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Title: Caxton's Book: A Collection of Essays, Poems, Tales, and Sketches.
Author: Rhodes, W. H. (William Henry), 1822-1876
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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Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Words in Bold are surrounded by =equal= signs.

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at the end of this e-text.



CAXTON'S BOOK:

A COLLECTION OF

ESSAYS, POEMS, TALES AND SKETCHES.


BY THE LATE
W. H. RHODES.


_EDITED BY DANIEL O'CONNELL._


SAN FRANCISCO:
A. L. BANCROFT AND COMPANY.
1876.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876,
BY SUSAN RHODES,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


SAN FRANCISCO:
A. L. BANCROFT AND COMPANY,
PRINTERS AND BINDERS.



PREFACE.


The sketches and poems in this volume were written at a time when the
author was engaged in the practice of a laborious profession. It was the
intention of Mr. Rhodes to collect them from the various newspapers and
periodicals in which they had appeared, and publish them in book-form
whenever he could obtain a respite from his arduous duties. But before
he carried out his long-cherished object he died, in the prime of his
manhood and the ripeness of his literary life. Many of his poems were
written for the monthly gatherings of the Bohemian Club. There, when
Caxton's name was announced, his literary friends thronged about him,
confident of the rich treat the brain of their beloved poet had provided
for them. His wit was keen and sparkling, without a shade of malice; and
many an anecdote, that began with some delightful absurdity, closed in a
pathos that showed the great versatility of Caxton's genius. The Case of
Summerfield, which is perhaps the most ingenious of the tales in that
peculiar vein, was widely copied and warmly praised for the originality
of its plan and the skill of its execution. The editor of this work has
observed, as far as lay in his power, the intention of the author in
the selection of those compositions which Mr. Rhodes had put aside for
compilation. With such a mass and variety of material (for Caxton had
been a busy worker) it was difficult to select from productions all of
which were excellent. Few liberties have been taken with them; for,
indeed, Caxton was himself so conscientious in the arrangement and
correction of his manuscript, that, with the exception of some slight
and unimportant alterations, this book goes before his friends and the
public in the same order as the author would have chosen had he been
spared to perform the task.



IN MEMORIAM.


At the time when, according to custom, Mr. Rhodes's death was formally
announced to the several Courts of Record in San Francisco, one of the
learned Judges urged the publication of his writings in some form which
would give the bar a permanent memorial of one of it's most esteemed
members, and to them their proper place in American literature. This has
been accomplished by the present volume. It is sincerely to be hoped
that while it will largely add to Mr. Rhodes's reputation, it may also
serve to furnish a most interesting family some substantial aid in the
struggle with life, from which the beloved husband and tender father has
unhappily been removed.

William Henry Rhodes was born July 16, 1822, in Windsor, North Carolina.
His mother died when he was six years old, and his father, Col. E. A.
Rhodes, sent him to Princeton, New Jersey, to be educated at the seat of
learning established there. Col. Rhodes was subsequently appointed
United States Consul at Galveston, Texas, and without completing his
college course, the son followed his father to his new home. There he
diligently pursued his studies. He found many young men like himself,
ambitious and zealous in acquiring information, and these he associated
with himself in literary and debating clubs, where the most important
matters of natural science and political economy were discussed. The
effect of this self-bestowed education was most marked. It remained with
him all his life. He was thoroughly versed in the political history of
the country, and possessed an amount of knowledge concerning the career,
motives and objects of politics, parties and public men, which, had he
ever chosen to embark in public life, would have made him distinguished
and successful. No one ever discussed with him the questions connected
with the theory of our government without a thorough respect for the
sincerity of his convictions, and the ability with which they were
maintained. He was, in theory, a thorough partisan of the Southern
political and constitutional school of ideas, and never abandoned them.
But he advocated them without passion or apparent prejudice, and at all
times shrunk from active connection with politics as a trade. He was an
idealist in law, in science and government, and perhaps his early
training, self-imposed and self-contained, had much to do with his
peculiarities.

In 1844, he entered Harvard Law School, where he remained for two years.
Here, as at home among his young friends, he was a master-spirit and
leader. He was an especial favorite of his instructors; was noted for
his studious and exemplary habits, while his genial and courteous
manners won the lasting friendship of his classmates and companions. His
fondness for weaving the problems of science with fiction, which became
afterwards so marked a characteristic of his literary efforts, attracted
the especial attention of his professors; and had Mr. Rhodes devoted
himself to this then novel department of letters, he would have become,
no doubt, greatly distinguished as a writer; and the great master of
scientific fiction, Jules Verne, would have found the field of his
efforts already sown and reaped by the young Southern student. But his
necessities and parental choice, conspired to keep him at "the lawless
science of the law;" and literature become an incident of life, rather
than its end and aim. He never really loved the law. He rather lived by
it than in it. He became a good lawyer, but was an unwilling
practitioner. He understood legal principles thoroughly. He loved the
higher lessons of truth and justice, of right and wrong, _fas et nefas_,
which they illustrated; but he bent himself to the necessary details of
professional life--to the money-getting part of it--with a peculiar and
constantly increasing reluctance. The yoke of labor galled him, and
always more severely. An opportunity to speak and write what was most
pleasing to his taste, which set him free as a liberated prisoner of
thought, his untrammeled and wandering imagination extravagantly
interweaving scientific principles, natural forces, and elemental facts,
in some witch's dance of fancy, where he dissolved in its alchemy,
earth, air and water, and created a world of his own, or destroyed that
beneath his feet, was of more value to him, though it brought him no
gain, than a stiff cause in courts which bound him to dry details of
weary facts and legal propositions, though every hour of his time
bestowed a golden reward.

His early professional life was passed in Galveston. He was measurably
successful in it, and won many friends by his gallant and chivalrous
advocacy of the causes intrusted to him. His personal popularity
elevated him to a Probate Judgeship in Texas. This office he filled with
honor; and at the expiration of his term, he returned, after a brief
sojourn in New York, to his native state and town, where he practiced
his profession until 1850. In this year he caught the inspiration of
adventure in the new El Dorado, and sailed for California. From that
time he continued a citizen of this State. He was widely known and
universally respected. He practiced his profession with diligence; but
mind and heart were inviting him to the life and career of a man of
letters; and he was every day sacrificed to duty, as he esteemed it. He
was too conscientious to become indifferent to his clients' interests:
but he had no ambition for distinction as a jurist. He was utterly
indifferent to the profits of his labors. He cared nothing for money, or
for those who possessed it. His real life and real enjoyments were of a
far different sort; and his genius was perpetually bound to the altar,
and sacrificed by a sense of obligation, and a pride which never
permitted him to abandon the profession for which he was educated. Like
many another man of peculiar mental qualities, he distrusted himself
where he should have been most confident. The writer has often discussed
with Mr. Rhodes his professional and literary life, urged him to devote
himself to literature, and endeavored to point out to him the real road
to success. But he dreaded the venture; and like a swift-footed blooded
horse, fit to run a course for a man's life, continued on his way,
harnessed to a plow, and broke his heart in the harness!

William Henry Rhodes will long be remembered by his contemporaries at
the Bar of California as a man of rare genius, exemplary habits, high
honor, and gentle manners, with wit and humor unexcelled. His writings
are illumined by powerful fancy, scientific knowledge, and a reasoning
power which gave to his most weird imaginations the similitude of truth
and the apparel of facts. Nor did they, nor do they, do him justice. He
could have accomplished far more had circumstances been propitious to
him. That they were not, is and will always be a source of regret. That,
environed as he was, he achieved so much more than his fellows, has made
his friends always loyal to him while living, and fond in their memories
of him when dead. We give his productions to the world with
satisfaction, not unmingled with regret that what is, is only the faint
echo, the unfulfilled promise of what might have been. Still, may we
say, and ask those who read these sketches to say with us, as they lay
down the volume: "_Habet enim justam venerationem, quicquid excellit._"

W. H. L. B.



CONTENTS.


                                                           PAGE

      _PREFACE_                                               3

      _IN MEMORIAM_                                           5


           I. _THE CASE OF SUMMERFIELD_                      13

          II. _THE MERCHANTS' EXCHANGE_                      34

         III. _THE DESERTED SCHOOLHOUSE_                     37

          IV. _FOR AN ALBUM_                                 50

           V. _PHASES IN THE LIFE OF JOHN POLLEXFEN_         52

          VI. _THE LOVE-KNOT_                                94

         VII. _THE AZTEC PRINCESS_                           95

        VIII. _THE MOTHER'S EPISTLE_                        154

          IX. _LEGENDS OF LAKE BIGLER_                      156

           X. _ROSENTHAL'S ELAINE_                          171

          XI. _THE TELESCOPIC EYE_                          174

         XII. _THE EMERALD ISLE_                            190

        XIII. _THE EARTH'S HOT CENTER_                      199

         XIV. _WILDEY'S DREAM_                              212

          XV. _WHITHERWARD_                                 218

         XVI. _OUR WEDDING DAY_                             229

        XVII. _THE OLD YEAR AND THE NEW_                    231

       XVIII. _A PAIR OF MYTHS_                             233

         XIX. _THE LAST OF HIS RACE_                        247

          XX. _THE TWO GEORGES_                             249

         XXI. _MASONRY_                                     260

        XXII. _POLLOCK'S EUTHANASIA_                        262

       XXIII. _SCIENCE, LITERATURE, AND ART DURING THE
                 FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY_      264

        XXIV. _THE ENROBING OF LIBERTY_                     276

         XXV. _A CAKE OF SOAP_                              279

        XXVI. _THE SUMMERFIELD CASE_                        280

       XXVII. _THE AVITOR_                                  291

      XXVIII. _LOST AND FOUND_                              293



[Decoration]


CAXTON'S BOOK.



I.

_THE CASE OF SUMMERFIELD._


The following manuscript was found among the effects of the late
Leonidas Parker, in relation to one Gregory Summerfield, or, as he was
called at the time those singular events first attracted public notice,
"The Man with a Secret." Parker was an eminent lawyer, a man of firm
will, fond of dabbling in the occult sciences, but never allowing this
tendency to interfere with the earnest practice of his profession. This
astounding narrative is prefaced by the annexed clipping from the
"Auburn Messenger" of November 1, 1870:

   A few days since, we called public attention to the singular
   conduct of James G. Wilkins, justice of the peace for the "Cape
   Horn" district, in this county, in discharging without trial a
   man named Parker, who was, as we still think, seriously
   implicated in the mysterious death of an old man named
   Summerfield, who, our readers will probably remember, met so
   tragical an end on the line of the Central Pacific Railroad, in
   the month of October last. We have now to record another bold
   outrage on public justice, in connection with the same affair.
   The grand jury of Placer County has just adjourned, without
   finding any bill against the person named above. Not only did
   they refuse to find a true bill, or to make any presentment, but
   they went one step further toward the exoneration of the
   offender: they specially _ignored_ the indictment which our
   district attorney deemed it his duty to present. The main facts
   in relation to the arrest and subsequent discharge of Parker may
   be summed up in few words:

   It appears that, about the last of October, one Gregory
   Summerfield, an old man nearly seventy years of age, in company
   with Parker, took passage for Chicago, _via_ the Pacific
   Railroad, and about the middle of the afternoon reached the
   neighborhood of Cape Horn, in this county. Nothing of any special
   importance seems to have attracted the attention of any of the
   passengers toward these persons until a few moments before
   passing the dangerous curve in the track, overlooking the North
   Fork of the American River, at the place called Cape Horn. As our
   readers are aware, the road at this point skirts a precipice,
   with rocky perpendicular sides, extending to the bed of the
   stream, nearly seventeen hundred feet below. Before passing the
   curve, Parker was heard to comment upon the sublimity of the
   scenery they were approaching, and finally requested the old man
   to leave the car and stand upon the open platform, in order to
   obtain a better view of the tremendous chasm and the mountains
   just beyond. The two men left the car, and a moment afterwards a
   cry of horror was heard by all the passengers, and the old man
   was observed to fall at least one thousand feet upon the crags
   below. The train was stopped for a few moments, but, fearful of a
   collision if any considerable length of time should be lost in an
   unavailing search for the mangled remains, it soon moved on
   again, and proceeded as swiftly as possible to the next station.
   There the miscreant Parker was arrested, and conveyed to the
   office of the nearest justice of the peace for examination. We
   understand that he refused to give any detailed account of the
   transaction, only that "the deceased either fell or was thrown
   off from the moving train."

   The examination was postponed until the arrival of Parker's
   counsel, O'Connell & Kilpatrick, of Grass Valley, and after they
   reached Cape Horn not a single word could be extracted from the
   prisoner. It is said that the inquisition was a mere farce; there
   being no witnesses present except one lady passenger, who, with
   commendable spirit, volunteered to lay over one day, to give in
   her testimony. We also learn that, after the trial, the justice,
   together with the prisoner and his counsel, were closeted in
   secret session for more than two hours; at the expiration of
   which time the judge resumed his seat upon the bench, and
   discharged the prisoner!

   Now, we have no desire to do injustice toward any of the parties
   to this singular transaction, much less to arm public sentiment
   against an innocent man. But we do affirm that _there is, there
   must be_, some profound mystery at the bottom of this affair, and
   we shall do our utmost to fathom the secret.

Yes, there is a secret and mystery connected with the disappearance of
Summerfield, and the sole object of this communication is to clear it
up, and place myself right in the public estimation. But, in order to do
so, it becomes essentially necessary to relate all the circumstances
connected with my first and subsequent acquaintance with Summerfield. To
do this intelligibly, I shall have to go back twenty-two years.

It is well known amongst my intimate friends that I resided in the late
Republic of Texas for many years antecedent to my immigration to this
State. During the year 1847, whilst but a boy, and residing on the
sea-beach some three or four miles from the city of Galveston, Judge
Wheeler, at that time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, paid
us a visit, and brought with him a gentleman, whom he had known several
years previously on the Sabine River, in the eastern part of that State.
This gentleman was introduced to us by the name of Summerfield. At that
time he was past the prime of life, slightly gray, and inclined to
corpulency. He was of medium height, and walked proudly erect, as though
conscious of superior mental attainments. His face was one of those
which, once seen, can never be forgotten. The forehead was broad, high,
and protuberant. It was, besides, deeply graven with wrinkles, and
altogether was the most intellectual that I had ever seen. It bore some
resemblance to that of Sir Isaac Newton, but still more to Humboldt or
Webster. The eyes were large, deep-set, and lustrous with a light that
seemed kindled in their own depths. In color they were gray, and whilst
in conversation absolutely blazed with intellect. His mouth was large,
but cut with all the precision of a sculptor's chiseling. He was rather
pale, but, when excited, his complexion lit up with a sudden rush of
ruddy flushes, that added something like beauty to his half-sad and
half-sardonic expression. A word and a glance told me at once, this is a
most extraordinary man.

Judge Wheeler knew but little of the antecedents of Summerfield. He was
of Northern birth, but of what State it is impossible to say definitely.
Early in life he removed to the frontier of Arkansas, and pursued for
some years the avocation of village schoolmaster. It was the suggestion
of Judge Wheeler that induced him to read law. In six months' time he
had mastered Story's Equity, and gained an important suit, based upon
one of its most recondite principles. But his heart was not in the legal
profession, and he made almost constant sallies into the fields of
science, literature and art. He was a natural mathematician, and was the
most profound and original arithmetician in the Southwest. He frequently
computed the astronomical tables for the almanacs of New Orleans,
Pensacola and Mobile, and calculated eclipse, transit and observations
with ease and perfect accuracy. He was also deeply read in metaphysics,
and wrote and published, in the old _Democratic Review_ for 1846, an
article on the "Natural Proof of the Existence of a Deity," that for
beauty of language, depth of reasoning, versatility of illustration, and
compactness of logic, has never been equaled. The only other
publication which at that period he had made, was a book that astonished
all of his friends, both in title and execution. It was called "The
Desperadoes of the West," and purported to give minute details of the
lives of some of the most noted duelists and blood-stained villains in
the Western States. But the book belied its title. It is full of
splendid description and original thought. No volume in the language
contains so many eloquent passages and such gorgeous imagery, in the
same space. His plea for immortality, on beholding the execution of one
of the most noted culprits of Arkansas, has no parallel in any living
language for beauty of diction and power of thought. As my sole object
in this communication is to defend myself, some acquaintance with the
mental resources of Summerfield is absolutely indispensable; for his
death was the immediate consequence of his splendid attainments. Of
chemistry he was a complete master. He describes it in his article on a
Deity, above alluded to, as the "Youngest Daughter of the Sciences, born
amid flames, and cradled in rollers of fire." If there were any one
science to which he was more specially devoted than to any and all
others, it was chemistry. But he really seemed an adept in all, and
shone about everywhere with equal lustre.

Many of these characteristics were mentioned by Judge Wheeler at the
time of Summerfield's visit to Galveston, but others subsequently came
to my knowledge, after his retreat to Brownsville, on the banks of the
Rio Grande. There he filled the position of judge of the District Court,
and such was his position just previous to his arrival in this city in
the month of September of the past year.

One day toward the close of last September, an old man rapped at my
office door, and on invitation came in, and advancing, called me by
name. Perceiving that I did not at first recognize him, he introduced
himself as Gregory Summerfield. After inviting him to a seat, I
scrutinized his features more closely, and quickly identified him as the
same person whom I had met twenty-two years before. He was greatly
altered in appearance, but the lofty forehead and the gray eye were
still there, unchanged and unchangeable. He was not quite so stout, but
more ruddy in complexion, and exhibited some symptoms, as I then
thought, of intemperate drinking. Still there was the old charm of
intellectual superiority in his conversation, and I welcomed him to
California as an important addition to her mental wealth.

It was not many minutes before he requested a private interview. He
followed me into my back office, carefully closed the door after him and
locked it. We had scarcely seated ourselves before he inquired of me if
I had noticed any recent articles in the newspapers respecting the
discovery of the art of decomposing water so as to fit it for use as a
fuel for ordinary purposes?

I replied that I had observed nothing new upon that subject since the
experiments of Agassiz and Professor Henry, and added that, in my
opinion, the expensive mode of reduction would always prevent its use.

In a few words he then informed me that he had made the discovery that
the art was extremely simple, and the expense attending the
decomposition so slight as to be insignificant.

Presuming then that the object of his visit to me was to procure the
necessary forms to get out a patent for the right, I congratulated him
upon his good fortune, and was about to branch forth with a description
of some of the great benefits that must ensue to the community, when he
suddenly and somewhat uncivilly requested me to "be silent," and listen
to what he had to say.

He began with some general remarks about the inequality of fortune
amongst mankind, and instanced himself as a striking example of the fate
of those men, who, according to all the rules of right, ought to be near
the top, instead of at the foot of the ladder of fortune. "But," said
he, springing to his feet with impulsive energy, "I have now the means
at my command of rising superior to fate, or of inflicting incalculable
ills upon the whole human race."

Looking at him more closely, I thought I could detect in his eye the
gleam of madness; but I remained silent and awaited further
developments. But my scrutiny, stolen as it was, had been detected, and
he replied at once to the expression of my face: "No, sir; I am neither
drunk nor a maniac; I am in deep earnest in all that I say; and I am
fully prepared, by actual experiment, to demonstrate beyond all doubt
the truth of all I claim."

For the first time I noticed that he carried a small portmanteau in his
hand; this he placed upon the table, unlocked it, and took out two or
three small volumes, a pamphlet or two, and a small, square,
wide-mouthed vial, hermetically sealed.

I watched him with profound curiosity, and took note of his slightest
movements. Having arranged his books to suit him, and placed the vial in
a conspicuous position, he drew up his chair very closely to my own, and
uttered in a half-hissing tone: "I demand one million dollars for the
contents of that bottle; and you must raise it for me in the city of
San Francisco within one month, or scenes too terrible even for the
imagination to conceive, will surely be witnessed by every living human
being on the face of the globe."

The tone, the manner, and the absurd extravagance of the demand, excited
a faint smile upon my lips, which he observed, but disdained to notice.

My mind was fully made up that I had a maniac to deal with, and I
prepared to act accordingly. But I ascertained at once that my inmost
thoughts were read by the remarkable man before me, and seemed to be
anticipated by him in advance of their expression.

"Perhaps," said I, "Mr. Summerfield, you would oblige me by informing me
fully of the grounds of your claim, and the nature of your discovery."

"That is the object of my visit," he replied. "I claim to have
discovered the key which unlocks the constituent gases of water, and
frees each from the embrace of the other, at a single touch."

"You mean to assert," I rejoined, "that you can make water burn itself
up?"

"Nothing more nor less," he responded, "except this: to insist upon the
consequences of the secret, if my demand be not at once complied with."

Then, without pausing for a moment to allow me to make a suggestion, as
I once or twice attempted to do, he proceeded in a clear and deliberate
manner, in these words: "I need not inform you, sir, that when this
earth was created, it consisted almost wholly of vapor, which, by
condensation, finally became water. The oceans now occupy more than two
thirds of the entire surface of the globe. The continents are mere
islands in the midst of the seas. They are everywhere ocean-bound, and
the hyperborean north is hemmed in by open polar seas. Such is my first
proposition. My second embraces the constituent elements of water. What
is that thing which we call water? Chemistry, that royal queen of all
the sciences, answers readily: 'Water is but the combination of two
gases, oxygen and hydrogen, and in the proportion of eight to one.' In
other words, in order to form water, take eight parts of oxygen and one
of hydrogen, mix them together, and the result or product is water. You
smile, sir, because, as you very properly think, these are the
elementary principles of science, and are familiar to the minds of every
schoolboy twelve years of age. Yes! but what next? Suppose you take
these same gases and mix them in any other proportion, I care not what,
and the instantaneous result is heat, flame, combustion of the intensest
description. The famous Drummond Light, that a few years ago astonished
Europe--what is that but the ignited flame of a mixture of oxygen and
hydrogen projected against a small piece of lime? What was harmless as
water, becomes the most destructive of all known objects when decomposed
and mixed in any other proportion.

"Now, suppose I fling the contents of this small vial into the Pacific
Ocean, what would be the result? Dare you contemplate it for an instant?
I do not assert that the entire surface of the sea would instantaneously
bubble up into insufferable flames; no, but from the nucleus of a
circle, of which this vial would be the centre, lurid radii of flames
would gradually shoot outward, until the blazing circumference would
roll in vast billows of fire, upon the uttermost shores. Not all the
dripping clouds of the deluge could extinguish it. Not all the tears of
saints and angels could for an instant check its progress. On and onward
it would sweep, with the steady gait of destiny, until the continents
would melt with fervent heat, the atmosphere glare with the ominous
conflagration, and all living creatures, in land and sea and air, perish
in one universal catastrophe."

Then suddenly starting to his feet, he drew himself up to his full
height, and murmured solemnly, "I feel like a God! and I recognize my
fellow-men but as pigmies that I spurn beneath my feet."

"Summerfield," said I calmly, "there must be some strange error in all
this. You are self-deluded. The weapon which you claim to wield is one
that a good God and a beneficent Creator would never intrust to the
keeping of a mere creature. What, sir! create a world as grand and
beautiful as this, and hide within its bosom a principle that at any
moment might inwrap it in flames, and sink all life in death? I'll not
believe it; 't were blasphemy to entertain the thought!"

"And yet," cried he passionately, "your Bible prophesies the same
irreverence. Look at your text in 2d Peter, third chapter, seventh and
twelfth verses. Are not the elements to melt with fervent heat? Are not
'the heavens to be folded together like a scroll?' Are not 'the rocks to
melt, the stars to fall and the moon to be turned into blood?' Is not
fire the next grand cyclic consummation of all things here below? But I
come fully prepared to answer such objections. Your argument betrays a
narrow mind, circumscribed in its orbit, and shallow in its depth. 'Tis
the common thought of mediocrity. You have read books too much, and
studied nature too little. Let me give you a lesson to-day in the
workshop of Omnipotence. Take a stroll with me into the limitless
confines of space, and let us observe together some of the scenes
transpiring at this very instant around us. A moment ago you spoke of
the moon: what is she but an extinguished world? You spoke of the sun:
what is he but a globe of flame? But here is the _Cosmos_ of Humboldt.
Read this paragraph."

As he said this he placed before me the _Cosmos_ of Humboldt, and I read
as follows:

   Nor do the Heavens themselves teach unchangeable permanency in
   the works of creation. Change is observable there quite as rapid
   and complete as in the confines of our solar system. In the year
   1752, one of the small stars in the constellation Cassiopeia
   blazed up suddenly into an orb of the first magnitude, gradually
   decreased in brilliancy, and finally disappeared from the skies.
   Nor has it ever been visible since that period for a single
   moment, either to the eye or to the telescope. It burned up and
   was lost in space.

"Humboldt," he added, "has not told us who set that world on fire!"

"But," resumed he, "I have still clearer proofs." Saying this, he thrust
into my hands the last London _Quarterly_, and on opening the book at an
article headed "The Language of Light," I read with a feeling akin to
awe, the following passage:

   Further, some stars exhibit changes of complexion in themselves.
   Sirius, as before stated, was once a ruddy, or rather a
   fiery-faced orb, but has now forgotten to blush, and looks down
   upon us with a pure, brilliant smile, in which there is no trace
   either of anger or of shame. On the countenances of others, still
   more varied traits have rippled, within a much briefer period of
   time. May not these be due to some physiological revolutions,
   general or convulsive, which are in progress in the particular
   orb, and which, by affecting the constitution of its atmosphere,
   compel the absorption or promote the transmission of particular
   rays? The supposition appears by no means improbable, especially
   if we call to mind the hydrogen volcanoes which have been
   discovered on the photosphere of the sun. Indeed, there are a few
   small stars which afford a spectrum of bright lines instead of
   dark ones, and this we know denotes a gaseous or vaporized state
   of things, from which it may be inferred that such orbs are in a
   different condition from most of their relations.

   And as, if for the very purpose of throwing light upon this
   interesting question, an event of the most striking character
   occurred in the heavens, almost as soon as the spectroscopists
   were prepared to interpret it correctly.

   On the 12th of May, 1866, a great conflagration, infinitely
   larger than that of London or Moscow, was announced. To use the
   expression of a distinguished astronomer, a world was found to be
   on fire! A star, which till then had shone weakly and
   unobtrusively in the _corona borealis_, suddenly blazed up into a
   luminary of the second magnitude. In the course of three days
   from its discovery in this new character, by Birmingham, at Tuam,
   it had declined to the third or fourth order of brilliancy. In
   twelve days, dating from its first apparition in the Irish
   heavens, it had sunk to the eighth rank, and it went on waning
   until the 26th of June, when it ceased to be discernible except
   through the medium of the telescope. This was a remarkable,
   though certainly not an unprecedented proceeding on the part of a
   star; but one singular circumstance in its behavior was that,
   after the lapse of nearly two months, it began to blaze up again,
   though not with equal ardor, and after maintaining its glow for a
   few weeks, and passing through sundry phases of color, it
   gradually paled its fires, and returned to its former
   insignificance. How many years had elapsed since this awful
   conflagration actually took place, it would be presumptuous to
   guess; but it must be remembered that news from the heavens,
   though carried by the fleetest of messengers, light, reaches us
   long after the event has transpired, and that the same celestial
   carrier is still dropping the tidings at each station it reaches
   in space, until it sinks exhausted by the length of its flight.

   As the star had suddenly flamed up, was it not a natural
   supposition that it had become inwrapped in burning hydrogen,
   which in consequence of some great convulsion had been liberated
   in prodigious quantities, and then combining with other elements,
   had set this hapless world on fire? In such a fierce
   conflagration, the combustible gas would soon be consumed, and
   the glow would therefore begin to decline, subject, as in this
   case, to a second eruption, which occasioned the renewed outburst
   of light on the 20th of August.

   By such a catastrophe, it is not wholly impossible that our own
   globe may some time be ravaged; for if a word from the Almighty
   were to unloose for a few moments the bonds of affinity which
   unite the elements of water, a single spark would bring them
   together with a fury that would kindle the funeral pyre of the
   human race, and be fatal to the planet and all the works that are
   thereon.

"Your argument," he then instantly added, "is by no means a good one.
What do we know of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, or of his
designs? He builds up worlds, and he pulls them down; he kindles suns
and he extinguishes them. He inflames the comet, in one portion of its
orbit, with a heat that no human imagination can conceive of; and in
another, subjects the same blazing orb to a cold intenser than that
which invests forever the antarctic pole. All that we know of Him we
gather through His works. I have shown you that He burns other worlds,
why not this? The habitable parts of our globe are surrounded by water,
and water you know is fire in possibility."

"But all this," I rejoined, "is pure, baseless, profitless speculation."

"Not so fast," he answered. And then rising, he seized the small vial,
and handing it to me, requested me to open it.

I confess I did so with some trepidation.

"Now smell it."

I did so.

"What odor do you perceive?"

"Potassium," I replied.

"Of course," he added, "you are familiar with the chief characteristic
of that substance. It ignites instantly when brought in contact with
water. Within that little globule of potassium, I have imbedded a pill
of my own composition and discovery. The moment it is liberated from the
potassium, it commences the work of decomposing the fluid on which it
floats. The potassium at once ignites the liberated oxygen, and the
conflagration of this mighty globe is begun."

"Yes," said I, "begun, if you please, but your little pill soon
evaporates or sinks, or melts in the surrounding seas, and your
conflagration ends just where it began."

"My reply to that suggestion could be made at once by simply testing the
experiment on a small scale, or a large one, either. But I prefer at
present to refute your proposition by an argument drawn from nature
herself. If you correctly remember, the first time I had the pleasure of
seeing you was on the island of Galveston, many years ago. Do you
remember relating to me at that time an incident concerning the effects
of a prairie on fire, that you had yourself witnessed but a few days
previously, near the town of Matagorde? If I recollect correctly, you
stated that on your return journey from that place, you passed on the
way the charred remains of two wagon-loads of cotton, and three human
beings, that the night before had perished in the flames; that three
slaves, the property of a Mr. Horton, had started a few days before to
carry to market a shipment of cotton; that a norther overtook them on
the treeless prairie, and a few minutes afterwards they were surprised
by beholding a line of rushing fire, surging, roaring and advancing like
the resistless billows of an ocean swept by a gale; that there was no
time for escape, and they perished terribly in fighting the devouring
element?"

"Yes; I recollect the event."

"Now, then, I wish a reply to the simple question: Did the single spark,
that kindled the conflagration, consume the negroes and their charge?
No? But what did? You reply, of course, that the spark set the entire
prairie on fire; that each spear of grass added fuel to the flame, and
kindled by degrees a conflagration that continued to burn so long as it
could feed on fresh material. The pillule in that vial is the little
spark, the oceans are the prairies, and the oxygen the fuel upon which
the fire is to feed until the globe perishes in inextinguishable flames.
The elementary substances in that small vial recreate themselves; they
are self-generating, and when once fairly under way must necessarily
sweep onward, until the waters in all the seas are exhausted. There is,
however, one great difference between the burning of a prairie and the
combustion of an ocean: the fire in the first spreads slowly, for the
fuel is difficult to ignite; in the last, it flies with the rapidity of
the wind, for the substance consumed is oxygen, the most inflammable
agent in nature."

Rising from my seat, I went to the washstand in the corner of the
apartment, and drawing a bowl half full of Spring Valley water, I turned
to Summerfield, and remarked, "Words are empty, theories are ideal--but
facts are things."

"I take you at your word." So saying, he approached the bowl, emptied it
of nine-tenths of its contents, and silently dropped the
potassium-coated pill into the liquid. The potassium danced around the
edges of the vessel, fuming, hissing, and blazing, as it always does,
and seemed on the point of expiring--when, to my astonishment and alarm,
a sharp explosion took place, and in a second of time the water was
blazing in a red, lurid column, half way to the ceiling.

"For God's sake," I cried, "extinguish the flames, or we shall set the
building on fire!"

"Had I dropped the potassium into the bowl as you prepared it," he
quietly remarked, "the building would indeed have been consumed."

Lower and lower fell the flickering flames, paler and paler grew the
blaze, until finally the fire went out, and I rushed up to see the
effects of the combustion.

Not a drop of water remained in the vessel! Astonished beyond measure at
what I had witnessed, and terrified almost to the verge of insanity, I
approached Summerfield, and tremblingly inquired, "To whom, sir, is this
tremendous secret known?" "To myself alone," he responded; "and now
answer me a question: is it worth the money?"

       *       *       *       *       *

It is entirely unnecessary to relate in detail the subsequent events
connected with this transaction. I will only add a general statement,
showing the results of my negotiations. Having fully satisfied myself
that Summerfield actually held in his hands the fate of the whole world,
with its millions of human beings, and by experiment having tested the
combustion of sea-water, with equal facility as fresh, I next deemed it
my duty to call the attention of a few of the principal men in San
Francisco to the extreme importance of Summerfield's discovery.

A leading banker, a bishop, a chemist, two State university professors,
a physician, a judge, and two Protestant divines, were selected by me to
witness the experiment on a large scale. This was done at a small
sand-hill lake, near the sea-shore, but separated from it by a ridge of
lofty mountains, distant not more than ten miles from San Francisco.
Every single drop of water in the pool was burnt up in less than fifteen
minutes. We next did all that we could to pacify Summerfield, and
endeavored to induce him to lower his price and bring it within the
bounds of a reasonable possibility. But without avail. He began to grow
urgent in his demands, and his brow would cloud like a tempest-ridden
sky whenever we approached him on the subject. Finally, ascertaining
that no persuasion could soften his heart or touch his feelings, a
sub-committee was appointed, to endeavor, if possible, to raise the
money by subscription. Before taking that step, however, we ascertained
beyond all question that Summerfield was the sole custodian of his dread
secret, and that he kept no written memorial of the formula of his
prescription. He even went so far as to offer us a penal bond that his
secret should perish with him in case we complied with his demands.

The sub-committee soon commenced work amongst the wealthiest citizens of
San Francisco, and by appealing to the terrors of a few, and the
sympathies of all, succeeded in raising one half the amount within the
prescribed period. I shall never forget the woe-begone faces of
California Street during the month of October. The outside world and the
newspapers spoke most learnedly of a money panic--a pressure in
business, and the disturbances in the New York gold-room. But to the
initiated, there was an easier solution of the enigma. The pale spectre
of Death looked down upon them all, and pointed with its bony finger to
the fiery tomb of the whole race, already looming up in the distance
before them. Day after day, I could see the dreadful ravages of this
secret horror; doubly terrible, since they dared not divulge it. Still,
do all that we could, the money could not be obtained. The day preceding
the last one given, Summerfield was summoned before the committee, and
full information given him of the state of affairs. Obdurate, hard and
cruel, he still continued. Finally, a proposition was started, that an
attempt should be made to raise the other half of the money in the city
of New York. To this proposal Summerfield ultimately yielded, but with
extreme reluctance. It was agreed in committee, that I should accompany
him thither, and take with me, in my own possession, evidences of the
sums subscribed here; that a proper appeal should be made to the lending
capitalists, scholars and clergymen of that metropolis, and that, when
the whole amount was raised, it should be paid over to Summerfield, and
a bond taken from him never to divulge his awful secret to any human
being.

With this, he seemed to be satisfied, and left us to prepare for his
going the next morning.

As soon as he left the apartment, the bishop arose, and deprecated the
action that had been taken, and characterized it as childish and absurd.
He declared that no man was safe one moment whilst "that diabolical
wretch" still lived; that the only security for us all, was in his
immediate extirpation from the face of the earth, and that no amount of
money could seal his lips, or close his hands. It would be no crime, he
said, to deprive him of the means of assassinating the whole human
family, and that as for himself he was for dooming him to immediate
death.

With a unanimity that was extraordinary, the entire committee coincided.

A great many plans were proposed, discussed and rejected, having in view
the extermination of Summerfield. In them all there was the want of that
proper caution which would lull the apprehensions of an enemy; for
should he for an instant suspect treachery, we knew his nature well
enough to be satisfied, that he would waive all ceremonies and carry his
threats into immediate execution.

It was finally resolved that the trip to New York should not be
abandoned, apparently. But that we were to start out in accordance with
the original programme; that during the journey, some proper means
should be resorted to by me to carry out the final intentions of the
committee, and that whatever I did would be sanctioned by them all, and
full protection, both in law and conscience, afforded me in any stage of
the proceeding.

Nothing was wanting but my own consent; but this was difficult to
secure.

At the first view, it seemed to be a most horrible and unwarrantable
crime to deprive a fellow-being of life, under any circumstances; but
especially so where, in meeting his fate, no opportunity was to be
afforded him for preparation or repentance. It was a long time before I
could disassociate, in my mind, the two ideas of act and intent. My
studies had long ago made me perfectly familiar with the doctrine of the
civil law, that in order to constitute guilt, there must be a union of
action and intention. Taking the property of another is not theft,
unless, as the lawyers term it, there is the _animus furandi_. So, in
homicide, life may be lawfully taken in some instances, whilst the deed
may be excused in others. The sheriff hangs the felon, and deprives him
of existence; yet nobody thinks of accusing the officer of murder. The
soldier slays his enemy, still the act is considered heroical. It does
not therefore follow that human life is too sacred to be taken away
under all circumstances. The point to be considered was thus narrowed
down into one grand inquiry, whether Summerfield was properly to be
regarded as _hostis humani generis_ the enemy of the human race or not.
If he should justly be so considered, then it would not only be not a
crime to kill him, but an act worthy of the highest commendation. Who
blamed McKenzie for hanging Spencer to the yard-arm? Yet in his case,
the lives of only a small ship's crew were in jeopardy. Who condemned
Pompey for exterminating the pirates from the Adriatic? Yet, in his
case, only a small portion of the Roman Republic was liable to
devastation. Who accuses Charlotte Corday of assassination for stabbing
Murat in his bath? Still, her arm only saved the lives of a few
thousands of revolutionary Frenchmen. And to come down to our own times,
who heaps accusation upon the heads of Lincoln, Thomas or Sheridan, or
even Grant, though in marching to victory over a crushed rebellion, they
deemed it necessary to wade through seas of human gore? If society has
the right to defend itself from the assaults of criminals, who, at best,
can only destroy a few of its members, why should I hesitate when it was
apparent that the destiny of the globe itself hung in the balance? If
Summerfield should live and carry out his threats, the whole world would
feel the shock; his death was the only path to perfect safety.

I asked the privilege of meditation for one hour, at the hands of the
committee, before I would render a decision either way. During that
recess the above argumentation occupied my thoughts. The time expired,
and I again presented myself before them. I did not deem it requisite to
state the grounds of my decision; I briefly signified my assent, and
made instant preparation to carry the plan into execution.

Having passed on the line of the Pacific Railway more than once, I was
perfectly familiar with all of its windings, gorges and precipices.

I selected Cape Horn as the best adapted to the purpose, and ... the
public knows the rest.

Having been fully acquitted by two tribunals of the law, I make this
final appeal to my fellow-men throughout the State, and ask them
confidently not to reverse the judgments already pronounced.

I am conscious of no guilt; I feel no remorse; I need no repentance. For
me justice has no terrors, and conscience no sting. Let me be judged
solely by the motives which actuated me, and the importance of the end
accomplished, and I shall pass, unscathed, both temporal and eternal
tribunals.

                                               LEONIDAS PARKER.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


II.

_THE MERCHANT'S EXCHANGE._


    One summer eve, as homeward saunt'ring slowly,
      My toils and tasks for that day's business done;
    With thoughts composed, and aspirations holy,
      That heavenward rose, as downward sank the sun,
    I heard a throng, whose multitudinous voices
      Proclaimed some act of public weal begun.

    The glad acclaim invited close inspection;
      And through the crowd I gently made my way,
    Till, standing firm upon a light projection,
      That spanned a chasm dug deep into the clay,
    I heard above the din of city noises,
      An honored voice, in solemn accents say:

    "In presence of Creation's awful Builder,
      I lay for you this polished corner-stone;
    God grant no ills your architect bewilder
      Till into strength and beauty shall have grown
    The MERCHANT'S 'CHANGE that shall adorn your Guilder
      When ye have mouldered into dust and bone!"

    Day after day, whilst passing to my labor,
      I saw that gorgeous edifice arise;
    Until its dome, like crest of sacred Tabor,
      Sprang from the earth, and arching in the skies,
    O'ertopp'd the peak of each aspiring neighbor
      That wooed a tribute from the upturned eyes.

    There was no pomp of pious dedication,
      Boasting this Temple sanctified to God;
    And yet my soul, in prayerful meditation,
      Believed no less it might be His abode:
    For when His arm from bondage led a nation,
      He heard their cry, though kneeling on the sod!

    Around this mart the world's great trade shall centre;
      Within these walls a Babel tumult sound,
    Not that which made doomed Shinar a memento
      Of human pride laid level to the ground,
    But blended music of all tongues shall enter,
      And in trade's peaceful symphonies resound!

    Above this portal shall no monarch thunder,
      No grand patrician lord it o'er a slave;
    Here shall the pagan's bonds be snapt asunder,
      And creed and race no proud distinction crave;
    Here shall mankind their shackles trample under,
      And freedom's banner over freemen wave!

    Here shall Confucius braid his ebon tresses,
      Perfume the cup with aromatic teas,
    Supply gay beauty with her gaudiest dresses,--
      The worm's fine fabric, and the Bactrian fleece;
    And in exchange shall quaff a balm that blesses,
      Freedom and truth, in every passing breeze!

    Here Kamehameha realize the splendor
      Foretold by sirens, singing 'round his isles,
    How cane and pulu be the realm's defender,
      And roof his palaces with golden tiles;--
    When sturdy Saxons should their hearts surrender
      In captive bonds to coy Kanaka wiles!

    Here Petropaulowski store her richest sables,
      Tahiti waft her oranges and limes,
    The Lascar weave his stout manila cables,
      The Malay chafler midst his porcelain chimes,
    Ceylon with spices scent our groaning tables,
      Pariah bring Golconda's gems, not crimes;
    Beneath this dome the Tycoon's gory dragon
      Shall fold his wings, and close his fiery eyes;
    Here quaffing from the same enchanted flagon,
      Fraternal incense shall to Heaven arise;
    Whilst Vishnu, Thor, Jehovah, Bhudd, and Dagon,
      Shall cease all strife, and struggle for the prize!

    Oh! tell me not the Christian's God will thunder,
      And rock these hills, with unforgiving ire;
    By storm or earthquake rend the globe asunder,
      And quench His wrath in everliving fire--
    When He beholds on earth so strange a wonder,
      All peoples kneeling to a common Sire!

    Prophets and priests have from primeval ages
      Drenched all mankind in seas of human gore;
    Jurists and statesmen, orators and sages,
      Have deepened gulfs, which boundless were before;
    _The merchant sails, where'er an ocean rages,
      Bridges its depths, and throws the Rainbow o'er!_

    All hail! ye founders of Pacific's glory,
      Who serve bold Commerce at his mightiest shrine:
    Your names shall live in endless song and story,
      When black Oblivion flings her pall o'er mine;
    And when these walls shall totter, quaint and hoary,
      Bards still shall sing, your mission was Divine!


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


III.

_THE DESERTED SCHOOLHOUSE._


    "Oh! never may a son of thine,
     Where'er his wand'ring steps incline,
     Forget the sky which bent above
     His childhood, like a dream of love."

                                      --WHITTIER.

There is no silence like that sombre gloom which sometimes settles down
upon the deserted playgrounds, the unoccupied benches, and the voiceless
halls of an old schoolhouse. But if, in addition to abandonment, the
fingers of decay have been busy with their work; if the moss has been
permitted to grow, and the mould to gather; if the cobwebs cluster, like
clouds, in all the corners, and the damp dust incrusts the window-panes
like the frosts of a northern winter; if the old well has caved in, and
the little paths through the brushwood been smothered, and the fences
rotted down, and the stile gone to ruin, then a feeling of utter
desolation seizes upon the soul, which no philosophy can master, no
recollections soothe, and no lapse of time dissipate.

Perchance a lonely wanderer may be observed, traversing the same scenes
which many years ago were trodden by his ungrown feet, looking pensively
at each tree which sheltered his boyhood, peeping curiously under the
broken benches on which he once sat, and turning over most carefully
with his cane every scrap of old paper, that strangely enough had
survived the winds and the rains of many winters.

Such a schoolhouse now stands near the little village of Woodville, in
the State of North Carolina, and such a wanderer was I in the autumn of
1852.

Woodville was the scene of my first studies, my earliest adventures, and
my nascent loves. There I was taught to read and write, to swim and
skate, to wrestle and box, to play marbles and make love. There I fought
my first fight, had the mumps and the measles, stole my first
watermelon, and received my first flogging. And I can never forget, that
within that tattered schoolroom my young heart first swelled with those
budding passions, whose full development in others has so often changed
the fortunes of the world. There eloquence produced its first throb,
ambition struck its first spark, pride mounted its first stilts, love
felt its first glow. There the eternal ideas of God and heaven, of
patriotism and country, of love and woman, germinated in my bosom; and
there, too, Poesy sang her first song in my enchanted ear, lured me far
off into the "grand old woods" alone, sported with the unlanguaged
longings of my boyish heart, and subdued me for the first time with that
mysterious sorrow, whose depths the loftiest intellect cannot sound, and
yet whose wailings mournfully agitate many a schoolboy's breast.

I reached the village of Woodville one afternoon in November, after an
absence of twenty-two years. Strange faces greeted me, instead of old,
familiar ones; huge dwellings stood where once I had rambled through
cornfields, groves of young pines covered the old common in which I had
once played at ball, and everything around presented such an aspect of
change, that I almost doubted my personal identity. Nor was my
astonishment diminished in the slightest degree when the landlord of the
inn announced his name, and I recognized it as once belonging to a
playmate famous for mischief and fleetness. Now he appeared bloated,
languid, and prematurely old. Bushy whiskers nearly covered his face, a
horrid gash almost closed up one of his eyes, and an ominous limp told
that he would run no more foot-races forever.

Unwilling to provoke inquiries by mentioning my own name, and doubly
anxious to see the old schoolhouse, which I had traveled many miles out
of my way to visit, I took my cane and strolled leisurely along the road
that my feet had hurried over so often in boyhood.

The schoolhouse was situated in a small grove of oaks and hickories,
about half a mile from the village, so as to be more retired, but at the
same time more convenient for those who resided in the country. My
imagination flew faster than my steps, and under its influence the half
mile dwindled to a mere rod. Passing a turn in the road, which concealed
it until within a few paces, it suddenly burst upon my vision in all the
horrors of its desolation. A fearful awe took possession of me, and as I
stood beneath the trees I had so often climbed in years gone by, I could
not refrain from looking uneasily behind me, and treading more softly
upon the sacred leaves, just commencing to wither and fall.

I approached the door with as much reverence as ever crept Jew or
Mussulman, on bended knee and with downcast eye, to the portals of the
Kabbala or Holy of Holies, and as I reached forth my hand to turn the
latch, I involuntarily paused to listen before I crossed the threshold.

Ah, manhood! what are all thy triumphs compared to a schoolboy's palms!
What are thy infamies compared to his disgraces! As head of his class,
he carries a front which a monarch might emulate in vain; as master of
the playground, he wields a sceptre more indisputable than Czar or Cæsar
ever bore! As a favorite, he provokes a bitterer hostility than ever
greeted a Bute or a Buckingham; as a coward or traitor, he is loaded
with a contumely beneath which Arnold or Hull would have sunk forever!

I listened. The pleasant hum of busy voices, the sharp tones of the
master, the mumbled accents of hurried recitations, all were gone. The
gathering shadows of evening corresponded most fittingly with the
deepening gloom of my recollections, and I abandoned myself to their
guidance, without an effort to control or direct them.

I stood _alone_ upon the step. Where was he, whose younger hand always
locked in mine, entered that room and left it so often by my side; that
bright-eyed boy, whose quick wit and genial temper won for him the
affections both of master and scholar; that gentle spirit that kindled
into love, or saddened into tears, as easily as sunshine dallies with a
flower or raindrops fall from a summer cloud; that brother, whose genius
was my pride, whose courage my admiration, whose soul my glory; he who
faltered not before the walls of Camargo, when but seven men, out of as
many hundred in his regiment, volunteered to go forward, under the
command of Taylor, to endure all the hardships of a soldier's life, in a
tropical clime, and to brave all the dangers of a three days' assault
upon a fortified city; he who fought so heroically at Monterey, and
escaped death in so many forms on the battle-field, only to meet it at
last as a victim to contagion, contracted at the bedside of a friend?
Where was he? The swift waters of the Rio Grande, as they hurry past his
unsculptured grave, sing his requiem, and carry along proudly to the
everlasting sea the memory of his noble self sacrifice, as the purest
tribute they bear upon their tide!

Such were my thoughts, as I stood pensively upon the block that served
as a step when I was boy, and which still occupied its ancient position.
I noticed that a large crack extended its whole length, and several
shrubs, of no insignificant size, were growing out of the aperture. This
prepared me for the wreck and ruin of the interior. The door had been
torn from its hinge, and was sustained in an upright position by a bar
or prop on the inside. This readily gave way on a slight pressure, and
as the old door tumbled headlong upon the floor, it awoke a thousand
confused and muffled echoes, more startling to me than a clap of the
loudest thunder. But the moment I passed the threshold, the gloom and
terror instantly vanished. I noticed that the back door was open, and in
casting my glance to the upper end of the room, where the Rev. Mr. Craig
once presided in state, my eyes were greeted by an apparition, that had
evidently become domiciliated in the premises, and whose appearance
revolutionized the whole tenor of my thoughts. Before me stood one of
those venerable-looking billy-goats, of sedate eye, fantastic beard, and
crumpled horn, the detestation of perfumed belle, and the dread of
mischievous urchin. I had seen a _fac-simile_ of him many years before,
not exactly in the same place, but hard by in a thicket of pines. I
could almost fancy it to be the ghost of the murdered ancestor, or some
phantom sent to haunt me near the spot of his execution. I shed no tear,
I heaved no sigh, as I trod the dust-covered floor of the "Woodville
Academy," but greeted my _Alma Mater_ with a shout of almost boyish
laughter as I approached the spot where the pedagogue once sat upon his
throne.

To explain why it was that my feelings underwent a revulsion so sudden,
I must relate the Story of the Murdered Billy-goat.

Colonel Averitt, a brave soldier in the war of 1812, retired from the
army at the termination of hostilities, and settled upon a farm
adjoining the village of Woodville. He was rather a queer old gentleman;
had a high Roman nose, and, on muster days, was the general admiration
of all Bertie County. He then officiated as colonel commandant of
militia, and dressed in full uniform, with a tall, white feather waving
most belligerently from his three-cornered cocked hat. He wore a sash
and sword, and always reviewed the troops on horseback.

One day, after a statutory review of the militia of the county, a
proposition was started to form a volunteer company of mounted hussars.
A nucleus was soon obtained, and in less than a week a sufficient number
had enrolled themselves to authorize the Colonel to order a drill. It
happened on a Saturday; the place selected was an old field near the
schoolhouse, and I need not add that the entire battalion of boys was
out in full force, as spectators of the warlike exercises. How they got
through with the parade, I have forgotten; but I do remember that the
mania for soldiering, from that day forward, took possession of the
school.

