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Title: If, Yes and Perhaps - Four Possibilities and Six Exaggerations with Some Bits of Fact
Author: Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Four Possibilities and Six Exaggerations, with Some Bits of Fact.



Fields, Osgood, & Co.,
Successors To Ticknor and Fields.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
Ticknor and Fields,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District
of Massachusetts.

University Press: Welch, Bigelow, & Co., Cambridge.


I dedicate this book to the youngest of my friends, now two hours old.
Fun, fact, and fancy,--may his fresh life mix the three in their just

MILTON, June 6, 1868.


The title to this book has met with general opprobrium, except in a few
quarters, where it was fortunately regarded as beneath contempt. Colonel
Ingham even exacted an explanation by telegraph from the Editor, when he
learned from the Governor-General of Northern Siberia what the title
was. This explanation the Editor gave in the following note. It is,
however, impossible to change the title, as he proposes. For reasons
known to all statesmen, it is out of the question to swap horses in
crossing a river; and all publishers know that it is equally impossible
to change titles under those circumstances.

                                             BOSTON, October 17, 1868.

     I have your note complaining of the sensational title, "somewhat
     affected," as you think, which I gave to our little story-book. Of
     course I am sorry you do not like the name; but, while you strike,
     I beg you to hear.

     I readily acceded to your original title, and called the book in
     manuscript as you bade me,--

     "A Few Short Sketches taken from Ancient History, Modern Travel,
     and the Realm of Imagination, Illustrative of the Poetry of the
     Bible, the History of Christianity, the Manners of the Times, and
     the Politics of the Present and Past Generations."

     This title would, I admit, meet the views of most of our present
     critics. But I abandoned it on my own responsibility,--you being
     then beyond the telegraph, at the mouth of the Oby River,--because
     it occurred to me, that, under the catalogue rules of Panizzi and
     the lamented Jewett, we should be indexed and catalogued at "Few."
     I did not think that a good omen.

     Relinquishing, therefore, the effort at description of subject, I
     tried description of object, and determined on this:--

     "Moral Sketches of Human Society, in the Past, the Present, and
     Imagined Worlds." By F. I., &c., &c., &c.

     But, as I slept and waked on this, I said, "Who knows that these
     are _moral_ sketches?" We wished them to be moral, but Ingham's
     have been attacked by such patient critics as read them as being
     immoral, while many of the sketches seem to have no moral at all.
     Who are we, to claim that we have attained a moral standard?

     Waking and sleeping once more, I asked myself, "What are the
     things,--poor, nameless heathen children, that can get no sponsor
     and no Christian baptism?"

     I said, in reply, that at least one of them was the living truth,
     so far as it could be squeezed out of blue books and the most
     proper of documents. Others might have been true, if the destinies
     had so willed. Others would have been true, had they not been
     untrue. Others should have been true, had poetical justice been the
     working rule of a vulgar world.

     "Might, Could, Would, or Should," then, would have been an
     available name for most of them,--unless one took from the older
     grammars the title of "The Potential Mood."

     But, you observe, my dear Ingham, that our little story-book is
     destined mostly for young readers, who know no more of "The
     Potential Mood" than they know of the surrender of Cornwallis (this
     day celebrated). And, besides, we have some facts in the treatise
     which are not hypothetical. Why ignore them? Do you not see that
     your miserable suggestion of "The Potential Mood" is as worthless
     as it is sensational and fails as not comprehensive, inadequate,
     unintelligible, and not true?

     For these reasons I settled on the plain, straightforward title of
     unadorned truth, viz. "Four Possibilities, Six Exaggerations, and
     some Bits of Fact"; and with this we went to the publisher. But, as
     I entered his shop, a boy from Dutton's rushed in with his
     order-book, and cried:--

     "I want seventy _Chimes_ and ninety _Ivanhoe_."

     "What," said I, "if, by any good fortune, it had been our
     story-book that was wanted, this boy would then have called for

     "'Seventy Four Possibilities.' Can there be so many in a world
     which runs in grooves? Will he even get the number that he needs of
     our treatises? Alexander a robber! Let me reflect."

     Reflecting thus, I determined that the title of a book must be,--

     1. Brief.
     2. Intelligible.
     3. Suggestive.
     4. It must not begin with a numeral.

     I took a Tremont Street car and returned home.

     "What," I said in the night-watches, "is the brief expression of a
     possibility? Surely it is in the word PERHAPS.

     "What of a fact?

     "Surely it is YES.

     "What of an exaggeration? Why, it is that which would be true If it
     had not been overstated. Our title then, clearly, is

                        "PERHAPS, YES, AND IF."

     I see that the critics would have been better satisfied with this.
     But, on the principle of the little elephants sacrificing
     themselves in the passage of a river, Mr. Fields and I determined
     to start the smallest word first, and thus to drive a gentle wedge
     into the close chasm of the public favor. Sensitive, however, as I
     am, dear Ingham, to your criticism, I will at the earliest
     opportunity consult with him as to a return to the original

     "A Few Sketches * * * Illustrative," &c., &c., &c.

     Or might we not let the one word "Etcetera" stand alone? Or thus,
     with the stars, "* * * &c., &c., &c."?

     Truly yours,
     E. E. HALE.


   THE CHILDREN OF THE PUBLIC                 1

   A PIECE OF POSSIBLE HISTORY               58

   THE SOUTH AMERICAN EDITOR                 78


   THE DOT AND LINE ALPHABET                116


   MY DOUBLE, AND HOW HE UNDID ME           171

   THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY                199

   THE LAST OF THE FLORIDA                  242

   THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET               253

   CHRISTMAS WAITS IN BOSTON                270


     [This story originated in the advertisement of the humbug which it
     describes. Some fifteen or twenty years since, when gift
     enterprises rose to one of their climaxes, a gift of a large sum of
     money, I think $10,000, was offered in New York to the most
     successful ticket-holder in some scheme, and one of $5,000 to the
     second. It was arranged that one of these parties should be a man
     and the other a woman; and the amiable suggestion was added, on the
     part of the undertaker of the enterprise, that if the gentleman and
     lady who drew these prizes liked each other sufficiently well when
     the distribution was made, they might regard the decision as a
     match made for them in Heaven, and take the money as the dowry of
     the bride. This thoroughly practical, and, at the same time,
     thoroughly absurd suggestion, arrested the attention of a
     distinguished story-teller, a dear friend of mine, who proposed to
     me that we should each of us write the history of one of the two
     successful parties, to be woven together by their union at the end.
     The plan, however, lay latent for years,--the gift enterprise of
     course blew up,--and it was not until the summer of 1862 that I
     wrote my half of the proposed story, with the hope of eliciting the
     other half. My friend's more important engagements, however, have
     thus far kept Fausta's detailed biography from the light. I sent my
     half to Mr. Frank Leslie, in competition for a premium offered by
     him, as is stated in the second chapter of the story. And the story
     found such favor in the eyes of the judges, that it received one of
     his second premiums. The first was very properly awarded to Miss
     Louisa Alcott, for a story of great spirit and power. "The
     Children of the Public" was printed in Frank Leslie's Illustrated
     Newspaper for January 24 and January 31, 1863. The moral which it
     tries to illustrate, which is, I believe, an important one, was
     thus commended to the attention of the very large circle of the
     readers of that journal,--a journal to which I am eager to say I
     think this nation has been very largely indebted for the loyalty,
     the good sense, and the high tone which seem always to characterize
     it. During the war, the pictorial journals had immense influence in
     the army, and they used this influence with an undeviating regard
     to the true honor of the country.]



"Felix," said my wife to me, as I came home to-night, "you will have to
go to the pork-barrel."

"Are you quite sure," said I,--"quite sure? 'Woe to him,' says the
oracle, 'who goes to the pork-barrel before the moment of his need.'"

"And woe to him, say I," replied my brave wife,--"woe and disaster to
him; but the moment of our need has come. The figures are here, and you
shall see. I have it all in black and in white."

And so it proved, indeed, that when Miss Sampson, the nurse, was paid
for her month's service, and when the boys had their winter boots, and
when my life-insurance assessment was provided for, and the new payment
for the insurance on the house,--when the taxes were settled with the
collector (and my wife had to lay aside double for the war),--when the
pew-rent was paid for the year, and the water-rate,--we must have to
start with, on the 1st of January, one hundred dollars. This, as we
live, would pay, in cash, the butcher, and the grocer, and the baker,
and all the dealers in things that perish, and would buy the omnibus
tickets, and recompense Bridget till the 1st of April. And at my house,
if we can see forward three months we are satisfied. But, at my house,
we are never satisfied if there is a credit at any store for us. We are
sworn to pay as we go. We owe no man anything.

So it was that my wife said: "Felix, you will have to go to the

This is the story of the pork-barrel.

It happened once, in a little parish in the Green Mountains, that the
deacon reported to Parson Plunkett, that, as he rode to meeting by
Chung-a-baug Pond, he saw Michael Stowers fishing for pickerel through a
hole in the ice on the Sabbath day. The parson made note of the
complaint, and that afternoon drove over to the pond in his "one-horse
shay." He made his visit, not unacceptable, on the poor Stowers
household, and then crossed lots to the place where he saw poor Michael
hoeing. He told Michael that he was charged with Sabbath breaking, and
bade him plead to the charge. And poor Mike, like a man, plead guilty;
but, in extenuation, he said that there was nothing to eat in the
house, and rather than see wife and children faint, he had cut a hole in
the ice, had put in his hook again and again, and yet again, and coming
home had delighted the waiting family with an unexpected breakfast. The
good parson made no rebuke, nodded pensive, and drove straightway to the
deacon's door.

"Deacon," said he, "what meat did you eat for breakfast yesterday?"

The deacon's family had eaten salt pork, fried.

"And where did you get the pork, Deacon?"

The Deacon stared, but said he had taken it from his pork-barrel.

"Yes, Deacon," said the old man; "I supposed so. I have been to see
Brother Stowers, to talk to him about his Sabbath-breaking; and, Deacon,
I find the pond is his pork-barrel."

The story is a favorite with me and with Fausta. But "woe," says the
oracle, "to him who goes to the pork-barrel before the moment of his
need." And to that "woe" both Fausta and I say "amen." For we know that
there is no fish in our pond for spendthrifts or for lazy-bones; none
for people who wear gold chains or Attleborough jewelry; none for people
who are ashamed of cheap carpets or wooden mantelpieces. Not for those
who run in debt will the fish bite; nor for those who pretend to be
richer or better or wiser than they are. No! But we have found, in our
lives, that in a great democracy there reigns a great and gracious
sovereign. We have found that this sovereign, in a reckless and
unconscious way, is, all the time, making the most profuse provision for
all the citizens. We have found that those who are not too grand to
trust him fare as well as they deserve. We have found, on the other
hand, that those who lick his feet or flatter his follies fare worst of
living men. We find that those who work honestly, and only seek a man's
fair average of life, or a woman's, get that average, though sometimes
by the most singular experiences in the long run. And thus we find that,
when an extraordinary contingency arises in life, as just now in ours,
we have only to go to our pork-barrel, and the fish rises to our hook or

The sovereign brings this about in all sorts of ways, but he does not
fail, if, without flattering him, you trust him. Of this sovereign the
name is--"the Public." Fausta and I are apt to call ourselves his
children, and so I name this story of our lives,

                 "THE CHILDREN OF THE PUBLIC."



"Where is the barrel this time, Fausta?" said I, after I had added and
subtracted her figures three times, to be sure she had carried her tens
and hundreds rightly. For the units, in such accounts, in face of Dr.
Franklin, I confess I do not care.

"The barrel," said she, "is in FRANK LESLIE'S OFFICE. Here is the mark!"
and she handed me FRANK LESLIE'S NEWSPAPER, with a mark at this


     for the best Short Tale of from one to two pages of FRANK LESLIE'S
     ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER, to be sent in on or before the 1st of
     November, 1862.

"There is another barrel," she said, "with $5,000 in it, and another
with $1,000. But we do not want $5,000 or $1,000. There is a little
barrel with $50 in it. But see here, with all this figuring, I cannot
make it do. I have stopped the gas now, and I have turned the children's
coats,--I wish you would see how well Robert's looks,--and I have had a
new tile put in the cook-stove, instead of buying that lovely new
'Banner.' But all will not do. We must go to this barrel."

"And what is to be the hook, darling, this time?" said I.

"I have been thinking of it all day. I hope you will not hate it,--I
know you will not like it exactly; but why not write down just the whole
story of what it is to be 'Children of the Public'; how we came to live
here, you know; how we built the house, and--all about it?"

"How Felix knew Fausta," said I; "and how Fausta first met Felix,
perhaps; and when they first kissed each other; and what she said to
him when they did so."

"Tell that, if you dare," said Fausta; "but perhaps--the oracle says we
must not be proud--perhaps you might tell just a little. You
know--really almost everybody is named Carter now; and I do not believe
the neighbors will notice,--perhaps they won't read the paper. And if
they do notice it, I don't care! There!"

"It will not be so bad as--"

But I never finished the sentence. An imperative gesture closed my lips
physically as well as metaphorically, and I was glad to turn the subject
enough to sit down to tea with the children. After the bread and butter
we agreed what we might and what we might not tell, and then I wrote
what the reader is now to see.



New-Yorkers of to-day see so many processions, and live through so many
sensations, and hurrah for so many heroes in every year, that it is only
the oldest of fogies who tells you of the triumphant procession of
steamboats which, in the year 1824, welcomed General Lafayette on his
arrival from his tour through the country he had so nobly served. But,
if the reader wishes to lengthen out this story, he may button the next
silver-gray friend he meets, and ask him to tell of the broken English
and broken French of the Marquis, of Levasseur, and the rest of them; of
the enthusiasm of the people and the readiness of the visitors, and he
will please bear in mind that of all that am I.

For it so happened that on the morning when, for want of better lions to
show, the mayor and governor and the rest of them took the Marquis and
his secretary, and the rest of them, to see the orphan asylum in Deering
Street,--as they passed into the first ward, after having had "a little
refreshment" in the managers' room, Sally Eaton, the head nurse, dropped
the first courtesy to them, and Sally Eaton, as it happened, held me
screaming in her arms. I had been sent to the asylum that morning with a
paper pinned to my bib, which said my name was Felix Carter.

"Eet ees verra fine," said the Marquis, smiling blandly.

"Ràvissant!" said Levasseur, and he dropped a five-franc piece into
Sally Eaton's hand. And so the procession of exhibiting managers talking
bad French, and of exhibited Frenchmen talking bad English, passed on;
all but good old Elkanah Ogden--God bless him!--who happened to have
come there with the governor's party, and who loitered a minute to talk
with Sally Eaton about me.

Years afterwards she told me how the old man kissed me, how his eyes
watered when he asked my story, how she told again of the moment when I
was heard screaming on the doorstep, and how she offered to go and bring
the paper which had been pinned to my bib. But the old man said it was
no matter,--"only we would have called him Marquis," said he, "if his
name was not provided for him. We must not leave him here," he said; "he
shall grow up a farmer's lad, and not a little cockney." And so, instead
of going the grand round of infirmaries, kitchens, bakeries, and
dormitories with the rest, the good old soul went back into the
managers' room, and wrote at the moment a letter to John Myers, who took
care of his wild land in St. Lawrence County for him, to ask him if Mrs.
Myers would not bring up an orphan baby by hand for him; and if, both
together, they would not train this baby till he said "stop"; if, on the
other hand, he allowed them, in the yearly account, a hundred dollars
each year for the charge.

Anybody who knows how far a hundred dollars goes in the backwoods, in
St. Lawrence County, will know that any settler would be glad to take a
ward so recommended. Anybody who knew Betsy Myers as well as old Elkanah
Ogden did, would know she would have taken any orphan brought to her
door, even if he were not recommended at all.

So it happened, thanks to Lafayette and the city council! that I had not
been a "Child of the Public" a day, before, in its great, clumsy,
liberal way, it had provided for me. I owed my healthy, happy home of
the next fourteen years in the wilderness to those marvellous habits,
which I should else call absurd, with which we lionize strangers.
Because our hospitals and poorhouses are the largest buildings we have,
we entertain the Prince of Wales and Jenny Lind alike, by showing them
crazy people and paupers. Easy enough to laugh at is the display; but
if, dear Public, it happen, that by such a habit you ventilate your
Bridewell or your Bedlam, is not the ventilation, perhaps, a
compensation for the absurdity? I do not know if Lafayette was any the
better for his seeing the Deering Street Asylum; but I do know I was.

This is no history of my life. It is only an illustration of one of its
principles. I have no anecdotes of wilderness life to tell, and no
sketch of the lovely rugged traits of John and Betsy Myers,--my real
father and mother. I have no quest for the pretended parents, who threw
me away in my babyhood, to record. They closed accounts with me when
they left me on the asylum steps, and I with them. I grew up with such
schooling as the public gave,--ten weeks in winter always, and ten in
summer, till I was big enough to work on the farm,--better periods of
schools, I hold, than on the modern systems. Mr. Ogden I never saw.
Regularly he allowed for me the hundred a year till I was nine years
old, and then suddenly he died, as the reader perhaps knows. But John
Myers kept me as his son, none the less. I knew no change until, when I
was fourteen, he thought it time for me to see the world, and sent me to
what, in those days, was called a "Manual-Labor School."

There was a theory coming up in those days, wholly unfounded in
physiology, that if a man worked five hours with his hands, he could
study better in the next five. It is all nonsense. Exhaustion is
exhaustion; and if you exhaust a vessel by one stopcock, nothing is
gained or saved by closing that and opening another. The old up-country
theory is the true one. Study ten weeks and chop wood fifteen; study ten
more and harvest fifteen. But the "Manual-Labor School" offered itself
for really no pay, only John Myers and I carried over, I remember, a
dozen barrels of potatoes when I went there with my books. The school
was kept at Roscius, and if I would work in the carpenter's shop and on
the school farm five hours, why they would feed me and teach me all they
knew in what I had of the day beside.

"Felix," said John, as he left me, "I do not suppose this is the best
school in the world, unless you make it so. But I do suppose you can
make it so. If you and I went whining about, looking for the best school
in the world, and for somebody to pay your way through it, I should die,
and you would lose your voice with whining, and we should not find one
after all. This is what the public happens to provide for you and me. We
won't look a gift-horse in the mouth. Get on his back, Felix; groom him
well as you can when you stop, feed him when you can, and at all events
water him well and take care of him well. My last advice to you, Felix,
is to take what is offered you, and never complain because nobody offers

Those words are to be cut on my seal-ring, if I ever have one, and if
Dr. Anthon or Professor Webster will put them into short enough Latin
for me. That is the motto of the "Children of the Public."

John Myers died before that term was out. And my more than mother,
Betsy, went back to her friends in Maine. After the funeral I never saw
them more. How I lived from that moment to what Fausta and I call the
Crisis is nobody's concern. I worked in the shop at the school, or on
the farm. Afterwards I taught school in neighboring districts. I never
bought a ticket in a lottery or a raffle. But whenever there was a
chance to do an honest stroke of work, I did it. I have walked fifteen
miles at night to carry an election return to the _Tribune's_ agent at
Gouverneur. I have turned out in the snow to break open the road when
the supervisor could not find another man in the township.

When Sartain started his magazine, I wrote an essay in competition for
his premiums, and the essay earned its hundred dollars. When the
managers of the "Orphan Home," in Baltimore, offered their prizes for
papers on bad boys, I wrote for one of them, and that helped me on four
hard months. There was no luck in those things. I needed the money, and
I put my hook into the pork-barrel,--that is, I trusted the Public. I
never had but one stroke of luck in my life. I wanted a new pair of
boots badly. I was going to walk to Albany, to work in the State library
on the history of the Six Nations, which had an interest for me. I did
not have a dollar. Just then there passed Congress the bill dividing the
surplus revenue. The State of New York received two or three millions,
and divided it among the counties. The county of St. Lawrence divided it
among the townships, and the township of Roscius divided it among the
voters. Two dollars and sixty cents of Uncle Sam's money came to me, and
with that money on my feet I walked to Albany. That I call luck! How
many fools had to assent in an absurdity before I could study the
history of the Six Nations!

But one instance told in detail is better than a thousand told in
general, for the illustration of a principle. So I will detain you no
longer from the history of what Fausta and I call




I was at work as a veneerer in a piano-forte factory at Attica, when
some tariff or other was passed or repealed; there came a great
financial explosion, and our boss, among the rest, failed. He owed us
all six months' wages, and we were all very poor and very blue. Jonathan
Whittemore--a real good fellow, who used to cover the hammers with
leather--came to me the day the shop was closed, and told me he was
going to take the chance to go to Europe. He was going to the Musical
Conservatory at Leipsic, if he could. He would work his passage out as a
stoker. He would wash himself for three or four days at Bremen, and then
get work, if he could, with Voightlander or Von Hammer till he could
enter the Conservatory. By way of preparation for this he wanted me to
sell him my Adler's German Dictionary.

"I've nothing to give you for it, Felix, but this foolish thing,--it is
one of Burrham's tickets,--which I bought in a frolic the night of our
sleigh-ride. I'll transfer it to you."

I told Jonathan he might have the dictionary and welcome. He was doing a
sensible thing, and he would use it twenty times as much as I should.
As for the ticket, he had better keep it. I did not want it. But I saw
he would feel better if I took it,--so he indorsed it to me.

Now the reader must know that this Burrham was a man who had got hold of
one corner of the idea of what the Public could do for its children. He
had found out that there were a thousand people who would be glad to
make the tour of the mountains and the lakes every summer if they could
do it for half-price. He found out that the railroad companies were glad
enough to put the price down if they could be sure of the thousand
people. He mediated between the two, and so "cheap excursions" came into
being. They are one of the gifts the Public gives its children. Rising
from step to step, Burrham had, just before the great financial crisis,
conceived the idea of a great cheap combination, in which everybody was
to receive a magazine for a year and a cyclopædia, both at half-price;
and not only so, but the money that was gained in the combination was to
be given by lot to two ticket-holders, one a man and one a woman, for
their dowry in marriage. I dare say the reader remembers the prospectus.
It savors too much of the modern "Gift Enterprise" to be reprinted in
full; but it had this honest element, that everybody got more than he
could get for his money in retail. I have my magazine, the old _Boston
Miscellany_, to this day, and I just now looked out Levasseur's name in
my cyclopædia; and, as you will see, I have reason to know that all the
other subscribers got theirs.

One of the tickets for these books, for which Whittemore had given five
good dollars, was what he gave to me for my dictionary. And so we
parted. I loitered at Attica, hoping for a place where I could put in my
oar. But my hand was out at teaching, and in a time when all the world's
veneers of different kinds were ripping off, nobody wanted me to put on
more of my kind,--so that my cash ran low. I would not go in debt,--that
is a thing I never did. More honest, I say, to go to the poorhouse, and
make the Public care for its child there, than to borrow what you cannot
pay. But I did not come quite to that, as you shall see.

I was counting up my money one night,--and it was easily done,--when I
observed that the date on this Burrham order was the 15th of October,
and it occurred to me that it was not quite a fortnight before those
books were to be delivered. They were to be delivered at Castle Garden,
at New York; and the thought struck me that I might go to New York, try
my chance there for work, and at least see the city, which I had never
seen, and get my cyclopædia and magazine. It was the least offer the
Public ever made to me; but just then the Public was in a collapse, and
the least was better than nothing. The plan of so long a journey was
Quixotic enough, and I hesitated about it a good deal. Finally I came to
this resolve: I would start in the morning to walk to the lock-station
at Brockport on the canal. If a boat passed that night where they would
give me my fare for any work I could do for them, I would go to Albany.
If not, I would walk back to Lockport the next day, and try my fortune
there. This gave me, for my first day's enterprise, a foot journey of
about twenty-five miles. It was out of the question, with my finances,
for me to think of compassing the train.

Every point of life is a pivot on which turns the whole action of our
after-lives; and so, indeed, of the after-lives of the whole world. But
we are so purblind that we only see this of certain special enterprises
and endeavors, which we therefore call critical. I am sure I see it of
that twenty-five miles of fresh autumnal walking. I was in tiptop
spirits. I found the air all oxygen, and everything "all right." I did
not loiter, and I did not hurry. I swung along with the feeling that
every nerve and muscle drew, as in the trades a sailor feels of every
rope and sail. And so I was not tired, not thirsty, till the brook
appeared where I was to drink; nor hungry till twelve o'clock came, when
I was to dine. I called myself as I walked "The Child of Good Fortune,"
because the sun was on my right quarter, as the sun should be when you
walk, because the rain of yesterday had laid the dust for me, and the
frost of yesterday had painted the hills for me, and the northwest wind
cooled the air for me. I came to Wilkie's Cross-Roads just in time to
meet the Claremont baker and buy my dinner loaf of him. And when my walk
was nearly done, I came out on the low bridge at Sewell's, which is a
drawbridge, just before they raised it for a passing boat, instead of
the moment after. Because I was all right I felt myself and called
myself "The Child of Good Fortune." Dear reader, in a world made by a
loving Father, we are all of us children of good fortune, if we only
have wit enough to find it out, as we stroll along.

The last stroke of good fortune which that day had for me was the
solution of my question whether or no I would go to Babylon. I was to go
if any good-natured boatman would take me. This is a question, Mr.
Millionnaire, more doubtful to those who have not drawn their dividends
than to those who have. As I came down the village street at Brockport,
I could see the horses of a boat bound eastward, led along from level to
level at the last lock; and, in spite of my determination not to hurry,
I put myself on the long, loping trot which the St. Regis Indians taught
me, that I might overhaul this boat before she got under way at her new
speed. I came out on the upper gate of the last lock just as she passed
out from the lower gate. The horses were just put on, and a reckless boy
gave them their first blow after two hours of rest and corn. As the
heavy boat started off under the new motion, I saw, and her skipper saw
at the same instant, that a long new tow-rope of his, which had lain
coiled on deck, was suddenly flying out to its full length. The outer
end of it had been carried upon the lock-side by some chance or blunder,
and there some idle loafer had thrown the looped bight of it over a
hawser-post. The loafers on the lock saw, as I did, that the rope was
running out, and at the call of the skipper one of them condescended to
throw the loop overboard, but he did it so carelessly that the lazy rope
rolled over into the lock, and the loop caught on one of the valve-irons
of the upper gate. The whole was the business of an instant, of course.
But the poor skipper saw, what we did not, that the coil of the rope on
deck was foul, and so entangled round his long tiller, that ten seconds
would do one of three things,--they would snap his new rope in two,
which was a trifle, or they would wrench his tiller-head off the rudder,
which would cost him an hour to mend, or they would upset those two
horses, at this instant on a trot, and put into the canal the rowdy
youngster who had started them. It was this complex certainty which gave
fire to the double cries which he addressed aft to us on the lock, and
forward to the magnet boy, whose indifferent intelligence at that moment
drew him along.

I was stepping upon the gate-head to walk across it. It took but an
instant, not nearly all the ten seconds, to swing down by my arms into
the lock, keeping myself hanging by my hands, to catch with my right
foot the bight of the rope and lift it off the treacherous iron, to kick
the whole into the water, and then to scramble up the wet lock-side
again. I got a little wet, but that was nothing. I ran down the
tow-path, beckoned to the skipper, who sheered his boat up to the shore,
and I jumped on board.

At that moment, reader, Fausta was sitting in a yellow chair on the
deck of that musty old boat, crocheting from a pattern in _Godey's
Lady's Book._ I remember it as I remember my breakfast of this morning.
Not that I fell in love with her, nor did I fall in love with my
breakfast; but I knew she was there. And that was the first time I ever
saw her. It is many years since, and I have seen her every day from that
evening to this evening. But I had then no business with her. My affair
was with him whom I have called the skipper, by way of adapting this
fresh-water narrative to ears accustomed to Marryat and Tom Cringle. I
told him that I had to go to New York; that I had not time to walk, and
had not money to pay; that I should like to work my passage to Troy, if
there were any way in which I could; and to ask him this I had come on

"Waal," said the skipper, "'taint much that is to be done, and Zekiel
and I calc'late to do most of that; and there's that blamed boy

This adjective "blamed" is the virtuous oath by which simple people, who
are improving their habits, cure themselves of a stronger epithet, as
men take to flagroot who are abandoning tobacco.

"He ain't good for nothin', as you see," continued the skipper
meditatively, "and you air, anybody can see that," he added. "Ef you've
mind to come to Albany, you can have your vittles, poor enough they are
too; and ef you are willing to ride sometimes, you can ride. I guess
where there's room for three in the bunks there's room for four. 'Taint
everybody would have cast off that blamed hawser-rope as neat as you

From which last remark I inferred, what I learned as a certainty as we
travelled farther, that but for the timely assistance I had rendered him
I should have plead for my passage in vain.

This was my introduction to Fausta. That is to say, she heard the whole
of the conversation. The formal introduction, which is omitted in no
circle of American life to which I have ever been admitted, took place
at tea half an hour after, when Mrs. Grills, who always voyaged with her
husband, brought in the flapjacks from the kitchen. "Miss Jones," said
Grills, as I came into the meal, leaving Zekiel at the tiller,--"Miss
Jones, this is a young man who is going to Albany. I don't rightly know
how to call your name, sir." I said my name was Carter. Then he said,
"Mr. Carter, this is Miss Jones. Mrs. Grills, Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter,
Mrs. Grills. She is my wife." And so our _partie carrée_ was established
for the voyage.

In these days there are few people who know that a journey on a canal is
the pleasantest journey in the world. A canal has to go through fine
scenery. It cannot exist unless it follow through the valley of a
stream. The movement is so easy that, with your eyes shut, you do not
know you move. The route is so direct, that when you are once shielded
from the sun, you are safe for hours. You draw, you read, you write, or
you sew, crochet, or knit. You play on your flute or your guitar,
without one hint of inconvenience. At a "low bridge" you duck your head
lest you lose your hat,--and that reminder teaches you that you are
human. You are glad to know this, and you laugh at the memento. For the
rest of the time you journey, if you are "all right" within, in elysium.

I rode one of those horses perhaps two or three hours a day. At locks I
made myself generally useful. At night I walked the deck till one
o'clock, with my pipe or without it, to keep guard against the
lock-thieves. The skipper asked me sometimes, after he found I could
"cipher," to disentangle some of the knots in his bills of lading for
him. But all this made but a little inroad in those lovely autumn days,
and for the eight days that we glided along,--there is one blessed level
which is seventy miles long,--I spent most of my time with Fausta. We
walked together on the tow-path to get our appetites for dinner and for
supper. At sunrise I always made a cruise inland, and collected the
gentians and black alder-berries and colored leaves, with which she
dressed Mrs. Grill's table. She took an interest in my wretched
sketchbook, and though she did not and does not draw well, she did show
me how to spread an even tint, which I never knew before. I was working
up my French. She knew about as much and as little as I did, and we
read Mad. Reybaud's Clementine together, guessing at the hard words,
because we had no dictionary.

Dear old Grill offered to talk French at table, and we tried it for a
few days. But it proved he picked up his pronunciation at St.
Catherine's, among the boatmen there, and he would say _shwo_ for
"horses," where the book said _chevaux_. Our talk, on the other hand,
was not Parisian,--but it was not Catherinian,--and we subsided into
English again.

So sped along these blessed eight days. I told Fausta thus much of my
story, that I was going to seek my fortune in New York. She, of course,
knew nothing of me but what she saw, and she told me nothing of her

But I was very sorry when we came into the basin at Troy, for I knew
then that in all reason I must take the steamboat down. And I was very
glad,--I have seldom in my life been so glad,--when I found that she
also was going to New York immediately. She accepted, very pleasantly,
my offer to carry her trunk to the Isaac Newton for her, and to act as
her escort to the city. For me, my trunk,

                       "in danger tried,"
     Swung in my hand,--"nor left my side."

My earthly possessions were few anywhere. I had left at Attica most of
what they were. Through the voyage I had been man enough to keep on a
working-gear fit for a workman's duty. And old Grills had not yet grace
enough to keep his boat still on Sunday. How one remembers little
things! I can remember each touch of the toilet, as, in that corner of a
dark cuddy where I had shared "Zekiel's" bunk with him, I dressed myself
with one of my two white shirts, and with the change of raiment which
had been tight squeezed in my portmanteau. The old overcoat was the best
part of it, as in a finite world it often is. I sold my felt hat to
Zekiel, and appeared with a light travelling-cap. I do not know how
Fausta liked my metamorphosis. I only know that, like butterflies, for a
day or two after they go through theirs, I felt decidedly cold.

As Carter, the canal man, I had carried Fausta's trunk on board. As Mr.
Carter, I gave her my arm, led her to the gangway of the Newton, took
her passage and mine, and afterwards walked and sat through the splendid
moonlight of the first four hours down the river.

Miss Jones determined that evening to breakfast on the boat. Be it
observed that I did not then know her by any other name. She was to go
to an aunt's house, and she knew that if she left the boat on its early
arrival in New York, she would disturb that lady by a premature ringing
at her bell. I had no reason for haste, as the reader knows. The
distribution of the cyclopædias was not to take place till the next day,
and that absurd trifle was the only distinct excuse I had to myself for
being in New York at all. I asked Miss Jones, therefore, if I might not
be her escort still to her aunt's house. I had said it would be hard to
break off our pleasant journey before I had seen where she lived, and I
thought she seemed relieved to know that she should not be wholly a
stranger on her arrival. It was clear enough that her aunt would send no
one to meet her.

These preliminaries adjusted, we parted to our respective cabins. And
when, the next morning, at that unearthly hour demanded by Philadelphia
trains and other exigencies, the Newton made her dock, I rejoiced that
breakfast was not till seven o'clock, that I had two hours more of the
berth, which was luxury compared to Zekiel's bunk,--I turned upon my
other side and slept on.

Sorry enough for that morning nap was I for the next thirty-six hours.
For when I went on deck, and sent in the stewardess to tell Miss Jones
that I was waiting for her, and then took from her the check for her
trunk, I woke to the misery of finding that, in that treacherous two
hours, some pirate from the pier had stepped on board, had seized the
waiting trunk, left almost alone, while the baggage-master's back was
turned, and that, to a certainty, it was lost. I did not return to
Fausta with this story till the breakfast-bell had long passed and the
breakfast was very cold. I did not then tell it to her till I had seen
her eat her breakfast with an appetite much better than mine. I had
already offered up stairs the largest reward to anybody who would bring
it back which my scanty purse would pay. I had spoken to the clerk, who
had sent for a policeman. I could do nothing more, and I did not choose
to ruin her chop and coffee by ill-timed news. The officer came before
breakfast was over, and called me from table.

On the whole, his business-like way encouraged one. He had some clews
which I had not thought possible. It was not unlikely that they should
pounce on the trunk before it was broken open. I gave him a written
description of its marks; and when he civilly asked if "my lady" would
give some description of any books or other articles within, I readily
promised that I would call with such a description at the police
station. Somewhat encouraged, I returned to Miss Jones, and, when I led
her from the breakfast-table, told her of her misfortune. I took all
shame to myself for my own carelessness, to which I attributed the loss.
But I told her all that the officer had said to me, and that I hoped to
bring her the trunk at her aunt's before the day was over.

Fausta took my news, however, with a start which frightened me. All her
money, but a shilling or two, was in the trunk. To place money in trunks
is a weakness of the female mind which I have nowhere seen accounted
for. Worse than this, though,--as appeared after a moment's examination
of her travelling _sac_,--her portfolio in the trunk contained the
letter of the aunt whom she came to visit, giving her her address in
the city. To this address she had no other clew but that her aunt was
Mrs. Mary Mason, had married a few years before a merchant named Mason,
whom Miss Jones had never seen, and of whose name and business this was
all she knew. They lived in a numbered street, but whether it was Fourth
Street, or Fifty-fourth, or One Hundred and Twenty-fourth, or whether it
was something between, the poor child had no idea. She had put up the
letter carefully, but had never thought of the importance of the
address. Besides this aunt, she knew no human being in New York.

"Child of the Public," I said to myself, "what do you do now?" I had
appealed to my great patron in sending for the officer, and on the whole
I felt that my sovereign had been gracious to me, if not yet hopeful.
But now I must rub my lamp again, and ask the genie where the unknown
Mason lived. The genie of course suggested the Directory, and I ran for
it to the clerk's office. But as we were toiling down the pages of
"Masons," and had written off thirteen or fourteen who lived in numbered
streets, Fausta started, looked back at the preface and its date, flung
down her pencil in the only abandonment of dismay in which I ever saw
her, and cried, "First of May! They were abroad until May. They have
been abroad since the day they were married!" So that genie had to put
his glories into his pocket, and carry his Directory back to the office

The natural thing to propose was, that I should find for Miss Jones a
respectable boarding-house, and that she should remain there until her
trunk was found, or till she could write to friends who had this fatal
address, and receive an answer. But here she hesitated. She hardly liked
to explain why,--did not explain wholly. But she did not say that she
had no friends who knew this address. She had but few relations in the
world, and her aunt had communicated with her alone since she came from
Europe. As for the boarding-house, "I had rather look for work," she
said bravely. "I have never promised to pay money when I did not know
how to obtain it; and that"--and here she took out fifty or sixty cents
from her purse--"and that is all now. In respectable boarding-houses,
when people come without luggage, they are apt to ask for an advance.
Or, at least," she added, with some pride, "I am apt to offer it."

I hastened to ask her to take all my little store; but I had to own that
I had not two dollars. I was sure, however, that my overcoat and the
dress-suit I wore would avail me something, if I thrust them boldly up
some spout. I was sure that I should be at work within a day or two. At
all events, I was certain of the cyclopædia the next day. That should go
to old Gowan's,--in Fulton Street it was then,--"the moral centre of the
intellectual world," in the hour I got it. And at this moment, for the
first time, the thought crossed me, "If mine could only be the name
drawn, so that that foolish $5,000 should fall to me." In that case I
felt that Fausta might live in "a respectable boarding-house" till she
died. Of this, of course, I said nothing, only that she was welcome to
my poor dollar and a half, and that I should receive the next day some
more money that was due me.

"You forget, Mr. Carter," replied Fausta, as proudly as
before,--"you forget that I cannot borrow of you any more than of a
boarding-house-keeper. I never borrow. Please God, I never will. It must
be," she added, "that in a Christian city like this there is some
respectable and fit arrangement made for travellers who find themselves
where I am. What that provision is I do not know; but I will find out
what it is before this sun goes down."

I paused a moment before I replied. If I had been fascinated by this
lovely girl before, I now bowed in respect before her dignity and
resolution; and, with my sympathy, there was a delicious throb of
self-respect united, when I heard her lay down so simply, as principles
of her life, two principles on which I had always myself tried to live.
The half-expressed habits of my boyhood and youth were now uttered for
me as axioms by lips which I knew could speak nothing but right and

I paused a moment. I stumbled a little as I expressed my regret that she
would not let me help her,--joined with my certainty that she was in the
right in refusing,--and then, in the only stiff speech I ever made to
her, I said:--

"I am the 'Child of the Public.' If you ever hear my story, you will
say so too. At the least, I can claim this, that I have a right to help
you in your quest as to the way in which the public will help you. Thus
far I am clearly the officer in his suite to whom he has intrusted you.
Are you ready, then, to go on shore?"

Fausta looked around on that forlorn ladies' saloon, as if it were the
last link holding her to her old safe world.

     "Looked upon skylight, lamp, and chain,
     As what she ne'er might see again."

Then she looked right through me; and if there had been one mean thought
in me at that minute, she would have seen the viper. Then she said,

"I have perfect confidence in you, though people would say we were
strangers. Let us go."

And we left the boat together. We declined the invitations of the noisy
hackmen, and walked slowly to Broadway.

We stopped at the station-house for that district, and to the attentive
chief Fausta herself described those contents of her trunk which she
thought would be most easily detected, if offered for sale. Her mother's
Bible, at which the chief shook his head; Bibles, alas! brought nothing
at the shops; a soldier's medal, such as were given as target prizes by
the Montgomery regiment; and a little silver canteen, marked with the
device of the same regiment, seemed to him better worthy of note. Her
portfolio was wrought with a cipher, and she explained to him that she
was most eager that this should be recovered. The pocket-book contained
more than one hundred dollars, which she described, but he shook his
head here, and gave her but little hope of that, if the trunk were once
opened. His chief hope was for this morning.

"And where shall we send to you then, madam?" said he.

I had been proud, as if it were my merit, of the impression Fausta had
made upon the officer, in her quiet, simple, ladylike dress and manner.
For myself, I thought that one slip of pretence in my dress or bearing,
a scrap of gold or of pinchbeck, would have ruined both of us in our
appeal. But, fortunately, I did not disgrace her, and the man looked at
her as if he expected her to say "Fourteenth Street." What would she

"That depends upon what the time will be. Mr. Carter will call at noon,
and will let you know."

We bowed, and were gone. In an instant more she begged my pardon, almost
with tears; but I told her that if she also had been a "Child of the
Public," she could not more fitly have spoken to one of her father's
officers. I begged her to use me as her protector, and not to apologize
again. Then we laid out the plans which we followed out that day.

The officer's manner had reassured her, and I succeeded in persuading
her that it was certain we should have the trunk at noon. How much
better to wait, at least so far, before she entered on any of the
enterprises of which she talked so coolly, as of offering herself as a
nursery-girl, or as a milliner, to whoever would employ her, if only she
could thus secure an honest home till money or till aunt were found.
Once persuaded that we were safe from this Quixotism, I told her that we
must go on, as we did on the canal, and first we must take our
constitutional walk for two hours.

"At least," she said, "our good papa, the Public, gives us wonderful
sights to see, and good walking to our feet, as a better Father has
given us this heavenly sky and this bracing air."

And with those words the last heaviness of despondency left her face for
that day. And we plunged into the delicious adventure of exploring a new
city, staring into windows as only strangers can, revelling in
print-shops as only they do, really seeing the fine buildings as
residents always forget to do, and laying up, in short, with those
streets, nearly all the associations which to this day we have with

Two hours of this tired us with walking, of course. I do not know what
she meant to do next; but at ten I said, "Time for French, Miss Jones."
"_Ah oui_," said she, "_mais où?_" and I had calculated my distances,
and led her at once into Lafayette Place; and, in a moment, pushed open
the door of the Astor Library, led her up the main stairway, and said,
"This is what the Public provides for his children when they have to

"This is the Astor," said she, delighted. "And we are all right, as you
say, here?" Then she saw that our entrance excited no surprise among the
few readers, men and women, who were beginning to assemble.

We took our seats at an unoccupied table, and began to revel in the
luxuries for which we had only to ask that we might enjoy. I had a
little memorandum of books which I had been waiting to see. She needed
none; but looked for one and another, and yet another, and between us we
kept the attendant well in motion. A pleasant thing to me to be finding
out her thoroughbred tastes and lines of work, and I was happy enough to
interest her in some of my pet readings; and, of course, for she was a
woman, to get quick hints which had never dawned on me before. A very
short hour and a half we spent there before I went to the station-house
again. I went very quickly. I returned to her very slowly.

The trunk was not found. But they were now quite sure they were on its
track. They felt certain it had been carried from pier to pier and taken
back up the river. Nor was it hopeless to follow it. The particular
rascal who was supposed to have it would certainly stop either at
Piermont or at Newburg. They had telegraphed to both places, and were in
time for both. "The day boat, sir, will bring your lady's trunk, and
will bring me Rowdy Rob, too, I hope," said the officer. But at the same
moment, as he rang his bell, he learned that no despatch had yet been
received from either of the places named. I did not feel so certain as
he did.

