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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 26, July 1880.
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 26, July 1880." ***

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



A Chapter of American
  Exploration. (_Illustrated._)  _William H. Rideing_                  393
Adam and Eve                     _Author of "Dorothy Fox"_        42, 147,
                                                        290, 411, 547, 666
A Forgotten American Worthy      _Charles Burr Todd_                    68
A Graveyard Idyl                 _Henry A. Beers_                      484
A Great Singer                   _Lucy H. Hooper_                      507
American Aëronauts.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Will O. Bates_                       137
Americans Abroad                 _Alain Gore_                          466
An Episode of Spanish Chivalry   _Prof. T. F. Crane_                   747
An Historical Rocky-Mountain
  Outpost. (_Illustrated._)      _George Rex Buckman_                  649
An Old English Home:
  Bramshill House                _Rose G. Kingsley_                    163
An Open Look at the
  Political Situation                                                  118
A Pivotal Point                  _William M. Baker_                    559
Automatism                       _Dr. H. C. Wood_                 627, 755
A Villeggiatura in Asisi         _Author of_
                                 _"Signor Monaldini's Niece"_          308
Bauble Wishart                   _Author of "Flitters, Tatters_
                                 _and the Counsellor"_                 719
Canoeing on the High
  Mississippi. (_Illustrated._)  _A. H. Siegfried_                171, 279
Dungeness, General Greene's
  Sea-Island Plantation          _Frederick A. Ober._                  241
Ekoniah Scrub: Among Florida
  Lakes. (_Illustrated._)        _Louise Seymour Houghton_             265
Findelkind of Martinswand:
  A Child's Story                _Ouida_                               438
Gas-Burning, and
  its Consequences               _George J. Varney_                    734
Glimpses of Portugal and
  the Portuguese. (_Illustrated._)                                     473
Heinrich Heine                   _A. Parker_                           604
Horse-Racing in France.
  (_Illustrated._)               _L. Lejeune_                     321, 452
How she Kept her Vow:
  A Narrative of Facts           _S. G. W. Benjamin_                   594
"Kitty"                          _Lawrence Buckley_                    503
Limoges, and its Porcelain       _George L. Catlin_                    576
Mallston's Youngest              _M. H. Catherwood_                    189
Mrs. Marcellus. By a Guest
  at her Saturdays               _Olive Logan_                         613
Mrs. Pinckney's Governess                                              336
National Music an Interpreter
  of National Character          _Amelia E. Barr_                      181
Newport a Hundred Years Ago      _Frances Pierrepont North_            351
On Spelling Reform               _M. B. C. True_                       111
On the Skunk River               _Louise Coffin Jones_                  56
Our Grandfathers' Temples.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Charles F. Richardson_               678
Paradise Plantation.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Louise Seymour Houghton_              19
Pipistrello                      _Ouida_                                84
Seven Weeks a Missionary         _Louise Coffin Jones_                 424
Short Studies in the Picturesque _William Sloan Kennedy_               375
Studies in the Slums--           _Helen Campbell_
    III. Nan; or, A Girl's Life                                        103
    IV. Jack                                                           213
     V. Diet and its Doings                                            362
    VI. Jan of the North                                               498
The [Greek: Apax Aegomena]
  in Shakespeare                 _Prof. James D. Butler_               742
The Arts of India.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Jennie J. Young_                     532
The Authors of "Froufrou"        _J. Brander Matthews_                 711
The Early Days of Mormonism      _Frederic G. Mather_                  198
The Mistakes of Two People       _Margaret Bertha Wright_              567
The Palace of the Leatherstonepaughs.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Margaret Bertha Wright_                9
The Practical History of a Play  _William H. Rideing_                  586
The Price of Safety              _E. W. Latimer_                       698
The Ruin of Me. (Told by
  a Young Married Man.)          _Mary Dean_                           369
The Ruins of the Colorado Valley.
  (_Illustrated._)               _Alfred Terry Bacon_                  521
Through the Yellowstone Park
  to Fort Custer                 _S. Weir Mitchell, M. D._              29
Westbrook                        _Alice Ilgenfritz_                    218
Where Lightning Strikes          _George J. Varney_                    232
Will Democracy Tolerate a
  Permanent Class of National Office-holders?                          690

LITERATURE OF THE DAY, comprising Reviews of the following Works:

Arr, E. H.--New England Bygones                                        392
Auerbach, Berthold--Brigitta                                           775
Ayres, Anne--The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg          135
Black, William--White Wings: A Yachting Romance                        775
Forrester, Mrs.--Roy and Viola                                         775
Fothergill, Jessie--The Wellfields                                     775
Green, John Richard--History of the English People                     774
Laffan, May--Christy Carew                                             133
L'Art: revue hebdomadaíre illustrée. Sixième année, Tome II            517
Mahaffy, M. A., Rev. J. P.--A History of Classical Greek Literature    261
Mrs. Beauchamp Brown                                                   518
Nichol, John--Byron. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)                  645
Piatt, John James--Pencilled Fly-Leaves:
  A Book of Essays in Town and Country                                 648
Scoones, W. Baptiste--Four Centuries of English Letters                647
Smith, Goldwin--William Cowper. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)       263
Stephen, Leslie--Alexander Pope. (English Men-of-Letters Series.)      389
Symington, Andrew James--Samuel Lover: A Biographical Sketch.
  With Selections from his Writings and Correspondence                 391
Taylor, Bayard--Critical Essays and Literary Notes                     519
  "        "  --Studies in German Literature                           519
The American Art Review, Nos. 8 and 9                                  520
Walford, L. B.--Troublesome Daughters                                  775
Wikoff, Henry--The Reminiscences of an Idler                           135

OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP, comprising the following Articles:

A Child's Autobiography, 770; A Legion of Devils, 257; A Little Ireland
in America, 767; A Natural Barometer, 517; An Unfinished Page of
History, 764; A Plot for an Historical Novel, 385; A Sermon to Literary
Aspirants, 637; Civil-Service Reform and Democratic Ideas, 762;
Concerning Night-Noises, 253; Condition of the People in the West of
Ireland, 514; Conservatory Life in Boston, 511; Edelweiss, 126; Fate of
an Old Companion of Napoleon III., 516; High Jinks on the Upper
Mississippi, 515; Our New Visitors, 388; People's Houses: A Dialogue,
640; Prayer-Meeting Eloquence, 129; Seeing is Believing, 642; Spoiled
Children, 128; Tabarin, the French Merry-Andrew, 255; The Demidoffs,
259; The Jardin d'Acclimatation of Paris, 130; The Miseries of Camping
Out, 387; The Paris Salon of 1880, 381; "Time Turns the Tables," 642;
Unreformed Spelling, 388; Wanted--A Real Gainsborough, 772; "Western
Memorabilia," 250.


A Vengeance                      _Edgar Fawcett_                       211
Dawn                             _John B. Tabb_                        612
Delectatio Piscatoria.
  The Upper Kennebec             _Horatio Nelson Powers_               367
From Far                         _Philip Bourke Marston_               465
Lost                             _Mary B. Dodge_                       665
My Treasure                      _H. L. Leonard_                       109
Possession                       _Eliza Calvert Hall_                  162
Shelley                          _J. B. Tabb_                           18
Teresa di Faenza                 _Emma Lazarus_                         83
The Home of the Gentians         _Howard Glyndon_                      350
The King's Gifts                 _Emily A. Braddock_                   718
The Sea's Secret                 _G. A. Davis_                         240
Three Roses                      _Julia C. R. Dorr_                    585
Under the Grasses                _Dora Reed Goodale_                   502




JULY, 1880.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by J. B.
LIPPINCOTT & CO., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at



Every sentimental traveller to Rome must sometimes wonder if to come to
the Eternal City is not, after all, more of a loss than a gain: Rome
unvisited holds such a solitary place in one's imaginings. It is then a
place around which sweeps a different atmosphere from that of any other
city under the sun. One sees it through poetic mists that veil every
prosaic reality. It is arched by an horizon against which the figures of
its wonderful history are shadowed with scarcely less of grandeur and
glory than those the old gods cast upon the Sacred Hill.

One who has never seen Rome is thus led to imagine that those of his
country-people who have lived here for years have become in a manner
purged of all natural commonplaceness. One thinks of them as
refined--sublimated, so to speak--into beings worthy of reverence and to
be spoken of with awed admiration. For have not their feet wandered
where the Caesars' feet have trod, till that famous ground has become
common earth to them? Have they not dwelt in the shadow of mountains
that have trembled beneath the tramp of Goth, Visigoth and Ostrogoth,
till those shadows have become every-day shadows to them? Have they not
often watched beneath the same stars that shone upon knightly vigils,
till the whiteness of those shining hosts has made pure their souls as
it purified the heroic ones of old? Have they not listened to the
singing and sighing of the selfsame winds that sung and sighed about the
spot where kingly Numa wooed a nymph, till it must be that into the
commoner natures has entered some of the sweetness and wisdom of that
half-divine communion?

Thus the dreamer comes to Rome expecting to enter and become enfolded by
those poetic mists, to live an ideal life amid the tender melancholy
that broods over stately and storied ruin, and to forget for evermore,
while within the wondrous precincts, that aught more prosaic exists than
the heroes of history, the fairest visions of art and dreams of poesy.

[Illustration: "GHOSTS OF FLEAS" (Copied From Sketches Of William

So came the Leatherstonepaughs. And so have the Leatherstonepaughs
sometimes wondered if, after all, to come to Rome is not more of a loss
than a gain in the dimming of one of their fairest ideals. For is there
another city in the world where certain of the vulgar verities of life
press themselves more prominently into view than in the Eternal City?
Can one anywhere have a more forcible conviction that greasy cookery is
bile-provoking, and that it is because the sylvan bovine ruminates so
long upon the melancholy Campagna that one's dinners become such a heavy
and sorrowful matter in Rome? Is there any city in the universe where
fleas dwarf more colossally and fiendishly Blake's famous "ghosts" of
their kind? Does one anywhere come oftener in from wet streets, "a dem'd
moist, unpleasant body," to more tomblike rooms? Is one anywhere so
ceaselessly haunted by the disagreeable consciousness that one pays ten
times as much for everything one buys as a native pays, and that the
trousered descendant of the toga'd Roman regards the Western barbarian
as quite as much his legitimate prey as the barbarian's barelegged
ancestors were the prey of his forefathers before the tables of history
were turned, Rome fallen and breeches supplied to all the world? And are
any mortal vistas more gorgeously illuminated by the red guidebook of
the Tourist than are the stately and storied ruins where the
sentimentalist seeketh the brooding of a tender melancholy, and
findeth it not in the presence of couriers, cabmen, beggars,
photograph-peddlers, stovepipe hats, tie-backs and bridal giggles?

The dreamer thought to find old Rome crystallized amid its glorious
memories. He finds a nineteenth-century city, with gay shops and
fashionable streets, living over the heroic scenes of the ancients and
the actual woe and spiritual mysticism of the mediæval age; and he is
disappointed--nay, even sometimes enraged into a gnashing of the teeth
at all things Roman.