The enrollment at first consisted entirely of infantry, and several
weeks elapsed before anybody ventured to suggest a mounted corps. Late
one afternoon, however, as we were returning homeward, with drums
beating and colors flying, we disturbed a flock of lazy goats, browsing
upon dry grass, and evincing no great dread for the doughty warriors
advancing. Our captain, whose dignity was highly offended at this utter
want of respect, gave the order to "form column!" "present arms!" and
"charge!" Austrian nor Spaniard, Italian nor Prussian, before the
resistless squadrons of Murat or Macdonald, ever displayed finer
qualities of light infantry or flying artillery, than did the vanquished
enemy of the "Woodville Cadets" on this memorable occasion. They were
taken entirely by surprise, and, without offering the least resistance,
right-about-faced, and fled precipitously from the field. Their
terrified bleating mingled fearfully with our shouts of victory; and
when, at the command of our captain. I blew the signal to halt and
rendezvous, our brave fellows magnanimously gave up the pursuit, and
returned from the chase, bringing with them no less than five full-grown
prisoners, as trophies of victory!

A council of war was immediately called, to determine in what way we
should dispose of our booty. After much learned discussion, and some
warm disputes, the propositions were narrowed down to two:

Plan the first was, to cut off all the beard of each prisoner, flog, and
release him.

Plan the second, on the contrary, was, to conduct the prisoners to the
playground, treat them kindly, and endeavor to train them to the bit and
saddle, so as to furnish the officers with what they needed so
much,--war-steeds for battle, fiery chargers for review.

The vote was finally taken, and plan number two was adopted by a
considerable majority.

Obstacles are never insurmountable to boys and Bonapartes! Our _coup
d'etat_ succeeded quite as well as that of the 2d of December, and
before a week elapsed the chief officers were all splendidly mounted and
fully equipped.

At this stage of the war against the "bearded races," the cavalry
question was propounded by one of the privates in Company A. For his
part, he declared candidly that he was tired of marching and
countermarching afoot, and that he saw no good reason why an invasion of
the enemy's country should not at once be undertaken, to secure animals
enough to mount the whole regiment.

Another council was held, and the resolve unanimously adopted, to cross
the border in full force, on the next Saturday afternoon.

In the meantime, the clouds of war began to thicken in another quarter.
Colonel Averitt had been informed of the _coup d'etat_ related above,
and determined to prevent any further depredations on his flock by a
stroke of masterly generalship, worthy of his prowess in the late war
with Great Britain.

And now it becomes proper to introduce upon the scene the most important
personage in this history, and the hero of the whole story. I allude, of
course, to the bold, calm, dignified, undaunted and imperturbable
natural guardian of the Colonel's fold--Billy Goat!

He boasted of a beard longer, whiter, and more venerable than a
high-priest in Masonry; his mane emulated that of the king of beasts;
his horns were as crooked, and almost as long, as the Cashie River, on
whose banks he was born; his tail might have been selected by some
Spanish hidalgo, as a coat of arms, emblematic of the pride and hauteur
of his family; whilst his _tout ensemble_ presented that dignity of
demeanor, majesty of carriage, consciousness of superior fortune, and
defiance of all danger, which we may imagine characterized the elder
Napoleon previous to the battle of Waterloo. But our hero possessed
moral qualities quite equal to his personal traits. He was brave to a
fault, combative to a miracle, and as invincible in battle as he was
belligerent in mood. The sight of a coat-tail invariably excited his
anger, and a red handkerchief nearly distracted him with rage. Indeed,
he had recently grown so irascible that Colonel Averitt was compelled to
keep him shut up in the fowl-yard, a close prisoner, to protect him from
a justly indignant neighborhood.

Such was the champion that the Colonel now released and placed at the
head of the opposing forces. Saturday came at last, and the entire
morning was devoted to the construction of the proper number of wooden
bits, twine bridle-reins, leather stirrups and pasteboard saddles. By
twelve o'clock everything was ready, and the order given to march. We
were disappointed in not finding the enemy at his accustomed haunt, and
had to prolong our march nearly half a mile before we came up with him.
Our scouts, however, soon discovered him in an old field, lying encamped
beneath some young persimmon bushes, and entirely unconscious of
impending danger. We approached stealthily, according to our usual plan,
and then at a concerted signal rushed headlong upon the foe. But we had
no sooner given the alarm than our enemies sprang to their feet, and
clustered about a central object, which we immediately recognized, to
our chagrin and terror, as none other than Billy Goat himself.

The captain, however, was not to be daunted or foiled; he boldly made a
plunge at the champion of our adversaries, and would have succeeded in
seizing him by the horns, if he had not been unfortunately butted over
before he could reach them. Two or three of our bravest comrades flew to
his assistance, but met with the same fate before they could rescue him
from danger. The remainder of us drew off a short but prudent distance
from the field of battle, to hold a council of war, and determine upon a
plan of operations. In a few moments our wounded companions joined us,
and entreated us to close at once upon the foe and surround him. They
declared they were not afraid to beard the lion in his den, and that
being butted heels over head two or three times but whetted their
courage, and incited them to deeds of loftier daring. Their eloquence,
however, was more admired than their prudence, and a large majority of
the council decided that "it was inopportune, without other munitions of
war than those we had upon the field, to risk a general engagement." It
was agreed, however, _nem. con._, that on the next Saturday we would
provide ourselves with ropes and fishing-poles, and such other arms as
might prove advantageous, and proceed to surround and noose our most
formidable enemy, overpower him by the force of numbers, and take him
prisoner at all hazards. Having fully determined upon this plan of
attack, we hoisted our flag once more, ordered the drum to beat Yankee
Doodle, and retreated in most excellent order from the field--our foe
not venturing to pursue us.

The week wore slowly and uneasily away. The clouds of war were gathering
rapidly, and the low roll of distant thunder announced that a battle
storm of no ordinary importance was near at hand. Colonel Averitt, by
some traitorous trick of war, had heard of our former defeat, and
publicly taunted our commander with his failure. Indeed, more than one
of the villagers had heard of the disastrous result of the campaign, and
sent impertinent messages to those who had been wounded in the
encounter. Two or three of the young ladies, also, in the girls'
department, had been inoculated with the _fun_ (as it was absurdly
denominated), and a leather medal was pinned most provokingly to the
short jacket of the captain by one of those hoydenish Amazons.

All these events served to whet the courage of our men, and strange as
it may appear, to embitter our hostility to our victorious foe. Some of
the officers proceeded so far as to threaten Colonel Averitt himself,
and at one time, I am confident, he stood in almost as much danger as
the protector of his flock.

Saturday came at last, and at the first blast of the bugle, we formed
into line, and advanced with great alacrity into the enemy's country.
After marching half an hour, our scouts hastily returned, with the
information that the enemy was drawn up, in full force, near the scene
of the Persimmon bush battle. We advanced courageously to within
speaking distance, and then halted to breathe the troops and prepare for
the engagement. We surveyed our enemies with attention, but without
alarm. There they stood right before us!

    "Firm paced and slow, a horrid front they form;
     Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm!"

Our preparations were soon made, and at the command of the captain, we
separated into single files, one half making a _detour_ to the right,
and the other to the left, so as to encircle the foe. Our instructions
were to spare all non-combatants, to pass by as unworthy of notice all
minor foes, and to make a simultaneous rush upon the proud champion of
our adversaries.

By this masterly manoeuvre it was supposed we should be enabled to
escape unharmed, or at any rate without many serious casualties. But as
it afterward appeared, we did not sufficiently estimate the strength and
activity of our enemy.

After this preparatory manoeuvre had been successfully accomplished,
our captain gave the order to "charge!" in a stentorian voice, and at
the same time rushed forward most gallantly at the head of the
squadron. The post of honor is generally the post of danger also, and so
it proved on this occasion; for before the captain could grapple with
the foe, Billy Goat rose suddenly on his hinder legs, and uttering a
loud note of defiance, dashed with lightning speed at the breast of our
commander, and at a single blow laid him prostrate on the field. Then
wheeling quickly, ere any of his assailants could attack his rear flank,
he performed the same exploit upon the first and second lieutenants, and
made an unsuccessful pass at the standard-bearer, who eluded the danger
by a scientific retreat. At this moment, when the fortunes of the day
hung, as it were, on a single hair, our drummer, who enjoyed the
_sobriquet_ of "Weasel," advanced slowly but chivalrously upon the foe.

As the hosts of Israel and Gath paused upon the field of Elah, and
awaited with fear and trembling the issue of the single-handed contest
between David and Goliah; as Roman and Sabine stood back and reposed on
their arms, whilst Horatio and Curiatii fought for the destiny of Rome
and the mastery of the world, so the "Woodville Cadets" halted in their
tracks on this memorable day, and all aghast with awe and admiration,
watched the progress of the terrible duello between "Weasel," the
drummer boy, and Billy Goat, the hero of the battle of the Persimmon
bush.

The drummer first disengaged himself from the incumbrance of his martial
music, then threw his hat fiercely upon the ground, and warily and
circumspectly approached his foe. Nor was that foe unprepared, for
rearing as usual on his nether extremities, he bleated out a long note
of contempt and defiance, and dashed suddenly upon the "Weasel."

Instead of waiting to receive the force of the blow upon his breast or
brow, the drummer wheeled right-about face, and falling suddenly upon
all fours with most surprising dexterity, presented a less vulnerable
part of his body to his antagonist, who, being under full headway, was
compelled to accept the substituted buttress, and immediately planted
there a herculean thump. I need not say that the drummer was hurled many
feet heels over head, by this disastrous blow; but he had obtained the
very advantage he desired to secure, and springing upon his feet he
leaped quicker than lightning upon the back of his foe, and in spite of
every effort to dislodge him, sat there in security and triumph!

With a loud huzza, the main body of the "Cadets" now rushed forward, and
after a feeble resistance, succeeded in overpowering the champion of our
foes.

As a matter of precaution, we blindfolded him with several
handkerchiefs, and led him away in as much state as the Emperor Aurelian
displayed when he carried Zenobia to Rome, a prisoner at his
chariot-wheels.

The fate of the vanquished Billy Goat is soon related. A council of war
decided that he should be taken into a dense pine thicket, there
suspended head downwards, and thrashed _ad libitum_, by the whole army.

The sentence was carried into execution immediately; and though he was
cut down and released after our vengeance was satisfied, I yet owe it to
truth and history to declare, that before a week elapsed, he died of a
broken heart, and was buried by Colonel Averitt with all the honors of
war.

If it be any satisfaction to the curious inquirer, I may add in
conclusion, that the Rev. Mr. Craig avenged his _manes_, by wearing out
a chinquapin apiece on the backs of "Weasel," the captain and officers,
and immediately afterward disbanded the whole army.



[Decoration]


IV.

_FOR AN ALBUM._


    When first our father, Adam, sinned
      Against the will of Heaven,
    And forth from Eden's happy gates
      A wanderer was driven,
    He paused beside a limpid brook,
      That through the garden ran,
    And, gazing in its mirrored wave,
      Beheld himself--_a man_!

    God's holy peace no longer beamed
      In brightness from his eye;
    But in its depths dark passions blazed,
      Like lightnings in the sky.
    Young Innocence no longer wreathed
      His features with her smile;
    But Sin sat there in scorched dismay,
      Like some volcanic isle.

    No longer radiant beauty shone
      Upon his manly brow;
    But care had traced deep furrows there,
      With stern misfortune's plow.
    Joy beamed no longer from his face;
      His step was sad and slow;
    His heart was heavy with its grief;
      His bosom with its woe.

    Whilst gazing at his altered form
      Within the mirrored brook,
    He spied an angel leaning o'er,
      With pity in her look.
    He turned, distrustful of his sight,
      Unwilling to believe,
    When, lo! in Heaven's own radiance smiled,
      His sweet companion, Eve!

    Fondly he clasped her to his heart,
      And blissfully he cried,
    "What tho' I've lost a Paradise,
      I've gained an angel bride!
    No flowers in Eden ever bloomed,
      No! not in heaven above,
    Sweeter than woman brings to man--
      Her friendship, truth, and love!"

    These buds were brought by Adam's bride,
      Outside of Eden's gate,
    And scattered o'er the world; _to them_
      This book I dedicate.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


V.

_PHASES IN THE LIFE OF JOHN POLLEXFEN._


PHASE THE FIRST.

There are but three persons now living who can truthfully answer the
question, "How did John Pollexfen, the photographer, make his fortune?"

No confidence will be violated, now that he is dead, and his heirs
residents of a foreign country, if I relate the story of that singular
man, whose rapid accumulation of wealth astonished the whole circle of
his acquaintance.

Returning from the old man's funeral a few days since, the subject of
Pollexfen's discoveries became the topic of conversation; and my
companions in the same carriage, aware that, as his attorney and
confidential friend, I knew more of the details of his business than any
one else, extorted from me a promise that at the first leisure moment I
would relate, in print, the secret of that curious invention by which
the photographic art was so largely enriched, and himself elevated at
once to the acme of opulence and renown.

Few persons who were residents of the city of San Francisco at an early
day, will fail to remember the site of the humble gallery in which
Pollexfen laid the foundations of his fame. It was situated on Merchant
Street, about midway between Kearny and Montgomery Streets, in an old
wooden building; the ground being occupied at present by the solid brick
structure of Thomas R. Bolton. It fed the flames of the great May fire
of 1851, was rebuilt, but again consumed in December, 1853. It was
during the fall of the latter year that the principal event took place
which is to constitute the most prominent feature of my narrative.

I am aware that the facts will be discredited by many, and doubted at
first by all; but I beg to premise, at the outset, that because they are
uncommon, by no means proves that they are untrue. Besides, should the
question ever become a judicial one, I hold in my hands such _written
proofs_, signed by the parties most deeply implicated, as will at once
terminate both doubt and litigation. Of this, however, I have at present
no apprehensions; for Lucile and her husband are both too honorable to
assail the reputation of the dead, and too rich themselves to attempt to
pillage the living.

As it is my wish to be distinctly understood, and at the same time to be
exculpated from all blame for the part I myself acted in the drama, the
story must commence with my first acquaintance with Mademoiselle Lucile
Marmont.

In the spring of 1851, I embarked at New York for Panama, or rather
Chagres, on board the steamship "Ohio," Captain Schenck, on my way to
the then distant coast of California, attracted hither by the universal
desire to accumulate a rapid fortune, and return at the earliest
practicable period to my home, on the Atlantic seaboard.

There were many hundred such passengers on the same ship. But little
sociability prevailed, until after the steamer left Havana, where it was
then the custom to touch on the "outward bound," to obtain a fresh
supply of fuel and provisions. We were detained longer than customary at
Havana, and most of the passengers embraced the opportunity to visit
the Bishop's Garden and the tomb of Columbus.

One morning, somewhat earlier than usual, I was standing outside the
railing which incloses the monument of the great discoverer, and had
just transcribed in my note-book the following epitaph:

    "O! Restos y Imagen
       Del Grande Colon:
     Mil siglos durad guardados
       En lare Urna,
     Y en la Remembranza
       De Nuestra Nacion,"

when I was suddenly interrupted by a loud scream directly behind me. On
turning, I beheld a young lady whom I had seen but once before on the
steamer, leaning over the prostrate form of an elderly female, and
applying such restoratives as were at hand to resuscitate her, for she
had fainted. Seeing me, the daughter exclaimed, "_Oh, Monsieur! y-a-t-il
un medecin ici?_" I hastened to the side of the mother, and was about to
lift her from the pavement, when M. Marmont himself entered the
cathedral. I assisted him in placing his wife in a _volante_ then
passing, and she was safely conveyed to the hotel.

Having myself some knowledge of both French and Spanish, and able to
converse in either tongue, Lucile Marmont, then sixteen years of age,
and I, from that time forward, became close and confidential friends.

The steamer sailed the next day, and in due time anchored off the
roadstead of Chagres. But Mme. Marmont, in the last stages of
consumption when she embarked at New York, continued extremely ill until
we passed Point Concepcion, on this coast, when she suddenly expired
from an attack of hemorrhage of the lungs.

She was buried at sea; and never can I forget the unutterable anguish of
poor Lucile, as her mother's body splashed into the cold blue waters of
the Pacific.

There she stood, holding on to the railing, paler than monumental
marble, motionless as a statue, rigid as a corpse. The whole scene
around her seemed unperceived. Her eyes gazed upon vacancy; her head was
thrust slightly forward, and her disheveled tresses, black as Plutonian
night, fell neglected about her shoulders.

Captain Watkins, then commanding the "Panama"--whom, may God bless--wept
like a child; and his manly voice, that never quailed in the dread
presence of the lightning or the hurricane, broke, chokingly, as he
attempted to finish the burial rite, and died away in agitated sobs.

One by one the passengers left the spot, consecrated to the grief of
that only child--now more than orphaned by her irreparable loss. Lifting
my eyes, at last, none save the daughter and her father stood before me.
Charmed to the spot was I, by a spell that seemed irresistible. Scarcely
able to move a muscle, there I remained, speechless and overpowered.
Finally the father spoke, and then Lucile fell headlong into his arms.
He bore her into his state-room, where the ship's surgeon was summoned,
and where he continued his ministrations until we reached this port.

It is scarcely necessary to add, that I attended them ashore, and saw
them safely and commodiously lodged at the old Parker House, before I
once thought of my own accommodations.

Weeks passed, and months, too, stole gradually away, before I saw
anything more of the bereaved and mourning child. One day, however, as I
was lolling carelessly in my office, after business hours (and that
meant just at dark in those early times), Lucile hastily entered. I was
startled to see her; for upon her visage I thought I beheld the same
stolid spell of agony that some months before had transfixed my very
soul. Before I had time to recover myself, or ask her to be seated, she
approached closer, and said in a half whisper, "Oh, sir, come with me
home."

On our way she explained that her father was lying dangerously ill, and
that she knew no physician to whom she could apply, and in whose skill
she could place confidence. I at once recommended Dr. H. M. White (since
dead), well knowing not only his great success, but equally cognizant of
that universal charity that rendered him afterwards no less beloved than
illustrious. Without a moment's hesitation, the Doctor seized his hat,
and hastened along with us, to the wretched abode of the sick, and, as
it afterwards proved, the palsied father. The disease was pronounced
apoplexy, and recovery doubtful. Still, there was hope. Whilst we were
seated around the bedside, a tall, emaciated, feeble, but very handsome
young man entered, and staggered to a seat. He was coarsely and meanly
clad; but there was something about him that not only betokened the
gentleman, but the well-bred and accomplished scholar. As he seated
himself, he exchanged a glance with Lucile, and in that silent look I
read the future history of both their lives. On lifting my eyes toward
hers, the pallor fled for an instant from her cheek, and a traitor blush
flashed its crimson confession across her features.

The patient was copiously bled from an artery in the temple, and
gradually recovered his consciousness, but on attempting to speak we
ascertained that partial paralysis had resulted from the fit.

As I rose, with the Doctor, to leave, Lucile beckoned me to remain, and
approaching me more closely, whispered in French, "Stay, and I will tell
you all." The main points of her story, though deeply interesting to me,
at that time, were so greatly eclipsed by subsequent events, that they
are scarcely worthy of narration. Indeed, I shall not attempt to detail
them here fully, but will content myself with stating, in few words,
only such events as bear directly upon the fortunes of John Pollexfen.

As intimated above, Lucile was an only child. She was born in Dauphiny,
a province of France, and immigrated to America during the disastrous
year 1848. Her father was exiled, and his estates seized by the officers
of the government, on account of his political tenets. The family
embarked at Marseilles, with just sufficient ready money to pay their
passage to New York, and support them for a few months after their
arrival. It soon became apparent that want, and perhaps starvation, were
in store, unless some means of obtaining a livelihood could be devised.
The sole expedient was music, of which M. Marmont was a proficient, and
to this resource he at once applied himself most industriously. He had
accumulated a sufficient sum to pay his expenses to this coast, up to
the beginning of 1851, and took passage for San Francisco, as we have
already seen, in the spring of that year.

Reaching here, he became more embarrassed every day, unacquainted as he
was with the language, and still less with the wild life into which he
was so suddenly plunged. Whilst poverty was pinching his body, grief for
the loss of his wife was torturing his soul. Silent, sad, almost morose
to others, his only delight was in his child. Apprehensions for her
fate, in case of accident to himself, embittered his existence, and
hastened the catastrophe above related. Desirous of placing her in a
situation in which she could earn a livelihood, independent of his own
precarious exertions, he taught her drawing and painting, and had just
succeeded in obtaining for her the employment of coloring photographs at
Pollexfen's gallery the very day he was seized with his fatal disorder.

Some weeks previous to this, Charles Courtland, the young man before
mentioned, became an inmate of his house under the following
circumstances:

One evening, after the performances at the Jenny Lind Theatre (where M.
Marmont was employed) were over, and consequently very late, whilst he
was pursuing his lonely way homewards he accidentally stumbled over an
impediment in his path. He at once recognized it as a human body, and
being near home, he lifted the senseless form into his house. A severe
contusion behind the ear had been the cause of the young man's
misfortune, and his robbery had been successfully accomplished whilst
lying in a state of insensibility.

His recovery was extremely slow, and though watched by the brightest
pair of eyes that ever shot their dangerous glances into a human soul,
Courtland had not fully recovered his strength up to the time that I
made his acquaintance.

He was a Virginian by birth; had spent two years in the mines on Feather
River, and having accumulated a considerable sum of money, came to San
Francisco to purchase a small stock of goods, with which he intended to
open a store at Bidwell's Bar. His robbery frustrated all these golden
dreams, and his capture by Lucile Marmont completed his financial ruin.

Here terminates the first phase in the history of John Pollexfen.


PHASE THE SECOND.

"Useless! useless! all useless!" exclaimed John Pollexfen, as he dashed
a glass negative, which he had most elaborately prepared, into the
slop-bucket. "Go, sleep with your predecessors." After a moment's
silence, he again spoke: "But I know _it exists_. Nature has the secret
locked up securely, as she thinks, but I'll tear it from her. Doesn't
the eye see? Is not the retina impressible to the faintest gleam of
light? What telegraphs to my soul the colors of the rainbow? Nothing but
the eye, the human eye. And shall John Pollexfen be told, after he has
lived half a century, that the compacted humors of this little organ can
do more than his whole laboratory? By heaven! I'll wrest the secret from
the labyrinth of nature, or pluck my own eyes from their sockets."

Thus soliloquized John Pollexfen, a few days after the events narrated
in the last chapter.

He was seated at a table, in a darkened chamber, with a light burning,
though in the middle of the day, and his countenance bore an
unmistakable expression of disappointment, mingled with disgust, at the
failure of his last experiment. He was evidently in an ill-humor, and
seemed puzzled what to do next. Just then a light tap came at the door,
and in reply to an invitation to enter, the pale, delicate features of
Lucile Marmont appeared at the threshold.

"Oh! is it you, my child?" said the photographer, rising. "Let me see
your touches." After surveying the painted photographs a moment, he
broke out into a sort of artistic glee: "Beautiful! beautiful! an adept,
quite an adept! Who taught you? Come, have no secrets from me; I'm an
old man, and may be of service to you yet. What city artist gave you the
cue?"

Before relating any more of the conversation, it becomes necessary to
paint John Pollexfen as he was. Methinks I can see his tall, rawboned,
angular form before me, even now, as I write these lines. There he
stands, Scotch all over, from head to foot. It was whispered about in
early times--for really no one knew much about his previous career--that
John Pollexfen had been a famous sea captain; that he had sailed around
the world many times; had visited the coast of Africa under suspicious
circumstances, and finally found his way to California from the then
unpopular region of Australia. Without pausing to trace these rumors
further, it must be admitted that there was something in the appearance
of the man sufficiently repulsive, at first sight, to give them
currency. He had a large bushy head, profusely furnished with hair
almost brickdust in color, and growing down upon a broad, low forehead,
indicative of great mathematical and constructive power. His brows were
long and shaggy, and overhung a restless, deep-set, cold, gray eye, that
met the fiercest glance unquailingly, and seemed possessed of that
magnetic power which dazzles, reads and confounds whatsoever it looks
upon. There was no escape from its inquisitive glitter. It sounded the
very depths of the soul it thought proper to search. Whilst gazing at
you, instinct felt the glance before your own eye was lifted so as to
encounter his. There was no human weakness in its expression. It was as
pitiless as the gleam of the lightning. But you felt no less that high
intelligence flashed from its depths. Courage, you knew, was there; and
true bravery is akin to all the nobler virtues. This man, you at once
said, may be cold, but it is impossible for him to be unjust, deceitful
or ungenerous. He might, like Shylock, insist on a _right_, no matter
how vindictive, but he would never forge a claim, no matter how
insignificant. He might crush, like Cæsar, but he could never plot like
Catiline. In addition to all this, it required but slight knowledge of
physiognomy to perceive that his stern nature was tinctured with genuine
enthusiasm. Earnestness beamed forth in every feature. His soul was as
sincere as it was unbending. He could not trifle, even with the most
inconsiderable subject. Laughter he abhorred. He could smile, but there
was little contagion in his pleasantry. It surprised more than it
pleased you. Blended with this deep, scrutinizing, earnest and
enthusiastic nature, there was an indefinable something, shading the
whole character--it might have been early sorrow, or loss of fortune, or
baffled ambition, or unrequited love. Still, it shone forth patent to
the experienced eye, enigmatical, mysterious, sombre. There was danger,
also, in it, and many, who knew him best, attributed his eccentricity to
a softened phase of insanity.

But the most marked practical trait of Pollexfen's character was his
enthusiasm for his art. He studied its history, from the humble hints of
Niépce to the glorious triumphs of Farquer, Bingham, and Bradley, with
all the soul-engrossing fidelity of a child, and spent many a midnight
hour in striving to rival or surpass them. It was always a subject of
astonishment with me, until after his death, how it happened that a
rough, athletic seaman, as people declared he was originally, should
become so intensely absorbed in a science requiring delicacy of taste,
and skill in manipulation rather than power of muscle, in its practical
application. But after carefully examining the papers tied up in the
same package with his last will and testament, I ceased to wonder, and
sought no further for an explanation.

Most prominent amongst these carefully preserved documents was an old
diploma, granted by the University of Edinburgh, in the year 1821, to
"John Pollexfen, Gent., of Hallicardin, Perthshire," constituting him
Doctor of Medicine. On the back of the diploma, written in a round,
clear hand, I found indorsed as follows:

   Fifteen years of my life have I lost by professing modern
   quackery. Medicine is not a science, properly so called. It is at
   most but an art. He best succeeds who creates his own system.
   Each generation adopts its peculiar manual: Sangrado to-day;
   Thomson to-morrow; Hahnemann the day after. Surgery advances;
   physic is stationary. But chemistry, glorious chemistry, is a
   science. Born amid dissolving ruins, and cradled upon rollers of
   fire, her step is onward. At her side, as an humble menial,
   henceforth shall be found

                                                JOHN POLLEXFEN.

The indorsement bore no date, but it must have been written long before
his immigration to California.

Let us now proceed with the interview between the photographer and his
employee. Repeating the question quickly, "Who gave you the cue?"
demanded Pollexfen.

"My father taught me drawing and painting, but my own taste suggested
the coloring."

"Do you mean to tell me, really, that you taught yourself, Mlle.
Marmont?" and as he said this, the cold, gray eye lit up with unwonted
brilliancy.

"What I say is true," replied the girl, and elevating her own lustrous
eyes, they encountered his own, with a glance quite as steady.

"Let us go into the sunlight, and examine the tints more fully;" and
leading the way they emerged into the sitting-room where customers were
in the habit of awaiting the artist's pleasure.

Here the pictures were again closely scrutinized, but far more
accurately than before; and after fully satisfying his curiosity on the
score of the originality of the penciling, approached Lucile very
closely, and darting his wonderful glance into the depths of her own
eyes, said, after a moment's pause, "You have glorious eyes."

Lucile was about to protest, in a hurried way, against such adulation,
when he continued: "Nay, nay, do not deny it. Your eyes are the most
fathomless orbs that ever I beheld--large, too, and lustrous--the very
eyes I have been searching for these five years past. A judge of color;
a rare judge of color! How is your father to-day, my child?"

The tone of voice in which this last remark was made had in it more of
the curious than the tender. It seemed to have been propounded more as a
matter of business than of feeling. Still, Lucile replied respectfully,
"Oh! worse, sir; a great deal worse. Doctor White declares that it is
impossible for him to recover, and that he cannot live much longer."

"Not live?" replied Pollexfen, "not live?" Then, as if musing, he
solemnly added, "When your father is dead, Lucile, come to me, and I
will make your fortune. That is, if you follow my advice, and place
yourself exclusively under my instructions. Nay, but you shall earn it
yourself. See!" he exclaimed, and producing a bank deposit-book from his
pocket, "See! here have I seven thousand five hundred dollars in bank,
and I would gladly exchange it for one of your eyes."

Astonishment overwhelmed the girl, and she could make no immediate
reply; and before she had sufficiently recovered her self-possession to
speak, the photographer hastily added, "Don't wonder; farewell, now.
Remember what I have said--seven thousand five hundred dollars just for
one eye!"

Lucile was glad to escape, without uttering a syllable. Pursuing her way
homewards, she pondered deeply over the singular remark with which
Pollexfen closed the conversation, and half muttering, said to herself,
"Can he be in earnest? or is it simply the odd way in which an eccentric
man pays a compliment?" But long before she could solve the enigma,
other thoughts, far more engrossing, took sole possession of her mind.

She fully realized her situation--a dying father, and a sick lover, both
dependent in a great measure upon her exertions, and she herself not yet
past her seventeenth year.

On reaching home she found the door wide open, and Courtland standing in
the entrance, evidently awaiting her arrival. As she approached, their
eyes met, and a glance told her that all was over.

"Dead!" softly whispered Courtland.

A stifled sob was all that broke from the lips of the child, as she fell
lifeless into the arms of her lover.

I pass over the mournful circumstances attending the funeral of the
exiled Frenchman. He was borne to his grave by a select few of his
countrymen, whose acquaintance he had made during his short residence in
this city. Like thousands of others, who have perished in our midst, he
died, and "left no sign." The newspapers published the item the next
morning, and before the sun had set upon his funeral rites the poor man
was forgotten by all except the immediate persons connected with this
narrative.

To one of them, at least, his death was not only an important event, but
it formed a great epoch in her history.

Lucile was transformed, in a moment of time, from a helpless, confiding,
affectionate girl, into a full-grown, self-dependent, imperious woman.
Such revolutions, I know, are rare in everyday life, and but seldom
occur; in fact, they never happen except in those rare instances where
nature has stamped a character with the elements of inborn originality
and force, which accident, or sudden revulsion, develops at once into
full maturity. To such a soul, death of an only parent operates like the
summer solstice upon the whiter snow of Siberia. It melts away the
weakness and credulity of childhood almost miraculously, and exhibits,
with the suddenness of an apparition, the secret and hitherto unknown
traits that will forever afterwards distinguish the individual. The
explanation of this curious moral phenomenon consists simply in bringing
to the surface what already was in existence below; not in the
instantaneous creation of new elements of character. The tissues were
already there; circumstance hardens them into bone. Thus we sometimes
behold the same marvel produced by the marriage of some characterless
girl, whom we perhaps had known from infancy, and whose individuality we
had associated with cake, or crinoline--a gay humming-bird of social
life, so light and frivolous and unstable, that, as she flitted across
our pathway, we scarcely deigned her the compliment of a thought. Yet a
week or a month after her nuptials, we meet the self-same warbler, not
as of old, beneath the paternal roof, but under her own "vine and
fig-tree," and in astonishment we ask ourselves, "Can this be the
bread-and-butter Miss we passed by with the insolence of a sneer, a
short time ago?" Behold her now! On her brow sits womanhood. Upon her
features beam out palpably traits of great force and originality. She
moves with the majesty of a queen, and astounds us by taking a leading
part in the discussion of questions of which we did not deem she ever
dreamed. What a transformation is here! Has nature proven false to
herself? Is this a miracle? Are all her laws suspended, that she might
transform, in an instant, a puling trifler into a perfect woman? Not so,
oh! doubter. Not nature is false, but you are yourself ignorant of her
laws. Study Shakspeare; see Gloster woo, and win, the defiant,
revengeful and embittered Lady Anne, and confess in your humility that
it is far more probable that you should err, than that Shakspeare should
be mistaken.

Not many days after the death of M. Marmont, it was agreed by all the
friends of Lucile, that the kind offer extended to her by Pollexfen
should be accepted, and that she should become domiciliated in his
household. He was unmarried, it is true, but still he kept up an
establishment. His housekeeper was a dear old lady, Scotch, like her
master, but a direct contrast in every trait of her character. Her
duties were not many, nor burdensome. Her time was chiefly occupied in
family matters--cooking, washing, and feeding the pets--so that it was
but seldom she made her appearance in any other apartment than those
entirely beneath her own supervision.

The photographer had an assistant in his business, a Chinaman; and upon
him devolved the task of caring for the outer offices.

Courtland, with a small stock of money, and still smaller modicum of
health, left at once for Bidwell's Bar, where he thought of trying his
fortune once more at mining, and where he was well and most cordially
known.

It now only remained to accompany Lucile to her new home, to see her
safely ensconced in her new quarters, to speak a flattering word in her
favor to Pollexfen, and then, to bid her farewell, perhaps forever. All
this was duly accomplished, and with good-bye on my lips, and a
sorrowful sympathy in my heart, I turned away from the closing door of
the photographer, and wended my way homewards.

Mademoiselle Marmont was met at the threshold by Martha McClintock, the
housekeeper, and ushered at once into the inner apartment, situated in
the rear of the gallery.

After removing her veil and cloak, she threw herself into an arm-chair,
and shading her eyes with both her hands, fell into a deep reverie. She
had been in that attitude but a few moments, when a large Maltese cat
leaped boldly into her lap, and began to court familiarity by purring
and playing, as with an old acquaintance. Lucile cast a casual glance at
the animal, and noticed immediately that it had but _one eye_!
Expressing no astonishment, but feeling a great deal, she cast her eyes
cautiously around the apartment.

Near the window hung a large tin cage, containing a blue African parrot,
with crimson-tipped shoulders and tail. At the foot of the sofa, a
silken-haired spaniel was quietly sleeping, whilst, outside the window,
a bright little canary was making the air melodious with its happy
warbling. A noise in an adjoining room aroused the dog, and set it
barking. As it lifted its glossy ears and turned its graceful head
toward Lucile, her surprise was enhanced in the greatest degree, by
perceiving that it, too, had lost an eye. Rising, she approached the
window, impelled by a curiosity that seemed irresistible. Peering into
the cage, she coaxed the lazy parrot to look at her, and her amazement
was boundless when she observed that the poor bird was marred in the
same mournful manner. Martha witnessed her astonishment, and indulged
in a low laugh, but said nothing. At this moment Pollexfen himself
entered the apartment, and with his appearance must terminate the second
phase of his history.


PHASE THE THIRD.

"Come and sit by me, Mademoiselle Marmont," said Pollexfen, advancing at
the same time to the sofa, and politely making way for the young lady,
who followed almost mechanically. "You must not believe me as bad as I
may seem at first sight, for we all have redeeming qualities, if the
world would do us the justice to seek for them as industriously as for
our faults."

"I am very well able to believe that," replied Lucile, "for my dear
father instructed me to act upon the maxim, that good predominates over
evil, even in this life; and I feel sure that I need fear no harm
beneath the roof of the only real benefactor----"

"Pshaw! we will not bandy compliments at our first sitting; they are the
prelude amongst men, to hypocrisy first, and wrong afterwards. May I so
far transgress the rules of common politeness as to ask your age? Not
from idle curiosity, I can assure you."

"At my next birthday," said Lucile, "I shall attain the age of seventeen
years."

"And when may that be?" pursued her interlocutor. "I had hoped you were
older, by a year."

"My birthday is the 18th of November, and really, sir, I am curious to
know why you feel any disappointment that I am not older."

"Oh! nothing of any great consequence; only this, that by the laws of
California, on reaching the age of eighteen you become the sole mistress
of yourself."

"I greatly fear," timidly added the girl, "that I shall have to
anticipate the law, and assume that responsibility at once."

"But you can only contract through a guardian before that era in your
life; and in the agreement _between us, that is to be_, no third person
shall intermeddle. But we will not now speak of that. You must consider
yourself my equal here; there must be no secrets to hide from each
other; no suspicions engendered. We are both artists. Confidence is the
only path to mutual improvement. My business is large, but my ambition
to excel greater, far. Listen to me, child!" and suddenly rising, so as
to confront Lucile, he darted one of those magnetic glances into the
very fortress of her soul, which we have before attempted to describe,
and added, in an altered tone of voice, "The sun's raybrush paints the
rainbow upon the evanescent cloud, and photographs an iris in the skies.
The human eye catches the picture ere it fades, and transfers it with
all its beauteous tints to that prepared albumen, the retina. The soul
sees it there, and rejoices at the splendid spectacle. Shall insensate
nature outpaint the godlike mind? Can she leave her brightest colors on
the dark _collodion_ of a thunder-cloud, and I not transfer the blush of
a rose, or the vermilion of a dahlia, to my _Rivi_ or _Saxe_? No! no!
I'll not believe it. Let us work together, girl; we'll lead the age we
live in. My name shall rival Titian's, and you shall yet see me snatch
the colors of the dying dolphin from decay, and bid them live forever."

And so saying, he turned with a suddenness that startled his pupil, and
strode hastily out of the apartment.

Unaccustomed, as Lucile had been from her very birth, to brusque
manners, like those of the photographer, their grotesqueness impressed
her with an indefinable relish for such awkward sincerity, and whetted
her appetite to see more of the man whose enthusiasm always got the
better of his politeness.

"He is no Frenchman," thought the girl, "but I like him none the less.
He has been very, very kind to me, and I am at this moment dependent
upon him for my daily bread." Then, changing the direction of her
thoughts, they recurred to the subject-matter of Pollexfen's discourse.
"Here," thought she, "lies the clue to the labyrinth. If insane, his
madness is a noble one; for he would link his name with the progress of
his art. He seeks to do away with the necessity of such poor creatures
as myself, as adjuncts to photography. Nature, he thinks, should lay on
the coloring, not man--the Sun himself should paint, not the human
hand." And with these, and kindred thoughts, she opened her escritoire,
and taking out her pencils sat down to the performance of her daily
labor.

Oh, blessed curse of Adam's posterity, healthful toil, all hail!
Offspring of sin and shame--still heaven's best gift to man. Oh,
wondrous miracle of Providence! divinest alchemy of celestial science!
by which the chastisement of the progenitor transforms itself into a
priceless blessing upon the offspring! None but God himself could
transmute the sweat of the face into a panacea for the soul. How many
myriads have been cured by toil of the heart's sickness and the body's
infirmities! The clink of the hammer drowns, in its music, the
lamentations of pain and the sighs of sorrow. Even the distinctions of
rank and wealth and talents are all forgotten, and the inequalities of
stepdame Fortune all forgiven, whilst the busy whirls of industry are
bearing us onward to our goal. No condition in life is so much to be
envied as his who is too busy to indulge in reverie. Health is his
companion, happiness his friend. Ills flee from his presence as
night-birds from the streaking of the dawn. Pale Melancholy, and her
sister Insanity, never invade his dominions; for Mirth stands sentinel
at the border, and Innocence commands the garrison of his soul.

Henceforth let no man war against fate whose lot has been cast in that
happy medium, equidistant from the lethargic indolence of superabundant
wealth, and the abject paralysis of straitened poverty. Let them toil
on, and remember that God is a worker, and strews infinity with
revolving worlds! Should he forget, in a moment of grief or triumph, of
gladness or desolation, that being born to toil, in labor only shall he
find contentment, let him ask of the rivers why they never rest, of the
sunbeams why they never pause. Yea, of the great globe itself, why it
travels on forever in the golden pathway of the ecliptic, and nature,
from her thousand voices, will respond: Motion is life, inertia is
death; action is health, stagnation is sickness; toil is glory, torpor
is disgrace!

I cannot say that thoughts as profound as these found their way into the
mind of Lucile, as she plied her task, but nature vindicated her own
laws in her case, as she will always do, if left entirely to herself.

As day after day and week after week rolled by, a softened sorrow, akin
only to grief--

    "As the mist resembles the rain"--

took the place of the poignant woe which had overwhelmed her at first,
and time laid a gentle hand upon her afflictions. Gradually, too, she
became attached to her art, and made such rapid strides towards
proficiency that Pollexfen ceased, finally, to give any instruction, or
offer any hints as to the manner in which she ought to paint. Thus her
own taste became her only guide; and before six months had elapsed after
the death of her father, the pictures of Pollexfen became celebrated
throughout the city and state, for the correctness of their coloring and
the extraordinary delicacy of their finish. His gallery was daily
thronged with the wealth, beauty and fashion of the great metropolis,
and the hue of his business assumed the coloring of success.

But his soul was the slave of a single thought. Turmoil brooded there,
like darkness over chaos ere the light pierced the deep profound.

During the six months which we have just said had elapsed since the
domiciliation of Mlle. Marmont beneath his roof, he had had many long
and perfectly frank conversations with her, upon the subject which most
deeply interested him. She had completely fathomed his secret, and by
degrees had learned to sympathize with him, in his search into the
hidden mysteries of photographic science. She even became the frequent
companion of his chemical experiments, and night after night attended
him in his laboratory, when the lazy world around them was buried in the
profoundest repose.

Still, there was one subject which, hitherto, he had not broached, and
that was the one in which she felt all a woman's curiosity--_the offer
to purchase an eye_. She had long since ascertained the story of the
one-eyed pets in the parlor, and had not only ceased to wonder, but was
mentally conscious of having forgiven Pollexfen, in her own enthusiasm
for art.

Finally, a whole year elapsed since the death of her father, and no
extraordinary change took place in the relations of the master and his
pupil. True, each day their intercourse became more unrestrained, and
their art-association more intimate. But this intimacy was not the tie
of personal friendship or individual esteem. It began in the laboratory,
and there it ended. Pollexfen had no soul except for his art; no love
outside of his profession. Money he seemed to care for but little,
except as a means of supplying his acids, salts and plates. He
rigorously tested every metal, in its iodides and bromides;
industriously coated his plates with every substance that could be
albumenized, and plunged his negatives into baths of every mineral that
could be reduced to the form of a vapor. His activity was prodigious;
his ingenuity exhaustless, his industry absolutely boundless. He was as
familiar with chemistry as he was with the outlines of the geography of
Scotland. Every headland, spring and promontory of that science he knew
by heart. The most delicate experiments he performed with ease, and the
greatest rapidity. Nature seemed to have endowed him with a native
aptitude for analysis. His love was as profound as it was ready; in
fact, if there was anything he detested more than loud laughter, it was
superficiality. He instinctively pierced at once to the roots and
sources of things; and never rested, after seeing an effect, until he
groped his way back to the cause. "Never stand still," he would often
say to his pupil, "where the ground is boggy. Reach the rock before you
rest." This maxim was the great index to his character; the key to all
his researches.

Time fled so rapidly and to Lucile so pleasantly, too, that she had
reached the very verge of her legal maturity before she once deigned to
bestow a thought upon what change, if any, her eighteenth birthday would
bring about. A few days preceding her accession to majority, a large
package of letters from France, _via_ New York, arrived, directed to M.
Marmont himself, and evidently written without a knowledge of his death.
The bundle came to my care, and I hastened at once to deliver it,
personally, to the blooming and really beautiful Lucile. I had not seen
her for many months, and was surprised to find so great an improvement
in her health and appearance. Her manners were more marked, her
conversation more rapid and decided, and the general contour of her form
far more womanly. It required only a moment's interview to convince me
that she possessed unquestioned talent of a high order, and a spirit as
imperious as a queen's. Those famous eyes of hers, that had, nearly two
years before, attracted in such a remarkable manner the attention of
Pollexfen, had not failed in the least; on the contrary, time had
intensified their power, and given them a depth of meaning and a
dazzling brilliancy that rendered them almost insufferably bright. It
seemed to me that contact with the magnetic gaze of the photographer had
lent them something of his own expression, and I confess that when my
eye met hers fully and steadily, mine was always the first to droop.

Knowing that she was in full correspondence with her lover, I asked
after Courtland, and she finally told me all she knew. He was still
suffering from the effect of the assassin's blow, and very recently had
been attacked by inflammatory rheumatism. His health seemed permanently
impaired, and Lucile wept bitterly as she spoke of the poverty in which
they were both plunged, and which prevented him from essaying the only
remedy that promised a radical cure.

"Oh!" exclaimed she, "were it only in our power to visit _La belle
France_, to bask in the sunshine of Dauphiny, to sport amid the lakes of
the Alps, to repose beneath the elms of Chálons!"

"Perhaps," said I, "the very letters now unopened in your hands may
invite you back to the scenes of your childhood."

"Alas! no," she rejoined, "I recognize the handwriting of my widowed
aunt, and I tremble to break the seal."

Rising shortly afterwards, I bade her a sorrowful farewell.

Lucile sought her private apartment before she ventured to unseal the
dispatches. Many of the letters were old, and had been floating between
New York and Havre for more than a twelvemonth. One was of recent date,
and that was the first one perused by the niece. Below is a free
translation of its contents. It bore date at "Bordeaux, July 12, 1853,"
and ran thus:

   EVER DEAR AND BELOVED BROTHER:

   Why have we never heard from you since the beginning of 1851?
   Alas! I fear some terrible misfortune has overtaken you, and
   overwhelmed your whole family. Many times have I written during
   that long period, and prayed, oh! so promptly, that God would
   take you, and yours, in His holy keeping. And then our dear
   Lucile! Ah! what a life must be in store for her, in that wild
   and distant land! Beg of her to return to France; and do not
   fail, also, to come yourself. We have a new Emperor, as you must
   long since have learned, in the person of Louis Bonaparte, nephew
   of the great Napoleon. Your reactionist principles against
   Cavaignac and his colleagues, can be of no disservice to you at
   present. Napoleon is lenient. He has even recalled Louis Blanc.
   Come, and apply for restitution of the old estates; come, and be
   a protector of my seven orphans, now, alas! suffering even for
   the common necessaries of life. Need a fond sister say more to
   her only living brother?

                         Thine, as in childhood,

                                                       ANNETTE.

"Misfortunes pour like a pitiless winter storm upon my devoted head,"
thought Lucile, as she replaced the letter in its envelope. "Parents
dead; aunt broken-hearted; cousins starving, and I not able to afford
relief. I cannot even moisten their sorrows with a tear. I would weep,
but rebellion against fate rises in my soul, and dries up the fountain
of tears. Had Heaven made me a man it would not have been thus. I have
something here," she exclaimed, rising from her seat and placing her
hand upon her forehead, "that tells me I could do and dare, and endure."

Her further soliloquy was here interrupted by a distinct rap at her
door, and on pronouncing the word "enter," Pollexfen, for the first time
since she became a member of his family, strode heavily into her
chamber. Lucile did not scream, or protest, or manifest either surprise
or displeasure at this unwonted and uninvited visit. She politely
pointed to a seat, and the photographer, without apology or hesitation,
seized the chair, and moving it so closely to her own that they came in
contact, seated himself without uttering a syllable. Then, drawing a
document from his breast pocket, which was folded formally, and sealed
with two seals, but subscribed only with one name, he proceeded to read
it from beginning to end, in a slow, distinct, and unfaltering tone.

I have the document before me, as I write, and I here insert a full and
correct copy. It bore date just one month subsequent to the time of the
interview, and was intended, doubtless, to afford his pupil full
opportunity for consultation before requesting her signature:


   |=This Indenture=|, Made this nineteenth day of November, A. D.
   1853, by John Pollexfen, photographer, of the first part, and
   Lucile Marmont, artiste, of the second part, both of the city of
   San Francisco, and State of California, WITNESSETH:

   WHEREAS, the party of the first part is desirous of obtaining a
   living, sentient, human eye, of perfect organism, and
   unquestioned strength, for the sole purpose of chemical analysis
   and experiment in the lawful prosecution of his studies as
   photograph chemist. AND WHEREAS, the party of the second part can
   supply the desideratum aforesaid. AND WHEREAS FURTHER, the first
   party is willing to purchase, and the second party willing to
   sell the same:

   Now, THEREFORE, the said John Pollexfen, for and in consideration
   of such eye, to be by him safely and instantaneously removed from
   its left socket, at the rooms of said Pollexfen, on Monday,
   November 19, at the hour of eleven o'clock P. M., hereby
   undertakes, promises and agrees, to pay unto the said Lucile
   Marmont, in current coin of the United States, in advance, the
   full and just sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars. AND the
   said Lucile Marmont, on her part, hereby agrees and covenants to
   sell, and for and in consideration of the said sum of seven
   thousand and five hundred dollars, does hereby sell, unto the
   said Pollexfen, her left eye, as aforesaid, to be by him
   extracted, in time, place and manner above set forth; only
   stipulating on her part, further, that said money shall be
   deposited in the Bank of Page, Bacon & Co. on the morning of that
   day, in the name of her attorney and agent, Thomas J. Falconer,
   Esq., for her sole and separate use.

   As witness our hands and seals, this nineteenth day of November,
   A. D. 1853.

      (Signed)                  JOHN POLLEXFEN, [L. S.]
                                ..............  [L. S.]


Having finished the perusal, the photographer looked up, and the eyes of
his pupil encountered his own.

And here terminates the third phase in the history of John Pollexfen.


PHASE THE FOURTH.

The confronting glance of the master and his pupil was not one of those
casual encounters of the eye which lasts but for a second, and
terminates in the almost instantaneous withdrawal of the vanquished orb.
On the contrary, the scrutiny was long and painful. Each seemed
determined to conquer, and both knew that flight was defeat, and
quailing ruin. The photographer felt a consciousness of superiority in
himself, in his cause and his intentions. These being pure and
commendable, he experienced no sentiment akin to the weakness of guilt.
The girl, on the other hand, struggled with the emotions of terror,
curiosity and defiance. He thought, "Will she yield?" She, "Is this man
in earnest?" Neither seemed inclined to speak, yet both grew impatient.

Nature finally vindicated her own law, that the most powerful intellect
must magnetize the weaker, and Lucile, dropping her eye, said, with a
sickened smile, "Sir, are you jesting?"

"I am incapable of trickery," dryly responded Pollexfen.

"But not of delusion?" suggested the girl.

"A fool may be deceived, a chemist never."

"And you would have the fiendish cruelty to tear out one of my eyes
before I am dead? Why, even the vulture waits till his prey is carrion."

"I am not cruel," he responded; "I labor under no delusion. I pursue no
phantom. Where I now stand experiment forced me. With the rigor of a
mathematical demonstration I have been driven to the proposition set
forth in this agreement. Nature cannot lie. The earth revolves because
it _must_. Causation controls the universe. Men speak of _accidents_,
but a fortuitous circumstance never happened since matter moved at the
fist of the Almighty. Is it chance that the prism decomposes a ray of
light? Is it chance, that by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in the
proportion of two to one in volume, water should be the result? How can
Nature err?"

"She cannot," Lucile responded, "but man may."

"That argues that I, too, am but human, and may fall into the common
category."

"Such was my thought."

"Then banish the idea forever. I deny not that I am but mortal, but man
was made in the image of God. Truth is as clear to the perception of the
creature, _when seen at all_, as it is to that of the Creator. What is
man but a finite God? He moves about his little universe its sole
monarch, and with all the absoluteness of a deity, controls its motions
and settles its destiny. He may not be able to number the sands on the
seashore, but he can count his flocks and herds. He may not create a
comet, or overturn a world, but he can construct the springs of a watch,
or the wheels of a mill, and they obey him as submissively as globes
revolve about their centres, or galaxies tread in majesty the
measureless fields of space!