But Fausta showed no discomfort as I told my news. "Thus far," said she,
"the Public serves me well. I will borrow no trouble by want of faith."
And I--as Dante would say--and I, to her, "will you let me remind you,
then, that at one we dine; that Mrs. Grills is now placing the salt-pork
upon the cabin table, and Mr. Grills asking the blessing; and, as this
is the only day when I can have the honor of your company, will you let
me show you how a Child of the Public dines, when his finances are low?"

Fausta laughed, and said again, less tragically than before, "I have
perfect confidence in you,"--little thinking how she started my blood
with the words; but this time, as if in token, she let me take her hand
upon my arm, as we walked down the street together.

If we had been snobs, or even if I had been one, I should have taken her
to Taylor's, and have spent all the money I had on such a luncheon as
neither of us had ever eaten before. Whatever else I am, I am not a snob
of that sort. I show my colors. I led her into a little cross-street
which I had noticed in our erratic morning pilgrimage. We stopped at a
German baker's. I bade her sit down at the neat marble table, and I
bought two rolls. She declined lager, which I offered her in fun. We
took water instead, and we had dined, and had paid two cents for our
meal, and had had a very merry dinner, too, when the clock struck two.

"And now, Mr. Carter," said she, "I will steal no more of your day. You
did not come to New York to escort lone damsels to the Astor Library or
to dinner. Nor did I come only to see the lions or to read French. I
insist on your going to your affairs, and leaving me to mine. If you
will meet me at the Library half an hour before it closes, I will thank
you; till then," with a tragedy shake of the hand, and a merry laugh,

I knew very well that no harm could happen to her in two hours of an
autumn afternoon. I was not sorry for her _congé_, for it gave me an
opportunity to follow my own plans. I stopped at one or two
cabinet-makers, and talked with the "jours" about work, that I might
tell her with truth that I had been in search of it;--then I sedulously
began on calling upon every man I could reach named Mason. O, how often
I went through one phase or another of this colloquy:--

"Is Mr. Mason in?"

"That's my name, sir."

"Can you give me the address of Mr. Mason who returned from Europe last

"Know no such person, sir."

The reader can imagine how many forms this dialogue could be repeated
in, before, as I wrought my way through a long line of dry-goods cases
to a distant counting-room, I heard some one in it say, "No, madam, I
know no such person as you describe"; and from the recess Fausta emerged
and met me. Her plan for the afternoon had been the same with mine. We
laughed as we detected each other; then I told her she had had quite
enough of this, that it was time she should rest, and took her, _nolens
volens_, into the ladies' parlor of the St. Nicholas, and bade her wait
there through the twilight, with my copy of Clementine, till I should
return from the police-station. If the reader has ever waited in such a
place for some one to come and attend to him, he will understand that
nobody will be apt to molest him when he has not asked for attention.

Two hours I left Fausta in the rocking-chair, which there the Public had
provided for her. Then I returned, sadly enough. No tidings of Rowdy
Rob, none of trunk, Bible, money, letter, medal, or anything. Still was
my district sergeant hopeful, and, as always, respectful. But I was
hopeless this time, and I knew that the next day Fausta would be
plunging into the war with intelligence-houses and advertisements. For
the night, I was determined that she should spend it in my ideal
"respectable boarding-house." On my way down town, I stopped in at one
or two shops to make inquiries, and satisfied myself where I would take
her. Still I thought it wisest that we should go after tea; and another
cross-street baker, and another pair of rolls, and another tap at the
Croton, provided that repast for us. Then I told Fausta of the
respectable boarding-house, and that she must go there. She did not say
no. But she did say she would rather not spend the evening there. "There
must be some place open for us," said she. "There! there is a
church-bell! The church is always home. Let us come there."

So to "evening meeting" we went, startling the sexton by arriving an
hour early. If there were any who wondered what was the use of that
Wednesday-evening service, we did not. In a dark gallery pew we sat, she
at one end, I at the other; and, if the whole truth be told, each of us
fell asleep at once, and slept till the heavy organ tones taught us that
the service had begun. A hundred or more people had straggled in then,
and the preacher, good soul, he took for his text, "Doth not God care
for the ravens?" I cannot describe the ineffable feeling of home that
came over me in that dark pew of that old church. I had never been in so
large a church before. I had never heard so heavy an organ before.
Perhaps I had heard better preaching, but never any that came to my
occasions more. But it was none of these things which moved me. It was
the fact that we were just where we had a right to be. No impudent
waiter could ask us why we were sitting there, nor any petulant
policeman propose that we should push on. It was God's house, and,
because his, it was his children's.

All this feeling of repose grew upon me, and, as it proved, upon Fausta
also. For when the service was ended, and I ventured to ask her whether
she also had this sense of home and rest, she assented so eagerly, that
I proposed, though with hesitation, a notion which had crossed me, that
I should leave her there.

"I cannot think," I said, "of any possible harm that could come to you
before morning."

"Do you know, I had thought of that very same thing, but I did not dare
tell you," she said.

Was not I glad that she had considered me her keeper! But I only said,
"At the 'respectable boarding-house' you might be annoyed by questions."

"And no one will speak to me here. I know that from Goody Two-Shoes."

"I will be here," said I, "at sunrise in the morning." And so I bade her
good by, insisting on leaving in the pew my own great-coat. I knew she
might need it before morning. I walked out as the sexton closed the door
below on the last of the down-stairs worshippers. He passed along the
aisles below, with his long poker which screwed down the gas. I saw at
once that he had no intent of exploring the galleries. But I loitered
outside till I saw him lock the doors and depart; and then, happy in the
thought that Miss Jones was in the safest place in New York,--as
comfortable as she was the night before, and much more comfortable than
she had been any night upon the canal, I went in search of my own

"To the respectable boarding-house?"

Not a bit, reader. I had no shillings for respectable or disrespectable
boarding-houses. I asked the first policeman where his district station
was. I went into its office, and told the captain that I was green in
the city; had got no work and no money. In truth, I had left my purse in
Miss Jones's charge, and a five-cent piece, which I showed the chief,
was all I had. He said no word but to bid me go up two flights and turn
into the first bunk I found. I did so; and in five minutes was asleep in
a better bed than I had slept in for nine days.

That was what the Public did for me that night. I, too, was safe!

I am making this story too long. But with that night and its anxieties
the end has come. At sunrise I rose and made my easy toilet. I bought
and ate my roll,--varying the brand from yesterday's. I bought another,
with a lump of butter, and an orange, for Fausta. I left my portmanteau
at the station, while I rushed to the sexton's house, told his wife I
had left my gloves in church the night before,--as was the truth,--and
easily obtained from her the keys. In a moment I was in the
vestibule--locked in--was in the gallery, and there found Fausta, just
awake, as she declared, from a comfortable night, reading her morning
lesson in the Bible, and sure, she said, that I should soon appear. Nor
ghost, nor wraith, had visited her. I spread for her a brown paper
tablecloth on the table in the vestibule. I laid out her breakfast for
her, called her, and wondered at her toilet. How is it that women always
make themselves appear as neat and finished as if there were no
conflict, dust, or wrinkle in the world.

[Here Fausta adds, in this manuscript, a parenthesis, to say that she
folded her undersleeves neatly, and her collar, before she slept, and
put them between the cushions, upon which she slept. In the morning they
had been pressed--without a sad-iron.]

She finished her repast. I opened the church door for five minutes. She
passed out when she had enough examined the monuments, and at a
respectable distance I followed her. We joined each other, and took our
accustomed morning walk; but then she resolutely said, "Good by," for
the day. She would find work before night,--work and a home. And I must
do the same. Only when I pressed her to let me know of her success, she
said she would meet me at the Astor Library just before it closed. No,
she would not take my money. Enough, that for twenty-four hours she had
been my guest. When she had found her aunt and told her the story, they
should insist on repaying this hospitality. Hospitality, dear reader,
which I had dispensed at the charge of six cents. Have you ever treated
Miranda for a day and found the charge so low? When I urged other
assistance she said resolutely, "No." In fact, she had already made an
appointment at two, she said, and she must not waste the day.

I also had an appointment at two; for it was at that hour that Burrham
was to distribute the cyclopædias at Castle Garden. The Emigrant
Commission had not yet seized it for their own. I spent the morning in
asking vainly for Masons fresh from Europe, and for work in
cabinet-shops. I found neither, and so wrought my way to the appointed
place, where, instead of such wretched birds in the bush, I was to get
one so contemptible in my hand.

Those who remember Jenny Lind's first triumph night at Castle Garden
have some idea of the crowd as it filled gallery and floor of that
immense hall when I entered. I had given no thought to the machinery of
this folly. I only know that my ticket bade me be there at two P. M. this
day. But as I drew near, the throng, the bands of policemen, the long
queues of persons entering, reminded me that here was an affair of ten
thousand persons, and also that Mr. Burrham was not unwilling to make it
as showy, perhaps as noisy, an affair as was respectable, by way of
advertising future excursions and distributions. I was led to seat No.
3,671 with a good deal of parade, and when I came there I found I was
very much of a prisoner. I was late, or rather on the stroke of two.
Immediately, almost, Mr. Burrham arose in the front and made a long
speech about his liberality, and the public's liberality, and
everybody's liberality in general, and the method of the distribution in
particular. The mayor and four or five other well-known and respectable
gentlemen were kind enough to be present to guarantee the fairness of
the arrangements. At the suggestion of the mayor and the police, the
doors would now be closed, that no persons might interrupt the ceremony
till it was ended. And the distribution of the cyclopædias would at once
go forward, in the order in which the lots were drawn,--earliest numbers
securing the earliest impressions; which, as Mr. Burrham almost
regretted to say, were a little better than the latest. After these had
been distributed two figures would be drawn,--one green and one red, to
indicate the fortunate lady and gentleman who would receive respectively
the profits which had arisen from this method of selling the
cyclopædias, after the expenses of printing and distribution had been
covered, and after the magazines had been ordered.

Great cheering followed this announcement from all but me. Here I had
shut myself up in this humbug hall, for Heaven knew how long, on the
most important day of my life. I would have given up willingly my
cyclopædia and my chance at the "profits," for the certainty of seeing
Fausta at five o'clock. If I did not see her then, what might befall
her, and when might I see her again. An hour before this certainty was
my own, now it was only mine by my liberating myself from this prison.
Still I was encouraged by seeing that everything was conducted like
clock-work. From literally a hundred stations they were distributing the
books. We formed ourselves into queues as we pleased, drew our numbers,
and then presented ourselves at the bureaux, ordered our magazines, and
took our cyclopædias. It would be done, at that rate, by half past four.
An omnibus might bring me to the Park, and a Bowery car do the rest in
time. After a vain discussion for the right of exit with one or two of
the attendants, I abandoned myself to this hope, and began studying my

It was sufficiently amusing to see ten thousand people resign themselves
to the same task, and affect to be unconcerned about the green and red
figures which were to divide the "profits." I tried to make out who were
as anxious to get out of that tawdry den as I was. Four o'clock struck,
and the distribution was not done. I began to be very impatient. What if
Fausta fell into trouble? I knew, or hoped I knew, that she would
struggle to the Astor Library, as to her only place of rescue and
refuge,--her asylum. What if I failed her there? I who had pretended to
be her protector! "Protector, indeed!" she would say, if she knew I was
at a theatre witnessing the greatest folly of the age. And if I did not
meet her to-day, when should I meet her? If she found her aunt, how
should I find her? If she did not find her,--good God? that was
worse,--where might she not be before twelve hours were over? Then the
fatal trunk! I had told the police agent he might send it to the St.
Nicholas, because I had to give him some address. But Fausta did not
know this, and the St. Nicholas people knew nothing of us. I grew more
and more excited, and when at last my next neighbor told me that it was
half past four, I rose and insisted on leaving my seat. Two ushers with
blue sashes almost held me down; they showed me the whole assembly
sinking into quiet. In fact, at that moment Mr. Burrham was begging
every one to be seated. I would not be seated. I would go to the door. I
would go out. "Go, if you please!" said the usher next it,
contemptuously. And I looked, and there was no handle! Yet this was not
a dream. It is the way they arrange the doors in halls where they choose
to keep people in their places. I could have collared that grinning blue
sash. I did tell him I would wring his precious neck for him, if he did
not let me out. I said I would sue him for false imprisonment; I would
have a writ of _habeas corpus_.

"_Habeas corpus_ be d--d!" said the officer, with an irreverent
disrespect to the palladium. "If you are not more civil, sir, I will
call the police, of whom we have plenty. You say you want to go out; you
are keeping everybody in."

And, in fact, at that moment the clear voice of the mayor was announcing
that they would not go on until there was perfect quiet; and I felt that
I was imprisoning all these people, not they me.

"Child of the Public," said my mourning genius; "are you better than
other men?" So I sneaked back to seat No. 3,671, amid the contemptuous
and reproachful looks and sneers of my more respectable neighbors, who
had sat where they were told to do. We must be through in a moment, and
perhaps Fausta would be late also. If only the Astor would keep open
after sunset! How often have I wished that since, and for less reasons!

Silence thus restored, Mr. A----, the mayor, led forward his little
daughter, blindfolded her, and bade her put her hand into a green box,
from which she drew out a green ticket. He took it from her, and read,
in his clear voice again, "No. 2,973!" By this time we all knew where
the "two thousands" sat. Then "nine hundreds" were not far from the
front, so that it was not far that that frightened girl, dressed all in
black, and heavily veiled, had to walk, who answered to this call. Mr.
A---- met her, helped her up the stair upon the stage, took from her her
ticket, and read, "Jerusha Stillingfleet, of Yellow Springs, who, at her
death, as it seems, transferred this right to the bearer."

The disappointed nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine joined in a
rapturous cheer, each man and woman, to show that he or she was not
disappointed. The bearer spoke with Mr. Burrham, in answer to his
questions, and, with a good deal of ostentation, he opened a check-book,
filled a check and passed it to her, she signing a receipt as she took
it, and transferring to him her ticket. So far, in dumb show, all was
well. What was more to my purpose, it was rapid, for we should have been
done in five minutes more, but that some devil tempted some loafer in a
gallery to cry, "Face! face!" Miss Stillingfleet's legatee was still
heavily veiled.

In one horrid minute that whole amphitheatre, which seemed to me then
more cruel than the Coliseum ever was, rang out with a cry of "Face,
face!" I tried the counter-cry of "Shame! shame!" but I was in disgrace
among my neighbors, and a counter-cry never takes as its prototype does,
either. At first, on the stage, they affected not to hear or understand;
then there was a courtly whisper between Mr. Burrham and the lady; but
Mr. A----, the mayor, and the respectable gentlemen, instantly
interfered. It was evident that she would not unveil, and that they were
prepared to indorse her refusal. In a moment more she courtesied to the
assembly; the mayor gave her his arm, and led her out through a

O, the yell that rose up then! The whole assembly stood up, and, as if
they had lost some vested right, hooted and shrieked, "Back! back! Face!
face!" Mr. A---- returned, made as if he would speak, came forward to
the very front, and got a moment's silence.

"It is not in the bond, gentlemen," said he. "The young lady is
unwilling to unveil, and we must not compel her."

"Face! face!" was the only answer, and oranges from up stairs flew
about his head and struck upon the table,--an omen only fearful from
what it prophesied. Then there was such a row for five minutes as I hope
I may never see or hear again. People kept their places fortunately,
under a vague impression that they should forfeit some magic rights if
they left those numbered seats. But when, for a moment, a file of
policemen appeared in the orchestra, a whole volley of cyclopædias fell
like rain upon their chief, with a renewed cry of "Face! face!"

At this juncture, with a good deal of knowledge of popular feeling, Mr.
A---- led forward his child again. Frightened to death the poor thing
was, and crying; he tied his handkerchief round her eyes hastily, and
took her to the red box. For a minute the house was hushed. A cry of
"Down! down!" and every one took his place as the child gave the red
ticket to her father. He read it as before, "No. 3,671!" I heard the
words as if he did not speak them. All excited by the delay and the row,
by the injustice to the stranger and the personal injustice of everybody
to me, I did not know, for a dozen seconds, that every one was looking
towards our side of the house, nor was it till my next neighbor with the
watch said, "Go, you fool," that I was aware that 3,671 was I! Even
then, as I stepped down the passage and up the steps, my only feeling
was, that I should get out of this horrid trap, and possibly find Miss
Jones lingering near the Astor,--not by any means that I was invited to
take a check for $5,000.

There was not much cheering. Women never mean to cheer, of course. The
men had cheered the green ticket, but they were mad with the red one. I
gave up my ticket, signed my receipt, and took my check, shook hands
with Mr. A---- and Mr. Burrham, and turned to bow to the mob,--for mob I
must call it now. But the cheers died away. A few people tried to go out
perhaps, but there was nothing now to retain any in their seats as
before, and the generality rose, pressed down the passages, and howled,
"Face! face!" I thought for a moment that I ought to say something, but
they would not hear me, and, after a moment's pause, my passion to
depart overwhelmed me. I muttered some apology to the gentlemen, and
left the stage by the stage door.

I had forgotten that to Castle Garden there can be no back entrance. I
came to door after door, which were all locked. It was growing dark.
Evidently the sun was set, and I knew the library door would be shut at
sunset. The passages were very obscure. All around me rang this horrid
yell of the mob, in which all that I could discern was the cry, "Face,
face!" At last, as I groped round, I came to a practicable door. I
entered a room where the western sunset glare dazzled me. I was not
alone. The veiled lady in black was there. But the instant she saw me
she sprang towards me, flung herself into my arms, and cried:--

"Felix, is it you?--you are indeed my protector!"

It was Miss Jones! It was Fausta! She was the legatee of Miss
Stillingfleet. My first thought was, "O, if that beggarly usher had let
me go! Will I ever, ever think I have better rights than the Public

I took her in my arms. I carried her to the sofa. I could hardly speak
for excitement. Then I did say that I had been wild with terror; that I
had feared I had lost her, and lost her forever; that to have lost that
interview would have been worse to me than death; for unless she knew
that I loved her better than man ever loved woman, I could not face a
lonely night, and another lonely day.

"My dear, dear child," I said, "you may think me wild; but I must say
this,--it has been pent up too long."

"Say what you will," she said after a moment, in which still I held her
in my arms; she was trembling so that she could not have sat upright
alone,--"say what you will, if only you do not tell me to spend another
day alone."

And I kissed her, and I kissed her, and I kissed her, and I said,
"Never, darling, God helping me, till I die!"

How long we sat there I do not know. Neither of us spoke again. For one,
I looked out on the sunset and the bay. We had but just time to
rearrange ourselves in positions more independent, when Mr. A---- came
in, this time in alarm, to say:--

"Miss Jones, we must get you out of this place, or we must hide you
somewhere. I believe, before God, they will storm this passage, and pull
the house about our ears."

He said this, not conscious as he began that I was there. At that
moment, however, I felt as if I could have met a million men. I started
forward and passed him, saying, "Let me speak to them." I rushed upon
the stage, fairly pushing back two or three bullies who were already
upon it. I sprang upon the table, kicking down the red box as I did so,
so that the red tickets fell on the floor and on the people below. One
stuck in an old man's spectacles in a way which made the people in the
galleries laugh. A laugh is a great blessing at such a moment. Curiosity
is another. Three loud words spoken like thunder do a good deal more.
And after three words the house was hushed to hear me. I said:--

"Be fair to the girl. She has no father nor mother. She has no brother
nor sister. She is alone in the world, with nobody to help her but the
Public--and me!"

The audacity of the speech brought out a cheer, and we should have come
off in triumph, when some rowdy--the original "face" man, I

"And who are you?"

If the laugh went against me now I was lost, of course. Fortunately I
had no time to think. I said without thinking,--

"I am the Child of the Public, and her betrothed husband!"

O Heavens! what a yell of laughter, of hurrahings, of satisfaction with
a _dénouement_, rang through the house, and showed that all was well.
Burrham caught the moment, and started his band, this time
successfully,--I believe with "See the Conquering Hero." The doors, of
course, had been open long before. Well-disposed people saw they need
stay no longer; ill-disposed people dared not stay; the blue-coated men
with buttons sauntered on the stage in groups, and I suppose the worst
rowdies disappeared as they saw them. I had made my single speech, and
for the moment I was a hero.

I believe the mayor would have liked to kiss me. Burrham almost did.
They overwhelmed me with thanks and congratulations. All these I
received as well as I could,--somehow I did not feel at all
surprised,--everything was as it should be. I scarcely thought of
leaving the stage myself, till, to my surprise, the mayor asked me to go
home with him to dinner.

Then I remembered that we were not to spend the rest of our lives in
Castle Garden. I blundered out something about Miss Jones, that she had
no escort except me, and pressed into her room to find her. A group of
gentlemen was around her. Her veil was back now. She was very pale, but
very lovely. Have I said that she was beautiful as heaven? She was the
queen of the room, modestly and pleasantly receiving their felicitations
that the danger was over, and owning that she had been very much
frightened. "Until," she said, "my friend, Mr. Carter, was fortunate
enough to guess that I was here. How he did it," she said, turning to
me, "is yet an utter mystery to me."

She did not know till then that it was I who had shared with her the
profits of the cyclopædias.

As soon as we could excuse ourselves, I asked some one to order a
carriage. I sent to the ticket-office for my valise, and we rode to the
St. Nicholas. I fairly laughed as I gave the hackman at the hotel door
what would have been my last dollar and a half only two hours before. I
entered Miss Jones's name and my own. The clerk looked, and said,

"Is it Miss Jones's trunk which came this afternoon?"

I followed his finger to see the trunk on the marble floor. Rowdy Rob
had deserted it, having seen, perhaps, a detective when he reached
Piermont. The trunk had gone to Albany, had found no owner, and had
returned by the day boat of that day.

Fausta went to her room, and I sent her supper after her. One kiss and
"Good night" was all that I got from her then.

"In the morning," said she, "you shall explain."

It was not yet seven. I went to my own room and dressed, and tendered
myself at the mayor's just before his gay party sat down to dine. I met,
for the first time in my life, men whose books I had read, and whose
speeches I had by heart, and women whom I have since known to honor;
and, in the midst of this brilliant group, so excited had Mr. A---- been
in telling the strange story of the day, I was, for the hour, the lion.

I led Mrs. A---- to the table; I made her laugh very heartily by telling
her of the usher's threats to me, and mine to him, and of the disgrace
into which I fell among the three thousand six hundreds. I had never
been at any such party before. But I found it was only rather simpler
and more quiet than most parties I had seen, that its good breeding was
exactly that of dear Betsy Myers.

As the party broke up, Mrs. A---- said to me,--

"Mr. Carter, I am sure you are tired, with all this excitement. You say
you are a stranger here. Let me send round for your trunk to the St.
Nicholas, and you shall spend the night here. I know I can make you a
better bed than they."

I thought as much myself, and assented. In half an hour more I was in
bed in Mrs. A----'s "best room."

"I shall not sleep better," said I to myself, "than I did last night."

That was what the Public did for me that night. I was safe again!



Fausta slept late, poor child. I called for her before breakfast. I
waited for her after. About ten she appeared, so radiant, so beautiful,
and so kind! The trunk had revealed a dress I never saw before, and the
sense of rest, and eternal security, and unbroken love had revealed a
charm which was never there to see before. She was dressed for walking,
and, as she met me, said,--

"Time for constitutional, Mr. Millionnaire."

So we walked again, quite up town, almost to the region of pig-pens and
cabbage-gardens which is now the Central Park. And after just the first
gush of my enthusiasm, Fausta said, very seriously:--

"I must teach you to be grave. You do not know whom you are asking to be
your wife. Excepting Mrs. Mason, No. 27 Thirty-fourth Street, sir, there
is no one in the world who is of kin to me, and she does not care for me
one straw, Felix," she said, almost sadly now. "You call yourself 'Child
of the Public' I started when you first said so, for that is just what I

"I am twenty-two years old. My father died before I was born. My mother,
a poor woman, disliked by his relatives and avoided by them, went to
live in Hoboken over there, with me. How she lived, God knows! but it
happened that of a strange death she died, I in her arms."

After a pause, the poor girl went on:--

"There was a great military review, an encampment. She was tempted out
to see it. Of a sudden by some mistake, a ramrod was fired from a
careless soldier's gun, and it pierced her through her heart. I tell
you, Felix, it pinned my baby frock into the wound, so that they could
not part me from her till it was cut away.

"Of course every one was filled with horror. Nobody claimed poor me, the
baby. But the battalion, the Montgomery Battalion, it was, which had, by
mischance, killed my mother, adopted me as their child. I was voted
'Fille du Regiment.' They paid an assessment annually, which the colonel
expended for me. A kind old woman nursed me."

"She was your Betsy Myers," interrupted I.

"And when I was old enough I was sent into Connecticut, to the best of
schools. This lasted till I was sixteen. Fortunately for me, perhaps,
the Montgomery Battalion then dissolved. I was finding it hard to answer
the colonel's annual letters. I had my living to earn,--it was best I
should earn it. I declined a proposal to go out as a missionary. I had
no call. I answered one of Miss Beecher's appeals for Western teachers.
Most of my life since has been a school-ma'am's. It has had ups and
downs. But I have always been proud that the Public was my godfather;
and, as you know," she said, "I have trusted the Public well. I have
never been lonely, wherever I went. I tried to make myself of use. Where
I was of use I found society. The ministers have been kind to me. I
always offered my services in the Sunday schools and sewing-rooms. The
school committees have been kind to me. They are the Public's high
chamberlains for poor girls. I have written for the journals. I won one
of Sartain's hundred-dollar prizes--"

"And I another," interrupted I.

"When I was very poor, I won the first prize for an essay on bad boys."

"And I the second," answered I.

"I think I know one bad boy better than he knows himself," said she. But
she went on. "I watched with this poor Miss Stillingfleet the night she
died. This absurd 'distribution' had got hold of her, and she would not
be satisfied till she had transferred that strange ticket, No. 2,973, to
me, writing the indorsement which you have heard. I had had a longing to
visit New York and Hoboken again. This ticket seemed to me to beckon me.
I had money enough to come, if I would come cheaply. I wrote to my
father's business partner, and enclosed a note to his only sister. She
is Mrs. Mason. She asked me, coldly enough, to her house. Old Mr. Grills
always liked me,--he offered me escort and passage as far as Troy or
Albany. I accepted his proposal, and you know the rest."

When I told Fausta my story, she declared I made it up as I went along.
When she believed it,--as she does believe it now,--she agreed with me
in declaring that it was not fit that two people thus joined should ever
be parted. Nor have we been, ever!

She made a hurried visit at Mrs. Mason's. She prepared there for her
wedding. On the 1st of November we went into that same church which was
our first home in New York; and that dear old raven-man made us



     [This essay was first published in the Monthly Religious Magazine,
     Boston, for October, 1851. One or another professor of chronology
     has since taken pains to tell me that it is impossible. But until
     they satisfy themselves whether Homer ever lived at all, I shall
     hold to the note which I wrote to Miss Dryasdust's cousin, which I
     printed originally at the end of the article, and which will be
     found there in this collection. The difficulties in the geography
     are perhaps worse than those of chronology.]

A summer bivouac had collected together a little troop of soldiers from
Joppa, under the shelter of a grove, where they had spread their
sheep-skins, tethered their horses, and pitched a single tent. With the
carelessness of soldiers, they were chatting away the time till sleep
might come, and help them to to-morrow with its chances; perhaps of
fight, perhaps of another day of this camp indolence. Below the garden
slope where they were lounging, the rapid torrent of Kishon ran brawling
along. A full moon was rising above the rough edge of the Eastern hills,
and the whole scene was alive with the loveliness of an Eastern

As they talked together, the strains of a harp came borne down the
stream by the wind, mingling with the rippling of the brook.

"The boys were right," said the captain of the little company. "They
asked leave to go up the stream to spend their evening with the
Carmel-men; and said that they had there a harper, who would sing and
play for them."

"Singing at night, and fighting in the morning! It is the true soldier's
life," said another.

"Who have they there?" asked a third.

"One of those Ziklag-men," replied the chief. "He came into camp a few
days ago, seems to be an old favorite of the king's, and is posted with
his men, by the old tomb on the edge of the hill. If you cross the
brook, he is not far from the Carmel post; and some of his young men
have made acquaintance there."

"One is not a soldier for nothing. If we make enemies at sight, we make
friends at sight too."

"Echish here says that the harper is a Jew."

"What!--a deserter?"

"I do not know that; that is the king's lookout. Their company came up a
week ago, were reviewed the day I was on guard at the outposts, and they
had this post I tell you of assigned to them. So the king is satisfied;
and, if he is, I am."

"Jew or Gentile, Jehovah's man or Dagon's man," said one of the younger
soldiers, with a half-irreverent tone, "I wish we had him here to sing
to us."

"And to keep us awake," yawned another.

"Or to keep us from thinking of to-morrow," said a third.

"Can nobody sing here, or play, or tell an old-time story?"

There was nobody. The only two soldiers of the post, who affected
musical skill, were the two who had gone up to the Carmelites' bivouac;
and the little company of Joppa--catching louder notes and louder, as
the bard's inspiration carried him farther and farther away--crept as
far up the stream as the limits of their station would permit; and lay,
without noise, to catch, as they best could, the rich tones of the music
as it swept down the valley.

Soothed by the sound, and by the moonlight, and by the summer breeze,
they were just in mood to welcome the first interruption which broke the
quiet of the night. It was the approach of one of their company, who had
been detached to Accho a day or two before; and who came hurrying in to
announce the speedy arrival of companions, for whom he bespoke a
welcome. Just as they were to leave Accho, he said, that day, on their
return to camp, an Ionian trading-vessel had entered port. He and his
fellow-soldiers had waited to help her moor, and had been chatting with
her seamen. They had told them of the chance of battle to which they
were returning; and two or three of the younger Ionians, enchanted at
the relief from the sea's imprisonment, had begged them to let them
volunteer in company with them. These men had come up into the country
with the soldiers, therefore; and he who had broken the silence of the
listeners to the distant serenade had hurried on to tell his comrades
that such visitors were on their way.

They soon appeared on foot, but hardly burdened by the light packs they

A soldier's welcome soon made the Ionian sailors as much at home with
the men of the bivouac, as they had been through the day with the
detachment from the sea-board. A few minutes were enough to draw out
sheep-skins for them to lie upon, a skin of wine for their thirst, a
bunch of raisins and some oat-cakes for their hunger; a few minutes more
had told the news which each party asked from the other; and then these
sons of the sea and these war-bronzed Philistines were as much at ease
with each other as if they had served under the same sky for years.

"We were listening to music," said the old chief, "when you came up.
Some of our young men have gone up, indeed, to the picket yonder, to
hear the harper sing, whose voice you catch sometimes, when we are not

"You find the Muses in the midst of arms, then," said one of the young

"Muses?" said the old Philistine, laughing. "That sounds like you
Greeks. Ah! sir, in our rocks here we have few enough Muses, but those
who carry these lances, or teach us how to trade with the islands for

"That's not quite fair," cried another. "The youngsters who are gone
sing well; and one of them has a harp I should be glad you should see.
He made it himself from a gnarled olive-root." And he turned to look for

"You'll not find it in the tent: the boy took it with him. They hoped
the Ziklag minstrel might ask them to sing, I suppose."

"A harp of olive-wood," said the Ionian, "seems Muse-born and

And, as he spoke, one of the new-comers of the Philistines leaned over,
and whispered to the chief: "He is a bard himself, and we made him
promise to sing to us. I brought his harp with me that he might cheer up
our bivouac. Pray, do you ask him."

The old chief needed no persuasion; and the eyes of the whole force
brightened as they found they had a minstrel "of their own" now, when
the old man pressed the young Ionian courteously to let them hear him:
"I told you, sir, that we had no Muses of our own; but we welcome all
the more those who come to us from over seas."

Homer smiled; for it was Homer whom he spoke to,--Homer still in the
freshness of his unblinded youth. He took the harp which the young
Philistine handed to him, thrummed upon its chords, and as he tuned them
said: "I have no harp of olive-wood; we cut this out, it was years ago,
from an old oleander in the marshes behind Colophon. What will you hear,

"The poet chooses for himself," said the courtly old captain.

"Let me sing you, then, of _the Olive Harp_"; and he struck the chords
in a gentle, quieting harmony, which attuned itself to his own spirit,
pleased as he was to find music and harmony and the olive of peace in
the midst of the rough bivouac, where he had come up to look for war.
But he was destined to be disappointed. Just as his prelude closed, one
of the young soldiers turned upon his elbow, and whispered
contemptuously to his neighbor: "Always _olives_, always _peace_: that's
all your music's good for!"

The boy spoke too loud, and Homer caught the discontented tone and words
with an ear quicker than the speaker had given him credit for. He ended
the prelude with a sudden crash on the strings, and said shortly, "And
what is better to sing of than the olive?"

The more courteous Philistines looked sternly on the young soldier; but
he had gone too far to be frightened, and he flashed back: "War is
better. My broadsword is better. If I could sing, I would sing to your
Ares; we call him Mars!"

Homer smiled gravely. "Let it be so," said he; and, in a lower tone, to
the captain, who was troubled at the breach of courtesy, he added, "Let
the boy see what war and Mars are for."

He struck another prelude and began. Then was it that Homer composed his
"Hymn to Mars." In wild measure, and impetuous, he swept along through
the list of Mars's titles and attributes; then his key changed, and his
hearers listened more intently, more solemnly, as in a graver strain,
with slower music, and an almost awed dignity of voice, the bard went

                "Helper of mortals, hear!
                As thy fires give
          The present boldnesses that strive
                In youth for honor;
     So would I likewise wish to have the power
       To keep off from my head thy bitter hour,
     And quench the false fire of my soul's low kind,
     By the fit ruling of my highest mind!
          Control that sting of wealth
     That stirs me on still to the horrid scath
          Of hideous battle!

     "Do thou, O ever blessed! give me still
     Presence of mind to put in act my will,
          Whate'er the occasion be;
     And so to live, unforced by any fear,
     Beneath those laws of peace, that never are
     Affected with pollutions popular
          Of unjust injury,
     As to bear safe the burden of hard fates,
     Of foes inflexive, and inhuman hates!"

The tones died away; the company was hushed for a moment; and the old
chief then said gravely to his petulant follower, "That is what _men_
fight for, boy." But the boy did not need the counsel. Homer's manner,
his voice, the music itself, the spirit of the song, as much as the
words, had overcome him; and the boasting soldier was covering his tears
with his hands.

Homer felt at once (the prince of gentlemen he) that the little
outbreak, and the rebuke of it, had jarred the ease of their unexpected
meeting. How blessed is the presence of mind with which the musician of
real genius passes from song to song, "whate'er the occasion be!" With
the ease of genius he changed the tone of his melody again, and sang his
own hymn, "To Earth, the Mother of all."

The triumphant strain is one which harmonizes with every sentiment; and
he commanded instantly the rapt attention of the circle. So engrossed
was he, that he did not seem to observe, as he sang, an addition to
their company of some soldiers from above in the valley, just as he
entered on the passage:--

             "Happy, then, are they
         Whom thou, O great in reverence!
     Are bent to honor. They shall all things find
     In all abundance! All their pastures yield
     Herds in all plenty. All their roofs are filled
             With rich possessions.
       High happiness and wealth attend them,
       While, with laws well-ordered, they
       Cities of happy households sway;
     And their sons exult in the pleasure of youth,
     And their daughters dance with the flower-decked girls,
     Who play among the flowers of summer!
     Such are the honors thy full hands divide;
     Mother of Gods and starry Heaven's bride!"[1]

A buzz of pleasure and a smile ran round the circle, in which the
new-comers joined. They were the soldiers who had been to hear and join
the music at the Carmel-men's post. The tones of Homer's harp had
tempted them to return; and they had brought with them the Hebrew
minstrel, to whom they had been listening. It was the outlaw David, of
Bethlehem Ephrata.

David had listened to Homer more intently than any one; and, as the
pleased applause subsided, the eyes of the circle gathered upon him, and
the manner of all showed that they expected him, in minstrel-fashion, to
take up the same strain.

He accepted the implied invitation, played a short prelude, and taking
Homer's suggestion of topic, sang in parallel with it:--

     "I will sing a new song unto thee, O God!
     Upon psaltery and harp will I sing praise to thee.
     Thou art He that giveth salvation to kings,
     That delivereth David, thy servant, from the sword.
     Rid me and save me from those who speak vanity,
     Whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood,--
     That our sons may be as plants in fresh youth;
     That our daughters may be as corner-stones,--
     The polished stones of our palaces;
     That our garners may be full with all manner of store;
     That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in the way;
     That there may be no cry nor complaint in our streets.
     Happy is the people that is in such a case;
     Yea, happy is the people whose God is the Lord!"

The melody was triumphant; and the enthusiastic manner yet more so. The
Philistines listened delighted,--too careless of religion, they, indeed
not to be catholic in presence of religious enthusiasm; and Homer wore
the exalted expression which his face seldom wore. For the first time
since his childhood, Homer felt that he was not alone in the world!

Who shall venture to tell what passed between the two minstrels, when
Homer, leaving his couch, crossed the circle at once, flung himself on
the ground by David's side, gave him his hand; when they looked each
other in the face, and sank down into the rapid murmuring of talk, which
constant gesture illustrated, but did not fully explain to the rough men
around them? They respected the poets' colloquy for a while; but then,
eager again to hear one harp or the other, they persuaded one of the
Ionian sailors to ask Homer again to sing to them.

It was hard to persuade Homer. He shook his head, and turned back to the

"What should _I_ sing?" he said.

They did not enter into his notion: hearers will not always. And so,
taking his question literally, they replied, "Sing? Sing us of the
snow-storm, the storm of stones, of which you sang at noon."

Poor Homer! It was easier to do it than to be pressed to do it; and he
struck his harp again:--

     "It was as when, some wintry day, to men
       Jove would, in might, his sharp artillery show;
     He wills his winds to sleep, and over plain
       And mountains pours, in countless flakes, his snow.
     Deep it conceals the rocky cliffs and hills,
       Then covers all the blooming meadows o'er,
     All the rich monuments of mortals' skill,
       All ports and rocks that break the ocean-shore.
     Rock, haven, plain, are buried by its fall;
     But the near wave, unchanging, drinks it all.
     So while these stony tempests veil the skies,
     While this on Greeks, and that on Trojans flies,
     The walls unchanged above the clamor rise."[2]

The men looked round upon David, whose expression, as he returned the
glance, showed that he had enjoyed the fragment as well as they. But
when they still looked expectant, he did not decline the unspoken
invitation; but, taking Homer's harp, sang, as if the words were
familiar to him:--

     "He giveth snow like wool;
     He scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes;
     He casteth forth his ice like morsels;
     Who can stand before his cold?
     He sendeth forth his word, and melteth them;
     He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow."

"Always this '_He_,'" said one of the young soldiers to another.

"Yes," he replied; "and it was so in the beginning of the evening, when
we were above there."

"There is a strange difference between the two men, though the one plays
as well as the other, and the Greek speaks with quite as little foreign
accent as the Jew, and their subjects are the same."

"Yes," said the young Philistine harper; "if the Greek should sing one
of the Hebrew's songs, you would know he had borrowed it, in a moment."

"And so, if it were the other way."

"Of course," said their old captain, joining in this conversation.
"Homer, if you call him so, sings the thing made: David sings the maker.
Or, rather, Homer thinks of the thing made: David thinks of the maker,
whatever they sing."

"I was going to say that Homer would sing of cities; and David, of the
life in them."

"It is not what they say so much, as the way they look at it. The Greek
sees the outside,--the beauty of the thing; the Hebrew--"


For David and his new friend had been talking too. Homer had told him of
the storm at sea they met a few days before; and David, I think, had
spoken of a mountain-tornado, as he met it years before. In the
excitement of his narrative he struck the harp, which was still in his
hand, and sung:--

     "Then the earth shook and trembled,
     The foundations of the hills moved and were shaken,
         Because He was wroth;
     There went up a smoke out of his nostrils,
     And fire out of his mouth devoured;
         It burned with living coal.
       He bowed the heavens also, and came down,
     And darkness was under his feet;
     He rode upon a cherub and did fly,
     Yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
     He made darkness his resting-place,
       His pavilion were dark waters and clouds of the skies;
       At the brightness before him his clouds passed by,
         Hail-stones and coals of fire.
       The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
       And the highest gave his voice;
         Hail-stones and coals of fire.
     Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them,
     And he shot out his lightnings, and discomfited them.
       Then the channels of waters were seen,
       And the foundations of the world were made known,
         At thy rebuke, O Lord!
       At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
         He sent from above, he took me,
         He drew me out of many waters."

"Mine were but a few verses," said Homer. "I am more than repaid by
yours. Imagine Neptune, our sea-god, looking on a battle:--

     "There he sat high, retired from the seas;
     There looked with pity on his Grecians beaten;
     There burned with rage at the god-king who slew them.
     Then he rushed forward from the rugged mountains,
           Quickly descending;
     He bent the forests also as he came down,
     And the high cliffs shook under his feet.
         Three times he trod upon them,
     And with his fourth step reached the home he sought for.

     "There was his palace, in the deep waters of the seas,
     Shining with gold, and builded forever.
     There he yoked him his swift-footed horses;
     Their hoofs are brazen, and their manes are golden.
         He binds them with golden thongs,
         He seizes his golden goad,
     He mounts upon his chariot, and doth fly:
     Yes! he drives them forth into the waves!
         And the whales rise under him from the depths,
     For they know he is their king;
     And the glad sea is divided into parts,
     That his steeds may fly along quickly;
     And his brazen axle passes dry between the waves,
       So, bounding fast, they bring him to his Grecians."[3]

And the poets sank again into talk.

"You see it," said the old Philistine. "He paints the picture. David
sings the life of the picture."

"Yes: Homer sees what he sings; David feels his song."

"Homer's is perfect in its description."

"Yes; but for life, for the soul of the description, you need the

"Homer might be blind; and, with that fancy and word-painting power of
his, and his study of everything new, he would paint pictures as he
sang, though unseen."

"Yes," said another; "but David--" And he paused.

"But David?" asked the chief.

"I was going to say that he might be blind, deaf, imprisoned, exiled,
sick, or all alone, and that yet he would never know he was alone;
feeling as he does, as he must to sing so, of the presence of this Lord
of his!"

"He does not think of a snow-flake, but as sent from him."

"While the snow-flake is reminding Homer of that hard, worrying,
slinging work of battle. He must have seen fight himself."

They were hushed again. For, though they no longer dared ask the poets
to sing to them,--so engrossed were they in each other's society,--the
soldiers were hardly losers from this modest courtesy. For the poets
were constantly arousing each other to strike a chord, or to sing some
snatch of remembered song. And so it was that Homer, _àpropos_ of I do
not know what, sang in a sad tone:--

     "Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
     Now green in youth, now withering on the ground:
     Another race the following spring supplies;
     They fall successive, and successive rise.
     So generations in their course decay,
     So flourish these, when those have passed away."[4]

David waited for a change in the strain; but Homer stopped. The young
Hebrew asked him to go on; but Homer said that the passage which
followed was mere narrative, from a long narrative poem. David looked
surprised that his new friend had not pointed a moral as he sang; and
said simply, "We sing that thus:--

     "As for man, his days are as grass;
     As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth;
     For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone,
     And the place thereof shall know it no more.
          But the mercy of the Lord
          Is from everlasting to everlasting
            Of them that fear him;
         And his righteousness
         Unto children's children,
            To such as keep his covenant,
     As remember his commandments to do them!"