But after many weeks, after the sights have been "done," the mouldy and
mossy nooks of the old city explored, and the marvellous picturesqueness
that hides in strange places revealed--after one has a speaking
acquaintance with all the broken bits of old statues that gather moth
and rust where the tourist cometh not and the guidebook is not known,
and has followed the tiniest thread of legend or tradition into all
manner of mysterious regions,--then the sentimentalist begins to love
Rome again--Rome as it is, not Rome as it seemed through the glamours of
individual imagination.

This is what the Leatherstonepaughs did. But first they fled the
companionship of the beloved but somewhat loudly-shrieking American
eagle as that proud bird often appears in the hotels and _pensions_ of
Europe, and lived in a shabby Roman palace, where only the soft bastard
Latin was heard upon the stairs, and where, if any mediæval ghost
stalked in rusted armor or glided in mouldering cerements, it would not
understand a single word of their foreign, many-consonanted speech.

This palace stands, gay and grim, at the corner of a gay street and a
dingy _vicolo_, the street and alley contrasting in color like a Claude
Lorraine with a Nicholas Poussin. Past one side of the palace drifts all
day a bright tide of foreign sightseers, prosperous Romans, gay models
and flower-venders, handsome carriages, dark-eyed girls with their
sallow chaperones, and olive-cheeked, huge-checked _jeunesse dorée_,
evidently seeking for pretty faces as for pearls of great price, as is
the manner of the jeunesse dorée of the Eternal City; while down upon
the scene looks a succession of dwelling-houses, a gray-walled convent
or two, one of the stateliest palaces of Rome--now let out in apartments
and hiding in obscure rooms the last two impoverished descendants of a
proud race that helped to impoverish Rome--one or two more prosperous
palaces, and a venerable church, looking like a sleepy watchman of Zion
suffering the enemy to do as it will before his closed eyes.



On the other side is the vicolo, dark of wall and dank of pavement, with
petticoats and shirts dangling from numerous windows and fluttering like
gibbeted wretches in the air; with frowzy women sewing or knitting in
the sombre doorways and squalid urchins screaming everywhere; with
humble vegetables and cheap wines exposed for sale in dirty windows;
with usually a carriage or two undergoing a washing at some stable-door;
and with almost always an amorous Romeo or two from some brighter region
wandering hopefully to and fro amid the unpicturesque gloom of this
Roman lane to catch a wafted kiss or a dropped letter from the rear
window of his Juliet's home. For nowhere else in Europe, Asia, America,
the Oceanic Archipelago or the Better Land can the Romeo-and-Juliet
business be more openly and freely carried on than in the by-streets of
the Eternal City, where girls are thought to be as jealously secluded
from the monster Man as are the women of a Turkish seraglio or the nuns
of a European convent. These Romeos and Juliets usually seem quite
indifferent to the number of unsympathetic eyes that watch their little
drama, providing only Papa and Mamma Capulet are kept in the dark in the
shop below. Even the observation of Signor and Signora Montague would
disturb them little, for it is only Juliet who is guarded, and Romeo is
evidently expected to get all the fun out of life he can. In their dingy
vicolo the Leatherstonepaughs have seen three Romeos watching three
windows at the same twilight moment. One of them stood under an open
window in the third story, from whence a line was dropped down to
receive the letter he held in his hand. Just as the letter-weighted line
was drawn up a window immediately below Juliet's was thrown violently
open, and an unromantic head appeared to empty vials of wrath upon the
spectacled Romeo below for always hanging about the windows of the silly
_pizzicarole_ girls above and giving the house a ridiculous appearance
in the eyes of the passers-by. Romeo answered audaciously that the
signora was mistaken in the man, that he had never been under that
window before in his life, had never seen the Signorina Juliet, daughter
of Capulet the pizzicarole who lived above, but that he was merely
accompanying his friend Romeo, who loved Juliet the daughter of the
_drochiere_ who lived a story below, and who was now wooing her softly
two or three windows away. A shriek was his response as the wrathful
head disappeared, while the lying Romeo laughed wickedly and the
Leatherstonepaughs immoderately, in spite of themselves, to see Juliet,
daughter of the drochiere, electrically abstracted from _her_ window as
if by the sudden application of a four-hundred-enraged-mother-power to
her lofty chignon from behind, while the three Romeos, evidently all
strangers to each other, folded their tents like the Arab and silently
stole away. [Illustration: ROMEO.]

[Illustration: JULIET.]

The Leatherstonepaughs always suspected that no lordly race, from
father's father to son's son, had ever dwelt in their immense palace.
They suspected rather that it was, like many another mighty Roman pile,
reared by plebeian gains to shelter noble Romans fair and proud whom
Fate confined to economical "flats," and whose wounded pride could best
be poulticed by the word _palazzo_.

Hans Christian Andersen knew this palace well, and has described it as
the early home of his _Improvisatore_. In those days two fountains
tinkled, one within, the other just outside, the dusky iron-barred
basement. One fountain, however, has ceased to flow, and now if a
passer-by peeps in at the grated window, whence issue hot strong vapors
and bursts of merry laughter, he will see a huge stone basin into whose
foaming contents one fountain drips, and over which a dozen washerwomen
bend and pound with all their might and main in a bit of chiaroscuro
that reminds one of Correggio.

Over this Correggio glimpse wide stone stairs lead past dungeon-like
doors up five flights to the skylighted roof. Each of these doors has a
tiny opening through which gleams a watchful eye and comes the sound of
the inevitable "_Chi è?_" whenever the doorbell rings, as if each comer
were an armed marauder strayed down from the Middle Ages, who must be
well reconnoitred before the fortress-gates are unbarred.


It was in the _ultimo piano_ that the Leatherstonepaughs pitched their
lodge in a vast wilderness of colorful tiled roofs, moss-grown and
lichen-laden, amid a forest of quaintly-shaped and smokeless chimneys.
Their floors, guiltless of rugs or carpets, were of earthen tiles and
worn into hollows where the feet of the palace-dwellers passed oftenest
to and fro. A multitude of undraped windows opened like doors upon stone
balconies, whither the inhabitants flew like a startled covey of birds
every time the king and queen drove by in the street below, and upon
which they passed always from room to room. The outer balcony looks down
upon the Piazza Barberini and its famous Spouting Triton, with an
horizon-line over the roofs broken by gloomy stone-pines and cypresses
that seem to have grown from the buried griefs of Rome's dead centuries.
The inner balcony overlooks the court, where through the wide windows of
every story, amid the potted plants and climbing vines that never take
on a shade of pallor in an Italian winter, and that adorn every Roman
balcony, one could see into the penetralia of a dozen Roman families and
wrest thence the most vital secrets--even to how much _Romano_ Alfredo
drank at dinner or whether lemon-juice or sour wine gave piquancy to
Rosina's salad. Entirely unacquainted with these descendants of ancient
patrician or pleb, the Leatherstonepaughs ventilated original and
individual theories concerning them, and gave them names of their own


"Rameses the Great has quarrelled with the Sphinx and is flirting with
the Pyramid," whispered young Cain one day as some of the family,
leaning over the iron railing, looked into the leafy, azure-domed vault
below, and saw into the dining-room of a family whose mysteriousness of
habit and un-Italian blankness of face gave them a fanciful resemblance
to the eternal riddles of the Orient.

The "Pyramid," whose wide feet and tiny head gave her her triangular
title, was evidently a teacher, for she so often carried exercise-books
and dog-eared grammars in her hand. She chanced at that moment to glance
upward. "Lucia," she cried to the Sphinx, speaking with an Italian
accent that she flattered herself was to the down-gazers an unknown
tongue, "do look up to the fifth _loggia_. If there isn't the Huge Bear,
the Middle-sized Bear and the Wee Bear looking as if they wanted to come
down and eat us up!"

"Y' ain't fat 'nuf," yelled the Wee Bear before the elder Bruins had
time to squelch him.

The studio-salon of the Leatherstonepaughs amid the clouds and chimneys
of the Eternal City was a chapter for the curious. It was as spacious as
a country meeting-house, as lofty as befits a palace. It was frescoed
like some of the modern pseudo-Gothic and pine cathedrals that adorn the
village-greens of New England hamlets, and its _pot-pourri_ of artistic
ideas was rich in helmeted Minervas, vine-wreathed Bacchuses, winged
Apollos and nameless classic nymphs, all staring downward from the
spandrels of pointed arches with quite as much at-homeness as Olympian
heroes would feel amid the mystic shades of the Scandinavian Walhalla.
This room was magnificent with crimson upholstery, upon which rested a
multitude of scarlet-embroidered cushions that seemed to the
color-loving eye like a dream of plum-pudding after a nightmare of
mince-pie. Through this magnificence had drifted, while yet the
Leatherstonepaughs saw Rome in all its idealizing mists, generations of
artists. Sometimes these artists had had a sublime disdain of base
lucre, and sometimes base lucre had had a sublime disdain of them. Some
of the latter class--whose name is Legion--had marked their passage by
busts, statuettes and paintings that served to remind Signora Anina,
their landlady, that promises of a remittance can be as fair and false
as the song of the Sirens or the guile of the Loreley. Crusaders in
armor brandished their lances there in evidence that Michael Angelo
Bivins never sent from Manhattan the bit of white paper to redeem them.
Antignone--usually wearing a Leatherstonepaugh bonnet--mourned that
Praxiteles Periwinkle faded out of the vistas of Rome to the banks of
the Thames without her. Dancing Floras seemed joyous that they had not
gone wandering among the Theban Colossi with Zefferino, instead of
staying to pay for his Roman lodging; while the walls smiled, wept,
simpered, threatened and gloomed with Madonnas, Dolorosas, Beatrices,
sprites, angels and fiends, the authors of whose being had long ago
drifted away on the ocean of poverty which sweeps about the world, and
beneath which sometimes the richest-freighted ships go down. In the
twenty years that Signora Anina has let her rooms to artists many such
tragedies have written significant and dreary lines upon her walls.

That studio-salon was rich not alone in painting and sculpture. The
whatnot was a museum whither might come the Northern Goth and Southern
Vandal to learn what a Roman home can teach of the artistic taste that
Matthew Arnold declares to be the natural heritage only of the nation
which rocked the cradle of the Renaissance when its old Romanesque and
Byzantine parents died. That whatnot was covered with tiny china dogs
and cats, such as we benighted American Goths buy for ten cents a dozen
to fill up the crevices in Billy's and Bobby's Christmas stockings.
Fancy inkstands stood cheek by jowl with wire flower-baskets that were
stuffed with crewel roses of such outrageous hues as would make the
Angel of Color blaspheme. Cut-glass spoon-holders kept in countenance
shining plated table-casters eternally and spotlessly divorced from the
purpose of their being. There were gaudy china vases by the dozen and
simpering china shepherdesses by the score. There were plaster casts of
the whole of Signora Anina's family of nine children, from the elder
fiery Achilles to the younger hysterical Niobe. There were
perfume-bottles enough to start a coiffeur in business, and woolly lambs
enough for a dozen pastoral poems or as many bucolic butchers. But the
piano was piled high with Beethoven's sonatas and Chopin's delicious
dream-music, while a deluge of French novels had evidently surged over
that palace of the Leatherstonepaughs.