"For years," exclaimed he, rising to his feet, and fixing his eagle
glance upon his pupil, "for long and weary years, I have studied the
laws of light, color, and motion. Why are my pictures sharper in
outline, and truer to nature, than those of rival artists around me?
Poor fools! whilst they slavishly copied what nobler natures taught, I
boldly trod in unfamiliar paths. I invented, whilst they traveled on the
beaten highway, look at my lenses! They use glass--yes, common
glass--with a spectral power of 10, because they catch up the childish
notion of Dawson, and Harwick, that it is impossible to prepare the most
beautiful substance in nature, next to the diamond--crystalized
quartz--for the purposes of art. Yet quartz has a power of refraction
equal to 74! Could John Pollexfen sleep quietly in his bed whilst such
an outrage was being perpetrated daily against God and His universe? No!
Lucile; never! Yon snowy hills conceal in their bosoms treasures far
richer than the sheen of gold. With a single blast I tore away a ton of
crystal. How I cut and polished it is my secret, not the world's. The
result crowds my gallery daily, whilst theirs are half deserted."

"And are you not satisfied with your success?" demanded the girl, whose
own eye began to dilate, and gleam, as it caught the kindred spark of
enthusiasm from the flaming orbs of Pollexfen.

"Satisfied!" cried he; "satisfied! Not until my _camera_ flashes back
the silver sheen of the planets, and the golden twinkle of the stars.
Not until earth and all her daughters can behold themselves in yon
mirror, clad in their radiant robes. Not until each hue of the rainbow,
each tint of the flower, and the fitful glow of roseate beauty,
changeful as the tinge of summer sunsets, have all been captured,
copied, and embalmed forever by the triumphs of the human mind! Least of
all, could I be satisfied now at the very advent of a nobler era in my
art."

"And do you really believe," inquired Lucile, "that color can be
photographed as faithfully as light and shade?"

"Believe, girl? _I know it._ Does not your own beautiful eye print upon
its retina tints, dyes and hues innumerable? And what is the eye but a
lens? God was the first photographer. Give me but a living, sentient,
perfect human eye to dissect and analyze, and I swear by the holy book
of science that I will detect the secret, though hidden deep down in the
primal particles of matter."

"And why a human eye? Why not an eagle's or a lion's?"

"A question I once propounded to myself, and never rested till it was
solved," replied Pollexfen. "Go into my parlor, and ask my pets if I
have not been diligent, faithful, and honest. I have tested every eye
but the human. From the dull shark's to the imperial condor's, I have
tried them all. Months elapsed ere I discovered the error in my
reasoning. Finally, a little boy explained it all. 'Mother,' said a
child, in my hearing, 'when the pigeons mate, do they choose the
prettiest birds?' 'No,' said his mother. 'And why not?' pursued the boy.
Because, responded I, waking as from a dream, _they have no perception
of color_! The animal world sports in light and shade; the human only
rejoices in the apprehension of color. Does the horse admire the
rainbow? or does the ox spare the buttercup and the violet, because they
are beautiful? The secret lies in the human eye alone. An eye! an eye!
give me but one, Lucile!"

As the girl was about to answer, the photographer again interposed, "Not
now; I want no answer now; I give you a month for reflection." And so
saying, he left the room as unceremoniously as he had entered.

The struggle in the mind of Lucile was sharp and decisive. Dependent
herself upon her daily labor, her lover an invalid, and her nearest
kindred starving, were facts that spoke in deeper tones than the thunder
to her soul. Besides, was not one eye to be spared her, and was not a
single eye quite as good as two? She thought, too, how glorious it would
be if Pollexfen should not be mistaken, and she herself should conduce
so essentially to the noblest triumph of the photographic art.

A shade, however, soon overspread her glowing face, as the unbidden idea
came forward: "And will my lover still be faithful to a mutilated bride?
Will not my beauty be marred forever? But," thought she, "is not this
sacrifice for him? Oh, yes! we shall cling still more closely in
consequence of the very misfortune that renders our union possible." One
other doubt suggested itself to her mind: "Is this contract legal? Can
it be enforced? If so," and here her compressed lips, her dilated
nostril, and her clenched hand betokened her decision, "_if so, I
yield_!"

Three weeks passed quickly away, and served but to strengthen the
determination of Lucile. At the expiration of that period, and just one
week before the time fixed for the accomplishment of this cruel scheme,
I was interrupted, during the trial of a cause, by the entry of my
clerk, with a short note from Mademoiselle Marmont, requesting my
immediate presence at the office. Apologizing to the judge, and to my
associate counsel, I hastily left the court-room.

On entering, I found Lucile completely veiled. Nor was it possible,
during our interview, to catch a single glimpse of her features. She
rose, and advancing toward me, extended her hand; whilst pressing it I
felt it tremble.

"Read this document, Mr. Falconer, and advise me as to its legality. I
seek no counsel as to my duty. My mind is unalterably fixed on that
subject, and I beg of you, as a favor, in advance, to spare yourself the
trouble, and me the pain, of reopening it."

If the speech, and the tone in which it was spoken, surprised me, I need
not state how overwhelming was my astonishment at the contents of the
document. I was absolutely stunned. The paper fell from my hands as
though they were paralyzed. Seeing my embarrassment, Lucile rose and
paced the room in an excited manner. Finally pausing, opposite my desk,
she inquired, "Do you require time to investigate the law?"

"Not an instant," said I, recovering my self-possession. "This paper is
not only illegal, but the execution of it an offense. It provides for
the perpetration of the crime of _mayhem_, and it is my duty, as a good
citizen, to arrest the wretch who can contemplate so heinous and inhuman
an act, without delay. See! he has even had the insolence to insert my
own name as paymaster for his villainy."

"I did not visit your office to hear my benefactor and friend insulted,"
ejaculated the girl, in a bitter and defiant tone. "I only came to get
an opinion on a matter of law."

"But this monster is insane, utterly crazy," retorted I. "He ought, this
moment, to be in a madhouse."

"Where they did put Tasso, and tried to put Galileo," she rejoined.

"In the name of the good God!" said I, solemnly, "are you in earnest?"

"Were I not, I should not be here."

"Then our conversation must terminate just where it began."

Lucile deliberately took her seat at my desk, and seizing a pen hastily
affixed her signature to the agreement, and rising, left the office
without uttering another syllable.

"I have, at least, the paper," thought I, "and that I intend to keep."

My plans were soon laid. I sat down and addressed a most pressing letter
to Mr. Courtland, informing him fully of the plot of the lunatic, for so
I then regarded him, and urged him to hasten to San Francisco without a
moment's delay. Then, seizing my hat, I made a most informal call on Dr.
White, and consulted him as to the best means of breaking through the
conspiracy. We agreed at once that, as Pollexfen had committed no overt
act in violation of law, he could not be legally arrested, but that
information must be lodged with the chief of police, requesting him to
detail a trustworthy officer, whose duty it should be to obey us
implicitly, and be ready to act at a moment's notice.

All this was done, and the officer duly assigned for duty. His name was
Cloudsdale. We explained to him fully the nature of the business
intrusted to his keeping, and took great pains to impress upon him the
necessity of vigilance and fidelity. He entered into the scheme with
alacrity, and was most profuse in his promises.

Our settled plan was to meet at the outer door of the photographer's
gallery, at half-past ten o'clock P. M., on the 19th of November, 1853,
and shortly afterwards to make our way, by stratagem or force, into the
presence of Pollexfen, and arrest him on the spot. We hoped to find such
preparations on hand as would justify the arrest, and secure his
punishment. If not, Lucile was to be removed, at all events, and
conducted to a place of safety. Such was the general outline. During the
week we had frequent conferences, and Cloudsdale effected an entrance,
on two occasions, upon some slight pretext, into the room of the artist.
But he could discover nothing to arouse suspicion; so, at least, he
informed us. During the morning of the 19th, a warrant of arrest was
duly issued, and lodged in the hands of Cloudsdale for execution. He
then bade us good morning, and urged us to be promptly on the ground at
half-past ten. He told us that he had another arrest to make on the
Sacramento boat, when she arrived, but would not be detained five
minutes at the police office. This was annoying, but we submitted with
the best grace possible.

During the afternoon, I got another glimpse at our "trusty." The steamer
left for Panama at one P. M., and I went on board to bid adieu to a
friend who was a passenger.

Cloudsdale was also there, and seemed anxious and restive. He told me
that he was on the lookout for a highway robber, who had been tracked to
the city, and it might be possible that he was stowed away secretly on
the ship. Having business up town, I soon left, and went away with a
heavy heart.

As night approached I grew more and more nervous, for the party most
deeply interested in preventing this crime had not made his appearance.
Mr. Courtland had not reached the city. Sickness or the miscarriage of
my letter, was doubtless the cause.

The Doctor and myself supped together, and then proceeded to my
chambers, where we armed ourselves as heavily as though we were about to
fight a battle. We were both silent. The enormity of Pollexfen's
contemplated crime struck us dumb. The evening, however, wore painfully
away, and finally our watches pointed to the time when we should take
our position, as before agreed upon.

We were the first on the ground. This we did not specially notice then;
but when five, then ten, and next, fifteen minutes elapsed, and the
officer still neglected to make his appearance, our uneasiness became
extreme. Twenty--_twenty-five_ minutes passed; still Cloudsdale was
unaccountably detained. "Can he be already in the rooms above?" we
eagerly asked one another. "Are we not betrayed?" exclaimed I, almost
frantically.

"We have no time to spare in discussion," replied the Doctor, and,
advancing, we tried the door. It was locked. We had brought a
step-ladder, to enter by the window, if necessary. Next, we endeavored
to hoist the window; it was nailed down securely. Leaping to the ground
we made an impetuous, united onset against the door; but it resisted all
our efforts to burst it in. Acting now with all the promptitude demanded
by the occasion, we mounted the ladder, and by a simultaneous movement
broke the sash, and leaped into the room. Groping our way hurriedly to
the stairs, we had placed our feet upon the first step, when our ears
were saluted with one long, loud, agonizing shriek. The next instant we
rushed into the apartment of Lucile, and beheld a sight that seared our
own eyeballs with horror, and baffles any attempt at description.

Before our faces stood the ferocious demon, holding in his arms the
fainting girl, and hurriedly clipping, with a pair of shears, the last
muscles and integuments which held the organ in its place.

"Hold! for God's sake, hold!" shouted Dr. White, and instantly grappled
with the giant. Alas! alas! it was too late, forever! The work had been
done; the eye torn, bleeding, from its socket, and just as the Doctor
laid his arm upon Pollexfen, the ball fell, dripping with gore, into his
left hand.

This is the end of the fourth phase.


PHASE THE FIFTH, AND LAST.

"Monster," cried I, "we arrest you for the crime of mayhem."

"Perhaps, gentlemen," said the photographer, "you will be kind enough to
exhibit your warrant." As he said this, he drew from his pocket with his
right hand, the writ of arrest which had been intrusted to Cloudsdale,
and deliberately lighting it in the candle, burned it to ashes before we
could arrest his movement. Lucile had fallen upon a ready prepared bed,
in a fit of pain, and fainting. The Doctor took his place at her side,
his own eyes streaming with tears, and his very soul heaving with
agitation.

As for me, my heart was beating as audibly as a drum. With one hand I
grappled the collar of Pollexfen, and with the other held a cocked
pistol at his head.

He stood as motionless as a statue. Not a nerve trembled nor a tone
faltered, as he spoke these words: "I am most happy to see you,
gentlemen; especially the Doctor, for he can relieve me of the duties of
surgeon. You, sir, can assist him as nurse." And shaking off my hold as
though it had been a child's, he sprang into the laboratory adjoining,
and locked the door as quick as thought.

The insensibility of Lucile did not last long. Consciousness returned
gradually, and with it pain of the most intense description. Still she
maintained a rigidness of feature, and an intrepidity of soul that
excited both sorrow and admiration. "Poor child! poor child!" was all we
could utter, and even that spoken in whispers. Suddenly a noise in the
laboratory attracted attention. Rising I went close to the door.

"Two to one in measure; eight to one in weight; water, only water,"
soliloquized the photographer. Then silence, "Phosphorus; yellow in
color; burns in oxygen." Silence again.

"Good God!" cried I, "Doctor, he is analyzing her eye! The fiend is
actually performing his incantations!"

A moment elapsed. A sudden, sharp explosion; then a fall, as if a chair
had been upset, and----

"Carbon in combustion! Carbon in combustion!" in a wild, excited tone,
broke from the lips of Pollexfen, and the instant afterwards he stood at
the bedside of his pupil. "Lucile! Lucile! the secret is ours; ours
only!"

At the sound of his voice the girl lifted herself from her pillow,
whilst he proceeded: "Carbon in combustion; I saw it ere the light died
from the eyeball."

A smile lighted the pale face of the girl as she faintly responded,
"Regulus gave both eyes for his country; I have given but one for my
art."

Pressing both hands to my throbbing brow, I asked myself, "Can this be
real? Do I dream? If real, why do I not assassinate the fiend? Doctor,"
said I, "we must move Lucile. I will seek assistance."

"Not so," responded Pollexfen; the excitement of motion might bring on
erysipelas, or still worse, _tetanus_.

A motion from Lucile brought me to her bedside. Taking from beneath her
pillow a bank deposit-book, and placing it in my hands, she requested me
to hand it to Courtland the moment of his arrival, which she declared
would be the 20th, and desire him to read the billet attached to the
banker's note of the deposit. "Tell him," she whispered, "not to love me
less in my mutilation;" and again she relapsed into unconsciousness.

The photographer now bent over the senseless form of his victim, and
muttering, "Yes, carbon in combustion," added, in a softened tone, "Poor
girl!" As he lifted his face, I detected a solitary tear course down
his impressive features. "The first I have shed," said he, sternly,
"since my daughter's death."

Saying nothing, I could only think--"And this wretch once had a child!"

The long night through we stood around her bed. With the dawn, Martha,
the housekeeper, returned, and we then learned, for the first time, with
what consummate skill Pollexfen had laid all his plans. For even the
housekeeper had been sent out of the way, and on a fictitious pretense
that she was needed at the bedside of a friend, whose illness was
feigned for the occasion. Nor was the day over before we learned with
certainty, but no longer with surprise, that Cloudsdale was on his way
to Panama, with a bribe in his pocket.

As soon as it was safe to remove Lucile, she was borne on a litter to
the hospital of Dr. Peter Smith, where she received every attention that
her friends could bestow.

Knowing full well, from what Lucile had told me, that Courtland would be
down in the Sacramento boat, I awaited his arrival with the greatest
impatience. I could only surmise what would be his course. But judging
from my own feelings, I could not doubt that it would be both desperate
and decisive.

Finally, the steamer rounded to, and the next moment the pale, emaciated
form of the youth sank, sobbing, into my arms. Other tears mingled with
his own.

The story was soon told. Eagerly, most eagerly, Courtland read the
little note accompanying the bankbook. It was very simple, and ran thus:

   MY OWN LIFE'S LIFE: Forgive the first, and only act, that you
   will ever disapprove of in the conduct of your mutilated but
   loving Lucile. Ah! can I still hope for your love, in the future,
   as in the past? Give me but that assurance, and death itself
   would be welcome.

                                                          L. M.

We parted very late; he going to a hotel, I to the bedside of the
wounded girl. Our destinies would have been reversed, but the surgeon's
order was imperative, that she should see no one whose presence might
conduce still further to bring on inflammation of the brain.

The next day, Courtland was confined to his bed until late in the
afternoon, when he dressed, and left the hotel. I saw him no more until
the subsequent day. Why, it now becomes important to relate.

About eight o'clock in the evening of the 21st, the day after his
arrival, Courtland staggered into the gallery, or rather the den of John
Pollexfen. He had no other arms than a short double-edged dagger, and
this he concealed in his sleeve.

They had met before; as he sometimes went there, anterior to the death
of M. Marmont, to obtain the photographs upon which Lucile was
experimenting, previous to her engagement by the artist.

Pollexfen manifested no surprise at his visit; indeed, his manner
indicated that it had been anticipated.

"You have come into my house, young man," slowly enunciated the
photographer, "to take my life."

"I do not deny it," replied Courtland.

As he said this, he took a step forward. Pollexfen threw open his vest,
raised himself to his loftiest height, and solemnly said: "Fire! or
strike! as the case may be; I shall offer no resistance. I only beg of
you, as a gentleman, to hear me through before you play the part of
assassin."

Their eyes met. The struck lamb gazing at the eagle! Vengeance
encountering Faith! The pause was but momentary. "I will hear you," said
Courtland, sinking into a chair, already exhausted by his passion.

Pollexfen did not move. Confronting the lover, he told his story
truthfully to the end. He plead for his life; for he felt the proud
consciousness of having performed an act of duty that bordered upon the
heroic.

Still, there was no relenting in the eye of Courtland. It had that
expression in it that betokens blood. Cæsar saw it as Brutus lifted his
dagger. Henry of Navarre recognized it as the blade of Ravillac sank
into his heart. Joaquin beheld it gleaming in the vengeful orbs of Harry
Love! Pollexfen, too, understood the language that it spoke.

Dropping his hands, and taking one stride toward the young man, he
sorrowfully said: "I have but one word more to utter. Your affianced
bride has joyfully sacrificed one of her lustrous eyes to science. In
doing so, she expressed but one regret, that you, whom she loved better
than vision, or even life, might, as the years roll away, forget to love
her in her mutilation as you did in her beauty. Perfect yourself, she
feared mating with imperfection might possibly estrange your heart. Your
superiority in personal appearance might constantly disturb the perfect
equilibrium of love."

He ceased. The covert meaning was seized with lightning rapidity by
Courtland. Springing to his feet, he exclaimed joyfully: "The sacrifice
must be mutual. God never created a soul that could outdo Charles
Courtland's in generosity."

Flinging his useless dagger upon the floor, he threw himself into the
already extended arms of the photographer, and begged him "to be quick
with the operation." The artist required no second invitation, and ere
the last words died upon his lips, the sightless ball of his left eye
swung from its socket.

There was no cry of pain; no distortion of the young man's features with
agony; no moan, or sob, or sigh. As he closed firmly his right eye, and
compressed his pallid lips, a joyous smile lit up his whole countenance
that told the spectator how superior even human love is to the body's
anguish; how willingly the severest sacrifice falls at the beck of
honor!

I shall attempt no description of the manner in which I received the
astounding news from the lips of the imperturbable Pollexfen; nor
prolong this narrative by detailing the meeting of the lovers, their
gradual recovery, their marriage, and their departure for the vales of
Dauphiny. It is but just to add, however, that Pollexfen added two
thousand five hundred dollars to the bank account of Mademoiselle
Marmont, on the day of her nuptials, as a bridal present, given, no
doubt, partially as a compensation to the heroic husband for his
voluntary mutilation.

Long months elapsed after the departure of Lucile and her lover before
the world heard anything more of the photographer.

One day, however, in the early spring of the next season, it was
observed that Pollexfen had opened a new and most magnificent gallery
upon Montgomery Street, and had painted prominently upon his sign, these
words:

    +----------------------------------------------------+
    |          JOHN POLLEXFEN, PHOTOGRAPHER.             |
    |                                                    |
    |       _Discoverer of the Carbon Process,           |
    | By which Colored Pictures are Painted by the Sun._ |
    +----------------------------------------------------+

The news of this invention spread, in a short time, over the whole
civilized world; and the Emperor Napoleon the Third, with the liberality
characteristic of great princes, on hearing from the lips of Lucile a
full account of this wonderful discovery, revived, in favor of John
Pollexfen, the pension which had been bestowed upon Niépce, and which
had lapsed by his death, in 1839; and with a magnanimity that would have
rendered still more illustrious his celebrated uncle, revoked the decree
of forfeiture against the estates of M. Marmont, and bestowed them, with
a corresponding title of nobility, upon Lucile and her issue.

This ends my story. I trust the patient reader will excuse its length,
for it was all necessary, in order to explain how John Pollexfen made
his fortune.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


VI.

_THE LOVE KNOT._


    Upon my bosom lies
      A knot of blue and gray;
    You ask me why tears fill my eyes
      As low to you I say:

    "I had two brothers once,
      Warmhearted, bold and gay;
    They left my side--one wore the blue,
      The other wore the gray.

    One rode with "Stonewall" and his men,
      And joined his fate with Lee;
    The other followed Sherman's march,
      Triumphant to the sea.

    Both fought for what they deemed the right,
      And died with sword in hand;
    One sleeps amid Virginia's hills,
      And one in Georgia's land.

    Why should one's dust be consecrate,
      The other's spurned with scorn--
    Both victims of a common fate,
      Twins cradled, bred and born?

    Oh! tell me not--a patriot one,
      A traitor vile the other;
    John was my mother's favorite son,
      But Eddie was my brother.

    The same sun shines above their graves,
      My love unchanged must stay--
    And so upon my bosom lies
      Love's knot of blue and gray."



[Decoration]


VII.

_THE AZTEC PRINCESS._

"Speaking marble."--BYRON.


CHAPTER I.

In common with many of our countrymen, my attention has been powerfully
drawn to the subject of American antiquities, ever since the publication
of the wonderful discoveries made by Stephens and Norman Among the ruins
of Uxmal and Palenque.

Yucatan and Chiapas have always spoken to my imagination more forcibly
than Egypt or Babylon; and in my early dreams of ambition I aspired to
emulate the fame of Champollion _le Jeune_, and transmit my name to
posterity on the same page with that of the decipherer of the
hieroglyphics on the pyramids of Ghizeh.

The fame of warriors and statesmen is transient and mean, when compared
to that of those literary colossii whose herculean labors have turned
back upon itself the tide of oblivion, snatched the scythe from the
hands of Death, and, reversing the duties of the fabled Charon, are now
busily engaged in ferrying back again across the Styx the shades of the
illustrious dead, and landing them securely upon the shores of true
immortality, the ever-living Present! Even the laurels of the poet and
orator, the historian and philosopher, wither, and

    "Pale their ineffectual fires"

in the presence of that superiority--truly godlike in its
attributes--which, with one wave of its matchless wand, conjures up
whole realms, reconstructs majestic empires, peoples desolate
wastes--voiceless but yesterday, save with the shrill cry of the
bittern--and, contemplating the midnight darkness shrouding Thebes and
Nineveh, cries aloud, "Let there be light!" and suddenly Thotmes starts
from his tomb, the dumb pyramids become vocal, Nimroud wakes from his
sleep of four thousand years, and, springing upon his battle-horse, once
more leads forth his armies to conquest and glory. The unfamiliar air
learns to repeat accents, forgotten ere the foundations of Troy were
laid, and resounds once more with the echoes of a tongue in which old
Menes wooed his bride, long before Noah was commanded to build the Ark,
or the first rainbow smiled upon the cloud.

All honor, then, to the shades of Young and Champollion, Lepsius and De
Lacy, Figeac and Layard. Alexander and Napoleon conquered kingdoms, but
they were ruled by the living. On the contrary, the heroes I have
mentioned vanquished mighty realms, governed alone by the

    "Monarch of the Scythe and Glass,"

that unsubstantial king, who erects his thrones on broken columns and
fallen domes, waves his sceptre over dispeopled wastes, and builds his
capitals amid the rocks of Petræa and the catacombs of Egypt.

       #       #       #       #       #

Such being the object of my ambition, it will not appear surprising that
I embraced every opportunity to enlarge my knowledge of my favorite
subject--American Antiquities--and eagerly perused every new volume
purporting to throw any light upon it. I was perfectly familiar with the
works of Lord Kingsborough and Dr. Robertson before I was fifteen years
of age, and had studied the explorations of Bernal Diaz, Waldeck, and
Dupaix, before I was twenty. My delight, therefore, was boundless when a
copy of Stephens's travels in Yucatan and Chiapas fell into my hands,
and I devoured his subsequent publications on the same subject with all
the avidity of an enthusiast. Nor did my labors stop here. Very early I
saw the importance of an acquaintance with aboriginal tongues, and
immediately set about mastering the researches of Humboldt and
Schoolcraft. This was easily done; for I discovered, much to my chagrin
and disappointment, that but little is known of the languages of the
Indian tribes, and that little is soon acquired. Dissatisfied with such
information as could be gleaned from books only, I applied for and
obtained an agency for dispensing Indian rations among the Cherokees and
Ouchitaws, and set out for Fort Towson in the spring of 1848.

Soon after my arrival I left the fort, and took up my residence at the
wigwam of Sac-a-ra-sa, one of the principal chiefs of the Cherokees. My
intention to make myself familiar with the Indian tongues was noised
abroad, and every facility was afforded me by my hospitable friends. I
took long voyages into the interior of the continent, encountered
delegations from most of the western tribes, and familiarized myself
with almost every dialect spoken by the Indians dwelling west of the
Rocky Mountains. I devoted four years to this labor, and at the end of
that period, with my mind enriched by a species of knowledge
unattainable by a mere acquaintance with books, I determined to visit
Central America in person, and inspect the monuments of Uxmal and
Palenque with my own eyes.

Full of this intention, I took passage on the steamship "Prometheus," in
December, 1852, bound from New York to Greytown, situated in the State
of Nicaragua; a point from which I could easily reach Chiapas or
Yucatan.

And at this point of my narrative, it becomes necessary to digress for a
moment, and relate an incident which occurred on the voyage, and which,
in its consequences, changed my whole mode of investigation, and
introduced a new element of knowledge to my attention.

It so happened that Judge E----, formerly on the Bench of the Supreme
Court of the State of New York, was a fellow-passenger. He had been
employed by the Nicaragua Transit Company to visit Leon, the capital of
Nicaragua, and perfect some treaty stipulations with regard to the
project of an interoceanic canal. Fellow-passengers, we of course became
acquainted almost immediately, and at an early day I made respectful
inquiries concerning that science to which he had of late years
consecrated his life--I mean the "Theory of Spiritual Communion between
the Two Worlds of Matter and Spirit." The judge was as communicative as
I could desire, and with the aid of two large manuscript volumes (which
were subsequently given to the public), he introduced me at once into
the profoundest arcana of the science. I read his books through with the
deepest interest, and though not by any means convinced, I was startled
and bewildered. The most powerful instincts of my nature were aroused,
and I frankly acknowledged to my instructor, that an irresistible
curiosity had seized me to witness some of those strange phenomena with
which his volumes superabounded. Finally, I extorted a promise from him,
that on our arrival at Greytown, if a favorable opportunity presented,
he would endeavor to form the mystical circle, and afford me the
privilege I so much coveted--_to see for myself_. The anticipated
experiments formed the staple of our conversation for the six weary days
and nights that our trip occupied. Finally, on the morning of the
seventh day, the low and wooded coast of Nicaragua gently rose in the
western horizon, and before twelve o'clock we were safely riding at
anchor within the mouth of the San Juan River. But here a new vexation
was in store for us. The river boats commenced firing up, and before
dark we were transferred from our ocean steamer to the lighter crafts,
and were soon afterwards leisurely puffing our way up the river.

The next day we arrived at the upper rapids, where the little village of
Castillo is situated, and where we had the pleasure of being detained
five or six days, awaiting the arrival of the California passengers.
This delay was exactly what I most desired, as it presented the
opportunity long waited for with the utmost impatience. But the weather
soon became most unfavorable, and the rain commenced falling in
torrents. The Judge declared that it was useless to attempt anything so
long as it continued to rain. But on the third evening he consented to
make the experiment, provided the materials of a circle could be found.
We were not long in suspense, for two young ladies from Indiana, a young
doctor from the old North State (now a practicing physician in Stockton,
California), and several others, whose names I have long since
forgotten, volunteered to take part in the mysterious proceedings.

But the next difficulty was to find a place to meet in. The doctor and I
started off on a tour through the village to prepare a suitable spot.
The rain was still falling, and the night as dark as Erebus. Hoisting
our umbrellas, we defied night and storm. Finally, we succeeded in
hiring a room in the second story of a building in process of erection,
procured one or two lanterns, and illuminated it to the best of our
ability. Soon afterwards we congregated there, but as the doors and
windows were not put in, and there were no chairs or tables, we were
once more on the point of giving up in despair. Luckily there were
fifteen or twenty baskets of claret wine unopened in the room, and these
we arranged for seats, substituting an unhinged door, balanced on a pile
of boxes, for the leaf of a table. Our rude contrivance worked
admirably, and before an hour had rolled by we had received a mass of
communications from all kinds of people in the spirit world, and fully
satisfied ourselves that the Judge was either a wizard or what he
professed to be--a _medium_ of communication with departed spirits.

It is unnecessary to detail all the messages we received; one only do I
deem it important to notice. A spirit, purporting to be that of Horatio
Nelson, rapped out his name, and stated that he had led the assault on
the Spaniards in the attack of the old Fort of Castillo frowning above
us, and there first distinguished himself in life. He declared that
these mouldering ruins were one of his favorite haunts, and that he
prided himself more on the assault and capture of _Castillo Viejo_ than
on the victory of the Nile or triumph of Trafalgar.

The circle soon afterwards dispersed, and most of those who had
participated in it were, in a few minutes, slumbering in their cots. As
for myself, I was astounded with all that I had witnessed, but at the
same time delighted beyond measure at the new field opening before me. I
tossed from side to side, unable to close my eyes or to calm down the
excitement, until, finding that sleep was impossible, I hastily rose,
threw on my coat, and went to the door, which was slightly ajar. On
looking out, I observed a person passing toward the foot of the hill
upon which stood the Fort of Castillo Viejo. The shower had passed off,
and the full moon was riding majestically in mid heavens. I thought I
recognized the figure, and I ventured to accost him. It was the Judge.
He also had been unable to sleep, and declared that a sudden impulse
drove him forth into the open air.

Gradually he had approached the foot of the hill, which shot up, like a
sugar-loaf, two or three hundred feet above the level of the stream, and
had just made up his mind to ascend it when I spoke to him. I readily
consented to accompany him, and we immediately commenced climbing
upwards.

The ascent was toilsome, as well as dangerous, and more than once we
were on the point of descending without reaching the summit. Still,
however, we clambered on, and at half-past one o'clock A. M., we
succeeded in our effort, and stood upon the old stone rampart that had
for more than half a century been slowly yielding to the remorseless
tooth of Time. Abandoned for many years, the ruins presented the very
picture of desolation. Rank vines clung upon every stone, and half
filled up with their green tendrils the yawning crevices everywhere
gaping at us, and whispering of the flight of years.

We sat down on a broken fragment that once served as the floor of a
port-hole, and many minutes elapsed before either of us spoke a word. We
were busy with the past. Our thoughts recalled the terrible scenes which
this same old fort witnessed on that glorious day when the youthful
Nelson planted with his own hand the flag of St. George upon the very
ramparts where we were sitting.

How long we had been musing I know not; but suddenly we heard a low,
long-drawn sigh at our very ears. Each sprang to his feet, looked wildly
around, but seeing nothing, gazed at the other in blank astonishment. We
resumed our seats, but had hardly done so, when a deep and most
anguishing groan was heard, that pierced our very hearts. This time we
retained our position. I had unclosed my lips, preparatory to speaking
to my companion, when I felt myself distinctly touched upon the
shoulder. My voice died away inarticulately, and I shuddered with
ill-concealed terror. But my companion was perfectly calm, and moved not
a nerve or a muscle. Able at length to speak, I said, "Judge, let us
leave this haunted sepulchre."

"Not for the world," he coolly replied. "You have been anxious for
spiritual phenomena; now you can witness them unobserved and without
interruption."

As he said this, my right arm was seized with great force, and I was
compelled to resign myself to the control of the presence that possessed
me. My right hand was then placed on the Judge's left breast, and his
left hand laid gently on my right shoulder. At the same time he took a
pencil and paper from his pocket, and wrote very rapidly the following
communication, addressed to me:

   The Grave hath its secrets, but the Past has none. Time may
   crumble pyramids in the dust, but the genius of man can despoil
   him of his booty, and rescue the story of buried empires from
   oblivion. Even now the tombs of Egypt are unrolling their
   recorded epitaphs. Even now the sculptured mounds of Nineveh are
   surrendering the history of Nebuchadnezzar's line. Before another
   generation shall pass away, the columns of Palenque shall find a
   tongue, and the _bas-reliefs_ of Uxmal wake the dead from their
   sleep of two thousand years. Young man! open your eyes; we shall
   meet again amid the ruins of the _Casa Grande_!

At this moment the Judges hand fell palsied at his side, and the paper
was thrust violently into my left hand. I held it up so as to permit the
rays of the moon to fall full upon it, and read it carefully from
beginning to end. But no sooner had I finished reading it than a shock
something like electricity struck us simultaneously, and seemed to rock
the old fort to its very foundation. Everything near us was apparently
affected by it, and several large bowlders started from their ticklish
beds and rolled away down the mountain. Our surprise at this was hardly
over, ere one still greater took possession of us. On raising our eyes
to the moss-grown parapet, we beheld a figure sitting upon it that bore
a very striking resemblance to the pictures in the Spanish Museum at
Madrid of the early Aztec princes. It was a female, and she bore upon
her head a most gorgeous headdress of feathers, called a _Panache_. Her
face was calm, clear, and exceedingly beautiful. The nose was
prominent--more so than the Mexican or Tezcucan--and the complexion much
lighter. Indeed, by the gleam of the moonlight, it appeared as white as
that of a Caucasian princess, and were an expression full of benignity
and love.

Our eyes were riveted upon this beautiful apparition, and our lips
silent. She seemed desirous of speaking, and once or twice I beheld her
lips faintly moving. Finally, raising her white, uncovered arm, she
pointed to the north, and softly murmured, "_Palenque_!"

Before we could resolve in our minds what to say in reply, the fairy
princess folded her arms across her breast, and disappeared as suddenly
and mysteriously as she had been evoked from night. We spoke not a word
to each other, but gazed long and thoughtfully at the spot where the
bright vision had gladdened and bewildered our sight. By a common
impulse, we turned to leave, and descended the mountain in silence as
deep as that which brooded over chaos ere God spoke creation into being.
We soon reached the foot of the hill, and parted, with no word upon our
lips, though with the wealth of untold worlds gathered up in our hearts.

Never, since that bright and glorious tropical night, have I mentioned
the mysterious scene we witnessed on the ramparts of Fort Castillo; and
I have every reason to believe that my companion has been as discreet.

This, perhaps, will be the only record that shall transmit it to the
future; but well I know that its fame will render me immortal.

Through me and me alone, the sculptured marbles of Central America have
found a tongue. By my efforts, Palenque speaks of her buried glories,
and Uxmal wakes from oblivion's repose. Even the old pyramid of Cholula
yields up its bloody secrets, and _Casa Grande_ reveals the dread
history of its royalties.

The means by which a key to the monumental hieroglyphics of Central
America was furnished me, as well as a full account of the discoveries
made at Palenque, will be narrated in the subsequent chapters of this
history.


CHAPTER II.

   "Amid all the wreck of empires, nothing ever spoke so forcibly
   the world's mutations, as this immense forest, shrouding what was
   once a great city."--STEPHENS.

At daylight on the next morning after the singular adventure recorded in
the preceding chapter, the California passengers bound eastward arrived,
and those of us bound to the westward were transshipped to the same
steamer which they had just abandoned. In less than an hour we were all
aboard, and the little river-craft was busily puffing her way toward the
fairy shores of Lake Nicaragua.

For me, however, the evergreen scenery of the tropics possessed no
charms, and its balmy air no enchantments. Sometimes, as the steamer
approached the ivy-clad banks, laden as they were with flowers of every
hue, and alive with ten thousand songsters of the richest and most
variegated plumage, my attention would be momentarily aroused, and I
enjoyed the sweet fragrance of the flowers, and the gay singing of the
birds. But my memory was busy with the past, and my imagination with the
future. With the Judge, even, I could not converse for any length of
time, without falling into a reverie by no means flattering to his
powers of conversation. About noon, however, I was fully aroused to the
beauty and sublimity of the surrounding scenery. We had just passed Fort
San Carlos, at the junction of the San Juan River with the lake, and
before us was spread out like an ocean that magnificent sheet of water.
It was dotted all over with green islands, and reminded me of the
picture drawn by Addison of the Vision of Mirza.

Here, said I to myself, is the home of the blest. These emerald islets,
fed by vernal skies, never grow sere and yellow in the autumn; never
bleak and desolate in the winter. Perpetual summer smiles above them,
and wavelets dimpled by gentle breezes forever lave their shores. Rude
storms never howl across these sleeping billows, and the azure heavens
whisper eternal peace to the lacerated heart.

Hardly had these words escaped my lips, when a loud report, like a whole
park of artillery, suddenly shook the air. It seemed to proceed from the
westward, and on turning our eyes in that direction, we beheld the true
cause of the phenomenon. Ometepe was in active eruption. It had given no
admonitory notice of the storm which had been gathering in its bosom,
but like the wrath of those dangerous men we sometimes encounter in
life, it had hidden its vengeance beneath flowery smiles, and covered
over its terrors with deceitful calm.

In a moment the whole face of nature was changed. The skies became dark
and lurid, the atmosphere heavy and sultry, and the joyous waters across
which we had been careering only a moment before with animation and
laughter, rose in tumultuous swells, like the cross-seas in the Mexican
Gulf after a tornado. Terror seized all on board the steamer, and the
passengers were clamorous to return to Fort San Carlos. But the captain
was inexorable, and seizing the wheel himself, he defied the war of the
elements, and steered the vessel on her ordinary course. This lay
directly to the south of Ometepe, and within a quarter of a mile of the
foot of the volcano.

As we approached the region of the eruption, the waters of the lake
became more and more troubled, and the air still more difficult to
respire. Pumice-stone, seemingly as light as cork, covered the surface
of the lake, and soon a terrific shower of hot ashes darkened the very
sun. Our danger at this moment was imminent in the extreme, for, laying
aside all consideration of peril from the volcano itself, it was with
great difficulty that the ashes could be swept from the deck fast enough
to prevent the woodwork from ignition. But our chief danger was still in
store for us; for just as we had arrived directly under the impending
summit, as it were, a fearful explosion took place, and threatened to
ingulf us all in ruin. The crater of the volcano, which previously had
only belched forth ashes and lava, now sent up high into the heavens a
sheet of lurid fire. It did not resemble gases in combustion, which we
denominate flame, flickering for a moment in transitory splendor, and
then dying out forever. On the contrary, it looked more like _frozen
fire_ if the expression may be allowed. It presented an appearance of
solidity that seemed to defy abrasion or demolition, and rose into the
blue sky like a marble column of lightning. It was far brighter than
ordinary flame, and cast a gloomy and peculiar shadow upon the deck of
the steamer. At the same instant the earth itself shook like a summer
reed when swept by a storm, and the water struck the sides of the vessel
like some rocky substance. Every atom of timber in her trembled and
quivered for a moment, then grew into senseless wood once more. At this
instant, the terrific cry of "Fire!" burst from a hundred tongues, and I
had but to cast my eyes toward the stern of the ship to realize the new
peril at hand. The attention of the passengers was now equally divided
between the burning ship and the belching volcano. The alternative of a
death by flame, or by burial in the lake was presented to each of us.

In a few moments more the captain, crew, and passengers, including
seventeen ladies, were engaged hand to hand with the enemy nearest to
us. Buckets, pumps, and even hats, were used to draw up water from the
lake and pass to those hardy spirits that dared to press closest to the
flames. But I perceived at once that all would prove unavailing. The
fire gained upon the combatants every moment, and a general retreat took
place toward the stem of the steamer. Fully satisfied what would be the
fate of those who remained upon the ship, I commenced preparing to
throw myself into the water, and for that purpose was about tearing one
of the cabin doors from its hinges, when the Judge came up, and accosted
me.

He was perfectly calm; nor could I, after the closest scrutiny of his
features, detect either excitement, impatience, or alarm. In
astonishment I exclaimed:

"Sir, death is at the doors! Prepare to escape from the burning ship."

"There is no danger," he replied calmly; "and even if there were, what
is this thing that we call _death_, that we should fear it? Compose
yourself, young man; there is as yet no danger. I have been forewarned
of this scene, and not a soul of us shall perish."

Regarding him as a madman, I tore the door from its hinges with the
strength of despair, and rushing to the side of the ship, was in the
very act of plunging overboard, when a united shriek of all the
passengers rose upon my ear, and I paused involuntarily to ascertain the
new cause of alarm. Scarcely did I have time to cast one look at the
mountain, ere I discovered that the flames had all been extinguished at
its crater, and that the air was darkened by a mass of vapor, rendering
the sunlight a mockery and a shadow. But this eclipse was our
redemption. The next moment a sheet of cool water fell upon the ship,
and in such incredible masses, that many articles were washed overboard,
and the door I held closely in my hands was borne away by the flood. The
fire was completely extinguished, and, ere we knew it, the danger over.

Greatly puzzled how to account for the strange turn in our affairs, I
was ready at the moment to attribute it to Judge E----, and I had almost
settled the question that he was a necromancer, when he approached me,
and putting an open volume in my hand, which I ascertained was a
"History of the Republic of Guatemala," I read the following incident:

   Nor is it true that volcanoes discharge only fire and molten lava
   from their craters. On the contrary, they frequently shower down
   water in almost incredible quantities, and cause oftentimes as
   much mischief by floods as they do by flames. An instance of this
   kind occurred in the year 1542, which completely demolished one
   half the buildings in the city of Guatemala. It was chiefly owing
   to this cause that the site of the city was changed; the ancient
   site being abandoned, and the present locality selected for the
   capital.[A-109]

[Footnote A-109: Thompson's History of Guatemala, p. 238.]

Six months after the events recorded above, I dismounted from my mule
near the old _cabilda_ in the modern village of Palenque. During that
interval I had met with the usual fortune of those who travel alone in
the interior of the Spanish-American States. The war of castes was at
its height, and the cry of _Carrera_ and _Morazan_ greeted the ear of
the stranger at almost every turn of the road. Morazan represented the
aristocratic idea, still prevalent amongst the better classes in Central
America; whilst Carrera, on the other hand, professed the wildest
liberty and the extremest democracy. The first carried in his train the
wealth, official power, and refinement of the country; the latter drew
after him that huge old giant, _Plebs._, who in days gone by has pulled
down so many thrones, built the groundwork of so many republics, and
then, by fire and sword and barbarian ignorance, laid their trophies in
the dust. My sense and sympathy took different directions. Reason led me
to the side of Morazan; but early prejudices carried me over to Carrera.
Very soon, however, I was taught the lesson, that power in the hands of
the rabble is the greatest curse with which a country can be afflicted,
and that a _paper constitution_ never yet made men free. I found out,
too, that the entire population was a rabble and that it made but little
difference which hero was in the ascendant. The plunder of the
laboring-classes was equally the object of both, and anarchy the fate of
the country, no matter who held the reins. Civil wars have corrupted the
whole population. The men are all _bravos_, and the women coquettes. The
fireside virtues are unknown. It will be generations before those
pseudo-republicans will learn that there can be no true patriotism where
there is no country; there can be no country where there are no homes;
there can be no home where woman rules not from the throne of Virtue
with the sceptre of Love!

I had been robbed eighteen times in six months; taken prisoner four
times by each party; sent in chains to the city of Guatemala, twice by
Carrera, and once by Morazan as a spy; and condemned to be shot as a
traitor by both chieftains. In each instance I owed my liberation to the
American Consul-General, who, having heard the object with which I
visited the country, determined that it should not be thwarted by these
intestine broils.

Finally, as announced above, I reached the present termination of my
journey, and immediately commenced preparations to explore the famous
ruins in the neighborhood. The first want of a traveler, no matter
whither he roams, is a guide; and I immediately called at the redstone
residence of the Alcalde, and mentioned to him my name, the purport of
my visit to Central America, and the object of my present call upon him.
Eying me closely from head to foot, he asked me if I had any money
("Tiene V. dinero?")

"Si, senor."

"Cuanto?"

"Poco mas de quinientos pesos."

"Bien; sientase."

So I took a seat upon a shuck-bottom stool, and awaited the next move of
the high dignitary. Without responding directly to my application for a
guide, he suddenly turned the conversation, and demanded if I was
acquainted with Senor Catherwood or _el gobernador_. (I afterwards
learned that Mr. Stephens was always called Governor by the native
population in the vicinity of Palenque.) I responded in the negative. He
then informed me that these gentlemen had sent him a copy of their work
on Chiapas, and at the same time a large volume, that had been recently
translated into Spanish by a member of the Spanish Academy, named Don
Donoso Cortes, which he placed in my hands.

My astonishment can be better imagined than described, when, on turning
to the title-page, I ascertained that the book was called "_Nature's
Divine Revelations_. By A. J. DAVIS. _Traducido, etc._"

Observing my surprise, the Alcalde demanded if I knew the author.

"Most assuredly," said I; "he is my----" But I must not anticipate.

After assuring me that he regarded the work as the greatest book in the
world, next to the Bible and Don Quixote, and that he fully believed
every line in it, _including the preface_, he abruptly left the room,
and went into the court-yard behind the house.

I had scarcely time to take a survey of the ill-furnished apartment,
when he returned, leading in by a rope, made of horsehair, called a
"larriete," a youth whose arms were pinioned behind him, and whose
features wore the most remarkable expression I ever beheld.

Amazed, I demanded who this young man was, and why he had been
introduced to my notice. He replied, without noticing in the slightest
degree my surprise, that _Pio_--for that was his name--was the best
guide to the ruins that the village afforded; that he was taken prisoner
a few months before from a marauding party of _Caribs_ (here the young
man gave a low, peculiar whistle and a negative shake of the head), and
that if his escape could be prevented by me, he would be found to be
invaluable.

I then asked Pio if he understood the Spanish language, but he evinced
no comprehension of what I said. The Alcalde remarked that the _mozo_
was very cunning, and understood a great deal more than he pretended;
that he was by law his (the Alcalde's) slave, being a Carib by birth,
and uninstructed totally in religious exercises; in fact, that he was a
neophyte, and had been placed in his hands by the Padre to teach the
rudiments of Christianity.

I next demanded of Pio if he was willing to conduct me to the ruins. A
gleam of joy at once illuminated his features, and, throwing himself at
my feet, he gazed upward into my face with all the simplicity of a
child.

But I did not fail to notice the peculiar posture he assumed whilst
sitting. It was not that of the American Indian, who carelessly lolls
upon the ground, nor that of the Hottentot, who sits flatly, with his
knees upraised. On the contrary, the attitude was precisely the same as
that sculptured on the _basso-rilievos_ at Uxmal, Palenque, and
throughout the region of Central American ruins. I had first observed it
in the Aztec children exhibited a few years ago throughout the United
States. The weight of the body seemed to be thrown on the inside of the
thighs, and the feet turned outward, but drawn up closely to the body.
No sooner did I notice this circumstance than I requested Pio to rise,
which he did. Then, pretending suddenly to change my mind, I requested
him to be seated again. This I did to ascertain if the first attitude
was accidental. But on resuming his seat, he settled down with great
ease and celerity into the self-same position, and I felt assured that I
was not mistaken. It would have required the united certificates of all
the population in the village, after that, to convince me that Pio was a
Carib. But aside from this circumstance, which might by possibility have
been accidental, neither the color, expression, nor structure of his
face indicated Caribbean descent. On the contrary, the head was smaller,
the hair finer, the complexion several shades lighter, and the facial
angle totally different. There was a much closer resemblance to Jew than
to Gentile; indeed, the peculiar curve of the nose, and the Syrian leer
of the eye, disclosed an Israelitish ancestry rather than an American.

Having settled these points in my own mind very rapidly, the Alcalde and
I next chaffered a few moments over the price to be paid for Pio's
services. This was soon satisfactorily arranged, and the boy was
delivered into my charge. But before doing so formally, the Alcalde
declared that I must never release him whilst in the woods or amongst
the ruins, or else he would escape, and fly back to his barbarian
friends, and the Holy Apostolic Church would lose a convert. He also
added, by way of epilogue, that if I permitted him to get away, his
price was _cien pesos_ (one hundred dollars).

The next two hours were devoted to preparations for a life in the
forest. I obtained the services of two additional persons; one to cook
and the other to assist in clearing away rubbish and stones from the
ruins.

Mounting my mule, already heavily laden with provisions, mosquito bars,
bedding, cooking utensils, etc., we turned our faces toward the
southeast, and left the modern village of Palenque. For the first mile I
obeyed strictly the injunctions of the Alcalde, and held Pio tightly by
the rope. But shortly afterwards we crossed a rapid stream, and on
mounting the opposite bank, we entered a dense forest. The trees were of
a gigantic size, very lofty, and covered from trunk to top with
parasites of every conceivable kind. The undergrowth was luxuriant, and
in a few moments we found ourselves buried in a tomb of tropical
vegetation. The light of the sun never penetrates those realms of
perpetual shadow, and the atmosphere seems to take a shade from the
pervading gloom. Occasionally a bright-plumed songster would start up
and dart through the inaccessible foliage, but more frequently we
disturbed snakes and lizards in our journey.

After traversing several hundred yards of this primeval forest I called
a halt, and drew Pio close up to the side of my mule. Then, taking him
by the shoulder, I wheeled him round quickly, and drawing a large knife
which I had purchased to cut away the thick foliage in my exploration, I
deliberately severed the cords from his hands, and set him free. Instead
of bounding off like a startled deer, as my attendants expected to see
him do, he seized my hand, pressed it respectfully between his own,
raised the back of it to his forehead, and then imprinted a kiss betwixt
the thumb and forefinger. Immediately afterward, he began to whistle in
a sweet low tone, and taking the lead of the party, conducted us rapidly
into the heart of the forest.

We had proceeded about seven or eight miles, crossing two or three small
rivers in our way, when the guide suddenly throw up his hands, and
pointing to a huge pile of rubbish and ruins in the distance, exclaimed
"_El Palacio_!"

This was the first indication he had as yet given of his ability to
speak or to understand the Spanish, or, indeed, any tongue, and I was
congratulating myself upon the discovery, when he subsided into a
painful silence, interrupted only by an occasional whistle, nor would he
make any intelligible reply to the simplest question.

We pushed on rapidly, and in a few moments more I stood upon the summit
of the pyramidal structure, upon which, as a base, the ruins known as
_El Palacio_ are situated.

These ruins have been so frequently described, that I deem it
unnecessary to enter into any detailed account of them; especially as by
doing so but little progress would be made with the more important
portions of this narrative. If, therefore, the reader be curious to get
a more particular insight into the form, size, and appearance of these
curious remains, let him consult the splendidly illuminated pages of Del
Rio, Waldeck, and Dupaix. Nor should Stephens and Catherwood be
neglected; for though their explorations are less scientific and
thorough than either of the others, yet being more modern, they will
prove not less interesting.

       #       #       #       #       #

Several months had now elapsed since I swung my hammock in one of the
corridors of the old palace. The rainy season had vanished, and the hot
weather once more set in for the summer. Still I worked on. I took
accurate and correct drawings of every engraved entablature I could
discover. With the assistance of my taciturn guide, nothing seemed to
escape me. Certain am I that I was enabled to copy _basso-rilievos_
never seen by any of the great travelers whose works I had read; for
Pio seemed to know by intuition exactly where they were to be found. My
collection was far more complete than Mr. Catherwood's, and more
faithful to the original than Lord Kingsborough's. Pio leaned over my
shoulder whilst I was engaged in drawing, and if I committed the
slightest error his quick glance detected it at once, and a short, rough
whistle recalled my pencil back to its duty.

Finally, I completed the last drawing I intended to make, and commenced
preparations to leave my quarters, and select others affording greater
facilities for the study of the various problems connected with these
mysterious hieroglyphics. I felt fully sensible of the immense toil
before me, but having determined long since to devote my whole life to
the task of interpreting these silent historians of buried realms, hope
gave me strength to venture upon the work, and the first step toward it
had just been successfully accomplished.