Homer's face flashed delighted. "I, like you, 'keep his covenant,'" he
cried; and then without a lyre, for his was still in David's hands, he
sang, in clear tone:--

     "Thou bid'st me birds obey;--I scorn their flight,
     If on the left they rise, or on the right!
     Heed them who may, the will of Jove I own,
     Who mortals and immortals rules alone!"[5]

"That is more in David's key," said the young Philistine harper, seeing
that the poets had fallen to talk together again. "But how would it
sound in one of the hymns on one of our feast-days?"

     "Who mortals and immortals rules alone."

"How, indeed?" cried one of his young companions. "There would be more
sense in what the priests say and sing, if each were not quarrelling for
his own,--Dagon against Astarte, and Astarte against Dagon."

The old captain bent over, that the poets might not hear him, and
whispered: "There it is that the Hebrews have so much more heart than we
in such things. Miserable fellows though they are, so many of them, yet,
when I have gone through their whole land with the caravans, the chances
have been that any serious-minded man spoke of no God but this '_He_'
of David's."

"What is his name?"

"They do not know themselves, I believe."

"Well, as I said an hour ago, God's man or Dagon's man,--for those are
good names enough for me,--I care little; but I should like to sing as
that young fellow does."

"My boy," said the old man, "have not you heard him enough to see that
it is not _he_ that sings, near as much as this love of his for a Spirit
he does not name? It is that spirited heart of his that sings."

"_You_ sing like him? Find his life, boy; and perhaps it may sing for

"We should be more manly men, if he sang to us every night."

"Or if the other did," said an Ionian sailor.

"Yes," said the chief. "And yet, I think, if your countryman sang every
night to me, he would make me want the other. Whether David's singing
would send me to his, I do not feel sure. But how silly to compare them!
As well compare the temple in Accho with the roar of a whirlwind--"

"Or the point of my lance with the flight of an eagle. The men are in
two worlds."

"O, no! that is saying too much. You said that one could paint

"--Into which the other puts life. Yes, I did say so. We are fortunate
that we have them together."

"For this man sings of men quite as well as the other does; and to have
the other sing of God--"

"--Why, it completes the song. Between them they bring the two worlds

"He bows the heavens, and comes down," said the boy of the olive-harp,
trying to hum David's air.

"Let us ask them--"

And just then there rang along the valley the sound of a distant
conch-shell. The soldiers groaned, roused up, and each looked for his
own side-arms and his own skin.

But the poets talked on unheeding.

The old chief knocked down a stack of lances; but the crash did not
rouse them. He was obliged himself to interrupt their eager converse.

"I am sorry to break in; but the night-horn has sounded to rest, and the
guard will be round to inspect the posts. I am sorry to hurry you away,
sir," he said to David.

David thanked him courteously.

"Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest," said Homer, with a smile.

"We will all meet to-morrow. And may to-night's dreams be good omens!"

"If we dream at all," said Homer again:--

     "Without a sign his sword the brave man draws,
     And asks no omen but his country's cause."

They were all standing together, as he made this careless reply to the
captain; and one of the young men drew him aside, and whispered that
David was in arms against his country.

Homer was troubled that he had spoken as he did. But the young Jew
looked little as if he needed sympathy. He saw the doubt and regret
which hung over their kindly faces; told them not to fear for him;
singing, as he bade them good night, and with one of the Carmel-men
walked home to his own outpost:--

     "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion,
     The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the bear,
         He will deliver me."

And he smiled to think how his Carmelite companion would start, if he
knew when first he used those words.

So they parted, as men who should meet on the morrow.

But God disposes.

David had left to-morrow's dangers for to-morrow to care for. It seemed
to promise him that he must be in arms against Saul. But, unlike us in
our eagerness to anticipate our conflicts of duty, David _waited_.

And the Lord delivered him. While they were singing by the brookside,
the proud noblemen of the Philistine army had forced an interview with
their king; and, in true native Philistine arrogance, insisted that
"this Hebrew" and his men should be sent away.

With the light of morning the king sent for the minstrel, and
courteously dismissed him, because "the princes of the Philistines have
said, 'He shall not go up with us to the battle.'"

So David marched his men to Ziklag.

And David and Homer never met on earth again.

     NOTE.--This will be a proper place to print the following note,
     which I was obliged to write to a second cousin of Miss Dryasdust
     after she had read the MS. of the article above:--

     "DEAR MADAM:--I thank you for your kind suggestion, in returning my
     paper, that it involves a piece of impossible history. You inform
     me, that, 'according to the nomenclatured formulas and homophonic
     analogies of Professor Gouraud, of never-to-be-forgotten memory, "A
     NEEDLE is less useful for curing a DEAF HEAD, than for putting
     ear-rings into a _Miss's lily-ears_"; and that this shows that the
     second king of Judah, named David (or Deaf-head) began to reign in
     1055 B.C., and died 1040 B.C.'; and further, that, according to the
     same authority, '_Homer flourished_ when the Greeks were fond of
     his POETRY'; which, being interpreted, signifies that he flourished
     in 914 B.C., and, consequently, could have had no more to do with
     David than to plant ivy over his grave, in some of his voyages to

     "I thank you for the suggestion. I knew the unforgetting professor;
     and I do not doubt that he remembered David and Homer as his near
     friends. But, of course, to such a memory, a century or two might
     easily slip aside.

     "Now, did you look up Clement? And did you not forget the
     Arundelian Marbles? For, if you will take the long estimates, you
     will find that some folks think Homer lived as long ago as the year
     1150, and some that it was as 'short ago' as 850. And some set
     David as long ago as 1170, and some bring him down to a hundred and
     fifty years later. These are the long measures and the short
     measures. So the long and short of it is, that you can keep the two
     poets 320 years apart, while I have rather more than a century
     which I can select any night of, for a bivouac scene, in which to
     bring them together. Believe me, my dear Miss D., always yours, &c.

     "Confess that you forgot the Arundelian Marbles!"


[1] After Chapman.

[2] After Cowper and Pope. Long after!

[3] Iliad, vi.

[4] Iliad, vi.--POPE.

[5] Iliad, xii., after Sotheby.


     [I am tempted to include this little burlesque in this collection
     simply in memory of the Boston Miscellany, the magazine in which it
     was published, which won for itself a brilliant reputation in its
     short career. There was not a large staff of writers for the
     Miscellany, but many of the names then unknown have since won
     distinction. To quote them in the accidental order in which I find
     them in the table of contents, where they are arranged by the
     alphabetical order of the several papers, the Miscellany
     contributors were Edward Everett, George Lunt, Nathan Hale, Jr.,
     Nathaniel Hawthorne, N. P. Willis, W. W. Story, J. R. Lowell, C. N.
     Emerson, Alexander H. Everett, Sarah P. Hale, W. A. Jones,
     Cornelius Matthews, Mrs. Kirkland, J. W. Ingraham, H. T. Tuckerman,
     Evart A. Duyckinck, Francis A. Durivage, Mrs. J. Webb, Charles F.
     Powell, Charles W. Storey, Lucretia P. Hale, Charles F. Briggs,
     William E. Channing, Charles Lanman, G. H. Hastings, and Elizabeth
     B. Barrett, now Mrs. Browning, some of whose earliest poems were
     published in this magazine. These are all the contributors whose
     names appear, excepting the writers of a few verses. They furnished
     nine tenths of the contents of the magazine. The two Everetts,
     Lowell, William Story, and my brother, who was the editor, were the
     principal contributors. And I am tempted to say that I think they
     all put some of their best work upon this magazine.

     The misfortune of the Miscellany, I suppose, was that its
     publishers had no capital. They had to resort to the claptraps of
     fashion-plates and other engravings, in the hope of forcing an
     immediate sale upon persons who, caring for fashion-plates, did not
     care for the literary character of the enterprise. It gave a very
     happy escape-pipe, however, for the high spirits of some of us who
     had just left college, and, through my brother's kindness, I was
     sometimes permitted to contribute to the journal. In memory of
     those early days of authorship, I select "The South American
     Editor" to publish here. For the benefit of the New York Observer,
     I will state that the story is not true. And lest any should
     complain that it advocates elopements, I beg to observe, in the
     seriousness of mature life, that the proposed elopement did not
     succeed, and that the parties who proposed it are represented as
     having no guardians or keepers but themselves. The article was
     first published in 1842.]

It is now more than six years since I received the following letter from
an old classmate of mine, Harry Barry, who had been studying divinity,
and was then a settled minister. It was an answer to a communication I
had sent him the week before.

     "TOPSHAM, R. I., January 22, 1836.

     "To say the truth, my dear George, your letter startled me a
     little. To think that I, scarcely six months settled in the
     profession, should be admitted so far into the romance of it as to
     unite forever two young runaways like yourself and Miss Julia
     What's-her-name is at least curious. But, to give you your due, you
     have made a strong case of it, and as Miss ---- (what is her name, I
     have not yours at hand) is not under any real guardianship, I do
     not see but I am perfectly justified in complying with your rather
     odd request. You see I make a conscientious matter of it.

     "Write me word when it shall be, and I will be sure to be ready.
     Jane is of course in my counsels, and she will make your little
     wife feel as much at home as in her father's parlor. Trust us for

     "I met her last week--"

But the rest of the letter has nothing to do with the story.

The elopement alluded to in it (if the little transaction deserves so
high-sounding a name) was, in every sense of the words, strictly
necessary. Julia Wentworth had resided for years with her grandfather, a
pragmatic old gentleman, to whom from pure affection she had long
yielded an obedience which he would have had no right to extort, and
which he was sometimes disposed to abuse. He had declared in the most
ingenuous manner that she should never marry with his consent any man of
less fortune than her own would be; and on his consent rested the
prospect of her inheriting his property.

Julia and I, however, care little for money now, we cared still less
then; and her own little property and my own little salary made us
esteem ourselves entirely independent of the old gentleman and his will.

His intention respecting the poor girl's marriage was thundered in her
ears at least once a week, so that we both knew that I had no need to
make court to him; indeed, I had never seen him, always having met her
in walking, or in the evening at party, spectacle, concert, or lecture.
He had lately been more domineering than usual, and I had but little
difficulty in persuading the dear girl to let me write to Harry Barry,
to make the arrangement to which he assented in the letter which I have
copied above. The reasoning which I pressed upon her is obvious. We
loved each other,--the old gentleman could not help that; and as he
managed to make us very uncomfortable in Boston, in the existing state
of affairs, we naturally came to the conclusion that the sooner we
changed that state the better. Our excursion to Topsham would, we
supposed, prove a very disagreeable business to him; but we knew it
would result very agreeably for us, and so, though with a good deal of
maidenly compunction and granddaughterly compassion on Julia's part, we
outvoted him.

I have said that I had no fortune to enable me to come near the old
gentleman's _beau ideal_ of a grand-son-in-law. I was then living on my
salary as a South American editor. Does the reader know what that is?
The South American editor of a newspaper has the uncontrolled charge of
its South American news. Read any important commercial paper for a
month, and at the end of it tell me if you have any clear conception of
the condition of the various republics (!) of South America. If you
have, it is because that journal employs an individual for the sole
purpose of setting them in the clearest order before you, and that
individual is its South American editor. The general-news editor of the
paper will keep the run of all the details of all the histories of all
the rest of the world, but he hardly attempts this in addition. If he
does, he fails. It is therefore necessary, from the most cogent reasons,
that any American news office which has a strong regard for the
consistency or truth of its South American intelligence shall employ
some person competent to take the charge which I held in the
establishment of the Boston Daily Argus at the time of which I am
speaking. Before that enterprising paper was sold, I was its "South
American man"; this being my only employment, excepting that by a
special agreement, in consideration of an addition to my salary, I was
engaged to attend to the news from St. Domingo, Guatemala, and

Monday afternoon, just a fortnight after I received Harry Barry's
letter, in taking my afternoon walk round the Common, I happened to meet
Julia. I always walked in the same direction when I was alone. Julia
always preferred to go the other way; it was the only thing in which we
differed. When we were together I always went her way of course, and
liked it best.

I had told her, long before, all about Harry's letter, and the dear
girl in this walk, after a little blushing and sighing, and half
faltering and half hesitating and feeling uncertain, yielded to my last
and warmest persuasions, and agreed to go to Mrs. Pollexfen's ball that
evening, ready to leave it with me in my buggy sleigh, for a three
hours' ride to Topsham, where we both knew Harry would be waiting for
us. I do not know how she managed to get through tea that evening with
her lion of a grandfather, for she could not then cover her tearful eyes
with a veil as she did through the last half of our walk together. I
know that I got through my tea and such like ordinary affairs by
skipping them. I made all my arrangements, bade Gage and Streeter be
ready with the sleigh at my lodgings (fortunately only two doors from
Mrs. Pollexfen's) at half-past nine o'clock, and was the highest
spirited of men when, on returning to those lodgings myself at eight
o'clock, I found the following missives from the Argus office, which had
been accumulating through the afternoon.

     No. 1.

     "4 o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:--The southern mail, just in, brings Buenos Ayres papers
     six days later, by the Medora, at Baltimore.

     "In haste, J. C."

(Mr. C. was the gentleman who opened the newspapers, and arranged the
deaths and marriages; he always kindly sent for me when I was out of the

     No. 2.

     "5 o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:-- The U. S. ship Preble is in at Portsmouth; latest
     from Valparaiso. The mail is not sorted.

     "Yours, J. D."

(Mr. D. arranged the ship news for the Argus.)

     No. 3.

     "6 o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:--I boarded, this morning, off Cape Cod, the Blunderhead,
     from Carthagena, and have a week's later papers.

     "Truly yours, J. E."

(Mr. E. was the enterprising commodore of our news-boats.)

     No. 4.

     "6¼ o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:--I have just opened accidentally the enclosed letter,
     from our correspondent at Panama. You will see that it bears a New
     Orleans post-mark. I hope it may prove exclusive.

     "Yours, J. F."

(Mr. F. was general editor of the Argus.)

     No. 5.

     "6½ o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:--A seaman, who appears to be an intelligent man, has
     arrived this morning at New Bedford, and says he has later news of
     the rebellion in Ecuador than any published. The Rosina (his
     vessel) brought no papers. I bade him call at your room at eight
     o'clock, which he promised to do.

     "Truly yours, J. G."

(Mr. G. was clerk in the Argus counting-room.)

     No. 6.

     "7½ o'clock, P. M.

     "DEAR SIR:--The papers by the Ville de Lyon, from Havre, which I
     have just received, mention the reported escape of M. Bonpland from
     Paraguay, the presumed death of Dr. Francia, the probable overthrow
     of the government, the possible establishment of a republic, and a
     great deal more than I understand in the least.

     "These papers had not come to hand when I wrote you this afternoon.
     I have left them on your desk at the office.

     "In haste,      J. F."

I was taken all aback by this mass of odd-looking little notes. I had
spent the afternoon in drilling Singleton, the kindest of friends, as to
what he should do in any probable contingency of news of the next
forty-eight hours, for I did not intend to be absent on a wedding tour
even longer than that time; but I felt that Singleton was entirely
unequal to such a storm of intelligence as this; and, as I hurried down
to the office, my chief sensation was that of gratitude that the cloud
had broken before I was out of the way; for I knew I could do a great
deal in an hour, and I had faith that I might slur over my digest as
quickly as possible, and be at Mrs. Pollexfen's within the time

I rushed into the office in that state of zeal in which a man may do
anything in almost no time. But first, I had to go into the
conversation-room, and get the oral news from my sailor; then Mr. H.,
from one of the little news-boats, came to me in high glee, with some
Venezuela Gazettes, which he had just extorted from a skipper, who, with
great plausibility, told him that he knew his vessel had brought no
news, for she never had before. (N.B. In this instance she was the only
vessel to sail, after a three months' blockade.) And then I had handed
to me by Mr. J., one of the commercial gentlemen, a private letter from
Rio Janeiro, which had been lent him. After these delays, with full
materials, I sprang to work--read, read, read; wonder, wonder, wonder;
guess, guess, guess; scratch, scratch, scratch; and scribble, scribble,
scribble, make the only transcript I can give of the operations which
followed. At first, several of the other gentlemen in the room sat
around me; but soon Mr. C., having settled the deaths and marriages, and
the police and municipal reporters immediately after him, screwed out
their lamps and went home; then the editor himself, then the legislative
reporters, then the commercial editors, then the ship-news conductor,
and left me alone.

I envied them that they got through so much earlier than usual, but
scratched on, only interrupted by the compositors coming in for the
pages of my copy as I finished them; and finally, having made my last
translation from the last _Boletin Extraordinario_, sprang up, shouting,
"Now for Mrs. P.'s," and looked at my watch. It was half past one![7] I
thought of course it had stopped,--no; and my last manuscript page was
numbered twenty-eight! Had I been writing there five hours? Yes!

Reader, when you are an editor, with a continent's explosions to
describe, you will understand how one may be unconscious of the passage
of time.

I walked home, sad at heart. There was no light in all Mr. Wentworth's
house; there was none in any of Mrs. Pollexfen's windows;[8] and the
last carriage of her last relation had left her door. I stumbled up
stairs in the dark, and threw myself on my bed. What should I say, what
could I say, to Julia? Thus pondering, I fell asleep.

If I were writing a novel, I should say that, at a late hour the next
day, I listlessly drew aside the azure curtains of my couch, and
languidly rang a silver bell which stood on my dressing-table, and
received from a page dressed in an Oriental costume the notes and
letters which had been left for me since morning, and the newspapers of
the day.

I am not writing a novel.

The next morning, about ten o'clock, I arose and went down to
breakfast. As I sat at the littered table which every one else had left,
dreading to attack my cold coffee and toast, I caught sight of the
morning papers, and received some little consolation from them. There
was the Argus with its three columns and a half of "Important from South
America," while none of the other papers had a square of any
intelligibility excepting what they had copied from the Argus the day
before. I felt a grim smile creeping over my face as I observed this
signal triumph of our paper, and ventured to take a sip of the black
broth as I glanced down my own article to see if there were any glaring
misprints in it. Before I took the second sip, however, a loud peal at
the door-bell announced a stranger, and, immediately after, a note was
brought in for me which I knew was in Julia's handwriting.

     "DEAR GEORGE:--Don't be angry; it was not my fault, really it was
     not. Grandfather came home just as I was leaving last night, and
     was so angry, and said I should not go to the party, and I had to
     sit with him all the evening. Do write to me or let me see you; do

What a load that note took off my mind! And yet, what must the poor girl
have suffered! Could the old man suspect? Singleton was true to me as
steel, I knew. He could not have whispered,--nor Barry; but that Jane,
Barry's wife. O woman! woman! what newsmongers they are! Here were Julia
and I, made miserable for life, perhaps, merely that Jane Barry might
have a good story to tell. What right had Barry to a wife? Not four
years out of college, and hardly settled in his parish. To think that I
had been fool enough to trust even him with the particulars of my
all-important secret! But here I was again interrupted, coffee-cup still
full, toast still untasted, by another missive.

     "Tuesday morning.

     "SIR:--I wish to see you this morning. Will you call upon me, or
     appoint a time and place where I may meet you?

     "Yours,      JEDEDIAH WENTWORTH."

     "Send word by the bearer."

"Tell Mr. Wentworth I will call at his house at eleven o'clock."

The cat was certainly out; Mrs. Barry had told, or some one else had,
who I did not know and hardly cared. The scene was to come now, and I
was almost glad of it. Poor Julia! what a time she must have had with
the old bear!

At eleven o'clock I was ushered into Mr. Wentworth's sitting-room. Julia
was there, but before I had even spoken to her the old gentleman came
bustling across the room, with his "Mr. Hackmatack, I suppose"; and
then followed a formal introduction between me and her, which both of us
bore with the most praiseworthy fortitude and composure, neither
evincing, even by a glance, that we had ever seen or heard of each other
before. Here was another weight off my mind and Julia's. I had wronged
poor Mrs. Barry. The secret was not out--what could he want? It very
soon appeared.

After a minute's discussion of the weather, the snow, and the
thermometer, the old gentleman drew up his chair to mine, with "I think,
sir, you are connected with the Argus office?"

"Yes, sir; I am its South American editor."

"Yes!" roared the old man, in a sudden rage. "Sir, I wish South America
was sunk in the depths of the sea!"

"I am sure I do, sir," replied I, glancing at Julia, who did not,
however, understand me. I had not fully passed out of my last night's

My sympathizing zeal soothed the old gentleman a little, and he said
more coolly, in an undertone: "Well, sir, you are well informed, no
doubt; tell me, in strict secrecy, sir, between you and me, do you--do
you place full credit--entire confidence in the intelligence in this
morning's paper?"

"Excuse me, sir; what paper do you allude to? Ah! the Argus, I see.
Certainly, sir; I have not the least doubt that it is perfectly

"No doubt, sir! Do you mean to insult me?--Julia, I told you so; he
says there is no doubt it is true. Tell me again there is some mistake,
will you?" The poor girl had been trying to soothe him with the constant
remark of uninformed people, that the newspapers are always in the
wrong. He turned from her, and rose from his chair in a positive rage.
She was half crying. I never saw her more distressed. What did all this
mean? Were one, two, or all of us crazy?

It soon appeared. After pacing the length of the room once or twice,
Wentworth came up to me again, and, attempting to appear cool, said
between his closed lips: "Do you say you have no doubt that Rio Janeiro
is strictly blockaded?"

"Not the slightest in the world," said I, trying to seem unconcerned.

"Not the slightest, sir? What are you so impudent and cool about it for?
Do you think you are talking of the opening of a rose-bud or the death
of a mosquito? Have you no sympathy with the sufferings of a
fellow-creature? Why, sir!" and the old man's teeth chattered as he
spoke, "I have five cargoes of flour on their way to Rio, and their
captains will--Damn it, sir, I shall lose the whole venture."

The secret was out. The old fool had been sending flour to Rio, knowing
as little of the state of affairs there as a child.

"And do you really mean, sir," continued the old man, "that there is an
embargo in force in Monte Video?"

"Certainly, sir; but I'm very sorry for it."

"Sorry for it! of course you are;--and that all foreigners are sent out
of Buenos Ayres?"

"Undoubtedly, sir. I wish--"

"Who does not wish so? Why, sir, my corresponding friends there are half
across the sea by this time. I wish Rosas was in ---- and that the
Indians have risen near Maranham?"

"Undoubtedly, sir."

"Undoubtedly! I tell you, sir, I have two vessels waiting for cargoes of
India-rubbers there, under a blunder-headed captain, who will do nothing
he has not been bidden to,--obey his orders if he breaks his owners. You
smile, sir? Why, I should have made thirty thousand dollars this winter,
sir, by my India-rubbers, if we had not had this devilish mild, open
weather, you and Miss Julia there have been praising so. But next winter
must be a severe one, and with those India-rubbers I should have
made--But now those Indians,--pshaw! And a revolution in Chili?"

"Yes, sir."

"No trade there! And in Venezuela?"

"Yes, sir."

"Yes, sir; yes, sir; yes, sir; yes, sir! Sir, I am ruined. Say 'Yes,
sir,' to that. I have thirteen vessels at this moment in the South
American trade, sir; say 'Yes, sir,' to that. Half of them will be
taken by the piratical scoundrels; say 'Yes, sir,' to that. Their
insurance will not cover them; say 'Yes, sir,' to that. The other half
will forfeit their cargoes, or sell them for next to nothing; say 'Yes,
sir,' to that. I tell you I am a ruined man, and I wish the South
America, and your daily Argus, and you--"

Here the old gentleman's old-school breeding got the better of his rage,
and he sank down in his arm-chair, and, bursting into tears, said:
"Excuse me, sir,--excuse me, sir,--I am too warm."

We all sat for a few moments in silence, but then I took my share of the
conversation. I wish you could have seen the old man's face light up
little by little, as I showed him that to a person who understood the
politics and condition of the mercurial country with which he had
ignorantly attempted to trade, his condition was not near so bad as he
thought it; that though one port was blockaded, another was opened; that
though one revolution thwarted him, a few weeks would show another which
would favor him; that the goods which, as he saw, would be worthless at
the port to which he had sent them, would be valuable elsewhere; that
the vessels which would fail in securing the cargoes he had ordered
could secure others; that the very revolutions and wars which troubled
him would require in some instances large government purchases, perhaps
large contracts for freight, possibly even for passage,--his vessels
might be used for transports; that the very excitement of some
districts might be made to turn to our advantage; that, in short, there
were a thousand chances open to him which skilful agents could readily
improve. I reminded him that a quick run in a clipper schooner could
carry directions to half these skippers of his, to whom, with an
infatuation which I could not and cannot conceive, he had left no
discretion, and who indeed were to be pardoned if they could use none,
seeing the tumult as they did with only half an eye. I talked to him for
half an hour, and went into details to show that my plans were not
impracticable. The old gentleman grew brighter and brighter, and Julia,
as I saw, whenever I stole a glance across the room, felt happier and
happier. The poor girl had had a hard time since he had first heard this
news whispered the evening before.

His difficulties were not over, however; for when I talked to him of the
necessity of sending out one or two skilful agents immediately to take
the personal superintendence of his complicated affairs, the old man
sighed, and said he had no skilful agents to send.

With his customary suspicion, he had no partners, and had never
intrusted his clerks with any general insight into his business.
Besides, he considered them all, like his captains, blunder-headed to
the last degree. I believe it was an idea of Julia's, communicated to me
in an eager, entreating glance, which induced me to propose myself as
one of these confidential agents, and to be responsible for the other.
I thought, as I spoke, of Singleton, to whom I knew I could explain my
plans in full, and whose mercantile experience would make him a valuable
coadjutor. The old gentleman accepted my offer eagerly. I told him that
twenty-four hours were all I wanted to prepare myself. He immediately
took measures for the charter of two little clipper schooners which lay
in port then; and before two days were past, Singleton and I were on our
voyage to South America. Imagine, if you can, how these two days were
spent. Then, as now, I could prepare for any journey in twenty minutes,
and of course I had no little time at my disposal for last words with
Mr. and--Miss Wentworth. How I won on the old gentleman's heart in those
two days! How he praised me to Julia, and then, in as natural affection,
how he praised her to me! And how Julia and I smiled through our tears,
when, in the last good-bys, he said he was too old to write or read any
but business letters, and charged me and her to keep up a close
correspondence, which on one side should tell all that I saw and did,
and on the other hand remind me of all at home.

I have neither time nor room to give the details of that South American
expedition. I have no right to. There were revolutions accomplished in
those days without any object in the world's eyes; and, even in mine,
only serving to sell certain cargoes of long cloths and flour. The
details of those outbreaks now told would make some patriotic presidents
tremble in their seats; and I have no right to betray confidence at
whatever rate I purchased it. Usually, indeed, my feats and Singleton's
were only obtaining the best information and communicating the most
speedy instructions to Mr. Wentworth's vessels, which were made to move
from port to port with a rapidity and intricacy of movement which none
besides us two understood in the least. It was in that expedition that I
travelled almost alone across the continent. I was, I think, the first
white man who ever passed through the mountain path of Xamaulipas, now
so famous in all the Chilian picturesque annuals. I was carrying
directions for some vessels which had gone round the Cape; and what a
time Burrows and Wheatland and I had a week after, when we rode into the
public square of Valparaiso shouting, "Muera la Constitucion,--Viva
Libertad!" by our own unassisted lungs actually raising a rebellion,
and, which was of more importance, a prohibition on foreign flour, while
Bahamarra and his army were within a hundred miles of us. How those
vessels came up the harbor, and how we unloaded them, knowing that at
best our revolution could only last five days! But as I said, I must be
careful, or I shall be telling other people's secrets.

The result of that expedition was that those thirteen vessels all made
good outward voyages, and all but one or two eventually made profitable
home voyages. When I returned home, the old gentleman received me with
open arms. I had rescued, as he said, a large share of that fortune
which he valued so highly. To say the truth, I felt and feel that he had
planned his voyages so blindly, that, without some wiser head than his,
they would never have resulted in anything. They were his last, as they
were almost his first, South American ventures. He returned to his old
course of more methodical trading for the few remaining years of his
life. They were, thank Heaven, the only taste of mercantile business
which I ever had. Living as I did, in the very sunshine of Mr.
Wentworth's favor, I went through the amusing farce of paying my
addresses to Julia in approved form, and in due time received the old
gentleman's cordial assent to our union, and his blessing upon it. In
six months after my return, we were married; the old man as happy as a
king. He would have preferred a little that the ceremony should have
been performed by Mr. B----, his friend and pastor, but readily assented
to my wishes to call upon a dear and early friend of my own.

Harry Barry came from Topsham and performed the ceremony, "assisted by
Rev. Mr. B."

G. H.

ARGUS COTTAGE, April 1, 1842.


[6] I do not know that this explanation is at all clear. Let
me, as the mathematicians say, give an instance which will illustrate
the importance of this profession. It is now a few months since I
received the following note from a distinguished member of the

     "WASHINGTON, January --, 1842.

     "DEAR SIR:--We are in a little trouble about a little thing. There
     are now in this city no less than three gentlemen bearing
     credentials to government as Chargés from the Republic of Oronoco.
     They are, of course, accredited from three several home
     governments. The President signified, when the first arrived, that
     he would receive the Chargé from that government, on the 2d
     proximo, but none of us know who the right Chargé is. The
     newspapers tell nothing satisfactory about it. I suppose you know:
     can you write me word before the 2d?

     "The gentlemen are: Dr. Estremadura, accredited from the
     'Constitutional Government,'--his credentials are dated the 2d of
     November; Don Paulo Vibeira, of the 'Friends of the People,' 5th of
     November; M. Antonio de Vesga, 'Constitution of 1823,' October
     27th. They attach great importance to our decision, each having
     scrip to sell. In haste, truly yours."

To this letter I returned the following reply:--

     "SIR:--Our latest dates from Oronoco are to the 13th ultimo. The
     'Constitution of '23' was then in full power. If, however, the
     policy of our government be to recognize the gentlemen whose
     principals shall be in office on the 2d proximo, it is a very
     different affair.

     "You may not be acquainted with the formulas for ascertaining the
     duration of any given modern revolution. I now use the following,
     which I find almost exactly correct.

     "Multiply the age of the President by the number of statute miles
     from the equator, divide by the number of pages in the given
     Constitution; the result will be the length of the outbreak, in
     days. This formula includes, as you will see, an allowance for the
     heat of the climate, the zeal of the leader, and the verbosity of
     the theorists. The Constitution of 1823 was reproclaimed on the
     25th of October last. If you will give the above formula into the
     hands of any of your clerks, the calculation from it will show that
     that government will go out of power on the 1st of February, at 25
     minutes after 1, P. M. Your choice, on the 2d, must be therefore
     between Vibeira and Estremadura; here you will have no difficulty.
     Bobádil (Vibeira's principal) was on the 13th ultimo confined under
     sentence of death, at such a distance from the capital that he
     cannot possibly escape and get into power before the 2d of
     February. The 'Friends of the People,' in Oronoco, have always
     moved slowly; they never got up an insurrection in less than
     nineteen days' canvassing; that was in 1839. Generally they are
     even longer. Of course, Estremadura will be your man.

     "Believe me, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


The Cabinet had the good sense to act on my advice. My information
proved nearly correct, the only error being one of seven minutes in the
downfall of the 1823 Constitution. This arose from my making no
allowance for difference of longitude between Piaut, where their
government was established, and Opee, where it was crushed. The
difference of time between those places is six minutes and fifty-three
seconds, as the reader may see on a globe.

Estremadura was, of course, presented to the President, and sold his

[7] Newspaper men of 1868 will be amused to think that half
past one was late in 1836. At that time the "Great Western Mail" was due
in Boston at 6 P. M., and there was no later news except "local," or an
occasional horse express.

[8] The reader will observe the Arcadian habits of 1836, when
the German was yet unknown.



[This essay was published in Sartain's Magazine, in 1852, as "A
Thumb-nail Sketch," having received one of ten premiums which Mr.
Sartain offered to encourage young writers. It had been written a few
years earlier, some time before the studies of St. Paul's life by
Conybeare and Howson, now so well known, were made public. The
chronology of my essay does not precisely agree with that of these
distinguished scholars. But I make no attempt now either to recast the
essay or to discuss the delicate and complicated questions which belong
to the chronology of Paul's life or to that of Nero; for there is no
question with regard to the leading facts. At the end of twenty years I
may again express the wish that some master competent to the greatest
themes might take the trial of Paul as the subject of a picture.]

In a Roman audience-chamber, the old civilization and the new
civilization brought out, at the very birth of the new, their chosen

In that little scene, as in one of Rembrandt's thumbnail studies for a
great picture, the lights and shades are as distinct as they will ever
be in the largest scene of history. The champions were perfect
representatives of the parties. And any man, with the soul of a man,
looking on, could have prophesied the issue of the great battle from the
issue of that contest.

The old civilization of the Roman Empire, just at that time, had reached
a point which, in all those outward forms which strike the eye, would
regard our times as mean indeed. It had palaces of marble, where even
modern kings would build of brick with a marble front to catch the eye;
it counted its armies by thousands, where we count ours by hundreds; it
surmounted long colonnades with its exquisite statues, for which modern
labor digs deep in ruined cities, because it cannot equal them from its
own genius; it had roads, which are almost eternal, and which, for their
purposes, show a luxury of wealth and labor that our boasted locomotion
cannot rival. These are its works of a larger scale. And if you enter
the palaces, you find pictures of matchless worth, rich dresses which
modern looms cannot rival, and sumptuous furniture at which modern times
can only wonder. The outside of the ancient civilization is unequalled
by the outside of ours, and for centuries will be unequalled by it. We
have not surpassed it there. And we see how it attained this
distinction, such as it was. It came by the constant concentration of
power. Power in few hands is the secret of its display and glory. And
thus that form of civilization attained its very climax in the moment of
the greatest unity of the Roman Empire. When the Empire nestled into
rest; after the convulsions in which it was born; when a generation had
passed away of those who had been Roman citizens; when a generation
arose, which, excepting one man, the emperor, was a nation of Roman
subjects,--then the Empire was at its height of power, its
centralization was complete, the system of its civilization was at the
zenith of its success.

At that moment it was that there dawned at Rome the first gray
morning-light of the new civilization.

At that moment it was that that short scene, in that one chamber,
contrasted the two as clearly as they can be contrasted even in long

There is one man, the emperor, who is a precise type, an exact
representative, of the old. That man is brought face to face with
another who is a precise type, an exact representative, of the new.

Only look at them as they stand there! The man who best illustrates the
old civilization owes to it the most careful nurture. From his childhood
he has been its petted darling. Its principal is concentration under one
head. He is that head. When he is a child, men know he will be emperor
of the world. The wise men of the world teach him; the poets of the
world flatter him; the princes of the world bow to him. He is trained in
all elegant accomplishments; he is led forward through a graceful,
luxurious society. His bearing is that of an emperor; his face is the
face of fine physical beauty. Imagine for yourself the sensual
countenance of a young Bacchus, beautiful as Milton's devils; imagine
him clad in splendor before which even English luxury is mean; arrayed
in jewels, to which even Eastern pomp is tinsel; imagine an expression
of tired hate, of low, brutal lust, hanging on those exquisite
licentious features, and you have before you the type of Roman
civilization. It is the boy just budding into manhood, whom later times
will name as the lowest embodiment of meanness and cruelty! You are
looking upon Nero!

Not only is this man an exact type of the ancient civilization, its
central power, its outside beauty, but the precise time of this sketch
of ours is the exact climax of the _moral_ results of the ancient
civilization. We are to look at Nero just when he has returned to Rome
from a Southern journey.[9] That journey had one object, which
succeeded. To his after-life it gives one memory, which never dies. He
has travelled to his beautiful country palace, that he might kill his

We can picture to ourselves Agrippina, by knowing that she was Nero's
mother, and our picture will not fail in one feature. She has all the
beauty of sense, all the attraction of passion. Indeed, she is the
Empress of Rome, because she is queen of beauty--and of lust. She is
most beautiful among the beautiful of Rome; but what is that beauty of
feature in a state of whose matrons not one is virtuous, of whose
daughters not one is chaste? It is the beauty of sense alone, fit
adornment of that external grandeur, of that old society.

In the infancy of her son, this beautiful Agrippina consulted a troop of
fortune-tellers as to his fate; and they told her that he would live to
be Emperor of Rome, and to kill his mother. With all the ecstasy of a
mother's pride fused so strangely with all the excess of an ambitious
woman's love of power, she cried in answer, "He may kill me, if only he
rules Rome!"[10]

She spoke her own fate in these words.

Here is the account of it by Tacitus. Nero had made all the
preparations; had arranged a barge, that of a sudden its deck might fall
heavily upon those in the cabin, and crush them in an instant. He meant
thus to give to the murder which he planned the aspect of an accident.
To this fatal vessel he led Agrippina. He talked with her affectionately
and gravely on the way; "and when they parted at the lakeside, with his
old boyish familiarity he pressed her closely to his heart, either to
conceal his purpose, or because the last sight of a mother, on the eve
of death, touched even his cruel nature, and then bade her farewell."

Just at the point upon the lake where he had directed, as the Empress
sat in her cabin talking with her attendants, the treacherous deck was
let fall upon them all. But the plot failed. She saw dead at her feet
one of her favorites, crushed by the sudden blow. But she had escaped
it. She saw that death awaited them all upon the vessel. The men around
sprang forward, ready to do their master's bidding in a less clumsy and
more certain way. But the Empress, with one of her attendants, sprang
from the treacherous vessel into the less treacherous waves. And there,
this faithful friend of hers, with a woman's wit and a woman's devotion,
drew on her own head the blows and stabs of the murderers above, by
crying, as if in drowning, "Save me, I am Nero's mother!" Uttering those
words of self-devotion, she was killed by the murderers above, while the
Empress, in safer silence, buoyed up by fragments of the wreck, floated
to the shore.

Nero had failed thus in secret crime, and yet he knew that he could not
stop here. And the next day after his mother's deliverance, he sent a
soldier to her palace, with a guard; and there, where she was deserted
even by her last attendant, without pretence of secrecy, they put to
death the daughter and the mother of a Cæsar. And Nero only waits to
look with a laugh upon the beauty of the corpse, before he returns to
resume his government at Rome.

That moment was the culminating moment of the ancient civilization. It
is complete in its centralizing power; it is complete in its external
beauty; it is complete in its crime. Beautiful as Eden to the eye, with
luxury, with comfort, with easy indolence to all; but dust and ashes
beneath the surface! It is corrupted at the head! It is corrupted at
the heart! There is nothing firm!

This is the moment which I take for our little picture. At this very
moment there is announced the first germ of the new civilization. In the
very midst of this falsehood, there sounds one voice of truth; in the
very arms of this giant, there plays the baby boy who is to cleave him
to the ground. This Nero slowly returns to the city. He meets the
congratulations of a senate, which thank him and the gods that he has
murdered his own mother. With the agony of an undying conscience
torturing him, he strives to avert care by amusement. He hopes to turn
the mob from despising him by the grandeur of their public
entertainments. He enlarges for them the circus. He calls unheard-of
beasts to be baited and killed for their enjoyment. The finest actors
rant, the sweetest musicians sing, that Nero may forget his mother, and
that his people may forget him.

At that period, the statesmen who direct the machinery of affairs inform
him that his personal attention is required one morning for a state
trial, to be argued before the Emperor in person. Must the Emperor be
there? May he not waste the hours in the blandishments of lying
courtiers, or the honeyed falsehoods of a mistress? If he chooses thus
to postpone the audience, be it so; Seneca, Burrhus, and his other
counsellors will obey. But the time will come when the worn-out boy will
be pleased some morning with the almost forgotten majesty of state. The
time comes one day. Worn out by the dissipation of the week, fretted by
some blunder of his flatterers, he sends for his wiser counsellers, and
bids them lead him to the audience-chamber, where he will attend to
these cases which need an Emperor's decision. It is at that moment that
we are to look upon him.

He sits there, upon that unequalled throne, his face sickly pale with
boyish debauchery; his young forehead worn with the premature sensual
wrinkles of lust; and his eyes bloodshot with last night's intemperance.
He sits there, the Emperor-boy, vainly trying to excite himself, and
forget her, in the blazonry of that pomp, and bids them call in the

A soldier enters, at whose side the prisoner has been chained for years.
This soldier is a tried veteran of the Prætorian cohorts. He was
selected, that from him this criminal could not escape; and for that
purpose they have been inseparably bound. But, as he leads that other
through the hall, he looks at him with a regard and earnestness which
say he is no criminal to him. Long since, the criminal has been the
guardian of his keeper. Long since, the keeper has cared for the
prisoner with all the ardor of a new-found son's affection.

They lead that gray-haired captive forward, and with his eagle eye he
glances keenly round the hall. That flashing eye has ere now bade
monarchs quail; and those thin lips have uttered words which shall make
the world ring till the last moment of the world shall come. The stately
Eastern captive moves unawed through the assembly, till he makes a
subject's salutation to the Emperor-judge who is to hear him. And when,
then, the gray-haired sage kneels before the sensual boy, you see the
prophet of the new civilization kneel before the monarch of the old! You
see Paul make a subject's formal reverence to Nero![11]

Let me do justice to the court which is to try him. In that
judgment-hall there are not only the pomp of Rome, and its crime; we
have also the best of its wisdom. By the dissolute boy, Nero, there
stands the prime minister Seneca, the chief of the philosophers of his
time; "Seneca the saint," cry the Christians of the next century. We
will own him to be Seneca the wise, Seneca almost the good. To this sage
had been given the education of the monster who was to rule the world.
This sage had introduced him into power, had restrained his madness when
he could, and with his colleague had conducted the general
administration of the Empire with the greatest honor, while the boy was
wearing out his life in debauchery in the palace. Seneca dared say more
to Nero, to venture more with him, than did any other man. For the young
tiger was afraid of his old master long after he had tasted blood. Yet
Seneca's system was a cowardly system. It was the best of Roman morality
and Greek philosophy, and still it was mean. His daring was the bravest
of the men of the old civilization. He is the type of their excellences,
as is Nero the model of their power and their adornments. And yet all
that Seneca's daring could venture was to seduce the baby-tyrant into
the least injurious of tyrannies. From the plunder of a province he
would divert him by the carnage of the circus. From the murder of a
senator he could lure him by some new lust at home. From the ruin of the
Empire, he could seduce him by diverting him with the ruin of a noble
family. And Seneca did this with the best of motives. He said he used
all the power in his hands, and he thought he did. He was one of those
men of whom all times have their share. The bravest of his time, he
satisfied himself with alluring the beardless Emperor by petty crime
from public wrong; he could flatter him to the expedient. He dared not
order him to the right.

But Seneca knew what was right. Seneca also had a well-trained
conscience, which told him of right and of wrong. Seneca's brother,
Gallio, had saved Paul's life when a Jewish mob would have dragged him
to pieces in Corinth; and the legend is that Seneca and Paul had
corresponded with each other before they stood together in Nero's
presence, the one as counsellor, the other as the criminal.[12] When
Paul arose from that formal salutation, when the apostle of the new
civilization spoke to the tottering monarch of the old, if there had
been one man in that assemblage, could he have failed to see that that
was a turning-point in the world's history? Before him in that little
hall, in that little hour, was passing the scene which for centuries
would be acted out upon the larger stage.

Faith on the one side, before expediency and cruelty on the other! Paul
before Seneca and Nero! He was ready to address Nero, with the eloquence
and vehemence which for years had been demanding utterance.