When the family took possession of their share of the palazzo a corner
of this studio-salon was dedicated to a peculiar member of their family.
From that corner she seldom moved save as she swept away in some such
elegant costume as the others wore only upon gala-occasions, or in some
picturesque or wildly-fantastic garb that would have lodged her in a
policeman's care had she ever been suffered to escape thus from the
palace. All day long, day after day, she tarried in her corner mute and
motionless, eying all comers and goers with a haughty stare. Sometimes
she leaned there with rigid finger pressed upon her lip, like a statue
of Silence; sometimes her hands were pressed pathetically to her breast,
like a Mater Dolorosa; sometimes both arms hung lax and limp by her
side, like those of a heart-broken creature; and sometimes she wildly
clutched empty air, like a Leatherstonepaugh enthusiastically inebriated
or gone stark, staring, raving mad!

[Illustration: ANTIGNONE.]

Yet never, never, never was Silentia Leatherstonepaugh known to break
that dreadful silence, even though honored guests spoke to her kindly,
and although young Cain Leatherstonepaugh repeatedly reviled her as had
she been Abel's wife. One day came an old Spanish monk of whom Leah and
Rachel would learn the language of Castile. Silentia gloomed in her
dusky corner unseen of the monk, who was left with her an instant alone.
A few moments before, moved perhaps by a dawning comprehension of the
unspeakable pathos of her fate, young Cain had given her a dagger. When,
two minutes after the monk's arrival, Leah and Rachel entered the room,
a black sighing mass cowered in a corner of the sofa, while Silentia
rose spectre-like in the dimness, the dagger pointed toward her heart.


"Madonna mia!" giggled the monk hysterically when his petticoats were
pulled decorously about him and he was set on his feet again, "I thought
I should be arrested for murder--_poverino mio_!"

Another day came one of the Beelzebub girls--Lady Diavoletta--who wished
to coax some of the Leatherstonepaughs to paint her a series of fans
with the torments of Dante's Inferno. When the doorbell rang, and while
Cain cried "_Chi è?_" at the peephole, Leah, who was just posing for
Rachel's barelegged gypsy, hastily pulled a long silk skirt from haughty
but unresisting Silentia and hurried it over her own head before Lady
Diavoletta was admitted. The heiress of the Beelzebubs tarried but a
moment, then took her departure grimly, without hinting a word of her
purpose. Said Lady Diavoletta afterward to the Cherubim sisters, "Would
you believe it? I called one day upon those Leatherstonepaughs, and they
never even apologized for receiving me in a room where there was an
insane American just escaped from her keeper, _tray beang arrangée pore
doncy le cong cong_!"


Dismal and grim though the exterior of that palazzo was, needing but
towers and machicolated parapets to seem a fortress, or an encircling
wall to seem a frowning monastery where cowled figures met each other
only to whisper sepulchrally, "Brother, we must die," it was yet the
scene of not a few laughable experiences. And perhaps even in this
respect it may not have differed so widely as one might think from
cloistered shades of other days, when out of sad, earth-colored raiment
and the habit of dismal speech human sentiment painted pictures while
yet the fagots grew apace for their destruction as well as for the
funeral-pyre of their scolding and bellowing enemy, Savonarola. For
where Fra Angelico, working from the life, could create a San Sebastian
so instinct with earthly vitality and earthly bloom that pious
Florentine women could not say their prayers in peace in its presence,
there were three easels, each bearing a canvas, in different parts of
the room. Before each easel worked a Leatherstonepaugh, each clad with
classic simplicity in a long blue cotton garment, decorated with many
colors and smelling strongly of retouching varnish, that covered her
from the white ruffle at her throat to the upper edge of her black
alpaca flounce.

The room was silent, and, except for the deft action of brushes,
motionless. Only that from below was heard the musical splash of the
Barberini Tritons, and that from the windows could be seen the sombre
pines of the Ludovisi gardens swaying in solemn rhythmic measure must
have been sometimes unbending from the dole and drear of mediæval
asceticism into something very like human fun.

One day the Leatherstonepaughs were all at work in the immense studio.
Silentia alone was idle, and, somewhat indecorously draped only in a bit
of old tapestry, with dishevelled hair and lolling head, leaned against
the wall, apparently in the last stages of inebriety. There against the
blue sky, all the world would have seemed petrified into the complete
passiveness of sitting for its picture.


Marietta was their model. She was posed in a nun's dress, pensive gray,
with virginal white bound primly across her brow. Marietta is a capital
model, and her sad face and tender eyes were upturned with exactly the
desired expression to the grinning mask in the centre of the ceiling.
Silentia kindly consented to pose for the cross to which the nun clung;
that is, she wobbled weakly into the place where the sacred emblem would
have been were this Nature and not Art, and where the cross would be in
the picture when completed. Marietta clung devoutly to Silentia's
ankles, and Silentia looked as cross as possible.

"How unusual to see one of Italia's children with a face like that!"
said a Leatherstonepaugh as she studied the nun's features. "One would
say that she had really found peace only after some terrible suffering."

"She does not give me that impression," said another Leatherstonepaugh.
"Her contours are too round, her color too undimmed, ever to have
weathered spiritual storms. She seems to me more like one of Giovanni
Bellini's Madonnas, those fair, fresh girl-mothers whom sorrow has never
breathed upon to blight a line or tint, and yet who seem to have a
prophecy written upon their faces--not of the glory of the agony, but of
the lifelong sadness of a strange destiny. This girl has some mournful
prescience perhaps. Let me talk with her by and by."

"Marietta," said a Leatherstonepaugh in the next repose, "if you were
not obliged to be a model, what would you choose to be, of all things in
the world?"

This was only an entering-wedge, intended by insidious degrees to pry
open the heart of the girl and learn the mystery of her Madonna-like

Marietta looked up quickly: "What would I be, signorina? Dio mio! but I
would wear shining clothes and ride in the Polytheama! Giacomo says I
was born for the circus. Will le signorine see?"

In the twinkling of an eye, before the Leatherstonepaughs could breathe,
the pensive gray raiment was drawn up to the length of a ballet-skirt
and the foot of the Madonna-faced nun was in the open mouth of one of
Lucca della Robbia's singing-boys that hung on the wall about five feet
from the floor!

"Can any of the signorine do _that_?" she crowed triumphantly. "I can
knock off a man's hat or black his eye with my foot."

All the Leatherstonepaughs groaned in doleful chorus, "A-a-a-h-h!"

And it was not until young Cain, ostracised from the studio during the
séance, whistled in through the keyhole sympathetic inquiries concerning
the only woe his little soul knew, "Watty matter in yare? Ennybuddy dut
e tummuck-ache?" that they chorused with laughter at their
"Giovanni-Bellini Madonna."



    Shelley, the wondrous music of thy soul
      Breathes in the cloud and in the skylark's song,
      That float as an embodied dream along
    The dewy lids of Morning. In the dole
    That haunts the west wind, in the joyous roll
      Of Arethusan fountains, or among
      The wastes where Ozymandias the strong
    Lies in colossal ruin, thy control
      Speaks in the wedded rhyme. Thy spirit gave
    A fragrance to all Nature, and a tone
      To inexpressive Silence. Each apart--
    Earth, Air and Ocean--claims thee as its own,
      The twain that bred thee, and the panting wave
        That clasped thee like an overflowing heart.

                               J. B. TABB.



"Of course you will live at the hotel?"

"Not at all. The idea of leaving one's work three times a day to dress
for meals!"

"May I ask, then, where you _do_ propose to reside?"

"In the cottage on the place, to be sure."

The Pessimist thrust his hands into his pockets and gave utterance to a
long, low whistle.

"You don't believe it? Come over with us and look at it, and let us tell
you our plans."

"That negro hut, Hope? You never can be in earnest?"

"She is until she has seen it," said the Invalid, smiling. "You had
better go over with her: a sight of the place will be more effectual
than all your arguments."

"But she _has_ seen it," said Merry. "Two years ago, when we were here
and old Uncle Nat was so ill, we went over there."

"And I remember the house perfectly," added Hope--"a charming long, low,
dark room, with no windows and a great fireplace, and the most
magnificent live-oak overhanging the roof."

"How enchanting! Let us move in at once." The Invalid rose from his
chair, and taking Merry's arm, the four descended the piazza-steps.

"Of course," explained Hope as we walked slowly under the grand old
trees of the hotel park--"of course the carpenter and the painter and
the glazier are to intervene, and Merry and I must make no end of
curtains and things. But it will be ever so much cheaper, when all is
done, than living at the hotel, besides being so much more cozy; and if
we are to farm, we really should be on the spot."

"Meantime, I shall retain my room at the hotel," said the Pessimist,
letting down the bars.

"You are expected to do that," retorted Merry, disdaining the bars and
climbing over the fence. "It will be quite as much as you deserve to be
permitted to take your meals with us. But there! can you deny that that
is beautiful?"

The wide field in which we were walking terminated in a high bluff above
the St. John's. A belt of great forest trees permitted only occasional
glimpses of the water on that side, but to the northward the ground
sloped gradually down to one of the picturesque bays which so frequently
indent the shores of the beautiful river. Huge live-oaks stood here and
there about the field, with soft gray Spanish moss swaying from their
dark branches. Under the shadow of one more mighty than the rest stood
the cottage, or rather the two cottages, which formed the much-discussed
residence--two unpainted, windowless buildings, with not a perpendicular
line in their whole superficial extent.

The Pessimist withdrew the stick which held the staple and threw open
the unshapely door. There were no steps, but a little friendly pushing
and pulling brought even the Invalid within the room. There was a
moment's silence; then, from Hope, "Oh, the magnificent chimney! Think
of a fire of four-foot lightwood on a chilly evening!"

"I should advise the use of the chimney as a sleeping-room: there seems
to be none other," said the Pessimist.

"But we can curtain off this entire end of the room. How fortunate that
it should be so large! Here will be our bedroom, and this corner shall
be for Merry. And when we have put one of those long, low Swiss windows
in the east side, and another here to the south, you'll see how pleasant
it will be."

"It appears to me," he remarked perversely, "that windows will be a
superfluous luxury. One can see out at a dozen places already; and as
for ventilation, there is plenty of that through the roof."

"The frame really is sound," said the Invalid, examining with a critical

"Of course it is," said Hope. "Now let us go into the kitchen. If that
is only half as good I shall be quite satisfied."

