing
something to the top of one of the chimneys. By this time Rodolphus had
reached the eaves of the house, in climbing up the ladder, and he came in
sight of Beechnut, too.

                             [Illustration.]

                              Up The Ladder.


“Hie-yo! Dolphin!” said Beechnut, “is that you!”

Beechnut often called Rodolphus, Dolphin.

“May I come up where you are?” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said Beechnut.

When Rodolphus heard this answer, he remained quietly where he was upon
the ladder.

“What are you doing?” said Rodolphus.

“Putting a wire netting over the chimney,” said Beechnut.

“What for!” asked Rodolphus.

“To keep the chimney-swallows from getting in,” said Beechnut.

“Are you coming down pretty soon?” asked Rodolphus.

“Yes,” said Beechnut. “Go down the ladder and wait till I come.”

So Rodolphus went down the ladder again to Annie.

“What is the reason,” said Annie, “that you obey Beechnut so much better
than you do my father?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Rodolphus. “He makes me, I suppose.”

It was true that Beechnut made Rodolphus obey him—that is, in all cases
where he was under any obligation to obey him. One day, when he first
became acquainted with Beechnut, he went out upon the pond in Beechnut’s
boat. He wished to row, but Beechnut preferred that some other boy should
row, and directed Rodolphus to sit down upon one of the thwarts. Rodolphus
would not do this, but was determined to row, and he attempted to take
away one of the oars by force. Beechnut immediately turned the head of the
boat toward the shore, and when he reached the shore he directed four of
the strongest boys to put Rodolphus out upon the sand, and then when they
had done this he sailed away in the boat again. Rodolphus took up clubs
and stones, and began to throw them at the boat. Beechnut came back again,
and seizing Rodolphus, he tied his hands behind him with a strong cord.
When he was thus secured Beechnut said to him,

“Now, you may have your choice of two things. You may stay here till we
come back from our excursion, and then, if you seem pretty peaceable, I
will untie you. Or you may go home now, as you are, with your hands tied
behind you in disgrace.”

Rodolphus concluded to remain where he was; for he was well aware that if
he were to go home through the village with his hands tied behind him,
every body would know that the tying was one of Beechnut’s punishments,
and that it had not been resorted to without good reason. Some of the boys
thought that after this occurrence Beechnut would not be willing to have
Rodolphus go with them again in the boat, but Beechnut said “Yes; he may
go with us whenever he pleases. I don’t mind having a rebel on board at
all. I know exactly what to do with rebels.”

“But it is a great trouble,” said one of the boys, “to have them on
board.”

“Not at all,” said Beechnut, “on the other hand it is a pleasure to me to
discipline them.”

Rodolphus very soon found that it was useless to resist Beechnut’s will,
in any case where Beechnut had the right to control; and so he soon formed
the habit of obeying him. He liked Beechnut too, very much. He liked him
in fact, all the better, on account of his firmness and decision.

When Beechnut came down from the housetop, Rodolphus told him he had come
to get a rabbit, and at the same time held out the quarter of a dollar to
view.

“Where did you get the money?” said Beechnut.

“My father gave it to me,” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said Annie, very earnestly, “my father did not give it to you. You
took it away from him.”

“But he gave it to me afterward,” said Rodolphus.

Beechnut inquired what this meant, and Annie explained to him, as well as
she could, the manner in which Rodolphus had obtained his money. Beechnut
then said, that he would not take the quarter of a dollar. The money was
not honestly come by, he said. It was not voluntarily given to Rodolphus,
and therefore was not honestly his. “The money was stolen,” said he, “and
I will not have any stolen money for my rabbits. I would rather give you a
rabbit for nothing.”

This, Beechnut said finally, he would do. “I will _give_ you a rabbit,”
said he, “for the present, and whenever you get a quarter of a dollar,
which is honestly your own, you may come and pay for it, if you please,
and if not, not. But don’t bring me any money which is not truly your own.
And carry that quarter of a dollar back and give it to your father.”

So saying, Beechnut led the way, and Rodolphus and Annie followed him,
into one of the barns. They walked along a narrow passageway, between a
hay-mow on one side, and a row of stalls for cattle on the other. Then
they turned and passed through an open room, and finally came to a place
which Beechnut called a bay. Here there was a little pen, with a house in
it, for the rabbits, and a hole at one side where the rabbits could run in
under the barn. Beechnut called “Benny! Benny! Benny!” and immediately
several rabbits came running out from the hole.

“There,” said Beechnut, “which one will you have?”

The children began immediately to examine the different rabbits, and to
talk very fast and very eagerly about them. Finally, Rodolphus decided in
favor of a gray one, though there was one which was perfectly white, that
Annie seemed to prefer. Beechnut said that he would give Rodolphus the
gray one.

“As to the white one,” said he, “I am going to let you take it, Annie, for
Ellen. I can’t give it to _you_. I give it to Ellen; but, perhaps, she
will let you carry it home with you, and take care of it for her, and so
keep it with Rodolphus’s.”

Annie seemed very much pleased with this plan, and so the two rabbits were
caught and put into the basket. The cloth was then tied over them, and
Rodolphus and Annie prepared to go away.

“But, stop,” said Beechnut, “I am going directly by your aunt’s in my
wagon, and I can give you a ride.”

“Well,” said Annie, dancing about and clapping her hands. It was very
seldom that Annie had an opportunity to take a ride. She ran to the wagon.
Rodolphus followed her slowly, carrying the basket. Beechnut helped in the
two children, and then got in himself, and took his seat between them.
Rodolphus held the basket between his knees, peeping in under the cloth,
now and then, to see if the rabbits were safe.

                             [Illustration.]

                        The Yard at Mr. Randon’s.


The party traveled on by a winding and very pleasant road among the
mountains, for about a mile, and at length they drove up to the door of a
pleasant little farm-house in a sort of dell. There was a high hill behind
it—overhung with forest trees. There was a spacious yard at the end of the
house, with ducks, and geese, and chickens, in the back part of it. There
was a large dog lying asleep on the great flat stone step when the wagon
came up, but when he heard the wagon coming, awoke, opened his eyes, got
up, and walked away. There was a well in the middle of the yard. Beechnut
rode round the well, and drove up to the door. Ellen was sitting at the
window. As soon as she saw the wagon, she got up and ran to the door.

“How do you do, Ellen!” said Beechnut.

“How do you do, Antonio!” said Ellen, “I am much obliged to you for
bringing my brother and sister to see me.”

So saying, she came to the wagon and helped Annie out. Rodolphus, who was
on the other side of Beechnut, then handed her his basket, saying, “Here,
Ellen, take this very carefully. There are two rabbits in it, and one of
them is for you.”

“For me,” said Ellen.

“Yes,” said Annie, “only I am to take care of it for you.”

“Good-by,” said Beechnut. He was just beginning, as he said this, to drive
the wagon away.

“Good-by, Beechnut,” said Rodolphus.

“I am much obliged to you for my ride,” said Annie.

“Stop a minute, Antonio,” said Ellen, “I have got something for you.”

So saying, Ellen went into the house and brought out a small flat parcel,
neatly put up and addressed on the outside, ANTONIO.

She took it out to the wagon, and handed it up to Antonio, saying that
there were the last drawings that he had lent her. In fact, Ellen was one
of Beechnut’s pupils in drawing. He was accustomed to lend her models,
which, when she had copied them, she sent back to him. Ellen was one of
Antonio’s favorite pupils; she was so faithful, and patient, and
persevering. Besides, she was a very beautiful girl.

“I must not stop to see your copies now,” said Antonio, “but I shall come
again pretty soon. Good-by.”

“Good-by,” said Ellen: and then she went back to the door where Rodolphus
and Annie were standing.

Rodolphus lifted up the corner of the cloth, which covered the basket, and
let Ellen see the rabbits. Ellen was very much pleased to find that one of
them was hers. She said that she would put a collar on its neck, as a mark
that it was hers, and she asked Rodolphus and Annie to go in with her into
the house, where she said she would get the collar.

So they all went in. The room was a very pleasant room, indeed. It was
large and it was in perfect order. There was a very spacious fire-place in
it, but scarcely any fire. As it was summer, no fire was necessary. At one
side of the room, near a window, there was a table, which Ellen said was
_her_ table. There were two drawers in this table. These drawers contained
books, and papers, and various articles of apparatus for writing and
drawing. In one corner of one of the drawers there was a little paint box.

There was a small bedroom adjoining the room where the children were. They
all pretty soon heard a voice calling from this room, in a pleasant tone,
“Ellen, bring the children in here.”

“Yes; come Rolfy,” said Ellen—“and Annie—come and see aunt.” So all the
children went into their aunt’s room.

They found her half-sitting and half-lying upon her sofa, by a pleasant
window, which looked out upon a green yard and upon an orchard which was
beyond the yard. She was sewing. She looked pale, but she seemed contented
and happy—and she said that she was very glad to see Rodolphus and Annie.
She talked with them some time, and then asked Ellen to get them some
luncheon. Ellen accordingly went into the other room and set the table for
luncheon, by _her_ window as she called it. This window was a very
pleasant one, near her table. The luncheon consisted of a pie, some cake,
warm from the oven, and some baked apples, and cream. Ellen said that she
made the cake, and the pie, and baked the apples herself.

The children ate their luncheon together very happily, and then spent some
time in walking about the yards, the barns, and the garden, to see what
was to be seen. Rodolphus walked about quietly and behaved well. In fact,
he was always a good boy at his aunt’s, and obeyed all her directions—she
would not allow him to do otherwise.

At length Rodolphus and Annie set out on their return home. It was a long
walk, but in due time they reached home in safety. Rodolphus determined
not to give the money back to his father, and so he hid it in a crevice,
which he found in a part of the fence behind his rabbit house. He put the
rabbits in their house, and put a board up before the door to keep them
in.

That night when Mrs. Linn took off Annie’s stockings by the kitchen fire,
when she was going to put her to bed, she found them very damp.

“Why, Annie,” she said, “what makes your stockings so damp? You must have
got into the water somewhere to-day.”

Annie did not answer. Rodolphus had enjoined it upon her not to tell their
mother of their adventure on the raft, and so she did not know what to
say.

“Damp?” said Rodolphus. “Are they damp? Let me feel.” So he began to feel
of Annie’s stockings.

“No,” said he, “they are not damp. _I_ can’t feel that they are damp.”

“They certainly are,” said his mother. “They are very damp indeed.”

“Then,” said Rodolphus, “we must have spilled some water into them when we
were getting a drink, Annie, at the well.” Annie said nothing, and Mrs.
Linn hung the stockings up to dry.



III. Sickness.


Ellen’s aunt was the sister of Mr. Linn, Ellen’s father; and her name was
Anne. Ellen used to call her Aunt Anne. Her husband’s name was Randon, so
that sometimes Ellen called her Aunt Randon.

Though Mr. Randon’s house appeared rather small, as seen from the road by
any one riding by, it was pretty spacious and very comfortable within. Mr.
Randon owned several farms in different places, and he was away from home
a great deal attending to his other farms and to the flocks of sheep and
herds of cattle which he had upon them. During these absences Mrs. Randon
of course remained at home with Ellen. There was a girl named Martha who
lived at the house to do the work of the family, and also a young man
named Hugh. Hugh was employed in the mornings and evenings in taking care
of the barns and the cattle, and in the day-time, especially in the
winter, he hauled wood—sometimes to the house for the family to burn, and
sometimes to the village for sale.

The family lived thus very happily together, whether Mr. Randon was at
home or away. Mrs. Randon could not walk about the house at all, but was,
on the other hand, confined all day to her bed or her sofa; but she knew
every thing that was done; and gave directions about every thing. Ellen
was employed as messenger to carry her aunt’s directions out, and to bring
back intelligence and answers. Mrs. Randon knew exactly what was in every
room, and where it was in the room. She knew what was in every drawer, and
what was on every shelf in every closet, and what and how much was in
every bin in the cellar. So that if she wanted any thing she could direct
Ellen where to go to get it with a certainty that it would be exactly
there. The house was very full of furniture, stores, and supplies, and all
was so well arranged and in such an orderly and complete condition, that
in going over it every room that the visitor entered seemed pleasanter
than the one seen before.

On one occasion, Rodolphus himself had proof of this admirable order. He
had cut his finger, in the shed, and when he came in, Mrs. Randon, after
binding it up very nicely, turned to Ellen, and said,

“Now, Ellen, we must have a cot. Go up into the garret, and open the third
trunk, counting from the west window. In the right-hand front corner of
this trunk you will find a small box. In the box you will find three cots.
Bring the smallest one to me.”

Ellen went and found every thing as Mrs. Randon had described it.

There was a room in the front part of the house called the Front Room,
which was usually kept shut up. It was furnished as a parlor very
prettily. It had very full curtains to the windows, a soft carpet on the
floor, and a rug before the fire-place. There was a bookcase in this room,
with a desk below. Mr. Randon kept his valuable papers in this desk, and
the book-case above was filled with interesting books. There were several
very pretty pictures on the walls of this room, and some curious ornaments
on the mantle shelf. The blinds of the windows in this apartment were
generally closed and the curtains drawn, and Ellen seldom went into it,
except to get a new book to read to her aunt, out of the secretary.

The room which the family generally used, was a back room. It was quite
large, and it had a very spacious fire-place in it. Being larger than any
other room in the house it was generally called the Great Room. The
windows of this room looked out upon a pretty green yard, with a garden
and an orchard beyond. There was a door too at one end of the room opening
to a porch. In this porch was an outer door, which led to a large yard at
the end of the house. This was the door that Antonio had driven up to,
when he brought Rodolphus and Annie to see Ellen. On the other side of the
kitchen from the porch-door, was a door leading to Mrs. Randon’s bed-room.
The situation of these rooms, and of the other apartments of the house as
well as of the principal articles of furniture hereafter to be described,
may be perfectly understood by the means of the following plan.

                             [Illustration.]

   Plan of Mrs. Randon’s House. B: Bed in Mrs Randon’s bed-room. W: The
 closed windows. B. E.: Back entry. pl: Back Platform. P: Porch. C: Mrs.
  Randon’s couch or sofa. ff: Fire-places. H: Hugh’s seat. S: Settle. L:
                               Lutie’s bed.


Mrs. Randon was accustomed to remain in her bedroom almost all the time in
the summer, but in the winter she had her sofa or couch brought out and
placed by the side of the fire-place in the great room, as represented in
the plan. Here, in the long stormy evenings of winter, the family would
live together very happily. Mrs. Randon would lie reclining upon her sofa,
knitting, and talking to Martha and Ellen while they were getting supper
ready. Ellen would set the table, while Martha would bake the cakes and
bring up the milk out of the cellar, and make the tea; and then when all
was ready, they would move the table up close to Mrs. Randon’s sofa, and
after lifting her up and supporting her with pillows at her back, they
would themselves sit down on the other side of the table, and all eat
their supper together in a very happy manner.

                             [Illustration.]

                             The Great Room.


Then, after supper, when the table had been put away, and a fresh fire had
been made on the great stone hearth, Ellen would sit in a little
rocking-chair by her aunt’s side, and read aloud some interesting story,
while Martha sat knitting on the settle, at the other side of the fire,
and Hugh, on a bench in the corner, occupied himself with making
clothes-pins, or shaping teeth for rakes, or fitting handles into tools,
or some other work of that kind. Hugh found that unless he had such work
to do, he always fell asleep while Ellen was reading.

Ellen found that her aunt, instead of growing better, rather grew worse.
She was very pale, though very delicate and beautiful. Her fingers were
very long, and white, and tapering. Ellen thought that they grew longer
and more tapering every day. At last, one winter evening, just after tea,
and before Hugh and Martha had come in to sit down, Ellen went up to the
sofa, and kneeling down upon a little bear-skin rug which was there, and
which had been put there to look warm and comfortable, although the poor
invalid could never put her feet upon it, she bent down over her aunt and
said,

“It seems to me Aunt Anne, that you don’t get better very fast.”

The patient, putting her arm over Ellen’s neck, and drawing Ellen down
closely to her, kissed her, but did not answer.

“Do you think you shall ever get well, aunty?” said Ellen.

“No,” said her aunt, “I do not think that I shall. I think that before a
great while I shall die.”

“Why, aunty!” said Ellen. She was much shocked to hear such a declaration.
“I _hope_ you will not die,” she continued presently, speaking in a very
low and solemn manner. “What shall I do if you should die!—What makes you
think that you will die?”

“There are two reasons why I think that I shall die,” said her aunt. “One
is, that I feel that I am growing weaker and weaker all the time. I have
grown a great deal weaker within a few days.”

“Have you?” said Ellen, in a tone of great anxiety and concern.

“Yes,” said her aunt. “The other reason that makes me think that I am
going to die is greater still; and that is I begin to feel so _willing_ to
die.”

“I thought that you were always willing to die,” said Ellen. “I thought we
ought to be all willing to die, always.”

“No,” said her aunt, “or yes, in one sense we ought. We ought always to be
willing to submit to whatever God shall think best for us. But as to life
and death, we ought undoubtedly, when we are strong and well, to desire to
live.”

“God means,” she continued, “that we should desire to live, and that we
should do all that we can to prolong life. He has given us an instinct
impelling us to that feeling. But when sickness comes and death is nigh,
then the instinct changes. We do not _wish_ to live then—that is, if we
feel that we are prepared to die. It is a very kind and merciful
arrangement to have the instinct change, so that when we are well, we can
be happy in the thought of living, and when we are sick and about to die,
we can be happy in the thought of dying. Our instincts often change thus,
when the circumstances change.”

“Do they?” said Ellen, thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said her aunt. “For instance, when you were an infant, your
mother’s instinctive love for you led her to wish to have you always near
her, with your cheek upon her cheek, and your little hand in her bosom.
Mothers all have such an instinct as that, while their children are very
young. It is given to them so that they may love to have their children
very near them while they are so young and tender that they would not be
safe if they were away.

“But _now_,” she continued, “you have grown older, and the instinct has
changed. Your mother loves you just as much as she did when you were an
infant, but she loves you in a different way. She is willing to have you
absent from her, if you are only well provided for and happy.”

“And is it so with death?” asked Ellen.

“Yes,” replied her aunt; “when we are well, we love life, and we ought to
love it. It then seems terrible to die. God means that it should seem
terrible to us then. But when sickness comes and we are about to die, then
he changes the feeling. Death seems terrible no more. We become perfectly
willing to die.”

Here Mrs. Randon paused, and Ellen remained still, thinking of what she
had heard, but without speaking. After a few minutes her aunt continued.

“I have had a great change in my feelings within a short time, about
dying,” said she, “I have always, heretofore, desired to live and to get
well; and it has seemed to me a terrible thing to die;—to leave my
pleasant home, and my husband, and my dear Ellen, and to see them no more.
But somehow or other, lately, all this is changed. I feel now perfectly
willing to die. It does not seem terrible at all. I have been a great
sinner all my days, but I feel sure that my sins are forgiven for Christ’s
sake, and that if I die I shall be happy where I go, and that I shall see
my husband and you too there some day.”

Ellen laid her head down by the side of her aunt’s, with her face to the
pillow and her cheek against her aunt’s cheek, but said nothing.

“When I am gone,” continued her aunt, “you will go home and live with your
mother again.”

“Shall I?” said Ellen, faintly.

“Yes,” replied her aunt, “it will be better that you should. You can do a
great deal of good there. You can gradually get the house in order, taking
one thing at a time, and so not only help your mother, but make it more
pleasant and comfortable for your father. You can also teach Annie, and be
a great help to her as she grows up; and you can also perhaps do a great
deal of good to Rodolphus.”

“I don’t know what I shall do with Rodolphus,” said Ellen. “He troubles my
mother very much indeed.”

“I know he does,” said her aunt, “but then you will soon get a great
influence over him, and it is possible that you will succeed in making him
a good boy.”

As Mrs. Randon said this, Ellen heard the sound of a door opening in the
back entry, and a stamping of feet upon the floor, as if some one were
coming in out of the snow.

“There comes Hugh,” said Ellen, “and I think there is going to be a
storm.”

Signs of a gathering storm had in fact been appearing all that day. For
several days before, the weather had been very clear and cold, but that
morning the cold had diminished, and a thin haze had gradually extended
itself over the sky. At sunset the sky looked thick and murky toward the
southeast, and it became dark much sooner than usual. A moment after Ellen
had spoken, Hugh came in. He said that it was snowing, and that two or
three inches of snow had already fallen; and that if it snowed much during
the night he should not be able to go into the woods the next morning.

When Ellen rose the next morning and looked at the windows, she saw that
the snow was piled up against the panes of glass on the outside, and on
going to the window to look out, she found that it was snowing still, and
that all the old snow and all the roads and tracks upon it, were entirely
covered. Ellen went out into the great room, and there she found a blazing
fire in the fireplace, and Martha before it getting breakfast ready.
Pretty soon Hugh came in.

“What a great snow-storm,” said Ellen.

“No,” said Hugh, “it is not a very great snow-storm. It does not snow very
fast.”

“Can you go into the woods to-day?” said Ellen.

“Yes,” said Hugh, “I am going into the woods for a load of wood to haul to
the village. The snow is not very deep yet.”

Hugh went to the woods, got his load, hauled it to the village, and
returned to dinner. After dinner he went again. Ellen was almost afraid to
have him go away in the afternoon, for her aunt appeared to be more and
more unwell. She lay upon her sofa by the side of the fire, silent and
still, apparently without pain, but very faint and feeble. She spoke very
seldom, and then only in a whisper. At one time about the middle of the
afternoon, Ellen went and stood a moment at the window to see the snow
driving by—blown by the wind along the crests of the drifts, and over the
walls, down the road. When she turned round, she saw that her aunt was
beckoning to her with her white and slender finger. Ellen went immediately
to her.

“Is Hugh going to the village this afternoon?” she asked.

“Yes, aunt,” said Ellen, “I believe he is.”

“I wish you would ask him to call at my brother George’s, and tell him
that I am very sick, and ask him if he can not come up and see me this
evening.”

“Yes, aunt,” said Ellen, “I will.”

Ellen accordingly watched for Hugh when he came down the mountain-road
with the load of wood, on the way to the village. She gave him the
message, standing at the stoop-door. The wind howled mournfully over the
trees of the forest, and the air was thick with falling and driving snow.
Hugh said that he had almost concluded not to go to the village. The snow
had become so deep, and the storm was increasing so fast, that he doubted
very much whether he could get back if he should go. On receiving Ellen’s
message, however, he decided at once to go on. He could get _to_ the
village well enough, he said, for it was a descending road all the way;
but there would be more uncertainty about the return.

So he started his four oxen again, and they went wallowing on, followed by
the great loaded sled, with the runners buried in the drift. Hugh’s cap
and shaggy coat, and the handkerchief which he had tied about the collar
of his coat, after turning it up to cover his ears, were all whitened with
the snow, and from among all these various mufflings his face, reddened
with the cold, peeped out, though almost wholly concealed from view.

As soon as Hugh was gone, Ellen, who was by this time almost blinded by
the snow which the wind blew furiously into her face and eyes, came into
the house and shut the door.

Ellen watched very diligently all the afternoon for the coming of her
father. She hoped that he would bring her mother with him. She went to the
window again and again, and looked anxiously down the road, but nothing
was to be seen but the thick and murky atmosphere, the increasing drifts,
and the scudding wreaths of snow. The fences and the walls gradually
disappeared from view; the great wood pile in the yard was soon completely
covered and concealed; and a deep drift, of the form of a wave just
curling over to break upon the shore, slowly rose directly across the
entrance to the yard, until it was higher than the posts on each side of
the gateway, so that Ellen began to fear that if her father and mother
should come, they would not be able to get into the yard.

At length it gradually grew dark, and then, though Ellen went to the
window as often as before, and attempted to shade her eyes from the
reflection of the fire, by holding up her hands to the side of her face,
she could watch these changes no longer. Nothing was to be seen, but the
trickling of the flakes down the panes of glass on the outside, and a
small expanse of white immediately below the window.

In the mean time, within the room where Ellen’s aunt was reposing, all
seemed, at least in appearance, very bright and cheerful. A great log was
lying across the andirons, behind and beneath which there was a blazing
and glowing fire. There was a tin baker before this fire, with a pan of
large apples in it, which Martha was baking, to furnish the table with,
for the expected company. Martha herself was busy at a side-table too,
making cakes for supper. The tea-kettle was in a corner, with a column of
steam rising gently from the spout, and Ellen’s little gray kitten, Lutie,
was in the other corner asleep. Ellen herself was busy, here and there,
about the room. She went often to the window, even after it was too dark
to see, and she watched her aunt continually with a countenance expressive
of much affection and concern. Her aunt lay perfectly quiet and still, as
if she were asleep, only she would now and then open her eyes and smile
upon Ellen, if she saw Ellen looking at her, and then close them again.

The couch that she was lying upon had little wheels at the four corners of
it toward the floor, so that it could be moved to and fro. Ellen had been
accustomed, when the time arrived for her aunt to go to bed, to ask Martha
to help her move the couch into the bedroom, by the side of the bed, and
then assist her in moving the patient from one to the other. Ellen,
accordingly, about an hour after it became dark, went to her aunt’s couch,
and asked her in a gentle tone if she would not like to go to bed. But her
aunt said no. She would not be moved, she said, but would remain as she
was until her brother should come. She said, too, that Martha and Ellen
might eat their supper when it was ready, and leave her where she was.

Martha and Ellen finished their supper about seven o’clock. Martha then
took her place upon the settle with her knitting-work as usual, and Ellen
went and sat down upon the little bear-skin rug, and leaned her head
toward her aunt. Her aunt put out her hand toward Ellen’s cheek and
pressed her head gently down upon the pillow, by the side of her own, and
then very slowly and feebly moved her fingers, once or twice, down the
hair on Ellen’s temple, as if she were pleased to have her little niece
lying near her. Ellen shut her eyes, and for a few minutes enjoyed very
much the thought that she was such an object of affection to one whom she
loved so much; but after a few minutes, she began to lose her
consciousness, and soon fell fast asleep.

She slept more than an hour. It was in fact nearly half-past eight when
she awoke. She raised her head and looked up. She found that Martha had
fallen asleep too. Her knitting-work had dropped from her hand. Ellen did
not wish to disturb her, so she rose softly, went to the fire, and put up
a brand which had fallen down, and then crossed the room to the window,
parted the curtains, and putting her face close to the glass, attempted to
look out. Nothing was to be seen. She listened. Nothing was to be heard
but the dreadful roaring of the wind, and the clicking of the snow-flakes
against the windows.

Ellen came back to the couch again, and looked at her aunt as she lay with
her cheek upon her pillow, apparently asleep. At first Ellen thought that
she was really asleep, but when she came near, she found that her eyes
were not entirely closed. She kneeled down by the side of the couch and
said gently, “Aunt Anne, Aunt Anne, how do you feel now?”

Ellen saw that her aunt moved a little, and she heard a faint whispering
sound, but there was no audible answer.

Ellen was now frightened. She feared that her aunt might be dying. She
went to Martha and woke her. Martha started up much alarmed. Ellen told
her that she was afraid that her aunt was dying. Martha went to the couch.
She thought so too.

“I must go,” said she, “to some of the neighbors and get them to come.”

“But you can not get to any of the neighbors,” said Ellen.

“Perhaps I can,” said Martha, “and at any rate I must try.”

So Martha began to prepare herself, as well as she could, to go out into
the storm, Ellen standing by, full of apprehension and anxiety, and
helping her so far as she was able to do so. There was a neighbor who
lived about a quarter of a mile from the house, by a road which lay
through the woods, and which was, therefore, ordinarily not very much
obstructed with the snow. It was to this house that Martha was going to
attempt to make her way. When she was ready, she went forth, leaving Ellen
with her aunt alone.

(To Be Continued.)



RECOLLECTIONS OF ST. PETERSBURG.


“To-morr punkt at ’leven wir schiff for St. Petersburg,” was the polyglot
announcement by which all of us, Swedes, Germans, English, and one
solitary American, were given to understand at what hour on the ensuing
day we were to commence our voyage from Stockholm for the Russian capital.
With praiseworthy punctuality the steam was up at the appointed hour of
eleven, and as our steamer shot out into the Baltic we took our farewell
view of Stockholm, the “City of Piles.” As we steamed northward we dashed
through archipelago after archipelago of islands, some with bold and rocky
shores, and others sloping greenly down to the tranquil sea. Having passed
the Aland Islands, one of which, not thirty miles from the coast of
Sweden, has been seized and strongly fortified by her powerful and
unscrupulous neighbor, we turned into a narrow inlet, and touched Russian
soil at Abo, the ancient capital of Finland.

Here we made our first acquaintance with those fascinating gentry, whom
his Imperial Majesty deputes to watch that nothing treasonable or
contraband finds entrance into his dominions. Our intercourse here was,
however, brief, our passports merely being demanded, and permission
granted us to go on shore while the steamer was detained. At Cronstadt and
St. Petersburg we formed a more intimate if not more agreeable
acquaintance with these functionaries. Setting out again we coasted
eastward up the Gulf of Finland, passing the grim fortress of Sveaborg,
with its eight hundred guns, and garrison of fifteen thousand men, and
shot up the beautiful bay to Helsingfors, one of the great naval stations
of Russia. Touching at Revel, on the opposite shore of the Gulf of
Finland, we ran due east up the Gulf, encountering the great Russian
summer fleet, which was performing its annual manœuvres, and on the
morning after leaving Helsingfors came in sight of the shipping and
fortifications of Cronstadt. As we crept slowly up the narrow and winding
channel, by which alone the harbor can be reached, and passed successively
the grim lines of batteries which command every portion of it, we were
forced to confess that it formed a fitting outpost to a great military
power.

Cronstadt is not only the chief naval dépôt of Russia, but is properly the
port of St. Petersburg, as the capital is inaccessible to vessels drawing
more than eight or nine feet of water. Hence Cronstadt is included in the
St. Petersburg customs-district, and vessels clear indifferently for
either, and are subject to only a single customs-house examination. It
forms the key to the capital, which would be entirely at the mercy of any
fleet which should once pass its batteries. It has therefore been
fortified so strongly as to be apparently impregnable to all the navies of
the world. We came to anchor under the guns of the fortress; and were soon
put under the charge of our amiable friends of the custom-house, who took
complete possession of the deck, while the passengers and officers of the
vessel were directed to repair to the cabin to give an account of
themselves, their occupations, pursuits, and designs to these rude and
filthy representatives of the Czar. It was well for us that we had been in
a measure hardened to these annoyances by our previous Continental
experiences. Police and custom-house functionaries are nowhere famous for
civility, but the rudest and most unendurable specimens of that class whom
it has ever been my fortune to encounter are the lower orders of the
Russian officials. We could, however, congratulate ourselves that the
infliction was light in comparison to what it would have been had we
proceeded by land from Abo. There trunks, pockets, and pocket-books are
liable to repeated searches at different stations along the route. We were
told of travelers who had their boxes of tooth-powder carefully emptied,
and their soap-balls cut in two, in quest of something treasonable or
contraband.

But there is an end to all things human, even to Russian
police-examinations. Our passports were luckily all in order, and as our
steamer was cleared for St. Petersburg we escaped the vexations attendant
upon an inspection of luggage and a change of vessel. Every thing was put
under seal, even to an ancient umbrella which had borne the brunt of many
a shower in half the countries of Europe, to say nothing of storms it had
weathered previous to its transatlantic voyage.

After our seven hours’ detention, we found ourselves at last steaming up
the transparent Neva, and straining our eyes to get a first view of the
City of Peter. After something more than an hour’s paddling against the
rapid current of the river, the gilt dome of the Cathedral first caught
the eye, followed by the sight of dome after dome, tower upon tower, spire
after spire, gilt and spangled with azure stars, long before the flat
roofs and walls of the city were visible.

No sooner had our steamer touched the granite _quai_ than it was taken
possession of by a horde of custom-house and police officers, a shade or
two less filthy and disgusting than their Cronstadt brethren; for it is a
noticeable fact, the higher you proceed in official grade, the more
endurable do the Russian officials become, till you reach the heads of the
departments, who are as civil and well-behaved a body of functionaries as
ever clasped fingers upon a bribe. A few copecks or rubles, as the case
may require, insinuated into the expectant palms of the searching
officials have a wonderful tendency to abate the rigor of the
examinations, which being completed, and a silver ruble paid to the
officer in attendance, the traveler is at liberty to go on shore in search
of a hotel or lodgings.

The instructed traveler will resist the seductions of the Russian hotels,
with their magnificent fronts, and Russian, German, and French signboards;
for once past the portals he will find that the noble staircases and broad
passages are filthy beyond all western imagination; and the damask
curtains and velvet sofas are perfect parks for all those “small deer” who
make day and night hideous. If he be wise, he will make his way to some
boarding-house upon the _Quai Anglais_, conducted by an emigrant from some
country where the primitive faith in the virtues of dusters and soap and
water is cherished.

No sooner is the stranger established than he must take an interpreter,
and make the best of his way to the police office, to get a permit of
residence. This he obtains after an interrogation from a very civil
functionary, to whom must be paid a proportionate fee. But this permit is
good only for the capital and its immediate vicinity. If the Russians are
slow to welcome the coming, they are none the more ready to speed the
parting guest. Mr. Smith and his friend Brown must not leave the capital
till they have published an advertisement announcing their intention in
three successive numbers of the Gazette, an operation which consumes a
space of from a week to ten days.

These preliminaries duly attended to, we were at liberty to commence our
examination of St. Petersburg. The traveler who first sees the city under
a summer sun is always struck with amazement. Its public places are so
vast, its monuments so numerous and imposing, its quays so magnificent,
and its edifices, public and private, so enormous, and constructed
apparently of materials so massive and enduring, that he is ready to
pronounce it the most magnificent city upon earth.

A century and a half ago the low marshy shores of the Neva, and the
islands formed by the branches into which it separates just before it
empties itself into the Gulf of Finland were inhabited only by a few
scattered Finnish fishermen. But commanding the entrance to Lake Ladoga,
it was a military position of some importance, and the Swedes had long
maintained there a fortress, the possession of which had been often
unavailingly contested by the Russians, up to 1703, when Peter the Great
made himself master of it. He determined to found upon this desolate spot
the future capital of his vast empire, and at once commenced the task,
without waiting for peace to confirm the possession of the site. He
assembled a vast number of the peasantry from every quarter of his empire,
and pushed forward the work with the energy of an iron will armed with
absolute power. The surrounding country, ravaged by long years of war,
could furnish no supplies for these enormous masses, and the convoys which
brought them across Lake Ladoga were frequently detained by contrary
winds. Ill fed and worse lodged, laboring in the cold and wet, multitudes
yielded to the hardships, and the foundations of the new metropolis were
laid at the cost of a hundred thousand lives, sacrificed in less than six
months.

With Peter to will was to perform; he willed that a capital city should be
built and inhabited, and built and inhabited it was. In April, 1714, a
ukase was issued directing that all buildings should be erected in a
particular manner; another, three months later, ordered a large number of
nobles and merchants to erect dwellings in the new city. In a few months
more another ukase prohibited the erection of any stone mansion in any
other portion of the empire, while the enterprise of the capital was in
progress; and that the lack of building materials should be no obstacle,
every vessel, whether large or small, and every peasant’s car which came
to the city, was ordered to bring a certain specified number of building
stones. The work undertaken with such rigid determination, and carried on
with such remorseless vigor by Peter, was continued in the same
unflinching spirit by his successors; and the result was the present St.
Petersburg, with its aspect more imposing than that of any other city on
the globe, but bearing in its bosom the elements of its own destruction,
the moment it is freed from the control of the iron will, which created
and now maintains it:—a fitting type and representative of the Russian
Empire.

The whole enterprise of founding and maintaining St. Petersburg was and is
a struggle against nature. The soil is a marsh so deep and spongy that a
solid foundation can be attained only by constructing a subterranean
scaffolding of piles. Were it not for these the city would sink into the
marsh like a stage ghost through the trap-door. Every building of any
magnitude rests on piles; the granite quays which line the Neva rest on
piles. The very foot-pavements can not be laid upon the ground, but must
be supported by piles. A great commercial city is maintained, the harbor
of which is as inaccessible to ships, for six months in the year, as the
centre of the desert of Sahara. In the neighboring country no part
produces any thing for human sustenance save the Neva, which furnishes ice
and fish. The severity of the climate is most destructive to the erections
of human hands; and St. Petersburg, notwithstanding its gay summer
appearance, when it emerges from the winter frosts, resembles a
superannuated belle at the close of the fashionable season; and can only
be put in proper visiting order by the assiduous services of hosts of
painters and plasterers. Leave the capital for a half century to the
unrepaired ravages of its wintry climate, and it would need a Layard to
unearth its monuments.

But sure as are the wasting inroads of time and the climate, St Petersburg
is in daily peril of an overthrow whose accomplishment would require but a
few hours. The Gulf of Finland forms a vast funnel pointing eastward, at
the extremity of which stands the city. No portion of the city is fifteen
feet above the ordinary level of the water. A strong westerly wind,
blowing directly into the mouth of the funnel, piles the water up so as to
lay the lower part of the city under water. Water is as much dreaded here,
and as many precautions are taken against it, as in the case of fire in
other cities. In other cities alarm-signals announce a conflagration; here
they give notice of an inundation. The firing of an alarm-gun from the
Admiralty, at intervals of an hour, denotes that the lower extremes of the
islands are under water, when flags are hung out from the steeples to give
warning of danger. When the water reaches the streets, alarm-guns are
fired every quarter of an hour. As the water rises the alarms grow more
and more frequent, until minute-guns summon boats to the assistance of the
drowning population.

So much for the lower jaw of the monster that lies in wait for the Russian
capital; now for the upper:—Lake Ladoga, which discharges its waters
through the Neva, is frozen over to an enormous thickness during the long
winter. The rapid northern spring raises its waters and loosens the ice
simultaneously; when the waters of the Gulf are at their usual level, the
accumulated ice and water find an easy outlet down the broad and rapid
Neva. But let a strong west wind heap up the waters of the Gulf just as
the breaking up of Lake Ladoga takes place, and the waters from above and
from below would suffice to inundate the whole city, while all its
palaces, monuments, and temples would be crushed between the masses of
ice, like “Captain Ahab’s” boat in the ivory jaws of “Moby Dick.” Nothing
is more probable than such a coincidence. It often blows from the west for
days together in the spring; and it is almost a matter of certainty that
the ice will break up between the middle and the end of April. Let but a
westerly storm arise on the fatal day of that brief fortnight, and
farewell to the City of the Czars. Any steamer that bridges the Atlantic
may be freighted with the tidings that St. Petersburg has sunk deeper than
plummet can sound in the Finnish marshes from which it has so magically
risen.

                             [Illustration.]

                         The Inundation of 1824.


Nor is this merely a matter of theory and speculation. Terrible
inundations, involving enormous destruction of life and property have
occurred. The most destructive of these took place on the 17th of
November, 1824. A strong west wind heaped the waters of the Gulf up into
the narrow funnel of the Neva, and poured them, slowly at first, along the
streets. As night began to close in the rise of the waters became more and
more rapid. Cataracts poured into doors, windows, and cellars. The sewers
spouted up columns, like whales in the death-agony. The streets were
filled with abandoned equipages, and deserted horses struggling in the
rising waters. The trees in the public squares were crowded with those who
had climbed them for refuge. During the night the wind abated, and the
waters receded. But the pecuniary damage of that one night is estimated at
twenty millions of dollars, and the loss of lives at eight thousand. All
through the city a painted line traced upon the walls designates the
height to which the waters reached. Were ever house-painters before
engaged upon a task so ghastly? But suppose that, instead of November,
April had been written as the date of this inundation, when the waters
from the Lake above had met those from the Gulf below; St. Petersburg
would have been numbered among the things that were—_Ilium fuit_.

Nothing of the kind can be more imposing than the view of St. Petersburg
from the tower of the Admiralty upon some bright June day, such as that on
which I first beheld it from that post. Under foot, as it seemed, from the
galleries, lay the Admiralty-yards, where great ships were in process of
erection, destined for no nobler service than to perform their three
months’ summer cruise in the Baltic, and to be frozen immovably in the
harbors for six months out of twelve. The will of the Czar can effect
much, but it can not convert Russia into a naval power until he can secure
a seacoast, and harbors which can not be shut up to him by a single
hostile fortification. Russia can not be a maritime power till she is
mistress of the entrance to the Baltic and the Black Sea.

To the right and the left of the Admiralty stretch the great squares upon
which stand the principal public edifices and monuments of the capital;
the Winter Palace, with its six thousand constant occupants; the _Hotel de
l’Etat Major_, whence go forth orders to a million of soldiers, the Senate
House, and the Palace of the Holy Synod, the centres of temporal and
spiritual law for the hundred nations blended into the Russian Empire; the
Church of St. Isaac, with its four porticoes, the lofty columns of which,
sixty feet in height, are each of a single block of granite, and the walls
of polished marble; its cupola covered with copper overlaid with gold,
gleaming like another sun, surmounted by a golden cross, and forming the
most conspicuous object to the approaching visitor, whether he comes up
the Gulf, or across the dreary Finnish marshes; yet, high as it rises in
the air, it sinks scarcely a less distance below the ground, so deep was
it necessary to drive into the marsh the forest of piles upon which it
rests, before a firm foundation could be secured. Here is the Statue of
Peter—the finest equestrian statue in the world—reining his steed upon the
brink of the precipice up which he has urged it, his hand stretched out in
benediction toward the Neva, the pride of his new-founded city. Here is
the triumphal column to Alexander, “the Restorer of Peace,” the whole
elevation of which is 150 feet, measuring to the head of the angel who—the
cross victorious over the crescent—bears the symbol of the Christian faith
above the capital cast from cannon captured from the Turks. The shaft is a
single block eighty-four feet in height—the largest single stone erected
in modern times; and it would have been still loftier had it not been for
the blind unreasoning obedience to orders, so characteristic of the
Russian. When the column had been determined upon, orders were dispatched
to the quarries to detach, if possible, a single block for the shaft of
the length of eighty-four feet, though with scarcely a hope that the
attempt would succeed. One day a dispatch was received by the Czar from
the superintendent, with the tidings that a block had been detached, free
from flaw, one hundred feet long; but that he was about to proceed to
reduce it to the required length. The sovereign mounted in hot haste to
save the block from mutilation, and to preserve a column so much exceeding
his hopes. But he was too late; and arrived just in time to see the
sixteen feet severed from the block, which would otherwise have been the
noblest shaft in the world.

The length of these public places, open and in full view, right and left,
from the Admiralty tower, is a full mile.

Stretching southward from the tower lies the “Great Side” of St.
Petersburg, cut into three concentric semicircular divisions, of which the
Admiralty is the centre, by three canals, and intersected by the three
main avenues or _Prospekts_ (Perspectives). These three Perspectives
diverge like the spokes of a wheel from the Admiralty and run straight
through the city, through the sumptuous quarters of the aristocracy, the
domains of commerce, and the suburbs of the poor; while the view is closed
by the mists rising from the swamps of Ingermanland.

Turning from the “Great Side,” and looking northward, the arms of the Neva
diverge from near the foot of the Admiralty tower, as the Perspectives do
from the southern side. The width of the Neva, its yielding bottom and
shores, and the masses of ice which it sweeps down, make the erection of
bridges so difficult that they are placed at very rare intervals, so that
a person might be obliged to go miles before reaching one. But the stream
is enlivened by boats and gondolas ready to convey passengers from one
bank to the other. We were never weary of watching with a glass from the
Admiralty tower, alternately, the river gay with boats and shipping, and
the Perspectives thronged with their brilliant and motley crowd. With a
somewhat different, but certainly no less absorbing interest, we gazed
down from the same elevation into the works of the citadel, upon
Petersburg Island, whose minutest details were clearly visible. This
citadel is useless as a defense of the city against a hostile attack; but
it furnishes a ready means of commanding the capital, and furnishes a
refuge for the government in case of an insurrection. Like the
fortifications of Paris, it is designed not so much to defend as to
control the city.

St. Petersburg is certainly the most imposing city, and Russia is the most
imposing nation in the world—at first sight. But the imposing aspect of
both is to a great extent an _imposition_. The city tries to pass itself
off for granite, when a great proportion is of wood or brick, covered with
paint and stucco, which peels off in masses before the frosts of every
winter, and needs a whole army of plasterers and painters every spring to
put it in presentable order. You pass what appears a Grecian temple, and
lo, it is only a screen of painted boards. A one-storied house assumes the
airs of a loftier building, in virtue of a front of another story bolted
and braced to its roof. And much even that is real is sadly out of place.
Long lines of balconies and pillars and porticoes, which would be
appropriate to Greece or Italy, are for the greater part of the year piled
with snow-drifts. St. Petersburg and Russian civilization are both of a
growth too hasty, and too much controlled from without, instead of
proceeding from a law of inward development, to be enduring.

The capital to be seen to advantage must be viewed during the few weeks of
early summer; or in the opening winter, when the snow forms a pavement
better than art can produce, and when the cold has built a continuous
bridge over the Neva, without having as yet become severe enough to drive
every body from the streets.

The Neva is the main artery through which pours the life-blood of St.
Petersburg. But the life-current is checked from the time when the ice is
too far weakened by the returning sun to be passable, and not yet
sufficiently broken up to float down to the Gulf. At that time all
intercourse between portions of the city on its opposite batiks is
suspended. Every body is anxious for the breaking-up of the ice. Luxuries
from more genial climes are waiting in the Baltic for the river to be
navigable. No sooner is the ice so far cleared as to afford a practicable
passage for a boat, than the glad news is announced by the artillery of
the citadel, and, no matter what the hour, the commandant and his suite
hurry into a gondola and push over to the Imperial palace, directly
opposite. The commandant fills a large goblet with the icy fluid, and
presents it to the Emperor, informing him that his gondola, the first
which has that year crossed the river, is the precursor of navigation. The
Czar drains the cup to the health of the capital, and returns it, filled
with ducats, to the commandant. Formerly it was observed, by some
mysterious law of natural science, that this goblet grew larger and
larger, year by year, so that the Czar who had swallowed Poland without
flinching, and stood ready to perform the same operation upon Turkey,
stood in danger of suffocation from his growing bumpers. Some wise man at
last suggested that this tendency to the enlargement of the goblet might
be counteracted, by limiting the number of ducats returned by way of
acknowledgment. The suggestion was acted upon, and, greatly to the comfort
of the Imperial purse and stomach, was found to be perfectly successful.
The sum now given is two hundred ducats. This goblet of Neva water is
surely the most costly draught ever quaffed since the time when
brown-fronted Cleopatra dissolved the pearl in honor of mad Mark Antony.

The most striking winter spectacle of St. Petersburg, to a foreigner, is
that of the ice mountains. They are in full glory during “Butter Week”—of
which more anon—when Russia seems to forget her desire to be any thing but
Russian. The great Place of the Admiralty is given up to the popular
celebrations, and filled with refreshment-booths, swings, and slides. To
form these ice mountains a narrow scaffold is raised to the height of some
thirty or forty feet. This scaffold has on one side steps for the purpose
of ascending it; on the other it slopes off, steeply at first, and then
more gradually, until it finally terminates on a level. Upon this long
slope blocks of ice are laid, over which water is poured, which by
freezing unites the blocks, and furnishes a uniform surface, down which
the merry crowd slide upon sledges, or more frequently upon blocks of
smooth ice cut into an appropriate form.

Two of these mountains usually stand opposite and fronting each other,
their tracks lying close together, side by side.

                             [Illustration.]

                              Ice Mountain.


This is a national amusement all over Russia. Ice mountains are raised in
the court-yards of all the chief residents in the capital. And an
imitation of them, for summer use, covered with some polished wood,
instead of ice, is often found in the halls of private dwellings. In the
Imperial palace is such a slide, built of mahogany.

Street-life in St. Petersburgh presents many aspects strange to one who
comes fresh from the capitals of other countries. One of the first things
which will strike him is the silence and desertion of most of the streets.
The thronging, eager crowd of other cities is here unknown. There is room
enough, and to spare here. Broad streets, lined with rows of palaces, are
as silent and lonely as deserted Tadmor, and a solitary _droshka_ breaking
the uniformity of the loneliness, heightens the effect. Leaving these
broad, still streets, and mingling in the throng that presses in and
through the Admiralty Place, the Nevskoi Perspective, or the Place of St.
Isaac, the most noticeable feature, at first glance, is the preponderance
of the military. The ordinary garrison of the capital amounts to 60,000
men. The Russian army comprises an almost infinite variety of uniforms,
and specimens of these, worn by the _élite_ of every corps, are constantly
in the capital.

There are the Tartar guards, and the Circassian guards, Cossacks from the
Don, from the Ural, and from Crimea; guards with names ending with “_off_”
and “_ski_,” unpronounceable by Western lips. The wild Circassian—enacting
the double part of soldier and hostage—silver-harnessed and mail-coated,
alternates with the skin-clad Cossack of the Ural, darting, lance in rest,
over the parade-ground. There are regiments uniform not only in size of
the men, color of the horses, and identity of equipments, but in the
minutiæ of personal appearance. Of one, all the men are pug-nosed,
blue-eyed, and red bearded; of another, every man has a nose like a hawk,
with eyes, hair and beard as black as a raven’s wing. Half the male
population of St. Petersburg wear uniform; for, besides these 60,000
soldiers, it is worn by officers of every grade, by the police, and even
by professors of the university, and by teachers and pupils in the public
schools.

Turning from the military to the civil portion of the population, the same
brilliant variety of costumes every where meets the eye. The sober-suited
native of western and civilized Europe, jostles the brilliant silken robes
of the Persian or Bokharian; the Chinaman flaunts his dangling pig-tail,
ingeniously pieced out by artificial means, in the face of the
smoothly-shorn Englishman; the white-toothed Arab meets the
tobacco-stained German; Yankee sailors and adventurers, portly English
merchants, canny Scotchmen, dwarfish Finlanders, stupid Lettes, diminutive
Kamtschatkians, each in his own national costume, make up a lively
picture; while underlying all, and more worthy of note than all, are the
true Russian peasantry; the original stock out of which Peter and his
successors have fashioned their mighty empire.

The Russian of the lower orders is any thing but an inviting personage, at
first sight. The name by which they have been designated, in their own
language, time out of mind, describes them precisely. It is _tschornoi
narod_, “the dirty people,” or as we might more freely render it, “The
Great Unwashed.” An individual of this class is called a _mujik_. He is
usually of middle stature, with small light eyes, level cheeks, and flat
nose, of which the tip is turned up so as to display the somewhat expanded
nostril. His pride and glory is his beard, which he wears as long and
shaggy as nature will allow. The back of the head is shaved closely; and
as he wears nothing about his neck, his head stands distinctly away from
his body. His ideal of the beauty of the human head, as seen from behind,
seems to be to make it resemble, as nearly as may be, a turnip. He is
always noisy and never clean; and when wrapped in his sheepskin mantle, or
_caftan_ of blue cloth reaching to his knees, might easily enough be taken
for a bandit. As he seldom thinks of changing his inner garments more than
once a week, and as his outer raiment lasts half his lifetime, and is
never laid aside during the night, and never washed, he constantly affords
evidence of his presence any thing but agreeable to the organs of smell.
But a closer acquaintance will bring to light many traits of character
which belie his rude exterior; and will show him to be at bottom a
good-natured, merry, friendly fellow. His most striking characteristic is
pliability and dexterity. If he does not possess the power of originating,
he has a wonderful faculty of copying the ideas of others, and of yielding
himself up to carry out the conceptions of any one who wishes to use him
for the accomplishment of his ends. There is an old German myth which says
that the Teutonic race was framed, in the depths of time, out of the hard,
unyielding granite. The original material of the Russian race must have
been Indian rubber, so easily are they compressed into any form, and so
readily do they resume their own, when the pressure is removed. The raw,
untrained _mujik_ is drafted into the army, and in a few weeks attains a
precision of movement more like an automaton than a human being. He
becomes a trader, and the Jews themselves can not match him in cunning and
artifice.

The _mujik_ is a thoroughly good-tempered fellow. Address him kindly, and
his face unbends at once, and you will find that he takes a sincere
delight in doing you a kindness. In no capital of Europe are the
temptations to crimes against the person so numerous as in St. Petersburg,
with its broad lonely streets, unlighted at night, and scantily patrolled;
but in no capital are such crimes of so rare occurrence.

But the _mujik_ has two faults. He is a thorough rogue, and a great
drunkard. He will cheat and guzzle from sheer love for the practices; and
without the least apparent feeling that there is any thing out of the way
in so doing. But in his cups he is the same good-natured fellow. The
Irishman or Scotchman when drunk is quarrelsome and pugnacious; the German
or the Englishman, stupid and brutal; the Spaniard or Italian, revengeful
and treacherous. The first stages of drunkenness in the _mujik_ are
manifested by loquacity. The drunker he is the more gay and genial does he
grow; till at last he is ready to throw himself upon the neck of his worst
enemy and exchange embraces with him. When the last stage has been
reached, and he starts for his home, he does not reel, but marches
straight on, till some accidental obstruction trips him up into the mire,
where he lies unnoticed and unmolested till a policeman takes charge of
him. This misadventure is turned to public advantage, for by an old custom
every person, male or female, of what grade soever, taken up drunk in the
street by the police, is obliged the next day to sweep the streets for a
certain number of hours. In our early rambles we often came across a
woeful group thus improving the ways of others, in punishment for having
taken too little heed of their own.

_In vino veritas_ may perhaps be true of the juice of the grape; but it is
not so of the bad brandy which is the favorite drink of the _mujik_. He is
never too drunk to be a rogue, but yet you do not look upon his roguery as
you do upon that of any other people. He never professes to be honest; and
does not see any reason why he should be so. He seems so utterly
unconscious of any thing reprehensible in roguery, that you unconsciously
give him the benefit of his ignorance. If he victimizes you, you look upon
him as upon a clever professor of legerdemain, who has cheated you in
spite of your senses; but you hardly hold him morally responsible. Upon
the whole, though you can not respect the _mujik_, you can hardly avoid
having a sort of liking for him.

                             [Illustration.]

                       Punishment For Drunkenness.


Perhaps the most thoroughly Russian of all the _tschornoi narod_ are the
_isvoshtshiks_, or public drivers; at least they are the class with whom
the traveler comes most immediately and necessarily into contact, and from
whom he derives his idea of them. Such is the extent of St. Petersburg,
that when the foreigner has sated his curiosity with the general aspect of
the streets, he finds that he can not afford time to walk from one object
of interest to another. Moreover, in winter—and here winter means fully
six months in the year—the streets are spread with a thick covering of
snow, which soon becomes beaten up into powdered crystals, through which
locomotion is as difficult as through the deepest sands of Sahara; and the
wind whirls these keen crystals about like the sand-clouds of the desert.
Every body not to the manner born, whose pleasures or avocations call him
abroad, is glad to draw his mantle over his face, and creeping into a
sledge, wrap himself up as closely as he may in furs. In spring and
summer, when the streets are usually either a marsh or choked with
intolerable dust, pedestrianism is equally disagreeable. All this has
called into requisition a host of Jehus, so that the stranger who has
mastered enough Russian to call out _Davai ishvoshtshik_! “Here, driver!”
or even lifts his hand by way of signal, has seldom need to repeat the
summons.

Like his cart-borne kindred, the Tartars and Scythians, the _ishvoshtshik_
makes his vehicle his home. In it he eats, drinks, and often sleeps,
rolling himself up into a ball in the bottom, to present as little surface
as possible to the action of the cold.—Russian-like, he always names a
price for his services that will leave ample room for abatement. But once
engaged, and he is for the time being your servant, and accepts any amount
of abuse or beating as the natural condition of the bargain.

                             [Illustration.]

                              Ishvoshtshiks.


The _mujik_ of every class seems indeed to be born ready bitted, for the
use of anyone who has a hand steady enough to hold the reins. They are the
best servants in the world for one who has the gift of command. It is this
adaptation between the strong-willed autocrats who since Peter have swayed
the destinies of Russia, and the serviceable nature of the people, that
has raised the empire to its present position. A single weak ruler would
change the whole destiny of Russia.

Notwithstanding the hardships of their lives, the _isvoshtshiks_ are
good-natured, merry, harmless, fellows, whether waiting for a fare or
bantering a customer. But they have one thorn; and that is the pedestrian.
Woe to the driver who runs against a foot-man; fine and flogging are his
portion. If the pedestrian be thrown down, visions of Siberia float before
the driver’s eye; to say nothing of the pleasant foretaste of the
policeman’s cane and the confiscation of his vehicle.

Notwithstanding the general characteristic of laxity of principle,
instances are by no means wanting of the most scrupulous and even romantic
fidelity on the part of the Russians of the lower orders. It would be an
interesting subject of investigation, how far this patent trait of
national character is to be attributed to inherent constitutional defects
in the race; and how far to the state of serfdom in which they have
existed from generation to generation. But the investigation does not fall
within the scope of our “Recollections.”

Our friends in the greasy sheepskins or woolen caftans have strong
religious tendencies, though they may smack a little too much of those of
the tight-fingered Smyrniote whom we detected purchasing candles to light
before his patron saint, with the first-fruits of the purse of which he
had not ten minutes before relieved our pocket. In all places where men
congregate there are pictures of saints before which the _mujik_ crosses
himself on every occasion. In an inn or restaurant each visitor turns to
the picture and crosses himself before he sits down to eat. If a _mujik_
enters your room he crosses himself before saluting you. Every church is
saluted with a sign of the cross. At frequent intervals in the streets
little shrines are found, before which every body stops and makes the
sacred sign, with bared head. The merchant in the _gostunoi dvor_ or
bazaar, every now and then walks up to his _bog_ or saint, and with a
devout inclination prays for success in trade.

No one has seen St. Petersburg who has not been there at Easter. The Greek
Church finds great virtues in fasting; and a prolonged fast-time implies a
subsequent carnival. The rigor of the Russian fasts strictly excludes
every article of food containing the least particle of animal matter.
Flesh and fowl are, of course, rigorously _tabooed_; so are milk, eggs,
butter; and even sugar, on account of the animal matter used in refining
it, of which a small portion might possibly remain. The fast preceding
Easter, called, by way of eminence, “The Great Fast,” lasts seven full
weeks, and is observed with a strictness unknown even in Catholic
countries. The lower classes refrain even from fish during the first and
last of these seven weeks, as well as on Wednesdays and Fridays in the
remaining five. When we reflect how large a part some or all of these
animal substances form of the _cuisine_ of all northern nations, and in
Russia most of all, we shall be ready to believe that this Great Fast is
an important epoch in the Russian calendar, and is not to be encountered
without a preparatory period of feasting, the recollection of which may
serve to mitigate the enforced abstinence.

Among the upper classes in St. Petersburg balls, routs, and all carnival
revelries begin to crowd thick and fast upon each other as early as the
commencement of February. But the mass of the people compress these
preparatory exercises into the week before the beginning of the fast. This
is the famous _Masslänitza_ or “Butter Week,” which contains the sum and
substance of all Russian festivity. All the butter that should naturally
have gone into the consumption of the succeeding seven weeks is
concentrated into this. Whatever can be eaten with butter is buttered;
what can not, is eschewed. The standard dish of the week is _blinni_, a
kind of pancake, made with butter; fried in butter, and eaten with
butter-sauce. For this one week the great national dish of _shtshee_ or
cabbage-soup is banished from the land.

Breakfast dispatched, then come the amusements. Formerly the swings,
ice-mountains, and temporary theatres were erected upon the frozen plain
of the Neva. But some years since, the ice gave way under the immense
pressure, and a large number of the revelers were drowned. Since that time
the great square of the Admiralty has been devoted to this purpose. For
days previous, long trains of sledges are seen thronging to the spot,
bearing timbers, poles, planks, huge blocks of ice, and all the materials
necessary for the erection of booths, theatres, swings, and slides. These
temporary structures are easily and speedily reared. A hole is dug in the
frozen ground, into which the end of a post is placed. It is then filled
with water, which under the influence of a Russian February binds it in
its place as firmly as though it were leaded into a solid rock. The
carnival commences on the first Sunday of the Butter Week, and all St.
Petersburg gives itself up to sliding and swinging, or to watching the
sliding and swinging of others. By a wise regulation eating and drinking
shops are not allowed in the square, and the staple potable and
comestibles are tea, cakes, and nuts. Few more animated and stirring
sights are to be seen than the Admiralty square at noon, when the mirth is
at the highest among the lower orders, and when all the higher classes
make their appearance driving in regular line along a broad space, in
front of the booths, reserved for the equipages. Every body in St.
Petersburg of any pretensions to rank or wealth keeps a carriage of some
kind; and every carriage, crowded with the family in their gayest attire,
joins in the procession.

Butter Week, with its _blinni_ and ice mountains passes away all too
quickly, and is succeeded by the grim seven weeks’ fast. The Admiralty
square looks desolate enough, lumbered over with fragments of the late
joyous paraphernalia, and strewed with nut-shells and orange-peel. Public
amusements, of almost all kinds are prohibited, and time passes on with
gloomy monotony, only broken by a stray saint’s day, like a gleam of
sunshine across a murky sky. It is worth while to be a saint, in Russia,
if his day falls during the Great Fast, for it will be sure to be
celebrated with most exemplary fervor.

As the fast draws near its close, preparation s on tiptoe for a change.
The egg-market begins to rise, owing to the demand for “Easter-eggs,” for
on that day it is customary to present an egg to every acquaintance on
first greeting him. This has given rise to a very pretty custom of giving
presents of artificial eggs of every variety of material, and frequently
with the most elegant decorations. The Imperial glass manufactory
furnishes an immense number of eggs of glass, with cut flowers and
figures, designed as presents from the Czar and Czarina.

Saturday night before Easter at last comes and goes. As the midnight hour
which is to usher in Easter-day approaches, the churches begin to fill.
The court appears in the Imperial chapel in full dress; and the people, of
all ages, ranks, and conditions, throng their respective places of
worship. Not a priest, however, is to be seen until the midnight hour
strikes, when the entrance to the sanctuary of the church is flung open,
and the song peals forth—_Christohs vosskress! Christohs vosskress ihs
mortvui_—“Christ is risen! Christ is risen from the dead!” The priests in
their richest robes press through the throng, bowing and swinging their
censers before the shrine of the saints, repeating the “Christ is risen!”
The congregation grasp each other’s hands, those acquainted, however
distantly, embracing and kissing, repeating the same words. The churches
are at once in a blaze of illumination within and without; and all over
the city cannons boom, rockets hiss, and bells peal in token of joy. The
Great Fast is over, and the Easter festival has begun.

In the churches the ceremony of blessing the food is going on. The whole
pavement, unencumbered with pews or seats, is covered with dishes ranged
in long rows, with passages between for the officiating priests, who pace
along, sprinkling holy water to the right and left, and pronouncing the
form of benediction; the owner of each dish all the while on a keen
look-out that his food does not fail of receiving some drops of the
sanctifying fluid. Before daylight all this is accomplished; and then come
visitings and banquets, congratulations of the season, bowings,
hand-shakings, and, above all, kissing.

                         [Illustration: Kissing.]

                         [Illustration: Kissing.]

                         [Illustration: Kissing.]

                         [Illustration: Kissing.]

All Russia breaks out now into an Oriental exuberance of kisses. What
arithmetic shall undertake to compute the osculatory expenditure? Every
member of a family salutes every other member with a kiss. All
acquaintances, however slight, greet with a kiss and a _Christohs
vosskress_. Long-robed _mujiks_ mingle beards and kisses, or brush their
hirsute honors over the faces of their female acquaintances. In the public
offices all the _employées_ salute each other and their superiors. So in
the army. The general embraces and kisses all the officers of the corps;
the colonel of a regiment those beneath him, besides a deputation of the
soldiers; and the captain salutes all the men of his company. The Czar
does duty at Easter. He must of course salute his family and retinue, his
court and attendants. But this is not all. On parade he goes through the
ceremony with his officers, and a selected body of privates, who stand as
representatives of the rest, and even with the sentinels at the palace
gates. So amid smiles and handshakings, and exclamations of “Christ has
arisen!” pass on the days of the Easter festival. Ample amends are made
for the long abstinence of the Great Fast, by unbounded indulgence in the
coveted animal food, to say nothing of the copious libations of
brandy—evidences of which are visible enough in groups of amateur
street-sweepers who subsequently are seen plying their brooms in the early
morning hours. Such is St. Petersburg, when most Russian.



A LOVE AFFAIR AT CRANFORD.


I am tempted to relate it, as having interested me in a quiet sort of way,
and as being the latest intelligence of Our Society at Cranford.

I thought, after Miss Jenkyns’s death, that probably my connection with
Cranford would cease; at least that it would have to be kept up by
correspondence, which bears much the same relation to personal intercourse
that the books of dried plants I sometimes see (“Hortus Siccus,” I think
they call the thing), do to the living and fresh flowers in the lanes and
meadows. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, by receiving a letter from
Miss Pole (who had always come in for a supplementary week after my annual
visit to Miss Jenkyns), proposing that I should go and stay with her; and
then, in a couple of days after my acceptance, came a note from Miss
Matey, in which, in a rather circuitous and very humble manner, she told
me how much pleasure I should confer, if I could spend a week or two with
her, either before or after I had been at Miss Pole’s; “for,” she said,
“since my dear sister’s death, I am well aware I have no attractions to
offer; it is only to the kindness of my friends that I can owe their
company.”

Of course, I promised to come to dear Miss Matey, as soon as I had ended
my visit to Miss Pole; and the day after my arrival at Cranford, I went to
see her, much wondering what the house would be like without Miss Jenkyns,
and rather dreading the changed aspect of things. Miss Matey began to cry
as soon as she saw me. She was evidently nervous from having anticipated
my call. I comforted her as well as I could; and I found the best
consolation I could give, was the honest praise that came from my heart as
I spoke of the deceased. Miss Matey slowly shook her head over each virtue
as it was named, and attributed to her sister; at last she could not
restrain the tears which had long been silently flowing, but hid her face
behind her handkerchief, and sobbed aloud.

“Dear Miss Matey!” said I, taking her hand—for indeed I did know in what
way to tell her how sorry I was for her, left deserted in the world. She
put down her handkerchief, and said,

“My dear, I’d rather you did not call me Matey. _She_ did not like it; but
I did many a thing she did not like, I’m afraid—and now she’s gone! If you
please, my love, will you call me Matilda?”

I promised faithfully, and began to practice the new name with Miss Pole
that very day; and, by degrees, Miss Matilda’s feelings on the subject
were known through Cranford, and the appellation of Matey was dropped by
all, except a very old woman who had been nurse in the rector’s family,
and had persevered through many long years, in calling the Miss Jenkynses
“the girls;” she said “Matey,” to the day of her death.

My visit to Miss Pole was very quiet. Miss Jenkyns had so long taken the
lead in Cranford, that, now she was gone, they hardly knew how to give a
party. The Honorable Mrs. Jamieson, to whom Miss Jenkyns herself had
always yielded the post of honor, was fat and inert and very much at the
mercy of her old servants. If they chose her to give a party, they
reminded her of the necessity for so doing; if not, she let it alone.
There was all the more time for me to hear old-world stories from Miss
Pole, while she sat knitting, and I making my father’s shirts. I always
took a quantity of plain sewing to Cranford; for, as we did not read much,
or walk much, I found it a capital time to get through my work. One of
Miss Pole’s stories related to the love affair I am coming to; gradually,
not in a hurry, for we are never in a hurry at Cranford.

Presently, the time arrived, when I was to remove to Miss Matilda’s house.
I found her timid and anxious about the arrangements for my comfort. Many
a time, while I was unpacking, did she come backward and forward to stir
the fire, which burned all the worse for being so frequently poked.

“Have you drawers enough, dear?” asked she. “I don’t know exactly how my
sister used to arrange them. She had capital methods. I am sure she would
have trained a servant in a week to make a better fire than this, and
Fanny has been with me four months.”

This subject of servants was a standing grievance, and I could not wonder
much at it; for if gentlemen were scarce, and almost unheard of in the
“genteel society” of Cranford, they or their counterparts—handsome young
men—abounded in the lower classes. The pretty, neat servant-maids had
their choice of desirable “followers;” and their mistresses, without
having the sort of mysterious dread of men and matrimony that Miss Matilda
had, might well feel a little anxious, lest the heads of their comely
maids should be turned by the joiner, or the butcher, or the gardener; who
were obliged by their callings, to come to the house; and who, as ill-luck
would have it, were generally handsome and unmarried. Fanny’s lovers, if
she had any—and Miss Matilda suspected her of so many flirtations, that,
if she had not been very pretty, I should have doubted her having one—were
a constant anxiety to her mistress. She was forbidden, by the articles of
her engagement, to have “followers;” and though she had answered
innocently enough, doubling up the hem of her apron as she spoke, “Please,
ma’am, I never had more than one at a time,” Miss Matey prohibited that
one. But a vision of a man seemed to haunt the kitchen. Fanny assured me
that it was all fancy; or else I should have said myself that I had seen a
man’s coat-tails whisk into the scullery once, when I went on an errand
into the store-room at night; and another evening when, our watches having
stopped, I went to look at the clock, there was a very odd appearance,
singularly like a young man squeezed up between the clock and the back of
the open kitchen-door; and I thought Fanny snatched up the candle very
hastily, so as to throw the shadow on the clock-face, while she very
positively told me the time half-an-hour too early, as we found out
afterward by the church-clock. But I did not add to Miss Matey’s anxieties
by naming my suspicions, especially as Fanny said to me, the next day,
that it was such a queer kitchen for having odd shadows about it, she
really was almost afraid to stay; “for you know, Miss,” she added, “I
don’t see a creature from six o’clock tea, till missus rings the bell for
prayers at ten.”

However, it so fell out that Fanny had to leave; and Miss Matilda begged
me to stay and “settle her” with the new maid; to which I consented, after
I had heard from my father that he did not want me at home. The new
servant was a rough, honest-looking country-girl, who had only lived in a
farm-place before; but I liked her looks when she came to be hired; and I
promised Miss Matilda to put her in the ways of the house. These said ways
were religiously such as Miss Matilda thought her sister would approve.
Many a domestic rule and regulation had been a subject of plaintive
whispered murmur, to me, during Miss Jenkyns’s life; but now that she was
gone, I do not think that even I, who was a favorite, durst have suggested
an alteration. To give an instance: we constantly adhered to the forms
which were observed, at meal times, “in my father the rector’s house.”
Accordingly, we had always wine and dessert; but the decanters were only
filled when there was a party; and what remained was seldom touched,
though we had two wine glasses apiece every day after dinner, until the
next festive occasion arrived; when the state of the remainder wine was
examined into, in a family council. The dregs were often given to the
poor; but occasionally when a good deal had been left, at the last party
(five months ago, it might be) it was added to some of a fresh bottle,
brought up from the cellar. I fancy poor Captain Brown did not much like
wine; for I noticed he never finished his first glass, and most military
men take several. Then, as to our dessert, Miss Jenkyns used to gather
currants and gooseberries for it herself, which I sometimes thought would
have tasted better fresh from the trees; but then, as Miss Jenkyns
observed, there would have been nothing for dessert in summer-time. As it
was, we felt very genteel with our two glasses apiece, and a dish of
gooseberries at the top, of currants and biscuits at the sides, and two
decanters at the bottom. When oranges came in, a curious proceeding was
gone through. Miss Jenkyns did not like to cut the fruit; for, as she
observed, the juice all ran out, nobody knew where; sucking (only, I
think, she used some more recondite word) was in fact the only way of
enjoying oranges; but then there was the unpleasant association with a
ceremony frequently gone through by little babies; and so, after dessert,
in orange season, Miss Jenkyns and Miss Matey used to rise up, possess
themselves each of an orange in silence, and withdraw to the privacy of
their own rooms, to indulge in sucking oranges.

I had once or twice tried, on such occasions, to prevail on Miss Matey to
stay; and had succeeded in her sister’s life-time. I held up a screen, and
did not look, and, as she said, she tried not to make the noise very
offensive; but now that she was left alone, she seemed quite horrified
when I begged her to remain with me in the warm dining-parlor, and enjoy
her orange as she liked best. And so it was in every thing. Miss Jenkyns’s
rules were made more stringent than ever, because the framer of them was
gone where there could be no appeal. In every thing else Miss Matilda was
meek and undecided to a fault. I have heard Fanny turn her round twenty
times in a morning about dinner, just as the little hussy chose; and I
sometimes fancied she worked on Miss Matilda’s weakness, in order to
bewilder her, and to make her feel more in the power of her clever
servant. I determined that I would not leave her till I had seen what sort
of a person Martha was; and, if I found her trustworthy, I would tell her
not to trouble her mistress with every little decision.

Martha was blunt and plain-spoken to a fault; otherwise she was a brisk,
well-meaning, but very ignorant girl. She had not been with us a week
before Miss Matilda and I were astounded one morning by the receipt of a
letter from a cousin of hers, who had been twenty or thirty years in
India, and who had lately, as we had seen by the Army List, returned to
England, bringing with him an invalid wife, who had never been introduced
to her English relations. Major Jenkyns wrote to propose that he and his
wife should spend a night at Cranford, on his way to Scotland—at the inn,
if it did not suit Miss Matilda to receive them into her house; in which
case they should hope to be with her as much as possible during the day.
Of course, it must suit her, as she said; for all Cranford knew that she
had her sister’s bedroom at liberty; but I am sure she wished the Major
had stopped in India and forgotten his cousins out and out.

“Oh! how must I manage!” asked she, helplessly. “If Deborah had been
alive, she would have known what to do with a gentleman-visitor. Must I
put razors in his dressing-room? Dear! dear! and I’ve got none. Deborah
would have had them. And slippers, and coat-brushes?” I suggested that
probably he would bring all these things with him. “And after dinner, how
am I to know when to get up, and leave him to his wine? Deborah would have
done it so well; she would have been quite in her element. Will he want
coffee, do you think?” I undertook the management of the coffee, and told
her I would instruct Martha in the art of waiting, in which it must be
owned she was terribly deficient; and that I had no doubt Major and Mrs.
Jenkyns would understand the quiet mode in which a lady lived by herself
in a country town. But she was sadly fluttered. I made her empty her
decanters, and bring up two fresh bottles of wine. I wished I could have
prevented her from being present at my instructions to Martha; for she
continually cut in with some fresh direction, muddling the poor girl’s
mind, as she stood open-mouthed, listening to us both.

“Hand the vegetables round,” said I (foolishly, I see now—for it was
aiming at more than we could accomplish with quietness and simplicity);
and then, seeing her look bewildered, I added, “Take the vegetables round
to people, and let them help themselves.”

“And mind you go first to the ladies,” put in Miss Matilda. “Always go to
the ladies before gentlemen, when you are waiting.”

“I’ll do it as you tell me, ma’am,” said Martha; “but I like lads best.”

We felt very uncomfortable and shocked at this speech of Martha’s; yet I
don’t think she meant any harm; and, on the whole, she attended very well
to our directions, except that she “nudged” the Major, when he did not
help himself as soon as she expected, to the potatoes, while she was
handing them round.

The Major and his wife were quiet, unpretending people enough when they
did come; languid, as all East Indians are, I suppose. We were rather
dismayed at their bringing two servants with them, a Hindoo body-servant
for the Major, and a steady elderly maid for his wife; but they slept at
the inn, and took off a good deal of the responsibility by attending
carefully to their master’s and mistress’s comfort. Martha, to be sure,
had never ended her staring at the East Indian’s white turban, and brown
complexion, and I saw that Miss Matilda shrunk away from him a little as
he waited at dinner. Indeed, she asked me, when they were gone, if he did
not remind me of Blue Beard? On the whole, the visit was most
satisfactory, and is a subject of conversation even now with Miss Matilda;
at the time it greatly excited Cranford, and even stirred up the apathetic
and Honorable Mrs. Jamieson to some expression of interest when I went to
call and thank her for the kind answers she had vouchsafed to Miss
Matilda’s inquiries as to the arrangement of a gentleman’s
dressing-room—answers which I must confess she had given in the wearied
manner of the Scandinavian prophetess—


    “Leave me, leave me to repose.”


And _now_ I come to the love affair.

It seems that Miss Pole had a cousin, once or twice removed, who had
offered to Miss Matey long ago. Now, this cousin lived four or five miles
from Cranford on his own estate; but his property was not large enough to
entitle him to rank higher than a yeoman; or rather, with something of the
“pride which apes humility,” he had refused to push himself on, as so many
of his class had done, into the ranks of the squires. He would not allow
himself to be called Thomas Holbrook, Esq.; he even sent back letters with
this address, telling the postmistress at Cranford that his name was Mr.
Thomas Holbrook, yeoman. He rejected all domestic innovations; he would
have the house door stand open in summer, and shut in winter, without
knocker or bell to summon a servant. The closed fist or the knob of the
stick did this office for him, if he found the door locked. He despised
every refinement which had not its root deep down in humanity. If people
were not ill, he saw no necessity for moderating his voice. He spoke the
dialect of the country in perfection, and constantly used it in
conversation; although Miss Pole (who gave me these particulars) added,
that he read aloud more beautifully and with more feeling than any one she
had ever heard, except the late Rector.

“And how came Miss Matilda not to marry him?” asked I.

“Oh, I don’t know. She was willing enough, I think; but you know Cousin
Thomas would not have been enough of a gentleman for the Rector, and Mrs.
and Miss Jenkyns.”

“Well! but they were not to marry him,” said I, impatiently.

“No; but they did not like Miss Matey to marry below her rank. You know
she was the Rector’s daughter, and somehow they are related to Sir Peter
Arley: Miss Jenkyns thought a deal of that.”

“Poor Miss Matey!” said I.

“Nay, now, I don’t know any thing more than that he offered and was
refused. Miss Matey might not like him—and Miss Jenkyns might never have
said a word—it is only a guess of mine.”

“Has she never seen him since?” I inquired.

“No, I think not. You see, Woodley, Cousin Thomas’s house, lies half-way
between Cranford and Misselton; and I know he made Misselton his
market-town very soon after he had offered to Miss Matey; and I don’t
think he has been into Cranford above once or twice since—once, when I was
walking with Miss Matey in High-street; and suddenly she darted from me,
and went up Shire-lane. A few minutes after I was startled by meeting
Cousin Thomas.”

“How old is he?” I asked, after a pause of castle-building.

“He must be about seventy, I think, my dear,” said Miss Pole, blowing up
my castle, as if by gunpowder, into small fragments.

Very soon after—at least during my long visit to Miss Matilda—I had the
opportunity of seeing Mr. Holbrook; seeing, too, his first encounter with
his former love, after thirty or forty years’ separation. I was helping to
decide whether any of the new assortment of colored silks which they had
just received at the shop, would help to match a gray and black
mousseline-de-laine that wanted a new breadth, when a tall, thin, Don
Quixote-looking old man came into the shop for some woolen gloves. I had
never seen the person (who was rather striking) before, and I watched him
rather attentively, while Miss Matey listened to the shopman. The stranger
wore a blue coat with brass buttons, drab breeches, and gaiters, and
drummed with his fingers on the counter until he was attended to. When he
answered the shop-boy’s question, “What can I have the pleasure of showing
you to-day, sir?” I saw Miss Matilda start, and then suddenly sit down;
and instantly I guessed who it was. She had made some inquiry which had to
be carried round to the other shopman.

“Miss Jenkyns wants the black sarcenet two-and-twopence the yard;” and Mr.
Holbrook had caught the name, and was across the shop in two strides.

“Matey—Miss Matilda—Miss Jenkyns! God bless my soul! I should not have
known you. How are you? how are you?” He kept shaking her hand in a way
which proved the warmth of his friendship; but he repeated so often, as if
to himself, “I should not have known you!” that any sentimental romance
which I might be inclined to build, was quite done away with by his
manner.

However, he kept talking to us all the time we were in the shop; and then
waving the shopman with the unpurchased gloves on one side, with “Another
time, sir! another time!” he walked home with us. I am happy to say my
client, Miss Matilda, also left the shop in an equally bewildered state,
not having purchased either green or red silk. Mr. Holbrook was evidently
full with honest, loud-spoken joy at meeting his old love again; he
touched on the changes that had taken place; he even spoke of Miss Jenkyns
as “Your poor sister! Well, well! we have all our faults;” and bade us
good-by with many a hope that he should soon see Miss Matey again. She
went straight to her room; and never came back till our early tea-time,
when I thought she looked as if she had been crying.

A few days after, a note came from Mr. Holbrook, asking us—impartially
asking both of us—in a formal, old-fashioned style, to spend a day at his
house—a long June day—for it was June now. He named that he had also
invited his cousin, Miss Pole; so that we might join in a fly, which could
be put up at his house.

I expected Miss Matey to jump at this invitation; but, no! Miss Pole and I
had the greatest difficulty in persuading her to go. She thought it was
improper; and was even half-annoyed when we utterly ignored the idea of
any impropriety in her going with two other ladies to see her old lover.
Then came a more serious difficulty. She did not think Deborah would have
liked her to go. This took us half a day’s good hard talking to get over;
but, at the first sentence of relenting, I seized the opportunity, and
wrote and dispatched an acceptance in her name—fixing day and hour, that
all might be decided and done with.