He stood at length before the baby Cæsar, to whose tribunal he had
appealed from the provincial court of a doubting Festus and a trembling

And who shall ask what words the vigorous Christian spoke to the dastard
boy! Who that knows the eloquence which rung out on the ears of
astonished Stoics at Athens, which commanded the incense and the
hecatombs of wandering peasants in Asia, which stilled the gabbling
clamor of a wild mob at Jerusalem,--who will doubt the tone in which
Paul spoke to Nero! The boy quailed for the moment before the man! The
gilded dotard shrunk back from the home truths of the new, young,
vigorous faith: the ruler of a hundred legions was nothing before the
God-commissioned prisoner.

No; though at this audience all men forsook Paul, as he tells us; though
not one of the timid converts were there, but the soldier chained at
his side,--still he triumphed over Nero and Nero's minister.

From that audience-hall those three men retire. The boy, grown old in
lust, goes thence to be an hour alone, to ponder for an hour on this
God, this resurrection, and this truth, of which the Jew, in such
uncourtly phrase, has harangued him. To be alone, until the spectre of a
dying mother rises again to haunt him, to persecute him and drive him
forth to his followers and feasters, where he will try to forget Paul
and the Saviour and God, where he would be glad to banish them forever.
He does not banish them forever! Henceforward, whenever that spectre of
a mother comes before him, it must re-echo the words of God and eternity
which Paul has spoken. Whenever the chained and bleeding captive of the
arena bends suppliant before him, there must return the memory of the
only captive who was never suppliant before him, and his words of sturdy

And Seneca? Seneca goes home with the mortified feelings of a great man
who has detected his own meanness.

We all know the feeling; for all God's children might be great, and it
is with miserable mortification that we detect ourselves in one or
another pettiness. Seneca goes home to say: "This wild _Easterner_ has
rebuked the Emperor as I have so often wanted to rebuke him. He stood
there, as I have wanted to stand, a man before a brute.

"He said what I have thought, and have been afraid to say. Downright,
straightforward, he told the Emperor truths as to Rome, as to man, and
as to his vices, which I have longed to tell him. He has done what I am
afraid to do. He has dared this, which I have dallied with, and left
undone. _What is the mystery of his power?_"

Seneca did not know. Nero did not know. The "Eastern mystery" was in
presence before them, and they knew it not!

What was the mystery of Paul's power?

Paul leaves them with the triumph of a man who has accomplished the hope
of long years. Those solemn words of his, "After that, I _must_ also see
Rome," expressed the longing of years, whose object now, in part, at
least, is gratified. He must see Rome!

It is God's mission to him that he see Rome and its Emperor. Paul has
seen with the spirit's eye what we have seen since in history,--that he
is to be the living link by which the electric fire of life should pass
first from religious Asia to quicken this dead, brutish Europe. He knows
that he is God's messenger to bear this mystery of life eternal from the
one land to the other, and to unfold it there. And to-day has made real,
in fact, this his inward confidence. To-day has put the seal of fact on
that vision of his, years since, when he first left his Asiatic home. A
prisoner in chains, still he has to-day seen the accomplishment of the
vows, hopes, and resolutions of that field of Troy, most truly famous
from the night he spent there. There was another of these hours when God
brings into one spot the acts which shall be the _argument_ of centuries
of history. Paul had come down there in his long Asiatic
journeys,--Eastern in his lineage, Eastern in his temperament, Eastern
in his outward life, and Eastern in his faith,--to that narrow
Hellespont, which for long ages has separated East from West, tore madly
up the chains which would unite them, overwhelmed even love when it
sought to intermarry them, and left their cliffs frowning eternal hate
from shore to shore. Paul stood upon the Asian shore and looked across
upon the Western. There were Macedonia and the hills of Greece, here
Troas and the ruins of Ilium. The names speak war. The blue Hellespont
has no voice but separation, except to Paul. But to Paul, sleeping, it
might be, on the tomb of Achilles, that night the "man of Macedonia"
appears, and bids him come over to avenge Asia, to pay back the debt of

"Come over _and help us_." Give us life, for we gave you death. Give us
help for we gave you ruin. Paul was not disobedient to the heavenly
vision. The Christian Alexander, he crosses to Macedon with the words of
peace instead of war,--the Christian shepherd of the people, he carries
to Greece, from Troy, the tidings of salvation instead of carnage, of
charity instead of license. And he knows that to Europe it is the
beginning of her new civilization, it is the dawn of her new warfare, of
her new poetry, of her reign of heroes who are immortal.

That _faith_ of his, now years old, has this day received its crowning
victory. This day, when he has faced Nero and Seneca together, may well
stand in his mind as undoing centuries of bloodshed and of license.

And in this effort, and in that spiritual strength which had nerved him
in planning it and carrying it through, was the "Asian mystery." Ask
what was the secret of Paul's power as he bearded the baby Emperor, and
abashed the baby Philosopher? What did he give the praise to, as he left
that scene? What was the principle in action there, but faith in the new
life, faith in the God who gave it!

We do not wonder, as Seneca wondered, that such a man as Paul dared say
anything to such a boy as Nero! The absolute courage of the new faith
was the motive-power which forced it upon the world. Here were the
sternest of morals driven forward with the most ultra bravery.

Perfect faith gave perfect courage to the first witnesses. And there was
the "mystery" of their victories.

And so, in this case, when after a while Seneca again reminded Nero of
his captive, poor Nero did not dare but meet him again. Yet, when he met
him again in that same judgment-hall, he did not dare hear him long;
and we may be sure that there were but few words before, with such
affectation of dignity as he could summon, he bade them set the prisoner

Paul free! The old had faced the new. Each had named its champion. And
the new conquers!


[9] Anno Christi, 60.

[10] Tacit. Annal., xiv. 9.

[11] Anno Christi, 60. See Neander, P. & T., B. iii. ch. x.

[12] This correspondence, as preserved in the collections of fragments,
has too much the aspect of a school-boy exercise to claim much credit,
though high authorities support it as genuine. But the probability that
there was such a correspondence, though now lost, is very strong.


     [This sketch was originally published in the Atlantic Monthly for
     October, 1858, just at the time that the first Atlantic Cable,
     whose first prattle had been welcomed by the acclamations of a
     continent, gasped its last under the manipulations of De Sauty. It
     has since been copied by Mr. Prescott in his valuable hand-book of
     the electric telegraph.

     The war, which has taught us all so much, has given a brilliant
     illustration of the dot and line alphabet, wholly apart from the
     electric use of it, which will undoubtedly be often repeated. In
     the movements of our troops under General Foster in North Carolina,
     Dr. J. B. Upham of Boston, the distinguished medical director in
     that department, equally distinguished for the success with which
     he has led forward the musical education of New England, trained a
     corps of buglers to converse with each other by long and short
     bugle-notes, and thus to carry information with literal accuracy
     from point to point at any distance within which the tones of a
     bugle could be heard. It will readily be seen that there are many
     occasions in military affairs when such means of conversation might
     prove of inestimable value. Mr. Tuttle, the astronomer, on duty in
     the same campaign, made a similar arrangement with long and short
     flashes of light.]

Just in the triumph week of that Great Telegraph which takes its name
from the Atlantic Monthly, I read in the September number of that
journal the revelations of an observer who was surprised to find that he
had the power of reading, as they run, the revelations of the wire. I
had the hope that he was about to explain to the public the more general
use of this instrument,--which, with a stupid fatuity, the public has as
yet failed to grasp. Because its signals have been first applied by
means of electro-magnetism, and afterwards by means of the chemical
power of electricity, the many-headed people refuses to avail itself, as
it might do very easily, of the same signals for the simpler
transmission of intelligence, whatever the power employed.

The great invention of Mr. Morse is his register and alphabet. He
himself eagerly disclaims any pretension to the original conception of
the use of electricity as an errand-boy. Hundreds of people had thought
of that and suggested it; but Morse was the first to give the errand-boy
such a written message, that he could not lose it on the way, nor
mistake it when he arrived. The public, eager to thank Morse, as he
deserves, thanks him for something he did not invent. For this he
probably cares very little; nor do I care more. But the public does not
thank him for what he did originate,--this invaluable and simple
alphabet. Now, as I use it myself in every detail of life, and see every
hour how the public might use it, if it chose, I am really sorry for
this negligence,--both on the score of his fame, and of general

Please to understand, then, ignorant Reader, that this curious alphabet
reduces all the complex machinery of Cadmus and the rest of the
writing-masters to characters as simple as can be made by a dot, a
space, and a line, variously combined. Thus, the marks .- designate the
letter A. The marks -... designate the letter B. All the other letters
are designated in as simple a manner.

Now I am stripping myself of one of the private comforts of my life,
(but what will one not do for mankind?) when I explain that this simple
alphabet need not be confined to electrical signals. _Long_ and _short_
make it all,--and wherever long and short can be combined, be it in
marks, sounds, sneezes, fainting-fits, canes, or children, ideas can be
conveyed by this arrangement of the long and short together. Only last
night I was talking scandal with Mrs. Wilberforce at a summer party at
the Hammersmiths. To my amazement, my wife, who scarcely can play "The
Fisher's Hornpipe," interrupted us by asking Mrs. Wilberforce if she
could give her the idea of an air in "The Butcher of Turin." Mrs.
Wilberforce had never heard that opera,--indeed, had never heard of it.
My angel-wife was surprised,--stood thrumming at the piano,--wondered
she could not catch this very odd bit of discordant accord at all,--but
checked herself in her effort, as soon as I observed that her long notes
and short notes, in their tum-tee, tee,--tee-tee, tee-tum tum, meant,
"He's her brother." The conversation on her side turned from "The
Butcher of Turin," and I had just time on the hint thus given me by Mrs.
I. to pass a grateful eulogium on the distinguished statesman whom Mrs.
Wilberforce, with all a sister's care, had rocked in his
baby-cradle,--whom, but for my wife's long and short notes, I should
have clumsily abused among the other statesmen of the day.

You will see, in an instant, awakening Reader, that it is not the
business simply of "operators" in telegraphic dens to know this Morse
alphabet, but your business, and that of every man and woman. If our
school committees understood the times, it would be taught, even before
phonography or physiology, at school. I believe both these sciences now
precede the old English alphabet.

As I write these words, the bell of the South Congregational strikes
dong, dong, dong,--dong, dong, dong, dong,--dong,--dong. Nobody has
unlocked the church-door. I know that, for I am locked up in the vestry.
The old tin sign, "In case of fire, the key will be found at the
opposite house," has long since been taken down, and made into the nose
of a water-pot. Yet there is no Goody Two-Shoes locked in. No one except
me, and certainly I am not ringing the bell. No! But, thanks to Dr.
Channing's Fire Alarm,[13] the bell is informing the South End that
there is a fire in District Dong-dong-dong,--that is to say, District
No. 3. Before I have explained to you so far, the "Eagle" engine, with a
good deal of noise, has passed the house on its way to that fated
district. An immense improvement this on the old system, when the
engines radiated from their houses in every possible direction, and the
fire was extinguished by the few machines whose lines of quest happened
to cross each other at the particular place where the child had been
building cob-houses out of lucifer-matches in a paper warehouse. Yes, it
is a very great improvement. All those persons, like you and me, who
have no property in District Dong-dong-dong, can now sit at home at
ease;--and little need we think upon the mud above the knees of those
who have property in that district and are running to look after it. But
for them the improvement only brings misery. You arrive wet, hot or
cold, or both, at the large District No. 3, to find that the
lucifer-matches were half a mile away from your store,--and that your
own private watchman, even, had not been waked by the working of the
distant engines. Wet property-holder, as you walk home, consider this.
When you are next in the Common Council, vote an appropriation for
applying Morse's alphabet of long and short to the bells. Then they can
be made to sound intelligibly. D[=au]ng d[)i]ng
d[)i]ng,--d[)i]ng,--d[)i]ng d[=au]ng,--d[=au]ng d[=au]ng d[=au]ng, and
so on, will tell you as you wake in the night that it is Mr. B.'s store
which is on fire, and not yours, or that it is yours and not his. This
is not only a convenience to you and a relief to your wife and family,
who will thus be spared your excursions to unavailable and
unsatisfactory fires, and your somewhat irritated return,--it will be a
great relief to the Fire Department. How placid the operations of a fire
where none attend except on business! The various engines arrive, but no
throng of distant citizens, men and boys, fearful of the destruction of
their all. They have all roused on their pillows to learn that it is No.
530 Pearl Street which is in flames. All but the owner of No. 530 Pearl
Street have dropped back to sleep. He alone has rapidly repaired to the
scene. That is he, who stands in the uncrowded street with the Chief
Engineer, on the deck of No. 18, as she plays away. His property
destroyed, the engines retire,--he mentions the amount of his insurance
to those persons who represent the daily press, they all retire to their
homes,--and the whole is finished as simply, almost, as was his private
entry in his day-book the afternoon before.[14]

This is what might be, if the magnetic alarm only struck _long_ and
_short_, and we had all learned Morse's alphabet. Indeed, there is
nothing the bells could not tell, if you would only give them time
enough. We have only one chime, for musical purposes, in the town. But,
without attempting tunes, only give the bells the Morse alphabet, and
every bell in Boston might chant in monotone the words of "Hail
Columbia" at length, every Fourth of July. Indeed, if Mr. Barnard should
report any day that a discouraged 'prentice-boy had left town for his
country home, all the bells could instantly be set to work to speak
articulately, in language regarding which the dullest imagination need
not be at loss,

     "Turn again, Higginbottom,
     Lord Mayor of Boston!"

I have suggested the propriety of introducing this alphabet into the
primary schools. I need not say I have taught it to my own
children,--and I have been gratified to see how rapidly it made head,
against the more complex alphabet, in the grammar schools. Of course it
does;--an alphabet of two characters matched against one of
twenty-six,--or of forty-odd, as the very odd one of the phonotypists
employ! On the Franklin-medal day I went to the Johnson-School
examination. One of the committee asked a nice girl what was the capital
of Brazil. The child looked tired and pale, and, for an instant,
hesitated. But, before she had time to commit herself, all answering was
rendered impossible by an awful turn of whooping-cough which one of my
own sons was seized with,--who had gone to the examination with me.
Hawm, hem hem;--hem hem hem;--hem, hem;--hawm, hem hem;--hem hem
hem;--hem, hem,--barked the poor child, who was at the opposite extreme
of the school-room. The spectators and the committee looked to see him
fall dead with a broken blood-vessel. I confess that I felt no alarm,
after I observed that some of his gasps were long and some very
_staccato_;--nor did pretty little Mabel Warren. She recovered her
color,--and, as soon as silence was in the least restored, answered,
"_Rio_ is the capital of Brazil,"--as modestly and properly as if she
had been taught it in her cradle. They are nothing but children, any of
them,--but that afternoon, after they had done all the singing the city
needed for its annual entertainment of the singers, I saw Bob and Mabel
start for a long expedition into West Roxbury,--and when he came back, I
know it was a long featherfew, from her prize school-bouquet, that he
pressed in his Greene's "Analysis," with a short frond of maiden's hair.

I hope nobody will write a letter to "The Atlantic," to say that these
are very trifling uses. The communication of useful information is never
trifling. It is as important to save a nice child from mortification on
examination-day, as it is to tell Mr. Fremont that he is not elected
President. If, however, the reader is distressed, because these
illustrations do not seem to his more benighted observation to belong to
the big bow-wow strain of human life, let him consider the arrangement
which ought to have been made years since, for lee shores, railroad
collisions, and that curious class of maritime accidents where one
steamer runs into another under the impression that she is a light
house. Imagine the Morse alphabet applied to a steam-whistle, which is
often heard five miles. It needs only _long_ and _short_ again. "_Stop
Comet_," for instance, when you send it down the railroad line, by the
wire, is expressed thus:

     ... - .. .....
     ... .. -- . -

Very good message, if Comet happens to be at the telegraph station when
it comes! But what if Comet has gone by? Much good will your trumpery
message do then! If, however, you have the wit to sound your long and
short on an engine-whistle, thus;--Scre scre, scre; screeee; scre scre;
scre scre scre scre scre; scre scre scre,--scre scre; screeeee screeeee;
scre; screeeee;--why, then the whole neighborhood, for five miles
around, will know that Comet must stop, if only they understand spoken
language,--and among others, the engineman of Comet will understand it;
and Comet will not run into that wreck of worlds which gives the
order,--with the nucleus of hot iron and his tail of five hundred tons
of coal.--So, of the signals which fog-bells can give, attached to
light-houses. How excellent to have them proclaim through the darkness,
"I am Wall"! Or of signals for steamship-engineers. When our friends
were on board the "Arabia" the other day, and she and the "Europa"
pitched into each other,--as if, on that happy week, all the continents
were to kiss and join hands all round,--how great the relief to the
passengers on each, if, through every night of their passage, collision
had been prevented by this simple expedient! One boat would have
screamed, "Europa, Europa, Europa," from night to morning,--and the
other, "Arabia, Arabia, Arabia,"--and neither would have been mistaken,
as one unfortunately was, for a light-house.

The long and short of it is, that whoever can mark distinctions of time
can use this alphabet of long-and-short, however he may mark them. It is
therefore within the compass of all intelligent beings, except those who
are no longer conscious of the passage of time, having exchanged its
limitations for the wider sweep of eternity. The illimitable range of
this alphabet, however, is not half disclosed when this has been said.
Most articulate language addresses itself to one sense, or at most to
two, sight and sound. I see, as I write, that the particular
illustrations I have given are all of them confined to signals seen or
signals heard. But the dot-and-line alphabet, in the few years of its
history, has already shown that it is not restricted to these two
senses, but makes itself intelligible to all. Its message, of course, is
heard as well as read. Any good operator understands the sounds of its
ticks upon the flowing strip of paper, as well as when he sees it. As he
lies in his cot at midnight, he will expound the passing message without
striking a light to see it. But this is only what may be said of any
written language. You can read this article to your wife, or she can
read it, as she prefers; that is, she chooses whether it shall address
her eye or her ear. But the long-and-short alphabet of Morse and his
imitators despises such narrow range. It addresses whichever of the five
senses the listener chooses. This fact is illustrated by a curious set
of anecdotes,--never yet put in print, I think,--of that critical
despatch which in one night announced General Taylor's death to this
whole land. Most of the readers of these lines probably read that
despatch in the morning's paper. The compositors and editors had read
it. To them it was a despatch to the eye. But half the operators at the
stations _heard_ it ticked out, by the register stroke, and knew it
before they wrote it down for the press. To them it was a despatch to
the ear. My good friend Langenzunge had not that resource. He had just
been promised, by the General himself (under whom he served at Palo
Alto), the office of Superintendent of the Rocky Mountain Lines. He was
returning from Washington over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, on a
freight-train, when he heard of the President's danger. Langenzunge
loved Old Rough and Ready,--and he felt badly about his own office, too.
But his extempore train chose to stop at a forsaken shanty-village on
the Potomac, for four mortal hours, at midnight. What does he do, but
walk down the line into the darkness, climb a telegraph-post, cut a
wire, and applied the two ends to his tongue, to _taste_, at the fatal
moment, the words, "Died at half past ten." Poor Langenzunge! he hardly
had nerve to solder the wire again. Cogs told me that they had just
fitted up the Naguadavick stations with Bain's chemical revolving disk.
This disk is charged with a salt of potash, which, when the electric
spark passes through it, is changed to Prussian blue. Your despatch is
noiselessly written in dark blue dots and lines. Just as the disk
started on that fatal despatch, and Cogs bent over it to read, his
spirit-lamp blew up,--as the dear things will. They were beside
themselves in the lonely, dark office; but, while the men were fumbling
for matches, which would not go, Cogs's sister, Nydia, a sweet blind
girl, who had learned Bain's alphabet from Dr. Howe at South Boston,
bent over the chemical paper, and _smelt_ out the prussiate of potash,
as it formed itself in lines and dots to tell the sad story. Almost
anybody used to reading the blind books can read the embossed Morse
messages with the finger,--and so this message was read at all the
midnight way-stations where no night-work is expected, and where the
companies do not supply fluid or oil. Within my narrow circle of
acquaintance, therefore, there were these simultaneous instances, where
the same message was seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt. So
universal is the dot-and-line alphabet,--for Bain's is on the same
principle as Morse's.

The reader sees, therefore, first, that the dot-and-line alphabet can be
employed by any being who has command of any long and short symbols,--be
they long and short notches, such as Robinson Crusoe kept his accounts
with, or long and short waves of electricity, such as these which
Valentia is sending across to the Newfoundland bay, so prophetically and
appropriately named "The Bay of Bulls." Also, I hope the reader sees
that the alphabet can be understood by any intelligent being who has any
one of the five senses left him,--by all rational men, that is,
excepting the few eyeless deaf persons who have lost both taste and
smell in some complete paralysis. The use of Morse's telegraph is by no
means confined to the small clique who possess or who understand
electrical batteries. It is not only the torpedo or the _Gymnotus
electricus_ that can send us messages from the ocean. Whales in the sea
can telegraph as well as senators on land, if they will only note the
difference between long spoutings and short ones. And they can listen,
too. If they will only note the difference between long and short, the
eel of Ocean's bottom may feel on his slippery skin the smooth messages
of our Presidents, and the catfish, in his darkness, look fearless on
the secrets of a Queen. Any beast, bird, fish, or insect, which can
discriminate between long and short, may use the telegraph alphabet, if
he have sense enough. Any creature, which can hear, smell, taste, feel,
or see, may take note of its signals, if he can understand them. A tired
listener at church, by properly varying his long yawns and his short
ones, may express his opinion of the sermon to the opposite gallery
before the sermon is done. A dumb tobacconist may trade with his
customers in an alphabet of short-sixes and long-nines. A beleaguered
Sebastopol may explain its wants to the relieving army beyond the line
of the Chernaya, by the lispings of its short Paixhans and its long


[13] The Fire Alarm is the invention of Dr. William F.

     "A wizard of such dreaded fame,
       That when in Salamanca's cave,
       Him listed his magic wand to wave,
     The bells would ring in Notre Dame."

[14] I am proud to say that such suggestions have had so much
weight, that in 1868 the alarm strikes the number of the box which first
telegraphs danger, six-four, six-four, &c., six being the district
number, and four the box number in that district.


     [I had some opportunities, which no other writer for the press had,
     I believe, of examining the Resolute on her return from that weird
     voyage which is the most remarkable in the history of the navies of
     the world. And, as I know of no other printed record of the whole
     of that voyage than this, which was published in the Boston Daily
     Advertiser of June 11, 1856, I reprint it here. Readers should
     remember that the English government abandoned all claim on the
     vessel; that the American government then bought her off the
     salvors, refitted her completely, and sent her to England as a
     present to the Queen. The Queen visited the ship, and accepted the
     present in person. The Resolute has never since been to sea. I do
     not load the page with authorities; but I studied the original
     reports of the Arctic expeditions carefully in preparing the paper,
     and I believe it to be accurate throughout.

     The voyage from New London to England, when she was thus returned,
     is strictly her last voyage. But when this article was printed its
     name was correct.]

It was in early spring in 1852, early on the morning of the 21st of
April, that the stout English discovery ship Resolute, manned by a large
crew, commanded by a most manly man, Henry Kellett, left her moorings
in the great river Thames, a little below the old town of London, was
taken in tow by a fussy steam-tug, and proudly started as one of a fine
English squadron in the great search of the nations for the lost Sir
John Franklin. It was late in the year 1855, on the 24th of December,
that the same ship, weatherworn, scantily rigged, without her lighter
masts, all in the trim of a vessel which has had a hard fight with wind,
water, ice, and time, made the light-house of _New_ London,--waited for
day and came round to anchor in the other river Thames, of _New_
England. Not one man of the English crew was on board. The gallant
Captain Kellett was not there; but in his place an American master, who
had shown, in his way, equal gallantry. The sixty or seventy men with
whom she sailed were all in their homes more than a year ago. The eleven
men with whom she returned had had to double parts, and to work hard to
make good the places of the sixty. And between the day when the
Englishmen left her, and the day the Americans found her, she had spent
fifteen months and more alone. She was girt in by the ice of the Arctic
seas. No man knows where she went, what narrow scapes she passed
through, how low her thermometers marked cold;--it is a bit of her
history which was never written. Nor what befell her little tender, the
"Intrepid," which was left in her neighborhood, "ready for occupation,"
just as she was left. No man will ever tell of the nip that proved too
much for her,--of the opening of her seams, and her disappearance
beneath the ice. But here is the hardy Resolute, which, on the 15th of
May, 1854, her brave commander left, as he was ordered, "ready for
occupation,"--which the brave Captain Buddington found September 10,
1855, more than a thousand miles from there, and pronounced still "ready
for occupation";--and of what can be known of her history from Old
London to New London, from Old England's Thames to New England's Thames,
we will try to tell the story; as it is written in the letters of her
old officers and told by the lips of her new rescuers.

For Arctic work, if ships are to go into every nook and lane of ice that
will yield at all to wind and steam, they must be as nearly
indestructible as man can make them. For Arctic work, therefore, and for
discovery work, ships built of the _teak_ wood of Malabar and Java are
considered most precisely fitted. Ships built of teak are said to be
wholly indestructible by time. To this we owe the fact, which now
becomes part of a strange coincidence, that one of the old Captain
Cook's ships which went round the world with him has been, till within a
few years, a whaling among the American whalers, revisiting, as a
familiar thing, the shores which she was first to discover. The English
admiralty, eager to fit out for Arctic service a ship of the best build
they could find, bought the two teak-built ships Baboo and Ptarmigan in
1850,--sent them to their own dock-yards to be refitted, and the Baboo
became the Assistance,--the Ptarmigan became the Resolute, of their
squadrons of Arctic discovery.

Does the reader know that in the desolation of the Arctic shores the
Ptarmigan is the bird most often found? It is the Arctic grouse or
partridge,[15] and often have the ptarmigans of Melville Island
furnished sport and even dinners to the hungry officers of the
"Resolute," wholly unconscious that she had ever been their god-child,
and had thrown off their name only to take that which she now wears.

Early in May, 1850, just at the time we now know that brave Sir John
Franklin and the remnant of his crew were dying of starvation at the
mouth of Back's River, the "Resolute" sailed first for the Arctic seas,
the flag-ship of Commodore Austin, with whose little squadron our own De
Haven and his men had such pleasant intercourse near Beechey Island. In
the course of that expedition she wintered off Cornwallis Island,--and
in autumn of the next year returned to England.

Whenever a squadron or a man or an army returns to England, unless in
the extreme and exceptional case of complete victory over obstacle
invincible, there is always dissatisfaction. This is the English way.
And so there was dissatisfaction when Captain Austin returned with his
ships and men. There was also still a lingering hope that some trace of
Franklin might yet be found, perhaps some of his party. Yet more, there
were two of the searching ships which had entered the Polar seas from
Behring's Straits on the west, the "Enterprise" and "Investigator,"
which might need relief before they came through or returned. Arctic
search became a passion by this time, and at once a new squadron was
fitted out to take the seas in the spring of 1852. This squadron
consisted of the "Assistance" and "Resolute" again, which had been
refitted since their return, of the "Intrepid" and "Pioneer," two
steamships used as tenders to the "Assistance" and "Resolute"
respectively, and of the "North Star," which had also been in those
regions, and now went as a storeship to the rest of the squadron. To the
command of the whole Sir Edward Belcher was appointed, an officer who
had served in some of the earlier Arctic expeditions. Officers and men
volunteered in full numbers for the service, and these five vessels
therefore carried out a body of men who brought more experience of the
Northern seas together than any expedition which had ever visited them.

Of these, Captain Henry Kellett had command of the "Resolute," and was
second in seniority to Sir Edward Belcher, who made the "Assistance" the
flag-ship. It shows what sort of man he was, to say that for more than
ten years he spent only part of one in England, and was the rest of the
time in an antipodean hemisphere or a hyperborean zone. Before brave Sir
John Franklin sailed, Captain Kellett was in the Pacific. Just as he was
to return home, he was ordered into the Arctic seas to search for Sir
John. Three years successively, in his ship the "Herald," he passed
inside Behring's Straits, and far into the Arctic Ocean. He discovered
"Herald Island," the farthest land known there. He was one of the last
men to see McClure in the "Investigator" before she entered the Polar
seas from the northwest. He sent three of his men on board that ship to
meet them all again, as will be seen, in strange surroundings. After
more than seven years of this Pacific and Arctic life, he returned to
England, in May or June, 1851, and in the next winter volunteered to try
the eastern approach to the same Arctic seas in our ship, the
"Resolute." Some of his old officers sailed with him.

We know nothing of Captain Kellett but what his own letters, despatches,
and instructions show, as they are now printed in enormous parliamentary
blue-books, and what the despatches and letters of his officers and of
his commander show. But these papers present the picture of a vigorous,
hearty man, kind to his crew and a great favorite with them, brave in
whatever trial, always considerate, generous to his officers, reposing
confidence in their integrity; a man, in short, of whom the world will
be apt to hear more. His commander, Sir Edward Belcher, tried by the
same standard, appears a brave and ready man, apt to talk of himself,
not very considerate of his inferiors, confident in his own opinion; in
short, a man with whom one would not care to spend three Arctic winters.
With him, as we trace the "Resolute's" fortunes, we shall have much to
do. Of Captain Kellett we shall see something all along till the day
when he sadly left her, as bidden by Sir Edward Belcher, "ready for

With such a captain, and with sixty-odd men, the "Resolute" cast off her
moorings in the gray of the morning on the 21st of April, 1852, to go in
search of Sir John Franklin. The brave Sir John had died two years
before, but no one knew that, nor whispered it. The river steam-tug
"Monkey" took her in tow, other steamers took the "Assistance" and the
"North Star"; the "Intrepid" and "Pioneer" got up their own steam, and
to the cheers of the little company gathered at Greenhithe to see them
off, they went down the Thames. At the Nore, the steamship "Desperate"
took the "Resolute" in charge, Sir Edward Belcher made the signal
"Orkneys" as the place of rendezvous, and in four days she was there, in
Stromness outer harbor. Here there was a little shifting of provisions
and coal-bags, those of the men who could get on shore squandered their
spending-money, and then, on the 28th of April, she and hers bade good
by to British soil. And, though they have welcomed it again long since,
she has not seen it from then till now.

The "Desperate" steamer took her in tow, she sent her own tow-lines to
the "North Star," and for three days in this procession of so wild and
weird a name, they three forged on westward toward Greenland,--a train
which would have startled any old Viking had he fallen in with it, with
a fresh gale blowing all the time and "a nasty sea." On the fourth day
all the tow-lines broke or were cast off however, Neptune and the winds
claimed their own, and the "Resolute" tried her own resources. The
towing steamers were sent home in a few days more, and the squadron left
to itself.

We have too much to tell in this short article to be able to dwell on
the details of her visits to the hospitable Danes of Greenland, or of
her passage through the ice of Baffin's Bay. But here is one incident,
which, as the event has proved, is part of a singular coincidence. On
the 6th of July all the squadron, tangled in the ice, joined a fleet of
whalers beset in it, by a temporary opening between the gigantic masses.
Caught at the head of a bight in the ice, with the "Assistance" and the
"Pioneer," the "Resolute" was, for the emergency, docked there, and, by
the ice closing behind her, was, for a while, detained. Meanwhile the
rest of the fleet, whalers and discovery ships, passed on by a little
lane of water, the American whaler "McLellan" leading. This "McLellan"
was one of the ships of the spirited New London merchants, Messrs.
Perkins & Smith, another of whose vessels has now found the "Resolute"
and befriended her in her need in those seas. The "McLellan" was their
pioneer vessel there.

The "North Star" of the English squadron followed the "McLellan." A
long train stretched out behind. Whalers and government ships, as they
happened to fall into line,--a long three quarters of a mile. It was
lovely weather, and, though the long lane closed up so that they could
neither go back nor forward,--nobody apprehended injury till it was
announced on the morning of the 7th that the poor "McLellan" was nipped
in the ice and her crew were deserting her. Sir Edward Belcher was then
in condition to befriend her, sent his carpenters to examine her,--put a
few charges of powder into the ice to relieve the pressure upon
her,--and by the end of the day it was agreed that her injuries could be
repaired, and her crew went on board again. But there is no saying what
ice will do next. The next morning there was a fresh wind, the
"McLellan" was caught again, and the water poured into her, a steady
stream. She drifted about unmanageable, now into one ship, now into
another, and the English whalemen began to pour on board, to help
themselves to such plunder as they chose. At the Captain's request, Sir
Edward Belcher put an end to this, sent sentries on board, and working
parties, to clear her as far as might be, and keep account of what her
stores were and where they went to. In a day or two more she sank to the
water's edge and a friendly charge or two of powder put her out of the
way of harm to the rest of the fleet. After such a week spent together
it will easily be understood that the New London whalemen did not feel
strangers on board one of Sir Edward's vessels when they found her
"ready for occupation" three years and more afterwards.

In this tussle with the ice, the "Resolute" was nipped once or twice,
but she has known harder nips than that since. As July wore away, she
made her way across Baffin's Bay, and on the 10th of August made Beechey
Island,--known now as the head-quarters for years of the searching
squadrons, because, as it happened, the place where the last traces of
Franklin's ships were found,--the wintering place of his first winter.
But Captain Kellett was on what is called the "western search," and he
only stayed at Beechey Island to complete his provisions from the
storeships, and in the few days which this took, to see for himself the
sad memorials of Franklin's party,--and then the "Resolute" and
"Intrepid" were away, through Barrow's Straits,--on the track which
Parry ran along with such success thirty-three years before,--and which
no one had followed with as good fortune as he, until now.

On the 15th of August Captain Kellett was off; bade good by to the party
at Beechey Island, and was to try his fortune in independent command. He
had not the best of luck at starting. The reader must remember that one
great object of these Arctic expeditions was to leave provisions for
starving men. For such a purpose, and for travelling parties of his own
over the ice, Captain Kellett was to leave a depot at Assistance Bay,
some thirty miles only from Beechey Island. In nearing for that purpose
the "Resolute" grounded, was left with but seven feet of water, the ice
threw her over on her starboard bilge, and she was almost lost. Not
quite lost, however, or we should not be telling her story. At midnight
she was got off, leaving sixty feet of her false keel behind. Captain
Kellett forged on in her,--left a depot here and another there,--and at
the end of the short Arctic summer had come as far westward as Sir
Edward Parry came. Here is the most westerly point the reader will find
on most maps far north in America,--the Melville Island of Captain
Parry. Captain Kellett's associate, Captain McClintock of the
"Intrepid," had commanded the only party which had been here since
Parry. In 1851 he came over from Austin's squadron with a sledge party.
So confident is every one there that nobody has visited those parts
unless he was sent, that McClintock encouraged his men one day by
telling them that if they got on well, they should have an old cart
Parry had left thirty-odd years before, to make a fire of. Sure enough;
they came to the place, and there was the wreck of the cart just as
Parry left it. They even found the ruts the old cart left in the ground
as if they had not been left a week.

Captain Kellett came into harbor, and with great spirit he and his
officers began to prepare for the extended searching parties of the next
spring. The "Resolute" and her tender came to anchor off Dealy Island,
and there she spent the next eleven months of her life, with great news
around her in that time.

There is not much time for travelling in autumn. The days grow very
short and very cold. But what days there were were spent in sending out
carts and sledges with depots of provisions, which the parties of the
next spring could use. Different officers were already assigned to
different lines of search in spring. On their journeys they would be
gone three months and more, with a party of some eight men,--dragging a
sled very like a Yankee wood-sled with their instruments and provisions,
over ice and snow. To extend those searches as much as possible, and to
prepare the men for that work when it should come, advanced depots were
now sent forward in the autumn, under the charge of the gentlemen who
would have to use them in the spring.

One of these parties, the "South line of Melville Island" party, was
under a spirited young officer Mr. Mecham, who had tried such service in
the last expedition. He had two of "her Majesty's sledges," "The
Discovery" and "The Fearless," a depot of twenty days' provision to be
used in the spring, and enough for twenty-five days' present use. All
the sledges had little flags, made by some young lady friends of Sir
Edward Belcher's. Mr. Mecham's bore an armed hand and sword on a white
ground, with the motto, "_Per mare, per terram, per glaciem_." Over mud,
land, snow, and ice they carried their dépot, and were nearly back,
when, on the 12th of October, 1852, Mr. Mecham made the great discovery
of the expedition.

On the shore of Melville Island, above Winter Harbor, is a great
sandstone boulder, ten feet high, seven or eight broad, and twenty and
more long, which is known to all those who have anything to do with
those regions as "Parry's sandstone," for it stood near Parry's
observatory the winter he spent here, and Mr. Fisher, his surgeon, cut
on a flat face of it this inscription:--

           COMMANDED BY
          HARBOR 1819-20.
                    A. FISHER, SCULPT.

It was a sort of God Terminus put up to mark the end of that expedition,
as the Danish gentlemen tell us our Dighton rock is the last point of
Thorfinn's expedition to these parts. Nobody came to read Mr. Fisher's
inscription for thirty years and more,--a little Arctic hare took up her
home under the great rock, and saw the face of man for the first time
when, on the 5th of June, 1851, Mr. McClintock, on his first expedition
this way, had stopped to see whether possibly any of Franklin's men had
ever visited it. He found no signs of them, had not so much time as Mr.
Fisher for stone-cutting, but carved the figures 1851 on the stone, and
left it and the hare. To this stone, on his way back to the "Resolute,"
Mr. Mecham came again (as we said) on the 12th of October, one memorable
Tuesday morning, having been bidden to leave a record there. He went on
in advance of his party, meaning to cut 1852 on the stone. On top of it
was a small cairn of stones built by Mr. McClintock the year before.
Mecham examined this, and to his surprise a copper cylinder rolled out
from under a spirit tin. "On opening it, I drew out a roll folded in a
bladder, which, being frozen, broke and crumbled. From its dilapidated
appearance, I thought at the moment it must be some record of Sir Edward
Parry, and, fearing I might damage it, laid it down with the intention
of lighting the fire to thaw it. My curiosity, however, overcame my
prudence, and on opening it carefully with my knife, I came to a roll of
cartridge paper with the impression fresh upon the seals. My
astonishment may be conceived on finding it contained an account of the
proceedings of H. M. ship 'Investigator' since parting company with the
'Herald' [Captain Kellett's old ship] in August, 1850, in Behring's
Straits. Also a chart which disclosed to view not only the long-sought
Northwest Passage, but the completion of the survey of Banks and
Wollaston lands. Opened and indorsed Commander McClintock's despatch;
found it contained the following additions:--

     "'Opened and copied by his old friend and messmate upon this date,
     April 28, 1852. ROBERT MCCLURE

     "'Party all well and return to Investigator to-day.'"

A great discovery indeed to flash across one in a minute. The
"Investigator" had not been heard from for more than two years. Here was
news of her not yet six months old. The Northwest Passage had been
dreamed of for three centuries and more. Here was news of its
discovery,--news that had been known to Captain McClure for two years.
McClure and McClintock were lieutenants together in the "Enterprise"
when she was sent after Sir John Franklin in 1848, and wintered together
at Port Leopold the next winter. Now, from different hemispheres, they
had come so near meeting at this old block of sandstone. Mr. Mecham bade
his mate build a new cairn, to put the record of the story in, and
hurried on to the "Resolute" with his great news,--news of almost
everybody but Sir John Franklin. Strangely enough, the other expedition,
Captain Collinson's, had had a party in that neighborhood, between the
other two, under Mr. Parks; but it was his extreme point possible, and
he could not reach the Sandstone, though he saw the ruts of McClure's
sleigh. This was not known till long afterwards.

The "Investigator," as it appeared from this despatch of Captain
McClure's, had been frozen up in the Bay of Mercy of Banks Land: Banks
Land having been for thirty years at once an Ultima Thule and Terra
Incognita, put down on the maps where Captain Parry saw it across thirty
miles of ice and water in 1819. Perhaps she was still in that same bay:
these old friends wintering there, while the "Resolute" and "Intrepid"
were lying under Dealy Island, and only one hundred and seventy miles
between. It must have been tantalizing to all parties to wait the winter
through, and not even get a message across. But until winter made it too
cold and dark to travel, the ice in the strait was so broken up that it
was impossible to attempt to traverse it, even with a light boat, for
the lanes of water. So the different autumn parties came in, the last on
the last of October, and the officers and men entered on their winter's
work and play, to push off the winter days as quickly as they could.

The winter was very severe; and it proved that, as the "Resolute" lay,
they were a good deal exposed to the wind. But they kept themselves
busy,--exercised freely,--found game quite abundant within reasonable
distances on shore, whenever the light served,--kept schools
for the men,--delivered scientific lectures to whoever would
listen,--established the theatre for which the ship had been provided at
home,--and gave juggler's exhibitions by way of variety. The recent
system of travelling in the fall and spring cuts in materially to the
length of the Arctic winters as Ross, Parry, and Back used to experience
it, and it was only from the 1st of November to the 10th of March that
they were left to their own resources. Late in October one of the
"Resolute's" men died, and in December one of the "Intrepid's," but,
excepting these cases, they had little sickness, for weeks no one on
the sick-list; indeed, Captain Kellett says cheerfully that a
sufficiency of good provisions, with plenty of work in the open air,
will insure good health in that climate.

As early in the spring as he dared risk a travelling party, namely, on
the 10th of March, 1853, he sent what they all called a forlorn hope
across to the Bay of Mercy, to find any traces of the "Investigator";
for they scarcely ventured to hope that she was still there. This start
was earlier by thirty-five days than the early parties had started on
the preceding expedition. But it was every way essential that, if
Captain McClure had wintered in the Bay of Mercy, the messenger should
reach him before he sent off any or all his men, in travelling parties,
in the spring. The little forlorn hope consisted of ten men under the
command of Lieutenant Pim, an officer who had been with Captain Kellett
in the "Herald" on the Pacific side, had spent a winter in the "Plover"
up Behring's Straits, and had been one of the last men whom the
"Investigator" had seen before they put into the Arctic Ocean, to
discover, as it proved, the Northwest Passage.

Here we must stop a moment, to tell what one of these sledge parties is
by whose efforts so much has been added to our knowledge of Arctic
geography, in journeys which could never have been achieved in ships or
boats. In the work of the "Resolute's" parties, in this spring of 1852,
Commander McClintock travelled 1,325 miles with his sledge, and
Lieutenant Mecham 1,163 miles with his, through regions before wholly
unexplored. The sledge, as we have said, is in general contour not
unlike a Yankee wood-sled, about eleven feet long. The runners are
curved at each end. The sled is fitted with a light canvas trough, so
adjusted that, in case of necessity, all the stores, &c., can be ferried
over any narrow lane of water in the ice. There are packed on this sled
a tent for eight or ten men, five or six pikes, one or more of which is
fitted as an ice-chisel; two large buffalo-skins, a water-tight
floor-cloth, which contrives

          "a double debt to pay,
     A floor by night, the sledge's sail by day"

(and it must be remembered that "day" and "night" in those regions are
very equivocal terms). There are, besides, a cooking-apparatus, of which
the fire is made in spirit or tallow lamps, one or two guns, a pick and
shovel, instruments for observation, pannikins, spoons, and a little
magazine of such necessaries, with the extra clothing of the party. Then
the provision, the supply of which measures the length of the
expedition, consists of about a pound of bread and a pound of pemmican
per man per day, six ounces of pork, and a little preserved potato, rum,
lime-juice, tea, chocolate, sugar, tobacco, or other such creature
comforts. The sled is fitted with two drag-ropes, at which the men haul.
The officer goes ahead to find the best way among hummocks of ice or
masses of snow. Sometimes on a smooth floe, before the wind, the
floor-cloth is set for a sail, and she runs off merrily, perhaps with
several of the crew on board, and the rest running to keep up. But
sometimes over broken ice it is a constant task to get her on at all.
You hear, "One, two, three, _haul_," all day long, as she is worked out
of one ice "cradle-hole" over a hummock into another. Different parties
select different hours for travelling. Captain Kellett finally
considered that the best division of time, when, as usual, they had
constant daylight, was to start at four in the afternoon, travel till
ten P. M., _breakfast_ then, tent and rest four hours; travel four more,
tent, dine, and sleep nine hours. This secured sleep, when the sun was
the highest and most trying to the eyes. The distances accomplished with
this equipment are truly surprising.