The kitchen-door, which was simply an old packing-box cover, with the
address outside by way of doorplate, was a veritable "fat man's misery,"
but as none of the party were particularly fat we all managed to squeeze

"Two rooms!" exclaimed Hope. "How enchanting! I had no idea that there
was more than one. What a nice little dining-room this will make! There
is just room enough."

"'Us four and no more,'" quoted Merry. "But where will the handmaiden

"The kitchen is large," said the Pessimist, bowing his head to pass into
the next room: "it will only be making one more curtain, Merry, and she
can have this corner."

"He is converted! he really is converted!" cried Merry, clapping her
hands. "And now there is only papa, and then we can go to the sawmill to
order lumber."

"And to the Cove to find a carpenter," added Hope. "Papa can make up his
mind in the boat."

We had visited Florida two years before, and, charmed with the climate,
the river, the oaks, the flowers, the sweet do-nothing life, we had
followed the example of so many worthy Northerners and had bought an old
plantation, intending to start an orange-grove. We had gone over all the
calculations which are so freely circulated in the Florida papers--so
many trees to the acre, so many oranges to the tree: the results were
fairly dazzling. Even granting, with a lordly indifference to trifles
worthy of incipient millionaires, that the trees should bear only
one-fifth of the computed number of oranges, and that they should bring
but one-third of the estimated price, still we should realize one
thousand dollars per acre. And there are three hundred and sixty acres
in our plantation. Ah! even the Pessimist drew a long breath.

Circumstances had, however, prevented our taking immediate steps toward
securing this colossal fortune. But now that it had become necessary for
us to spend the winter in a warm climate, our golden projects were
revived. We would start a grove at once. It was not until we had been
three days at sea, southward bound, that Hope, after diligent study of
an old Florida newspaper, picked up nobody knows where, became the
originator of the farming plan now in process of development.

"The cultivation of the crop becomes the cultivation of the grove," she
said with the sublime assurance of utter ignorance, "and thus we shall
get our orange-grove at no cost whatever."

She was so much in earnest that the Invalid was actually convinced by
her arguments, which, to do her justice, were not original, but were
filched from the enthusiastic journal before alluded to. It was decided
that we were to go to farming. It is true none of us knew anything
about the business except such waifs of experience as remained to the
Invalid after thirty years' absence from grandpa's farm, where he used
to spend the holidays. Holidays were in winter in those times, and his
agricultural experience had consisted principally in cracking butternuts
and riding to the wood-lot on the ox-sled. But this was of no
consequence, as Hope and Merry agreed, since there were plenty of books
on the subject, and, besides, there were the Florida newspapers!

"I warn you I wash my hands of the whole concern," the Pessimist had
said. "You'll never make farming pay."

"Why not?"

"Because you won't."

"But why, because?"

"The idea of women farming!"

"Oh, well, if you come to that, I should just like to show you what
women can do," cried Merry; and this unlucky remark of the Pessimist
settles the business. There is no longer any question about farming.

No one could deny that the house was pretty, and comfortable too, when
at last the carpenter and painter had done their work, and the curtains
and the easy-chairs and the bookshelves had taken their places, and the
great fire of pine logs was lighted, and the mocking-bird's song
streamed in with the sunlight through the open door and between the
fluttering leaves of the ivy-screen at the window. The piano was always
open in the evenings, with Merry or the Pessimist strumming on the keys
or trying some of the lovely new songs; and Hope would be busy at her
table with farm-books and accounts; and the Invalid, in his easy-chair,
would be listening to the music and falling off to sleep and rousing
himself with a little clucking snore to pile more lightwood on the fire;
and the mocking-bird in his covered cage would wake too and join lustily
in the song, till Merry smothered him up in thicker coverings.

The first duty was evident. "Give it a name, I beg," Merry had said the
very first evening in the new home; and the house immediately went into
committee of the whole to decide upon one. Hope proposed Paradise
Plantation; Merry suggested Fortune Grove; the Pessimist hinted that
Folly Farm would be appropriate, but this proposition was ignominiously
rejected; and the Invalid gave the casting-vote for Hope's selection.

[Illustration: "I'SE DE SECTION, SAH."]

The hour for work having now arrived, the man was not slow in presenting
himself. "I met an old fellow who used to be a sort of overseer on this
very plantation," the Invalid said. "He says he has an excellent horse,
and you will need one, Hope. I told him to come and see you."

"Which? the man or the horse?" asked Merry in a low voice.

"Both, apparently," answered the Pessimist in the same tone, "for here
they come."

"Ole man Spafford," as he announced himself, was a darkey of ancient and
venerable mien, tall, gaunt and weatherbeaten. His steed was taller,
gaunter and apparently twice as old--an interesting study for the
osteologist if there be any such scientific person.

"He splendid saddle-hoss, missis," said the old man: "good wuk-hoss
too--bery fine hoss."

"It seems to me he's rather thin," said Hope doubtfully.

"Dat kase we didn't make no corn dis year, de ole woman an' me, we was
bofe so bad wid de misery in the leaders" (rheumatism in the legs). "But
Sancho won't stay pore ef you buys corn enough, missis. He powerful good
horse to eat."

Further conversation revealed the fact that old man Spafford was "de
chief man ob de chu'ch."

"What! a minister?" asked the Invalid.

"No, sah, not azatly de preacher, sah, but I'se de nex' t'ing to dat."

"What may your office be, then, uncle?" asked the Pessimist.

"I'se de section, sah," answered the old man solemnly, making a low bow.

"The sexton! So you ring the bell, do you?"

"Not azatly de bell, sah--we ain't got no bell--but I bangs on de
buzz-saw, sah."

"What does he mean?" asked Merry.

The Pessimist shrugged his shoulders without answering, but the
"section" hastened to explain: "You see, missy, when dey pass roun' de
hat to buy a bell dey didn't lift nigh enough; so dey jis' bought a
buzz-saw and hung it up in de chu'ch-house; an' I bangs on de buzz-saw,

The chief man of the church was found, upon closer acquaintance, to be
the subject of a profound conviction that he was the individual
predestinated to superintend our farming interests. He was so well
persuaded of this high calling that none of us dreamed of questioning
it, and he was forthwith installed in the coveted office. At his
suggestion another man, Dryden by name, was engaged to assist old man
Spafford and take care of Sancho, and a boy, called Solomon, to wait
upon Dryden and do chores. A few day-laborers were also temporarily
hired, the season being so far advanced and work pressing. The
carpenters were recalled, for there was a barn to build, and hen-coops
and a pig-sty, not to speak of a fence. Hope and Merry flitted hither
and thither armed with all sorts of impossible implements, which some
one was sure to want by the time they had worked five minutes with them.
As for the Pessimist, he confined himself to setting out orange trees,
the only legitimate business, he contended, on the place. This work,
however, he performed vicariously, standing by and smoking while a negro
set out the trees.

"My duties appear to be limited to paying the bills," remarked the
Invalid, "and I seem to be the only member of the family who cannot let
out the job."

"I thought the farm was to be self-supporting?" said the Pessimist.

"Well, so it is: wait till the crops are raised," retorted Merry.

"Henderson says," observed Hope, meditatively, "that there are six
hundred dollars net profits to be obtained from one acre of cabbages."

"Why don't you plant cabbages, then? In this seven-acre lot, for

"Oh, that would be too many. Besides, I have planted all I could get. It
is too late to sow the seed, but old man Spafford had some beautiful
plants he let me have. He charged an extra price because they were so
choice, but I was glad to get the best: it is cheapest in the end. I got
five thousand of them."

"What sort are they?" asked the Invalid.

"I don't know precisely. Spafford says he done lost the paper, and he
didn't rightly understand the name nohow, 'long o' not being able to
read; but they were a drefful choice kind."

"Oh, bother the name!" said the Pessimist: "who cares what it is? A
cabbage is a cabbage, I presume. But what have you in this seven-acre

"Those are peas. Dryden says that in North Carolina they realize four
hundred dollars an acre from them--when they don't freeze."

The planting being now fairly over, we began to look about us for other

"Better not ride old Sancho," remarked old man Spafford one day as he
observed the Pessimist putting a saddle on the ancient quadruped.

"Why not, uncle? You ride him yourself, and you said he was a very fine

"I rides he bareback. Good hoss for lady: better not put man's saddle
on," persisted the old man.

The Pessimist vaulted into the saddle by way of reply, calling out,
"Open the gate, Solomon," to the boy, who was going down the lane. But
the words were not spoken before Sancho, darting forward, overturned the
deliberate Solomon, leaped the gate and rushed out into the woods at a
tremendous pace. The resounding beat of his hoofs and energetic cries of
"Whoa! whoa!" from his rider were wafted back upon the breeze, gradually
dying away in the distance, and then reviving again as the fiery steed
reappeared at the same "grand galop." The Pessimist was without a hat,
and his countenance bore the marks of many a fray with the lower
branches of the trees.


"Here, take your old beast!" he said, throwing the bridle impatiently to
Spafford. "What sort of an animal do you call him?"

The "section" approached with a grin of delight; "He waw-hoss, sah.
Young missis rid he afo' the waw, an' he used to lady saddle; but ole
marsa rid he to de waw, an' whenebber he feel man saddle on he back he
runs dat a way, kase he t'ink de Yankees a'ter him;" and he exchanged a
glance of intelligence with Sancho, who evidently enjoyed the joke.

The Invalid, who during the progress of our planting had spent much time
in explorations among our "Cracker" neighbors, had made the discovery of
a most disreputable two-wheeled vehicle, which he had purchased and
brought home in triumph. Its wheels were of different sizes and
projected from the axle at most remarkable angles. One seat was
considerably higher than the other, the cushions looked like so many
dishevelled darkey heads, and the whole establishment had a most uncanny
appearance. It was a perfect match, however, for Sancho, and that
intelligent animal, waiving for the time his objection to having Yankees
after him, consented to be harnessed into the vehicle and to draw us
slowly and majestically about in the pine woods. He never objected to
stopping anywhere while we gathered flowers, and we always returned
laden with treasures to deck our little home withal, making many a rare
and beautiful new acquaintance among the floral riches of pine barren
and hammock.

Meantime, peas and cabbages and many a "green" besides grew and
flourished under old man Spafford's fostering care. Crisp green lettuce
and scarlet radishes already graced our daily board, and were doubly
relished from being, so to speak, the fruit of our own toil. Paradise
Plantation became the admiration of all the darkey and Cracker farmers
for miles around, and it was with the greatest delight that Hope would
accompany any chance visitor to the remotest corner of the farm,
unfolding her projects and quoting Henderson to the open-mouthed
admiration of her interlocutor.

"Have you looked at the peas, lately, Hope?" asked the Pessimist one
lovely February morning.

"Not since yesterday: why?"

"Come and see," was the reply; and we all repaired to the seven-acre lot
in company. A woeful sight met our eyes--vines nipped off and trampled
down and general havoc and confusion in all the ranks.

"Oh, what is it?" cried Merry in dismay.