The next morning she asked me if I would go down to the shop with her; and
there, after much hesitation, we chose out three caps to be sent home and
tried on, that the most becoming might be selected to take with us on
Thursday.

She was in a state of silent agitation all the way to Woodley. She had
evidently never been there before; and, although she little dreamt I knew
any thing of her early story, I could perceive she was in a tremor at the
thought of seeing the place which might have been her home, and round
which it is probable that many of her innocent girlish imaginations had
clustered. It was a long drive there, through paved jolting lanes. Miss
Matilda sate bolt upright, and looked wistfully out of the windows, as we
drew near the end of our journey. The aspect of the country was quiet and
pastoral. Woodley stood among fields; and there was an old-fashioned
garden, where roses and currant-bushes touched each other, and where the
feathery asparagus formed a pretty back-ground to the pinks and
gilly-flowers; there was no drive up to the door; we got out at a little
gate, and walked up a straight box-edged path.

“My cousin might make a drive, I think,” said Miss Pole, who was afraid of
ear-ache, and had only her cap on.

“I think it is very pretty,” said Miss Matey, with a soft plaintiveness in
her voice, and almost in a whisper; for just then Mr. Holbrook appeared at
the door, rubbing his hands in very effervescence of hospitality. He
looked more like my idea of Don Quixote than ever, and yet the likeness
was only external. His respectable housekeeper stood modestly at the door
to bid us welcome; and, while she led the elder ladies upstairs to a
bed-room, I begged to look about the garden. My request evidently pleased
the old gentleman; who took me all round the place, and showed me his
six-and-twenty cows, named after the different letters of the alphabet. As
we went along, he surprised me occasionally by repeating apt and beautiful
quotations from the poets, ranging easily from Shakspeare and George
Herbert to those of our own day. He did this as naturally as if he were
thinking aloud, that their true and beautiful words were the best
expression he could find for what he was thinking or feeling. To be sure
he called Byron “my Lord Byron,” and pronounced the name of Goethe
strictly in accordance with the English sound of the letters—“As Goëthe
says, ’Ye ever verdant palaces,’” &c. Altogether, I never met with a man,
before or since, who had spent so long a life in a secluded and not
impressive country, with ever-increasing delight in the daily and yearly
change of season and beauty.

When he and I went in, we found that dinner was nearly ready in the
kitchen—for so I suppose the room ought to be called, as there were oak
dressers and cupboards all round, all over by the side of the fire-place,
and only a small Turkey-carpet in the middle of the flag-floor. The room
might have been easily made into a handsome dark-oak dining-parlor, by
removing the oven, and a few other appurtenances of a kitchen, which were
evidently never used; the real cooking-place being at some distance. The
room in which we were expected to sit was a stiffly furnished, ugly
apartment; but that in which we did sit was what Mr. Holbrook called the
counting-house, where he paid his laborers their weekly wages, at a great
desk near the door. The rest of the pretty sitting-room—looking into the
orchard, and all covered over with dancing tree-shadows—was filled with
books. They lay on the ground, they covered the walls, they strewed the
table. He was evidently half ashamed and half proud of his extravagance in
this respect. They were of all kinds—poetry, and wild weird tales
prevailing. He evidently chose his books in accordance with his own
tastes, not because such and such were classical, or established
favorites.

“Ah!” he said, “we farmers ought not to have much time for reading; yet
somehow one can’t help it.”

“What a pretty room!” said Miss Matey, _sotto voce_.

“What a pleasant place!” said I, aloud, almost simultaneously.

“Nay! if you like it,” replied he; “but can you sit on these great black
leather three-cornered chairs? I like it better than the best parlor; but
I thought ladies would take that for the smarter place.”

It was the smarter place; but, like most smart things, not at all pretty,
or pleasant, or home-like; so, while we were at dinner, the servant-girl
dusted and scrubbed the counting-house chairs, and we sate there all the
rest of the day.

We had pudding before meat; and I thought Mr. Holbrook was going to make
some apology for his old-fashioned ways, for he began,

“I don’t know whether you like newfangled ways.”

“Oh! not at all!” said Miss Matey.

“No more do I,” said he. “My housekeeper _will_ have things in her new
fashion; or else I tell her, that when I was a young man, we used to keep
strictly to my father’s rule, ‘No broth, no ball; no ball, no beef;’ and
always began dinner with broth. Then we had suet puddings, boiled in the
broth with the beef; and then the meat itself. If we did not sup our
broth, we had no ball, which we liked a deal better; and the beef came
last of all, and only those had it who had done justice to the broth and
the ball. Now folks begin with sweet things, and turn their dinners
topsy-turvy.”

When the ducks and green pease came, we looked at each other in dismay; we
had only two-pronged, black-handled forks. It is true, the steel was as
bright as silver; but, what were we to do? Miss Matey picked up her peas,
one by one, on the point of the prongs, much as Aminé ate her grains of
rice after her previous feast with the Ghoul. Miss Pole sighed over her
delicate young peas as she left them on one side of her plate untasted;
for they _would_ drop between the prongs. I looked at my host: the peas
were going wholesale into his capacious mouth, shoveled up by his large
round-ended knife. I saw, I imitated, I survived! My friends, in spite of
my precedent, could not muster up courage enough to do an ungenteel thing;
and, if Mr. Holbrook had not been so heartily hungry, he would, probably,
have seen that the good pease went away almost untouched.

After dinner, a clay-pipe was brought in, and a spittoon; and, asking us
to retire to another room, where he would soon join us, if we disliked
tobacco-smoke, he presented his pipe to Miss Matey, and requested her to
fill the bowl. This was a compliment to a lady in his youth; but it was
rather inappropriate to propose it as an honor to Miss Matey, who had been
trained by her sister to hold smoking of every kind in utter abhorrence.
But if it was a shock to her refinement, it was also a gratification to
her feelings to be thus selected; so she daintily stuffed the strong
tobacco into the pipe; and then we withdrew.

“It is very pleasant dining with a bachelor,” said Miss Matey, softly, as
we settled ourselves in the counting-house. “I only hope it is not
improper; so many pleasant things are!”

“What a number of books he has!” said Miss Pole, looking round the room.
“And how dusty they are!”

“I think it must be like one of the great Dr. Johnson’s rooms,” said Miss
Matey. “What a superior man your cousin must be!”

“Yes!” said Miss Pole; “he is a great reader; but I am afraid he has got
into very uncouth habits with living alone.”

“Oh! uncouth is too hard a word. I should call him eccentric; very clever
people always are!” replied Miss Matey.

When Mr. Holbrook returned, he proposed a walk in the fields; but the two
elder ladies were afraid of damp and dirt; and had only very unbecoming
calashes to put over their caps; so they declined; and I was again his
companion in a turn which he said he was obliged to take, to see after his
niece. He strode along, either wholly forgetting my existence, or soothed
into silence by his pipe—and yet it was not silence exactly. He walked
before me, with a stooping gait, his hands clasped behind him; and, as
some tree, or cloud, or glimpse of distant upland pastures struck him, he
quoted poetry to himself; saying it out loud in a grand, sonorous voice,
with just the emphasis that true feeling and appreciation give. We came
upon an old cedar-tree, which stood at one end of the house;


    “More black than ash-buds in the front of March,
    A cedar spread his dark-green layers of shade.”


“Capital term—‘layers!’ Wonderful man!” I did not know whether he was
speaking to me or not; but I put in an assenting “wonderful,” although I
knew nothing about it; just because I was tired of being forgotten, and of
being consequently silent.

He turned sharp round. “Ay! you may say ‘wonderful.’ Why, when I saw the
review of his poems in ‘Blackwood,’ I set off within an hour, and walked
seven miles to Misselton (for the horses were not in the way), and ordered
them. Now, what color are ash-buds in March?”

Is the man going mad? thought I. He is very like Don Quixote.

“What color are they, I say?” repeated he, vehemently.

“I am sure I don’t know, sir,” said I, with the meekness of ignorance.

“I knew you didn’t. No more did I—an old fool that I am! till this young
man comes and tells me. ‘Black as ash-buds in March.’ And I’ve lived all
my life in the country; more shame for me not to know. Black; they are
jet-black, madam.” And he went off again, swinging along to the music of
some rhyme he had got hold of.

When he came home nothing would serve him but that he must read us the
poems he had been speaking of; and Miss Pole encouraged him in his
proposal, I thought, because she wished me to hear his beautiful reading,
of which she had boasted; but she afterward said it was because she had
got to a difficult part of her crotchet, and wanted to count her stitches
without having to talk. Whatever he had proposed would have been right to
Miss Matey; although she did fall sound asleep within five minutes after
he began a long poem called “Locksley Hall,” and had a comfortable nap,
unobserved, till he ended; when the cessation of his voice wakened her up,
and she said, feeling that something was expected, and that Miss Pole was
counting:

“What a pretty book!”

“Pretty! madam! it’s beautiful! Pretty, indeed!”

“Oh, yes! I meant beautiful!” said she, fluttered at his disapproval of
her word. “It is so like that beautiful poem of Dr. Johnson’s my sister
used to read—I forget the name of it; what was it, my dear?” turning to
me.

“Which do you mean, ma’am? What was it about?”

“I don’t remember what it was about, and I’ve quite forgotten what the
name of it was; but it was written by Dr. Johnson, and was very beautiful,
and very like what Mr. Holbrook has just been reading.”

“I don’t remember it,” said he, reflectively, “but I don’t know Dr.
Johnson’s poems well. I must read them.”

As we were getting into the fly to return, I heard Mr. Holbrook say he
should call on the ladies soon, and inquire how they got home; and this
evidently pleased and fluttered Miss Matey at the time he said it; but
after we had lost sight of the old house among the trees, her sentiments
toward the master of it were gradually absorbed into a distressing wonder
as to whether Martha had broken her word, and seized on the opportunity of
her mistress’s absence to have a “follower.” Martha looked good, and
steady, and composed enough, as she came to help us out; she was always
careful of Miss Matey, and to-night she made use of this unlucky speech:

“Eh! dear ma’am, to think of your going out on an evening in such a thin
shawl! It is no better than muslin. At your age, ma’am, you should be
careful.”

“My age!” said Miss Matey, almost speaking crossly, for her; for she was
usually gentle. “My age! Why, how old do you think I am, that you talk
about my age?”

“Well, ma’am! I should say you were not far short of sixty; but folks’
looks is often against them—and I’m sure I meant no harm.”

“Martha, I’m not yet fifty-two!” said Miss Matey, with grave emphasis; for
probably the remembrance of her youth had come very vividly before her
this day, and she was annoyed at finding that golden time so far away in
the past.

But she never spoke of any former and more intimate acquaintance with Mr.
Holbrook. She had probably met with so little sympathy in her early love,
that she had shut it up close in her heart; and it was only by a sort of
watching, which I could hardly avoid, since Miss Pole’s confidence, that I
saw how faithful her poor heart had been in its sorrow and its silence.

She gave me some good reason for wearing her best cap every day, and sate
near the window, in spite of her rheumatism, in order to see, without
being seen, down into the street.

He came. He put his open palms upon his knees, which were far apart, as he
sate with his head bent down, whistling, after we had replied to his
inquiries about our safe return. Suddenly, he jumped up.

“Well, madam! have you any commands for Paris? I’m going there in a week
or two.”

“To Paris!” we both exclaimed.

“Yes, ma’am! I’ve never been there, and always had a wish to go; and I
think if I don’t go soon, I mayn’t go at all; so as soon as the hay is got
in I shall go, before harvest-time.”

We were so much astonished, that we had no commissions.

Just as he was going out of the room, he turned back, with his favorite
exclamation:

“God bless my soul, madam! but I nearly forgot half my errand. Here are
the poems for you, you admired so much the other evening at my house.” He
tugged away at a parcel in his coat-pocket. “Good-by, Miss,” said he;
“good-by, Matey! take care of yourself.” And he was gone. But he had given
her a book, and he had called her Matey, just as he used to do thirty
years ago.

“I wish he would not go to Paris,” said Miss Matilda, anxiously. “I don’t
believe frogs will agree with him; he used to have to be very careful what
he ate, which was curious in so strong-looking a young man.”

Soon after this I took my leave, giving many an injunction to Martha to
look after her mistress, and to let me know if she thought that Miss
Matilda was not so well; in which case I would volunteer a visit to my old
friend, without noticing Martha’s intelligence to her.

Accordingly I received a line or two from Martha every now and then; and,
about November, I had a note to say her mistress was “very low, and sadly
off her food;” and the account made me so uneasy, that, although Martha
did not decidedly summon me, I packed up my things and went.

I received a warm welcome, in spite of the little flurry produced by my
impromptu visit, for I had only been able to give a day’s notice. Miss
Matilda looked miserably ill; and I prepared to comfort and cosset her.

I went down to have a private talk with Martha.

“How long has your mistress been so poorly?” I asked, as I stood by the
kitchen fire.

“Well! I think it’s better than a fortnight; it is, I know: it was one
Tuesday after Miss Pole had been here that she went into this moping way.
I thought she was tired, and it would go off with a night’s rest; but, no!
she has gone on and on ever since, till I thought it my duty to write to
you, ma’am.”

“You did quite right, Martha. It is a comfort to think she has so faithful
a servant about her. And I hope you find your place comfortable?”

“Well, ma’am, missus is very kind, and there’s plenty to eat and drink,
and no more work but what I can do easily—but—” Martha hesitated.

“But what, Martha?”

“Why, it seems so hard of missus not to let me have any followers; there’s
such lots of young fellows in the town; and many a one has as much as
offered to keep company with me; and I may never be in such a likely place
again, and it’s like wasting an opportunity. Many a girl as I know would
have ’em unbeknownst to missus; but I’ve given my word, and I’ll stick to
it; or else this is just the house for missus never to be the wiser if
they did come: and it’s such a capable kitchen—there’s such good dark
corners in it—I’d be bound to hide any one. I counted up last Sunday
night—for I’ll not deny I was crying because I had to shut the door in Jem
Hearn’s face; and he’s a steady young man, fit for any girl; only I had
given missus my word.” Martha was all but crying again; and I had little
comfort to give her, for I knew, from old experience, of the horror with
which both the Miss Jenkynses looked upon “followers;” and in Miss Matey’s
present nervous state this dread was not likely to be lessened.

I went to see Miss Pole the next day, and took her completely by surprise;
for she had not been to see Miss Matilda for two days.

“And now I must go back with you, my dear, for I promised to let her know
how Thomas Holbrook went on; and I’m sorry to say his housekeeper has sent
me word to-day that he hasn’t long to live. Poor Thomas! That journey to
Paris was quite too much for him. His housekeeper says he has hardly ever
been round his fields since; but just sits with his hands on his knees in
the counting-house, not reading or any thing, but only saying, what a
wonderful city Paris was! Paris has much to answer for, if it’s killed my
cousin Thomas, for a better man never lived.”

“Does Miss Matilda know of his illness?” asked I; a new light as to the
cause of her indisposition dawning upon me.

“Dear! to be sure, yes! Has she not told you? I let her know a fortnight
ago, or more, when first I heard of it. How odd, she shouldn’t have told
you!”

Not at all, I thought; but I did not say any thing. I felt almost guilty
of having spied too curiously into that tender heart, and I was not going
to speak of its secrets—hidden, Miss Matey believed, from all the world. I
ushered Miss Pole into Miss Matilda’s little drawing-room; and then left
them alone. But I was not surprised when Martha came to my bedroom door,
to ask me to go down to dinner alone, for that missus had one of her bad
headaches. She came into the drawing-room at tea-time; but it was
evidently an effort to her; and, as if to make up for some reproachful
feeling against her late sister, Miss Jenkyns, which had been troubling
her all the afternoon, and for which she now felt penitent, she kept
telling me how good and how clever Deborah was in her youth; how she used
to settle what gowns they were to wear at all the parties (faint, ghostly
ideas of dim parties far away in the distance, when Miss Matey and Miss
Pole were young!) and how Deborah and her mother had started the benefit
society for the poor, and taught girls cooking and plain sewing; and how
Deborah had once danced with a lord; and how she used to visit at Sir
Peter Arley’s, and try to remodel the quiet rectory establishment on the
plans of Arley Hall, where they kept thirty servants; and how she had
nursed Miss Matey through a long, long illness, of which I had never heard
before, but which I now dated in my own mind as following the dismissal of
the suit of Mr. Holbrook. So we talked softly and quietly of old times,
through the long November evening.

The next day Miss Pole brought us word that Mr. Holbrook was dead. Miss
Matey heard the news in silence; in fact, from the account on the previous
day, it was only what we had to expect. Miss Pole kept calling upon us for
some expression of regret, by asking if it was not sad that he was gone:
and saying,

“To think of that pleasant day last June, when he seemed so well! And he
might have lived this dozen years if he had not gone to that wicked Paris,
where they are always having revolutions.”

She paused for some demonstration on our part. I saw Miss Matey could not
speak, she was trembling so nervously; so I said what I really felt: and
after a call of some duration—all the time of which I have no doubt Miss
Pole thought Miss Matey received the news very calmly—our visitor took her
leave. But the effort at self-control Miss Matey had made to conceal her
feelings—a concealment she practiced even with me, for she has never
alluded to Mr. Holbrook again, although the book he gave her lies with her
Bible on the little table by her bedside; she did not think I heard her
when she asked the little milliner of Cranford to make her caps something
like the Honorable Mrs. Jamieson’s, or that I noticed the reply,

“But she wears widows’ caps, ma’am?”

“Oh! I only meant something in that style; not widows’, of course, but
rather like Mrs. Jamieson’s.”

This effort at concealment was the beginning of the tremulous motion of
head and hands which I have seen ever since in Miss Matey.

The evening of the day on which we heard of Mr. Holbrook’s death, Miss
Matilda was very silent and thoughtful; after prayers she called Martha
back, and then she stood uncertain what to say.

“Martha!” she said at last; “you are young,” and then she made so long a
pause that Martha, to remind her of her half-finished sentence, dropped a
courtesy, and said:

“Yes, please, ma’am; two-and-twenty last third of October, please, ma’am.”

“And perhaps, Martha, you may some time meet with a young man you like,
and who likes you. I did say you were not to have followers; but if you
meet with such a young man, and tell me, and I find he is respectable, I
have no objection to his coming to see you once a week. God forbid!” said
she, in a low voice, “that I should grieve any young hearts.” She spoke as
if she were providing for some distant contingency, and was rather
startled when Martha made her ready, eager answer:

“Please, ma’am, there’s Jim Hearn, and he’s a joiner, making
three-and-sixpence a day, and six foot one in his stocking-feet, please
ma’am; and if you’ll ask about him to-morrow morning, every one will give
him a character for steadiness; and he’ll be glad enough to come to-morrow
night, I’ll be bound.”

Though Miss Matey was startled, she submitted to Fate and Love.



ANECDOTES OF MONKEYS.


During a short stay on the Essequibo, a little monkey of the Jackowai Ris
tribe, in return for some slight attention I had shown him, permitted me
so far to gain his favor and confidence, that he was seldom away from my
person; indeed, he treated me like one mentioned by a distinguished
traveler, which every morning seized on a pig belonging to a mission on
the Orinoco, and rode on its back during the whole day, while it wandered
about the savannahs in search of food. Nothing pleased him better than to
perch on my shoulder, when he would encircle my neck with his long hairy
tail, and accompany me in all my rambles. His tail formed a no very
agreeable neckcloth, with the thermometer above one hundred degrees; but
he seemed so disappointed when I refused to carry him, that it was
impossible to leave him behind. In appearance he was particularly
engaging—squirrel-like in form—with a light brown coat slightly tinged
with yellow, and arms and legs of a reddish cast—pleasingly contrasting
with a pale face, and small black muzzle; the expressive and merry twinkle
of his sparkling black eye betokened fun, roguery, and intelligence. The
Jackowai Ris are a fierce race, and approach the carnivora in their habits
and dispositions. One reason of our intimacy was the sameness of our
pursuits—both being entomologists; but he was a far more indefatigable
insect-hunter than myself. He would sit motionless for hours among the
branches of a flowering shrub or tree, the resort of bees and butterflies,
and suddenly seize them when they little expected danger. Timid in the
presence of strangers, he would usually fly to the branches of a
neighboring tree at their approach, uttering a plaintive cry, more
resembling a bird than an animal. He was apt to be troublesome, even to
me, unless I found him some amusement; this, fortunately, was not
difficult; for his whole attention was soon engrossed by a flower, or by a
leaf from my note-book, which he would industriously pull to pieces, and
throw on the surface of the water, earnestly watching the fragments with
his quick black eye, as they glided away.

At other times, when sitting on my shoulder, he was an incessant plague,
twitching the hairs from my head by twos and threes, filling my ears with
fragments of plants and other rubbish, and taking a malicious pleasure in
holding on by those members when the boat lurched, and he was in danger of
falling. I think it was one of the same family that Humboldt found capable
of recognizing, as resemblances of their originals, even uncolored
zoological drawings; and would stretch out its hand to endeavor to capture
the bees and grasshoppers. I was unable to test the sagacity of my little
comrade, as the only accessible work with engravings was a copy of
Schomburgk’s “Fishes of Guiana;” and when I showed him the plates he
manifested no signs of a knowledge of any of his finny compatriots; never,
perhaps, having seen them. He was dreadfully afraid of getting himself
wet, particularly his hands and feet; in this respect showing a very
different disposition to a large long-haired black monkey, belonging to a
family settled a short distance from our residence.

This animal—an object of the greatest terror to the little Jackowinki,
from his having caught him one day and ducked him in the river—was one of
the most tractable and docile I ever remember having met. He was in the
habit of accompanying his master in all his fishing and shooting
expeditions, taking his allotted seat in the canoe, and plying his small
paddle for hours together with the utmost gravity and composure; all the
while keeping excellent time, and being never “out of stroke.” Like his
companions, he would now and then dip the handle of his paddle in the
water, to destroy the squeaking grate of the dry surface, and again would
lean over the side and wash his hands. His domestic habits were perfectly
human. The first thing every morning he cleansed his teeth, by taking a
mouthful of water, and using his finger as a tooth-brush; like the other
members of the family, whom he also imitated in their daily bath in the
river. Perhaps one at least of these peculiarities was not entirely
imitative, as a credible authority (Captain Stedman, in his “Narrative of
an Expedition to Surinam”) assures us that he once saw a monkey at the
water’s edge, rinsing his mouth, and appearing to clean his teeth with his
fingers.

As for my little friend, I intended to bring him home; but the day before
my departure he suddenly decamped. We were taking our usual trip up the
creek, and I was just thinking of returning, when, on rounding a sharp
bend in the tortuous channel, I perceived two Jackowinkis sitting on a
branch about twenty yards distant, as yet unaware of our vicinity, and
from their chattering and grimaces seemingly engaged in some matrimonial
squabble. Anxious to obtain a specimen for stuffing, I fired at one, which
proved to be the male, who dropped to the ground.

When he saw his brother fall, he seemed instantly to understand that I was
a murderer. He took immediate revenge. He sprang to my shoulder, tore a
handful of hair from my head, and swiftly clambered away among the
overhanging branches. When I recovered from surprise at this unexpected
attack, he had paused in his flight; and, with his face turned toward me,
was grinning, showing his sharp little teeth, and throwing down glances of
fierceness and hate. In another instant he was pursuing the female, whose
plaintive twitterings were distinctly audible, as she scampered away among
the trees. In the course of time, he no doubt managed to console the
widow; and, free from all shackles and restraints, is probably, at this
moment, quietly enjoying a married life in his native woods.



THE MOUNTAIN TORRENT.



I.


My family, by the paternal side, was originally of Berne, in Switzerland,
whence a branch of it removed to the Milanese, to improve its fortunes.
The name of Reding—well-known in the Cantons—was sustained with credit by
my father. He inherited a thriving mill and farm, about a quarter of a
league from the straggling village and venerable Castle of St. Michael,
within sight of the Tyrolese Alps. Traveling to Zurich, where he had
distant connections, he returned with a companion who weaned him from the
desire of wandering any more.

The Castle of St. Michael, with the estate on which our little property
was situated, belonged to an Austrian noble, who managed it by deputy, and
lived in courtly splendor at Vienna. Count Mansfeldt was equitably
represented by his steward, Engel; and under him, our house enjoyed
prosperity from the days of my grandsire.

I had but one sister; my mother was the sole superintendent of her
education; she thought the feminine mind, so susceptible of impressions,
should never be spontaneously consigned to foreign culture. Katherine was
worthy of her preceptress. It is not for me to dilate upon her
excellence—a portrait by my hand might be deemed the glowing creation of a
brother’s fondness. It is enough to mention the strength of our
attachment. I was two years her senior; and when her age qualified her for
sharing in childish pastimes, she was the welcome partner of all my
amusements. I showered into her lap the first flowers of spring, and
brought her the wild-strawberry from heights where few would venture. In
her friendship, I reposed the confidence of ripening boyhood—frequently
were the overflowings of a sanguine temperament repressed by her mildness.
With innocent wiles she endeavored to vail my errors from parental eyes;
when I did incur displeasure, her accustomed gayety was gone, and the
voice that recalled her truant smile, was ever that which pardoned the
offender.



II.


I was entering my twentieth year, when our situation underwent an
important change. Our landlord was gathered to his ancestors, having
bequeathed his Lombardy estate to his second son, Count Rainer. Engel, the
good old steward, was soon after dismissed from office, and retired, with
the fruits of faithful service, to his native town in Carniola.

Count Rainer was a captain in the imperial army. He was with his regiment
at Pavia when informed of his father’s death. Devolving his authority on
an emancipated sergeant of hussars, the purveyor of his libertine
pleasures, he dispatched him to St. Michael to wring money from the
tenantry, and prepare for his reception.

Ludolf was a swaggering bravo, emulous, at middle age, of the vices of
profligate youth. On his arrival, he circulated a pompous intimation that
he came vested with full powers to treat with the vassals of the count,
and renew their engagements.

My sister had gone to the village to make purchases, and I left the mill
at vesper chime with the intention of meeting her. The path was abrupt,
and little frequented. I was cherishing discontent at the husbandman’s
unvaried existence, when I was roused by the distant accents of a female
in distress. They were clearly distinguishable, and I rushed to the
quarter whence they proceeded. In a corner of an open spot, backed by a
deep ditch, fenced with luxuriant underwood, Katherine was keeping a man,
unknown to me, at bay: he was above the middle size, and in his beard and
costume affected the fashion of the military. He faced me as I approached,
and my sister, with disordered dress and agitated frame, flew to my side.
Defenseless as I was, my first impulse was to chastise the ruffian, though
he wore a sabre; but consideration for the terrified girl, who clung to me
imploringly, induced me to forego my purpose. We had not receded many
paces, when Katherine relinquished her hold, and uttered a warning cry:
the hand of violence was already at my throat; and a harsh voice, unsteady
from rage or intemperance, demanded why a contemptible slave dared to
interfere with the representative of Count Rainer.

Unequal to my opponent in bulk and inert force, I was far above him in
activity and the resources of a vigorous constitution. A sudden jerk freed
me from his hold, and a well-applied push sent him reeling to the verge of
the ditch. He drew his weapon with a rapidity on which I had not
calculated; Katherine’s coolness saved my life: she arrested his arm in
its sweep. Ere he could disengage himself, I collected all my energy for
one buffet, and laid him supine in the reservoir of mud.



III.


Count Rainer was greeted at St. Michael with the show of rustic rejoicing
usual on the appearance of a new master. He was accompanied by a train of
riotous associates. The roar of Bacchanalian merriment shook the dusky
halls of his patrimonial fabric, which, in the blaze of unwonted
festivity, seemed to have renewed its youth. Naught, from the evening of
the rencounter, had we heard or seen of Ludolf. His rudeness might have
originated in the coarse jocularity of a soldier, stimulated by too fervid
an application to the bottle. Prudence required that I should abstain from
needlessly irritating a man whose enmity might mar my father’s
arrangements with his lord: I therefore avoided the chance of collision.

I was strolling about the fields with my gun on my shoulder, when a pet
pigeon of Katherine’s whirred past me, pursued by a hawk. I fired at the
bird of prey, which dropped in an adjoining meadow. Springing across the
intervening hedge, I found myself in the presence of a group of mounted
sportsmen and their attendants. One of the horsemen was examining the dead
hawk; his attention was directed toward me by a retainer, in whose brawny
proportions, husky voice, and ferocious mustaches, I recognized my
adversary, Ludolf.

My gun was demanded, in the name of Count Rainer: I refused to surrender
it. The party formed a circle around, pinioned me, and wrested it from me,
ere I could attempt resistance. “Mr. Steward,” said the count, “you may
now acquaint your friend with the consequences of destroying a nobleman’s
falcon.”

The ready villain and his servile followers dragged me to the earth; they
profaned my person by stripes. When they left me in my abasement, the air
felt pestilent with their brutal laughter.

I lay with my face to the greensward long after their departure. My brain
was eddying in a hell-whirl. I could have welcomed the return of chaos,
that the circumstance of my shame might be obliterated in the clash of
contending elements. Had the sun been blotted from the heavens, and the
summer earth turned to blackness and desolation, I should have thought
them fit and natural occurrences. I raised my burning brow; but the orb of
day was riding high in his glory, and the meadow-grass and wild flowers
were fresh and fragrant as if they had not witnessed the act of
degradation. I discovered that a stranger had been regarding me with a
vigilant eye. I confronted him, and darted at him a devouring glance; his
firm, contemplative look remained unaltered. Placing a hand on my
shoulder, he said, “Albert Reding, consider me your friend.”

“I know you not,” I answered, “nor care to know you.” He smiled
benevolently:

“Young man, I am no Austrian. I shall be with you to-morrow.”



IV.


The stranger kept his word: on the ensuing day he came to our dwelling.
Making, he said, a tour through the north of Italy, the picturesque
scenery tempted him to prolong his sojourn at St. Michael. In his
excursions, he had chanced to hold random converse with my father, whom he
professed to value as the worthy descendant of an independent and
intelligent people.

I had forborne to grieve my family by the story of my disgrace, nor had it
yet been detailed to them by the officious communicativeness of pretended
friends. Our visitor made no allusion to it, but expatiated very agreeably
on topics of general interest. He described the passes of the Alps with
the accuracy of a mountaineer, and displayed an intimacy with the
localities of the cantons that filled my parents with pleasure and
surprise. In pursuit of knowledge he had traversed the most remarkable
sections of the globe; and his observations, affluent in instruction,
proved that his wanderings had been of a different order from the
capricious migrations of sight-seeking wealth.

The warmth with which I seconded some of his sentiments appeared to please
him. He complimented my father on my education; adding, that the judgment
with which I developed its resources designated me for a wider sphere of
action than belonged to a tiller of the soil of Lombardy. I had been vain
enough to entertain the same opinion; and its confirmation by a competent
authority was balm to my spirit. Gladly I acceded to his request, of
guiding him to the Baron’s Font, a romantic cascade, where, to use his own
language, he sighed to offer allegiance to Nature.

My companion noted the peculiarities of the route, and committed to
writing the information I furnished respecting the district. We rested on
the summit of a steep, skirted by the foaming stream of the cascade,
beyond which rose wooded grounds in bold acclivity, mellowing, with their
dusky greenness, the gloomy grandeur of a mouldering tower.

The stranger abruptly adverted to the hateful humiliation of the preceding
day. He descanted on the contumely I had suffered, with a vehement
bitterness that chafed my young blood to flame. I denounced endless
hostility against the count and his minions. He calmly commented on the
futility of the threat. In the frenzy of exasperation, I insinuated the
possibility of resorting to the darkest means of accomplishing revenge. He
replied, that in cooler moments I would spurn the idea of Italian
vengeance. Requiring a pledge of secrecy, he proceeded to point out an
honorable mode of lowering the crest of the oppressor.

“My name,” he said, “is Philippon—my profession, a military engineer, in
the service of the French Republic. The armies of Liberty only await the
capture of Toulon to sever the chains of Italy. I am terminating a secret
journey of observation through Piedmont and the Milanese. Come with me to
Paris, and join the standard of Freedom. In France, no parchment barrier
excludes untitled youth from fame and fortune; draw a blade in her cause,
and relieve the place of your nativity from the thralldom of its petty
tyrant. These brutal and stolid Austrians must be driven to their land of
hereditary bondage—justice demands it. The time has gone by for insulted
and injured Humanity to shed tears in secret. Five dreary years I pined in
the dismal solitudes of the Bastile—I saw it fall, amid the curses of my
countrymen; and never shall the spirit of a liberated nation taste repose,
until every stronghold of remorseless power is patent to the winds of
heaven as yon grim old fortress, where the Count Rainers of the past
outraged with impunity the natural equality of man!”

The majesty of generous indignation irradiated his brow: the eloquent
thunders of the Roman forum seemed to roll around me. I agreed to attend
him to the capital of the young Republic.



V.


Bent on entering the field of martial adventure, I anticipated much
difficulty in obtaining the concurrence of my father. A lover of
tranquillity, he had sickened at the sanguinary measures that had
crimsoned the cradle of the French Revolution. Yielding also to age and
infirmity, he had been accustomed to the prospect of resigning to me the
chief management of our affairs. The narrative of my shame, however, which
led him to tremble for the consequences, determined him against opposing
my departure. Of my military project, and the pursuits of my patron, I
made no disclosure—I barely stated the fact, that he had promised to
provide for me at Paris, and proposed, in the mean time, giving me
employment as an amanuensis.

Sorrow and joy are twin daughters of affection. Notwithstanding the
excitement of curiosity and ambition, reluctantly and despondingly I
crossed our humble threshold. I went away at night, and this added to the
melancholy character of the separation. My mother was unwell, and at her
bedside I received her blessing. The features of my gentle-natured sister
gave dim and pallid testimony to the fullness of her affliction. When I
had parted with my parents, she escorted me to the extremity of the
orchard. “Oh, Albert!” were the only words she had power to utter; and her
face looked so mournful—so heart-appealing, in the moonlight—that to
desert her smote me as a sin. One embrace, and I bounded off like a
chamois—then paused, till weeping relieved my soul—Katherine! Katherine!



VI.


I remained about a year at Paris in the house of my patron. Toulon had
fallen, and the army of Italy had commenced operations by a successful
movement on the Sardinian frontier. Profiting by the opportunity I
possessed of studying the theory of the military art, I was rewarded with
a commission in a regiment of the line—one of those destined for the
invasion of the Milanese. I received, with alacrity, the order to proceed
to Nice. I was shocked and disgusted by the dreary spectacle of civil
broil, and I thirsted for distinction. The memory of wrong also rankled in
my bosom, and in my dreams I planted the revolutionary banner on the
battlements of St. Michael, and heard myself hailed in the halls of the
insolent Austrian with the acclamations due to a hero.

I joined my regiment; but a government weakened by vacillations in its
form, and dissensions in the capital, permitted the army, with which my
hopes were associated, to languish ill-appointed and inactive. Instead of
running a career of glory, it was forced to contend with the most
depressing privations. In my despondency, a long-delayed letter arrived
from my father. Its contents were almost limited to the earnest request,
that I would immediately hasten home.

Its emphatic urgency, unaccompanied by explanation, assured me that all
went not well. I would fain have obeyed the summons, but it was
impracticable. The Directory, established in authority, ordered the army
of Italy to the field. General Bonaparte, an officer in his twenty-sixth
year, marshaled the way to the Alps.

Napoleon’s campaigns in 1796 are familiar to all Europe. It was my fortune
to be present in the most remarkable engagements, and to escape without a
wound. When Wurmser, after repeated defeats, succeeded in recruiting his
forces in the Tyrol, a strong body of our troops, headed by the
commander-in-chief, advanced against a division of 20,000 Austrians
stationed at Roveredo. Our line of march lay through the district of my
birth. A few hours before we were in motion I was summoned to the quarters
of the general. It was the well-known characteristic of this extraordinary
man scrupulously to ascertain the extent of his resources, even to the
qualifications of an individual soldier.

Aware of my knowledge of the country he was about to penetrate, he wished
to make it subservient to his purpose. He questioned me as to the
correctness of some local information, which I perceived had been derived
from the documents of Philippon. Satisfied on these points, he sportively
inquired, if I had any dislike to act as his herald to my old neighbors. I
related my obligations to our German superior, and he promised me ample
powers for discharging them in full.

We were evidently unexpected. No artificial obstacle opposed our progress,
and we proceeded with unexampled celerity. Our advanced posts were only
separated from St. Michael by a few miles of broken ground, when I was
dispatched with a detachment to surprise it. The troops halted in a
chestnut grove, about half a league from the mill, while I, grappling a
fowling-piece, assuming a light hunting-cap, and covering my uniform with
an ordinary cloak, went forth to reconnoitre the place, and to provide for
the safety of my relatives.

I skirted round the village and castle, which I found were occupied by a
company of Hungarian infantry under Count Rainer. Not anticipating the
irruption of an enemy into their secluded fastness, camp indulgences had
relaxed order. My informer, a poor peasant, seemed afraid of confiding to
a stranger his opinion of the count and his followers. I asked concerning
my family, but with the name of Reding he was unacquainted.

It was the beginning of September. There had been a continuance of
unusually sultry weather, and the melting of the mountain snows had
swelled the stream at St. Michael to an impetuous torrent. Twilight was
approaching when I reached a sheltered position opposite the castle. The
waters dashed furiously against the base of the building, and the crazy
supports of the antiquated bridge quivered like a harpstring.

I resolved on a nocturnal attack, and was about to seek a passing
interview with the dear domestic circle, when, looking toward the castle,
I saw what stayed my step. A female ran wildly to the stream, pursued by
some menials, in the rear of whom, on horseback, came the count their
master. The fugitive cleared the bridge just as her pursuers gained it. At
that moment the centre of the infirm structure gave way to the torrent.
Concealed among the trees, I perceived the female on bended knees,
distractedly blessing God for her deliverance; and I knew that it was
Katherine, my only—my beloved sister!

I fired a shot at him who had been foremost in the chase—the infamous
Ludolf—as he clambered up a remnant of the shattered bridge. He stood
unhurt amidst the group that surveyed me, while I sheltered the dove of my
boyhood in my bosom. In the confusion I exposed my uniform; the alarm was
given, and every instant became precious. I supported Katherine until out
of sight of the foe. “Fly!” I cried; “fly to our parents, dear sister!
tell them I shall bring glad tidings in the morning!”

I counseled in vain. The sense of injury had unsettled her mind—she hung
helplessly upon me—her lips moved, but I could distinguish nothing of what
she spoke, save the repetition of the words, “Home! I have no home!”—Oh,
God! she was sadly altered!

A bugle echoed among the cliffs. I bore her to a cavern, the discovery of
my youth, and wrapped her in my cloak. Hurrying, by familiar paths, with a
speed I had never before exerted, I rejoined my associates.



VII.


An intricate and circuitous track brought us at midnight to the isolated
church of St. Michael, commanding the village and the narrow road to the
castle. We crouched in the church-yard, until every sound ceased, and the
lights that had blazed in different directions were no longer visible.
Leaving part of my force to intercept the communication with the village,
I led the remainder to a point of the fortress which I had scaled in my
youthful rambles.

The pacing of the sentinels, and the noisy vigils of the count and his
guests, were clearly audible as I descended the ivied wall. My party
followed, one by one, and our success would have been signally complete,
but for the accidental discharge of a musket. This was answered by a
volley from the guard, the din of arms, and the hasty gathering of a
tumultuous body of defenders. Ordering my men to keep close and follow me,
we pressed forward to a private door that opened into the body of the
pile.

This barrier was quickly shattered by a shower of balls, and in a second
the great hall resounded with the groans of the dying and the shouts of
the triumphant. In that arena of slaughter I was collected as I am now.
Once had Rainer’s bloated visage confronted me in the fray, but the
baleful meteor vanished, and bootless to me was the issue of the conflict,
until blade or bullet did its work on him and his subordinate.

The hall gave indications of a carousal. The red wine streaming from
flagons overturned in struggle, mingled with the life-drops of the
wassailers. Death derived a more appalling aspect from the relics of
recent revelry. Some intoxicated wretches had been bayoneted with the
goblets in their hands. One had fallen backward on the hearth above the
burning embers; he was mortally wounded, and the blood gushed freely in
the flames. I stooped to raise him from his bed of torture. The streaks of
gore did not disguise the lineaments of Ludolf. The reprobate had closed
his reckoning with mortality.

Victory was ours, but discipline was at an end; I could with difficulty
muster sentinels for the night; the cellars were ransacked, and weariness
and intemperance soon produced their effects. Sending confidential
messengers to attend to my sister’s safety, and convey intelligence to my
father, I prepared to await the dawn of morning.

Feverish from anxiety, I felt no inclination to grant my wearied limbs
repose. My brain was racked with the thought of Katherine, and
apprehension for my parents. I had seen enough to convince me that Rainer
had done his worst. What confederate demon had enabled him to escape me?

I paced from post to post, execrating the sluggish march of time. Leaning
over an eminence near the broken bridge, I listened to the turbulent music
of the waters. A subterraneous opening cut in the rocky soil below
communicated with the vaults of the castle. Hearing the echo of a
foot-fall, I bent cautiously over the outlet. A lamp glimmered beneath. A
muffled figure raised it aloft to guide its egress, then extinguished it
hastily. The light fell on the face of the count.

I grasped his cloak as he emerged, but, slipping it from his shoulders, he
retreated toward a shelving wood-walk on the margin of the stream. Had he
gained it, the darkness must have saved him. Both my pistols missed fire.
I outstripped in the race, and bore him back to the very edge of the
ravine. He made a thrust at me with his sword. I neither paused for a
trial of skill, nor attempted to ward off the weapon; the butt-end of a
pistol found its way to his forehead; not a sound passed his lips; down he
went—down—down—passively bounding over the jagged declivity, till a heavy
plash told that he was whirling with the torrent.

Vengeance was satisfied: I recoiled involuntarily from the scene of the
encounter. Suddenly arose an explosion, as if a volcano had torn up the
foundation of the castle: I was felled to the earth ere I could speculate
upon the cause.



VIII.


My campaigns were over. Rainer had laid a train, and fired the powder
magazine of his captured hold. The bravest of my men perished; and I,
crushed beneath a fragment of the toppling towers, lived to curse the art
that returned me mutilated and miserable, to a world in which I was
henceforth to have no portion.

I left the hospital a phantom, and set forth on a pilgrimage, the
performance of which was the only business that remained to me in life.
The tide of battle had ebbed from St. Michael, when I crawled up its
steep—the church and castle were blackened ruins—the habitations of the
villagers roofless and deserted—the mill a shapeless mass of timber and
stones. Our orchard was unfolding the buds of spring—I fancied that the
hoary apple-trees wore the aspect of friends—the voice of singing floated
on my ear, as I neared the dwelling of my infancy, and the fountain of my
heart re-opened.

Close to the spot where our pretty porch once stood, a matron, in the garb
of extreme penury, was bending over the trampled remains of a plot of
flowers. Her features were only partially revealed, but the mountain
melody she sang could not be mistaken—I fell at my mother’s feet! Shading
back the hair from my scarred temples, she asked me if I had come from her
children!

Mercy was vouchsafed to her and to me. She soon slumbered with the clods
of the valley. My father had died, ere my departure from France; and the
story of our injuries from the Austrian lightened the burden of remorse
for the shedding of blood. I have discovered no trace of Katherine since I
quitted her at the cave.



A MASKED BALL AT VIENNA.


It is a bitterly cold night, and the snow which has been for three days
tumbling down upon the roofs and pavements of Vienna, tumbles down upon us
still. The theatres, which get through their performances by half-past
nine, are closed already; and there is a lull now in the muffled streets.
I mean to go out as a muffled man, and use the ticket I have bought for a
Masked Ball at the palace. The sale of tickets for such balls, which take
place now and then during the winter, raises enormous sums, which are
applied to charitable purposes, so that the luxury of the rich is made to
minister, in this case, also to the comforts of the poor.

Here I stand ankle-deep in snow, and look up at the palace; all the
windows on the first story are being lighted up, and cold gentlemen
converging toward the door from all parts, are the members of Strauss’s
band. And now lights have begun to flash about the streets, and masks are
beginning to arrive. Splendid carriages of the nobility; and positively
some of the imperial family do not disdain to be among the first arrivals!
The beau from the suburbs, in a light fiacre. Actresses and officers in
their broughams. Sledges from the country, drawn by merry little horses,
frisking through the snow, and jingling bells over their harness. A chaos
of lights, a coachman, and the long poles of sedan chairs in the way of a
chaos of legs, hats, shoulders, coach-tops, and every thing else, powdered
with snow that tumbles silently and steadily upon the scene of riot. A
crush of revelers upon the staircase. Half-past eleven; all the most
important people having now entered—except myself—it is quite time for me
to follow to the ball-room.

A vast room. Think of the Great Exhibition, if you want a notion of it;
and take off a discount for exaggeration. Walk to the end of this room,
and a door opens into another ball-room, almost twice as large. In each of
these great halls, there are raised orchestras, in which the bands are
stationed; and when one band ceases playing, another is prepared
immediately to begin. Galleries, to which you ascend by flights of stairs
at each end, run round both the rooms; and into these galleries open
innumerable ice and supper-rooms, passages, and out-of-the-way cells,
wherein you may lose yourself, but not your company. Masks are to be found
sitting in every corner; wherever a mask is, there is mischief.

You see nothing vulgar, no rude costume, no monstrous noses, no absurd
pairs of spectacles, or woolly wigs. You hear no boisterous shouts of
mirth; beautiful music reigns incessantly supreme over all other sounds.
Only the ladies are disguised; their faces are hidden behind elegant
little black silk masks, and they vie with each other in the costliness
and beauty of their costumes and dominoes. The men are all in simple
evening dress; they walk about, defenseless game, and yield sport in
abundance to the dames and damsels. Most of the ministers are here—grave,
steady gentlemen, with bald heads or gray hair. Each of them is surrounded
by a swarm of masks—princesses, perhaps—milliners, perhaps—and some of
them are evidently making wry mouths at what they are obliged to hear.
This is the time for home truths. The ladies at a masked ball make good
use of their disguise, and scatter about their wholesome mischief
abundantly.

A vision in black and gold beckons to me. I place myself at her disposal.
“You are an Englishman,” the vision says; “I know you.” “How, madam?” “By
your awkwardness.” “Are Britons awkward?” “Yes, and wearisome. Go, you are
not amusing. Take care of your gloves; they are so large that I fear they
will fall off.” The vision laughs at me and vanishes. I have a secret or
two which I don’t mean to print. I did think that those mysteries were
locked up in my bosom. If you ever happen to be at Vienna, with some
secrets in your keeping, and desire to know whether you hold them safe, go
to a Masked Ball. Mocking voices, behind black silk masks, will very much
surprise you with some samples of the penetration proper to a sex which
seems, in Vienna, to be made of Blue Beard wives. Twenty ladies honor me
with minute details of the contents of one apartment in my mind, which I
had considered quite a patent safe, with a fastening like that of the box
in the talisman of Oromanes.

The night wears on; at three o’clock the instrumental music ceases, but
the music of the mischievous and merry tattlers still continues to be
ringing in all ears, and making them to tingle. Every man is destined to
go home abundantly informed and criticised upon the subject of his
foibles. Until six o’clock, supping, and taking tea and coffee, will
continue, and the relish for amusement will be as keen as ever. Nobody is
dancing—nobody has danced; that is no part of the business. At length, the
multitude has dwindled down to a few stragglers; the remainder of the
cloaks, and coats, and wrappers, are brought out and scattered, as so many
hints to their possessors, in the middle of the great room. We immediately
dive and scramble for them. In another hour, the lights are put out; all
is over, and I travel home over the snow.



THE ORNITHOLOGIST.


I was still young, when a sudden reverse of fortune deprived me of a kind
father and affluence at the same time. A home was offered for my
acceptance by Mrs. Priestly, a widow lady, whom I had never seen since my
infancy, distance and circumstances having combined to effect this
separation. Mrs. Priestly was not only my godmother, but she had been the
earliest chosen friend of my own lamented mother, and now came forward to
extend succor to the destitute orphan. In former years, I remembered to
have heard that she had suffered deep sorrow, from the loss of her only
child, a fine boy, who was heir to a princely fortune, independent of his
mother’s considerable possessions. There were rumors afloat, at the period
of this bereavement, of a peculiarly distressing nature—strange,
half-suppressed whispers of some fearful accident that had rendered the
widow childless; but the memory of these things had passed away, and Mrs.
Priestly’s first despair and agony had settled down to a resigned
melancholy. On her fine countenance premature age was stamped, a smile
seldom visible, while her mourning garb was never cast aside; she was a
lifelong mourner.

The outward aspect of Lodimer—so Mrs. Priestly’s domain was called—was but
little in accordance with the sad heart of its owner, for a more cheerful
or animated scene I had rarely witnessed. The villa, surrounded by
colonnades, stood on the side of a gently swelling hill, at the base of
which flowed a broad and sparkling river, on which numerous boats and
picturesque-looking barges were continually passing and repassing. Roses
and thatch, light French windows and exotics, trimly-kept
pleasure-grounds, slopping down to the water’s edge, drooping willows and
silver birches were accessories, doubtless, to produce an effect of
combined elegance and grace, while on the opposite banks richly wooded
hills were studded with white cottages, glancing in the sunshine; though
even during rainy seasons Lodimer never looked gloomy, an indescribable
air of joyousness and hilarity pervading it. The calamity which
overshadowed Mrs. Priestly’s existence had not occurred at this pleasant
home, but at the distant seat of the widow’s brother, Mr. Lovell, of
Lovell Castle, where she and her son were on a visit at the time; and
still Mrs. Priestly continued to pay an annual visit thither, never
leaving Lodimer save for that purpose, but leading a life of extreme
seclusion. I had the satisfaction of believing that my society tended to
enhance the comfort of Mrs. Priestly; who, with the utmost delicacy and
kindness, lavished a thousand nameless attentions—trifling in themselves,
but keenly felt by the dependent; calling me her adopted daughter, while
her candor demanded and received my grateful thanks, for I fully
appreciated the excellent motives actuating Mrs. Priestly’s avowal. She
wished to prevent false expectations on my part, and yet to set at rest
all anxiety respecting the future; informing me, that the bulk of her
wealth she designed to bequeath to her nephew, Mr. Lovell’s son, but that
a moderate provision was secured for her dear orphan god-daughter. But my
agitation gave place to surprise, when Mrs. Priestly continued, addressing
me, “You have sense and discretion beyond your years, Evelin, my love, and
when you came to reside here with me, I determined first to ascertain if
this were the case, ere I confided my secret to your keeping—for I _have_
a secret—which may not be mentioned at Lovell Castle, when you accompany
me thither shortly. A few miles hence, an individual resides, to whom I
intend shortly to introduce you. He is a most unfortunate person, and
desires the strictest privacy; but Mr. Edwin is not unhappy, because he
knows the ’peace within which passeth show,’ while his intellectual
attainments are of the highest order. But, in case you should weave a
romance, Evelin, out of these details,” added Mrs. Priestly, faintly
smiling, “it is but fair I warn you, that romance and Edwin may not be
coupled together, for he is—alas! poor fellow—an unsightly and deformed
creature; his captivations are those only of the heart and mind—in this he
shines pre-eminent. Again let me remind you, my love, not to allude to Mr.
Edwin in conversation; forget him altogether, except when you speak to me.
I know that you are not tormented with feminine curiosity, or I would tell
you to ask no questions. This is my secret, Evelin, which I fearlessly
confide to your keeping.”

However, Mrs. Priestly did me more than justice, for though I certainly
endeavored to indulge no idle speculations on the forbidden topic, yet I
was not apathetic enough to forget it; more especially after accompanying
Mrs. Priestly to see her mysterious friend, whose _ménage_, to say nothing
of himself, might have excused a far more insensible person than I was for
feeling a strong interest and sympathy. Surrounded by thick woods on all
sides save one, which opened toward the same river that washed the emerald
turf of Lodimer, we came to a small spot of ground resembling a
“clearing,” and I fancied we were transported to those wild western lands
I had so often read of—the old ivy-covered hunting-lodge in the midst
adding much to the real beauty of the picture, though detracting somewhat
from its savage charms. Quantities of feathered tribes were strutting
about within the inclosure, or enjoying themselves in various attitudes of
indolence or security; an immense aviary extended down one side of the
clearing, fitted up with the view of affording as much solace and liberty
of movement as possible to the inmates. The whole place seemed alive with
fowls of the air, and we beheld a human form within the wire-work of the
aviary, literally covered with birds, small and large, wherever they could
find a resting-place—on head, arms, or back—and many more were fluttering
and crowding over and around him, as Mr. Edwin—for it was he—proceeded to
dispense food to his loving flock. Presently he made his escape, and
approached us, with a jay perched on one shoulder and a magpie on the
other, appearing to hold whispering discourse with their benefactor, who
fondly caressed and chirruped to them in turn. He was of middling stature,
perceptibly and painfully deformed; but his countenance was such an one as
Raphael would have loved to portray—holy, placid, and spiritual, beyond
any mortal face I have looked upon before or since. His voice was
inexpressibly touching and melodious; it thrilled the heart of the
listener, for there was an intonation of sadness in its tone, though the
words were cheerful, as he cordially and warmly welcomed us. We followed
him into a long, low-roofed apartment, the windows of which looked out on
woodland vistas, and on all sides, from floor to ceiling, it was lined
with books, and cases containing stuffed birds, for Mr. Edwin was devoted
to the study of ornithology, and almost rivaled Audubon in patient
watching and research. A married couple, of quiet and orderly habits,
formed the domestic establishment at Ivy Lodge; and the profound stillness
and solitude of this sylvan retreat was unbroken, save by the cooing of
the cushat dove, the song-birds’ varied notes, the sonorous hooting of the
white owl up among the eaves, and the occasional screams of the splendid
peacocks ringing through the greenwood glades.

Here was the paradise of the feathered creatures, here they were all
fostered and protected; and Mr. Edwin had attained the mysterious art of
taming the wild denizens of the woods as surely and wonderfully, if not
quite as rapidly, as did that celebrated Arab horse-leech exert his skill
on quadrupeds, whispering in the ear of vicious and hitherto untamable
steeds, who immediately became docile and subdued. Even shy and stately
swans knew this lonely clearing on the river banks, and frequently came to
be fed by Mr. Edwin’s gentle hand; the swans had a nest here among the
reeds, and broods of cygnets were reared in this haven of peace. Mr. Edwin
had made many beautiful copies of rare birds, which he could not otherwise
preserve, the colors being brilliant and true to nature, as well as the
size of each specimen; and I felt not a little delighted when he accepted
my timid offer of assistance in this branch of his study, for I was afraid
that my poor efforts would fall far short of his masterly productions. But
Mrs. Priestly re-assured me, and she told Mr. Edwin that he had found a
valuable coadjutor, for bird-painting had always been quite a passion with
me—a strange taste, perhaps, for a young lady, though I know not why it
should be considered more out of the way than copying flowers from nature.
However, I exerted myself to the utmost, and succeeded well, for he gave
my drawings unqualified approbation, and was eloquent in thanking me. I am
sure the amiable recluse read my heart at once, and saw how eagerly and
gratefully I availed myself of this opportunity, trifling as it was, of
gratifying Mrs. Priestly, to whom I owed so much; for her affection toward
Mr. Edwin rendered attentions bestowed on him personally felt and
acknowledged by her. This similarity of taste, together with our mutual
love and veneration for Mrs. Priestly, induced that kindly communion
between Mr. Edwin and myself which afterward ripened into a lasting
friendship, cemented by time. He was, indeed, wise unto salvation. Learned
not only in this world’s lore, but in that wisdom which maketh not
ashamed, he bore his daily cross most meekly, and yet most manfully.
Deeply alive to the beautiful, keenly sensitive on all points,
tender-hearted and affectionate, he lived alone in the woodland solitude,
not, I was convinced, from any morbid disinclination to encounter his kind
on account of his personal affliction (he was too humble and good for
that), but from some unknown and mysterious cause, some hidden sorrow,
which rendered solitude in a retreat like this desirable. At Lodimer, I
never gazed on the gay and sparkling river, without remembering that it
flowed onward toward the swan’s nest among the reeds. I never gazed on the
thick, rich woods, or heard the wood-pigeon’s cooing across the waters at
the hushed evening hour, without a sensation of tranquillity and peace
stealing over my spirit, as fancy pictured the lonely lodge, the soft
twittering around it, and the dense shadows beyond.

I obeyed Mrs. Priestly, and never asked a question concerning Mr. Edwin,
but I pondered much on this interesting subject; and whenever my thoughts
turned away from the vanities of this world, they always rested with
satisfaction on the ornithologist.

As the time drew nigh for our departure to Lovell Castle, I observed a
degree of restlessness on Mr. Edwin which I had not hitherto noticed, and
frequent gloomy abstraction, which he vainly endeavored to shake off in
our presence. Mrs. Priestly often conversed alone with him, when traces of
agitation were visible on her countenance, and tears on his; and when she
bade him farewell, these words lingered on his lips—“Tell dear Mildred how
happy I am.”

Lovell Castle was a dark, frowning pile, bearing an ancient date, while
some portions were more antiquated still, and had fallen into disuse. It
was a real castle of the olden time; I had often read of such with
interest and delight, but now I could explore for myself. Here were
dungeons and vaulted chambers, trap-doors and loop-holes, intricate
passages, secret hiding-places, and curious old oaken chests, battlements
and turrets, carved work and tapestry, banqueting hall and chapel—in
short, all the appendages necessary for romance in feudal days.

The family consisted of Mr. Lovell, Mildred, his eldest daughter by a
first wife, and Harold and Rose, the children of the second Mrs. Lovell,
who had died when Rose was an infant. Mildred was tenderly beloved by Mrs.
Priestly; and, as she never quitted her hypochondriacal father, it was
principally to see this dear niece that the widow left her quiet home on
the margin of Lodimer’s blue waters. I was absolutely startled by the
extraordinary and striking likeness between the ornithologist and Mildred
Lovell—the same placid, sweet expression of countenance, the same gentle,
winning manners, too. While in unobtrusive performance of her duties
toward God and man, this good daughter and sister journeyed onward through
life, ministering to the comfort and well-being of all, but without
exacting a meed of praise or a single glance of admiration. Mildred was
nobody at Lovell Castle; but, had she been absent, her absence would have
been universally bewailed, and her value known: they were perhaps too used
to the blessing to appreciate it, even as the sun shines day after day,
and we do not remark it as any thing unusual.

Rose was a volatile, thoughtless girl, yet affectionate and kind-hearted
withal, and dearly loved her elder sister, who had indeed filled the place
of a mother to her. Rose had elastic, unvarying spirits, which were not
unwelcome in that dull old place, and kept the inmates from stagnation.
She and Harold were the father’s darlings, though all Mr. Lovell’s hope
and pride centred in his son. Pre-eminently beautiful in person, active
and graceful, Harold Lovell was born the same year as his deceased cousin,
Jocelyn Priestly, and the youths had strongly resembled each other, not
only in person but in disposition. The partial parents had not, perhaps,
read those dispositions truthfully, or in both their children they might
have traced evil propensities, which went far to counterbalance the
good—revengeful passions, and a proneness to selfish indulgence, which not
all their brilliant acquirements and feats of gallant prowess could
conceal from a close observer of character. They were at the same school
together, and at Lovell Castle for the vacation, when that sad catastrophe
took place which plunged the family in irremediable affliction. Mr.
Lovell, who had always been a nervous, ailing man, never recovered the
shock, and latterly he had sunk into complete indolence, and left the care
and management of his affairs entirely to Harold, who, however,
ill-fulfilled his duties. The aversion which Mrs. Priestly entertained
toward her nephew, and which she vainly strove to conceal, had once been
the source of painful contention between Mr. Lovell and his sister, though
now it had settled down into a silent grief never alluded to by either of
them. All these particulars I had heard from Rose; and much I was amazed
at Mrs. Priestly’s conduct, coupled with the avowal she had made to me
respecting the disposal of her property in favor of her nephew; but I knew
her to be a just and strong-minded woman, and felt sure there was some
mystery connected with these family details, which Rose was bursting to
disclose, the first convenient opportunity. But I gave her no
encouragement to do so, for I thought that, had Mrs. Priestly wished me to
know the secret motives by which she was actuated, her confidence would
have been already bestowed; and it seemed a breach of trust, or
dishonorable, to gain the knowledge by other means. The sweet benignity of
Mildred Lovell, her untiring patience and unaffected cheerfulness, as well
as the strong resemblance of feature, continually reminded me of Mr.
Edwin, and I pondered often on the parting words which I had heard him
address to Mrs. Priestly—“Tell dear Mildred how happy I am.”

And what was Mildred to Mr. Edwin? Wherefore was he exiled and alone? What
had he done that his name was forbidden to be spoken at Lovell? These
ideas constantly haunted me, despite my determination to exclude such idle
questionings concerning the mysterious affair. Rose sometimes communicated
some portion of her own gay spirit to me: we were thrown much together,
for Mildred was constantly occupied with her invalid parent, and Mrs.
Priestly shared the duties of her beloved niece. But I often desired the
solitude which was more congenial to my turn of mind, though it was not
always easy to obtain it, as Rose, from a mistaken kindness, continually
watched my movements, and accompanied me wheresoever I desired to go. It
was impossible to check the affectionate girl in a direct manner; but I
discovered that there was one locality particularly avoided by all the
inmates of the castle, which had fallen into decay, and was seldom
approached by Rose. This was the western wing or turret; and thither,
accordingly, I often bent my steps, in search of quietude, and also of a
magnificent prospect to be viewed from the summit. In this sumptuous home
at Lovell Castle, my thoughts often wandered to Ivy Lodge on Lodimer’s
banks, and its lonely occupant, apart from the vanities of life, contented
and cheerful under afflictions which were, I felt sure, of no common
nature. I compared the pious recluse with the heir of Lovell, toward whom
an inexpressible feeling of repugnance reigned in my breast. Harold was
devoted to field sports and the pleasures of the table; he was, in fact,
the real master, consulting only his own time and inclinations on all
occasions. His bloated, though still handsome countenance, evidenced
excess; while a dictatorial manner, as of one unused to reproof or
contradiction, was habitual. A constant restlessness and irritability, a
quick turn of the eye, a wild glance, betokened a mind ill at ease. He was
a scoffer at religion, too, an unkind brother, and an undutiful son to the
doating father, who yet believed and saw no faults in his offspring.
Despite her brother’s harshness, Rose, with devoted sisterly affection,
extenuated Harold’s conduct, and it was very beautiful to witness her
womanly tenderness and forbearance. It might be that Mildred was the child
of another mother, and that circumstances had somewhat weakened the ties
of blood; but notwithstanding her general kindness of demeanor toward all,
including Harold, there was a perceptible shade of coldness when
addressing him. She never volunteered an embrace, to be cast off, like the
persevering, warm-hearted Rose; she never clung to her brother, praying
him to remain at home, when he was about to engage in any hazardous or
foolish exploit. No; there was some sin or sorrow which had weaned and
divided this brother and sister, until the erring one should turn and
repent. And who could doubt that Mildred Lovell would open wide her arms
to receive the penitent?

I had sought my favorite deserted turret, to contemplate a glorious sunset
behind the distant mountains, when Rose joined me on the summit, from
whence we gazed on the dizzy depth below. She was unusually serious and
pale; her laugh was hushed, and she spoke in whispers.

“Why do you choose this spot, Evelin, to indulge your reveries?” she said,
“for I can not bear to remain here; and Harold would not ascend this
western tower for all the universe.”

“And why is it so distasteful to you, Rose?” I inquired, with some
curiosity, “for the view is the most superb I ever witnessed. Is this wing
of the castle _haunted_?” I added, with a smile, taking her arm, and
making a step nearer to the edge, guarded only by a very low, broad
parapet.

She convulsively drew me back, exclaiming—“Oh! Evelin, if you knew the
dreadful recollections attached to this turret, you would not marvel at my
being so nervous. _I_ do not believe it is haunted, but there are folks
who do. They report that white fleecy shadows hover around it by night,
though perhaps the owls and birds building in the crevices may account for
the supposed supernatural appearances.”

“And wherefore, Rose, is this turret in such bad repute? What are the
dreadful recollections attached to it? A legend of olden times, perhaps?”

“Alas, Evelin,” responded my companion, “’tis a reality of our own. My
poor cousin, Jocelin Priestly, met with his fearful end here. He fell from
this dizzy height on the shaven turf beneath, and lived but a few moments
afterward.”

“But how did this fatal accident occur, Rose?” I inquired. “Why have you
never mentioned it before?”

Paler than ever, Rose replied, with a faltering voice, “Because it was
_not_ an _accident_, Evelin” (she shivered, and put her lips close to my
ear). “He was cast down intentionally.”

“By whom, Rose?” My heart throbbed violently; strange thoughts were
rushing through my brain.

“I dare not tell you; I am forbidden to reveal more. I was very young at
the time, and things were hushed up; but poor Milly has been a changed
being ever since.”

“Mildred!” I exclaimed, in surprise; “what effect could this tragedy have
on her, more than on other members of your family?”

“It had, it had, Evelin, because she desired to screen the guilty; but ask
me no more, and let us quit this hateful place.”

My mind was bewildered and uneasy. Who could the guilty person alluded to
be, and wherefore such a mystery preserved? The wildest conjectures
disturbed my imagination, while redoubled love and sympathy were given to
the bereaved mother. But this tangled web was soon to be
unraveled—unraveled in an awful and sudden manner, for that avenging arm
was outstretched which no mortal can withstand.

We were preparing to return home, and I was happy in the near prospect of
seeing dear Lodimer so soon. Harold Lovell left the castle at early morn
in high health and spirits, to attend a race meeting, some few miles off,
with several boon companions. A quarrel arose, and Harold, deeming himself
insulted, and more than half inebriated, struck a desperate gambler, who
demanded satisfaction on the spot. Harold fell, mortally wounded, and was
borne back to Lovell on a litter, late in the evening. The father’s
despair, blessedly merged in insensibility, the sister’s agony, we draw a
vail over.

Mrs. Priestly, Mildred, and myself, with the medical attendants, alone
were calm and of use, so far, indeed, as human aid extended. The domestics
were wildly running hither and thither, but to no purpose: Harold Lovell
was rapidly dying. Mrs. Priestly supported the expiring sufferer; she
bathed his temples, and spoke words of peace. You would have deemed him
the son of her fondest love, all dislike merged in pity and the tenderest
solicitude. Suddenly Harold opened his glazing eyes to their widest
extent; he recognized her, while a shudder convulsively shook his whole
frame. He essayed to articulate, and at length these broken sentences were
heard, “Forgive me, Aunt Priestly—_now_ forgive. ’Twas I did it! Edwin is
innocent; I am the murderer. Oh! mercy! mercy!”

Mrs. Priestly had sank down beside the couch, as with clasped hands she
raised her streaming eyes to heaven; then burying her face, she
murmured—“I do forgive you, poor boy, and so does Edwin, freely.” The
spirit passed into eternity as she spoke these words. I saw Mildred fling
herself into Mrs. Priestly’s arms, and I remember no more, for, unused to
such scenes, my strength succumbed.

Mr. Lovell and his son were laid side by side in the family vault on the
same day; the broken-hearted father surviving his beloved child but a few
hours. That son’s dying confession was repeated to him, although he took
no notice at the time, and lived not to make restitution to the innocent;
but to his daughters, as co-heiresses, the whole of his immense wealth
descended; and yet Mr. Lovell left a son—a good, noble-hearted son, whom
he had unjustly disinherited. When the disinherited was told that the only
words his departed parent had spoken after receiving his death-blow, the
only token of consciousness he had evinced was in faintly murmuring,
“Bless Edwin, my son,” that son valued the world’s wealth but as dross in
comparison; nor would he have exchanged those precious words for all the
uncounted riches of the globe! His father then had believed him innocent,
and had blessed him; and Edwin, the ornithologist of Ivy Lodge, came to
Lovell Castle, justly lord of all, but owning nothing save a thankful
heart and a peaceful mind, to be clasped in the arms of his faithful
sister Mildred, for they were twins, and linked together in heart. Then,
and not till then, were the following particulars narrated to Rose and
myself by Mrs. Priestly. Rose mourned deeply for her brother, but justice
to the living demanded full disclosure of the truth.

Edwin had never been a favorite with his father, a fall in infancy having
rendered him unsightly, and probably occasioned the delicate health which
induced that love of studious repose so opposite to those qualities which
Mr. Lovell admired in his younger son. A tutor was provided for Edwin at
home, while Harold, with his cousin, Jocelin Priestly, was sent to a
public school. With unfeeling thoughtlessness, Jocelin used often to amuse
himself by joking at the expense of Edwin’s personal deformity, calling
him “hunchback,” and many other nick-names, all of which the amiable youth
bore with unflinching patience and fortitude, ever returning good for
evil. The quarrels and rivalry between Harold and Jocelin were violent and
unceasing; and, previous to the last vacation, they had risen to a fiercer
pitch than formerly, Jocelin Priestly having carried off a prize from
Harold, which the latter declared was unfair. Jocelin’s spirits were
outrageous, and in reckless levity he made so unceasing a butt of the
unfortunate elder brother, that Edwin determined to keep himself as much
aloof as possible from the boisterous pair, whose bickerings and
headstrong passion disturbed his equanimity. Mildred, whose love and
veneration for her beloved brother was returned by him with a depth of
affection which only the isolated can feel, vainly tried to make peace and
preserve concord. Mrs. Priestly, with a mother’s doating partiality for an
only child, never _allowed_ Jocelin to be in fault, though she would chide
his exuberant spirits, and liked not that he should wound the gentle
Edwin, whom she dearly loved. Mr. Lovell, on the other hand, laughed at
the lads’ faults; and, when he could not laugh, winked at them: “Edwin was
a milk-sop, and Harold and Jocelin fine, high-spirited, handsome fellows,
who would grow wiser as they grew older.” Mrs. Priestly “hoped so”—she
“prayed so; and Jocelin was so clever and handsome, that a little
steadiness was all he needed; there was nothing else amiss.” So argued the
blind mother; and, next to Harold, his uncle Lovell’s affections were
lavished on this nephew.

When these two youths made their appearance at the castle, Edwin
frequently retired to the western turret, where he could read and meditate
alone, and enjoy the lovely landscape. Here he was resting on a projecting
stone, which served as a bench, part of the edifice screening him from
view, when Jocelin Priestly appeared on the summit with a telescope in
hand, and, with boyish recklessness, jumped on the low parapet, balancing
himself on the extreme verge, as he applied the glass to his eye. In
another moment Harold came leaping up the turret-stairs, boiling with
furious passion; and, darting forward, he clutched at the glass,
screaming, as he did so, “How dare you take my telescope, sir, when you
know I forbade you?” There was a struggle, a violent thrust, succeeded by
a scream of horror and despair, and Edwin beheld his brother Harold alone
on that dizzy height.

All this had passed in a moment a of time apparently. Harold looked round
with a wild, terrified glance, and fled, Edwin’s limbs refusing to sustain
him in his efforts to reach the parapet, as he lost consciousness, and
swooned. Jocelin Priestly’s fall had been noticed by a gardener, who gave
an instant alarm; but the ill-fated lad expired in his distracted mother’s
arms, after articulating, “I am murdered.”

Edwin was found on the summit of the western turret, his incoherent
exclamations and agitation being considered proofs of guilt by his father
and tutor. He solemnly asseverated his innocence, but refused to enter
into particulars until his brother Harold returned, for Harold was absent,
it was supposed, in the adjacent woodlands, where he ofttimes resorted to
practice with his gun. When he did return, Harold with well-acted surprise
heard the dreadful tidings, and demanded, in a careless manner, where
Edwin had been at the time? When informed that he was found on the summit
of the tower, and of the deceased’s fearful avowal in his dying moments,
Harold exclaimed, “Edwin has indeed avenged himself on poor Jocelin.” And
Edwin was branded as the dastardly wretch who had taken his cousin’s life
thus!

Edwin denied the foul deed with indignation and horror; but, when Harold’s
words were repeated to him, he hung his head, and blushed scarlet. He
spoke no more, save to affirm his innocence; and, when questioned as to
Jocelin Priestly having been near him on the tower just before he met with
his death, Edwin admitted the fact; but, when further pressed, he became
confused, and painful internal struggles were evident.

Mr. Lovell discarded his son forever. He would not harbor, he said, one
who had vengefully taken the life of his beloved nephew; the law, indeed,
could not reach the criminal, but a father’s malediction could! So the
hapless Edwin was disowned and disinherited by his indignant parent, who
granted him a stipend barely sufficient for subsistence, and thrust him
forth as an alien. Harold had not encountered his brother’s placid gaze;
he shrank from being alone with him, and when Edwin begged for an
audience, it was refused. Mildred protested her brother’s innocence. Edwin
had never swerved from truth in his life; and, strange to say, there was
another who sided with Mildred, and that other, the miserable mother of
the victim. She had scrutinized and watched Harold Lovell closely; and
when Edwin knelt beside her, and said, with quiet, but impressive
calmness, “I am innocent, aunt; I never injured a hair of my cousin’s
head,” he was believed by that jealous, breaking heart.

“But you were _there_, Edwin,” cried the poor lady; “you witnessed it: he
came not to his end by fair means. Speak—your brother—was it _he_ did this
foul deed, for he envied and hated my son—the base, cowardly traitor!”

Passion choked Mrs. Priestly’s utterance, and Edwin was mute. Neither
prayers nor entreaties induced him to explain past circumstances connected
with the direful catastrophe. He bore the burden of another’s guilt; he
bore in silence the contumely that should have been heaped on another, and
was banished from the parental roof. But conviction found its way to Mrs.
Priestly’s heart; and, though Mr. Lovell was implacable, nor would listen
to a suspicion implied that he _might_ be deceived, _the mother_
intuitively shrank from contact with the false-hearted Harold Lovell. As
years progressed, the truth became more and more firmly impressed on her
mind; and to him, accused by his own father of being her only child’s
destroyer, she left the bulk of her fortune, and established the outcast
in her near vicinity, firmly trusting that the Almighty, in his own good
time, would bring the real culprit to light. _Her_ heart fixed on this
culprit, but Mr. Lovell continued in error and darkness. Those precious
words spoken in his last hour proved, however, that darkness was
dissipated, and error abandoned, when the dying man murmured a blessing on
his exiled son, who had sacrificed himself to shield an ungrateful brother
from shame and opprobrium.

Within two years after her father and brother’s decease, Rose rewarded the
long and sincere attachment of a neighboring squire by becoming his wife.
Lovell Castle was sold, and Mildred repaired to Lodimer; while, on the
original site of Ivy Lodge, a more commodious dwelling was in course of
preparation. There she resided with her beloved brother for the remainder
of their joint lives, and Mr. Edwin found in his sweet companion not only
a valuable coadjutor in his favorite pursuits, but an absolute rival in
the affections of his feathered pets; while the swan’s nest among the
reeds on Lodimer’s fair waters continued to be as carefully preserved and
guarded as it had been during the solitary years of the now happy
ornithologist.



A CHILD’S TOY.


The afternoon was drawing in toward evening; the air was crisp and cool,
and the wind near the earth, steady but gentle; while above all was as
calm as sleep, and the pale clouds—just beginning in the west to be softly
gilded by the declining sun—hung light and motionless. The city, although
not distant, was no longer visible, being hidden by one of the many hills
which give such enchantment to the aspect of _our_ city. There was
altogether something singularly soothing in the scene—something that
disposed not to gravity, but to elevated thought. As we looked upward,
there was some object that appeared to mingle with the clouds, to form a
part of their company, to linger, mute and motionless like them, in that
breathless blue, as if feeling the influence of the hour. It was not a
white-winged bird that had stolen away to muse in the solitudes of air: it
was nothing more than a paper kite.

On that paper kite we looked long and intently. It was the moral of the
picture; it appeared to gather in to itself the sympathies of the whole
beautiful world; and as it hung there, herding with the things of heaven,
our spirit seemed to ascend and perch upon its pale bosom like a wearied
dove. Presently we knew the nature of the influence it exercised upon our
imagination; for a cord, not visible at first to the external organs,
though doubtless felt by the inner sense, connected it with the earth of
which we were a denizen. We knew not by what hand the cord was held so
steadily. Perhaps by some silent boy, lying prone on the sward behind
yonder plantation, gazing up along the delicate ladder, and seeing
unconsciously angels ascending and descending. When we had looked our
fill, we went slowly and thoughtfully home along the deserted road, and
nestled, as usual, like a moth, among our books. A dictionary was lying
near; and with a languid curiosity to know what was said of the object
that had interested us so much, we turned to the word, and read the
following definition: Kite—_a child’s toy_.

What wonderful children there are in this world, to be sure! Look at that
American boy, with his kite on his shoulder, walking in a field near
Philadelphia. He is going to have a fly; and it is famous weather for the
sport, for it is in June—June, 1752. The kite is but a rough one, for Ben
has made it himself, out of a silk handkerchief stretched over two
cross-sticks. Up it goes, however, bound direct for a thunder-cloud
passing overhead; and when it has arrived at the object of its visit, the
flier ties a key to the end of his string, and then fastens it with some
silk to a post. By and by he sees some loose threads of the hempen-string
bristle out and stand up, as if they had been charged with electricity. He
instantly applies his knuckles to the key, and as he draws from it the
electrical spark, this strange little boy is struck through the very heart
with an agony of joy. His laboring chest relieves itself with a deep sigh,
and he feels that he could be contented to die that moment. And indeed he
was nearer death than he supposed; for as the string was sprinkled with
rain, it became a better conductor, and gave out its electricity more
copiously; and if it had been wholly wet, the experimenter might have been
killed upon the spot. So much for _this_ child’s toy. The splendid
discovery it made—of the identity of lightning and electricity—was not
allowed to rest by Ben Franklin. By means of an insulated iron rod the new
Prometheus drew down fire from heaven, and experimented with it at leisure
in his own house. He then turned the miracle to a practical account,
constructing a pointed metallic rod to protect houses from lightning. One
end of this true magic wand is higher than the building, and the other end
buried in the ground; and the submissive lightning, instead of destroying
life and property in its gambols, darts direct along the conductor into
the earth. We may add that Ben was a humorous boy, and played at various
things as well as kite-flying. Hear this description of his pranks at an
intended pleasure-party on the banks of the Schuylkill: “Spirits at the
same time are to be fired by a spark sent from side to side through the
river, without any other conductor than water—an experiment which we have
some time since performed to the amazement of many. A turkey is to be
killed for dinner by the electrical shock; and roasted by the electrical
jack, before a fire kindled by the electrical bottle; when the healths of
all the famous electricians in England, Holland, France, and Germany, are
to be drunk in electrified bumpers, under the discharge of guns from the
electrical battery.”

We now turn to a group of capital little fellows who did something more
than fly their kite. These were English skippers, promoted somehow to the
command of vessels before they had arrived at years of discretion; and
chancing to meet at the port of Alexandria in Egypt, they took it into
their heads—these naughty boys—that they would drink a bowl of punch on
the top of Pompey’s Pillar. This pillar had often served them for a signal
at sea. It was composed of red granite, beautifully polished, and standing
114 feet high, overtopped the town. But how to get up? They sent for a
kite, to be sure; and the men, women, and children of Alexandria,
wondering what they were going to do with it, followed the toy in crowds.
The kite was flown over the Pillar, and with such nicety, that when it
fell on the other side the string lodged upon the beautiful Corinthian
capital. By this means they were able to draw over the Pillar a two-inch
rope, by which one of the youngsters “swarmed” to the top. The rope was
now in a very little while converted into a sort of rude shroud, and the
rest of the party followed, and actually drank their punch on a spot
which, seen from the surface of the earth, did not appear to be capable of
holding more than one man.

By means of this exploit it was ascertained that a statue had once stood
upon the column—and a statue of colossal dimensions it must have been to
be properly seen at such a height. But for the rest—if we except the
carvings of sundry initials on the top—the result was only the knocking
down of one of the volutes of the capital, for boys are always doing
mischief; and this was carried to England by one of the skippers, in order
to execute the commission of a lady, who, with the true iconoclasm of her
country, had asked him to be so kind as to bring her a piece of Pompey’s
Pillar.

Little fellows, especially of the class of brick-layers, are no great
readers, otherwise we might suspect that the feat of the skipper-boys had
conveyed some inspiration to Steeple Jack. Who is Steeple Jack? asks some
innocent reader at the Antipodes. He is a little, spare creature who flies
his kite over steeples when there is any thing to do to them, and lodging
a cord on the apex, contrives by its means to reach the top without the
trouble of scaffolding. No fragility, no displacement of stones, no
leaning from the perpendicular, frightens Steeple Jack. He is as bold as
his namesake, Jack-the-Giant-Killer, and does as wonderful things. At
Dunfermline, not long ago, when the top of the spire was in so crazy a
state that the people in the street gave it a wide berth as they passed,
he swung himself up without hesitation, and set every thing to rights. At
the moment we write, his cord is seen stretched from the tall, slim, and
elegant spire of the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, which is to receive,
through his agency, a lightning-conductor; and Jack only waits the
subsidence of a gale of wind to glide up that filmy rope like a spider. He
is altogether a strange boy, Steeple Jack. Nobody knows where he roosts
upon the earth, if he roosts any where at all. The last time there was
occasion for his services, this advertisement appeared in the _Scotsman_:
“Steeple Jack is wanted at such a place immediately”—and immediately
Steeple Jack became visible.