But what were paintings, and drawings, and sketches, without some key to
the system of hieroglyphs, or some clue to the labyrinth, into which I
had entered? For hours I sat and gazed at the voiceless signs before me,
dreaming of Champollion, and the _Rosetta Stone_, and vainly hoping that
some unheard-of miracle would be wrought in my favor, by which a single
letter might be interpreted. But the longer I gazed, the darker became
the enigma, and the more difficult seemed its solution.

I had not even the foundation, upon which Dr. Young, and Lepsius, and De
Lacy, and Champollion commenced. There were no living Copts, who spoke a
dialect of the dead tongue in which the historian had engraved his
annals. There were no descendants of the extinct nations, whose sole
memorials were the crumbling ruins before me. Time had left no teacher
whose lessons might result in success. Tradition even, with her
uncertain light, threw no flickering glare around, by which the groping
archæologist might weave an imaginary tale of the past.

    "Chaos of ruins, who shall trace the void,
     O'er the dim fragments cast a lunar light,
     And say, '_Here was_, _or is_,' where all is doubly night?"


CHAPTER III.

   "I must except, however, the attempt to explore an aqueduct,
   which we made together. Within, it was perfectly dark, and we
   could not move without candles. The sides were of smooth stones,
   about four feet high, and the roof was made by stones lapping
   over like the corridors of the buildings. At a short distance
   from the entrance, the passage turned to the left, and at a
   distance of one hundred and sixty feet it was completely blocked
   up by the ruins of the roof which had fallen down."--INCIDENTS OF
   TRAVEL IN CHIAPAS.

One day I had been unusually busy in arranging my drawings and forming
them into something like system, and toward evening, had taken my seat,
as I always did, just in front of the large _basso-rilievo_ ornamenting
the main entrance into the corridor of the palace, when Pio approached
me from behind and laid his hand upon my shoulder.

Not having observed his approach, I was startled by the suddenness of
the contact, and sprang to my feet, half in surprise and half in alarm.
He had never before been guilty of such an act of impoliteness, and I
was on the eve of rebuking him for his conduct, when I caught the kind
and intelligent expression of his eye, which at once disarmed me, and
attracted most strongly my attention. Slowly raising his arm, he pointed
with the forefinger of his right hand to the entablature before us and
began to whistle most distinctly, yet most musically, a low monody,
which resembled the cadencial rise and fall of the voice in reading
poetry. Occasionally, his tones would almost die entirely away, then
rise very high, and then modulate themselves with the strictest regard
to rhythmical measure. His finger ran rapidly over the hieroglyphics,
first from left to right, and then from right to left.

In the utmost amazement I turned toward Pio, and demanded what he meant.
Is this a musical composition, exclaimed I, that you seem to be reading?
My companion uttered no reply, but proceeded rapidly with his task. For
more than half an hour he was engaged in whistling down the double
column of hieroglyphics engraved upon the entablature before me. So soon
as his task was accomplished, and without offering the slightest
explanation, he seized my hand and made a signal for me to follow.

Having provided himself with a box of lucifer matches and a fresh
candle, he placed the same implements in my possession, and started in
advance. I obeyed almost instinctively.

We passed into the innermost apartments of _El Palacio_, and approached
a cavernous opening into which Mr. Stephens had descended, and which he
supposed had been used as a tomb.

It was scarcely high enough in the pitch to enable me to stand erect,
and I felt a cool damp breeze pass over my brow, such as we sometimes
encounter upon entering a vault.

Pio stopped and deliberately lighted his candle and beckoned me to do
the same. As soon as this was effected, he advanced into the darkest
corner of the dungeon, and stooping with his mouth to the floor, gave a
long, shrill whistle. The next moment, one of the paving-stones was
raised _from within_, and I beheld an almost perpendicular stone
staircase leading down still deeper under ground. Calling me to his
side, he pointed to the entrance and made a gesture for me to descend.
My feelings at this moment may be better imagined than described. My
memory ran back to the information given me by the Alcalde, that Pio was
a Carib, and I felt confident that he had confederates close at hand.
The Caribs, I well know, had never been christianized nor subdued, but
roved about the adjacent swamps and fastnesses in their aboriginal
state. I had frequently read of terrible massacres perpetrated by them,
and the dreadful fate of William Beanham, so thrillingly told by Mr.
Stephens in his second volume, uprose in my mind at this instant, with
fearful distinctness. But then, thought I, what motive can this poor boy
have in alluring me to ruin? What harm have I done him? Plunder surely
cannot be his object, for he was present when I intrusted all I
possessed to the care of the Alcalde of the village. These
considerations left my mind in equal balance, and I turned around to
confront my companion, and draw a decision from the expression of his
countenance.

One look reassured me at once. A playful smile wreathed his lips, and
lightened over his face a gleam of real benevolence, not unmixed, as I
thought, with pity. Hesitating no longer, I preceded him into those
realms of subterranean night. Down, down, down, I trod, until there
seemed no bottom to the echoing cavern. Each moment the air grew
heavier, and our candles began to flicker and grow dimmer, as the
impurities of the confined atmosphere became more and more perceptible.
My head felt lighter, and began to swim. My lungs respired with greater
difficulty, and my knees knocked and jostled, as though faint from
weakness.

Still there seemed no end to the descent. Tramp, tramp, tramp, I heard
the footsteps of my guide behind me, and I vainly explored the darkness
before. At length we reached a broad even platform, covered over with
the peculiar tiling found among these ruins. As soon as Pio reached the
landing-place, he beckoned me to be seated on the stone steps, which I
was but too glad to do. He at once followed my example, and seemed no
less rejoiced than I that the descent had been safely accomplished.

I once descended from the summit of Bunker Hill Monument, and counted
the steps, from the top to the bottom. That number I made 465. The
estimate of the depth of this cavern, made at the time, led me to
believe that it was nearly equal to the height of that column. But there
was no railing by which to cling, and no friend to interrupt my fall, in
case of accident. _Pio was behind me!_

After I became somewhat rested from the fatigue, my curiosity returned
with tenfold force, and I surveyed the apartment with real pleasure. It
was perfectly circular, and was about fifteen feet in diameter, and ten
feet high. The walls seemed to be smooth, except a close, damp coating
of moss, that age and humidity had fastened upon them.

I could perceive no exit, except the one by which we had reached it.

But I was not permitted to remain long in doubt on this point; for Pio
soon rose, walked to the side of the chamber exactly opposite the
stairs, whistled shrilly, as before, and an aperture immediately
manifested itself, large enough to admit the body of a man! Through this
he crawled, and beckoned me to follow. No sooner had I crept through the
wall, than the stone dropped from above, and closed the orifice
completely. I now found myself standing erect in what appeared to be a
subterranean aqueduct. It was precisely of the same size, with a flat,
cemented floor, shelving sides, and circular, or rather _Aztec-arched_
roof. The passage was not straight, but wound about with frequent
turnings as far as we pursued it.

Why these curves were made, I never ascertained, although afterward I
gave the subject much attention. We started down the aqueduct at a brisk
pace, our candles being frequently extinguished by fresh drafts of air,
that struck us at almost every turn. Whenever they occurred, we paused a
moment, to reillume them, and then hastened on, as silently and swiftly
as before.

After traversing at least five or six miles of this passage,
occasionally passing arched chambers like that at the foot of the
staircase, we suddenly reached the termination of the aqueduct, which
was an apartment the _fac-simile_ of the one at the other end of it.
Here also we observed a stone stairway, and my companion at once began
the ascent. During our journey through the long arched way behind us, we
frequently passed through rents, made possibly by earthquakes, and more
than once were compelled to crawl through openings half filled with
rubbish, sand and stones. Nor was the road dry in all places. Indeed,
generally, the floor was wet, and twice we forded small brooks that ran
directly across the path. Behind us, and before, we could distinctly
hear the water dripping from the ceiling, and long before we reached the
end of the passage, our clothing had been completely saturated. It was,
therefore, with great and necessary caution, that I followed my guide up
the slippery stairs. Our ascent was not so tedious as our descent had
been, nor was the distance apparently more than half so great to the
surface. Pio paused a moment at the head of the stairway, extinguished
his candle, and then requested me by a gesture to do likewise. When this
was accomplished, he touched a spring and the trap-door flew open,
_upwards_. The next instant I found myself standing in a chamber but
dimly lighted from above. We soon emerged into open daylight, and there,
for the first time since the conquest of Mexico by Cortes, the eyes of a
white man rested upon the gigantic ruins of _La Casa Grande_.

These ruins are far more extensive than any yet explored by travelers in
Central America. Hitherto, they have entirely escaped observation. The
natives of the country are not even aware of their existence, and it
will be many years before they are visited by the curious.

But here they were, a solid reality! Frowning on the surrounding gloom
of the forest, and the shadows of approaching night, they stretched out
on every side, like the bodies of dead giants slain in battle with the
Titans.

Daylight was nearly gone, and it soon became impossible to see anything
with distinctness. For the first time, the peculiarity of my lonely
situation forced itself upon my attention. I was alone with the Carib
boy. I had not even brought my side-arms with me, and I know that it was
now too late to make any attempt to escape through the forest. The idea
of returning by the subterranean aqueduct never crossed my mind as a
possibility; for my nerves flinched at the bare thought of the shrill
whistle of Pio, and the mysterious obedience of the stones.

Whilst revolving these unpleasant ideas through my brain, the boy
approached me respectfully, opened a small knapsack that I had not
before observed he carried, and offered me some food. Hungry and
fatigued as I was, I could not eat; the same peculiar smile passed over
his features; he rose and left me for a moment, returned, and offered me
a gourd of water. After drinking, I felt greatly refreshed, and
endeavored to draw my companion into a conversation. But all to no
purpose. He soon fell asleep, and I too, ere long, was quietly reposing
in the depths of the forest.

It may seem remarkable that the ruins of _Casa Grande_ have never been
discovered, as yet, by professional travelers. But it requires only a
slight acquaintance with the characteristics of the surrounding country,
and a peep into the intricacies of a tropical forest, to dispel at once
all wonder on this subject. These ruins are situated about five miles in
a westerly direction from those known as _El Palacio_, and originally
constituted a part of the same city. They are as much more grand and
extensive than those of _El Palacio_ as those are than the remains at
Uxmal, or Copan. In fact, they are gigantic, and reminded me forcibly of
the great Temple of Karnak, on the banks of the Nile. But they lie
buried in the fastnesses of a tropical forest. One half of them is
entombed in a sea of vegetation, and it would require a thousand men
more than a whole year to clear away the majestic groves that shoot up
like sleepless sentinels from court-yard and corridor, send their
fantastic roots into the bedchamber of royalty, and drop their annual
foliage upon pavements where princes once played in their infancy, and
courtiers knelt in their pride. A thousand vines and parasites are
climbing in every direction, over portal and pillar, over corridor and
sacrificial shrine. So deeply shrouded in vegetation are these awful
memorials of dead dynasties, that a traveler might approach within a few
steps of the pyramidal mound, upon which they are built, and yet be
totally unaware of their existence. I cannot convey a better idea of the
difficulties attending a discovery and explanation of these ruins than
to quote what Mr. Stephens has said of _El Palacio_. "The whole country
for miles around is covered by a dense forest of gigantic trees, with a
growth of brush and underwood unknown in the wooded deserts of our own
country, and impenetrable in any direction, except by cutting away with
a machete. What lies buried in that forest it is impossible to say of my
own knowledge. Without a guide we might have gone within a hundred feet
of all the buildings without discovering one of them."

       #       #       #       #       #

I awoke with a start and a shudder. Something cold and damp seemed to
have touched my forehead, and left a chill that penetrated into my
brain. How long I had been asleep, I have no means of ascertaining; but
judging from natural instinct, I presume it was near midnight when I
awoke. I turned my head toward my companion, and felt some relief on
beholding him just where he had fallen asleep. He was breathing heavily,
and was completely buried in unconsciousness. When I was fully aroused I
felt most strangely. I had never experienced the same sensation but once
before in my whole life, and that was whilst in company with Judge E----
on the stone ramparts of _Castillo Viejo_.

I was lying flat upon my back, with my left hand resting gently on my
naked right breast, and my right hand raised perpendicularly from my
body. The arm rested on the elbow and was completely paralyzed, or in
common parlance, asleep.

On opening my eyes, I observed that the full moon was in mid-heavens,
and the night almost as bright as day. I could distinctly see the
features of Pio, and even noticed the regular rise and fall of his
bosom, as the tides of life ebbed and flowed into his lungs. The huge
old forest trees, that had been standing amid the ruins for unnumbered
centuries, loomed up into the moonshine, hundreds of feet above me, and
cast their deep black shadows upon the pale marbles, on whose fragments
I was reposing.

All at once, I perceived that my hand and arm were in rapid motion. It
rested on the elbow as a fulcrum, and swayed back and forth, round and
round, with great ease and celerity. Perfectly satisfied that it moved
without any effort of my own will, I was greatly puzzled to arrive at
any satisfactory solution of the phenomenon. The idea crossed my mind
that the effect was of _spiritual_ origin, and that I had become
self-magnetized. I had read and believed that the two sides of the human
frame are differently electrified, and the curious phases of the disease
called _paralysis_ sufficiently established the dogma, that one half the
body may die, and yet the other half live on. I had many times
experimented on the human hand, and the philosophical fact had long been
demonstrated, to my own satisfaction, that the inside of the hand is
totally different from the outside. If we desire to ascertain the
temperature of any object, we instinctively touch it with the inside of
the fingers; on the contrary, if we desire to ascertain our own
temperature, we do so by laying the back of the hand upon some isolated
and indifferent object. Convinced, therefore, that the right and left
sides of the human body are differently magnetized, I was not long in
finding a solution of the peculiar phenomenon, which at first
astonished me so greatly. In fact, my body had become an electrical
machine, and by bringing the two poles into contact, as was affected by
linking my right and left sides together, by means of my left hand, a
battery had been formed, and the result was, the paralysis or
magnetization of my right arm and hand, such being precisely the effect
caused by a _spiritual circle_,--as it has been denominated. My arm and
hand represented, in all respects, a table duly charged, and the same
phenomenon could be produced, if I was right in my conjectures.

Immediately, therefore, I set about testing the truth of this
hypothesis. I asked, half aloud, if there were any spirits present. My
hand instantly closed, except the forefinger, and gave three distinctive
jerks that almost elevated my elbow from its position. A negative reply
was soon given to a subsequent question by a single jerk of the hand;
and thus I was enabled to hold a conversation in monosyllables with my
invisible companions.

It is unnecessary to detail the whole of the interview which followed. I
will only add that portion of it which is intimately connected with this
narrative. Strange as it may appear, I had until this moment forgotten
all about the beautiful apparition that appeared and disappeared so
mysteriously at _Castillo Viejo_. All at once, however, the recollection
revived, and I remembered the promise contained in the single word she
murmured, "Palenque!"

Overmastering my excitement, I whispered:

"Beautiful spirit, that once met me on the ramparts where Lord Nelson
fought and conquered, art thou here?"

An affirmative reply.

"Will you appear and redeem your promise?"

Suddenly, the branches of the neighboring trees waved and nodded; the
cold marbles about me seemed animated with life, and crashed and struck
each other with great violence; the old pyramid trembled to its centre,
as if shaken by an earthquake; and the forest around moaned as though a
tempest was sweeping by. At the same instant, full in the bright
moonlight, and standing within three paces of my feet, appeared the
Aztec Princess, whose waving _panache_, flowing garments and benignant
countenance had bewildered me many months before, on the moss-grown
parapet of _Castillo Viejo_.


CHAPTER IV.

      "Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
       Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep."

                                       --PARADISE LOST.

Was I dreaming, or was the vision real, that my eyes beheld? This was
the first calm thought that coursed through my brain, after the terror
and amazement had subsided. Awe-struck I certainly was, when the
beautiful phantom first rose upon my sight, at Castillo; awe-struck once
more, when she again appeared, amid the gray old rains of _Casa Grande_.
I have listened very often to the surmises of others, as they detailed
what _they_ would do, were a supernatural being to rise up suddenly
before them. Some have said, they would gaze deliberately into the face
of the phantom, scan its every feature, and coolly note down, for the
benefit of others, how long it "walked," and in what manner it faded
from the sight. The nerves of these very men trembled while they spoke,
and had an apparition burst at that instant into full view, these heroes
in imagination would have crouched and hid their faces, their teeth
chattering with terror, and their hearts beating their swelling sides,
as audibly as the convict hears his own when the hangman draws the black
cap over his unrepentant head.

I blame no man for yielding to the dictates of Nature. He is but a fool
who feels no fear, and hears not a warning in the wind, observes not a
sign in the heavens, and perceives no admonition in the air, when
hurricanes are brooding, clouds are gathering, or earthquakes muttering
in his ears. The sane mind listens, and thwarts danger by its
apprehensions.

The true hero is not the man who knows no fear--for that were
idiotic--but he who sees it, and escapes it, or meets it bravely. Was it
courage in the elder Pliny to venture so closely to the crater of
Vesuvius, whilst in eruption, that he lost his life? How can man make
war with the elements, or battle with his God?

There is, in the secret chambers of every human heart, one dark weird
cell, over whose portal is inscribed--MYSTERY. There Superstition sits
upon her throne; there Idolatry shapes her monsters, and there Religion
reveals her glories. Within that cell, the soul communes with itself
most intimately, confesses its midnight cowardice, and in low whispers
mutters its dread of the supernatural.

All races, all nations, and all times have felt its influences, oozing
like imperceptible dews from the mouth of that dark cavern.

Vishnu heard its deep mutterings in the morning of our race, and they
still sound hollow but indistinct, like clods upon a coffin-lid, along
the wave of each generation, as it rises and rolls into the past. Plato
and Numa and Cicero and Brutus listened to its prophetic cadences, as
they fell upon their ears. Mohammed heard them in his cave, Samuel
Johnson in his bed. Poets have caught them in the

    "Shivering whisper of startled leaves,"

martyrs in the crackling faggots, heroes amid the din of battle.

If you ask, what means this voice? I reply,

    "A solemn murmur in the soul
       _Tells of the world to be_,
     As travelers hear the billows roll
       Before they reach the sea."

Let no man, therefore, boast that he has no dread of the supernatural.
When mortal can look spirit in the face, without blanching, man will be
immortal.

       #       #       #       #       #

To convince myself that I did not dream, I rose upon my elbow, and
reclined for a moment in that attitude. Gradually I gained my feet, and
then stood confronting the Aztec maiden. The midnight breeze of the
tropics had set in, and by the clear moonlight I distinctly saw the
_panache_ of feathers that she wore upon her head swaying gracefully
upon the air.

Convinced now, beyond all doubt, that the scene was real, the ruling
desire of my life came back in full force upon me, and I spoke, in a
hoarse whisper, the following words:

"Here lies a buried realm; I would be its historian!"

The apparition, without any reply in words, glided toward me, and
approached so close that I could easily have touched her had I dared.
But a sense of propriety subdued all unhallowed curiosity, and I
determined to submit passively to all that my new friend should do. This
state of mind seemed at once known to her, for she smiled approvingly,
and came still nearer to where I stood.

Elevating her beautiful arm, she passed it gently over my face, her hand
just touching my features, and imparting a cool sensation to my skin. I
distinctly remember that the hand felt damp. No sooner was this done
than my nervous system seemed to be restored to its usual tone, and
every sensation of alarm vanished.

My brain began to feel light and swimmy, and my whole frame appeared to
be losing its weight. This peculiar sensation gradually increased in
intensity until full conviction flashed upon me that I could, by an
effort of will, rise into the air, and fly with all the ease and
rapidity of an eagle.

The idea was no sooner fully conceived, than I noticed a wavy, unsteady
motion in the figure of the Aztec Princess, and almost immediately
afterwards, I perceived that she was gradually rising from the broken
pavement upon which she had been standing, and passing slowly upwards
through the branches of the overshadowing trees. What was most
remarkable, the relative distance between us did not seem to increase,
and my amazement was inconceivable, when on casting my eyes toward my
feet, I perceived that I was elevated more than twenty yards from the
pavement where I had slept.

My ascent had been so gradual, that I was entirely unaware of moving,
and now that I became sensible of it, the motion itself was still
imperceptible. Upward, still upward, I was carried, until the tallest
limbs of the loftiest trees had been left far below me. Still the ascent
continued. A wide and beautiful panorama now opened before me. Above,
all was flashing moonlight and starry radiance. The beams of the full
moon grew more brilliant as we cleared the vapory atmosphere contiguous
to the earth, until they shone with half the splendor of morn, and
glanced upon the features of my companion with a mellow sheen, that
heightened a thousandfold her supermundane beauty. Below, the gray old
relics of a once populous capital glimmered spectrally in the distance,
looking like tombs, shrouded by a weeping forest; whilst one by one, the
mourners lost their individuality, and ere long presented but a dark
mass of living green. After having risen several hundred feet
perpendicularly, I was enabled to form an estimate of the extent of the
forest, in the bosom of which sleep and moulder the monuments of the
aboriginal Americans. There is no such forest existing elsewhere on the
surface of this great globe. It has no parallel in nature. The Black
Forest of Germany, the Thuringian Forest of Saxony, the Cross Timbers of
Texas, the dense and inaccessible woods cloaking the headwaters of the
Amazon and the La Plata, are mere parks in comparison. For miles and
miles, leagues and leagues, it stretched out--north, south, east and
west. It covers an area larger than the island of Great Britain; and
throughout this immense extent of country there is but one mountain
chain, and but one river. The summits of this range have been but seldom
seen by white men, and have never been scaled. The river drains the
whole territory, but loses itself in a terrific marsh before its tide
reaches the Mexican gulf, toward which it runs. The current is
exceedingly rapid; and, after passing for hundreds of miles under the
land and under the sea, it unites its submarine torrent near the west
end of Cuba, with that of the Orinoco and the Amazon, and thus forms
that great oceanic river called the Gulf Stream. Professor Maury was
right in his philosophic conjecture as to the origin of that mighty and
resistless tide.

Having attained a great height perpendicularly above the spot of our
departure, we suddenly dashed off with the speed of an express
locomotive, toward the northeast.

Whither we were hastening, I knew not; nor did I trouble my mind with
any useless conjectures. I felt secure in the power of my companion, and
sure of her protection. I knew that by some unaccountable process she
had neutralized the gravitating force of a material body, had elevated
me hundreds, perhaps thousands, of feet in the atmosphere, and by some
mysterious charm was attracting me toward a distant bourne. Years
before, whilst a medical student at the University of Louisiana, the
professor of _materia medica_ had opened his course of lectures with an
inquiry into the origin and essence of gravitation, and I had listened
respectfully, but at that time doubtingly, to the theory he propounded.
He stated that it was not unphilosophical to believe that the time would
arrive when the gravitating power of dense bodies would be overcome, and
balloons constructed to navigate the air with the same unerring
certainty that ships traversed the ocean.

He declared that gravitation itself was not a _cause_ but an _effect_;
that it might be produced by the rotation of the earth upon its axis, or
by some undiscovered current of electricity, or by some recondite and
hitherto undetected agent or force in nature. Magnetism he thought a
species of electricity, and subsequent investigations have convinced me
that _sympathy_ or _animal magnetism_ was akin to the same parent power.
By means of this latter agent I had seen the human body rendered so
light that two persons could raise it with a single finger properly
applied. More than this, I had but recently witnessed at Castillo, dead
matter clothed with life and motion, and elevated several feet into the
air without the aid of any human agency. This age I knew well to be an
age of wonders. Nature was yielding up her secrets on every hand; the
boundary between the natural and the spiritual had been broken down; new
worlds were flashing upon the eyes of the followers of Galileo almost
nightly from the ocean depths of space. Incalculable treasures had been
discovered in the most distant ends of the earth, and I, unlettered hind
that I was, did not presume to limit the power of the great Creator, and
because an act seemed impossible to my narrow vision, and within my
limited experience, to cry aloud, _imposture_, or to mutter sneeringly,
_insanity_.

Before proceeding farther with the thread of this narrative, the
attention of the reader is solicited to the careful perusal of the
following extracts from Stephens's _Travels in Central America, Chiapas
and Yucatan_, published at New York in 1841.

   But the Padre told us more; something that increased our
   excitement to the highest pitch. On the other side of the great
   traversing range of Cordilleras lies the district of Vera Paz,
   once called Tierra de Guerra, or land of war, from the warlike
   character of its aboriginal inhabitants. Three times the
   Spaniards were driven back in their attempt to conquer it.[A-133]

   The rest of the Tierra de Guerra never was conquered; and at this
   day the northeastern section bounded by the range of the
   Cordilleras and the State of Chiapa is occupied by Cadones, or
   unbaptized Indians, who live as their fathers did, acknowledging
   no submission to the Spaniards, and the government of Central
   America does not pretend to exercise any control over them. But
   the thing that roused us was the assertion by the Padre that four
   days on the road to Mexico, on the other side of the Great
   Sierra, was a LIVING CITY, large and populous, occupied by
   Indians, precisely in the same state as before the discovery of
   America. He had heard of it many years before, at the village of
   Chajal, and was told by the villagers that from the topmost
   ridge of the Sierra this city was distinctly visible. He was then
   young, and with much labor climbed to the naked summit of the
   Sierra, from which, at a height of ten or twelve thousand feet,
   he looked over an immense plain extending to Yucatan and the Gulf
   of Mexico, and saw at a great distance a large city, spread over
   a great space, and with turrets white and glittering in the sun.
   The traditionary account of the Indians of Chajal is, that no
   white man has ever reached the city; that the inhabitants speak
   the Maya language; are aware that a race of strangers has
   conquered the whole country around, and murder any white man who
   attempts to enter their territory. They have no coin or other
   circulating medium; no horses, cattle, mules, or other domestic
   animals, except fowls, and the cocks they keep under ground to
   prevent their crowing being heard.[B-134]

[Footnote A-133: Page 193, Vol. 2.]

[Footnote B-134: Ibid. Page 195.]

Mr. Stephens then adds:

   One look at that city is worth ten years of an every-day life. If
   he is right, a place is left where Indians and an Indian city
   exist as Cortez and Alvarado found them. There are living men who
   can solve the mystery that hangs over the ruined cities of
   America; perhaps, who can go to Copan and Palenque and read the
   inscriptions on their monuments.

       *       *       *       *       *

The moon, long past the meridian, was sinking slowly to her western
goal, whilst the east was already beginning to blush and redden with the
dawn. Before us rose high and clear three distinct mountain peaks,
covered with a mantle of snow. I began to tremble with cold. But our
pace did not slacken, nor our altitude diminish. On the contrary, we
began to rise gradually, until we found ourselves nearly upon a level
with the three peaks. Selecting an opening or gap betwixt the two
westernmost, we glided through like the wind. I shivered and my teeth
chattered as we skimmed along those everlasting snows. Here, thought I,
the condor builds his nest in summer, and the avalanches find a home.
The eagle's wing has not strength enough to battle with this thin and
freezing atmosphere, and no living thing but "the proud bird, the condor
of the Andes," ever scaled these hoary summits. But our descent had
already commenced. Gradually, as the morning broke, the region of ice
and snow was left behind us, and just as the first ray of the rising sun
shot over the peaks we had but a moment before surmounted, I beheld,
glittering in the dim and shadowy distance, the white walls of a
magnificent city. An exclamation of surprise and pleasure involuntarily
escaped my lips; but one glance at my companion checked all further
utterance. She raised her rounded forefinger to her lip, and made a
gesture, whose purport I well understood.

We swept over forests and cornfields and vineyards, the city growing
upon the vision every moment, and rising like the Mexican capital, when
first beheld by Europeans from the bosom of a magnificent lake. Finally,
we found ourselves immediately above it, and almost at the same moment,
began to descend. In a few seconds I stood alone, in a large open space,
surrounded upon all sides by lofty stone edifices, erected upon huge
pyramidal structures, that resembled the forest-covered mounds at
Palenque. The day had fully dawned, but I observed no inhabitants.
Presently a single individual appeared upon one of the towers near me,
and gave a loud, shrill whistle, such as we sometimes hear in crowded
theatres. In an instant it was echoed and re-echoed a thousand times,
upon every side, and immediately the immense city seemed to be awake, as
if by magic. They poured by thousands into the open square, where I
stood petrified with astonishment. Before me, like a vision of
midnight, marched by, in almost countless throngs, battalion on
battalion of a race of men deemed and recorded extinct by the wisest
historians.

They presented the most picturesque appearance imaginable, dressed
apparently in holiday attire, and keeping step to a low air, performed
on instruments emitting a dull, confused sound, that seldom rose so as
to be heard at any great distance.

They continued promenading the square, until the first level ray of
sunshine fell upon the great Teocallis--as it was designated by the
Spaniards--then with unanimous action they fell upon their faces,
striking their foreheads three times upon the mosaic pavement. Just as
they rose to their feet, I observed four persons, most gorgeously
dressed, descending the steps of the Temple, bearing a palanquin, in
which sat a single individual. My attention was at once arrested by her
appearance, for she was a woman. She was arrayed in a _panache_, or
head-dress, made entirely of the plumage of the _Quezale_, the royal
bird of Quiche. It was by far the most tasteful and becoming ornament to
the head I ever beheld, besides being the most magnificent. It is
impossible to describe the graceful movement of those waving plumes, as
they were stirred by the slightest inclination of the head, or the
softest aspiration of the breeze. But the effect was greatly heightened
by the constant change of color which they underwent. Blue and crimson,
and orange and gold, were so blended that the eye was equally dazzled
and delighted. But the utmost astonishment pervaded me, when, upon
closely scrutinizing her features, I thought I recognized the beautiful
face of the Aztec Princess. Little leisure, however, was afforded me for
this purpose, for no sooner had her subjects, the assembled thousands,
bowed with deferential respect to their sovereign, than a company of
drilled guards marched up to where I stood, and unresistingly made me
prisoner.

It is useless to attempt a full description of the imposing ceremony I
had witnessed, or to portray the appearance of those who took the most
prominent parts. Their costume corresponded precisely with that of the
figures in _bas-relief_ on the sculptured monuments at Palenque. Each
wore a gorgeous head-dress, generally of feathers, carried an instrument
decorated with ribbons, feathers and skins, which appeared to be a
war-club, and wore huge sashes of yellow, green, or crimson cotton
cloth, knotted before and behind, and falling in graceful folds almost
to the ground.

Hitherto not a word had been spoken. The ceremony I had witnessed was a
religious one, and was at once interpreted by me to be the worship of
the sun. I remembered well that the ancient Peruvians were heliolaters,
and my imagination had been dazzled when but a child by the gorgeous
description given by the historian Robertson, of the great Temple of the
Sun at Cuzco. There the Incas had worshiped the God of Day from the
period when Manco Capac came from the distant Island of Oello, and
taught the native Indians the rudiments of civilization, until the life
of the last scion of royal blood was sacrificed to the perfidy of the
Spanish invaders. These historical facts had long been familiar to my
mind; but I did not recollect any facts going to show that the ancient
Aztecs were likewise heliolaters; but further doubt was now impossible.

In perfect silence I was hurried up the stone steps of the great
Teocallis, toward the palace erected upon its summit, into whose broad
and lofty corridors we soon entered. These we traversed in several
directions, leaving the more outward and gradually approaching the
heart or central apartments.

Finally, I was ushered into one of the most magnificently decorated
audience-chambers that the eye of man ever beheld.

We were surrounded by immense tablets of _bas-reliefs_ sculptured in
white and black marble, and presenting, evidently, a connected history
of the ancient heroes of the race. Beside each tablet triple rows of
hieroglyphics were carved in the solid stone, unquestionably giving in
detail the history of the hero or chief whose likeness stood near them.
Many of these appeared to be females, but, judging from the sceptre each
carried, I was persuaded that the old _Salique_ law of France and other
European nations never was acknowledged by the aboriginal Americans.

The roof was high, and decorated with the plumage of the Quezale and
other tropical birds, whilst a throne was erected in the centre of the
apartment, glittering in gold and silver ornaments, hung about with
beautiful shells, and lined with the skins of the native leopard,
prepared in the most exquisite style.

Seated upon a throne, I recognized the princess whose morning devotions
I had just witnessed. At a gesture, I was carried up close to the foot
of the throne.

After closely inspecting her features, I satisfied myself that she was
not the companion of my mysterious journey, being several years older in
appearance, and of a darker complexion. Still, there was a very striking
resemblance between them, and it was evident that they not only belonged
to the same race, but to the same family. I looked up at her with great
respect, anticipating some encouraging word or sign. But instead of
speaking, she commenced a low, melodious whistle, eying me intently
during the whole time. Ceasing, she evidently anticipated some reply on
my part, and I at once accosted her in the following terms:

"Most beautiful Princess, I am not voluntarily an invader of your realm.
I was transported hither in a manner as mysterious as it was unexpected.
Teach me but to read these hieroglyphics, and I will quit your
territories forever."

A smile flitted across the features of the Princess as I uttered these
words; and she gave an order, by a sharp whistle, to an officer that
stood near, who immediately disappeared. In a few moments, he returned,
bringing with him a native dressed very coarsely in white cotton cloth,
and who carried an empty jar, or water tank, upon his head. He was
evidently a laborer, and, judging from the low obeisances he constantly
made, much to the amusement of the courtiers standing around, I am
satisfied that he never before in his whole life had been admitted to
the presence of his sovereign.

Making a gesture to the officer who had introduced him, he spoke a few
low words to the native, who immediately turned toward me, and uttered,
slowly and distinctly, the following sentence:

"Ix-itl hua-atl zi-petl poppicobatl."

I shook my head despairingly. Several other attempts to communicate with
me were made, both by the Princess and the interpreter, but all to no
purpose. I could neither understand the melodies nor the jargon. But I
noticed throughout all these proceedings that there seemed to be two
entirely distinct modes of expression; the first by whistling, and the
second by utterance. The idea at once flashed across my mind, that there
were two languages used in the country--one sacred to the blood royal
and the nobility, and the other used by the common people. Impressed
with this thought, I immediately set about verifying it by experiment.

It is unnecessary to detail the ingenious methods I devised to ascertain
this fact. It is sufficient for the present purposes of this narrative
to state, that, during the day, I was abundantly satisfied with the
truth of my surmise; and that, before night, I learned another fact,
equally important, that the hieroglyphics were written in the royal
tongue, and could be read only by those connected by ties of blood with
the reigning family.

There was at first something ludicrous in the idea of communicating
thought by sound emitted in the way indicated above. In my wildest
dreams, the notion of such a thing being possible had never occurred to
my imagination. And when the naked fact was now demonstrated to me every
moment, I could scarcely credit my senses. Still, when I reflected that
night upon it, after I retired to rest, the system did not appear
unnatural, nor even improbable. Birds, I knew, made use of the same
musical tongue; and when but a boy, on the shores of the distant
Albemarle, I had often listened, till long after midnight, to the
wonderful loquacity of the common mocking-bird, as she poured forth her
summer strains. Who has not heard the turtle dove wooing her mate in
tones that were only not human, because they were more sadly beautiful?
Many a belated traveler has placed his hand upon his sword-hilt, and
looked suspiciously behind him, as the deep bass note of the owl has
startled the dewy air. The cock's crow has become a synonym for a pæan
of triumph.

Remembering all those varieties in sound that the air is capable of,
when _cut_, as it were, by whistling, I no longer doubted that a
language could easily be constructed by analyzing the several tones and
giving value to their different modulations.

The ludicrousness of the idea soon gave place to admiration, and before
I had been domiciliated in the palace of the Princess a month, I had
become perfectly infatuated with her native language, and regarded it as
the most beautiful and expressive ever spoken by man. And now, after
several years have elapsed since its melodious accents have fallen upon
my ears, I hesitate not to assert that for richness and variety of tone,
for force and depth of expression, for harmony and sweetness--in short,
for all those characteristics that give beauty and strength to spoken
thought--the royal tongue of the aboriginal Americans is without a
rival.

For many days after my mysterious appearance in the midst of the great
city I have described, my fate still hung in the balance. I was examined
and re-examined a hundred times as to the mode of my entrance into the
valley; but I always persisted in making the same gestures, and pointed
to the sky as the region whence I had descended. The guards stationed at
every avenue of entrance and exit were summoned to the capital, and
questioned closely as to the probability of my having passed them
unawares; but they fully exculpated themselves from all blame, and were
restored to their forfeited posts.

Gradually the excitement in the city subsided, and one by one the great
nobles were won over to credit the story of my celestial arrival in
their midst, and I believed the great object of my existence in a fair
way to be accomplished.

Every facility was afforded me to learn the royal tongue, and after a
little more than a year's residence in the palace, I spoke it with
considerable fluency and accuracy.

But all my efforts hitherto were vain to obtain a key to the
hieroglyphics. Not only was the offense capital to teach their alphabet
to a stranger, but equally so to natives themselves, unconnected with
the blood royal. With all my ingenuity and industry, I had not advanced
a single letter.

One night, as I lay tossing restlessly upon my bed, revolving this
insoluble enigma in my mind, one of the mosaic paving-stones was
suddenly lifted up in the middle of the room, and the figure of a young
man with a lighted taper in his hand stood before me.

Raising my head hastily from the pillow, I almost sank back with
astonishment when I recognized in the form and features of my midnight
visitor, Pio the Carib boy.


CHAPTER V.

      "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
       Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

                                             --SHAKSPEARE.

I sprang to my feet with all the eagerness of joy, and was about to rush
into the arms of Pio, when he suddenly checked my enthusiasm by
extinguishing the light. I stood still and erect, like one petrified
into stone. That moment I felt a hand upon my arm, then around my waist,
and ere I could collect my thoughts, was distinctly lifted from the
ground. But I was carried only a few steps. On touching the floor with
my feet, I was planted firmly, and the arms of my companion were tightly
drawn around my own so as to prevent me from raising them. The next
instant, and the stone upon which we stood suddenly slid from its
position, and gradually sank perpendicularly,--we still retaining our
position upon it.

Our descent was not rapid, nor did I deem it very secure; for the
trap-door trembled under us, and more than once seemed to touch the
shaft into which we were descending. A few moments more and we landed
securely upon a solid pavement. My companion then disengaged his hold,
and stepping off a few paces, pronounced the words "_We are here_!" in
the royal tongue, and immediately a panel slid from the side of the
apartment, and a long passage-way, lighted at the further end by a
single candle, displayed itself to view. Into that passage we at once
entered, and without exchanging a single word, walked rapidly toward the
light.

The light stood upon a stone stand about four feet high, at the
intersection of these passages. We took the one to the left, and
advanced twenty or thirty yards, when Pio halted. On coming up to him,
he placed his mouth close to the wall, and exclaimed as before. "We are
here." A huge block of granite swung inward, and we entered a small but
well-lighted apartment, around which were hanging several costly and
magnificent suits of Palenquin costume.

Hastily seizing two of them, Pio commenced arraying himself in one, and
requested me by a gesture to don the other. With a little assistance, I
soon found myself decked from head to foot in a complete suit of regal
robes--_panache_, sash, and sandals inclusive.

When all was completed, Pio, for the first time, addressed me as
follows: "Young stranger, whoever you may be, or to whatever nation you
may belong, matters but little to me. The attendant guardian spirit of
our race and country has conducted you hither, in the most mysterious
manner, and now commands me to have you instructed in the most sacred
lore of the Aztecs. Your long residence in this palace has fully
convinced you of the danger to which we are both exposed; I in
revealing and you in acquiring the key to the interpretation of the
historical records of my country. I need not assure you that our lives
are both forfeited, should the slightest suspicion be aroused in the
breasts of the Princess or the nobility.

"You are now dressed in the appropriate costume of a student of our
literature, and must attend me nightly at the gathering of the Queen's
kindred to be instructed in the art. Express no surprise at anything you
see or hear; keep your face concealed as much as possible, fear nothing,
and follow me."

At a preconcerted signal given by Pio, a door flew open and we entered
the vestibule of a large and brilliantly illuminated chamber.

As soon as we passed the entrance I saw before me not less than two
hundred young persons of both sexes, habited in the peculiar garb of
students, like our own. We advanced slowly and noiselessly, until we
reached two vacant places, prepared evidently beforehand for us. Our
entrance was not noticed by the classes, nor by those whom I afterwards
recognized as teachers. All seemed intent upon the problem before them,
and evinced no curiosity to observe the new comers. My own curiosity at
this moment was intense, and had it not been for the prudent cautions
constantly given me by Pio, by touching my robes or my feet, an exposure
most probably would have occurred the first night of my initiation, and
the narrative of these adventures never been written.

My presence of mind, however, soon came to my assistance, and before the
evening was over, I had, by shrewdly noticing the conduct of others,
shaped my own into perfect conformity with theirs, and rendered
detection next to impossible.

It now becomes necessary to digress a moment from the thread of my
story, and give an accurate description of the persons I beheld around
me, the chamber in which we were gathered, and the peculiar mode of
instruction pursued by the sages.

The scholars were mostly young men and women, averaging in age about
twenty years. They all wore the emblem of royalty, which I at once
recognized in the _panache_ of Quezale plumes that graced their heads.
They stood in semi-circular rows, the platform rising as they receded
from the staging in front, like seats in an amphitheatre. Upon the stage
were seated five individuals--two of the male, and three of the female
sex. An old man was standing up, near the edge of the stage, holding in
his hands two very cunningly-constructed instruments. At the back of the
stage, a very large, smooth tablet of black marble was inserted in the
wall, and a royal personage stood near it, upon one side, with a common
piece of chalk in his right hand, and a cotton napkin in the left. This
reminded me but too truthfully of the fourth book of Euclid and Nassau
Hall; and I was again reminded of the great mathematician before the
assembly broke up, and of his reply to that King of Sicily, who inquired
if there were no easy way of acquiring mathematics. "None, your
Highness," replied the philosopher; "there is no royal road to
learning." Labor, I soon found, was the only price, even amongst the
Aztecs, at which knowledge could be bought. Each student was furnished
with the same species of instruments which the old man before-mentioned
held in his hands.

The one held in the left hand resembled a white porcelain slate, only
being much larger than those in common use. It was nearly twenty inches
square, and was divided by mathematical lines into thirty-six
compartments. It was covered over with a thin crystal, resembling glass,
which is found in great quantities in the neighboring mountains, and is
perfectly transparent. The crystal was raised about the one eighth of an
inch from the surface of the slate, and allowed a very fine species of
black sand to move at will between them. The instrument carried in the
right hand resembled the bow of a common violin, more than anything
else. The outer edge was constructed of a beautiful yellow wood,
polished, and bent into the arc of a quarter circle; whilst a mass of
small cords, made of the native hemp, united the two ends.

The method of using the bow was this: The slate was shaken violently
once or twice, so as to distribute the black sand equally over the white
surface, and then the bow was drawn perpendicularly down the edge of the
slate, very rapidly, so as to produce a quick whistling sound. The
effect produced upon the grains of sand was truly wonderful to the
uninitiated in the laws of acoustics. They arranged themselves into
peculiar figures, sometimes in the form of a semicircle, sometimes into
that of a spiral, sometimes into a perfect circle, or a cone, or a
rhomboid, or an oval, dependent entirely upon two things: first, the
place where the slate was held by the left hand; and second, the point
where the bow was drawn across the edge. As the slate was subdivided
into thirty-six compartments, by either one of which it could be held,
and as there was a corresponding point, across which the bow could be
drawn, there were seventy-two primitive sounds that might be produced by
means of this simple contrivance. Each of these sounds inherently and
necessarily produced a different figure upon the slate, and there were
consequently just seventy-two initial letters in the Aztec alphabet.

The mode of instruction was extremely simple. A word was pronounced by
the aged teacher at the front of the stage, written upon his slate,
exhibited to the scholar at the black tablet, and by him copied upon it.
The whole class then drew down their bows, so as to produce the proper
sound, and the word itself, or its initial letter, was immediately
formed upon the slate.

After the seventy-two primitive letters or sounds had been learned, the
next step was the art of combining them, so as not only to produce
single words, but very often whole sentences. Thus the first
hieroglyphic carved upon the tablet, on the back wall of the altar, in
Casa No. 3 (forming the frontispiece of the second volume of Stephens's
Travels in Central America), expresses, within itself, the name, date of
birth, place of nativity, and parentage, of _Xixencotl_, the first king
of the twenty-third dynasty of the Aztecs.

The hieroglyphics of the Aztecs are all of them both symbolical and
phonetic. Hence, in almost every one we observe, first, the primitive
sound or initial letter, and its various combinations; and, secondly,
some symbolic drawing, as a human face, for instance, or an eagle's
bill, or a fish, denoting some peculiar characteristic of the person or
thing delineated.

But to return to the Hall of Students. The men and women on the stage
were placed there as critics upon the pronunciation of each articulate
sound. They were selected from the wisest men and best elocutionists in
the kingdom, and never failed to detect the slightest error in the
pronunciation of the tutor.

The royal tongue of the Aztecs is the only one now in existence that is
based upon natural philosophy and the laws of sound. It appeals both to
the eye and ear of the speaker, and thus the nicest shades of thought
may be clearly expressed. There is no such thing as _stilted_ language
amongst them, and logomachy is unknown.

And here I may be permitted to observe that a wider field for research
and discovery lies open in the domain of _sound_ than in any other
region of science. The laws of harmony, even, are but imperfectly
understood, and the most accomplished musicians are mere tyros in the
great science of acoustics. There is every reason to believe that there
is an intimate but yet undiscovered link between _number_, _light_, and
_sound_ whose solution will astonish and enlighten the generations that
are to succeed our own. _When God spake the worlds into being, the
globular form they assumed was not accidental, nor arbitrary, but
depended essentially upon the tone of the great Architect, and the
medium in which it resounded._

Let the natural philosophers of the rising generation direct their
especial attention toward the fields I have indicated, and the rewards
awaiting their investigations will confer upon them immortality of fame.

There is a reason why the musical scale should not mount in whole tones
up to the octave; why the mind grasps decimals easier than vulgar
fractions, and why, by the laws of light, the blood-red tint should be
heavier than the violet. Let Nature, in these departments, be studied
with the same care that Cuvier explored the organization of insects,
that Liebig deduced the property of acids, and that Leverrier computed
the orbit of that unseen world which his genius has half created, and
all the wonderful and beautiful secrets now on the eve of bursting into
being from the dark domain of sound, color, and shape, will at once
march forth into view, and take their destined places in the ranks of
human knowledge.

Then the science of computation will be intuitive, as it was in the mind
of Zerah Colburn; the art of music creative, as in the plastic voices of
Jehovah; and the great principles of light and shape and color divine,
as in the genius of Swedenborg and the imagination of Milton.

I have now completed the outline of the sketch, which in the foregoing
pages I proposed to lay before the world.

The peculiar circumstances which led me to explore the remains of the
aboriginal Americans, the adventures attending me in carrying out that
design, the mode of my introduction into the Living City, spoken of by
Stephens, and believed in by so many thousands of enlightened men, and
above all, the wonderful and almost incredible character of the people I
there encountered, together with a rapid review of their language and
literature, have been briefly but faithfully presented to the public.

It but remains for me now to present my readers with a few specimens of
Aztec literature, translated from the hieroglyphics now mouldering amid
the forests of Chiapa; to narrate the history of my escape from the
Living City of the aborigines; to bespeak a friendly word for the
forthcoming history of one of the earliest, most beautiful, and
unfortunate of the Aztec queens, copied _verbatim_ from the annals of
her race, and to bid them one and all, for the present, a respectful
adieu.

Before copying from the blurred and water-soaked manuscript before me, a
single extract from the literary remains of the monumental race amongst
whom I have spent three years and a half of my early manhood, it may not
be deemed improper to remark that a large work upon this subject is now
in course of publication, containing the minutest details of the
domestic life, public institutions, language, and laws of that
interesting people.

The extracts I present to the reader may be relied upon as exactly
correct, since they are taken from the memoranda made upon the spot.

Directly in front of the throne, in the great audience-chamber described
in the preceding chapter, and written in the most beautiful hieroglyphic
extant, I found the following account of the origin of the land:

   The Great Spirit, whose emblem is the sun, held the water-drops
   out of which the world was made, in the hollow of his hand. He
   breathed a tone, and they rounded into the great globe, and
   started forth on the errand of counting up the years.

   Nothing existed but water and the great fishes of the sea. One
   eternity passed. The Great Spirit sent a solid star, round and
   beautiful, but dead and no longer burning, and plunged it into
   the depths of the oceans. Then the winds were born, and the rains
   began to fall. The animals next sprang into existence. They came
   up from the star-dust like wheat and maize. The round star
   floated upon the waters, and became the dry land; and the land
   was high, and its edges steep. It was circular, like a plate, and
   all connected together.

   The marriage of the land and the sea produced man, but his spirit
   came from the beams of the sun.

   Another eternity passed away, and the earth became too full of
   people. They were all white, because the star fell into the cold
   seas, and the sun could not darken their complexions.

   Then the sea bubbled up in the middle of the land, and the
   country of the Aztecs floated off to the west. Wherever the star
   cracked open, there the waters rose up and made the deep sea.

   When the east and the west come together again, they will fit
   like a garment that has been torn.

Then followed a rough outline of the western coasts of Europe and
Africa, and directly opposite the coasts of North and South America.
The projections of the one exactly fitted the indentations of the other,
and gave a semblance of truth and reality to the wild dream of the Aztec
philosopher. Let the geographer compare them, and he will be more
disposed to wonder than to sneer.

I have not space enough left me to quote any further from the monumental
inscriptions, but if the reader be curious upon this subject, I
recommend to his attention the publication soon to come out, alluded to
above.

       #       #       #       #       #

Some unusual event certainly had occurred in the city. The great plaza
in front of the palace was thronged with a countless multitude of men
and women, all clamoring for a sacrifice! a sacrifice!

Whilst wondering what could be the cause of this commotion, I was
suddenly summoned before the Princess in the audience-chamber, so often
alluded to before.

My surprise was great when, upon presenting myself before her, I beheld,
pinioned to a heavy log of mahogany, a young man, evidently of European
descent.

The Princess requested me to interpret for her to the stranger, and the
following colloquy took place. The conversation was in the French
language.

Q. "Who are you, and why do you invade my dominions?"

A. "My name is Armand de L'Oreille. I am a Frenchman by birth. I was
sent out by Lamartine, in 1848, as attaché to the expedition of M. de
Bourbourg, whose duties were to explore the forests in the neighborhood
of Palenque, to collate the language of the Central-American Indians, to
copy the inscriptions on the monuments, and, if possible, to reach the
LIVING CITY mentioned by Waldeck, Dupaix, and the American traveler
Stephens."

Q. "But why are you alone? Where is the party to which you belonged?"

A. "Most of them returned to Palenque, after wandering in the wilderness
a few days. Five only determined to proceed; of that number I am the
only survivor."

Here the interview closed.

The council and the queen were not long in determining the fate of M. de
L'Oreille. It was unanimously resolved that he should surrender his life
as a forfeit to his temerity.

The next morning, at sunrise, was fixed for his death. He was to be
sacrificed upon the altar, on the summit of the great Teocallis--an
offering to _Quetzalcohuatl_, the first great prince of the Aztecs. I at
once determined to save the life of the stranger, if I could do so, even
at the hazard of my own. But fate ordained it otherwise. I retired
earlier than usual, and lay silent and moody, revolving on the best
means to accomplish my end.

Midnight at length arrived; I crept stealthily from my bed, and opened
the door of my chamber, as lightly as sleep creeps over the eyelids of
children. But----

[Here the MS. is so blotted, and saturated with saltwater, as to be
illegible for several pages. The next legible sentences are as
follows.--ED.]

Here, for the first time, the woods looked familiar to me. Proceeding a
few steps, I fell into the trail leading toward the modern village of
Palenque, and, after an hour's walk, I halted in front of the _cabilda_
of the town.