Each man, of course, is dressed as warmly as flannel, woollen cloth,
leather, and seal-skin will dress him. For such long journeying, the
study of boots becomes a science, and our authorities are full of
discussions as to canvas or woollen, or carpet or leather boots, of
strings and of buckles. When the time "to tent" comes, the pikes are
fitted for tent-poles, and the tent set up, its door to leeward, on the
ice or snow. The floor-cloth is laid for the carpet. At an hour fixed,
all talking must stop. There is just room enough for the party to lie
side by side on the floor-cloth. Each man gets into a long felt bag,
made of heavy felting literally nearly half an inch thick. He brings
this up wholly over his head, and buttons himself in. He has a little
hole in it to breathe through. Over the felt is sometimes a brown
holland bag, meant to keep out moisture. The officer lies farthest in
the tent,--as being next the wind, the point of hardship and so of
honor. The cook for the day lies next the doorway, as being first to be
called. Side by side the others lie between. Over them all Mackintosh
blankets with the buffalo-robes are drawn, by what power this deponent
sayeth not, not knowing. No watch is kept, for there is little danger of
intrusion. Once a whole party was startled by a white bear smelling at
them, who waked one of their dogs, and a droll time they had of it,
springing to their arms while enveloped in their sacks. But we remember
no other instance where a sentinel was needed. And occasionally in the
journals the officer notes that he overslept in the morning, and did not
"call the cook" early enough. What a passion is sleep, to be sure, that
one should oversleep with such comforts round him!

Some thirty or forty parties, thus equipped, set out from the "Resolute"
while she was under Captain Kellett's charge, on various expeditions. As
the journey of Lieutenant Pim to the "Investigator" at Banks Land was
that on which turned the great victory of her voyage, we will let that
stand as a specimen of all. None of the others, however, were undertaken
at so early a period of the year, and, on the other hand, several others
were much longer,--some of them, as has been said, occupying three
months and more.

Lieutenant Pim had been appointed in the autumn to the "Banks Land
search," and had carried out his depots of provisions when the other
officers took theirs. Captain McClure's chart and despatch made it no
longer necessary to have that coast surveyed, but made it all the more
necessary to have some one go and see if he was still there. The chances
were against this, as a whole summer had intervened since he was heard
from. Lieutenant Pim proposed, however, to travel all round Banks Land,
which is an island about the size and shape of Ireland, in search of
him, Collinson, Franklin, or anybody. Captain Kellett, however, told him
not to attempt this with his force, but to return to the ship by the
route he went. First he was to go to the Bay of Mercy; if the
"Investigator" was gone, he was to follow any traces of her, and, if
possible, communicate with her or her consort, the "Enterprise."

Lieutenant Pim started with a sledge and seven men, and a dog-sledge
with two under Dr. Domville, the surgeon, who was to bring back the
earliest news from the Bay of Mercy to the captain. There was a relief
sledge to go part way and return. For the intense cold of this early
season they had even more careful arrangements than those we have
described. Their tent was doubled. They had extra Mackintoshes, and
whatever else could be devised. They had bad luck at starting,--broke
down one sledge and had to send back for another; had bad weather, and
must encamp, once for three days. "Fortunately," says the lieutenant of
this encampment, "the temperature arose from fifty-one below zero to
thirty-six below, and there remained," while the drift accumulated to
such a degree around the tents, that within them the thermometer was
only twenty below, and, when they cooked, rose to zero. A pleasant time
of it they must have had there on the ice, for those three days, in
their bags smoking and sleeping! No wonder that on the fourth day they
found they moved slowly, so cramped and benumbed were they. This morning
a new sledge came to them from the ship; they got out of their bags,
packed, and got under way again. They were still running along shore,
but soon sent back the relief party which had brought the new sled, and
in a few days more set out to cross the strait, some twenty-five to
thirty miles wide, which, when it is open, as no man has ever seen it,
is one of the Northwest Passages discovered by these expeditions.

Horrible work it was! Foggy and dark, so they could not choose the road,
and, as it happened, lit on the very worst mass of broken ice in the
channel. Just as they entered on it, one black raven must needs appear.
"Bad luck," said the men. And when Mr. Pim shot a musk-ox, their first,
and the wounded creature got away, "So much for the raven," they croaked
again. Only three miles the first day, four miles the second day, two
and a half the third, and half a mile the fourth; this was all they
gained by most laborious hauling over the broken ice, dragging one
sledge at a time, and sometimes carrying forward the stores separately
and going back for the sledges. Two days more gave them eight miles
more, but on the seventh day on this narrow strait, the dragging being a
little better, the great sledge slipped off a smooth hummock, broke one
runner to smash, and "there they were."

If the two officers had a little bit of a "tiff" out there on the ice,
with the thermometer at eighteen below, only a little dog-sledge to get
them anywhere, their ship a hundred miles off, fourteen days' travel as
they had come, nobody ever knew it; they kept their secret from us, it
is nobody's business, and it is not to be wondered at. Certainly they
did not agree. The Doctor, whose sled, the "James Fitzjames," was still
sound, thought they had best leave the stores and all go back; but the
Lieutenant, who had the command, did not like to give it up, so he took
the dogs and the "James Fitzjames" and its two men and went on, leaving
the Doctor on the floe, but giving him directions to go back to land
with the wounded sledge and wait for him to return. And the Doctor did
it, like a spirited fellow, travelling back and forth for what he could
not take in one journey, as the man did in the story who had a peck of
corn, a goose, and a wolf to get across the river. Over ice, over
hummock, the Lieutenant went on his way with his dogs, not a bear nor a
seal nor a hare nor a wolf to feed them with; preserved meats, which
had been put up with dainty care for men and women, all he had for the
ravenous, tasteless creatures, who would have been more pleased with
blubber, came to Banks Land at last, but no game there; awful drifts;
shut up in the tent for a whole day, and he himself so sick he could
scarcely stand! There were but three of them in all; and the captain of
the sledge not unnaturally asked poor Pim, when he was at the worst,
"What shall I do, sir, if you die?" Not a very comforting question!

He did not die. He got a few hours' sleep, felt better and started
again, but had the discouragement of finding such tokens of an open
strait the last year that he felt sure that the ship he was going to
look for would be gone. One morning, he had been off for game for the
dogs unsuccessfully, and, when he came back to his men, learned that
they had seen seventeen deer. After them goes Pim; finds them to be
_three hares_, magnified by fog and mirage, and their long ears
answering for horns. This same day they got upon the Bay of Mercy. No
ship in sight! Right across it goes the Lieutenant to look for records;
when, at two in the afternoon, Robert Hoile sees something black up the
bay. Through the glass the Lieutenant makes it out to be a ship. They
change their direction at once. Over the ice towards her! He leaves the
sledge at three and goes on. How far it seems! At four he can see people
walking about, and a pile of stones and flag-staff on the beach. Keep
on, Pim: shall one never get there? At five he is within a hundred
yards of her, and no one has seen him. But just then the very persons
see him who ought to! Pim beckons, waves his arms as the Esquimaux do in
sign of friendship. Captain McClure and his lieutenant Haswell are
"taking their exercise," the chief business of those winters, and at
last see him! Pim is black as Erebus from the smoke of cooking in the
little tent. McClure owns, not to surprise only, but to a twinge of
dismay. "I paused in my advance," says he, "doubting who or what it
could be, a denizen of this or the other world." But this only lasts a
moment. Pim speaks. Brave man that he can. How his voice must have
choked, as if he were in a dream. "I am Lieutenant Pim, late of
'Herald.' Captain Kellett is at Melville Island." Well-chosen words,
Pim, to be sent in advance over the hundred yards of floe! Nothing about
the "Resolute,"--that would have confused them. But "Pim," "Herald," and
"Kellett" were among the last signs of England they had seen,--all this
was intelligible. An excellent little speech, which the brave man had
been getting ready, perhaps, as one does a telegraphic despatch, for the
hours that he had been walking over the floe to her. Then such shaking
hands, such a greeting. Poor McClure could not speak at first. One of
the men at work got the news on board; and up through the hatches poured
everybody, sick and well, to see the black stranger, and to hear his
news from England. It was nearly three years since they had seen any
civilized man but themselves.

The 28th of July, three years before, Commander McClure had sent his
last despatch to the Admiralty. He had then prophesied just what in
three years he had almost accomplished. In the winter of 1850 he had
discovered the Northwest Passage. He had come round into one branch of
it, Banks Straits, in the next summer; had gladly taken refuge on the
Bay of Mercy in a gale; and his ship had never left it since. Let it be
said, in passing, that most likely she is there now. In his last
despatches he had told the Admiralty not to be anxious about him if he
did not arrive home before the autumn of 1854. As it proved, that autumn
he did come with all his men, except those whom he had sent home before,
and those who had died. When Pim found them, all the crew but thirty
were under orders for marching, some to Baffin's Bay, some to the
Mackenzie River, on their return to England. McClure was going to stay
with the rest, and come home with the ship, if they could; if not, by
sledges to Port Leopold, and so by a steam-launch which he had seen left
there for Franklin in 1849. But the arrival of Mr. Pim put an end to all
these plans. We have his long despatch to the Admiralty explaining them,
finished only the day before Pim arrived. It gives the history of his
three years' exile from the world,--an exile crowded full of effective
work,--in a record which gives a noble picture of the man. The Queen
has made him Sir Robert Le Mesurier McClure since, in honor of his great

Banks Land, or Baring Island, the two names belong to the same island,
on the shores of which McClure and his men had spent most of these two
years or more, is an island on which they were first of civilized men to
land. For people who are not very particular, the measurement of it
which we gave before, namely, that it is about the size and shape of
Ireland, is precise enough. There is high land in the interior probably,
as the winds from in shore are cold. The crew found coal and dwarf
willow which they could burn; lemmings, ptarmigan, hares, reindeer, and
musk-oxen, which they could eat.

       "Farewell to the land where I often have wended
     My way o'er its mountains and valleys of snow;
       Farewell to the rocks and the hills I've ascended,
     The bleak arctic homes of the buck and the doe;
       Farewell to the deep glens where oft has resounded
     The snow-bunting's song, as she carolled her lay
       To hillside and plain, by the green sorrel bounded,
     Till struck by the blast of a cold winter's day."

There is a bit of description of Banks Land, from the anthology of that
country, which, so far as we know, consists of two poems by a seaman
named Nelson, one of Captain McClure's crew. The highest temperature
ever observed on this "gem of the sea" was 53° in midsummer. The lowest
was 65° below zero in January, 1853; that day the thermometer did not
rise to 60° below, that month was never warmer than 16° below, and the
average of the month was 43° below. A pleasant climate to spend three
years in!

One day for talk was all that could be allowed, after Mr. Pim's amazing
appearance. On the 8th of April, he and his dogs, and Captain McClure
and a party, were ready to return to our friend the "Resolute." They
picked up Dr. Domville on the way; he had got the broken sledge mended,
and killed five musk-oxen, against they came along. He went on in the
dog-sledge to tell the news, but McClure and his men kept pace with
them; and he and Dr. Domville had the telling of the news together.

It was decided that the "Investigator" should be abandoned, and the
"Intrepid" and "Resolute" made room for her men. Glad greeting they gave
them too, as British seamen can give. More than half the crews were away
when the "Investigator's" parties came in, but by July everybody had
returned. They had found islands where the charts had guessed there was
sea, and sea where they had guessed there was land; had changed
peninsulas into islands and islands into peninsulas. Away off beyond the
seventy-eighth parallel, Mr. McClintock had christened the farthest dot
of land "Ireland's Eye," as if his native island were peering off into
the unknown there;--a great island, which will be our farthest now, for
years to come, had been named "Prince Patrick's Land," in honor of the
baby prince who was the youngest when they left home. Will he not be
tempted, when he is a man, to take a crew, like another Madoc, and, as
younger sons of queens should, go and settle upon this tempting
god-child? They had heard from Sir Edward Belcher's part of the
squadron; they had heard from England; had heard of everything but Sir
John Franklin. They had even found an ale-bottle of Captain Collinson's
expedition,--but not a stick nor straw to show where Franklin or his men
had lived or died. Two officers of the "Investigator" were sent home to
England this summer by a ship from Beechey Island, the head-quarters;
and thus we heard, in October, 1853, of the discovery of the Northwest

After their crews were on board again, and the "Investigator's" sixty
stowed away also, the "Resolute" and "Intrepid" had a dreary summer of
it. The ice would not break up. They had hunting-parties on shore and
races on the floe; but the captain could not send the "Investigators"
home as he wanted to, in his steam tender. All his plans were made, and
made on a manly scale,--if only the ice would open. He built a
storehouse on the island for Collinson's people, or for you, reader, and
us, if we should happen there, and stored it well, and left this

"This is a house which I have named the 'Sailor's Home,' under the
especial patronage of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

"_Here_ royal sailors and marines are fed, clothed, and receive double
pay for inhabiting it."

In that house is a little of everything, and a good deal of victuals and
drink; but nobody has been there since the last of the "Resolute's" men
came away.

At last, the 17th of August, a day of foot-racing and jumping in bags
and wrestling, all hands present, as at a sort of "Isthmian games,"
ended with a gale, a cracking up of ice, and the "Investigators" thought
they were on their way home, and Kellett thought he was to have a month
of summer yet. But no; "there is nothing certain in this navigation from
one hour to the next." The "Resolute" and "Intrepid" were never really
free of ice all that autumn; drove and drifted to and fro in Barrow's
Straits till the 12th of November; and then froze up, without anchoring,
off Cape Cockburn, perhaps one hundred and forty miles from their harbor
of the last winter. The log-book of that winter is a curious record; the
ingenuity of the officer in charge was well tasked to make one day
differ from another. Each day has the first entry for "ship's position"
thus: "In the floe off Cape Cockburn." And the blank for the second
entry, thus: "In the same position." Lectures, theatricals, schools,
&c., whiled away the time; but there could be no autumn travelling
parties, and not much hope for discovery in the summer.

Spring came. The captain went over ice in his little dog-sled to
Beechey Island, and received his directions to abandon his ships. It
appears that he would rather have sent most of his men forward, and with
a small crew brought the "Resolute" home that autumn or the next. But
Sir Edward Belcher considered his orders peremptory "that the safety of
the crews must preclude any idea of extricating the ships." Both ships
were to be abandoned. Two distant travelling parties were away, one at
the "Investigator," one looking for traces of Collinson, which they
found. Word was left for them, at a proper point, not to seek the ship
again, but to come on to Beechey Island. And at last, having fitted the
"Intrepid's" engines so that she could be under steam in two hours,
having stored both ships with equal proportions of provisions, and made
both vessels "ready for occupation," the captain calked down the
hatches, and with all the crew he had not sent on before,--forty-two
persons in all,--left her Monday, the 15th of May, 1854, and started
with the sledges for Beechey Island.

Poor old "Resolute"! All this gay company is gone who have made her
sides split with their laughter. Here is Harlequin's dress, lying in one
of the wardrooms, but there is nobody to dance Harlequin's dances. "Here
is a lovely clear day,--surely to-day they will come on deck and take a
meridian!" No, nobody comes. The sun grows hot on the decks; but it is
all one, nobody looks at the thermometer! "And so the poor ship was
left all alone." Such gay times she has had with all these brave young
men on board! Such merry winters, such a lightsome summer! So much fun,
so much nonsense! So much science and wisdom, and now it is all so
still! Is the poor "Resolute" conscious of the change? Does she miss the
races on the ice, the scientific lecture every Tuesday, the occasional
racket and bustle of the theatre, and the worship of every Sunday? Has
not she shared the hope of Captain Kellett, of McClure, and of the crew,
that she may _break out well!_ She sees the last sledge leave her. The
captain drives off his six dogs,--vanishes over the ice, and they are
all gone. "Will they not come back again?" says the poor ship. And she
looks wistfully across the ice to her little friend the steam tender
"Intrepid," and she sees there is no one there. "Intrepid! Intrepid!
have they really deserted us? We have served them so well, and have they
really left us alone? A great many were away travelling last year, but
they came home. Will not any of these come home now?" No, poor
"Resolute"! Not one of them ever came back again! Not one of them meant
to. Summer came. August came. No one can tell how soon, but some day or
other this her icy prison broke up, and the good ship found herself on
her own element again; shook herself proudly, we cannot doubt, nodded
joyfully across to the "Intrepid," and was free. But alas! there was no
master to take latitude and longitude, no helmsman at the wheel. In
clear letters cast in brass over her helm there are these words,
"England expects each man to do his duty." But here is no man to heed
the warning, and the rudder flaps this way and that way, no longer
directing her course, but stupidly swinging to and fro. And she drifts
here and there,--drifts out of sight of her little consort,--strands on
a bit of ice floe now, and then is swept off from it,--and finds
herself, without even the "Intrepid's" company, alone on these blue seas
with those white shores. But what utter loneliness! Poor "Resolute"! She
longed for freedom,--but what is freedom where there is no law? What is
freedom without a helmsman! And the "Resolute" looks back so sadly to
the old days when she had a master. And the short bright summer passes.
And again she sees the sun set from her decks. And now even her topmasts
see it set. And now it does not rise to her deck. And the next day it
does not rise to her topmast. Winter and night together! She has known
them before! But now it is winter and night and loneliness all together.
This horrid ice closes up round her again. And there is no one to bring
her into harbor,--she is out in the open sound. If the ice drifts west,
she must go west. If it goes east, she must go east. Her seeming freedom
is over, and for that long winter she is chained again. But her heart is
true to old England. And when she can go east, she is so happy! and when
she must go west, she is so sad! Eastward she does go! Southward she
does go! True to the instinct which sends us all home, she tracks
undirected and without a sail fifteen hundred miles of that sea, without
a beacon, which separates her from her own. And so goes a dismal year.
"Perhaps another spring they will come and find me out, and fix things
below. It is getting dreadfully damp down there; and I cannot keep the
guns bright and the floors dry." No, good old "Resolute." May and June
pass off the next year, and nobody comes; and here you are all alone out
in the bay, drifting in this dismal pack. July and August,--the days are
growing shorter again. "Will nobody come and take care of me, and cut
off these horrid blocks of ice, and see to these sides of bacon in the
hold, and all these mouldy sails, and this powder, and the bread and the
spirit that I have kept for them so well? It is September, and the sun
begins to set again. And here is another of those awful gales. Will it
be my very last? I all alone here,--who have done so much,--and if they
would only take care of me I can do so much more. Will nobody come?
Nobody?... What! Is it ice blink,--are my poor old lookouts blind? Is
not there the 'Intrepid'? Dear 'Intrepid,' I will never look down on you
again! No! there is no smoke-stack, it is not the 'Intrepid.' But it is
somebody. Pray see me, good somebody. Are you a Yankee whaler? I am glad
to see the Yankee whalers. I remember the Yankee whalers very
pleasantly. We had a happy summer together once.... It will be dreadful
if they do not see me! But this ice, this wretched ice! They do see
me,--I know they see me, but they cannot get at me. Do not go away, good
Yankees; pray come and help me. I know I can get out, if you will help a
little.... But now it is a whole week and they do not come! Are there
any Yankees, or am I getting crazy? I have heard them talk of crazy old
ships, in my young days.... No! I am not crazy. They are coming! they
are coming. Brave Yankees! over the hummocks, down into the sludge. Do
not give it up for the cold. There is coal below, and we will have a
fire in the Sylvester, and in the captain's cabin.... There is a horrid
lane of water. They have not got a Halkett. O, if one of these boats of
mine would only start for them, instead of lying so stupidly on my deck
here! But the men are not afraid of water! See them ferry over on that
ice block! Come on, good friends! Welcome, whoever you be,--Dane, Dutch,
French, or Yankee, come on! come on! It is coming up a gale, but I can
bear a gale. Up the side, men. I wish I could let down the gangway
alone. But here are all these blocks of ice piled up,--you can scramble
over them! Why do you stop? Do not be afraid. I will make you very
comfortable and jolly. Do not stay talking there. Pray come in. There is
port in the captain's cabin, and a little preserved meat in the pantry.
You must be hungry; pray come in! O, he is coming, and now all four are
coming. It would be dreadful if they had gone back! They are on deck.
Now I shall go home! How lonely it has been!"

It was true enough that when Mr. Quail, the brother of the captain of
the "McLellan," whom the "Resolute" had befriended, the mate of the
George Henry, whaler, whose master, Captain Buddington, had discovered
the "Resolute" in the ice, came to her after a hard day's journey with
his men, the men faltered with a little superstitious feeling, and
hesitated for a minute about going on board. But the poor lonely ship
wooed them too lovingly, and they climbed over the broken ice and came
on deck. She was lying over on her larboard side, with a heavy weight of
ice holding her down. Hatches and companion were made fast, as Captain
Kellett had left them. But, knocking open the companion, groping down
stairs to the after cabin they found their way to the captain's table;
somebody put his hand on a box of lucifers, struck a light, and
revealed--books scattered in confusion, a candle standing, which he
lighted at once, the glasses and the decanters from which Kellett and
his officers had drunk good by to the vessel. The whalemen filled them
again, and undoubtedly felt less discouraged. Meanwhile night came on,
and a gale arose. So hard did it blow, that for two days these four were
the whole crew of the "Resolute," and it was not till the 19th of
September that they returned to their own ship, and reported what their
prize was.

All these ten days, since Captain Buddington had first seen her, the
vessels had been nearing each other. On the 19th he boarded her himself;
found that in her hold, on the larboard side, was a good deal of ice; on
the starboard side there seemed to be water. In fact, her tanks had
burst from the extreme cold; and she was full of water, nearly to her
lower deck. Everything that could move from its place had moved;
everything was wet; everything that would mould was mouldy. "A sort of
perspiration" settled on the beams above. Clothes were wringing wet. The
captain's party made a fire in Captain Kellett's stove, and soon started
a sort of shower from the vapor with which it filled the air. The
"Resolute" has, however, four fine force-pumps. For three days the
captain and six men worked fourteen hours a day on one of these, and had
the pleasure of finding that they freed her of water,--that she was
tight still. They cut away upon the masses of ice; and on the 23d of
September, in the evening, she freed herself from her encumbrances, and
took an even keel. This was off the west shore of Baffin's Bay, in
latitude 67°. On the shortest tack she was twelve hundred miles from
where Captain Kellett left her.

There was work enough still to be done. The rudder was to be shipped,
the rigging to be made taut, sail to be set; and it proved, by the way,
that the sail on the yards was much of it still serviceable, while a
suit of new linen sails below were greatly injured by moisture. In a
week more they had her ready to make sail. The pack of ice still drifted
with both ships; but on the 21st of October, after a long northwest
gale, the "Resolute" was free,--more free than she had been for more
than two years.

Her "last voyage" is almost told. Captain Buddington had resolved to
bring her home. He had picked ten men from the "George Henry," leaving
her fifteen, and with a rough tracing of the American coast drawn on a
sheet of foolscap, with his lever watch and a quadrant for his
instruments, he squared off for New London. A rough, hard passage they
had of it. The ship's ballast was gone, by the bursting of the tanks;
she was top-heavy and under manned. He spoke a British whaling bark, and
by her sent to Captain Kellett his epaulettes, and to his own owners
news that he was coming. They had heavy gales and head winds, were
driven as far down as the Bermudas; the water left in the ship's tanks
was brackish, and it needed all the seasoning which the ship's chocolate
would give to make it drinkable. "For sixty hours at a time," says the
spirited captain, "I frequently had no sleep"; but his perseverance was
crowned with success at last, and on the night of the 23d-24th of
December he made the light off the magnificent harbor from which he
sailed; and on Sunday morning, the 24th, dropped anchor in the Thames,
opposite _New_ London, ran up the royal ensign on the shorn masts of the
"Resolute," and the good people of the town knew that he and his were
safe, and that one of the victories of peace was won.

As the fine ship lies opposite the piers of that beautiful town, she
attracts visitors from everywhere, and is, indeed, a very remarkable
curiosity. Seals were at once placed, and very properly, on the
captain's book-cases, lockers, and drawers, and wherever private
property might be injured by wanton curiosity, and two keepers are on
duty on the vessel, till her destination is decided. But nothing is
changed from what she was when she came into harbor. And, from stem to
stern, every detail of her equipment is a curiosity, to the sailor or to
the landsman. The candlestick in the cabin is not like a Yankee
candlestick. The hawse hole for the chain cable is fitted as has not
been seen before. And so of everything between. There is the aspect of
wet over everything now, after months of ventilation;--the rifles, which
were last fired at musk-oxen in Melville Island, are red with rust, as
if they had lain in the bottom of the sea; the volume of Shakespeare,
which you find in an officer's berth, has a damp feel, as if you had
been reading it in the open air in a March north-easter. The old seamen
look with most amazement, perhaps, on the preparations for
amusement,--the juggler's cups and balls, or Harlequin's spangled dress;
the quiet landsman wonders at the gigantic ice-saws, at the cast-off
canvas boots, the long thick Arctic stockings. It seems almost wrong to
go into Mr. Hamilton's wardroom, and see how he arranged his soap-cup
and his tooth-brush; and one does not tell of it, if he finds on a blank
leaf the secret prayer a sister wrote down for the brother to whom she
gave a prayer-book. There is a good deal of disorder now,--thanks to her
sudden abandonment, and perhaps to her three months' voyage home. A
little union-jack lies over a heap of unmended and unwashed
underclothes; when Kellett left the ship, he left his country's flag
over his arm-chair as if to keep possession. Two officers' swords and a
pair of epaulettes were on the cabin table. Indeed, what is there not
there,--which should make an Arctic winter endurable,--make a long night
into day,--or while long days away?

The ship is stanch and sound. The "last voyage" which we have described
will not, let us hope, be the last voyage of her career. But wherever
she goes, under the English flag or under our own, she will scarcely
ever crowd more adventure into one cruise than into that which sealed
the discovery of the Northwest Passage; which gave new lands to England,
nearest to the pole of all she has; which spent more than a year, no man
knows where, self-governed and unguided; and which, having begun under
the strict _régime_ of the English navy, ended under the remarkable
mutual rules, adopted by common consent, in the business of American

Is it not worth noting that in this chivalry of Arctic adventure, the
ships which have been wrecked have been those of the fight or horror?
They are the "Fury," the "Victory," the "Erebus," the "Terror." But the
ships which never failed their crews,--which, for all that man knows,
are as sound now as ever,--bear the names of peaceful adventure; the
"Hecla," the "Enterprise," and "Investigator," the "Assistance" and
"Resolute," the "Pioneer" and "Intrepid," and our "Advance" and "Rescue"
and "Arctic," never threatened any one, even in their names. And they
never failed the men who commanded them or who sailed in them.


[15] Tetrao lagopus.



     [A Boston journal, in noticing this story, called it improbable I
     think it is. But I think the moral important. It was first
     published in the Atlantic Monthly for September, 1859.]

It is not often that I trouble the readers of the Atlantic Monthly. I
should not trouble them now, but for the importunities of my wife, who
"feels to insist" that a duty to society is unfulfilled, till I have
told why I had to have a double, and how he undid me. She is sure, she
says, that intelligent persons cannot understand that pressure upon
public servants which alone drives any man into the employment of a
double. And while I fear she thinks, at the bottom of her heart, that my
fortunes will never be remade, she has a faint hope that, as another
Rasselas, I may teach a lesson to future publics, from which they may
profit, though we die. Owing to the behavior of my double, or, if you
please, to that public pressure which compelled me to employ him, I have
plenty of leisure to write this communication.

I am, or rather was, a minister, of the Sandemanian connection. I was
settled in the active, wide-awake town of Naguadavick, on one of the
finest water-powers in Maine. We used to call it a Western town in the
heart of the civilization of New England. A charming place it was and
is. A spirited, brave young parish had I; and it seemed as if we might
have all "the joy of eventful living" to our heart's content.

Alas! how little we knew on the day of my ordination, and in those
halcyon moments of our first housekeeping! To be the confidential friend
in a hundred families in the town,--cutting the social trifle, as my
friend Haliburton says, "from the top of the whipped syllabub to the
bottom of the sponge-cake, which is the foundation,"--to keep abreast of
the thought of the age in one's study, and to do one's best on Sunday to
interweave that thought with the active life of an active town, and to
inspirit both and make both infinite by glimpses of the Eternal Glory,
seemed such an exquisite forelook into one's life! Enough to do, and all
so real and so grand! If this vision could only have lasted!

The truth is, that this vision was not in itself a delusion, nor,
indeed, half bright enough. If one could only have been left to do his
own business, the vision would have accomplished itself and brought out
new paraheliacal visions, each as bright as the original. The misery was
and is, as we found out, I and Polly, before long, that besides the
vision, and besides the usual human and finite failures in life (such as
breaking the old pitcher that came over in the "Mayflower," and putting
into the fire the Alpenstock with which her father climbed Mont
Blanc),--besides these, I say (imitating the style of Robinson Crusoe),
there were pitchforked in on us a great rowen-heap of humbugs, handed
down from some unknown seed-time, in which we were expected, and I
chiefly, to fulfil certain public functions before the community, of the
character of those fulfilled by the third row of supernumeraries who
stand behind the Sepoys in the spectacle of the "Cataract of the
Ganges." They were the duties, in a word, which one performs as member
of one or another social class or subdivision, wholly distinct from what
one does as A. by himself A. What invisible power put these functions on
me, it would be very hard to tell. But such power there was and is. And
I had not been at work a year before I found I was living two lives, one
real and one merely functional,--for two sets of people, one my parish,
whom I loved, and the other a vague public, for whom I did not care two
straws. All this was in a vague notion, which everybody had and has,
that this second life would eventually bring out some great results,
unknown at present, to somebody somewhere.

Crazed by this duality of life, I first read Dr. Wigan on the "Duality
of the Brain," hoping that I could train one side of my head to do these
outside jobs, and the other to do my intimate and real duties. For
Richard Greenough once told me, that, in studying for the statue of
Franklin, he found that the left side of the great man's face was
philosophic and reflective, and the right side funny and smiling. If you
will go and look at the bronze statue, you will find he has repeated
this observation there for posterity. The eastern profile is the
portrait of the statesman Franklin, the western of poor Richard. But Dr.
Wigan does not go into these niceties of this subject, and I failed. It
was then that, on my wife's suggestion, I resolved to look out for a

I was, at first, singularly successful. We happened to be recreating at
Stafford Springs that summer. We rode out one day, for one of the
relaxations of that watering-place, to the great Monson Poorhouse. We
were passing through one of the large halls, when my destiny was

He was not shaven. He had on no spectacles. He was dressed in a green
baize roundabout and faded blue overalls, worn sadly at the knee. But I
saw at once that he was of my height, five feet four and a half. He had
black hair, worn off by his hat. So have and have not I. He stooped in
walking. So do I. His hands were large, and mine. And--choicest gift of
Fate in all--he had, not "a strawberry-mark on his left arm," but a cut
from a juvenile brickbat over his right eye, slightly affecting the play
of that eyebrow. Reader, so have I! My fate was sealed!

A word with Mr. Holley, one of the inspectors, settled the whole thing.
It proved that this Dennis Shea was a harmless, amiable fellow, of the
class known as shiftless, who had sealed his fate by marrying a dumb
wife, who was at that moment ironing in the laundry. Before I left
Stafford, I had hired both for five years. We had applied to Judge
Pynchon, then the probate judge at Springfield, to change the name of
Dennis Shea to Frederic Ingham. We had explained to the Judge, what was
the precise truth, that an eccentric gentleman wished to adopt Dennis,
under this new name, into his family. It never occurred to him that
Dennis might be more than fourteen years old. And thus, to shorten this
preface, when we returned at night to my parsonage at Naguadavick, there
entered Mrs. Ingham, her new dumb laundress, myself, who am Mr. Frederic
Ingham, and my double, who was Mr. Frederic Ingham by as good right as

O the fun we had the next morning in shaving his beard to my pattern,
cutting his hair to match mine, and teaching him how to wear and how to
take off gold-bowed spectacles! Really, they were electro-plate, and the
glass was plain (for the poor fellow's eyes were excellent). Then in
four successive afternoons I taught him four speeches. I had found these
would be quite enough for the supernumerary-Sepoy line of life, and it
was well for me they were; for though he was good-natured, he was very
shiftless, and it was, as our national proverb says, "like pulling
teeth" to teach him. But at the end of the next week he could say, with
quite my easy and frisky air,--

1. "Very well, thank you. And you?" This for an answer to casual

2. "I am very glad you liked it."

3. "There has been so much said, and, on the whole, so well said, that I
will not occupy the time."

4. "I agree, in general, with my friend the other side of the room."

At first I had a feeling that I was going to be at great cost for
clothing him. But it proved, of course, at once, that, whenever he was
out, I should be at home. And I went, during the bright period of his
success, to so few of those awful pageants which require a black
dress-coat and what the ungodly call, after Mr. Dickens, a white choker,
that in the happy retreat of my own dressing-gowns and jackets my days
went by as happily and cheaply as those of another Thalaba. And Polly
declares there was never a year when the tailoring cost so little. He
lived (Dennis, not Thalaba) in his wife's room over the kitchen. He had
orders never to show himself at that window. When he appeared in the
front of the house, I retired to my sanctissimum and my dressing-gown.
In short, the Dutchman and his wife, in the old weather-box, had not
less to do with each other than he and I. He made the furnace-fire and
split the wood before daylight; then he went to sleep again, and slept
late; then came for orders, with a red silk bandanna tied round his
head, with his overalls on, and his dress-coat and spectacles off. If we
happened to be interrupted, no one guessed that he was Frederic Ingham
as well as I; and, in the neighborhood, there grew up an impression that
the minister's Irishman worked daytimes in the factory-village at New
Coventry. After I had given him his orders, I never saw him till the
next day.

I launched him by sending him to a meeting of the Enlightenment Board.
The Enlightenment Board consists of seventy-four members, of whom
sixty-seven are necessary to form a quorum. One becomes a member under
the regulations laid down in old Judge Dudley's will. I became one by
being ordained pastor of a church in Naguadavick. You see you cannot
help yourself, if you would. At this particular time we had had four
successive meetings, averaging four hours each,--wholly occupied in
whipping in a quorum. At the first only eleven men were present; at the
next, by force of three circulars, twenty-seven; at the third, thanks to
two days' canvassing by Auchmuty and myself, begging men to come, we had
sixty. Half the others were in Europe. But without a quorum we could do
nothing. All the rest of us waited grimly for our four hours, and
adjourned without any action. At the fourth meeting we had flagged, and
only got fifty-nine together. But on the first appearance of my
double,--whom I sent on this fatal Monday to the fifth meeting,--he was
the _sixty-seventh_ man who entered the room. He was greeted with a
storm of applause! The poor fellow had missed his way,--read the street
signs ill through his spectacles (very ill, in fact, without them),--and
had not dared to inquire. He entered the room,--finding the president
and secretary holding to their chairs two judges of the Supreme Court,
who were also members _ex officio_, and were begging leave to go away.
On his entrance all was changed. _Presto_, the by-laws were suspended,
and the Western property was given away. Nobody stopped to converse with
him. He voted, as I had charged him to do, in every instance, with the
minority. I won new laurels as a man of sense, though a little
unpunctual,--and Dennis, _alias_ Ingham, returned to the parsonage,
astonished to see with how little wisdom the world is governed. He cut a
few of my parishioners in the street; but he had his glasses off, and I
am known to be near-sighted. Eventually he recognized them more readily
than I.

I "set him again" at the exhibition of the New Coventry Academy; and
here he undertook a "speaking part,"--as, in my boyish, worldly days, I
remember the bills used to say of Mlle. Celeste. We are all trustees of
the New Coventry Academy; and there has lately been "a good deal of
feeling" because the Sandemanian trustees did not regularly attend the
exhibitions. It has been intimated, indeed, that the Sandemanians are
leaning towards Free-Will, and that we have, therefore, neglected these
semiannual exhibitions, while there is no doubt that Auchmuty last year
went to Commencement at Waterville. Now the head master at New Coventry
is a real good fellow, who knows a Sanskrit root when he sees it, and
often cracks etymologies with me,--so that, in strictness, I ought to go
to their exhibitions. But think, reader, of sitting through three long
July days in that Academy chapel, following the programme from

     TUESDAY MORNING. _English Composition._ "SUNSHINE." Miss Jones.

round to

     _Trio on Three Pianos._ Duel from the Opera of "Midshipman Easy."

coming in at nine, Thursday evening! Think of this, reader, for men who
know the world is trying to go backward, and who would give their lives
if they could help it on! Well! The double had succeeded so well at the
Board, that I sent him to the Academy. (Shade of Plato, pardon!) He
arrived early on Tuesday, when, indeed, few but mothers and clergymen
are generally expected, and returned in the evening to us, covered with
honors. He had dined at the right hand of the chairman, and he spoke in
high terms of the repast. The chairman had expressed his interest in the
French conversation. "I am very glad you liked it," said Dennis; and the
poor chairman, abashed, supposed the accent had been wrong. At the end
of the day, the gentlemen present had been called upon for
speeches,--the Rev. Frederic Ingham first, as it happened; upon which
Dennis had risen, and had said, "There has been so much said, and, on
the whole, so well said, that I will not occupy the time." The girls
were delighted, because Dr. Dabney, the year before, had given them at
this occasion a scolding on impropriety of behavior at lyceum lectures.
They all declared Mr. Ingliam was a love,--and _so_ handsome! (Dennis is
good-looking.) Three of them, with arms behind the others' waists,
followed him up to the wagon he rode home in; and a little girl with a
blue sash had been sent to give him a rosebud. After this _début_ in
speaking, he went to the exhibition for two days more, to the mutual
satisfaction of all concerned. Indeed, Polly reported that he had
pronounced the trustees' dinners of a higher grade than those of the
parsonage. When the next term began, I found six of the Academy girls
had obtained permission to come across the river and attend our church.
But this arrangement did not long continue.

After this he went to several Commencements for me, and ate the dinners
provided; he sat through three of our Quarterly Conventions for
me,--always voting judiciously, by the simple rule mentioned above, of
siding with the minority. And I, meanwhile, who had before been losing
caste among my friends, as holding myself aloof from the associations of
the body, began to rise in everybody's favor. "Ingham's a good
fellow,--always on hand"; "never talks much, but does the right thing at
the right time"; "is not as unpunctual as he used to be,--he comes
early, and sits through to the end." "He has got over his old talkative
habit, too. I spoke to a friend of his about it once; and I think Ingham
took it kindly," etc., etc.

This voting power of Dennis was particularly valuable at the quarterly
meetings of the proprietors of the Naguadavick Ferry. My wife inherited
from her father some shares in that enterprise, which is not yet fully
developed, though it doubtless will become a very valuable property. The
law of Maine then forbade stockholders to appear by proxy at such
meetings. Polly disliked to go, not being, in fact, a "hens'-rights
hen," transferred her stock to me. I, after going once, disliked it more
than she. But Dennis went to the next meeting, and liked it very much.
He said the arm-chairs were good, the collation good, and the free rides
to stockholders pleasant. He was a little frightened when they first
took him upon one of the ferry-boats, but after two or three quarterly
meetings he became quite brave.

Thus far I never had any difficulty with him. Indeed, being, as I
implied, of that type which is called shiftless, he was only too happy
to be told daily what to do, and to be charged not to be forthputting or
in any way original in his discharge of that duty. He learned, however,
to discriminate between the lines of his life, and very much preferred
these stockholders' meetings and trustees' dinners and Commencement
collations to another set of occasions, from which he used to beg off
most piteously. Our excellent brother, Dr. Fillmore, had taken a notion
at this time that our Sandemanian churches needed more expression of
mutual sympathy. He insisted upon it that we were remiss. He said, that,
if the Bishop came to preach at Naguadavick, all the Episcopal clergy of
the neighborhood were present; if Dr. Pond came, all the Congregational
clergymen turned out to hear him; if Dr. Nichols, all the Unitarians;
and he thought we owed it to each other, that, whenever there was an
occasional service at a Sandemanian church, the other brethren should
all, if possible, attend. "It looked well," if nothing more. Now this
really meant that I had not been to hear one of Dr. Fillmore's lectures
on the Ethnology of Religion. He forgot that he did not hear one of my
course on the "Sandemanianism of Anselm." But I felt badly when he said
it; and afterwards I always made Dennis go to hear all the brethren
preach, when I was not preaching myself. This was what he took
exceptions to,--the only thing, as I said, which he ever did except to.
Now came the advantage of his long morning-nap, and of the green tea
with which Polly supplied the kitchen. But he would plead, so humbly, to
be let off, only from one or two! I never excepted him, however. I knew
the lectures were of value, and I thought it best he should be able to
keep the connection.

Polly is more rash than I am, as the reader has observed in the outset
of this memoir. She risked Dennis one night under the eyes of her own
sex. Governor Gorges had always been very kind to us, and, when he gave
his great annual party to the town, asked us. I confess I hated to go. I
was deep in the new volume of Pfeiffer's "Mystics," which Haliburton had
just sent me from Boston. "But how rude," said Polly, "not to return the
Governor's civility and Mrs. Gorges's, when they will be sure to ask why
you are away!" Still I demurred, and at last she, with the wit of Eve
and of Semiramis conjoined, let me off by saying that, if I would go in
with her, and sustain the initial conversations with the Governor and
the ladies staying there, she would risk Dennis for the rest of the
evening. And that was just what we did. She took Dennis in training all
that afternoon, instructed him in fashionable conversation, cautioned
him against the temptations of the supper-table,--and at nine in the
evening he drove us all down in the carryall. I made the grand
star-_entrée_ with Polly and the pretty Walton girls, who were staying
with us. We had put Dennis into a great rough top-coat, without his
glasses; and the girls never dreamed, in the darkness, of looking at
him. He sat in the carriage, at the door, while we entered. I did the
agreeable to Mrs. Gorges, was introduced to her niece, Miss Fernanda; I
complimented Judge Jeffries on his decision in the great case of
D'Aulnay _vs._ Laconia Mining Company; I stepped into the dressing-room
for a moment, stepped out for another, walked home after a nod with
Dennis and tying the horse to a pump; and while I walked home, Mr.
Frederic Ingham, my double, stepped in through the library into the
Gorges's grand saloon.