"It's de rabbits, missy," replied old man Spafford, who was looking on
with great interest. "Dey'll eat up ebery bit o' greens you got, give
'em time enough."

"This must be stopped," said Hope firmly, recovering from her stupor of
surprise. "I shall have a close fence put entirely around the place."

"But you've just got a new fence. It will cost awfully."

"No matter," replied Hope with great decision: "it shall be done. The
idea of being cheated out of all our profits by the rabbits!"

"What makes them look so yellow?" asked the Invalid as the family was
looking at the peas over the new close fence some evenings later.

"Don't they always do so when they blossom?" asked Hope.

"How's that, Spafford?" inquired the Pessimist.

"Dey ain't, not to say, jis' right," replied that functionary, shaking
his head.

"Why, what's the matter?" asked Hope quickly.

"Groun' too pore, I 'spec', missis. Mighty pore piece, dis: lan' all
wore out. Dat why dey sell so cheap."

[Illustration: "IT'S DE RABBITS, MISSY."]

"Then won't they bear?" asked Merry in despairing accents.

"Oh yes," said Hope with determined courage. "I had a quantity of
fertilizers put on. Besides, I'll send for more. It isn't too late, I'm
sure.--We'll use it for top-dressing, eh, Spafford?"

"I declare, Hope, I had no idea you were such a farmer," said the
Invalid with a pleasant smile.

"And then, besides, we don't depend upon the peas alone," continued
Hope, reflecting back the smile and speaking with quite her accustomed
cheerfulness: "there are the corn and the cabbages."

"And the potatoes and cucumbers," added Merry as we returned slowly to
the house by way of all the points of interest--the young orange trees,
Merry's newly-transplanted wisteria and the pig-pen.

"I rather suspect that _there_ is our most profitable crop," said the
Invalid as we seated ourselves upon the piazza which the Pessimist had
lately built before the house. He was looking toward a tree which grew
not far distant, sheltered by two enormous oaks. Of fair size and
perfect proportions, this tree was one mass of glossy, dark-green
leaves, amid which innumerable golden fruit glimmered brightly in the
setting sunlight.

[Illustration: PICKING PEAS.]

"Our one bearing tree," answered Hope. "Yes, if we only had a thousand
like it we might give up farming."

"We shall have them in time," said the Pessimist complacently, looking
abroad upon the straight rows of tiny trees almost hidden by the growing
crops. "Thanks to my perseverance--"

"And Dryden's," interpolated Merry.

"There are a thousand four-year-old trees planted," continued the
Pessimist, not noticing the interruption. "I wonder how many oranges
that tree has borne?"

"I suppose we have eaten some twenty a day from it for the last three
months," said Merry.

"Hardly that," said the Invalid, "but say fifteen hundred. And the tree
looks almost as full as ever."

"What if we should have them gathered and sold?" suggested Hope--"just
to see what an orange tree is really worth. Spafford says that the fruit
will not be so good later. It will shrivel at last; and we never can eat
all those oranges in any case."

Shipping the oranges was the pleasantest work we had yet done. There was
a certain fascination in handling the firm golden balls, in sorting and
arranging, in papering and packing; and there was real delight in
despatching the first shipment from the farm--the more, perhaps, as the
prospect of other shipments began to dwindle. The peas, in spite of the
top-dressing, looked yellow and sickly. The cucumbers would not run, and
more blossoms fell off than seemed desirable. The Pessimist left off
laughing at the idea of farming, and spent a great deal of time walking
about the place, looking into things in general.

"Isn't it almost time for those cabbages to begin to head?" he asked one
day on returning from a tour of inspection.

"Dryden says," observed Merry, "that those are not cabbages at all: they
are collards."

"What, under the sun, are collards?" asked the Invalid.

"They are a coarse sort of cabbage: the colored people like them, but
they never head and they won't sell," said Hope, looking up from a
treatise on agricultural chemistry. "If those should be collards!"

She laid aside her book and went out to investigate. "At any rate, they
will be good for the pigs," she remarked on returning. "I shall have
Behavior boil them in that great pot of hers and give them a mess every
day. It will save corn."

"'Never say die!'" cried the Pessimist. "'Polly, put the kettle on,-'tle
on,-'tle on! Polly, put--'"

The Invalid interposed with a remark. "Southern peas are selling in New
York at eight dollars a bushel," he said.

"Oh, those peas! Why won't they grow?" sighed Merry.

The perverse things would not grow. Quotations went down to six dollars
and to four, and still ours were not ready to ship. The Pessimist
visited the field more assiduously than ever; Merry looked despondent;
only Hope kept up her courage.

"Henderson says," she remarked, closing that well-thumbed volume, "that
one shouldn't look for profits from the first year's farming. The
profits come the second year. Besides, I have learned one thing by this
year's experience. Things should not be expected to grow as fast in
winter--even a Southern winter--as in summer. Next year we will come
earlier and plant earlier, and be ready for the first quotations."

It was a happy day for us all when at last the peas were ready to
harvest. The seven-acre lot was dotted over with boys, girls and old
women, laughing and joking as they picked. Dryden and old man Spafford
helped Hope and Merry with the packing, and the Pessimist flourished the
marking-brush with the greatest dexterity. The Invalid circulated
between pickers and packers, watching the proceedings with profound

In the midst of it all there came a shower. How it did rain! And it
would not leave off, or if it did leave off in the evening it began
again in the morning with a fidelity which we would fain have seen
emulated by our help. One day's drenching always proved to be enough for
those worthies, and we had to scour the country in the pouring rain to
beat up recruits. Then the Charleston steamer went by in spite of most
frantic wavings of the signal-flag, and our peas were left upon the
wharf, exposed to the fury of the elements.

They all got off at last in several detachments, and we had only to wait
for returns. The rain had ceased as soon as the peas were shipped, and
in the warm, bright weather which followed we all luxuriated in company
with the frogs and the lizards. The fields and woods were full of
flowers, the air was saturated with sweet odors and sunshine and songs
of birds. A messenger of good cheer came to us also by the post in the
shape of a cheque from the dealer to whom we had sent our oranges.

"Forty dollars from a single tree!" said Hope exultantly, holding up the
slip of paper. "And that after we had eaten from it steadily for three

"The tree is an eighteen-year-old seedling, Spafford says," said the
Invalid, looking at the document with interest. "If our thousand do as
well in fourteen years, Hope, we may give up planting cabbages, eh?"

"The price will be down to nothing by that time," said the Pessimist,
not without a shade of excitement, which he endeavored to conceal, as he
looked at the cheque. "Still, it can't go below a certain point, I
suppose. The newspapers are sounder on the orange question than on some
others, I fancy."

One would have thought that we had never seen a cheque for forty dollars
before, so much did we rejoice over this one, and so many hopes of
future emolument did we build upon it.

[Illustration: PACKING.]

"What's the trouble with the cucumbers, Spafford?" asked the Pessimist
as we passed by them one evening on our way up from the little wharf
where we had left our sailboat.

"T'ink it de sandemanders, sah. Dey done burrow under dat whole
cucumber-patch--eat all the roots. Cucumbers can't grow widout roots,

"But the Florida _Agriculturalist_ says that salamanders don't eat
roots," said Hope: "they only eat grubs and worms."

Spafford shook his head without vouchsafing a reply.

"The grubs and worms probably ate the roots, and then the salamanders
ate them," observed the Pessimist. "That is poetical justice, certainly.
If we could only eat the salamanders now, the retribution would be

"Sandemanders ain't no 'count to eat," said old man Spafford. "Dey ain't
many critters good to eat. De meat I likes best is wile-cat."

"Wild-cat, uncle!" exclaimed Merry.

"Do you mean to say you eat such things as that?"

"Why, missy," replied the old man seriously, "a wile-cat's 'most de
properest varmint going. Nebber eats not'ing but young pigs and birds
and rabbits, and sich. Yankee folks likes chicken-meat, but 'tain't nigh
so good."

"Well, if they eat rabbits I think better of them," said Hope; "and here
comes Solomon with the mail-bag."

Among the letters which the Invalid turned out a yellow envelope was
conspicuous. Hope seized it eagerly. "From the market-man," she said.
"Now we'll see."

She tore it open. A ten-cent piece, a small currency note and a one-cent
stamp dropped into her lap. She read the letter in silence, then handed
it to her husband.

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the Pessimist, reading it over his shoulder. "This
is the worst I _ever_ heard. 'Thirty-six crates arrived in worthless
condition; twelve crates at two dollars; fifty, at fifty cents;
freights, drayage, commissions;--balance, thirty-six cents.' Thirty-six
cents; for a hundred bushels of peas! Oh, ye gods and little fishes!"

Even Hope was mute.

Merry took the document. "It was all because of the rain," she said.
"See! those last crates, that were picked dry, sold well enough. If all
had done as well as that we should have had our money back; and that's
all we expected the first year."

"There's the corn, at any rate," said Hope, rousing herself. "Dryden
says it's splendid, and no one else has any nearly as early. We shall
have the first of the market."

The corn was our first thought in the morning, and we walked out that
way to console ourselves with the sight of its green and waving beauty,
old Spafford being of the party. On the road we passed a colored woman,
who greeted us with the usual "Howdy?"

"How's all with you, Sister Lucindy?" asked the "section."

"All standin' up, thank God! I done come t'rough your cornfield, Uncle
Spafford. De coons is to wuk dar."

We hastened on at this direful news.

"I declar'!" said old Spafford as we reached the fence. "So dey _is_
bin' to wuk! Done tote off half a dozen bushel dis bery las' night.
Mought as well give it up, missis. Once _dey_ gits a taste ob it,

"Well, that's the worst I _ever_ heard!" exclaimed the Pessimist,
resorting to his favorite formula in his dismay. "Between the coons and
the commission-merchants your profits will vanish, Hope."

"Do you think I shall give it up so?" asked Hope stoutly. "We kept the
rabbits out with a fence, and we can keep the coons out with something
else. It is only a few nights' watching and the corn will be fit for
sale. Dryden and Solomon must come out with their dogs and guns and lie
in wait."

"Bravo, Hope! Don't give up the ship," said the Invalid, smiling.

"Well, if she doesn't, neither will I," said the Pessimist. "For the
matter of that, it will be first-rate sport, and I wonder I haven't
thought of coon-hunting before. I'll come out and keep the boys company,
and we'll see if we don't 'sarcumvent the rascals' yet."

And we _did_ save the corn, and sell it too at a good price, the hotels
in the neighborhood being glad to get possession of the rarity. Hope was
radiant at the result of her determination: the Pessimist smiled a grim
approval when she counted up and displayed her bank-notes and silver.

"A few years more of mistakes and losses, Hope, and you'll make quite a
farmer," he condescended to acknowledge. "But do you think you have
exhausted the catalogue of animal pests?"

"No," said Hope, laughing. "I never dared to tell you about the Irish
potatoes. Something has eaten them all up: Uncle Spafford says it is

"What is a gopher?" asked Merry. "Is it any relation to the gryphon?"