I was followed by a motley crowd to the office of the Alcalde, who did
not recognize me, dressed as I was in skins, and half loaded down with
rolls of MS., made from the bark of the mulberry. I related to him and
M. de Bourbourg my adventures; and though the latter declared he had
lost poor Armand and his five companions, yet I am persuaded that
neither of them credited a single word of my story.

Not many days after my safe arrival at Palenque, I seized a favorable
opportunity to visit the ruins of _Casa Grande_. I readily found the
opening to the subterranean passage heretofore described, and after some
troublesome delays at the various landing-places, I finally succeeded in
reaching the very spot whence I had ascended on that eventful night,
nearly three years before, in company with the Aztec Princess.

After exploring many of the mouldering and half-ruined apartments of
this immense palace, I accidentally entered a small room, that at first
seemed to have been a place of sacrifice; but, upon closer inspection, I
ascertained that, like many of those in the "Living City," it was a
chapel dedicated to the memory of some one of the princes of the Aztec
race.

In order to interpret the inscriptions with greater facility, I lit six
or seven candles, and placed them in the best positions to illuminate
the hieroglyphics. Then turning, to take a view of the grand tablet in
the middle of the inscription, my astonishment was indescribable, when I
beheld the exact features, dress and _panache_ of the Aztec maiden,
carved in the everlasting marble before me.



[Decoration]


VIII.

_THE MOTHER'S EPISTLE._


    Sweet daughter, leave thy tasks and toys,
      Throw idle thoughts aside,
    And hearken to a mother's voice,
      That would thy footsteps guide;
    Though far across the rolling seas,
      Beyond the mountains blue,
    She sends her counsels on the breeze,
      And wafts her blessings too.

    To guard thy voyage o'er life's wave,
      To guide thy bark aright,
    To snatch thee from an early grave,
      And gild thy way with light,
    Thy mother calls thee to her side,
      And takes thee on her knee,
    In spite of oceans that divide,
      And thus addresses thee:


                   I.

    Learn first this lesson in thy youth,
      Which time cannot destroy,
    To love and speak and act the truth--
      'Tis life's most holy joy;
    Wert thou a queen upon a throne,
      Decked in each royal gem,
    This little jewel would alone
      Outshine thy diadem.


                   II.

    Next learn to conquer, as they rise,
      Each wave of passion's sea;
    Unchecked, 'twill sweep the vaulted skies,
      And vanquish heaven and thee;
    Lashed on by storms within thy breast,
      These billows of the soul
    Will wreck thy peace, destroy thy rest,
      And ruin as they roll!


                   III.

    But conquered passions were no gain,
      Unless where once they grew
    There falls the teardrop, like the rain,
      And gleams the morning dew;
    Sow flowers within thy virgin heart,
      That spring from guileless love;
    Extend to each a sister's part,
      Take lessons of the dove.


                   IV.

    But, daughter, empty were our lives,
      And useless all our toils,
    If that within us, which survives
      Life's transient battle-broils,
    Were all untaught in heavenly lore,
      Unlearned in virtue's ways,
    Ungifted with religion's store,
      Unskilled our God to praise.


                   V.

    Take for thy guide the Bible old,
      Consult its pages fair
    Within them glitter gems and gold,
      Repentance, Faith, and Prayer;
    Make these companions of thy soul;
      Where e'er thy footsteps roam,
    And safely shalt thou reach thy goal,
      In heaven--the angel's home!



[Decoration]


IX.

_LEGENDS OF LAKE BIGLER._


I.--THE HAUNTED ROCK.

A great many years ago, ere the first white man had trodden the soil of
the American continent, and before the palaces of Uxmal and Palenque
were masses of shapeless ruins--whilst the splendid structures, now
lining the banks of the Gila with broken columns and fallen domes were
inhabited by a nobler race than the cowardly Pimos or the Ishmaelitish
Apaches, there lived and flourished on opposite shores of Lake Bigler
two rival nations, disputing with each other for the supremacy of this
inland sea, and making perpetual war in order to accomplish the object
of their ambition.

The tribe dwelling upon the western shore was called the Ako-ni-tas,
whilst those inhabiting what is now the State of Nevada were known by
the name of Gra-so-po-itas. Each nation was subdivided into smaller
principalities, over which subordinate sachems, or chiefs, presided. In
number, physical appearance, and advance in the arts of civilization,
both very much resembled, and neither could be said to have decidedly
the pre-eminence.

At the time my story commences, Wan-ta-tay-to was principal chief or
king of the Ako-ni-tas, or, as they were sometimes designated,
O-kak-o-nitas, whilst Rhu-tog-au-di presided over the destinies of the
Gra-so-po-itas. The language spoken by these tribes were dialects of
the same original tongue, and could be easily understood the one by the
other. Continued intercourse, even when at war, had assimilated their
customs, laws and religion to such a degree that it often became a
matter of grave doubt as to which tribe occasional deserters belonged.
Intermarriage between the tribes was strictly forbidden, and punished
with death in all cases, no matter what might be the rank, power or
wealth of the violators of the law.

At this era the surface of the lake was about sixty feet higher than at
the present time. Constant evaporation, or perhaps the wearing channel
of the Truckee, has contributed to lower the level of the water, and the
same causes still continue in operation, as is clearly perceptible by
the watermarks of previous years. Thousands of splendid canoes
everywhere dotted its surface; some of them engaged in the peaceful
avocations of fishing and hunting, whilst the large majority were manned
and armed for immediate and deadly hostilities.

The year preceding that in which the events occurred herein related, had
been a very disastrous one to both tribes. A great many deaths had
ensued from casualties in battle; but the chief source of disaster had
been a most terrific hurricane, which had swept over the lake,
upsetting, sinking, and destroying whole fleets of canoes, with all
persons aboard at the time. Amongst the lost were both the royal barges,
with the sons and daughters of the chiefs. The loss had been so
overwhelming and general that the chief of the O-kak-o-nitas had but one
solitary representative of the line royal left, and that was a beloved
daughter named Ta-kem-ena. The rival chieftain was equally unfortunate,
for his entire wigwam had perished with the exception of Mo-ca-ru-po,
his youngest son. But these great misfortunes, instead of producing
peace and good-will, as a universal calamity would be sure to do in an
enlightened nation, tended only to embitter the passions of the hostile
kings and lend new terrors to the war. At once made aware of what the
other had suffered, each promulgated a sort of proclamation, offering an
immense reward for the scalp of his rival's heir.

Wan-ta-tay-to declared that he would give one half his realm to
whomsoever brought the body of Mo-ca-ru-po, dead or alive, within his
lines; and Rhu-tog-au-di, not to be outdone in extravagance, registered
an oath that whosoever captured Ta-kem-ena, the beautiful daughter of
his enemy, should be rewarded with her patrimonial rights, and also be
associated with him in ruling his own dominions.

As is universally the case with all American Indians, the females are
equally warlike and sometimes quite as brave as the males. Ta-kem-ena
was no exception to this rule, and she accordingly made instant
preparations to capture or kill the heir to the throne of her enemy. For
this purpose she selected a small, light bark canoe, and resolved all
alone to make the attempt. Nor did she communicate her intention to any
one else. Her father, even, was kept in profound ignorance of his
daughter's design.

About the same time, a desire for fame, and a thirsting for supreme
power, allured young Mo-ca-ru-po into the lists of those who became
candidates for the recent reward offered by his father. He, too,
determined to proceed alone.

It was just at midnight, of a beautiful moonlight evening, that the
young scions of royalty set forth from opposite shores of the lake, and
stealthily paddled for the dominions of their enemies. When about half
across the boats came violently into collision. Each warrior seized arms
for the conflict. The light of the full moon, riding at mid-heavens,
fell softly upon the features of the Princess, and at the same time
illuminated those of the young Prince.

The blows from the uplifted battle-axes failed to descend. The poisoned
arrows were returned to their quivers. Surprise gave place quickly to
admiration--that to something more human--pity followed close in the
rear, and love, triumphant everywhere, paralyzed the muscles, benumbed
the faculties, and captured the souls of his victims. Pouring a handful
of the pure water of the lake upon each other's heads, as a pledge of
love, and a ceremonial of marriage, in another moment the two were
locked in each other's arms, made man and wife by the yearnings of the
soul, and by a destiny which naught but Omnipotent Power could avert.
What were the commands of kings, their threats, or their punishments, in
the scale with youth, and hope, and love?

Never did those transparent waters leap more lightly beneath the
moonbeams than upon this auspicious night. Hate, revenge, fame, power,
all were forgotten in the supreme delights of love.

Who, indeed, would not be a lover? The future takes the hue of the
rainbow, and spans the whole earth with its arch. The past fades into
instant oblivion, and its dark scenes are remembered no more. Every
beautiful thing looks lovelier--spring's breath smells sweeter--the
heavens bend lower--the stars shine brighter. The eyes, the lips, the
smiles of the loved one, bankrupt all nature. The diamond's gleam, the
flower's blush, the fountain's purity, are all _her_ own! The antelope's
swiftness, the buffalo's strength, the lion's bravery, are but the
reflex of _his_ manly soul!

Fate thus had bound these two lovers in indissoluble bonds: let us now
see what it had left in reserve.

The plashing of paddles aroused the lovers from their caressing. Quickly
leaping into his own boat, side by side, they flew over the exultant
waves, careless for the moment whither they went, and really aimless in
their destination. Having safely eluded their pursuers, if such they
were, the princes now consulted as to their future course. After long
and anxious debate it was finally determined that they should part for
the present, and would each night continue to meet at midnight at the
majestic rock which towered up from the waves high into the heavens, not
far from what is now known as Pray's Farm, that being the residence and
headquarters of the O-kak-oni-ta tribe.

Accordingly, after many protestations of eternal fidelity, and warned by
the ruddy gleam along the eastern sky, they parted.

Night after night, for many weeks and months, the faithful lovers met at
the appointed place, and proved their affection by their constancy. They
soon made the discovery that the immense rock was hollow, and contained
a magnificent cave. Here, safe from all observation, the tardy months
rolled by, both praying for peace, yet neither daring to mention a
termination of hostilities to their sires. Finally, the usual
concomitants of lawful wedlock began to grow manifest in the rounded
form of the Princess--in her sadness, her drooping eyes, and her
perpetual uneasiness whilst in the presence of her father. Not able any
longer to conceal her griefs, they became the court scandal, and she
was summoned to the royal presence and required to name her lover. This,
of course, she persisted in refusing, but spies having been set upon her
movements, herself and lover were surrounded and entrapped in the fatal
cave.

In vain did she plead for the life of the young prince, regardless of
her own. His doom was sealed. An embassador was sent to Rhu-tog-au-di,
announcing the treachery of his son, and inviting that chief to be
present at the immolation of both victims. He willingly consented to
assist in the ceremonies. A grand council of the two nations was
immediately called, in order to determine in what manner the death
penalty should be inflicted. After many and grave debates, it was
resolved that the lovers should be incarcerated in the dark and gloomy
cave where they had spent so many happy hours, and there starve to
death.

It was a grand gala-day with the O-kak-oni-tas and the Gra-sop-o-itas.
The mighty chiefs had been reconciled, and the wealth, power and beauty
of the two realms turned out in all the splendor of fresh paint and
brilliant feathers, to do honor to the occasion. The young princes were
to be put to death. The lake in the vicinity of the rock was alive with
canoes. The hills in the neighborhood were crowded with spectators. The
two old kings sat in the same splendid barge, and followed close after
the bark canoe in which the lovers were being conveyed to their living
tomb. Silently they gazed into each other's faces and smiled. For each
other had they lived; with one another were they now to die. Without
food, without water, without light, they were hurried into their bridal
chamber, and huge stones rolled against the only entrance.

Evening after evening the chiefs sat upon the grave portals of their
children. At first they were greeted with loud cries, extorted by the
gnawing of hunger and the agony of thirst. Gradually the cries gave way
to low moans, and finally, after ten days had elapsed, the tomb became
as silent as the lips of the lovers. Then the huge stones were, by the
command of the two kings, rolled away, and a select body of warriors
ordered to enter and bring forth their lifeless forms. But the west wind
had sprung up, and just as the stones were taken from the entrance, a
low, deep, sorrowful sigh issued from the mouth of the cave. Startled
and terrified beyond control, the warriors retreated hastily from the
spot; and the weird utterances continuing, no warriors could be found
brave enough to sound the depths of that dreadful sepulchre. Day after
day canoes crowded about the mouth of the cave, and still the west wind
blew, and still the sighs and moans continued to strike the souls of the
trembling warriors.

Finally, no canoe dared approach the spot. In paddling past they would
always veer their canoes seaward, and hurry past with all the speed they
could command.

Centuries passed away; the level of the lake had sunk many feet; the
last scions of the O-kak-oni-tas and the Gra-sop-o-itas had mouldered
many years in the burying-grounds of their sires, and a new race had
usurped their old hunting grounds. Still no one had ever entered the
haunted cave.

One day, late in the autumn of 1849, a company of emigrants on their way
to California, were passing, toward evening, the month of the cavern,
and hearing a strange, low, mournful sigh, seeming to issue thence, they
landed their canoe and resolved to solve the mystery. Lighting some
pitch-pine torches, they proceeded cautiously to explore the cavern. For
a long time they could discern nothing. At length, in the furthest
corner of the gloomy recess, they found two human skeletons, with their
bony arms entwined, and their fleshless skulls resting upon each other's
bosoms. The lovers are dead, but the old cave still echoes with their
dying sobs.


II.--DICK BARTER'S YARN; OR, THE LAST OF THE MERMAIDS.

Well, Dick began, you see I am an old salt, having sailed the seas for
more than forty-nine years, and being entirely unaccustomed to living
upon the land. By some accident or other, I found myself, in the winter
of 1849, cook for a party of miners who were sluicing high up the North
Fork of the American. We had a hard time all winter, and when spring
opened, it was agreed that I and a comrade named Liehard should cross
the summit and spend a week fishing at the lake. We took along an old
Washoe Indian, who spoke Spanish, as a guide. This old man had formerly
lived on the north margin of the lake, near where Tahoe City is now
situated, and was perfectly familiar with all the most noted fishing
grounds and chief points of interest throughout its entire circuit.

We had hardly got started before he commenced telling us of a remarkable
struggle, which he declared had been going on for many hundred years
between a border tribe of Indians and the inhabitants of the lake, whom
he designated as Water-men, or "_hombres de las aguas_." On asking if he
really meant to say that human beings lived and breathed like fish in
Lake Bigler, he declared without any hesitation that such was the fact;
that he had often seen them; and went on to describe a terrific combat
he witnessed a great many years ago, between a Pol-i-wog chief and _a
man of the water_. On my expressing some doubt as to the veracity of the
statement, he proffered to show us the very spot where it occurred; and
at the same time expressed a belief that by manufacturing a whistle from
the bark of the mountain chinquapin, and blowing it as the Pol-i-wogs
did, we might entice some of their old enemies from the depths of the
lake. My curiosity now being raised tip-toe, I proceeded to interrogate
Juan more closely, and in answer I succeeded in obtaining the following
curious particulars:

The tribe of border Indians called the Pol-i-wogs were a sort of
amphibious race, and a hybrid between the Pi-Utes and the mermaids of
the lake. They were of a much lighter color than their progenitors, and
were distinguished by a great many peculiar characteristics. Exceedingly
few in number, and quarrelsome in the extreme, they resented every
intrusion upon the waters of the lake as a personal affront, and made
perpetual war upon neighboring tribes. Hence, as Juan remarked, they
soon became extinct after the invasion of the Washoes. The last of them
disappeared about twenty-five years ago. The most noted of their
peculiarities were the following:

First. Their heads were broad and extremely flat; the eyes protuberant,
and the ears scarcely perceptible--being a small opening closed by a
movable valve shaped like the scale of a salmon. Their mouths were very
large, extending entirely across the cheeks, and bounded by a hard rim
of bone, instead of the common lip. In appearance, therefore, the head
did not look unlike an immense catfish head, except there were no fins
about the jaws, and no feelers, as we call them.

Second. Their necks were short, stout, and chubby, and they possessed
the power of inflating them at will, and thus distending them to two or
three times their ordinary size.

Third. Their bodies were long, round, and flexible. When wet, they
glistened in the sun like the back of an eel, and seemed to possess much
greater buoyancy than those of common men. But the greatest wonder of
all was a kind of loose membrane, that extended from beneath their
shoulders all the way down their sides, and connected itself with the
upper portion of their thighs. This loose skin resembled the wings of
the common house bat, and when spread out, as it always did in the
water, looked like the membrane lining of the legs and fore feet of the
chipmunk.

Fourth. The hands and feet were distinguished for much greater length of
toe and finger; and their extremities grew together like the toes of a
duck, forming a complete web betwixt all the fingers and toes.

The Pol-i-wogs lived chiefly upon fish and oysters, of which there was
once a great abundance in the lake. They were likewise cannibals, and
ate their enemies without stint or compunction. A young Washoe girl was
considered a feast, but a lake maiden was the _ne plus ultra_ of
luxuries. The Washoes reciprocated the compliment, and fattened upon the
blubber of the Pol-i-wogs. It is true that they were extremely difficult
to capture, for, when hotly pursued, they plunged into the lake, and by
expert swimming and extraordinary diving, they generally managed to
effect their escape.

Juan having exhausted his budget concerning the Pol-i-wogs, I requested
him to give us as minute a description of the Lake Mermaids. This he
declined for the present to do, alleging as an excuse that we would
first attempt to capture, or at least to see one for ourselves, and if
our hunt was unsuccessful, he would then gratify our curiosity.

It was some days before we came in sight of this magnificent sheet of
water. Finally, however, after many perilous adventures in descending
the Sierras, we reached the margin of the lake. Our first care was to
procure trout enough to last until we got ready to return. That was an
easy matter, for in those days the lake was far more plentifully
supplied than at present. We caught many thousands at a place where a
small brook came down from the mountains, and formed a pool not a great
distance from its entrance into the lake, and this pool was alive with
them. It occupied us but three days to catch, clean, and sun-dry as many
as our single mule could carry, and having still nearly a week to spare
we determined to start off in pursuit of the mermaids.

Our guide faithfully conducted us to the spot where he beheld the
conflict between the last of the Pol-i-wogs and one of the water-men. As
stated above, it is nearly on the spot where Tahoe City now stands. The
battle was a fierce one, as the combatants were equally matched in
strength and endurance, and was finally terminated only by the
interposition of a small party of Washoes, our own guide being of the
number. The struggle was chiefly in the water, the Pol-i-wog being
better able to swim than the mermaid was to walk. Still, as occasion
required, a round or two took place on the gravelly beach. Never did old
Spain and England engage in fiercer conflict for the dominion of the
seas, than now occurred between Pol-i-wog and Merman for the mastery of
the lake. Each fought, as the Roman fought, for Empire. The Pol-i-wog,
like the last of the Mohicans, had seen his tribe melt away, until he
stood, like some solitary column at Persepolis, the sole monument of a
once gorgeous temple. The water chieftain also felt that upon his arm,
or rather tail, everything that made life desirable was staked. Above
all, the trident of his native sea was involved.

The weapons of the Pol-i-wog were his teeth and his hind legs. Those of
the Merman were all concentrated in the flop of his scaly tail. With the
energy of a dying alligator, he would encircle, with one tremendous
effort, the bruised body of the Pol-i-wog, and floor him beautifully on
the beach. Recovering almost instantly, the Pol-i-wog would seize the
Merman by the long black hair, kick him in the region of the stomach,
and grapple his windpipe between his bony jaws, as the mastiff does the
infuriated bull.

Finally, after a great many unsuccessful attempts to drag the Pol-i-wog
into deep water, the mermaid was seized by her long locks and suddenly
jerked out upon the beach in a very battered condition. At this moment,
the Washoes with a yell rushed toward the combatants, but the Pol-i-wog
seeing death before him upon water and land equally, preferred the
embraces of the water nymphs to the stomachs of the landsmen, and
rolling over rapidly was soon borne off into unfathomable depths by the
triumphant Merman.

Such was the story of Juan. It resembled the condition of the ancient
Britons, who, being crowded by the Romans from the sea, and attacked by
the Picts from the interior, lamented their fate as the most unfortunate
of men. "The Romans," they said, "drive us into the land; there we are
met by the Picts, who in turn drive us into the sea. We must perish in
either event. Those whom enemies spare, the waves devour."

Our first step was to prepare a chinquapin whistle. The flute was easily
manufactured by Juan himself, thuswise: He cut a twig about eighteen
inches in length, and not more than half an inch in diameter, and
peeling the bark from the ends an inch or so, proceeded to rub the bark
rapidly with a dry stick peeled perfectly smooth. In a short time the
sap in the twig commenced to exude from both ends. Then placing the
large end between his teeth he pulled suddenly, and the bark slipped off
with a crack in it. Then cutting a small hole in the form of a
parallelogram, near the upper end, he adjusted a stopper with flattened
surface so as to fit exactly the opening. Cutting off the end of the
stopple even with the bark and filling the lower opening nearly full of
clay, he declared the work was done. As a proof of this, he blew into
the hollow tube, and a low, musical sound was emitted, very flute-like
and silvery. When blown harshly, it could be heard at a great distance,
and filled the air with melodious echoes.

Thus equipped, we set out upon our search. The first two days were spent
unsuccessfully. On the third we found ourselves near what is now called
Agate Beach. At this place a small cove indents the land, which sweeps
round in the form of a semi-circle. The shore is literally packed with
agates and crystals. We dug some more than two feet deep in several
places, but still could find no bottom to the glittering floor. They are
of all colors, but the prevailing hues are red and yellow. Here Juan
paused, and lifting his whistle to his lips, he performed a multitude of
soft, gentle airs, which floated across the calm waves like a lover's
serenade breathes o'er the breast of sleeping beauty. It all seemed in
vain. We had now entirely circumnavigated the lake, and were on the eve
of despairing utterly, when suddenly we beheld the surface of the lake,
nearly a quarter of a mile from the shore, disturbed violently, as if
some giant whale were floundering with a harpoon in its side. In a
moment more the head and neck of one of those tremendous serpents that
of late years have infested the lake, were uplifted some ten or fifteen
feet above the surface. Almost at the same instant we beheld the head,
face and hair, as of a human being, emerge quickly from the water, and
look back toward the pursuing foe. The truth flashed upon us
instantaneously. Here was a mermaid pursued by a serpent. On they came,
seemingly regardless of our presence, and had approached to within
twenty yards of the spot where we stood, when suddenly both came to a
dead halt. Juan had never ceased for a moment to blow his tuneful flute,
and it now became apparent that the notes had struck their hearing at
the same time. To say that they were charmed would but half express
their ecstatic condition. They were absolutely entranced.

The huge old serpent lolled along the waters for a hundred feet or so,
and never so much as shook the spray from his hide. He looked like
Milton's portrait of Satan, stretched out upon the burning marl of hell.
In perfect contrast with the sea monster, the beautiful mermaiden lifted
her pallid face above the water, dripping with the crystal tears of the
lake, and gathering her long raven locks, that floated like the train of
a meteor down her back, she carelessly flung them across her swelling
bosom, as if to reproach us for gazing upon her beauteous form. But
there my eyes were fastened! If she were entranced by the music, I was
not less so with her beauty. Presently the roseate hues of a dying
dolphin played athwart her brow and cheeks, and ere long a gentle sigh,
as if stolen from the trembling chords of an Eolian harp, issued from
her coral lips. Again and again it broke forth, until it beat in full
symphony with the cadences of Juan's rustic flute.

My attention was at this moment aroused by the suspicious clicking of my
comrade's rifle. Turning around suddenly, I beheld Liehard, with his
piece leveled at the unconscious mermaid.

"Great God!" I exclaimed! "Liehard, would you commit murder?" But the
warning came too late, for instantaneously the quick report of his rifle
and the terrific shriek of the mermaid broke the noontide stillness;
and, rearing her bleeding form almost entirely out of the water, she
plunged headlong forwards, a corpse. Beholding his prey, powerless
within his grasp, the serpent splashed toward her, and, ere I could cock
my rifle, he had seized her unresisting body, and sank with it into the
mysterious caverns of the lake. At this instant, I gave a loud outcry,
as if in pain. On opening my eyes, my wife was bending over me, the
midday sun was shining in my face, Dick Barter was spinning some
confounded yarn about the Bay of Biscay and the rum trade of Jamaica,
and the sloop _Edith Beaty_ was still riding at anchor off the wild
glen, and gazing tranquilly at her ugly image in the crystal mirror of
Lake Bigler.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


X.

_ROSENTHAL'S ELAINE._


    I stood and gazed far out into the waste;
    No dip of oar broke on the listening ear;
    But the quick rippling of the inward flood
    Gave warning of approaching argosy.

    Adown the west, the day's last fleeting gleam
    Faded and died, and left the world in gloom.
    Hope hung no star up in the murky east
    To cheer the soul, or guide the pilgrim's way.
    Black frown'd the heavens, and black the answering earth
    Reflected from her watery wastes the night.

    Sudden, a plash! then silence. Once again
    The dripping oar dipped in its silver blade,
    Parting the waves, as smiles part beauty's lips.
    Betwixt me and the curtain of the cloud,
    Close down by the horizon's verge, there crept
    From out the darkness, barge and crew and freight,
    Sailless and voiceless, all!
                               Ah! Then I knew
    I stood upon the brink of Time. I saw
    Before me Death's swift river sweep along
    And bear its burden to the grave.
                                      "Elaine!"
    One seamew screamed, in solitary woe;
    "Elaine! Elaine!" stole back the echo, weird
    And musical, from off the further shore.
    Then burst a chorus wild, "Elaine! Elaine!"
    And gazing upward through the twilight haze,
    Mine eyes beheld King Arthur's phantom Court.
    There stood the sturdy monarch: he who drove
    The hordes of Hengist from old Albion's strand;
    And, leaning on his stalwart arm, his queen,
    The fair, the false, but trusted Guinevere!
    And there, like the statue of a demi-god,
    In marble wrought by some old Grecian hand,
    With eyes downcast, towered Lancelot of the Lake.
    Lavaine and Torre, the heirs of Astolat,
    And he, the sorrowing Sire of the Dead,
    Together with a throng of valiant knights
    And ladies fair, were gathered as of yore,
    At the Round Table of bold Arthur's Court.
    There, too, was Tristram, leaning on his lance,
    Whose eyes alone of all that weeping host
    Swam not in tears; but indignation burned
    Red in their sockets, like volcanic fires,
    And from their blazing depths a Fury shot
    Her hissing arrows at the guilty pair.
    Then Lancelot, advancing to the front,
    With glance transfixed upon the canvas true
    That sheds immortal fame on ROSENTHAL,
    Thus chanted forth his Requiem for the Dead:

        Fresh as the water in the fountain,
          Fair as the lily by its side,
        Pure as the snow upon the mountain,
                  Is the angel
                    Elaine!
                My spirit bride!

        Day after day she grew fairer,
          As she pined away in sorrow, at my side;
        No pearl in the ocean could be rarer
                 Than the angel
                    Elaine!
                My spirit bride!

        The hours passed away all unheeded,
          For love hath no landmarks in its tide.
        No child of misfortune ever pleaded
                    In vain
                   To Elaine!
                My spirit bride!

       Here, where sad Tamesis is rolling
         The wave of its sorrow-laden tide,
       Forever on the air is heard tolling
                   The refrain
                   Of Elaine!
                My spirit bride!


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XI.

_THE TELESCOPIC EYE._

A LEAF FROM A REPORTER'S NOTE-BOOK.


For the past five or six weeks, rumors of a strange abnormal development
of the powers of vision of a youth named Johnny Palmer, whose parents
reside at South San Francisco, have been whispered around in scientific
circles in the city, and one or two short notices have appeared in the
columns of some of our contemporaries relative to the prodigious _lusus
naturæ_, as the scientists call it.

Owing to the action taken by the California College of Sciences, whose
members comprise some of our most scientific citizens, the affair has
assumed such importance as to call for a careful and exhaustive
investigation.

Being detailed to investigate the flying stories, with regard to the
powers of vision claimed for a lad named John or "Johnny" Palmer, as his
parents call him, we first of all ventured to send in our card to
Professor Gibbins, the President of the California College of Sciences.
It is always best to call at the fountain-head for useful information, a
habit which our two hundred thousand readers on this coast can never
fail to see and appreciate. An estimable gentleman of the African
persuasion, to whom we handed our "pasteboard," soon returned with the
polite message, "Yes, sir; _in_. Please walk up." And so we followed our
conductor through several passages almost as dark as the face of the
_cicerone_, and in a few moments found ourselves in the presence of,
perhaps, the busiest man in the city of San Francisco.

Without any flourish of trumpets, the Professor inquired our object in
seeking him and the information we desired. "Ah," said he, "that is a
long story. I have no time to go into particulars just now. I am
computing the final sheet of Professor Davidson's report of the Transit
of Venus, last year, at Yokohama and Loo-Choo. It must be ready before
May, and it requires six months' work to do it correctly."

"But," I rejoined, "can't you tell me where the lad is to be found?"

"And if I did, they will not let you see him."

"Let me alone for that," said I, smiling; "a reporter, like love, finds
his way where wolves would fear to tread."

"Really, my dear sir," quickly responded the Doctor, "I have no time to
chat this morning. Our special committee submitted its report yesterday,
which is on file in that book-case; and if you will promise not to
publish it until after it has been read in open session of the College,
you may take it to your sanctum, run it over, and clip from it enough to
satisfy the public for the present."

Saying this, he rose from his seat, opened the case, took from a
pigeon-hole a voluminous written document tied up with red tape, and
handed it to me, adding, "Be careful!" Seating himself without another
word, he turned his back on me, and I sallied forth into the street.

Reaching the office, I scrutinized the writing on the envelope, and
found it as follows: "Report of Special Committee--Boy
Palmer--Vision--Laws of Light--Filed February 10, 1876--Stittmore,
Sec." Opening the document, I saw at once that it was a full, accurate,
and, up to the present time, complete account of the phenomenal case I
was after, and regretted the promise made not to publish the entire
report until read in open session of the College. Therefore, I shall be
compelled to give the substance of the report in my own words, only
giving _verbatim_ now and then a few scientific phrases which are not
fully intelligible to me, or susceptible of circumlocution in common
language.

The report is signed by Doctors Bryant, Gadbury and Golson, three of our
ablest medical men, and approved by Professor Smyth, the oculist. So
far, therefore, as authenticity and scientific accuracy are concerned,
our readers may rely implicitly upon the absolute correctness of every
fact stated and conclusion reached.

The first paragraph of the report gives the name of the child, "John
Palmer, age, nine years, and place of residence, South San Francisco,
Culp Hill, near Catholic Orphan Asylum;" and then plunges at once into
_in medias res_.

It appears that the period through which the investigation ran was only
fifteen days; but it seems to have been so thorough, by the use of the
ophthalmoscope and other modern appliances and tests, that no regrets
ought to be indulged as to the brevity of the time employed in
experiments. Besides, we have superadded a short and minute account of
our own, verifying some of the most curious facts reported, with several
tests proposed by ourselves and not included in the statement of the
scientific committee.

To begin, then, with the beginning of the inquiries by the committee.
They were conducted into a small back room, darkened by old blankets
hung up at the window, for the purpose of the total exclusion of
daylight; an absurd remedy for blindness, recommended by a noted quack
whose name adorns the extra fly-leaf of the San Francisco _Truth
Teller_. The lad was reclining upon an old settee, ill-clad and almost
idiotic in expression. As the committee soon ascertained, his mother
only was at home, the father being absent at his customary
occupation--that of switch-tender on the San Jose Railroad. She notified
her son of the presence of strangers and he rose and walked with a firm
step toward where the gentlemen stood, at the entrance of the room. He
shook them all by the hand and bade them good morning. In reply to
questions rapidly put and answered by his mother, the following account
of the infancy of the boy and the accidental discovery of his
extraordinary powers of vision was given:

He was born in the house where the committee found him, nine years ago
the 15th of last January. Nothing of an unusual character occurred until
his second year, when it was announced by a neighbor that the boy was
completely blind, his parents never having been suspicious of the fact
before that time, although the mother declared that for some months
anterior to the discovery she had noticed some acts of the child that
seemed to indicate mental imbecility rather than blindness. From this
time forward until a few months ago nothing happened to vary the boy's
existence except a new remedy now and then prescribed by neighbors for
the supposed malady. He was mostly confined to a darkened chamber, and
was never trusted alone out of doors. He grew familiar, by touch and
sound, with the forms of most objects about him, and could form very
accurate guesses of the color and texture of them all. His
conversational powers did not seem greatly impaired, and he readily
acquired much useful knowledge from listening attentively to everything
that was said in his presence. He was quite a musician, and touched the
harmonicon, banjo and accordeon with skill and feeling. He was unusually
sensitive to the presence of light, though incapable of seeing any
object with any degree of distinctness; and hence the attempt to exclude
light as the greatest enemy to the recovery of vision. It was very
strange that up to the time of the examination of the committee, no
scientific examination of the boy's eye had been made by a competent
oculist, the parents contenting themselves with the chance opinions of
visitors or the cheap nostrums of quacks. It is perhaps fortunate for
science that this was the case, as a cure for the eye might have been an
extinction of its abnormal power.

On the evening of the 12th of December last (1875), the position of the
child's bed was temporarily changed to make room for a visitor. The bed
was placed against the wall of the room, fronting directly east, with
the window opening at the side of the bed next to the head. The boy was
sent to bed about seven o'clock, and the parents and their visitor were
seated in the front room, spending the evening in social intercourse.
The moon rose full and cloudless about half-past seven o'clock, and
shone full in the face of the sleeping boy.

Something aroused him from slumber, and when he opened his eyes the
first object they encountered was the round disk of her orb. By some
oversight the curtain had been removed from the window, and probably for
the first time in his life he beheld the lustrous queen of night
swimming in resplendent radiance, and bathing hill and bay in effulgent
glory. Uttering a cry, equally of terror and delight, he sprang up in
bed and sat there like a statue, with eyes aglare, mouth open, finger
pointed, and astonishment depicted on every feature. His sudden, sharp
scream brought his mother to his side, who tried for some moments in
vain to distract his gaze from the object before him. Failing even to
attract notice, she called in her husband and friend, and together they
besought the boy to lie down and go to sleep, but to no avail. Believing
him to be ill and in convulsions, they soon seized him, and were on the
point of immersing him in a hot bath, when, with a sudden spring, he
escaped from their grasp and ran out the front door. Again he fixed his
unwinking eyes upon the moon, and remained speechless for several
seconds. At length, having seemingly satisfied his present curiosity, he
turned on his mother, who stood wringing her hands in the doorway and
moaning piteously, and exclaimed, "I can see the moon yonder, and it is
so beautiful that I am going there to-morrow morning, as soon as I get
up."

"How big does it look?" said his mother.

"So big," he replied, "that I cannot see it all at one glance--as big as
all out of doors."

"How far off from you does it seem to be?"

"About half a car's distance," he quickly rejoined.

It may be here remarked that the boy's idea of distance had been
measured all his life by the distance from his home to the street-car
station at the foot of the hill. This was about two hundred yards, so
that the reply indicated that the moon appeared to be only one hundred
yards from the spectator. The boy then proceeded of his own accord to
give a very minute description of the appearance of objects which he
beheld, corresponding, of course, to his poverty of words with which to
clothe his ideas.

His account of things beheld by him was so curious, wonderful and
apparently accurate, that the little group about him passed rapidly from
a conviction of his insanity to a belief no less absurd--that he had
become, in the cant lingo of the day, a seeing, or "clairvoyant" medium.
Such was the final conclusion to which his parents had arrived at the
time of the visit of the scientific committee. He had been classed with
that credulous school known to this century as spiritualists, and had
been visited solely by persons of that ilk heretofore.

The committee having fully examined the boy, and a number of independent
witnesses, as to the facts, soon set about a scientific investigation of
the true causes of of the phenomenon. The first step, of course, was to
examine the lad's eye with the modern ophthalmoscope, an invention of
Professor Helmholtz, of Heidelberg, a few years ago, by means of which
the depths of this organ can be explored, and the smallest variations
from a healthy or normal condition instantaneously detected.

The mode of using the instrument is as follows: The room is made
perfectly dark; a brilliant light is then placed near the head of the
patient, and the rays are reflected by a series of small mirrors into
his eye, as if they came from the eye of the observer; then, by looking
through the central aperture of the instrument, the oculist can examine
the illuminated interior of the eyeball, and perceive every detail of
structure, healthy or morbid, as accurately and clearly as we can see
any part of the exterior of the body. No discomfort arises to the organ
examined, and all its hidden mysteries can be studied and understood as
clearly as those of any other organ of the body.

This course was taken with John Palmer, and the true secret of his
mysterious power of vision detected in an instant.

On applying the ophthalmoscope, the committee ascertained in a moment
that the boy's eye was abnormally shaped. A natural, perfect eye is
perfectly round. But the eye examined was exceedingly flat, very thin,
with large iris, flat lens, immense petira, and wonderfully dilated
pupil. The effect of the shape was at once apparent. It was utterly
impossible to see any object with distinctness at any distance short of
many thousands of miles. Had the eye been elongated inward, or shaped
like an egg--to as great an extent, the boy would have been effectually
blind, for no combination of lens power could have placed the image of
the object beyond the coat of the retina. In other words, there are two
common imperfections of the human organ of sight; one called _myopia_,
or "near-sightedness;" the _presbyopia_, or "far-sightedness."

"The axis being too long," says the report, "in myopic eyes, parallel
rays, such as proceed from distant objects, are brought to a focus at a
point so far in front of the retina, that only confused images are
formed upon it. Such a malformation, constituting an excess of
refractive power, can only be neutralized by concave glasses, which give
such a direction to rays entering the eye as will allow of their being
brought to a focus at a proper point for distant perception."

"Presbyopia is the reverse of all this. The antero-posterior axis of
such eyes being too short, owing to the flat plate-like shape of the
ball, their refractive power is not sufficient to bring even parallel
rays to a focus upon the retina, but is adapted for convergent rays
only. Convex glasses, in a great measure, compensate for this quality by
rendering parallel rays convergent; and such glasses, in ordinary cases,
bring the rays to a focus at a convenient distance from the glass,
corresponding to its degree of curvature." But in the case under
examination, no glass or combination of glasses could be invented
sufficiently concave to remedy the malformation. By a mathematical
problem of easy solution, it was computed that the nearest distance from
the unaided eye of the patient at which a distinct image could be formed
upon the retina, was two hundred and forty thousand miles, a fraction
short of the mean distance of the moon from the earth; and hence it
became perfectly clear that the boy could see with minute distinctness
whatever was transpiring on the surface of the moon.

Such being the undeniable truth as demonstrated by science, the
declaration of the lad assumed a far higher value than the mere dicta of
spiritualists, or the mad ravings of a monomaniac; and the committee at
once set to work to glean all the astronomical knowledge they could by
frequent and prolonged night interviews with the boy.

It was on the night of January 9, 1876, that the first satisfactory
experiment was tried, testing beyond all cavil or doubt the powers of
the subject's eye. It was full moon, and that luminary rose clear and
dazzlingly bright. The committee were on hand at an early hour, and the
boy was in fine condition and exuberant spirits. The interview was
secret, and none but the members of the committee and the parents of the
child were present. Of course the first proposition to be settled was
that of the inhabitability of that sphere. This the boy had frequently
declared was the case, and he had on several previous occasions
described minutely the form, size and means of locomotion of the
Lunarians. On this occasion he repeated in almost the same language,
what he had before related to his parents and friends, but was more
minute, owing to the greater transparency of the atmosphere and the
experience in expression already acquired.

The Lunarians are not formed at all like ourselves. They are less in
height, and altogether of a different appearance. When fully grown, they
resemble somewhat a chariot wheel, with four spokes, converging at the
center or axle. They have four eyes in the head, which is the axle, so
to speak, and all the limbs branch out directly from the center, like
some sea-forms known as "Radiates." They move by turning rapidly like a
wheel, and travel as fast as a bird through the air. The children are
undeveloped in form, and are perfectly round, like a pumpkin or orange.
As they grow older, they seem to drop or absorb the rotundity of the
whole body, and finally assume the appearance of a chariot wheel.

They are of different colors, or nationalities--bright red, orange and
blue being the predominant hues. The reds are in a large majority. They
do no work, but sleep every four or five hours. They have no houses, and
need none. They have no clothing, and do not require it. There being no
night on the side of the moon fronting the sun, and no day on the
opposite side, all the inhabitants, apparently at a given signal of some
kind, form into vast armies, and flock in myriads to the sleeping
grounds on the shadow-side of the planet. They do not appear to go very
far over the dark rim, for they reappear in immense platoons in a few
hours, and soon spread themselves over the illuminated surface. They
sleep and wake about six times in one ordinary day of twenty-four hours.
Their occupations cannot be discerned; they must be totally different
from anything upon the earth.

The surface of the moon is all hill and hollow. There are but few level
spots, nor is there any water visible. The atmosphere is almost as
refined and light as hydrogen gas. There is no fire visible, nor are
there any volcanoes. Most of the time of the inhabitants seems to be
spent in playing games of locomotion, spreading themselves into squares,
circles, triangles, and other mathematical figures. They move always in
vast crowds. No one or two are ever seen separated from the main bodies.
The children also flock in herds, and seem to be all of one family.
Individualism is unknown. They seem to spawn like herring or shad, or to
be propagated like bees, from the queen, in myriads. Motion is their
normal condition. The moment after a mathematical figure is formed, it
is dissolved, and fresh combinations take place, like the atoms in a
kaleidoscope. No other species of animal, bird, or being exist upon the
illuminated face of the moon.

The shrubbery and vegetation of the moon is all metallic. Vegetable life
nowhere exists; but the forms of some of the shrubs and trees are
exceedingly beautiful. The highest trees do not exceed twenty-five feet,
and they appear to have all acquired their full growth. The ground is
strewn with flowers, but they are all formed of metals--gold, silver,
copper, and tin predominating. But there is a new kind of metal seen
everywhere on tree, shrub and flower, nowhere known on the earth. It is
of a bright vermilion color, and is semi-transparent. The mountains are
all of bare and burnt granite, and appear to have been melted with fire.
The committee called the attention of the boy to the bright "sea of
glass" lately observed near the northern rim of the moon, and inquired
of what it is composed. He examined it carefully, and gave such a minute
description of it that it became apparent at once to the committee that
it was pure mercury or quicksilver. The reason why it has but very
recently shown itself to astronomers is thus accounted for: it appears
close up to the line of demarcation separating the light and shadow upon
the moon's disk; and on closer inspection a distinct cataract of the
fluid--in short, a metallic Niagara, was clearly seen falling from the
night side to the day side of the luminary. It has already filled up a
vast plain--one of the four that exist on the moon's surface--and
appears to be still emptying itself with very great rapidity and volume.
It covers an area of five by seven hundred miles in extent, and may
possibly deluge one half the entire surface of the moon. It does not
seem to occasion much apprehension to the inhabitants, as they were soon
skating, so to speak, in platoons and battalions, over and across it. In
fact, it presents the appearance of an immense park, to which the
Lunarians flock, and disport themselves with great gusto upon its
polished face. One of the most beautiful sights yet seen by the lad was
the formation of a new figure, which he drew upon the sand with his
finger.

The central heart was of crimson-colored natives; the one to the right
of pale orange, and the left of bright blue. It was ten seconds in
forming, and five seconds in dispersing. The number engaged in the
evolution could not be less than half a million.

Thus has been solved one of the great astronomical questions of the
century.

The next evening the committee assembled earlier, so as to get a view of
the planet Venus before the moon rose. It was the first time that the
lad's attention had been drawn to any of the planets, and he evinced the
liveliest joy when he first beheld the cloudless disk of that
resplendent world. It may here be stated that his power of vision, in
looking at the fixed stars, was no greater or less than that of an
ordinary eye. They appeared only as points of light, too far removed
into the infinite beyond to afford any information concerning their
properties. But the committee were doomed to a greater disappointment
when they inquired of the boy what he beheld on the surface of Venus. He
replied, "Nothing clearly; all is confused and watery; I see nothing
with distinctness." The solution of the difficulty was easily
apprehended, and at once surmised. The focus of the eye was fixed by
nature at 240,000 miles, and the least distance of Venus from the earth
being 24,293,000 miles, it was, of course, impossible to observe that
planet's surface with distinctness. Still she appeared greatly enlarged,
covering about one hundredth part of the heavens, and blazing with
unimaginable splendor.

Experiments upon Jupiter and Mars were equally futile, and the committee
half sorrowfully turned again to the inspection of the moon.

The report then proceeds at great length to give full descriptions of
the most noted geographical peculiarities of the lunar surface, and
corrects many errors fallen into by Herschel, Leverrier and Proctor.
Professor Secchi informs us that the surface of the moon is much better
known to astronomers than the surface of the earth is to geographers;
for there are two zones on the globe within the Arctic and Antarctic
circles, that we can never examine. But every nook and cranny of the
illuminated face of the moon has been fully delineated, examined and
named, so that no object greater than sixty feet square exists but has
been seen and photographed by means of Lord Rosse's telescope and De la
Ruis' camera and apparatus. As the entire report will be ordered
published at the next weekly meeting of the College, we refrain from
further extracts, but now proceed to narrate the results of our own
interviews with the boy.

It was on the evening of the 17th of February, 1876, that we ventured
with rather a misgiving heart to approach Culp Hill, and the humble
residence of a child destined, before the year is out, to become the
most celebrated of living beings. We armed ourselves with a pound of
sugar candy for the boy, some _muslin-de-laine_ as a present to the
mother, and a box of cigars for the father. We also took with us a very
large-sized opera-glass, furnished for the purpose by M. Muller. At
first we encountered a positive refusal; then, on exhibiting the cigars,
a qualified negative; and finally, when the muslin and candy were drawn
on the enemy, we were somewhat coldly invited in and proffered a seat.
The boy was pale and restless, and his eyes without bandage or glasses.
We soon ingratiated ourself into the good opinion of the whole party,
and henceforth encountered no difficulty in pursuing our investigations.
The moon being nearly full, we first of all verified the tests by the
committee. These were all perfectly satisfactory and reliable.
Requesting, then, to stay until after midnight, for the purpose of
inspecting Mars with the opera-glass, we spent the interval in obtaining
the history of the child, which we have given above.

The planet Mars being at this time almost in dead opposition to the sun,
and with the earth in conjunction, is of course as near to the earth as
he ever approaches, the distance being thirty-five millions of miles. He
rises toward midnight, and is in the constellation Virgo, where he may
be seen to the greatest possible advantage, being in perigee. Mars is
most like the earth of all the planetary bodies. He revolves on his axis
in a little over twenty-four hours, and his surface is pleasantly
variegated with land and water, pretty much like our own world--the
land, however, being in slight excess. He is, therefore, the most
interesting of all the heavenly bodies to the inhabitants of the earth.

Having all things in readiness, we directed the glass to the planet.
Alas, for all our calculations, the power was insufficient to clear away
the obscurity resulting from imperfect vision and short focus.

Swallowing the bitter disappointment, we hastily made arrangements for
another interview, with a telescope, and bade the family good night.

There is but one large telescope properly mounted in the city, and that
is the property and pride of its accomplished owner, J. P. Manrow, Esq.
We at once procured an interview with that gentleman, and it was agreed
that on Saturday evening the boy should be conveyed to his residence,
picturesquely situated on Russian Hill, commanding a magnificent view of
the Golden Gate and the ocean beyond.

At the appointed hour the boy, his parents and myself presented
ourselves at the door of that hospitable mansion. We were cordially
welcomed, and conducted without further parley into the lofty
observatory on the top of the house. In due time the magnificent tube
was presented at the planet, but it was discovered that the power it was
set for was too low. It was then gauged for 240,000 diameters, being the
full strength of the telescope, and the eye of the boy observer placed
at the eye-glass. One cry of joy, and unalloyed delight told the story!
Mars, and its mountains and seas, its rivers, vales, and estuaries, its
polar snow-caps and grassy plains--its inhabitants, palaces, ships,
villages and cities, were all revealed, as distinctly, clearly and
certainly, as the eye of Kit Carson, from the summits of the Sierra
Nevada range, beheld the stupendous panorama of the Sacramento Valley,
and the snow-clad summits of Mount Hood and Shasta Butte.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XII.

_THE EMERALD ISLE._


    Chaos was ended. From its ruins rolled
    The central Sun, poised on his throne of gold;
    The changeful Moon, that floods the hollow dome
    Of raven midnight with her silvery foam;
    Vast constellations swarming all around,
    In seas of azure, without line or bound,
    And this green globe, rock-ribbed and mountain-crown'd.

    The eye of God, before His hand had made
    Man in His image, this wide realm surveyed;
    O'er hill and valley, over stream and wood,
    He glanced triumphant, and pronounced it "good."
    But ere He formed old Adam and his bride,
    He called a shining seraph to His side,
    And pointing to our world, that gleamed afar,
    And twinkled on creation's verge, a star,
    Bade him float 'round this new and narrow span
    And bring report if all were ripe for Man.
    The angel spread his fluttering pinions fair,
    And circled thrice the circumambient air;
    Quick, then, as thought, he stood before the gate
    Where cherubs burn, and minist'ring spirits wait.
    Nor long he stood, for God beheld his plume,
    Already tarnished by terrestrial gloom,
    And beck'ning kindly to the flurried aid,
    Said, "Speak your wish; if good, be it obeyed."
    The seraph raised his gem-encircled hand,
    Obeisance made, at heaven's august command,
    And thus replied, in tones so bold and clear,
    That angels turned and lent a listening ear:
    "Lord of all systems, be they near or far,
    Thrice have I circled 'round yon beauteous Star,
    I've seen its mountains rise, its rivers roll,
    Its oceans sweep majestic to each pole;
    Its floors in mighty continents expand,
    Or dwindle into specs of fairy-land;
    Its prairies spread, its forests stretch in pride,
    And all its valleys dazzle like a bride;
    Hymns have I heard in all its winds and streams,
    And beauty seen in all its rainbow gleams.
    But whilst the LAND can boast of every gem
    That sparkles in each seraph's diadem;
    Whilst diamonds blaze 'neath dusk Golconda's skies,
    And rubies bleed where Alps and Andes rise;
    Whilst in Brazilian brooks the topaz shines,
    And opals burn in California mines;
    Whilst in the vales of Araby the Blest
    The sapphire flames beside the amethyst:
    The pauper Ocean sobs forever more,
    Ungemm'd, unjeweled, on its wailing shore!"

    "What wouldst thou do?" responded heaven's great King.
    "Add music to the song the breakers sing!"
    The strong-soul'd seraph cried, "I'd make yon sea
    Rival in tone heaven's sweetest minstrelsy;
    I'd plant within the ocean's bubbling tide
    An island gem, of every sea the pride!
    So bright in robes of ever-living green,
    In breath so sweet, in features so serene,
    Such crystal streams to course its valleys fair,
    Such healthful gales to purify its air,
    Such fertile soil, such ever-verdant trees,
    Angels should name it 'EMERALD OF THE SEAS!'"

    The seraph paused, and downward cast his eyes,
    Whilst heav'nly hosts stood throbbing with surprise.
    Again the Lord of all the realms above,
    Supreme in might, but infinite in love,
    With no harsh accent in His tones replied:
    "Go, drop this Emerald in the envious tide!"