Oh! Polly died of laughing as she told me of it at midnight! And even
here, where I have to teach my hands to hew the beech for stakes to
fence our cave, she dies of laughing as she recalls it,--and says that
single occasion was worth all we have paid for it. Gallant Eve that she
is! She joined Dennis at the library-door, and in an instant presented
him to Dr. Ochterlony, from Baltimore, who was on a visit in town, and
was talking with her as Dennis came in. "Mr. Ingham would like to hear
what you were telling us about your success among the German
population." And Dennis bowed and said, in spite of a scowl from Polly,
"I'm very glad you liked it." But Dr. Ochterlony did not observe, and
plunged into the tide of explanation; Dennis listened like a
prime-minister, and bowing like a mandarin, which is, I suppose, the
same thing. Polly declared it was just like Haliburton's Latin
conversation with the Hungarian minister, of which he is very fond of
telling. "_Quæne sit historia Reformationis in Ungariâ?_" quoth
Haliburton, after some thought. And his _confrère_ replied gallantly,
"_In seculo decimo tertio_," etc., etc., etc.; and from _decimo
tertio_[16] to the nineteenth century and a half lasted till the
oysters came. So was it that before Dr. Ochterlony came to the
"success," or near it, Governor Gorges came to Dennis, and asked him to
hand Mrs. Jeffries down to supper, a request which he heard with great

Polly was skipping round the room, I guess, gay as a lark. Auchmuty came
to her "in pity for poor Ingham," who was so bored by the stupid
pundit,--and Auchmuty could not understand why I stood it so long. But
when Dennis took Mrs. Jeffries down, Polly could not resist standing
near them. He was a little flustered, till the sight of the eatables and
drinkables gave him the same Mercian courage which it gave Diggory. A
little excited then, he attempted one or two of his speeches to the
Judge's lady. But little he knew how hard it was to get in even a
_promptu_ there edgewise. "Very well, I thank you," said he, after the
eating elements were adjusted; "and you?" And then did not he have to
hear about the mumps, and the measles, and arnica, and belladonna, and
chamomile-flower, and dodecatheon, till she changed oysters for salad;
and then about the old practice and the new, and what her sister said,
and what her sister's friend said, and what the physician to her
sister's friend said, and then what was said by the brother of the
sister of the physician of the friend of her sister, exactly as if it
had been in Ollendorff? There was a moment's pause, as she declined
Champagne. "I am very glad you liked it," said Dennis again, which he
never should have said but to one who complimented a sermon. "Oh! you
are so sharp, Mr. Ingham! No! I never drink any wine at all,--except
sometimes in summer a little currant shrub,--from our own currants, you
know. My own mother,--that is, I call her my own mother, because, you
know, I do not remember," etc., etc., etc.; till they came to the
candied orange at the end of the feast, when Dennis, rather confused,
thought he must say something, and tried No. 4,--"I agree, in general,
with my friend the other side of the room,"--which he never should have
said but at a public meeting. But Mrs. Jeffries, who never listens
expecting to understand, caught him up instantly with "Well, I'm sure my
husband returns the compliment; he always agrees with you,--though we do
worship with the Methodists; but you know, Mr. Ingham," etc., etc.,
etc., till the move up-stairs; and as Dennis led her through the hall,
he was scarcely understood by any but Polly, as he said, "There has been
so much said, and, on the whole, so well said, that I will not occupy
the time."

His great resource the rest of the evening was standing in the library,
carrying on animated conversations with one and another in much the same
way. Polly had initiated him in the mysteries of a discovery of mine,
that it is not necessary to finish your sentences in a crowd, but by a
sort of mumble, omitting sibilants and dentals. This, indeed, if your
words fail you, answers even in public extempore speech, but better
where other talking is going on. Thus: "We missed you at the Natural
History Society, Ingham." Ingham replies, "I am very gligloglum, that
is, that you were mmmmm." By gradually dropping the voice, the
interlocutor is compelled to supply the answer. "Mrs. Ingham, I hope
your friend Augusta is better." Augusta has not been ill. Polly cannot
think of explaining, however, and answers, "Thank you, Ma'am; she is
very rearason wewahwewoh," in lower and lower tones. And Mrs.
Throckmorton, who forgot the subject of which she spoke as soon as she
asked the question, is quite satisfied. Dennis could see into the
card-room, and came to Polly to ask if he might not go and play
all-fours. But, of course, she sternly refused. At midnight they came
home delighted,--Polly, as I said, wild to tell me the story of the
victory; only both the pretty Walton girls said, "Cousin Frederic, you
did not come near me all the evening."

We always called him Dennis at home, for convenience, though his real
name was Frederic Ingham, as I have explained. When the election-day
came round, however, I found that by some accident there was only one
Frederic Ingham's name on the voting-list; and as I was quite busy that
day in writing some foreign letters to Halle, I thought I would forego
my privilege of suffrage, and stay quietly at home, telling Dennis that
he might use the record on the voting-list, and vote. I gave him a
ticket, which I told him he might use, if he liked to. That was that
very sharp election in Maine which the readers of the Atlantic so well
remember, and it had been intimated in public that the ministers would
do well not to appear at the polls. Of course, after that, we had to
appear by self or proxy. Still, Naguadavick was not then a city, and
this standing in a double queue at town-meeting several hours to vote
was a bore of the first water; and so when I found that there was but
one Frederic Ingham on the list, and that one of us must give up, I
stayed at home and finished the letters (which, indeed, procured for
Fothergill his coveted appointment of Professor of Astronomy at
Leavenworth), and I gave Dennis, as we called him, the chance. Something
in the matter gave a good deal of popularity to the Frederic Ingham
name; and at the adjourned election, next week, Frederic Ingham was
chosen to the legislature. Whether this was I or Dennis I never really
knew. My friends seemed to think it was I; but I felt that as Dennis had
done the popular thing, he was entitled to the honor; so I sent him to
Augusta when the time came, and he took the oaths. And a very valuable
member he made. They appointed him on the Committee on Parishes; but I
wrote a letter for him, resigning, on the ground that he took an
interest in our claim to the stumpage in the minister's sixteenths of
Gore A, next No. 7, in the 10th Range. He never made any speeches, and
always voted with the minority, which was what he was sent to do. He
made me and himself a great many good friends, some of whom I did not
afterwards recognize as quickly as Dennis did my parishioners. On one or
two occasions, when there was wood to saw at home, I kept him at home;
but I took those occasions to go to Augusta myself. Finding myself often
in his vacant seat at these times, I watched the proceedings with a good
deal of care; and once was so much excited that I delivered my somewhat
celebrated speech on the Central School-District question, a speech of
which the "State of Maine" printed some extra copies. I believe there is
no formal rule permitting strangers to speak; but no one objected.

Dennis himself, as I said, never spoke at all. But our experience this
session led me to think that if, by some such "general understanding" as
the reports speak of in legislation daily, every member of Congress
might leave a double to sit through those deadly sessions and answer to
roll-calls and do the legitimate party-voting, which appears stereotyped
in the regular list of Ashe, Bocock, Black, etc., we should gain
decidedly in working-power. As things stand, the saddest State prison I
ever visit is that Representatives' Chamber in Washington. If a man
leaves for an hour, twenty "correspondents" may be howling, "Where was
Mr. Pendergrast when the Oregon bill passed?" And if poor Pendergrast
stays there! Certainly the worst use you can make of a man is to put him
in prison!

I know, indeed, that public men of the highest rank have resorted to
this expedient long ago. Dumas's novel of the "Iron Mask" turns on the
brutal imprisonment of Louis the Fourteenth's double. There seems little
doubt, in our own history, that it was the real General Pierce who shed
tears when the delegate from Lawrence explained to him the sufferings of
the people there, and only General Pierce's double who had given the
orders for the assault on that town, which was invaded the next day. My
charming friend, George Withers, has, I am almost sure, a double, who
preaches his afternoon sermons for him. This is the reason that the
theology often varies so from that of the forenoon. But that double is
almost as charming as the original. Some of the most well-defined men,
who stand out most prominently on the background of history, are in this
way stereoscopic men, who owe their distinct relief to the slight
differences between the doubles. All this I know. My present suggestion
is simply the great extension of the system, so that all public
machine-work may be done by it.

But I see I loiter on my story, which is rushing to the plunge. Let me
stop an instant more, however, to recall, were it only to myself, that
charming year while all was yet well. After the double had become a
matter of course, for nearly twelve months before he undid me, what a
year it was! Full of active life, full of happy love, of the hardest
work, of the sweetest sleep, and the fulfilment of so many of the fresh
aspirations and dreams of boyhood! Dennis went to every school-committee
meeting, and sat through all those late wranglings which used to keep me
up till midnight and awake till morning. He attended all the lectures to
which foreign exiles sent me tickets begging me to come for the love of
Heaven and of Bohemia. He accepted and used all the tickets for charity
concerts which were sent to me. He appeared everywhere where it was
specially desirable that "our denomination," or "our party," or "our
class," or "our family," or "our street," or "our town," or "our
country," or "our State," should be fully represented. And I fell back
to that charming life which in boyhood one dreams of, when he supposes
he shall do his own duty and make his own sacrifices, without being tied
up with those of other people. My rusty Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and English began to take
polish. Heavens! how little I had done with them while I attended to my
_public_ duties! My calls on my parishioners became the friendly,
frequent, homelike sociabilities they were meant to be, instead of the
hard work of a man goaded to desperation by the sight of his lists of
arrears. And preaching! what a luxury preaching was when I had on Sunday
the whole result of an individual, personal week, from which to speak to
a people whom all that week I had been meeting as hand-to-hand
friend;--I, never tired on Sunday, and in condition to leave the sermon
at home if I chose, and preach it extempore, as all men should do
always. Indeed, I wonder, when I think that a sensible people, like
ours,--really more attached to their clergy than they were in the lost
days, when the Mathers and Nortons were noblemen,--should choose to
neutralize so much of their ministers' lives, and destroy so much of
their early training, by this undefined passion for seeing them in
public. It springs from our balancing of sects. If a spirited
Episcopalian takes an interest in the almshouse, and is put on the Poor
Board, every other denomination must have a minister there, lest the
poorhouse be changed into St. Paul's Cathedral. If a Sandemanian is
chosen president of the Young Men's Library, there must be a Methodist
vice-president and a Baptist secretary. And if a Universalist
Sunday-School Convention collects five hundred delegates, the next
Congregationalist Sabbath-School Conference must be as large, "lest
'they'--whoever _they_ may be--should think 'we'--whoever _we_ may
be--are going down."

Freed from these necessities, that happy year I began to know my wife by
sight. We saw each other sometimes. In those long mornings, when Dennis
was in the study explaining to map-peddlers that I had eleven maps of
Jerusalem already, and to school-book agents that I would see them
hanged before I would be bribed to introduce their text-books into the
schools,--she and I were at work together, as in those old dreamy
days,--and in these of our log-cabin again. But all this could not
last,--and at length poor Dennis, my double, overtasked in turn, undid

It was thus it happened. There is an excellent fellow, once a
minister,--I will call him Isaacs,--who deserves well of the world till
he dies, and after, because he once, in a real exigency, did the right
thing, in the right way, at the right time, as no other man could do it.
In the world's great football match, the ball by chance found him
loitering on the outside of the field; he closed with it, "camped" it,
charged it home,--yes, right through the other side,--not disturbed, not
frightened by his own success,--and breathless found himself a great
man, as the Great Delta rang applause. But he did not find himself a
rich man; and the football has never come in his way again. From that
moment to this moment he has been of no use, that one can see at all.
Still, for that great act we speak of Isaacs gratefully and remember him
kindly; and he forges on, hoping to meet the football somewhere again.
In that vague hope, he had arranged a "movement" for a general
organization of the human family into Debating-Clubs, County Societies,
State Unions, etc., etc., with a view of inducing all children to take
hold of the handles of their knives and forks, instead of the metal.
Children have bad habits in that way. The movement, of course, was
absurd; but we all did our best to forward, not it, but him. It came
time for the annual county-meeting on this subject to be held at
Naguadavick. Isaacs came round, good fellow! to arrange for it,--got the
town-hall, got the Governor to preside (the saint!--he ought to have
triplet doubles provided him by law), and then came to get me to speak.
"No," I said, "I would not speak, if ten Governors presided. I do not
believe in the enterprise. If I spoke, it should be to say children
should take hold of the prongs of the forks and the blades of the
knives. I would subscribe ten dollars, but I would not speak a mill." So
poor Isaacs went his way sadly, to coax Auchmuty to speak, and
Delafield. I went out. Not long after he came back, and told Polly that
they had promised to speak, the Governor would speak, and he himself
would close with the quarterly report, and some interesting anecdotes
regarding Miss Biffin's way of handling her knife and Mr. Nellis's way
of footing his fork. "Now if Mr. Ingham will only come and sit on the
platform, he need not say one word; but it will show well in the
paper,--it will show that the Sandemanians take as much interest in the
movement as the Armenians or the Mesopotamians, and will be a great
favor to me." Polly, good soul! was tempted, and she promised. She knew
Mrs. Isaacs was starving, and the babies,--she knew Dennis was at
home,--and she promised! Night came, and I returned. I heard her story.
I was sorry. I doubted. But Polly had promised to beg me, and I dared
all! I told Dennis to hold his peace, under all circumstances, and sent
him down.

It was not half an hour more before he returned, wild with
excitement,--in a perfect Irish fury,--which it was long before I
understood. But I knew at once that he had undone me!

What happened was this. The audience got together, attracted by Governor
Gorges's name. There were a thousand people. Poor Gorges was late from
Augusta. They became impatient. He came in direct from the train at
last, really ignorant of the object of the meeting. He opened it in the
fewest possible words, and said other gentlemen were present who would
entertain them better than he. The audience were disappointed, but
waited. The Governor, prompted by Isaacs, said, "The Honorable Mr.
Delafield will address you." Delafield had forgotten the knives and
forks, and was playing the Ruy Lopez opening at the chess-club. "The
Rev. Mr. Auchmuty will address you." Auchmuty had promised to speak
late, and was at the school-committee. "I see Dr. Stearns in the hall;
perhaps he will say a word." Dr. Stearns said he had come to listen and
not to speak. The Governor and Isaacs whispered. The Governor looked at
Dennis, who was resplendent on the platform; but Isaacs, to give him his
due, shook his head. But the look was enough. A miserable lad, ill-bred,
who had once been in Boston, thought it would sound well to call for me,
and peeped out, "Ingham!" A few more wretches cried, "Ingham! Ingham!"
Still Isaacs was firm; but the Governor, anxious, indeed, to prevent a
row, knew I would say some thing, and said, "Our friend Mr. Ingham is
always prepared; and, though we had not relied upon him, he will say a
word perhaps." Applause followed, which turned Dennis's head. He rose,
fluttered, and tried No. 3: "There has been so much said, and, on the
whole, so well said, that I will not longer occupy the time!" and sat
down, looking for his hat; for things seemed squally. But the people
cried, "Go on! go on!" and some applauded. Dennis, still confused, but
flattered by the applause, to which neither he nor I are used, rose
again, and this time tried No. 2: "I am very glad you liked it!" in a
sonorous, clear delivery. My best friends stared. All the people who did
not know me personally yelled with delight at the aspect of the evening;
the Governor was beside himself, and poor Isaacs thought he was undone!
Alas, it was I! A boy in the gallery cried in a loud tone, "It's all an
infernal humbug," just as Dennis, waving his hand, commanded silence,
and tried No. 4: "I agree, in general, with my friend the other side of
the room." The poor Governor doubted his senses and crossed to stop
him,--not in time, however The same gallery-boy shouted, "How's your
mother?" and Dennis, now completely lost, tried, as his last shot, No.
1, vainly: "Very well, thank you; and you?"

I think I must have been undone already. But Dennis, like another
Lockhard, chose "to make sicker." The audience rose in a whirl of
amazement, rage, and sorrow. Some other impertinence, aimed at Dennis,
broke all restraint, and, in pure Irish, he delivered himself of an
address to the gallery, inviting any person who wished to fight to come
down and do so,--stating, that they were all dogs and cowards and the
sons of dogs and cowards,--that he would take any five of them
single-handed. "Shure, I have said all his Riverence and the Misthress
bade me say," cried he, in defiance; and, seizing the Governor's cane
from his hand, brandished it, quarter-staff fashion, above his head. He
was, indeed, got from the hall only with the greatest difficulty by the
Governor, the City Marshal, who had been called in, and the
Superintendent of my Sunday-School.

The universal impression, of course, was, that the Rev. Frederic Ingham
had lost all command of himself in some of those haunts of intoxication
which for fifteen years I have been laboring to destroy. Till this
moment, indeed, that is the impression in Naguadavick. This number of
the Atlantic will relieve from it a hundred friends of mine who have
been sadly wounded by that notion now for years; but I shall not be
likely ever to show my head there again.

No! My double has undone me.

We left town at seven the next morning. I came to No. 9, in the Third
Range, and settled on the Minister's Lot. In the new towns in Maine, the
first settled minister has a gift of a hundred acres of land. I am the
first settled minister in No. 9. My wife and little Paulina are my
parish. We raise corn enough to live on in summer. We kill bear's meat
enough to carbonize it in winter. I work on steadily on my "Traces of
Sandemanianism in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries," which I hope to
persuade Phillips, Sampson, & Co. to publish next year. We are very
happy, but the world thinks we are undone.


[16] Which means, "In the thirteenth century," my dear little
bell-and-coral reader. You have rightly guessed that the question means,
"What is the history of the Reformation in Hungary?"



     [This story was written in the summer of 1863, as a contribution,
     however humble, towards the formation of a just and true national
     sentiment, or sentiment of love to the nation. It was at the time
     when Mr. Vallandigham had been sent across the border. It was my
     wish, indeed, that the story might be printed before the autumn
     elections of that year,--as my "testimony" regarding the principles
     involved in them,--but circumstances delayed its publication till
     the December number of the Atlantic appeared.

     It is wholly a fiction, "founded on fact." The facts on which it is
     founded are these,--that Aaron Burr sailed down the Mississippi
     River in 1805, again in 1806, and was tried for treason in 1807.
     The rest, with one exception to be noticed, is all fictitious.

     It was my intention that the story should have been published with
     no author's name, other than that of Captain Frederic Ingham,
     U. S. N. Whether writing under his name or my own, I have taken no
     liberties with history other than such as every writer of fiction
     is privileged to take,--indeed, must take, if fiction is to be
     written at all.

     The story having been once published, it passed out of my hands.
     From that moment it has gradually acquired different accessories,
     for which I am not responsible. Thus I have heard it said, that at
     one bureau of the Navy Department they say that Nolan was
     pardoned, in fact, and returned home to die. At another bureau, I
     am told, the answer to questions is, that, though it is true that
     an officer was kept abroad all his life, his name was not Nolan. A
     venerable friend of mine in Boston, who discredits all tradition,
     still recollects this "Nolan court-martial." One of the most
     accurate of my younger friends had noticed Nolan's death in the
     newspaper, but recollected "that it was in September, and not in
     August." A lady in Baltimore writes me, I believe in good faith,
     that Nolan has two widowed sisters residing in that neighborhood. A
     correspondent of the Philadelphia Despatch believed "the article
     untrue, as the United States corvette 'Levant' was lost at sea
     nearly three years since, between San Francisco and San Juan." I
     may remark that this uncertainty as to the place of her loss rather
     adds to the probability of her turning up after three years in Lat.
     2° 11' S., Long. 131° W. A writer in the New Orleans Picayune, in a
     careful historical paper, explained at length that I had been
     mistaken all through; that Philip Nolan never went to sea, but to
     Texas; that there he was shot in battle, March 21, 1801, and by
     orders from Spain every fifth man of his party was to be shot, had
     they not died in prison. Fortunately, however, he left his papers
     and maps, which fell into the hands of a friend of the Picayune's
     correspondent. This friend proposes to publish them,--and the
     public will then have, it is to be hoped, the true history of
     Philip Nolan, the man without a country.

     With all these continuations, however, I have nothing to do. I can
     only repeat that my Philip Nolan is pure fiction. I cannot send his
     scrap-book to my friend who asks for it, because I have it not to

     I remembered, when I was collecting material for my story, that in
     General Wilkinson's galimatias, which he calls his "Memoirs," is
     frequent reference to a Jorkins-like partner of his, of the name of
     Nolan, who, at some time near the beginning of this century, was
     killed in Texas. Whenever Wilkinson found himself in rather a
     deeper bog than usual, he used to justify himself by saying that he
     could not explain such or such a charge because "the papers
     referring to it were lost when _Mr. Nolan_ was imprisoned in
     Texas." Finding this mythical character in the mythical legends of
     a mythical time, I took the liberty to give him a brother, rather
     more mythical, whose adventures should be on the seas. I had the
     impression that Wilkinson's friend was named Stephen,--and as such
     he is spoken of in this story at page 232. But long after this was
     printed, I found that the New Orleans paper was right in saying
     that the Texan hero was named Philip. I am very sorry that I
     changed him inadvertently to Stephen. It is too late for me to
     change him back again. I remember to have heard a distinguished
     divine preach on St. Philip's day, by accident, a discourse on the
     life of the Evangelist Stephen. If such a mistake can happen in the
     best regulated of pulpits, I must be pardoned for mistaking Philip
     for Stephen Nolan. The reader must observe that he was dead some
     years before the action of this story begins. In the same
     connection I must add that Mr. P. Nolan, the teamster in Boston,
     whose horse and cart I venture to recommend to an indulgent public,
     is no relation of the hero of this tale.

     If any reader considers the invention of a brother too great a
     liberty to take in fiction, I venture to remind him that "'Tis
     sixty years since"; and that I should have the highest authority in
     literature even for much greater liberties taken with annals so far
     removed from our time.

     A Boston paper, in noticing the story of "My Double," contained in
     another part of this collection, said it was highly _improbable_. I
     have always agreed with that critic. I confess I have the same
     opinion of the story of Philip Nolan. It passes on ships which had
     no existence, is vouched for by officers who never lived. Its hero
     is in two or three places at the same time, under a process wholly
     impossible under any conceivable administration of affairs. In
     reply, therefore, to a kind adviser in Connecticut, who told me
     that the story must be apologized for, because it was doing great
     injury to the national cause by asserting such continued cruelty of
     the Federal Government through a half-century, I must be permitted
     to say that the public, being the Supreme Court of the United
     States, "may be supposed to know something."]

I suppose that very few casual readers of the New York Herald of August
13th observed, in an obscure corner, among the "Deaths," the

     "NOLAN. Died, on board U. S. Corvette Levant, Lat. 2° 11' S., Long.
     131° W., on the 11th of May, PHILIP NOLAN."

I happened to observe it, because I was stranded at the old
Mission-House in Mackinaw, waiting for a Lake Superior steamer which did
not choose to come, and I was devouring to the very stubble all the
current literature I could get hold of, even down to the deaths and
marriages in the Herald. My memory for names and people is good, and the
reader will see, as he goes on, that I had reason enough to remember
Philip Nolan. There are hundreds of readers who would have paused at
that announcement, if the officer of the Levant who reported it had
chosen to make it thus:--"Died, May 11th, THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY."
For it was as "The Man without a Country" that poor Philip Nolan had
generally been known by the officers who had him in charge during some
fifty years, as, indeed, by all the men who sailed under them. I dare
say there is many a man who has taken wine with him once a fortnight, in
a three years' cruise, who never knew that his name was "Nolan," or
whether the poor wretch had any name at all.

There can now be no possible harm in telling this poor creature's story.
Reason enough there has been till now, ever since Madison's
administration went out in 1817, for very strict secrecy, the secrecy of
honor itself, among the gentlemen of the navy who have had Nolan in
successive charge. And certainly it speaks well for the _esprit de
corps_ of the profession, and the personal honor of its members, that to
the press this man's story has been wholly unknown,--and, I think, to
the country at large also. I have reason to think, from some
investigations I made in the Naval Archives when I was attached to the
Bureau of Construction, that every official report relating to him was
burned when Ross burned the public buildings at Washington. One of the
Tuckers, or possibly one of the Watsons, had Nolan in charge at the end
of the war; and when, on returning from his cruise, he reported at
Washington to one of the Crowninshields,--who was in the Navy Department
when he came home,--he found that the Department ignored the whole
business. Whether they really knew nothing about it or whether it was a
"_Non mi ricordo_," determined on as a piece of policy, I do not know.
But this I do know, that since 1817, and possibly before, no naval
officer has mentioned Nolan in his report of a cruise.

But, as I say, there is no need for secrecy any longer. And now the
poor creature is dead, it seems to me worth while to tell a little of
his story, by way of showing young Americans of to-day what it is to be

Philip Nolan was as fine a young officer as there was in the "Legion of
the West," as the Western division of our army was then called. When
Aaron Burr made his first dashing expedition down to New Orleans in
1805, at Fort Massac, or somewhere above on the river, he met, as the
Devil would have it, this gay, dashing, bright young fellow, at some
dinner-party, I think. Burr marked him, talked to him, walked with him,
took him a day or two's voyage in his flat-boat, and, in short,
fascinated him. For the next year, barrack-life was very tame to poor
Nolan. He occasionally availed himself of the permission the great man
had given him to write to him. Long, high-worded, stilted letters the
poor boy wrote and rewrote and copied. But never a line did he have in
reply from the gay deceiver. The other boys in the garrison sneered at
him, because he sacrificed in this unrequited affection for a politician
the time which they devoted to Monongahela, hazard, and high-low-jack.
Bourbon, euchre, and poker were still unknown. But one day Nolan had his
revenge. This time Burr came down the river, not as an attorney seeking
a place for his office, but as a disguised conqueror. He had defeated I
know not how many district-attorneys; he had dined at I know not how
many public dinners; he had been heralded in I know not how many Weekly
Arguses, and it was rumored that he had an army behind him and an empire
before him. It was a great day--his arrival--to poor Nolan. Burr had not
been at the fort an hour before he sent for him. That evening he asked
Nolan to take him out in his skiff, to show him a canebrake or a
cotton-wood tree, as he said,--really to seduce him; and by the time the
sail was over, Nolan was enlisted body and soul. From that time, though
he did not yet know it, he lived as A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY.

What Burr meant to do I know no more than you, dear reader. It is none
of our business just now. Only, when the grand catastrophe came, and
Jefferson and the House of Virginia of that day undertook to break on
the wheel all the possible Clarences of the then House of York, by the
great treason-trial at Richmond, some of the lesser fry in that distant
Mississippi Valley, which was farther from us than Puget's Sound is
to-day, introduced the like novelty on their provincial stage, and, to
while away the monotony of the summer at Fort Adams, got up, for
_spectacles_, a string of court-martials on the officers there. One and
another of the colonels and majors were tried, and, to fill out the
list, little Nolan, against whom, Heaven knows, there was evidence
enough,--that he was sick of the service, had been willing to be false
to it, and would have obeyed any order to march any-whither with any
one who would follow him had the order been signed, "By command of His
Exc. A. Burr." The courts dragged on. The big flies escaped,--rightly
for all I know. Nolan was proved guilty enough, as I say; yet you and I
would never have heard of him, reader, but that, when the president of
the court asked him at the close, whether he wished to say anything to
show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried
out, in a fit of frenzy,--

"D--n the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States

I suppose he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who
was holding the court. Half the officers who sat in it had served
through the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had
been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly cursed in his
madness. He, on his part, had grown up in the West of those days, in the
midst of "Spanish plot," "Orleans plot," and all the rest. He had been
educated on a plantation where the finest company was a Spanish officer
or a French merchant from Orleans. His education, such as it was, had
been perfected in commercial expeditions to Vera Cruz, and I think he
told me his father once hired an Englishman to be a private tutor for a
winter on the plantation. He had spent half his youth with an older
brother, hunting horses in Texas; and, in a word, to him "United States"
was scarcely a reality. Yet he had been fed by "United States" for all
the years since he had been in the army. He had sworn on his faith as a
Christian to be true to "United States." It was "United States" which
gave him the uniform he wore, and the sword by his side. Nay, my poor
Nolan, it was only because "United States" had picked you out first as
one of her own confidential men of honor that "A. Burr" cared for you a
straw more than for the flat-boat men who sailed his ark for him. I do
not excuse Nolan; I only explain to the reader why he damned his
country, and wished he might never hear her name again.

He never did hear her name but once again. From that moment, September
23, 1807, till the day he died, May 11, 1863, he never heard her name
again. For that half-century and more he was a man without a country.

Old Morgan, as I said, was terribly shocked. If Nolan had compared
George Washington to Benedict Arnold, or had cried, "God save King
George," Morgan would not have felt worse. He called the court into his
private room, and returned in fifteen minutes, with a face like a sheet,
to say,--

"Prisoner, hear the sentence of the Court! The Court decides, subject to
the approval of the President, that you never hear the name of the
United States again."

Nolan laughed. But nobody else laughed. Old Morgan was too solemn, and
the whole room was hushed dead as night for a minute. Even Nolan lost
his swagger in a moment. Then Morgan added,--

"Mr. Marshal, take the prisoner to Orleans in an armed boat, and
deliver him to the naval commander there."

The Marshal gave his orders and the prisoner was taken out of court.

"Mr. Marshal," continued old Morgan, "see that no one mentions the
United States to the prisoner. Mr. Marshal, make my respects to
Lieutenant Mitchell at Orleans, and request him to order that no one
shall mention the United States to the prisoner while he is on board
ship. You will receive your written orders from the officer on duty here
this evening. The court is adjourned without day."

I have always supposed that Colonel Morgan himself took the proceedings
of the court to Washington City, and explained them to Mr. Jefferson.
Certain it is that the President approved them,--certain, that is, if I
may believe the men who say they have seen his signature. Before the
Nautilus got round from New Orleans to the Northern Atlantic coast with
the prisoner on board the sentence had been approved, and he was a man
without a country.

The plan then adopted was substantially the same which was necessarily
followed ever after. Perhaps it was suggested by the necessity of
sending him by water from Fort Adams and Orleans. The Secretary of the
Navy--it must have been the first Crowninshield, though he is a man I do
not remember--was requested to put Nolan on board a government vessel
bound on a long cruise, and to direct that he should be only so far
confined there as to make it certain that he never saw or heard of the
country. We had few long cruises then, and the navy was very much out of
favor; and as almost all of this story is traditional, as I have
explained, I do not know certainly what his first cruise was. But the
commander to whom he was intrusted,--perhaps it was Tingey or Shaw,
though I think it was one of the younger men,--we are all old enough
now,--regulated the etiquette and the precautions of the affair, and
according to his scheme they were carried out, I suppose, till Nolan

When I was second officer of the "Intrepid," some thirty years after, I
saw the original paper of instructions. I have been sorry ever since
that I did not copy the whole of it. It ran, however, much in this

                                       "WASHINGTON (with a date, which
                                         must have been late in 1807).

     "SIR,--You will receive from Lieutenant Neale the person of Philip
     Nolan, late a Lieutenant in the United States Army.

     "This person on his trial by court-martial expressed with an oath
     the wish that he might 'never hear of the United States again.'

     "The Court sentenced him to have his wish fulfilled.

     "For the present, the execution of the order is intrusted by the
     President to this Department.

     "You will take the prisoner on board your ship, and keep him there
     with such precautions as shall prevent his escape.

     "You will provide him with such quarters, rations, and clothing as
     would be proper for an officer of his late rank, if he were a
     passenger on your vessel on the business of his Government.

     "The gentlemen on board will make any arrangements agreeable to
     themselves regarding his society. He is to be exposed to no
     indignity of any kind, nor is he ever unnecessarily to be reminded
     that he is a prisoner.

     "But under no circumstances is he ever to hear of his country or to
     see any information regarding it; and you will specially caution
     all the officers under your command to take care, that, in the
     various indulgences which may be granted, this rule, in which his
     punishment is involved, shall not be broken.

     "It is the intention of the Government that he shall never again
     see the country which he has disowned. Before the end of your
     cruise you will receive orders which will give effect to this
              "Respectfully yours,
                "W. SOUTHARD, for the
                  Secretary of the Navy."

If I had only preserved the whole of this paper, there would be no break
in the beginning of my sketch of this story. For Captain Shaw, if it
were he, handed it to his successor in the charge, and he to his, and I
suppose the commander of the Levant has it to-day as his authority for
keeping this man in this mild custody.

The rule adopted on board the ships on which I have met "the man without
a country" was, I think, transmitted from the beginning. No mess liked
to have him permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home
or of the prospect of return, of politics or letters, of peace or of
war,--cut off more than half the talk men liked to have at sea. But it
was always thought too hard that he should never meet the rest of us,
except to touch hats, and we finally sank into one system. He was not
permitted to talk with the men, unless an officer was by. With officers
he had unrestrained intercourse, as far as they and he chose. But he
grew shy, though he had favorites: I was one. Then the captain always
asked him to dinner on Monday. Every mess in succession took up the
invitation in its turn. According to the size of the ship, you had him
at your mess more or less often at dinner. His breakfast he ate in his
own state-room,--he always had a state-room,--which was where a sentinel
or somebody on the watch could see the door. And whatever else he ate or
drank, he ate or drank alone. Sometimes, when the marines or sailors had
any special jollification, they were permitted to invite
"Plain-Buttons," as they called him. Then Nolan was sent with some
officer, and the men were forbidden to speak of home while he was
there. I believe the theory was that the sight of his punishment did
them good. They called him "Plain-Buttons," because, while he always
chose to wear a regulation army-uniform, he was not permitted to wear
the army-button, for the reason that it bore either the initials or the
insignia of the country he had disowned.

I remember, soon after I joined the navy, I was on shore with some of
the older officers from our ship and from the Brandywine, which we had
met at Alexandria. We had leave to make a party and go up to Cairo and
the Pyramids. As we jogged along (you went on donkeys then), some of the
gentlemen (we boys called them "Dons," but the phrase was long since
changed) fell to talking about Nolan, and some one told the system which
was adopted from the first about his books and other reading. As he was
almost never permitted to go on shore, even though the vessel lay in
port for months, his time at the best hung heavy; and everybody was
permitted to lend him books, if they were not published in America and
made no allusion to it. These were common enough in the old days, when
people in the other hemisphere talked of the United States as little as
we do of Paraguay. He had almost all the foreign papers that came into
the ship, sooner or later; only somebody must go over them first, and
cut out any advertisement or stray paragraph that alluded to America.
This was a little cruel sometimes, when the back of what was cut out
might be as innocent as Hesiod. Right in the midst of one of Napoleon's
battles, or one of Canning's speeches, poor Nolan would find a great
hole, because on the back of the page of that paper there had been an
advertisement of a packet for New York, or a scrap from the President's
message. I say this was the first time I ever heard of this plan, which
afterwards I had enough and more than enough to do with. I remember it,
because poor Phillips, who was of the party, as soon as the allusion to
reading was made, told a story of something which happened at the Cape
of Good Hope on Nolan's first voyage; and it is the only thing I ever
knew of that voyage. They had touched at the Cape, and had done the
civil thing with the English Admiral and the fleet, and then, leaving
for a long cruise up the Indian Ocean, Phillips had borrowed a lot of
English books from an officer, which, in those days, as indeed in these,
was quite a windfall. Among them, as the Devil would order, was the "Lay
of the Last Minstrel," which they had all of them heard of, but which
most of them had never seen. I think it could not have been published
long. Well, nobody thought there could be any risk of anything national
in that, though Phillips swore old Shaw had cut out the "Tempest" from
Shakespeare before he let Nolan have it, because he said "the Bermudas
ought to be ours, and, by Jove, should be one day." So Nolan was
permitted to join the circle one afternoon when a lot of them sat on
deck smoking and reading aloud. People do not do such things so often
now; but when I was young we got rid of a great deal of time so. Well,
so it happened that in his turn Nolan took the book and read to the
others; and he read very well, as I know. Nobody in the circle knew a
line of the poem, only it was all magic and Border chivalry, and was ten
thousand years ago. Poor Nolan read steadily through the fifth canto,
stopped a minute and drank something, and then began, without a thought
of what was coming,--

     "Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
     Who never to himself hath said,"--

It seems impossible to us that anybody ever heard this for the first
time; but all these fellows did then, and poor Nolan himself went on,
still unconsciously or mechanically,--

     "This is my own, my native land!"

Then they all saw something was to pay; but he expected to get through,
I suppose, turned a little pale, but plunged on,--

     "Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
     As home his footsteps he hath turned
       From wandering on a foreign strand?--
     If such there breathe, go, mark him well,"--

By this time the men were all beside themselves, wishing there was any
way to make him turn over two pages; but he had not quite presence of
mind for that; he gagged a little, colored crimson, and staggered on,--

     "For him no minstrel raptures swell;
     High though his titles, proud his name,
     Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
     Despite these titles, power, and pelf,
     The wretch, concentred all in self,"--

and here the poor fellow choked, could not go on, but started up, swung
the book into the sea, vanished into his state-room, "And by Jove," said
Phillips, "we did not see him for two months again. And I had to make up
some beggarly story to that English surgeon why I did not return his
Walter Scott to him."

That story shows about the time when Nolan's braggadocio must have
broken down. At first, they said, he took a very high tone, considered
his imprisonment a mere farce, affected to enjoy the voyage, and all
that; but Phillips said that after he came out of his state-room he
never was the same man again. He never read aloud again, unless it was
the Bible or Shakespeare, or something else he was sure of. But it was
not that merely. He never entered in with the other young men exactly as
a companion again. He was always shy afterwards, when I knew him,--very
seldom spoke, unless he was spoken to, except to a very few friends. He
lighted up occasionally,--I remember late in his life hearing him fairly
eloquent on something which had been suggested to him by one of
Fléchier's sermons,--but generally he had the nervous, tired look of a
heart-wounded man.

When Captain Shaw was coming home,--if, as I say, it was Shaw,--rather
to the surprise of everybody they made one of the Windward Islands, and
lay off and on for nearly a week. The boys said the officers were sick
of salt-junk, and meant to have turtle-soup before they came home. But
after several days the Warren came to the same rendezvous; they
exchanged signals; she sent to Phillips and these homeward-bound men
letters and papers, and told them she was outward-bound, perhaps to the
Mediterranean, and took poor Nolan and his traps on the boat back to try
his second cruise. He looked very blank when he was told to get ready to
join her. He had known enough of the signs of the sky to know that till
that moment he was going "home." But this was a distinct evidence of
something he had not thought of, perhaps,--that there was no going home
for him, even to a prison. And this was the first of some twenty such
transfers, which brought him sooner or later into half our best vessels,
but which kept him all his life at least some hundred miles from the
country he had hoped he might never hear of again.

It may have been on that second cruise,--it was once when he was up the
Mediterranean,--that Mrs. Graff, the celebrated Southern beauty of those
days, danced with him. They had been lying a long time in the Bay of
Naples, and the officers were very intimate in the English fleet, and
there had been great festivities, and our men thought they must give a
great ball on board the ship. How they ever did it on board the "Warren"
I am sure I do not know. Perhaps it was not the "Warren," or perhaps
ladies did not take up so much room as they do now. They wanted to use
Nolan's state-room for something, and they hated to do it without asking
him to the ball; so the captain said they might ask him, if they would
be responsible that he did not talk with the wrong people, "who would
give him intelligence." So the dance went on, the finest party that had
ever been known, I dare say; for I never heard of a man-of-war ball that
was not. For ladies they had the family of the American consul, one or
two travellers who had adventured so far, and a nice bevy of English
girls and matrons, perhaps Lady Hamilton herself.

Well, different officers relieved each other in standing and talking
with Nolan in a friendly way, so as to be sure that nobody else spoke to
him. The dancing went on with spirit, and after a while even the fellows
who took this honorary guard of Nolan ceased to fear any _contretemps_.
Only when some English lady--Lady Hamilton, as I said, perhaps--called
for a set of "American dances," an odd thing happened. Everybody then
danced contra-dances. The black band, nothing loath, conferred as to
what "American dances" were, and started off with "Virginia Reel," which
they followed with "Money-Musk," which, in its turn in those days,
should have been followed by "The Old Thirteen." But just as Dick, the
leader, tapped for his fiddles to begin, and bent forward, about to say,
in true negro state, "'The Old Thirteen,' gentlemen and ladies!" as he
had said "'Virginny Reel,' if you please!" and "'Money-Musk,' if you
please!" the captain's boy tapped him on the shoulder, whispered to him,
and he did not announce the name of the dance; he merely bowed, began on
the air, and they all fell to,--the officers teaching the English girls
the figure, but not telling them why it had no name.

But that is not the story I started to tell.--As the dancing went on,
Nolan and our fellows all got at ease, as I said,--so much so, that it
seemed quite natural for him to bow to that splendid Mrs. Graff, and

"I hope you have not forgotten me, Miss Rutledge. Shall I have the honor
of dancing?"

He did it so quickly, that Fellows, who was by him, could not hinder
him. She laughed and said,--

"I am not Miss Rutledge any longer, Mr. Nolan; but I will dance all the
same," just nodded to Fellows, as if to say he must leave Mr. Nolan to
her, and led him off to the place where the dance was forming.

Nolan thought he had got his chance. He had known her at Philadelphia,
and at other places had met her, and this was a Godsend. You could not
talk in contra-dances, as you do in cotillons, or even in the pauses of
waltzing; but there were chances for tongues and sounds, as well as for
eyes and blushes. He began with her travels, and Europe, and Vesuvius,
and the French; and then, when they had worked down, and had that long
talking-time at the bottom of the set, he said, boldly,--a little pale,
she said, as she told me the story, years after,--

"And what do you hear from home, Mrs. Graff?"

And that splendid creature looked through him. Jove! how she must have
looked through him!

"Home!! Mr. Nolan!!! I thought you were the man who never wanted to hear
of home again!"--and she walked directly up the deck to her husband, and
left poor Nolan alone, as he always was.--He did not dance again.

I cannot give any history of him in order; nobody can now; and, indeed,
I am not trying to. These are the traditions, which I sort out, as I
believe them, from the myths which have been told about this man for
forty years. The lies that have been told about him are legion. The
fellows used to say he was the "Iron Mask"; and poor George Pons went to
his grave in the belief that this was the author of "Junius," who was
being punished for his celebrated libel on Thomas Jefferson. Pons was
not very strong in the historical line. A happier story than either of
these I have told is of the War. That came along soon after. I have
heard this affair told in three or four ways,--and, indeed, it may have
happened more than once. But which ship it was on I cannot tell.
However, in one, at least, of the great frigate-duels with the English,
in which the navy was really baptized, it happened that a round-shot
from the enemy entered one of our ports square, and took right down the
officer of the gun himself, and almost every man of the gun's crew. Now
you may say what you choose about courage, but that is not a nice thing
to see. But, as the men who were not killed picked themselves up, and as
they and the surgeon's people were carrying off the bodies, there
appeared Nolan, in his shirt-sleeves, with the rammer in his hand, and,
just as if he had been the officer, told them off with authority,--who
should go to the cockpit with the wounded men, who should stay with
him,--perfectly cheery, and with that way which makes men feel sure all
is right and is going to be right. And he finished loading the gun with
his own hands, aimed it, and bade the men fire. And there he stayed,
captain of that gun, keeping those fellows in spirits, till the enemy
struck,--sitting on the carriage while the gun was cooling, though he
was exposed all the time,--showing them easier ways to handle heavy
shot,--making the raw hands laugh at their own blunders,--and when the
gun cooled again, getting it loaded and fired twice as often as any
other gun on the ship. The captain walked forward by way of encouraging
the men, and Nolan touched his hat and said,--

"I am showing them how we do this in the artillery, sir."

And this is the part of the story where all the legends agree; and the
Commodore said,--

"I see you do, and I thank you, sir; and I shall never forget this day,
sir, and you never shall, sir."

And after the whole thing was over, and he had the Englishman's sword,
in the midst of the state and ceremony of the quarter-deck, he said,--

"Where is Mr. Nolan? Ask Mr. Nolan to come here."

And when Nolan came, the captain said,--

"Mr. Nolan, we are all very grateful to you to-day; you are one of us
to-day; you will be named in the despatches."