In 1827 the child’s toy was put to a very remarkable use by one Master
George Pocock. This clever little fellow observed that his kite sometimes
gave him a very strong pull, and it occurred to him that if made large
enough it might be able to pull something else. In fact, he at length
yoked a pair of large kites to a carriage, and traveled in it from Bristol
to London, distancing in grand style every other conveyance on the road. A
twelve-foot kite, it appears, in a moderate breeze, has a one-man power of
draught, and when the wind is brisker, a force equal to 200 lbs. The force
in a rather high wind is as the squares of the lengths; and two kites of
fifteen and twelve feet respectively, fastened one above the other will
draw a carriage and four or five passengers at the rate of twenty miles an
hour. But George’s invention went beyond the simple idea. He had an extra
line which enabled him to vary the angle of the surface of his kites with
the horizon, so as to make his aerial horses go fast or slow as he chose;
and side lines to vary the direction of the force, till it came almost to
right angles with the direction of the wind. His kites were made of
varnished linen, and might be folded up into small compass. The same
principle was successfully applied by a nautical lad of the name of Dansey
to the purpose of saving vessels in a gale of wind on “the dread lee
shore.” His kite was of light canvas.

In India, China, and the intermediate countries, the aggregate population
of which includes one-half of mankind, kites are the favorite toy of both
old and young boys, from three years to threescore and ten. Sometimes they
really resemble the conventional dragon, from which, among Scotch
children, they derive their name, sometimes they are of a diamond shape,
and sometimes they are like a great spider with a narrow waist. Our Old
Indian is eloquent on kites, and the glory of their colors, which, in the
days of other years, made her girlish heart leap, and her girlish eyes
dazzle. The kite-shop is like a tulip-bed, full of all sorts of gay and
gorgeous hues. The kites are made of Chinese paper, thin and tough, and
the ribs of finely-split bamboo. A wild species of silkworm is pressed
into the service, and set to spin _nuck_ for the strings—a kind of thread
which, although fine, is surprisingly strong. Its strength, however, is
wanted for aggression as well as endurance; and a mixture composed of
pounded glass and rice gluten is rubbed over it. Having been dried in the
sun, the prepared string is now wound upon a handsome reel of split bamboo
inserted in a long handle. One of these reels, if of first-rate
manufacture, costs a shilling, although coarser ones are very cheap; and
of the nuck, about four annas, or sixpence worth, suffices for a kite.

In a Hindoo town the kite-flying usually takes place on some common ground
in the vicinity, and there may be seen the young and old boys in eager
groups, and all as much interested in the sport as if their lives depended
upon their success. And sometimes, indeed, their fortunes do. Many a poor
little fellow bets sweetmeats upon his kite to the extent of his only anna
in the world; and many a rich baboo has more rupees at stake than he can
conveniently spare. But the exhilarating sport makes every body
courageous; and the glowing colors of the kites enable each to identify
his own when in the air, and give him in it, as it were, a more absolute
property. Matches are soon made. Up go the aerial combatants, and, with
straining eyes and beating hearts, their fate is watched from below. But
their masters are far from passive, for this is no game of chance,
depending upon the wind. Kite-flying is in these countries an art and
mystery; and some there be who would not disclose their recipe for the
nuck-ointment, if their own grandfathers should go upon their knees to ask
it.

Sometimes an event occurs on the common. It is the ascent of a pair of
kites of a _distingué_ air, and whose grand and determined manner shows
that the combat is to be _à l’outrance_, and that a large stake of money
depends upon the result. The fliers are invisible. They are probably on
the flat roof of some neighboring house; but the kites are not the less
interesting on account of their origin being unknown. What a host of
anxious faces are turned up to the sky! Some take a liking to the red at
first sight, while others feel attracted by a mysterious sympathy to the
green. Bets are freely offered and accepted, either in sweetmeats or
money; and the crowd, condensing, move to and fro in a huge wave, from
which their eager voices arise like the continuous roaring of the sea.
Higher and higher go the kites. Well done, Red! he has shot above his
antagonist, and seems meditating a swoop; but the Green, serenely
scornful, continues to soar, and is soon uppermost. And thus they go—now
up, now down, relatively to each other, but always ascending higher and
higher, till the spectators almost fear that they will vanish out of
sight. But at length the Green, taking advantage of a loftier position he
has gained, makes a sudden circuit, and by an adroit manœuvre gets his
silken string over the silken string of the other. Here a shout of triumph
and a yell of terror break simultaneously from the crowd; for this is the
crisis of the fight. The victor gives a fierce cut upon his adversary’s
line. The backers of the latter fancy they hear it grate, and in an
instant their forebodings are realized; for the unfortunate Red is seen to
waver like a bird struck by a shot, and then, released from the severed
string, he descends in forlorn gyrations to the earth.

Now rush in the smaller boys to play their part. Their object is that of
the plunderers who traverse the field after a battle, to rob the dying and
the slain. Off run the little Hindoos, like a company of imps from the
nether regions, tearing and fighting as they fly; and on reaching the
fallen kite, the object of their contention is torn to pieces in the
scuffle. Presently the victorious Green is seen descending, and the gross
excitement of the common pauses to watch his majestic flight. He is of the
largest size of Indian kites called _ching_, and of the spider shape.
Before being drawn in, he hangs for an instant high up over the crowd. It
is not, however, to sing _Io Pæans_ for his victory, but apparently rather
to mourn over the ruin he has made; for a wailing music breathes from his
wings as he passes. This is caused by the action of the wind upon some
finely-split bamboo twigs arched over the kite without touching the paper,
and which thus become a true Æolian harp. Sometimes a kite of this kind is
sent up at night, bearing a small lighted lantern of talc; and the
sleepers awakened, called to their balconies by the unearthly music, gaze
after the familiar apparition not without a poetical thrill.

Upon the whole, it must be admitted, we think, that this is a somewhat
interesting child’s toy. But has the kite a future? Will its powers
exhibit new developments, or has it already reached its pride of place? If
a twelve-feet kite has the force of a man, would it take many more feet to
lift a man into the air? And supposing the man to be in a strong cage of
network, with bamboo ribs, and a seat of the same material, would he have
greater difficulty in governing his aerial coursers by means of the Pocock
cords, than if he were flashing along the road from Bristol to London?
Mind, we do not say that this is possible: we merely ask for the sake of
information; and if any little boy will favor us with his opinion, we
shall take it very kind. Come, and let us fancy that it _is_ possible. The
traveler feels much more comfortable than in the car of a balloon, for he
knows he can go pretty nearly in what direction he chooses, and that he
can hasten or check the pace of his horses, and bring them to a
stand-still at pleasure. See him, therefore, boldly careering through the
air at the rate of any number of miles the wind pleases. At a single bound
he spans yonder broad river, and then goes bowling over the plantation
beyond, just stirring the leaves as he passes; trees, water, houses, men,
and animals gliding away beneath his feet like a dream. Now he stoops
toward the earth, just to make the people send up their voices that there
may be some sound in the desert air. Now he swings up again; now he leaps
over that little green hill; now he—Hold! hold, little boy! that will do:
enough, for a time, of a Child’s Toy.



“RISING GENERATION”-ISM.


“Grave and reverend seniors” aver, that among the innumerable _isms_ and
_pathies_ which inundate this strange nineteenth century, not the least
curious, dangerous, and comical, are those phases of character, opinion,
and aspiration embodied in the title of our sketch. Each day, week, or
month, we receive an accession to the list of those speculations and
practices, which, embracing every department of philosophy and art, seek
to overturn hitherto accepted axioms, and erect in their stead—what? Some
“baseless fabric of a vision,” which came we know not whence, and tends we
know not very well whither? Or has the microscopic eye and telescopic mind
of modern European civilization discovered other distorting flaws in the
mirror in which we view truth—other idols in the den of treasured
belief—faults which it is urgently necessary to remedy—vices which it were
well speedily to extirpate? The answer of most men will be sometimes the
latter, oftener the former.

What, then, is that fraternity whose members are now denominated in a
peculiar sense “the rising generation,” albeit no existing dictionary
conveys it? How came they to assume or receive that cognomen? “What are
their doings—what their ends?” And, finally (for this is _par excellence_
the practical, if not the golden English era), how much are all these
worth? In one shape or another, we suspect that the class embraces a great
mass of our youth, we will almost say, of _both_ sexes.

Various definitions may be given of a member of the “rising generation.”
The lowest, commonest, and most readily apprehensible to the general
reader, is that of a “fast young man,” such as “Punch” has for some time
spitted weekly as a laughing-stock for half of the population. A little,
lean, lathy, sickly-looking youth, delighting in rough short coats, monkey
jackets, regatta shirts, big cigars, funny walking-canes, the smallest of
boots, the most angular of hats, the most Brobdignagian of ties—rejoicing
in a thinly-sown mustache or imperial, addicted to brandy-and-water and
casinos, going out with the “afternoon delivery,” and coming in with the
milk. This is true so far as it goes. Ascend a step, and there is the
representative of the class which has run to seed in the mediæval
direction—fond of, and learned in, all the symbols of ancient priestly
power and rank—steeped in black-letter and illuminated missal philosophy
and theology—erudite in all the variations which spiritual dominance has
assumed—in short, the resuscitator of the “good old times” ecclesiastical.

Again, we come to the type of the chief, and perhaps the finest
class—many-hued and many-sided, difficult to define, more difficult to
estimate. He is a chaos of misty beliefs and dubious doubtings—a striver
after theories which would exercise a spell over mind and matter of almost
alchemic potency—an open receiver for every new and quackish nostrum—a
shallow scholar, with the pedantry and conceit of a ripe one—a denier of
other men’s attainments, without stopping to inquire whether he will ever
be able to equal them—apt to give dogmatic advice, and slow to take
any—lastly, and worst, he is sometimes a rash and unphilosophic would-be
analyzer of the grounds of our most sacred belief. He may be—indeed,
frequently is—of a genuine and earnest spirit, which he knows neither how
to direct nor bound.

In judging of the frame of mind which generates and elaborates, or
receives such impressions, it is necessary to remember and make due
allowance for the rapid and _real_ advances which we have made in the
sifting of old and the ascertainment of new truth, within an almost
infinitesimal portion of time. Men now think and act vehemently—with
appliances at their elbow which, to those who know their power, are a true
Aladdin’s lamp, giving the key to thoughts and deeds, and the clew to
facts, which erst had been deemed miraculous. When we now speak of the
“rising generation,” it is seriously. We discard the class whose dress is
apish, whose life is an inanity, whose thoughts are vapid, if not
something fouler and worse. We would think of, and give credit for
earnestness, to that large class whose ready reception and striving after
the establishment of all things new, for novelty’s sake, and the
demolition of many things old and revered, has fixed upon them, half in
jest, half in earnest, the sobriquet. Not only on matters of faith—on
innovations on all established practice, do they take their stand.
Education they understand in no limited sense. The acquisition of the
_circle_ of sciences, and _nothing_ less, is the average of their
contentment. We are to live in an age when every man, or, at least, every
second, is to be an Admirable Crichton. Formerly, it was thought that the
mind of man was, even in its strength, so feeble, that strict adherence to
some single and well-defined line of study or path of action was
necessary, if a moderate skill in its command were desired. He who loved
and pursued his knowledge of ancient people, languages, customs, and laws,
was not expected to be erudite except in classical lore. The philosopher
and mathematician, if well acquainted in their respective spheres with the
laws and processes of mind, matter, and number, were thought to have
learned their part. The laborer in the field of active industry, who was
skillful in the taste and knowledge of his craft and the use of its tools,
was esteemed no cumberer of the ground. If, after this, he cultivated his
mind by a scrutiny of the labors of others, so much the better. Under this
_régime_, each man learned his own department, every one knew something,
better than his neighbors—could follow or elucidate his special study or
calling through ramifications the other could not trace, and thus
knowledge progressed, and became the great power that it has grown.

But now the “rising generation” will have matters altered. Education is
all wrong, and too limited. The spirit of unity, as the Germans call
it—that hidden elf which haunts all knowledge, and is the same, however
disguised—is not to be caught except by a search which involves the
acquisition of every science, art, and philosophy. This, in addition to an
insane and, we shrink not from saying, a blasphemous dallying with things
sacred, is the grand error of the “rising generation”—the rock on which
their bark will founder, if it has not already done so. Man can not be a
“universal genius.” Let us by all means shake off the trammels under which
education has groveled—under which she still groans. Let us seek by all
means to make education so free, that, like the winds of heaven, and the
light of the sun, no man shall want a reasonable—a full share of her
benefits. Let us seek accurate and varied knowledge and scholarship,
endeavoring (although it is a difficult and subtle process) to find out
for what our youth are best fitted, by evoking the latent special talents
with which their Maker has gifted them, and thus train them in the expert
use of that weapon which will enable them to do yeoman service in the wide
arena of the world. But, while we do all this, let us beware. We have
before now been taunted as a nation of shopkeepers. This was no evil, if
true; but who can calculate the direness of that calamity which shall turn
us into a nation of smatterers. This is a looming evil of unparalleled
magnitude. There can be no doubt that at the present moment there is a
tendency to rest content with very superficial acquirements, if they be
only heterogeneous enough. A man who can gabble the alphabet of any
science or subject may, if he has sufficient presumption, gain credit for
possessing a knowledge of its arcana—for the ability necessary to plumb
its profounder depths and unravel its intricacies. The successful practice
of this imposture, for it is nothing less, has led, and is still leading,
many to sacrifice accuracy for variety, both in those departments which
their circumstances, rightly considered, demand that they should
thoroughly understand, and in those branches which tend only to add grace
and finish to a liberal education.

In “those days,” the chance was that genius often passed away unnoticed or
neglected. In “the good time come,” we fear that a similar injustice will
be done, and in a larger measure. The modest, the sound-thinking, and
really learned, will withdraw from a field where they find as companions
or competitors only strutting jackdaws and noisy shallow smatterers, who
have decided that they were born for other purposes than to tread in the
work-a-day paths of life. A portion of the old as well as the “rising
generation” would do well to look to the present state of things. There is
too often a desire on the part of parents to push their children into
positions for which they are totally unfitted. There is a sphere for all,
which, when chosen with a due regard to ability, and not adopted through
caprice or vanity, will lead to usefulness in society and comfort to the
individual.

We have little fear of that audacious phase in the character of the
“rising generation,” which devotes itself to a probing of those things
which have to do with our eternal destiny. A well-conducted inquiry of
this kind is a healthy symptom, and tends to fix good impressions: and, as
for those whose temerity exceeds their judgment, the Christian knows that
his bulwarks are too many and strong ever to be shaken by any blast of
human breath or stroke of human hand. Still, let every stumbling-block be
removed, and no safeguard neglected, which may be of service to those of
feeble knees or weak and timorous mind.

The “rising generation” are those upon whom the hopes of the world will
ere long rest, who are soon to have the reins of government in their own
hands, and must play their part in the great drama of life, at a time when
its stage affords more ample room for the development of true nobility,
richer opportunities for distinguishing a life by action, and of
signalizing it by discoveries almost magical—a time, in short, open to
greater achievements than any that have been won since this globe was
first spun into space. The greater the talent and the wealth of
opportunity, so much more are the dangers increased, and the more wily the
machinations of the Spirit of Evil. While the “rising generation” adopt as
their motto “Excelsior,” and cultivate an inquiring spirit, let it always
be an earnest and definite one, not “blown about by every wind of
doctrine,” not falling into every quagmire of vain conceit, until the
mental eye is so besmeared that it can no longer discern the true zenith.
Yet, withal, it is not necessary to tread exclusively in the old paths, as
they are somewhat contemptuously styled; there is need and verge enough
for pioneering new ones. “Beat the bushes; there is still plenty of game
to be raised.” But do not disdainfully discard the experience of those who
have gone before. We do not insinuate by this that age and priority
combined make an oracle. Yet there are comparatively few men who can not
tell something that is worth hearing—communicate some bit of knowledge
which may save you the disbursement of some of those high school fees
which, as Thomas Carlyle keenly observes, must be paid for experience.

It has been iterated and reiterated, that there is no royal road to
knowledge. This is true of knowledge, as it is true of any thing that is
worth having. And this brings to our recollection a manifestation of
spirit displayed by some portions of the “rising generation” to which we
have not yet adverted. This is called the non-mercantile idea—a growing
dislike to all manual and merely commercial pursuits, and an over-fondness
for what are known as the learned, and more especially the literary
professions. This desire, we fear, proceeds often from a wish to avoid
labor; and, where this is the case, we can assure all such that literature
is not the sphere for indolence.

We neither impugn the honesty nor ignore the talents of the “rising
generation.” We would only tender them a parting advice: Think, learn, and
act, reverently and cautiously, and in the spirit of that philosophy which
has won for England her most enduring laurels—which taught her Newton to
discard for years, until fact supported theory, what was perhaps the
broadest glimpse of truth ever vouchsafed to the human mind. Do so, as
they dread the realization of the outline drawn by the master-hand of Jean
Paul Richter—“The new-year’s night of an unhappy man.” His graphic picture
we hold up to the gaze of the “rising generation.” The season is
appropriate. We are all fond at this time of retrospection, and are full
of resolves for the future. Perhaps we may strike some chord now in
jarring dissonance, that may yet vibrate to divinest harmony.

“An old man stood on the new-year’s midnight at the window, and gazed with
a look of long despair, upward to the immovable, ever-blooming heaven, and
down upon the still, pure, white earth, on which no one was then so
joyless and sleepless as he. For his grave stood near him; it was covered
over only with the snow of age, not with the green of youth; and he
brought nothing with him out of the whole rich life, no thing with him,
but errors, sins, and disease, a wasted body, a desolated soul, the breast
full of poison, an old age full of remorse. The beautiful days of his
youth turned round to-day, as spectres, and drew him back again to that
bright morning on which his father first placed him at the cross-road of
life, which, on the right hand, leads by the sun-path of virtue into a
wide peaceful land full of light and of harvests, and full of angels, and
which, on the left hand, descends into the mole-ways of vice, into a black
cavern, full of down-dropping poison, full of aiming serpents, and of
gloomy, sultry vapors.

“Ah! the serpents hung about his breast, and the drops of poison on his
tongue. And he knew now where he was!

“Frantic, and with unspeakable grief, he called upward to Heaven, ‘Oh!
give me back my youth again! O, father! place me once more at the
cross-path of life, that I may choose otherwise than I did.’ But his
father and his youth had long since passed away.

“He saw fiery exhalations dancing on the marshes, and extinguishing
themselves in the church-yard, and he said, ‘These are the days of my
folly!’ He saw a star fly from heaven, and, in falling, glimmer and
dissolve upon the earth. ‘That am I!’ said his bleeding heart, and the
serpent-teeth of remorse dug therein further in its wounds.

“His flaming fancy showed him sleepwalkers, slinking away on the
house-tops; and a windmill raised up its arms threateningly to destroy
him; and a mask that remained behind in the empty charnel-house assumed by
degrees his own features.

“In the midst of this paroxysm, suddenly the music for the new year flowed
down from the steeple, like distant church anthems. He became more gently
moved. He looked round on the horizon and upon the wide world, and thought
on the friends of his youth, who, better and more happy than he, were now
instructors of the earth, fathers of happy children, and blest men, and he
exclaimed, ‘Oh! I also might have slumbered like you, this new year’s
night with dry eyes, had I chosen it. Ah, I might have been happy, beloved
parents! had I fulfilled your new year’s wishes and instructions.’

In feverish recollection of the period of his youth, it appeared to him as
if the mask with his features raised itself up in the charnel-house—at
length, through the superstition which, on the new year’s night, beholds
spirits and futurity, it grew to a living youth in the position of the
beautiful boy of the capitol, pulling out a thorn; and his former blooming
figure was bitterly placed as a phantasma before him.

“He could behold it no longer, he covered his eyes. A thousand hot,
draining tears streamed into the snow. He now only softly sighed,
inconsolably and unconsciously, ‘Only come again, youth! come again!’

“And it came again, for he had only dreamed so fearfully on the new year’s
night. He was still a youth. His errors alone had been no dream; but he
thanked God that, still young, he could turn round in the foul ways of
vice, and fall back on the sun-path which conducts into the pure land of
harvests.

“Turn with him, youthful reader, if thou standest on his path of error!
This frightful dream will, in future, become thy judge; but shouldst thou
one day call out, full of anguish, ‘Come again, beautiful youth!’ it would
not come again.”



A TASTE OF AUSTRIAN JAILS.


At the “Fête de Dieu,” in Vienna religious rites are not confined to the
places of worship—the whole city becomes a church. Altars rise in every
street, and high mass is performed in the open air, amid clouds of incense
and showers of holy water. The Emperor himself and his family swell the
procession.

I am an English workman; and, having taken a cheering glass of Kronewetter
with the worthy landlord of my lodgings, I sauntered forth to observe the
day’s proceedings. I crossed the Platz of St. Ulrick, and thence proceeded
to the high street of Mariahilf—an important suburb of Vienna. I passed
two stately altars on my way, and duly raised my hat, in obedience to the
custom of the country. A little crowd was collected round the parish
church of Mariahilf; and, anticipating that a procession would pass, I
took my stand among the rest of the expectant populace. A few assistant
police, in light blue-gray uniforms with green facings, kept the road.

A bustle about the church-door, and a band of priests, attendants,
and—what pleased me most—a troop of pretty little girls came, two and two,
down the steps, and into the road. I remember nothing of the procession
but those beautiful and innocent children, adorned with wreaths and
ribbons for the occasion. I was thinking of the rosy faces I had left at
home, when my reflections were interrupted by a peremptory voice,
exclaiming, “Take off your hat!” I should have obeyed with alacrity at any
other moment; but there was something in the manner and tone of the
“Polizerdiener’s” address which touched my pride, and made me obstinate. I
drew back a little. The order was repeated; the crowd murmured. I half
turned to go; but, the next moment, my hat was struck off my head by the
police-assistant.

What followed was mere confusion. I struck the “Polizerdiener;” and, in
return, received several blows on the head from behind with a heavy stick.
In less than ten minutes I was lodged in the police-office of the
district; my hat broken and my clothes bespattered with the blood which
had dropped, and was still dropping, from the wounds in my head.

I had full time to reflect upon the obstinate folly which had produced
this result; nor were my reflections enlivened by the manners of the
police-agents attached to the office. They threatened me with heavy pains
and punishments; and the Polizerdiener whom I had struck assured me, while
stanching his still-bleeding nose, that I should have at least “three
months for this.”

After several hours’ waiting in the dreary office, I was abruptly called
into the commissioner’s room. The commissioner was seated at a table with
writing materials before him, and commenced immediately, in a sharp,
offensive tone, a species of examination. After my name and country had
been demanded, he asked:

“Of what religion are you?”

“I am a Protestant.”

“So! Leave the room.”

I had made no complaint of my bruises, because I did not think this the
proper place to do so; although the man who dealt them was present. He had
assisted, stick in hand, in taking me to the police-office. He was in
earnest conversation with the Polizerdiener, but soon left the office.
From that instant I never saw him again; nor, in spite of repeated
demands, could I ever obtain redress for, or even recognition of the
violence I had suffered.

Another weary hour, and I was consigned to the care of a police-soldier;
who, armed with sabre and stick, conducted me through the crowded city to
prison. It was then two o’clock.

The prison, situated in the Spenzler Gasse, is called the
“Polizer-Hampt-Direction.” We descended a narrow gut, which had no outlet,
except through the prison gates. They were slowly opened at the summons of
my conductor. I was beckoned into a long gloomy apartment, lighted from
one side only; and having a long counter running down its centre; chains
and handcuffs hung upon the walls.

An official was standing behind the counter. He asked me abruptly:

“Whence come you?”

“From England,” I answered.

“Where’s that?”

“In Great Britain; close to France.”

The questioner behind the counter cast an inquiring look at my escort.

“Is it?” he asked.

The subordinate answered him, in a pleasant way, that I had spoken the
truth. Happily an Englishman, it seems, is a rarity within those prison
walls.

I was passed into an adjoining room, which reminded me of the back parlor
of a Holywell-street clothes-shop, only that it was rather lighter. Its
sides consisted entirely of sets of great pigeon-holes, each occupied by
the habiliments or effects of some prisoner.

“Have you any valuables?”

“Few enough.” My purse, watch, and pin were rendered up, ticketed, and
deposited in one of the compartments. I was then beckoned into a long
paved passage or corridor down some twenty stone steps, into the densest
gloom. Presently I discerned before me a massive door studded with bosses,
and crossed with bars and bolts. A police-soldier, armed with a drawn
sabre, guarded the entrance to Punishment-Room, No. 1. The bolts gave way;
and, in a few moments, I was a prisoner within.

Punishment Room, No. 1, is a chamber some fifteen paces long by six broad,
with a tolerably high ceiling and whitened walls. It has but two windows,
and they are placed at each end of one side of the chamber. They are of
good height, and look out upon an inclosed graveled space, variegated with
a few patches of verdure. The room is tolerably light. On each side are
shelves, as in barracks, for sleeping. In one corner, by the window, is a
stone sink; in another, a good supply of water.

Such is the prison; but the prisoners! There were forty-eight—gray-haired
men and puny boys—all ragged, and stalking with slippered feet from end to
end with listless eyes. Some, all eagerness; some, crushed and motionless;
some, scared and stupid; now singing, now swearing, now rushing about
playing at some mad game; now hushed or whispering, as the loud voice of
the Vater (or father of the ward) is heard above the uproar, calling out
“Ruke!” (“Order!”)

On my entrance, I was instantly surrounded by a dozen of the younger
jail-birds, amid a shout of “Ein Zuwachs! Ein Zuwachs!” which I was not
long in understanding to be the name given to the last comer. “Was haben
sie?” (“What has he done?”) was the next eager cry. “Struck a
Polizerdiener!” “Ei! das ist gut!” was the hearty exclamation; and I was a
favorite immediately. One dirty, villainous-looking fellow, with but one
eye, and very little light in that, took to handling my clothes; then
inquired if I had any money “up above?” Upon my answering in the
affirmative my popularity immediately increased. They soon made me
understand that I could “draw” upon the pigeon-hole bank to indulge in any
such luxuries as beer or tobacco.

People breakfast early in Vienna; and, as I had tasted nothing since that
meal, I was very hungry; but I was not to starve; for soon we heard the
groaning of bolts and locks, and the police-soldier who guarded the door,
appeared, bearing in his hand a red earthen pot, surmounted by a round
flat loaf of bread “for the Englishman.” I took my portion with thanks,
and found that the pipkin contained a thick porridge made of lentils,
prepared with meal and fat; in the midst of which was a piece of fresh
boiled beef. The cake was of a darkish color, but good wholesome bread.
Altogether, the meal was not unsavory. Many a greedy eye watched me as I
sat on the end of the hard couch, eating my dinner. One wretched man
seeing that I did not eat all, whispered a proposal to barter his dirty
neckerchief—which he took off in my presence—for half of my loaf. I
satisfied his desires, but declined the recompense. My half-emptied pipkin
was thankfully taken by another man, under the pretense of “cleaning it!”

One of my fellow-prisoners approached me.

“It is getting late,” said he; “do you know what you have got to do?”

“No.”

“You are the ‘Zuwachs’ ” (latest accession), “and it is your business to
empty and clean out the ‘Kiefel!’ ” (the sink, &c.)

“The devil!”

“But I dare say,” he added, carelessly, “if you pay the Vater a
‘mass-bier,’ ” (something less than a quart of beer), “he will make some
of the boys do it for you.”

“With all my heart.”

“Have you a rug?”

“No.”

“You must ask the corporal, at seven o’clock; but I dare say the Vater
will find you one—for a ‘mass-bier’—if you ask him.”

I saw that a mass-bier would do a great deal in an Austrian prison.

The Vater, who was a prisoner like the rest, was appealed to. He was a
tall, burly-looking young man, with a frank countenance. He had quitted
his honest calling of butcher, and had taken to smuggling tobacco into the
city. This was a heavy crime; for the growth, manufacture, and sale of
tobacco, is a strict Imperial monopoly. Accordingly, his punishment had
been proportionately severe—two years’ imprisonment. The sentence was now
approaching completion; and, on account of good conduct, he had received
the appointment of Vater to Punishment Room, No. 1. The benefits were
enumerated to me with open eyes by one of the prisoners—“Double rations,
two rugs, and a mass-bier a day!”

The result of my application to the Vater was the instant calling out of
several young lads, who crouched all day in the darkest end of the room—a
condemned corner, abounding in vermin; and I heard no more of the sink,
and so forth. The next day a new-comer occupied my position.

At about seven o’clock the bolts were again withdrawn, the ponderous door
opened, and the corporal—who seemed to fill the office of
ward-inspector—marched into the chamber. He was provided with a small
note-book and a pencil, and made a general inquiry into the wants and
complaints of the prisoners. Several of them asked for little
indulgencies. All these were duly noted down to be complied with the next
day—always supposing that the prisoner possessed a small capital “up
above.” I stepped forward, and humbly made my request for a rug.

“You?” exclaimed the corporal, eying me sharply. “Oh! you are the
Englishman?—No!”

I heard some one near me mutter: “So; struck a policeman! No mercy for him
from the other policemen—any of them.”

The Vater dared not help me; but two of his most intimate friends made me
lie down between them; and swaddled in their rugs, I passed the night
miserably. The hard boards, and the vermin, effectually broke my slumbers.

The morning came. The rules of the prison required that we should all rise
at six, roll up the rugs, lay them at the heads of our beds, and sweep out
the room. Weary and sore, I paced the prison while these things were done.
Even the morning ablution was comfortless and distressing; a
pocket-handkerchief serving but indifferently for a towel.

Restless activity now took full possession of the prisoners. There was not
the combined shouting or singing of the previous day; but there was
independent action, which broke out in various ways. Hunger had roused
them; the prison allowance is one meal a day; and although, by husbanding
the supply, some few might eke it out into several repasts, the majority
had no such control over their appetite. Tall, gaunt lads, just starting
into men, went roaming about with wild eyes, purposeless, pipkin in hand,
although hours must elapse before the meal would come. Caged beasts pace
their narrow prisons with the same uniform and unvarying motion.

At last eleven o’clock came. The barred door opened, and swiftly, yet with
a terrible restraint—knowing that the least disorder would cost them a
day’s dinner—the prisoners mounted the stone steps, and passed slowly, in
single file, before two enormous caldrons. A cook, provided with a long
ladle, stood by the side of each; and, with a dextrous plunge and a twist,
a portion of porridge and a small block of beef were fished up and dashed
into the pipkin extended by each prisoner. Another official stood ready
with the flat loaves. In a very short time the whole of the prisoners were
served.

Hunger seasoned the mess; and I was sitting on the bedstead-end enjoying
it, when the police-soldier appeared on the threshold, calling me by name.

“You must leave—instantly.”

“I am ready,” I said, starting up.

“Have you a rug?”

“No.”

I hurried out into the dark passage. I was conducted to the left; another
heavy door was loosened, and I was thrust into a gloomy cell, bewildered,
and almost speechless with alarm. I was not alone. Some half-dozen
melancholy wretches crouching in one corner, were disturbed by my
entrance, but half an hour had scarcely elapsed, when the police-soldier
again appeared, and I was hurried out. We proceeded through the passage by
which I had first entered. In my way past the nest of pigeon-holes “up
above,” some—only a few—of my valuables were restored to me. Presently a
single police-soldier led me into the open street.

The beautiful air and sunshine! how I enjoyed them as we passed through
the heart of the city. Bei’m Magistrat, at the corner of the Kohlmarket,
was our destination. We entered its porticoed door, ascended the stone
stairs, and went into a small office, where the most repulsive-looking
official I have any where seen, noted my arrival in a book. Thence we
passed into another pigeon-holed chamber, where I delivered up my little
property, as before, “for its security.” A few minutes more, and I was
safely locked in a small chamber, having one window darkened by a wooden
blind. My companions were a few boys, a courier—who, to my surprise,
addressed me in English—and a man with blazing red hair.

In this place, I passed four days, occupied by what I suppose I may
designate “my trial.” The first day was enlivened by a violent attack
which the jailer made upon the red-headed man for looking out of the
window. He seized the fiery locks, and beat their owner’s head against the
wall. I had to submit that day to a degrading medical examination.

On the second day I was called to appear before the “_Rath_” or council.
The process of examination is curious. It is considered necessary to the
complete elucidation of a case, that the whole life and parentage of the
accused should be made known; and I was thus exposed to a series of
questions which I had never anticipated.—The names and countries of both
my parents; their station; the ages, names, and birthplaces of my brothers
and sisters; my own babyhood, education, subsequent behavior, and
adventures; my own account, with the minutest details, of the offense I
had committed. It was more like a private conference than an examination.
The Rath was alone—with the exception of his secretary, who diligently
recorded my answers. While being thus perseveringly catechised, the Rath
sauntered up and down; putting his interminable questions in a friendly
chatty way, as though he were taking a friendly interest in my history,
rather than pursuing a judicial investigation. When the examination was
concluded, the secretary read over every word to me, and I confirmed the
report with my signature.

The Rath promised to do what he could for me; and I was then surprised and
pleased by the entrance of my employer. The Rath recommended him to write
to the British Embassy in my behalf, and allowed him to send me outer
clothing better suited to the interior of a prison than the best clothes I
had donned to spend the holiday in.

I went back to my cell with a lightened heart. I was, however, a little
disconcerted on my return by the courier, who related an anecdote of a
groom of his acquaintance, who had persisted in smoking a cigar while
passing a sentinel; and who, in punishment therefor, had been beaten by a
number of soldiers, with willow rods; and whose yells of pain had been
heard far beyond the prison walls. What an anticipation! Was I to be
similarly served? I thought it rather a suspicious circumstance that my
new friend appeared to be thoroughly conversant with all the details (I
suspect from personal experience) of the police and prison system of
Vienna. He told me (but I had no means of testing the correctness of his
information) that there were twenty Ratherrn, or Councillors; that each
had his private chamber, and was assisted by a confidential secretary;
that every offender underwent a private examination by the Rath appointed
to investigate his case—the Rath having the power to call all witnesses,
and to examine them, singly, or otherwise, as he thought proper; that on
every Thursday the “Rathsherrn” met in conclave; that each Rath brought
forward the particular cases which he had investigated, explained all its
bearings, attested his report by documentary evidence prepared by his
secretary, and pronounced his opinion as to the amount of punishment to be
inflicted. The question was then decided by a majority.

On the third day, I was suddenly summoned before the Rath, and found
myself side by side with my accuser. He was in private clothes.

“Herr Tuci,” exclaimed the Rath, trying to pronounce my name, but utterly
disguising it, “you have misinformed me. The constable says he did not
_knock_ your hat off—he only _pulled_ it off.”

I adhered to my statement. The Polizerdiener nudged my elbow, and
whispered, “Don’t be alarmed—it will not go hard with you.”

“Now, constable,” said the Rath; “what harm have you suffered in this
affair?”

“My uniform is stained with blood.”

“From _my_ head!” I exclaimed.

“From my nose,” interposed the Polizerdiener.

“In any case it will wash out,” said the Rath.

“And you,” he added, turning to me—“are you willing to indemnify this man
for damage done?”

I assented; and was then removed.

On the following morning I was again summoned to the Rath’s chamber. His
secretary—who was alone—met me with smiles and congratulations: he
announced to me the sentence—four days’ imprisonment. I am afraid I did
not evince that degree of pleasure which was expected from me; but I
thanked him; was removed; and, in another hour, was reconducted to
Punishment Room, No. 1.

The four days of sentence formed the lightest part of the adventure. My
mind was at ease: I knew the worst. Additions to my old companions had
arrived in the interval. We had an artist among us, who was allowed, in
consideration of his talents, to retain a sharp cutting implement
fashioned by himself from a flat piece of steel—knives and books being, as
the most dangerous objects in prison, rigidly abstracted from us. He
manufactured landscapes in straw, gummed upon pieces of blackened wood.
Straw was obtained, in a natural state, of green, yellow, and brown; and
these, when required, were converted into differently-tinted reds, by a
few hours immersion in the Kiefel. He also kneaded bread in the hand,
until it became as hard and as plastic as clay. This he modeled into snuff
boxes (with strips of rag for hinges, and a piece of whalebone for a
spring), draughts, chess-men, pipe-bowls, and other articles. When dry,
they became hard and serviceable; and he sold them among the prisoners and
the prison officials. He obtained thus a number of comforts not afforded
by the prison regulations.

On Sunday, I attended the Catholic chapel attached to the prison—a damp,
unwholesome cell. I stood among a knot of prisoners, enveloped in a
nauseous vapor; whence arose musty, mouldy, rotten effluvia which
gradually overpowered my senses. I felt them leaving me, and tottered
toward the door. I was promptly met by a man who seemed provided for
emergencies of the kind; for, he held a vessel of cold water; poured some
of it into my hands, and directed me to bathe my temples. I partly
recovered; and, faint and dispirited, staggered back to the prison. I had
not, however, lain long upon my bed (polished and slippery from constant
use), when the prison guard came to my side, holding in his hand a smoking
basin of egg soup “for the Englishman.” It was sent by the mistress of the
kitchen. I received the offering of a kind heart to a foreigner in
trouble, with a blessing on the donor.

On the following Tuesday, after an imprisonment of, in all, nine days,
during which I had never slept without my clothes, I was discharged from
the prison. In remembrance of the place, I brought away with me a straw
landscape and a bread snuff-box, the works of the prison artist.

On reaching my lodging I looked into my box. It was empty.

“Where are my books and papers?” I asked my landlord.

The police had taken them on the day after my arrest.

“And my bank-notes?”

“Here they are!” exclaimed my landlord, triumphantly. “I expected the
police; I knew you had money somewhere, so I took the liberty of searching
until I found it. The police made particular inquiries about your cash,
and went away disappointed, taking the other things with them.”

“Would they have appropriated it?”

“Hem! Very likely—under pretense of paying your expenses.”

On application to the police of the district, I received the whole of my
effects back. One of my books was detained for about a week; a member of
the police having taken it home to read, and being as I apprehend, a slow
reader.

It was a matter of great astonishment, both to my friends and to the
police, that I escaped with so slight a punishment.



WHO KNEW BEST?


On the outskirts of the little town of Bernau, with a garden between it
and the road, stands the house of Master Baptist Heinzelmann, a
respectable citizen and cabinet-maker, or _Tischlermeister_, as the
Germans call it, so surrounded and overshadowed by tall trees and shrubs,
that it reminds you of true contentment, which is always quiet and
retiring where it reigns in the heart. Nimble vine-branches climb up the
walls and over the roof, so thick and shady, that birds build their nests
among them, and rest every night under the sheltering leaves. Besides this
there is no other garnishment or decoration to be seen about the dwelling,
although Master Heinzelmann is in very comfortable circumstances. As it
had come down from his father and grandfather, so stood the house at the
time of our tale; one story, compact and solid. From the garden you
entered the spacious outer room, the ordinary play-place of the children,
and from that into the living-room, and from that into the large workshop,
where Master Heinzelmann kept his ten or a dozen journeymen at work from
one year’s end to another, without reckoning the apprentices. His business
flourished greatly, for the townsfolk preferred to go to him whenever they
had orders to give or purchases to make. His workmanship was tasteful and
durable, and what was more than all, he overcharged no one, which pleased
people, and on that account they did not mind the walk to his house,
although it was, as before said, a little off the road, and out of the
way.

What the house wanted in grandeur and ornament, was made up by the
contentment and the gentle and full-hearted happiness which had taken up
their abode within it. Free from cares of whatever sort, Master
Heinzelmann passed his days in the circle of his family. Providence had
bestowed on him a good-looking, intelligent wife and three healthy and
lively children, on whom his whole affections hung, and when they
assembled each evening, after the labors of the day, none looked comelier
and happier than they. At seven o’clock, Master Heinzelmann left off work,
and dismissed his men; the noise of saws, hammers, and planes ceased, and
a peaceful stillness reigned in the house; and he, having put on his
comfortable in-doors jacket, filled a pipe, and looked about for his
family. In summer, he found them nearly always in the garden, or in the
outer room, near the open door, from whence there was a pleasant view over
the sweet-scented flower-beds. His wife welcomed his coming with a
friendly nod and a cheerful smile, and the children ran to meet him, clung
to his hands, and strove to climb up for a kiss. Such was Baptist
Heinzelmann’s daily pleasure, abounding in all that makes life happy.
After lifting up and embracing his children, he would sit and listen to
their lively prattle, or watch their simple sports, in which he himself
often took a part, while their mother made ready the evening meal. When
this was over, they went and sat in the pretty summer-house, and talked
about the little occurrences of the day. There was always something to
relate, concerning the children, or the housekeeping, or the garden, or of
other matters, nor was there any lack of simple gossip, which, however
insignificant it might seem, yet had a meaning and an interest for a
family bound together by the strongest ties of love. Father, mother,
children, enjoyed the quiet gladness of a household into which the noise
of the great world without seldom penetrated. And in what else does
happiness consist, than in gladness and contentment? He who possesses them
needs to ask for nothing further. Had Master Heinzelmann always remembered
that, he would have saved himself from much toil and vexation.

One fine summer evening the Tischlermeister left his workshop as usual,
put on his lounging-jacket, lit his pipe, and turned his steps toward the
front room, from whence came the noise of merry laughter and shouts of
fun. Softly he approached behind the open door which concealed him from
his wife and children, leant himself at his ease on the lower half, and
looked smilingly down on the frolics of his little ones. The mother, with
the youngest girl on her lap, sat on the doorstep, while Fritz and Hans
crawled about the floor. They were playing a hundred tricks with the
kitten, which had come into the world only a few weeks before. Fritz had
got a piece of colored cloth for a plaything, and flung it across the
room, but with a thread cunningly fastened to it, so that he might pull it
back again. The kitten, according to the manner of young cats, leaped and
seized the lure with comical antics, but just as she fancied it was fast
between her paws, came a sudden pull, and away flew the prize, while she
looked after it with ludicrous astonishment. Then rose bursts of merriment
and shouts of delight, and the mother, glad in her children’s pleasure,
laughed with them, and took care that the old cat should not disturb their
sport by any sudden outbreak of ill-temper.

Master Heinzelmann looked on for a little while, and amused himself,
without being seen, with his children’s diversions. All at once, however,
he made a grave face, and said, “Enough, little ones; let the kitten go,
and come to supper. Come, dear wife, it is all ready.”

As soon as the children heard their father’s voice, they thought no more
about the kitten, but sprang up and ran toward him with merry faces. But
he did not hug and kiss them as he was accustomed to do; he gave them only
a short salute, and the same to his wife, who came toward him with her
hand held out, and the youngest child on her arm.

“Baptist,” she said, “dear husband, we have had rare fun this afternoon;
you should see how cleverly Fritz can spring about with the kitten! But
what is the matter? You look angry. Has any thing happened to vex you?”

“Not exactly vexatious,” replied Heinzelmann, “and yet as I saw you
sitting there so pleasantly, I was a little fretted to think that I had
promised Master Vollbracht to go into town this evening. I would much
rather stay at home with you.”

“Go to town, Baptist, to-day?” asked Frau Margaret in astonishment. “And
what have you to do there?”

“Oh, it is about some town affairs,” answered Baptist; “I don’t myself
know rightly what they are; when Master Vollbracht told me, I did not
altogether understand, but, at all events, I promised to go for a short
hour, so as to be quit of him. You know well, Margaret, that to speak
truly, the locksmith is no special friend of mine—he is too fond of the
public-house. Still a promise is a promise, and I must keep my word; so
let us have supper quickly, for the sooner there, the sooner shall I be
back again.”

Frau Margaret said nothing, although it could be seen in her face, that
her husband’s going out in the evening was not at all agreeable to her.
She went and got the supper ready, Master Heinzelmann ate a few mouthfuls
hastily, and then rose up and put on his coat.

“Good-by, Margaret,” he said, “good-night, children! I expect to be at
home again soon, wife.”

“Go, then,” she answered with a cheerful look, “and I will wait for you;
but do not stay too long.”

Baptist promised, and went. Frau Margaret felt uneasy as she looked after
him. It was the first evening since their marriage that she had been left
alone in the house. When she heard the garden gate shut behind her
husband, she became fearful, and pressed her hand over her eyes, out of
which a few tears had forced their way. Presently, however, she said to
herself—“Timid heart! what matters it if you are left alone for once? It
will not happen often, for he loves me; yes, and the children too. How can
I be so silly!”

So she thought, and then put on a cheerful face, and played and talked to
the children, as though nothing had happened. But that pure gladness,
which leaps from the care-free heart as a clear spring, was wanting. She
sent the youngsters to bed earlier than usual, and placed herself at the
window, and looked silently forth into the garden, which the moon, with
its pale light, seemed to have covered with a vail of silver. Thus she
waited for her husband’s return. At ten o’clock she hoped he would come;
by-and-by eleven struck, he was still absent; an other anxious half-hour
passed—at last he came. She heard his footsteps still far off, heard the
garden-gate creak, and flew to meet him.

“So late! you bad man,” she cried merrily, but with a slight reproach in
the tone of her voice.

“I could not do otherwise, dear wife,” replied Baptist, who was visibly a
little excited “You should only have been there! They paid me great honor,
and when I was coming away at ten o’clock, they all cried out for me to
stay, that my opinion had great weight with them, and so, really I could
not leave. But you should have gone to bed, Margaret.”

“No; I was not at all tired,” answered the wife. “But, now, make haste in;
you are heated, and the cool night air may do you harm.”

Lovingly she drew him into the house, and listened patiently to all that
he had to tell about the matters that had been talked over in the town,
and how he had settled and determined nearly every question, because of
his consequence and station.

“There’s only one thing vexes me,” he said lastly, “I was obliged to
promise to go again. Two evenings in the week are fixed on for the
meetings, and as every body was in favor, I could not well say no.
However, it is but two evenings; the whole history won’t last longer.”

If Frau Margaret was alarmed at the beginning of the evening, she was now
doubly fearful Her quiet in-door happiness seemed to be all at once
threatened by some great danger. She trembled to think that her husband
could find pleasure away from home—away from his children, and she had the
sense to foresee the consequences. But she remained silent, for she was
too bewildered to find words to express her apprehensions, and then, she
knew that when her husband had once made a promise, nothing would lead him
to break it. This made her sorrow the greater, and for the first time
since her marriage, her pillow was wet with tears. She, however, concealed
her sadness from her husband; she hoped that the good old habits would
rule again, and make him dislike passing his evenings away from home.

Although Frau Margaret was prudent and sensible, she deceived herself in
this matter. Truly enough, Baptist at first went out for the evening
unwillingly, and not without a struggle, but gradually this resistance
disappeared, and at last he longed for the hour which led him among his
companions. He was a man of clear judgment, knew how to deliver his words
neatly, and his comfortable circumstances gave him a certain importance,
so that, quite naturally, in course of time he gave the tone to the
company, and his sayings were received as oracles. That flattered his
vanity, which therein got full satisfaction, and before long, he wondered
in secret how he could have lived so many years in the background, and had
so little to do with the world. The political and religious questions of
the day, about which he had never before troubled himself, began to excite
his eager attention. He read newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and became a
great politician—at least in the eyes of himself and his companions. The
magic circle of his calm and peaceful happiness was broken. Baptist
himself had done it, but without a foreboding of what he had destroyed. He
fancied himself happier than ever, and could not see that all his
household joys were blighted.

But Margaret saw and felt it. She mourned in secret; the evenings when she
sat at home alone were sad and sorrowful for her, and at last, as Baptist
left off observing any rule in his outgoing, but longed more and more to
be away from home, she plucked up a heart, and begged of him to leave her
no more.

“But why not!” rejoined Heinzelmann; “we do nothing wrong. We debate about
matters for the good of the town and of the state. There must be great
changes, Margaret, before things can be better with us. But, presto, it
will come.”

“Oh, Baptist, what concern have you with the town and the state?” answered
Frau Margaret. “Look at your family, that is your town and state. When you
are with it, and fulfill your duty rightfully, then are you one of the
best of citizens. Consider well: the skin is nearer than the fleece.”

“Yes, wife, but what do you mean by that?” said Baptist, a little angrily.
“Perhaps I am not fulfilling my duty?”

“No longer the same as formerly, dear husband. Don’t take it ill, Baptist,
but my heart and conscience compel me—I must tell you. You neglect your
business a little. Yesterday, you know, the town-clerk wanted his coffer;
but you—you went out at five, and the coffer was not finished.”

“Eh, what!” cried Baptist, snappishly. “I had business in town—we were to
lay a memorial before the magistrates about the pavement, and that could
not be done without me; and the town-clerk can have his coffer to-day.”

“No, dear husband,” replied the wife, “he sent a little while ago to say
that he had got one; and now, you see, the coffer must be kept on hand
unsold.”

“The town-clerk is an old fool,” continued Baptist, fretfully. “These
aristocrats!—they always want to ride on the necks of us honest traders.
But patience! Our turn will come someday.”

“But, dearest husband,” said Margaret, soothingly, “the town-clerk has
always been very agreeable and friendly with you, and it is certainly not
his fault, that the coffer was not ready at the right time. Many go out
for wool and come home shorn. Had you thought more of the skin than of the
fleece, you would have saved yourself all this trouble. You understand:
your business—that’s the skin; the street paving—that’s the fleece.”

“Yes, I understand well enough what you mean,” rejoined the
Tischlermeister, “but I understand it quite otherwise! You, however, do
not understand me: men were meant for general affairs, for great matters.
Their mind stretches far beyond the narrow circle of housewifery. Only let
me alone, and don’t mix yourself up in things which don’t concern you, and
which you don’t understand.”

Frau Margaret saw plainly that her remonstrance made no impression, and
she remained silent. But her sad and downcast looks spoke more loudly to
the heart of her husband than her words. Heinzelmann found that her view
was not far wrong, after all, and made an attempt to withdraw from his
companions, and again live a domestic life. But his attempt failed.
Vanity, and the desire to appear somebody, led him back again to his
crooked ways, and soon they became worse.

The insurrection at Paris broke out—the Republic was proclaimed—and the
news of these events fell on the minds of the German people like a spark
in a barrel of gunpowder. Blow followed blow, feelings grew hot, and
almost every town had its own revolution. That was something for Master
Baptist Heinzelmann. He was called to the head of the Democratic party,
and made the leader of a revolutionary club, and spouted speeches full of
fire and flame; the mob cried hurrah! held up their hands for him—he
became drunk with triumph—was chosen town-councilor—a great man, as he
thought, and leader of the people. He was near being elected Deputy to the
Diet, and sent as representative to the Parliament at Berlin. Master
Baptist swam in pleasures—Frau Margaret swam in tears. Her husband
triumphed—she sat at home and wept. Her husband walked proudly about, and
looked radiant with joy—she was full of mournfulness, and the feeling of
happiness seemed to have disappeared from her heart forever.

Master Heinzelmann appeared to be totally changed. He troubled himself no
longer about his business, but left every thing to his work men. Every
morning early, he left home to fulfill his new vocation as leader of the
people, and to labor for their happiness. He saw not that his own
happiness was going to ruin in the meantime. He used to return home late,
worn-out, weary, and hoarse with much speechifying and shouting, and
ill-tempered into the bargain. Scarcely had he exchanged a few sulky words
with his poor wife, than he betook himself to bed. He rarely saw his
children: the pleasant evenings in the front-room had all vanished as a
dream, and could not be recalled. Instead of merry laughter, and joyful
cries, and glad shoutings, there was nothing to be heard but the low, sad
sobs of Frau Margaret. Peace and contentment seemed to have fled from the
house, as well as from the hearts of all its inmates. Yes—all! for to
confess the truth, Master Baptist Heinzelmann found, little by little,
that although his new life in the busy current of politics brought plenty
of excitement, it by no means brought contentment; and instead of making
him happy, it laid upon him rather a burden of cares, vexations,
hardships, and losses of many kinds. At first it went well enough—but how
went it afterward? His party, which in truth was not a small one, listened
to him right willingly when he held forth and displayed his political
knowledge, but they also had no objection to a cool drink now and then
between the fiery speeches. So Master Baptist, from time to time, in order
to keep up his popularity, was obliged to let a cask of ale go the rounds,
and that was not quite so pleasant to him as to be listened to with
attention, and to hear the hurrahs when he said something a little more
violent than usual. Besides, there were other leaders of the people as
well as he, who stood in high favor with the mob, but who had very little
money, while Master Heinzelmann was well-to-do, and could afford to offer
a sacrifice on the altar of his country, and—he offered it. Only, somehow
or other, the sacrifice was wanted so often, and that was not much to the
liking of the Tischlermeister. In the end—and that worried him the
most—his journeymen became refractory all of a sudden. They wished also to
have property of their own, and demanded higher wages. Baptist Heinzelmann
liked revolutions very well, but not against himself, and so he told all
his hands to go to Jericho, and for a time his business went to sleep.
From this it happened that orders did not come in quite so numerously as
before, which puzzled Baptist not a little. He began to turn it over in
his mind, and all at once he bethought himself of what his good-hearted
wife had said to him one day: “Remember! the skin is nearer than the
fleece.” Never had the truth of this proverb come before him so strikingly
and forcibly, as now that his delusions were losing their strength. A
singular and irresistible longing to return once more to his former
tranquil and retired, and yet happy life, overcame him. What was the
selfish love of the mob, against the pure and true love of wife and
children? a painted bubble in comparison with a bright and costly jewel.
Baptist Heinzelmann plucked up a heart; toward evening he left the
council-house and went home. No one was in the garden; it lay there in
deep stillness. He stole down a by-path to his workshop, where now but
three hands were employed out of the dozen that formerly worked therein,
and threw off his Sunday clothes, put on his dear old comfortable jacket,
his cap on his head, reached down the clay pipe which had had such a long
rest, lit it, and then went softly through the inner to the outer room.
Wife and children sat, as often before, on the threshold, not lively as
they used to be, but particularly quiet and downcast—even merry Fritz had
scarcely a word to say for himself. The sun was dropping down to his
setting, and cast golden streams of light through the thick foliage of the
vine which enwreathed the door and window, down upon the clean boards of
the floor. Sweet odors were borne in on the air from the garden, the birds
chirped and twittered their last evening notes, and peace and tranquillity
reigned around, except in the hearts which once knew nothing else than joy
and contentment.

Heinzelmann leant over the door, and for a time looked at his family in
silence. The past came before his mind as pleasant pictures. “What a fool
was I!” he said inwardly to himself; “what more blessed happiness can
there be, than the happiness in the circle of one’s own family! What a
fool was I, not to see this long ago: that I could so long be blinded by
stupid vanity and foolish pride! But there is yet time, and I will not let
it escape.”

“Margaret,” he said aloud, and with friendly voice.

“Baptist—is that you? and so early!” she cried, and sprang up; “and what
do I see? in the old cap and jacket! Are you not going out again?”

“Not to-day, nor to-morrow, nor afterward,” answered he, smiling. “With
the old dress, I have found again my old heart. The skin is nearer than
the fleece, my Margaret, my good, dear wife!”

“Oh, goodness!” she exclaimed, “what do you say? what do I hear? am I not
in a dream?”

“If you are dreaming that the old contentment has come back again,”
replied Baptist, “then is your dream a true one. I have grown wise at
last, Margaret.”

“Thank God!” stammered the Frau; “and instead of handling the pen, you
will now work with the plane—will you?”

“Yes, Margaret, stick to that which I know, and leave it to others to
bungle at politics. In short, I have given up my post—I am no longer
town-councilor. I am now only what I was before—Tischlermeister Baptist
Heinzelmann! Am I welcome to you as such?”

With a shriek of delight, Frau Margaret fell into her husband’s open arms.
Long and close was their embrace, and the sense of newly-quickened joy
brought sweet tears from the wife’s heart. The children understood not
what was going on; but they saw that their father was glad and contented,
and they were glad and contented too. Until late at night, they sat
together in the garden, rejoicing in their new-found happiness.

Baptist became truly the Tischlermeister of former days, and suffered
himself to be no more drawn into temptation. A burnt child shuns the fire;
and he knew now the difference between family joys and worldly joys. His
late friends and companions came entreating him to take part once more in
their proceedings, but Baptist put them off with a laugh, and answered,
“Not so, dear friends—the skin is nearer than the fleece! In-doors there,
at the work-bench, is my post. Other people understand politics and
government better than I—I leave the task to them.”

The friends and companions tried again two or three times—Heinzelmann,
however, remained firm; they gave up and came no more. But the old
customers returned, and the old journeymen also, who had thought better of
their strike—and above all, the old joy of tranquil, domestic life.

Baptist would not change with any one. And Frau Margaret?—only go by the
house some day toward evening, when she is playing with the children, or
sitting with them and her husband in the garden; then, when you hear her
clear, silvery laugh, then, I can believe, you will no more ask if she is
happy. Such a laugh can come only from a truly happy heart.



MY FIRST PLACE.


My father died before I can remember any thing. My mother had a hard life;
and it was all that she could do to keep herself and me. We lived in
Birmingham, in a house where there were many other lodgers. We had only
one room of our own; and, when my mother went out to work, she locked the
door and left me there by myself. Those were dreary days. When it was
summer, and the bright sun shone in at the window, I thought of the green
fields that I used to see sometimes on Sundays, and I longed to be sitting
under a shady tree, watching the little lambs, and all young things that
could play about. When it was winter, I used to sit looking at the empty
grate, and wishing to see the bright blaze which never came. When mother
went away in the winter mornings, she told me to run about to warm myself;
and, when I was tired and began to feel cold, to get into the blankets on
the bed. Many long and wearisome hours I passed in those blankets;
listening and listening to every step upon the stairs, expecting to hear
mother’s step. At times I felt very lonely; and fancied, as it began to
grow darker and darker, that I could see large, strange shapes rising
before me; and, though I might know that it was only my bonnet that I
looked at, or a gown of mother’s hanging up behind the door, or something
at the top of the old cupboard, the things seemed to grow larger and
larger, and I looked and looked till I became so frightened, that I
covered my head with the blanket, and went on listening for mother’s
return. What a joyful sound to me was the sound of the key put into the
door-lock! It gave me courage in an instant: then I would throw away the
blanket; and, raising my head with a feeling of defiance, would look round
for the things that had frightened me, as if to say, “I don’t care for you
now.” Mother would light the fire, bring something from the basket, and
cook our supper. She would then sit and talk to me, and I felt so happy
that I soon forgot all that had gone before.

Mother could not always get work. I was glad then; for those days were the
Sundays of my life; she was at home all day; and although we often had
nothing to eat but bread and potatoes, she had her tea; and the potatoes
always tasted to me at these times better than they did on other days.
Mother was not a scholar, so she could not teach me much in that way; but
she taught me how to keep our room clean and free from dust. I did not
know much of other children; but I had a little cousin about my own age,
who came sometimes on Sundays with my aunt, and sometimes we went to see
them.

At last mother was taken ill—so very ill that she could not go out to
work, and as I could not do for her all that was wanted to be done, my
aunt came to be with us. Mother became worse and worse, and the doctor
said he did not think she would ever get better. I heard him say this to
aunt, and he said it in such a way as if he thought I could not feel; and
I do think there are some people who think that children can not feel; but
I _did_ feel it very much. Aunt used to sit up at nights. I had a little
bed made in a corner of the room on the floor. One night after I had cried
myself to sleep, I started up from a bad dream about dear mother. At first
I could not remember where I was, not being used to my strange bed; but,
when I did remember, I saw that the rush-light was just burning out. All
was very quiet. The quietness frightened me. The light flared for an
instant, and then it was gone; but it showed me my aunt lying on the floor
with her head leaning on the bed; she was fast asleep. I thought mother
was asleep, too, and I did not dare to speak. Softly creeping out of bed,
I groped my way as well as I could to mother’s side. I listened, but I
heard no sound; I got nearer to her; I could not hear her breathe; I put
out my hand to feel her face; the face was clammy and almost cold.
“Mother! dear mother!” I cried. The cry awoke my aunt; she got a light.
Mother was dead.

I can not remember what happened for a long time afterward; for I was very
ill, and was taken to my aunt’s house. I was very miserable when I got
better again. I felt quite alone in the world; for though aunt was kind,
her kindness was not like mother’s kindness. Whenever I could get to be by
myself, I used to think of poor mother; and often in the long, long
nights, I would lie awake thinking about her, fancying that she was near,
saying things to comfort me. Poor mother!

Time passed on, and by degrees I began to feel happier; for through the
interest of a kind lady—a Mrs. Jones—I was got into a school, where I was
kept entirely, and taught not only reading, writing, arithmetic, and to do
needlework; but was also taught how to do every branch of household work,
so as to qualify me to be a servant. At the age of sixteen, suitable
places were provided for the girls.

I pass over my school-days. They were very happy ones; but, when I was
selected to be the servant of a lady in London, I was very miserable at
parting from every body that I knew in the world, and at going among
strangers who would not love me one bit.

It rained heavily on the day I left; and every thing to be seen out of the
window of the railway train looked dismal and dripping. When I got to the
station, in London, I went into the waiting-room. I waited a long time:
one after another went away, till at last I was left alone to watch the
pouring rain as it fell faster and faster. I was beginning to feel very
dismal indeed, when a smartly dressed young woman came into the
waiting-room. At first I thought she was a lady; she came toward me, “Are
you the young person from Birmingham?” she said. I was up in a moment,
saying, “Yes, ma’am,” courtesying as I spoke. But the minute afterward I
was sorry that I had courtesied; for I was sure _she_ was not my mistress.

We were soon in the cab. “Well,” said my companion, whom I soon knew to be
Maria Wild, the housemaid, “and so you took me to be your mistress, did
you?” and she laughed in a disagreeable way; “I shan’t forget your humble
courtesy, and I’ll try to keep you up to it.” The house at which we
stopped was a pretty stone house, standing at a little distance from the
road, surrounded by a nice garden. I was glad it was in the country, for
the sight of trees and green fields always called to mind those happy
Sundays when dear mother was alive. But the country looked very gloomy
just then; every thing seemed as dull as I was.

I was chilly and shivering, and glad to creep to the fire; no one was in
the kitchen. The kettle was boiling: it sounded cheerily, like the voice
of friends I had often heard. The tea-things were set ready, and every
thing around looked comfortable. By-and-by in came Maria and another
servant—the cook. She was so smart! I looked at her timidly. “Well!” she
said, “now for your courtesy.” I knew at once that Maria had been telling
her about my mistake. I looked grave, and felt very uncomfortable; but I
did not courtesy. “Come, come,” said she, “I’ll excuse you to-night; you
shall have some tea to cheer you up a bit. But don’t look so down-hearted,
girl; this’ll never do; you must pluck up.”

Then we sat down. She asked me a great many questions, all about the place
I had come from; the relations that I had; every thing about the school;
what I had done there; till at last I was quite tired of answering. Then I
asked some questions in my turn.

The family consisted of a master and mistress, three children (all young),
and four servants. My business, I heard, was the care of the second
drawing-room, to help the nurse till two o’clock, and after that time to
help the cook. I wished that it had fallen to my chance to have had a
place more decidedly a _one_ place than this seemed to be; but I did not
dare to say a word. I was very much tired, and cook told me that I might
go to bed; for mistress (who was out) would not return till too late to
speak to me that night. Very glad I was to go. I was to sleep in the room
with the cook and housemaid; but had a small bed to myself. Tired as I
was, I could not sleep. When they came into the room, they believed me to
be asleep, and they went on talking for a long time. I wished not to hear
what they said; for though I could not understand half of it, I was sure
that what they talked about was very wrong. With such companions I felt
that I could never be happy. I longed for morning, that I might write at
once to the matron of my school and tell her so.

But what would the matron say? I knew well that she would chide me; for in
the very last advice she gave me, she said that I must expect, when I went
into the world, to meet with evil-speakers and with evil-doers, and that
it must be my constant care to keep myself unspotted from bad example. I
thought of this over and over again, and determined that, whatever might
happen, I would try to do right. Besides, I had not seen the nurse yet;
she might be a person that I could like; and in this hope I went to sleep.

When I awoke, the bright sunlight was shining in through the window; I was
alone in the room, and I was sure that it was very late. I was dressing
hurriedly when the door softly opened. It was Maria Wild. “How soundly you
have slept!” she said; “I had not the heart to awake you; but you must
make haste now, for mistress is down, and has asked for you, and we have
finished breakfast.” I was not long in following her. The cook had kept
some tea warm for me; her manner seemed kinder, and I wished that I could
forget what had passed. By-and-by the parlor bell rang. It was for me;
and, with a beating heart, I prepared to go into the presence of my first
mistress.

What a pretty, sweet, gentle lady! and so very young that I could scarcely
believe she could be my mistress. She spoke to me most gently, hoped I
should prove a good girl; and, without entering into the nature of my
duties, merely said that the cook and the nurse would put me in the right
way. Dear lady! she was like many other ladies who marry as soon as they
leave school; and who, without knowing any thing at all about the
management of a house, rush into housekeeping.

I wish I could have had all my instructions from my mistress. As it was, I
had three distinct mistresses; my real one knowing less about what I did,
than either of the others. I was often very much tempted to peep into the
beautiful books which were lying about the drawing-room I had the care of.
As I dusted them with my brush, once or twice I could not resist; and, one
morning I opened the prettiest, in which there were such beautiful
engravings, that I turned them all over till I came to the end. One
engraving seemed so very interesting that I could not resist reading a
little of the story which told about it. I was standing with the book in
one hand, the dusting brush in the other, forgetting every thing else,
when I was startled by the sound of my own name. I turned round and saw my
mistress. “Fanny!” repeated my mistress, “this is very wrong; I do not
allow this.” I could not speak, but I felt myself turn very red; and I put
the book hastily on the table. I did not try to make any excuse for what I
had done. I was touched by the gentleness with which my mistress had
reproved me.

Several weeks passed. I was very miserable, but I struggled hard to bear
all as well as I could. I was sure that both the nurse and the cook gave
me a great many things to do that they ought to have done themselves; so
that I had very little rest, and was very tired when night came. I was
certain that I was a restraint on what they had to say to each other: they
were by no means sure of me; and, when I entered the kitchen unexpectedly,
I knew by their altered tone and manners that they spoke of something
different to what they had been speaking about before. I saw many signs
pass between them, which they did not think I saw. Sometimes I knew they
were trying to see how far they might trust me, and I had a strong wish
that they would find out they _never_ would be able to trust me.

One day I was cleaning the children’s shoes in a little out-house near the
kitchen, when my mistress came down to give orders for dinner. The cook
did not know I was there. Most of what was said I could hear very
distinctly; for the kitchen-door was open. “Oh! indeed, ma’am,” said the
cook, “these young girls eat a great deal; you’d be astonished to see how
she makes away with the puddings.”—“Change of air has given her an
appetite, I suppose,” said my mistress.—“Yes, indeed, ma’am; but if it was
an appetite in moderation, I should say nothing about it; but to see her
eat in the way she does—why, ma’am, yesterday, besides the pudding left
from the nursery, I had made another for our dinner, and though Mary and I
took only the least morsel, there was not a bit left.”—“Indeed!” said my
mistress, and left the kitchen.

It was hard work for me to keep quiet. Twice I went toward the
kitchen-door. I felt myself burn all over with anger; but I was struck
dumb by the falsehoods I had heard. There had been no pudding for dinner
the day before, and having had a headache, I had eaten no meat; nor could
I have been tempted even by the savory-looking veal cutlets that the cook
had prepared for herself and Mary. For some time after my mistress had
left the kitchen I remained quite still; indeed, I was scarcely able to
move; then I made a rush toward the kitchen-door, intending to up-braid
the cook with her wickedness; but again I checked myself. I waited till I
could leave the out-house and pass up the back stairs without being seen;
then I went into the room where I slept, threw myself upon my little bed,
and cried bitterly.

I was roused by the nurse, who had been seeking the children’s shoes to
take the children out to walk. I washed my eyes, and went out with them.
The baby was a nice chubby little thing, about seven months old, but he
was what the nurse called “lumpish, and had no spring,” so that he was
very heavy to carry. When we went out to walk, the nurse always carried
baby till we got out of sight of the house; then she gave him to me; and
when we returned she always took him again at the same place. After taking
one turn on the heath “promenade,” we went down by the sand-pits, and
walking on till we came to a retired place, the nurse seated herself near
a heather bush, and took a book. My arms ached so very much that I should
have been glad to sit down too; but she told me to go on, the other
children following me. After I had walked some distance, baby awoke, and
began to cry. I could not comfort him. The more I tried, the louder he
screamed, and the two little children, frightened at his screams, began to
cry too. I turned to go back, but we had gone further than I thought; and
the road being irregular, we had picked our way round many tall bushes of
heather, all looking so much alike—that I did not know which way to take.
In great trouble what to do, and scarcely being able to hold the baby any
longer, I shouted “Nurse! nurse!” as loud as I could shout; but so great
was the noise made by the screaming of the children, that my voice could
not be heard. Presently, however, to my great relief, the nurse suddenly
appeared from behind the bush, near which we were sitting.

What a face of rage she had! “How dare you,” she said, “how dare you go so
far?” Then snatching the child from my arms, she would not hear a word;
but as soon as she had made him and the rest of the children quiet, she
went on abusing me very much indeed.

We were still some way from home when the church clock chimed a quarter to
two. Suddenly the nurse stopped, put her hand into her pocket, and looked
very much frightened. “I’ve left the book,” she said, “left it on the
bank; run—run directly—make haste—don’t lose a moment, or it may be gone.”
I stood still; for I felt angry at having been scolded so undeservedly.
“Go! go this instant!” I was too late; the book was gone! I scarcely dared
to go back. “Not find it!” said the nurse, when I came up to her; “it must
be there; you’ve done this on purpose.” When we had reached home, she
flung the baby hurriedly into my arms. “I’ll go myself,” she said.

The book I had seen her take out of her pocket looked very much like one
placed on a side-table in the room of which I had charge, and so great was
my curiosity to know if it really were the same, that I could not resist
going down to see; so putting the baby (who had begun to cry again) upon
the bed, and telling the little ones to sit still for a minute, down I
went. The book was not on the table. I was sure that I had dusted and
placed it there that very morning, and I now felt certain that _that_ book
was the lost one. The nurse returned, but without the book. She seemed
very much hurried, and was very cross. She could not have been more so if
the book had been lost by any fault of mine. She asked me if I knew the
name of it. I told her that I did not; taking care not to mention my
suspicion—nay, my certainty—that it was the very book I had dusted and
placed on the table that morning. The next day a great change seemed to
have come over both the nurse and the cook; their manner was much kinder
than ever it had been before. Neither of them said a cross word; yet I was
almost certain that the nurse had been telling the cook that I had
overheard what she had said to my mistress. The cause of this change
puzzled me at first, but I soon suspected that they each wanted to coax
me; the one to say nothing about “the large appetite,” the other about the
lost book.

Since the loss of the book, every time the bell had rung, my heart leaped
as though it would burst through my body, and I looked anxiously at Mary
Wild when she came into the kitchen again; but nothing came of all this.
One day, Mary, having a bad fit of toothache, I had to wait at table. That
very afternoon mistress sent to speak to me; she was sitting in the inner
drawing-room. Strange to say, that much as I had thought about the book,
at that very moment I had forgotten all about it, and almost started when
mistress said, “Fanny, I want to know if you have misplaced a book that
was on that table: it is nearly a week since I missed it, but not chancing
to want it till now, I forgot to make inquiry about it.” I turned very
red. I could not speak. My mistress looked questioningly into my face. “Do
you know where it is, Fanny?” “No—yes—no, indeed, ma’am, no.” “Fanny,
Fanny! I am sure you are not speaking the truth; there is something
wrong—you _do_ know something about it.” And she looked fixedly on my
face. I became redder still, but did not answer. “Where is it? what is
become of it?” “Indeed, I have had nothing to do with the loss of that
book.” “To do with the _loss?_ Then you allow that you do know that it is
lost? How can you know this without having something to do with it?” “Oh!
pray, ma’am, pray, pray ask the nurse.” “The nurse! what can she possibly
have to do with the loss of that book?” Again I was silent. The bell was
rung, and the nurse ordered to come down. A glance at her face told me
that she knew what was going on. “Nurse,” said my mistress, “Fanny asks me
to go to you to account for the loss of a book which has been missing for
some days out of this room. Do you know any thing about it?” “I, ma’am!”
said the nurse, pretending to be very much surprised. “Yet I can’t say
that I know nothing about a book that _was_ in this room.” Then turning to
me—“Did you not put it back again? you know very well that I threatened to
tell mistress about it; and I’m very sorry, now, that I did not tell her.”

The only word I could say was, “Nurse!”

“I am sure, ma’am,” said the nurse, “I should have been very sorry to say
any thing against her—and if you had not found her out, I should not have
told about her. She is but young, ma’am, and may improve—but, indeed,
ma’am, never in my life did I see a young girl tell a lie with such a face
of innocence.” I was bursting with shame and vexation. “May I speak,
ma’am? Oh! pray hear me—it was not I: it was _she_ who lost the book. Do
let me speak, ma’am; pray let me tell you—” “No, you shall have no
inducement to tell more falsehoods. I fear I shall be obliged to send you
home again; I can not have any one with my children who tells untruths.”
And she pointed to the nurse to open the door for me. As she was doing so,
nurse said, “She told me, ma’am, how you had caught her reading one
morning, when—” Here she shut me out and herself in.

If I had had money enough to take me to Birmingham, I believe I should not
have staid in the house an hour longer; but how often have I been thankful
that I had not; for, if I had gone away then, nothing could ever have
cleared me in the eyes of my mistress, and I should have been disgraced
forever.

Though I had been five months in my place, I had written but two letters;
one to my aunt, the other to the matron. I was never allowed a light to
take up-stairs, so that I had no opportunity of writing there. It was late
when the servants came to bed that night; and, after having cried a great
deal, I was just dropping to sleep when they came into the room. I did not
sleep long. When I awoke, there was darkness in the room again, and the
servants were snoring. Then all at once the thought came into my head that
I would get up and write a letter to my aunt. I slipped on a few things.
It was too dark for me to be able to see any thing in the room, and I did
not know where the candle had been put. Very much disappointed, I was
preparing to get into bed again, when I remembered the lamp standing on
the centre-table in the inner drawing-room; that room of which I had the
charge. I opened the door softly, and found my way into the drawing-room.
I flamed up a match, which gave light long enough for me to find the lamp;
then I flamed up another, and lighted it. The lamp gave but a dull light;
all in the house was so quiet, and every thing looked so dusky, that I was
frightened, and went on trembling more than before. There was paper in the
case before me, and there were pens in the inkstand, but I never thought
of using _those_. My own paper and pens were under the tray of my
work-box, and that was in the kitchen. The lamp was not too large to be
easily carried; so, taking it up with care, I went into the kitchen. The
two cats on the hearth roused up when I opened the door. One rushed out
and began to mew loudly. How frightened I was! I waited, hoping the cats
might settle again; but they began mewing louder than ever, looking up to
my face, and then rubbing themselves against the meat-screen. I was sure
that they smelt something that they wanted me to give them; so I went
toward the meat-screen to see what it was. There I saw a hand-basket, and
something wrapped up in a cloth. Pushing the meat-screen cautiously aside,
I lifted the basket out. Within I found a medley of things that would have
puzzled wiser heads than mine to know how they could come together. There
was a thick slice of uncooked veal, two sausages, a slice of raw salmon,
some green pease, and seven new potatoes, half a pot of raspberry jam, a
nutmeg, and half a cucumber. I did not dare to untie the bundle—which was
folded up very carefully—but I could feel bits of candles, and a basin
among the oddments it seemed to contain. I put the basket quickly down
again. The cats had been mewing about me all this time. At length I did
contrive to escape. I had reached the drawing-room, placed the lamp on the
table, when I saw the two bits of burnt matches which I had forgotten to
pick up, and which might have left traces of my wanderings. There was
another bit somewhere. In my gladness to have remembered this, I moved the
lamp quickly, and in carrying it toward the floor, I knocked the glass
against the edge of the table; it fell to shivers, and the light was
extinguished. What was to be done? Nothing: there was nothing to be done
but to leave things just as they were, and to creep into bed again.

In the morning I hurried down, fearful lest any of the servants should
chance to go into the drawing-room before I had picked up the broken
glass. I opened the shutters, and soon found that the shattered glass was
not all the injury that had been done. There was lamp-oil on the beautiful
carpet! There seemed no end to my troubles.

“Broken the lamp-glass!” said the cook, as I passed through the kitchen
with the broken bits of glass; “what ever will you do?”—“I can do nothing
but tell mistress.”—“Then I’ll tell you what to do; take my advice, and
deny it.” “Deny what?”—“Why, that you’ve broken the lamp-glass.”—“What!
tell my mistress a lie? how can you give me such wicked advice?”—“Well;
it’s no business of mine,” said the cook; “if you won’t tell her a lie,
I’ll tell her the truth.” I determined, however, to speak first. I could
not go about my usual work till I had spoken to my mistress; and yet, when
I heard the dining-room door open, and knew that she would be coming up, I
ran out of the room, and went up-stairs; my courage failed me, and I
hardly dared to go down again. From the top of the stairs I saw her go
into the room, and I saw the cook following her. I expected every moment
to be called. Soon the door opened, and the cook came out. I heard her
say, distinctly, “Indeed, ma’am, I’m afraid she’ll turn out badly; but
I’ve done what I can to make her confess.” At the sound of the opening of
the door, with a sudden determination, I had rushed down stairs, and was
within a few steps of the room as the cook came out. On seeing me, she
shut the door quickly, and turned quite red; then, speaking in a voice on
purpose for my mistress to hear, she said, “What! have you been
listening?” I made no answer; but went into the room.

There was an expression of displeasure on the face of my mistress as she
looked at me. She asked, “How did you break the lamp-glass? Tell me the
truth—for though I may pardon the accident, I will not pardon any
falsehood about it.”

I begged that I might tell her everything, and that I might begin from the
day when I came to my place. I did so. I told her all, and very much in
the same way that I have just been writing it now. She listened to me with
great attention, and at parts of what I told her, I could see her
countenance change very much indeed. When I had done, she said, “Fanny,
you have told me that which has shocked me very much. I can say nothing
further to you till I have spoken to Mr. Morgan; meantime you must be
silent, and go on as usual.”

Mr. Morgan was at that time from home, and not expected for some days.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Morgan had missed several bottles of wine from the cellar.
She had a distinct knowledge of three bottles that were not in their
places.

The morning after his arrival he did not go to London as usual. He and my
mistress were talking together in the study for a long time. I knew well
what they were talking about, and so flurried did I feel, that I could
hardly get on with my work. At length I met mistress as she was going
up-stairs. She said she was coming to bid me go into the study; and her
manner was so kind that I obeyed her without fear. My master, too, spoke
very kindly to me. I found that my mistress had written to tell him what
had been passing at home in his absence, and that he, chancing to be at
Dudley, which is only a short distance from Birmingham, had gone there to
make further inquiry about me; that he had been at the school, had seen
the matron, and had also seen my aunt. All that he had heard about me had
satisfied him, and convinced him that what I had told my mistress was
nothing but the truth. “Is this your handkerchief, Fanny?” said my master,
taking up one from a side table. “Yes, sir, it is,” I said, unfolding it,
“and here is my name marked; it was given to me by a favorite little
schoolfellow, and I feared I had lost it.”—“Where do you think I found
this handkerchief, Fanny?”—“Indeed, sir, I can’t tell; but, thank you,
sir, for I am so glad it is found.” “I found it in the wine-cellar.” I
must have looked very much alarmed, for my mistress said kindly, “Don’t
look so frightened, Fanny.” My master rang the bell: it was answered by
Mary Wild. “Stay here,” he said; “and, Fanny, go and tell the nurse to
come down.” When the nurse entered, he rang the bell again. No one came.
Indeed, there was no one to come but the cook; and that not being _her_
bell, she did not think of answering it. “Shall I tell her, sir?” said
Mary Wild, who, as well as the nurse, now beginning to suspect something
was wrong, turned very pale. “No!” said my master, angrily, “no one shall
leave the room.” Just then the door opened, and the cook entered. The
plausible smooth face she had put on was gone in an instant, on seeing
what was the state of things. After a moment’s silence, he began “This
handkerchief,” he said, “though marked with Fanny’s name, was not put in
the wine-cellar by her.” He looked sternly at the cook—“Silence!” he said,
to the cook, when she tried to speak. He then went on: “If the three
bottles of wine stolen out of the cellar are still in the house, they
_shall_ be found—here is a search warrant, and at the door is a policeman,
ready to enforce its execution. There is no escape, and in confession is
the best chance of mercy.” Mary Wild looked at the cook. I shall never
forget that woman’s face at that moment. She seemed choking with feelings
that she tried to hide, and uncertain what it would be the best for her to
do; she went at last toward the door, and suddenly opening it, was rushing
out of the room and up-stairs. “Stop!” cried my master, following her.—“I
must go,” she said, “I am ill. This sudden shock—to think that I—that it
should come to this—to be suspected.”—And then she screamed, and tried to
throw herself into a fit; but the fit would not come. Mr. Morgan said,
“You had better be quiet, and submit quietly to what you can not escape
from.”—“I will,” she screamed out; “I have nothing to fear—I am innocent;
only let me go up-stairs; only let me have a few minutes to—” “Not an
instant,” said my master. He then opened the window, and called to the
policeman, who had been waiting in the garden. The boxes of each of the
servants were examined. In the cook’s box were found two of the bottles,
besides many things belonging to my mistress—cambric pocket-handkerchiefs,
chamber-towels, silk-stockings, and many other articles, marked with the
names of visitors who had been staying in the house. Folded up in some
crumpled bits of paper, and put into the sleeve of an old gown, was a
silver fork, that had been lost more than a year ago, and that mistress
had supposed to have been stolen by the housemaid who had lived there
before Mary Wild came. In the nurse’s box were several things that looked
very unlikely to be her own, but they did not belong to mistress. In a
corner of the nursery cupboard was the third bottle of wine; that also had
been opened. In Mary Wild’s box there was nothing to excite suspicion.