"It is a sagacious variety of snapping-turtle," replied the Invalid,
"which walks about seeking what it may devour."

"And devours my potatoes," said Hope. "But we have got the better of the
rabbits and the coons, and I don't despair next year even of the gophers
and salamanders."

"Even victory may be purchased too dearly," said the Pessimist.

"After all, the experiment has not been so expensive a one," said the
Invalid, laying down the neatly-kept farm-ledger, which he had been
examining. "The orange trees are a good investment--our one bearing tree
has proved that--and as for the money our farming experiment has cost
us, we should have spent as much, I dare say, had we lived at the hotel,
and not have been one half as comfortable."

"It _is_ a cozy little home," admitted the Pessimist, looking about the
pretty room, now thrown wide open to the early summer and with a huge
pot of creamy magnolia-blooms in the great chimney.

"It is the pleasantest winter I ever spent," said Merry

"Except that dreadful evening when the account of the peas came," said
Hope, drawing a long breath. "But I should like to try it again: I shall
never be quite satisfied till I have made peas and cucumbers

"Then, all I have to say is, that you are destined to drag out an
unsatisfied existence," said the Pessimist.

"I am not so sure of that," said the Invalid.

And so we turned our faces northward, not without a lingering sorrow at
leaving the home where we had spent so many sweet and sunny days.

"Good-bye, Paradise Plantation," said Merry as the little white house
under the live-oak receded from our view as we stood upon the steamer's

"It was not so inappropriately named," said the Invalid. "Our life there
has surely been more nearly paradisiacal than any other we have known."

And to this even the Pessimist assented.




It was about 8.30 A. M. before the boat was found, some travellers
having removed it from the place where Baronette had cachéd it. A half
hour sufficed to wrap a tent-cover neatly around the bottom and to tack
it fast on the thwarts. Then two oblongs of flat wood were nailed on ten
feet of pine-stems and called oars; and, so equipped, we were ready to

We had driven or ridden hundreds of miles over a country familiar to any
one who chooses to read half a dozen books or reports; but, once across
the Yellowstone, we should enter a region of which little has been
written since Lewis and Clarke wandered across the head-waters of the
Missouri in 1805, and had their perils and adventures told anonymously
by one who was to become famous for many noble qualities of mind and
heart, for great accomplishments and unmerited misfortunes.[A]

Two or three of us sat on the bluff enjoying our after-breakfast pipes
and watching the transport of our baggage. The gray beach at our feet
stretched with irregular outline up the lake, and offered one prominent
cape whence the boat started for its trips across the stream. By 10.30
all the luggage was over, and then began the business of forcing
reluctant mules and horses to swim two hundred yards of cold, swift
stream. The bell-mare promptly declined to lead, and only swam out to
return again to the shore. Then one or two soldiers stripped and forced
their horses in, but in turn became scared, and gave it up amidst chaff
and laughter. At last a line of men, armed with stones, drove the whole
herd of seventy-five animals into the water with demoniac howls and a
shower of missiles. Once in, they took it calmly enough, and, the brave
little foal leading, soon reached the farther bank. One old war-horse of
recalcitrant views turned back, and had to be towed over.

Finally, we ourselves crossed, and the judge and I, leaving the
confusion behind us, struck off into some open woods over an indistinct
trail. Very soon Major Gregg overtook us, and we went into camp about 4
P. M. on a rising ground two miles from the lake, surrounded by woods
and bits of grass-land. Here Captain G. and Mr. E. left us, going on
with Mr. Jump for a two days' hunt.

Next day, at 7 A. M., we rode away over little prairies and across low
pine-clad hills, and saw to right and left tiny parks with their forest
boundaries, until, after two miles, we came to Pelican Creek, a broad
grayish stream, having, notwithstanding its swift current, a look of
being meant by Nature for stagnation. As we followed this
unwholesome-looking water eastward we crossed some quaking, ill-smelling
morasses, and at last rode out on a spacious plain, with Mounts
Langford, Doane and Stevenson far to the south-east, and Mount Sheridan
almost south-west of us. The first three are bold peaks, while about
them lie lesser hills numberless and nameless. The day seemed absolutely
clear, yet the mountains were mere serrated silhouettes, dim with a
silvery haze, through which gleamed the whiter silver of snow in patches
or filling the long ravines. Striking across the plain, we came upon a
tent and the horses of Captain G. and Mr. E., who were away in the

Thence we followed the Pelican Valley, which had broadened to a wide
meadowy plain, and about ten miles from the camp we began a rough ride
up the lessening creek from the level. The valley was half a mile wide,
noisome with sulphur springs and steam-vents, with now and then a
gayly-tinted hill-slope, colored like the cañon of the Yellowstone. Some
one seeing deer above us on the hills, Dr. T., Mr. K. and Houston rode
off in pursuit. Presently came a dozen shots far above us, and the
major, who had followed the hunters, sent his orderly back for
pack-mules to carry the two black-tailed deer they had killed. After a
wild scramble through bogs we began to ascend a narrow valley with the
creek on our left. Jack Baronette "guessed some timber might have fell
on that trail." Trail there was none in reality, only steep hillsides of
soft scoriæ, streaming sulphur-vents and a cat's cradle of tumbled dead
trees. Every few minutes the axes were ringing, and a way was cleared;
then another halt, and more axe-work, until we slipped and scrambled and
stumbled on to a little better ground, to the comfort of man and beast.

Eighteen miles of this savage riding brought us to our next camp, where,
as the shooting was said to be good and the cattle needed rest, it was
decided to remain two days. Our tents were pitched on a grassy knoll
overlooking the main valley, which was bounded by hills of some three or
four hundred feet high, between which the Pelican ran slowly with bad
water and wormy trout, though there was no lack of wholesome springs on
the hill.

Mr. C. and Mr. T. went off with Jack, and Mr. K. with Jump, to camp out
and hunt early. The night was clear, the thermometer down to 24°
Fahrenheit, and the ice thick on the pails when we rose. One of our
parties came in with six deer: the captain and Mr. C. remained out. The
camp was pleasant enough to an idling observer like myself, but it was
not so agreeable to find the mountain-side, where Mr. T. and I were
looking for game, alive with mosquitos. I lit on a place where the bears
had been engaged in some rough-and-tumble games: the ground was strewed
with what the lad who was with us asserted to be bears' hair. It looked
like the wreck of a thousand chignons, and proved, on inspection, to be
a kind of tawny-colored moss!

All night long, at brief intervals, our mules were scared by a dull,
distant noise like a musket-shot. A soldier told me it was a mud volcano
which he had seen the day we arrived. I then found it marked on Hayden's
map, but learned that it had not been seen by him, and was only so
located on information received from hunters. On the morning of August
1st I persuaded the major to walk over and look for the volcano. We
crossed the valley, and, guided by the frequent explosions, climbed the
hills to the east, and, descending on the far side, came into a small
valley full of sluggish, ill-smelling rills, among which we found the
remarkable crater, which, as it has not been hitherto examined by any
save hunters, I shall describe at some length.

A gradual rising ground made up of soft sulphureous and calcareous earth
was crowned by a more abrupt rise some thirty-five feet high, composed
of tough gray clay. This was pierced by a cone of regular form about
thirty feet across at top and five feet at the bottom. On the west,
about one-third of the circumference was wanting from a point six feet
above the lowest level, thus enabling one to be at a distance or to
stand close by, and yet see to the bottom of the pit. The ground all
around and the shrubs and trees were dotted thick with flakes of dry
mud, which gave, at a distance, a curious stippled look to the
mud-spattered surfaces. As I stood watching the volcano I could see
through the clouds of steam it steadily emitted that the bottom was full
of dark gray clay mud, thicker than a good mush, and that, apparently,
there were two or more vents. The outbreak of imprisoned steam at
intervals of a half minute or more threw the mud in small fig-like
masses from five to forty feet in air with a dull, booming sound,
sometimes loud enough to be heard for miles through the awful stillness
of these lonely hills. It is clear, from the fact of our finding these
mud-patches at least one hundred yards from the crater, that at times
much more violent explosions take place. The constant plastering of the
slopes of the crater which these explosions cause tends to seal up its
vent, but the greater explosions cleanse it at times, and all the while
the steam softens the masses on the sides, so that they slip back into
the boiling cauldron below. As one faces the slit in the cone there lies
to the right a pool of creamy thin mud, white and yellow, feebly
boiling. It is some thirty feet wide, and must be not more than twenty
feet from the crater: its level I guessed at sixteen feet above that of
the bottom of the crater.

After an hour's observation near to the volcano I retired some fifty
feet, and, sheltering myself under a stunted pine, waited in the hope of
seeing a greater outbreak. After an hour more the boiling lessened and
the frequent explosions ceased for perhaps fifteen minutes. Then of a
sudden came a booming sound, followed by a hoarse noise, as the crater
filled with steam, out of which shot, some seventy-five feet in air,
about a cartload of mud. It fell over an area of fifty yards around the
crater in large or small masses, which flattened as they struck. As
soon as it ended I walked toward the crater. A moment later a second
squirt shot out sideways and fell in a line athwart the mud-pool near
by, crossing the spot where I had been standing so long, and covering
me, as I advanced, with rare patches of hot mud. Some change took place
after this in the character and consistency of the mud, and now, at
intervals, the curious spectacle was afforded of rings of mud like the
smoke-rings cast by a cannon or engine-chimney. As they turned in air
they resembled at times the figure 8: once they assumed the form of a
huge irregular spiral some ten feet high, although usually the figures
were like long spikes, or, more rarely, thin formless leaves, and even
like bats or deformed birds.

I walked back over the hills to camp, where we found Captain G. and the
commissary with the best of two deer they had shot. Later, Mr. C. and
Mr. K. came in with four elk, so that we were well supplied. Of these
various meats the deer proved the best, the mountain-sheep the poorest.
The minimum of the night temperature was 34° Fahrenheit. At eighty-five
hundred feet above tide the change at sundown was abrupt. Our camp-fires
had filled the little valley with smoke, and through it the moon rose
red and sombre above the pine-clad outlines of the eastward hills.

The next day Mr. E. and I, who liked to break the journey by a walk,
started early, and, following a clear trail, soon passed the mules. We
left Pelican Creek on our right, and crossed a low divide into a
cooly,[B] the valley of Broad Creek: a second divide separated this from
Cañon Creek, both of which enter the Yellowstone below the falls.

After some six miles afoot over grassy rolling plains and bits of wood,
the command overtook us, and, mounting, we followed the major for an
hour or two through bogs and streams, where now and then down went a
horse and over went a trooper, or some one or two held back at a nasty
crossing until the major smiled a little viciously, when the unlucky
ones plunged in and got through or not as might chance.