And then the old man took off his own sword of ceremony, and gave it to
Nolan, and made him put it on. The man told me this who saw it. Nolan
cried like a baby, and well he might. He had not worn a sword since that
infernal day at Fort Adams. But always afterwards on occasions of
ceremony, he wore that quaint old French sword of the Commodore's.

The captain did mention him in the despatches. It was always said he
asked that he might be pardoned. He wrote a special letter to the
Secretary of War. But nothing ever came of it. As I said, that was about
the time when they began to ignore the whole transaction at Washington,
and when Nolan's imprisonment began to carry itself on because there was
nobody to stop it without any new orders from home.

I have heard it said that he was with Porter when he took possession of
the Nukahiwa Islands. Not this Porter, you know, but old Porter, his
father, Essex Porter,--that is, the old Essex Porter, not this Essex. As
an artillery officer, who had seen service in the West, Nolan knew more
about fortifications, embrasures, ravelins, stockades, and all that,
than any of them did; and he worked with a right good-will in fixing
that battery all right. I have always thought it was a pity Porter did
not leave him in command there with Gamble. That would have settled all
the question about his punishment. We should have kept the islands, and
at this moment we should have one station in the Pacific Ocean. Our
French friends, too, when they wanted this little watering-place, would
have found it was preoccupied. But Madison and the Virginians, of
course, flung all that away.

All that was near fifty years ago. If Nolan was thirty then, he must
have been near eighty when he died. He looked sixty when he was forty.
But he never seemed to me to change a hair afterwards. As I imagine his
life, from what I have seen and heard of it, he must have been in every
sea, and yet almost never on land. He must have known, in a formal way,
more officers in our service than any man living knows. He told me once,
with a grave smile, that no man in the world lived so methodical a life
as he. "You know the boys say I am the Iron Mask, and you know how busy
he was." He said it did not do for any one to try to read all the time,
more than to do anything else all the time; but that he read just five
hours a day. "Then," he said, "I keep up my note-books, writing in them
at such and such hours from what I have been reading; and I include in
these my scrap-books." These were very curious indeed. He had six or
eight, of different subjects. There was one of History, one of Natural
Science, one which he called "Odds and Ends." But they were not merely
books of extracts from newspapers. They had bits of plants and ribbons,
shells tied on, and carved scraps of bone and wood, which he had taught
the men to cut for him, and they were beautifully illustrated. He drew
admirably. He had some of the funniest drawings there, and some of the
most pathetic, that I have ever seen in my life. I wonder who will have
Nolan's scrap-books.

Well, he said his reading and his notes were his profession, and that
they took five hours and two hours respectively of each day. "Then,"
said he, "every man should have a diversion as well as a profession. My
Natural History is my diversion." That took two hours a day more. The
men used to bring him birds and fish, but on a long cruise he had to
satisfy himself with centipedes and cockroaches and such small game. He
was the only naturalist I ever met who knew anything about the habits of
the house-fly and the mosquito. All those people can tell you whether
they are _Lepidoptera_ or _Steptopotera_; but as for telling how you can
get rid of them, or how they get away from you when you strike
them,--why Linnæus knew as little of that as John Foy the idiot did.
These nine hours made Nolan's regular daily "occupation." The rest of
the time he talked or walked. Till he grew very old, he went aloft a
great deal. He always kept up his exercise; and I never heard that he
was ill. If any other man was ill, he was the kindest nurse in the
world; and he knew more than half the surgeons do. Then if anybody was
sick or died, or if the captain wanted him to, on any other occasion, he
was always ready to read prayers. I have said that he read beautifully.

My own acquaintance with Philip Nolan began six or eight years after the
War, on my first voyage after I was appointed a midshipman. It was in
the first days after our Slave-Trade treaty, while the Reigning House,
which was still the House of Virginia, had still a sort of
sentimentalism about the suppression of the horrors of the Middle
Passage, and something was sometimes done that way. We were in the South
Atlantic on that business. From the time I joined, I believe I thought
Nolan was a sort of lay chaplain,--a chaplain with a blue coat. I never
asked about him. Everything in the ship was strange to me. I knew it was
green to ask questions, and I suppose I thought there was a
"Plain-Buttons" on every ship. We had him to dine in our mess once a
week, and the caution was given that on that day nothing was to be said
about home. But if they had told us not to say anything about the planet
Mars or the Book of Deuteronomy, I should not have asked why; there were
a great many things which seemed to me to have as little reason. I first
came to understand anything about "the man without a country" one day
when we overhauled a dirty little schooner which had slaves on board.
An officer was sent to take charge of her, and, after a few minutes, he
sent back his boat to ask that some one might be sent him who could
speak Portuguese. We were all looking over the rail when the message
came, and we all wished we could interpret, when the captain asked Who
spoke Portuguese. But none of the officers did; and just as the captain
was sending forward to ask if any of the people could, Nolan stepped out
and said he should be glad to interpret, if the captain wished, as he
understood the language. The captain thanked him, fitted out another
boat with him, and in this boat it was my luck to go.

When we got there, it was such a scene as you seldom see, and never want
to. Nastiness beyond account, and chaos run loose in the midst of the
nastiness. There were not a great many of the negroes; but by way of
making what there were understand that they were free, Vaughan had had
their hand-cuffs and ankle-cuffs knocked off, and, for convenience'
sake, was putting them upon the rascals of the schooner's crew. The
negroes were, most of them, out of the hold, and swarming all round the
dirty deck, with a central throng surrounding Vaughan and addressing him
in every dialect, and _patois_ of a dialect, from the Zulu click up to
the Parisian of Beledeljereed.

As we came on deck, Vaughan looked down from a hogshead, on which he had
mounted in desperation, and said:--

"For God's love, is there anybody who can make these wretches
understand something? The men gave them rum, and that did not quiet
them. I knocked that big fellow down twice, and that did not soothe him.
And then I talked Choctaw to all of them together; and I'll be hanged if
they understood that as well as they understood the English."

Nolan said he could speak Portuguese, and one or two fine-looking
Kroomen were dragged out, who, as it had been found already, had worked
for the Portuguese on the coast at Fernando Po.

"Tell them they are free," said Vaughan; "and tell them that these
rascals are to be hanged as soon as we can get rope enough."

Nolan "put that into Spanish,"--that is, he explained it in such
Portuguese as the Kroomen could understand, and they in turn to such of
the negroes as could understand them. Then there was such a yell of
delight, clinching of fists, leaping and dancing, kissing of Nolan's
feet, and a general rush made to the hogshead by way of spontaneous
worship of Vaughan, as the _deus ex machina_ of the occasion.

"Tell them," said Vaughan, well pleased, "that I will take them all to
Cape Palmas."

This did not answer so well. Cape Palmas was practically as far from the
homes of most of them as New Orleans or Rio Janeiro was; that is, they
would be eternally separated from home there. And their interpreters, as
we could understand, instantly said, "_Ah, non Palmas_," and began to
propose infinite other expedients in most voluble language. Vaughan was
rather disappointed at this result of his liberality, and asked Nolan
eagerly what they said. The drops stood on poor Nolan's white forehead,
as he hushed the men down, and said:--

"He says, 'Not Palmas.' He says, 'Take us home, take us to our own
country, take us to our own house, take us to our own pickaninnies and
our own women.' He says he has an old father and mother who will die if
they do not see him. And this one says he left his people all sick, and
paddled down to Fernando to beg the white doctor to come and help them,
and that these devils caught him in the bay just in sight of home, and
that he has never seen anybody from home since then. And this one says,"
choked out Nolan, "that he has not heard a word from his home in six
months, while he has been locked up in an infernal barracoon."

Vaughan always said he grew gray himself while Nolan struggled through
this interpretation. I, who did not understand anything of the passion
involved in it, saw that the very elements were melting with fervent
heat, and that something was to pay somewhere. Even the negroes
themselves stopped howling, as they saw Nolan's agony, and Vaughan's
almost equal agony of sympathy. As quick as he could get words, he

"Tell them yes, yes, yes; tell them they shall go to the Mountains of
the Moon, if they will. If I sail the schooner through the Great White
Desert, they shall go home!"

And after some fashion Nolan said so. And then they all fell to kissing
him again, and wanted to rub his nose with theirs.

But he could not stand it long; and getting Vaughan to say he might go
back, he beckoned me down into our boat. As we lay back in the
stern-sheets and the men gave way, he said to me: "Youngster, let that
show you what it is to be without a family, without a home, and without
a country. And if you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing
that shall put a bar between you and your family, your home, and your
country, pray God in his mercy to take you that instant home to his own
heaven. Stick by your family, boy; forget you have a self, while you do
everything for them. Think of your home, boy; write and send, and talk
about it. Let it be nearer and nearer to your thought, the farther you
have to travel from it; and rush back to it, when you are free, as that
poor black slave is doing now. And for your country, boy," and the words
rattled in his throat, "and for that flag," and he pointed to the ship,
"never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you, though the
service carry you through a thousand hells. No matter what happens to
you, no matter who flatters you or who abuses you, never look at another
flag, never let a night pass but you pray God to bless that flag.
Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with, behind
officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself,
your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to your own
mother. Stand by Her, boy, as you would stand by your mother, if those
devils there had got hold of her to-day!"

I was frightened to death by his calm, hard passion; but I blundered
out, that I would, by all that was holy, and that I had never thought of
doing anything else. He hardly seemed to hear me; but he did, almost in
a whisper, say: "O, if anybody had said so to me when I was of your

I think it was this half-confidence of his, which I never abused, for I
never told this story till now, which afterward made us great friends.
He was very kind to me. Often he sat up, or even got up, at night, to
walk the deck with me, when it was my watch. He explained to me a great
deal of my mathematics, and I owe to him my taste for mathematics. He
lent me books, and helped me about my reading. He never alluded so
directly to his story again; but from one and another officer I have
learned, in thirty years, what I am telling. When we parted from him in
St. Thomas harbor, at the end of our cruise, I was more sorry than I can
tell. I was very glad to meet him again in 1830; and later in life, when
I thought I had some influence in Washington, I moved heaven and earth
to have him discharged. But it was like getting a ghost out of prison.
They pretended there was no such man, and never was such a man. They
will say so at the Department now! Perhaps they do not know. It will not
be the first thing in the service of which the Department appears to
know nothing!

There is a story that Nolan met Burr once on one of our vessels, when a
party of Americans came on board in the Mediterranean. But this I
believe to be a lie; or, rather, it is a myth, _ben trovato_, involving
a tremendous blowing-up with which he sunk Burr,--asking him how he
liked to be "without a country." But it is clear from Burr's life, that
nothing of the sort could have happened; and I mention this only as an
illustration of the stories which get a-going where there is the least
mystery at bottom.

So poor Philip Nolan had his wish fulfilled. I know but one fate more
dreadful; it is the fate reserved for those men who shall have one day
to exile themselves from their country because they have attempted her
ruin, and shall have at the same time to see the prosperity and honor to
which she rises when she has rid herself of them and their iniquities.
The wish of poor Nolan, as we all learned to call him, not because his
punishment was too great, but because his repentance was so clear, was
precisely the wish of every Bragg and Beauregard who broke a soldier's
oath two years ago, and of every Maury and Barron who broke a sailor's.
I do not know how often they have repented. I do know that they have
done all that in them lay that they might have no country,--that all the
honors, associations, memories, and hopes which belong to "country"
might be broken up into little shreds and distributed to the winds. I
know, too, that their punishment, as they vegetate through what is left
of life to them in wretched Boulognes and Leicester Squares, where they
are destined to upbraid each other till they die, will have all the
agony of Nolan's, with the added pang that every one who sees them will
see them to despise and to execrate them. They will have their wish,
like him.

For him, poor fellow, he repented of his folly, and then, like a man,
submitted to the fate he had asked for. He never intentionally added to
the difficulty or delicacy of the charge of those who had him in hold.
Accidents would happen; but they never happened from his fault.
Lieutenant Truxton told me, that, when Texas was annexed, there was a
careful discussion among the officers, whether they should get hold of
Nolan's handsome set of maps, and cut Texas out of it,--from the map of
the world and the map of Mexico. The United States had been cut out when
the atlas was bought for him. But it was voted, rightly enough, that to
do this would be virtually to reveal to him what had happened, or, as
Harry Cole said, to make him think Old Burr had succeeded. So it was
from no fault of Nolan's that a great botch happened at my own table,
when, for a short time, I was in command of the George Washington
corvette, on the South American station. We were lying in the La Plata,
and some of the officers, who had been on shore, and had just joined
again, were entertaining us with accounts of their misadventures in
riding the half-wild horses of Buenos Ayres. Nolan was at table, and was
in an unusually bright and talkative mood. Some story of a tumble
reminded him of an adventure of his own, when he was catching wild
horses in Texas with his brother Stephen, at a time when he must have
been quite a boy. He told the story with a good deal of spirit,--so much
so, that the silence which often follows a good story hung over the
table for an instant, to be broken by Nolan himself. For he asked
perfectly unconsciously:--

"Pray, what has become of Texas? After the Mexicans got their
independence, I thought that province of Texas would come forward very
fast. It is really one of the finest regions on earth; it is the Italy
of this continent. But I have not seen or heard a word of Texas for near
twenty years."

There were two Texan officers at the table. The reason he had never
heard of Texas was that Texas and her affairs had been painfully cut out
of his newspapers since Austin began his settlements; so that, while he
read of Honduras and Tamaulipas, and, till quite lately, of
California,--this virgin province, in which his brother had travelled so
far, and, I believe, had died, had ceased to be to him. Waters and
Williams, the two Texas men, looked grimly at each other, and tried not
to laugh. Edward Morris had his attention attracted by the third link in
the chain of the captain's chandelier. Watrous was seized with a
convulsion of sneezing. Nolan himself saw that something was to pay, he
did not know what. And I, as master of the feast, had to say,--

"Texas is out of the map, Mr. Nolan. Have you seen Captain Back's
curious account of Sir Thomas Roe's Welcome?"

After that cruise I never saw Nolan again. I wrote to him at least twice
a year, for in that voyage we became even confidentially intimate; but
he never wrote to me. The other men tell me that in those fifteen years
he _aged_ very fast, as well he might indeed, but that he was still the
same gentle, uncomplaining, silent sufferer that he ever was, bearing as
best he could his self-appointed punishment,--rather less social,
perhaps, with new men whom he did not know, but more anxious,
apparently, than ever to serve and befriend and teach the boys, some of
whom fairly seemed to worship him. And now it seems the dear old fellow
is dead. He has found a home at last, and a country.

Since writing this, and while considering whether or no I would print
it, as a warning to the young Nolans and Vallandighams and Tatnalls of
to-day of what it is to throw away a country, I have received from
Danforth, who is on board the Levant, a letter which gives an account
of Nolan's last hours. It removes all my doubts about telling this

To understand the first words of the letter, the non-professional reader
should remember that after 1817, the position of every officer who had
Nolan in charge was one of the greatest delicacy. The government had
failed to renew the order of 1807 regarding him. What was a man to do?
Should he let him go? What, then, if he were called to account by the
Department for violating the order of 1807? Should he keep him? What,
then, if Nolan should be liberated some day, and should bring an action
for false imprisonment or kidnapping against every man who had had him
in charge? I urged and pressed this upon Southard, and I have reason to
think that other officers did the same thing. But the Secretary always
said, as they so often do at Washington, that there were no special
orders to give, and that we must act on our own judgment. That means,
"If you succeed, you will be sustained; if you fail, you will be
disavowed." Well, as Danforth says, all that is over now, though I do
not know but I expose myself to a criminal prosecution on the evidence
of the very revelation I am making.

Here is the letter:--

                                          "LEVANT, 2° 2' S. @ 131° W.

     "DEAR FRED:--I try to find heart and life to tell you that it is
     all over with dear old Nolan. I have been with him on this voyage
     more than I ever was, and I can understand wholly now the way in
     which you used to speak of the dear old fellow. I could see that he
     was not strong, but I had no idea the end was so near. The doctor
     has been watching him very carefully, and yesterday morning came to
     me and told me that Nolan was not so well, and had not left his
     state-room,--a thing I never remember before. He had let the doctor
     come and see him as he lay there,--the first time the doctor had
     been in the state-room,--and he said he should like to see me. O
     dear! do you remember the mysteries we boys used to invent about
     his room, in the old Intrepid days? Well, I went in, and there, to
     be sure, the poor fellow lay in his berth, smiling pleasantly as he
     gave me his hand, but looking very frail. I could not help a glance
     round, which showed me what a little shrine he had made of the box
     he was lying in. The stars and stripes were triced up above and
     around a picture of Washington, and he had painted a majestic
     eagle, with lightnings blazing from his beak and his foot just
     clasping the whole globe, which his wings overshadowed. The dear
     old boy saw my glance, and said, with a sad smile, 'Here, you see,
     I have a country!' And then he pointed to the foot of his bed,
     where I had not seen before a great map of the United States, as he
     had drawn it from memory, and which he had there to look upon as he
     lay. Quaint, queer old names were on it, in large letters: 'Indiana
     Territory,' 'Mississippi Territory,' and 'Louisiana Territory,' as
     I suppose our fathers learned such things: but the old fellow had
     patched in Texas, too; he had carried his western boundary all the
     way to the Pacific, but on that shore he had defined nothing.

     "'O Danforth,' he said, 'I know I am dying. I cannot get home.
     Surely you will tell me something now?--Stop! stop! Do not speak
     till I say what I am sure you know, that there is not in this ship,
     that there is not in America,--God bless her!--a more loyal man
     than I. There cannot be a man who loves the old flag as I do, or
     prays for it as I do, or hopes for it as I do. There are
     thirty-four stars in it now, Danforth. I thank God for that, though
     I do not know what their names are. There has never been one taken
     away: I thank God for that. I know by that that there has never
     been any successful Burr. O Danforth, Danforth,' he sighed out,
     'how like a wretched night's dream a boy's idea of personal fame or
     of separate sovereignty seems, when one looks back on it after such
     a life as mine! But tell me,--tell me something,--tell me
     everything, Danforth, before I die!'

     "Ingham, I swear to you that I felt like a monster that I had not
     told him everything before. Danger or no danger, delicacy or no
     delicacy, who was I, that I should have been acting the tyrant all
     this time over this dear, sainted old man, who had years ago
     expiated, in his whole manhood's life, the madness of a boy's
     treason? 'Mr. Nolan,' said I, 'I will tell you everything you ask
     about. Only, where shall I begin?'

     "O the blessed smile that crept over his white face! and he
     pressed my hand and said, 'God bless you!' 'Tell me their names,'
     he said, and he pointed to the stars on the flag. 'The last I know
     is Ohio. My father lived in Kentucky. But I have guessed Michigan
     and Indiana and Mississippi,--that was where Fort Adams is,--they
     make twenty. But where are your other fourteen? You have not cut up
     any of the old ones, I hope?'

     "Well, that was not a bad text, and I told him the names in as good
     order as I could, and he bade me take down his beautiful map and
     draw them in as I best could with my pencil. He was wild with
     delight about Texas, told me how his brother died there; he had
     marked a gold cross where he supposed his brother's grave was; and
     he had guessed at Texas. Then he was delighted as he saw California
     and Oregon;--that, he said, he had suspected partly, because he had
     never been permitted to land on that shore, though the ships were
     there so much. 'And the men,' said he, laughing, 'brought off a
     good deal besides furs.' Then he went back--heavens, how far!--to
     ask about the Chesapeake, and what was done to Barron for
     surrendering her to the Leopard, and whether Burr ever tried
     again,--and he ground his teeth with the only passion he showed.
     But in a moment that was over, and he said, 'God forgive me, for I
     am sure I forgive him.' Then he asked about the old war,--told me
     the true story of his serving the gun the day we took the
     Java,--asked about dear old David Porter, as he called him. Then he
     settled down more quietly, and very happily, to hear me tell in an
     hour the history of fifty years.

     "How I wished it had been somebody who knew something! But I did as
     well as I could. I told him of the English war. I told him about
     Fulton and the steamboat beginning. I told him about old Scott, and
     Jackson; told him all I could think of about the Mississippi, and
     New Orleans, and Texas, and his own old Kentucky. And do you think,
     he asked who was in command of the 'Legion of the West.' I told him
     it was a very gallant officer named Grant, and that, by our last
     news, he was about to establish his head-quarters at Vicksburg.
     Then, 'Where was Vicksburg?' I worked that out on the map; it was
     about a hundred miles, more or less, above his old Fort Adams; and
     I thought Fort Adams must be a ruin now. 'It must be at old Vick's
     plantation,' said he: 'well, that is a change!'

     "I tell you, Ingham, it was a hard thing to condense the history of
     half a century into that talk with a sick man. And I do not now
     know what I told him,--of emigration, and the means of it,--of
     steamboats, and railroads, and telegraphs,--of inventions, and
     books, and literature,--of the colleges, and West Point, and the
     Naval School,--but with the queerest interruptions that ever you
     heard. You see it was Robinson Crusoe asking all the accumulated
     questions of fifty-six years!

     "I remember he asked, all of a sudden, who was President now; and
     when I told him, he asked if Old Abe was General Benjamin Lincoln's
     son. He said he met old General Lincoln, when he was quite a boy
     himself, at some Indian treaty. I said no, that Old Abe was a
     Kentuckian like himself, but I could not tell him of what family;
     he had worked up from the ranks. 'Good for him!' cried Nolan; 'I am
     glad of that. As I have brooded and wondered, I have thought our
     danger was in keeping up those regular successions in the first
     families.' Then I got talking about my visit to Washington. I told
     him of meeting the Oregon Congressman, Harding; I told him about
     the Smithsonian, and the Exploring Expedition; I told him about the
     Capitol, and the statues for the pediment, and Crawford's Liberty,
     and Greenough's Washington: Ingham, I told him everything I could
     think of that would show the grandeur of his country and its
     prosperity; but I could not make up my mouth to tell him a word
     about this infernal Rebellion!

     "And he drank it in, and enjoyed it as I cannot tell you. He grew
     more and more silent, yet I never thought he was tired or faint. I
     gave him a glass of water, but he just wet his lips, and told me
     not to go away. Then he asked me to bring the Presbyterian 'Book of
     Public Prayer,' which lay there, and said, with a smile, that it
     would open at the right place,--and so it did. There was his double
     red mark down the page; and I knelt down and read, and he repeated
     with me, 'For ourselves and our country, O gracious God, we thank
     Thee, that, notwithstanding our manifold transgressions of Thy holy
     laws, Thou hast continued to us Thy marvellous kindness,'--and so
     to the end of that thanksgiving. Then he turned to the end of the
     same book, and I read the words more familiar to me: 'Most heartily
     we beseech Thee with Thy favor to behold and bless Thy servant, the
     President of the United States, and all others in authority,'--and
     the rest of the Episcopal collect. 'Danforth,' said he, 'I have
     repeated those prayers night and morning, it is now fifty-five
     years.' And then he said he would go to sleep. He bent me down over
     him and kissed me; and he said, 'Look in my Bible, Danforth, when I
     am gone.' And I went away.

     "But I had no thought it was the end. I thought he was tired and
     would sleep. I knew he was happy and I wanted him to be alone.

     "But in an hour, when the doctor went in gently, he found Nolan had
     breathed his life away with a smile. He had something pressed close
     to his lips. It was his father's badge of the Order of the

     "We looked in his Bible, and there was a slip of paper at the place
     where he had marked the text:--

     "'They desire a country, even a heavenly: wherefore God is not
     ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a

     "On this slip of paper he had written:--

     "'Bury me in the sea; it has been my home, and I love it. But will
     not some one set up a stone for my memory at Fort Adams or at
     Orleans, that my disgrace may not be more than I ought to bear? Say
     on it:--

                           "'_In Memory of_

                            "'PHILIP NOLAN,

             "'_Lieutenant in the Army of the United States._

      "'He loved his country as no other man has loved her; but no
                   man deserved less at her hands.'"



     [The Florida, Anglo-Rebel pirate, after inflicting horrible
     injuries on the commerce of America and the good name of England,
     was cut out by Captain Collins, from the bay of Bahia, by one of
     those fortunate mistakes in international law which endear brave
     men to the nations in whose interest they are committed. When she
     arrived here the government was obliged to disavow the act. The
     question then was, as we had her by mistake, what we should do with
     her. At that moment the National Sailors' Fair was in full blast at
     Boston, and I offered my suggestion in answer in the following
     article, which was published November 19, 1864, in the "Boatswain's
     Whistle," a little paper issued at the fair.

     The government did not take the suggestion. Very unfortunately,
     before the Florida was got ready for sea, she was accidentally sunk
     in a collision with a tug off Fort Monroe, and the heirs of the
     Confederate government or the English bond-holders must look there
     for her, if the Brazilian government will give them permission.

     For the benefit of the New York Observer I will state that a
     despatch sent round the world in a spiral direction westward 1,200
     times, would not really arrive at its destination four years before
     it started. It is only a joke which suggests it.]



     [Received four years in advance of the mail by a lightning express,
     which has gained that time by running round the world 1,200 times
     in a spiral direction westward on its way from Brazil to our
     publication-office. Mrs. Ingham's address not being known, the
     letter is printed for her information.]

     No. 29.

     BAHAI, BRAZIL, April 1, 1868.

MY DEAR WIFE:--We are here at last, thank fortune; and I shall surrender
the old pirate to-day to the officers of government. We have been
saluted, are to be fêted, and perhaps I shall be made a Knight Commander
of the Golden Goose. I never was so glad as when I saw the lights on the
San Esperitu head-land, which makes the south point of this Bahia or

You will not have received my No. 28 from Loando, and may have missed 26
and 24, which I gave to _outward_ bound whalemen. I always doubted
whether you got 1, 7, 9, and 11. And for me I have no word of you since
you waved your handkerchief from the window in Springfield Street on the
morning of the 1st of June, 1865, nearly four years. My dear child, you
will not know me.

Let me then repeat, very briefly, the outline of this strange cruise;
and when the letters come, you can fill in the blanks.

The government had determined that the Florida must be returned to the
neutral harbor whence she came. They had put her in complete repair, and
six months of diplomacy had made the proper apologies to the Brazilian
government. Meanwhile Collins, who had captured her by mistake, had, by
another mistake, been made an admiral, and was commanding a squadron;
and to insure her safe and respectful delivery, I, who had been waiting
service, was unshelved, and, as you know, bidden to take command.

She was in apple-pie order. The engines had been cleaned up; and I
thought we could make a quick thing of it. I was a little dashed when I
found the crew was small; but I have been glad enough since that we had
no more mouths. No one but myself knew our destination. The men thought
we were to take despatches to the Gulf squadron.

You remember I had had only verbal orders to take command, and after we
got outside the bay I opened my sealed despatches. The gist of them was
in these words:--

"You will understand that the honor of this government is pledged for
the _safe_ delivery of the Florida to the government of Brazil. You will
therefore hazard nothing to gain speed. The quantity of your coal has
been adjusted with the view to give your vessel her best trim, and the
supply is not large. You will husband it with care,--taking every
precaution to arrive in Bahia _safely_ with your charge, in such time as
_your best discretion_ may suggest to you."

"_Your best discretion_" was underscored.

I called Prendergast, and showed him the letter. Then we called the
engineer and asked about the coal. He had not been into the bunkers, but
went and returned with his face white, through the black grime, to
report "not four days' consumption." By some cursed accident, he said,
the bunkers had been filled with barrels of salt-pork and flour!

On this, I ordered a light and went below. There had been some fatal
misunderstanding somewhere. The vessel was fitted out as for an arctic
voyage. Everywhere hard-bread, flour, pork, beef, vinegar, sour-krout;
but, clearly enough, not, at the very best, five days of coal!

And I was to get to Brazil with this old pirate transformed into a
provision ship, "at my best discretion."

"Prendergast," said I, "we will take it easy. Were you ever in Bahia?"

"Took flour there in '55, and lay waiting for India-rubber from July to
October. Lost six men by yellow-jack."

Prendergast was from the merchant marine. I had known him since we were
children. "Ethan," said I, "in my best discretion it would be bad to
arrive there before the end of October. Where would you go?"

I cannot say he took the responsibility. He would not take it. You know,
my dear, of course, that it was I who suggested Upernavik. From the days
of the old marbled paper Northern Regions,--through the quarto Ross and
Parry and Back and the nephew Ross and Kane and McClure and McClintock,
you know, my dear, what my one passion has been,--to see those floes
and icebergs for myself. Surely you forgive me, or at least excuse me.
Do not you? Here was this fast steamer under me. I ought not to be in
Bahia before October 25. It was June 1. Of course we went to Upernavik.

I will not say I regret it now. Yet I will say that on that decision,
cautiously made, though it was "on my discretion," all our subsequent
misfortunes hang. The Danes were kind to us,--the Governor especially,
though I had to carry the poor fellow bad news about the Duchies and the
Danish war, which was all fresh then. He got up a dance for us, I
remember, and there I wrote No. 1 to you. I could not of course
help--when we left him--running her up a few degrees to the north, just
to see whether there is or is not that passage between Igloolik and
Prince Rupert's Headland (and by the way there _is_). After we passed
Igloolik, there was such splendid weather, that I just used up a little
coal to drive her along the coast of King William's Land; and there, as
we waited for a little duck-shooting on the edge of a floe one day, as
our luck ordered, a party of natives came on board, and we treated them
with hard-tack crumbs and whale-oil. They fell to dancing, and we to
laughing,--they danced more and we laughed more, till the oldest woman
tumbled in her bear-skin bloomers, and came with a smash right on the
little cast-iron frame by the wheel, which screened binnacle and
compass. My dear child, there was such a hullalu and such a mess
together as I remember now. We had to apologize; the doctor set her head
as well as he could. We gave them gingerbread from the cabin, to console
them, and got them off without a fight. But the next morning when I cast
off from the floe, it proved the beggars had stolen the compass card,
needle and all.

My dear Mary, there was not another bit of magnetized iron in the ship.
The government had been very shy of providing instruments of any kind
for Confederate cruisers. Poor Ethan had traded off two compasses only
the day before for whalebone spears and skin breeches, neither of which
knew the north star from the ace of spades. And this thing proved of
more importance than you will think; it really made me feel that the
stuff in the books and the sermons about the mariners' needle was not
quite poetry.

As you shall see, if I ever get through. (Since I began, I have seen the
Consul,--and heard the glorious news from home,--and am to be presented
to the port authorities to-morrow.) It was the most open summer, Mary,
ever known there. If I had not had to be here in October, I would have
driven right through Lancaster Sound, by Baring's Island, and come out
into the Pacific. But here was the honor of the country, and we merely
stole back through the Straits. It was well enough there,--all daylight,
you know. But after we passed Cape Farewell, we worked her into such
fogs, child, as you never saw out of Hyde Park. Did not I long for that
compass-card! We sailed, and we sailed, and we sailed. For thirty-seven
days I did not get an observation, nor speak a ship! October! It was
October before we were warm. At noon we used to sail where we thought it
was lightest. At night I used to keep two men up for a lookout, lash the
wheel, and let her drift like a Dutchman. One way as good as another.
Mary, when I saw the sun at last, enough to get any kind of observation,
we were wellnigh three hundred miles northeast of Iceland! Talk of fogs
to me!

Well, I set her south again, but how long can you know if you are
sailing south, in those places where the northeast winds and Scotch
mists come from! Thank Heaven, we got south, or we should have frozen to
death. We got into November, and we got into December. We were as far
south as 37° 29'; and were in 31° 17' west on New Year's Day, 1866, when
the second officer wished me a happy new year, congratulated me on the
fine weather, said we should get a good observation, and asked me for
the new nautical almanac! You know they are only calculated for five
years. We had two Greenwich ones on board, and they ran out December 31,
1865. But the government had been as stingy in almanacs as in coal and
compasses. They did not mean to keep the Confederacy in almanacs.

That was the beginning of our troubles. I had to take the old almanac,
with Prendergast, and we figured like Cocker, and always kept ahead with
a month's tables. But somehow,--I feel sure we were right,--but
something was wrong; and after a few weeks the lunars used to come out
in the most beastly way, and we always proved to be on the top of the
Andes or in the Marquesas Islands, or anywhere but in the Atlantic
Ocean. Well then, by good luck, we spoke the Winged Batavian; could not
speak a word of Dutch, nor he a word of English; but he let Ethan copy
his tables, and so we ran for St. Sacrament. I posted 8, 9, and 10
there; I gave the Dutchman 7, which I hope you got, but fear.

Well, this story is running long; but at St. Sacrament we started again,
but, as ill-luck would have it, without a clean bill of health. At that
time I could have run into Bahia with coal--of which I had bought
some--in a week. But there was fever on shore,--and bad,--and I knew we
must make pratique when we came into the outer harbor here; so, rather
than do that, we stretched down the coast, and met that cyclone I wrote
you about, and had to put into Loando. Understand, this was the first
time we went into Loando. I have learned that wretched hole well enough
since. And it was as we were running out of Loando, that, in reversing
the engine too suddenly, lest we should smash up an old Portuguese
woman's bum-boat, that the slides or supports of the piston-rod just
shot out of the grooves they run in on the top, came cleverly down on
the outside of the carriage, gave that odious _g-r-r-r_, which I can
hear now, and then, _dump_,--down came the whole weight of the
walking-beam, bent rod and carriages all into three figure 8's, and
there we were! I had as lief run the boat with a clothes-wringer as with
that engine, any day, from then to now.

Well, we tinkered, and the Portuguese dock-yard people tinkered. We took
out this, and they took out that. It was growing sickly, and I got
frightened, and finally I shipped the propeller and took it on board,
and started under such canvas as we had left,--not much after the
cyclone,--for the North and the South together had rather rotted the
original duck.

Then,--as I wrote you in No. 11,--it was too late to get to Bahia before
that summer's sickly season, and I stretched off to cooler regions
again, "in my best discretion." That was the time when we had the fever
so horribly on board; and but for Wilder the surgeon, and the Falkland
Islands, we should be dead, every man of us, now. But we touched in
Queen's Bay just in time. The Governor (who is his own only subject) was
very cordial and jolly and kind. We all went ashore, and pitched tents,
and ate ducks and penguins till the men grew strong. I scraped her,
nearly down to the bends, for the grass floated by our side like a
mermaid's hair as we sailed, and the once swift Florida would not make
four knots an hour on the wind;--and this was the ship I was to get into
Bahia in good order, at my best discretion!

Meanwhile none of these people had any news from America. The last
paper at the Falkland Islands was a London Times of 1864, abusing the
Yankees. As for the Portuguese, they were like the people Logan saw at
Vicksburg. "They don't know anything good!" said he; "they don't know
anything at all!" It was really more for news than for water I put into
Sta. Lucia,--and a pretty mess I made of it there. We looked so like
pirates (as at bottom the old tub is), that they took all of us who
landed to the guard-house. None of us could speak Sta. Lucia, whatever
that tongue may be, nor understand it. And it was not till Ethan fired a
shell from the 100-pound Parrott over the town that they let us go. I
hope the dogs sent you my letters. I suppose there was another
infringement of neutrality. But if the Brazilian government sends this
ship to Sta. Lucia, I shall not command her, that's all!

Well! what happened at Loando the second time, Valencia, and Puntos
Pimos, and Nueva Salamanca, and Loando this last time, you know and will
know, and why we loitered so. At last, thank fortune, here we are.
Actually, Mary, this ship logged on the average only thirty-two knots a
day for the last week before we got her into port.

Now think of the ingratitude of men! I have brought her in here,
"according to my best discretion," and do you believe, these hidalgos,
or dons, or señores, or whatever they are, had forgotten she existed.
And when I showed them to her, they said in good Portugal that I was a
liar. Fortunately the Consul is our old friend Kingsley. He was
delighted to see me; thought I was at the bottom of the sea. From him we
learned that the Confederacy was blown sky-high long ago. And from all I
can learn, I may have the Florida back again for my own private yacht or
peculium, unless she goes to Sta. Lucia.

Not I, my friends! Scrape her, and mend her, and give her to the
marines,--and tell them her story; but do not intrust her again to my
own Polly's own




     [This paper was first published in the "Galaxy," in 1866.]

I see that an old chum of mine is publishing bits of confidential
Confederate History in Harper's Magazine. It would seem to be time,
then, for the pivots to be disclosed on which some of the wheelwork of
the last six years has been moving. The science of history, as I
understand it, depends on the timely disclosure of such pivots, which
are apt to be kept out of view while things are moving.

I was in the Civil Service at Richmond. Why I was there, or what I did,
is nobody's affair. And I do not in this paper propose to tell how it
happened that I was in New York in October, 1864, on confidential
business. Enough that I was there, and that it was honest business. That
business done, as far as it could be with the resources intrusted to me,
I prepared to return home. And thereby hangs this tale, and, as it
proved, the fate of the Confederacy.

For, of course, I wanted to take presents home to my family. Very little
question was there what these presents should be,--for I had no boys nor
brothers. The women of the Confederacy had one want, which overtopped
all others. They could make coffee out of beans; pins they had from
Columbus; straw hats they braided quite well with their own fair hands;
snuff we could get better than you could in "the old concern." But we
had no hoop-skirts,--skeletons, we used to call them. No ingenuity had
made them. No bounties had forced them. The Bat, the Greyhound, the
Deer, the Flora, the J. C. Cobb, the Varuna, and the Fore-and-Aft all
took in cargoes of them for us in England. But the Bat and the Deer and
the Flora were seized by the blockaders, the J. C. Cobb sunk at sea, the
Fore-and-Aft and the Greyhound were set fire to by their own crews, and
the Varuna (our Varuna) was never heard of. Then the State of Arkansas
offered sixteen townships of swamp land to the first manufacturer who
would exhibit five gross of a home-manufactured article. But no one ever
competed. The first attempts, indeed, were put to an end, when Schofield
crossed the Blue Lick, and destroyed the dams on Yellow Branch. The
consequence was, that people's crinoline collapsed faster than the
Confederacy did, of which that brute of a Grierson said there was never
anything of it but the outside.

Of course, then, I put in the bottom of my new large trunk in New York,
not a "duplex elliptic," for none were then made, but a "Belmonte," of
thirty springs, for my wife. I bought, for her more common wear, a good
"Belle-Fontaine." For Sarah and Susy each, I got two "Dumb-Belles." For
Aunt Eunice and Aunt Clara, maiden sisters of my wife, who lived with us
after Winchester fell the fourth time, I got the "Scotch Harebell," two
of each. For my own mother I got one "Belle of the Prairies" and one
"Invisible Combination Gossamer." I did not forget good old Mamma Chloe
and Mamma Jane. For them I got substantial cages, without names. With
these, tied in the shapes of figure eights in the bottom of my trunk, as
I said, I put in an assorted cargo of dry-goods above, and, favored by a
pass, and Major Mulford's courtesy on the flag-of-truce boat, I arrived
safely at Richmond before the autumn closed.

I was received at home with rapture. But when, the next morning, I
opened my stores, this became rapture doubly enraptured. Words cannot
tell the silent delight with which old and young, black and white,
surveyed these fairy-like structures, yet unbroken and unmended.

Perennial summer reigned that autumn day in that reunited family. It
reigned the next day, and the next. It would have reigned till now if
the Belmontes and the other things would last as long as the
advertisements declare; and, what is more, the Confederacy would have
reigned till now, President Davis and General Lee! but for that great
misery, which all families understand, which culminated in our great

I was up in the cedar closet one day, looking for an old parade cap of
mine, which I thought, though it was my third best, might look better
than my second best, which I had worn ever since my best was lost at the
Seven Pines. I say I was standing on the lower shelf of the cedar
closet, when, as I stepped along in the darkness, my right foot caught
in a bit of wire, my left did not give way in time, and I fell, with a
small wooden hat-box in my hand, full on the floor. The corner of the
hat-box struck me just below the second frontal sinus, and I fainted

When I came to myself I was in the blue chamber; I had vinegar on a
brown paper on my forehead; the room was dark, and I found mother
sitting by me, glad enough indeed to hear my voice, and to know that I
knew her. It was some time before I fully understood what had happened.
Then she brought me a cup of tea, and I, quite refreshed, said I must go
to the office.

"Office, my child!" said she. "Your leg is broken above the ankle; you
will not move these six weeks. Where do you suppose you are?"

Till then I had no notion that it was five minutes since I went into the
closet. When she told me the time, five in the afternoon, I groaned in
the lowest depths. For, in my breast pocket in that innocent coat, which
I could now see lying on the window-seat, were the duplicate despatches
to Mr. Mason, for which, late the night before, I had got the
Secretary's signature. They were to go at ten that morning to
Wilmington, by the Navy Department's special messenger. I had taken them
to insure care and certainty. I had worked on them till midnight, and
they had not been signed till near one o'clock. Heavens and earth, and
here it was five o'clock! The man must be half-way to Wilmington by this
time. I sent the doctor for Lafarge, my clerk. Lafarge did his prettiest
in rushing to the telegraph. But no! A freshet on the Chowan River, or a
raid by Foster, or something, or nothing, had smashed the telegraph wire
for that night. And before that despatch ever reached Wilmington the
navy agent was in the offing in the Sea Maid.

"But perhaps the duplicate got through?" No, breathless reader, the
duplicate did not get through. The duplicate was taken by Faucon, in the
Ino. I saw it last week in Dr. Lieber's hands, in Washington. Well, all
I know is, that if the duplicate had got through, the Confederate
government would have had in March a chance at eighty-three thousand two
hundred and eleven muskets, which, as it was, never left Belgium. So
much for my treading into that blessed piece of wire on the shelf of the
cedar closet, up stairs.

"What was the bit of wire?"

Well, it was not telegraph wire. If it had been, it would have broken
when it was not wanted to. Don't you know what it was? Go up in your own
cedar closet, and step about in the dark, and see what brings up round
your ankles. Julia, poor child, cried her eyes out about it. When I got
well enough to sit up, and as soon as I could talk and plan with her,
she brought down seven of these old things, antiquated Belmontes and
Simplex Elliptics, and horrors without a name, and she made a pile of
them in the bedroom, and asked me in the most penitent way what she
should do with them.

"You can't burn them," said she; "fire won't touch them. If you bury
them in the garden, they come up at the second raking. If you give them
to the servants, they say, 'Thank-e, missus,' and throw them in the back
passage. If you give them to the poor, they throw them into the street
in front, and do not say, 'Thank-e.' Sarah sent seventeen over to the
sword factory, and the foreman swore at the boy, and told him he would
flog him within an inch of his life if he brought any more of his sauce
there; and so--and so," sobbed the poor child, "I just rolled up these
wretched things, and laid them in the cedar closet, hoping, you know,
that some day the government would want something, and would advertise
for them. You know what a good thing I made out of the bottle corks."

In fact, she had sold our bottle corks for four thousand two hundred and
sixteen dollars of the first issue. We afterward bought two umbrellas
and a corkscrew with the money.

Well, I did not scold Julia. It was certainly no fault of hers that I
was walking on the lower shelf of her cedar closet. I told her to make
a parcel of the things, and the first time we went to drive I hove the
whole shapeless heap into the river, without saying mass for them.

But let no man think, or no woman, that this was the end of troubles. As
I look back on that winter, and on the spring of 1865 (I do not mean the
steel spring), it seems to me only the beginning. I got out on crutches
at last; I had the office transferred to my house, so that Lafarge and
Hepburn could work there nights, and communicate with me when I could
not go out; but mornings I hobbled up to the Department, and sat with
the Chief, and took his orders. Ah me! shall I soon forget that damp
winter morning, when we all had such hope at the office. One or two of
the army fellows looked in at the window as they ran by, and we knew
that they felt well; and though I would not ask Old Wick, as we had
nicknamed the Chief, what was in the wind, I knew the time had come, and
that the lion meant to break the net this time. I made an excuse to go
home earlier than usual; rode down to the house in the Major's
ambulance, I remember; and hopped in, to surprise Julia with the good
news, only to find that the whole house was in that quiet uproar which
shows that something bad has happened of a sudden.