When the examination was over, master gave the cook in charge to the
policeman. The nurse was told to leave the house within an hour. She would
have had much to say, but master would not hear her.

A month’s notice was given to Mary Wild. I was glad of it; for though I
knew that she had entered into many of the wicked cook’s deceptions, there
was a something about her that made me think she would have been good, if
she had not been under such evil influence. All had been so sudden, that I
almost fancied it had been a dream. For a few days we went on without
other servants, and I thought things had never been so comfortable as they
were during this time; but Mary Wild was taken so very ill, that a doctor
was sent for. She became worse and worse, and I scarcely ever left her. In
her delirium she would talk about things that had passed between the cook
and herself; and though she did not know what she was saying, I felt sure
that what she said _had been_. A very long time she was ill; then a sudden
change took place: and she was out of danger. Poor thing! how quiet, and
patient, and sorrowful she was: and how grateful for every thing that was
done for her! Mistress was so much touched by the many signs of sorrow
Mary had shown, that she allowed her to remain in her place. Though I was
so young, only just seventeen, my mistress, knowing that I was fond of the
children, trusted them to my care. She engaged another nurse for three
months to “put me in the way.” At the end of that time she sent to the
school for another girl to fill the place which had been mine. Very great
was my delight to find that she was the one who had been my most favorite
schoolfellow; the very girl who had given me the handkerchief.

The cook was committed for trial; her sentence was six months’
imprisonment. What became of the nurse I never knew.



THE POINT OF HONOR.


One evening in the autumn of the year 1842. seven persons, including
myself, were sitting and chatting in a state of hilarious gayety in front
of Señor Arguellas’ country-house, a mile or so out of Santiago de Cuba,
in the Eastern Intendencia of the Queen of the Antilles, and once its
chief capital, when an incident occurred that as effectually put an
extinguisher upon the noisy mirth as if a bomb-shell had suddenly exploded
at our feet. But first a brief account of those seven persons, and the
cause of their being so assembled, will be necessary.

Three were American merchants—Southerners and smart traders, extensively
connected with the commerce of the Colombian archipelago, and designing to
sail on the morrow—wind and weather permitting, in the bark _Neptune_,
Starkey master and part owner—for Morant Bay, Jamaica; one was a
lieutenant in the Spanish artillery, and nephew of our host; another was a
M. Dupont, a young and rich creole, of mingled French and Spanish
parentage, and the reputed suitor for the hand of Donna Antonia—the
daughter and sole heiress of Señor Arguellas, and withal a graceful and
charming maiden of eighteen—a ripe age in that precocious clime; the sixth
guest was Captain Starkey, of the _Neptune_, a gentlemanly, fine-looking
English seaman of about thirty years of age; the seventh and last was
myself, at that time a mere youngster, and but just recovered from a
severe fit of sickness which a twelvemonth previously had necessitated my
removal from Jamaica to the much more temperate and equable climate of
Cuba, albeit the two islands are only distant about five degrees from each
other. I was also one of Captain Starkey’s passengers, and so was Señor
Arguellas, who had business to wind up in Kingston. He was to be
accompanied by Señora Arguellas, Antonia, the young lieutenant, and M.
Dupont. The _Neptune_ had brought a cargo of sundries, consisting of
hardware, cottons, _et cetera_, to Cuba, and was returning about
half-laden with goods. Among these, belonging to the American merchants,
were a number of barrels of gunpowder, that had proved unsalable in Cuba,
and which, it was thought, might find a satisfactory market in Jamaica.
There was excellent cabin-accommodation on board Captain Starkey’s vessel,
and as the weather was fine, and the passage promised to be a brief as
well as pleasant one—the wind having shifted to the northwest, with the
intention, it seemed, of remaining there for some time—we were all, as I
have stated, in exceedingly good-humor, and discussing the intended trip,
Cuban, American, and European politics, the comparative merits of French
and Spanish wines, and Havanna and Alabama cigars, with infinite glee and
gusto.

The evening, too, was deliciously bright and clear. The breeze, pronounced
by Capt. Starkey to be rising to a five or six knot one at sea, only
sufficiently stirred the rich and odorous vegetation of the valleys,
stretching far away beneath us, gently to fan the heated faces of the
party with its grateful perfume, and slightly ripple the winding rivers,
rivulets rather, which every where intersect and irrigate the island, and
which were now glittering with the myriad splendors of the
intensely-lustrous stars that diadem a Cuban night. Nearly all the guests
had drunk very freely of wine, too much so, indeed; but the talk, in
French, which all could speak tolerably, did not profane the calm glory of
the scene, till some time after Señora Arguellas and her daughter had left
us. The señor, I should state, was still detained in town by business
which it was necessary he should dispose of previous to embarking for
Jamaica.

“Do not go away,” said Señora Arguellas, addressing Captain Starkey, as
she rose from her seat, “till I see you again. When you are at leisure,
ring the _sonnette_ on the table and a servant will inform me. I wish to
speak further with you relative to the cabin arrangements.”

Captain Starkey bowed. I had never, I thought, seen Antonia smile so
sweetly; and the two ladies left us. I do not precisely remember how it
came about, or what first led to it, but it was not very long before we
were all conscious that the conversation had assumed a disagreeable tone.
It struck me that possibly M. Dupont did not like the expression of
Antonia’s face as she courtesied to Captain Starkey. This, however, would,
I think, have passed off harmlessly, had it not been that the captain
happened to mention, very imprudently, that he had once served as a
midshipman on board the English slave-squadron. This fanned M. Dupont’s
smouldering ill-humor into a flame, and I gathered from his confused
maledictions that he had suffered in property from the exertions of that
force. The storm of angry words raged fiercely. The motives of the English
for interfering with the slave-traffic were denounced with contemptuous
bitterness on the one side, and as warmly and angrily defended on the
other. Finally—the fact is, they were both flustered with wine and
passion, and scarcely knew what they said or did—M. Dupont applied an
epithet to the Queen of England, which instantly brought a glass of wine
full in his face from the hand of Captain Starkey. They were all in an
instant on their feet, and apparently sobered, or nearly so, by the
unfortunate issue of the wordy tumult.

Captain Starkey was the first to speak. His flushed and angry features
paled suddenly to an almost deathly white, and he stammered out, “I beg
your pardon, M. Dupont. It was wrong—very wrong in me to do so, though not
inexcusable.”

“Pardon? _Mille tonnerres!_” shouted Dupont, who was capering about in an
ecstasy of rage, and wiping his face with his handkerchief. “Yes, a bullet
through your head shall pardon you—nothing less!”

Indeed, according to the then notions of Cuban society, no other
alternative save the duello appeared possible. Lieutenant Arguellas
hurried at once into the house, and speedily returned with a case of
pistols. “Let us proceed,” he said, in a quick whisper, “to the grove
yonder; we shall be there free from interruption.” He took Dupont’s arm,
and both turned to move off. As they did so, Mr. Desmond, the elder of the
American gentlemen, stepped toward Captain Starkey, who with recovered
calmness, and with his arms folded, was standing by the table, and said,
“I am not entirely, my good sir, a stranger to these affairs, and if I can
be of service I shall—”

“Thank you, Mr. Desmond,” replied the English captain; “but I shall not
require your assistance. Lieutenant Arguellas, you may as well remain. I
am no duelist, and shall not fight M. Dupont.”

“What does he say?” exclaimed the lieutenant, gazing with stupid
bewilderment round the circle. “Not fight!”

The Anglo-Saxon blood, I saw, flushed as hotly in the veins of the
Americans as it did in mine at this exhibition of the white feather by one
of our race. “Not fight, Captain Starkey!” said Mr. Desmond, with grave
earnestness, after a painful pause: “you, whose name is in the list of the
British royal navy, say this! You must be jesting!”

“I am perfectly serious—I am opposed to dueling upon principle.”

“A coward upon principle!” fairly screamed Dupont, with mocking fury, and
at the same time shaking his clenched fist at the Englishman.

The degrading epithet stung like a serpent. A gleam of fierce passion
broke out of Captain Starkey’s dark eyes, and he made a step toward
Dupont, but resolutely checked himself.

“Well, it must be borne! I was wrong to offer you personal violence,
although your impertinence certainly deserved rebuke. Still, I repeat I
will not fight with you.”

“But you _shall_ give my friend satisfaction!” exclaimed Lieutenant
Arguellas, who was as much excited as Dupont; “or, by Heaven, I will post
you as a dastard not only throughout this island but Jamaica!”

Captain Starkey for all answer to this menace coolly rang the _sonnette_,
and desired the slave who answered it to inform Señora Arguellas that he
was about to leave, and wished to see her.

“The brave Englishman is about to place himself under the protection of
your aunt’s petticoats, Alphonso!” shouted Dupont, with triumphant
mockery.

“I almost doubt whether Mr. Starkey is an Englishman,” exclaimed Mr.
Desmond, who, as well as his two friends, was getting pretty much
incensed; “but, at all events, as my father and mother were born and
raised in the old country, if you presume to insinuate that—”

Señora Arguellas at this moment approached, and the irate American with
some difficulty restrained himself. The lady appeared surprised at the
strange aspect of the company she had so lately left. She, however, at the
request of the captain, instantly led the way into the house, leaving the
rest of her visitors, as the French say, _plantés là_.

Ten minutes afterward we were informed that Captain Starkey had left the
house, after impressing upon Señora Arguellas that the _Neptune_ would
sail the next morning precisely at nine o’clock. A renewed torrent of
rage, contempt, and scorn broke forth at this announcement, and a duel at
one time seemed inevitable between Lieutenant Arguellas and Mr. Desmond,
the last-named gentleman manifesting great anxiety to shoot somebody or
other in vindication of his Anglo-Saxon lineage. This, however, was
overruled, and the party broke up in angry disorder.

We were all on board by the appointed time on the following morning.
Captain Starkey received us with civil indifference, and I noticed that
the elaborate sneers which sat upon the countenances of Dupont and the
lieutenant did not appear in the slightest degree to ruffle or affect him;
but the averted eye and scornful air of Donna Antonia as she passed with
Señora Arguellas toward the cabin, drawing her mantilla tightly round her
as she swept by, as if—so I perhaps wrongfully interpreted the action—it
would be soiled by contact with a poltroon, visibly touched him—only,
however, for a few brief moments. The expression of pain quickly vanished,
and his countenance was as cold and stern as before. There was, albeit, it
was soon found, a limit to this, it seemed, contemptuous forbearance.
Dupont, approaching him, gave his thought audible expression, exclaiming,
loud enough for several of the crew to hear, and looking steadily in the
captain’s face: “_Lâche!_” He would have turned away, but was arrested by
a gripe of steel. “_Ecoutez_, monsieur,” said Captain Starkey:
“individually, I hold for nothing whatever you may say; but I am captain
and king in this ship, and I will permit no one to beard me before the
crew, and thereby lessen my authority over them. Do you presume again to
do so, and I will put you in solitary confinement, perhaps in irons, till
we arrive at Jamaica.” He then threw off his startled auditor, and walked
forward. The passengers, colored as well as white, were all on board; the
anchor, already apeak, was brought home; the bows of the ship fell slowly
off, and we were in a few moments running before the wind, though but a
faint one, for Point Morant.

No one could be many hours on board the _Neptune_ without being fully
satisfied that, however deficient in dueling courage her captain might be,
he was a thorough seaman, and that his crew—about a dozen of as fine
fellows as I have ever seen—were under the most perfect discipline and
command. The service of the vessel was carried on as noiselessly and
regularly as on board a ship of war; and a sense of confidence, that
should a tempest or other sea-peril overtake us, every reliance might be
placed in the professional skill and energy of Captain Starkey, was soon
openly or tacitly acknowledged by all on board. The weather throughout
happily continued fine, but the wind was light and variable, so that for
several days after we had sighted the blue mountains of Jamaica, we
scarcely appeared sensibly to diminish the distance between them and us.
At last the breeze again blew steadily from the northwest, and we
gradually neared Point Morant. We passed it, and opened up the bay at
about two o’clock in the morning, when the voyage might be said to be
over. This was a great relief to the cabin-passengers—far beyond the
ordinary pleasure to land-folk of escaping from the tedium of confinement
on shipboard. There was a constraint in the behavior of every body that
was exceedingly unpleasant. The captain presided at table with freezing
civility; the conversation, if such it could be called, was usually
restricted to monosyllables; and we were all very heartily glad that we
had eaten our last dinner in the _Neptune_. When we doubled Point Morant,
all the passengers except myself were in bed, and a quarter of an hour
afterward Captain Starkey went below, and was soon busy, I understood,
with papers in his cabin. For my part I was too excited for sleep, and I
continued to pace the deck fore and aft with Hawkins, the first-mate,
whose watch it was, eagerly observant of the lights on the well-known
shore, that I had left so many months before with but faint hopes of ever
seeing it again. As I thus gazed landward, a bright gleam, as of crimson
moonlight, shot across the dark sea, and turning quickly round, I saw that
it was caused by a tall jet of flame shooting up from the main hatchway,
which two seamen, for some purpose or other, had at the moment partially
opened. In my still weak state, the terror of the sight—for the
recollection of the barrels of powder on board flashed instantly across my
mind—for several moments completely stunned me, and but that I caught
instinctively, at the rattlings, I should have fallen prostrate on the
deck. A wild outcry of “Fire! fire!”—the most fearful cry that can be
heard at sea—mingled with and heightened the dizzy ringing in my brain,
and I was barely sufficiently conscious to discern, amid the runnings to
and fro, and the incoherent exclamations of the crew, the sinewy, athletic
figure of the captain leap up, as it were, from the companion-ladder to
the deck, and with his trumpet-voice command immediate silence, instantly
followed by the order again to batten down the blazing hatchway. This,
with his own assistance, was promptly effected, and then he disappeared
down the forecastle. The two or three minutes he was gone—it could
scarcely have been more than that—seemed interminable; and so completely
did it appear to be recognized that our fate must depend upon his judgment
and vigor, that not a word was spoken, nor a finger, I think, moved, till
he reappeared, already scorched and blackened with the fire, and dragging
up what seemed a dead body in his arms. He threw his burden on the deck,
and passing swiftly to where Hawkins stood, said in a low, hurried
whisper, but audible to me; “Run down and rouse the passengers, and bring
my pistols from the cabin-locker. Quick! Eternity hangs on the loss of a
moment.” Then turning to the startled but attentive seamen, he said in a
rapid but firm voice: “You well know, men, that I would not on any
occasion or for any motive deceive you. Listen, then, attentively. Yon
drunken brute—he is Lieutenant Arguellas’ servant—has fired with his
candle the spirits he was stealing, and the hold is a mass of fire which
it is useless to waste one precious moment in attempting to extinguish.”

A cry of rage and terror burst from the crew, and they sprang impulsively
toward the boats, but the captain’s authoritative voice at once arrested
their steps. “Hear me out, will you? Hurry and confusion will destroy us
all, but with courage and steadiness every soul on board may be saved
before the flames can reach the powder. And remember,” he added, as he
took his pistols from Hawkins and cocked one of them, “that I will send a
bullet after any man who disobeys me, and I seldom miss my aim. Now, then,
to your work—steadily, and with a will!”

It was marvelous to observe the influence his bold, confident, and
commanding bearing and words had upon the men. The panic-terror that had
seized them gave place to energetic resolution, and in an incredibly short
space of time the boats were in the water. “Well done, my fine fellows!
There is plenty of time, I again repeat. Four of you”—and he named
them—“remain with me. Three others jump into each of the large boats, two
into the small one, and bring them round to the landward side of the ship.
A rush would swamp the boats, and we shall be able to keep only one
gangway clear.”

The passengers were by this time rushing upon deck half-clad, and in a
state of the wildest terror, for they all knew there was a large quantity
of gunpowder on board. The instant the boats touched the starboard side of
the bark, the men, white as well as colored, forced their way with
frenzied eagerness before the women and children—careless, apparently,
whom they sacrificed so that they might themselves leap to the shelter of
the boats from the fiery volcano raging beneath their feet. Captain
Starkey, aided by the four athletic seamen he had selected for the duty,
hurled them fiercely back. “Back, back!” he shouted. “We must have funeral
order here—first the women and children, next the old men. Hand Señora
Arguellas along; next the young lady her daughter: quick!”

As Donna Antonia, more dead than alive, was about to be lifted into the
boat, a gush of flame burst up through the main hatchway with the roar of
an explosion; a tumultuous cry burst from the frenzied passengers, and
they jostled each other with frightful violence in their efforts to reach
the gangway. Dupont forced his way through the lane of seamen with the
energy of a madman, and pressed so suddenly upon Antonia that, but for the
utmost exertion of the captain’s Herculean strength, she must have been
precipitated into the water.

“Back, unmanly dastard! back, dog!” roared Captain Starkey, terribly
excited by the lady’s danger; and a moment after, seizing Dupont fiercely
by the collar, he added: “or if you will, look there but for a moment,”
and he pointed with his pistol-hand to the fins of several sharks plainly
visible in the glaring light at but a few yards’ distance from the ship.
“Men,” he added, “let whoever presses forward out of his turn fall into
the water.”

“Ay, ay, sir!” was the prompt mechanical response.

This terrible menace instantly restored order; the colored women and
children were next embarked, and the boat appeared full.

“Pull off,” was the order: “you are deep enough for safety.”

A cry, faint as the wail of a child, arose in the boat. It was heard and
understood.

“Stay one moment; pass along Señor Arguellas. Now, then, off with you, and
be smart!”

The next boat was quickly loaded; the colored lads and men, all but one,
and the three Americans, went in her.

“You are a noble fellow,” said Mr. Desmond, pausing an instant, and
catching at the captain’s hand; “and I was but a fool to—”

“Pass on,” was the reply: “there is no time to bandy compliments.”

The order to shove off had passed the captain’s lips when his glance
chanced to light upon me, as I leaned, dumb with terror, just behind him
against the vessel’s bulwarks.

“Hold on a moment!” he cried. “Here is a youngster whose weight will not
hurt you;” and he fairly lifted me over, and dropped me gently into the
boat, whispering as he did so: “Remember me, Ned, to thy father and mother
should I not see them again.”

There was now only the small boat, capable of safely containing but eight
persons, and how, it was whispered among us—how, in addition to the two
seamen already in her, can she take off Lieutenant Arguellas, M. Dupont,
the remaining colored man, the four seamen, and Captain Starkey? They
were, however, all speedily embarked except the captain.

“Can she bear another?” he asked, and although his voice was firm as ever,
his countenance, I noticed, was ashy pale, yet full as ever of unswerving
resolution.

“We must, and will, sir, since it’s you; but we are dangerously
overcrowded now, especially with yon ugly customers swimming round us.”

“Stay one moment; I can not quit the ship while there’s a living soul on
board.” He stepped hastily forward, and presently reappeared at the
gangway with the still senseless body of the lieutenant’s servant in his
arms, and dropped it over the side into the boat. There was a cry of
indignation, but it was of no avail. The boat’s rope the next instant was
cast into the water. “Now pull for your lives!” The oars, from the
instinct of self-preservation, instantly fell into the water, and the boat
sprang off. Captain Starkey, now that all except himself were clear of the
burning ship, gazed eagerly with eyes shaded with his hand in the
direction of the shore. Presently he hailed the headmost boat. “We must
have been seen from the shore long ago, and pilot-boats ought to be coming
out, though I don’t see any. If you meet one, bid him be smart: there may
be a chance yet.” All this scene, this long agony, which has taken me so
many words to depict very imperfectly from my own recollection, and those
of others, only lasted, I was afterward assured by Mr. Desmond, eight
minutes from the embarkation of Señora Arguellas till the last boat left
the ill-fated _Neptune_.

Never shall I forget the frightful sublimity of the spectacle presented by
that flaming ship, the sole object, save ourselves, discernible amidst the
vast and heaving darkness, if I may use the term, of the night and ocean,
coupled as it was with the dreadful thought that the heroic man to whose
firmness and presence of mind we all owed our safety was inevitably doomed
to perish. We had not rowed more than a couple of hundred yards when the
flames, leaping up every where through the deck, reached the rigging and
the few sails set, presenting a complete outline of the bark and her
tracery of masts and yards drawn in lines of fire! Captain Starkey, not to
throw away the chance he spoke of, had gone out to the end of the
bowsprit, having first let the jib and foresail go by the run, and was for
a brief space safe from the flames; but what was this but a prolongation
of the bitterness of death?

The boats continued to increase the distance between them and the blazing
ship, amidst a dead silence broken only by the measured dip of the oars;
and many an eye was turned with intense anxiety shoreward with the hope of
descrying the expected pilot. At length a distinct hail—and I felt my
heart stop heating at the sound—was heard ahead, lustily responded to by
the seamen’s throats, and presently afterward a swiftly-propelled
pilot-boat shot out of the thick darkness ahead, almost immediately
followed by another.

“What ship is that?” cried a man standing in the bows of the first boat.

“The _Neptune_, and that is Captain Starkey on the bowsprit!”

I sprang eagerly to my feet, and with all the force I could exert,
shouted: “A hundred pounds for the first boat that reaches the ship!”

“That’s young Mr. Mainwaring’s face and voice!” exclaimed the foremost
pilot. “Hurra, then, for the prize!” and away both sped with eager vigor,
but unaware certainly of the peril of the task. In a minute or so another
shore-boat came up, but after asking a few questions, and seeing how
matters stood, remained, and lightened us of a portion of our living
cargoes. We were all three too deep in the water, the small boat
perilously so.

Great God! the terrible suspense we all felt while this was going forward.
I can scarcely bear, even now, to think about it. I shut my eyes, and
listened with breathless, palpitating excitement for the explosion that
should end all. It came!—at least I thought it did, and I sprang
convulsively to my feet. So sensitive was my brain, partly no doubt from
recent sickness as well as fright, that I had mistaken the sudden shout of
the boats’ crews, for the dreaded catastrophe. The bowsprit, from the end
of which a rope was dangling, was empty! and both pilots, made aware
doubtless of the danger, were pulling with the eagerness of fear from the
ship. The cheering among us was renewed again and again, during which I
continued to gaze with arrested breath and fascinated stare at the flaming
vessel and fleeing pilot-boats. Suddenly a pyramid of flame shot up from
the hold of the ship, followed by a deafening roar. I fell, or was knocked
down, I know not which; the boat rocked as if caught in a fierce eddy;
next came the hiss and splash of numerous heavy bodies falling from a
great height into the water; and then the blinding glare and stunning
uproar were succeeded by a soundless silence and a thick darkness, in
which no man could discern his neighbor. The stillness was broken by a
loud, cheerful hail from one of the pilot-boats: we recognized the voice,
and the simultaneous and ringing shout which burst from us assured the
gallant seaman of our own safety, and how exultingly we all rejoiced in
his. Half an hour afterward we were safely landed; and as the ship and
cargo had been specially insured, the only ultimate evil result of this
fearful passage in the lives of the passengers and crew of the _Neptune_
was a heavy loss to the underwriters.

A piece of plate, at the suggestion of Mr. Desmond and his friends, was
subscribed for and presented to Captain Starkey at a public dinner given
at Kingston in his honor—a circumstance that many there will remember. In
his speech on returning thanks for the compliment paid him, he explained
his motive for resolutely declining to fight a duel with M. Dupont,
half-a-dozen versions of which had got into the newspapers. “I was very
early left an orphan,” he said, “and was very tenderly reared by a
maternal aunt, Mrs. ——.” (He mentioned a name with which hundreds of
newspaper readers in England must be still familiar). “Her husband—as many
here may be aware—fell in a duel in the second month of wedlock. My aunt
continued to live dejectedly on till I had passed my nineteenth year; and
so vivid an impression did the patient sorrow of her life make on me—so
thoroughly did I learn to loathe and detest the barbarous practice that
consigned her to a premature grave, that it scarcely required the solemn
promise she obtained from me, as the last sigh trembled on her lips, to
make me resolve never, under any circumstances, to fight a duel. As to my
behavior during the unfortunate conflagration of the _Neptune,_ which my
friend Mr. Desmond has spoken of so flatteringly, I can only say that I
did no more than my simple duty in the matter. Both he and I belong to a
maritime race, one of whose most peremptory maxims it is that the captain
must be the last man to quit or give up his ship. Besides, I must have
been the veriest dastard alive to have quailed in the presence of—of—that
is, in the presence of—circumstances which—in point of fact—that is—” Here
Captain Starkey blushed and boggled sadly: he was evidently no orator; but
whether it was the sly significance of Señor Arguellas’ countenance, which
just then happened to be turned toward him, or the glance he threw at the
gallery where Señora Arguellas’ grave placidity and Donna Antonia’s bright
eyes and blushing cheeks encountered him, that so completely put him out,
I can not say; but he continued to stammer painfully, although the company
cheered and laughed with great vehemence and uncommon good-humor, in order
to give him time. He could not recover himself; and after floundering
about through a few more unintelligible sentences sat down, evidently very
hot and uncomfortable, though amidst a little hurricane of hearty cheers
and hilarious laughter.

I have but a few more words to say. Captain Starkey has been long settled
at the Havanna; and Donna Antonia has been just as long Mrs. Starkey.
Three little Starkeys have to my knowledge already come to town, and the
captain is altogether a rich and prosperous man; but though apparently
permanently domiciled in a foreign country, he is, I am quite satisfied,
as true an Englishman, and as loyal a subject of Queen Victoria, as when
he threw the glass of wine in the Cuban Creole’s face. I don’t know what
has become of Dupont; and, to tell the truth, I don’t much care.
Lieutenant Arguellas has attained the rank of major: at least I suppose he
must be the Major Arguellas officially reported to be slightly wounded in
the late Lopez buccaneering affair. And I also am pretty well now, thank
you!



CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY.


Christmas-day came—presents were to be exchanged. My friend Albert B—— and
I were deputed to go to Bremen to make purchases, the choice thereof being
left to our discretion. This, be it understood, was for the behoof of some
of our gentlemen friends; the ladies had long been prepared with their
offerings, which almost, in every case, were the work of their own hands.

We started on foot; it was genial frosty weather. At Oslebshausen, which
is half-way, we rested, and took a glass of wine. Then we continued our
march, and at last caught sight of the windmill, which marks the entrance
to the town. Breakfast was the first thing to be thought of, so we went
and breakfasted in a house situated in a street called the “Bishop’s
Needle.” Then we hunted about in various shops, and finally arrived, not a
little laden, at the office of the Lesmona omnibus. Here we deposited our
goods, and secured our places; after which, as we had a couple of hours
before us, we repaired to Stehely and Jansen’s, the chief café of Bremen,
to pass the time and read the papers.

Toward dusk we reached Lesmona, and our constituents immediately selected,
each according to his taste, the articles we had brought them. For my
part, as I was that evening a guest at the house of my friend the pastor,
I betook myself thither with the trifling gifts I had bought for his
children. I was destined to receive in return presents from them and other
members of his family. How they were exchanged, I shall presently relate.
I begin at the beginning of the ceremony; for the celebration of
Christmas-day is, indeed, a ceremony in most parts of Germany.

The pastor’s house is, when you look at it in front, a long, low building,
with a prodigiously high thatched roof. If you go to the gable, however,
you will find that there are actually three stories in it, two being in
the said roof. The middle of the ground floor is occupied by a large hall,
which gives access to all the chambers, and has a branch leading to one
end of the edifice. At this end there is a door, on passing by which, you
find yourself in the place where the cows, pigs, and other animals are
kept. When I speak of the other animals, I should except the storks, who,
on their arrival in spring, from Egypt or elsewhere, find their usual
basket-work habitations about the chimneys all ready to receive them. One
would imagine, by the way, that they brought from their winter quarters
something like the superstition of the old inhabitants of the Nile valley,
so great is the worship of the Germans for these birds, and so
enthusiastically is their arrival hailed. No one would ever dare to murder
a stork. A similar protection is extended to nightingales. The consequense
is, that, being unmolested, the “solemn bird of night” becomes very tame.
In the suburbs of Hamburg are numerous villas, and there, in a friend’s
garden, I have passed and repassed under the bough where, within the reach
of my arm, a nightingale was singing. He not only showed no fear, but,
being of a vain character, as nightingales naturally are, he strained his
little throat the more that he saw I listened to him.

But to return to the pastor’s house. In the corner of the hall of which I
have spoken, was the “Christmas Tree.” Some of those who read these
sketches may have seen an engraving of Luther on a Christmas evening, his
wife and children beside him. The tree represented in that engraving was
the exact prototype of the one I now saw. It was of a species of fir, and
on all its branches were fixed small wax-tapers. These, at the given hour,
were lighted. Immediately, a procession of the village-school children
entered, and placed themselves in order. Then the pastor appeared, and
after a short prayer gave out a psalm. He conducted the music himself,
and, as he had for some time been teaching the young people a little
singing, it was much better than usual, more especially as there were no
braying men to spoil it. The air was that brave old composition of the
great reformer, _Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott_ (“A strong tower is our
God”). Nothing nobler in psalmody exists.

After another short prayer, and a few words by way of speech, sundry
rewards and prizes were distributed. The greater part of these were the
handiwork of the pastor’s family. I refer, of course, to the useful
articles of dress and other things, which domestic female hands know how
to sew, and knit, and embroider. Many tracts were distributed. A blessing
was pronounced, and the children withdrew.

It was now our turn. The family assembled in the saloon—a fine apartment,
about thirty feet in length. A long table, covered with a white cloth,
extended down the centre. At this every one had his place—I among the
rest. But it was not for a repast. Each had previously entered and
deposited his or her Christmas boxes at the part of the table assigned to
those to whom they were offered. We all had thus a little heap. As the
greatest secresy is preserved up to the moment of the general entry, we
had all the pleasure of a surprise. The curiosity of the children, and
also of those who were not children, as they examined their gifts was most
amusing. I, for my part, received among other things the following:—Sundry
articles got up by the family fingers; a little box, covered with beads,
for holding lucifer-matches; a German toy, meant to be instructive; a long
chain in beads, intended for the decoration of a pipe. This pipe was in
sugar, and was accompanied by a note in verse. The note I still have, but
the pipe melted away in the damp of winter. I never could ascertain to
whom I was indebted for this gift.

A little later, evening worship was celebrated, and then we supped. Long
that night, after I had laid my head on my pillow, was I kept awake by the
thoughts raised by the kind, hearty, and genial character of those with
whom I had passed the evening, and of the good, old-fashioned, hearty
ceremony in which I had participated.

Many a merry Christmas to these my friends!



THE MIRACLE OF LIFE.


Of all Miracles, the most wonderful is that of Life—the common, daily life
which we carry about with us, and which every where surrounds us. The sun
and stars, the blue firmament, day and night, the tides and seasons, are
as nothing compared with it. Life—the soul of the world, but for which
creation were not!

It is our daily familiarity with Life, which obscures its wonders from us.
We live, yet remember it not. Other wonders attract our attention, and
excite our surprise; but this, the great wonder of the world, which
includes all others, is little regarded. We have grown up alongside of
Life, with Life within us and about us; and there is never any point in
our existence, at which its phenomena arrest our curiosity and attention.
The miracle is hid from us by familiarity, and we see it not.

Fancy the earth without Life!—its skeleton ribs of rock and mountain
unclothed by verdure, without soil, without flesh! What a naked, desolate
spectacle,—and how unlike the beautiful aspect of external nature in all
lands! Nature, ever-varied and ever-changing—coming with the spring, and
going to sleep with the winter—in constant rotation. The flower springs
up, blooms, withers, and falls, returning to the earth from whence it
sprung, leaving behind it the germs of future being; for nothing dies; not
even Life, which only gives up one form to assume another. Organization is
traveling in an unending circle.

The trees in summer put on their verdure; they blossom; their fruit
ripens—falls; what the roots gathered up out of the earth returns to earth
again; the leaves drop one by one, and decay, resolving themselves into
new forms, to enter into other organizations; the sap flows back to the
trunk; and the forest, wood, field, and brake compose themselves to their
annual winter’s sleep. In spring and summer the birds sang in the boughs,
and tended their young brood; the whole animal kingdom rejoiced in their
full bounding life; the sun shone warm, and nature rejoiced in greenness.
Winter lays its cold chill upon this scene; but the same scene comes round
again, and another spring recommences the same “never-ending, still
beginning” succession of vital changes. We learn to expect all this, and
become so familiar with it, that it seldom occurs to us to reflect how
much harmony and adaptation there is in the arrangement—how much of beauty
and glory there is every where, above, around, and beneath us.

But were it possible to conceive an intelligent being, abstracted from our
humanity, endowed with the full possession of mind and reason, all at once
set down on the earth’s surface—how many objects of surpassing interest
and wonder would at once force themselves on his attention. The verdant
earth, covered with its endless profusion of forms of vegetable life, from
the delicate moss to the oak which survives the revolutions of centuries;
the insect and animal kingdom, from the gnat which dances in the summer’s
sunbeams, up to the higher forms of sentient being; birds, beasts of
endless diversity of form, instinct, and color; and, above all, Man—“Lord
of the lion heart and eagle eye;”—these would, to such an intelligence, be
a source of almost endless interest.

It is life which is the grand glory of the world it was the consummation
of creative power, at which the morning stars sang together for joy. Is
not the sun glorious because there are living eyes to be gladdened by his
beams? is not the fresh air delicious because there are living creatures
to inhale and enjoy it? are not odors fragrant, and sounds sweet, and
colors gorgeous, because there is the living sensation to appreciate them?
Without Life, what were they all? What were a Creator himself, without
life, intelligence, understanding, to know and adore Him, and to trace His
finger in the works that He hath made?

Boundless variety and perpetual change are exhibited in the living beings
around us. Take the class of insects alone: of these, not fewer than
100,000 distinct species are already known and described; and every day is
adding to the catalogue. Wherever you penetrate, that life can be
sustained, you find living beings to exist; in the depths of ocean, in the
arid desert, or at the icy polar regions. The air teems with life. The
soil which clothes the earth all round, is swarming with life, vegetable
and animal. Take a drop of water, and examine it with a microscope: lo! it
is swarming with living creatures. Within Life, exists other life, until
it recedes before the powers of human vision. The parasitic animalcule,
which preys upon or within the body of a larger animal, is itself preyed
upon by parasites peculiar to itself. So minute are living animalcules,
that Ehrenberg has computed that not fewer than five hundred millions can
subsist in a single drop of water, and each of these monads is endowed
with its appropriate organs, possesses spontaneous power of motion, and
enjoys an independent vitality.

In the very ocean deeps, insects, by the labor of ages, are enabled to
construct islands, and lay the foundations of future continents. The coral
insect is the great architect of the southern ocean. First a reef is
formed; seeds are wafted to it, vegetation springs up, a verdant island
exists; then man takes possession, and a colony is formed.

Dig down into the earth, and from a hundred yards deep, throw up a portion
of soil—cover it so that no communication can take place between that
earth and the surrounding air. Soon you will observe vegetation springing
up—perhaps new plants, altogether unlike any thing heretofore grown in
that neighborhood. During how many thousands of years has the vitality of
these seeds been preserved deep in the earth’s bosom! Not less wonderful
is the fact stated by Lord Lindsay, who took from the hand of an Egyptian
mummy a tuber, which must have been wrapped up there more than 2000 years
before. It was planted, was rained and dewed upon, the sun shone on it
again, and the root grew, bursting forth and blooming into a beauteous
Dahlia!

At the North Pole, where you would expect life to become extinct, the snow
is sometimes found of a bright red color. Examine it by the microscope,
and, lo! it is covered with mushrooms, growing on the surface of the snow
as their natural abode.

A philosopher distills a portion of pure water, secludes it from the air,
and then places it under the influence of a powerful electric current.
Living beings are stimulated into existence, the _acari Crossii_ appear in
numbers! Here we touch on the borders of a great mystery; but it is not at
all more mysterious than the fact of Life itself. Philosophers know
nothing about it, further than it _is_. The attempt to discover its cause,
inevitably throws them back upon the Great First Cause. Philosophy takes
refuge in religion.

Yet man is never at rest in his speculations as to causes; and he
contrives all manner of theories to satisfy his demands for them. A
favorite theory nowadays is what is called the Development theory, which
proceeds on the assumption, that one germ of being was originally planted
on the earth, and that from this germ, by the wondrous power of Life, all
forms of vegetable and animal life have progressively been developed.
Unquestionably, all living beings are organized on one grand plan, and the
higher forms of living beings, in the process of their growth,
successively pass through the lower organized forms. Thus, the human being
is successively a monad, an a-vertebrated animal, an osseous fish, a
turtle, a bird, a ruminant, a mammal, and lastly an infant Man. Through
all these types of organization, Tiedemann has shown that the brain of man
passes.

This theory, however, does nothing to explain the causes of life, or the
strikingly diversified, and yet determinate characters of living beings;
why some so far transcend others in the stages of development to which
they ascend, and how it is that they stop there—how it is that animals
succeed each other in right lines, the offspring inheriting the physical
structure and the moral disposition of their parents, and never, by any
chance, stopping short at any other stage of being—man, for instance,
never issuing in a lion, a fish, or a polypus. We can scarcely conceive it
possible that, had merely the Germ of Being been planted on the earth, and
“set a-going,” any thing like the beautiful harmony and extra ordinary
adaptation which is every where observable throughout the animated
kingdoms of Nature, would have been secured. That there has been a grand
plan of organization, on which all living beings have been formed, seems
obvious enough; but to account for the diversity of being, by the theory
that plants and animals have gradually advanced from lower to higher
stages of being by an inherent power of self-development, is at variance
with known facts, and is only an attempt to get rid of one difficulty by
creating another far greater.

Chemists are equally at fault, in endeavoring to unvail the mysterious
processes of Life. Before its power they stand abashed. For Life controls
matter, and to a great extent overrules its combinations. An organized
being is not held together by ordinary chemical affinity; nor can
chemistry do any thing toward compounding organized tissues. The
principles which enter into the composition of the organized being are
few, the chief being charcoal and water, but into what wondrous forms does
Life mould these common elements! The chemist can tell you what these
elements are, and how they are combined, when dead; but when living, they
resist all his power of analysis. Rudolphi confesses that chemistry is
able to investigate only the lifeless remains of organized beings.

There are some remarkable facts connected with Animal Chemistry—if we may
employ the term—which show how superior is the principle of Life to all
known methods of synthesis and analysis. For example, much more carbon or
charcoal is regularly voided from the respiratory organs alone, of all
living beings—not to speak of its ejection in many other ways—than can be
accounted for, as having in any way entered the system. They also produce
and eject much more nitrogen than they inhale. The mushroom and mustard
plant, though nourished by pure water containing no nitrogen, give it off
abundantly; the same is the case with zoophytes attached to rocks at the
bottom of the sea; and reptiles and fishes contain it in abundance, though
living and growing in pure water only. Again, plants which grow on sand
containing not a particle of lime, are found to contain as much of this
mineral as those which grow in a calcareous soil; and the bones of animals
in New South Wales, and other districts where not an atom of lime is to be
found in the soil, or in the plants from which they gather their food,
contain the usual proportion of lime, though it remains an entire mystery
to the chemist where they can have obtained it. The same fact is
observable in the egg-shells of hens, where lime is produced in quantities
for which the kind of food taken is altogether inadequate to account: as
well as in the enormous deposits of coral-rock, consisting of almost pure
lime, without any manifest supply of that ingredient. Chemistry fails to
unravel these mysterious facts; nor can it account for the abundant
production of soda, by plants growing on a soil containing not an atom of
soda in any form: nor of gold in bezoards; nor of copper in some
descriptions of shell-fish. These extraordinary facts seem to point to
this—that many, if not most, of the elements which chemists have set down
as simple, because they have failed to reduce them further, are in reality
compound; and that what we regard as Elements, do not signify matters that
are undecompoundable, but which are merely undecompounded by chemical
processes. Life, however, which is superior to human powers of analysis,
resolves and composes the ultimate atoms of things after methods of its
own, but which to chemists will probably ever remain involved in mystery.

The last mystery of Life is Death. Such is the economy of living beings,
that the very actions which are subservient to their preservation, tend to
exhaust and destroy them. Each being has its definite term of life, and on
attaining its acme of perfection, it begins to decay, and at length ceases
to exist. This is alike true of the insect which perishes within the hour,
and of the octogenarian who falls in a ripe old age. Love provides for the
perpetuation of the species. “We love,” says Virey, “because we do not
live forever: we purchase love at the expense of our life.” To die, is as
characteristic of organized beings as to live. The one condition is
necessary to the other. Death is the last of life’s functions. And no
sooner has the mysterious principle of vitality departed, than the laws of
matter assert their power over the organized frame.

“Universal experience teaches us,” says Liebig, “that all organized
beings, after death, suffer a change, in consequence of which their bodies
gradually vanish from the surface of the earth. The mightiest tree, after
it is cut down, disappears, with the exception, perhaps of the bark, when
exposed to the action of the air for thirty or forty years. Leaves, young
twigs, the straw which is added to the soil as manure, juicy fruits, &c.,
disappear much more quickly. In a still shorter time, animal matters lose
their cohesion; they are dissipated into the air, leaving only the mineral
elements which they had derived from the soil.

“This grand natural process of the dissolution of all compounds formed in
living organizations, begins immediately after death, when the manifold
causes no longer act under the influence of which they were produced. The
compounds formed in the bodies of animals and of plants, undergo, in the
air, and with the aid of moisture, a series of changes, the last of which
are, the conversion of their carbon into carbonic acid, of their hydrogen
into water, of their nitrogen into ammonia, of their sulphur into
sulphuric acid. Thus their elements resume the forms in which they can
again serve as food to a new generation of plants and animals. Those
elements which had been derived from the atmosphere take the gaseous form
and return to the air; those which the earth had yielded, return to the
soil. Death, followed by the dissolution of the dead generation, is the
source of life for a new one. The same atom of carbon which, as a
constituent of a muscular fibre in the heart of a man, assists to propel
the blood through his frame, was perhaps a constituent of the heart of one
of his ancestors; and any atom of nitrogen in our brain has perhaps been a
part of the brain of an Egyptian or of a negro. As the intellect of the
men of this generation draws the food required for its development and
cultivation from the products of the intellectual activity of former
times, so may the constituents or elements of the bodies of a former
generation pass into, and become parts of our own frames.”

The greatest mystery of all remains. What of the Spirit—the Soul? The
vital principle which bound the frame together has been dissolved; what of
the Man, the being of high aspirations, “looking before and after,” and
whose “thoughts wandered through eternity?” The material elements have not
died, but merely assumed new forms. Does not the spirit of man, which is
ever at enmity with nothingness and dissolution, live too? Religion in all
ages has dealt with this great mystery, and here we leave it with
confidence in the solution which it offers.



PERSONAL SKETCHES AND REMINISCENCES. BY MARY RUSSELL MITFORD.(2)



Recollections Of Childhood.


Most undoubtedly I was a spoilt child. When I recollect certain passages
of my thrice happy early life, I can not have the slightest doubt about
the matter, although it contradicts all foregone conclusions, all nursery
and school-room morality, to say so. But facts are stubborn things. Spoilt
I was. Every body spoilt me, most of all the person whose power in that
way was greatest, the dear papa himself. Not content with spoiling me
in-doors, he spoilt me out. How well I remember his carrying me round the
orchard on his shoulder, holding fast my little three-year-old feet, while
the little hands hung on to his pig-tail, which I called my bridle (those
were days of pig-tails), hung so fast, and tugged so heartily, that
sometimes the ribbon would come off between my fingers, and send his hair
floating, and the powder flying down his back. That climax of mischief was
the crowning joy of all. I can hear our shouts of laughter now.

Nor were these my only rides. This dear papa of mine, whose gay and
careless temper all the professional _etiquette_ of the world could never
tame into the staid gravity proper to a doctor of medicine, happened to be
a capital horseman; and abandoning the close carriage, which, at that
time, was the regulation conveyance of a physician, almost wholly to my
mother, used to pay his country visits on a favorite blood-mare, whose
extreme docility and gentleness tempted him, after certain short trials
round our old course, the orchard, into having a pad constructed, perched
upon which I might occasionally accompany him, when the weather was
favorable, and the distance not too great. A groom, who had been bred up
in my grandfather’s family, always attended us; and I do think that both
Brown Bess and George liked to have me with them almost as well as my
father did. The old servant proud, as grooms always are, of a fleet and
beautiful horse, was almost as proud of my horsemanship; for I, cowardly
enough, Heaven knows, in after-years, was then too young and too ignorant
for fear—if it could have been possible to have had any sense of danger
when strapped so tightly to my father’s saddle, and inclosed so fondly by
his strong and loving arm. Very delightful were those rides across the
breezy Hampshire downs on a sunny summer morning; and grieved was I when a
change of residence from a small town to a large one, and going among
strange people who did not know our ways, put an end to this perfectly
harmless, if somewhat unusual pleasure.

But the dear papa was not my only spoiler. His example was followed, as
bad examples are pretty sure to be, by the rest of the household. My maid
Nancy, for instance, before we left Hampshire, married a young farmer; and
nothing would serve her but I must be bridesmaid. And so it was settled.

She was married from her own home, about four miles from our house, and
was to go to her husband’s after the ceremony. I remember the whole scene
as if it were yesterday! How my father took me himself to the church-yard
gate, where the procession was formed, and how I walked next to the young
couple hand-in-hand with the bridegroom’s man, no other than the village
blacksmith, a giant of six-feet-three, who might have served as a model
for Hercules. Much trouble had he to stoop low enough to reach down to my
hand; and many were the rustic jokes passed upon the disproportioned pair,
who might fitly have represented Brobdignag and Liliput. My tall colleague
proved, however, as well-natured as giants commonly are every where but in
fairy tales, and took as good care of his little partner as if she had
been a proper match for him in age and size.

In this order, followed by the parents on both sides, and a due number of
uncles, aunts, and cousins, we entered the church, where I held the glove
with all the gravity and importance proper to my office; and so contagious
is emotion, and so accustomed was I to sympathize with Nancy, that when
the bride cried, I could not help crying for company. But it was a
love-match, and between smiles and blushes Nancy’s tears soon disappeared,
and so by the same contagion did mine. The happy husband helped his pretty
wife into her own chaise-cart, my friend the blacksmith lifted me in after
her, and we drove gayly to the large, comfortable farm-house where her
future life was to be spent.

It was a bright morning in May, and I still remember when we drove up to
the low wall which parted the front garden from the winding village road,
the mixture of affection and honest pride which lighted up the face of the
owner. The square, substantial brick house, covered with a vine, the brick
porch garlanded with honey-suckles and sweet-brier, the espalier
apple-trees on either side the path in full flower, the double row of
thrift with its dull pink bloom, the stocks and wall-flowers under the
window, the huge barns full of corn, the stacks of all shapes and sizes in
the rick-yard, cows and sheep and pigs and poultry told a pleasant tale of
rural comfort and rural affluence.

The bride was taken to survey her new dominions by her proud bridegroom,
and the blacksmith finding me, I suppose, easier to carry than lead,
followed close upon their steps with me in his arms.

Nothing could exceed the good-nature of my country beau; he pointed out
bantams and peafowls, and took me to see a tame lamb, and a tall,
staggering calf, born that morning; but for all that, I do not think I
should have submitted so quietly to the indignity of being carried, I, who
had ridden thither on Brown Bess, and was at that instant filling the
ostensible place of bridesmaid, if it had not been for the chastening
influence of a little touch of fear. Entering the poultry-yard I had
caught sight of a certain turkey-cock, who erected that circular tail of
his, and swelled out his deep-red comb and gills after a fashion familiar
to that truculent bird, but which up to the present hour I am far from
admiring. A turkey at Christmas well roasted with bread sauce, may have
his merits; but if I meet him alive in his feathers, especially when he
swells them out and sticks up his tail, I commonly get out of his way even
now, much more sixty years ago. So I let the blacksmith carry me.

Then we went to the dairy, so fresh and cool and clean—glittering with
cleanliness! overflowing with creamy riches! and there I had the greatest
enjoyment of my whole day, the printing with my own hands a pat of butter,
and putting it up in a little basket covered with a vine leaf, to take
home for the dear mamma’s tea. Then we should have gone to the kitchen,
the back kitchen, the brew-house, the wash-house, and the rest of the
bride’s new territories, but this part of the domicil was literally too
hot to hold us; the cooking of the great wedding dinner was in full
activity, and the bridegroom himself was forced to retreat before his
notable mother, who had come to superintend all things for the day.

So back we drew to the hall, a large square brick apartment, with a beam
across the ceiling, a wide yawning chimney, and wooden settles with backs
to them; where many young people being assembled, and one of them
producing a fiddle, it was agreed to have a country dance until dinner
should be ready, the bride and bridegroom leading off, and I following
with the bridegroom’s man.

Oh, the blunders, the confusion, the merriment of that country dance! No
two people attempted the same figure; few aimed at any figure at all; each
went his own way; many stumbled; some fell, and every body capered,
laughed, and shouted at once. My partner prudently caught me up in his
arms again, for fear of my being knocked down and danced over, which,
considering some of the exploits of some of the performers, seemed by no
means impossible, and would have been a worse catastrophe than an
onslaught of the turkey-cock.

A summons to dinner put an end to the glee. Such a dinner! The plenty of
Camacho’s wedding was but a type of my Nancy’s. Fish from the great pond,
roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, boiled fowls and a gammon of bacon, a
green goose and a sucking pig, plum puddings, apple pies, cheese-cakes and
custards, formed a part of the bill of fare, followed by home-brewed beer
and home-made wine, by syllabub, and by wedding cake. Every body ate
enough for four, and there was four times more than could by any
possibility be eaten. I have always thought it one of the strongest proofs
of sense and kindness in my pretty maid, that she rescued me from the
terrible hospitality of her mother-in-law, and gave me back unscathed into
my father’s hands, when, about three o’clock, he arrived to reclaim me.

The affluence and abundance of that gala day—the great gala of a
life-time—in that Hampshire farm-house, I have never seen surpassed.

This was my first appearance as a bridesmaid. My next, which took place
about a twelvemonth after, was of a very different description.

A first cousin of my father, the daughter of his uncle and guardian, had,
by the death of her mother’s brother, become a wealthy heiress; and
leaving her picturesque old mansion in Northumberland, Little Harle Tower,
a true border keep overhanging the Warsbeck, for a journey to what the
Northumbrians of that day emphatically call “the South,” came after a
season in London to pass some months with us. At our house she became
acquainted with the brother of a Scotch duke, an Oxford student, who,
passing the long vacation with his mother, had nothing better to do than
to fall in love. Each had what the other wanted—the lady money, the
gentleman rank; and as his family were charmed with the match, and hers
had neither the power nor the wish to oppose it, every thing was arranged
with as little delay as lawyers, jewelers, coach-makers, and mantua-makers
would permit.

How the first step in the business, the inevitable and awful ceremonial of
a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage, was ever brought about,
has always been to me one of the most unsolvable of mysteries—an enigma
without the word.

Lord Charles, as fine a young man as one should see in a summer’s day,
tall, well-made, with handsome features, fair capacity, excellent
education, and charming temper, had an infirmity which went nigh to render
all these good gifts of no avail: a shyness, a bashfulness, a timidity
most painful to himself, and distressing to all about him. It is not
uncommon to hear a quiet, silent man of rank unjustly suspected of pride
and haughtiness; but there could be no such mistake here—his
shamefacedness was patent to all men. I myself, a child not five years
old, one day threw him into an agony of blushing, by running up to his
chair in mistake for my papa. Now I was a shy child, a very shy child, and
as soon as I arrived in front of his lordship, and found that I had been
misled by a resemblance of dress, by the blue coat and buff waistcoat, I
first of all crept under the table, and then flew to hide my face in my
mother’s lap; my poor fellow-sufferer, too big for one place of refuge,
too old for the other, had nothing for it but to run away, which, the door
being luckily open, he happily accomplished.

That a man with such a temperament, who could hardly summon courage enough
to say, “How d’ye do?” should ever have wrought himself up to the point of
putting the great question, was wonderful enough; that he should have
submitted himself to undergo the ordeal of what was called in those days a
public wedding, was more wonderful still.

Perhaps the very different temper of the lady may offer some solution to
the last of these riddles; perhaps (I say it in all honor, for there is no
shame in offering some encouragement to a bashful suitor) it may assist us
in expounding them both.

Of a certainty, my fair cousin was pre-eminently gifted with those very
qualities in which her lover was deficient. Every thing about her was
prompt and bright, cheerful and self-possessed. Nearly as tall as himself,
and quite as handsome, it was of the beauty that is called showy—a showy
face, a showy figure, a showy complexion. We felt at a glance that those
radiant, well-opened, hazel eyes, had never quailed before mortal glance,
and that that clear, round cheek, red and white like a daisy, had never
been guilty of a blush in its whole life. Handsome as she was, it was a
figure that looked best in a riding-habit, and a face that of all
head-dresses, best became a beaver hat; just a face and figure for a
procession; she would not have minded a coronation: on the contrary, she
would have been enchanted to have been a queen-regent; but, as a
coronation was out of the question, she had no objection, taking the
publicity as a part of the happiness, to a wedding as grand as the
resources of a country town could make it.

So a wedding procession was organized, after the fashion of Sir Charles
Grandison, comprising the chief members of each family, especially of the
ducal one; an infinite number of brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces,
cousins and clansfolk, friends and acquaintances, all arranged in
different carriages, according to their rank; ladies, gentlemen, servants,
and horses, decorated with white and silver favors, in so long a line,
that it extended from Coley Avenue to St. Mary’s Church. The first
carriage, a low phaeton, drawn by ponies led by grooms, containing three
children, two of five and six years old, niece and nephew of the
bridegroom, who, with myself (already a lady of experience in that line),
were to officiate as bride-maidens and bridegroom’s man; the last, also an
open carriage, with only the bride and my dear papa, who gave her away.

How well I recollect the crowd of the street, the crowd of the
church-yard, the crowd of the church! There was no crying at this wedding
though; no crying, and far fewer smiles.

The young couple proceeded to Bath and Clifton from the church door; and
the rest of the procession returned to our house to eat bridecake, drink
to the health of the new-married pair, and be merry at their leisure;
after which many dispersed, but the members of the two families and the
more intimate friends remained to dinner; and in the confusion of
preparing to entertain so large a party, the servants, even those
belonging to the nursery, were engaged in different ways, and we children,
left to our own devices, and finding nearly the whole house free to our
incursions, betook ourselves to a game at hide-and-seek.

Now in honor of the day, and of the grand part we had filled in the grand
ceremony of the morning, we small people had been arrayed in white from
top to toe, Master Martin in a new suit of jean, richly braided, his
sister and myself in clear muslin frocks, edged with lace, and long
Persian sashes, the whole width of the silk, fringed with silver, while
all parties, little boy and little girls, had white beaver hats and heavy
ostrich plumes. We young ladies had, as matter of course, that instinctive
respect for our own finery which seems an innate principle in womankind;
moreover, we were very good children, quiet, orderly, and obedient. Master
Martin, on the other hand, our elder by a year, had some way or other
imbibed the contempt at once for fine clothes and for the authorities of
the nursery, which is not uncommon among his rebellious sex: so the first
time it fell to his lot to hide, he ensconced himself in the very
innermost recesses of the coal-hole, from which delightful retirement he
was dragged, after a long search, by his own maid, who had at last
awakened from the joys of gossiping and making believe to help in the
housekeeper’s room, to the recollection that Lady Mary might possibly
inquire after her children. The state of his apparel and of her temper may
be more easily imagined than described. He, duke’s grandson though he
were, looked like nothing better or worse than a chimney-sweeper. She
stormed like a fury. But as all the storming in the world would not
restore the young gentleman or his bridal suit to their pristine state of
cleanliness, she took wit in her anger and put him to bed, as a measure
partly of punishment, partly of concealment; the result of which was, that
he, the culprit, thoroughly tired with excitement and exercise, with play
and display, and well stuffed with dainties to keep him quiet, was
consigned to his comfortable bed, while we, pattern little girls, had to
undergo the penalty of making our appearance and our courtesies in the
drawing-room, among all the fine folks of _our_ Camacho’s wedding, and to
stay there, weariest of the many weary, two or three hours beyond our
accustomed time. With so little justice are the rewards and punishments of
this world distributed—even in the nursery!



Married Poets.—Elizabeth Barrett Browning—Robert Browning.


Married poets! Charming words are these, significant of congenial gifts,
congenial labor, congenial tastes;—quick and sweet resources of mind and
of heart, a long future of happiness, live in those two words. And the
reality is as rare as it is charming. Married authors we have had of all
ages and of all countries; from the Daciers, standing stiff and stately
under their learning, as if it were a load, down to the Guizots, whose
story is so pretty, that it would sound like a romance to all who did not
know how often romance looks pale beside reality; from the ducal pair of
Newcastle, walking stately and stiff under their strawberry-leafed
coronets, to William and Mary Howitt, ornaments of a sect to whom coronets
are an abomination. Married authors have been plentiful as blackberries,
but married poets have been rare indeed! The last instance, too, was
rather a warning than an example. When Caroline Bowles changed her own
loved and honored name to become the wife of the great and good man Robert
Southey, all seemed to promise fairly, but a slow and fatal disease had
seized him even before the wedding-day, and darkened around him to the
hour of his death. In the pair of whom I am now to speak, the very reverse
of this sad destiny has happily befallen, and the health of the bride,
which seemed gone forever, has revived under the influence of the climate
of Italy, of new scenes, new duties, a new and untried felicity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is too dear to me as a friend to be spoken of
merely as a poetess. Indeed such is the influence of her manners, her
conversation, her temper, her thousand sweet and attaching qualities, that
they who know her best are apt to lose sight altogether of her learning
and of her genius, and to think of her only as the most charming person
that they have ever met. But she is known to so few, and the peculiar
characteristics of her writings, their purity, their tenderness, their
piety, and their intense feeling of humanity and of womanhood, have won
for her the love of so many, that it will gratify them without, I trust,
infringing on the sacredness of private intercourse to speak of her not
wholly as a poetess, but a little as a woman. When in listening to the
nightingale, we try to catch a glimpse of the shy songster, we are moved
by a deeper feeling than curiosity.

My first acquaintance with Elizabeth Barrett commenced about fifteen years
ago. She was certainly one of the most interesting persons that I had ever
seen. Every body who then saw her said the same; so that it is not merely
the impression of my partiality, or my enthusiasm. Of a slight, delicate
figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on either side of a most
expressive face, large tender eyes richly fringed by dark eye-lashes, a
smile like a sun-beam, and such a look of youthfulness, that I had some
difficulty in persuading a friend, in whose carriage we went together to
Chiswick, that the translatress of the “Prometheus” of Æschylus, the
authoress of the “Essay on Mind,” was old enough to be introduced into
company, in technical language, was _out_. Through the kindness of another
invaluable friend, to whom I owe many obligations, but none so great as
this, I saw much of her during my stay in town. We met so constantly and
so familiarly that, in spite of the difference of age, intimacy ripened
into friendship, and after my return into the country, we corresponded
freely and frequently, her letters being just what letters ought to be—her
own talk put upon paper.

The next year was a painful one to herself and to all who loved her. She
broke a blood-vessel upon the lungs, which did not heal. If there had been
consumption in the family that disease would have intervened. There were
no seeds of the fatal English malady in her constitution, and she escaped.
Still, however, the vessel did not heal, and after attending her for above
a twelvemonth at her father’s house in Wimpole-street, Dr. Chambers, on
the approach of winter, ordered her to a milder climate. Her eldest
brother, a brother in heart and in talent worthy of such a sister,
together with other devoted relatives, accompanied her to Torquay, and
_there_ occurred the fatal event which saddened her bloom of youth, and
gave a deeper hue of thought and feeling, especially of devotional
feeling, to her poetry. I have so often been asked what could be the
shadow that had passed over that young heart, that now that time has
softened the first agony it seems to me right that the world should hear
the story of an accident in which there was much sorrow, but no blame.

Nearly a twelvemonth had passed, and the invalid, still attended by her
affectionate companions, had derived much benefit from the mild sea
breezes of Devonshire. One fine summer morning her favorite brother,
together with two other fine young men, his friends, embarked on board a
small sailing-vessel, for a trip of a few hours. Excellent sailors all,
and familiar with the coast, they sent back the boatmen, and undertook
themselves the management of the little craft. Danger was not dreamt of by
any one; after the catastrophe, no one could divine the cause, but in a
few minutes after their embarkation, and in sight of their very windows,
just as they were crossing the bar, the boat went down, and all who were
in her perished. Even the bodies were never found. I was told by a party
who was traveling that year in Devonshire and Cornwall, that it was most
affecting to see on the corner houses of every village street, on every
church-door, and almost on every cliff for miles and miles along the
coast, handbills, offering large rewards for linens cast ashore marked
with the initials of the beloved dead; for it so chanced that all the
three were of the dearest and the best; one, I believe, an only son, the
other the son of a widow.

This tragedy nearly killed Elizabeth Barrett. She was utterly prostrated
by the horror and the grief, and by a natural but a most unjust feeling,
that she had been in some sort the cause of this great misery. It was not
until the following year that she could be removed in an invalid carriage,
and by journeys of twenty miles a day, to her afflicted family and her
London home. The house that she occupied at Torquay had been chosen as one
of the most sheltered in the place. It stood at the bottom of the cliffs,
almost close to the sea; and she told me herself, that during that whole
winter the sound of the waves rang in her ears like the moans of one
dying. Still she clung to literature and to Greek; in all probability she
would have died without that wholesome diversion to her thoughts. Her
medical attendant did not always understand this. To prevent the
remonstrances of her friendly physician, Dr. Barry, she caused a small
edition of Plato to be so bound as to resemble a novel. He did not know,
skillful and kind though he were, that to her such books were not an
arduous and painful study, but a consolation and a delight.

Returned to London, she began the life which she continued for so many
years, confined to one large and commodious but darkened chamber admitting
only her own affectionate family and a few devoted friends (I, myself,
have often joyfully traveled five-and-forty miles to see her, and returned
the same evening, without entering another house); reading almost every
book worth reading in almost every language, and giving herself, heart and
soul, to that poetry of which she seemed born to be the priestess.

Gradually her health improved. About four years ago she married Mr.
Browning, and immediately accompanied him to Pisa. They then settled at
Florence; and this summer I have had the exquisite pleasure of seeing her
once more in London, with a lovely boy at her knee, almost as well as
ever, and telling tales of Italian rambles, of losing herself in chestnut
forests, and scrambling on mule-back up the sources of extinct volcanoes.
May Heaven continue to her such health and such happiness!

The same visit to London that brought me acquainted with my beloved
friend, Elizabeth Barrett, first gave me a sight of Mr. Browning. It was
at a period that forms an epoch in the annals of the modern drama—the
first representation of “Ion.”

I had the honor and pleasure of being the inmate of Mr. and Mrs. Serjeant
Talfourd (my accomplished friend has since worthily changed his
professional title—but his higher title of poet is indelible), having
been, I believe, among the first who had seen that fine play in
manuscript. The dinner party consisted merely of Mr. Wordsworth, Mr.
Landor, and I think Mr. Forster. By a singular coincidence it was our
host’s birthday, and no one present can forget the triumph of the
evening—a triumph of no common order as regarded the number, the quality,
or the enthusiasm of the audience; the boxes being crammed to the ceiling,
and the pit filled, as in an elder day, with critics and gentlemen.

A large party followed the poet home to supper, a party comprising
distinguished persons of almost every class; lawyers, authors, actors,
artists, all were mingled around that splendid board; healths were drunk
and speeches spoken, and it fell to the lot of the young author of
“Paracelsus” to respond to the toast of “The Poets of England.” That he
performed this task with grace and modesty, and that he looked still
younger than he was, I well remember; but we were not introduced, and I
knew him only by those successive works which redeemed the pledge that
“Paracelsus” had given, until this very summer, when going to London
purposely to meet my beloved friend, I was by her presented to her
husband. Ah! I hope it will not be fifteen years before we look each other
in the face again!



Incidents Of A Visit At The House Of William Cobbett.


The name of Blamire has always a certain interest for me, in consequence
of a circumstance, which, as it took place somewhere about five-and-forty
years ago, and has reference to a flirtation of twenty years previous,
there can not now be much harm in relating.

Being with my father and mother on a visit about six miles from
Southampton, we were invited by a gentleman of the neighborhood to meet
the wife and daughters of a certain Dr. Blamire. “An old friend of yours
and mine,” quoth our inviter to my father. “Don’t you remember how you
used to flirt with the fair lady when you and Babington were at Haslar?
Faith, if Blamire had not taken pity on her, it would have gone hard with
the poor damsel! However, he made up to the disconsolate maiden, and she
got over it. Nothing like a new love for chasing away an old one. You must
dine with us to-morrow. I shall like to see the meeting.”

My father did not attempt to deny the matter. Men never do. He laughed, as
all that wicked sex do laugh at such sins twenty years after, and
professed that he should be very glad to shake hands with his old
acquaintance. So the next day we met.

I was a little curious to see how my own dear mother, my mamma that was,
and the stranger lady, my mamma that might have been, would bear
themselves on the occasion. At first, my dear mother, an exceedingly
ladylike, quiet person, had considerably the advantage, being prepared for
the _recontre_ and perfectly calm and composed; while Mrs. Blamire, taken,
I suspect, by surprise, was a good deal startled and flustered. This state
of things, however, did not last. Mrs. Blamire having got over the first
shock, comported herself like what she evidently was, a practiced woman of
the world—would talk to no one but ourselves—and seemed resolved not only
to make friends with her successful rival, but to strike up an intimacy.
This by no means entered into my mother’s calculations. As the one
advanced the other receded, and, keeping always within the limits of
civility, I never heard so much easy chat put aside with so many cool and
stately monosyllables in my life.

The most diverting part of this scene, very amusing to a stander-by, was,
that my father, the only real culprit, was the only person who throughout
maintained the appearance and demeanor of the most unconscious innocence.
He complimented Mrs. Blamire on her daughters (two very fine
girls)—inquired after his old friend, the Doctor, who was attending his
patients in a distant town—and laughed and talked over bygone stories with
the one lady, just as if he had not jilted her—and played the kind and
attentive husband to the other, just as if he had never made love to any
body except his own dear wife.

It was one of the strange domestic comedies which are happening around us
every day, if we were but aware of them, and might probably have ended in
a renewal of acquaintance between the two families but for a dispute that
occurred toward the end of the evening between Mrs. Blamire and the friend
in whose house we were staying, which made the lady resolve against
accepting his hospitable invitations, and I half suspect hurried her off a
day or two before her time.

This host of ours was a very celebrated person—no other than William
Cobbett. Sporting, not politics, had brought about our present visit and
subsequent intimacy. We had become acquainted with Mr. Cobbett two or
three years before, at this very house, where we were now dining to meet
Mrs. Blamire. Then my father, a great sportsman, had met him while on a
coursing expedition near Alton—had given him a grayhound that he had
fallen in love with—had invited him to attend another coursing meeting
near our own house in Berkshire—and finally, we were now, in the early
autumn, with all manner of pointers, and setters, and grayhounds, and
spaniels, shooting ponies, and gun-cases, paying the return visit to him.

He had at that time a large house at Botley, with a lawn and gardens
sweeping down to the Bursledon River, which divided his (Mr. Cobbett’s)
territories from the beautiful grounds of the old friend where we had been
originally staying, the great squire of the place. His own house—large,
high, massive, red, and square, and perched on a considerable
eminence—always struck me as not being unlike its proprietor. It was
filled at that time almost to overflowing. Lord Cochrane was there, then
in the very height of his warlike fame, and as unlike the common notion of
a warrior as could be. A gentle, quiet, mild young man, was this burner of
French fleets and cutter-out of Spanish vessels, as one should see in a
summer day. He lay about under the trees reading Selden on the Dominion of
the Seas, and letting the children (and children always know with whom
they may take liberties) play all sorts of tricks with him at their
pleasure. His ship’s surgeon was also a visitor, and a young midshipman,
and sometimes an elderly lieutenant, and a Newfoundland dog; fine
sailor-like creatures all. Then there was a very learned clergyman, a
great friend of Mr. Gifford, of the “Quarterly,” with his wife and
daughter—exceedingly clever persons. Two literary gentlemen from London
and ourselves completed the actual party; but there was a large
fluctuating series of guests for the hour, or guests for the day, of
almost all ranks and descriptions, from the earl and his countess to the
farmer and his dame. The house had room for all, and the hearts of the
owners would have had room for three times the number

I never saw hospitality more genuine, more simple, or more thoroughly
successful in the great end of hospitality, the putting every body
completely at ease. There was not the slightest attempt at finery, or
display, or gentility. They called it a farm-house, and every thing was in
accordance with the largest idea of a great English yeoman of the old
time. Every thing was excellent—every thing abundant—all served with the
greatest nicety by trim waiting damsels; and every thing went on with such
quiet regularity that of the large circle of guests not one could find
himself in the way. I need not say a word more in praise of the good wife,
very lately dead, to whom this admirable order was mainly due. She was a
sweet, motherly woman, realizing our notion of one of Scott’s most
charming characters, _Ailie Dinmont_, in her simplicity, her kindness, and
her devotion to her husband and her children.

At this time William Cobbett was at the height of his political
reputation; but of politics we heard little, and should, I think, have
heard nothing, but for an occasional red-hot patriot, who would introduce
the subject, which our host would fain put aside, and get rid of as
speedily as possible. There was something of _Dandie Dinmont_ about him,
with his unfailing good-humor and good spirits—his heartiness—his love of
field sports, and his liking for a foray. He was a tall, stout man, fair,
and sun-burnt, with a bright smile, and an air compounded of the soldier
and the farmer, to which his habit of wearing an eternal red waistcoat
contributed not a little. He was, I think, the most athletic and vigorous
person that I have ever known. Nothing could tire him. At home in the
morning he would begin his active day by mowing his own lawn, beating his
gardener, Robinson, the best mower, except himself, in the parish, at that
fatiguing work.

For early rising, indeed, he had an absolute passion, and some of the
poetry that we trace in his writings, whenever he speaks of scenery or of
rural objects, broke out in his method of training his children into his
own matutinal habits. The boy who was first down stairs was called the
lark for the day, and had, among other indulgences, the pretty privilege
of making his mother’s nosegay, and that of any lady visitors. Nor was
this the only trace of poetical feeling that he displayed. Whenever he
described a place, were it only to say where such a covey lay, or such a
hare was found sitting, you could see it, so graphic—so vivid—so true was
the picture. He showed the same taste in the purchase of his beautiful
farm at Botley, Fairthorn; even in the pretty name. To be sure, he did not
give the name, but I always thought that it unconsciously influenced his
choice in the purchase. The beauty of the situation certainly did. The
fields lay along the Bursledon River, and might have been shown to a
foreigner as a specimen of the richest and loveliest English scenery. In
the cultivation of his garden, too, he displayed the same taste. Few
persons excelled him in the management of vegetables, fruit, and flowers.
His green Indian corn—his Carolina beans—his water-melons, could hardly
have been exceeded at New York. His wall-fruit was equally splendid, and
much as flowers have been studied since that day, I never saw a more
glowing or a more fragrant autumn garden than that at Botley, with its
pyramids of hollyhocks, and its masses of china-asters, of cloves, of
mignonnette, and of variegated geranium. The chances of life soon parted
us, as, without grave faults on either side, people do lose sight of one
another; but I shall always look back with pleasure and regret to that
visit.

While we were there, a grand display of English games, especially of
single-stick and wrestling, took place under Mr. Cobbett’s auspices.
Players came from all parts of the country—the south, the west, and the
north—to contend for fame and glory, and also, I believe, for a
well-filled purse; and this exhibition which—quite forgetting the
precedent set by a certain princess, _de jure_, called Rosalind, and
another princess, _de facto_, called Celia—she termed barbarous, was the
cause of his quarrel with my mamma that might have been, Mrs. Blamire.

In my life I never saw two people in a greater passion. Each was
thoroughly persuaded of being in the right, either would have gone to the
stake upon it, and of course the longer they argued the more determined
became their conviction. They said all manner of uncivil things; they
called each other very unpretty names; she got very near to saying, “Sir,
you’re a savage;” he did say, “Ma’am, you’re a fine lady;” they talked,
both at once, until they could talk no longer, and I have always
considered it as one of the greatest pieces of Christian forgiveness that
I ever met with, when Mr. Cobbett, after they had both rather cooled down
a little, invited Mrs. Blamire to dine at his house the next day. She,
less charitable, declined the invitation, and we parted.

As I have said, my father and he had too much of the hearty English
character in common not to be great friends; I myself was somewhat of a
favorite (I think because of my love for poetry, though he always said
not), and I shall never forget the earnestness with which he congratulated
us both on our escape from such a wife and such a mother. “She’d have been
the death of you!” quoth he, and he believed it. Doubtless, she, when we
were gone, spoke quite as ill of him, and believed it also. Nevertheless,
excellent persons were they both; only they had quarreled about the
propriety or the impropriety of a bout at single-stick! Such a thing is
anger!



A Reminiscence Of The French Emigration.


In my childhood I knew many of the numerous colony which took refuge in
London from the horrors of the First French Revolution. The lady at whose
school I was educated, and he was so much the more efficient partner that
it was his school rather than hers, had married a Frenchman, who had been
secretary to the Comte de Moustiers, one of the last embassadors, if not
the very last, from Louis Seize to the Court of St. James’s. Of course he
knew many emigrants of the highest rank, and indeed of all ranks; and
being a lively, kind-hearted man, with a liberal hand, and a social
temper, it was his delight to assemble as many as he could of his poor
countrymen and countrywomen around his hospitable supper-table.

Something wonderful and admirable it was to see how these dukes and
duchesses, marshals and marquises, chevaliers and bishops, bore up under
their unparalleled reverses! How they laughed and talked, and squabbled,
and flirted, constant to their high heels, their rouge, and their
furbelows, to their old liaisons, their polished sarcasms, their cherished
rivalries! They clung even to their _marriages de convenance_, and the
very habits which would most have offended our English notions, if we had
seen them in their splendid hôtels of the Faubourg St. Germain, won
tolerance and pardon when mixed up with such unaffected constancy, and
such cheerful resignation.

For the most part these noble exiles had a trifling pecuniary dependency;
some had brought with them jewels enough to sustain them in their simple
lodgings in Knightsbridge or Pentonville, to some a faithful steward
contrived to forward the produce of some estate too small to have been
seized by the early plunderers; to others a rich English friend would
claim the privilege of returning the kindness and hospitality of by-gone
years. But very many lived literally on the produce of their own industry,
the gentlemen teaching languages, music, fencing, dancing, while their
wives and daughters went out as teachers or governesses, or supplied the
shops with those objects of taste in millinery or artificial flowers for
which their country is unrivaled. No one was ashamed of these exertions;
no one was proud of them. So perfect and so honest was the simplicity with
which they entered upon this new course of life, that they did not even
seem conscious of its merit. The hope of better days carried them gayly
along, and the present evil was lost in the sunshiny future.

Here and there, however, the distress was too real, too pressing to be
forgotten; in such cases our good schoolmaster used to contrive all
possible measures to assist and to relieve. One venerable couple I
remember well. They bore one of the highest names of Brittany, and had
possessed large estates, had lost their two sons, and were now in their
old age, their sickness, and their helplessness, almost entirely dependent
upon the labor of Mdlle. Rose, their grand-daughter. Rose—what a name for
that pallid, drooping creature, whose dark eyes looked too large for her
face, whose bones seemed starting through her skin, and whose black hair
contrasted even fearfully with the wan complexion from which every tinge
of healthful color had long flown!

For some time these interesting persons regularly attended our worthy
governess’s supper-parties, the objects of universal affection and
respect. Each seemed to come for the sake of the other; Mademoiselle,
always bringing with her some ingenious straw-plaiting to make into the
fancy bonnets which were then in vogue, rarely raised her head from her
work, or allowed herself time to make a hasty meal. It was sad to think
how ceaseless must be the industry by which that fair and fragile creature
could support the helpless couple who were cast upon her duty and her
affection! At last they ceased to appear at the Wednesday parties, and
very soon after (Oh! it is the poor that help the poor!) we heard that the
good Abbé Calonne (brother to the well-known minister) had undertaken for
a moderate stipend the charge of the venerable count and countess, while
Mdlle. Rose, with her straw-plaiting, took up her abode in our
school-room, working as indefatigably through our verbs and over our
exercises as she had before done through the rattle of the tric-trac table
and the ceaseless clatter of French talk.

Now this school of ours was no worse than other schools; indeed it was
reckoned among the best conducted, but some way or other the foul weed
called exclusiveness had sprung up among the half dozen great girls who,
fifty years ago, “gave our little senate laws,” to a point that threatened
to choke and destroy every plant of a more wholesome influence. Doubtless,
long, long ago the world and the world’s trials, prosperity with the
weariness and the bitterness it brings, adversity with the joys it takes
away, have tamed those proud hearts! But, at the time of which I speak, no
committee of countesses deciding upon petitions for vouchers for a
subscription ball; no chapter of noble canonesses examining into the
sixteen quarters required for their candidate; could by possibility
inquire more seriously into the nice questions of station, position, and
alliance than the unfledged younglings who constituted our first class.
They were merely gentlemen’s daughters, and had no earthly right to give
themselves airs; but I suspect that we may sometimes see in elder
gentlewomen the same disproportion, and that those who might, from birth,
fortune, and position assume such a right, will be the very last to exert
their privilege. Luckily for me I was a little girl, protected by my youth
and insignificance from the danger of a contagion which it requires a good
deal of moral courage to resist. I remember wondering how Mdlle. Rose,
with her incessant industry, her open desire to sell her bonnets, and her
shabby cotton gown, would escape from our censors. Happily she was spared,
avowedly because her birth was noble—perhaps because, with all their
vulgar denunciations of vulgarity, their fineries, and their vanities, the
young girls were better than they knew, and respected in their hearts the
very humility which they denounced.

If, however, there was something about the fair Frenchwoman that held in
awe the spirit of girlish impertinence, chance soon bestowed upon them, in
the shape of a new pupil, an object which called forth all their worst
qualities, without stint and without impediment.

The poor child who was destined to become their victim, was a short, squat
figure, somewhere about nine or ten years of age; awkward in her carriage,
plain in her features, ill-dressed and over-dressed. She happened to
arrive at the same time with the French dancing-master, a marquis of the
_ancien régime_, of whom I am sorry to say, that he seemed so at home in
his Terpsichorean vocation, that no one could hardly fancy him fit for any
other. (Were not _les marquis_ of the old French comedy very much like
dancing-masters? I am sure Molière thought so.) At the same time with the
French dancing-master did our new fellow-pupil arrive, led into the room
by her father; he did not stay five minutes, but that time was long enough
to strike Monsieur with a horror evinced by a series of shrugs which soon
rendered the dislike reciprocal. I never saw such a contrast between two
men. The Frenchman was slim, and long, and pale; and allowing always for
the dancing-master air, which in my secret soul I thought never could be
allowed for, he might be called elegant. The Englishman was the beau ideal
of a John Bull, portentous in size, broad, and red of visage; loud of
tongue, and heavy in step; he shook the room as he strode, and made the
walls echo when he spoke. I rather liked the man, there was so much
character about him, and in spite of the coarseness, so much that was bold
and hearty. Monsieur shrugged to be sure, but he seemed likely to run
away, especially when the stranger’s first words conveyed an injunction to
the lady of the house “to take care that no grinning Frenchman had the
ordering of his Betsy’s feet. If she must learn to dance, let her be
taught by an honest Englishman.” After which declaration, kissing the
little girl very tenderly, the astounding papa took his departure.