About twelve some of us held up to lunch, the train and escort passing
us. We followed them soon through dense woods, and at last up a small
brook in a deep ravine among boulders big and small. At last we lost the
trail at the foot of a slope one thousand feet high of loose stones and
earth, from the top of which a cry hailed us, and we saw that somehow
the command had got up. The ascent was very steep, but before we made it
a mule rolled down. As he was laden with fresh antelope and deer meat,
the scattering of the yet red joints as he fell made it look as if the
poor beast had been torn limb from limb; but, as a packer remarked,
"Mules has got an all-fired lot of livin' in 'em;" and the mule was
repacked and started up again. "They jist falls to make yer mad,
anyway," added the friendly biographer of the mule.

The sheer mountain-side above us was not to be tried mounted; so afoot,
bridle in hand, we started up, pulling the horses after us. I had not
thought it could be as hard work as it proved. There was a singular and
unfeeling lack of intelligence in the fashion the horse had of differing
with his leader. When the man was well blown and stopped, the horse was
sure to be on his heels, or if the man desired to move the horse had his
own opinion and proved restive. At last, horses and men came out on a
bit of level woodland opening into glades full of snow. We were
eighty-four hundred feet in air, on a spur of Amethyst or Specimen
Mountain. We had meant, having made eighteen miles, to camp somewhere on
this hill, but the demon who drives men to go a bit farther infested the
major that day; so presently the bugle sounded, and we were in the
saddle again, and off for a delusive five-mile ride. As Mr. G. Chopper
once remarked, "De mile-stones to hebben ain't set no furder apart dan
dem in dis yere land;" and I believed him ere that day was done.

The top of this great hill, which may be some ten thousand feet in
height, is large and irregular. Our trail lay over its south-eastern
shoulder. After a little ride through the woods we came out abruptly on
a vast rolling plain sloping to the north-east, and broadening as it
fell away from us until, with intervals of belts of wood, it ended in a
much larger plain on a lower level, quite half a mile distant, and of
perhaps one thousand acres. About us, in the coolies, the "Indian
paint-brush" and numberless flowers quite strange to us all so tinted
the dried grasses of these little vales as to make the general hue seem
a lovely pink-gray. Below us, for a mile, rolled grassy slopes, now
tawny from the summer's rainless heat, and set with thousands of
balsam-firs in groups, scattered as with the hand of unerring taste here
and there over all the broad expanse. Many of them stood alone, slim,
tall, gracious cones of green, feathered low, and surrounded by a
brighter green ring of small shoots extending from two to four feet
beyond where the lowest boughs, touching the earth, were reflected up
from it again in graceful curves. On all sides long vistas, bounded by
these charming trees, stretched up into the higher spurs. Ever the same
flowers, ever the same amazing look of centuries of cultivation, and the
feeling that it would be natural to come of a sudden on a gentleman's
seat or basking cows, rather than upon the scared doe and dappled fawn
which fled through the coverts near us. We had seen many of these parks,
but none like this one, nor any sight of plain and tree and flowers so
utterly satisfying in its complete beauty. It wanted but a contrast,
and, as we rode through and out of a line of firs, with a cry of wonder
and simple admiration the rudest trooper pulled up his horse to gaze,
and the most brutal mule-guard paused, with nothing in his heart but joy
at the splendor of it.

At our feet the mountain fell away abruptly, pine-clad, and at its base
the broad plain of the East Branch of the Yellowstone wandered through a
vast valley, beyond which, in a huge semicircle, rose a thousand
nameless mountains, summit over summit, snow-flecked or snow-clad, in
boundless fields--a grim, lonely, desolate horror of rugged, barren
peaks, of dark gray for the most part, cleft by deep shadows, and right
in face of us one superb slab of very pale gray buttressed limestone,
perhaps a good thousand feet high. I thought it the most savage
mountain-scenery I had ever beheld, while the almost feminine and tender
beauty of the parks which dotted these wild hills was something to bear
in remembrance.

But the escort was moving, the mules crowding on behind our halted
column; so presently we were slipping, sliding, floundering down the
hillside, now on steep slopes, which made one a bit nervous to ride
along; now waiting for the axemen to clear away the tangle of trees
crushed to earth by the burden of some year of excessive snow; now on
the horses, now off, through marsh and thicket. I ask myself if I could
ride that ride to-day: it seems to me as if I could not. One so fully
gets rid of nerves in that clear, dry altitude and wholesome life that
the worst perils, with a little repetition, become as trifles, and no
one talks about things which at home would make a newspaper paragraph.
Yet I believe each of us confessed to some remnant of nervousness, some
special dread. Riding an hour or two at night in a dense wood with no
trail is an experiment I advise any man to try who thinks he has no
nerves. A good steep slope of a thousand feet of loose stones to cross
is not much more exhilarating: nobody likes it.

The command was far ahead of two or three of us when we had our final
sensation at a smart little torrent near the foot of the hill, a
tributary of the main river. The horses dive, in a manner, into a cut
made dark by overgrowth of trees, then down a slippery bank, scuttle
through wild waters surging to the cinche, over vast boulders and up the
farther bank, the stirrups striking the rocks to left or right, till
horse and man draw long breaths of relief, and we are out on the
slightly-rolling valley of the East Yellowstone, and turn our heads away
from Specimen Mountain toward Soda Butte.

Captain G. and I, who had fallen to the rear, rode leisurely northward
athwart the open prairie on a clear trail, which twice crossed the
shallow river, and, leaving the main valley, carried us up a narrowing
vale on slightly rising ground. On either side and in front rose abrupt
mountains some two thousand feet above the plain, and below the
remarkable outline of Soda Butte marked the line of the Park boundary.
Near by was a little corral where at some time herdsmen had settled to
give their cattle the use of the abundant grasses of these well-watered
valleys. When there are no Indian scares, the cattle herdsmen make
immense marches in summer, gradually concentrating their stock as the
autumn comes on and returning to the shelter of some permanent ranche.
The very severity and steadiness of the winters are an advantage to
cattle, which do not suffer so much from low temperature as from lack of
food. Farther south, the frequent thaws rot the dried grasses, which are
otherwise admirable fodder, but in Montana the steady cold is rather
preservative, and the winds leave large parts of the plains so free from
snow that cattle readily provide themselves with food.

The cone of Soda Butte stands out on the open and level plain of the
valley, an isolated beehive-shaped mass eighty feet high, and presenting
a rough appearance of irregular courses of crumbled gray stone. It is a
perfectly extinct geyser-cone, chiefly notable for its seeming isolation
from other deposits of like nature, of which, however, the nearer hills
show some evidence. Close to the butte is a spring, pointed out to us by
the major's orderly, who had been left behind to secure our tasting its
delectable waters, which have immense credit as of tonic and digestive
value. I do not distinctly recall all the nasty tastes which have
afflicted my palate, but I am quite sure this was one of the vilest. It
was a combination of acid, sulphur and saline, like a diabolic julep of
lucifer-matches, bad eggs, vinegar and magnesia. I presume its horrible
taste has secured it a reputation for being good when it is down. Close
by it kindly Nature has placed a stream of clear, sweet water.

A mile or so more brought us (August 3d) to camp, which was pitched at
the end of the valley of Soda Butte. We had had eleven hours in the
saddle, and had not ridden over twenty-eight or thirty miles. The train
came straggling in late, and left us time to sharpen our appetites and
admire the reach of grassy plain, the bold brown summits around us, and
at our feet a grass-fringed lake of two or three acres. This pond is fed
by a quick mountain-stream of a temperature of 45° Fahrenheit, and the
only outlet is nearly blocked up by a tangled network of weeds and
fallen timber which prevents the fish from escaping. The bottom is thick
with long grasses, and food must be abundant in this curious little
preserve. The shores slope, so that it is necessary to use a raft to get
at the deep holes in the middle.

At breakfast next morning some one growled about the closeness of the
night air, when we were told, to our surprise, that the minimum
thermometer marked 36° as the lowest night temperature. Certain it is,
the out-of-door-life changes one's feelings about what is cold and what
is not. While we were discussing this a soldier brought in a five-pound
trout taken in the lake, which so excited the fishermen that presently
there was a raft builded, and the major and Mr. T., with bare feet, were
loading their frail craft with huge trout, and, alas! securing for
themselves a painful attack of sunburn. I found all these large trout to
have fatty degeneration of the heart and liver, but no worms. They took
the fly well.

August 5th, under clear skies as usual, we struck at once into a trail
which for seventeen miles might have been a park bridle-path, a little
steeper, and in places a little boggy. Our way took us east by north
into Soda Butte Cañon, a mile wide below, and narrowing with a gradual
rise, until at Miner's Camp it is quite closely bounded by high
hillsides, the upper level of the trail being over eight thousand feet
above the sea. The ride through this irregular valley is very noble. For
a mile or two on our left rose a grand mass of basalt quite two thousand
feet in height, buttressed with bold outlying rocks and presenting very
regular basaltic columns. A few miles farther the views grew yet more
interesting, because around us rose tall ragged gray or dark mountains,
and among them gigantic forms of red, brown and yellow limestone rocks,
as brilliant as the dolomites of the Southern Tyrol. These wild
contrasts of form and color were finest about ten miles up the cañon,
where lies to the west a sombre, dark square mountain, crowned by what
it needed little fancy to believe a castle in ruins, with central keep
and far-reaching walls. On the brow of a precipice fifteen hundred feet
above us, at the end of the castle-wall, a gigantic figure in full armor
seemed to stand on guard for ever. I watched it long as we rode round
the great base of the hill, and cannot recall any such striking
simulation elsewhere. My guides called it the "Sentinel," but it haunted
me somehow as of a familiar grace until suddenly I remembered the old
town of Innspruck and the Alte Kirche, and on guard around the tomb of
the great Kaiser the bronze statues of knight and dame, and, most
charming of all, the king of the Ostrogoths: that was he on the

Everywhere on these hills the mining prospector has roamed, and on the
summit of the pass we found a group of cabins where certain claims have
been "staked out" and much digging done. As yet, they are as profitable,
by reason of remoteness, as may be the mines in the lunar mountains.
With careless glances at piles of ore which may or may not be valuable,
we rode on to camp, two miles beyond--not very comfortably, finding
water scarce, some rain falling and a great wealth of midges, such as we
call in upper Pennsylvania "pungies," and needing a smudge for the
routing of them. The night was cold and dewy, and our sufferers were
wretched with sunburn.

The doctor and George Houston here left us, and went on to a salt-lick
famous for game, but this proved a failure, some one having carelessly
set fire to the tract. Indeed, in summer it is hard not to start these
almost endless fires, since a spark or a bit of pipe-cinder will at once
set the grasses ablaze, to the destruction of hunting and the annoyance
of all travellers, to whom a fire is something which suggests man, and
the presence of man needs, sad to say, an explanation. At 6 A. M.,
August 6th, Captain G. and the lad Lee also went off on a side-trail
after game, and with lessened numbers we broke camp rather late, and
rode into dense woods down a steady descent on a fair trail. The changes
of vegetation were curious and sudden--from pines and firs to elders,
stunted willows and sparse cottonwood bending over half-dry beds of
torrents, with vast boulders telling of the fierce fury of water which
must have undermined, then loosened and at last tumbled them from the
hillsides. These streams are, in the early spring, impassable until a
cold day and night check the thaw in the hills, and thus allow the
impatient traveller to ford.