    Quick as the lightning cleaves the concave blue,
    The seraph seized the proffer'd gem, and flew
    Until he reached the confines of the earth,
    Still struggling in the throes of turbid birth;
    And there, upon his self-sustaining wing,
    Sat poised, and heard our globe her matins sing;
    Beheld the sun traverse the arching sky,
    The sister Moon walk forth in majesty;
    Saw every constellation rise and roll
    Athwart the heaven, or circle round the pole.
    Nor did he move, until our spotted globe
    Had donned for him her morn and evening robe;
    Till on each land his critic eye was cast,
    And every ocean rose, and heav'd, and pass'd;
    Then, like some eagle pouncing on its prey,
    He downward sail'd, through bellowing clouds and spray,
    To where he saw the billows bounding free,
    And dropped the gem within the stormy sea!

    And would'st thou know, Chief of St. Patrick's band,
    Where fell this jewel from the seraph's hand?
    What ocean caught the world-enriching prize?
    O! Child of Moina, homeward cast your eyes!
    Lo! in the midst of wat'ry deserts wide,
    Behold the EMERALD bursting through the tide,
    And bearing on its ever vernal-sod
    The monogram of seraph, and of God!

    Its name, the sweetest human lips e'er sung,
    First trembled on an angel's fervid tongue;
    Then chimed Æolian on the evening air,
    Lisped by an infant, in its mother prayer;
    Next roared in war, with battle's flag unfurl'd;
    Now, gemm'd with glory, gather'd through the world!
    What name! Perfidious Albion, blush with shame:
    It is thy sister's! ERIN IS THE NAME!

    Once more the seraph stood before the throne
    Of dread Omnipotence, pensive and alone.
    "What hast thou done?" Heaven's Monarch sadly sigh'd.
    "I dropped the jewel in the flashing tide,"
    The seraph said; but saw with vision keen
    A mightier angel stalk upon the scene,
    Whose voice like grating thunder smote his ear
    And taught his soul the mystery of fear.

    "Because thy heart with impious pride did swell,
    And dared make better what thy God made well;
    Because thy hand did fling profanely down
    On Earth a jewel wrenched from Heaven's bright crown,
    The Isle which thine own fingers did create
    Shall reap a blessing and a curse from fate!"


THE CURSE.

    Far in the future, as the years roll on,
    And all the pagan ages shall have flown;
    When Christian virtues, flaming into light,
    Shall save the world from superstition's night;
    Erin, oppress'd, shall bite the tyrant's heel,
    And for a thousand years enslaved shall kneel;
    Her sons shall perish in the field and flood,
    Her daughters starve in city, wold, and wood;
    Her patriots, with their blood, the block shall stain,
    Her matrons fly behind the Western main;
    Harpies from Albion shall her strength consume,
    And thorns and thistles in her gardens bloom.
    But, curse of curses thine, O! fated land:
    Traitors shall thrive where statesmen ought to stand!


THE BLESSING.

    But past her heritage of woe and pain,
    A far more blest millennium shall reign;
    Seedlings of heroes shall her exiles be,
    Where'er they find a home beyond the sea;
    Bright paragons of beauty and of truth,
    Her maidens all shall dazzle in their youth;
    And when age comes, to dim the flashing eye,
    Still gems of virtue shall they live, and die!
    No braver race shall breathe beneath the sun
    Than thine, O! Erin, ere the goal be won.

    Wherever man shall battle for the right,
    There shall thy sons fall thickest in the fight;
    Wherever man shall perish to be free,
    There shall thy martyrs foremost be!
    And O! when thy redemption is at hand,
    Soldiers shall swell thy ranks from every land!
    Heroes shall flock in thousands to thy shore,
    And swear thy soil is FREE FOREVERMORE!
    Then shall thy harp be from the willow torn,
    And in yon glitt'ring galaxy be borne!
    Then shall the Emerald change its verdant crest,
    And blaze a Star co-equal with the rest!

    The sentence pass'd, the doomsman felt surprise,
    For tears were streaming from the seraph's eyes.

    "Weep not for Erin," once again he spoke,
    "But for thyself, that did'st her doom provoke;
    I bear a message, seraph, unto thee,
    As unrelenting in its stern decree.
    For endless years it is thy fate to stand,
    The chosen guardian of the SHAMROCK land.
    Three times, as ages wind their coils away,
    Incarnate on yon Island shalt thou stray.

    "First as a Saint, in majesty divine,
    The world shall know thee by this potent sign:
    From yonder soil, where pois'nous reptiles dwell,
    Thy voice shall snake and slimy toad expel.
    Next as a Martyr, pleading in her cause,
    Thy blood shall flow to build up Albion's laws.
    Last as a Prophet and a Bard combined,
    Rebellion's fires shall mould thy patriot mind.
    In that great day, when Briton's strength shall fail,
    And all her glories shiver on the gale;
    When winged chariots, rushing through the sky,
    Shall drop their faggots, blazing as they fly,
    Thy form shall tower, a hero 'midst the flames,
    And add one more to Erin's deathless names!"

    Exiles of Erin! gathered here in state,
    Such is the story of your country's fate.
    Six thousand years in strife have rolled away,
    Since Erin sprang from billowy surf and spray;
    In that drear lapse, her sons have never known
    One ray of peace to gild her crimson zone.
    Cast back your glance athwart the tide of years,
    Behold each billow steeped with Erin's tears,
    Inspect each drop that swells the mighty flood,
    Its purple globules smoke with human blood!

    Come with me now, and trace the seraph's path,
    That has been trodden since his day of wrath.
    Lo! in the year when Attila the Hun
    Had half the world in terror overrun,
    On Erin's shore there stood a noble youth,
    The breath of honor and the torch of truth.
    His was the tongue that taught the Celtic soul
    Christ was its Saviour, Heaven was its goal!
    His was the hand that drove subdued away,
    The venom horde that lured but to betray;
    His were the feet that sanctified the sod,
    Erin redeemed, and gave her back to God!
    The gray old Earth can boost no purer fame
    Than that whose halos gild ST. PATRICK'S name!

    Twelve times the centuries builded up their store
    Of plots, rebellions, gibbets, tears and gore;
    Twelve times centennial annivers'ries came,
    To bless the seraph in St. Patrick's name.
    In that long night of treach'ry and gloom,
    How many myriads found a martyr's tomb!
    Beside the waters of the dashing Rhone
    In exile starved the bold and blind TYRONE.
    Beneath the glamour of the tyrant's steel
    Went out in gloom the soul of great O'NEILL.
    What countless thousands, children of her loin,
    Sank unanneal'd beneath the bitter Boyne!
    What fathers fell, what mothers sued in vain,
    In Tredah's walls, on Wexford's gory plain,
    When Cromwell's shaven panders slaked their lust,
    And Ireton's fiends despoiled the breathless dust!

    Still came no seraph, incarnate in man,
    To rescue Erin from the bandit clan.
    Still sad and lone, she languished in her chains,
    That clank'd in chorus o'er her martyrs' manes.

    At length, when Freedom's struggle was begun
    Across the seas, by conq'ring Washington,
    When CURRAN thunder'd, and when GRATTAN spoke,
    The guardian seraph from his slumber woke.
    Then guilty Norbury from his vengeance fled,
    FITZGERALD fought, and glorious WOLFE TONE bled.
    Then EMMET rose, to start the battle-cry,
    To strike, to plead, to threaten, and to die!
    Immortal Emmet! happier in thy doom,
    Though uninscrib'd remains thy seraph tomb,
    Than the long line of Erin's scepter'd foes,
    Whose bones in proud mausoleums repose;
    More noble blood through Emmet's pulses rings
    Than courses through ten thousand hearts of kings!

    Thus has the seraph twice redeem'd his fate,
    And roamed a mortal through this low estate;
    Again obedient to divine command,
    His final incarnation is at hand.


THE PROPHECY.

    Scarce shall yon sun _five times_ renew the year,
    Ere Erin's guardian Angel shall appear,
    Not as a priest, in holy garb arrayed;
    Not as a patriot, by his cause betray'd,
    Shall he again assume a mortal guise,
    And tread the earth, an exile from the skies.
    But like the lightning from the welkin hurl'd,
    His eye shall light, his step shall shake the world!

    Ye sons of Erin! from your slumbers start!
    Feel ye no vengeance burning in your heart?
    Are ye but scions of degenerate slaves?
    Shall tyrants spit upon your fathers' graves?
    Is all the life-blood stagnant in your veins?
    Love ye no music but the clank of chains?
    Hear ye no voices ringing in the air,
    That chant in chorus wild, _Prepare_, PREPARE!
    Hark! on the winds there comes a prophet sound,--
    The blood of Abel crying from the ground,--
    Pealing in tones of thunder through the world,
    "ARM! ARM! The Flag of Erin is unfurl'd!"

    On some bold headland do I seem to stand,
    And watch the billows breaking 'gainst the land;
    Not in lone rollers do their waters poor,
    But the vast ocean rushes to the shore.

    So flock in millions sons of honest toil,
    From ev'ry country, to their native soil;
    Exiles of Erin, driven from her sod,
    By foes of justice, mercy, man, and God!
    Ærial chariots spread their snowy wings,
    And drop torpedoes in the halls of kings.
    On every breeze a thousand banners fly,
    And Erin's seraph swells the battle-cry:--
    "Strike! till the Unicorn shall lose the crown!
    Strike! till the Eagle tears the Lion down!
    Strike! till proud Albion bows her haughty head!
    Strike! for the living and the martyr'd dead!
    Strike! for the bones that fill your mothers' graves!
    Strike! till your kindred are no longer slaves!
    Strike! till fair Freedom on the world shall smile!
    For God! for Truth! and FOR THE EMERALD ISLE!"


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XIII.

_THE EARTH'S HOT CENTER._


The following extracts from the report of the Hon. John Flannagan,
United States Consul at Bruges, in Belgium, to the Secretary of State,
published in the Washington City _Telegraph_ of a late date, will fully
explain what is meant by the "Great Scare in Belgium."

Our extracts are not taken continuously, as the entire document would be
too voluminous for our pages. But where breaks appear we have indicated
the hiatus in the usual manner by asterisks, or by brief explanations.


                     GEN. FLANNAGAN'S REPORT.

                                     BRUGES, December 12, 1872.

   To THE HON. HAMILTON FISH,
                     Secretary of State.

   SIR: In pursuance of special instructions recently received from
   Washington (containing inclosures from Prof. Henry of the
   Smithsonian Institute, and Prof. Lovering of Harvard), I
   proceeded on Wednesday last to the scene of operations at the
   "International Exploring Works," and beg leave to submit the
   following circumstantial report:

   Before proceeding to detail the actual state of affairs at
   Dudzeele, near the line of canal connecting Bruges with the North
   Sea, it may not be out of place to furnish a succinct history of
   the origin of the explorations out of which the present alarming
   events have arisen. It will be remembered by the State Department
   that during the short interregnum of the provisional government
   of France, under Lamartine and Cavaignac, in 1848, a proposition
   was submitted by France to the governments of the United States,
   Great Britain and Russia, and which was subsequently extended to
   King Leopold of Belgium, to create an "International Board for
   Subterranean Exploration" in furtherance of science, and in
   order, primarily, to test the truth of the theory of igneous
   central fusion, first propounded by Leibnitz, and afterward
   embraced by most of contemporary geologists; but also with the
   further objects of ascertaining the magnetic condition of the
   earth's crust, the variations of the needle at great depths, and
   finally to set at rest the doubts of some of the English
   mineralogists concerning the permanency of the coal measures,
   about which considerable alarm had been felt in all the
   manufacturing centers of Europe.

   The protocol of a quintuple treaty was finally drawn by Prof.
   Henry, of the Smithsonian Institute, and approved by Sir Roderick
   Murchison, at that time President of the Royal Society of Great
   Britain. To this project Arago lent the weight of his great name,
   and Nesselrode affixed the approval of Russia, it being one of
   the last official acts performed by that veteran statesman.

   The programme called for annual appropriations by each of the
   above-named powers of 100,000 francs (about $20,000 each), the
   appointment of commissioners and a general superintendent, the
   selection of a site for prosecuting the undertaking, and a board
   of scientific visitors, consisting of one member from each
   country.

   It is unnecessary to detail the proceedings for the first few
   months after the organization of the commission. Prof. Watson, of
   Chicago, the author of a scientific treatise called "Prairie
   Geology," was selected by President Fillmore, as the first
   representative of the United States; Russia sent Olgokoff;
   France, Ango Jeuno; England, Sir Edward Sabine, the present
   President of the Royal Society; and Belgium, Dr. Secchi, since so
   famous for his spectroscopic observations on the fixed stars.
   These gentlemen, after organizing at Paris, spent almost an
   entire year in traveling before a site for the scene of
   operations was selected. Finally, on the 10th of April, 1849, the
   first ground was broken for actual work at Dudzeele, in the
   neighborhood of Bruges, in the Kingdom of Belgium.

   The considerations which led to the choice of this locality were
   the following: First, it was the most central, regarding the
   capitals of the parties to the protocol; secondly, it was easy of
   access and connected by rail with Brussels, Paris and St.
   Petersburg, and by line of steamers with London, being situated
   within a short distance of the mouth of the Hond or west Scheldt;
   thirdly, and perhaps as the most important consideration of all,
   it was the seat of the deepest shaft in the world, namely, the
   old salt mine at Dudzeele, which had been worked from the time of
   the Romans down to the commencement of the present century, at
   which time it was abandoned, principally on account of the
   intense heat at the bottom of the excavation, and which could not
   be entirely overcome except by the most costly scientific
   appliances.

   There was still another reason, which, in the estimation of at
   least one member of the commission, Prof. Watson, overrode them
   all--the exceptional increase of heat with depth, which was its
   main characteristic.

   The scientific facts upon which this great work was projected,
   may be stated as follows: It is the opinion of the principal
   modern geologists, based primarily upon the hypothesis of Kant
   (that the solar universe was originally an immense mass of
   incandescent vapor gradually cooled and hardened after being
   thrown off from the grand central body--afterward elaborated by
   La Place into the present nebular hypothesis)--that "the globe
   was once in a state of igneous fusion, and that as its heated
   mass began to cool, an exterior crust was formed, first very
   thin, and afterward gradually increasing until it attained its
   present thickness, which has been variously estimated at from ten
   to two hundred miles. During the process of gradual
   refrigeration, some portions of the crust cooled more rapidly
   than others, and the pressure on the interior igneous mass being
   unequal, the heated matter or lava burst through the thinner
   parts, and caused high-peaked mountains; the same cause also
   producing all volcanic action." The arguments in favor of this
   doctrine are almost innumerable; these are among the most
   prominent:

   _First._ The form of the earth is just that which an igneous
   liquid mass would assume if thrown into an orbit with an axial
   revolution similar to that of our earth. Not many years ago
   Professor Faraday, assisted by Wheatstone, devised a most
   ingenious apparatus by which, in the laboratory of the Royal
   Society, he actually was enabled, by injecting a flame into a
   vacuum, to exhibit visibly all the phenomena of the formation of
   the solar universe, as contended for by La Place and by Humboldt
   in his "Cosmos."

   _Secondly._ It is perfectly well ascertained that heat increases
   with depth, in all subterranean excavations. This is the
   invariable rule in mining shafts, and preventive measures must
   always be devised and used, by means generally of air apparatus,
   to temper the heat as the depth is augmented, else deep mining
   would have to be abandoned. The rate of increase has been
   variously estimated by different scientists in widely distant
   portions of the globe. A few of them may be mentioned at this
   place, since it was upon a total miscalculation on this head that
   led to the present most deplorable results.

   The editor of the _Journal of Science_, in April, 1832,
   calculated from results obtained in six of the deepest coal mines
   in Durham and Northumberland, the mean rate of increase at one
   degree of Fahrenheit for a descent of forty-four English feet.

   In this instance it is noticeable that the bulb of the
   thermometer was introduced into cavities purposely cut into the
   solid rock, at depths varying from two hundred to nine hundred
   feet. The Dolcoath mine in Cornwall, as examined by Mr. Fox, at
   the depth of thirteen hundred and eighty feet, gave on average
   result of four degrees for every seventy-five feet.

   Kupffer compared results obtained from the silver mines in
   Mexico, Peru and Freiburg, from the salt wells of Saxony, and
   from the copper mines in the Caucasus, together with an
   examination of the tin mines of Cornwall and the coal mines in
   the north of England, and found the average to be at least one
   degree of Fahrenheit for every thirty-seven English feet.
   Cordier, on the contrary, considers this amount somewhat
   overstated and reduces the general average to one degree
   Centigrade for every twenty-five metres, or about one degree of
   Fahrenheit for every forty-five feet English measure.

   _Thirdly._ That the lavas taken from all parts of the world, when
   subjected to chemical analysis, indicate that they all proceed
   from a common source; and

   _Fourthly._ On no other hypothesis can we account for the change
   of climate indicated by fossils.

   The rate of increase of heat in the Dudzeele shaft was no less
   than one degree Fahrenheit for every thirty feet English measure.

   At the time of recommencing sinking in the shaft on the 10th of
   April, 1849, the perpendicular depth was twenty-three hundred and
   seventy feet, the thermometer marking forty-eight degrees
   Fahrenheit at the surface; this would give the enormous heat of
   one hundred and twenty-seven degrees Fahrenheit at the bottom of
   the mine. Of course, without ventilation no human being could
   long survive in such an atmosphere, and the first operations of
   the commission were directed to remedy this inconvenience.

The report then proceeds to give the details of a very successful
contrivance for forcing air into the shaft at the greatest depths, only
a portion of which do we deem it important to quote, as follows:

   The width of the Moer-Vater, or Lieve, at this point, was ten
   hundred and eighty yards, and spanned by an old bridge, the stone
   piers of which were very near together, having been built by the
   emperor Hadrian in the early part of the second century. The rise
   of the tide in the North Sea, close at hand, was from fifteen to
   eighteen feet, thus producing a current almost as rapid as that
   of the Mersey at Liverpool. The commissioners determined to
   utilize this force, in preference to the erection of expensive
   steam works at the mouth of the mine. A plan was submitted by
   Cyrus W. Field, and at once adopted. Turbine wheels were built,
   covering the space betwixt each arch, movable, and adapted to the
   rise and fall of the tide. Gates were also constructed between
   each arch, and a head of water, ranging from ten to fifteen feet
   fall, provided for each turn of the tide--both in the ebb and the
   flow, so that there should be a continuous motion to the
   machinery. Near the mouth of the shaft two large boiler-iron
   reservoirs were constructed, capable of holding from one hundred
   and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand cubic feet of
   compressed air, the average rate of condensation being about two
   hundred atmospheres. These reservoirs were properly connected
   with the pumping apparatus of the bridge by large cast-iron
   mains, so that the supply was continuous, and at an almost
   nominal cost. It was by the same power of compressed air that the
   tunneling through Mount St. Gothard was effected for the Lyons
   and Turin Railway, just completed.

   The first operations were to enlarge the shaft so as to form an
   opening forty by one hundred feet, English measure. This consumed
   the greater part of the year 1849, so that the real work of
   sinking was not fairly under way until early in 1850. But from
   that period down to the memorable 5th of November, 1872, the
   excavation steadily progressed. I neglected to state at the
   outset that M. Jean Dusoloy, the state engineer of Belgium, was
   appointed General Superintendent, and continued to fill that
   important office until he lost his life, on the morning of the
   6th of November, the melancholly details of which are hereinafter
   fully narrated.

   As the deepening progressed the heat of the bottom continued to
   increase, but it was soon observed in a different ratio from the
   calculations of the experts. After attaining the depth of fifteen
   thousand six hundred and fifty feet,--about the height of Mt.
   Blanc--which was reached early in 1864, it was noticed, for the
   first time, that the laws of temperature and gravitation were
   synchronous; that is, that the heat augmented in a ratio
   proportioned to the square of the distance from the surface
   downward. Hence the increase at great depths bore no relation at
   all to the apparently gradual augmentation near the surface. As
   early as June, 1868, it became apparent that the sinking, if
   carried on at all, would have to be protected by some
   atheromatous or adiathermic covering. Professor Tyndall was
   applied to, and, at the request of Lord Palmerston, made a vast
   number of experiments on non-conducting bodies. As the result of
   his labors, he prepared a compound solution about the density of
   common white lead, composed of selenite alum and sulphate of
   copper, which was laid on three or four thicknesses, first upon
   the bodies of the naked miners--for in all deep mines the
   operatives work _in puris naturalibus_--and then upon an
   oval-shaped cage made of papier mache, with a false bottom,
   enclosed within which the miners were enabled to endure the
   intense heat for a shift of two hours each day. The drilling was
   all done by means of the diamond-pointed instrument, and the
   blasting by nitro-glycerine from the outset; so that the
   principal labor consisted in shoveling up the debris and keeping
   the drill-point _in situ_.

   Before proceeding further it may not be improper to enumerate a
   few of the more important scientific facts which, up to the 1st
   of November of the past year, had been satisfactorily
   established. First in importance is the one alluded to above--the
   rate of increase of temperature as we descend into the bowels of
   the earth. This law, shown above to correspond exactly with the
   law of attraction or gravitation, had been entirely overlooked by
   all the scientists, living or dead. No one had for a moment
   suspected that heat followed the universal law of physics as a
   material body ought to do, simply because, from the time of De
   Saussure, heat had been regarded only as a force or _vis viva_
   and not as a ponderable quality.

   But not only was heat found to be subject to the law of inverse
   ratio of the square of the distance from the surface, but the
   atmosphere itself followed the same invariable rule. Thus, while
   we know that water boils at the level of the sea at two hundred
   and twelve degrees Fahrenheit, it readily vaporizes at one
   hundred and eighty-five degrees on the peak of Teneriffe, only
   fifteen thousand feet above that level. This, we know, is owing
   to the weight of the superincumbent atmosphere, there being a
   heavier burden at the surface than at any height above it. The
   rate of decrease above the surface is perfectly regular, being
   one degree for every five hundred and ninety feet of ascent. But
   the amazing fact was shown that the weight of the atmosphere
   increased in a ratio proportioned to the square of the distance
   downward.... The magnetic needle also evinced some curious
   disturbance, the dip being invariably upward. Its action also was
   exceedingly feeble, and the day before the operations ceased it
   lost all polarity whatever, and the finest magnet would not
   meander from the point of the compass it happened to be left at
   for the time being. As Sir Edward Sabine finely said, "The hands
   of the magnetic clock stopped." But the activity of the needle
   gradually increased as the surface was approached.

   All electrical action also ceased, which fully confirms the
   theory, of Professor Faraday, that "electricity is a force
   generated by the rapid axial revolution of the earth, and that
   magnetic attraction in all cases points or operates at right
   angles to its current." Hence electricity, from the nature of its
   cause, must be superficial.

   Every appearance of water disappeared at the depth of only 9000
   feet. From this depth downward the rock was of a basaltic
   character, having not the slightest appearance of granite
   formation--confirming, in a most remarkable manner, the discovery
   made only last year, that all _granites_ are of _aqueous_,
   instead of _igneous_ deposition. As a corollary from the law of
   atmospheric pressure, it was found utterly impossible to vaporize
   water at a greater depth than 24,000 feet, which point was
   reached in 1869. No amount of heat affected it in the least
   perceptible manner, and on weighing the liquid at the greatest
   depth attained, by means of a nicely adjusted scale, it was found
   to be of a density expressed thus: 198,073, being two degrees or
   integers of atomic weight heavier than gold, at the surface.

The report then proceeds to discuss the question of the true figure of
the earth, whether an oblate spheroid, as generally supposed, or only
truncated at the poles; the length of a degree of longitude at the
latitude of Dudzeele, 51 deg. 20 min. N., and one or two other problems.
The concluding portion of the report is reproduced in full.

   For the past twelve months it was found impossible to endure the
   heat, even sheltered as the miners were by the atmospheric cover
   and cage, for more than fifteen minutes at a time, so that the
   expense of sinking had increased geometrically for the past two
   years. However, important results had been obtained, and a
   perpendicular depth reached many thousands of feet below the
   deepest sea soundings of Lieutenant Brooks. In fact, the enormous
   excavation, on the 1st of November, 1872, measured
   perpendicularly, no less than 37,810 feet and 6 inches from the
   floor of the shaft building! The highest peak of the Himalayas is
   only little over 28,000 feet, so that it can at once be seen that
   no time had been thrown away by the Commissioners since the
   inception of the undertaking, in April, 1849.

   The first symptoms of alarm were felt on the evening of November
   1. The men complained of a vast increase of heat, and the cages
   had to be dropped every five minutes for the greater part of the
   night; and of those who attempted to work, at least one half were
   extricated in a condition of fainting, but one degree from
   cyncope. Toward morning, hoarse, profound and frequent
   subterranean explosions were heard, which had increased at noon
   to one dull, threatening and continuous roar. But the miners went
   down bravely to their tasks, and resolved to work as long as
   human endurance could bear it. But this was not to be much
   longer; for late at night, on the 4th, after hearing a terrible
   explosion, which shook the whole neighborhood, a hot sirocco
   issued from the bottom, which drove them all out in a state of
   asphyxia. The heat at the surface became absolutely unendurable,
   and on sending down a cage with only a dog in it, the materials
   of which it was composed took fire, and the animal perished in
   the flames. At 3 o'clock A. M. the iron fastenings to another
   cage were found fused, and the wire ropes were melted for more
   than 1000 feet at the other end. The detonations became more
   frequent, the trembling of the earth at the surface more violent,
   and the heat more oppressive around the mouth of the orifice. A
   few minutes before 4 o'clock a subterranean crash was heard,
   louder than Alpine thunder, and immediately afterward a furious
   cloud of ashes, smoke and gaseous exhalation shot high up into
   the still darkened atmosphere of night. At this time at least one
   thousand of the terrified and half-naked inhabitants of the
   neighboring village of Dudzeele had collected on the spot, and
   with wringing hands and fearful outcries bewailed their fate, and
   threatened instant death to the officers of the commission, and
   even to the now terrified miners. Finally, just before dawn, on
   the 5th of November, or, to be more precise, at exactly twenty
   minutes past 6 A. M., molten lava made its appearance at the
   surface!

   The fright now became general, and as the burning buildings shed
   their ominous glare around, and the languid stream of liquid fire
   slowly bubbled up and rolled toward the canal, the scene assumed
   an aspect of awful sublimity and grandeur. The plains around were
   lit up for many leagues, and the foggy skies intensified and
   reduplicated the effects of the illumination. Toward sunrise the
   flow of lava was suspended for nearly an hour, but shortly after
   ten o'clock it suddenly increased its volume, and, as it cooled,
   formed a sort of saucer-shaped funnel, over the edges of which it
   boiled up, broke, and ran off in every direction. It was at this
   period that the accomplished Dusoloy, so long the Superintendent,
   lost his life. As the lava slowly meandered along, he attempted
   to cross the stream by stepping from one mass of surface cinders
   to another. Making a false step, the floating rock upon which he
   sprang suddenly turned over, and before relief could be afforded
   his body was consumed to a crisp. I regret to add that his fate
   kindled no sympathy among the assembled multitude; but they
   rudely seized his mutilated remains, and amid jeers, execrations,
   and shouts of triumph, attached a large stone to the
   half-consumed corpse and precipitated it into the canal. Thus are
   the heroes of science frequently sacrificed to the fury of a
   plebeian mob.

   It would afford me a pleasure to inform the department that the
   unforeseen evils of our scientific convention terminated here.
   But I regret to add that such is very far from being the case.
   Indeed, from the appearance of affairs this morning at the
   volcanic crater--for such it has now become--the possible evils
   are almost incalculable. The Belgian Government was duly notified
   by telegraph of the death of the Superintendent and the mutinous
   disposition of the common people about Bruges, and early on the
   morning of the 6th of November a squad of flying horse was
   dispatched to the spot to maintain order. But this interference
   only made matters worse. The discontent, augmented by the wildest
   panic, became universal, and the mob reigned supreme. Nor could
   the poor wretches be greatly condemned; for toward evening the
   lava current reached the confines of the old village of Dudzeele,
   and about midnight set the town on fire. The lurid glare of the
   conflagration awakened the old burghers of Bruges from their
   slumbers and spread consternation in the city, though distant
   several miles from the spot. A meeting was called at the
   Guildhall at dawn, and the wildest excitement prevailed. But
   after hearing explanations from the members of the commission,
   the populace quietly but doggedly dispersed. The government from
   this time forward did all that power and prudence combined could
   effect to quell the reign of terror around Bruges. In this
   country the telegraph, being a government monopoly, has been
   rigorously watched and a cordon of military posts established
   around the threatened district, so that it has been almost
   impossible to convey intelligence of this disaster beyond the
   limits of the danger. In the mean time, a congress of the most
   experienced scientists was invited to the scene for the purpose
   of suggesting some remedy against the prospective spread of the
   devastation. The first meeting took place at the old Guildhall in
   Bruges and was strictly private, none being admitted except the
   diplomatic representatives of foreign governments, and the
   members elect of the college. As in duty bound, I felt called on
   to attend, and shall in this place attempt a short synopsis of
   the proceedings.

   Professor Palmieri, of Naples, presided, and Dr. Kirchoff
   officiated as secretary.

   Gassiot, of Paris, was the first speaker, and contended that the
   theory of nucleatic fusion, now being fully established it only
   remained to prescribe the laws governing its superficial action.
   "There is but one law applicable, that I am aware of," said he,
   "and that is the law which drives from the center of a revolving
   body all fluid matter toward the circumference, and forcibly
   ejects it into space, if possible, in the same manner that a
   common grindstone in rapid motion will drive off from its rim
   drops of water or other foreign unattached matter. Thus, whenever
   we find a vent or open orifice, as in the craters of active
   volcanoes, the incandescent lava boils up and frequently
   overflows the top of the highest peak of the Andes."

   Palmieri then asked the speaker "if he wished to be understood as
   expressing the unqualified opinion that an orifice once being
   opened would continue to flow forever, and that there was no law
   governing the quantity or regulating the level to which it could
   rise?"

   Gassiot replied in the affirmative.

   The Neapolitan philosopher then added: "I dissent _in toto_ from
   the opinion of M. Gassiot. For more than a quarter of a century I
   have studied the lava-flows of Vesuvius, Ætna and Stromboli, and
   I can assure the Congress that the Creator has left no such flaw
   in His mechanism of the globe. The truth is, that molten lava can
   only rise about 21,000 feet above the level of the sea, owing to
   the balance-wheel of terrestrial gravitation, which counteracts
   at that height all centrifugal energy. Were this not so, the
   entire contents of the globe would gush from the incandescent
   center and fly off into surrounding space."

   M. Gassiot replied, "that true volcanoes were supplied by nature
   with _circumvalvular lips_, and hence, after filling their
   craters, they ceased to flow. But in the instance before us no
   such provision existed, and the only protection which he could
   conceive of consisted in the smallness of the orifice; and he
   would therefore recommend his Majesty King Leopold to direct all
   his efforts to confine the aperture to its present size."

   Palmieri again responded, "that he had no doubt but that the
   crater at Dudzeele would continue to flow until it had built up
   around itself basaltic walls to the height of many hundreds,
   perhaps thousands, of feet, and that the idea of setting bounds
   to the size of the mouth of the excavation was simply
   ridiculous."

   Gassiot interrupted, and was about to answer in a very excited
   tone, when Prof. Palmieri "disclaimed any intention of personal
   insult, but spoke from a scientific standpoint." He then
   proceeded: "The lava bed of Mount Ætna maintains a normal level
   of 7000 feet, while Vesuvius calmly reposes at a little more than
   one half that altitude. On the other hand, according to Prof.
   Whitney, of the Pacific Survey, Mount Kilauea, in the Sandwich
   Islands, bubbles up to the enormous height of 17,000 feet. It
   cannot be contended that the crater of Vesuvius is not a true
   nucleatic orifice, because I have demonstrated that the molten
   bed regularly rises and falls like the tides of the ocean when
   controlled by the moon." It was seen at once that the scientists
   present were totally unprepared to discuss the question in its
   novel and most important aspects; and on taking a vote, at the
   close of the session, the members were equally divided between
   the opinions of Gassiot and Palmieri. A further session will take
   place on the arrival of Prof. Tyndall, who has been telegraphed
   for from New York, and of the great Russian geologist and
   astronomer, Tugenieff.

   In conclusion, the damage already done may be summed up as
   follows: The destruction of the Bruges and Hond Canal by the
   formation of a basaltic dyke across it more than two hundred feet
   wide, the burning of Dudzeele, and the devastation of about
   thirty thousand acres of valuable land. At the same time it is
   utterly impossible to predict where the damage may stop, inasmuch
   as early this morning the mouth of the crater had fallen in, and
   the flowing stream had more than doubled in size.

   In consideration of the part hitherto taken by the Government of
   the United States in originating the work that led to the
   catastrophe, and by request of M. Musenheim, the Belgian Foreign
   Secretary, I have taken the liberty of drawing upon the State
   Department for eighty-seven thousand dollars, being the sum
   agreed to be paid for the cost of emigration to the United States
   of two hundred families (our own pro rata) rendered homeless by
   the conflagration of Dudzeele.

   I am this moment in receipt of your telegram dated yesterday,
   and rejoice to learn that Prof. Agassiz has returned from the
   South Seas, and will be sent forward without delay.

   With great respect, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

                                        JOHN FLANNAGAN,
                                United States Consul at Bruges.

   P.S.--Since concluding the above dispatch, Professor Palmieri did
   me the honor of a special call, and, after some desultory
   conversation, approached the all-absorbing topic of the day, and
   cautiously expressed his opinion as follows: Explaining his
   theory, as announced at the Congress, he said that "Holland,
   Belgium, and Denmark, being all low countries, some portions of
   each lying below the sea-level, he would not be surprised if the
   present outflow of lava devastated them all, and covered the
   bottom of the North Sea for many square leagues with a bed of
   basalt." The reason given was this: "That lava must continue to
   flow until, by its own action, it builds up around the volcanic
   crater a rim or cone high enough to afford a counterpoise to the
   centrifugal tendency of axial energy; and that, as the earth's
   crust was demonstrated to be exceptionally thin in the north of
   Europe, the height required in this instance would be so great
   that an enormous lapse of time must ensue before the self-created
   cone could obtain the necessary altitude. Before _Ætna_ attained
   its present secure height, it devastated an area as large as
   France; and Prof. Whitney has demonstrated that some center of
   volcanic action, now extinct, in the State of California, threw
   out a stream that covered a much greater surface, as the basaltic
   table mountains, vulgarly so called, extend north and south for a
   distance as great as from Moscow to Rome." In concluding his
   remarks, he ventured the prediction that "the North Sea would be
   completely filled up, and the British Islands again connected
   with the Continent."

                                                  J. F., U.S.C.



[Decoration]


XIV.

_WILDEY'S DREAM._


    A blacksmith stood, at his anvil good,
          Just fifty years ago,
    And struck in his might, to the left and right,
          The iron all aglow.
    And fast and far, as each miniature star
          Illumined the dusky air,
    The sparks of his mind left a halo behind,
          Like the aureola of prayer.

    And the blacksmith thought, as he hammered and wrought,
          Just fifty years ago,
    Of the sins that start in the human heart
          When _its_ metal is all aglow;
    And he breathed a prayer, on the evening air,
          As he watched the fire-sparks roll,
    That with hammer and tongs, _he_ might right the wrongs
          That environ the human soul!

    When he leaned on his sledge, not like minion or drudge,
          With center in self alone,
    But with vision so grand, it embraced every land,
          In the sweep of its mighty zone;
    O'er mountain and main, o'er forest and plain,
          He gazed from his swarthy home,
    Till rafter and wall, grew up in a hall,
          That covered the world with its dome!

    'Neath that bending arch, with a tottering march
          All peoples went wailing by,
    To the music of groan, of sob, and of moan,
          To the grave that was yawning nigh,
    When the blacksmith rose and redoubled his blows
          On the iron that was aglow,
    Till his senses did seem to dissolve in a dream,
          Just fifty years ago.

    He thought that he stood upon a mountain chain,
    And gazed across an almost boundless plain;
    Men of all nations, and of every clime,
    Of ancient epochs, and of modern time,
    Rose in thick ranks before his wandering eye,
    And passed, like waves, in quick succession by.

    First came Osiris, with his Memphian band
    Of swarth Egyptians, darkening all the land;
    With heads downcast they dragged their limbs along,
    Laden with chains, and torn by lash and thong.
    From morn till eve they toiled and bled and died,
    And stained with blood the Nile's encroaching tide.
    Slowly upon the Theban plain there rose
    Old Cheop's pride, a pyramid of woes;
    And millions sank unpitied in their graves,
    With tombs inscribed--"Here lies a realm of slaves."

    Next came great Nimrod prancing on his steed,
    His serried ranks, Assyrian and Mede,
    By bold Sennacherib moulded into one,
    By bestial Sardanapalus undone.
    He saw the walls of Babylon arise,
    Spring from the earth, invade the azure skies,
    And bear upon their airy ramparts old
    Gardens and vines, and fruit, and flowers of gold.
    Beneath their cold and insalubrious shade
    All woes and vices had their coverts made;
    Lascivious incest o'er the land was sown,
    From peasant cabin to imperial throne,
    And that proud realm, so full of might and fame,
    Went down at last in blood, and sin, and shame.

    Then came the Persian, with his vast array
    Of armed millions, fretting for the fray,
    Led on by Xerxes and his harlot horde,
    Where billows swallowed, and where battle roared.
    On every side there rose a bloody screen,
    Till mighty Alexander closed the scene.
    Behold that warrior! in his pomp and pride,
    Dash through the world, and over myriads ride;
    Plant his proud pennon on the Gangean stream,
    Pierce where the tigers hide, mount where the eagles scream,
    And happy only amid war's alarms,
    The clank of fetters, and the clash of arms;
    And moulding man by battle-fields and blows,
    To one foul mass of furies, fiends and foes.
    Such, too, the Roman, vanquishing mankind,
    Their fields to ravage, and their limbs to bind;
    Whose proudest trophy, and whose highest good,
    To write his fame with pencil dipped in blood;
    To stride the world, like Ocean's turbid waves,
    And sink all nations into servient slaves.

    As passed the old, so modern realms swept by,
    Woe in all hearts, and tears in every eye;
    Crimes stained the noble, famine crushed the poor;
    Poison for kings, oppression for the boor;
    Force by the mighty, fraud by the feebler shown;
    Mercy a myth, and charity unknown.

    The Dreamer sighed, for sorrow filled his breast;
    Turned from the scene and sank to deeper rest.
    "Come!" cried a low voice full of music sweet,
    "Come!" and an angel touched his trembling feet.
    Down the steep hills they wend their toilsome way,
    Cross the vast plain that on their journey lay;
    Gain the dark city, through its suburbs roam,
    And pause at length within the dreamer's home.

    Again he stood at his anvil good
      With an angel by his side,
    And rested his sledge on its iron edge
      And blew up his bellows wide;
    He kindled the flame till the white heat came,
      Then murmured in accent low:
    "All ready am I your bidding to try
      So far as a mortal may go."

    'Midst the heat and the smoke the angel spoke,
      And breathed in his softest tone,
    "Heaven caught up your prayer on the evening air
      As it mounted toward the throne.
    God weaveth no task for mortals to ask
      Beyond a mortal's control,
    And with hammer and tongs you shall right the wrongs
      That encompass the human soul.

    "But go you first forth 'mong the sons of the earth,
      And bring me a human heart
    That throbs for its kind, spite of weather and wind,
      And acts still a brother's part.
    The night groweth late, but here will I wait
      Till dawn streak the eastern skies;
    And lest you should fail, spread _my_ wings on the gale,
      And search with _my_ angel eyes."

    The dreamer once more passed the open door,
      But plumed for an angel's flight;
    He sped through the world like a thunderbolt hurled
      When the clouds are alive with light;
    He followed the sun till his race was won,
      And probed every heart and mind;
    But in every zone man labored alone
      For himself and not for his kind.

    All mournful and flushed, his dearest hopes crushed,
      The dreamer returned to his home,
    And stood in the flare of the forge's red glare,
      Besprinkled with dew and foam.
    "The heart you have sought must be tempered and taught
      In the flame that is all aglow."
    "No heart could I find that was true to its kind,
      So I left all the world in its woe."

    Then the stern angel cried: "In your own throbbing side
      Beats a heart that is sound to the core;
    Will you give your own life to the edge of the knife
      For the widowed, the orphaned, and poor?"
    "Most unworthy am I for my brothers to die,
      And sinful my sorrowing heart;
    But strike, if you will, to redeem or to kill,
      With life I am willing to part."

    Then he threw ope his vest and bared his broad breast
      To the angel's glittering blade;
    Soon the swift purple tide gushed a stream red and wide
      From the wound that the weapon had made.
    With a jerk and a start he then plucked out his heart,
      And buried it deep in the flame
    That flickered and fell like the flashes of hell
      O'er the dreamer's quivering frame.

    "Now with hammer and tongs you may right all the wrongs
      That environ the human soul;
    But first, you must smite with a Vulcan's might
      The heart in yon blistering bowl."
    Quick the blacksmith arose, and redoubling his blows,
      Beat the heart that was all aglow,
    Till its fiery scars like a shower of stars
      Illumined the night with their flow.

    Every sling of his sledge reopened the edge
      Of wounds that were healed long ago;
    And from each livid chasm leaped forth a phantasm
      Of passion, of sin, or of woe.
    But he heeded no pain as he hammered amain,
      For the angel was holding the heart,
    And cried at each blow, "Strike high!" or "Strike low!"
      "Strike hither!" or "Yonder apart!"

    So he hammered and wrought, and he toiled and fought
      Till Aurora peeped over the plain;
    When the angel flew by and ascended the sky,
      _But left on the anvil a chain!_
    Its links were as bright as heaven's own light,
      As pure as the fountain of youth;
    And bore on each fold in letters of gold,
      This token--LOVE, FRIENDSHIP AND TRUTH.

    The dreamer awoke, and peered through the smoke
      At the anvil that slept by his side;
    And then in a wreath of flower-bound sheath,
      The triple-linked chain he espied.
    Odd Fellowship's gem is that bright diadem,
      Our emblem in age and in youth;
    For our hearts we must prove in the fire of LOVE,
      And mould with the hammer of TRUTH.



[Decoration]


XV.

_WHITHERWARD._


By pursuing the analogies of nature, the human mind reduces to order the
vagaries of the imagination, and bodies them forth in forms of
loveliness and in similitudes of heaven.

By an irrevocable decree of Nature's God, all his works are progressive
in the direction of himself. This law is traceable from the molehill up
to the mountain, from the mite up to the man. Geology, speaking to us
from the depths of a past eternity, from annals inscribed upon the
imperishable rock, utters not one syllable to contradict this tremendous
truth. Millions of ages ago, she commenced her impartial record, and as
we unroll it to-day, from the coal-bed and the marble quarry, we read in
creation's dawn as plainly as we behold in operation around us, the
mighty decree--ONWARD AND UPWARD, FOREVER!

In the shadowy past this majestic globe floated through the blue ether,
a boiling flood of lava. The elements were then unborn. Time was not;
for as yet the golden laws of Kepler had not emerged from chaos. The sun
had not hemmed his bright-eyed daughters in, nor marked out on the azure
concave the paths they were to tread. The planets were not worlds, but
shot around the lurid center liquid masses of flame and desolation.
Comets sported at random through the sky, and trailed after them their
horrid skirts of fire. The Spirit of God had not "moved upon the face of
the waters," and rosy Chaos still held the scepter in his hand. But
changes were at work. As the coral worm toils on in the unfathomable
depths of ocean, laying in secret the foundations of mighty continents,
destined as the ages roll by to emerge into light and grandeur, so the
laws of the universe carried on their everlasting work.

An eternity elapsed, and the age of fire passed away. A new era dawned
upon the earth. The gases were generated, and the elements of air and
water overspread the globe. Islands began to appear, at first presenting
pinnacles of bare and blasted granite; but gradually, by decay and
decomposition, changing into dank marshes and fertile plains.

One after another the sensational universe now springs into being. This
but prepared the way for the animated, and that in turn formed the
groundwork and basis for the human. Man then came forth, the result of
all her previous efforts--nature's pet, her paragon and her pride.

Reason sits enthroned upon his brow, and the soul wraps its sweet
affections about his heart; angels spread their wings above him, and God
calls him His child. He treads the earth its acknowledged monarch, and
commences its subjection. One by one the elements have yielded to his
sway, nature has revealed her hoariest secrets to his ken, and heaven
thrown wide its portals to his spirit. He stands now upon the very acme
of the visible creation, and with straining eye, and listening ear, and
anxious heart, whispers to himself that terrific and tremendous
word--WHITHERWARD!

Late one afternoon in April, I was sitting on the grassy slope of
Telegraph Hill, watching the waves of sunset as they rolled in from the
west, and broke in crimson spray upon the peaks of the Contra Costa
hills. I was alone; and, as my custom is, was ruminating upon the grand
problem of futurity. The broad and beautiful bay spread out like a sea
of silver at my feet, and the distant mountains, reflecting the rays of
the setting sun, seemed to hem it in with barriers of gold. The city lay
like a tired infant at evening in its mother's arms, and only at
intervals disturbed my reflections by its expiring sobs. The hours of
business I well knew had passed, and the heavy iron door had long since
grated on its hinges, and the fire-proof shutter been bolted for the
night. But I felt that my labors had just commenced. The duties of my
profession had swallowed up thought throughout the long hours devoted to
the cares of life, and it was not until I was released from their
thraldom that I found myself in truth a slave. The one master-thought
came back into my brain, until it burned its hideous image there in
letters of fire--WHITHERWARD! WHITHERWARD!

The past came up before me with its long memories of Egyptian grandeur,
with its triumphs of Grecian art, with its burden of Roman glory. Italy
came with her republics, her "starry" Galileo, and her immortal
Buonarotti. France flashed by, with her garments dyed in blood, and her
Napoleons in chains. England rose up with her arts and her arms, her
commerce and her civilization, her splendor and her shame. I beheld
Newton gazing at the stars, heard Milton singing of Paradise, and saw
Russell expiring on the scaffold. But ever and anon a pale,
thorn-crowned monarch, arrayed in mock-purple, and bending beneath a
cross, would start forth at my side, and with uplifted eye, but
speechless lip, point with one hand to the pages of a volume I had open
on my knee, and with the other to the blue heaven above. Judea would
then pass with solemn tread before me. Her patriarchs, her prophets and
her apostles, her judges, her kings, and her people, one by one came and
went like the phantasmagoria of a dream. The present then rose up in
glittering robes, its feet resting upon the mounds of Nimrod, its brow
encircled with a coronet of stars, pillaging, with one hand, the cloud
above of its lightnings, and sending them forth with the other, bridled
and subdued, to the uttermost ends of the earth.

But this was not all. Earth's physical history also swept by in full
review. All nature lent her stores, and with an effort of mind, by no
means uncommon for those who have long thought upon a single subject, I
seemed to possess the power to generalize all that I had ever heard,
read or seen, into one gorgeous picture, and hang it up in the wide
heavens before me.

The actual scenery around me entirely disappeared, and I beheld an
immense pyramid of alabaster, reared to the very stars, upon whose sides
I saw inscribed a faithful history of the past. Its foundations were in
deep shadow, but the light gradually increased toward the top, until its
summit was bathed in the most refulgent lustre.

Inscribed in golden letters I read on one of its sides these words, in
alternate layers, rising gradually to the apex: "_Granite_, _Liquid_,
_Gas_, _Electricity_;" on another, "_Inorganic_, _Vegetable_, _Animal_,
_Human_;" on the third side, "_Consciousness_, _Memory_, _Reason_,
_Imagination_;" and on the fourth, "_Chaos_, _Order_, _Harmony_,
_Love_."

At this moment I beheld the figure of a human being standing at the
base of the pyramid, and gazing intently upward. He then placed his foot
upon the foundation, and commenced climbing toward the summit. I caught
a distinct view of his features, and perceived that they were black and
swarthy like those of the most depraved Hottentot. He toiled slowly
upward, and as he passed the first layer, he again looked toward me, and
I observed that his features had undergone a complete transformation.
They now resembled those of an American Indian. He passed the second
layer; and as he entered the third, once more presented his face to me
for observation. Another change had overspread it, and I readily
recognized in him the tawny native of Malacca or Hindoostan. As he
reached the last layer, and entered its region of refulgent light, I
caught a full glimpse of his form and features, and beheld the high
forehead, the glossy ringlets, the hazel eye, and the alabaster skin of
the true Caucasian.

I now observed for the first time that the pyramid was left unfinished,
and that its summit, instead of presenting a well-defined peak, was in
reality a level plain. In a few moments more, the figure I had traced
from the base to the fourth layer, reached the apex, and stood with
folded arms and upraised brow upon the very summit. His lips parted as
if about to speak, and as I leaned forward to hear, I caught, in
distinct tone and thrilling accent, that word which had so often risen
to my own lips for utterance, and seared my very brain, because
unanswered--WHITHERWARD!

"Whitherward, indeed!" exclaimed I, aloud, shuddering at the sepulchral
sound of my voice. "Home," responded a tiny voice at my side, and
turning suddenly around, my eyes met those of a sweet little
school-girl, with a basket of flowers upon her arm, who had approached
me unobserved, and who evidently imagined I had addressed her when I
spoke. "Yes, little daughter," replied I, "'tis time to proceed
homeward, for the sun has ceased to gild the summit of Diavolo, and the
evening star is visible in the west. I will attend you home," and taking
her proffered hand, I descended the hill, with the dreadful word still
ringing in my ears, and the fadeless vision still glowing in my heart.

       #       #       #       #       #

Midnight had come and gone, and still the book lay open on my knee. The
candle had burned down close to the socket, and threw a flickering
glimmer around my chamber; but no indications of fatigue or slumber
visited my eyelids. My temples throbbed heavily, and I felt the hot and
excited blood playing like the piston-rod of an engine between my heart
and brain.

I had launched forth on the broad ocean of speculation, and now
perceived, when too late, the perils of my situation. Above me were
dense and lowering clouds, which no eye could penetrate; around me
howling tempests, which no voice could quell; beneath me heaving
billows, which no oil could calm. I thought of Plato struggling with his
doubts; of Epicurus sinking beneath them; of Socrates swallowing his
poison; of Cicero surrendering himself to despair. I remembered how all
the great souls of the earth had staggered beneath the burden of the
same thought, which weighed like a thousand Cordilleras upon my own; and
as I pressed my hand upon my burning brow, I cried again and
again--WHITHERWARD! WHITHERWARD!

I could find no relief in philosophy; for I knew her maxims by heart
from Zeno and the Stagirite down to Berkeley and Cousin. I had followed
her into all her hiding-places, and courted her in all her moods. No
coquette was ever half so false, so fickle, and so fair. Her robes are
woven of the sunbeams, and a star adorns her brow; but she sits
impassive upon her icy throne, and wields no scepter but despair. The
light she throws around is not the clear gleam of the sunshine, nor the
bright twinkle of the star; but glances in fitful glimmerings on the
soul, like the aurora on the icebergs of the pole, and lightens up the
scene only to show its utter desolation.

The Bible lay open before me, but I could find no comfort there. Its
lessons were intended only for the meek and humble, and my heart was
cased in pride. It reached only to the believing; I was tossed on an
ocean of doubt. It required, as a condition to faith, the innocence of
an angel and the humility of a child; I had long ago seared my
conscience by mingling in the busy scenes of life, and was proud of my
mental acquirements. The Bible spoke comfort to the Publican; I was of
the straight sect of the Pharisees. Its promises were directed to the
poor in spirit, whilst mine panted for renown.