Poor Betsy! there she sat, the tears trickling down her cheeks, little
comforted by the kind notice of the governess and the English teacher, and
apparently insensible to the silent scorn of her new companions. For my
own part, I entertained toward her much of that pity which results from
recent experience of the same sort of distress—


    “A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind.”


I was a little girl myself, abundantly shy and awkward, and I had not
forgotten the heart-tug of leaving home, and the terrible loneliness of
the first day at school. Moreover, I suspected that in one respect, she
was much more an object of compassion than myself; I believed her to be
motherless; so when I thought nobody was looking or listening, I made some
girlish advances toward acquaintanceship, which she was still too shy or
too miserable to return, so that, easily repelled myself, as a bashful
child is, our intercourse came to nothing. With my elders and betters, the
_cancan_, who ruled the school, Betsy stood if possible lower than ever.
They had had the satisfaction to discover not only that he lived in the
Borough, but that her father (horror of horrors!) was an eminent
cheese-factor!—a seller of Stilton! That he was very rich, and had a
brother an alderman, rather made matters worse. Poor Betsy only escaped
being sent to Coventry by the lucky circumstance of her going that
metaphorical journey of her own accord, and never under any temptation
speaking to any body one unnecessary word.

As far as her lessons went she was, from the false indulgence with which
she had been treated, very backward for her age. Our school was, however,
really excellent as a place of instruction: so no studies were forced upon
her, and she was left to get acquainted with the house and its ways, and
to fall into the ranks as she could.

For the present she seemed to have attached herself to Mdlle. Rose,
attracted probably by the sweetness of her countenance, her sadness, and
her silence. Her speech could not have attracted Betsy, for in common with
many of her exiled country-folk, she had not in nearly ten years’
residence in England learned to speak five English words. But something
had won her affection. She had on first being called by the governess,
from the dark corner in which she had ensconced herself, crept to the side
of the young Frenchwoman, had watched her as she wove her straw plaits,
had attempted the simple art with some discarded straws that lay scattered
upon the floor; and when Mademoiselle so far roused herself as to show her
the proper way, and to furnish her with the material, she soon became a
most efficient assistant in this branch of industry.

No intercourse took place between them. Indeed, as I have said, none was
possible, since neither knew a word of the other’s language. Betsy was
silence personified; and poor Mdlle. Rose, always pensive and reserved,
was now more than ever dejected and oppressed. An opportunity of returning
to France had opened to her, and was passing away. She herself was too
young to be included in the list of emigrants, and interest had been made
with the French Consul for the re-admission of her venerable parents, and
perhaps for the ultimate recovery of some property still unsold. But her
grandfather was so aged, and her grandmother so sickly, that the expenses
of a voyage and a journey, then very formidable to the old and the infirm,
were beyond her means, beyond even her hopes. So she sighed over her
straw-plaiting, and submitted.

In the mean time the second Saturday arrived, and with it a summons home
to Betsy, who, for the first time gathering courage to address our good
governess, asked “if she might be trusted with the bonnet Mdlle. Rose had
just finished, to show her aunt—she knew she would like to buy that
bonnet, because Mademoiselle had been so good as to let her assist in
plaiting it.” How she came to know that they were for sale nobody could
tell; but our kind governess ordered the bonnet to be put into the
carriage, told her the price—(no extravagant one!)—called her a good
child, and took leave of her till Monday.

Two hours after Betsy and her father re-appeared in the school-room.
“Ma’amselle,” said he, bawling as loud as he could, with the view, as we
afterward conjectured, of making her understand him. “Ma’amselle, I’ve no
great love for the French, whom I take to be our natural enemies. But
you’re a good young woman; you’ve been kind to my Betsy, and have taught
her how to make your fallals; and moreover you’re a good daughter: and
so’s my Betsy. She says that she thinks you’re fretting, because you can’t
manage to take your grandfather and grandmother back to France again;—so
as you let her help you in that other handy-work, why you must let her
help you in this.” Then throwing a heavy purse into her lap, catching his
little daughter up in his arms, and hugging her to the honest breast where
she hid her tears and her blushes, he departed, leaving poor Mdlle. Rose
too much bewildered to speak or to comprehend the happiness that had
fallen upon her, and the whole school the better for the lesson.



THE DREAM OF THE WEARY HEART.


The Weary Heart lay restlessly on his bed, distracted with the strife of
the day. Wearied indeed was he in heart, and wavering in the simple faith
which had blessed his childhood. The world was no more beautiful to him,
his fellow-man was no more trustworthy, and heaven was no longer regarded
as his distant, though native home. One thing only seemed, to his changed
heart, the same; it was the ever-varying, ever-constant moon, which shed
her broad, fair light as serenely on his aching brow as when he nestled, a
happy child, upon his mother’s breast.

Soothed by this pure light, the Weary Heart slept at length; and in his
sleep, his troubled and toil-worn mind went back—back to the early hours
of life—back to the lone old house, so loved in childhood, so seldom
thought of now. In this old home all seemed yet unchanged, and he would
fain have busied himself in tracing out memories of the past; but a low
sweet voice bade him gaze steadfastly on the lozenge panes of the long
lattice window, where the sun of the early spring-tide was shining gayly
through the mazy branches of the old elm-tree, and bordering its traceries
with glimpses of purple and golden light. But gradually, and even as he
looked, the sun became brighter and hotter, and as his heat momentarily
strengthened, Weary Heart saw the green leaves creep out, one by one, and
place themselves daily between the window and the sun, so as to intercept
his fiercest rays; until at length, when the sun had attained his greatest
power, these leaves were all arranged so as to shade the window, as a bird
overshadows her young; and the room was as much refreshed by the cool
green light, as it had formerly been gladdened by the spring-tide beams.
Then Weary Heart was softened; yet he feared to breathe, lest the dread
winter-time should come, when the cool leaves which brought balm to his
heart, should fall away from him and die.

Gradually, however, the sun became lower in the heavens, and his heat was
less fervid upon the earth. Then the leaves went noiselessly away, in the
same order in which they had come. One by one, they crept silently out of
sight, like earnest hearts whose mission is fulfilled; and yet so glad
were they for the consciousness of the good which they had been given
power to do, that when the Weary Heart observed them more closely, he
could see how bright a glow of joy decked even their dying moments, and in
how frolicsome a dance many of them delighted ere they lay down on the
cold earth to die.

The dark winter had now come on, and anxiously poor Weary Heart watched
the lozenged panes. He saw the branches stand up bare and desolate against
the gray and chilly sky; but soon he saw beautiful things come and sport
upon them. The snow piled itself in fairy ridgeways along the boughs, and
even on the slenderest twigs; then the sun would shine brightly out for an
hour at mid-day, and melt the quiet snow, and the laughing drops would
chase each other along the branches, sometimes losing all identity, each
in the bosom of its fellow—sometimes falling in glittering showers to the
ground. [And he saw that it was from these glittering showers that the
snowdrops sprang]. Then, when the sun was gone down, the frost would come;
and in the morning the silver drops would be found, spell-bound in their
mirth; some hanging in long, clear pendants, full of bright lights and
beautiful thoughts, far above the rest—and others, shorter and less
brilliant, with one part transparent, and another part looking more like
the snow of which they were born. But these last always hung hand-in-hand.
And when the sun came out again by day, these were always the last to
disappear; for they also were like faithful and kindly hearts. They were
partly raised far above their original nature, and yet they still bore
many traces of the source from whence they sprang. And when the beautiful
crystals faded away like the brilliant yet chilly mind, which has no
sympathy or trust for its fellows, the others would still remain,
hand-in-hand, to cheer and deck the naked tree.

Sometimes, too, in the early days of February, the sun would shine
fiercely out ere the green leaves had come to shade the room at noon-day;
but then came a winged messenger to sit on the dry branches, and to tell
the Weary Heart, in a sweet song, that the real spring was not _yet_ upon
the earth; but that at the right time the leaves would most surely
reappear, and “fail not.” And when he had repeated his message, he would
add another stanza, and tell how _he_ needed the shady foliage even more
than man himself, but that he pined not for it, because _he knew_ that to
all things there was an appointed season; and that when his nesting-time
came, so would the green leaves come also to shelter and encircle the
frail home of his young ones.

The pale moon went down, and the day broke upon the earth, and Weary Heart
went forth to his daily toil. But he bore not with him the fevered mind
and the throbbing pulse which had been his companions for long and dreary
months. His vision had faded, but the green leaves were ever before his
eyes. The song of his dream-bird rang not in his ears, but his faith and
trust were restored to him; and he once more took his place in creation as
an elevated, yet dependent child of Heaven—one in the mighty brotherhood
of human hearts—one in the band of willing students of the teachings of
the glorious sun and stars, of the opening flowers and the sparkling
streams, of the singing birds and the ever-varying clouds, of every form
of beauty in which God has written his message of love, and of mercy, and
of truth, for man’s behoof.



NEW DISCOVERIES IN GHOSTS.


Eclipses have been ascribed sometimes to the hunger of a great dragon, who
eats the sun, and leaves us in the dark until the blazing orb has been
mended. Numerous instances are ready to the memory of any one of us, in
illustration of the tendency existing among men to ascribe to
supernatural, fantastic causes, events wonderful only by their rarity. All
that we daily see differs from these things no more than inasmuch as it is
at the same time marvelous and common. We know very well that the moon,
seen once by all, would be regarded as an awful spectre: open only to the
occasional vision of a few men, no doubt she would be scouted by a large
party as a creation of their fancy altogether.

The list of facts that have been scouted in this way, corresponds pretty
exactly to the list of human discoveries, down to the recent improvements
in street-lighting and steam locomotion. The knowledge of the best of us
is but a little light which shines in a great deal of darkness. We are all
of us more ignorant than wise. The proportion of knowledge yet lying
beyond the confines of our explorations, is as a continent against a
cabbage garden. Yet many thousands are contented to believe, that in this
little bit of garden lies our all, and to laugh at every report made to
the world by people who have ventured just to peep over the paling. It is
urged against inquiries into matters yet mysterious—mysterious as all
things look under the light of the first dawn of knowledge—Why should we
pry into them, until we know that we shall be benefited by the information
we desire? All information is a benefit. All knowledge is good. Is it for
man to say, “What is the use of seeing?”

We are in the present day upon the trace of a great many important facts
relating to the imponderable agencies employed in nature. Light, heat, and
electricity are no longer the simple matters, or effects of matter, that
they have aforetime seemed to be. New wonders point to more beyond. In
magnetism, the researches of Faraday and others, are beginning to open in
our own day, the Book of Nature, at a page of the very first importance to
the naturalist; but the contents of which until this time have been wholly
unsuspected. Behind a cloudy mass of fraud and folly, while the clouds
shift, we perceive a few dim stars, to guide us toward the discovery of
wondrous truths. There are such truths which will hereafter illustrate the
connection, in many ways still mysterious, between the body of man and the
surrounding world. Wonderful things have yet to be revealed, on subjects
of a delicate and subtle texture. It behooves us in the present day,
therefore, to learn how we may keep our tempers free from prejudice, and
not discredit statements simply because they are new and strange, nor, on
the other hand, accept them hastily without sufficient proof.

On questionable points, which are decided by research and weight of
evidence, it would be well if it were widely understood that it is by no
means requisite for every man to form an Ay or Nay opinion. Let those who
have no leisure for a fair inquiry play a neutral part. There are hundreds
of subjects which we have never examined, nor ever could or can examine,
upon which we are all, nevertheless, expressing every day stubborn
opinions. We all have to acquire some measure of the philosophic mind, and
be content to retain a large army of thoughts, equipped each thought with
its crooked bayonet, a note of interrogation. In reasoning, also, when we
do reason, we have to remember fairly that “not proven” does not always
mean untrue. And in accepting matters on testimony, we must rigidly
preserve in view the fact, that, except upon gross objects of sense, very
few of us are qualified by training as observers. In drawing delicate
conclusions from the complex and most dimly comprehended operations of the
human frame observed in men and women, the sources of fallacy are very
numerous. To detect and acknowledge these, to get rid of them
experimentally, is very difficult, even to the most candid and enlightened
mind.

I have no faith in ghosts, according to the old sense of the word, and I
could grope with comfort through any amount of dark old rooms, or midnight
aisles, or over church-yards, between sunset and cock-crow. I can face a
spectre. Being at one time troubled with illusions, I have myself crushed
a hobgoblin by sitting on its lap. Nevertheless, I do believe that the
great mass of “ghost stories,” of which the world is full, has not been
built entirely upon the inventions of the ignorant and superstitious. In
plain words, while I, of course, throw aside a million of idle fictions,
or exaggerated facts, I do believe in ghosts—or, rather, spectres—only I
do not believe them to be supernatural.

That, in certain states of the body, many of us in our waking hours
picture as vividly as we habitually do in dreams, and seem to see or hear
in fair reality that which is in our minds, is an old fact, and requires
no confirmation. An ignorant or superstitious man fallen into this state,
may find good reason to tell ghost stories to his neighbors. Disease, and
the debility preceding death, make people on their death-beds very liable
to plays of this kind on their failing faculties; and one solemnity, or
cause of dread, thus being added to another, seems to give the strength of
reason to a superstitious feeling.

Concerning my own experience, which comes under the class of natural
ghost-seeing, above mentioned, I may mention in good faith that, if such
phantoms were worth recalling, I could fill up an hour with the narration
of those spectral sights and sounds which were most prominent among the
illusions of my childhood. Sights and sounds were equally distinct and
life-like. I have run up-stairs obedient to a spectral call. Every
successive night for a fortnight, my childish breath was stilled by the
proceedings of a spectral rat, audible, never visible. It nightly, at the
same hour, burst open a cupboard door, scampered across the floor, and
shook the chair by my bedside. Wide awake and alone in the broad daylight,
I have heard the voices of two nobodies gravely conversing, after the
absurd dream fashion, in my room. Then as for spectral sights: During the
cholera of 1832, I, then a boy, walking in Holborn, saw in the sky, the
veritable flaming sword which I had learned by heart out of a picture in
an old folio of “Paradise Lost.” And round the fiery sword there was a
regular oval of blue sky to be seen through parted clouds. It was a fact
not unimportant, that this phantom sword did not move with my eye, but
remained for some time, apparently, only in one part of the heavens. I
looked aside and lost it. When I looked back there was the image still.
There are hallucinations which arise from a disordered condition of the
nervous system; they are the seeing or the hearing of what is not, and
they are not by any means uncommon. Out of these there must, undoubtedly,
arise a large number of well-attested stories of ghosts, seen by one
person only. Such ghosts ought to excite no more terror than a twinge of
rheumatism, or a nervous headache.

There can be no doubt, however, that, in our minds or bodies, there are
powers latent, or nearly latent, in the ordinary healthy man, which, in
some peculiar constitutions, or under the influence of certain agents, or
certain classes of disease, become active, and develop themselves in an
extraordinary way. It is not very uncommon to find people who have
acquired intuitive perception of each other’s current thoughts, beyond
what can be ascribed to community of interests, or comprehension of
character.

Zschokke, the German writer and teacher, is a peculiarly honorable and
unimpeachable witness. What he affirms, as of his own knowledge, we have
no right to disbelieve. Many of us have read the marvelous account given
by him of his sudden discovery, that he possessed the power in regard to a
few people—by no means in regard to all—of knowing, when he came near to
them, not only their present thoughts, but much of what was in their
memories. The details will be found in his Autobiography, which, being
translated, has become a common book among us. When, for the first time,
while conversing with some person, he acquired a sense of power over the
secrets of that person’s past life, he gave, of course, little heed to his
sensation. Afterward, as from time to time the sense recurred, he tested
the accuracy of his impressions, and was alarmed to find that, at certain
times, and in regard to certain persons, the mysterious knowledge was
undoubtedly acquired. Once when a young man at the table with him was
dismissing very flippantly all manner of unexplained phenomena as the
gross food of ignorance and credulity, Zschokke requested to know what he
would say if he, a stranger, by aid of an unexplained power, should be
able to tell him secrets out of his past life. Zschokke was defied to do
that; but he did it. Among other things he described a certain upper room,
in which there was a certain strong box, and from which certain moneys,
the property of his master, had been abstracted by that young man; who,
overwhelmed with astonishment, confessed the theft.

Many glimmerings of intuition, which at certain times occur in the
experience of all of us, and seem to be something more than shrewd or
lucky guesses, may be referred to the same power which we find, in the
case just quoted, more perfectly developed. Nothing supernatural, but a
natural gift, imperceptible to us in its familiar, moderate, and healthy
exercise, brought first under our notice when some deranged adjustment of
the mind has suffered it to grow into excess—to be, if we may call it so,
a mental tumor.

We may now come to a new class of mysteries—which are receiving, for the
first time in our own day, a rational solution.

The blind poet, Pfeffel, had engaged, as amanuensis, a young Protestant
clergyman, named Billing. When the blind poet walked abroad, Billing also
acted as his guide. One day, as they were walking in the garden, which was
situated at a distance from the town, Pfeffel observed a trembling of his
guide’s arm whenever they passed over a certain spot. He asked the cause
of this, and extracted from his companion the unwilling confession, that
over that spot he was attacked by certain uncontrollable sensations, which
he always felt where human bodies had been buried. At night, he added,
over such spots, he saw uncanny things. “This is great folly,” Pfeffel
thought, “and I will cure him of it.” The poet went, therefore, that very
night into the garden. When they approached the place of dread, Billing
perceived a feeble light, which hovered over it. When they came nearer, he
saw the delicate appearance of a fiery, ghost-like form. He described it
as the figure of a female with one arm across her body, and the other
hanging down, hovering upright and motionless over the spot, her feet
being a few hand-breadths above the soil. The young man would not approach
the vision, but the poet beat about it with his stick, walked through it,
and seemed to the eyes of Billing like a man who beats about a light
flame, which always returns to its old shape. For months, experiments were
continued, company was brought to the spot, the spectre remained visible
always in the dark, but to the young man only, who adhered firmly to his
statement, and to his conviction that a body lay beneath. Pfeffel at last
had the place dug up, and, at a considerable depth, covered with lime,
there was a skeleton discovered. The bones and the lime were dispersed,
the hole was filled up, Billing was again brought to the spot by night,
but never again saw the spectre.

This ghost story, being well attested, created a great sensation. In the
curious book, by Baron Reichenbach, translated by Dr. Gregory, it is
quoted as an example of a large class of ghost stories which admit of
explanation upon principles developed by his own experiments.

The experiments of Baron Reichenbach do not, indeed, establish a new
science, though it is quite certain that they go far to point out a new
line of investigation, which promises to yield valuable results. So much
of them as concerns our subject may be very briefly stated. It would
appear that certain persons, with disordered nervous systems, liable to
catalepsy, or to such affections, and also some healthy persons who are of
a peculiar nervous temperament, are more sensitive to magnetism than their
neighbors. They are peculiarly acted upon by the magnet, and are,
moreover, very much under the influence of the great magnetic currents of
the earth. Such people sleep tranquilly when they are reposing with their
bodies in the earth’s magnetic line, and are restless, in some cases
seriously affected, if they lie across that line, on beds with the head
and foot turned east and west, matters of complete indifference to the
healthy animal. These “sensitives” are not only affected by the magnet,
but they are able to detect, by their sharpened sense, what we may
reasonably suppose to exist, a faint magnetic light: they see it streaming
from the poles of a magnet shown to them, in a room absolutely dark; and
if the sensibility be great, and the darkness perfect, they see it
streaming also from the points of fingers, and bathing in a faint halo the
whole magnet or the whole hand. Furthermore, it would appear that the
affection by the magnet of these sensitives does not depend upon that
quality by which iron filings are attracted; that, perfectly independent
of the attractive force, there streams from magnets, from the poles of
crystals, from the sun and moon, another influence to which the discoverer
assigns the name of Odyle. The manifestation of Odyle is accompanied by a
light too faint for healthy vision, but perceptible at night by
“sensitives.” Odyle is generated among other things by heat, and by
chemical action. It is generated, therefore, in the decomposition of the
human body. I may now quote from Reichenbach, who, having given a
scientific explanation upon his own principles, of the phenomena perceived
by Billing, thus continues:

“The desire to inflict a mortal wound on the monster, Superstition, which,
from a similar origin, a few centuries ago, inflicted on European society
so vast an amount of misery, and by whose influence not hundreds, but
thousands of innocent persons died in tortures, on the rack and at the
stake; this desire made me wish to make the experiment, if possible, of
bringing a highly sensitive person, by night, to a churchyard. I thought
it possible that they might see, over graves where mouldering bodies lay,
something like that which Billing had seen. Mademoiselle Reichal had the
courage, unusual in her sex, to agree to my request. She allowed me, on
two very dark nights, to take her from the Castle of Reisenberg, where she
was residing with my family, to the cemetery of the neighboring village of
Grünzing.

“The result justified my expectations in the fullest measure. She saw,
very soon, a light, and perceived, on one of the grave mounds, along its
whole extent, a delicate, fiery, as it were a breathing flame. The same
thing was seen on another grave, in a less degree. But she met neither
witches nor ghosts. She described the flame as playing over the graves in
the form of a luminous vapor, from one to two spans in height.

“Some time afterward I took her to two great cemeteries, near Vienna,
where several interments occur daily, and the grave mounds lie all about
in thousands. Here she saw numerous graves, which exhibited the lights
above described. Wherever she looked, she saw masses of fire lying about;
but it was chiefly seen over all new graves, while there was no appearance
of it over very old ones. She described it less as a clear flame than as a
dense, vaporous mass of fire, holding a middle place between mist and
flame. On many graves this light was about four feet high, so that when
she stood on the grave, it reached to her neck. When she thrust her hand
into it, it was as if putting it into a dense fiery cloud. She betrayed
not the slightest uneasiness, as she was, from her childhood, accustomed
to such emanations, and had seen, in my experiments, similar lights
produced by natural means, and made to assume endless varieties of form. I
am convinced that all who are, to a certain degree, sensitive, will see
the same phenomena in cemeteries, and very abundantly in the crowded
cemeteries of large cities; and that my observations may be easily
repeated and confirmed.” These experiments were tried in 1844. A
postscript was added in 1847. Reichenbach had taken five other sensitive
persons, in the dark, to cemeteries. Of these, two were sickly, three
quite healthy. All of them confirmed the statements of Mademoiselle
Reichel, and saw the lights over all new graves more or less distinctly;
“so that,” says the philosopher, “the fact can no longer admit of the
slightest doubt, and may be every where controlled.”

“Thousands of ghost stories,” he continues, “will now receive a natural
explanation, and will thus cease to be marvelous. We shall even see that
it was not so erroneous or absurd as has been supposed, when our old women
asserted, as every one knows they did, that not every one was privileged
to see the spirits of the departed wandering over their graves. In fact,
it was at all times only the sensitive who could see the imponderable
emanations from the chemical change going on in corpses, luminous in the
dark. And thus I have, I trust, succeeded in tearing down one of the
densest vails of darkened ignorance and human error.”

So far speaks Reichenbach; and for myself, reverting to the few comments
with which we set out, I would suggest, that Reichenbach’s book, though it
is very likely to push things too far—to fancy the tree by looking at the
seed—is yet not such a book as men of sense are justified in scouting. The
repetition of his experiments is very easy if they be correct. There are
plenty of “sensitives” to be found in our London hospitals and streets and
lanes. Unluckily, however, though we live in an age which produces, every
day, new marvels, the old spirit of bigotry, which used to make inquiry
dangerous in science and religion, still prevails in the minds of too many
scientific men. To be incredulous of what is new and strange, until it has
been rigidly examined and proved true, is one essential element of a mind
seeking enlightenment. But, to test and try new things is equally
essential. Because of doubting, to refuse inquiry, is because of hunger to
refuse our food. For my own part, I put these matters into the livery of
that large body of thoughts already mentioned, which walk about the human
mind, armed each with a note of interrogation. This only I see, that, in
addition to the well-known explanations of phenomena which produce some
among the many stories of ghosts and of mysterious forebodings, new
explanations are at hand which will reduce into a natural and credible
position many other tales by which we have till recently been puzzled.



KEEP HIM OUT!


“What noise is that?” said a judge disturbed in the hearing of a case.
“It’s a man, my lord,” was the answer of the doorkeeper. “What does he
want?” “He wants to get in, my lord.” “Well, keep him out!”

The audience is comfortably seated; the case is going forward; to make
room for the newcomer, some must shift their seats, and perhaps be jostled
about a little; so they are all perfectly satisfied with the judge’s
dictum of “Keep him out.”

You have yourself been in an omnibus when a stout passenger has presented
himself to the conductor, and petitioned for a place. You are all snugly
seated—why should you be disturbed? “The seats are full!” “Keep him out!”
But the intruder is in, he presses forward to the inner corner, perhaps
treading on some testy gentleman’s toes. How you hate that new-comer,
until you get fairly “shook down” and settled again in your places! The
door opens again—another passenger! “Keep him out!” cry the company, and
strange to say, the loudest vociferator of the whole, is the very
passenger who last came in. He in his turn becomes conservative, after
having fairly got a place inside.

It is the same through life. There is a knocking from time to time at the
door of the constitution. “What’s that noise?” ask the men in power. “It’s
a lot of men, my lords and gentlemen.” “What do they want?” “They want to
come in.” “Well, keep them out!” And those who are comfortably seated
within the pale, re-echo the cry of “Keep them out.” Why should they be
disturbed in their seats, and made uncomfortable?

But somehow, by dint of loud knocking, the men, or a rush of them, at
length do contrive to get in; and after sundry shovings and jostlings,
they get seated, and begin to feel comfortable, when there is another
knocking louder than before. Would you believe it? the last accommodated
are now the most eager of all to keep the door closed against the
new-comers; and “Keep them out!” is their vociferous cry.

Here is a batch of learned men debating the good of their order. They are
considering how their profession may be advanced. What is the gist of
their decisions?—the enactment of laws against all intruders upon their
comfort and quiet. They make their calling a snug monopoly, and contrive
matters so that as few as possible are admitted to share the good things
of their class. “Keep them out!” is the cry of all the learned
professions.

“Keep them out!” cry the barristers, when the attorneys claim to be
admitted to plead before certain courts. “Keep them out!” cry the
attorneys, when ordinary illegal men claim to argue a case before the
county court. “Keep her out!” cry both barristers and attorneys, when Mrs.
Cobbett claims to be heard in her imprisoned husband’s cause. “What! a
woman plead in the courts? If such a thing be allowed, who knows where
such license is to end?” And she is kept out accordingly.

“Keep them out!” cry the apothecaries, when a surgeon from beyond the
Tweed or the Irish Channel claims to prescribe and dispense medicine to
English subjects. “Keep them out!” cry the doctors, when the Homœopathists
offer the public their millionth-grain doses. “Keep them out!” cry
physicians and surgeons and apothecaries of all ranks, when it is proposed
to throw open the profession to the female sex.

But you find the same cry among the working classes of every grade.
Mechanics and tradesmen insist on all applicants for admission to their
calling serving long apprenticeships. If the apprenticeships are not
served, then “Keep them out!” is the word. Shoulder to shoulder they
exclude the applicants for leave to toil. “Knobsticks” are pelted. They
must join the union—must be free of the craft—must conform to the
rules—subscribe to the funds—pay the footings, and so on; otherwise they
are kept out with a vengeance.

In the circles of fashion the same cry is frequent. A new man appears in
society. “Who is he?” “Only So-and-so!” He is a retired grocer, or as
Cobbett called Sadler, “a linen-draper;” and the exclusive class
immediately club together for the purpose of “Keeping him out.” He is
“cut.” Even the new man of high-sounding title is accounted as nothing
among the old families who boast of their “blue blood.” Wealth goes a
great way, but still that does not compensate for the accident of birth
and connections among these classes.

Every class has its own standard. The money classes have theirs too. Even
tradesmen and their wives go in sets, and there is always some class
outside their own set, which they contrive to “keep out.” The aristocratic
contagion thus extends from the highest to the verge of the lowest class
of society in England. Is not monopoly the rule among us, whenever we can
find an opportunity of establishing it? Monopoly or exclusivism in art, in
theology, in trade, in literature, in sociology. Look at the forty Royal
Academicians setting their backs up against every new-comer in art, and
combining with one accord to “Keep him out.” That is the monopoly of art;
and people at large call it a humbug; but they are not more tolerant or
wise when their own craft comes to be dealt with. Each in his turn is
found ready to combine with somebody else, to “keep out” all intruders on
their special preserves. The “Flaming Tinman,” in Lavengro, pummels and
puts to flight the poor tinker who intrudes upon his beat; the costers
combine to keep out freshmen from theirs; English navvies band together to
drive Irish navvies off their contracts; and Irish tenants pick off, from
behind a hedge, the intruders upon their holdings. Even the searchers of
the sewers maintain a kind of monopoly of their unholy calling, and will
recognize no man as a brother who has not been duly initiated in the
mysteries of the search. The sewer-searcher is as exclusive in his way as
the leader of fashion at Almacks. “Keep him out!” is, in short, the
watchword of all classes, of all ranks, of all callings, of all crafts, of
all interests. We used to “keep out” the foreign corn-grower, but though
he may now come in, there is exclusiveness and monopoly in ten thousand
other forms, which no legislation can ever touch.



STORY OF REMBRANDT.


At a short distance from Leyden may still be seen a flour-mill with a
quaint old dwelling-house attached, which bears, on a brick in a corner of
the wide chimney, the date of 1550. Here, in 1606, was born Paul
Rembrandt. At an early age, he manifested a stubborn, independent will,
which his father tried in vain to subdue. He caused his son to work in the
mill, intending that he should succeed him in its management; but the boy
showed so decided a distaste for the employment, that his father resolved
to make him a priest, and sent him to study at Leyden. Every one knows,
however, that few lads of fifteen, endowed with great muscular vigor and
abundance of animal spirits, will take naturally and without compulsion to
the study of Latin grammar. Rembrandt certainly did not; and his obstinacy
proving an overmatch for his teacher’s patience, he was sent back to the
mill, when his father beat him so severely, that next morning he ran off
to Leyden, without in the least knowing how he should live there.
Fortunately he sought refuge in the house of an honest artist, Van
Zwaanenberg, who was acquainted with his father.

“Tell me, Paul,” asked his friend, “what do you mean to do with yourself,
if you will not be either a priest or a miller? They are both honorable
professions: one gives food to the soul, the other prepares it for the
body.”

“Very likely,” replied the boy; “but I don’t fancy either; for in order to
be a priest, one must learn Latin; and to be a miller, one must bear to be
beaten. How do _you_ earn your bread?”

“You know very well I am a painter.”

“Then I will be one, too, Herr Zwaanenberg; and if you will go to-morrow
and tell my father so, you will do me a great service.”

The good-natured artist willingly undertook the mission, and acquainted
the old miller with his son’s resolution.

“I want to know one thing,” said Master Rembrandt, “will he be able to
gain a livelihood by painting?”

“Certainly, and perhaps make a fortune.”

“Then if you will teach him, I consent.”

Thus Paul became the pupil of Van Zwaanenberg, and made rapid progress in
the elementary parts of his profession. Impatient to produce some finished
work, he did not give himself time to acquire purity of style, but
astonished his master by his precocious skill in grouping figures, and
producing marvelous effects of light and shade. The first lessons which he
took in perspective having wearied him, he thought of a shorter method,
and _invented_ perspective for himself.

One of his first rude sketches happened to fall into the hands of a
citizen of Leyden who understood painting. Despite of its evident defects,
the germs of rare talent which it evinced struck the burgomaster; and
sending for the young artist, he offered to give him a recommendation to a
celebrated painter living at Amsterdam, under whom he would have far more
opportunity of improvement than with his present instructor.

Rembrandt accepted the offer, and during the following year toiled
incessantly. Meantime his finances were dreadfully straitened; for his
father, finding that the expected profits were very tardy, refused to give
money to support his son, as he said, in idleness. Paul, however, was not
discouraged. Although far from possessing an amiable or estimable
disposition, he held a firm and just opinion of his own powers, and
resolved to make these subservient first to fortune and then to fame. Thus
while some of his companions, having finished their preliminary studies,
repaired to Florence, to Bologna, or to Rome, Paul, determined, as he
said, not to lose his own style by becoming an imitator of even the
mightiest masters, betook himself to his paternal mill. At first his
return resembled that of the Prodigal Son. His father believed that he had
come to resume his miller’s work; and bitter was his disappointment at
finding his son resolved not to renounce painting.

With a very bad grace he allowed Paul to displace the flour-sacks in an
upper loft, in order to make a sort of studio, lighted by only one narrow
window in the roof. There Paul painted his first finished picture. It was
a _portrait_ of the mill. There, on the canvas, was seen the old miller,
lighted by a lantern which he carried in his hand, giving directions to
his men, occupied in ranging sacks in the dark recesses of the granary.
One ray falls on the fresh, comely countenance of his mother, who has her
foot on the last step of a wooden staircase.(3) Rembrandt took this
painting to the Hague, and sold it for 100 florins. In order to return
with more speed, he took his place in the public coach. When the
passengers stopped to dine, Rembrandt, fearing to lose his treasure,
remained in the carriage. The careless stable-boy who brought the horses
their corn forgot to unharness them, and as soon as they had finished
eating, excited probably by Rembrandt, who cared not for his
fellow-passengers, the animals started off for Leyden, and quietly halted
at their accustomed inn. Our painter then got out and repaired with his
money to the mill.

Great was his father’s joy. At length these silly daubs, which had so
often excited his angry contempt, seemed likely to be transmuted into
gold, and the old man’s imagination took a rapturous flight. “Neither he
nor his old horse,” he said, “need now work any longer; they might both
enjoy quiet during the remainder of their lives. Paul would paint
pictures, and support the whole household in affluence.”

Such was the old man’s castle in the air; his clever, selfish son soon
demolished it. “This sum of money,” he said, “is only a lucky windfall. If
you indeed wish it to become the foundation of my fortune, give me one
hundred florins besides, and let me return to Amsterdam: there I must work
and study hard.”

It would be difficult to describe old Rembrandt’s disappointment. Slowly,
reluctantly, and one by one, he drew forth the 100 florins from his
strong-box. Paul took them, and with small show of gratitude, returned to
Amsterdam. In a short time his fame became established as the greatest and
most original of living artists. He had a host of imitators, but all
failed miserably in their attempts at reproducing his marvelous effects of
light and shade. Yet Rembrandt prized the gold which flowed in to him far
more than the glory. While mingling the colors which were to flash out on
his canvas in real living light, he thought but of his dingy coffers.

When in possession of a yearly income equal to £2000 sterling, he would
not permit the agent who collected his rents to bring them in from the
country to Amsterdam, lest he should be obliged to invite him to dinner.
He preferred setting out on a fine day, and going himself to the agent’s
house. In this way he saved two dinners—the one which he got, and the one
he avoided giving. “So that’s well managed!” he used to say.

This sordid disposition often exposed him to practical jokes from his
pupils; but he possessed a quiet temper, and was not easily annoyed. One
day a rich citizen came in, and asked him the price of a certain picture.

“Two hundred florins,” said Rembrandt.

“Agreed,” said his visitor. “I will pay you to-morrow, when I send for the
picture.”

About an hour afterward a letter was handed to the painter. Its contents
were as follows:

“MASTER REMBRANDT—During your absence a few days since, I saw in your
studio a picture representing an old woman churning butter. I was
enchanted with it; and if you will let me purchase it for 300 florins, I
pray you to bring it to my house, and be my guest for the day.”

The letter was signed with some fictitious name, and bore the address of a
village several leagues distant from Amsterdam.

Tempted by the additional 100 florins, and caring little for breaking his
engagement, Rembrandt set out early next morning with his picture. He
walked for four hours without finding his obliging correspondent, and at
length, worn out with fatigue, he returned home. He found the citizen in
his studio, waiting for the picture. As Rembrandt, however, did not
despair of finding the man of the 300 florins, and as a falsehood troubled
but little his blunted conscience, he said, “Alas! an accident has
happened to the picture; the canvas was injured, and I felt so vexed that
I threw it into the fire. Two hundred florins gone! However, it will be my
loss, not yours, for I will paint another precisely similar, and it shall
be ready for you by this time to-morrow.”

“I am sorry,” replied the amateur, “but it was the picture you have burned
which I wished to have; and as that is gone, I shall not trouble you to
paint another.”

So he departed, and Rembrandt shortly afterward received a second letter
to the following effect: “MASTER REMBRANDT—You have broken your
engagement, told a falsehood, wearied yourself to death, and lost the sale
of your picture—all by listening to the dictates of avarice. Let this
lesson be a warning to you in future.”

“So,” said the painter, looking round at his pupils, “one of you must have
played me this pretty trick. Well, well, I forgive it. You young varlets
do not know the value of a florin as I know it.”

Sometimes the students nailed small copper coins on the floor, for the
mischievous pleasure of seeing their master, who suffered much from
rheumatism in the back, stoop with pain and difficulty, and try in vain to
pick them up.

Rembrandt married an ignorant peasant who had served him as cook, thinking
this a more economical alliance than one with a person of refined mind and
habits. He and his wife usually dined on brown-bread, salt herrings, and
small-beer. He occasionally took portraits at a high price, and in this
way became acquainted with the Burgomaster Six, a man of enlarged mind and
unblemished character, who yet continued faithfully attached to the
avaricious painter. His friendship was sometimes put to a severe test by
such occurrences as the following:

Rembrandt remarked one day that the price of his engravings had fallen.

“You are insatiable,” said the burgomaster.

“Perhaps so. I can not help thirsting for gold.”

“You are a miser.”

“True; and I shall be one all my life.”

“’Tis really a pity,” remarked his friend, “that you will not be able
after death to act as your own treasurer, for whenever that event occurs,
all your works will rise to treble their present value.”

A bright idea struck Rembrandt. He returned home, went to bed, desired his
wife and his son Titus to scatter straw before the door, and give out,
first, that he was dangerously ill, and then dead—while the simulated
fever was to be of so dreadfully infectious a nature that none of the
neighbors were to be admitted near the sick-room. These instructions were
followed to the letter; and the disconsolate widow proclaimed that, in
order to procure money for her husband’s interment, she must sell all his
works, any property that he left not being available on so short a notice.

The unworthy trick succeeded. The sale, including every trivial scrap of
painting or engraving, realized an enormous sum, and Rembrandt was in
ecstasy. The honest burgomaster, however, was nearly frightened into a fit
of apoplexy at seeing the man whose death he had sincerely mourned
standing alive and well at the door of his studio. Meinherr Six obliged
him to promise that he would in future abstain from such abominable
deceptions. One day he was employed in painting in a group the likenesses
of the whole family of a rich citizen. He had nearly finished it, when
intelligence was brought him of the death of a tame ape which he greatly
loved. The creature had fallen off the roof of the house into the street.
Without interrupting his work, Rembrandt burst into loud lamentations, and
after some time announced that the piece was finished. The whole family
advanced to look at it, and what was their horror to see introduced
between the heads of the eldest son and daughter an exact likeness of the
dear departed ape. With one voice they all exclaimed against this singular
relative which it had pleased the painter to introduce among them, and
insisted on his effacing it.

“What!” exclaimed Rembrandt, “efface the finest figure in the picture? No,
indeed; I prefer keeping the piece for myself.” Which he did, and carried
off the painting.

Of Rembrandt’s style it may be said that he painted with light, for
frequently an object was indicated merely by the projection of a shadow on
a wall. Often a luminous spot suggested, rather than defined, a hand or a
head. Yet there is nothing vague in his paintings: the mind seizes the
design immediately. His studio was a circular room, lighted by several
narrow slits, so contrived that rays of sunshine entered through only one
at a time, and thus produced strange effects of light and shade. The room
was filled with old-world furniture, which made it resemble an antiquary’s
museum. There were heaped up in the most picturesque confusion curious old
furniture, antique armor, gorgeously-tinted stuffs; and these Rembrandt
arranged in different forms and positions, so as to vary the effects of
light and color. This he called “making his models sit to him.” And in
this close adherence to reality consisted the great secret of his art. It
is strange that his favorite among all his pupils was the one whose style
least resembled his own—Gerard Douw—he who aimed at the most excessive
minuteness of delineation, who stopped keyholes lest a particle of dust
should fall on his pallet, who gloried in representing the effects of
fresh scouring on the side of a kettle.

Rembrandt died in 1674, at the age of sixty-eight. He passed all his life
at Amsterdam. Some of his biographers have told erroneously that he once
visited Italy: they were deceived by the word _Venetiis_ placed at the
bottom of several of his engravings. He wrote it there with the intention
of deluding his countrymen into the belief that he was absent, and about
to settle in Italy—an impression which would materially raise the price of
his productions. Strange and sad it is to see so much genius united with
so much meanness—the head of fine gold with the feet of clay.



THE VIPER.


At a recent monthly meeting of the Kendal Natural History Society, a
letter was read from Mr. W. Pearson, on the natural history of
Crossthwaite, from which we give the following extract:—“On the afternoon
of 23d July last,” says Mr. Pearson, “the servant girl called me into the
pantry in a great flurry. She said a hagworm was trying to get in at the
window. And there it was, sure enough, raising itself straight up from the
window-sill; first trying one pane, and then another; strangely puzzled,
no doubt, that what seemed so clear an opening should offer any
obstruction. The glass manufacture was evidently a mystery to it. The
window being low, it had crawled over a heap of sand lying before it. It
had probably smelt something tempting in the pantry, with which it wished
to make nearer acquaintance. It was a beautiful creature. Its small head,
prominent dark eyes, and pretty mottled skin, might have pleaded strongly
for mercy; but, notwithstanding my general habit of sparing these reptiles
when I meet with them in my walks, it was approaching too much in the
guise of a housebreaker to be pardoned, so I gave orders for its instant
execution. Moreover, there is little doubt that it was the same individual
who had, in times past, come rather too near us to be pleasant. The year
before, I had noticed a viper within a yard or two of our kitchen-door,
with his head and about half a foot of his body thrust out from a hole in
the wall right behind the kitchen grate. The genial climate had most
likely attracted him. Be this as it may, before I could procure a switch
to chastise him for his impudence, he very prudently withdrew into his
hole, only protruding a part of his head and eyes, with which to make
observations. For some days after this, I never entered the house by the
back-door without thinking of our new neighbor; and once or twice I had a
glimpse of him in his old quarters, but he very warily never exposed more
of his precious person than his head and eyes, so that, if it had not been
for his unfortunate expedition to the pantry, he might still have been a
living hagworm. You are aware that this species of snake has at least
three names in England—the viper, adder, and hagworm. The last is our own
local term. Some authors class it with the amphibia. An extraordinary
narrative appeared lately in the ‘Kendal Mercury,’ of a snake crossing
Connistone Lake, which is at least half a mile wide. It was not the
sea-serpent, but our poor little hagworm, that was engaged in this bold
navigation. It was, however, unfortunately fallen in with by a piratical
boatman, and put to death. Without disputing the truth of the narration,
or settling the question how far the viper is amphibious, the remark is
obvious, that the poor snake was taken at a disadvantage; for, if it had
been equally at home on the water as on land, why did it not save itself
by diving as an eel or a frog would have done under like circumstances?
Again, why is not the name of the boatman given? Why should he be
defrauded of his fair fame? It is to be wished that newspaper editors, in
general, were more careful to authenticate their many marvelous tales in
natural history. It would be a great satisfaction to the skeptical
naturalist. One may easily credit that a viper will occasionally take the
water, without going the length of a full belief in the Connistone voyage.

“One day last spring, when angling, I met with one of these snakes, coiled
up, within a few feet of the Winster stream, and when disturbed he fled
toward the water, though I did not see him enter it. It is curious the
variety of situations in which they are to be met with; in the lowest
parts of the valleys, and on the tops of our highest hills; sometimes
close to our houses, as I have mentioned; in the plain field, and in the
roughest wood—hence their name, hagworm; on the roadside, or on the ling
moor, where they sometimes bite the sportsman’s dog, though I never heard
of any fatal consequences. In crossing a turnpike road on a sunny day,
they are often tempted to linger, such is their love of warmth, and bask
on the heated stones and dust, where they are sure to be killed by the
first passenger. They are never spared. Their sinuous tracks across the
dusty roads in dry weather may be often observed. On riding out one day
this summer, a hagworm crossed the road just before me. It exhibited a
beautiful specimen of serpentine motion, and wriggled along with
surprising celerity. It was a warm day; and the movements of all these
reptiles are wonderfully quickened by a genial atmosphere.

“The ringed, or harmless common snake, if found at all in our district,
is, I think, very scarce, for I have never seen one. It is said by
Latreille and other naturalists to be fond of milk, and that it will
sometimes enter farmers’ dairies to enjoy its favorite beverage. Does our
viper, or hagworm, also possess this refined propensity? It seems probable
enough, if one may judge from our pantry adventure. I am here reminded of
a pretty little story which I heard in my youth, and which is well known
to our rural population.

“A cottage child had been in the habit for some time of taking its
porridge every morning into the orchard, to eat there, instead of in the
house. Its mother was curious to know why it did this. At length it was
watched, and found seated under an apple-tree in company with a huge
serpent, its head dipt in the porringer sharing the child’s breakfast. But
taking up a greater part of the dish than was consistent with fair play,
or quite agreeable to good manners, the child was beating its head with
the spoon, saying—‘Take at thy own side, Grayface; take at thy own side,
Grayface’—the snake submitting to this rather uncourteous treatment with
the most praiseworthy patience. Indeed, this reverence for innocence, felt
by savage beast or venomous reptile, is a beautiful feature of many of
those old romantic tales, from the most simple to be found in rustic life,
to the grand allegorical fiction of Spenser’s ‘Fairy Queen,’ of


    “Heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb,
    And the brave Lion slain in her defense.”


“But may there not be some truth, after all, in this tale of the serpent
and child? Remember the fact—that serpents have a strange propensity to
come near our houses, and are not unfrequently found there, as was
exemplified this last summer in our own locality by two instances: the
one, that of the pantry burglar; the other, by a large hagworm being
caught lying in wait, and killed close to the farm-house below. Then their
acknowledged predilection for a milk diet: it is said that, when tamed,
they eat it greedily. Giving due weight, therefore, to these two
circumstances, is it not probable enough that there is a substratum of
truth in this story, and that it is not a mere invention trumped up to
please the nursery?”



ESTHER HAMMOND’S WEDDING-DAY.


A few years ago, having made known to those whom it might concern that I
wanted a footman, there came, among others, to offer himself for the
situation, a young man, named George Hammond. He had a slight figure, and
a pale, thin, handsome face, but a remarkably sad expression. Although he
inspired me with interest, I felt, before I began to question him, that I
should hardly like to have that melancholy countenance always under my
eye.

“Where have you lived?” I asked.

“I have never been exactly in a situation,” he answered.

“Then,” said I, interrupting him, “I fear you will not suit me.”

“I meant to say,” he continued, turning paler than before, as if pained by
my ready denial—“I meant to say that although I have never been in a
situation, yet I know the duties of a servant, for I have been for several
months under Lord Gorton’s house-steward, Mr. Grindlay, and he has taught
me every thing.”

“Did Lord Gorton pay you wages?”

“No; but he allowed me to wait at table, and I acted just as if I had been
paid wages.”

“Mr. Grindlay is a friend of yours, then?”

“Yes; he has been very kind, and has taken a great deal of pains with me.”

“And you think you are fit to undertake such a place as mine?”

“I think I am, and I should try to give satisfaction; for I am very
anxious indeed to earn my own living.”

“And who is to give you a character?”

“Mr. Grindlay will; he has known me all my life.”

During the conversation of which the above is an abridgement, I found that
my feelings were veering round to a more favorable quarter for the
candidate. Young as he was, I thought I could discern that he had
suffered, and that he was anxious to diminish, or repair, his ill fortunes
by industry and good conduct. There was a moment, too, in which I fancied
I saw the clew to his sorrows. It was when I said, “You are not married, I
presume?”

“No,” said he.

“Because,” I added, “my house is not large, and visitors below are
inconvenient.”

“I have nobody in the world belonging to me but one sister. And the only
friend I have is Mr. Grindlay,” he replied, with some eagerness, as if to
put a period to further inquiries in that direction, while he visibly
changed color. Feeling sure there was some painful family history behind,
I said no more, but that I would see Mr. Grindlay, if he would call on the
following day.

“By-the-by,” I rejoined, as the young man was leaving, the room, “we said
nothing about wages; what do you expect?”

“Whatever you are accustomed to give,” he answered.

“Very well; I’ll speak to Mr. Grindlay about it.”

It was the situation he was anxious about, clearly; not wages.

On the following morning Mr. Grindlay came.

“You are well acquainted with this young man?” I said.

“I have known him since he was that high,” he answered, placing his hand
on the table; “and you can’t have a better lad; that I’ll engage.”

“He is honest and sober?”

“You may trust him with untold gold; and as for wine or spirits, such a
thing never passes his lips.”

“But he has been under your guidance, Mr. Grindlay,” I answered; “he is
young; do you think he will be able to stand alone?”

“I’ve no fear of him; none whatever,” he replied. “To say the truth, he
had an awful lesson before his eyes in regard to excessive drinking. Such
a lesson as he’ll never forget.”

“Indeed!” said I; “his father?”

Mr. Grindlay shook his head. I made no further inquiry then; but agreed to
engage George Hammond.

At first, he was so anxious to please, and so nervous lest he should not
please, that he tumbled up-stairs in his hurry to answer the bell, and
very nearly broke my best decanters. His hand so shook with agitation when
I had friends to dinner, lest he should be found deficient, that I
momentarily expected to see him drop the plates and glasses on the floor.
However, he got through this ordeal without any serious accident; and by
degrees I discovered that I had found a treasure of fidelity and good
service. He lived with me for six years, and then, to my regret, we
parted; my only consolation being that our separation was consequent on a
plan formed for his advantage.

During the first years, I knew nothing more of George’s history than I had
gathered from Mr. Grindlay’s significant hint at our only interview. I
concluded that in that hint the whole mystery was revealed. George’s
father had been a drunkard, and his vice had probably ruined a decent
family. The appearance of George’s only visitor, his sister, Esther,
confirmed this view; she looked so respectable and so dejected! She never
came but on Sunday, and then I was always glad if I could spare George to
take a walk with her. After I had learnt his value, I gave him leave to
invite her to dine, and to remain the evening with him, whenever he
pleased. He told me she worked with a milliner in Pall Mall; and I
observed that she always wore black, which I concluded she did from an
economical motive. She seemed very shy; and I never troubled her with
questions.

George had been with us upward of five years, when we were visited by an
old friend whose home was on the opposite side of the earth. He had
returned to England, partly to see his relatives, and partly to transact
some business respecting a small property he had lately inherited. During
his sojourn he frequently dined with us; and, while at table, we did not
fail to ply him with questions regarding his experiences in the colony he
inhabited. “The great difficulty of _getting along_, as we call it,” he
answered, one day, “lies in the impossibility of gathering people about
us, upon whom we can rely. I have made money,” he said, “and have no right
to complain; but I should have made twice as much if I had employed honest
and intelligent men.”

“You should take some abroad with you,” I replied.

“I purpose to do something of the kind,” he answered; “and, by-the-by, if
you should hear of any honest, intelligent young man, who can write good
plain English in a legible hand, and who would not object to seek his
fortune across the water, let me know.”

George was in the room when this was said, and I involuntarily raised my
eyes to his face. When I read its expression, a twinge of selfishness
brought the color to my cheeks. “Now we shall lose him,” I said; and we
did lose him. A few days afterward, Mr. Jameson, our colonial friend, told
us that he was afraid his conversation had been the means of seducing our
melancholy footman. He had found an extremely well-written letter on his
table, signed “George Hammond,” expressing a wish to accompany him abroad,
and dated from our house, which he had at first imagined was a jest of
mine. “But I find it is from your servant,” he continued, “and I have told
him that I can say nothing until I have consulted you on the subject.”

“I am afraid I can allege nothing against it,”

I answered, “if he suits you, and wishes to go. A more trustworthy,
excellent person you never can meet with.”

“And what are his connections?” inquired Mr. Jameson; “for I would not be
accessory to taking any young man out of the country without being sure
that he was not doing wrong in leaving it.”

For this information I referred him to Mr. Grindlay; with whom an
interview was arranged. Mr. Grindlay entered so warmly into the plan, that
he declared himself willing to make some pecuniary advances to promote it.

“It is not necessary,” said Mr. Jameson. “I shall be very willing to
undertake all the expenses of outfit and voyage.”

“You are very good, indeed, sir. But,” added Mr. Grindlay, “George has a
sister, who would break her heart if he left her. She is a good, clever
girl, and understands dress-making and millinery well. She works for
Madame Roland. I suppose she would easily make a living in the parts you
are going to?”

Mr. Jameson was quite agreeable that Esther should be of the party; and
Mr. Grindlay under took the charge of her outfit. “But,” said our friend,
“before we proceed farther, I must know who these young people are; and
that their friends have no reasonable objection to our plan.”

“They have no friends!” answered Mr. Grindlay, shaking his gray head;
“nobody to make any objection, reasonable or otherwise; but, as you are
willing to undertake the charge of them, sir, I think it would be only
right that you should know the exact truth.”

This was the train of circumstances which led to my acquaintance with the
present story.

The parents of George and Esther Hammond kept a small but respectable inn,
in one of the southern counties of England. The house was not situated in
a town, nor yet very far from one, but it was a pretty rural spot, with a
bowling green and garden; and it was a common thing for the inhabitants of
the neighboring city to make parties there on Sundays and holidays, to
dine and drink cider, for which the house was famous. It was, indeed, an
extremely well-kept, clean, comfortable, little inn, the merit of which
good keeping was chiefly referred by the public voice to Mrs. Hammond: an
industrious, hard-working, thrifty woman. She was generally reputed to be
more than thrifty. It was often remarked that when Hammond himself was
absent from home, the tables were less liberally served, and the charge
higher, than when he was there to moderate her besetting sin—the love of
gain. Still, she was an excellent wife, and a good hostess; and she was
devoted to her husband and her two children, George and Esther. In short,
she was a woman who took every thing in earnest, and she loved her family,
as she worked for them, with all her energies. She loved her children
wisely, too: for she was extremely anxious to give them the best education
she could afford; and, although, as was consistent with her character, she
kept them somewhat rigidly, she was essentially a kind mother.

Hammond’s character was different. He was by nature an easy, liberal,
good-natured fellow, with a considerable dash of cleverness and a very
well-looking person. In youth he had gone by the name of “Handsome
George;” and was still a universal favorite with his friends and
customers. The only disputes that ever occurred between Hammond and his
wife, arose out of those agreeable qualities. The guests were apt to
invite the host into the parlor to drink with them; and when Handsome
George once had his legs under his own or any body else’s mahogany, he was
not disposed to draw them out for some time. If this happened on a
Sunday—when there were more parties than one to attend—his wife would get
angry, and accuse him of neglecting his business. The husband’s
imperturbable good-humor, however, soon allayed the irritation.

At length the time arrived when the two children were to leave this
pleasant home, to learn something beyond reading and writing, to which
their acquirements had yet been limited. They were accordingly sent away
to school.

As the business of Hammond’s Inn was not sufficient to keep it always
lively, the absence of the children was very much felt. The mother was
perhaps not less sensible of the privation than the father; as many an
involuntary sigh testified. He lamented loudly; and, when there was no
business to engage his attention, went listlessly about with his hands in
his pockets, or sat gloomily at the door, puffing at his pipe, and
spreading the fumes of his tobacco over the jessamine and wild roses that
overran the porch. When company came, however, he was merrier; and, when
he was invited to “make one,” he was apt to drink more freely than
formerly.

In process of time, however, a circumstance occurred that diverted
Hammond’s attention into another channel. A few convivial fellows residing
at Tutton, proposed to get up a club, to meet every Saturday night; the
winter meetings to be held at an inn called the King’s Arms, in the town,
and the summer meetings at Hammond’s Inn; the members to be elected by
ballot. To this last rule, however, there was one exception, and that was
in favor of Hammond himself.

“It was no use balloting _him_” they said; “nobody would give him a black
ball.” He was pleased with this testimony to his popularity; and, in spite
of some misgivings on the part of his wife, he addressed his mind heartily
to the new project, and fitted up a room, to be held sacred every Saturday
night for six months in the year to these convivial meetings.

The chief originator of this scheme was the host of the King’s Arms, whose
name was Jackson. He was what is called a jolly fellow; extremely fond of
company, and able to sing a good song. The other members consisted of
tradesmen residing in the town, and some of the upper servants of the
neighboring nobility and gentry. Among these last was Mr. Grindlay.

Every body concerned was delighted with the new club; except, perhaps, the
wives of the clubbists, who did not look forward to the Saturday nights
with the same affection as their husbands. More than one of them was heard
to say that it was a good thing Saturday came but once a week, and that if
it came oftener, she, for one, wouldn’t bear it. Hannah Hammond, although
not a woman to express her feelings publicly, did not like this club, in
spite of the profits derived from it. She saw that Hammond began to feel
that the dull evenings at home contrasted very unpleasantly with the jolly
nights at the club. As he and the host of the King’s Arms grew more
intimate, they were apt to console themselves with a few extra meetings.
Sometimes Hammond made an excuse to go into the town, and sometimes
Jackson came to him; but in the latter case Hannah gave her husband’s
visitor an indifferent welcome. Jackson seems to have kept _his_ wife in
better order; she had already discovered that drink is stronger than love.
At first, Hammond yielded occasionally, either to frowns or persuasion;
but as one ascendency grew, the other declined; and when he was not strong
enough to brave his wife’s wrath or entreaties, he eluded them, by
slipping out when she was off her guard. Once away, he seldom reappeared
until the next morning; and, as time advanced, two or three days would
elapse before his return. Then, when he came, she scolded, and wept; but
men get used to women’s tears; and, like petrifying waters, they only
harden their hearts as they fall.

So passed a few years; and the girl and boy were no longer children.
Esther was a fine young woman of seventeen, and her brother eighteen
months older. They had been some time away from the school, and George had
been taken home to be instructed to follow his father’s business, which
had been the parents’ original intention, when Hannah’s mind was altered.
She thought it was a calling that exposed a weak will to temptation, and
she dreaded lest her son should get too familiar with his father’s habits
and associates; so, with Hammond’s consent, she procured him a situation
in a merchant’s counting house; where, being steady and intelligent, he
had every prospect of doing well.

She kept Esther at home to be her own assistant and consolation; for she
needed both. She attributed all her troubles to Jackson, who had first
enticed her husband to drink, and had never since allowed him time to be
acted on by better influences. In proportion, therefore, as she loved her
husband, she hated Jackson; and, in spite of all, she did love George
dearly still. It was true, he was no longer Handsome George: his features
were bloated, his figure swollen, his hair thin and grizzled, and his
dress neglected and dirty; but he was the chosen husband of her youth;
and, with Hannah, to love once was to love always.

Jackson had a son, an excellent lad, possessing all his father’s good
qualities, and none of his bad ones. He and young George had been at
school together, and a friendship had arisen between them that promised to
be enduring; the more so, that Esther Hammond and Henry Jackson were
lovers—a secret, the discovery of which was at first very ill received by
Hannah. That her Esther should marry the son of Jackson whom she hated,
was not to be thought of.

“There’s little reason to fear that Harry will take after his father,
mother,” George would say. “Besides, you’d think it hard if any body made
me suffer for father; and, for my part, I think it’s enough to cure any
body of a love of liquor, to see how it disguises people who would be so
different if they could leave it alone.”

It was some time before this kind of argument prevailed with Hannah; but
it had its effect at length, sustained as it was by the genuine merits of
the candidate, by his evident abhorrence of his father’s vice, and by his
dutiful attentions to his mother. So, by-and-by, he became a welcome
visitor to Mrs. Hammond and her daughter; and, all things concurring, it
was tacitly understood among them, that some day or other, when they were
both old enough, and when Henry should be in a situation to maintain a
family, Esther was to be his wife.

This arrangement—now that she was satisfied of Harry Jackson’s good
character—shed a gleam of comfort on Hannah’s dark path; for her path lay
dark before her now. The host of the King’s Arms was never happy out of
Hammond’s company; the truth being, that the unfortunate man had grown
really fond of George. Hannah’s frowns and coldness could not keep him
away; and if she, by persuasion or stratagem, contrived to detain her
husband at home, Jackson invariably came in search of him. Then, besides
all the other griefs and discomforts attending such a state of things, the
business of the house began to decline. The respectable townspeople did
not like to frequent an inn where the host was always intoxicated; and, to
many who had known them in happier days, George Hammond’s bloated face,
and Hannah’s pinched features were not pleasant to behold. If matters went
on at this rate, pecuniary embarrassments were not unlikely to be added to
her other afflictions; and her dread of this was materially increased by
finding that Hammond was beginning to tamper with a small sum of money
they had placed in the Tutton Bank, under a mutual agreement that it
should remain there, untouched, until Esther’s marriage. All this misery
she owed to Jackson, even to the last item in her troubles; for she
discovered that the money had been drawn out to lend to him.

Matters went on in this way from bad to worse. Mrs. Hammond was miserable,
and Mrs. Jackson was breaking her heart, and the business of both houses
was going to the dogs, when Hannah resolved on a last effort to avert the
impending ruin.

Had she thought her husband utterly corrupted, her scheme would have been
vain; but he had moments of remorse still, in which his good heart got the
ascendant: and, persuaded by her unshaken love, she believed that if she
could but wean him from Jackson’s company, he might, by her attachment and
vigilance, be reclaimed. It so happened that she had a cousin married to a
farmer in a distant part of England; and, one day, taking George in a
moment of sobriety and repentance, she made a strong appeal to his
feelings and affections. “I know,” she said, “that it is Jackson who
tempts you to drink, when of yourself you might resist; and I do believe
that if the habit were once broken, and your acquaintance with him ceased,
we might all be saved yet. Go to my cousin’s; she has often invited us,
and I’ll write to her and say you are ordered change of air for your
health. You’ll see no drinking there; her husband’s a very sober man. You
like farming—go into the fields and the gardens, and work with the spade
and plough. It will make another man of you, George. When you return,
we’ll break with Jackson entirely.”

The appeal prevailed. George sobbed, threw his arms round his wife’s neck,
and vowed that he would never touch liquor again. Eventually, with his
wardrobe brushed up, he was dispatched on this hopeful expedition.

Such a course of life as this, however, could not be carried on without
some evil consequences to himself as well as others; and in spite of the
efforts of his miserable wife to keep things together, the house was
ill-conducted; custom forsook it; and although, unknown to Hannah, Jackson
had by degrees extracted from Hammond every penny of the savings deposited
in the bank, he was distressed for money, and could not keep his creditors
quiet. Added to this, he fell ill with a severe attack of delirium
tremens, and, when matters were at the worst with him, and they thought he
would die, Hannah’s energetic mind began to form plans for the future.
Henry and Esther should be married; the money in the Bank should pay off
the most pressing liabilities; the care and industry of the young people
should restore the house to its former flourishing condition; Mrs.
Jackson, the mother, could live with her son, and they should all be once
more happy—for, the tempter gone, George would be sober. Was he not sober
now at the pleasant farm-house, where he was living with her friends? Did
not every letter of her cousin’s praise him, and assure her that he never
expressed a desire to drink; and that even although they had been to a
christening in the neighborhood, where there was a vast deal of
conviviality, George had been so abstemious and cautious, as to delight
them all?

But, alas! Jackson recovered, and with his recovery Hannah’s plans were
frustrated; but she had a fertile brain; and, where the welfare of those
she loved was concerned, her energies never slept. She learnt from Harry,
that Jackson’s creditors were more pressing than ever, and that he did not
know which way to turn for money. It was quite certain that if nothing
were done, his property would be seized, and his wife turned into the
street. Might she not take advantage of these embarrassments, and execute
her original plan on condition of his abandoning the neighborhood
altogether? Next to his death, his removal would be the best thing. Harry
and Esther would keep the House; the creditors would be indulgent; and,
among the family, they would make an allowance for the support of Mr. and
Mrs. Jackson in some distant spot; any sacrifice being preferable to the
certain ruin that impended. Mrs. Jackson was afraid that her husband would
not consent to the scheme; but she was mistaken; people who are the
victims of intemperance are easily won to acquiesce in any measures that
are proposed for their advantage; their adherence to them is another
affair. But Hannah set to work; and as there was a general sympathy with
her laudable endeavor, she met with full success. Such portions of the
debt as they could not pay, Harry and Hammond were to become answerable
for; and as the business of the King’s Arms had once been a profitable
one, there was every reason to hope that the young man might lure back the
customers, in process of time release his father-in-law from his bond, and
find himself a free and prosperous man.

Thus much done, there was no time to be lost. Jackson, well and drunk,
might refuse to do what Jackson, sick and sober, had consented to do; so a
place was found for himself and his wife, in a part of the country
inhabited by her relations, in order that, as she said, if Jackson kept on
drinking, she might not be quite alone in the world. Arrangements were
then made for the marriage of the young people.

And what said Hammond to all this? He wrote home that he would consent to
any thing his wife proposed, and he hoped it might answer as well as she
expected. Hannah was sure it would; but, in order to avoid the possibility
of mischief, she arranged that her husband should not return until the eve
of the wedding; while she had made it a condition that Jackson should
depart immediately after it; thus excluding all possibility of a renewal
of intercourse.

On a fine evening in June, the mother and daughter sat under the porch,
hand-in-hand, watching for the coach that was to drop George at the door.
How happy they were! Harry had just left them, in order to spend the last
evening with his poor mother, and, as he said, to have an eye to his
father’s proceedings. Young George was still at his country house; but he
was to have a holiday the next day, and to be present at the wedding.

At length there was a sound of wheels, and “Here’s the coach!” cried both
the women, as the well-loaded vehicle turned round a corner of the road,
and appeared in sight. But, to their disappointment, instead of pulling
up, the driver only flung down the old portmanteau, and pointed with his
thumb toward the town, intimating that he had dropt the owner of it,
there, as he passed.

Hannah turned pale. Why had he not come on with the coach? Had he fallen
in with Jackson? Her heart sunk within her.

Esther hoped better things; she doubted not that her father had business
in the town; but he must know how anxious they would be to see him, and he
would surely come soon. Yet, hour after hour slipped by, and he came not.
One went to the door, then the other, then the first again, and so on; but
no George Hammond appeared. At length, when it was getting quite dusk,
they did discern somebody coming toward them with an unsteady step—they
saw the figure reel as it approached, before they could distinguish the
features, and they turned sick at heart. Hannah groaned, and Esther,
grasping her arm, said, “Oh mother! mother!”

But when the person drew near, they perceived that it was not Hammond, but
Jackson; and, for a moment, the sight of him, unwelcome object as he was,
almost gave them pleasure; it was a relief to find it was not George. But
he would come, no doubt, and presently; was probably not far off; and
there was the tempter waiting for him.

Angry and disgusted, the two women went into the house, and shut the door.
After an irrepressible burst of tears, Hannah bethought herself of sending
a lad they kept as hostler, along the road, to try and meet Hammond, and
to smuggle him into the house by the back way. The boy went; but, after
walking until he was tired, returned, saying he had been to the town, but
could see nothing of master. He had, however, met Mr. Harry, who had
promised to go in search of him, and bring him home. Finding Jackson sound
asleep, and not likely to move, Hannah sent her daughter, and the maid,
and the boy to bed, resolving to sit up herself, that she might be ready
to admit George when he came. Alas! in what state would he arrive?

To-morrow was his daughter’s wedding-day, and as Hannah thought of all
they had suffered, the love—that had been flooding from her woman’s heart
toward her husband returning to her, as she had fondly hoped, to live
purely and virtuously the rest of their days—was turned into bitterness
and wrath.

It was a weary night as she sat listening to the ticking of the clock, and
the slow hours as they struck, until the dawn broke, and then she peeped
out to see if Jackson were still at the door. Yes, there he was fast
asleep. A pretty condition he would be in to go to church with his son!
However, he would be sober when he awoke; and sick at heart, and sad, she
went upstairs and stretched herself on the bed beside her daughter.

But she could not sleep; her mind was anxious, and her ears were on the
stretch for her profligate; and by-and-by the sparrows on the house-top
began to chirp, and the market-carts rolled by on their way to the town,
and the laborers’ heavy shoes tramped along to the fields where their work
lay; and still there was no George! No George! and so, at length, she fell
asleep.

She had slept about a couple of hours when she was awakened by Esther’s
voice. “Mother!” cried the girl, “there’s father at the door. You’d better
go yourself and let him in!” “I will!” said Hannah, hastily getting out of
bed and throwing on some clothes—“I will;” and she folded her lips with an
expression of bitterness.

“Don’t be too hard upon him, mother,” said Esther—“it’s the last time, for
Jackson will be gone to-morrow;” and while her mother descended the
stairs, the young girl arose, with her heart full of love and
happiness—for how could she be sad when that very day was to make her
Harry’s wife? Her wedding finery was all laid out ready to put on, and she
was inspecting it with the innocent vanity of eighteen, when she was
startled by a scream—another and another—and it was her mother’s voice!
Pale and transfixed with terror, she stood with her hands pressed upon her
bosom, to still her heart’s beating. What could have happened? Then she
heard other voices below—men’s voices; and with trembling hands, she tried
to dress herself, that she might go down and inquire. Suddenly, one cried
out, “Where’s Esther? Where’s my sister?” There was a hasty foot upon the
stairs, and George, her brother, pale as death, haggard, disheveled,
rushed into the room.

Then there was the tramp of many feet below, and Esther rushed to the
door; but George caught her in his arms.

“Wait!” he said, “and I’ll tell you all. Jackson got hold of my father
last night and made him drink—”

“We know it; but Harry! Oh, where’s Harry?”

“Harry heard of it, and told me; and we went to seek him, he one way, I
another. It was not till about two hours ago, I heard that father had not
long left the Plough, in James-street, and that Harry had been there
directly afterward, and gone in pursuit of him; so, being very anxious, I
thought I would come on here to see if he was arrived.” And here the poor
boy’s sobs choked his utterance.

“And has any thing happened to my father!” said Esther.

“When I got near the Mill-dam,” continued George, “I saw two or three of
the millers looking into the water—”

“My poor father! He’s drowned!” said Esther, clasping her hands.

“Yes,” said George, hesitating; “whether he was seized with delirium, or
whether remorse got the better of him, and he was ashamed to come home,
there’s no telling—”

“But where’s Harry?” cried the girl; for George hesitated again.

“He must have overtaken my father, and seen the accident—or must have been
trying to prevent his throwing himself in the water—for poor Harry—!” And
then there was the tramp of more feet below, and another weight was
carried through the passage. “I had him brought here, Esther. I knew you’d
wish it—and he would have wished it too!”

This was Esther Hammond’s wedding-day! Was not this sorrow enough for one
poor house?

Violent in her feelings and affections, Hannah never recovered. Her reason
became impaired, and she was released from her sufferings by a death that
none could venture to lament. Jackson’s creditors having laid claim to the
whole of the property, in consequence of Hammond’s bond, the young people,
eager to fly the scene of so much woe, took the advice of their friend,
Mr. Grindlay, and came to seek a maintenance in London.

So ends my tragic little story. I have only to add, that the proposed plan
of emigration was carried out, to the infinite advantage of the two young
people, and very much to the satisfaction of Mr. Jameson.



MY NOVEL; OR, VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE.(4)



Book IV.—CONTINUED.—Chapter IX.


With a slow step and an abstracted air, Harley L’Estrange bent his way
toward Egerton’s house, after his eventful interview with Helen. He had
just entered one of the streets leading into Grosvenor-square, when a
young man, walking quickly from the opposite direction, came full against
him, and drawing back with a brief apology, recognized him, and exclaimed,
“What! you in England, Lord L’Estrange! Accept my congratulations on your
return. But you seem scarcely to remember me.”

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Leslie. I remember you now by your smile; but you
are of an age in which it is permitted me to say that you look older than
when I saw you last.”

“And yet, Lord L’Estrange, it seems to me that you look younger.”

Indeed, this reply was so far true that there appeared less difference of
years than before between Leslie and L’Estrange; for the wrinkles in the
schemer’s mind were visible in his visage, while Harley’s dreamy worship
of Truth and Beauty seemed to have preserved to the votary the enduring
youth of the divinities.

Harley received the compliment with a supreme indifference, which might
have been suitable to a Stoic, but which seemed scarcely natural to a
gentleman who had just proposed to a lady many years younger than himself.

Leslie resumed—“Perhaps you are on your way to Mr. Egerton’s. If so, you
will not find him at home; he is at his office.”

“Thank you. Then to his office I must redirect my steps.”

“I am going to him myself,” said Randal, hesitatingly.

L’Estrange had no prepossessions in favor of Leslie, from the little he
had seen of that young gentleman; but Randal’s remark was an appeal to his
habitual urbanity, and he replied with well-bred readiness, “Let us be
companions so far.”

Randal accepted the arm proffered to him; and Lord L’Estrange, as is usual
with one long absent from his native land, bore part as a questioner in
the dialogue that ensued.

“Egerton is always the same man, I suppose—too busy for illness, and too
firm for sorrow?”

“If he ever feel either he will never stoop to complain. But indeed, my
dear Lord, I should like much to know what you think of his health.”

“How? You alarm me!”

“Nay, I did not mean to do that; and, pray, do not let him know that I
went so far. But I have fancied that he looks a little worn and
suffering.”

“Poor Audley!” said L’Estrange, in a tone of deep affection. “I will sound
him, and, be assured, without naming you; for I know well how little he
likes to be supposed capable of human infirmity. I am obliged to you for
your hint—obliged to you for your interest in one so dear to me.”

And Harley’s voice was more cordial to Randal than it had ever been
before. He then began to inquire what Randal thought of the rumors that
had reached himself as to the probable defeat of the government, and how
far Audley’s spirits were affected by such risks. But Randal here, seeing
that Harley could communicate nothing, was reserved and guarded.

“Loss of office could not, I think, affect a man like Audley,” observed
Lord L’Estrange. “He would be as great in opposition—perhaps greater; and
as to emoluments—”

“The emoluments are good,” interposed Randal, with, a half sigh.

“Good enough, I suppose, to pay him back about a tenth of what his place
costs our magnificent friend—no, I will say one thing for English
statesmen, no man among them ever yet was the richer for place.”

“And Mr. Egerton’s private fortune must be large, I take for granted,”
said Randal, carelessly.

“It ought to be, if he has time look to it.”

Here they passed by the hotel in which lodged the Count di Peschiera.

Randal stopped. “Will you excuse me for an instant? As we are passing this
hotel, I will just leave my card here.” So saying, he gave his card to a
waiter lounging by the door. “For the Count di Peschiera,” said he, aloud.

L’Estrange started; and as Randal again took his arm, said,

“So that Italian lodges here? and you know him?”

“I know him but slightly, as one knows any foreigner who makes a
sensation.”

“He makes a sensation?”

“Naturally; for he is handsome, witty, and said to be very rich—that is,
as long as he receives the revenues of his exiled kinsman.”

“I see you are well informed, Mr. Leslie. And what is supposed to bring
hither the Count di Peschiera?”

“I did hear something, which I did not quite understand, about a bet of
his that he would marry his kinsman’s daughter; and so, I conclude, secure
to himself all the inheritance; and that he is therefore here to discover
the kinsman and win the heiress. But probably you know the rights of the
story, and can tell me what credit to give to such gossip.”

“I know this, at least, that if he did lay such a wager, I would advise
you to take any odds against him that his backers may give,” said
L’Estrange, drily; and while his lip quivered with anger, his eye gleamed
with arch, ironical humor.

“You think, then, that this poor kinsman will not need such an alliance in
order to regain his estates?”

“Yes; for I never yet knew a rogue whom I would not bet against, when he
backed his own luck as a rogue against Justice and Providence.”

Randal winced, and felt as if an arrow had grazed his heart; but he soon
recovered.

“And, indeed, there is another vague rumor that the young lady in question
is married already—to some Englishman.”

This time it was Harley who winced. “Good Heavens! that can not be
true—that would undo all! An Englishman just at this moment! But some
Englishman of correspondent rank, I trust, or, at least, one known for
opinions opposed to what an Austrian would call revolutionary doctrines?”

“I know nothing. But it was supposed, merely a private gentleman of good
family. Would not that suffice? Can the Austrian Court dictate a marriage
to the daughter as a condition for grace to the father?”

“No—not that!” said Harley, greatly disturbed. “But put yourself in the
position of any minister to one of the great European monarchies. Suppose
a political insurgent, formidable for station and wealth, had been
proscribed, much interest made on his behalf, a powerful party striving
against it, and just when the minister is disposed to relent, he hears
that the heiress to this wealth and this station is married to the native
of a country in which sentiments friendly to the very opinions for which
the insurgent was proscribed are popularly entertained, and thus that the
fortune to be restored may be so employed as to disturb the national
security—the existing order of things; this, too, at the very time when a
popular revolution has just occurred in France,(5) and its effects are
felt most in the very land of the exile:—suppose all this, and then say if
any thing could be more untoward for the hopes of the banished man, or
furnish his adversaries with stronger arguments against the restoration of
his fortune? But, pshaw—this must be a chimera! If true, I should have
known of it.”

“I quite agree with your lordship—there can be no truth in such a rumor.
Some Englishman hearing, perhaps, of the probable pardon of the exile, may
have counted on an heiress, and spread the report in order to keep off
other candidates. By your account, if successful in his suit, he might
fail to find an heiress in the bride?”

“No doubt of that. Whatever might be arranged, I can’t conceive that he
would be allowed to get at the fortune, though it might be held in
suspense for his children. But, indeed, it so rarely happens that an
Italian girl of high name marries a foreigner, that we must dismiss this
notion with a smile at the long face of the hypothetical fortune-hunter.
Heaven help him, if he exist!”

“Amen!” echoed Randal, devoutly.

“I hear that Peschiera’s sister is returned to England. Do you know her
too?”

“A little.”

“My dear Mr. Leslie, pardon me if I take a liberty not warranted by our
acquaintance. Against the lady I say nothing. Indeed, I have heard some
things which appear to entitle her to compassion and respect. But as to
Peschiera, all who prize honor, suspect him to be a knave—I know him to be
one. Now, I think that the longer we preserve that abhorrence for knavery
which is the generous instinct of youth, why, the fairer will be our
manhood, and the more reverend our age. You agree with me?” And Harley
suddenly turning, his eyes fell like a flood of light upon Randal’s pale
and secret countenance.

“To be sure,” murmured the schemer.

Harley surveying him, mechanically recoiled, and withdrew his arm.

Fortunately for Randal, who somehow or other felt himself slipped into a
false position, he scarce knew how or why, he was here seized by the arm;
and a clear, open, manly voice cried, “My dear fellow, how are you? I see
you are engaged now; but look into my rooms when you can, in the course of
the day.”

And with a bow of excuse for his interruption, to Lord L’Estrange, the
speaker was then turning away, when Harley said:

“No, don’t let me take you from your friend, Mr. Leslie. And you need not
be in a hurry to see Egerton; for I shall claim the privilege of older
friendship for the first interview.”

“It is Mr. Egerton’s nephew, Frank Hazeldean.”

“Pray, call him back, and present me to him. He has a face that would have
gone far to reconcile Timon to Athens.”

Randal obeyed; and after a few kindly words to Frank, Harley insisted on
leaving the two young men together, and walked on to Downing-street with a
brisker step.



Chapter X.


“That Lord L’Estrange seems a very good fellow.”

“So-so; an effeminate humorist; says the most absurd things, and fancies
them wise. Never mind him. You wanted to speak to me, Frank?”

“Yes; I am so obliged to you for introducing me to Levy. I must tell you
how handsomely he has behaved.”

“Stop; allow me to remind you that I did not introduce you to Levy; you
had met him before at Borrowell’s, if I recollect right, and he dined with
us at the Clarendon—that is all I had to do with bringing you together.
Indeed, I rather cautioned you against him than not. Pray, don’t think I
introduced you to a man who, however pleasant, and perhaps honest, is
still a moneylender. Your father would be justly angry with me if I had
done so.”

“Oh, pooh! you are prejudiced against poor Levy. But, just hear: I was
sitting very ruefully, thinking over those cursed bills, and how the deuce
I should renew them, when Levy walked into my rooms; and after telling me
of his long friendship for my uncle Egerton, and his admiration for
yourself, and (give me your hand, Randal) saying how touched he felt by
your kind sympathy in my troubles, he opened his pocket-book, and showed
me the bills safe and sound in his own possession.”

“How?”

“He had bought them up. ‘It must be so disagreeable to me,’ he said, ‘to
have them flying about the London money-market, and these Jews would be
sure sooner or later to apply to my father. And now,’ added Levy, ‘I am in
no immediate hurry for the money, and we must put the interest upon fairer
terms.’ In short, nothing could be more liberal than his tone. And he
says, ‘he is thinking of a way to relieve me altogether, and will call
about it in a few days, when his plan is matured.’ After all, I must owe
this to you, Randal. I dare swear you put it into his head.”