"What is it, Chloe?" said I, as the old wench rushed by me with a bucket
of water.

"Poor Mr. George, I 'fraid he's dead, sah!"

And there he really was,--dear handsome, bright George Schaff,--the
delight of all the nicest girls of Richmond; he lay there on Aunt
Eunice's bed on the ground floor, where they had brought him in. He was
not dead,--and he did not die. He is making cotton in Texas now. But he
looked mighty near it then. "The deep cut in his head" was the worst I
then had ever seen, and the blow confused everything. When McGregor got
round, he said it was not hopeless; but we were all turned out of the
room, and with one thing and another he got the boy out of the swoon,
and somehow it proved his head was not broken.

No, but poor George swears to this day it were better it had been, if it
could only have been broken the right way and on the right field. For
that evening we heard that everything had gone wrong in the surprise.
There we had been waiting for one of those early fogs, and at last the
fog had come. And Jubal Early had, that morning, pushed out every man he
had, that could stand; and they lay hid for three mortal hours, within I
don't know how near the picket line at Fort Powhatan, only waiting for
the shot which John Streight's party were to fire at Wilson's Wharf, as
soon as somebody on our left centre advanced in force on the enemy's
line above Turkey Island stretching across to Nansemond. I am not in the
War Department, and I forget whether he was to advance _en barbette_ or
by _échelon_ of infantry. But he was to advance somehow, and he knew
how; and when he advanced, you see, that other man lower down was to
rush in, and as soon as Early heard him he was to surprise Powhatan, you
see; and then, if you have understood me, Grant and Butler and the whole
rig of them would have been cut off from their supplies, would have had
to fight a battle for which they were not prepared, with their right
made into a new left, and their old left unexpectedly advanced at an
oblique angle from their centre, and would not that have been the end of

Well, that never happened. And the reason it never happened was, that
poor George Schaff, with the last fatal order for this man whose name I
forget (the same who was afterward killed the day before High Bridge),
undertook to save time by cutting across behind my house, from Franklin
to Green Streets. You know how much time he saved,--they waited all day
for that order. George told me afterwards that the last thing he
remembered was kissing his hand to Julia, who sat at her bedroom window.
He said he thought she might be the last woman he ever saw this side of
heaven. Just after that, it must have been,--his horse--that white
Messenger colt old Williams bred--went over like a log, and poor George
was pitched fifteen feet head-foremost against a stake there was in that
lot. Julia saw the whole. She rushed out with all the women, and had
just brought him in when I got home. And that was the reason that the
great promised combination of December, 1864, never came off at all.

I walked out in the lot, after McGregor turned me out of the chamber,
to see what they had done with the horse. There he lay, as dead as old
Messenger himself. His neck was broken. And do you think, I looked to
see what had tripped him. I supposed it was one of the boys' bandy
holes. It was no such thing. The poor wretch had tangled his hind legs
in one of those infernal hoop-wires that Chloe had thrown out in the
piece when I gave her her new ones. Though I did not know it then, those
fatal scraps of rusty steel had broken the neck that day of Robert Lee's

That time I made a row about it. I felt too badly to go into a passion.
But before the women went to bed,--they were all in the sitting-room
together,--I talked to them like a father. I did not swear. I had got
over that for a while, in that six weeks on my back. But I did say the
old wires were infernal things, and that the house and premises must be
made rid of them. The aunts laughed,--though I was so serious,--and
tipped a wink to the girls. The girls wanted to laugh, but were afraid
to. And then it came out that the aunts had sold their old hoops, tied
as tight as they could tie them, in a great mass of rags. They had made
a fortune by the sale,--I am sorry to say it was in other rags, but the
rags they got were new instead of old,--it was a real Aladdin bargain.
The new rags had blue backs, and were numbered, some as high as fifty
dollars. The rag-man had been in a hurry, and had not known what made
the things so heavy. I frowned at the swindle, but they said all was
fair with a pedler,--and I own I was glad the things were well out of
Richmond. But when I said I thought it was a mean trick, Lizzie and
Sarah looked demure, and asked what in the world I would have them do
with the old things. Did I expect them to walk down to the bridge
themselves with great parcels to throw into the river, as I had done by
Julia's? Of course it ended, as such things always do, by my taking the
work on my own shoulders. I told them to tie up all they had in as small
a parcel as they could, and bring them to me.

Accordingly, the next day, I found a handsome brown paper parcel, not so
very large, considering, and strangely square, considering, which the
minxes had put together and left on my office table. They had a great
frolic over it. They had not spared red tape nor red wax. Very official
it looked, indeed, and on the left-hand corner, in Sarah's boldest and
most contorted hand, was written, "Secret service." We had a great laugh
over their success. And, indeed, I should have taken it with me the next
time I went down to the Tredegar, but that I happened to dine one
evening with young Norton of our gallant little navy, and a very curious
thing he told us.

We were talking about the disappointment of the combined land attack. I
did not tell what upset poor Schaff's horse; indeed, I do not think
those navy men knew the details of the disappointment. O'Brien had told
me, in confidence, what I have written down probably for the first time
now. But we were speaking, in a general way, of the disappointment.
Norton finished his cigar rather thoughtfully, and then said: "Well,
fellows, it is not worth while to put in the newspapers, but what do you
suppose upset our grand naval attack, the day the Yankee gunboats
skittled down the river so handsomely?"

"Why," said Allen, who is Norton's best-beloved friend, "they say that
you ran away from them as fast as they did from you."

"Do they?" said Norton, grimly. "If you say that, I'll break your head
for you. Seriously, men," continued he, "that was a most extraordinary
thing. You know I was on the ram. But why she stopped when she stopped I
knew as little as this wineglass does; and Callender himself knew no
more than I. We had not been hit. We were all right as a trivet for all
we knew, when, skree! she began blowing off steam, and we stopped dead,
and began to drift down under those batteries. Callender had to
telegraph to the little Mosquito, or whatever Walter called his boat,
and the spunky little thing ran down and got us out of the scrape.
Walter did it right well; if he had had a monitor under him he could not
have done better. Of course we all rushed to the engine-room. What in
thunder were they at there? All they knew was they could get no water
into her boiler.

"Now, fellows, this is the end of the story. As soon as the boilers
cooled off they worked all right on those supply pumps. May I be hanged
if they had not sucked in, somehow, a long string of yarn, and cloth,
and, if you will believe me, a wire of some woman's crinoline. And that
French folly of a sham Empress cut short that day the victory of the
Confederate navy, and old Davis himself can't tell when we shall have
such a chance again!"

Some of the men thought Norton lied. But I never was with him when he
did not tell the truth. I did not mention, however, what I had thrown
into the water the last time I had gone over to Manchester. And I
changed my mind about Sarah's "secret-service" parcel. It remained on my

That was the last dinner our old club had at the Spotswood, I believe.
The spring came on, and the plot thickened. We did our work in the
office as well as we could; I can speak for mine, and if other
people--but no matter for that! The 3d of April came, and the fire, and
the right wing of Grant's army. I remember I was glad then that I had
moved the office down to the house, for we were out of the way there.
Everybody had run away from the Department; and so, when the powers that
be took possession, my little sub-bureau was unmolested for some days. I
improved those days as well as I could,--burning carefully what was to
be burned, and hiding carefully what was to be hidden. One thing that
happened then belongs to this story. As I was at work on the private
bureau,--it was really a bureau, as it happened, one I had made Aunt
Eunice give up when I broke my leg,--I came, to my horror, on a neat
parcel of coast-survey maps of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. They were
not the same Maury stole when he left the National Observatory, but they
were like them. Now I was perfectly sure that on that fatal Sunday of
the flight I had sent Lafarge for these, that the President might use
them, if necessary, in his escape. When I found them, I hopped out and
called for Julia, and asked her if she did not remember his coming for
them. "Certainly," she said, "it was the first I knew of the danger.
Lafarge came, asked for the key of the office, told me all was up,
walked in, and in a moment was gone."

And here, on the file of April 3d, was Lafarge's line to me:--

"I got the secret-service parcel myself, and have put it in the
President's own hands. I marked it, 'Gulf coast,' as you bade me."

What could Lafarge have given to the President? Not the soundings of
Hatteras Bar. Not the working-drawings of the first monitor. I had all
these under my hand. Could it be,--"Julia, what did we do with that
stuff of Sarah's that she marked _secret service_?"

As I live, we had sent the girls' old hoops to the President in his

And when the next day we read how he used them, and how Pritchard
arrested him, we thought if he had only had the right parcel he would
have found the way to Florida.

That is really the end of this memoir. But I should not have written it,
but for something that happened just now on the piazza. You must know,
some of us wrecks are up here at the Berkeley baths. My uncle has a
place near here. Here came to-day John Sisson, whom I have not seen
since Memminger ran and took the clerks with him. Here we had before,
both the Richards brothers, the great paper men, you know, who started
the Edgerly Works in Prince George's County, just after the war began.
After dinner, Sisson and they met on the piazza. Queerly enough, they
had never seen each other before, though they had used reams of
Richards's paper in correspondence with each other, and the treasury had
used tons of it in the printing of bonds and bank-bills. Of course we
all fell to talking of old times,--old they seem now, though it is not a
year ago. "Richards," said Sisson at last, "what became of that last
order of ours for water-lined, pure linen government-callendered paper
of _sureté_? We never got it, and I never knew why."

"Did you think Kilpatrick got it?" said Richards, rather gruffly.

"None of your chaff, Richards. Just tell where the paper went, for in
the loss of that lot of paper, as it proved, the bottom dropped out of
the Treasury tub. On that paper was to have been printed our new issue
of ten per cent, convertible, you know, and secured on that up-country
cotton, which Kirby Smith had above the Big Raft. I had the printers
ready for near a month waiting for that paper. The plates were really
very handsome. I'll show you a proof when we go up stairs. Wholly new
they were, made by some Frenchmen we got, who had worked for the Bank of
France. I was so anxious to have the thing well done, that I waited
three weeks for that paper, and, by Jove, I waited just too long. We
never got one of the bonds off, and that was why we had no money in

Richards threw his cigar away. I will not say he swore between his
teeth, but he twirled his chair round, brought it down on all fours,
both his elbows on his knees and his chin in both hands.

"Mr. Sisson," said he, "if the Confederacy had lived, I would have died
before I ever told what became of that order of yours. But now I have no
secrets, I believe, and I care for nothing. I do not know now how it
happened. We knew it was an extra nice job. And we had it on an elegant
little new French Fourdrinier, which cost us more than we shall ever
pay. The pretty thing ran like oil the day before. That day, I thought
all the devils were in it. The more power we put on the more the rollers
screamed; and the less we put on, the more sulkily the jade stopped. I
tried it myself every way; back current, I tried; forward current; high
feed; low freed, I tried it on old stock, I tried it on new; and, Mr.
Sisson, I would have made better paper in a coffee-mill! We drained off
every drop of water. We washed the tubs free from size. Then my brother,
there, worked all night with the machinists, taking down the frame and
the rollers. You would not believe it, sir, but that little bit of
wire,"--and he took out of his pocket a piece of this hateful steel,
which poor I knew so well by this time,--"that little bit of wire had
passed in from some hoop-skirt, passed the pickers, passed the screens,
through all the troughs, up and down through what we call the
lacerators, and had got itself wrought in, where, if you know a
Fourdrinier machine, you may have noticed a brass ring riveted to the
cross-bar, and there this cursed little knife--for you see it was a
knife, by that time--had been cutting to pieces the endless wire web
every time the machine was started. You lost your bonds, Mr. Sisson,
because some Yankee woman cheated one of my rag-men."

On that story I came up stairs. Poor Aunt Eunice! She was the reason I
got no salary on the 1st of April. I thought I would warn other women by
writing down the story.

That fatal present of mine, in those harmless hourglass parcels, was the
ruin of the Confederate navy, army, ordnance, and treasury; and it led
to the capture of the poor President too.

But, Heaven be praised, no one shall say that my office did not do its



     [When my friends of the Boston Daily Advertiser asked me last year
     to contribute to their Christmas number, I was very glad to recall
     this scrap of Mr. Ingham's memoirs.

     For in most modern Christmas stories I have observed that the rich
     wake up of a sudden to befriend the poor, and that the moral is
     educed from such compassion. The incidents in this story show, what
     all life shows, that the poor befriend the rich as truly as the
     rich the poor: that, in the Christian life, each needs all.

     I have been asked a dozen times how far the story is true. Of
     course no such series of incidents has ever taken place in this
     order in four or five hours. But there is nothing told here which
     has not parallels perfectly fair in my experience or in that of any
     working minister.]

I always give myself a Christmas present.

And on this particular year the present was a carol party, which is
about as good fun, all things consenting kindly, as a man can have.

Many things must consent, as will appear. First of all, there must be
good sleighing; and second, a fine night for Christmas eve. Ours are not
the carollings of your poor shivering little East Angles or South
Mercians, where they have to plod round afoot in countries which do not
know what a sleigh-ride is.

I had asked Harry to have sixteen of the best voices in the chapel
school to be trained to five or six good carols, without knowing why. We
did not care to disappoint them if a February thaw setting in on the
24th of December should break up the spree before it began. Then I had
told Howland that he must reserve for me a span of good horses, and a
sleigh that I could pack sixteen small children into, tight-stowed.
Howland is always good about such things, knew what the sleigh was for,
having done the same in other years, and made the span four horses of
his own accord, because the children would like it better, and "it would
be no difference to him." Sunday night, as the weather nymphs ordered,
the wind hauled round to the northwest and everything froze hard. Monday
night, things moderated and the snow began to fall steadily,--so
steadily; and so Tuesday night the Metropolitan people gave up their
unequal contest, all good men and angels rejoicing at their
discomfiture, and only a few of the people in the very lowest _Bolgie_
being ill-natured enough to grieve. And thus it was, that by Thursday
evening was one hard compact roadway from Copp's Hill to the
Bone-burner's Gehenna, fit for good men and angels to ride over, without
jar, without noise, and without fatigue to horse or man. So it was that
when I came down with Lycidas to the chapel at seven o'clock, I found
Harry had gathered there his eight pretty girls and his eight jolly
boys, and had them practising for the last time,

     "Carol, carol, Christians,
     Carol joyfully;
     Carol for the coming
     Of Christ's nativity."

I think the children had got inkling of what was coming, or perhaps
Harry had hinted it to their mothers. Certainly they were warmly
dressed, and when, fifteen minutes afterwards, Howland came round
himself with the sleigh, he had put in as many rugs and bear-skins as if
he thought the children were to be taken new-born from their respective
cradles. Great was the rejoicing as the bells of the horses rang beneath
the chapel windows, and Harry did not get his last _da capo_ for his
last carol. Not much matter indeed, for they were perfect enough in it
before midnight.

Lycidas and I tumbled in on the back seat, each with a child in his lap
to keep us warm; I flanked by Sam Perry, and he by John Rich, both of
the mercurial age, and therefore good to do errands. Harry was in front
somewhere flanked in like wise, and the other children lay in
miscellaneously between, like sardines when you have first opened the
box. I had invited Lycidas, because, besides being my best friend, he is
the best fellow in the world, and so deserves the best Christmas eve can
give him. Under the full moon, on the still white snow, with sixteen
children at the happiest, and with the blessed memories of the best the
world has ever had, there can be nothing better than two or three such

"First, driver, out on Commonwealth Avenue. That will tone down the
horses. Stop on the left after you have passed Fairfield Street." So we
dashed up to the front of Haliburton's palace, where he was keeping his
first Christmas tide. And the children, whom Harry had hushed down for a
square or two, broke forth with good full voice under his strong lead in

     "Shepherd of tender sheep,"

singing with all that unconscious pathos with which children do sing,
and starting the tears in your eyes in the midst of your gladness. The
instant the horses' bells stopped their voices began. In an instant more
we saw Haliburton and Anna run to the window and pull up the shades, and
in a minute more faces at all the windows. And so the children sung
through Clement's old hymn. Little did Clement think of bells and snow,
as he taught it in his Sunday school there in Alexandria. But perhaps
to-day, as they pin up the laurels and the palm in the chapel at
Alexandria, they are humming the words, not thinking of Clement more
than he thought of us. As the children closed with

     "Swell the triumphant song
     To Christ, our King,"

Haliburton came running out, and begged me to bring them in. But I told
him, "No," as soon as I could hush their shouts of "Merry Christmas";
that we had a long journey before us, and must not alight by the way.
And the children broke out with

     "Hail to the night,
     Hail to the day,"

rather a favorite,--quicker and more to the childish taste perhaps than
the other,--and with another "Merry Christmas" we were off again.

Off, the length of Commonwealth Avenue, to where it crosses the
Brookline branch of the Mill-Dam, dashing along with the gayest of the
sleighing-parties as we came back into town, up Chestnut Street, through
Louisburg Square; ran the sleigh into a bank on the slope of Pinckney
Street in front of Walter's house; and, before they suspected there that
any one had come, the children were singing

     "Carol, carol, Christians,
     Carol joyfully."

Kisses flung from the window; kisses flung back from the street. "Merry
Christmas" again with a good-will, and then one of the girls began,

     "When Anna took the baby,
     And pressed his lips to hers,"

and all of them fell in so cheerily. O dear me! it is a scrap of old
Ephrem the Syrian, if they did but know it! And when, after this, Harry
would fain have driven on, because two carols at one house was the
rule, how the little witches begged that they might sing just one song
more there, because Mrs. Alexander had been so kind to them, when she
showed them about the German stitches. And then up the hill and over to
the North End, and as far as we could get the horses up into Moon Court,
that they might sing to the Italian image-man who gave Lucy the boy and
dog in plaster, when she was sick in the spring. For the children had,
you know, the choice of where they would go, and they select their best
friends, and will be more apt to remember the Italian image-man than
Chrysostom himself, though Chrysostom should have "made a few remarks"
to them seventeen times in the chapel. Then the Italian image-man heard
for the first time in his life

     "Now is the time of Christmas come,"


     "Jesus in his babes abiding."

And then we came up Hanover Street and stopped under Mr. Gerry's chapel,
where they were dressing the walls with their evergreens, and gave them

     "Hail to the night,
     Hail to the day";

and so down State Street and stopped at the Advertiser office, because,
when the boys gave their "Literary Entertainment," Mr. Hale put in their
advertisement for nothing, and up in the old attic there the compositors
were relieved to hear

     "Nor war nor battle sound,"


     "The waiting world was still";

so that even the leading editor relaxed from his gravity, and the
"In-General" man from his more serious views, and the Daily the next
morning wished everybody a merry Christmas with even more unction, and
resolved that in coming years it would have a supplement, large enough
to contain all the good wishes. So away again to the houses of
confectioners who had given the children candy,--to Miss Simonds's
house, because she had been so good to them in school,--to the palaces
of millionnaires who had prayed for these children with tears if the
children only knew it,--to Dr. Frothingham's in Summer Street, I
remember, where we stopped because the Boston Association of Ministers
met here,--and out on Dover Street Bridge, that the poor chair-mender
might hear our carols sung once more before he heard them better sung in
another world where nothing needs mending.

     "King of glory, king of peace!"

     "Here the song, and see the Star!"

     "Welcome be thou, heavenly King!"

     "Was not Christ our Saviour?"

and all the others, rung out with order or without order, breaking the
hush directly as the horses' bells were stilled, thrown into the air
with all the gladness of childhood, selected sometimes as Harry happened
to think best for the hearers, but more often as the jubilant and
uncontrolled enthusiasm of the children bade them break out in the most
joyous, least studied, and purely lyrical of all. O, we went to twenty
places that night, I suppose! We went to the grandest places in Boston,
and we went to the meanest. Everywhere they wished us a merry Christmas,
and we them. Everywhere a little crowd gathered round us, and then we
dashed away far enough to gather quite another crowd; and then back,
perhaps, not sorry to double on our steps if need were, and leaving
every crowd with a happy thought of

     "The star, the manger, and the Child!"

At nine we brought up at my house, D Street, three doors from the
corner, and the children picked their very best for Polly and my six
little girls to hear, and then for the first time we let them jump out
and run in. Polly had some hot oysters for them, so that the frolic was
crowned with a treat. There was a Christmas cake cut into sixteen
pieces, which they took home to dream upon; and then hoods and muffs on
again, and by ten o'clock, or a little after, we had all the girls and
all the little ones at their homes. Four of the big boys, our two
flankers and Harry's right and left hand men, begged that they might
stay till the last moment. They could walk back from the stable, and
"rather walk than not, indeed." To which we assented, having gained
parental permission, as we left younger sisters in their respective


Lycidas and I both thought, as we went into these modest houses, to
leave the children, to say they had been good and to wish a "Merry
Christmas" ourselves to fathers, mothers, and to guardian aunts, that
the welcome of those homes was perhaps the best part of it all. Here was
the great stout sailor-boy whom we had not seen since he came back from
sea. He was a mere child when he left our school years on years ago, for
the East, on board Perry's vessel, and had been round the world. Here
was brave Mrs. Masury. I had not seen her since her mother died.
"Indeed, Mr. Ingham, I got so used to watching then, that I cannot sleep
well yet o' nights; I wish you knew some poor creature that wanted me
to-night, if it were only in memory of Bethlehem." "You take a deal of
trouble for the children," said Campbell, as he crushed my hand in his;
"but you know they love you, and you know I would do as much for you and
yours,"--which I knew was true. "What can I send to your children?" said
Dalton, who was finishing sword-blades. (Ill wind was Fort Sumter, but
it blew good to poor Dalton, whom it set up in the world with his
sword-factory.) "Here's an old-fashioned tape-measure for the girl, and
a Sheffield wimble for the boy. What, there is no boy? Let one of the
girls have it then; it will count one more present for her." And so he
pressed his brown-paper parcel into my hand. From every house, though
it were the humblest, a word of love, as sweet, in truth, as if we could
have heard the voice of angels singing in the sky.

I bade Harry good night; took Lycidas to his lodgings, and gave his wife
my Christmas wishes and good night; and, coming down to the sleigh
again, gave way to the feeling which I think you will all understand,
that this was not the time to stop, but just the time to begin. For the
streets were stiller now, and the moon brighter than ever, if possible,
and the blessings of these simple people and of the grand people, and of
the very angels in heaven, who are not bound to the misery of using
words when they have anything worth saying,--all these wishes and
blessings were round me, all the purity of the still winter night, and I
didn't want to lose it all by going to bed to sleep. So I put the boys
all together, where they could chatter, took one more brisk turn on the
two avenues, and then, passing through Charles Street, I believe I was
even thinking of Cambridge, I noticed the lights in Woodhull's house,
and, seeing they were up, thought I would make Fanny a midnight call.
She came to the door herself. I asked if she were waiting for Santa
Claus, but saw in a moment that I must not joke with her. She said she
had hoped I was her husband. In a minute was one of those contrasts
which make life, life. God puts us into the world that we may try them
and be tried by them. Poor Fanny's mother had been blocked up on the
Springfield train as she was coming on to Christmas. The old lady had
been chilled through, and was here in bed now with pneumonia. Both
Fanny's children had been ailing when she came, and this morning the
doctor had pronounced it scarlet fever. Fanny had not undressed herself
since Monday, nor slept, I thought, in the same time. So while we had
been singing carols and wishing merry Christmas, the poor child had been
waiting, and hoping that her husband or Edward, both of whom were on the
tramp, would find for her and bring to her the model nurse, who had not
yet appeared. But at midnight this unknown sister had not arrived, nor
had either of the men returned. When I rang, Fanny had hoped I was one
of them. Professional paragons, dear reader, are shy of scarlet fever. I
told the poor child that it was better as it was. I wrote a line for Sam
Perry to take to his aunt, Mrs. Masury, in which I simply said: "Dear
mamma, I have found the poor creature who wants you to-night. Come back
in this carriage." I bade him take a hack at Gates's, where they were
all up waiting for the assembly to be done at Papanti's. I sent him over
to Albany Street; and really as I sat there trying to soothe Fanny, it
seemed to me less time than it has taken to dictate this little story
about her, before Mrs. Masury rang gently, and I left them, having made
Fanny promise that she would consecrate the day, which at that moment
was born, by trusting God, by going to bed and going to sleep, knowing
that her children were in much better hands than hers. As I passed out
of the hall, the gas-light fell on a print of Correggio's Adoration,
where Woodhull had himself written years before,

     "Ut appareat iis qui in tenebris et umbra mortis positi sunt."

"Darkness and the shadow of death" indeed, and what light like the light
and comfort such a woman as my Mary Masury brings!

And so, but for one of the accidents, as we call them, I should have
dropped the boys at the corner of Dover Street, and gone home with my
Christmas lesson.

But it happened, as we irreverently say,--it happened as we crossed Park
Square, so called from its being an irregular pentagon of which one of
the sides has been taken away, that I recognized a tall man, plodding
across in the snow, head down, round-shouldered, stooping forward in
walking, with his right shoulder higher than his left; and by these
tokens I knew Tom Coram, prince among Boston princes. Not Thomas Coram
that built the Foundling Hospital, though he was of Boston too; but he
was longer ago. You must look for him in Addison's contribution to a
supplement to the Spectator,--the old Spectator, I mean, not the
Thursday Spectator, which is more recent. Not Thomas Coram, I say, but
Tom Coram, who would build a hospital to-morrow, if you showed him the
need, without waiting to die first, and always helps forward, as a
prince should, whatever is princely, be it a statue at home, a school in
Richmond, a newspaper in Florida, a church in Exeter, a steam-line to
Liverpool, or a widow who wants a hundred dollars. I wished him a merry
Christmas, and Mr. Howland, by a fine instinct, drew up the horses as I
spoke. Coram shook hands; and, as it seldom happens that I have an empty
carriage while he is on foot, I asked him if I might not see him home.
He was glad to get in. We wrapped him up with spoils of the bear, the
fox, and the bison, turned the horses' heads again,--five hours now
since they started on this entangled errand of theirs,--and gave him his
ride. "I was thinking of you at the moment," said Coram,--"thinking of
old college times, of the mystery of language as unfolded by the Abbé
Faria to Edmond Dantes in the depths of the Chateau d'If. I was
wondering if you could teach me Japanese, if I asked you to a Christmas
dinner." I laughed. Japan was really a novelty then, and I asked him
since when he had been in correspondence with the sealed country. It
seemed that their house at Shanghae had just sent across there their
agents for establishing the first house in Edomo, in Japan, under the
new treaty. Everything looked promising, and the beginnings were made
for the branch which has since become Dot and Trevilyan there. Of this
he had the first tidings in his letters by the mail of that afternoon.
John Coram, his brother, had written to him, and had said that he
enclosed for his amusement the Japanese bill of particulars, as it had
been drawn out, on which they had founded their orders for the first
assorted cargo ever to be sent from America to Edomo. Bill of
particulars there was, stretching down the long tissue-paper in
exquisite chirography. But by some freak of the "total depravity of
things," the translated order for the assorted cargo was not there. John
Coram, in his care to fold up the Japanese writing nicely, had left on
his own desk at Shanghae the more intelligible English. "And so I must
wait," said Tom philosophically, "till the next East India mail for my
orders, certain that seven English houses have had less enthusiastic and
philological correspondents than my brother."

I said I did not see that. That I could not teach him to speak the
Taghalian dialects so well, that he could read them with facility before
Saturday. But I could do a good deal better. Did he remember writing a
note to old Jack Percival for me five years ago? No, he remembered no
such thing; he knew Jack Percival, but never wrote a note to him in his
life. Did he remember giving me fifty dollars, because I had taken a
delicate boy, whom I was going to send to sea, and I was not quite
satisfied with the government outfit? No, he did not remember that,
which was not strange, for that was a thing he was doing every day.
"Well, I don't care how much you remember, but the boy about whom you
wrote to Jack Percival, for whose mother's ease of mind you provided
the half-hundred, is back again,--strong, straight, and well; what is
more to the point, he had the whole charge of Perry's commissariat on
shore at Yokohama, was honorably discharged out there, reads Japanese
better than you read English; and if it will help you at all, he shall
be here at your house at breakfast." For as I spoke we stopped at
Coram's door. "Ingham," said Coram, "if you were not a parson, I should
say you were romancing." "My child," said I, "I sometimes write a
parable for the Atlantic; but the words of my lips are verity, as all
those of the Sandemanians. Go to bed; do not even dream of the Taghalian
dialects; be sure that the Japanese interpreter will breakfast with you,
and the next time you are in a scrape send for the nearest minister.
George, tell your brother Ezra that Mr. Coram wishes him to breakfast
here to-morrow morning at eight o'clock; don't forget the number,
Pemberton Square, you know." "Yes, sir," said George; and Thomas Coram
laughed, said "Merry Christmas," and we parted.

It was time we were all in bed, especially these boys. But glad enough
am I as I write these words that the meeting of Coram set us back that
dropped-stitch in our night's journey. There was one more delay. We were
sweeping by the Old State House, the boys singing again, "Carol, carol,
Christians," as we dashed along the still streets, when I caught sight
of Adams Todd, and he recognized me. He had heard us singing when we
were at the Advertiser office. Todd is an old fellow-apprentice of
mine,--and he is now, or rather was that night, chief pressman in the
Argus office. I like the Argus people,--it was there that I was South
American Editor, now many years ago,--and they befriend me to this hour.
Todd hailed me, and once more I stopped. "What sent you out from your
warm steam-boiler?" "Steam-boiler, indeed," said Todd. "Two rivets
loose,--steam-room full of steam,--police frightened,--neighborhood in a
row,--and we had to put out the fire. She would have run a week without
hurting a fly,--only a little puff in the street sometimes. But there we
are, Ingham. We shall lose the early mail as it stands. Seventy-eight
tokens to be worked now." They always talked largely of their edition at
the Argus. Saw it with many eyes, perhaps; but this time, I am sure,
Todd spoke true. I caught his idea at once. In younger and more muscular
times, Todd and I had worked the Adams press by that fly-wheel for full
five minutes at a time, as a test of strength; and in my mind's eye, I
saw that he was printing his paper at this moment with relays of
grinding stevedores. He said it was so. "But think of it to-night," said
he. "It is Christmas eve, and not an Irishman to be hired, though one
paid him ingots. Not a man can stand the grind ten minutes." I knew that
very well from old experience, and I thanked him inwardly for not
saying "the demnition grind," with Mantilini. "We cannot run the press
half the time," said he; "and the men we have are giving out now. We
shall lose all our carrier delivery." "Todd," said I, "is this a night
to be talking of ingots, or hiring, or losing, or gaining? When will you
learn that Love rules the court, the camp, and the Argus office." And I
wrote on the back of a letter to Campbell: "Come to the Argus office,
No. 2 Dassett's Alley, with seven men not afraid to work"; and I gave it
to John and Sam, bade Howland take the boys to Campbell's house,--walked
down with Todd to his office,--challenged him to take five minutes at
the wheel, in memory of old times,--made the tired relays laugh as they
saw us take hold; and then,--when I had cooled off, and put on my
Cardigan,--met Campbell, with his seven sons of Anak, tumbling down the
stairs, wondering what round of mercy the parson had found for them this
time. I started home, knowing I should now have my Argus with my coffee.


And so I walked home. Better so, perhaps, after all, than in the lively
sleigh, with the tinkling bells.

     "It was a calm and silent night!--
       Seven hundred years and fifty-three
     Had Rome been growing up to might,
       And now was queen of land and sea!
     No sound was heard of clashing wars,--
       Peace brooded o'er the hushed domain;
     Apollo, Pallas, Jove, and Mars
       Held undisturbed their ancient reign
         In the solemn midnight,
                    Centuries ago!"

What an eternity it seemed since I started with those children singing
carols. Bethlehem, Nazareth, Calvary, Rome, Roman senators, Tiberius,
Paul, Nero, Clement, Ephrem, Ambrose, and all the singers,--Vincent de
Paul, and all the loving wonder-workers, Milton and Herbert and all the
carol-writers, Luther and Knox and all the prophets,--what a world of
people had been keeping Christmas with Sam Perry and Lycidas and Harry
and me; and here were Yokohama and the Japanese, the Daily Argus and its
ten million tokens and their readers,--poor Fanny Woodhull and her sick
mother there, keeping Christmas too! For a finite world, these are a
good many "waits" to be singing in one poor fellow's ears on one

     "'T was in the calm and silent night!--
       The senator of haughty Rome,
     Impatient urged his chariot's flight,
       From lordly revel, rolling home.
     Triumphal arches gleaming swell
       His breast, with thoughts of boundless sway.
     What recked the _Roman_ what befell
       A paltry province far away,
         In the solemn midnight,
                    Centuries ago!

     "Within that province far away
       Went plodding home a weary boor;
     A streak of light before him lay,
       Fallen through a half-shut stable door
     Across his path. He passed,--for naught
       Told _what was going on within_;
     How keen the stars, his only thought,
       The air how calm and cold and thin,
         In the solemn midnight,
                    Centuries ago!"

"Streak of light"--Is there a light in Lycidas's room? They not in bed!
That is making a night of it! Well, there are few hours of the day or
night when I have not been in Lycidas's room, so I let myself in by the
night-key he gave me, ran up the stairs,--it is a horrid seven-storied,
first-class lodging-house. For my part, I had as lief live in a steeple.
Two flights I ran up, two steps at a time,--I was younger then than I am
now,--pushed open the door which was ajar, and saw such a scene of
confusion as I never saw in Mary's over-nice parlor before. Queer! I
remember the first thing that I saw was wrong was a great ball of white
German worsted on the floor. Her basket was upset. A great
Christmas-tree lay across the rug, quite too high for the room; a large
sharp-pointed Spanish clasp-knife was by it, with which they had been
lopping it; there were two immense baskets of white papered presents,
both upset; but what frightened me most was the centre-table. Three or
four handkerchiefs on it,--towels, napkins, I know not what,--all brown
and red and almost black with blood! I turned, heart-sick, to look into
the bedroom,--and I really had a sense of relief when I saw somebody.
Bad enough it was, however. Lycidas, but just now so strong and well,
lay pale and exhausted on the bloody bed, with the clothing removed from
his right thigh and leg, while over him bent Mary and Morton. I learned
afterwards that poor Lycidas, while trimming the Christmas-tree, and
talking merrily with Mary and Morton,--who, by good luck, had brought
round his presents late, and was staying to tie on glass balls and
apples,--had given himself a deep and dangerous wound with the point of
the unlucky knife, and had lost a great deal of blood before the
hemorrhage could be controlled. Just before I entered, the stick
tourniquet which Morton had improvised had slipped in poor Mary's
unpractised hand, at the moment he was about to secure the bleeding
artery, and the blood followed in such a gush as compelled him to give
his whole attention to stopping its flow. He only knew my entrance by
the "Ah, Mr. Ingham," of the frightened Irish girl, who stood useless
behind the head of the bed.

"O Fred," said Morton, without looking up, "I am glad you are here."

"And what can I do for you?"

"Some whiskey,--first of all."

"There are two bottles," said Mary, who was holding the candle,--"in the
cupboard behind his dressing-glass."

I took Bridget with me, struck a light in the dressing-room (how she
blundered about the match), and found the cupboard door locked! Key
doubtless in Mary's pocket,--probably in pocket of "another dress." I
did not ask. Took my own bunch, willed tremendously that my account-book
drawer key should govern the lock, and it did. If it had not, I should
have put my fist through the panels. Bottle of bedbug poison; bottle
marked "bay rum"; another bottle with no mark; two bottles of Saratoga
water. "Set them all on the floor, Bridget." A tall bottle of Cologne.
Bottle marked in MS. What in the world is it? "Bring that candle,
Bridget." "Eau destillée. Marron, Montreal." What in the world did
Lycidas bring distilled water from Montreal for? And then Morton's clear
voice in the other room, "As quick as you can, Fred." "Yes! in one
moment. Put all these on the floor, Bridget." Here they are at last.
"Bourbon whiskey." "Corkscrew, Bridget."

"Indade, sir, and where is it?" "Where? I don't know. Run down as quick
as you can, and bring it. His wife cannot leave him." So Bridget ran,
and the first I heard was the rattle as she pitched down the last six
stairs of the first flight headlong. Let us hope she has not broken her
leg. I meanwhile am driving a silver pronged fork into the Bourbon
corks, and the blade of my own penknife on the other side.

"Now, Fred," from George within. (We all call Morton "George.") "Yes,
in one moment," I replied. Penknife blade breaks off, fork pulls right
out, two crumbs of cork come with it. Will that girl never come?

I turned round; I found a goblet on the washstand; I took Lycidas's
heavy clothes-brush, and knocked off the neck of the bottle. Did you
ever do it, reader, with one of those pressed glass bottles they make
now? It smashed like a Prince Rupert's drop in my hand, crumbled into
seventy pieces,--a nasty smell of whiskey on the floor,--and I, holding
just the hard bottom of the thing with two large spikes running
worthless up into the air. But I seized the goblet, poured into it what
was left in the bottom, and carried it in to Morton as quietly as I
could. He bade me give Lycidas as much as he could swallow; then showed
me how to substitute my thumb for his, and compress the great artery.
When he was satisfied that he could trust me, he began his work again,
silently; just speaking what must be said to that brave Mary, who seemed
to have three hands because he needed them. When all was secure, he
glanced at the ghastly white face, with beads of perspiration on the
forehead and upper lip, laid his finger on the pulse, and said: "We will
have a little more whiskey. No, Mary, you are overdone already; let Fred
bring it." The truth was that poor Mary was almost as white as Lycidas.
She would not faint,--that was the only reason she did not,--and at the
moment I wondered that she did not fall. I believe George and I were
both expecting it, now the excitement was over. He called her Mary and
me Fred, because we were all together every day of our lives. Bridget,
you see, was still nowhere.

So I retired for my whiskey again,--to attack that other bottle. George
whispered quickly as I went, "Bring enough,--bring the bottle." Did he
want the bottle corked? Would that Kelt ever come up stairs? I passed
the bell-rope as I went into the dressing-room, and rang as hard as I
could ring. I took the other bottle, and bit steadily with my teeth at
the cork, only, of course, to wrench the end of it off. George called
me, and I stepped back. "No," said he, "bring your whiskey."

Mary had just rolled gently back on the floor. I went again in despair.
But I heard Bridget's step this time. First flight, first passage;
second flight, second passage. She ran in in triumph at length, with a

"No!" I whispered,--"no. The crooked thing you draw corks with," and I
showed her the bottle again. "Find one somewhere and don't come back
without it." So she vanished for the second time.

"Frederic!" said Morton. I think he never called me so before. Should I
risk the clothes-brush again? I opened Lycidas's own drawers,--papers,
boxes, everything in order,--not a sign of a tool.

"Frederic!" "Yes," I said. But why did I say "Yes"? "Father of Mercy,
tell me what to do."

And my mazed eyes, dim with tears,--did you ever shed tears from
excitement?--fell on an old razor-strop of those days of shaving, made
by C. WHITTAKER, SHEFFIELD. The "Sheffield" stood in black letters out
from the rest like a vision. They make corkscrews in Sheffield too. If
this Whittaker had only made a corkscrew! And what is a "Sheffield

Hand in my pocket,--brown paper parcel.

"Where are you, Frederic?" "Yes," said I, for the last time. Twine off!
brown paper off. And I learned that the "Sheffield wimble" was one of
those things whose name you never heard before, which people sell you in
Thames Tunnel, where a hoof-cleaner, a gimlet, a screw-driver, and a
_corkscrew_ fold into one handle.

"Yes," said I, again. "Pop," said the cork. "Bubble, bubble, bubble,"
said the whiskey. Bottle in one hand, full tumbler in the other, I
walked in. George poured half a tumblerful down Lycidas's throat that
time. Nor do I dare say how much he poured down afterwards. I found that
there was need of it, from what he said of the pulse, when it was all
over. I guess Mary had some, too.

This was the turning-point. He was exceedingly weak, and we sat by him
in turn through the night, giving, at short intervals, stimulants and
such food as he could swallow easily; for I remember Morton was very
particular not to raise his head more than we could help. But there was
no real danger after this.

As we turned away from the house on Christmas morning,--I to preach and
he to visit his patients,--he said to me, "Did you make that whiskey?"

"No," said I, "but poor Dod Dalton had to furnish the corkscrew."

And I went down to the chapel to preach. The sermon had been lying ready
at home on my desk,--and Polly had brought it round to me,--for there
had been no time for me to go from Lycidas's home to D Street and to
return. There was the text, all as it was the day before:--

     "They helped every one his neighbor, and every one said to his
     brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the
     goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the

And there were the pat illustrations, as I had finished them yesterday;
of the comfort Mary Magdalen gave Joanna, the court lady; and the
comfort the court lady gave Mary Magdalen, after the mediator of a new
covenant had mediated between them; how Simon the Cyrenian, and Joseph
of Arimathea, and the beggar Bartimeus comforted each other, gave each
other strength, common force, _com-fort_, when the One Life flowed in
all their veins; how on board the ship the Tent-Maker proved to be
Captain, and the Centurion learned his duty from his Prisoner, and how
they "_All_ came safe to shore," because the New Life was there. But as
I preached, I caught Frye's eye. Frye is always critical; and I said to
myself, "Frye would not take his illustrations from eighteen hundred
years ago." And I saw dear old Dod Dalton trying to keep awake, and
Campbell hard asleep after trying, and Jane Masury looking round to see
if her mother did not come in; and Ezra Sheppard, looking, not so much
at me, as at the window beside me, as if his thoughts were the other
side of the world. And I said to them all, "O, if I could tell you, my
friends, what every twelve hours of my life tells me,--of the way in
which woman helps woman, and man helps man, when only the ice is
broken,--how we are all rich so soon as we find out that we are all
brothers, and how we are all in want, unless we can call at any moment
for a brother's hand,--then I could make you understand something, in
the lives you lead every day, of what the New Covenant, the New
Commonwealth, the New Kingdom is to be."

But I did not dare tell Dod Dalton what Campbell had been doing for
Todd, nor did I dare tell Campbell by what unconscious arts old Dod had
been helping Lycidas. Perhaps the sermon would have been better had I
done so.

But, when we had our tree in the evening at home, I did tell
all this story to Polly and the bairns, and I gave Alice her
measuring-tape,--precious with a spot of Lycidas's blood,--and Bertha
her Sheffield wimble. "Papa," said old Clara, who is the next child,
"all the people gave presents, did not they, as they did in the picture
in your study?"

"Yes," said I, "though they did not all know they were giving them."

"Why do they not give such presents every day?" said Clara.

"O child," I said, "it is only for thirty-six hours of the three hundred
and sixty-five days, that all people remember that they are all brothers
and sisters, and those are the hours that we call, therefore, Christmas
eve and Christmas day."

"And when they always remember it," said Bertha, "it will be Christmas
all the time! What fun!"

"What fun, to be sure; but Clara, what is in the picture?"

"Why, an old woman has brought eggs to the baby in the manger, and an
old man has brought a sheep. I suppose they all brought what they had."

"I suppose those who came from Sharon brought roses," said Bertha. And
Alice, who is eleven, and goes to the Lincoln School, and therefore
knows everything, said, "Yes, and the Damascus people brought Damascus

"This is certain," said Polly, "that nobody tried to give a straw, but
the straw, if he really gave it, carried a blessing."

Cambridge: Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.

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