At this moment, whilst heedlessly turning over its leaves and scarcely
glancing at their contents, my attention was arrested by this remarkable
passage in one of Paul's epistles: "That was not _first_ which is
spiritual, but that which was natural, and _afterward_ that which is
spiritual. Behold, I show you a mystery: _we shall not all sleep_, but
we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump."

Again and again I read this text, for it promised more by reflection
than at first appeared in the words. Slowly a light broke in on the
horizon's verge, and I felt, for the first time in my whole life, that
the past was not all inexplicable, nor the future a chaos, but that the
human soul, lit up by the torch of science! and guided by the
prophecies of Holy Writ, might predict the path it is destined to tread,
and read in advance the history of its final enfranchisement. St. Paul
evidently intended to teach the doctrine of _progress_, even in its
applicability to man. He did not belong to that narrow-minded sect in
philosophy, which declares that the earth and the heavens are finished;
that man is the crowning glory of his Maker, and the utmost stretch of
His creative power; that henceforth the globe which he inhabits is
barren, and can produce no being superior to himself. On the contrary,
he clearly intended to teach the same great truth which modern science
is demonstrating to all the world, that progression is nature's first
law, and that even in the human kingdom the irrevocable decree has gone
forth--ONWARD AND UPWARD, FOREVER!

Such were my reflections when the last glimmer of the candle flashed up
like a meteor, and then as suddenly expired in night. I was glad that
the shadows were gone. Better, thought I, is utter darkness than that
poor flame which renders it visible. But I had suddenly grown rich in
thought. A clue had been furnished to the labyrinth in which I had
wandered from a child; a hint had been planted in the mind which it
would be impossible ever to circumscribe or extinguish. One letter had
been identified by which, like Champollion le Jeune, I could eventually
decipher the inscription on the pyramid. What are these spectral
apparitions which rear themselves in the human mind, and are called by
mortals _hints_? Whence do they come? Who lodges them in the chambers of
the mind, where they sprout and germinate, and bud and blossom, and
bear?

The Florentine caught one as it fell from the stars, and invented the
telescope to observe them. Columbus caught another, as it was whispered
by the winds, and they wafted him to the shores of a New World. Franklin
beheld one flash forth from the cloud, and he traced the lightnings to
their bourn. Another dropped from the skies into the brain of Leverrier,
and he scaled the very heavens, till he unburied a star.

Rapidly was my mind working out the solution of the problem which had so
long tortured it, based upon the intimation it had derived from St.
Paul's epistle, when most unexpectedly, and at the same time most
unwelcomely, I fell into one of those strange moods which can neither be
called sleep nor consciousness, but which leave their impress far more
powerfully than the visions of the night or the events of the day.

I beheld a small egg, most beautifully dotted over, and stained. Whilst
my eye rested on it, it cracked; an opening was made _from within_, and
almost immediately afterward a bird of glittering plumage and mocking
song flew out, and perched on the bough of a rose-tree, beneath whose
shadow I found myself reclining. Before my surprise had vanished, I
beheld a painted worm at my feet, crawling toward the root of the tree
which was blooming above me. It soon reached the trunk, climbed into the
branches, and commenced spinning its cocoon. Hardly had it finished its
silken home, ere it came forth in the form of a gorgeous butterfly, and,
spreading its wings, mounted toward the heavens. Quickly succeeding
this, the same pyramid of alabaster, which I had seen from the summit of
Telegraph Hill late in the afternoon, rose gradually upon the view. It
was in nowise changed; the inscriptions on the sides were the same, and
the identical figure stood with folded arms and uplifted brow upon the
top. I now heard a rushing sound, such as stuns the ear at Niagara, or
greets it during a hurricane at sea, when the shrouds of the ship are
whistling to the blast, and the flashing billows are dashing against her
sides.

Suddenly the pyramid commenced changing its form, and before many
moments elapsed it had assumed the rotundity of a globe, and I beheld it
covered with seas, and hills, and lakes, and mountains, and plains, and
fertile fields. But the human figure still stood upon its crest. Then
came forth the single blast of a bugle, such as the soldier hears on the
morn of a world-changing battle. Cæsar heard it at Pharsalia, Titus at
Jerusalem, Washington at Yorktown, and Wellington at Waterloo.

No lightning flash ever rended forest king from crest to root quicker
than the transformation which now overspread the earth. In a second of
time it became as transparent as crystal, and as brilliant as the sun.
But in every other respect it preserved its identity. On casting my eyes
toward the human being, I perceived that he still preserved his
position, but his feet did not seem to touch the earth. He appeared to
be floating upon its arch, as the halcyon floats in the atmosphere. His
features were lit up with a heavenly radiance, and assumed an expression
of superhuman beauty.

The thought crossed my mind, Can this be a spirit? As sudden as the
question came forth the response, "I am." But, inquired my mind, for my
lips did not move, you have never passed the portals of the grave? Again
I read in his features the answer, "For ages this earth existed as a
natural body, and all its inhabitants partook of its characteristics;
gradually it approached the spiritual state, and by a law like that
which transforms the egg into the songster, or the worm into the
butterfly, it has just accomplished one of its mighty cycles, and now
gleams forth with the refulgence of the stars. I did not die, but passed
as naturally into the spiritual world as the huge earth itself. Prophets
and apostles predicted this change many hundred years ago; but the blind
infatuation of our race did not permit them to realize its truth. Your
own mind, in common with the sages of all time, long brooded over the
idea, and oftentimes have you exclaimed, in agony and
dismay--WHITHERWARD! WHITHERWARD!

"The question is now solved. The revolution may not come in the year
allotted you, but so surely as St. Paul spoke inspiration, so surely as
science elicits truth, so surely as the past prognosticates the future,
the natural world must pass into the spiritual, and everything be
changed in the twinkling of an eye. Watch well! your own ears may hear
the clarion note, your own eyes witness the transfiguration."

Slowly the vision faded away, and left me straining my gaze into the
dark midnight which now shrouded the world, and endeavoring to calm my
heart, which throbbed as audibly as the hollow echoes of a drum. When
the morning sun peeped over the Contra Costa range, I still sat silent
and abstracted in my chair, revolving over the incidents of the night,
but thankful that, though the reason is powerless to brush away the
clouds which obscure the future, yet the imagination may spread its
wings, and, soaring into the heavens beyond them, answer the soul when
in terror she inquires--WHITHERWARD!



[Decoration]


XVI.

_OUR WEDDING-DAY._


                   I.

    A dozen springs, and more, dear Sue,
      Have bloomed, and passed away,
    Since hand in hand, and heart to heart,
      We spent our wedding-day.
    Youth blossomed on our cheeks, dear Sue,
      Joy chased each tear of woe,
    When first we promised to be true,
      That morning long ago.


                   II.

    Though many cares have come, dear Sue,
      To checker life's career,
    As down its pathway we have trod,
      In trembling and in fear.
    Still in the darkest storm, dear Sue,
      That lowered o'er the way,
    We clung the closer, while it blew,
      And laughed the clouds away.


                   III.

    'Tis true, our home is humble, Sue,
      And riches we have not,
    But children gambol round our door,
      And consecrate the spot.
    Our sons are strong and brave, dear Sue,
      Our daughters fair and gay,
    But none so beautiful as you,
      Upon our wedding-day.


                   IV.

    No grief has crossed our threshold, Sue,
      No crape festooned the door,
    But health has waved its halcyon wings,
      And plenty filled our store.
    Then let's be joyful, darling Sue,
      And chase dull cares away,
    And kindle rosy hope anew,
      As on our wedding-day.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XVII.

_THE OLD YEAR AND THE NEW._


    One more flutter of time's restless wing,
    One more furrow in the forehead of spring;
    One more step in the journey of fate,
    One more ember gone out in life's grate;
    One more gray hair in the head of the sage,
    One more round in the ladder of age;
    One leaf more in the volume of doom,
    And one span less in the march to the tomb,
    Since brothers, we gathered around bowl and tree,
    And Santa Claus welcomed with frolic and glee.

        How has thy life been speeding
          Since Aurora, at the dawn,
        Peeped within thy portals, leading
          The babe year, newly born?

        Has thy soul been scorched by sorrow,
          Has some spectre nestled there?
        And with every new to-morrow,
          Sowed the seeds of fresh despair?
        Rise from thy grief, my brothers!
          Burst its chain with strength sublime,
        For behold! I bring another,
          And a fairer child of time.

        Has the year brought health and riches?
          Have thy barns been brimming o'er?
        Will thy stature fit the niches
          Hewn for Hercules of yore?
        Are thy muscles firm as granite?
          Are thy thousands safe and sound?
        Behold! the rolling planet
          Starts on a nobler round.

        But perhaps across thy vision
          Death had cast its shadow there,
        And thy home, once all elysian,
          Now crapes an empty chair;
        Or happier, thy dominions,
          Spreading broad and deep and strong,
        Re-echo 'neath love's pinions
          To a pretty cradle song!

        Whate'er thy fortunes, brother!
          God's blessing on your head;
        Joy for the living mother,
          Peace with the loving dead.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XVIII.

_A PAIR OF MYTHS:_

BEING A CHAPTER FROM AN UNPUBLISHED WORK.


Eight days passed away unreckoned, and still I remained unconscious of
everything occurring around me. The morning of the ninth dawned, dragged
heavily along, and noon approached, whilst I lay in the same comatose
state. No alteration had taken place, except that a deeper and sounder
sleep seemed to have seized upon me; a symptom hailed by my physician
with joy, but regarded by my mother with increased alarm.

Suddenly, the incautious closing of my chamber door, as my sister, Miss
Lucy Stanly, then in her fifteenth year, entered the apartment, aroused
me from slumber and oblivion.

Abed at noonday! What did it betoken? I endeavored to recall something
of the past, but memory for a long time refused its aid, and I appeared
as fatally and irremediably unconscious as ever. Gradually, however, my
shattered mind recovered its faculties, and in less than an hour after
my awakening, I felt perfectly restored. No pain tormented me, and no
torpor benumbed my faculties. I rapidly reviewed, mentally, the
occurrences of the day before, when, as I imagined, the disaster had
happened, and resolved at once to rise from my bed and prosecute my
intended journey.

At this moment my father entered the apartment, and observing that I
was awake, ventured to speak to me kindly and in a very low tone. I
smiled at his uneasiness, and immediately relieved him from all
apprehension, by conversing freely and intelligibly of the late
catastrophe. His delight knew no bounds. He seized my hand a thousand
times, and pressed it again and again to his lips. At length,
remembering that my mother was ignorant of my complete restoration, he
rushed from the room, in order to be the first to convey the welcome
intelligence.

My bed was soon surrounded by the whole family, chattering away, wild
with joy, and imprinting scores of kisses on my lips, cheeks and
forehead. The excitement proved too severe for me in my weak condition,
and had not the timely arrival of the physician intervened to clear my
chamber of every intruder, except Mamma Betty, as we all called the
nurse, these pages in all probability would never have arrested the
reader's eye. As it was, I suddenly grew very sick and faint; everything
around me assumed a deep green tinge, and I fell into a deathlike swoon.

Another morning's sun was shining cheerily in at my window, when
consciousness again returned. The doctor was soon at my side, and
instead of prescribing physic as a remedy, requested my sister to sit at
my bedside, and read in a low tone any interesting little story she
might select. He cautioned her not to mention, even in the most casual
manner, _Mormonism_, _St. Louis_, or the _Moselle_, which order she most
implicitly obeyed; nor could all my ingenuity extract a solitary remark
in relation to either.

My sister was not very long in making a selection; for, supposing what
delighted herself would not fail to amuse me, she brought in a
manuscript, carefully folded, and proceeded at once to narrate its
history. It was written by my father, as a sort of model or sampler for
my brothers and sisters, which they were to imitate when composition-day
came round, instead of "hammering away," as he called it, on moral
essays and metaphysical commonplaces. It was styled


THE KING OF THE NINE-PINS: A MYTH.

Heinrich Schwarz, or Black Hal, as he was wont to be called, was an old
toper, but he was possessed of infinite good humor, and related a great
many very queer stories, the truth of which no one, that I ever heard
of, had the hardihood to doubt; for Black Hal had an uncommon share of
"Teutonic pluck" about him, and was at times very unceremonious in the
display of it. But Hal had a weakness--it was not liquor, for that was
his strength--which he never denied; _Hal was too fond of nine-pins_. He
had told me, in confidence, that "many a time and oft" he had rolled
incessantly for weeks together. I think I heard him say that he once
rolled for a month, day and night, without stopping a single moment to
eat or to drink, or even to catch his breath.

I did not question his veracity at the time; but since, on reflection,
the fact seems almost incredible; and were it not that this sketch might
accidentally fall in his way, I might be tempted to show philosophically
that such a thing could not possibly be. And yet I have read of very
long fasts in my day--that, for instance, of Captain Riley in the Great
Sahara, and others, which will readily occur to the reader. But I must
not episodize, or I shall not reach my story.

Black Hal was sitting late one afternoon in a Nine-Pin Alley, in the
little town of Kaatskill, in the State of New York--it is true, for he
said so--when a tremendous thunder-storm invested his retreat. His
companions, one by one, had left him, until, rising from his seat and
gazing around, he discovered that he was alone. The alley-keeper, too,
could nowhere be found, and the boys who were employed to set up the
pins had disappeared with the rest. It was growing very late, and Hal
had a long walk, and he thought it most prudent to get ready to start
home. The lightning glared in at the door and windows most vividly, and
the heavy thunder crashed and rumbled and roared louder than he had ever
heard it before. The rain, too, now commenced to batter down
tremendously, and just as night set in, Hal had just got ready to set
out. Hal first felt uneasy, next unhappy, and finally miserable. If he
had but a boy to talk to! I'm afraid Hal began to grow scared. A verse
that he learned in his boyhood, across the wide sea, came unasked into
his mind. It always came there precisely at the time he did not desire
its company. It ran thus:

    "Oh! for the might of dread Odin
       The powers upon him shed,
     For a sail in the good ship Skidbladnir,[A-236]
       And a talk with Mimir's head!"[B-236]

[Footnote A-236: The ship Skidbladnir was the property of Odin. He could
sail in it on the most dangerous seas, and yet could fold it up and
carry it in his pocket.]

[Footnote B-236: Mimir's head was always the companion of Odin. When he
desired to know what was transpiring in distant countries, he inquired
of Mimir, and always received a correct reply.]

This verse was repeated over and over again inaudibly. Gradually,
however, his voice became a little louder, and a little louder still,
until finally poor Hal hallooed it vociferously forth so sonorously that
it drowned the very thunder. He had repeated it just seventy-seven
times, when suddenly a monstrous head was thrust in at the door, and
demanded, in a voice that sounded like the maelstrom, "What do _you_
want with Odin?" "Oh, nothing--nothing in the world, I thank you, sir,"
politely responded poor Hal, shaking from head to foot. Here the head
was followed by the shoulders, arms, body and legs of a giant at least
forty feet high. Of course he came in on all fours, and approached in
close proximity to Black Hal. Hal involuntarily retreated, as far as he
could, reciting to himself the only prayer he remembered, "Now I lay me
down to sleep," etc.

The giant did not appear desirous of pursuing Hal, being afraid--so Hal
said--that he would draw his knife on him. But be the cause what it
might, he seated himself at the head of the nine-pin alley, and shouted,
"Stand up!" As he did so, the nine-pins at the other end arose and took
their places.

"Now, sir," said he, turning again to Hal, "I'll bet you an ounce of
your blood I can beat you rolling."

Hal trembled again, but meekly replied, "Please, sir, we don't bet
_blood_ nowadays--we bet _money_."

"Blood's my money," roared forth the giant. "Fee, fo, fum!" Hal tried in
vain to hoist the window.

"Will you bet?"

"Yes, sir," said Hal; and he thought as it was only _an ounce_, he could
spare that without much danger, and it might appease the monster's
appetite.

"Roll first!" said the giant.

"Yes, sir," replied Hal, as he seized what he supposed to be the largest
and his favorite ball.

"What are you doing with Mimir's head?" roared forth the monster.

"I beg your pardon, most humbly," began Hal, as he let the bloody head
fall; "I did not mean any harm."

"Rumble, bang-whang!" bellowed the thunder.

Hal fell on his knees and recited most devoutly, "Now I lay me down,"
etc.

"Roll on! roll on! I say," and the giant seized poor Hal by the collar
and set him on his feet.

He now selected a large ball, and poising it carefully in his hand, ran
a few steps, and sent it whirling right in among the nine-pins; but what
was his astonishment to behold them jump lightly aside, and permit the
ball to pass in an avenue directly through the middle of the alley. Hal
shuddered. The second and third ball met with no better success.
Odin--for Hal said it was certainly he, as he had Mimir's head
along--now grasped a ball and rolled it with all his might; but long
before it reached the nine-pins, they had, every one of them, tumbled
down, and lay sprawling on the alley.

"Two spares!" said the giant, as he grinned most gleefully at poor Hal.
"Get up!" and up the pins all stood instantly. Taking another ball, he
hurled it down the alley, and the same result followed. "Two more
spares!" and Odin shook his gigantic sides with laughter.

"I give up the game," whined out Hal.

"Then you lose double," rejoined Odin.

Hal readily consented to pay two ounces, for he imagined, by yielding at
once, he would so much the sooner get rid of his grim companion. As he
said so, Odin pulled a pair of scales out of his coat pocket, made
proportionably to his own size. He poised them upon a beam in the alley,
and drew forth what he denominated two ounces, and put them in one
scale. Each ounce was about the size of a twenty-eight pound weight, and
was quite as heavy.

"Ha! ha! ha!! Ha! ha! ha!!! Ha! ha! ha!!!!" shouted the giant, as he
grasped the gasping and terrified gambler. He soon rolled up his
sleeves, and bound his arm with a pocket handkerchief. Next he drew
forth a lancet as long as a sword, and drove the point into the biggest
vein he could discover. Hal screamed and fainted. When he returned to
consciousness, the sun was shining brightly in at the window, and the
sweet rumbling of the balls assured him that he still lay where the
giant left him. On rising to his feet he perceived that a large coagulum
of blood had collected where his head rested all night, and that he
could scarcely walk from the effects of his exhaustion. He returned
immediately home and told his wife all that had occurred; and though,
like some of the neighbors, she distrusted the tale, yet she never
intimated her doubts to Black Hal himself. The alley-keeper assured me
in a whisper, one day, that upon the very night fixed on by Hal for the
adventure, he was beastly drunk, and had been engaged in a fight with
one of his boon companions, who gave him a black eye and a bloody nose.
But the alley-keeper was always jealous of Black Hal's superiority in
story telling; besides, he often drank too much himself, and I suspect
he originated the report he related to me in a fit of wounded pride, or
drunken braggadocio. One thing is certain, he never ventured to repeat
the story in the presence of Black Hal himself.

       #       #       #       #       #

In spite of the attention I endeavored to bestow on the marvelous
history of Black Hal and his grim companion, my mind occasionally
wandered far away, and could only find repose in communing with her who
I now discovered for the first time held in her own hands the thread of
my destiny. Lucy was not blind to these fits of abstraction, and
whenever they gained entire control of my attention, she would pause,
lay down the manuscript, and threaten most seriously to discontinue the
perusal, unless I proved a better listener. I ask no man's pardon for
declaring that my sister was an excellent reader. Most brothers, perhaps
think the same of most sisters; but there _was_ a charm in Lucy's accent
and a distinctness in her enunciation I have never heard excelled. Owing
to these qualities, as much, perhaps, as to the strangeness of the
story, I became interested in the fate of the drunken gambler, and when
Lucy concluded, I was ready to exclaim, "And pray where is Black Hal
now?"

My thoughts took another direction, however, and I impatiently demanded
whether or not the sample story had been imitated. A guilty blush
assured me quite as satisfactorily as words could have done, that Miss
Lucy had herself made an attempt, and I therefore insisted that as she
had whetted and excited the appetite, it would be highly
unfraternal--(particularly in my present very precarious
condition)--that parenthesis settled the matter--to deny me the means of
satisfying it.

"But you'll laugh at me," timidly whispered my sister.

"Of course I shall," said I, "if your catastrophe is half as melancholy
as Black Hal's. But make haste, or I shall be off to St. Louis. But pray
inform me, what is the subject of your composition?"

"The Origin of Marriage."

"I believe, on my soul," responded I, laughing outright, "you girls
never think about anything else."

I provoked no reply, and the manuscript being unfolded, my sister thus
attempted to elucidate


THE ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE.

Professor Williams having ceased his manipulations, my eyes
involuntarily closed, and I became unconscious to everything occurring
around me. There's truth in mesmerism, after all, thought I, and being
in the clairvoyant state, I beheld a most beautiful comet at this moment
emerging from the constellation Taurus, and describing a curve about the
star Zeta, one of the Pleiades. Now for a trip through infinite space!
and as this thought entered my brain, I grasped a hair in the tail of
the comet as it whizzed by me.

I climbed up the glittering hair until I found myself seated very
comfortably on the comet's back, and was beginning to enjoy my starlit
ramble exceedingly, when I was suddenly aroused from my meditations by
the song of a heavenly minstrel, who, wandering from star to star and
system to system, sang the fate of other worlds and other beings to
those who would listen to his strains and grant him the rites of
hospitality. As I approached, his tones were suddenly changed, his voice
lowered into a deeper key, and gazing intently at me, or at what
evidenced my presence to his sight, thus began:

The flaming sword of the cherub, which had waved so frightfully above
the gate of the garden of Eden, had disappeared; the angel himself was
gone; and Adam, as he approached the spot where so lately he had enjoyed
the delights of heaven, beheld with astonishment and regret that
Paradise and all its splendors had departed from the earth forever.
Where the garden lately bloomed, he could discover only the dark and
smouldering embers of a conflagration; a hard lava had incrusted itself
along the golden walks; the birds were flown, the flowers withered, the
fountains dried up, and desolation brooded over the scene.

"Ah!" sighed the patriarch of men, "where are now the pleasures which I
once enjoyed along these peaceful avenues? Where are all those
beautiful spirits, given by Heaven to watch over and protect me? Each
guardian angel has deserted me, and the rainbow glories of Paradise have
flown. No more the sun shines out in undimmed splendor, for clouds array
him in gloom; the earth, forgetful of her verdure and her flowers,
produces thorns to wound and frosts to chill me. The very air, once all
balm and zephyrs, now howls around me with the voice of the storm and
the fury of the hurricane. No more the notes of peace and happiness
greet my ears, but the harsh tones of strife and battle resound on every
side. Nature has kindled the flames of discord in her own bosom, and
universal war has begun his reign!"

And then the father of mankind hid his face in the bosom of his
companion, and wept the bitter tears of contrition and repentance.

"Oh, do not weep so bitterly, my Adam," exclaimed his companion. "True,
we are miserable, but all is not yet lost; we have forfeited the smiles
of Heaven, but we may yet regain our lost place in its affections. Let
us learn from our misfortunes the anguish of guilt, but let us learn
also the mercy of redemption. We may yet be happy."

"Oh, talk not of happiness now," interrupted Adam; "that nymph who once
wailed at our side, attentive to the beck, has disappeared, and fled
from the companionship of such guilty, fallen beings as ourselves,
forever."

"Not forever, Adam," kindly rejoined Eve; "she may yet be lurking among
these groves, or lie hid behind yon hills."

"Then let us find her," quickly responded Adam; "you follow the sun,
sweet Eve, to his resting-place, whilst I will trace these sparkling
waters to their bourn. Let us ramble this whole creation o'er; and when
we have found her, let us meet again on this very spot, and cling to her
side, until the doom of death shall overtake us."

And the eye of Adam beamed with hope, then kindled for the first time on
earth in the bosom of man; and he bade Eve his first farewell, and
started eastward in his search.

Eve turned her face to the west, and set out on her allotted journey.

The sun had shone a hundred times in midsummer splendor, and a hundred
times had hid himself in the clouds of winter, and yet no human foot had
trod the spot where the garden of Eden once bloomed. Adam had in vain
traced the Euphrates to the sea, and climbed the Himalaya Mountains. In
vain had he endured the tropical heats on the Ganges, and the winter's
cold in Siberia. He stood at last upon the borders of that narrow sea
which separates Asia from America, and casting a wistful glance to the
far-off continent, exclaimed: "In yon land, so deeply blue in the
distance, that it looks like heaven, Happiness may have taken refuge.
Alas! I cannot pursue her there. I will return to Eden, and learn if
Eve, too, has been unsuccessful."

And then he took one more look at the distant land, sighed his adieu,
and set out on his return.

Poor Eve! First child of misery, first daughter of despair! Poor Eve,
with the blue of heaven in her eye, and the crimson of shame upon her
lip! Poor Eve, arrayed in beauty, but hastening to decay--she, too, was
unsuccessful.

Wandering in her westward way, the azure waters of the Mediterranean
soon gleamed upon her sight. She stood at length upon the pebbly shore,
and the glad waves, silent as death before, when they kissed her naked
feet, commenced that song still heard in their eternal roar. A mermaid
seemed to rise from the waters at her feet, and to imitate her every
motion. Her long dark tresses, her deep blue eyes, her rosy cheek, her
sorrowful look, all were reflected in the mermaid before her.

"Sweet spirit," said Eve, "canst thou inform me where the nymph
Happiness lies concealed? She always stood beside us in the garden of
Eden; but when we were driven from Paradise we beheld her no more."

The lips of the mermaid moved, but Eve could hear no reply.

Ah! mother of mankind, the crystal waters of every sea, reflecting thy
lovely image, still faithful to their trust, conceal a mermaid in their
bosom for every daughter of beauty who looks upon them!

Neither the orange groves of the Arno, nor the vineyards of France;
neither the forests of Germania, nor the caves of Norway, concealed the
sought-for nymph. Eve explored them all. Her track was imprinted in the
sands of Sahara, by the banks of the Niger, on the rocks of Bengola, in
the vales of Abyssinia--but all in vain.

"O Happiness! art thou indeed departed from our earth? How can we live
without thee? Come, Death," cried Eve; "come now, and take me where thou
wilt. This world is a desert, for Happiness has left it desolate."

A gentle slumber soon overcame the wearied child of sorrow, and in her
sleep a vision came to comfort her. She dreamed that she stood before an
aged man, whose hoary locks attested that the snows of many winters had
whitened them, and in whose glance she recognized the spirit of Wisdom.

"Aged Father," said Eve, "where is Happiness?" and then she burst into a
flood of tears.

"Comfort thyself, Daughter," mildly answered the old man; "Happiness yet
dwells on earth, but she is no longer visible. A temple is built for her
in every mortal's bosom, but she never ascends her throne until welcomed
there by the child of Honor and Love."

The morning sun aroused Eve from her slumber, but did not dispel the
memory of her dream. "I will return to Eden, and there await until the
child of Honor and Love shall enthrone in my bosom the lost nymph
Happiness;" and saying this, she turned her face to the eastward, and
thinking of Adam and her vision, journeyed joyfully along.

The sun of Spring had opened the flowers and clothed the woods in
verdure; had freed the streams from their icy fetters, and inspired the
warbling world with harmony, when two forlorn and weary travelers
approached the banks of the river Pison; that river which had flowed
through the garden of Eden when the first sunshine broke upon the world.
A hundred years had rolled away, and the echo of no human voice had
resounded through the deserted groves. At length the dusky figures
emerged from the overshadowing shrubbery, and raised their eyes into
each other's faces. One bound--one cry--and they weep for joy in each
other's arms.

Adam related his sad and melancholy story, and then Eve soon finished
hers. But no sooner had she told her dream, than Adam, straining her to
his bosom, exclaimed:

"There is no mystery here, my Eve. If Happiness on earth be indeed the
child of Honor and Love, it must be in Matrimony alone. What else now
left us on earth can lay claim to the precious boon? Approved by heaven,
and cherished by man, in the holy bonds of Matrimony it must consist;
and if this be all, we need seek no further; it is ours!"

They then knelt in prayer, and returned thanks to Heaven, that though
the garden of Eden was a wild, and the nymph Happiness no longer an
angel at their side, yet that her spirit was still present in every
bosom where the heart is linked to Honor and Love by the sacred ties of
Matrimony.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XIX.

_THE LAST OF HIS RACE._


    No further can fate tempt or try me,
      With guerdon of pleasure or pain;
    Ere the noon of my life has sped by me,
      The last of my race I remain.
    To that home so long left I might journey;
      But they for whose greeting I yearn,
    Are launched on that shadowy ocean
      Whence voyagers never return.

    My life is a blank in creation,
      My fortunes no kindred may share;
    No brother to cheer desolation,
      No sister to soften by prayer;
    No father to gladden my triumphs,
      No mother my sins to atone;
    No children to lean on in dying--
      I must finish my journey alone!

    In that hall, where their feet tripp'd before me,
      How lone would now echo my tread!
    While each fading portrait threw o'er me
      The chill, stony smile of the dead.
    One sad thought bewilders my slumbers,
      From eve till the coming of dawn:
    I cry out in visions, "_Where are they_?"
      And echo responds, "_They are gone_!"

    But fain, ere the life-fount grows colder,
      I'd wend to that lone, distant place,
    That row of green hillocks, where moulder
      The rest of my early doom'd race.
    There slumber the true and the manly,
      There slumber the spotless and fair;
    And when my last journey is ended,
      My place of repose be it there!


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XX.

_THE TWO GEORGES._


Between the years of our Lord 1730 and 1740, two men were born on
opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, whose lives were destined to exert
a commanding influence on the age in which they lived, as well as to
control the fortunes of many succeeding generations.

One was by birth a plain peasant, the son of a Virginia farmer; the
other an hereditary Prince, and the heir of an immense empire. It will
be the main object of this sketch to trace the histories of these two
individuals, so dissimilar in their origin, from birth to death, and
show how it happened that one has left a name synonymous with tyranny,
whilst the other will descend to the lowest posterity, radiant with
immortal glory, and renowned the world over as the friend of virtue, the
guardian of liberty, and the benefactor of his race.

Go with me for one moment to the crowded and splendid metropolis of
England. It is the evening of the 4th of June 1734. Some joyful event
must have occurred, for the bells are ringing merrily, and the
inhabitants are dressed in holiday attire. Nor is the circumstance of a
private nature, for banners are everywhere displayed, the vast city is
illuminated, and a thousand cannon are proclaiming it from their iron
throats. The population seem frantic with joy, and rush tumultuously
into each other's arms, in token of a national jubilee. Tens of
thousands are hurrying along toward a splendid marble pile, situated on
a commanding eminence, near the river Thames, whilst from the loftiest
towers of St. James's Palace the national ensigns of St. George and the
Red Cross are seen floating on the breeze. Within one of the most
gorgeously furnished apartments of that royal abode, the wife of
Frederic, Prince of Wales, and heir apparent to the British Empire, has
just been delivered of a son. The scions of royalty crowd into the
bed-chamber, and solemnly attest the event as one on which the destiny
of a great empire is suspended. The corridors are thronged with dukes,
and nobles, and soldiers, and courtiers, all anxious to bend the supple
knee, and bow the willing neck, to power just cradled into the world. A
Royal Proclamation soon follows, commemorating the event, and commanding
British subjects everywhere, who acknowledge the honor of Brunswick, to
rejoice, and give thanks to God for safely ushering into existence
George William Frederic, heir presumptive of the united crowns of Great
Britain and Ireland. Just twenty-two years afterward that child ascended
the throne of his ancestors as King George the Third.

Let us now turn our eyes to the Western Continent, and contemplate a
scene of similar import, but under circumstances of a totally different
character. It is the 22d February, 1732. The locality is a distant
colony, the spot the verge of an immense, untrodden and unexplored
wilderness, the habitation a log cabin, with its chinks filled in with
clay, and its sloping roof patched over with clapboards. Snow covers the
ground, and a chill wintery wind is drifting the flakes, and moaning
through the forest. Two immense chimneys stand at either end of the
house, and give promise of cheerful comfort and primitive hospitality
within, totally in contrast with external nature. There are but four
small rooms in the dwelling, in one of which Mary Ball, the wife of
Augustine Washington, has just given birth to a son. No dukes or
marquises or earls are there to attest the humble event. There are no
princes of the blood to wrap the infant in the insignia of royalty, and
fold about his limbs the tapestried escutcheon of a kingdom. His first
breath is not drawn in the center of a mighty capitol, the air laden
with perfume, and trembling to the tones of soft music and the "murmurs
of low fountains." But the child is received from its Mother's womb by
hands imbrowned with honest labor, and laid upon a lowly couch,
indicative only of a backwoodsman's home and an American's inheritance.
He, too, is christened George, and forty-three years afterward took
command of the American forces assembled on the plains of old Cambridge.

But if their births were dissimilar, their rearing and education were
still more unlike. From his earliest recollection the Prince heard only
the language of flattery, moved about from palace to palace, just as
caprice dictated, slept upon the cygnet's down, and grew up in
indolence, self-will and vanity, a dictator from his cradle. The peasant
boy, on the other hand, was taught from his infancy that labor was
honorable, and hardships indispensable to vigorous health. He early
learned to sleep alone amid the dangers of a boundless wilderness, a
stone for his pillow, and the naked sod his bed; whilst the voices of
untamed nature around him sang his morning and his evening hymns. Truth,
courage and constancy were early implanted in his mind by a mother's
counsels, and the important lesson of life was taught by a father's
example, that when existence ceases to be useful it ceases to be happy.

Early manhood ushered them both into active life; the one as king over
extensive dominions, the other as a modest, careful, and honest district
surveyor.

Having traced the two Georges to the threshold of their career, let us
now proceed one step further, and take note of the first great public
event in the lives of either.

For a long time preceding the year 1753 the French had laid claim to all
the North American continent west of the Alleghany Mountains, stretching
in an unbroken line from Canada to Louisiana. The English strenuously
denied this right, and when the French commandant on the Ohio, in 1753,
commenced erecting a fort near where the present city of Pittsburg
stands, and proceeded to capture certain English traders, and expel them
from the country, Dinwiddie, Governor of Virginia, deemed it necessary
to dispatch an agent on a diplomatic visit to the French commandant, and
demand by what authority he acted, by what title he claimed the country,
and order him immediately to evacuate the territory.

George Washington, then only in his twenty-second year, was selected by
the Governor for this important mission.

It is unnecessary to follow him, in all his perils, during his wintery
march through the wilderness. The historian of his life has painted in
imperishable colors his courage, his sagacity, his wonderful coolness in
the midst of danger, and the success which crowned his undertaking. The
memory loves to follow him through the trackless wilds of the forest,
accompanied by only a single companion, and making his way through
wintery snows, in the midst of hostile savages and wild beasts for more
than five hundred miles, to the residence of the French commander. How
often do we not shudder, as we behold the treacherous Indian guide, on
his return, deliberately raising his rifle, and leveling it at that
majestic form; thus endeavoring, by an act of treachery and cowardice,
to deprive Virginia of her young hero! And oh! with what fervent prayers
do we not implore a kind Providence to watch over his desperate
encounter with the floating ice, at midnight, in the swollen torrent of
the Alleghany, and rescue him from the wave and the storm. Standing
bareheaded on the frail raft, whilst in the act of dashing aside some
floating ice that threatened to ingulf him, the treacherous oar was
broken in his hand, and he is precipitated many feet into the boiling
current. Save! oh, save him heaven! for the destinies of millions yet
unborn hang upon that noble arm!

Let us now recross the ocean. In the early part of the year 1764 a
ministerial crisis occurs in England, and Lord Bute, the favorite of the
British monarch, is driven from the administration of the government.
The troubles with the American colonists have also just commenced to
excite attention, and the young King grows angry, perplexed, and greatly
irritated. A few days after this, a rumor starts into circulation that
the monarch is sick. His attendants look gloomy, his friends terrified,
and even his physicians exhibit symptoms of doubt and danger. Yet he has
no fever, and is daily observed walking with uncertain and agitated step
along the corridors of the palace. His conduct becomes gradually more
and more strange, until doubt gives place to certainty, and the royal
medical staff report to a select committee of the House of Commons that
the King is threatened with _insanity_. For six weeks the cloud obscures
his mental faculties, depriving him of all interference with the
administration of the government, and betokening a sad disaster in the
future. His reason is finally restored, but frequent fits of passion,
pride and obstinacy indicate but too surely that the disease is seated,
and a radical cure impossible.

Possessed now of the chief characteristics of George Washington and
George Guelph, we are prepared to review briefly their conduct during
the struggle that ensued between the two countries they respectively
represented.

Let us now refer to the first act of disloyalty of Washington, the first
indignant spurn his high-toned spirit evinced under the oppressions of a
king.

Not long after his return from the west, Washington was offered the
chief command of the forces about to be raised in Virginia, to expel the
French; but, with his usual modesty, he declined the appointment, on
account of his extreme youth, but consented to take the post of
lieutenant-colonel. Shortly afterward, on the death of Colonel Fry, he
was promoted to the chief command, but through no solicitations of his
own. Subsequently, when the war between France and England broke out in
Europe, the principal seat of hostilities was transferred to America,
and his Gracious Majesty George III sent over a large body of troops,
_under the command of favorite officers_. But this was not enough. An
edict soon followed, denominated an "Order to settle the rank of the
officers of His Majesty's forces serving in America." By one of the
articles of this order, it was provided "that all officers commissioned
by the King, should take precedence of those of the same grade
commissioned by the governors of the respective colonies, although their
commissions might be of junior date;" and it was further provided, that
"when the troops served together, the provincial officers should enjoy
no rank at all." This order was scarcely promulgated--indeed, before the
ink was dry--ere the Governor of Virginia received a communication
informing him that _George Washington was no longer a soldier_.
Entreaties, exhortations, and threats were all lavished upon him in
vain; and to those who, in their expostulations, spoke of the
defenseless frontiers of his native State, he patriotically but nobly
replied: "I will serve my country when I can do so without dishonor."

In contrast with this attitude of Washington, look at the conduct of
George the Third respecting the colonies, after the passage of the Stamp
Act. This act was no sooner proclaimed in America, than the most violent
opposition was manifested, and combinations for the purpose of effectual
resistance were rapidly organized from Massachusetts to Georgia. The
leading English patriots, among whom were Burke and Barré, protested
against the folly of forcing the colonies into rebellion, and the city
of London presented a petition to the King, praying him to dismiss the
Granville ministry, and repeal the obnoxious act. "It is with the utmost
astonishment," replied the King, "that I find any of my subjects capable
of encouraging the rebellious disposition that unhappily exists in some
of my North American colonies. Having entire confidence in the wisdom of
my parliament, the great council of the realm, I will steadily pursue
those measures which they have recommended for the support of the
constitutional rights of Great Britain." He heeded not the memorable
words of Burke, that afterward became prophetic. "There are moments,"
exclaimed this great statesman, "critical moments in the fortunes of all
states when they who are too weak to contribute to your prosperity may
yet be strong enough to complete your ruin." The Boston port bill
passed, and the first blood was spilt at Lexington.

It is enough to say of the long and bloody war that followed, that
George the Third, by his obstinacy, contributed more than any other man
in his dominion to prolong the struggle, and affix to it the stigma of
cruelty, inhumanity and vengeance; whilst Washington was equally the
soul of the conflict on the other side, and by his imperturbable
justice, moderation and firmness, did more than by his arms to convince
England that her revolted colonists were invincible.

It is unnecessary to review in detail the old Revolution. Let us pass to
the social position of the two Georges in after-life.

On the 2d August, 1786, as the King was alighting from his carriage at
the gate of St. James, an attempt was made on his life by a woman named
Margaret Nicholson, who, under pretense of presenting a petition,
endeavored to stab him with a knife which was concealed in the paper.
The weapon was an old one, and so rusty that, on striking the vest of
the King, it bent double, and thus preserved his life. On the 29th
October, 1795, whilst his majesty was proceeding to the House of Lords,
a ball passed through both windows of the carriage. On his return to St.
James the mob threw stones into the carriage, several of which struck
the King, and one lodged in the cuff of his coat. The state carriage was
completely demolished by the mob. But it was on the 15th May, 1800, that
George the Third made his narrowest escapes. In the morning of that
day, whilst attending the field exercise of a battalion of guards, one
of the soldiers loaded his piece with a bullet and discharged it at the
King. The ball fortunately missed its aim, and lodged in the thigh of a
gentleman who was standing in the rear. In the evening of the same day a
more alarming circumstance occurred at the Drury Lane Theatre. At the
moment when the King entered the royal box, a man in the pit, on the
right-hand side of the orchestra, suddenly stood up and discharged a
large horse-pistol at him. The hand of the would-be assassin was thrown
up by a bystander, and the ball entered the box just above the head of
the King.

Such were the public manifestations of affection for this royal tyrant.
He was finally attacked by an enemy that could not be thwarted, and on
the 20th December, 1810, he became a confirmed lunatic. In this dreadful
condition he lingered until January, 1820, when he died, having been the
most unpopular, unwise and obstinate sovereign that ever disgraced the
English throne. He was forgotten as soon as life left his body, and was
hurriedly buried with that empty pomp which but too often attends a
despot to the grave.

His whole career is well summed up by Allan Cunningham, his biographer,
in few words: "Throughout his life he manifested a strong disposition to
be his own minister, and occasionally placed the kingly prerogatives in
perilous opposition to the resolutions of the nation's representatives.
His interference with the deliberations of the upper house, as in the
case of Fox's Indian bill, was equally ill-judged and dangerous. _The
separation of America from the mother country, at the time it took
place, was the result of the King's personal feelings and interference
with the ministry._ The war with France was, in part at least,
attributable to the views and wishes of the sovereign of England. His
obstinate refusal to grant any concessions to his Catholic subjects,
kept his cabinet perpetually hanging on the brink of dissolution, and
threatened the dismemberment of the kingdom. He has been often praised
for firmness, but it was in too many instances the firmness of
obstinacy; a dogged adherence to an opinion once pronounced, or a
resolution once formed."

The mind, in passing from the unhonored grave of the prince to the last
resting-place of the peasant boy, leaps from a kingdom of darkness to
one of light.

Let us now return to the career of Washington. Throughout the
Revolutionary War he carried, like Atropos, in his hand the destinies of
millions; he bore, like Atlas, on his shoulders the weight of a world.
It is unnecessary to follow him throughout his subsequent career.
Honored again and again by the people of the land he had redeemed from
thraldom, he has taken his place in death by the side of the wisest and
best of the world's benefactors. Assassins did not unglory him in life,
nor has oblivion drawn her mantle over him in death. The names of his
great battle-fields have become nursery words, and his principles have
imbedded themselves forever in the national character. Every pulsation
of our hearts beats true to his memory. His mementoes are everywhere
around and about us. Distant as we are from the green fields of his
native Westmoreland, the circle of his renown has spread far beyond our
borders. In climes where the torch of science was never kindled; on
shores still buried in primeval bloom; amongst barbarians where the face
of liberty was never seen, the Christian missionary of America, roused
perhaps from his holy duties by the distant echo of the national salute,
this day thundering amidst the billows of every sea, or dazzled by the
gleam of his country's banner, this day floating in every wind of
heaven, pauses over his task as a Christian, and whilst memory kindles
in his bosom the fires of patriotism, pronounced in the ear of the
enslaved pagan the venerated name of WASHINGTON!

Nor are the sons of the companions of Washington alone in doing justice
to his memory. Our sisters, wives and mothers compete with us in
discharging this debt of national gratitude. With a delicacy that none
but woman could exhibit, and with a devotion that none but a daughter
could feel, they are now busy in executing the noble scheme of
purchasing his tomb, in order for endless generations to stand sentinel
over his remains. Take them! take them to your hearts, oh! ye daughters
of America; enfold them closer to your bosom than your first-born
offspring; build around them a mausoleum that neither time nor change
can overthrow; for within them germinates the seeds of liberty for the
benefit of millions yet unborn. Wherever tyranny shall lift its Medusan
head, wherever treason shall plot its hellish schemes, wherever disunion
shall unfurl its tattered ensign, there, oh there, sow them in the
hearts of patriots and republicans! For from these pale ashes there
shall spring, as from the dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus of old on the
plains of Heber, vast armies of invincible heroes, sworn upon the altar
and tomb at Mount Vernon, to live as freemen, or as such to die!



[Decoration]


XXI.

_MASONRY._


    Oh, sacred spirit of Masonic love,
    Offspring of Heaven, the angels' bond above,
    Guardian of peace and every social tie,
    How deep the sources of thy fountains lie!
    How wide the realms that 'neath thy wings expand,
    Embracing every clime, encircling every land!

    Beneath the aurora of the Polar skies,
    Where Greenland's everlasting glaciers rise,
    The Lodge mysterious lifts its snow-built dome,
    And points the brother to a sunnier home;
    Where Nilus slays the sacrificial kid,
    Beneath the shadow of her pyramid,
    Where magian suns unclasp the gaping ground,
    And far Australia's golden sands abound;
    Where breakers thunder on the coral strand,
    To guard the gates of Kamehameha's land;
    Wherever man, in lambskin garb arrayed,
    Strikes in defense of innocence betrayed;
    Lifts the broad shield of charity to all,
    And bends in anguish o'er a brother's fall;
    Where the bright symbol of Masonic truth,
    Alike for high and low, for age or youth,
    Flames like yon sun at tropic midday's call,
    And opes the universal eye on all!
    What though in secret all your alms be done,
    Your foes all vanquished and your trophies won?
    What though a veil be o'er your Lodges thrown,
    And brother only be to brother known?

    In secret, God built up the rolling world;
    In secret, morning's banners are unfurled;
    In secret, spreads the leaf, unfolds the flower,
    Revolve the spheres, and speeds the passing hour.
    The day is noise, confusion, strife, turmoil,
    Struggles for bread, and sweat beneath the toil.
    The night is silence--progress without jars,
    The rest of mortals and the march of stars!
    The day for work to toiling man was given;
    But night, to lead his erring steps to Heaven.
    All hail! ye brethren of the mystic tie!
    Who feed the hungry, heed the orphan's cry;
    Who clothe the naked, dry the widow's tear,
    Befriend the exile, bear the stranger's bier;
    Stand round the bedside when the fluttering soul
    Bursts her clay bonds and parteth for her goal;
    God speed you in the noble path you tread,
    Friends of the living, mourners o'er the dead.

    May all your actions, measured on the square,
    Be just and righteous, merciful and fair;
    Your thoughts flow pure, in modesty of mind,
    Along the equal level of mankind;
    Your words be troweled to truth's perfect tone,
    Your fame be chiseled in unblemished stone,
    Your hearts be modeled on the plummet's line,
    Your faith be guided by the Book divine;
    And when at last the gavel's beat above
    Calls you from labor to the feast of love,
    May mighty Boaz, pillar'd at that gate
    Which seraphs tyle and where archangels wait,
    Unloose the bandage from your dazzled eyes,
    Spell out the _Password_ to Arch-Royal skies;
    Upon your bosom set the signet steel,
    Help's sign disclose, and Friendship's grip reveal;
    Place in your grasp the soul's unerring rod,
    And light you to the Temple of your God!



[Decoration]


XXII.

_POLLOCK'S EUTHANASIA._


    He is gone! the young, and gifted!
    By his own strong pinions lifted
                      To the stars;

    Where he strikes, with minstrels olden,
    Choral harps, whose strings are golden,
                      Deathless bars.

    There, with Homer's ghost all hoary,
    Not with years, but fadeless glory,
                      Lo! he stands;

    And through that open portal,
    We behold the bards immortal
                      Clasping hands!

    Hark! how Rome's great epic master
    Sings, that death is no disaster
                      To the wise;

    Fame on earth is but a menial,
    But it reigns a king perennial
                      In the skies!

    Albion's blind old bard heroic,
    Statesman, sage, and Christian stoic,
                      Greets his son;

    Whilst in pæans wild and glorious,
    Like his "Paradise victorious,"
                      Sings, Well done!

    Lo! a bard with forehead pendent,
    But with glory's beams resplendent
                      As a star;

    Slow descends from regions higher,
    With a crown and golden lyre
                      In his car.

    All around him, crowd as minions,
    Thrones and sceptres, and dominions,
                      Kings and Queens;

    Ages past and ages present,
    Lord and dame, and prince and peasant,
                      His demesnes!

    Approach! young bard hesperian,
    Welcome to the heights empyrean,
                      Thou did'st sing,

    Ere yet thy trembling fingers
    Struck where fame immortal lingers,
                      In the string.

    Kneel! I am the bard of Avon,
    And the Realm of song in Heaven
                      Is my own;

    Long thy verse shall live in story,
    And thy Lyre I crown with glory,
                      And a throne!



[Decoration]


XXIII.

_SCIENCE, LITERATURE AND ART DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH
CENTURY._


Looking back into the past, and exploring by the light of authentic
history, sacred as well as profane, the characteristics of former ages,
the merest tyro in learning cannot fail to perceive that certain epochs
stand prominently out on the "sands of time," and indicate vast activity
and uncommon power in the human mind.

These epochs are so well marked that history has given them a
designation, and to call them by their name, conjures up, as by the wand
of an enchanter, the heroic representatives of our race.

If, for instance, we should speak of the era of Solomon, in sacred
history, the memory would instantly picture forth the pinnacles of the
Holy Temple, lifting themselves into the clouds; the ear would listen
intently to catch the sweet intonations of the harp of David, vocal at
once with the prophetic sorrows of his race, and swelling into sublime
ecstasy at the final redemption of his people; the eye would glisten at
the pomp and pageantry of the foreign potentates who thronged his court,
and gloat with rapture over the beauty of the young Queen of Sheba, who
journeyed from a distant land to seek wisdom at the feet of the wisest
monarch that ever sat upon a throne. We should behold his ships
traversing every sea, and pouring into the lap of Israel the gold of
Ophir, the ivory of Senegambia, and the silks, myrrh, and spices of the
East.

So, too, has profane history its golden ages, when men all seemed to be
giants, and their minds inspired.

What is meant when we speak of the age of Pericles? We mean all that is
glorious in the annals of Greece. We mean Apelles with his pencil,
Phidias with his chisel, Alcibiades with his sword. We seem to be
strolling arm-in-arm with Plato, into the academy, to listen to the
divine teachings of Socrates, or hurrying along with the crowd toward
the theatre, where Herodotus is reading his history, or Euripides is
presenting his tragedies. Aspasia rises up like a beautiful apparition
before us, and we follow willing slaves at the wheels of her victorious
chariot. The whole of the Peloponnesus glows with intellect like a forge
in blast, and scatters the trophies of Grecian civilization profusely
around us. The Parthenon lifts its everlasting columns, and the Venus
and Apollo are moulded into marble immortality.

Rome had her Augustan age, an era of poets, philosophers, soldiers,
statesmen, and orators. Crowded into contemporary life, we recognize the
greatest general of the heathen world, the greatest poet, the greatest
orator, and the greatest statesman of Rome. Cæsar and Cicero, Virgil and
Octavius, all trod the pavement of the capitol together, and lent their
blended glory to immortalize the Augustan age.

Italy and Spain and France and England have had their golden age. The
eras of Lorenzo the Magnificent, of Ferdinand and Isabella, of Louis
Quatorze and of Elizabeth, can never be forgotten. They loom up from the
surrounding gloom like the full moon bursting upon the sleeping seas;
irradiating the night, clothing the meanest wave in sparkling silver,
and dimming the lustre of the brightest stars. History has also left in
its track mementoes of a different character. In sacred history we have
the age of Herod; in profane, the age of Nero. We recognize at a glance
the talismanic touch of the age of chivalry, and the era of the
Crusades, and mope our way in darkness and gloom along that opaque
track, stretching from the reign of Justinian, in the sixth century, to
the reign of Edward the Third, in the fourteenth, and known throughout
Christendom as the "Dark Ages." Let us now take a survey of the field we
occupy, and ascertain, if possible, the category in which our age shall
be ranked by our posterity.