“O no, indeed! On the contrary, I still say, ’Be cautious in all your
dealings with Levy.’ I don’t know, I’m sure, what he means to propose.
Have you heard from the Hall lately?”

“Yes—to-day. Only think—the Riccaboccas have disappeared. My mother writes
me word of it—a very odd letter. She seems to suspect that I know where
they are, and reproaches me for ‘mystery’—quite enigmatical. But there is
one sentence in her letter—see, here it is in the postscript—which seems
to refer to Beatrice: ‘I don’t ask you to tell me your secrets, Frank, but
Randal will no doubt have assured you that my first consideration will be
for your own happiness, in any matter in which your heart is really
engaged.’ ”

“Yes,” said Randal, slowly: “no doubt, this refers to Beatrice; but, as I
told you, your mother will not interfere one way or the other—such
interference would weaken her influence with the Squire. Besides, as she
said, she can’t _wish_ you to marry a foreigner; though once married, she
would—But how do you stand now with the Marchesa? Has she consented to
accept you?”

“Not quite: indeed, I have not actually proposed. Her manner, though much
softened, has not so far emboldened me; and, besides, before a positive
declaration, I certainly must go down to the Hall, and speak at least to
my mother.”

“You must judge for yourself, but don’t do any thing rash: talk first to
me. Here we are at my office. Good-by; and—and pray believe that, in
whatever you do with Levy, I have no hand in it.”



Chapter XI.


Toward the evening, Randal was riding fast on the road to Norwood. The
arrival of Harley, and the conversation that had passed between that
nobleman and Randal, made the latter anxious to ascertain how far
Riccabocca was likely to learn L’Estrange’s return to England, and to meet
with him. For he felt that, should the latter come to know that
Riccabocca, in his movements, had gone by Randal’s advice, Harley would
find that Randal had spoken to him disingenuously; and, on the other hand,
Riccabocca, placed under the friendly protection of Lord L’Estrange, would
no longer need Randal Leslie to defend him from the machinations of
Peschiera. To a reader happily unaccustomed to dive into the deep and mazy
recesses of a schemer’s mind, it might seem that Randal’s interest, in
retaining a hold over the exile’s confidence, would terminate with the
assurances that had reached him, from more than one quarter, that Violante
might cease to be an heiress if she married himself. “But, perhaps,”
suggests some candid and youthful conjecturer—“perhaps Randal Leslie is in
love with this fair creature?” Randal in love! no! He was too absorbed by
harder passions for that blissful folly. Nor, if he could have fallen in
love, was Violante the one to attract that sullen, secret heart; her
instinctive nobleness, the very stateliness of her beauty, womanlike
though it was, awed him. Men of that kind may love some soft slave—they
can not lift their eyes to a queen. They may look down—they can not look
up. But, on the one hand, Randal could not resign altogether the _chance_
of securing a fortune that would realize his most dazzling dreams, upon
the mere assurance, however probable, which had so dismayed him; and, on
the other hand, should he be compelled to relinquish all idea of such
alliance, though he did not contemplate the base perfidy of actually
assisting Peschiera’s avowed designs, still, if Frank’s marriage with
Beatrice should absolutely depend upon her brother’s obtaining the
knowledge of Violante’s retreat, and that marriage should be as conducive
to his interests as he thought he could make it, why—he did not then push
his deductions farther, even to himself—they seemed too black; but he
sighed heavily, and that sigh foreboded how weak would be honor and virtue
against avarice and ambition. Therefore, on all accounts, Riccabocca was
one of those cards in a sequence, which so calculating a player would not
throw out of his hand: it _might_ serve for repique at the worst—it might
score well in the game. Intimacy with the Italian was still part and
parcel in that knowledge which was the synonym of power.

While the young man was thus meditating, on his road to Norwood,
Riccabocca and his Jemima were close conferring in their drawing-room. And
if you could have there seen them, reader, you would have been seized with
equal surprise and curiosity; for some extraordinary communication had
certainly passed between them. Riccabocca was evidently much agitated, and
with emotions not familiar to him. The tears stood in his eyes at the same
time that a smile, the reverse of cynical or sardonic, curved his lips;
while his wife was leaning her head on his shoulder, her hand clasped in
his, and, by the expression of her face, you might guess that he had paid
her some very gratifying compliment, of a nature more genuine and sincere
than those which characterized his habitual hollow and dissimulating
gallantry. But just at this moment Giacomo entered, and Jemima, with her
native English modesty, withdrew in haste from Riccabocca’s sheltering
side.

“Padrone,” said Giacomo, who, whatever his astonishment at the connubial
position he had disturbed, was much too discreet to betray it—“Padrone, I
see the young Englishman riding toward the house, and I hope, when he
arrives, you will not forget the alarming information I gave to you this
morning.”

“Ah—ah!” said Riccabocca, his face falling.

“If the Signorina were but married!”

“My very thought—my constant thought!” exclaimed Riccabocca. “And you
really believe the young Englishman loves her?”

“Why else should he come, Excellency?” asked Giacomo, with great
_naïveté_.

“Very true; why, indeed?” said Riccabocca. “Jemima, I can not endure the
terrors I suffer on that poor child’s account. I will open myself frankly
to Randal Leslie. And now, too, that which might have been a serious
consideration, in case I return to Italy, will no longer stand in our way,
Jemima.”

Jemima smiled faintly, and whispered something to Riccabocca, to which he
replied—

“Nonsense, _anima mia_. I know it _will_ be—have not a doubt of it. I tell
you it is as nine to four, according to the nicest calculations. I will
speak at once to Randal. He is too young—too timid to speak himself.”

“Certainly,” interposed Giacomo; “how could he dare to speak, let him love
ever so well?”

Jemima shook her head.

“O, never fear,” said Riccabocca, observing this gesture; “I will give him
the trial. If he entertain but mercenary views, I shall soon detect them.
I know human nature pretty well, I think, my love; and, Giacomo—just get
me my Machiavel—that’s right. Now, leave me, my dear; I must reflect and
prepare myself.”

When Randal entered the house, Giacomo, with a smile of peculiar suavity,
ushered him into the drawing-room. He found Riccabocca alone, and seated
before the fire-place, leaning his face on his hand, with the great folio
of Machiavel lying open on the table.

The Italian received him as courteously as usual; but there was in his
manner a certain serious and thoughtful dignity, which was, perhaps, the
more imposing, because but rarely assumed. After a few preliminary
observations, Randal remarked that Frank Hazeldean had informed him of the
curiosity which the disappearance of the Riccaboccas had excited at the
Hall, and inquired carelessly if the Doctor had left instructions as to
the forwarding of any letters that might be directed to him at the Casino.

“Letters,” said Riccabocca, simply—“I never receive any; or, at least, so
rarely, that it was not worth while to take an event so little to be
expected into consideration. No; if any letters do reach the Casino, there
they will wait.”

“Then I can see no possibility of indiscretion; no chance of a clew to
your address.”

“No I either.”

Satisfied so far, and knowing that it was not in Riccabocca’s habits to
read the newspapers, by which he might otherwise have learnt of
L’Estrange’s arrival in London, Randal then proceeded to inquire, with
much seeming interest, into the health of Violante—hoped it did not suffer
by confinement, &c. Riccabocca eyed him gravely while he spoke, and then
suddenly rising, that air of dignity to which I have before referred,
became yet more striking.

“My young friend,” said he, “hear me attentively, and answer me frankly. I
know human nature.”—Here a slight smile of proud complacency passed the
sage’s lips, and his eye glanced toward his Machiavel.

“I know human nature—at least I have studied it,” he renewed, more
earnestly, and with less evident self-conceit, “and I believe that when a
perfect stranger to me exhibits an interest in my affairs, which occasions
him no small trouble—an interest (continued the wise man, laying his hand
upon Randal’s shoulder) which scarcely a son could exceed, he must be
under the influence of some strong personal motive.”

“Oh, sir!” cried Randal, turning a shade more pale, and with a faltering
tone. Riccabocca surveyed him with the tenderness of a superior being, and
pursued his deductive theories.

“In your case, what is that motive? Not political; for I conclude you
share the opinions of your government, and those opinions have not favored
mine. Not that of pecuniary or ambitious calculations; for how can such
calculations enlist you on behalf of a ruined exile? What remains? Why the
motive which at your age is ever the most natural, and the strongest. I
don’t blame you. Machiavel himself allows that such a motive has swayed
the wisest minds, and overturned the most solid states. In a word, young
man, you are in love, and with my daughter Violante.”

Randal was so startled by this direct and unexpected charge upon his own
masked batteries, that he did not even attempt his defense. His head
drooped on his breast, and he remained speechless.

“I do not doubt,” resumed the penetrating judge of human nature, “that you
would have been withheld by the laudable and generous scruples which
characterize your happy age, from voluntarily disclosing to me the state
of your heart. You might suppose that, proud of the position I once held,
or sanguine in the hope of regaining my inheritance, I might be
over-ambitious in my matrimonial views for Violante; or that you,
anticipating my restoration to honors and fortune, might seem actuated by
the last motives which influence love and youth; and therefore, my dear
young friend, I have departed from the ordinary custom in England, and
adopted a very common one in my own country. With us, a suitor seldom
presents himself till he is assured of the consent of a father. I have
only to say this—If I am right, and you love my daughter, my first object
in life is to see her safe and secure; and, in a word—you understand me.”

Now, mightily may it comfort and console us ordinary mortals, who advance
no pretense to superior wisdom and ability, to see the huge mistakes made
by both these very sagacious personages—Dr. Riccabocca, valuing himself on
his profound acquaintance with character, and Randal Leslie, accustomed to
grope into every hole and corner of thought and action, wherefrom to
extract that knowledge which is power! For whereas the sage, judging not
only by his own heart in youth, but by the general influence of the
master-passion of the young, had ascribed to Randal sentiments wholly
foreign to that able diplomatist’s nature, so no sooner had Riccabocca
brought his speech to a close, than Randal, judging also by his own heart,
and by the general laws which influence men of the mature age and boasted
worldly wisdom of the pupil of Machiavel, instantly decided that
Riccabocca presumed upon his youth and inexperience, and meant most
nefariously to take him in.

“The poor youth!” thought Riccabocca, “how unprepared he is for the
happiness I give him!”

“The cunning old Jesuit!” thought Randal; “he has certainly learned, since
we met last, that he has no chance of regaining his patrimony, and so he
wants to impose on me the hand of a girl without a shilling. What other
motive can he possibly have? Had his daughter the remotest probability of
becoming the greatest heiress in Italy, would he dream of bestowing her on
me in this off-hand way? The thing stands to reason.”

Actuated by his resentment at the trap thus laid for him, Randal was about
to disclaim altogether the disinterested and absurd affection laid to his
charge, when it occurred to him that, by so doing, he might mortally
offend the Italian—since the cunning never forgive those who refuse to be
duped by them—and it might still be conducive to his interest to preserve
intimate and familiar terms with Riccabocca; therefore, subduing his first
impulse, he exclaimed,

“O, too generous man; pardon me if I have so long been unable to express
my amaze, my gratitude; but I can not—no, I can not, while your prospects
remain thus uncertain, avail myself of your—of your inconsiderate
magnanimity. Your rare conduct can only redouble my own scruples, if you,
as I firmly hope and believe, are restored to your great possessions—you
would naturally look so much higher than me. Should those hopes fail,
then, indeed, it may be different; yet, even then, what position, what
fortune, have _I_ to offer to your daughter worthy of her?”

“You are well born: all gentlemen are equals,” said Riccabocca, with a
sort of easy nobleness. “You have youth, information, talent—sources of
certain wealth in this happy country—powerful connections; and, in fine,
if you are satisfied with marrying for love, I shall be contented;—if not,
speak openly. As to the restoration to my possessions, I can scarcely
think that probable while my enemy lives. And even in that case, since I
saw you last, something has occurred (added Riccabocca with a strange
smile, which seemed to Randal singularly sinister and malignant) “that may
remove all difficulties. Meanwhile, do not think me so extravagantly
magnanimous—do not underrate the satisfaction I must feel at knowing
Violante safe from the designs of Peschiera—safe, and for ever, under a
husband’s roof. I will tell you an Italian proverb—it contains a truth
full of wisdom and terror:”


    “ ‘Hai cinquanta Amici?—non basta—hai un Nemico?—è troppo.(6)’ ”


“Something has occurred!” echoed Randal, not heeding the conclusion of
this speech, and scarcely hearing the proverb which the sage delivered in
his most emphatic and tragic tone. “Something has occurred! My dear
friend, be plainer. What has occurred?” Riccabocca remained silent.
“Something that induces you to bestow your daughter on me?”

Riccabocca nodded, and emitted a low chuckle.

“The very laugh of a fiend,” muttered Randal. “Something that makes her
not worth bestowing. He betrays himself. Cunning people always do.”

“Pardon me,” said the Italian at last, “if I do not answer your question;
you will know later; but, at present, this is a family secret. And now I
must turn to another and more alarming cause for my frankness to you.”
Here Riccabocca’s face changed, and assumed an expression of mingled rage
and fear. “You must know,” he added, sinking his voice, “that Giacomo has
seen a strange person loitering about the house, and looking up at the
windows; and he has no doubt—nor have I—that this is some spy or emissary
of Peschiera’s.”

“Impossible; how could he discover you?”

“I know not; but no one else has any interest in doing so. The man kept at
a distance, and Giacomo could not see his face.”

“It may be but a mere idler. Is this all?”

“No; the old woman who serves us said that she was asked at a shop ‘if we
were not Italians?’ ”

“And she answered?”

“ ‘No;’ but owned that ‘we had a foreign servant, Giacomo.’ ”

“I will see to this. Rely on it that if Peschiera has discovered you, I
will learn it. Nay, I will hasten from you in order to commence inquiry.”

“I can not detain you. May I think that we have now an interest in
common?”

“O, indeed yes; but—but—your daughter! how can I dream that one so
beautiful, so peerless, will confirm the hope you have extended to me?”

“The daughter of an Italian is brought up to consider that it is a
father’s right to dispose of her hand?”

“But the heart?”

“_Cospetto!_” said the Italian, true to his infamous notions as to the
sex, “the heart of a girl is like a convent—the holier the cloister, the
more charitable the door.”



Chapter XII.


Randal had scarcely left the house, before Mrs. Riccabocca, who was
affectionately anxious in all that concerned Violante, rejoined her
husband.

“I like the young man very well,” said the sage—“very well indeed. I find
him just what I expected from my general knowledge of human nature; for as
love ordinarily goes with youth, so modesty usually accompanies talent. He
is young, _ergo_ he is in love; he has talent, _ergo_ he is modest—modest
and ingenuous.”

“And you think not in any way swayed by interest in his affections?”

“Quite the contrary; and to prove him the more, I have not said a word as
to the worldly advantages which, in any case, would accrue to him from an
alliance with my daughter. In any case; for if I regain my country, her
fortune is assured; and if not, I trust” (said the poor exile, lifting his
brow with stately and becoming pride) “that I am too well aware of my
child’s dignity as well as my own, to ask any one to marry her to his own
worldly injury.”

“Eh! I don’t quite understand you, Alphonso. To be sure, your dear life is
insured for her marriage portion; but—”

“_Pazzie_—stuff!” said Riccabocca, petulantly; “her marriage portion would
be as nothing to a young man of Randal’s birth and prospects. I think not
of that. But listen; I have never consented to profit by Harley
L’Estrange’s friendship for me; my scruples would not extend to my
son-in-law. This noble friend has not only high rank, but considerable
influence—influence with the government—influence with Randal’s
patron—who, between ourselves, does not seem to push the young man as he
might do; I judge by what Randal says. I should write, therefore, before
any thing was settled, to L’Estrange, and I should say to him simply, ‘I
never asked you to save me from penury, but I do ask you to save a
daughter of my house from humiliation. I can give to her no dowry; can her
husband owe to my friend that advance in an honorable career—that opening
to energy and talent—which is more than a dowry to generous ambition?’ ”

“Oh, it is in vain you would disguise your rank!” cried Jemima, with
enthusiasm; “it speaks in all you utter, when your passions are moved.”

The Italian did not seem flattered by that eulogy. “Pish!” said he, “there
you are! rank again!”

But Jemima was right. There was something about her husband that was
grandiose and princely, whenever he escaped from his accursed Machiavel,
and gave fair play to his heart.

And he spent the next hour or so in thinking over all that he could do for
Randal, and devising for his intended son-in-law the agreeable surprises,
which Randal was at that very time racking his yet cleverer brains to
disappoint.

These plans conned sufficiently, Riccabocca shut up his Machiavel, and
hunted out of his scanty collection of books Buffon on Man, and various
other psychological volumes, in which he soon became deeply absorbed. Why
were these works the object of the sage’s study? Perhaps he will let us
know soon, for it is clearly a secret known to his wife; and though she
has hitherto kept one secret, that is precisely the reason why Riccabocca
would not wish long to overburden her discretion with another.



Chapter XIII.


Randal reached home in time to dress for a late dinner at Baron Levy’s.

The Baron’s style of living was of that character especially affected both
by the most acknowledged exquisites of that day, and, it must be owned,
also, by the most egregious _parvenus_. For it is noticeable that it is
your _parvenu_ who always comes nearest in fashion (so far as externals
are concerned) to your genuine exquisite. It is your _parvenu_ who is most
particular as to the cut of his coat, and the precision of his equipage,
and the minutiæ of his _ménage_. Those between the _parvenu_ and the
exquisite who know their own consequence, and have something solid to rest
upon, are slow in following all the caprices of fashion, and obtuse in
observation as to those niceties which neither give them another ancestor,
nor add another thousand to the account at their banker’s;—as to the last,
rather indeed the contrary! There was a decided elegance about the Baron’s
house and his dinner. If he had been one of the lawful kings of the
dandies, you would have cried, “What perfect taste!”—but such is human
nature, that the dandies who dined with him said to each other, “He
pretend to imitate D——! vulgar dog!” There was little affectation of your
more showy opulence. The furniture in the room was apparently simple, but,
in truth, costly, from its luxurious comfort—the ornaments and china
scattered about the commodes were of curious rarity and great value; and
the pictures on the walls were gems. At dinner, no plate was admitted on
the table. The Russian fashion, then uncommon, now more prevalent, was
adopted—fruits and flowers in old Sèvres dishes of priceless _vertu_, and
in sparkling glass of Bohemian fabric. No lively servant was permitted to
wait; behind each guest stood a gentleman dressed so like the guest
himself, in fine linen and simple black, that guest and lackey seemed
stereotypes from one plate.

The viands were exquisite; the wine came from the cellars of deceased
archbishops and embassadors. The company was select; the party did not
exceed eight. Four were the eldest sons of peers (from a baron to a duke);
one was a professed wit, never to be got without a month’s notice, and,
where a _parvenu_ was host, a certainty of green-pease and peaches—out of
season; the sixth, to Randal’s astonishment, was Mr. Richard Avenel;
himself and the Baron made up the complement.

The eldest sons recognized each other with a meaning smile; the most
juvenile of them, indeed (it was his first year in London), had the grace
to blush and look sheepish. The others were more hardened; but they all
united in regarding with surprise both Randal and Dick Avenel. The former
was known to most of them personally; and to all, by repute, as a grave,
clever, promising young man, rather prudent than lavish, and never
suspected to have got into a scrape. What the deuce did he do there? Mr.
Avenel puzzled them yet more. A middle-aged man, said to be in business,
whom they had observed “about town” (for he had a noticeable face and
figure)—that is, seen riding in the park, or lounging in the pit at the
opera, but never set eyes on at a recognized club, or in the coteries of
their “set;”—a man whose wife gave horrid third-rate parties, that took up
half-a-column in the _Morning Post_ with a list of “The Company
Present”—in which a sprinkling of dowagers out of fashion, and a foreign
title or two, made the darkness of the obscurer names doubly dark. Why
this man should be asked to meet _them_, by Baron Levy, too—a decided
tuft-hunter and would-be exclusive—called all their faculties into
exercise. The wit, who, being the son of a small tradesman, but in the
very best society, gave himself far greater airs than the young lords,
impertinently solved the mystery. “Depend on it,” whispered he to
Spendquick—“depend on it the man is the X. Y. of the _Times_, who offers
to lend any sums of money from £10 to half-a-million. He’s the man who has
all your bills: Levy is only his jackall.”

“’Pon my soul,” said Spendquick, rather alarmed, “if that’s the case, one
may as well be civil to him.”

“_You_, certainly,” said the wit. “But I never yet found an X. Y. who
would advance me the L. s.; and, therefore, I shall not be more respectful
to X. Y. than to any other unknown quantity.”

By degrees, as the wine circulated, the party grew gay and sociable. Levy
was really an entertaining fellow: had all the gossip of the town at his
fingers’-ends; and possessed, moreover, that pleasant art of saying
ill-natured things of the absent, which those present always enjoy. By
degrees, too, Mr. Richard Avenel came out; and as the whisper had
circulated round the table that he was X. Y., he was listened to with a
profound respect, which greatly elevated his spirits. Nay, when the wit
tried once to show him up, or mystify him, Dick answered with a bluff
spirit, that, though very coarse, was found so humorous by Lord Spendquick
and other gentlemen similarly situated in the money-market, that they
turned the laugh against the wit, and silenced him for the rest of the
night—a circumstance which made the party go off much more pleasantly.
After dinner, the conversation, quite that of single men, easy and
_débonnair_, glanced from the turf, and the ballet, and the last scandal,
toward politics; for the times were such that politics were discussed
every where, and three of the young lords were county members.

Randal said little, but, as was his wont, listened attentively; and he was
aghast to find how general was the belief that the government was doomed.
Out of regard to him, and with that delicacy of breeding which belongs to
a certain society, nothing personal to Egerton was said, except by Avenel,
who, however, on blurting out some rude expressions respecting that
minister, was instantly checked by the Baron.

“Spare my friend, and Mr. Leslie’s near connection,” said he, with a
polite but grave smile.

“Oh,” said Avenel, “public men, whom we pay, are public property—aren’t
they, my lord?” appealing to Spendquick.

“Certainly,” said Spendquick, with great spirit—“public property, or why
should we pay them? There must be a very strong motive to induce us to do
that! I hate paying people. In fact,” he subjoined, in an aside, “I never
do!”

“However,” resumed Mr. Avenel. graciously, “I don’t want to hurt your
feelings, Mr. Leslie. As to the feelings of our host, the Baron, I
calculate that they have got tolerably tough by the exercise they have
gone through.”

“Nevertheless,” said the Baron, joining in the laugh which any lively
saying by the supposed X. Y. was sure to excite—“nevertheless, ’love me,
love my dog,’ love me, love my Egerton.”

Randal started, for his quick ear and subtle intelligence caught something
sinister and hostile in the tone with which Levy uttered this equivocal
comparison, and his eye darted toward the Baron. But the Baron had bent
down his face, and was regaling himself upon an olive.

By-and-by the party rose from table. The four young noblemen had their
engagements elsewhere, and proposed to separate without re-entering the
drawing-room. As, in Goethe’s theory, monads which have affinities with
each other are irresistibly drawn together, so these gay children of
pleasure had, by a common impulse, on rising from table, moved each to
each, and formed a group round the fire-place. Randal stood a little
apart, musing; the wit examined the pictures through his eye-glass; and
Mr. Avenel drew the Baron toward the sideboard, and there held him in
whispered conference. This colloquy did not escape the young gentlemen
round the fire-place: they glanced toward each other.

“Settling the per centage on renewal,” said one, _sotto voce_.

“X. Y. does not seem such a very bad fellow,” said another.

“He looks rich, and talks rich,” said a third.

“A decided independent way of expressing his sentiments; those moneyed men
generally have.”

“Good heavens!” ejaculated Spendquick, who had been keeping his eye
anxiously fixed on the pair. “do look; X. Y. is actually taking out his
pocket-book; he is coming this way. Depend on it he has got our bills—mine
is due tomorrow.”

“And mine too,” said another, edging off. “Why, it is a perfect _guet à
pens_.”

Meanwhile, breaking away from the Baron, who appeared anxious to detain
him, and failing in that attempt, turned aside, as if not to see Dick’s
movements—a circumstance which did did not escape the notice of the group,
and confirmed all their suspicions, Mr. Avenel, with a serious, thoughtful
air, and a slow step, approached the group. Nor did the great Roman
general more nervously “flutter the dove-cotes in Corioli,” than did the
advance of the supposed X. Y. agitate the bosoms of Lord Spendquick and
his sympathizing friends. Pocket-book in hand, and apparently feeling for
something formidable within its mystic recesses, step by step came Dick
Avenel toward the fire-place. The group stood still, fascinated by horror.

“Hum,” said Mr. Avenel, clearing his throat.

“I don’t like that hum at all,” muttered Spendquick.

“Proud to have made your acquaintance, gentlemen,” said Dick, bowing.

The gentlemen, thus addressed, bowed low in return.

“My friend the Baron thought this not exactly the time to—” Dick stopped a
moment; you might have knocked down those four young gentlemen, though
four finer specimens of humanity no aristocracy in Europe could
produce—you might have knocked them down with a feather! “But,” renewed
Avenel, not finishing his sentence, “I have made it a rule in life never
to lose securing a good opportunity: in short, to make the most of the
present moment. And,” added he, with a smile, which froze the blood in
Lord Spendquick’s veins, “the rule has made me a very warm man! Therefore,
gentlemen, allow me to present you each with one of these”—every hand
retreated behind the back of its well-born owner—when, to the
inexpressible relief of all, Dick concluded with—“a little _soirée
dansante_,” and extended four cards of invitation.

“Most happy!” exclaimed Spendquick. “I don’t dance in general; but to
oblige X—— I mean to have a better acquaintance, sir, with _you_—I would
dance on the tight-rope.”

There was a good-humored pleasant laugh at Spendquick’s enthusiasm, and a
general shaking of hands and pocketing of the invitation cards.

“You don’t look like a dancing-man,” said Avenel, turning to the wit, who
was plump and somewhat gouty—as wits who dine out five days in the week
generally are; “but we shall have supper at one o’clock.”

Infinitely offended and disgusted, the wit replied dryly, “that every hour
of his time was engaged for the rest of the season,” and, with a stiff
salutation to the Baron, took his departure. The rest, in good spirits,
hurried away to their respective cabriolets; and Leslie was following them
into the hall, when the Baron, catching hold of him, said, “Stay, I want
to talk to you.”



Chapter XIV.


The Baron turned into his drawing-room, and Leslie followed.

“Pleasant young men, those,” said Levy, with a slight sneer, as he threw
himself into an easy chair and stirred the fire. “And not at all proud;
but, to be sure, they are—under great obligations to me. Yes; they owe me
a great deal. _Apropos_, I have had a long talk with Frank Hazeldean—fine
young man—remarkable capacities for business. I can arrange his affairs
for him. I find, on reference to the Will Office, that you were quite
right; the Casino property is entailed on Frank. He will have the fee
simple. He can dispose of the reversion entirely. So that there will be no
difficulty in our arrangements.”

“But I told you also that Frank had scruples about borrowing on the event
of his father’s death.”

“Ay, you did so. Filial affection! I never take that into account in
matters of business. Such little scruples, though they are highly
honorable to human nature, soon vanish before the prospect of the King’s
Bench. And, too, as you so judiciously remarked, our clever young friend
is in love with Madame di Negra.”

“Did he tell you that?”

“No; but Madame di Negra did.”

“You know her?”

“I know most people in good society, who now and then require a friend in
the management of their affairs. And having made sure of the fact you
stated, as to Hazeldean’s contingent property (excuse my prudence), I have
accommodated Madame di Negra, and bought up her debts.”

“You have—you surprise me!”

“The surprise will vanish on reflection. But you are very new to the world
yet, my dear Leslie. By the way, I have had an interview with Peschiera—”

“About his sister’s debts?”

“Partly. A man of the nicest honor is Peschiera.”

Aware of Levy’s habit of praising people for the qualities in which,
according to the judgment of less penetrating mortals, they were most
deficient, Randal only smiled at this eulogy, and waited for Levy to
resume. But the Baron sat silent and thoughtful for a minute or two, and
then wholly changed the subject.

“I think your father has some property in ——shire, and you probably can
give me a little information as to certain estates of a Mr.
Thornhill—estates which, on examination of the title-deeds, I find once,
indeed, belonged to your family.” The Baron glanced at a very elegant
memorandum book—“The manors of Rood and Dulmonsberry, with sundry farms
thereon. Mr. Thornhill wants to sell them as soon as his son is of age—an
old client of mine, Thornhill. He has applied to me on the matter. Do you
think it an improvable property?”

Randal listened with a livid cheek and a throbbing heart. We have seen
that, if there was one ambitious scheme in his calculation which, though
not absolutely generous and heroic, still might win its way to a certain
sympathy in the undebased human mind, it was the hope to restore the
fallen fortunes of his ancient house, and repossess himself of the long
alienated lands that surrounded the dismal wastes of the mouldering Hall.
And now to hear that those lands were getting into the inexorable gripe of
Levy—tears of bitterness stood in his eyes.

“Thornhill,” continued Levy, who watched the young man’s
countenance—“Thornhill tells me that that part of his property—the old
Leslie lands—produces £2000 a year, and that the rental could be raised.
He would take £50,000 for it—£20,000 down, and suffer the remaining
£30,000 to lie on mortgage at four per cent. It seems a very good
purchase. What do you say?”

“Don’t ask me,” said Randal, stung into rare honesty; “for I had hoped I
might live to repossess myself of that property.”

“Ah! indeed. It would be a very great addition to your consequence in the
world—not from the mere size of the estate, but from its hereditary
associations. And if you have any idea of the purchase—believe me, I’ll
not stand in your way.”

“How can I have any idea of it?”

“But I thought you said you had.”

“I understood that these lands could not be sold till Mr. Thornhill’s son
came of age, and joined in getting rid of the entail.”

“Yes, so Thornhill himself supposed, till, on examining the title-deeds, I
found he was under a mistake. These lands are not comprised in the
settlement made by old Jasper Thornhill, which ties up the rest of the
property. The title will be perfect. Thornhill wants to settle the matter
at once—losses on the turf, you understand; an immediate purchaser would
get still better terms. A Sir John Spratt would give the money; but the
addition of these lands would make the Spratt property of more consequence
in the county than the Thornhill. So my client would rather take a few
thousands less from a man who don’t set up to be his rival. Balance of
power in counties as well as nations.”

Randal was silent.

“Well,” said Levy, with great kindness of manner, “I see I pain you; and
though I am what my very pleasant guests will call a _parvenu_, I
comprehend your natural feelings as a gentleman of ancient birth.
_Parvenu!_ Ah! is it not strange, Leslie, that no wealth, no fashion, no
fame can wipe out that blot? They call me a _parvenu_, and borrow my
money. They call our friend, the wit, a _parvenu_, and submit to all his
insolence—if they condescend to regard his birth at all—provided they can
but get him to dinner. They call the best debater in the Parliament of
England a _parvenu_, and will entreat him, some day or other, to be prime
minister, and ask him for stars and garters. A droll world, and no wonder
the _parvenus_ want to upset it!”

Randal had hitherto supposed that this notorious tuft-hunter—this dandy
capitalist—this money-lender, whose whole fortune had been wrung from the
wants and follies of an aristocracy, was naturally a firm supporter of
things as they are—how could things be better for men like Baron Levy? But
the usurer’s burst of democratic spleen did not surprise his precocious
and acute faculty of observation. He had before remarked, that it is the
persons who fawn most upon an aristocracy, and profit the most by the
fawning, who are ever at heart its bitterest disparagers. Why is this?
Because one full half of democratic opinion is made up of envy; and we can
only envy what is brought before our eyes, and what, while very near to
us, is still unattainable. No man envies an archangel.

“But,” said Levy, throwing himself back in his chair, “a new order of
things is commencing; we shall see. Leslie, it is lucky for you that you
did not enter Parliament under the government; it would be your political
ruin for life.”

“You think that the ministry can not last?”

“Of course I do; and what is more, I think that a ministry of the same
principles can not be restored. You are a young man of talent and spirit;
your birth is nothing compared to the rank of the reigning party; it would
tell, to a certain degree, in a democratic one. I say, you should be more
civil to Avenel; he could return you to Parliament at the next election.”

“The next election! In six years! We have just had a general election.”

“There will be another before this year, or half of it, or perhaps a
quarter of it, is out.”

“What makes you think so?”

“Leslie, let there be confidence between us; we can help each other. Shall
we be friends?”

“With all my heart. But, though you may help me, how can I help you?”

“You have helped me already to Frank Hazeldean—and the Casino estate. All
clever men can help me. Come then, we are friends; and what I say is
secret. You ask me why I think there will be a general election so soon? I
will answer you frankly. Of all the public men I ever met with, there is
no one who has so clear a vision of things immediately before him as
Audley Egerton.”

“He has that character. Not _far_-seeing, but _clear_-sighted to a certain
limit.”

“Exactly so. No one better, therefore, knows public opinion, and its
immediate ebb and flow.”

“Granted.”

“Egerton, then, counts on a general election within three months; and I
have lent him the money for it.”

“Lent him the money! Egerton borrow money of you—the rich Audley Egerton!”

“Rich!” repeated Levy in a tone impossible to describe, and accompanying
the word with that movement of the middle finger and thumb, commonly
called a “snap,” which indicates profound contempt.

He said no more. Randal sate stupefied. At length, the latter muttered,
“But if Egerton is really not rich—if he lose office, and without the hope
of return to it—”

“If so, he is ruined!” said Levy coldly; “and therefore, from regard to
you, and feeling interest in your future fate, I say—Rest no hopes of
fortune or career upon Audley Egerton. Keep your place for the present,
but be prepared at the next election to stand upon popular principles.
Avenel shall return you to parliament; and the rest is with luck and
energy. And now, I’ll not detain you longer,” said Levy rising and ringing
the bell. The servant entered.

“Is my carriage here?”

“Yes, Baron.”

“Can I set you down any where?”

“No, thank you; I prefer walking.”

“Adieu, then. And mind you remember the _soirée dansante_ at Mrs.
Avenel’s.” Randal mechanically shook the hand extended to him, and went
down the stairs.

The fresh frosty air roused his intellectual faculties, which Levy’s
ominous words had almost paralyzed.

And the first thing that the clever schemer said to himself was this:

“But what can be the man’s motive in what he said to me?”

The next was:

“Egerton ruined? What am I, then?”

And the third was:

“And that fair remnant of the old Leslie property! £20,000 down—how to get
the sum? Why should Levy have spoken to me of this?”

And lastly, the soliloquy rounded back:—“The man’s motives! His motives?”

Meanwhile, the Baron threw himself into his chariot—the most comfortable
easy chariot you can possibly conceive—single man’s chariot—perfect
taste—no married man ever has such a chariot; and in a few minutes he was
at ——’s hotel, and in the presence of Giulio Franzini, Count di Peschiera.

“_Mon cher_,” said the Baron in very good French, and in a tone of the
most familiar equality with the descendant of the princes and heroes of
grand mediæval Italy—“_Mon cher_, give me one of your excellent cigars. I
think I have put all matters in train.”

“You have found out—”

“No; not so fast yet,” said the Baron, lighting the cigar extended to him.
“But you said that you should be perfectly contented if it only cost you
£20,000 to marry off your sister (to whom that sum is legally due), and to
marry yourself to the heiress.”

“I did, indeed.”

“Then I have no doubt I shall manage both objects for that sum, if Randal
Leslie really knows where the young lady is, and can assist you. Most
promising, able man is Randal Leslie—but innocent as a babe just born.”

“Ha, ha! Innocent? _Que diable!_”

“Innocent as this cigar, _mon cher_—strong, certainly, but smoked very
easily. _Soyez tranquille!_”



Chapter XV.


Who has not seen—who not admired, that noble picture by Daniel Maclise,
which refreshes the immortal name of my ancestor Caxton! For myself, while
with national pride I heard the admiring murmurs of the foreigners who
grouped around it (nothing, indeed, of which our nation may be more proud
had they seen in the Crystal Palace)—heard with no less a pride in the
generous nature of fellow-artists, the warm applause of living and
deathless masters, sanctioning the enthusiasm of the popular crowd; what
struck me more than the precision of drawing, for which the artist has
been always renowned, and the just though gorgeous affluence of color
which he has more recently acquired, was the profound depth of conception,
out of which this great work had so elaborately arisen. That monk, with
his scowl toward the printer and his back on the Bible, over which _his
form casts a shadow_—the whole transition between the mediæval
Christianity of cell and cloister, and the modern Christianity that
rejoices in the daylight, is depicted there, in the shadow that obscures
the Book—in the scowl that is fixed upon the Book-diffuser; that sombre,
musing face of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, with the beauty of Napoleon,
darkened to the expression of a Fiend, looking far and anxiously into
futurity, as if foreseeing there what antagonism was about to be created
to the schemes of secret crime and unrelenting force; the chivalrous head
of the accomplished Rivers, seen but in profile, under his helmet, as if
the age when Chivalry must defend its noble attributes, in steel, was
already half passed away: and, not least grand of all, the rude thews and
sinews of the artisan forced into service on the type, and the ray of
intellect, fierce, and menacing revolutions yet to be, struggling through
his rugged features, and across his low knitted brow; all this, which
showed how deeply the idea of the discovery in its good and its evil, its
saving light and its perilous storms, had sunk into the artist’s soul,
charmed me as effecting the exact union between sentiment and execution,
which is the true and rare consummation of the Ideal in Art. But observe,
while in these personages of the group are depicted the deeper and graver
agencies implicated in the bright but terrible invention—observe how
little the light epicures of the hour heed the scowl of the monk, or the
restless gesture of Richard, or the troubled gleam in the eyes of the
artisan—King Edward, handsome _poco curante_, delighted, in the surprise
of a child, with a new toy; and Clarence, with his curious yet careless
glance—all the while Caxton himself, calm, serene, untroubled, intent
solely upon the manifestation of his discovery, and no doubt supremely
indifferent whether the first proofs of it shall be dedicated to a Rivers
or an Edward, a Richard or a Henry, Plantagenet or Tudor—’tis all the same
to that comely, gentle-looking man. So is it ever with your Abstract
Science! not a jot cares its passionless logic for the woe or weal of a
generation or two. The stream, once emerged from its source, passes on
into the Great Intellectual Sea, smiling over the wretch that it drowns,
or under the keel of the ship which it serves as a slave.

Now, when about to commence the present chapter on the Varieties of Life,
this masterpiece of thoughtful art forced itself on my recollection, and
illustrated what I designed to say. In the surface of every age, it is
often that which but amuses, for the moment, the ordinary children of
pleasant existence, the Edwards and the Clarences (be they kings and
dukes, or simplest of simple subjects), which afterward towers out as the
great serious epoch of the time. When we look back upon human records, how
the eye settles upon WRITERS as the main landmarks of the past! We talk of
the age of Augustus, of Elizabeth, of Louis XIV., of Anne, as the notable
eras of the world. Why? Because it is their writers who have made them so.
Intervals between one age of authors and another lie unnoticed, as the
flats and common lands of uncultured history. And yet, strange to say,
when these authors are living among us, they occupy a very small portion
of our thoughts, and fill up but desultory interstices in the bitumen and
tufa wherefrom we build up the Babylon of our lives! So it is, and perhaps
so it should be, whether it pleases the conceit of penmen or not. Life is
meant to be active; and books, though they give the action to future
generations, administer but to the holiday of the present.

And so, with this long preface, I turn suddenly from the Randals and the
Egertons, and the Levys, Avenels, and Peschieras—from the plots and
passions of practical life, and drop the reader suddenly into one of those
obscure retreats wherein Thought weaves, from unnoticed moments, a new
link to the chain that unites the ages.

Within a small room, the single window of which opened on a fanciful and
fairy-like garden, that has been before described, sate a young man alone.
He had been writing: the ink was not dry on his manuscript, but his
thoughts had been suddenly interrupted from his work, and his eyes, now
lifted from the letter which had occasioned that interruption, sparkled
with delight. “He will come,” exclaimed the young man; “come here—to the
home which I owe to him. I have not been unworthy of his friendship. And
she”—his breast heaved, but the joy faded from his face. “Oh, strange,
strange, that I feel sad at the thought to see her again. See _her_—Ah
no!—my own comforting Helen—my own Child-angel! _Her_ I can never see
again! The grown woman—that is not my Helen. And yet—and yet,” he resumed,
after a pause, “if ever she read the pages, in which thought flowed and
trembled under her distant starry light—if ever she see how her image has
rested with me, and feel that, while others believe that I invent, I have
but remembered—will she not, for a moment, be my own Helen again! Again,
in heart and in fancy, stand by my side on the desolate bridge—hand in
hand—orphans both, as we stood in the days so sorrowful, yet, as I recall
them, so sweet.—Helen in England, it is a dream!”

He rose, half consciously, and went to the window. The fountain played
merrily before his eyes, and the birds in the aviary caroled loud to his
ear. “And in this house,” he murmured, “I saw her last! And there, where
the fountain now throws its stream on high—there her benefactor and mine
told me that I was to lose _her_, and that I might win—fame. Alas!”

At this time, a woman, whose dress was somewhat above her mien and air,
which, though not without a certain respectability, were very homey,
entered the room; and, seeing the young man standing thus thoughtful by
the window, paused. She was used to his habits; and since his success in
life, had learned to respect them. So she did not disturb his reverie, but
began softly to arrange the room—dusting, with the corner of her apron,
the various articles of furniture, putting a stray chair or two in its
right place, but not touching a single paper. Virtuous woman, and rare as
virtuous!

The young man turned at last, with a deep, yet not altogether painful
sigh—

“My dear mother, good-day to you. Ah, you do well to make the room look
its best. Happy news! I expect a visitor!”

“Dear me, Leonard, will he want? lunch—or what?”

“Nay, I think not, mother. It is he to whom we owe all—‘_Hæc otia fecit_.’
Pardon my Latin; it is Lord L’Estrange.”

The face of Mrs. Fairfield (the reader has long since divined the name)
changed instantly, and betrayed a nervous twitch of all the muscles, which
gave her a family likeness to old Mrs. Avenel.

“Do not be alarmed, mother. He is the kindest—”

“Don’t talk so; I can’t bear it!” cried Mrs. Fairfield.

“No wonder you are affected by the recollection of all his benefits. But
when once you have seen him, you will find yourself ever after at your
ease. And so, pray, smile and look as good as you are; for I am proud of
your open, honest look when you are pleased, mother. And he must see your
heart in your face as I do.”

With this, Leonard put his arm round the widow’s neck and kissed her. She
clung to him fondly for a moment, and he felt her tremble from head to
foot. Then she broke from his embrace, and hurried out of the room.
Leonard thought perhaps she had gone to improve her dress, or to carry her
housewife energies to the decoration of the other rooms; for “the house”
was Mrs. Fairfield’s hobby and passion; and now that she worked no more,
save for her amusement, it was her main occupation. The hours she
contrived to spend daily in bustling about those little rooms, and leaving
every thing therein to all appearance precisely the same, were among the
marvels in life which the genius of Leonard had never comprehended. But
she was always so delighted when Mr. Norreys or some rare visitor came,
and said (Mr. Norreys never failed to do so), “How neatly all is kept
here. What could Leonard do without you, Mrs. Fairfield?”

And, to Norreys’s infinite amusement, Mrs. Fairfield always returned the
same answer. “’Deed, sir, and thank you kindly, but ’tis my belief that
the drawin’-room would be awful dusty.”

Once more left alone, Leonard’s mind returned to the state of reverie, and
his face assumed the expression that had now become to it habitual. Thus
seen, he was changed much since we last beheld him. His cheek was more
pale and thin, his lips more firmly compressed, his eye more fixed and
abstract. You could detect, if I may borrow a touching French expression,
that “sorrow had passed by there.” But the melancholy on his countenance
was ineffably sweet and serene, and on his ample forehead there was that
power, so rarely seen in early youth—the power that has conquered, and
betrays its conquests but in calm. The period of doubt, of struggle, of
defiance, was gone forever; genius and soul were reconciled to human life.
It was a face most lovable; so gentle and peaceful in its character. No
want of fire; on the contrary, the fire was so clear and so steadfast,
that it conveyed but the impression of light. The candor of boyhood, the
simplicity of the villager were still there—refined by intelligence, but
intelligence that seemed to have traversed through knowledge—not with the
footstep, but the wing—unsullied by the mire—tending toward the
star—seeking through the various grades of Being but the lovelier forms of
truth and goodness; at home as should be the Art that consummates the
Beautiful—


    “In den heitern Regionen
    Wo die reinen Formen wohnen.”(7)


From this reverie Leonard did not seek to rouse himself, till the bell at
the garden gate rang loud and shrill; and then starting up and hurrying
into the hall, his hand was grasped in Harley’s.



Chapter XVI.


A full and happy hour passed away in Harley’s questions and Leonard’s
answers; the dialogue that naturally ensued between the two, on the first
interview after an absence of years so eventful to the younger man.

The history of Leonard during this interval was almost solely internal,
the struggle of intellect with its own difficulties, the wanderings of
imagination through its own adventurous worlds.

The first aim of Norreys in preparing the mind of his pupil for its
vocation, had been to establish the equilibrium of its powers, to calm
into harmony the elements rudely shaken by the trials and passions of the
old hard outer life.

The theory of Norreys was briefly this. The education of a superior human
being is but the development of ideas in one for the benefit of others. To
this end, attention should be directed—1st, To the value of the ideas
collected; 2dly, To their discipline; 3dly, To their expression. For the
first, acquirement is necessary; for the second, discipline; for the
third, art. The first comprehends knowledge, purely intellectual, whether
derived from observation, memory, reflection, books, or men, Aristotle, or
Fleet-street. The second demands _training_, not only intellectual, but
moral; the purifying and exaltation of motives; the formation of habits;
in which method is but a part of a divine and harmonious symmetry—a union
of intellect and conscience. Ideas of value, stored by the first process;
marshaled into force, and placed under guidance, by the second; it is the
result of the third, to place them before the world in the most attractive
or commanding form. This may be done by actions no less than words; but
the adaptation of means to end, the passage of ideas from the brain of one
man into the lives and souls of all, no less in action than in books,
requires study. Action has its art as well as literature. Here Norreys had
but to deal with the calling of the scholar, the formation of the writer,
and so to guide the perceptions toward those varieties in the sublime and
beautiful, the just combination of which is at once CREATION. Man himself
is but a combination of elements. He who combines in nature, creates in
art.

Such, very succinctly and inadequately expressed, was the system upon
which Norreys proceeded to regulate and perfect the great native powers of
his pupil; and though the reader may perhaps say that no system laid down
by another can either form genius or dictate to its results, yet probably
nine-tenths at least of those in whom we recognize the luminaries of our
race, have passed, unconsciously to themselves (for self-education is
rarely conscious of its phases), through each of these processes. And no
one who pauses to reflect will deny, that according to this theory,
illustrated by a man of vast experience, profound knowledge, and exquisite
taste, the struggles of genius would be infinitely lessened; its vision
cleared and strengthened, and the distance between effort and success
notably abridged.

Norreys, however, was far too deep a reasoner to fall into the error of
modern teachers, who suppose that education can dispense with labor. No
mind becomes muscular without rude and early exercise. Labor should be
strenuous, but in right directions. All that we can do for it is to save
the waste of time in blundering into needless toils.

The master had thus first employed his neophyte in arranging and compiling
materials for a great critical work in which Norreys himself was engaged.
In this stage of scholastic preparation, Leonard was necessarily led to
the acquisition of languages, for which he had great aptitude—the
foundations of a large and comprehensive erudition were solidly
constructed. He traced by the plowshare the walls of the destined city.
Habits of accuracy and of generalization became formed insensibly; and
that precious faculty which seizes, amidst accumulated materials, those
that serve the object for which they are explored—(that faculty which
quadruples all force, by concentrating it on one point)—once roused into
action, gave purpose to every toil and quickness to each perception. But
Norreys did not confine his pupil solely to the mute world of a library;
he introduced him to some of the first minds in arts, science, and
letters—and active life. “These,” said he, “are the living ideas of the
present, out of which books for the future will be written: study them;
and here, as in the volumes of the past, diligently amass and deliberately
compile.”

By degrees Norreys led on that young ardent mind from the selection of
ideas to their æsthetic analysis—from compilation to criticism; but
criticism severe, close, and logical—a reason for each word of praise or
of blame. Led in this stage of his career to examine into the laws of
beauty, a new light broke upon his mind; from amidst the masses of marble
he had piled around him, rose the vision of the statue.

And so, suddenly one day Norreys said to him, “I need a compiler no
longer—maintain yourself by your own creations.” And Leonard wrote, and a
work flowered up from the seed deep buried, and the soil well cleared to
the rays of the sun and the healthful influence of expanded air.

That first work did not penetrate to a very wide circle of readers, not
from any perceptible fault of its own—there is luck in these things, the
first anonymous work of an original genius is rarely at once eminently
successful. But the more experienced recognized the promise of the book.
Publishers, who have an instinct in the discovery of available talent,
which often forestalls the appreciation of the public, volunteered liberal
offers. “Be fully successful this time,” said Norreys; “think not of
models nor of style. Strike at once at the common human heart—throw away
the corks—swim out boldly. One word more—never write a page till you have
walked from your room to Temple Bar, and, mingling with men, and reading
the human face, learn why great poets have mostly passed their lives in
cities.”

Thus Leonard wrote again, and woke one morning to find himself famous. So
far as the chances of all professions dependent on health will permit,
present independence, and, with foresight and economy, the prospects of
future competence were secured.

“And, indeed,” said Leonard, concluding a longer but a simpler narrative
than is here told—“indeed, there is some chance that I may obtain at once
a sum that will leave me free for the rest of my life to select my own
subjects and write without care for renumeration. This is what I call the
true (and, perhaps, alas! the rare) independence of him who devotes
himself to letters. Norreys, having seen my boyish plan for the
improvement of certain machinery in the steam-engine, insisted on my
giving much time to mechanics. The study that once pleased me so greatly,
now seemed dull; but I went into it with good heart; and the result is,
that I have improved so far on my original idea, that my scheme has met
the approbation of one of our most scientific engineers; and I am assured
that the patent for it will be purchased of me upon terms which I am
ashamed to name to you, so disproportioned do they seem to the value of so
simple a discovery. Meanwhile, I am already rich enough to have realized
the two dreams of my heart—to make a home in the cottage where I had last
seen you and Helen—I mean Miss Digby; and to invite to that home her who
had sheltered my infancy.”

“Your mother, where is she? Let me see her.”

Leonard ran out to call the widow, but, to his surprise and vexation,
learned that she had quitted the house before L’Estrange arrived.

He came back perplexed how to explain what seemed ungracious and
ungrateful, and spoke with hesitating lip and flushed cheek of the widow’s
natural timidity and sense of her own homely station. “And so overpowered
is she,” added Leonard, “by the recollection of all that we owe to you,
that she never hears your name without agitation or tears, and trembled
like a leaf at the thought of seeing you.”

“Ha!” said Harley, with visible emotion. “Is it so?” And he bent down,
shading his face with his hand. “And,” he renewed, after a pause, but not
looking up—“and you ascribe this fear of seeing me, this agitation at my
name, solely to an exaggerated sense of—of the circumstances attending my
acquaintance with yourself?”

“And, perhaps, to a sort of shame that the mother of one you have made her
proud of is but a peasant.”

“That is all,” said Harley, earnestly, now looking up and fixing eyes in
which stood tears, upon Leonard’s ingenuous brow.

“Oh, my dear lord, what else can it be? Do not judge her harshly.”

L’Estrange rose abruptly, pressed Leonard’s hand, muttered something not
audible, and then drawing his young friend’s arm in his, led him into the
garden, and turned the conversation back to its former topics.

Leonard’s heart yearned to ask after Helen, and yet something withheld him
from doing so, till, seeing Harley did not volunteer to speak of her, he
could not resist his impulse. “And Helen—Miss Digby—is she much changed?”

“Changed, no—yes; very much.”

“Very much!” Leonard sighed.

“I shall see her again?”

“Certainly,” said Harley, in a tone of surprise. “How can you doubt it?
And I reserve to you the pleasure of saying that you are renowned. You
blush; well, I will say that for you. But you shall give her your books.”

“She has not yet read them, then?—not the last? The first was not worthy
of her attention,” said Leonard, disappointed.

“She has only just arrived in England; and, though your books reached me
in Germany, she was not then with me. When I have settled some business
that will take me from town, I shall present you to her and my mother.”
There was a certain embarrassment in Harley’s voice as he spoke; and,
turning round abruptly, he exclaimed, “But you have shown poetry even
here. I could not have conceived that so much beauty could be drawn from
what appeared to me the most commonplace of all suburban gardens. Why,
surely where that charming fountain now plays, stood the rude bench in
which I read your verses.”

“It is true; I wished to unite all together my happiest associations. I
think I told you, my lord, in one of my letters, that I had owed a very
happy, yet very struggling time in my boyhood to the singular kindness and
generous instructions of a foreigner whom I served. This fountain is
copied from one that I made in his garden, and by the margin of which many
a summer day I have sat and dreamt of fame and knowledge.”

“True, you told me of that; and your foreigner will be pleased to hear of
your success, and no less so of your graceful recollections. By the way,
you did not mention his name.”

“Riccabocca.”

“Riccabocca! My own dear and noble friend!—is it possible? One of my
reasons for returning to England is connected with him. You shall go down
with me and see him. I meant to start this evening.”

“My dear lord,” said Leonard, “I think that you may spare yourself so long
a journey. I have reason to suspect that Signor Riccabocca is my nearest
neighbor. Two days ago I was in the garden, when suddenly lifting my eyes
to yon hillock I perceived the form of a man seated among the bushwood;
and, though I could not see his features, there was something in the very
outline of his figure and his peculiar position, that irresistibly
reminded me of Riccabocca. I hastened out of the garden and ascended the
hill, but he was gone. My suspicions were so strong that I caused inquiry
to be made at the different shops scattered about, and learned that a
family consisting of a gentleman, his wife, and daughter, had lately come
to live in a house that you must have passed in your way hither, standing
a little back from the road, surrounded by high walls; and though they
were said to be English, yet from the description given to me of the
gentleman’s person by one who had noticed it, by the fact of a foreign
servant in their employ, and by the very name ‘Richmouth,’ assigned the
new comers, I can scarcely doubt that it is the family you seek.”

“And you have not called to ascertain?”

“Pardon me, but the family so evidently shunning observation (no one but
the master himself ever seen without the walls), the adoption of another
name, too, lead me to infer that Signor Riccabocca has some strong motive
for concealment; and now, with my improved knowledge of life, I can not,
recalling all the past, but suppose that Riccabocca was not what he
appeared. Hence, I have hesitated on formally obtruding myself upon his
secrets, whatever they be, and have rather watched for some chance
occasion to meet him in his walks.”

“You did right, my dear Leonard; but my reasons for seeing my old friend
forbid all scruples of delicacy, and I will go at once to his house.”

“You will tell me, my lord, if I am right.”

“I hope to be allowed to do so. Pray, stay at home till I return. And now,
ere I go, one question more. You indulge conjectures as to Riccabocca,
because he has changed his name—why have you dropped your own?”

“I wished to have no name,” said Leonard, coloring deeply, “but that which
I could make myself.”

“Proud poet, this I can comprehend. But from what reason did you assume
the strange and fantastic name of Oran?”

The flush on Leonard’s face became deeper. “My lord,” said he, in a low
voice, “it is a childish fancy of mine; it is an anagram.”

“Ah!”

“At a time when my cravings after knowledge were likely much to mislead,
and perhaps undo me, I chanced on some poems that suddenly affected my
whole mind, and led me up into purer air; and I was told that these poems
were written in youth, by one who had beauty and genius—one who was in her
grave—a relation of my own, and her familiar name was Nora—”

“Ah!” again ejaculated Lord L’Estrange, and his arm pressed heavily upon
Leonard’s.

“So, somehow or other,” continued the young author, falteringly, “I wished
that if ever I won to a poet’s fame, it might be to my own heart, at
least, associated with this name of Nora—with her whom death had robbed of
the fame that she might otherwise have won—with her who—”

He paused, greatly agitated.

Harley was no less so. But as if by a sudden impulse, the soldier bent
down his manly head and kissed the poet’s brow; then he hastened to the
gate, flung himself on his horse, and rode away.



Chapter XVII.


Lord L’Estrange did not proceed at once to Riccabocca’s house. He was
under the influence of a remembrance too deep and too strong to yield
easily to the lukewarm claim of friendship. He rode fast and far; and
impossible it would be to define the feelings that passed through a mind
so acutely sensitive, and so rootedly tenacious of all affections. When he
once more, recalling his duty to the Italian, retraced his road to
Norwood, the slow pace of his horse was significant of his own exhausted
spirits; a deep dejection had succeeded to feverish excitement. “Vain
task,” he murmured, “to wean myself from the dead! Yet I am now betrothed
to another; and she, with all her virtues is not the one to—” He stopped
short in generous self-rebuke. “Too late to think of that! Now, all that
should remain to me is to insure the happiness of the life to which I have
pledged my own. But—” He sighed as he so murmured. On reaching the
vicinity of Riccabocca’s house, he put up his horse at a little inn, and
proceeded on foot across the heath-land toward the dull square building,
which Leonard’s description had sufficed to indicate as the exile’s new
home. It was long before any one answered his summons at the gate. Not
till he had thrice rung did he hear a heavy step on the gravel walk
within; then the wicket within the gate was partially drawn aside, a dark
eye gleamed out, and a voice in imperfect English asked who was there.

“Lord L’Estrange; and if I am right as to the person I seek, that name
will at once admit me.”

The door flew open as did that of the mystic cavern at the sound of “Open
Sesame;” and Giacomo, almost weeping with joyous emotion, exclaimed in
Italian, “The good Lord! Holy San Giacomo! thou hast heard me at last! We
are safe now.” And dropping the blunderbuss with which he had taken the
precaution to arm himself, he lifted Harley’s hand to his lips, in the
affectionate greeting familiar to his countrymen.

“And the Padrone?” asked Harley, as he entered the jealous precincts.

“Oh, he is just gone out: but he will not be long. You will wait for him?”

“Certainly. What lady is that I see at the far end of the garden?”

“Bless her, it is our Signorina. I will run and tell her that you are
come.”

“That I am come; but she can not know me even by name.”

“Ah, Excellency, can you think so? Many and many a time has she talked to
me of you, and I have heard her pray to the holy Madonna to bless you, and
in a voice so sweet—”

“Stay, I will present myself to her. Go into the house, and we will wait
without for the Padrone. Nay, I need the air, my friend.” Harley, as he
said this, broke from Giacomo, and approached Violante.

The poor child, in her solitary walk in the obscurer parts of the dull
garden, had escaped the eye of Giacomo when he had gone forth to answer
the bell; and she, unconscious of the fears of which she was the object,
had felt something of youthful curiosity at the summons at the gate, and
the sight of a stranger in close and friendly conference with the unsocial
Giacomo.

As Harley now neared her with that singular grace of movement which
belonged to him, a thrill shot through her heart—she knew not why. She did
not recognize his likeness to the sketch taken by her father, from his
recollections of Harley’s early youth. She did not guess who he was; and
yet she felt herself color, and, naturally fearless though she was, turned
away with a vague alarm.

“Pardon my want of ceremony, Signorina,” said Harley, in Italian; “but I
am so old a friend of your father’s that I can not feel as a stranger to
yourself.”

Then Violante lifted to him her dark eyes, so intelligent and so
innocent—eyes full of surprise, but not displeased surprise. And Harley
himself stood amazed, and almost abashed, by the rich and marvelous beauty
that beamed upon him. “My father’s friend,” she said hesitatingly, “and I
never to have seen you!”

“Ah, Signorina,” said Harley (and something of his native humor, half
arch, half sad, played round his lip), “you are mistaken there; you have
seen me before, and you received me much more kindly then—”

“Signor!” said Violante, more and more surprised, and with a yet richer
color on her cheeks.

Harley, who had now recovered from the first effect of her beauty, and who
regarded her as men of his years and character are apt to regard ladies in
their teens, as more child than woman, suffered himself to be amused by
her perplexity; for it was in his nature, that the graver and more
mournful he felt at heart, the more he sought to give play and whim to his
spirits.

“Indeed, Signorina,” said he demurely, “you insisted then on placing one
of those fair hands in mine; the other (forgive me the fidelity of my
recollections) was affectionately thrown around my neck.”

“Signor!” again exclaimed Violante; but this time there was anger in her
voice as well as surprise, and nothing could be more charming than her
look of pride and resentment.

Harley smiled again, but with so much kindly sweetness, that the anger
vanished at once, or rather Violante felt angry with herself that she was
no longer angry with him. But she had looked so beautiful in her anger,
that Harley wished, perhaps, to see her angry again. So, composing his
lips from their propitiatory smile he resumed, gravely—

(To Be Continued.)



A BRACE OF BLUNDERS BY A ROVING ENGLISHMAN.


I arrived at Bayonne from Paris, by the Malle-Poste, one glorious morning.
How well I remember it! The courier, who used to play an important part in
the economy of the old French Malle-Poste, was the most irritable man I
ever saw. He quarreled with every one and every thing on the road. I fancy
that he was liable to some slight penalty in case of reaching Bayonne
later than a given hour; but had the penalty been breaking on the wheel,
he could not have been more anxious to drive at full speed. Here let me
note, by the way, that the pace of a French courier, in the good old
times, was the most tremendous pace at which I have ever traveled behind
horses. It surpassed the helter-skelter of an Irish mail. The whole
economy of the Malle-Poste was curious. No postillion ever drove more than
one stage: mortal arms could not have continued flogging any farther. The
number of the horses was indefinite—now there were four; presently, five,
or six, or seven; four again, or eight; all harnessed with broken bits of
rope and wonders of fragmentary tackle. The coach-box, on which the
postillion used to sit, was the minutest iron perch to which the body of a
man could hook itself. The coach itself was britzka-shaped, with room for
two. It was in this conveyance that I traveled over the frightful hills
between Bordeaux and Bayonne. When we neared any descent a mile or two
long, the postillion regularly tied the reins loosely to some part of the
frail box, seized the whip, and flogged, and shouted, until down we went
with a great rush, dashing and rocking from side to side while my irate
friend, the courier, plied a sort of iron drag or rudder, with the
enthusiastic gestures of a madman. Watching my time, when, after one of
these frantic bouts, my friend sank back exhausted, and quite hoarse with
all his roaring, I quietly offered him a bunch of grapes, which I had
bought at Tours. Their grateful coolness made the man my friend eternally,
but had I offered him a captain’s biscuit at that moment I could not have
answered for the consequences. So much depends on judgment in the timing
of a gift!

On arriving at Bayonne, the first notable thing I saw was a gendarme, who
asked me for my passport. I had none. He looked grave, but I, young in
travel, pushed him aside cavalierly, and bade my servant, who had arrived
the day before, see to my luggage. The cocked hat followed me into the
inn, but bidding it be off, I walked into a private sitting-room, in which
a bed was a prominent article of furniture. I ordered for my breakfast
some broiled ham and eggs, and was informed that I could not have ham,
though in Bayonne. I should be served with chocolate and sugar-sticks,
pump-water, and milk-bread. While breakfast was preparing, the cocked hat
arrested me, and marched me off to the police-office.

“Your passport?” said the Inspector.

“My breakfast,” said I.

“You are under arrest,” said the Inspector.

Then I referred to the consul, with whom I had a sort of second-hand
acquaintance, and who offered to provide me with a passport; but his offer
was declined. I was conducted to the prefêt. The prefêt transferred me to
the Procureur du Roi, whom I unhappily disturbed when he was sitting down
to breakfast. I apologized for my unavoidable intrusion.

“Pray don’t mention it,” said he; “I take cold fish for breakfast, and
iced coffee;” so he sat down and listened to my tale, and said that I must
be detained.

“Impossible!” I cried. “I have sent on my money and baggage to Madrid.”

“Many political agitators have slipped through Bayonne,” replied the
procureur. “Write to Lord Hervey. When a passport comes for you from Paris
you can pass the frontier; not before.”

Of course he said he was “desolated,” as he bowed me out. I was at liberty
to reside at the hôtel, under the lackeyship of two gendarmes, who waited
on me night and day. A crowd had gathered to witness my return from the
house of the procureur, and ladies thronged the balconies. Rumor had, in
fact, created me Conde de Montemolin!

Henceforth, until my passport came, I was peeped at through all manner of
doors by all manner of men, and encountered accidentally in passages by
all manner of women; one band hindered me from sleeping in my bed, another
played to me at dinner, and both expected payment for their services,
until the passport came, and brought me so much degradation as enabled me
to step, uncared for, into the common diligence, and travel on.

It has occurred to many other people to be mistaken in some such way, and
more than once it has occurred to people to make, on their own account, a
certain blunder, which Goldsmith has immortalized. This blunder, I, when I
ought to have known better, was incautious enough one day to commit....

In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, I was engaged in a
tour through the by-ways of Germany, on horseback. During this tour I
found myself, one summer morning, drawing near to the small town of
Maikommen, in the Palatinate. Though the dawn had been cloudless, the noon
threatened a storm, and already the big drops struck on the ground.
Respect for my baggage, which consisted of two shirts, three books, and a
pair of stockings, made me look for shelter.

The heavy drops fell faster as I cantered on at a brisk pace, and just at
the entrance of the little town rode through a pair of broad gates into
what I took for the inn-yard. Having stabled my horse in a remarkably
clean stall, I ran into the house, and got under cover, just as the first
peal of thunder rattled among the distant hills, and the rain had begun
plashing down in earnest. A pretty child sucked its thumbs in the passage.
“Quick, little puss,” said I, shaking the raindrops from my hat, “tell
somebody to come to me!” “Mamma,” the child cried, running in, “here is a
strange gentleman.”

A pleasant-looking woman, with a homely German face, came out of an
adjoining room with the child clinging to her dress, and asked me what I
wanted?

“Some dinner,” I answered “and a bottle of your best wine.”

“Go and tell father to come,” said the woman, looking at me curiously. A
tall, good-humored man, of about fifty, made his appearance, and I
repeated my desire in a tone somewhat more authoritative. He laughed, and
the wife laughed, and the child shrieked with laughter. But I had met with
many curiosities among the German innkeepers in remote country places,
and, being willing to let these people, see that, though an Englishman, I
was also good-humored, I joined their laugh, and then asked, with a grave
face, when the table-d’hôte would be served?

“We keep no table-d’hôte,” replied the husband.

“Well,” I said, “but notwithstanding, you will let me have some dinner, I
suppose? I have come a long way, and it is far to the next town. Besides,
it rains!”

“Certainly, it rains!” replied the man, with a phlegmatic look over the
puddles in the court-yard.

At this moment a clattering of plates, a steam of soup, and a sweet odor
of fresh cucumber, attracted my attention. I said immediately that I was
quite willing to dine at their table. By this time the child had got over
its fear, and was at play with my riding-whip; a few caressing words of
mine toward the little one, had reassured its mother. She spoke for a
moment in _patois_ with her husband; and then bade the servant lay another
knife and fork.

I rather liked my landlord’s eccentricity; so, tapping him upon the
shoulder in a friendly way, I desired that he would let me have a bottle
of his very best wine; and by way of propitiating him still more, I
feigned to have heard a good deal of his cellar, and requested to see it.
“O, very well,” he said; “follow me if you please.’”

He took me down into a cellar capitally stocked, and there we tasted a
good many wines. My landlord seemed to be in the best temper.

“And what,” I asked, “is the price of that white wine in the thin
long-necked bottles?”

I despair of getting its colossal name down upon paper, or I would try it;
he gave it a great many syllables, and said it was the choicest and most
expensive wine he had.

“Then,” said I, “that is what we will drink to-day. I will take a bottle
to myself, and you another; you shall drink it with me.”

“You are very kind,” he said; “but let me recommend some other bin; this
wine you will find is—is very heady.”

I thought that, like a thrifty host, he had some qualm about my means of
paying for it; so I seized, manfully, a bottle in each hand, and crying
“Come along!” accompanied the host into the dining-room.

The wine deserved its praise; opening our hearts, it soon made us famous
friends. I had been pleased with the scenery about this quiet nook, and,
being master of my time, and very comfortable, I made up my mind and said,

“I tell you what, my friend. I shall send for my things from Heidelberg,
and stay here for a week or two.”

The laughter again pealed out; but my host, who probably had seen quite
enough of a guest who insisted upon drinking his best wine, put on a grave
face. It looked like an innkeeper’s face, when he is buckling himself up
to strike a bargain. To save him trouble, I at once said that I would pay
three florins a day for myself, and one for the accommodation of my horse.

“He thinks we keep an inn!” the little child screamed through her
laughter. I instantly collapsed.



PUBLIC EXECUTIONS IN ENGLAND.


One Saturday morning toward the close of November or beginning of
December, I have forgotten the precise date, a letter was put into my hand
at the office. It was from my quondam friend and employer the cutler
editor, as whose agent I occasionally acted, and who charged me with a
commission to procure him certain “sorts” from the foundry and transmit
them by coach, in time for his next impression. Not choosing to disappoint
my wife and lose my dinner, I deferred the visit to the foundry until
after work in the evening; when, upon arriving at Chiswell-street, I found
the men in the act of leaving, but was informed I could have the materials
I wanted as early as I chose on Monday. On Monday morning, accordingly,
having risen rather earlier than usual and breakfasted by candle-light, I
set forth to execute my commission before proceeding to work. Crossing
Blackfriars-bridge, and barely noticing that there was an unusual
concourse of foot-passengers of the laboring and lower sorts, I turned up
Ludgate-hill, where I found the crowd still greater, less equivocally
disrespectable, and all hurrying forward at a rapid walking-pace. Intent
upon the object I had in view, I pushed forward as rapidly as the rest,
and turning sharp round into the Old Bailey, came suddenly upon a
spectacle which, of all others, was the farthest from my thoughts. It was
the morning of an execution. A thick damp haze filled the air, not
amounting to an actual fog, but sufficiently dense to confine the limits
of vision to a few hundred yards. The beams of the level sun threw an
almost supernatural light of a dim but fiery hue into the mist which they
yet had not force enough to penetrate; and there, darkly looming with grim
and shadow-like outline against a background of lurid vapor, rose the
gallows upon which a wretched fellow-creature was about to be
death-strangled and dangled in expiation of the crime of murder. In a
moment the commission I had in hand vanished from my thoughts, and,
impelled by a fearful and morbid curiosity, I suffered myself to be borne
by the pressure behind, every moment aggravated by the arrival of
trampling multitudes to the spot, toward the object of the general gaze.
One minute afterward, I saw that the attempt to retrace my steps would be
not only vain but dangerous; and, compelled to make the best of what I
could not now avoid, I was pressed onward as far as the outlet of
Fleet-lane, when, contriving by main force to get my back against the end
of a stout tressle upon which seven or eight fellows were mounted, I
managed to maintain my position until the horrible ceremony was concluded.
It wanted yet full twenty minutes to eight o’clock, when I stood
fast-wedged within a few fathoms’ length of the scaffold. As far as the
eye could pierce through the misty glare, was one unbroken sea of human
heads and faces; the outer masses reeling, staggering and driving in
fitful currents against the firm, compact and solid centre, fixed and
immovable as though charmed to stone by the horrible fascination of the
gibbet. Far beyond and above all the tower of St. Sepulchre’s, magnified
by the morning haze, showed like a tall, transparent cloud, from which was
soon to burst the thunder-peal of doom upon the miserable man who had shed
his brother’s blood. The subdued murmur of the immense mob rose and
swelled like the hollow roar of a distant but angry sea. Here and there a
tall and burly ruffian, pre-eminent above the crowd, signaled his fellow
in the distance, or bellowed a ghastly witticism upon the coming horror
across the heads of the throng. Women—if women they are to be called, who,
like vultures to the carcass, flock to the spectacle of dying agonies—of
all ages but of one indescribably vicious and repulsive class, had pushed,
and struggled, and fought their way to an eligible point of view, where
they awaited with masculine impatience the close of the fearful drama of
which they formed so revolting a part. Children of tender age, who must
have taken up their position ere the day had dawned, and before the
arrival of the masses, made an unsightly addition to the scene. A boy of
nine, borne aloft on the shoulders of a man of sixty, who stood by my
side, expressed his uncontrollable delight at the tragedy he was about to
witness. At every window in the houses opposite, the debtors’ door, and
indeed wherever a view of the gallows could be obtained, parties of
pleasure were assembled for the recreation of the morning. The roofs, the
parapets, the protruding eaves of the shops, all were populous with life;
the very lamp-posts and projecting sign-boards were clung and clustered
over with eager beings impatient to assist in the funeral obsequies of the
victim of the law. And now a violent surging and commotion in the centre
of the living mass gives token of a fierce quarrel which has ripened to a
fight. Shrieks, yells, and cheers of encouragement issue from a hundred
throats, while a crew of tall and powerful blackguards elbow and trample
their way to the scene of action, and the glazed hats of the police are
seen converging unerringly to the disturbed spot. Then there is the
flourishing of gilded staves, the sound of sturdy blows followed by a roar
of execration, and a gory-visaged culprit is dragged forth, defrauded of
his expected banquet, and consigned to a cell in the nearest station. The
tumult has hardly subsided when another claims attention. A brace of
pickpockets, taking advantage of the fight, are caught in the too
confident exercise of their profession; and these, much easier captives
than the fighting Irishman, are led off in their turn to the same vile
durance.

By this time, weary and actually sore with the repeated violent collisions
I had undergone in sustaining my post, I was glad to make a bargain with
the man perched above me, who, for a bribe of a few pence, allowed me to
effect a footing in his front. I had scarcely accomplished this when the
church-clock in the distance rung out the quarters. The crowd, listening
for this, had been comparatively silent for the last few minutes, and the
note of the bell was acknowledged by a kind of shuddering deprecation for
silence, by the instant uncovering of innumerable heads, and the
involuntary direction of every eye toward the debtors’ door. As the fatal
hour at length pealed forth the door was slowly opened, and there came out
upon the scaffold, not the mournful death-procession which all were
awaiting with such intense interest, but its grim herald and precursor,
the crime-honored aristarch of kill-craft, the great stage-manager of the
law’s last scene, whose performances are so much relished by the mob—the
hangman, bearing the odious strand of new rope coiled upon his arm. He was
received with a low but universal hum of recognition from the vast
multitude now breathless with the exciting anticipation of what was so
soon to follow. With an apparent perfect unconsciousness of the presence
of a single spectator, he proceeded to mount to the cross-piece of the
gibbet, to which, with an air of professional dexterity, he deliberately
attached the loathsome cord, occasionally pausing and measuring with his
eye the distance to the level of the platform. During this operation he
was favored with a running fire of comments and counsels, garnished with
infernal jokes and sallies of insane humor, from the mob who stood
nearest. Having made the necessary preparations he withdrew for a few
minutes, amidst the mock cheers and congratulations of some kindred
spirits below. The awful pause which ensued was but of brief duration. Too
soon a group of dark figures slowly emerged from the open door-way, among
which I could discern the chaplain reading the burial-service, and then
the quivering criminal, his hands clasped in prayer, yet bound together in
front of his breast: he was supported by two assistants, and was already,
to all appearance, more than half dead with mortal terror. These
demonstrations of insupportable anguish on the part of the principal
performer were received with evident and audible dissatisfaction by a
large portion of the spectators of the drama. Derisive sneers on the want
of “pluck” manifested by the poor, horror-stricken wretch were expressed
in language which can not be repeated; and in many a female but unfeminine
face, hardened by embruting vice and callous to every feeling of humanity,
I read a contemptuous scorn of the timorous sufferer and a proud and
fiend-like consciousness that they themselves would have dared the dark
ordeal with less shrinking. The very boy mounted on the old man’s
shoulders at my side called his “grand-dad” to witness that “the cove as
was to be hanged wasn’t game;” a declaration which was received with a
hoarse chuckle and a corroborative verdict by the standers-by, while the
repulsive ceremony went on with fearful rapidity. In less than a minute
the light of day was shut forever from his eyes, the last prayerful
accents from human lips were dumb to his ears, and the body of the
malefactor, sinking with a sudden fall until half concealed by the level
platform, struggled in the final throes of agony for a few
moments—mercifully abbreviated, as some well-experienced amateurs at my
side plainly pointed out, by the coadjutors of the hangman pulling heavily
at the feet in the inclosure below—and then swung senseless, veering
slowly round upon the now deserted stage.

The very instant the “drop” fell, and while the short gasping cry from a
thousand lips which hailed the close of the tragedy yet rung in the air,
the scene assumed a new character: the elements of business were borne
into the arena of pleasure. Three or four nondescript specimens of the
street-orator, who were standing just beneath me, drew suddenly forth from
the depths of their long-tailed greasy coats of serge each a bundle of
damp paper, which they flourished into flags in a twinkling; and while the
death-struggle was acting before their eyes, eager to turn it to account
and to realize an honest penny, filled the air with their roaring
intonations of “the last dying speech, confession, and behavior” of the
murderer of the season. Their example was imitated by fifty others on
different parts of the ground, and the chorus of their united voices
formed but a beggarly requiem to the departing spirit. The tragedy ended,
the farce, as a matter of course, came next. The body had to remain
suspended for an hour, and during that hour amusement must be provided, at
least for that portion of the spectators who can never have enough unless
they have the whole of an entertainment. To swing a live cat from a side
avenue into the middle of the crowd; to whirl a heavy truncheon from one
broken head on a mission to another; to kick, maul, and worry some
unfortunate stray cur that has unhappily wandered from his master; to get
up a quarrel or a fight, if between women so much the better—such are some
of the time-honored diversions chosen to recreate the hour which a
sagacious legislature presumes to be spent in moral reflections upon the
enormity of crime and the certainty of its bitter punishment, in the
presence of the law-strangled dead.

I had never before seen a public execution in England, but I knew
perfectly well—as who does not know?—the feeling with which such
exhibitions are regarded by the lower orders, and I had often revolved in
my mind the probable cause of that feeling. In now witnessing thus
accidentally the whole ceremony, I thought I perceived one source of it,
and that not a trifling one, in the ceremony itself. It struck me, and I
have no doubt but others have received the same impression, that with all
the actual horrors of the dismal process, in addition to a great deal that
is disgusting, there is a great deal more that is essentially though
horribly ridiculous in our national legal method of public killing. The
idea of tying a man’s hands, of drawing over his face a white night-cap,
through which his features yet remain dimly legible, and then hanging him
up in the air is manifestly a ridiculous idea—and connect it with what
dreadful realities we may, the sense of the comic or absurd will
predominate in the minds of the populace, ever alive to the appreciation
of the preposterous or the discrepant, and never willingly disposed to
serious reflection. The vagabond kennel-raker, the nomadic coster, the
houseless thief, the man of the lowest order of intellect or of morals,
sees the majesty of the law descending to the punch-and-judy level, and
getting rid of its criminals by the same process as the hunch-backed
worthy adopts to get rid of his tormentor—and being accustomed from his
infancy to laugh heartily at the latter exhibition, he is not likely to
retain for any length of time a grave demeanor in presence of the former
one. A flogging in the army is allowed by all unfortunate enough to have
witnessed it to be a far more impressive spectacle than a hanging at the
Old Bailey. Strong men are known to faint at the sight of the one, while
boys and women find amusement in the other. If the object of either
exhibition be to deter the spectators from offending against the laws, why
is the discrepancy between the effects of the two all on the wrong side?
unless it be that the one exhibits the semblance at least of Justice
vindicating her violated authority with a deserved though terrible measure
of severity, while the other comes into view as a mere hasty and bungling
business of killing, the vulgar and beggarly details of which it is
impossible to connect in imagination with her divine attributes.

Some years before, I had witnessed in Paris the execution of two men for
assassination. The crowd on that occasion, in the Place de Grève, was as
great as now in the Old Bailey; but their decorum, I am bound to state,
was infinitely greater. I can only account for this difference in favor of
a population among whom human life is at a far greater discount than it is
with us, from the fact that among the French a public execution is a much
more impressive spectacle than it can be made to be in England. The
guillotine bears a higher character, perhaps, because it wears a more
serious and terrible aspect than the gallows; and the functionary who
controls its avenging blade does not, as with us, bear a name the synonym
of all that is loathsome and repulsive. It is the same class of men and
the same order of minds that flock together to gaze at public executions
wherever they take place; but I question whether, in any other country
than England, a class of traders could be found corresponding with our
hawkers and bawlers of last dying speeches, who congregate with their
lying wares around the foot of the gallows, watchfully waiting for the
commencement of the death-struggle, to them the signal of commerce, and
then at the precise moment of horror, unanimously exploding from their
hoarse throats “a full, true, and particular account, for the small charge
of one half-penny.” The meanest mud-lark in all Gaul, the infamous and
mal-odorous _chiffonier_ of Paris, would recoil with disgust from such a
species of traffic, the prevalence and prosperity of which at such a time
among the lowest orders of London, testify perhaps more than any other
single fact to the degraded state of the popular feeling in reference to
death-punishment by the hands of the hangman.

Second, to the influence of the hangman, and the scene in which he figures
in the production of a degrading and disgraceful estimate of the terrible
solemnities of justice, is that of the press. What the Old Bailey or the
Horsemonger-lane exhibition is to the uneducated spectator, the
broad-sheet is to the uneducated reader; and it requires no great
discrimination to recognize in the publication of every minute particular
of deeds of violence and bloodshed, looking to the avidity with which such
details are seized upon by the public, one of the most fruitful sources of
demoralization and crime. The wretched criminal whose language, looks, and
deportment are chronicled as matters of general importance, becomes first
an object of interest, then an idol to those of his own class. If, as we
know to be the case, men are led by the force of example to the commission
of suicide, why not of any other species of crime? If a fashion may spring
up, and prevail for a time, of leaping headlong from the top of a monument
or the parapet of a bridge through the publicity given to such acts by
means of the press, how shall the exploits of the felon or the assassin
escape imitation when made the subjects of a far more extensive and
pertinacious publicity, and paraded as they are before the world with all
the importance they can be made to assume? There can be no question but
that this practice of pandering to a morbid taste for a detestable species
of excitement results largely in engendering the very crimes which certain
public writers find it so profitable to detail at such length. The
performer on the Old Bailey stage becomes a veritable hero in the eyes of
the mob of readers for whose especial delectation his history is
periodically dished up, and they gloat over the recital of his acts with a
relish and a gusto which no other species of literature can awaken. So
great, indeed, of late years, has grown the appetite for violence and
villainy of all kinds, that our romance-writers have generously stepped
forward to supplement the exertions of the last-dying-speech patterer, as
a pendant to whose flimsy damp sheets they supply a still more “full,
true, and particular account” in the form of three volumes post octavo.
Thus, besides the certainty of being hanged in the presence of ten or
twenty thousand admiring spectators, the daring and darling desperado who
“dies game” stands the enviable chance of becoming a literary property in
the hands of one of those gentlemen, and of running a second course, in
half-calf and lettered, to interest and instruct that very community whom
it was his life-long occupation to rob, to plunder, or to slay.

Pondering such discursive philosophy as this in my mind, I stood still on
my three-penny eminence until the crowd had sufficiently cleared away to
allow me to retrace my steps as far as Ludgate-hill without inconvenience.
Then, having no great relish for the cadaverous jocularity which generally
characterizes the scene of an execution during the removal of the body of
the malefactor, I descended and turned my back upon the ignominious
spectacle, with a feeling of disgust for the multitude of my fellows who
could find recreation in the elements of cruelty and horror, and with
anger and vexation at myself for having added one to their number.



WHAT TO DO IN THE MEAN TIME?


It has been frequently remarked by a philosopher of our acquaintance,
whose only fault is impracticability, that in life there is but one real
difficulty: this is simply—what to do in the mean time? The thesis
requires no demonstration. It comes home to the experience of every man
who hears it uttered. From the chimney-pots to the cellars of society,
great and small, scholars and clowns, all classes of struggling humanity
are painfully alive to its truth.

The men to whom the question is pre-eminently embarrassing are those who
have either pecuniary expectancies, or possess talents of some particular
kind, on whose recognition by others their material prosperity depends. It
may be laid down as a general axiom in such cases, that the worst thing a
man can do is to _wait_, and the best thing he can do is to _work_; that
is to say, that in nine cases out of ten, doing something has a great
advantage over doing nothing. Such an assertion would appear a mere
obvious truism, and one requiring neither proof nor illustration, were it
not grievously palpable to the student of the great book of life—the
unwritten biographical dictionary—of the world—that an opposite system is
too often preferred and adopted by the unfortunate victims of this
“condition-of-every-body question,” so clearly proposed, and in countless
instances so inefficiently and indefinitely answered.

To multiply dismal examples of such sad cases of people ruined, starved,
and in a variety of ways fearfully embarrassed and tormented during the
process of expectation, by the policy of cowardly sloth or feeble
hesitation, might, indeed, “point a moral,” but would scarcely “adorn a
tale.” It is doubtless an advantage to know how to avoid errors, but it is
decidedly a much greater advantage to learn practical truth. We shall
therefore leave the dark side of the argument with full confidence to the
memories, experience, and imaginations of our readers, and dwell rather—as
both a more salutary and interesting consideration—on the brighter side,
in cases of successful repartee to the grand query, which our limited
personal observation has enabled us to collect. Besides, there is nothing
attractive or exciting about intellectual inertia. The contrast between
active resistance and passive endurance is that between a machine at rest
and a machine in motion. Who that has visited the Great Exhibition can
have failed to remark the difference of interest aroused in the two cases?
What else causes the perambulating dealers in artificial spiders suspended
from threads to command so great a patronage from the juvenile population
of Paris and London? What else constitutes the superiority of an
advertising-van over a stationary poster? What sells Alexandre Dumas’s
novels, and makes a balloon ascent such a favorite spectacle? “Work, man!”
said the philosopher: “hast thou not all eternity to rest in?” And to
_work_, according to Mill’s “Political Economy,” is to _move_; therefore
perpetual motion is the great ideal problem of mechanicians.

The first case in our museum is that of a German officer. He was sent to
the coast of Africa on an exploring expedition, through the agency of the
_parti prêtre_, or Jesuit party in France, with whose machinations against
Louis Philippe’s government he had become accidentally acquainted. The
Jesuits, finding him opposed to their plans, determined to remove him from
the scene of action. In consequence of this determination, it so happened
that the captain of the vessel in which he went out, set sail one fine
morning, leaving our friend on shore to the society and care of the native
negro population. His black acquaintances for some time treated him with
marked civility; but as the return of the ship became more and more
problematical, familiarity began to breed its usual progeny, and the
unhappy German found himself in a most painful position. Hitherto he had
not been treated with actual disrespect; but when King Bocca-Bocca one day
cut him in the most unequivocal manner, he found himself so utterly
neglected, that the sensation of being a nobody—a nobody, too, among
niggers!—for the moment completely overcame him. A feeble ray of hope was
excited shortly afterward in his despondent heart by a hint gathered from
the signs made by the negro in whose hut he lived, that a project was
entertained in high quarters of giving him a coat of lamp-black, and
selling him as a slave; but this idea was abandoned by its originators,
possibly for want of opportunity to carry it out. Now our adventurer had
observed that so long as he had a charge of gunpowder left to give away,
the black men had almost worshiped him as an incarnation of the
Mumbo-Jumbo adored by their fathers. Reflecting on this, it occurred to
him that if, by any possibility, he could contrive to manufacture a fresh
supply of the valued commodity, his fortunes would be comparatively
secure.

No sooner had this idea arisen in his brain, than, with prodigious
perseverance, he proceeded to work toward its realization. The worst of it
was, that he knew the native names neither of charcoal, sulphur, nor
nitre. No matter; his stern volition was proof against all difficulties.
Having once conveyed his design to the negroes, he found them eager to
assist him, though, as difficulty after difficulty arose, it required all
the confidence of courage and hopeful energy to control their savage
impatience. The first batch was a failure, and it was only by pretending
that it was yet unfinished he was enabled to try a second, in which he
triumphed over all obstacles. When the negroes had really loaded their
muskets with his powder, and fired them off in celebration of the event,
they indeed revered the stranger as a superior and marvelous being. For
nearly eighteen months the German remained on the coast. It was a port
rarely visited, and the negroes would not allow him to make any attempt to
travel to a more frequented place. Thus he continued to make gunpowder for
his barbarous friends, and to live, according to their notions, “like a
prince;” for to do King Bocca-Bocca justice, when he learned our friend’s
value, he treated him like a man and a brother. What might have been his
fate had he awaited in idle despondency the arrival of a vessel? As it
was, the negroes crowded the beach, and fired off repeated salvos at his
departure. Doubtless his name will descend through many a dusky generation
as the teacher of that art which they still practice, carrying on a
lucrative commerce in gunpowder with the neighboring tribes. A small
square chest of gold-dust, which the escaped victim of Jesuit fraud
brought back to Europe, was no inappropriate proof of the policy of doing
something “in the mean time,” while waiting, however anxiously, to do
something else.

We knew another case in point, also connected with the late king of the
French. M. de G—— was, on the downfall of that monarch, in possession of a
very handsome pension for past services. The revolution came, and his
pension was suspended. His wife was a woman of energy: she saw that the
pension might be recovered by making proper representations in the right
quarters; but she, also, saw that ruinous embarrassment and debt might
accrue in the interim. Her house was handsomely furnished—she had been
brought up in the lap of wealth and luxury. She did not hesitate; she
turned her house into a lodging-house, sank the pride of rank, attended to
all the duties of such a station, and—what was the result? When, at the
end of three years, M. de G—— recovered his pension, he owed nobody a
farthing, and the arrears sufficed to dower one of his daughters about to
marry a gentleman of large fortune, who had become acquainted with her by
lodging in their house. Madame de G——’s fashionable friends thought her
conduct very shocking. But what might have become of the family in three
years of petitioning?

Again: one of our most intimate acquaintance was an English gentleman,
who, having left the army at the instance of a rich father-in-law, had the
misfortune subsequently to offend the irascible old gentleman so utterly,
that the latter suddenly withdrew his allowance of £1000 per annum, and
left our friend to shift for himself. His own means, never very great,
were entirely exhausted. He knew too well the impracticable temper of his
father-in-law to waste time in attempting to soften him. He also knew that
by his wife’s settlement he should be rich at the death of the old man,
who had already passed his seventieth year. He could not borrow money, for
he had been severely wounded in Syria, and the insurance-offices refused
him: but he felt a spring of life and youth within him that mocked their
calculations. He took things cheerfully, and resolved to work for his
living. He answered unnumbered advertisements, and made incessant
applications for all sorts of situations. At length matters came to a
crisis: his money was nearly gone; time pressed; his wife and child must
be supported. A seat—not in parliament, but on the box of an omnibus, was
offered him. He accepted it. The pay was equivalent to three guineas a
week. It was hard work, but he stuck to it manfully. Not unfrequently it
was his lot to drive gentlemen who had dined at his table, and drunk his
wine in former days. He never blushed at their recognition; he thought
working easier than begging. For nearly ten years he endured all the ups
and downs of omnibus life. At last, the tough old father-in-law, who
during the whole interval had never relented, died; and our hero came into
the possession of some £1500 a year, which he enjoys at this present
moment. Suppose he had borrowed and drawn bills instead of working during
those ten years, as many have done who had expectancies before them, where
would he have been on his exit from the Queen’s Bench at the expiration of
the period? In the hands of the Philistines, or of the Jews?

Our next specimen is that of a now successful author, who, owing to the
peculiarity of his style, fell, notwithstanding a rather dashing _début_,
into great difficulty and distress. His family withdrew all support,
because he abandoned the more regular prospects of the legal profession
for the more ambitious but less certain career of literature. He felt that
he had the stuff in him to make a popular writer; but he was also
compelled to admit that popularity was not in his case to be the work of a
day. The _res angustæ domi_ grew closer and closer; and though not
objecting to dispense with the supposed necessity of dining, he felt that
bread and cheese, in the literal acceptation of the term, were really
indispensable to existence. Hence, one day, he invested his solitary
half-crown in the printing of a hundred cards, announcing that at the
“Classical and Commercial Day-school of Mr. ——, &c., Young Gentlemen were
instructed in all the Branches, &c., for the moderate sum of Two Shillings
weekly.” These cards he distributed by the agency of the milkman in the
suburban and somewhat poor neighborhood, in which he occupied a couple of
rooms at the moderate rent of 7_s._ weekly. It was not long before a few
pupils made, one by one, their appearance at the would-be pedagogue’s. As
they were mostly the sons of petty tradesmen round about, he raised no
objection to taking out their schooling in kind, and by this means earned
at least a subsistence till more prosperous times arrived, and publishers
discovered his latent merits. But for this device, he might not improbably
have shared the fate of Chatterton and others, less unscrupulous as to a
resource for the “mean time”—that rock on which so many an embryo genius
founders.

The misfortune of our next case was, not that _he_ abandoned the law, but
that the law abandoned _him_. He was a solicitor in a country town, where
the people were either so little inclined to litigation, or so happy in
not finding cause for it, that he failed from sheer want of clients, and,
as a natural consequence, betook himself to the metropolis—that Mecca
_cum_ Medina of all desperate pilgrims in search of fickle Fortune. There
his only available friend was a pastry-cook in a large way of business. It
so happened that the man of tarts and jellies was precisely at that epoch
in want of a foreman and book-keeper, his last prime-minister having
emigrated to America with a view to a more independent career. Our
ex-lawyer, feeling the consumption of tarts to be more immediately certain
than the demand for writs, proposed, to his friend’s amazement, for the
vacant post; and so well did he fill it, that in a few years he had saved
enough of money to start again in his old profession. The pastry-cook and
his friends became clients, and he is at present a thriving attorney in
Lincoln’s Inn, none the worse a lawyer for a practical knowledge of the
_pâtés_ filled by those oysters whose shells are the proverbial heritage
of his patrons.

A still more singular resource was that of a young gentleman, of no
particular profession, who, having disposed somehow or other in
nonprofitable speculations, of a very moderate inheritance, found himself
what is technically termed “on his beam-ends;” so much so, indeed, that
his condition gradually came to verge on positive destitution; and he sat
disconsolately in a little garret one morning, quite at his wits’ end for
the means of contriving what Goethe facetiously called “the delightful
habit of existing.” Turning over his scanty remains of clothes and other
possessions, in the vain hope of lighting upon something of a marketable
character, he suddenly took up a sheet of card-board which in happier days
he had destined for the sketches at which he was an indifferent adept. He
had evidently formed a plan, however absurd: that was plain from the odd
smile which irradiated his features. He descended the stairs to borrow of
his landlady—what? A shilling?—By no means. A needle and thread, and a
pair of scissors. Then he took out his box of water-colors and set to
work. To design a picture?—Not a bit of it; to make dancing-dolls!—Yes,
the man without a profession had found a trade. By the time it was dusk he
had made several figures with movable legs and arms: one bore a rude
resemblance to Napoleon; another, with scarcely excusable license,
represented the Pope; a third held the very devil up to ridicule; and a
fourth bore a hideous resemblance to the grim King of Terrors himself!
They were but rude productions as works of art; but there was a spirit and
expression about them that toyshops rarely exhibit. The ingenious
manufacturer then sallied forth with his merchandise. Within an hour
afterward he might have been seen driving a bargain with a vagrant dealer
in “odd notions,” as the Yankees would call them. It is unnecessary to
pursue our artist through all his industrial progress. Enough that he is
now one of the most successful theatrical machinists, and in the
possession of a wife, a house, and a comfortable income. He, too, had
prospects, and he still has them—as far off as ever. Fortunately for him,
he “prospected” on his own account, and found a “diggin’.”

“There is always something to be done, if people will only set about
finding it out, and the chances are ever in favor of activity. Whatever
brings a man in contact with his fellows may lead to fortune. Every day
brings new opportunities to the social worker; and no man, if he has once
seriously considered the subject, need ever be at a loss as to what to do
in the mean time. Volition is primitive motion, and where there is a will
there is a way.”



THE LOST AGES.


My friends, have you read Elia? If so, follow me, walking in the shadow of
his mild presence, while I recount to you my vision of the Lost Ages. I am
neither single nor unblessed with offspring, yet, like Charles Lamb, I
have had my “dream children.” Years have flown over me since I stood a
bride at the altar. My eyes are dim and failing, and my hairs are
silver-white. My real children of flesh and blood have become substantial
men and women, carving their own fortunes, and catering for their own
tastes in the matter of wives and husbands, leaving their old mother, as
nature ordereth, to the stillness and repose fitted for her years.
Understand, this is not meant to imply that the fosterer of their
babyhood, the instructor of their childhood, the guide of their youth is
forsaken or neglected by those who have sprang up to maturity beneath her
eye. No; I am blessed in my children. Living apart, I yet see them often;
their joys, their cares are mine. Not a Sabbath dawns but it finds me in
the midst of them; not a holiday or a festival of any kind is noted in the
calendar of their lives, but grand-mamma is the first to be sent for.
Still, of necessity, I pass much of my time alone; and old age is given to
reverie quite as much as youth. I can remember a time—long, long ago—when
in the twilight of a summer evening it was a luxury to sit apart, with
closed eyes; and, heedless of the talk that went on in the social circle
from which I was withdrawn, indulge in all sorts of fanciful visions. Then
my dream-people were all full-grown men and women. I do not recollect that
I ever thought about children until I possessed some of my own. Those
waking visions were very sweet—sweeter than the realities of life that
followed; but they were neither half so curious nor half so wonderful as
the dreams that sometimes haunt me now. The imagination of the old is not
less lively than that of the young: it is only less original. A youthful
fancy will create more new images; the mind of age requires materials to
build with: these supplied, the combinations it is capable of forming are
endless. And so were born my dream-children.

Has it never occurred to you, mothers and fathers, to wonder what has
become of your children’s lost ages? Look at your little boy of five years
old. Is he at all, in any respect, the same breathing creature that you
beheld three years back? I think not. Whither, then, has the sprite
vanished? In some hidden fairy nook, in some mysterious cloud-land he must
exist still. Again, in your slim-formed girl of eight years, you look in
vain for the sturdy elf of five. Gone? No; that can not be—“a thing of
beauty is a joy forever.” Close your eyes: you have her there! A
breeze-like, sportive buoyant thing; a thing of breathing, laughing,
unmistakable life; she is mirrored on your retina as plainly as ever was
dancing sunbeam on a brook. The very trick of her lip—of her eye; the
mischief-smile, the sidelong saucy glance,


                “That seems to say,
    ‘I know you love me, Mr. Grey:’ ”


is it not traced there—all, every line, as clear as when it brightened the
atmosphere about you in the days that are no more? To be sure it is; and
being so, the thing must exist—somewhere.

I never was more fully possessed with this conviction than once during the
winter of last year. It was Christmas-eve. I was sitting alone, in my old
arm-chair, and had been looking forward to the fast-coming festival day
with many mingled thoughts—some tender, but regretful; others hopeful yet
sad; some serious, and even solemn. As I laid my head back and sat thus
with closed eyes, listening to the church-clock as it struck the hour, I
could not but feel that I was passing—very slowly and gently it is
true—toward a time when the closing of the grave would shut out even that
sound so familiar to my ear; and when other and more precious sounds of
life—human voices, dearer than all else, would cease to have any meanings
for me—and even their very echoes be hushed in the silence of the one long
sleep. Following the train of association, it was natural that I should
recur to the hour when that same church’s bells had chimed my
wedding-peal. I seemed to hear their music once again; and other music
sweeter still—the music of young vows that “that kept the word of promise
to the ear, and broke it” _not_ “to the hope.” Next in succession came the
recollection of my children. I seemed to lose sight of their present
identity, and to be carried away in thought to times and scenes far back
in my long-departed youth, when they were growing up around my
knees—beautiful forms of all ages, from the tender nursling of a single
year springing with outstretched arms into my bosom, to the somewhat rough
but ingenuous boy of ten. As my inner eye traced their different outlines,
and followed them in their graceful growth from year to year, my heart was
seized with a sudden and irresistible longing to hold fast those beloved
but passing images of the brain. What joy, I thought, would it be, to
transfix the matchless beauty which had wrought itself thus into the
visions of my old age! to preserve, forever, unchanging, every varied
phase of that material but marvelous structure, which the glorious human
soul had animated and informed through all its progressive stages from the
child to the man.

Scarcely was the thought framed when a dull, heavy weight seemed to press
upon my closed eyelids. I now saw more clearly even than before my
children’s images in the different stages of their being. But I saw these,
and these alone, as they stood rooted to the ground, with a stony
fixedness in their eyes: every other object grew dim before me. The living
faces and full-grown forms which until now had mingled with and played
their part among my younger phantoms altogether disappeared. I had no
longer any eyes, any soul, but for this my new spectre-world. Life, and
the things of life, had lost their interest; and I knew of nothing,
conceived of nothing, but those still, inanimate forms from which the
informing soul had long since passed away.

And now that the longing of my heart was answered, was I satisfied? For a
time I gazed, and drew a deep delight from the gratification of my vain
and impious craving. But at length the still, cold presence of forms no
longer of this earth began to oppress me. I grew cold and numb beneath
their moveless aspect; and constant gazing upon eyes lighted up by no
varying expression, pressed upon my tired senses with a more than
nightmare weight. I felt a sort of dull stagnation through every limb,
which held me bound where I sat, pulseless and moveless as the phantoms on
which I gazed.

As I wrestled with the feeling that oppressed me, striving in vain to
break the bonds of that strange fascination, under the pressure of which I
surely felt that I must perish—a soft voice, proceeding from whence I knew
not, broke upon my ear. “You have your desire,” it said gently; “why,
then, struggle thus? Why writhe under the magic of that joy you have
yourself called up? Are they not here before you, the Lost Ages whose
beauty and whose grace you would perpetuate? What would you more? O
mortal!”

“But these forms have no life,” I gasped; “no pulsating, breathing soul!”

“No,” replied the same still, soft voice; “these forms belong to the
things of the past. In God’s good time they breathed the breath of life;
they had _then_ a being and a purpose on this earth. Their day has
departed—their work is done.”

So saying, the voice grew still: the leaden weight which had pressed upon
my eyelids was lifted off: I awoke.

Filled with reveries of the past—my eyes closed to every thing
without—sleep had indeed overtaken me as I sat listening to the old
church-clock. But my vision was not all a vision: my dream-children came
not without their teaching. If they had been called up in folly, yet in
their going did they leave behind a lesson of wisdom.

The morning dawned—the blessed Christmas-morning! With it came my good and
dutiful, my real life-children. When they were all assembled round me, and
when, subdued and thoughtful beneath the tender and gracious associations
of the day, each in turn ministered, reverently and lovingly, to the old
mother’s need of body and of soul, my heart was melted within me. Blessed,
indeed, was I in a lot full to overflowing of all the good gifts which a
wise and merciful Maker could lavish upon his erring and craving creature.
I stood reproved. I felt humbled to think that I should ever for a moment
have indulged one idle or restless longing for the restoration of that
past which had done its appointed work, and out of which so gracious a
present had arisen. One idea impressed me strongly: I could not but feel
that had the craving of my soul been answered in reality, as my dream had
foreshadowed; and had the wise and beneficent order of nature been
disturbed and distorted from its just relations, how fearful would have
been the result! Here, in my green old age, I stood among a new
generation, honored for what I was, beloved for what I had been. What if,
at some mortal wish in some freak of nature, the form which I now bore
were forever to remain before the eyes of my children! Were such a thing
to befall, how would their souls ever be lifted upward to the
contemplation of that higher state of being into which it is my hope soon
to pass when the hand which guided me hither shall beckon me hence? At the
thought my heart was chastened. Never since that night have I indulged in
any one wish framed in opposition to nature’s laws. _Now_ I find my
dream-children in the present; and to the past I yield willingly all
things which are its own—among the rest, the Lost Ages.



BLIGHTED FLOWERS.


The facts of the following brief narrative, which are very few, and of but
melancholy interest, became known to me in the precise order in which they
are laid before the reader. They were forced upon my observation rather
than sought out by me; and they present, to my mind at least, a touching
picture of the bitter conflict industrious poverty is sometimes called
upon to wage with “the thousand natural shocks which flesh is heir to.”

It must be now eight or nine years since, in traversing a certain street,
which runs for nearly half a mile in direct line southward, I first
encountered Ellen ——. She was then a fair young girl of seventeen, rather
above the middle size, and with a queen-like air and gait, which made her
appear taller than she really was. Her countenance, pale but healthy and
of a perfectly regular and classic mould, was charming to look upon from
its undefinable expression of lovableness and sweet temper. Her tiny feet
tripped noiselessly along the pavement, and a glance from her black eye
sometimes met mine like a ray of light, as, punctually at twenty minutes
to nine, we passed each other near —— House, each of us on our way to the
theatre of our daily operations. She was an embroideress, as I soon
discovered from a small stretching-frame, containing some unfinished work,
which she occasionally carried in her hand. She set me a worthy example of
punctuality, and I could any day have told the time to a minute without
looking at my watch, by marking the spot where we passed each other. I
learned to look for her regularly, and before I knew her name, had given
her that of “Minerva,” in acknowledgment of her efficiency as a mentor.

A year after the commencement of our acquaintance, which never ripened
into speech, happening to set out from home one morning a quarter of an
hour before my usual time, I made the pleasing discovery that my juvenile
Minerva had a younger sister, if possible still more beautiful than
herself. The pair were taking an affectionate leave of each other at the
crossing of the New Road, and the silver accents of the younger as kissing
her sister, she laughed out, “Good-by, Ellen,” gave me the first
information of the real name of my pretty mentor. The little Mary—for so
was the younger called, who could not be more than eleven years of age—was
a slender, frolicsome sylph, with a skin of the purest carnation, and a
face like that of Sir Joshua’s seraph in the National Gallery, but with
larger orbs and longer lashes shading them. As she danced and leaped
before me on her way home again, I could not but admire the natural ease
and grace of every motion, nor fail to comprehend and sympathize with the
anxious looks of the sisters’ only parent, their widowed mother, who stood
watching the return of the younger darling at the door of a very humble
two-storied dwelling, in the vicinity of the New River Head.

Nearly two years passed away, during which, with the exception of Sundays
and holidays, every recurring morning brought me the grateful though
momentary vision of one or both of the charming sisters. Then came an
additional pleasure—I met them both together every day. The younger had
commenced practicing the same delicate and ingenious craft of embroidery,
and the two pursued their industry in company under the same employer. It
was amusing to mark the demure assumption of womanhood darkening the brows
of the aerial little sprite, as, with all the new-born consequence of
responsibility, she walked soberly by her sister’s side, frame in hand,
and occasionally revealed to passers-by a brief glimpse of her
many-colored handiwork. They were the very picture of beauty and
happiness, and happy beyond question must their innocent lives have been
for many pleasant months. But soon the shadows of care began to steal over
their hitherto joyous faces, and traces of anxiety, perhaps of tears, to
be too plainly visible on their paling cheeks. All at once I missed them
in my morning’s walk, and for several days—it might be weeks—saw nothing
of them. I was at length startled from my forgetfulness of their very
existence by the sudden apparition of both, one Monday morning, clad in
the deepest mourning. I saw the truth at once: the mother, who, I had
remarked, was prematurely old and feeble, was gone, and the two orphan
children were left to battle it with the world. My conjecture was the
truth, as a neighbor of whom I made some inquiries on the subject was not
slow to inform me. “ Ah, sir,” said the good woman, “poor Mrs. D—— have
had a hard time of it, and she born an’ bred a gentleooman.”

I asked her if the daughters were provided for.

“Indeed, sir,” continued my informant, “I’m afeard not. ’Twas the most
unfortunatest thing in the world, sir, poor Mr. D——’s dying jest as a’
did. You see, sir, he war a soldier, a-fightin’ out in Indy, and his poor
wife lef at home wi’ them two blossoms o’ gals. He warn’t what you call a
common soldier, sir, but some kind o’ officer like; an’ in some great
battle fought seven year agone he done fine service I’ve heerd, and
promotion was sent out to un’, but didn’t get there till the poor man was
dead of his wounds. The news of he’s death cut up his poor wife complete,
and she ban’t been herself since. I’ve know’d she wasn’t long for here
ever since it come. Wust of all, it seems that because the poor man was
dead the very day the promotion reached ’un, a’ didn’t die a captain after
all, and so the poor widder didn’t get no pension. How they’ve managed to
live is more than I can tell. The oldest gal is very clever, they say; but
Lor’ bless ’ee! ’taint much to s’port three as is to be got out o’
broiderin’.”

Thus enlightened on the subject of their private history, it was with very
different feelings I afterward regarded these unfortunate children. Bereft
of both parents, and cast upon a world with the ways of which they were
utterly unacquainted, and in which they might be doomed to the most
painful struggles even to procure a bare subsistence, one treasure was yet
left them—it was the treasure of each other’s love. So far as the depth of
this feeling could be estimated from the looks and actions of both, it was
all in all to each. But the sacred bond that bound them was destined to be
rudely rent asunder. The cold winds of autumn began to visit too roughly
the fair pale face of the younger girl, and the unmistakable indications
of consumption made their appearance: the harassing cough, the hectic
cheek, the deep-settled pain in the side, the failing breath. Against
these dread forerunners it was vain long to contend; and the poor child
had to remain at home in her solitary sick chamber, while the loving
sister toiled—harder than ever to provide, if possible, the means of
comfort and restoration to health. All the world knows the ending of such
a hopeless strife as this. It is sometimes the will of Heaven, that the
path of virtue, like that of glory, leads but to the grave. So it was in
the present instance: the blossom of this fair young life withered away,
and the grass-fringed lips of the child’s early tomb closed over the
lifeless relics ere spring had dawned upon the year.

Sorrow had graven legible traces upon the brow of my hapless mentor when I
saw her again. How different now was the vision that greeted my daily
sight from that of former years! The want that admits not of idle wailing
compelled her still to pursue her daily course of labor, and she pursued
it with the same constancy and punctuality as she had ever done. But the
exquisitely chiseled face, the majestic gait, the elastic step—the beauty
and glory of youth, unshaken because unassaulted by death and sorrow—where
were they? Alas! all the bewitching charms of her former being had gone
down into the grave of her mother and sister; and she, their support and
idol, seemed no more now than she really was—a wayworn, solitary, and
isolated struggler for daily bread.

Were this a fiction that I am writing, it would be an easy matter to deal
out a measure of poetical justice, and to recompense poor Ellen for all
her industry, self-denial, and suffering in the arms of a husband, who
should possess as many and great virtues as herself, and an ample fortune
to boot. I wish with all my heart that it were a fiction, and that
Providence had never furnished me with such a seeming anomaly to add to
the list of my desultory chronicles. But I am telling a true story of a
life. Ellen found no mate. No mate, did I say? Yes, one: the same grim
yoke-fellow, whose delight it is “to gather roses in the spring,” paid
ghastly court to her faded charms, and won her—who shall say an unwilling
bride? I could see his gradual but deadly advances in my daily walks: the
same indications that gave warning of the sister’s fate admonished me that
she also was on her way to the tomb, and that the place that had known her
would soon know her no more. She grew day by day more feeble; and one
morning I found her seated on the step of a door, unable to proceed. After
that she disappeared from my view; and though I never saw her again at the
old spot, I have seldom passed that spot since, though for many years
following the same route, without recognizing again in my mind’s eye the
graceful form and angel aspect of Ellen D——.

“And is this the end of your mournful history?” some querulous reader
demands. Not quite. There is a soul of good in things evil. Compassion
dwells with the depths of misery; and in the valley of the shadow of death
dove-eyed Charity walks with shining wings.... It was nearly two months
after I had lost sight of poor Ellen, that during one of my dinner-hour
perambulations about town, I looked in, almost accidentally, upon my old
friend and chum, Jack W——. Jack keeps a perfumer’s shop not a hundred
miles from Gray’s Inn, where, ensconced up to his eyes in delicate odors,
he passes his leisure hours—the hours when commerce flags, and people have
more pressing affairs to attend to than the delectation of their
nostrils—in the enthusiastic study of art and _virtu_. His shop is hardly
more crammed with bottles and attar, soap, scents, and all the _et
ceteras_ of the toilet, than the rest of his house with prints, pictures,
carvings, and curiosities of every sort. Jack and I went to school
together, and sowed our slender crop of wild-oats together; and, indeed,
in some sort, have been together ever since. We both have our own
collections of rarities; such as they are, and each criticises the other’s
new purchases. On the present occasion, there was a new Van Somebody’s old
painting awaiting my judgment; and no sooner did my shadow darken his
door, than, starting from his lair, and bidding the boy ring the bell,
should he be wanted, he bustled me up-stairs calling by the way to his
housekeeper, Mrs. Jones—Jack is a bachelor—to bring up coffee for two. I
was prepared to pronounce my dictum on his newly-acquired treasure, and
was going to bounce unceremoniously into the old lumber-room over the
lobby to regale my sight with the delightful confusion of his unarranged
accumulations, when he pulled me forcibly back by the coat-tail. “Not
there,” said Jack; “you can’t go there. Go into my snuggery.”

“And why not there?” said I, jealous of some new purchase which I was not
to see.

“Because there’s some body ill there; it is a bed-room now; a poor girl;
she wanted a place to die in, poor thing, and I put her in there.”

“Who is she?—a relative?”

“No; I never saw her till Monday last. Sit down, I’ll tell you how it was.
Set down the coffee, Mrs. Jones, and just look in upon the patient, will
you? Sugar and cream? You know my weakness for the dead-wall in
Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields.” (Jack never refuses a beggar backed by that wall,
for the love of Ben Jonson, who, he devoutly believes, had a hand in
building it.) “Well, I met with her there on Monday last. She asked for
nothing, but held out her hand, and as she did so the tears streamed from
her eyes on the pavement. The poor creature, it was plain enough, was then
dying; and I told her so. She said she knew it, but had no place to die in
but the parish workhouse, and hoped that I would not send her there.
What’s the use of talking? I brought her here, and put her to sleep on the
sofa while Jones cleared out the lumber-room and got up a bed. I sent for
Dr. H—— to look at her; he gave her a week or ten days at the farthest: I
don’t think she’ll last so long. The curate of St. —— comes every day to
see her, and I like to talk to her myself sometimes. Well, Mrs. Jones, how
goes she on?”

“She’s asleep,” said the housekeeper. “Would you like to look at her,
gentlemen?”

We entered the room together. It was as if some unaccountable presentiment
had forewarned me: there, upon a snow-white sheet, and pillowed by my
friend’s favorite eider-down squab, lay the wasted form of Ellen D——. She
slept soundly and breathed loudly; and Dr. H——, who entered while we stood
at the bedside, informed us that in all probability she would awake only
to die, or if to sleep again, then to wake no more. The latter was the
true prophecy. She awoke an hour or two after my departure, and passed
away that same night in a quiet slumber without a pang.

I never learned by what chain of circumstances she was driven to seek alms
in the public streets. I might have done so, perhaps, by inquiry, but to
what purpose? She died in peace, with friendly hands and friendly hearts
near her, and Jack buried her in his own grave in Highgate Cemetery, at
his own expense; and declares he is none the worse for it. I am of his
opinion.



MONTHLY RECORD OF CURRENT EVENTS.



United States.


The past month has not been marked by any domestic event of interest or
importance. The principal topic of public discussion has been the
character of Kossuth and of the cause he represents. Public opinion is
divided as to the propriety of acceding to his request that this country
should take an active part in the struggles of Europe; and somewhat, also,
as to the rightfulness of his claim to be regarded as still the Governor
of Hungary. But there is no difference of opinion as to the wonderful
ability which his speeches display. Kossuth has continued his progress
Westward, and at the time of closing this Record is at Cincinnati. He
visited Pittsburgh, Harrisburgh, Cleveland and Columbus, on his way, and
was received at each place with marked demonstrations of respect and
confidence. Large sums of money have also been contributed in each, in aid
of his cause. He has publicly declined to receive any more public
entertainments of any sort, on the ground that they involve a wasteful
expenditure of money and lead to no good result

Whatever funds any town, or any individuals may be inclined to devote to
him, he desires should be contributed to the cause and not expended in any
demonstrations of which he may be the object. His speeches have been
devoted to an exposition of his wishes and sentiments, and all bear marks
of that fertility of thought and expression which has excited such general
admiration.

A very warm discussion, meantime, has sprung up among the exiled Hungarian
leaders, of the merits of the cause and of Kossuth. Prince Esterhazy, at
one time a member of the Hungarian ministry, a nobleman possessed of large
domains in Hungary, first published a letter, dated Vienna, November 13,
in which he threw upon the movement of 1848 the reproach of having been
not only injurious to the country, but unjust and revolutionary. He
vindicated the cause of the Austrian government throughout, and reproached
Kossuth and those associated with him in the Hungarian contest with having
sacrificed one of Kossuth’s Ministers, and a refugee with him the
interests of their country to personal purposes and unworthy ends. Count
Casimir Batthyani, also in Turkey, now resident in Paris, soon published a
reply to this letter of the Prince, in which he refuted his positions in
regard to the Austrian government, proving that dynasty to have provoked
the war by a series of unendurable treacheries, and to have sought,
systematically, the destruction of the independence and constitution of
Hungary. He reproached Esterhazy with an interested desertion of his
country’s cause, and with gross inconsistency of personal and public
conduct. He closed his letter with a very bitter denunciation of Kossuth,
charging upon his weakness and vacillation the unfortunate results of the
contest, denying his right to the title of Governor, and censuring his
course of agitation as springing simply from personal vanity, and likely
to lead to no good result. To this letter Count Pulszky, now with Kossuth,
published a brief reply, which was mainly an appeal to the Hungarian
leaders not to destroy their cause by divisions among themselves. He also
alleged that Count Batthyani did not express the same opinion of the
character and conduct of Kossuth during the Hungarian contest, but made
himself, to some extent, responsible for both by being associated in the
government with him and giving his countenance and support to all his
acts. Still more recently two letters have been published from Mr.
Szemere, who was also intimately and responsibly connected with Kossuth
and his government, and who brought forward in the Diet, immediately after
the Declaration of Independence, on behalf of the Ministry of which he was
the President, a programme declaring that the future form of government in
Hungary would be republican. In one of his letters, dated at Paris,
January 4th, he censures Kossuth very severely for his misconduct of the
war, and of his subsequent course. Referring especially to Kossuth’s
abdication of office and to his transfer of power to the hands of Görgey,
he alleges that although it was done in the name of the Ministry, of which
he was a member, he never either subscribed or even saw it. He says that
Kossuth having repeatedly denounced Görgey as a traitor, ought not to have
put supreme power in his hands. He charges him also with having fled to
Turkey and deserted the cause of his country, while there were still left
four fortresses and over a hundred thousand men to fight for her
liberties; and says that the rest of the army surrendered only because
Kossuth had fled. He denies Kossuth’s right to the title and office of
Governor, because he voluntarily resigned that position, and transferred
its powers to another. Much as he might rejoice in the success of
Kossuth’s efforts to excite the sympathy of the world on behalf of
Hungary, Mr. Szemere says that “to recognize him as Governor, or as he
earnestly claims to be acknowledged, the absolute Dictator, would be
equivalent to devoting the cause of Hungary, for a second time, to a
severe downfall. We welcome, him, therefore, in our ranks only as a single
gifted patriot, perhaps even the first among his equals, but as Governor
we can not acknowledge him, we who know his past career, and who value
divine liberty, and our beloved fatherland above every personal
consideration.” But while conceding fully the justice of the censures
bestowed upon Kossuth himself, he claims that the cause of Hungary was at
least as pure and holy as the war of the American Revolution—that they
were the defenders of right and law against the efforts of faithlessness
and anarchy—that they were the heroes, the apostles, the martyrs of
freedom under the persecutions of tyranny.—In another letter, dated at
Paris, December 9, Mr. Szemere addresses Prince Esterhazy directly, and in
a tone of great severity. He denounces him for ignorance of the history of
his country, and for guilty indifference to her rights, and proceeds, in
an argument of great strength, to vindicate the cause in which they were
both engaged, from the calumnies of false friends. He gives a clear and
condensed historical sketch of the contest, and shows that Hungary never
swerved from her rightful allegiance until driven by the faithlessness and
relentless hostility of the Austrian dynasty to take up arms in
self-defense. Being himself a republican, Mr. Szemere thinks that although
it was honorable and loyal, it was not prudent or politic for the nation
to cling so long to legitimacy: still “the heroism of remaining so long in
the path of constitutional legality redounds to its glory; the
short-sightedness of entering so late on the path of revolution is its
shame.” He closes by expressing the trust and firm conviction of every
Hungarian that the harms his country now suffers will be repaired.—Count
Teleki, who represented Hungary at Paris, during the existence of the
provisional government, and who now resides at Zurich, has also published
a letter in reply to that of Prince Esterhazy, in which he vindicates
Count Louis Batthyani from the unjust reproaches of the Prince, and
pursues substantially the same line of argument as that of the letter of
Mr. Szemere.—Mr. Vakovies, who was one of the Cabinet, also publishes a
letter vindicating Kossuth from the accusation of Batthyani.

These conflicting representations from persons who were prominently and
responsibly connected with the Hungarian government, of course create
difficulties in the way of forming clear opinions upon the subject in the
United States. The points of difference, however, relate mainly to persons
and particular events, upon the main question, the rightfulness of the
Hungarian struggle, little room is left for doubt.

The proceedings of Congress have been unimportant. The sum of $15,000 has
been appropriated to the refitting that part of the Congressional library
which was destroyed by fire. The subject of printing the census returns
has engaged a good deal of attention, but no result has yet been attained.
Resolutions were introduced into the Senate some time since by Mr. Cass,
asking the friendly interposition of our government with that of Great
Britain, for the release of the Irish State prisoners. Several Senators
have made speeches upon the subject, nearly all in their favor, but with
more or less qualifications. The Compromise resolutions, originally
offered by Senator Foote, were discussed for several days, without
reaching a vote, and they have since been informally dropped. The
resolutions offered by Senators Clarke, Seward, and Cass, on the subject
of protesting against intervention, came up for consideration on the 2d of
February, when Senator Stockton made an extended speech upon the
subject—favoring the Hungarian cause, but expressing an unwillingness to
join Great Britain in any such policy, and saying Russia has always
evinced friendly dispositions toward the United States. Senator Clarke on
the 9th, made a speech upon the same subject, against any action on the
part of our government. On the 11th, Senator Cass made an elaborate speech
in support of his resolution, in which he vindicated the right, and
asserted the duty of the United States to pronounce its opinion upon the
interference of despotic states against the efforts of nations to free
themselves from oppression. He opposed the idea of armed intervention on
our part, but insisted upon the propriety of our exercising a decided
moral influence. On the 13th Senator Clemens spoke in reply, insisting
that movements in Europe had neither interest nor importance for the
United States, denying the justice of the Hungarian struggle, and
assailing the character of Kossuth.

The correspondence between the governments of England and the United
States in regard to the insult offered to the steamer Prometheus by the
English brig-of-war Express, at Greytown, has been published. The first
letter is from Mr. Webster to Mr. Lawrence, instructing him to inquire
whether the English government sanctioned the act of the officer. The last
is from Earl Granville, dated January 10th, in which he states that an
official statement of the case had been received. The Vice Admiral on the
West Indian Station had already disavowed the act, and denied the right of
any British vessel to enforce the fiscal regulations of Mosquito, and had
forbidden the Commander of the Express from again employing force in any
similar case. Earl Granville states that these representations were fully
ratified by the English government; and that they entirely disavowed the
act of violence, and had no hesitation in offering an ample apology for
that which they consider to have been an infraction of treaty engagements.

Official intelligence has been received of the appointment of John S.
Crompton, Esq., who has been for some years connected with the British
legation at Washington, as Minister Plenipotentiary in place of Sir Henry
Bulwer.—It is understood that Mr. John S. Thrasher, who was convicted of
sundry offenses against the Spanish authority in Cuba, and sentenced to
imprisonment for seven years on the African coast, has been pardoned by
the Queen of Spain, as have also all the Cuban prisoners.

The political parties are beginning to take measures concerning the
approaching Presidential election. The Whigs in the Legislature of Maine
held a meeting on the 27th of January, at which they adopted a series of
resolutions, in favor of a National Convention to be held at Philadelphia
on the 17th of June, and nominating General Scott for President, and
Governor Jones of Tennessee, for Vice-President, subject to the decision
of that Convention. A Democratic State Convention was held at Austin,
Texas, January 8th, at which resolutions were adopted, setting forth the
party creed, and nominating General Houston for the Presidency.—In Alabama
a Democratic State Convention has nominated William R. King for the
Presidency.

The Legislature of Wisconsin met on the 15th of January. Governor
Farwell’s Message states that owing to the want of funds, the
appropriations of last year were not paid within the sum of $38,283. He
recommends the passage of a general banking law, and amendments of the
school law, and opposes granting public lands in aid of works of internal
improvement. He advises that Congress be memorialized upon sundry topics
of general interest, among which are the establishment of an Agricultural
bureau, the improvement of rivers and harbors, and a modification of the
present tariff.—The Legislature of Louisiana met on the 26th ult. The
Governor’s Message is mainly devoted to local topics. He advises the
appropriation of money for a monument to General Jackson.—The Legislature
of Texas has been discussing a proposition to appropriate a million of
dollars, of the five millions to be received from the United States,
together with other funds, to the establishment of a system of Common
Schools. The bill had passed the House.—A bill has been passed ratifying
the classification of the public debt submitted by the Governor and
Comptroller.

A letter from Honorable James Buchanan has been published, addressed to a
Mississippi Democratic Convention, urging the necessity of a strict
limitation of the powers of the Federal Government, and attributing to a
growing spirit of centralization the evils we now experience.—Colonel
Benton has also written a letter to the Democracy of St. Louis County,
urging them to blot from the records of the Legislature, the resolutions
in favor of nullification, adopted some time since.

From CALIFORNIA we have news to Jan. 20th. It is not, however, of much
importance. The country had been visited by a succession of very heavy
rain storms, which had swollen the rivers, and in some cases cut off land
communication between the towns. The location of the seat of government is
still undecided. The Indian difficulties had been quelled for the present
at least, but fears were entertained of new outbreaks. Fresh discoveries
of gold were still made.

One-third of the city of San Juan de Nicaragua, the most valuable portion,
was destroyed by fire on the 4th of February.

Later advices from NEW MEXICO represent the condition of the southern part
of the country as most unhappy, in consequence of the violent and deadly
hostility of the Apache Indians. They have been provoked by the Mexicans,
and wreak their vengeance indiscriminately on the whole country. The
provisions of the U. S. Government for keeping the Indians in check have
been wholly unavailing, mainly from a wrong disposition of the troops.
Steps are now taken to establish posts at various points throughout the
Indian Country, as this has been found the most effectual means for
preventing their depredations.—The silver mine discovered at Taos proves
to be exceedingly rich; and the gold diggings on the Gila are as
productive as ever.



Mexico.


We have intelligence from the City of Mexico to the 28th of December.
Congress was again in session, but had not completed its organization. On
the 20th, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Señor Ramirez, received the
representatives of Foreign Powers, and listened to extended remarks from
them in favor of modifications in the Mexican tariff. The whole subject
will probably soon be brought before Congress. The Indians in the State of
Durango continue their ravages; the inefficiency of the measures taken
against them by the government is loudly condemned. A riot, directed
against the government, occurred on the 18th, in the State of Puebla, but
it was speedily suppressed. In Tehuantepec a more serious movement had
occurred under the lead of Ex-Governor Ortis; it was defeated after a
contest of over four hours. At Cerro Gerdo also, on the 12th, there was a
revolt of most of the forces of the Uragua Colony against their chiefs,
but it was soon put down.—It is stated on authority that seems entitled to
respect, that Santa Anna is planning a new revolutionary movement, and
that he designs to make his descent at Acapulco on the Pacific coast. A
house has been built there for him, and many of the utensils of a camp and
munitions for a campaign are arriving there. It is said that all the
officials of that department are friendly to him, and would readily
co-operate in his designs.—The Mexican government seems to be satisfied
that the revolutionary movement in Northern Mexico has been completely
quelled; but our advices from that quarter scarcely justify that
confidence. At the latest date, Jan. 23d, Caravajal was on the Rio Grande,
with a force of 700 men and several pieces of artillery, and was
constantly receiving reinforcements. Several persons connected with the
movement were in New Orleans engaged in procuring and shipping supplies
for the revolutionists. Gen. Uraga had been relieved from the command at
Matamoras, and succeeded by Gen. Avalos. Upon his departure Col. Harney,
in command of the U. S. troops on the frontier, addressed him in a letter,
thanking him for the facilities he had received from him in the discharge
of his duties, and expressing the warmest admiration of his character and
services. The Mexican force defending Matamoros is stated at about twelve
hundred men.—The official report of the battle of Ceralvo states the
number of killed at six, and of wounded twenty-one,



Great Britain.


The burning of the steamer Amazon, with a dreadful loss of life, is the
event of most interest which has occurred in England during the past
month. She belonged to the West India Company’s line of steam-packets, and
sailed on her first voyage from Southampton on Friday the 2d of January.
At a quarter before one o’clock on Sunday morning, a fire broke out
suddenly, forward on the starboard side, between the steam-chest and the
under part of the galley, and the flames instantly rushed up the gangway
in front of the foremost funnel. The alarm was at once given, the officers
and crew rushed upon deck, and steps were taken to extinguish the fire.
But the ship was built of fir, and was very dry, and the flames seized it
like tinder. The whole vessel was speedily enveloped in fire. The
mail-boat was lowered, but was instantly swamped, and twenty-five people
in her were drowned. The other boats were lowered with a good deal of
difficulty. Only two, however, succeeded in saving life. The life-boat got
loose from the ship with twenty-one persons, and after being at sea thirty
hours, was picked up by an English brig, and landed at Plymouth. Another
boat, with twenty-five persons on board, succeeded in reaching the French
coast. There were 161 persons on board, of whom 115 are supposed to have
perished. Among the latter was the well-known author, Eliot Warburton, who
was on his way to the Isthmus of Darien, whither he had been sent by the
Pacific Junction Company to negotiate a friendly understanding with the
Indians. The Amazon was commanded by Captain William Symons, a gentleman
of known ability, who also perished. Among those saved were two ladies.
The English papers are filled with details and incidents of this sad
catastrophe, which, of course, we have not space to copy. An investigation
into the origin of the fire, and the circumstances of the disaster, has
been made, but no satisfactory result has been reached. The machinery was
new, and its working was attended with very great heat, which facilitated
the progress of the fire after it had broken out. A great deal of
confusion seems to have prevailed on board, but it does not appear that
any thing practicable was left undone. The two ladies saved were a Mrs.
MacLennan, who got into the life-boat in her night dress with her child,
eighteen months old, in her arms, and a Miss Smith, who escaped in the
other boat. The value of the Amazon was £100,000, and she was not insured.

The English press continues to discuss French affairs with great
eagerness. The whole of Louis Napoleon’s proceeding is denounced with
unanimous bitterness, as one of the most high-handed and inexcusable acts
of violence and outrage ever perpetrated; and a general fear is felt that
he can not maintain himself in a state of peace, but will be impelled to
seek a war with England. The condition of the national defenses is,
therefore, the chief topic of discussion, and upon this point all the
leading journals express serious apprehensions.

The difficulty between the master engineers and their men continues
unadjusted. Meetings are held and public statements made by both sides,
and the dissension is much more likely to increase than to diminish. The
employers will not concede the right of their men to fix the terms on
which they shall be hired, and the men will not yield what they consider
their just rights. The latter are taking steps to set up workshops of
their own by co-operation, and they have already made some progress in the
accomplishment of their object.

The Reformers in the principal towns are taking measures to influence the
measure which Lord John Russell intends to introduce into Parliament.
Meetings have been held at various places, and resolutions adopted,
specifying the provisions they desire, and pledging support to the
Cabinet, if its measures shall conform to their principles. The friends of
the voluntary system of education are also active. They proposed to send a
deputation to wait upon the Prime Minister, but he declined to meet them,
on the ground that it was not the intention of the Ministry to introduce
any bill on that subject during the present session of Parliament, and
that a deputation, therefore, could do no good.—New discoveries of gold in
Australia have excited great interest and attention in England. It is said
that deposits have been met with near Port Philip, much richer than any
known hitherto, either there or in California.—Later advices from the Cape
of Good Hope represent colonial affairs in an unpromising light. The
expedition of the British troops against the Caffres in their mountain
fastnesses had proved to be of little use, and to have been attended with
serious losses of British officers and men. The Caffres are excellent
marksmen, and prove to be very formidable enemies. Col. Cathcart, who was
one of Wellington’s aids at Waterloo, has been sent out as Governor of the
Cape.—The British cruisers on the African coast recently sought to make a
treaty for the suppression of the slave trade, with the King of Lagos who
had, previously, forbidden their ascending the river to the town where he
lived. A force of twenty-three boats, however, was fitted out with 260
officers and men, and attempted to ascend the river by force. It was at
once attacked, and it was only with considerable difficulty and loss of
life that the men regained their ships. The king had always received
deputations from the squadron with every demonstration of respect; and
this fact shows the extreme folly and injustice of such an armed
expedition. It has been indirectly sanctioned, however, by the English
government which has ordered a strict blockade of that part of the African
coast.



France.


Political affairs in France continue to present features of extraordinary
interest. The election, of which we gave the general result in our last
Number, seems to have fortified Louis Napoleon, for the present, on his
Presidential throne, and he has gone on without obstacle in the
accomplishment of his plans. The official returns show 7,439,219 votes in
his favor, and 640,737 against him. On New Year’s day the issue of the
election was celebrated with more than royal magnificence. Cannon were
fired at the Invalides at ten in the morning—seventy discharges in all,
ten for each million of votes recorded in his favor; and at noon the
President went to Notre Dame, where _Te Deum_ was performed amid gorgeous
and dazzling pomp. The scene was theatrical and imposing. All Paris was
covered with troops, and the day was one of universal observance. From
Notre Dame Louis Napoleon returned to the Tuileries, where the reception
of the authorities took place, and a banquet was given at which four
hundred persons sat down. The day before he had received the formal
announcement by the Consultative Commission of the result of the election.
M. Baroche, the President of the Commission, in announcing it, said that
“France confided in his courage, his elevated good-sense, and his love: no
government ever rested on a basis more extensive, or had an origin more
legitimate and worthy of the respect of nations.” In reply Louis Napoleon
said that France had comprehended that he departed from legality only to
return to right: that she had absolved him, by justifying an act which had
no other object than to save France, and perhaps Europe, from years of
trouble and anarchy: that he felt all the grandeur of his new mission, and
did not deceive himself as to its difficulties. He hoped to secure the
destinies of France, by founding institutions which respond at the same
time to the democratic instincts of the nation, and to the desire to have
henceforth a strong and respected government. He soon issued a decree
re-establishing the French eagle on the national colors and on the Cross
of the Legion of Honor, saying that the Republic might now adopt without
umbrage the souvenirs of the Empire. On the 28th of December, the
Municipal Council of the Department of the Seine was dissolved and
re-constructed by a decree—thirteen of the old members, most distinguished
by intellect, experience, and character, being superseded because they
would not make themselves subservient to Louis Napoleon’s views.—The
Chamber of Commerce at Havre was ordered to be dissolved, and that portion
of its journal which recorded its protest against the usurpation was
erased.—An ordinance was issued, directing all political inscriptions, and
particularly the words “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” to be erased,
because they are “for the people a perpetual excitement to revolt,” and
for the same reason all the trees of liberty were ordered to be rooted up,
in the departments as well as in Paris.—The military organization of
France was remodeled also by decree, the nine military divisions being
re-arranged into twenty-one principal divisions, with as many principal
commands, all subordinate to the Prince, Commander-in-chief.—By a decree
dated Jan. 9, the President expelled from the territory of France,
Algeria, and the Colonies sixty-six members of the late Legislative
Assembly, without trial, preamble, or cause stated. Should any of them put
foot on French soil again without obtaining express permission, they run
the risk of deportation. Among them is Victor Hugo. By another decree of
the same date, eighteen ex-representatives are condemned to temporary
banishment. Among them are all the generals in prison at Ham, except
Cavaignac, who is allowed to go to Italy. At his own request, he has also
been placed upon the retired list. Thiers, Girardin, and Sue are also
among the proscribed. About twenty-five hundred political prisoners have
been ordered to be deported to Cayenne, a place on the coast of Africa,
where the chances are that not one in ten of them can live five years.
These measures of high-handed severity have created deep feeling and
disapprobation, to which, however, no one dares give expression, either in
print or in public conversation. The press is subjected to a most rigorous
censorship, and spies lurk about every _café_ and public place to report
“disaffected” remarks.—A decree was issued on the 11th of January,
dissolving the National Guard, and organizing a new corps under that name.
The officers are all to be appointed by the President, and privates are to
be admitted only upon examination by Government officers.

On the 14th of January the new Constitution was decreed. In the
proclamation accompanying it, the President says that, not having the
vanity to substitute a personal theory for the experience of centuries, he
sought in the past for examples that might best be followed; and he said
to himself, “Since France makes progress during the last fifty years, in
virtue alone of the administrative, military, judicial, religious, and
financial organization of the Consulate and the Empire, why should not we
also adopt the political institutions of that epoch?” After sketching the
condition of the various interests of France, for the purpose of showing
that it has been created by the administration of the Emperor, Louis
Napoleon says that the principal bases of the Constitution of the year
VIII. have been adopted as the foundation of that which he submits. The
Constitution consists of seven sections. The government is intrusted to
Louis Napoleon, actual President of the Republic, for ten years: he
governs by means of the Ministers, the Council of State, the Senate, and
the Legislative body. He is responsible to the French people, to whom he
has the right always to appeal. He is Chief of the State, commands the
land and sea forces, declares war, concludes treaties, and makes rules and
decrees for the execution of the laws. He alone has the initiative of the
laws, and the right to pardon. He has the right to declare the state of
siege in one or several departments, referring to the Senate with the
least possible delay. The Ministers depend solely on him, and each is
responsible only so far as the acts of the Government regard him. All the
officers of the Government, military and civil, high and low, swear
obedience to the Constitution and fidelity to the President. Should the
President die before the expiration of his office, the Senate convokes the
nation to make a new election—the President having the right, by secret
will, to designate the citizen whom he recommends. Until the election of a
new President, the President of the Senate will govern.—The number of
Senators is fixed at 80 for the first year, and can not exceed 150. The
Senate is composed of Cardinals, Marshals, Admirals, and of the citizens
whom the President may name. The Senators are not removable, and are for
life. Their services are gratuitous, but the President may give them
30,000 francs annually, if he sees fit. The officers of the Senate are to
be elected on nomination of the President of the Republic, and are to hold
for one year. The Senate is to be convoked and prorogued by the President,
and its sittings are to be secret. It is the guardian of the fundamental
pact and of the public liberties: no law can be published without being
submitted to it. It regulates the Constitution of the Colonies, and all
that has not been provided for by the Constitution, and decides upon its
interpretation—but its decisions are invalid without the sanction of the
President. It maintains or annuls all acts complained of as
unconstitutional by the Government or by petition. It can fix the bases of
projects of laws of national interest—in reports to the President; and can
also propose modifications of the Constitution; but all modifications of
the fundamental bases of the Constitution must be submitted to the
people.—In the Legislative body there is to be one representative for
every 35,000 electors—elected by universal suffrage, without _scrutin de
liste_. The deputies receive no salary, and hold office for six years. The
Legislative body discusses and votes the projects of law and the imposts.
Every amendment adopted by the committee charged with the examination of a
project of law, shall be sent without discussion to the Council of State,
and if not adopted by that body, it can not be submitted to Legislative
deliberation. The sittings are to be public, but may be secret on the
demand of five members. Public reports of the proceedings shall be
confined to the journals and votes—and shall be prepared under direction
of the President of the Legislative body. The officers are to be named by
the President of the Republic. Ministers can not be members of the
Legislature. No petition can be addressed to the Legislative body. The
President of the Republic convokes, adjourns, prorogues, and dissolves the
Legislative body: in case of dissolution he shall convoke a new one within
six months.—The number of Councilors of State is from 40 to 50. They are
to be named by the President and are removable by him. He presides over
their meetings. They are to draw up projects of law and regulations of the
public administration, and to resolve difficulties that may arise, under
the direction of the President. Members are to be appointed from its
number by the President to maintain, in the name of the Government, the
discussion of the projects of law before the Senate and the Legislative
corps. The salary of each Councilor is 25,000 francs. The Ministers have
ranks, right of sitting, and a deliberative voice in the Council of
State.—A High Court of Justice judges without appeal all persons sent
before it accused of crimes, attempts or plots against the President of
the Republic, and against the internal and external safety of the State.
It can not be convened except by decree from the President. Its
organization is to be regulated by the Senate.—Existing provisions of law
not opposed to the present Constitution shall remain in force until
legally abrogated. The Executive shall name the Mayor. The Constitution
shall take effect from the day when the great powers named by it shall be
constituted.—Such are the provisions of the new Constitution of France.

The Minister of the Interior has issued a circular calling upon the
Government officers to promote the election of none but discreet and
well-disposed men, not orators or politicians, to the Legislative body,
and saying that if they will send to the Ministry the names of proper
persons, the influence of the Government will be used to aid their
election.—The disarming of the National Guard has been effected without
the slightest difficulty.—On the 23d of January a decree was published
instituting a Ministry of Police and one of State, and appointing M.
Casabianca Minister of State, M. Maupas Minister of General Police, M.
Abbatucci Minister of Justice, M. de Persigny Minister of the Interior, M.
Bineau Minister of Finance; General de Saint-Arnaud, Minister of War;
Ducos, of Marine; Furgot, of Foreign Affairs, and Fortone, of Public
Instruction and Worship.—On the 26th of January a decree was issued
organizing the Council of State, and appointing 34 Councillors, 40 Masters
of Requests, and 31 Auditors. The Council contains the names of most of
the leaders in the Assembly, who took sides with the President in the
debates of that body. On the 27th, the list of Senators was announced. It
contains the names of many who were formerly Peers of France and members
of the Legislative Assembly.—On the 23d a decree was issued declaring that
the members of the Orleans family, their husbands, wives, and descendants
can not possess any real or personal property in France, and ordering the
whole of their present possessions to be sold within one year: and on the
same day another decree declared that all the property possessed by Louis
Philippe, and by him given to his children, on the 7th of August, 1830,
should be confiscated and given to the state; and that of this amount ten
millions should be allowed to the mutual assistance societies, authorized
by law of July 15, 1850; ten millions to be employed in improving the
dwellings of workmen in the large manufacturing towns; ten millions to be
devoted to the establishment of institutions for making loans on mortgage;
five millions to establish a retiring pension fund for the poorest
assistant clergy; and the remainder to be distributed among the Legion of
Honor and other military functionaries.—The promulgation of these decrees
excited great dissatisfaction, and led to the resignation of several
members of the Councils. M. Dupin, President of the late Assembly,
resigned his office as Procureur-general, in an indignant letter to the
President; and Montalembert also resigned his office as member of the
Consultative Commission.—The first great ball at the Tuileries on the 24th
was very numerously and brilliantly attended.—A decree has been issued
abrogating that of 1848 which abolished titles of nobility.—The President
fills column after column daily in the _Moniteur_ with announcements of
promotions in the army.—Measures of the utmost stringency have been
adopted to prevent public discussion in any form. The manufacturers of
printing presses, lithographic presses, copying machines, &c., have been
forbidden to sell them without sending the buyers’ names to the Police
department.—It is rumored that two attempts have been made to assassinate
the President, but they are not sufficiently authentic to be deemed
reliable.



Austria And Hungary.


The Austrian Emperor issued on New Year’s day three decrees, formally
annulling the Constitution of March 4, 1849, and promulgating certain
fundamental principles of the future organic institutions of the Austrian
Empire. The first decree declares that, after thorough examination, the
Constitution has been found neither to agree with the situation of the
empire, nor to be capable of full execution. It is therefore annulled, but
the equality of all subjects before the law, and the abolition of peasant
service and bondage are expressly confirmed. The second decree annuls the
specific political rights conferred upon the various provinces. The third
decree abolishes open courts, and trials by jury, requires all town
elections to be confirmed by the Government, forbids publication of
governmental proceedings, and destroys every vestige of the Parliamentary
system. These measures make the despotism of Austria much more absolute
and severe than it was before 1848.—Proposals are in active preparation
for a new Austrian loan. In consequence of this, Baron Krauss, the
Minister of Finance, resigned, and is succeeded by M. von Baumgartner.—The
members of the London Missionary and Bible Society, who have for many
years resided at Pesth and other Hungarian towns, have been ordered out of
the Austrian states.—In Prussia strenuous efforts are made by the
reactionary party to secure the abolition of the Chambers and the
restoration of absolutism.—It is said that the Austrian Government has
received from Earl Granville, in reply to its demand for the suppression
of revolutionary intrigues carried on in England against the Continental
Governments, assurances that every thing should be done to meet its wishes
so far as they were not incompatible with the laws and customs of
England.—The Austrian Minister of the Interior has directed a committee to
make a draft of new laws for Hungary on the basis of the decrees of the
1st of January.



EDITOR’S TABLE.


The seventh enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, taken on
the 1st of June, 1850, exhibits results which every citizen of the country
may contemplate with gratification and pride. The Report of the
Superintendent of the Census-office to the Secretary of the Interior, laid
before Congress, in December, 1851, gives a full abstract of the returns,
from which we select the most interesting portions; adding other
statements showing the progress of this country in population and
resources.

Since the census of 1840, there have been added to the territory of the
Republic, by annexation, conquest, and purchase, 824,969 square miles; and
our title to a region covering 341,463 square miles, which before properly
belonged to us, but was claimed and partially occupied by a foreign power,
has been established by negotiation, and has been brought within our
acknowledged boundaries. By these means the area of the United States has
been extended during the past ten years, from 2,055,163 to 3,221,595
square miles, without including the great lakes which lie upon our
northern border, or the bays which indent our Atlantic and Pacific shores;
all which territory has come within the scope of the Seventh Census.

In endeavoring to ascertain the progress of our population since 1840, it
will be proper to deduct from the aggregate number of inhabitants shown by
the present census, the population of Texas in 1840, and the number
embraced within the limits of California and the new territories, at the
time of their acquisition. From the best information which has been
obtained at the Census-office, it is believed that Texas contained, in
1840, 75,000 inhabitants; and that when California, New Mexico, and Oregon
came into our possession, in 1846, they had a total population of 97,000.
It thus appears that we have received by accessions of territory, since
1840, an addition of 172,000 to the number of our people. The increase
which has taken place in those extended regions since they came under the
authority of our Government, should obviously be reckoned as a part of the
development and progress of our population, nor is it necessary to
complicate the comparison by taking into account the probable natural
increase of this acquired population, because we have not the means of
determining its rate of advancement, nor the law which governed its
progress, while yet beyond the influence of our political system.

The total number of inhabitants in the United States, according to the
returns of the census, was on the 1st of June, 1850, 23,258,760. The
absolute increase from the 1st of June, 1840, has been 6,189,307, and the
actual increase per cent. is slightly over 36 per cent. But it has been
shown that the probable amount of population acquired by additions of
territory should be deducted in making a comparison between the results of
the present and the last census. These reductions diminish the total
population of the country, as a basis of comparison, and also the
increase. The relative increase, after this allowance, is found to be
35.17 per cent.

The aggregate number of whites in 1850 was 19,631,799, exhibiting a gain
upon the number of the same class in 1840, of 5,436,004, and a relative
increase of 38.20 per cent. But, excluding the 153,000 free population
supposed to have been acquired by the addition of territory since 1840,
the gain is 5,283,004, and the increase per cent. is 37.14.

The number of slaves, by the present census, is 3,198,324, which shows an
increase of 711,111, equal to 28.58 per cent. If we deduct 19,000 for the
probable slave population of Texas in 1840, the result of the comparison
will be slightly different. The absolute increase will be 692,111, and the
rate per cent. 27.83.

The number of free colored persons in 1850 was 428,637; in 1840, 386,345.
The increase of this class has been 42,292 or 10.95 per cent.

From 1830 to 1840, the increase of the whole population was at the rate of
32.67 per cent. At the same rate of advancement, the absolute gain for the
ten years last past, would have been 5,578,333, or 426,515 less than it
has been, without including the increase consequent upon additions of
territory.

The aggregate increase of population, from all sources, shows a relative
advance greater than that of any other decennial term, except that from
the second to the third census, during which time the country received an
accession of inhabitants by the purchase of Louisiana, considerably
greater than one per cent. of the whole number.

The decennial increase of the most favored portions of Europe is less than
one and a half per cent. per annum, while with the United States it is at
the rate of three and a half per cent. According to our past progress,
viewed in connection with that of European nations, the population of the
United States in forty years will exceed that of England, France, Spain,
Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland combined.

In 1845, Mr. William Darby, the Geographer, who has paid much attention to
the subject of population, and the progress of the country; having found
that the increase of population in the United States for a series of
years, had exceeded three per cent. per annum, adopted that ratio as a
basis for calculation for future increase. He estimated the population of
1850 at 23,138,004, which it will be observed is considerably exceeded by
the actual result. The following are Mr. Darby’s calculations of the
probable population of the Union for each five years up to 1885:

1850         23,138,004             1870         40,617,708
1855         26,823,385             1875         47,087,052
1860         31,095,535             1880         54,686,795
1865         35,035,231             1885         63,291,353

If the ratio of increase be taken at three per cent. per annum, the
population duplicates, in about twenty-four years. Therefore, if no
serious disturbing influence should interfere with the natural order of
things, the aggregate population of the United States at the close of this
century must be over one hundred millions.

The relative progress of the white and colored population in past years,
is shown by the following tabular statement, giving the increase per cent.
of each class of inhabitants in the United States for sixty years.

Classes.   1790 to   1800 to   1810 to   1820 to   1830 to   1840 to
           1800      1810      1820      1830      1840      1850
Whites     35.7      36.2      34.19     33.95     34.7      38.28
Free       88.2      72.2      25.25     36.85     20.9      10.9
col.
Slaves     27.9      33.4      29.1      30.61     23.8      28.58
Total      32.2      37.6      28.58     31.44     23.4      26.22
col.
Total      35.01     36.45     33.12     33.48     32.6      36.25
pop.

The census had been taken previously to 1830 on the 1st of August; the
enumeration began that year on the 1st of June, two months earlier, so
that the interval between the fourth and fifth censuses was two months
less than ten years, which time allowed for would bring the total increase
up to the rate of 34.36 per cent.

The table given below shows the increase for the sixty years, 1790 to
1850, without reference to intervening periods:

Number.             1790.        1850.    Absolute    Incr. per
                                          Increase.   cent.
Whites          3,172,364   19,631,799   16,459,335      527.97
Free col.          59,466      428,637      369,171      617.44
Slaves            697,897    3,198,324    2,500,427      350.13
Total free        757,363    3,626,961    2,869,598      377.00
col. and
slaves
Total pop.      3,929,827   23,258,760   19,328,883      491.52

Sixty years since, the proportion between the whites and blacks, bond and
free, was 4.2 to one. In 1850, it was 5.26 to 1, and the ratio in favor of
the former race is increasing. Had the blacks increased as fast as the
whites during these sixty years, their number, on the first of June, would
have been 4,657,239; so that, in comparison with the whites, they have
lost, in this period, 1,035,340.

This disparity is much more than accounted for by European emigration to
the United States. Dr. Chickering, in an essay upon emigration, published
at Boston in 1848—distinguished for great elaborateness of
research—estimates the gain of the white population, from this source, at
3,922,152. No reliable record was kept of the number of immigrants into
the United States until 1820, when, by the law of March, 1819, the
collectors were required to make quarterly returns of foreign passengers
arriving in their districts. For the first ten years, the returns under
the law afford materials for only an approximation to a true state of the
facts involved in this inquiry.

Dr. Chickering assumes, as a result of his investigations, that of the
6,431,088 inhabitants of the United States in 1820, 1,430,906 were
foreigners, arriving subsequent to 1790, or the descendants of such.
According to Dr. Seybert, an earlier writer upon statistics, the number of
foreign passengers, from 1790 to 1810, was, as nearly as could be
ascertained, 120,000; and from the estimates of Dr. Seybert, and other
evidence, Hon. George Tucker, author of a valuable work on the census of
1840, supposes the number, from 1810 to 1820, to have been 114,000. These
estimates make, for the thirty years preceding 1820, 234,000.

If we reckon the increase of these emigrants at the average rate of the
whole body of white population during these three decades, they and their
descendants in 1820, would amount to about 360,000. From 1820 to 1830
there arrived, according to the returns of the Custom-houses, 135,986
foreign passengers, and from 1830 to 1840, 579,370, making for the twenty
years 715,356. During this period a large number of emigrants from Great
Britain and Ireland, came into the United States through Canada. These
were estimated at 67,903 from 1820 to 1830, and from 1830 to 1840, at
199,130. From 1840 to 1850 the arrivals of foreign passengers amounted to
1,542,850, equal to an annual average of 154,285.

From the above returns and estimates the following statement has been made
up, to show the accessions to our population from immigration, from 1790
to 1850—a period of sixty years:

Number of foreigners arriving from 1790 to 1810: 120,000
Natural increase, reckoned in periods of ten years: 47,560
Number of foreigners arriving from 1810 to 1820: 114,000
Increase of the above to 1820: 19,000
Increase from 1810 to 1820 of those arriving previous to 1810: 58,450
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in 1820: 359,010
Number of immigrants from 1820 to 1830: 203,979
Increase of the above: 35,728
Increase from 1820 to 1830 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in
            the country in 1820: 134,130
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United
            States in 1830: 732,847
Number of immigrants arriving from 1830 to 1840: 778,500
Increase of the: 135,150
Increase from 1830 to 1840 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in
            the United States in 1830: 254,445
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United
            States in 1840: 1,900,942
Number of immigrants arriving from 1840 to 1850(8): 1,542,850
Increase of the above at twelve per cent: 185,142
Increase from 1840 to 1850 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in
            the United States in 1840: 722,000
Total number of immigrants in the United States since 1790, and their
            descendants in 1850: 4,350,934

The following, we think, may be considered an approximate estimate of the
population of the United States, in 1850, classed according to their
descent from the European colonists, previous to the American Revolution,
also from immigration since 1790, from the people who inhabited the
territories acquired by the United States (Louisiana, Texas, &c.), and
from Africans:

Descendants of the European colonists, previous to 1776: 14,280,885
Ditto of people of Louisiana, Texas, and other acquired territories:
            1,000,000
Immigrants since 1790, and their descendants: 4,350,934
Descendants of Africans: 3,626,961
Total population: 23,258,760

It will be seen from the above, that the total number of immigrants
arriving in the United States from 1790 to 1850, a period of 60 years, is
estimated to have been 2,759,329—or an average of 45,988 annually for the
whole period. It will be observed also that the estimated increase of
these emigrants has been 1,590,405, making the total number added to the
population of the United States since 1790, by foreign immigrants and
their descendants, 4,350,934. Of these immigrants and their descendants,
those from Ireland bear the largest proportion, probably more than one
half of the whole, or say two and a half millions. Next to these the
Germans are the most numerous. From the time that the first German
settlers came to this country, in 1682, under the auspices of William
Penn, there has been a steady influx of immigrants from Germany,
principally to the Middle States; and of late years to the West.

The density of population is a branch of the subject which naturally
attracts the attention of the inquirer. Taking the thirty-one States
together, their area is 1,485,870 square miles, and the average number of
their inhabitants is 15.48 to the square mile. The total area of the
United States is 3,280,000 square miles, and the average density of
population is 7.22 to the square mile.

From the location, climate, and productions, and the habits and pursuits
of their inhabitants, the States of the Union may be properly arranged
into the following groups:

Divisions.                  Area in      Population.    Inhab. to
                            sq. miles.                  sq. m.
New Engl’d States (6)           63,226     2,727,597        43.07
Middle States, including       151,760     8,653,713        57.02
Maryland, Delaware and
Ohio (6)
Coast Planting States,         286,077     3,537,089        12.36
including South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, Mississippi and
Louisiana (6)
Central Slave States:          308,210     5,168,000        16.75
Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Kentucky,
Missouri, Arkansas(6)
Northwestern States:           250,000     2,735,000        10.92
Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan, Wisconsin and
Iowa (5)
Texas                          237,321       212,000          .89
California                     188,982       165,000          .87

Table of the area, and the number of inhabitants to the square mile, in
each State and Territory in the Union.

Free States.                 Area in     Population    Inhab. to
                             sq. miles   in 1850.      sq. m.
Maine                           30,000      583,188        19.44
New Hampshire                    9,280      317,964        34.26
Vermont                         10,212      314,120        30.07
Massachusetts                    7,800      994,499       126.11
Rhode Island                     1,306      147,544       108.05
Connecticut                      4,674      370,791        79.83
New York                        46,000    3,097,394        67.66
New Jersey                       6,320      489,333        60.04
Pennsylvania                    46,000    2,311,786        50.25
Ohio                            39,964    1,980,408        49.55
Indiana                         33,809      988,416        29.23
Illinois                        55,405      851,470        15.37
Iowa                            50,914      192,214         3.77
Wisconsin                       53,924      305,191         5.45
Michigan                        56,243      397,654         7.07
California                     188,982      165,000          .87
Minnesota Terr.                 83,000        6,077          .07
Oregon ditto                   341,463       13,293          .04
Mew Mexico ditto               219,774       61,547          .28
Utah ditto                     187,923       11,380          .06
Total                        1,474,993   13,419,190

Slaveholding States.
Delaware                         2,120       91,535        43.64
Maryland                         9,356      583,035        62.31
Dis. of Columbia                    60       51,687       861.45
Virginia                        61,352    1,421,661        23.17
North Carolina                  45,000      868,903        19.30
South Carolina                  24,500      668,507        27.28
Georgia                         58,000      905,999        15.68
Florida                         59,268       87,401         1.47
Alabama                         50,723      771,671        15.21
Mississippi                     47,126      606,555        12.86
Louisiana                       46,431      511,974        11.02
Texas                          237,321      212,592          .89
Arkansas                        52,198      209,639         4.01
Tennessee                       45,600    1,002,625        21.98
Kentucky                        37,680      982,405        26.07
Missouri                        67,380      682,043        10.12
Total                          844,115    9,638,223

It will be observed that a large proportion of the area of the Free States
and Territories is comprised in the unsettled country west of the
Mississippi. The following Territories, inhabited by Indians, also lie
west of the Mississippi.

Nebraska Territory: 136,700 square miles.
Indian Territory: 187,171 square miles.
Northwest Territory: 587,564 square miles.

The following is a comparative table of the population of each State and
Territory in 1850, and 1840:

Free States.                Pop. 1850.   Pop. 1840.
Maine                          583,188      501,793
New Hampshire                  317,964      284,574
Vermont                        313,611      291,948
Massachusetts                  994,499      737,699
Rhode Island                   147,544      108,830
Connecticut                    370,791      309,978
New York                     3,097,394    2,428,921
New Jersey                     489,555      373,306
Pennsylvania                 2,311,786    1,724,033
Ohio                         1,980,408    1,519,467
Indiana                        988,416      685,866
Illinois                       851,470      476,183
Iowa                           192,214       43,112
Wisconsin                      305,191       30,945
Michigan                       397,654      212,367
California                     165,000
Minnesota Territory              6,077
Oregon Territory                13,293
New Mexico Territory            61,505
Utah Territory                  11,380
Total                       13,419,190    9,978,922

Increase of population, 3,440,268, or exclusive of California and
Territories, 3,183,013—equal to 31.8 per cent.

Slaveholding States.             Pop. 1850.         Pop. 1840
Delaware                             91,536            78,085
Maryland                            583,035           470,019
District of Columbia(9)              51,687            43,712
Virginia                          1,421,661         1,239,797
North Carolina                      868,903           753,419
South Carolina                      668,507           594,398
Georgia                             905,990           691,392
Florida                              87,401            54,477
Alabama                             771,671           590,756
Mississippi                         606,555           375,651
Louisiana                           511,974           352,411
Texas                               212,592     (est. 75,000)
Arkansas                            209,639            97,574
Tennessee                         1,002,625           829,210
Kentucky                            982,405           779,828
Missouri                            682,043           383,702
Total                             9,658,224         7,409,431

Total increase of population 2,248,793, equal to 30.3 per cent.

Comparative population of the United States, from 1790 to 1850.

Census of        Total.      Whites.       Free     Slaves.
                                           col.
1790          3,929,827    3,172,464     59,446     687,897
1800          5,345,925    4,304,489    108,395     893,041
1810          7,239,814    5,862,004    186,446   1,191,364
1820          9,654,596    7,872,711    238,197   1,543,688
1830         12,866,020   10,537,378    319,599   2,009,043
1840         17,063,355   14,189,705    386,295   2,487,355
1850         23,258,760   19,631,799    428,637   3,198,324

Table showing the number of the different classes of population in each
State and Territory.

Free States.         Whites.    Free col.      Slaves.
Maine                581,863        1,325
New Hampshire        317,385          475
Vermont              313,411          709
Massachusetts        985,704        8,795
Rhode Island         144,000        3,544
Connecticut          363,305        7,486
New York           3,049,457       47,937
New Jersey           466,240       23,093          222
Pennsylvania       2,258,463       53,323
Ohio               1,956,108       24,300
Indiana              977,628       10,788
Illinois             846,104        5,366
Iowa                 191,879          335
Wisconsin            304,965          626
Michigan             395,097        2,537
California           163,200        1,800
Minnesota              6,038           39
Territory
Oregon                13,089          206
Territory
New Mexico            61,530           17
Territory
Utah Territory        11,330           24           26
Total             13,406,394      192,745          248

Slaveholding         Whites.    Free col.      Slaves.
States
Delaware              71,289       19,957        2,289
Maryland             418,590       74,077       90,368
District of           38,027        9,973        3,687
Columbia
Virginia             895,304       53,829      472,528
North Carolina       533,295       27,196      283,412
South Carolina       274,623        8,900      384,984
Georgia              521,438        2,880      381,681
Florida               47,167          925       39,309
Alabama              426,507        2,272      342,892
Mississippi          205,758          899      309,898
Louisiana            255,416       17,537      239,021
Texas                154,100          331       58,161
Arkansas             162,068          589       46,982
Tennessee            756,893        6,271      239,461
Kentucky             761,688        9,736      210,981
Missouri             592,077        2,544       87,422
Total              6,224,240      235,916    3,198,076

The following table shows the population west of the Mississippi River.