But before proceeding to discuss the characteristics of our epoch, let
us define more especially what that epoch embraces.

It does not embrace the American nor the French Revolution, nor does it
include the acts or heroes of either. The impetus given to the human
mind by the last half of the eighteenth century, must be carefully
distinguished from the impulses of the first half of the nineteenth. The
first was an era of almost universal war, the last of almost
uninterrupted peace. The dying ground-swell of the waves after a storm
belong to the tempest, not to the calm which succeeds. Hence the wars of
Napoleon, the literature and art of his epoch, must be excluded from
observation, in properly discussing the true characteristics of our era.

De Staël and Goethe and Schiller and Byron; Pitt and Nesselrode,
Metternich and Hamilton; Fichte and Stewart and Brown and Cousin;
Canova, Thorwaldsen and La Place, though all dying since the beginning
of this century, belong essentially to a former era. They were the
ripened fruits of that grand uprising of the human mind which first
took form on the 4th day of July, 1776. Our era properly commences with
the downfall of the first Napoleon, and none of the events connected
therewith, either before or afterward, can be philosophically classed in
the epoch we represent, but must be referred to a former period. Ages
hence, then, the philosophic critic will thus describe the first half of
the nineteenth century:

  "The normal state of Christendom was peace. The age of steel that
  immediately went before it had passed. It was the Iron age.

  "Speculative philosophy fell asleep; literature declined;
  Skepticism bore sway in religion, politics, and morals; Utility
  became the universal standard of right and wrong, and the truths
  of every science and the axioms of every art were ruthlessly
  subjected to the _experimentum crucis_. Everything was liable to
  revision. The verdicts pronounced in the olden time against
  Mohammed and Mesmer and Robespierre were set aside, and a new
  trial granted. The ghosts of Roger Bacon and Emanuel Swedenborg
  were summoned from the Stygian shore to plead their causes anew
  before the bar of public opinion. The head of Oliver Cromwell was
  ordered down from the gibbet, the hump was smoothed down on the
  back of Richard III, and the sentence pronounced by Urban VIII
  against the 'starry Galileo' reversed forever. Aristotle was
  decently interred beneath a modern monument inscribed thus: '_In
  pace requiescat_;' whilst Francis Bacon was rescued from the
  sacrilegious hands of kings and peers and parliament, and
  canonized by the unanimous consent of Christendom. It was the age
  of tests. Experiment governed the world. Germany led the van, and
  Humboldt became the impersonation of his times."

Such unquestionably will be the verdict of the future, when the present
time, with all its treasures and trash, its hopes and realizations,
shall have been safely shelved and labeled amongst the musty records of
bygone generations.

Let us now examine into the grounds of this verdict more minutely, and
test its accuracy by exemplifications.

I. And first, who believes now in _innate ideas_? Locke has been
completely superseded by the materialists of Germany and France, and all
speculative moral philosophy exploded. The audiences of Edinburgh and
Brown University interrupt Sir William Hamilton and Dr. Wayland in their
discourses, and, stripping off the plumage from their theses,
inquisitively demand, "_Cui bono_?" What is the use of all this? How can
we apply it to the every-day concerns of life? We ask you for bread and
you have given us a stone; and though that stone be a diamond, it is
valueless, except for its glitter. No philosopher can speculate
successfully or even satisfactorily to himself, when he is met at every
turn by some vulgar intruder into the domains of Aristotle and Kant, who
clips his wings just as he was prepared to soar into the heavens, by an
offer of copartnership to "speculate," it may be, in the price of pork.
Hence, no moral philosopher of our day has been enabled to erect any
theory which will stand the assaults of logic for a moment. Each school
rises for an instant to the surface, and sports out its little day in
toss and tribulation, until the next wave rolls along, with foam on its
crest and fury in its roar, and overwhelms it forever. As with its
predecessor, so with itself.

                       "The eternal surge
    Of Time and Tide rolls on and bears afar
    Their bubbles: as the old burst, new emerge,
    Lashed from the foam of ages."

II. But I have stated that this is an age of _literary decline_. It is
true that more books are written and published, more newspapers and
periodicals printed and circulated, more extensive libraries collected
and incorporated, and more ink indiscriminately spilt, than at any
former period of the world's history. In looking about us we are
forcibly reminded of the sarcastic couplet of Pope, who complains--

    "That those who cannot write, and those who can,
     All scratch, all scrawl, and scribble to a man."

Had a modern gentleman all the eyes of Argus, all the hands of Briareus,
all the wealth of Croesus, and lived to the age of Methuselah, his
eyes would all fail, his fingers all tire, his money all give out, and
his years come to an end, long before he perused one tenth of the annual
product of the press of Christendom at the present day. It is no figure
of rhetoric to say that the press groans beneath the burden of its
labors. Could the types of Leipsic and London, Paris and New York, speak
out, the Litany would have to be amended, and a new article added, to
which they would solemnly respond: "Spare us, good Lord!"

A recent publication furnishes the following statistical facts relating
to the book trade in our own country: "Books have multiplied to such an
extent in the United States that it now takes 750 paper-mills, with 2000
engines in constant operation, to supply the printers, who work day and
night, endeavoring to keep their engagements with publishers. These
tireless mills produce 270,000,000 pounds of paper every year. It
requires a pound and a quarter of old rags for one pound of paper, thus
340,000,000 pounds of rags were consumed in this way last year. There
are about 300 publishers in the United States, and near 10,000
book-sellers who are engaged in the task of dispensing literary pabulum
to the public."

It may appear somewhat paradoxical to assert that literature is
declining whilst books and authors are multiplying to such a fearful
extent. Byron wrote:

    "'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;
     A book's a book, although there's nothing in 't."

True enough; but books are not always literature. A man may become an
author without ceasing to be an ignoramus. His name may adorn a
title-page without being recorded _in ære perenne_. He may attempt to
write himself up a very "lion" in literature, whilst good master Slender
may be busily engaged "in writing him down an ass."

Not one book in a thousand is a success; not one success in ten thousand
wreathes the fortunate author with the laurel crown, and lifts him up
into the region of the immortals. Tell me, ye who prate about the
_literary glory_ of the nineteenth century, wherein it consists? Whose
are

    "The great, the immortal names
     That were not born to die?"

I cast my eyes up the long vista toward the Temple of Fame, and I behold
hundreds of thousands pressing on to reach the shining portals. They
jostle each other by the way, they trip, they fall, they are overthrown
and ruthlessly trampled into oblivion, by the giddy throng, as they rush
onward and upward. One, it may be two, of the million who started out,
stand trembling at the threshold, and with exultant voices cry aloud for
admittance. One perishes before the summons can be answered; and the
other, awed into immortality by the august presence into which he
enters, is transformed into imperishable stone.

Let us carefully scan the rolls of the literature of our era, and
select, if we can, poet, orator, or philosopher, whose fame will deepen
as it runs, and brighten as it burns, until future generations shall
drink at the fountain and be refreshed, and kindle their souls at the
vestal flame and be purified, illuminated and ennobled.

In poetry, aye, in the crowded realms of song, who bears the
sceptre?--who wears the crown? America, England, France and Germany can
boast of bards _by the gross_, and rhyme _by the acre_, but not a single
poet. The _poeta nascitur_ is not here. He may be on his way--and I have
heard that he was--but this generation must pass before he arrives. Is
he in America? If so, which is he? Is it Poe, croaking sorrowfully with
his "Raven," or Willis, cooing sweetly with his "Dove"? Is it Bryant,
with his "Thanatopsis," or Prentice, with his "Dirge to the Dead Year"?
Perhaps it is Holmes, with his "Lyrics," or Longfellow, with his
"Idyls." Alas! is it not self-evident that we have no poet, when it is
utterly impossible to discover any two critics in the land who can find
him?

True, we have lightning-bugs enough, but no star; foot-hills, it may be,
in abundance, but no Mount Shasta, with its base built upon the
everlasting granite, and its brow bathed in the eternal sunlight.

In England, Tennyson, the Laureate, is the spokesman of a clique, the
pet poet of a princely circle, whose rhymes flow with the docility and
harmony of a limpid brook, but never stun like Niagara, nor rise into
sublimity like the storm-swept sea.

Béranger, the greatest poet of France of our era, was a mere
song-writer; and Heine, the pride of young Germany, a mere satirist and
lyrist. Freiligrath can never rank with Goethe or Schiller; and Victor
Hugo never attain the heights trodden by Racine, Corneille, or Boileau.

In oratory, where shall we find the compeer of Chatham or Mirabeau,
Burke or Patrick Henry? I have not forgotten Peel and Gladstone, nor
Lamartine and Count Cavour, nor Sargent S. Prentiss and Daniel Webster.
But Webster himself, by far the greatest intellect of all these, was a
mere debater, and the spokesman of a party. He was an eloquent speaker,
but can never rank as an orator with the rhetoricians of the last
century.

And in philosophy and general learning, where shall we find the equal of
that burly old bully, Dr. Sam Johnson? and yet Johnson, with all his
learning, was a third-rate philosopher.

In truth, the greatest author of our era was a mere essayist. Beyond all
controversy, Thomas Babington Macaulay was the most polished writer of
our times. With an intellect acute, logical and analytic; with an
imagination glowing and rich, but subdued and under perfect control;
with a style so clear and limpid and concise, that it has become a
standard for all who aim to follow in the path he trod, and with a
learning so full and exact, and exhaustive, that he was nicknamed, when
an undergraduate, the "Omniscient Macaulay;" he still lacks the giant
grasp of thought, the bold originality, and the intense, earnest
enthusiasm which characterize the master-spirits of the race, and
identify them with the eras they adorn.

III. As in literature, so in what have been denominated by scholars the
_Fine Arts_. The past fifty years has not produced a painter, sculptor,
or composer, who ranks above mediocrity in their respective vocations.
Canova and Thorwaldsen were the last of their race; Sir Joshua
Reynolds left no successor, and the immortal Beethoven has been
superseded by negro minstrelsy and senseless pantomime. The greatest
architect of the age is a railroad contractor, and the first dramatist a
cobbler of French farces.

IV. But whilst the highest faculty of the mind--the imagination--has
been left uncultivated, and has produced no worthy fruit, the next
highest, the casual, or the one that deals with causes and effects, has
been stimulated into the most astonishing fertility.

Our age ignores fancy, and deals exclusively with fact. Within its
chosen range it stands far, very far pre-eminent over all that have
preceded it. It reaps the fruit of Bacon's labors. It utilizes all that
it touches. It stands thoughtfully on the field of Waterloo, and
estimates scientifically the manuring properties of bones and blood. It
disentombs the mummy of Thotmes II, sells the linen bandages for the
manufacture of paper, burns the asphaltum-soaked body for firewood, and
plants the pint of red wheat found in his sarcophagus, to try an
agricultural experiment. It deals in no sentimentalities; it has no
appreciation of the sublime. It stands upon the ocean shore, but with
its eyes fixed on the yellow sand searching for gold. It confronts
Niagara, and, gazing with rapture at its misty shroud, exclaims, in an
ecstasy of admiration, "Lord, what a place to sponge a coat!" Having no
soul to save, it has no religion to save it. It has discovered that
Mohammed was a great benefactor of his race, and that Jesus Christ was,
after all, a mere man; distinguished, it is true, for his benevolence,
his fortitude and his morality, but for nothing else. It does not
believe in the Pope, nor in the Church, nor in the Bible. It ridicules
the infallibility of the first, the despotism of the second, and the
chronology of the third. It is possessed of the very spirit of Thomas;
it must "touch and handle" before it will believe. It questions the
existence of spirit, because it cannot be analyzed by chemical solvents;
it questions the existence of hell, because it has never been scorched;
it questions the existence of God, because it has never beheld Him.

It does, however, believe in the explosive force of gunpowder, in the
evaporation of boiling water, in the head of the magnet, and in the
heels of the lightnings. It conjugates the Latin verb _invenio_ (to find
out) through all its voices, moods and tenses. It invents everything;
from a lucifer match in the morning to kindle a kitchen fire, up through
all the intermediate ranks and tiers and grades of life, to a telescope
that spans the heavens in the evening, it recognizes no chasm or hiatus
in its inventions. It sinks an artesian well in the desert of Sahara for
a pitcher of water, and bores through the Alleghanies for a hogshead of
oil. From a fish-hook to the Great Eastern, from a pocket deringer to a
columbiad, from a sewing machine to a Victoria suspension bridge, it
oscillates like a pendulum.

Deficient in literature and art, our age surpasses all others in
science. Knowledge has become the great end and aim of human life. "I
want to know," is inscribed as legibly on the hammer of the geologist,
the crucible of the chemist, and the equatorial of the astronomer, as it
is upon the phiz of a regular "Down-Easter." Our age has inherited the
chief failing of our first mother, and passing by the "Tree of Life in
the midst of the Garden," we are all busily engaged in mercilessly
plundering the Tree of Knowledge of all its fruit. The time is rapidly
approaching when no man will be considered a gentleman who has not filed
his _caveat_ in the Patent Office.

The inevitable result of this spirit of the age begins already to be
seen. The philosophy of a cold, blank, calculating materialism has taken
possession of all the avenues of learning. Epicurus is worshiped instead
of Christ. Mammon is considered as the only true savior. _Dum Vivimus
Vivamus_, is the maxim we live by, and the creed we die by. We are all
iconoclasts. St. Paul has been superseded by St. Fulton; St John by St.
Colt; St. James by St. Morse; St. Mark by St. Manry; and St. Peter has
surrendered his keys to that great incarnate representative of this age,
St. Alexandre Von Humboldt.


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XXIV.

_THE ENROBING OF LIBERTY._


    The war-drum was silent, the cannon was mute,
      The sword in its scabbard lay still,
    And battle had gathered the last autumn fruit
      That crimson-dyed river and rill,
    When a Goddess came down from her mansion on high,
      To gladden the world with her smile,
    Leaving only her robes in the realm of the sky,
      That their sheen might no mortal beguile.

    As she lit on the earth she was welcomed by Peace,
      Twin sisters in Eden of yore--
    But parted forever when fetter-bound Greece
      Drove her exiled and chained from her shore;
    Never since had the angel of Liberty trod
      In virginal beauty below;
    But, chased from the earth, she had mounted to God,
      Despoiled of her raiment of snow.

    Our sires gathered round her, entranced by her smile,
      Remembering the footprints of old
    She had graven on grottoes, in Scio's sweet Isle,
      Ere the doom of fair Athens was told.
    "I am naked," she cried; "I am homeless on earth;
      Kings, Princes, and Lords are my foes,
    But I stand undismayed, though an orphan by birth,
      And condemned to the region of snows."

    "Hail, Liberty! hail"--our fathers exclaim--
      "To the glorious land of the West!
    With a diadem bright we will honor thy name,
      And enthrone thee America's guest;
    We will found a great nation and call it thine own,
      And erect here an altar to thee,
    Where millions shall kneel at the foot of thy throne
      And swear to forever be free!"

    Then each brought a vestment her form to enrobe,
      And screen her fair face from the sun,
    And thus she stood forth as the Queen of the globe
      When the work of our Fathers was done.

    A circlet of stars round her temples they wove,
      That gleamed like Orion's bright band,
    And an emblem of power, the eagle of Jove,
      They perched like a bolt in her hand;
    On her forehead, a scroll that contained but a line
      Was written in letters of light,
    That our great "Constitution" forever might shine,
      A sun to illumine the night.

    Her feet were incased in broad sandals of gold,
      That riches might spring in her train;
    While a warrior's casque, with its visor uproll'd,
      Protected her tresses and brain;
    Round her waist a bright girdle of satin was bound,
      Formed of colors so blended and true,
    That when as a banner the scarf was unwound,
      It floated the "Red, White and Blue."

    Then Liberty calm, leant on Washington's arm,
      And spoke in prophetical strain:
    "Columbia's proud hills I will shelter from ills,
      Whilst her valleys and mountains remain;
    But palsied the hand that would pillage the band
      Of sisterhood stars in my crown,
    And death to the knave whose sword would enslave,
      By striking your great charter down.

    "Your eagle shall soar this western world o'er,
      And carry the sound of my name,
    Till monarchs shall quake and its confines forsake,
      If true to your ancestral fame!
    Your banner shall gleam like the polar star's beam,
      To guide through rebellion's Red sea,
    And in battle 'twill wave, both to conquer and save,
      If borne by the hands of the free!"


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XXV.

_A CAKE OF SOAP._


    I stood at my washstand, one bright sunny morn,
    And gazed through the blinds at the upbringing corn,
    And mourn'd that my summers were passing away,
    Like the dew on the meadow that morning in May.

    I seized, for an instant, the Iris-hued soap,
    That glowed in the dish, like an emblem of hope,
    And said to myself, as I melted its snows,
    "The longer I use it, the lesser it grows."

    For life, in its morn, is full freighted and gay,
    And fair as the rainbow when clouds float away;
    Sweet-scented and useful, it sheds its perfume,
    Till wasted or blasted, it melts in the tomb.

    Thus day after day, whilst we lather and scrub,
    Time wasteth and blasteth with many a rub,
    Till thinner and thinner, the soap wears away,
    And age hands us over to dust and decay.

    Oh Bessie! dear Bess! as I dream of thee now,
    With the spice in thy breath, and the bloom on thy brow,
    To a cake of pure Lubin thy life I compare,
    So fragrant, so fragile, and so debonair!

    But fortune was fickle, and labor was vain,
    And want overtook us, with grief in its train,
    Till, worn out by troubles, death came in the blast;
    But _thy_ kisses, like Lubin's, were sweet to the last!



[Decoration]


XXVI.

_THE SUMMERFIELD CASE._


The following additional particulars, as sequel to the Summerfield
homicide, have been furnished by an Auburn correspondent:

  MR. EDITOR: The remarkable confession of the late Leonidas Parker,
  which appeared in your issue of the 13th ultimo, has given rise to
  a series of disturbances in this neighborhood, which, for romantic
  interest and downright depravity, have seldom been surpassed, even
  in California. Before proceeding to relate in detail the late
  transactions, allow me to remark that the wonderful narrative of
  Parker excited throughout this county sentiments of the most
  profound and contradictory character. I, for one, halted between
  two opinions--horror and incredulity; and nothing but subsequent
  events could have fully satisfied me of the unquestionable
  veracity of your San Francisco correspondent, and the scientific
  authenticity of the facts related.

  The doubt with which the story was at first received in this
  community--and which found utterance in a burlesque article in an
  obscure country journal, the Stars and Stripes, of Auburn--has
  finally been dispelled and we find ourselves forced to admit that
  we stand even now in the presence of the most alarming fate. Too
  much credit cannot be awarded to our worthy coroner for the
  promptitude of his action, and we trust that the Governor of the
  State will not be less efficient in the discharge of his duty.

  [Since the above letter was written the following proclamation has
  been issued.--P. J.]


                  PROCLAMATION OF THE GOVERNOR.

                        =$10,000 REWARD!=

                                           DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

    By virtue of the authority in me vested, I do hereby offer the
    above reward of ten thousand dollars, in gold coin of the
    United States, for the Arrest of Bartholomew Graham,
    familiarly known as Black Bart. Said Graham is accused of the
    murder of C. P. Gillson, late of Auburn, county of Placer, on
    the 14th ultimo. He is five feet ten inches and a half in
    height, thick set, has a mustache sprinkled with gray,
    grizzled hair, clear blue eyes, walks stooping, and served in
    the late civil war under Price and Quantrell, in the
    Confederate army. He may be lurking in some of the
    mining-camps near the foot-hills, as he was a Washoe teamster
    during the Comstock excitement. The above reward will be paid
    for him, _dead or alive_, as he possessed himself of an
    important secret by robbing the body of the late Gregory
    Summerfield.

    By the Governor:                  H. G. NICHOLSON,
                                            Secretary of State.

    Given at Sacramento, this the fifth day of June, 1871.


Our correspondent continues:

  I am sorry to say that Sheriff Higgins has not been so active in
  the discharge of his duty as the urgency of the case required, but
  he is perhaps excusable on account of the criminal interference of
  the editor above alluded to. But I am detaining you from more
  important matters. Your Saturday's paper reached here at 4
  o'clock, Saturday, 13th May, and, as it now appears from the
  evidence taken before the coroner, several persons left Auburn on
  the same errand, but without any previous conference. Two of these
  were named respectively Charles P. Gillson and Bartholomew Graham,
  or, as he was usually called, "Black Bart." Gillson kept a saloon
  at the corner of Prickly Ash Street and the Old Spring Road; and
  Black Bart was in the employ of Conrad & Co., keepers of the
  Norfolk livery stable. Gillson was a son-in-law of ex-Governor
  Roberts, of Iowa, and leaves a wife and two children to mourn his
  untimely end. As for Graham, nothing certain is known of his
  antecedents. It is said that he was engaged in the late robbery of
  Wells & Fargo's express at Grizzly Bend, and that he was an
  habitual gambler. Only one thing about him is certainly well
  known: he was a lieutenant in the Confederate army, and served
  under General Price and the outlaw Quantrell. He was a man
  originally of fine education, plausible manners and good family;
  but strong drink seems early in life to have overmastered him, and
  left him but a wreck of himself. But he was not incapable of
  generous, or rather, romantic, acts; for, during the burning of
  the Putnam House, in this town, last summer, he rescued two ladies
  from the flames. In so doing he scorched his left hand so
  seriously as to contract the tendons of two fingers, and this very
  scar may lead to his apprehension. There is no doubt about his
  utter desperation of character, and, if taken at all, it will
  probably be not alive.

  So much for the persons concerned in the tragedy at the Flat.

  Herewith I inclose copies of the testimony of the witnesses
  examined before the coroner's jury, together with the statement of
  Gillson, taken _in articulo mortis_:


                     DEPOSITION OF DOLLIE ADAMS.

    STATE OF CALIFORNIA, } ss.
      County of Placer.  }

    Said witness, being duly sworn, deposed as follows, to wit: My
    name is Dollie Adams; my age forty-seven years; I am the wife
    of Frank G. Adams, of this township, and reside on the North
    Fork of the American River, below Cape Horn, on Thompson's
    Flat; about one o'clock P. M., May 14, 1871, I left the cabin
    to gather wood to cook dinner for my husband and the hands at
    work for him on the claim; the trees are mostly cut away from
    the bottom, and I had to climb some distance up the mountain
    side before I could get enough to kindle the fire; I had gone
    about five hundred yards from the cabin, and was searching for
    small sticks of fallen timber, when I thought I heard some one
    groan, as if in pain; I paused and listened; the groaning
    became more distinct, and I started at once for the place
    whence the sounds proceeded; about ten steps off I discovered
    the man whose remains lie there (pointing to the deceased),
    sitting up, with his back against a big rock; he looked so
    pale that I thought him already dead, but he continued to moan
    until I reached his side; hearing me approach, he opened his
    eyes, and begged me, "For God's sake, give me a drop of
    water!" I asked him, "What is the matter?" He replied, "I am
    shot in the back." "Dangerously?" I demanded. "Fatally!" he
    faltered. Without waiting to question him further, I returned
    to the cabin, told Zenie--my daughter--what I had seen, and
    sent her off on a run for the men. Taking with me a gourd of
    water, some milk and bread--for I thought the poor gentleman
    might be hungry and weak, as well as wounded--I hurried back
    to his side, where I remained until "father"--as we all call
    my husband--came with the men. We removed him as gently as we
    could to the cabin; then sent for Dr. Liebner, and nursed him
    until he died, yesterday, just at sunset.

    Question by the Coroner: Did you hear his statement, taken
    down by the Assistant District Attorney?--A. I did.

    Q. Did you see him sign it?--A. Yes, sir.

    Q. Is this your signature thereto as witness?--A. It is, sir.

                 (Signed)                         DOLLIE ADAMS.


                     DEPOSITION OF MISS X. V. ADAMS.

    Being first duly sworn, witness testified as follows: My name
    is Xixenia Volumnia Adams; I am the daughter of Frank G. Adams
    and the last witness; I reside with them on the Flat, and my
    age is eighteen years; a little past 1 o'clock on Sunday last
    my mother came running into the house and informed me that a
    man was dying from a wound, on the side-hill, and that I must
    go for father and the boys immediately. I ran as fast as my
    legs would carry me to where they were "cleaning up," for they
    never cleaned up week-days on the Flat, and told the news; we
    all came back together and proceeded to the spot where the
    wounded man lay weltering in his blood; he was cautiously
    removed to the cabin, where he lingered until yesterday
    sundown, when he died.

    Question. Did he speak after he reached the cabin? A. He did
    frequently; at first with great pain, but afterward more
    audibly and intelligibly.

    Q. What did he say? A. First, to send for Squire Jacobs, the
    Assistant District Attorney, as he had a statement to make;
    and some time afterward, to send for his wife; but we first of
    all sent for the doctor.

    Q. Who was present when he died? A. Only myself; he had
    appeared a great deal easier, and his wife had lain down to
    take a short nap, and my mother had gone to the spring and
    left me alone to watch; suddenly he lifted himself
    spasmodically in bed, glared around wildly and muttered
    something inaudible; seeing me, he cried out, "Run! run! run!
    He has it! Black Bart has got the vial! Quick! or he'll set
    the world afire! See, he opens it! Oh, my God! Look! look!
    look! Hold his hands! tie him! chain him down! Too late! too
    late! oh the flames! Fire! fire! fire!" His tone of voice
    gradually strengthened until the end of his raving; when he
    cried "fire!" his eyeballs glared, his mouth quivered, his
    body convulsed, and before Mrs. Gillson could reach his
    bedside he fell back stone dead.

                 (Signed)                          X. V. ADAMS.


  The testimony of Adams corroborated in every particular that of
  his wife and daughter, but set forth more fully the particulars of
  his demoniac ravings. He would taste nothing from a glass or
  bottle, but shuddered whenever any article of that sort met his
  eyes. In fact, they had to remove from the room the cups,
  tumblers, and even the castors. At times he spoke rationally, but
  after the second day only in momentary flashes of sanity.

  The deposition of the attending physician, after giving the
  general facts with regard to the sickness of the patient and his
  subsequent demise, proceeded thus:


    I found the patient weak, and suffering from loss of blood and
    rest, and want of nourishment; occasionally sane, but for the
    most part flighty and in a comatose condition. The wound was
    an ordinary gunshot wound, produced most probably by the ball
    of a navy revolver, fired at the distance of ten paces. It
    entered the back near the left clavicle, beneath the scapula,
    close to the vertebrae between the intercostal spaces of the
    fifth and sixth ribs; grazing the pericardium it traversed the
    mediastinum, barely touching the oesophagus, and vena azygos,
    but completely severing the thoracic duct, and lodging in the
    xiphoid portion of the sternum. Necessarily fatal, there was
    no reason, however, why the patient could not linger for a
    week or more; but it is no less certain that from the effect
    of the wound he ultimately died. I witnessed the execution of
    the paper shown to me--as the statement of deceased--at his
    request; and at the time of signing the same he was in his
    perfect senses. It was taken down in my presence by Jacobs,
    the Assistant District Attorney of Placer County, and read
    over to the deceased before he affixed his signature. I was
    not present when he breathed his last, having been called away
    by my patients in the town of Auburn, but I reached his
    bedside shortly afterward. In my judgment, no amount of care
    or medical attention could have prolonged his life more than a
    few days.

                 (Signed)                   KARL LIEBNER, M. D.


  The statement of the deceased was then introduced to the jury as
  follows:


    PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA }
                  _vs._               }
            BARTHOLOMEW GRAHAM.       }

    _Statement and Dying Confession of Charles P. Gillson, taken
    in articulo mortis by George Simpson, Notary Public._

    On the morning of Sunday, the 14th day of May, 1871, I left
    Auburn alone in search of the body of the late Gregory
    Summerfield, who was reported to have been pushed from the
    cars at Cape Horn, in this county, by one Leonidas Parker,
    since deceased. It was not fully light when I reached the
    track of the Central Pacific Railroad. Having mined at an
    early day on Thompson's Flat, at the foot of the rocky
    promontory now called Cape Horn, I was familiar with the
    zigzag paths leading down that steep precipice. One was
    generally used as a descent, the other as an ascent from the
    cañon below. I chose the latter, as being the freest from the
    chance of observation. It required the greatest caution to
    thread the narrow gorge; but I finally reached the rocky
    bench, about one thousand feet below the grade of the
    railroad. It was now broad daylight, and I commenced
    cautiously the search for Summerfield's body. There is quite a
    dense undergrowth of shrubs thereabouts, lining the
    interstices of the granite rocks so as to obscure the vision
    even at a short distance. Brushing aside a thick manzanita
    bush, I beheld the dead man at the same instant of time that
    another person arrived like an apparition upon the spot. It
    was Bartholomew Graham, known as "Black Bart." We suddenly
    confronted each other, the skeleton of Summerfield lying
    exactly between us. Our recognition was mutual. Graham
    advanced and I did the same; he stretched out his hand and we
    greeted one another across the prostrate corpse.

    Before releasing my hand, Black Bart exclaimed in a hoarse
    whisper, "Swear, Gillson, in the presence of the dead, that
    you will forever be faithful, never betray me, and do exactly
    as I bid you, as long as you live!"

    I looked him full in the eye. Fate sat there, cold and
    remorseless as stone. I hesitated; with his left hand he
    slightly raised the lappels of his coat, and grasped the
    handle of a navy revolver.

    "Swear!" again he cried.

    As I gazed, his eyeballs assumed a greenish tint, and his
    brow darkened into a scowl. "As your confederate," I answered,
    "never as your slave."

    "Be it so!" was his only reply.

    The body was lying upon its back, with the face upwards. The
    vultures had despoiled the countenance of every vestige of
    flesh, and left the sockets of the eyes empty. Snow and ice
    and rain had done their work effectually upon the exposed
    surfaces of his clothing, and the eagles had feasted upon the
    entrails. But underneath, the thick beaver cloth had served to
    protect the flesh, and there were some decaying shreds left of
    what had once been the terrible but accomplished Gregory
    Summerfield. A glance told us all these things. But they did
    not interest me so much as another spectacle, that almost
    froze my blood. In the skeleton gripe of the right hand,
    interlaced within the clenched bones, gleamed the wide-mouthed
    vial which was the object of our mutual visit. Graham fell
    upon his knees, and attempted to withdraw the prize from the
    grasp of its dead possessor. But the bones were firm, and when
    he finally succeeded in securing the bottle, by a sudden
    wrench, I heard the skeleton fingers snap like pipe-stems.

    "Hold this a moment, whilst I search the pockets," he
    commanded.

    I did as directed.

    He then turned over the corpse, and thrusting his hand into
    the inner breast-pocket, dragged out a roll of MSS., matted
    closely together and stained by the winter's rains. A further
    search eventuated in finding a roll of small gold coin, a set
    of deringer pistols, a mated double-edged dirk, and a pair of
    silver-mounted spectacles. Hastily covering over the body with
    leaves and branches cut from the embowering shrubs, we
    shudderingly left the spot.

    We slowly descended the gorge toward the banks of the American
    River, until we arrived in a small but sequestered thicket,
    where we threw ourselves upon the ground. Neither had spoken a
    word since we left the scene above described. Graham was the
    first to break the silence which to me had become oppressive.

    "Let us examine the vial and see if the contents are safe."

    I drew it forth from my pocket and handed it to him.

    "Sealed hermetically, and perfectly secure," he added. Saying
    this he deliberately wrapped it up in a handkerchief and
    placed it in his bosom.

    "What shall we do with our prize?" I inquired.

    "_Our_ prize?" As he said this he laughed derisively, and cut
    a most scornful and threatening glance toward me.

    "Yes," I rejoined firmly; "_our_ prize!"

    "Gillson," retorted Graham, "you must regard me as a
    consummate simpleton, or yourself a Goliah. This bottle is
    mine, and _mine_ only. It is a great fortune for _one_, but of
    less value than a toadstool for _two_. I am willing to divide
    fairly. This secret would be of no service to a coward. He
    would not dare to use it. Your share of the robbery of the
    body shall be these MSS.; you can sell them to some poor devil
    of a printer, and pay yourself for your day's work."

    Saying this he threw the bundle of MSS. at my feet; but I
    disdained to touch them. Observing this, he gathered them up
    safely and replaced them in his pocket. "As you are unarmed,"
    he said, "it would not be safe for you to be seen in this
    neighborhood during daylight. We will both spend the night
    here, and just before morning return to Auburn. I will
    accompany you part of the distance."

    With the _sangfroid_ of a perfect desperado, he then stretched
    himself out in the shadow of a small tree, drank deeply from a
    whisky flagon which he produced, and pulling his hat over his
    eyes, was soon asleep and snoring. It was a long time before I
    could believe the evidence of my own senses. Finally, I
    approached the ruffian, and placed my hand on his shoulder. He
    did not stir a muscle. I listened; I heard only the deep, slow
    breathing of profound slumber. Resolved not to be balked and
    defrauded by such a scoundrel, I stealthily withdrew the vial
    from his pocket, and sprang to my feet, just in time to hear
    the click of a revolver behind me. I was betrayed! I remember
    only a dash and an explosion--a deathly sensation, a whirl of
    the rocks and trees about me, a hideous imprecation from the
    lips of my murderer, and I fell senseless to the earth. When I
    awoke to consciousness it was past midnight. I looked up at
    the stars, and recognized Lyra shining full in my face. That
    constellation I knew passed the meridian at this season of the
    year after twelve o'clock, and its slow march told me that
    many weary hours would intervene before daylight. My right arm
    was paralyzed, but I put forth my left, and it rested in a
    pool of my own blood. "Oh, for one drop of water!" I
    exclaimed, faintly; but only the low sighing of the night
    blast responded. Again I fainted. Shortly after daylight I
    revived, and crawled to the spot where I was discovered on the
    next day by the kind mistress of this cabin. You know the
    rest. I accuse Bartholomew Graham of my assassination. I do
    this in the perfect possession of my senses, and with a full
    sense of my responsibility to Almighty God.

                 (Signed)                        C. P. GILLSON.

      GEORGE SIMPSON, Notary Public.
      CHRIS. JACOBS, Assistant District Attorney.

      DOLLIE ADAMS,} Witnesses.
      KARL LIEBNER,}


  The following is a copy of the verdict of the coroner's jury:


    COUNTY OF PLACER,   }
    Cape Horn Township. }

      _In re C. P. Gillson, late of said county, deceased._

    We, the undersigned, coroner's jury, summoned in the foregoing
    case to examine into the causes of the death of said Gillson,
    do find that he came to his death at the hands of Bartholomew
    Graham, usually called "Black Bart," on Wednesday, the 17th
    May, 1871. And we further find said Graham guilty of murder in
    the first degree, and recommend his immediate apprehension.

                 (Signed)                      JOHN QUILLAN,
                                               PETER MCINTYRE,
                                               ABEL GEORGE,
                                               ALEX. SCRIBER,
                                               WM. A. THOMPSON.
    (Correct:)
        THOS. J. ALWYN,
                    Coroner.


  The above documents constitute the papers introduced before the
  coroner. Should anything of further interest occur, I will keep
  you fully advised.

                                               POWHATTAN JONES.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the above was in type we have received from our esteemed San
Francisco correspondent the following letter:

                                   SAN FRANCISCO, June 8, 1871.

  MR. EDITOR: On entering my office this morning I found A bundle
  of MSS. which had been thrown in at the transom over the door,
  labeled, "The Summerfield MSS." Attached to them was an unsealed
  note from one Bartholomew Graham, in these words:

    DEAR SIR: These are yours: you have earned them. I commend
    to your especial notice the one styled "_De Mundo Comburendo_."
    At a future time you may hear again from

                                            BARTHOLOMEW GRAHAM.

  A casual glance at the papers convinces me that they are of great
  literary value. Summerfield's fame never burned so brightly as it
  does over this grave. Will you publish the MSS.?


[Decoration]



[Decoration]


XXVII.

_THE AVITOR._


    Hurrah for the wings that never tire--
      For the nerves that never quail;
    For the heart that beats in a bosom of fire--
    For the lungs whose cast-iron lobes respire
      Where the eagle's breath would fail!

    As the genii bore Aladdin away,
      In search of his palace fair,
    On his magical wings to the land of Cathay,
    So here I will spread out my pinions to-day
      On the cloud-borne billows of air.

    Up! up! to its home on the mountain crag,
      Where the condor builds its nest,
    I mount far fleeter than hunted stag,
    I float far higher than Switzer flag--
      Hurrah for the lightning's guest!

    Away, over steeple and cross and tower--
      Away, over river and sea;
    I spurn at my feet the tempests that lower,
    Like minions base of a vanquished power,
      And mutter their thunders at me!

    Diablo frowns, as above him I pass,
      Still loftier heights to attain;
    Calaveras' groves are but blades of grass--
    Yosemite's sentinel peaks a mass
      Of ant-hills dotting a plain!

    Sierra Nevada's shroud of snow,
      And Utah's desert of sand,
    Shall never again turn backward the flow
    Of that human tide which may come and go
      To the vales of the sunset land!

    Wherever the coy earth veils her face
      With tresses of forest hair;
    Where polar pallors her blushes efface,
    Or tropical blooms lend her beauty and grace--
      I can flutter my plumage there!

    Where the Amazon rolls through a mystical land--
      Where Chiapas buried her dead--
    Where Central Australian deserts expand--
    Where Africa seethes in saharas of sand--
      Even there shall my pinions spread!

    No longer shall earth with her secrets beguile,
      For I, with undazzled eyes,
    Will trace to their sources the Niger and Nile,
    And stand without dread on the boreal isle,
      The Colon of the skies!

    Then hurrah for the wings that never tire--
      For the sinews that never quail;
    For the heart that throbs in a bosom of fire--
    For the lungs whose cast-iron lobes respire
      When the eagle's breath would fail!



[Decoration]


XXVIII.

_LOST AND FOUND._


    'Twas eventide in Eden. The mortals stood,
    Watchful and solemn, in speechless sorrow bound.
    He was erect, defiant, and unblenched.
    Tho' fallen, free--deceived, but not undone.
    She leaned on him, and drooped her pensive brow
    In token of the character she bore--
    _The world's first penitent_. Tears, gushing fast,
    Streamed from her azure eyes; and as they fled
    Beyond the eastern gate, where gleamed the swords
    Of guarding Cherubim, the flowers themselves
    Bent their sad heads, surcharged with dewy tears,
    Wept by the stare o'er man's immortal woe.

    Far had they wandered, slow had been the pace,
    Grief at his heart and ruin on her face,
    Ere Adam turned to contemplate the spot
    Where Earth began, where Heaven was forgot.
    He gazed in silence, till the crystal wall
    Of Eden trembled, as though doomed to fall:
    Then bidding Eve direct her tear-dimmed eye
    To where the foliage kissed the western sky,
    They saw, with horror mingled with surprise,
    The wall, the garden, and the foliage rise!
    Slowly it mounted to the vaulted dome,
    And paused as if to beckon mortals home;
    Then, like a cloud when winds are all at rest,
    It floated gently to the distant west,
    And left behind a crimson path of light,
    By which to track the Garden in its flight!

    Day after day, the exiles wandered on,
    With eyes still fixed, where Eden's smile last shone;
    Forlorn and friendless through the wilds they trod,
    Remembering Eden, but forgetting God,
    Till far across the sea-washed, arid plain,
    The billows thundered that the search was vain!

    Ah! who can tell how oft at eventide,
    When the gay west was blushing like a bride,
    Fair Eve hath whispered in her children's ear,
    "Beyond yon cloud will Eden reappear!"

    And thus, as slow millenniums rolled away,
    Each generation, ere it turned to clay,
    Has with prophetic lore, by nature blest,
    In search of Eden wandered to the West.

    I cast my thoughts far up the stream of time,
    And catch its murmurs in my careless rhyme.
    I hear a footstep tripping o'er the down:
    Behold! 'tis Athens, in her violet crown.
    In fancy now her splendors reappear;
    Her fleets and phalanxes, her shield and spear;
    Her battle-fields, blest ever by the free,--
    Proud Marathon, and sad Thermopylæ!
    Her poet, foremost in the ranks of fame,
    Homer! a god--but with a mortal's name;
    Historians, richest in primeval lore;
    Orations, sounding yet from shore to shore!
    Heroes and statesmen throng the enraptured gaze,
    Till glory totters 'neath her load of praise.
    Surely a clime so rich in old renown
    Could build an Eden, if not woo one down!

    Lo! Plato comes, with wisdom's scroll unfurl'd,
    The proudest gift of Athens to the world!
    Wisest of mortals, say, for thou can'st tell,
    Thou, whose sweet lips the Muses loved so well,
    Was Greece the Garden that our fathers trod;
    When men, like angels, walked the earth with God?
    "Alas!" the great Philosopher replied,
    "Though I love Athens better than a bride,
    Her laws are bloody and her children slaves;
    Her sages slumber in empoisoned graves;
    Her soil is sterile, barren are her seas;
    Eden still blooms in the Hesperides,
    Beyond the pillars of far Hercules!
    Westward, amid the ocean's blandest smile,
    Atlantis blossoms, a perennial Isle;
    A vast Republic stretching far and wide,
    Greater than Greece and Macedon beside!"

    The vision fades. Across the mental screen
    A mightier spirit stalks upon the scene;
    His tread shakes empires ancient as the sun;
    His voice resounds, and nations are undone;
    War in his tone and battle in his eye,
    The world in arms, a Roman dare defy!
    Throned on the summit of the seven hills,
    He bathes his gory heel in Tiber's rills;
    Stretches his arms across a triple zone,
    And dares be master of mankind, alone!
    All peoples send their tribute to his store;
    Wherever rivers glide or surges roar,
    Or mountains rise or desert plains expand,
    His minions sack and pillage every land.
    But not alone for rapine and for war
    The Roman eagle spreads his pinions far;
    He bears a sceptre in his talons strong,
    To guard the right, to rectify the wrong,
    And carries high, in his imperial beak,
    A shield armored to protect the weak.

    Justice and law are dropping from his wing,
    Equal alike for consul, serf or king;
    Daggers for tyrants, for patriot-heroes fame,
    Attend like menials on the Roman name!

    Was Rome the Eden of our ancient state,
    Just in her laws, in her dominion great,
    Wise in her counsels, matchless in her worth,
    Acknowledged great proconsul of the earth?

    An eye prophetic that has read the leaves
    The sibyls scattered from their loosened sheaves,
    A bard that sang at Rome in all her pride,
    Shall give response;--let Seneca decide!

    "Beyond the rocks where Shetland's breakers roar,
    And clothe in foam the wailing, ice-bound shore,
    Within the bosom of a tranquil sea,
    Where Earth has reared her _Ultima Thule_,
    The gorgeous West conceals a golden clime,
    The petted child, the paragon of Time!
    In distant years, when Ocean's mountain wave
    Shall rock a cradle, not upheave a grave,
    When men shall walk the pathway of the brine,
    With feet as safe as Terra watches mine,
    Then shall the barriers of the Western Sea
    Despised and broken down forever be;
    Then man shall spurn old Ocean's loftiest crest,
    And tear the secret from his stormy breast!"

    Again the vision fades. Night settles down
    And shrouds the world in black Plutonian frown;
    Earth staggers on, like mourners to a tomb,
    Wrapt in one long millennium of gloom.
    That past, the light breaks through the clouds of war,
    And drives the mists of Bigotry afar;
    Amalfi sees her burial tomes unfurl'd,
    And dead Justinian rules again the world.
    The torch of Science is illumed once more;
    Adventure gazes from the surf-beat shore,
    Lifts in his arms the wave-worn Genoese,
    And hails Iberia, Mistress of the Seas!

    What cry resounds along the Western main,
    Mounts to the stars, is echoed back again,
    And wakes the voices of the startled sea,
    Dumb until now, from past eternity?

    "Land! land!" is chanted from the Pinta's deck;
    Smiling afar, a minute glory-speck,
    But grandly rising from the convex sea,
    To crown Colon with immortality,
    The Western World emerges from the wave,
    God's last asylum for the free and brave!

    But where within this ocean-bounded clime,
    This fairest offspring of the womb of time,--
    Plato's Atlantis, risen from the sea,
    Utopia's realm, beyond old Rome's Thule,--
    Where shall we find, within this giant land,
    By blood redeemed, with Freedom's rainbow spann'd,
    The spot first trod by mortals on the earth,
    Where Adam's race was cradled into birth?

    'Twas sought by Cortez with his warrior band,
    In realms once ruled by Montezuma's hand;
    Where the old Aztec, 'neath his hills of snow,
    Built the bright domes of silver Mexico.
    Pizarro sought it where the Inca's rod
    Proclaimed the prince half-mortal, demi-god,
    When the mild children of unblest Peru
    Before the bloodhounds of the conqueror flew,
    And saw their country and their race undone,
    And perish 'neath the Temple of the Sun!
    De Soto sought it, with his tawny bride,
    Near where the Mississippi's waters glide,
    Beneath the ripples of whose yellow wave
    He found at last both monument and grave.
    Old Ponce de Leon, in the land of flowers,
    Searched long for Eden 'midst her groves and bowers,
    Whilst brave La Salle, where Texan prairies smile,
    Roamed westward still, to reach the happy isle.
    The Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower's deck,
    Fleeing beyond a tyrant's haughty beck,
    In quest of Eden, trod the rock-bound shore,
    Where bleak New England's wintry surges roar;
    Raleigh, with glory in his eagle eye,
    Chased the lost realm beneath a Southern sky;
    Whilst Boone believed that Paradise was found
    In old Kentucky's "dark and bloody ground!"

    In vain their labors, all in vain their toil;
    Doomed ne'er to breathe that air nor tread that soil.
    Heaven had reserved it till a race sublime
    Should launch its heroes on the wave of time!

    Go with me now, ye Californian band,
    And gaze with wonder at your glorious land;
    Ascend the summit of yon middle chain,
    When Mount Diablo rises from the plain,
    And cast your eyes with telescopic power,
    O'er hill and forest, over field and flower.
    Behold! how free the hand of God hath roll'd
    A wave of wealth across your Land of Gold!
    The mountains ooze it from their swelling breast,
    The milk-white quartz displays it in her crest;
    Each tiny brook that warbles to the sea,
    Harps on its strings a golden melody;
    Whilst the young waves are cradled on the shore
    On spangling pillows, stuffed with golden ore!

    Look northward! See the Sacramento glide
    Through valleys blooming like a royal bride,
    And bearing onward to the ocean's shore
    A richer freight than Arno ever bore!
    See! also fanned by cool refreshing gales,
    Fair Petaluma and her sister vales,
    Whose fields and orchards ornament the plain
    And deluge earth with one vast sea of grain!
    Look southward! Santa Clara smiles afar,
    As in the fields of heaven, a radiant star;
    Los Angeles is laughing through her vines;
    Old Monterey sits moody midst her pines;
    Far San Diego flames her golden bow,
    And Santa Barbara sheds her fleece of snow,
    Whilst Bernardino's ever-vernal down
    Gleams like an emerald in a monarch's crown!
    Look eastward! On the plains of San Joaquin
    Ten thousand herds in dense array are seen.
    Aloft like columns propping up the skies
    The cloud-kissed groves of Calaveras rise;
    Whilst dashing downward from their dizzy home
    The thundering falls of Yo Semite foam!
    Look westward! Opening on an ocean great,
    Behold the portal of the Golden Gate!
    Pillared on granite, destined e'er to stand
    The iron rampart of the sunset land!
    With rosy cheeks, fanned by the fresh sea-breeze,
    The petted child of the Pacific seas,
    See San Francisco smile! Majestic heir
    Of all that's brave, or bountiful, or fair,
    Pride of our land, by every wave carest,
    And hailed by nations, Venice of the West!

    Where then is Eden? Ah! why should I tell,
    What every eye and bosom know so well?
    Why thy name the land all other lands have blest,
    And traced for ages to the distant West?
    Why search in vain throughout th' historic page
    For Eden's garden and the Golden Age?
    HERE, BROTHERS, HERE! NO FURTHER LET US ROAM;
    THIS IS THE GARDEN! EDEN IS OUR HOME!


[Decoration]


       #       #       #       #       #

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Words in Bold are surrounded by =equal= signs.

3. Words in both Bold and Gothic Font are surrounded by bars and equal
signs |=text=|.

4. Any footnotes in the original text have been placed directly under
the paragraph or passage containing their anchors.

5. The following words with the [oe] ligature appeared in the original
text: manoeuvre, Croesus, oesophagus. The ligature has been removed for
the purpose of this e-text.


Punctuation corrections:

p. 30, removed double quote from unquoted passage (and deprecated the
action)

p. 69, added closing quote to passage ("...responsibility at once.")

p. 124, added closing quote to passage ("...discovering one of them.")

p. 182, adding closing quote to passage ("...degree of curvature.")


Spelling corrections:

p. 69, "insenate" to "insensate" (Shall insensate nature)

p. 138, "pursuaded" to "persuaded" (2) (I was persuaded that)

p. 148, "Leverier" to "Leverrier" (2) (Leverrier computed the orbit)

p. 150, "hieroglyphi" to "hieroglyphic" (13) (beautiful hieroglyphic
extant)

p. 153, "accidently" to "accidentally" (3) (I accidentally entered)

p. 161, "Okak-oni-tas" to "O-kak-oni-tas" (4) (with the O-kak-oni-tas)

p. 205, "amosphere" to "atmosphere" (18) (but the atmosphere)

p. 276, "liberty" to "Liberty" (the angel of Liberty)


Words used in this text for which spelling could not be verified, but
that have been retained because they were used multiple times or were
contained within quoted text:

p. 48, 288, "Goliah" (2) (possible alt. sp. of Goliath)

p. 181, "petira" (1) (flat lens, immense petira,)

p. 274, 287, "deringer" (2) (possible alt. sp. of derringer)

p. 286, "lappels" (1) (possible alt. sp. of lapels, in quoted material)


Word Variations occuring in this text which have been retained:

"bed-chamber" (1) and "bedchamber" (1)

"Cortes" (1) p.122 and "Cortez" (2) (another instance of "Cortes" also
occurs on p. 111, however the person described is other than the
"Cortez" who set out to conquer Mexico)

"enclose" (1) and "inclose(d) (ures)" (2)

"ever-living" (2) and "everliving" (1)

"every-day" (2) and "everyday" (1)

"Gra-so-po-itas" (2) and "Gra-sop-o-itas" (2)

"head-dress" (2) and "headdress" (1)

"melancholy" (3) and "melancholly" (1) (in a quoted "report")

"MERCHANTS'" (1) and "MERCHANT'S" (1) (in TOC and CHAPTER TITLE)

"O-kak-o-nitas" (2) and "O-kak-oni-tas" (3)

"right-about face" (1) and "right-about-faced" (1)

"sceptre" (4) and "scepter" (7)

"sea-shore" (1) and "seashore" (1)

"semi-circle" (2) and "semicircle" (1)

"wouldst" (1) and "would'st" (1)


Printer Corrections and Notes:

p. 11, Table of Contents: Chapter XI. "THE TELESCOPIC EYE" changed
from p. 175 to 174 and Chapter XII. "THE EMERALD EYE from p. 191 to 190.

p. 201, italicised "First." and "Secondly", to conform with remaining
recitations on succeeding page 202.

p. 227, "The thought crossed my mind, Can this be a spirit?" (is
correctly capitalized. Direct question within a sentence.

Wherever the printer used a row of asterisks as a separator, the number
of asterisks used has been standardized to 5.

Wherever the printer used blank space as a separator, a row of five
number signs (#) appears.





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