Western Louisiana         207,787
Texas                     212,592
Arkansas                  209,639
Missouri                  682,043
Iowa                      192,214
Minnesota Territory         6,077
New Mexico Territory       61,505
Utah Territory             11,293
Oregon Territory           13,293
California                165,000
Total                   1,761,530

The population of the Valley of the Mississippi, comprising Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee,
Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, is 9,090,688, of whom the
free population is 7,614,031, and 1,476,657 are slaves.

THE RATIO OF REPRESENTATION, as determined by the recent census, and a
late Act of Congress, will be about 93,716, and the relative
representation of the States in Congress for the next ten years, will be
as follows:

New York                  33
Pennsylvania              25
Ohio                      21
Virginia                  13
Massachusetts             11
Indiana                   11
Tennessee                 10
Kentucky                  10
Illinois                   9
North Carolina             8
Georgia                    8
Alabama                    7
Missouri                   7
Maine                      6
Maryland                   6
New Jersey                 5
South Carolina             5
Mississippi                5
Connecticut                4
Michigan                   4
Louisiana                  4
Vermont                    3
New Hampshire              3
Wisconsin                  3
Rhode Island               2
Iowa                       2
Arkansas                   2
Texas                      2
California                 2
Florida                    1
Delaware                   1
Total                    233

AGRICULTURE.—The following is a summary of the returns of the Census for a
portion of the statistics obtained respecting agriculture:

Number of acres of land improved: 112,042,000
Value of farming implements and machinery: $151,820,273
Value of live stock: $552,705,238
Bushels of wheat raised, 1849: 104,799,230
        In 1839: 84,823,272
    Increased production: 19,975,958
Bushels of Indian corn raised, 1849: 591,586,053
        In  1839: 377,531,875
    Increased production: 214,054,178
Pounds of Tobacco raised, 1849: 199,522,494
       In 1839:  219,163,319
    Decreased production:  19,640,825
Bales of cotton of 400 lb. each—1849: 2,472,214
      In 1839: 1,976,199
    Increased production: 495,016
Pounds of sheep’s wool raised, 1849: 52,422,797
       In  1839: 35,802,114
    Increased production: 16,620,683
Tons of hay raised, 1849: 13,605,384
      In 1839: 10,248,108
    Increased production:  3,357,276
Pounds of butter made, 1849: 312,202,286
Pounds of cheese made, 1849: 103,184,585
Pounds of maple sugar, 1849: 32,759,263
Cane sugar—hhds. of 1000 lbs:  318,644
Value of household manufactures, 1849:  $27,525,545
  In  1839: 29,023,380
    Decrease: 1,497,735

Manufactures.

The entire capital invested in the various manufactures in the United
            States, on the 1st of June, 1850, not to include any
            establishments producing less than the annual value of $500,
            amounted, in round numbers, to: $530,000,000
Value of raw materials used: 550,000,000
Amount paid for labor: 240,000,000
Value of manufactured articles: $1,020,300,000
Number of persons employed: 1,050,000

The following are the number of establishments in operation, and capital
employed in cotton, woolens, and iron:

                      No. of     Capital
                      Estab.     invested.
Cotton                  1094   $74,501,031
Woolens                 1559    28,118,650
Pig Iron                 377    17,356,425
Castings                1391    17,416,360
Wrought iron             422    14,495,220

The value of articles manufactured in 1849 was as follows, compared with
1839.

                        1849.         1839.
Cottons           $61,869,184   $46,350,453
Woolens            43,207,555    20,696,999
Pig Iron           12,748,777
Castings           25,108,155       286,903
Wrought Iron       16,747,074       197,233

The period which has elapsed since the receipt of the returns at
Washington, has been too short to enable the Census-office to make more
than a general report of the facts relating to a few of the most important
manufactures. The complete statistical returns, when published, will
present a very full view of the varied interests and extent of the
industrial pursuits of the people.

THE PRESS.—The statistics of the newspaper press form an interesting
feature in the returns of the Seventh Census. It appears that the whole
number of newspapers and periodicals in the United States, on the first
day of June, 1850, amounted to 2800. Of these, 2494 were fully returned,
234 had all the facts excepting circulation given, and 72 are estimated
for California, the Territories, and for those that may have been omitted
by the assistant marshals. From calculations made on the statistics
returned, and estimated circulations where they have been omitted, it
appears that the aggregate circulation of these 2800 papers and
periodicals is about 5,000,000, and that the entire number of copies
printed annually in the United States, amounts to 422,600,000. The
following table will show the number of daily, weekly, monthly, and other
issues, with the aggregate circulation of each class:

Published.               No.   Circulation.     Copies
                                                annually.
Daily                    350        750,000   235,000,000
Tri-weekly               150         75,000    11,700,000
Semi-weekly              125         80,000     8,320,000
Weekly                 2,000      2,875,000   149,500,000
Semi-monthly              50        300,000     7,200,000
Monthly                  100        900,000    10,800,000
Quarterly                 25         29,000        80,000
Total                  2,800      5,000,000   422,600,000

Of these papers 424 are issued in the New England States, 876 in the
Middle States, 716 in the Southern States, and 784 in the Western States.
The average circulation of papers in the United States, is 1785. There is
one publication for every 7161 free inhabitants in the United States and
Territories.

MORTALITY.—The statistics of mortality for the census year, represent the
number of deaths occurring within the year as 320,194, the ratio being as
one to 72.6 of the living population, or as ten to each 726 of the
population. The rate of mortality in this statement, taken as a whole,
seems so much less than that of any portion of Europe, that it must, at
present, be received with some degree of allowance.

INDIANS.—The Indian tribes within the boundaries of the United States are
not, as is well known, included in the census, but an enumeration of these
tribes was authorized by an act of Congress, passed in March, 1847; and
the census of the tribes east of the Rocky Mountains has been taken by
Henry R. Schoolcraft, Esq., under the direction of the Bureau of Indian
Affairs. These returns have been published, with estimates for the Indian
tribes in Oregon, California, Utah, &c., and the result shows the total
Indian population to be 388,229, to which may be added from 25,000 to
35,000 Indians within the area of the unexplored territories of the United
States. The Indian population of Oregon is estimated at 22,733; of
California 32,231; of New Mexico 92,130; of Utah 11,500; of Texas 24,100.
In round numbers, the total number of Indians within our boundaries may be
stated at 420,000.

CENSUS OF 1840.—For the purpose of comparison, we here present a summary
of the Sixth Census of the United States, June 1, 1840.

Free States.                   Whites.    Free col.      Slaves.
Maine                          284,036          537            1
New Hampshire                  500,438        1,355
Vermont                        291,218          730
Massachusetts                  729,030        8,668
Rhode Island                   105,587        3,238            5
Connecticut                    301,856        8,105           17
Total of N. England          2,212,165       22,633           23
New York                     2,378,894       50,027            4
New Jersey                     351,588       21,044          674
Pennsylvania                 1,676,115       47,864           64
Ohio                         1,502,122       17,342            3
Indiana                        678,698        7,165            3
Illinois                       472,254        3,598          331
Michigan                       211,560          707
Wisconsin                       30,749          185           11
Iowa                            42,924          172           16
Total Free States            9,557,065      170,727         1129

Slaveholding States.           Whites.    Free col.      Slaves.
Delaware                        58,161       16,919        2,605
Maryland                       318,204       62,078       89,737
District of Columbia            30,657        8,361        4,694
Virginia                       740,968       49,842      448,987
North Carolina                 484,870       22,732      255,817
South Carolina                 259,084        8,276      327,038
Georgia                        407,695        2,753      280,944
Florida                         27,943          837       25,717
Alabama                        335,185        2,039      253,532
Mississippi                    179,074        1,369      195,211
Louisiana                      158,457       25,592      168,451
Arkansas                        77,174          465       19,935
Tennessee                      640,627        5,524      183,059
Kentucky                       590,253        7,317      182,258
Missouri                       323,888        1,574       58,240
Total Slave States           4,632,640      215,568    2,486,226
Total United States         14,189,705      386,295    2,487,355

Total population of the United States in 1840, 17,063,355.

ATLANTIC STATES.—The progress of population in the Atlantic States, since
1790, is shown by the following table. The Middle States are New York, New
Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

                    New           Middle.    Southern.
                    England.
1790               1,009,823      958,632    1,852,504
1800               1,233,315    1,401,070    2,285,909
1810               1,471,891    2,014,695    2,674,913
1820               1,659,808    2,699,845    3,061,074
1830               1,954,717    3,587,664    3,645,752
1840               2,234,822    4,526,260    3,925,299
1850               2,728,106    5,898,735    4,678,728

It may be interesting to notice in this sketch of the progress of the
United States, the population of the country comprising the original
thirteen States, while under the Colonial Government, as far as the same
is known. The first permanent colony planted by the English in America was
Virginia, the settlement of which commenced in 1607. This was followed by
the colonization of Massachusetts, in two original settlements; first that
commenced at Plymouth in 1620; the other at Salem and Boston in 1628 and
1630. Maryland was settled by English and Irish Catholics in 1634; and New
York by the Dutch in 1613.

With the exception of Vermont, the foundation of all the New England
States was laid within twenty years from the arrival of the first settlers
at Plymouth. Hutchinson says that during ten years next prior to 1640, the
number of Puritans who came over to New England amounted to 21,000. If
this estimate is correct, the whole number of inhabitants in New England
in 1640, taking the natural increase into consideration, must have been
over 32,000. As the Puritans came into power in England, under Cromwell,
their emigration was checked, and almost ceased, until the restoration, in
1660. Mr. Seaman, in his “Progress of Nations,” has estimated the
population of New England to have increased to 120,000 in 1701, and gives
the following statement of the population of the original United States,
while British colonies, estimated for 1701, 1749, and 1775:

                       1701.        1749.        1775.
New England          120,000      385,000      705,000
New York              30,000      100,000      200,000
New Jersey            15,000       60,000      120,000
Pennsylvania          20,000      200,000      325,008
Delaware               5,000       25,000       40,000
Maryland              20,000      100,000      210,000
Virginia              70,000      250,000      540,000
North Carolina        20,000       80,000      260,000
South Carolina         7,000       50,000      160,000
Georgia                   --       10,000       40,000
Total                307,000    1,260,000    2,600,000

From 1750 to 1790 (Mr. Seaman states), the white population of the
Southern Colonies or States increased faster than the same class in the
Northern States, and about as fast from 1790 to 1800. But since that
period the increase of whites has been greater in proportion in the
Northern than in the Southern States.

In estimating the future progress of that part of the Continent of America
within the boundaries of the United States, with reference to the march of
population over the immense regions west of the Mississippi, it should be
borne in mind that there is a large tract, of about one thousand miles in
breadth, between the western boundaries of Missouri and Arkansas, and the
Rocky Mountains, which is mostly uninhabitable for agricultural purposes,
the soil being sterile, without timber, and badly watered. But the
population flowing into California and Oregon, attracted by the rich
mineral and agricultural resources of those extensive regions, leaves no
doubt that our States on the Pacific will form a most important part of
the Republic, and afford new fields for enterprise for many future years.

In taking the Seventh Census of the United States, there have been engaged
45 marshals, and 3231 assistants. The aggregate amount appropriated by
Congress for the expenses was $1,267,500. On the 30th of September last
there were employed in the Census-office ninety-one clerks, who in
November were increased to one hundred and forty-eight.

THE IMMENSITY OF THE UNIVERSE!—How often has the grandeur of the
conception been marred by the scientific puerilities that have been
brought to its aid. Lecturers have astonished us with rows of decimals, as
though these could vivify the imaginative faculty, or impart an idea in
any respect more elevated than could have been entertained through an
unscientific yet devout contemplation of the works and ways of God. They
have talked to us of millions, and millions of millions, as though the
computation of immense numbers denoted the highest exercise of the human
intellect, or the loftiest sublimities of human thought. Sometimes they
would vary the effect by telling us how many billions of years it would
take for a railroad locomotive to travel across the solar system, or for a
cannon ball to fly to the widest range of a comet’s orbit, or for the
flash of the electric telegraph to reach the supposed remotest confines of
the Milky Way. And so we have known some preachers attempt to measure
eternity by clocks and pendulums, or sand-glasses as large as the earth’s
orbit, and dropping one grain of sand every million of years, as though
any thing of that kind could come up to the dread impression of that one
Saxon word—_forever_, or the solemn grandeur of the Latin _secula
seculorum_, or to the effect produced by any of those simple
reduplications through which language has ever sought to set forth the
immeasurable conception, by making its immeasurability the very essence of
the thought, and of the term by which it is denoted.

Such contrivances as we have mentioned only weary instead of aiding the
conceptive faculty. If any such help is required for the mind, one of the
shortest formulas of arithmetic or algebra, we contend, would be the most
effective. The more we can express by the highest symbol, the less is the
true grandeur of the thought impaired by any of that imitating and
ever-foiled effort of the imagination which attends those longer methods
that are addressed solely to it. Let us attempt such a formula by taking
at once, for our unit of division, the most minute space ever brought into
visibility by the highest power of the microscope. Let our dividend on the
other hand, be the utmost distance within which the telescope has ever
detected the existence of a material entity. Denote the quotient by the
letter _x_, and let _r_ stand for the radius of the earth’s orbit. Then
_rx__x_ is the formula sought; and if any one think for a moment on the
immense magnitude of the latter part of the expression (_x__x_), and at
what a rate the involution expands itself even when _x_ represents a
moderate number,(10) he may judge how immeasurably it leaves behind it all
other computations. The whole of the universe made visible by Lord Rosse’s
telescope actually shrinks to the dimensions of an animalcule in the
comparison. And yet, even at that distance, so utterly surpassing all
conceivability, we may suppose the existence of worlds still embraced
within the dominions of God, and still, in the same ratio, remote from the
frontiers of his immeasurable empire.

But let us return from so fruitless an inquiry. There is another idea
suggested by the contemplation of the heavens of no less interest,
although presenting a very different, if not an opposite aspect. It is the
comparative NOTHINGNESS of the tangible material universe, as contrasted
with the space, or spaces, occupied even within its visible boundaries.
The distance of our sun from the nearest fixed star (conjectured by
astronomers to be the star 61 Cygni) is estimated at being at least
60,000,000,000,000 of miles, or 600,000 diameters of the earth’s orbit, or
about sixty million diameters of the sun himself. Taking this for the
average distance between the stars, although it is doubtless much greater,
and supposing them to be equal in magnitude to each other, and to the sun,
we have these most striking results. The sun and the star in Cygnus (and
so of the others) would present the same relation as that of two balls of
ten inches diameter placed ten thousand miles apart, or one a thousand
miles above the North Pole, and the other a like distance below the South
Pole of our earth. Preserving the same ratio, we might represent them
again, by two half-inch bullets placed, the one at Chicago, and the other
on the top of the City Hall in the City of New York; and so on, until
finally we would come down to two points, less than a thousandth part of
an inch in diameter, requiring the microscope to render them visible, and
situated at the distance of a mile asunder. Suppose then an inch of the
finest thread of thistle-down cut into a thousand sections, and a globular
space as large as the sphere of our earth, occupied with such invisible
specks, at distances from each other never less than a mile at least, and
we have a fair representation of the visible universe—on a reduced scale,
it is true, yet still preserving all the relative magnitudes, and all the
adjusted proportions of the parts to each other, and to the whole. On any
scale we may assume, all that partakes, in the lowest degree, of sensible
materiality, bears but an infinitessimal proportion to what _appears_ to
be but vacant space. In this view of the matter it becomes more than a
probability that there is no relatively denser solidity than this any
where existing. Even in the hardest and apparently most impenetrable
matter, the ultimate particles may be as sparse in their relative
positions, as are, to each other, the higher compound and component bodies
which we know are dispersed at such immense distances as mere points in
space.

But not to dwell on this idea, there is another of a kindred nature to
which we would call attention, although it must often have come home to
every serious mind. Who can soberly contemplate the mighty heavens without
being struck with what may be called the ISOLATION of the universe, or
rather, of the innumerable parts of which it is composed. To the most
thoughtful spirit a sense of loneliness must be a main, if not a
predominant element in such a survey. The first impression from these
glittering points in space may, indeed, be that of a _social_ congregated
host. And yet how perfect the _seclusion_; so that while there is granted
a bare knowledge of each other’s existence, the possibility of any more
intimate communion, without a change in present laws, is placed altogether
beyond the reach of hope. What immeasurable fields of space intervene even
between those that seem the nearest to each other on the celestial canvas!

We may say, then, that whatever may be reserved for a distant future, this
perfect seclusion seems now to be the predominant feature, or law, of the
Divine dispensations. No doubt our Creator could easily have formed us
with sensitive powers, or a sensitive organization, capable of being
affected from immensely remote, as well as from comparatively near
distances. There is nothing inconceivable in such an adaptation of the
nervous system to a finer class of etherial undulations as might have
enabled us to see and hear what is going on in the most distant worlds.
But it hath not so pleased Him to constitute us; and we think, with all
reverence be it said, that we see wisdom in the denial of such powers
unless accompanied by an organization which would, on the other hand,
utterly unfit us for the narrow world in which we have our present
probationary residence. If the excitements of our limited earth bear with
such exhausting power upon our sensitive system, what if a universe should
burst upon us with its tremendous realities of weal or woe!

It is in kindness, then, that each world is severed, for the present, from
the general intercourse, and that so perfectly that no amount of science
can ever be expected to overcome the separation. “HE hath set a bound
which we can not pass,” except in imagination. Even analogical reasoning
utterly fails, or only lights us to the conclusion that the diversities of
structure, of scenery, and of condition, must be as great, and as
numberless as the spaces, and distances, and positions they respectively
occupy. The moral sense, however, is not wholly silent. It has a voice “to
which we do well to take heed” when the last rays of reason and analogy
have gone out in darkness. It can not be, it affirms—it can not be, that
the worlds on worlds which the eye and the telescope reveal to us are but
endless repetitions of the fallen earth on which we dwell. What a pall
would such a thought spread over the universe! How sad would it render the
contemplation of the heavens! How full of melancholy the conception that
throughout the measureless fields of space there may be the same
wretchedness and depravity that have formed the mournful history of our
earth, and which we fail to see in its true intensity, because we have
become hardened through long and intimate familiarity with its scenes. And
yet, for all that natural science merely, and natural theology can prove,
it may be so, and even far worse. For all that they can affirm, either as
to possibility or probability, a history of woe surpassing any thing that
earth has ever exhibited, or inhabitant of earth has ever imagined, may
have every where predominated. The highest reasoning of natural theology
can only set out for us some cold system of optimism, which may make it
perfectly consistent with its heartless intellectuality to regard the
sufferings of a universe, and that suffering a million-fold more intense
than any thing ever yet experienced, as only a means to some fancied good
time coming, and ever coming, for other dispensations and other races, and
other types of being in a future incalculably remote. To a right thinking
mind nothing can be more gloomy than that view of the universe which is
given by science alone, taking the earth as its base line of measurement,
and its present condition (assumed to have come from no moral catastrophe,
but to be a necessary result of universal physical laws) as the only
ground of legitimate induction. But we have a surer guide than this.
Besides the moral sense, we have the representations the Bible gives of
God and Christ. These form the ground of the belief that our earth is not
a fair sample of the universe, that fallen worlds are rare and
extraordinary, as requiring extraordinary mediatorial remedies—that
blessedness is the rule and not the exception, and that the Divine love
and justice have each respect to individual existences, instead of being
both absorbed in that _impersonal_ attribute which has regard only to
being in general, or to worlds and races viewed only in reference to some
interminable progress, condemned by its own law of development to eternal
imperfection, because never admitting the idea of finish of workmanship,
or of finality of purpose, either in relation to the universe or any of
its parts.



EDITOR’S EASY CHAIR


New-Yorkers have a story to tell of the winter just now dying, that will
seem, perhaps, to the children of another generation like a pretty bit of
Munchausenism. Whoever has seen our Metropolitan City only under the balmy
atmosphere of a soft May-day, or under the smoky sultriness of a tropic
August—who has known our encompassing rivers only as green arms of
sparkling water, laughing under the shadows of the banks, and of
shipping—would never have known the Petersburg of a place into which our
passing winter has transformed the whole.

Only fancy our green East River, that all the summer comes rocking up from
the placid Sound, with a hoarse murmur through the rocks of Hell-Gate, and
loitering, like a tranquil poem, under the shade of the willows of
Astoria, all bridged with white and glistening ice! And the stanch little
coasting-craft, that in summer-time spread their wings in companies, like
flocks of swans, within the bays that make the vestibule to the waters of
the city, have been caught in their courses, and moored to their places,
by a broad anchor of sheeted silver.

The oyster-men, at the beacon of the Saddle-rock, have cut openings in the
ice; and the eel-spearers have plied their pronged trade, with no boat
save the frozen water.

In town, too, a carnival of sleighs and bells has wakened Broadway into
such hilarity as was like to the festivals we read of upon the Neva. And
if American character verged ever toward such coquetry of flowers and
bon-bons as belongs to the Carnival at Rome, it would have made a pretty
occasion for the show, when cheeks looked so tempting, and the streets and
house-tops sparkled with smiles.

As for the country, meantime, our visitors tell us that it has been
sleeping for a month and more under a glorious cloak of snow; and that the
old days of winter-cheer and fun have stolen back to mock at the
anthracite fires, and to woo the world again to the frolic of moonlight
rides and to the flashing play of a generous hickory-flame.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Beside the weather, which has made the ballast of very much of the salon
chat, city people have been measuring opinions of late in their hap-hazard
and careless way, about a new and most unfortunate trial of divorce. It is
sadly to be regretted that the criminations and recriminations between man
and wife should play such part as they do, not only in the gossip, but in
the papers of the day. Such reports as mark the progress of the Forrest
trial (though we say it out of our Easy Chair) make very poor pabulum for
the education of city children. And we throw out, in way of hint, both to
legislators and editors, the question how this matter is to be mended.

As for the merits of the case, which have been so widely discussed,
we—talking as we do in most kindly fashion of chit-chat—shall venture no
opinion. At the same time, we can not forbear intimating our strong
regret, that a lady, who by the finding of an impartial jury, was declared
intact in character, and who possessed thereby a start-point for winning
high estimation in those quiet domestic circles which her talents were
fitted to adorn—should peril all this, by a sudden appeal to the
sympathies of those who judge of character by scenic effects: and who, by
the very necessity of her new position, will measure her worth by the
glare of the foot-lights of a theatre!

Mrs. FORREST has preferred admiration to sympathy; her self-denial is not
equal to her love of approbation.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

European topic still has its place, and LOUIS NAPOLEON with his adroit but
tyrannic manœuvres, fills up a large space of the talk. It would seem,
that he was rivaling the keenest times of the Empire, in the zeal of his
espionage; and every mail brings us intelligence of some unfortunately
free-talker, who is “advised” to quit “the Republic.”

Americans are very naturally in bad odor; and from private advices we
learn that their requisitions to see the lions of the capital city, meet
with a growing coolness. Still, however, the gay heart of Paris leaps on,
in its fond, foolish heedlessness; and the operas and theatres win the
discontented away from their cares, and bury their lost liberties under
the shabby concealment of a laugh.

Report says that the masked balls of the Opera were never more fully
attended; or the gayety of their Carnival pursued with a noisier
recklessness.

This, indeed, is natural enough: when men are denied the liberty of
thinking, they will relieve themselves by a license of desire; and when
the soul is pinioned by bonds, the senses will cheat the man.

There is no better safeguard for Despotism, whether under cover of a
Kingdom or a Republic—than immorality. The brutality of lust is the best
extinguisher of thought: and the drunkenness of sensualism will inevitably
stifle all the nobler impulses of the mind.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

As for political chat at home, it runs now in the channel of
President-making; and the dinner-tables of Washington are lighted up with
comparison of chances. Under this, the gayeties proper are at a
comparative stand-still. The Assembly balls, as we learn, are less
brilliant, and more promiscuous than ever; and even the select parties of
the National Hotel are singularly devoid of attractions. Lent too is
approaching, to whip off, with its scourge of custom, the cue of papal
diplomats; and then, the earnestness of the campaign for the Presidency
will embrue the talk of the whole Metropolis.

While we are thus turning our pen-point Washington-ward, we shall take the
liberty of felicitating ourselves, upon the contrast which has belonged to
the reception of LOLA MONTES, in New York, and in the metropolis of the
nation. Here, she was scarce the mention of a respectable journal; there,
she has been honored by distinguished “callers.”

We see in this a better tone of taste in our own city, than in the city of
the nation; and it will justify the opinion, which is not without other
support, that the range of honorable delicacy is far lower in the city of
our representatives, than in any city of their clients. Representatives
leave their proprieties at home; and many a member would blush at a
license within the purlieus of his own constituency, which he courts as an
honor in the city of our Cæsars! We wish them joy of their devotion to the
Danseuse, whom—though we count as humble as themselves in point of
morals—we believe to be superior, mentally, to the bulk of her admirers.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

As a token of French life and morals, we make out this sad little bit of
romance from a recent paper:

A few days since, some boatmen upon the Seine saw what appeared to be a
pair of human feet floating down the stream; manning their barge, they
hastened to the spot, and succeeded in drawing from the water the body of
a young woman, apparently about twenty-five years of age, and elegantly
dressed; a heavy stone was attached to her neck by a cord. Within a small
tin box, in the pocket of her dress, carefully sealed, was found the
following note:

“My parents I have never known; up to the age of seven years, I was
brought up by a good woman of a little village of the Department of the
Seine and Marne; and from that time, to the age of eighteen I was placed
in a boarding-house of Paris. Nothing but was provided for my education.
My parents were without doubt rich, for nothing was neglected that could
supply me with rich toilet, and my bills were regularly paid by an unknown
hand.

“One day I received a letter; it was signed, ‘Your mother.’ Then I was
happy!

“ ‘Your birth,’ she wrote me, ‘would destroy the repose of our entire
family; one day, however, you shall know me: honorable blood flows in your
veins, my daughter—do not doubt it. Your future is made sure. But for the
present, it is necessary that you accept a place provided for you in the
establishment of M——; and when once you have made yourself familiar with
the duties of the place, you shall be placed at the head of an even larger
establishment.’

“A few days after, I found myself in the new position. Years passed by.
Then came the Revolution of February. From that fatal time I have heard
nothing of my family. Alone in the world, believing myself deserted,
maddened by my situation, I yielded, in an evil hour, to the oaths of one
who professed to love me. He deceived me; there is nothing now to live
for; suicide is my only refuge. I only pray that those who find this poor
body, will tell my story to the world; and, please God, it may soften, the
heart of those who desert their children!”

The story may be true or not, in fact; it is certainly true to the life,
and the religion of Paris: and while such life, and such sense of duty
remains, it is not strange that a Napoleon can ride into rule, and that
the French Republic should be firmest under the prick of bayonets.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

It appears that a Madame de la Ribossière has deceased lately in Paris,
leaving a very large fortune—to the city of Paris—much to the ire, not
only of her family, but of sundry friends, literary and others, who had
contributed very greatly to her amusement.

A French writer comments on the matter in a strain which, considering our
duties as Editor, we shall not think it worth while to gainsay.

Madame de la Ribossière was a lady of refined tastes, who derived a large
part of her enjoyment of life from the accomplishments of artistic and
literary gentlemen; how then, does it happen that she should not have
given proof of the pleasure she had received by a few princely legacies?

In the good old times (may they come again!) authors had different
treatment. Thus Pliny, the younger, in writing to Tacitus, says, “I have
received the past year some twenty-five thousand _ses terces_ more than
yourself—in the way of legacies—but don’t be jealous!”

The truth is, that a rich man rarely died in Rome, without leaving some
token to the author who had beguiled the hours of solitude—enlarged his
ideas, or consoled him in affliction. Cicero speaks of a large
inheritance, which he possessed, of statues and beautiful objects. In
short, Roman literature and the history of antiquity grew out of those
princely endowments, which independence and strength of opinion did not
fail to secure.

But nowadays, says the French author, a writer is paid like a starveling;
and picks up such crumbs of charity as fall only from the tables of the
publishers. And he goes on pleasantly, to suggest a change in this matter;
which, if it gain footing on the other side of the water, we shall take
the liberty of welcoming very kindly in America. When the custom of
leaving legacies to writers is in vogue, we shall take the liberty of
suggesting, in our own behalf, such objects of art as would be agreeable
to us; and such stocks as we should prefer as a permanent investment.

Meantime, we suck our quill in our Easy Chair, with as much forbearance as
we can readily command.



EDITOR’S DRAWER.


That was a dignified and graceful entertainment which recently took place
in the gay capital of France. Some two hundred of the “nobility and
gentry,” including a sprinkling of English aristocracy, assembled in a
prominent hall of the city, to see a _Rat and Owl Fight_! And while they
were getting ready the combatants, which went by sundry fancy or favorite
names, they had a _poet_ in leash, who “improvised a _strophe_” for the
occasion! Think of a “poet” apostrophizing, in studied measures, twelve
rats and four old owls! But that’s “the way they _do_ things in France.”

They have another very sensible and dramatic amusement there, which they
call the “_Mat de Cocagne_.” This is a long pole, of about eighteen inches
diameter at the base, well polished and greased from top to bottom, with
soft soap, tallow, and other slippery ingredients. To climb up this pole
to the top is an eminent exploit, which crowns the victorious adventurer
with a rich prize, and gains him the acclamations of ten thousand
spectators. The “pretenders” strip off their upper gear altogether, and
roll up their trowsers mid-thigh, and thus accoutred, present themselves
at the bottom of the mast. Now just listen to a description of the
operation, and reflections thereupon, and tell us whether you ever read
any thing more “perfectly _French_.”

“The first who attempt the ascent look for no honor; their office is to
prepare the way, and put things in train for their successors: they rub
off the grease from the bottom, the least practicable part of the pole. In
every thing the first steps are the most difficult, although seldom the
most glorious; and scarcely ever does the same person commence an
enterprise, and reap the fruit of its accomplishment. They ascend higher
by degrees, and the expert climbers now come forth, the heroes of the
list: they who have been accustomed to gain prizes, whose prowess is
known, and whose fame is established since many seasons. They do not
expend their strength in the beginning; they climb up gently, and
patiently, and modestly, and repose from time to time; and they carry, as
is permitted, a little sack at their girdle, filled with ashes to
neutralize the grease and render it less slippery.

“All efforts, however, for a long time prove ineffectual. There seems to
be an ultimate point, which no one can scan, the measure and term of human
strength; and to overreach it is at last deemed impossible. Now and then a
pretender essays his awkward limbs, and reaching scarce half way even to
this point, falls back clumsily amidst the hisses and laughter of the
spectators; so in the world empirical pretension comes out into notoriety
for a moment only to return with ridicule and scorn to its original
obscurity.

“But the charm is at length broken: a victorious climber has transcended
the point at which his predecessors were arrested. Every one now does the
same: such are men: they want but a precedent: as soon as it is proved
that a thing is possible, it is no longer difficult. Our climber continues
his success: farther and farther still; he is a few feet only from the
summit, but he is wearied, he relents. Alas! is the prize, almost in his
grasp, to escape from him! He makes another effort, but it is of no avail.
He does not, however, lose ground: he reposes. In the mean time,
exclamations are heard, of doubt, of success, of encouragement.

“After a lapse of two or three minutes, which is itself a fatigue, he
essays again. It is in vain! He begins even to shrink: he has slipped
downward a few inches, and recovers his loss by an obstinate struggle
(‘_applause_!’—‘_sensation_!’), but it is a supernatural effort, and—his
last. Soon after a murmur is heard from the crowd below, half raillery and
half compassion, and the poor adventurer slides down, mortified and
exhausted, upon the earth!

“So a courtier, having planned from his youth his career of ambition,
struggles up the ladder, lubric and precipitous, to the top—to the very
consummation of his hopes, and then falls back into the rubbish from which
he has issued; and they who envied his fortune, now rejoice in his fall.
What lessons of philosophy in a greasy pole! What moral reflections in a
spectacle so empty to the common world! What wholesome sermons are here
upon the vanity of human hopes, the disappointments of ambition, and the
difficulties of success in the slippery paths of fortune and human
greatness! But the very defeat of the last adventurer has shown the
_possibility_ of success, and prepared the way for his successor, who
mounts up and perches on the summit of the mast, bears off the crown, and
descends amidst the shouts and applause of the multitude. It is Americus
Vespucius who bears away from Columbus the recompense of his toils!”

So much for climbing a greased pole in reflective, philosophical Paris!

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Inquisitiveness has been well described as “an itch for prying into other
people’s affairs, to the neglect of our own; an ignorant hankering after
all such knowledge as is not worth knowing; a curiosity to learn things
that are not at all curious.” People of this stamp would rather be “put to
the question” than not to ask questions. Silence is torture to them. A
genuine _quidnunc_ prefers even false news to _no_ news; he prides himself
upon having the first information of things that never happened. Yankees
are supposed to have attained the greatest art in parrying
inquisitiveness, but there is a story extant of a “Londoner” on his
travels in the provinces, who rather eclipses the cunning “Yankee
Peddler.” In traveling post, says the narrator, he was obliged to stop at
a village to replace a shoe which his horse had lost; when the “Paul Pry”
of the place bustled up to the carriage-window, and without waiting for
the ceremony of an introduction, said:

“Good-morning, sir. Horse cast a shoe I see. I suppose, sir, you are going
to—?”

Here he paused, expecting the name of the place to be supplied; but the
gentleman answered:

“You are quite right; I generally go there at this season.”

“Ay—ahem!—do you? And no doubt you are now come from—?”

“Right again, sir; I _live_ there.”

“Oh, ay; I see: you do! But I perceive it is a London shay. Is there any
thing stirring in London?”

“Oh, yes; plenty of other chaises and carriages of all sorts.”

“Ay, ay, of course. But what do folks say?”

“They say their prayers every Sunday.”

“That isn’t what I mean. I want to know whether there is any thing new and
fresh.”

“Yes; bread and herrings.”

“Ah, you are a queer fellow. Pray, mister, may I ask your name?”

“Fools and clowns,” said the gentleman, “call me ‘Mister;’ but I am in
reality one of the clowns of Aristophanes; and my real name is _Brekekekex
Koax!_ Drive on, postillion!”

Now this is what _we_ call a “pursuit of knowledge under difficulties” of
the most _obstinate_ kind.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

In these “leaking” days of wintry-spring, when that classical compound
called “_splosh_,” a conglomerate of dirty snow and unmistakable mud,
pervades the streets of the city, perhaps these “_Street Thoughts by a
Surgeon_” may not be without some degree of wholesome effect upon the
community:

“In perambulating the streets at this period, what a number of little
ragamuffins I observe trundling their hoops! With what interest I
contemplate their youthful sport; particularly when I regard its probable
consequences! A hoop runs between a gentleman’s legs. He falls. When I
reflect on the wonderful construction of the skeleton, and consider to how
many fractures and dislocations it is liable in such a case, my bosom
expands to a considerate police, to whose ‘non-interference’ we are
indebted for such chances of practice!

“The numerous bits of orange-peel which diversify the pavement, oftentimes
attract my attention. Never do I kick one of them out of the way. The
blessings of a whole profession on the hands that scatter them! Each
single bit may supply a new and instructive page to the ‘Chapter of
Accidents.’

“Considering the damp, muddy state of the streets at this time of the
year, I am equally amazed and delighted to see the ladies, almost
universally, going about in the thinnest of thin shoes. This elegant
fashion beautifully displays the conformation of the ankle-joint; but to
the practitioner it has another and a stronger recommendation. I behold
the delicate foot separated scarcely by the thickness of thin paper from
the mire. I see the exquisite instep, undefended but by a mere web. I
meditate upon the influence of the cold and wet upon the frame. I think of
the catarrhs, coughs, pleurisies, consumptions, and other interesting
affections that necessarily must result from their application to the
feet; and then I reckon up the number of pills, boluses, powders,
draughts, mixtures, leeches, and blisters, which will consequently be sent
in to the fair sufferers, calculate what they must come to, and wish that
I had the amount already in my pocket!”

A world of satirical truth is here, in a very small compass.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

There is a good story told recently of Baron Rothschild, of Paris, the
richest man of his class in the world, which shows that it is not only
“money which makes the mare go” (or horses either, for that matter), but
“_ready_ money,” “unlimited credit” to the contrary notwithstanding. On a
very wet and disagreeable day, the Baron took a Parisian omnibus, on his
way to the Bourse, or Exchange; near which the “Nabob of Finance”
alighted, and was going away without paying. The driver stopped him, and
demanded his fare. Rothschild felt in his pocket, but he had not a “red
cent” of change. The driver was very wroth:

“Well, what did you get _in_ for, if you could not pay? You must have
_known_, that you had no money!”

“I am Baron Rothschild!” exclaimed the great capitalist; “and there is my
card!”

The driver threw the card in the gutter: “Never heard of you before,” said
the driver, “and don’t want to hear of you again. But I want my fare—and I
must _have_ it!”

The great banker was in haste: “I have only an order for a million,” he
said. “Give me change;” and he proffered a “coupon” for fifty thousand
francs.

The conductor stared, and the passengers set up a horse-laugh. Just then
an “Agent de Change” came by, and Baron Rothschild borrowed of him the six
sous.

The driver was now seized with a kind of remorseful respect; and turning
to the Money-King, he said:

“If you want ten francs, sir, I don’t mind lending them to you on my own
account!”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,” says the BIBLE, “THOU hast
ordained praise.” Whoso reads the following, will feel the force of the
passage.

At an examination of a deaf and dumb institution some years ago in London,
a little boy was asked in writing:

“Who made the world?”

He took the chalk, and wrote underneath the words:

“In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.”

The clergyman then inquired, in a similar manner

“Why did JESUS CHRIST come into the world?”

A smile of gratitude rested upon the countenance of the little fellow, as
he wrote:

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that JESUS
CHRIST came into the world to save sinners.”

A third question was then proposed, evidently adapted to call the most
powerful feelings into exercise:

“Why were _you_ born deaf and dumb, when _I_ can both hear and speak?”

“Never,” said an eye-witness, “shall I forget the look of resignation
which sat upon his countenance, when he again took the chalk and wrote:

“_Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight!_”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

We find a piece of poetry in the “Drawer,” entitled “_The Husband’s
Complaint_,” and we quote a few stanzas from it to show, that there are
elsewhere, sympathizers with all those unfortunate husbands, victims to
German worsted, who are compelled to see pink dogs with green eyes
gradually growing before them every day, or untamed African lions in buff,
with vermilion eyeballs, glaring from the frame upon them.


    “I hate the name of German wool,
      In all its colors bright,
    Of chairs and stools in fancy-work,
      I hate the very sight!
    The rugs and slippers that I’ve seen,
      The ottomans and bags,
    Sooner than wear a stitch on me,
      I’d walk the streets in rags!”

    “I’ve heard of wives too musical,
      Too talkative, or quiet;
    Of scolding or of gaming wives,
      And those too fond of riot;
    But yet, of all the errors known,
      Which to the women fall,
    Forever doing “fancy-work,”
      I think exceeds them all!

    “The other day, when I came home,
      No dinner was for me;
    I asked my wife the reason why,
      And she said “One, two, three!”
    I told her I was hungry,
      And I stamped upon the floor,
    She never looked at me, but said,
      “I want one dark-green more!”

    “Of course she makes me angry,
      But she doesn’t care for that;
    But chatters while I talk to her,
      “One white and then a black;
    One green, and then a purple,
      (Just hold your tongue, my dear,
    You really do annoy me so),
      I’ve made a wrong stitch here!”

    “And as for confidential chat,”
      With her eternal “_frame_,”
    Though I should speak of fifty things,
      She’d answer me the same:
    ’Tis, “Yes, love—five reds, then a black—
      (I quite agree with you)—
    I’ve done this wrong—seven, eight, nine, ten,
      An orange—then a blue!”

    “If any lady comes to tea,
      Her bag is first surveyed;
    And if the pattern pleases her,
      A copy then is made;
    She stares the men quite out of face,
      And when I ask her why,
    ’Tis, “Oh, my love, the pattern of
      His waistcoat struck my eye!”

    “And if to walk I am inclined
      (It’s seldom I go out),
    At every worsted-shop she sees,
      Oh, how she looks about!
    And says, “Bless me! I _must_ ’go in,
      The pattern is so rare;
    That group of flowers is just the thing
      I wanted for my chair!”

    “Besides, the things she makes are all
      Such “Touch-me-not” affairs,
    I dare not even use a stool,
      Nor screen; and as for chairs,
    ’Twas only yesterday I put
      My youngest boy in one,
    And until then I never knew
      My wife had such a tongue!

    “Alas, for my poor little ones!
      They dare not move nor speak,
    It’s “Tom, be still, put down that bag,
      Why, Harriet, where’s your feet!
    Maria, standing on that stool!!
      It wasn’t made for use;
    Be silent all: three greens, one red,
      A blue, and then a puce!”

    “Oh, Heaven preserve me from a wife
      With “fancy-work” run wild;
    And hands which never do aught else
      For husband or for child:
    Our clothes are rent, our bills unpaid,
      Our house is in disorder,
    _And all because my lady-wife_
    _Has taken to embroider_!”


                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Private subscriptions to a book, “for the benefit of the author,” is one
way of paying creditors by taxing your friends. There have been some
curious specimens of this kind of “raising the wind,” in this same big
metropolis of Gotham, which have proved what is called at the West “a
caution;” a caution which the victims found, to their mortification, that
they needed beforehand. “All honor to the sex,” we say, of course, but not
the _same_ honor to _all_ of the sex; for there have been instances,
hereabout, of inveterate feminine book-purveyors, who have reflected
little honor upon themselves, and less upon “the sex;” as certain public
functionaries could bear witness—in fact, _have_ borne witness, upon the
witness-stand. There is a laughable instance recorded of a new method of
giving a subscription, which we shall venture to quote in this connection.
Many years ago, a worthy and well-known English nobleman, having become
embarrassed in his circumstances, a subscription was set on foot by his
friends, and a letter, soliciting contributions, was addressed, among
others, to Lord Erskine, who immediately dispatched the following answer:

“MY DEAR SIR JOHN:

“I am enemy to subscriptions of this nature; first, because my own
finances are by no means in a flourishing plight; and secondly, because
pecuniary assistance thus conferred, must be equally painful to the donor
and the receiver. As I feel, however, the sincerest gratitude for your
public services, and regard for your private worth, I have great pleasure
in _subscribing_—[Here the worthy nobleman, big with expectation, turned
over the leaf, and finished the perusal of the note, which terminated as
follows]: in _subscribing_ myself,

“My dear Sir John,

“Yours, very faithfully,

“ERSKINE.”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Very bad spelling is sometimes the best, as in the case of the English
beer-vender, who wrote over his shop-door:


    “_Bear_ sold here.”


Tom Hood, who saw it, said that it was spelled right, because the fluid he
sold was his own _Bruin_!

Not less ingenious was the device of the quack-doctor, who announced in
his printed handbills that he could instantly cure “the most obstinate
_aguews_;” which orthography proved that he was no conjuror, and did not
attempt to cure them by _a spell_.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

It was Punch, if we remember rightly, who told the story, some years ago,
of a man who loaned an umbrella to a friend, a tradesman in his street, on
a wet, nasty day. It was not returned, and on _another_ wet, disagreeable
day, he called for it, but found his friend at the door, going out with it
in his hand.

“I’ve come for my umbrella,” exclaimed the loan-_or_.

“Can’t help _that_,” exclaimed the borrower; “don’t you see that I am
going out with it?”

“Well—yes—” replied the lender, astounded at such outrageous impudence;
“yes; but—but—but what am _I_ to do?”

“Do?” replied the other, as he threw up the top, and walked off; “do? do
as _I_ did: _borrow one_!”

One of the best chapters in “Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures,” is where
that amiable and greatly-abused angel reproaches her inhuman spouse with
loaning the family umbrella:

“Ah! that’s the third umbrella gone since Christmas! What were you to do?
Why, let him go home in the rain. I don’t think there was any thing about
_him_ that would spoil. Take cold, indeed! He does not look like one o’
the sort to take cold. He’d better taken cold, than our only umbrella. Do
you hear the rain, Caudle? I say, do you _hear the rain_? Do you hear it
against the windows? Nonsense; you can’t be asleep with such a shower as
that. Do you _hear_ it, I say? Oh, you _do_ hear it, do you? Well, that’s
a pretty flood, I think, to last six weeks, and no stirring all this time
out of the house. Poh! don’t think to fool _me_, Caudle: _he_ return the
umbrella! As if any body ever _did_ return an umbrella! There—do you hear
it? Worse and worse! Cats and dogs for six weeks—always six weeks—and no
umbrella!

“I should like to know how the children are to go to school, to-morrow.
They shan’t go through _such_ weather, _that_ I’m determined. No; they
shall stay at home, and never learn any thing, sooner than go and get wet.
And when they grow up, I wonder who they’ll have to thank for knowing
nothing. People who can’t feel for their children ought never to _be_
fathers.

“But _I_ know why you lent the umbrella—_I_ know, very well. I was going
out to tea to mother’s, to-morrow;—you _knew_ that very well; and you did
it on purpose. Don’t tell me; _I_ know; you don’t want me to go, and take
every mean advantage to hinder me. But don’t you think it, Caudle! No; if
it comes down in buckets-full, I’ll go all the more: I will; and what’s
more, I’ll walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my
death,” &c., &c., &c.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The satire of the following lines, upon that species of sentimental
song-writing which prevailed a few years ago to a much greater extent than
at present, is somewhat broad; but any one who remembers the feeble and
affected trash which has hitherto been set to music, and sung by
lachrymose young ladies and gentlemen, will not consider it one whit too
much deserved.


    I.

    “My lute hath only one sad tone,
      It hath a mournful twang:
    Its other strings are cracked and gone,
      By one unlucky bang!
    You ask me why I don’t restore
      Its early sweetness, and fresh cord it;
    Oh, no! I’ll play on it no more!
      Between ourselves—I can’t afford it!

    II.

    “You tell me that my light guitar
      Is now as silent as the grave;
    That on it now I play no bar,
      Though _once_ it thrill’d with many a stave
    Alas! to strike it once again,
      More power than I possess requires;
    The effort would be worse than vain—
      My light guitar has lost its wires!

    III.

    “My heart, my lute, my light guitar,
      All broken as they be,
    As like unto each other are,
      As little pea to pea.
    Come, heart; come, lute, guitar, and all,
      In one lament ye all are blended!
    Hang on your nails against the wall—
      I can’t afford to get you mended!”


Just fancy this touching song sung by a “nice young man,” with all the
modern “shakes” and _affetuoso_ accompaniments, and you will “realize” a
fair hit at what was not long since a fashionable species of English
ballad music.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

“Speaking of music,” by-the-by, we are reminded of rather a sharp reply
made by a celebrated nobleman in England to an enterprising musical
gentleman, who was a good deal of an enthusiast in the art. “I have waited
upon you, my lord, to ask for your subscription of twenty guineas to the
series of six Italian concerts, to be given at ——’s Rooms. Knowing your
lordship to be an admirer of the sweet—”

“You’ve been misinformed, sir. I am _not_ much of an admirer of the school
of ‘difficult music:’ on the contrary, I often wish, with Dr. Johnson,
that ‘it was not only _difficult_, but _impossible_.’ ”

“But as a nobleman, as a public man, your lordship can not be insensible
to the value of your honored name upon the subscription-list. Your eminent
brother, the greatest of London’s prelates, the most gifted, your
honorable brother subscribed fifty guineas. Here, sir, is his signature
upon this very paper which I hold in my hand.”

“Well,” replied “his lordship,” “I have no hesitation to state, that if I
were as _deaf_ as he is, I wouldn’t mind subscribing myself! He’s as deaf
as a post, or as a dumb adder; and can not hear the sounds of your Italian
charmers, charm they never so loudly. I have no such good luck.”

Thinking, doubtless, that trying to secure “his lordship’s” patronage
under such circumstances, and with such opinions, involved the pursuit of
musical subscriptions “under difficulties,” the importunate solicitor,
with a succession of low bows, left the apartment; and as he left “the
presence” he _thought_ he heard a low, chuckling laugh, but it didn’t
affect _his_ risibles!

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

What a life-like “picture in little” is this by HOOD of the “torrent of
rugged humanity” that set toward an English poor-house, at sound of _The
Work House Clock_! Remark, too, reader, the beautiful sentiment with which
the extract closes:


    “There’s a murmur in the air,
    And noise in every street;
    The murmur of many tongues,
    The noise of many feet.
    While round the work-house door
    The laboring classes flock;
    For why? the Overseer of the P——
    Is setting the work-house clock.

    “Who does not hear the tramp
    Of thousands speeding along,
    Of either sex, and various stamp
    Sickly, crippled, and strong;
    Walking, limping, creeping,
    From court and alley and lane,
    But all in one direction sweeping,
    Like rivers that seek the main?

    “Who does not see them sally
    From mill, and garret, and room,
    In lane, and court, and alley,
    From homes in Poverty’s lowest valley
    Furnished with shuttle and loom:
    Poor slaves of Civilization’s galley—
    And in the road and footways sally,
    As if for the Day of Doom?
    Some, of hardly human form,
    Stunted, crooked, and crippled by toil,
    Dingy with smoke, and rust, and oil,
    And smirched beside with vicious toil,
    Clustering, mustering, all in a swarm,
    Father, mother, and care-full child,
    _Looking as if it had never smiled_;
    The seamstress lean, and weary, and wan,
    With only the _ghosts_ of garments on;
    The weaver, her sallow neighbor,
    The grim and sooty artisan;
    Every soul—child, woman, or man,
    Who lives—or dies—by labor!

    “At last, before that door
    That bears so many a knock,
    Ere ever it opens to Sick or Poor,
    Like sheep they huddle and flock—
    And would that all the Good and Wise
    Could see the million of hollow eyes,
    With a gleam derived from Hope and the skies
    Upturned to the Work-House Clock!

    “Oh! that the Parish Powers,
    Who regulate Labor’s hours,
    The daily amount of human trial,
    Weariness, pain, and self-denial,
    Would turn from the artificial dial
    That striketh ten or eleven,
    And go, for once, by that older one
    That stands in the light of Nature’s sun,
    And takes its time from Heaven!”


                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

There is something very amusing to us in this passage, which we find
copied upon a dingy slip of paper in the “Drawer,” descriptive of the
“sweet uses” to which sugar is put in “Gaul’s gay capital:”

“Here is the whole animal creation in paste, and history and all the fine
arts in _sucre d’orge_. You can buy an epigram in dough, and a pun in a
soda-biscuit; a ‘Constitutional Charter,’ all in jumbles, and a
‘Revolution’ just out of the frying-pan. Or, if you love American history,
here is a United States frigate, two inches long, and a big-bellied
commodore bombarding Paris with ‘shin-plasters;’ and the French women and
children stretching out their little arms, three-quarters of an inch long,
toward Heaven, and supplicating the mercy of the victors, in molasses
candy. You see also a General Jackson, with the head of a hickory-nut,
with a purse, I believe, of ‘Carroway Comfits,’ and in a great hurry,
pouring out the ‘twenty-five millions,’ a king, a queen, and a royal
family, all of plaster of Paris. If you step into one of these stores, you
will see a gentleman in mustaches, whom you will mistake for a nobleman,
who will ask you to ‘give yourself the pain to sit down,’ and he will put
you up a paper of bon-bons, and he will send it home for you, and he will
accompany you to the door, and he will have ‘the honor to salute you’—all
for four sous!”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Few things are more amusing, to one who looks at the matter with
attention, than the literary style of the Chinese. How inseparable it is,
from the exalted opinions which “John Chinaman” holds of the “Celestial
Flowery Land!” Every body, all nations, away from the Celestial Empire,
are “Outside Barbarians.” And this feeling is not assumed; it is innate
and real in the hearts of the Chinese, both rulers and ruled. A friend
once showed us a map of China. China, by that map, _occupied all the
world_, with the exception of two small spots on the very outer edge,
which represented Great Britain and the United States! These “places” they
had _heard_ of, in the way of trade for teas, silks, etc., with the
empire.

We once heard a friend describe a Chinese “chop,” on government-order. He
was an officer on board a United States vessel, then lying in the harbor
at Hong-kong. A great commotion was observable among the crowds of boats
upon the water, when presently a gayly-decorated junk was observed
approaching the vessel. She arrived at the side, when a pompous little
official, with the air of an emperor, attended by two or three mandarins,
was received on deck. He looked the personification of Imperial Dignity.
He carried a short truncheon in his right hand, like Richard the Third;
and with his “tail” (his own, and his followers’) he strode toward the
quarter-deck. Arrived there, he unrolled his truncheon, a small square
sheet of white parchment, bearing a single red character, and held it up
to the astonished gaze of the officers and crew! This was a “_Vermilion
Edict_,” that terrible thing, so often fulminated by Commissioner Lin
against the “Outside Barbarians;” and that single red character was, “_Go
away!_” After the exhibition of which, it was impossible (of course!) to
stay in the Chinese waters. Having shown this, the great Mandarin and his
“tail” departed in solemn silence over the side of the ship. Of these
“special edicts,” especially those touching the expulsion of the “smoking
mud,” or opium, from the “Central Kingdom,” we may give the readers of the
“Drawer” specimens in some subsequent number; there happening to be in
that miscellaneous receptacle quite a collection of authentic Chinese
State Papers, with translations, notes, and introductions, by a
distinguished American savant, long a resident in the “Celestial Flowery
Land.”



LITERARY NOTICES.


One of the most welcome reprints of the season is Harper and Brothers’
edition of the _Life and Works of Robert Burns_, edited by ROBERT
CHAMBERS, in four handsome duodecimos. This is a tribute of exceeding
value to the memory of the great Peasant Bard, disclosing many new facts
in his history, and enhancing the interest of his writings by the
admirable order of their arrangement. These are interwoven with the
biography in chronological succession, and thus made to illustrate the
poetical experience and mental development of Burns, while they receive a
fresh and more striking significance from their connection with the
circumstances and impressions that led to their production. The present
editor was induced to undertake the grateful task of preparing the works
of his gifted countryman for the press by his profound interest in the
subject, and by his perceptions of the short-comings of previous laborers
in the same field. Dr. Currie, who was the pioneer of subsequent
biographical attempts, entered upon his task with too great deference to
public opinion, which at that time visited the errors of Bums with
excessive severity of retribution. Hence the caution and timidity which
characterized his memoir, converting it into a feeble apology for its
subject, instead of a frank and manly narration of his life. Lockhart’s
biography of Burns is a spirited and graceful production, inspired with a
genuine Scottish feeling, written in a tone of impartial kindness, and
containing many just, and forcible criticisms. It is, however, disfigured
with numerous inaccuracies, and brings forward few details to increase our
previous knowledge of the subject. Nor can the genial labors of Allan
Cunningham be regarded as making further biographical efforts superfluous.

Mr. Chambers has availed himself in this edition of ample materials for a
life of the poet, including the reminiscences of his youngest sister, who
was still living at the date of the composition of these volumes. Devoted
to the memory of Burns with the enthusiasm of national pride, a zealous
student of his glorious poetry, and a warm admirer of the originality and
nobleness of his character, in spite of its glaring and painful defects,
he has erected a beautiful and permanent monument to his fame, which will
survive the recollections of his errors and infirmities. We think this
edition must speedily take the place of all others now extant. The notes
in illustration of the biography, are copious and valuable. No one can
read the poems, in connection with the lucid memoir, without feeling a new
glow of admiration for the immortal bard, “whose life was one long
hardship, relieved by little besides an ungainful excitement—who during
his singularly hapless career, did, on the whole, well maintain the grand
battle of Will against Circumstances—who, strange to say, in the midst of
his own poverty conferred an imperishable gift on mankind—an Undying Voice
for their finest sympathies—stamping, at the same time, more deeply, the
divine doctrine of the fundamental equality of consideration due to all
men.”

A new edition of _The Corner Stone_, by JACOB ABBOTT, with large additions
and improvements, is issued in a very neat and convenient volume by Harper
and Brothers. The series of works devoted to practical religion, of which
this volume is a part, have been received with such general favor by the
Christian public, as to make quite unnecessary any elaborate comments on
their merits. Their peculiar power consists in their freedom from
speculative subtleties, their luminous exhibition of the essential
evangelical doctrines, their spirit of fervent and elevated piety, their
wise adaptation to the workings of the human heart, and their affluence,
aptness, and beauty of illustration. Mr. Abbott is eminently a writer for
the masses. His practical common sense never forsakes him. He is never
enticed from his firm footing amidst substantial realities. The gay
regions of cloud-land present no temptations to his well disciplined
imagination. He must always be a favorite with the people; and his moral
influence is as salutary as it is extensive.

Blanchard and Lea have issued a reprint of BROWNE’S _History of Classical
Literature_. The present volume is devoted to the literature of Greece,
and comprises an historical notice of her intellectual development, with a
complete survey of the writers who have made her history immortal. Without
any offensive parade of erudition, it betrays the signs of extensive
research, accurate learning, and a polished taste. As a popular work on
ancient literature, adapted no less to the general reader than to the
profound student, it possesses an unmistakable merit, and will challenge a
wide circulation in this country.

We have also from the same publishers a collection of original _Essays on
Life, Sleep, Pain_, and other similar subjects, by SAMUEL H. DIXON, M.D.
They present a variety of curious facts in the natural history of man,
which are not only full of suggestion to the scientific student, but are
adapted to popular comprehension, and form a pleasant and readable volume.

George P. Putnam has republished SIR FRANCIS HEAD’S lively volume entitled
_A Faggot of French Sticks_, describing what he saw in Paris in 1851. The
talkative baronet discourses in this work with his usual sparkling
volubility. Superficial, shallow, good-natured; often commonplace though
seldom tedious; brisk and effervescent as ginger-beer, it rattles
cheerfully over the Paris pavements, and leaves quite a vivid impression
of the gayeties and gravities of the French metropolis.

James Munroe and Co., Boston, have issued the third volume of
_Shakspeare_, edited by Rev. H. N. HUDSON, whose racy introductions and
notes are far superior to the common run of critical commentaries—acute,
profound, imbued with the spirit of the Shakspearian age, and expressed in
a style of quaint, though vigorous antiqueness.

The same publishers have issued a Poem, called the _Greek Girl_, by JAMES
WRIGHT SIMMONS, thickly sprinkled with affectation on a ground-work of
originality;—a charming story, by the author of the “Dream-Chintz,”
entitled _The House on the Rock_;—and a reprint of _Companions of My
Solitude_, one of the series of chaste, refined, and quiet meditative
essays by the author of “Friends in Council.”

_Sorcery and Magic_ is the title of a collection of narratives by THOMAS
WRIGHT, showing the influence which superstition once exercised on the
history of the world. The work is compiled with good judgment from
authentic sources, and without attempting to give any philosophical
explanation of the marvelous facts which it describes, leaves them to the
reflection and common sense of the reader. It is issued by Redfield in the
elegant and tasteful style by which his recent publications may be
identified.

_Ravenscliffe_, by Mrs. MARSH, and _The Head of the Family_, by the author
of “Olive,” and “The Oglevies,” have attained a brilliant popularity among
the leading English novels of the season, and will be welcome to the
American public in Harper’s “Library of Select Novels,” in which they are
just reprinted.

Miss MITFORD’S _Recollections of a Literary Life_ (republished by Harper
and Brothers) will be found to possess peculiar interest for the American
reader. In addition to a rich store of delightful personal reminiscences,
genial and graceful criticisms on old English authors, as well as on
contemporary celebrities, and copious selections from their choicest
productions, Miss Mitford presents several agreeable sketches of American
authors and other distinguished men, including Daniel Webster, Halleck,
Hawthorne, Whittier, Wendell Holmes, and so forth. She shows a sincere
love for this country, and a cordial appreciation of its institutions and
its literature. The whole book is remarkable for its frank simplicity of
narrative, its enthusiasm for good letters, its fine characterizations of
eminent people, and its careless beauties of style. A more truly
delightful volume has not been on our table for many a day.

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Mr. T. HUDSON TURNER, one of the ablest of British archæologists, and a
contributor to the _Athenæum,_ died of consumption, on the 14th of
January, at the age of thirty-seven.

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The _Westminster Review_ has been excluded from the Select Subscription
Library of Edinburgh, on the special ground of its heresy!

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Among the new works in the press the following are announced by Mr.
Bentley: “History of the American Revolution,” by GEORGE BANCROFT; the
“Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham,” by the Earl of ALBEMARLE; “Letters
of Gray the Poet,” edited from original MSS., with Notes by the Rev. J.
MITFORD; “Memoirs of the Court of George III.,” by J. HENEAGE JESSE;
“Memoirs of Sarah Margaret Fuller, the Marchioness of Ossola,” edited by
R. W. Emerson and W. H. CHANNING; “History of the Governors-General of
India,” by Mr. KAYE, author of “The History of the Affghan War,” and
various other works of general interest.

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JULES BENEDICT, the companion of the Swedish Nightingale in America, has
entered into an arrangement with a London publisher to issue his complete
account of Jenny Lind’s tour in America.

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It is said that Mr. MACAULAY has delayed the publication of the third and
fourth volumes of his _History of England_ in consequence of his having
obtained some new information relating to King William the Third. King
William, it is asserted, figures as the chief personage in the
narrative—and the greatest stress is laid on his conduct subsequently to
the Revolution.

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ROBERT BROWNING, in his Italian sojourn, has been interesting himself
biographically in PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY; and the result of this inquiry we
are to have shortly in some unpublished letters of SHELLEY’S, with a
preface by BROWNING himself.

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MR. W. CRAMP is preparing a critical analysis of the _Private Letters_ of
Junius to Woodfall, to be added to his new edition of Junius. The private
correspondence with Woodfall is a field of inquiry that hitherto has not
been sufficiently explored. Mr. Cramp is pursuing his investigation on the
plan of the essays on the letters of “Atticus Lucius,” and those in
defense of the Duke of Portland. This inquiry promises to reveal many
additional facts in proof of Mr. Cramp’s hypothesis that Lord Chesterfield
was Junius.

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Major CUNNINGHAM has completed his work on _The Bhilsa Topes, or Budhist
Monuments of Central India_—and the Governor General of India has sent the
manuscript home to the Court of Directors, strongly recommending the court
to publish it at their own expense.

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DR. WILLIAM FREUND, the philologist, is engaged in constructing a
German-English and English-German Dictionary on his new system. He hopes
to complete the work in the course of next year.

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The first volume has appeared of a collected edition of the _Poetical and
Dramatic Works of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton_, containing “The New Timon,”
“Constance,” “Milton,” “The Narrative Lyrics,” and other pieces. Of the
poems in this volume public opinion has already expressed its estimate,
and it is sufficient for us to notice their republication in convenient
and elegant form. In a note to the passage in “The New Timon” referring to
the late Sir Robert Peel, the author says “he will find another occasion
to attempt, so far as his opinions on the one hand, and his reverence on
the other, will permit—to convey a juster idea of Sir Robert Peel’s
defects or merits, perhaps as a statesman, at least as an orator.” Very
singular are the lines in the poem, written before the fatal accident:


    “Now on his humble, but his faithful steed,
    Sir Robert rides—he never rides at speed—
    Careful his seat, and circumspect his gaze,
    And still the cautious trot the cautious mind betrays.
    Wise is thy head! how stout soe’er his back,
    Thy weight has oft proved fatal to thy hack!”


The generous and graceful turn given to this in the foot-note, is such as
one might expect from Sir E. Bulwer Lytton. In another series we have the
second part of _Ernest Maltravers_, or, as the other title bears, _Alice,
or The Mysteries_. In this work of allegorical fiction, with the author’s
usual power and felicity of narrative, there is mingled a philosophical
purpose; and in a new preface Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton ascribes to it,
above all his other works, “such merit as may be thought to belong to
harmony between a premeditated conception, and the various incidents and
agencies employed in the development of plot.” “Ernest Maltravers,” the
type of Genius or intellectual ambition, is after long and erring
alienation happily united to “Alice,” the type of Nature, nature now
elevated and idealized.

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A new novel, by the gifted author of “Olive,” and the “Ogilvies,” entitled
“The Head of the Family,” is spoken of in terms of warm admiration by the
London press. The _Weekly News_ remarks, “The charm of idyllic simplicity
will be found in every page of the book, imparting an interest to it which
rises very far above the ordinary feeling evoked by novel reading. So much
truthfulness, so much force, combined with so much delicacy of
characterization, we have rarely met with; and on these grounds alone,
irrespective of literary merit, we are inclined to credit the work with a
lasting popularity.”

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The same journal has a highly favorable notice of LOSSING’S _Pictorial
Field Book of the Revolution_, from which we take the following passage:
“In reviewing the recent volumes of Lord Mahon’s History that treat of the
American war, we expressed an opinion that the subject was one to which no
American writer had done justice. The work now before us appears (so far
as we may judge from its first moiety), to be the best contribution that
any citizen of the United States has yet made to a correct knowledge of
the circumstances of their war of independence. It is not a regular
history; and the blank in transatlantic literature, to which we have
referred, remains yet to be supplied. But Mr. Lossing has given us a
volume full of valuable information respecting the great scenes and the
leading men of the war. And the profuseness with which he has illustrated
his narrative with military plans, with portraits of statesmen and
commanders, and with sketches of celebrated localities, gives great
interest and value to these pages.”

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With all its stubborn John Bullism, the London _Athenæum_ is compelled to
pay a flattering tribute to the literary merits of our distinguished
countryman, NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE: “Among the sterling pleasures which,
though few, make rich amends for the many grievances and misconstructions
that await honest critics, there is none so great as the discovery and
support of distant and unknown genius. Such pleasure the _Athenæum_ may
fairly claim in the case of Mr. Hawthorne. Like all men so richly and
specially gifted, he has at last found his public—he is at last looked to,
and listened for: but it is fifteen years since we began to follow him in
the American periodicals, and to give him credit for the power and the
originality which have since borne such ripe fruit in ’The Scarlet Letter’
and ’The House of the Seven Gables.’ Little less agreeable is it to see
that acceptance, after long years of waiting, seems not to have soured the
temper of the writer—not to have encouraged him into conceit—not to have
discouraged him into slovenliness. Like a real artist Mr. Hawthorne gives
out no slightly planned nor carelessly finished literary handiwork.”

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Among the list of passengers who perished by fire on board the Amazon
steamer, we find the name of Mr. ELIOT WARBURTON, the author of “The
Crescent and the Cross,” a book of Eastern travel—“Prince Rupert and the
Cavaliers”—and the novels “Reginald Hastings” and “Darien.” Mr. Warburton,
says a correspondent of the _Times_, had been deputed by the Atlantic and
Pacific Junction Company to come to a friendly understanding with the
tribes of Indians who inhabit the Isthmus of Darien: it was also his
intention to make himself perfectly acquainted with every part of those
districts, and with whatever referred to their topography, climate, and
resources. “To _Darien_, with the date of 1852 upon its title-page,” says
the _London Examiner_, “the fate of its author will communicate a
melancholy interest. The theme of the book is a fine one. Its fault
consists chiefly in the fact that the writer was not born to be a
novelist. Yet, full as it is of eloquent writing, and enlivened as it is
with that light of true genius, which raises even the waste work of a good
writer above the common twaddle of a circulating library, _Darien_ may,
for its own sake, and apart from all external interest, claim many
readers. External interest, however, attaches to the book in a most
peculiar manner. Superstitious men—perhaps also some men not
superstitious—might say that there was a strange shadow of the future cast
upon its writer’s mind. It did not fall strictly within the limits of a
tale of the Scotch colonization of Darien, to relate perils by sea; yet
again and again are such perils recurred to in these volumes, and the
terrible imagination of a _ship on fire_ is twice repeated in them.”

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M. THIERS, ALEXANDRE DUMAS, VICTOR HUGO, several newspaper editors, and
other literary men of France, are now at Brussels. Thiers is said to be
working hard at his _History of the Consulate and of the Empire_, and Hugo
is represented to entertain the intention of again seriously returning to
literary pursuits, in which, one would think, he must find more pleasure,
as well as more fame and profit, than in the stormy arena of politics.
Dumas, who works like a cart-horse, and who, as ever, is in want of money,
has, in addition to his numerous pending engagements at Paris, undertaken
to revise, for a Belgian publishing firm, the _Memoirs of his Life_, now
in course of publication in the Paris _Presse_; and he is to add to them
all the passages suppressed by Louis Bonaparte’s censors. Another new work
is announced by Dumas, called _Byron_, in which we are promised the
biography, love adventures, journeys, and anecdotic history of the great
poet.

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M. DE LAMARTINE has resigned the editorship, or, as he called it, the
directorship, of the daily newspaper on which he was engaged at a large
salary, and in which he published his opinions on political events. He has
also put an end to his monthly literary periodical, called _Les Foyers du
Peuple_; no great loss, by the way, seeing that it was only a jumble of
quotations from his unpublished works, placed together without rhyme or
reason; and, finally, he has dropped the bi-monthly magazine, in which he
figured as the _Counsellor of the People_. But he promises,
notwithstanding the sickness under which he is laboring, to bring out a
serious literary periodical, as soon as the laws on the press shall be
promulgated.

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Among the novelties that are forthcoming, there is one which promises to
be very important, called _Lord Palmerston—L’Angleterre et le Continent_,
by Count FICQUELMONT, formerly Austrian Ambassador at Constantinople and
St. Petersburg, where he had occasion to experience something of Lord
PALMERSTON’S diplomacy. It is, we are told, a vigorous attack on English
policy.

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_La Vérité_, a pamphlet containing the true history of the _coup d’état_,
is announced in London, with the production of authentic documents which
could not get printed in France. This _coup d’état_ has set all servile
pens at work. MAYER announces a _Histoire du 2 Decembre_; CESENA, a
_Histoire d’un Coup d’État_; and ROMIEU, the famous trumpeter of the
Cæsars—Romieu, who in his _Spectre Rouge_ exclaimed, “I shall not regret
having lived in these wretched times if I can only see a good castigation
inflicted on _the mob_, that stupid and corrupt beast which I have always
held in horror.” Romieu has had his prediction fulfilled, and he, too,
announces a History of the event.

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No ruler of France, in modern times, has shown such disregard to literary
men as Louis Napoleon. King Louis XVIII. patronized them royally; Charles
X. pensioned them liberally; Louis Philippe gave them titles and
decorations freely, and was glad to have them at his receptions; the
princes, his sons, showed them all possible attention; but during the
whole time Louis Bonaparte has been in power he has not only taken no
official notice of them, but has not even had the decent civility to send
them invitations to his _soirées_. By this conduct, as much, perhaps, as
by his political proceedings, he has made nearly the whole literary body
hostile to him: and, singular to state, the most eminent writers of the
country—Lamartine, Lamennais, Beranger, Hugo, Janin, Sue, Dumas,
Thiers—are personally and politically among his bitterest adversaries.

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Madame GEORGE SAND is in retirement in the province of Berry, and is at
present engaged in preparing “Memoirs of her Life,” for publication.

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The second division of the third volume of Alexander VON HUMBOLDT’S
_Cosmos_ has just issued from the German press. The new chapters treat of
the circuits of the sun, planets, and comets, of the zodiacal lights,
meteors, and meteoric stones. The uranological portion of the physical
description of the universe is now completed. The veteran philosopher has
already made good way into the fourth volume of his great work.

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HERR STARGARDT, a bookseller at Stuttgardt, has lately made a valuable
acquisition by purchasing the whole of Schiller’s library, with his
autograph notes to the various books.

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The _Icelandic-English Dictionary_ of the late distinguished philologist,
Mr. CLEASBY, is now nearly ready for the press; Mr. Cleasby’s MS.
collections having been arranged and copied for this purpose by another
distinguished Icelandic scholar, Hector Konrad Gislason, author of the
“Danish-Icelandic Lexicon.”

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The Swedish Academy has elected Professor HAGBERG, the translator of
Shakspeare, in place of the deceased Bishop Kullberg. The great prize of
the academy has this year been conferred on a poem entitled “Regnar
Lodbrok,” written by Thekla Knös, a daughter of the late Professor Knös.

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Attention is beginning to be paid in Spain to the popular literature of
England, and it is not improbable that it may get into as high favor as
that of France. Already Dickens’s “David Copperfield” and Lady Fullerton’s
“Grantley Manor” have been translated, and are being published in the
_folletinos_ of two of the newspapers.



A LEAF FROM PUNCH.


                             [Illustration.]

                           France Is Tranquil.


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Signs Of The Times.

When a young lady “has a very bad cold, or else she’d be delighted,” &c.,
it is rather a dangerous sign that, when once she sits down to the piano,
she will probably not leave it for the remainder of the evening.

When a gentleman loses his temper in talking, it is a tolerably correct
sign that he is getting “the worst of the argument.”

When you see the servant carrying under her apron a bottle of soda-water
into a house, you may at once seize it as a sure sign that some one has
been drinking over-night.

When the children are always up in the nursery, you may construe it into a
sure sign that the mother does not care much about them.

When a young couple are seen visiting a “Cheap Furniture Mart,” you may
interpret it into a pretty fair sign that the “happy day” is not far
distant.

When the boys begin to tear up their books, it is a sign the holidays are
about to commence.

                             [Illustration.]

                            The Road To Ruin.


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                         [Illustration: Cannon.]

The accompanying is a good sketch of the PATENT STREET-SWEEPING MACHINE
lately introduced in Paris. The sketch was taken on the spot (represented
at A). The want of firmness in the lines of the drawing would seem to
indicate some tremor in the nerves of the artist. The invention is not
entirely new, having been used in the same city by the uncle of the
present owner. The result of the late experiment is represented to have
been quite satisfactory. The Constitution, which it was feared would
interfere with its operation, was removed by it without any difficulty, so
that no traces of it were left.



FASHIONS FOR MARCH.


                             [Illustration.]

             Figure 1.—Full Dress for Ball or Evening Party.


Figure 1.—Hair in puffed bands, raised, ornamented with bunches of wild
poppies, with silver foliage—coral necklace and waistcoat
buttons—waistcoat open, of white satin, embroidered in front with silver
and white jet. Pardessus of white gauze, bordered with a silver band, and
embroidered with silver spots. This pardessus fits quite close, being
hollowed out at the seam under the arm. Back flat; great round skirt
without plaits, sitting well over the hips. Sleeves short, and turned up
_à la Mousquetaire_: the silver band is about a quarter of an inch from
the edge, and is itself an inch wide. The skirt is white gauze, and very
ample; its only ornaments are three silver bands starting from the middle
and diverging toward the bottom. The space between them is covered with
silver spots. Pantaloons of plain white gauze, not very full, are fastened
round the ankle with a silver band. The foot is shod with a small white
silk _bottine_, laced up at the instep, from the top almost to the toe.
The lacing is crossed.

                             [Illustration.]

                      Figure 2.—Young Lady’s Toilet.


Fig. 2.—Bonnet of plain silk or satin, with a fringe at the edge of the
brim. A broad plaid ribbon is laid like a _fanchon_ over the brim and
crown. Curtain plaid cross-wise; plaid strings; the brim is forward at the
top, and falls off very much at the sides; no trimming inside. Waistcoat
of white quilting, open at the top, with small enamel buttons; two small
gussets at the waist; lappets rounded; a double row of stitches all
around. The muslin chemisette is composed of two rows, raised at the neck,
of a front piece in small plaits, and two lapels, embroidered and
festooned, which turn back on the waistcoat and vest. The sleeves are
plaited small, with embroidered wristbands and cuffs. The vest is velvet;
it is high, and opens straight down, but is not tight in the foreparts: it
is hollowed out at the seams of the side and back, so as to sit close
behind and on the hips. The foreparts form a hollow point at the side. The
sleeves, half-large, are cut in a point. A broad _galloon_ edges the vest
and the ends of sleeves. The lining is white satin. Skirt of Scotch
poplin. Narrow plaid cravat.

                             [Illustration.]

                        Figure 3.—Morning Toilet.


FIG. 3.—Drawn bonnet, satin and crape; the edge crape for a width of three
inches. The crape is doubled over a wire covered with satin, which is seen
through the crape. The rest of the brim is formed of five drawings of
satin. The crown, satin, is round, and divided into four parts separated
by three small _bouillonnés_; one, starting from the middle, goes over the
head to the curtain; the two others are at the sides. The curtain is satin
at top, and crape at bottom. Inside the brim, at the lower edges, are
bunches of ribbon from which hang loops of jet.

Dress of gros d’Ecosse. Body with round lappet Sleeves tight at top, open
at bottom. Skirt with flat plaits on the hips, so as not to spoil the sit
of the lappet. The body all round, and the front of the skirt are
ornamented with crape _bouillonnés_ sprinkled with jet beads. Each of the
beads seems to fasten the gathers of the _bouillonné_. Collar and
under-sleeves of white muslin festooned.

The waistcoat is in higher favor than ever. There are morning waistcoats,
visiting waistcoats, walking waistcoats. The first are made of white
quilting, simply, their only richness being in the trimming; nothing can
be prettier than the malachite buttons hanging at the end of a small
chain. There are some waistcoats of white or pink watered silk, ornamented
with a very small lace ruff, which is continued down the front as a frill;
there are others of silk, with needlework embroidery round the edges, and
sprinkled with flowers; others again of white satin with gold figures. As
a great novelty, we may mention the _Molière_ waistcoats, buttoning up to
the neck without collars, provided with little pockets, coming down low
and ending square below the waist, where the two sides begin to part. In
order to give the _Molière_ waistcoat the really fashionable stamp, it
must have a _godrooned_ collar, made of several rows of lace, a frill of
the same, and ruffles reaching to the knuckles. The buttons are cornelian,
agate, turquoise, or merely gold, bell-shaped. It is not uncommon in
toilets for places of public amusement to see the waistcoat fastened with
buttons mounted with brilliants. It is unnecessary to say that every
waistcoat has a little watch-pocket out of which hangs a chain of gold and
precious stones, the end of which is hooked in a button-hole and bears a
number of costly trinkets. We may here remark that they are made very
simple or very richly ornamented; for instance, those of the most simple
description are made either of black velvet, embroidered with braid, and
fastened with black jet buttons, or of cachmere.

Materials for this month vary very little from those of the winter months,
as we seldom have really fine spring weather during March. The fashionable
colors which prevail for the present month for out-door costume are
violet, maroon, green, blue, and gray of different shades; while those
intended for evening are of very light colors, such as white, maize, blue,
and pink, the latter being extremely fashionable, relieved with bright
colors.

HEAD-DRESSES.—Petit dress-hats are now greatly in request, made in the
following manner:—It is formed of black lace, and inlet formed of a
jet-black net-work, placed alternately, and ornamented with a _panache_,
each slip of feather being finished with a small jet-bead, which falls in
a glittering shower upon the side of the head. Then, again, we see those
_petit bords_ of black velvet; the crown being open, shows the beauty of
the hair; having also, upon one side of the front, which is slightly
turned back, a _nœud_ of black satin ribbon broché gold very wide and the
ends descending nearly to the waist.



FOOTNOTES


    1 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by Harper
      and Brothers, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the
      Southern District of New York.

    2 From “Recollections of a Literary Life, or Books, Places, and
      People.” By Mary Russell Mitford. In press by Harper and Brothers.

    3 This picture is believed to be no longer in existence. I have found
      its description in the work of the historian Decamps.

    4 Continued from the February Number

    5 As there have been so many revolutions in France, it may be
      convenient to suggest that, according to the dates of this story,
      Harley, no doubt, alludes to that revolution which exiled Charles X.
      and placed Louis Philippe on the throne.

    6 Have you fifty friends?—it is not enough. Have you one enemy?—it is
      too much.

    7 At home—

      “In the serene regions
      Where dwell the pure forms.”

    8 As the heaviest portion of this great influx of immigration took
      place in the latter half of the decade, it will probably be fair to
      estimate the natural increase during the term, at twelve per cent.,
      being about one-third of that of the white population at its
      commencement.

    9 Alexandria &c. ceded back to Virginia since 1840.

   10 When _x_ = 10, then _x__x_ = 10,000,000,000, or _ten thousand
      million_. When _x_ = 100, the value of the function passes beyond
      all bounds capable of being expressed by any known numerical names.
      If we might manufacture a term for the occasion, it would be
      somewhere in the neighborhood of a _quadragintillion_.





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