Gradually, as we rode on, the hills to our left receded, and on our
right the summits of Index and Pilot stood up and took the
morning--long, straggling volcanic masses of deep chocolate-brown, black
as against the crystalline purity of cloudless blue skies, rising in the
middle to vast rugged, irregular cones fourteen thousand feet above
tide. From the bewildering desolateness of these savage peaks the eye
wanders to the foot-hills, tree-clad with millions of pines, and lower
yet to the wide valley of the West Branch of Clarke's Fork of the
Yellowstone, through which a great stream rushes; and then, beyond the
river, park over park with gracious boundaries of fir and pine, and over
all black peak and snow-clad dome and slope, nameless, untrodden, an
infinite army of hills beyond hills. The startling combination of black
volcanic peaks with gray and tinted limestone still makes every mile of
the way strange and grand. In one place the dark rock-slopes end
abruptly in a wall of white limestone one hundred to two hundred feet
high and regular as ancient masonry. A little below was a second of
these singular dikes, which run for twenty miles or more.

On a rising ground where we halted to lunch a note was found stating
that Dr. T., failing to find game at the salt-lick, had gone on ahead.
While lingering over our lunch in leisurely fashion, encircled by this
great mass of snow and blackness, an orderly suddenly rode up to hasten
us to camp, as Indian signs had been seen down the valley. In a moment
we were running our horses over a sage-plain, and were soon in camp,
which was pitched on the West Branch in the widening valley. Dr. T. and
George Houston, it appeared, had seen a column of smoke four miles below
on a butte across the river. As the smoke was steady and did not spread,
like an accidental fire, it seemed wise to wait for the party. There
being no news of Indians, and no probability of white travellers, it was
well to be cautious. It might be a hunters' or prospectors' camp, or a
rallying-signal for scattered bands of Sioux, or a courier from Fort
Custer. The doubt was unpleasant, and its effect visible in the men, two
of whom already _saw_ Indians.

"See 'em?" says Jack. "Yes, they're like the Devil: you just doesn't see

While we pitched camp sentinels were thrown out, and two guides went off
to investigate the cause of the fire. Houston came back in two hours,
and relieved us by his statement that no trails led to the fire, and
that its probable cause was the lightning of the storm which had
overtaken us in camp the day before.

As the day waned the tints of the great mountains before us changed
curiously. Of a broken chocolate-brown at noon, as the sun set their
eastern fronts assumed a soft velvety look, while little purple clouds
of haze settled in the hollows and rifts, fringing with tender grays the
long serrated ridges as they descended to the plain. As the sun went
down the single huge obelisk of Pilot Mountain seemed to be slowly
growing upward out of the gathering shadows below. Presently, as the sun
fell lower, the base of the mountain being swarthy with the growing
nightfall, all of a sudden the upper half of the bleak cone yet in
sunshine cast upward, athwart the blue sky, upon the moisture
precipitated by the falling temperature, a great dark, broadening shaft
of shadow, keen-edged and sombre, and spreading far away into
measureless space--a sight indescribably strange and solemn.

The next day's ride down Clarke's Fork still gave us morass and mud and
bad trails, with the same wonderful views in the distance of snow-clad
hills, and, nearer, brown peaks and gray, with endless limestone dikes.
We camped at twelve on Crandall's Creek, a mile from the main branch of
Clarke's Fork of the Yellowstone, and learned from the guides that no
fish exist in these ample waters. The doubts I at first had were
lessened after spending some hours in testing the matter. Strange as it
may seem, and inexplicable, I am disposed to think the guides are right.
We saw two "cow-punchers," who claimed to be starving, and were
questioned with some scepticism. In fact, every stranger is looked after
sharply with the ever-present fear of horse-thieves and of the
possibility of being set afoot by a night-stampede of the stock. Our
hunting-parties were still out when I started next morning at 8.30 to
climb a huge butte opposite our camp. I reached the top at about twelve,
and found on the verge of a precipice some twenty-five hundred feet
above the vale a curious semicircle of stones--probably an Indian
outlook made by the Nez Percés in their retreat. Sitting with my back
against it, I looked around me. A doe and fawn leapt away, startled from
their covert close by. Never, even in the Alps, have I so felt the sense
of loneliness--never been so held awestruck by the silence of the hills,
by the boundlessness of the space before me. No breath of air stirred,
no bird or insect hovered near. Away to the north-west Pilot and Index
rose stern and dark; across the valley, to the north, out of endless
snow-fields, the long regular red-and-yellow pyramid of Bear Tooth
Mountain glowed in vivid light with amazing purity of color; while
between me and it the hills fell away, crossed by intersecting bands of
dark firs, and between marvellous deceits of fertile farm-lands, hedges
and orchards. Here and there on the plain tiny lakes lit up the sombre
grasses, and lower down the valley the waters of Clarke's Fork, now
green, now white with foam, swept with sudden curve to the north-east,
and were lost in the walls of its cañon like a scimitar half sheathed.
On my right, across the vast grass-slopes of this great valley, on a
gradual hill-slope, rose the most remarkable of the lime dikes I have
seen. It must enclose with its gigantic wall a space of nearly two miles
in width, in the centre of which a wild confusion of tinted limestone
strata, disturbed by some old convulsion of Nature, resembles the huge
ruins of a great town.

Soon after my return to camp, C. and the doctor came in with great
triumph, having slain four bears. I was not present on this occasion,
but I am inclined to fancy, as regards the doctor, that he verily
believed the chief end and aim of existence for him was to kill bears,
while C. had an enthusiasm of like nature, somewhat toned down.

After a wild ride on cayooses across Clarke's Fork and on the glowing
pink side-slopes of Bear Tooth, and a camp in the hills, the ponies,
which are always astray, were caught, and a game-trail followed among
the mountains. Suddenly, Houston, in a stage-whisper, exclaimed, "We've
got him! He's an old buster, he is!" He had seen a large gray
bear--improperly called a grizzly--feeding a mile away in a long wide
cooly. A rough, scrambling ride under cover of a spur, amid snow-drifts
and tumbled trees, enabled the bear-hunters to tie up their ponies and
push on afoot. If a man desire to lose confidence in his physical
powers, let him try a good run with a Winchester rifle in hand nine
thousand feet above tidewater. Rounding the edge of a hill and crossing
a snow-drift, they came in view of Bruin sixty yards away. He came
straight toward them against the wind, when there appeared on the left
Bruin No. 2, to which the doctor directed his attention. Both bears fell
at the crack of the rifles, and with grunt and snort rolled to the foot
of the cooly. Houston climbed a snowbank to reconnoitre, aware, as there
were no trees to climb, that an open cooly was no good place in which
to face wounded bears. Away went the doctor.

"Let them alone, doctor," said Houston. "Hold up! That valley's full of
bears." For he had seen a third.

The doctor paused a moment, and then there was a rush down the slope. A
second shot finished one bear, and then began a running fight of a mile,
in which wind was of more value than courage. Finally, Bruin No. 2
stopped. Leaving C. to end his days, the doctor and Houston pursued No.
3. As the bear grew weak and they approached him, the doctor's
excitement and Houston's quite reasonable prudence rose together.

"Don't go down that cooly, doctor."

Then a shot or two, a growl, and the doctor gasping, "Do you think I
left my practice to let that bear die in his bed?"

"Well, the place is full of bears," said George; and so on they went,
now a shot and now a growl, and then a hasty retreat of Bruin, until,
utterly blown and in full sight of his prey, the unhappy doctor murmured
in an exhausted voice, "Give me one cool shot, George."

"Darn it!" replied George, "who's been warming your shots?"

And this one cool shot ended the fray. Returning, they found the judge
had driven his bear into a thicket, and, having probably taken out a _ne
exeat_ or an injunction, or some such effective legal remedy against
him, awaited reinforcements. As George and the doctor arrived the bear
moved out into the open, and was killed by a final shot.

Mr. Jump informs us that one gets an awful price out of the Chinese for
bear-galls; and it is the judge's opinion that at this supreme moment
the doctor would have taken a contract to supply all China with bile of
Bruin. I suspect our friend George has since told at many a camp-fire
how the doctor's spurs danced down the coolies, and how the judge
corralled his bear.

We broke camp August 10th at four, after a night of severe cold--27°
Fahrenheit--but perfectly dry and dewless. E. and I, as usual, pushed on
ahead across Lodge Pole Creek, and so down the valley of Clarke's Fork.
An increasing luxury of growth gave us, in wood or swamp, cottonwood,
alder, willow, wild currants and myriads of snow-white lilies, and, in
pretty contrast, the red or pink paint-brush. Losing Pilot and Index as
the windings of the main valley hid them, and leaving them behind us, we
began to see rocks of bright colors and more and more regular walls of
silvery gray stone. At last the widening valley broadened, and from it
diverged five valleys, like the fingers from a hand, each the bed of a
stream. As we turned to the left and crossed the wildly-rolling hills,
and forded Clarke's Fork to camp by Dead Indian Creek, the novelty and
splendor of this almost unequalled view grew and grew. As I close my
eyes it comes before me as at the call of an enchanter. From the main
valley the outlook is down five grass-clad valleys dotted with trees and
here and there flashing with the bright reflection from some hurrying
stream. The mountains between rise from two to ten thousand feet, and
are singular for the contrasts they present. The most distant to the
right were black serrated battlements, looking as if their darkness were
vacant spaces in the blue sky beyond. The next hill was a mass of gray
limestone, and again, on the left, rose a tall peak of ochreous yellows,
sombre reds and grays. The hill above our camp was composed of red and
yellow rocks, fading below to gray débris, bounded beneath by a band of
grasses, and below this another stratum of tinted rock; and so down to
the plain. The side-view of this group showed it to be wildly distorted,
the strata lying at every angle, coming out against the distant
lava-peaks and the green slopes below them in a glory of tenderly-graded

It seems as if it should be easy to describe a landscape so peculiar,
and yet I feel that I fail utterly to convey any sense of the emotions
excited by the splendid sweep of each valley, by the black fierceness of
the lava-peaks thrown up in Nature's mood of fury, by the great
"orchestra of colors" of the limestone hills, and by a burning red
sunset, filling the spaces between the hills with hazy, ruddy gold,
and, when all was cold and dark, of a sudden flooding each grim
lava-battlement with the dim mysterious pink flush of the afterglow,
such as one may see at rare times in the Alps or the Tyrol. In crossing
the heads of these valleys, some day to be famous as one of the sights
of the world, we forded Clarke's Fork, the major, Jack and I being
ahead. We came out on the far side upon a bit of strand, above and
around which rose almost perpendicularly the eroded banks of the stream,
some fifteen feet high. While the guides broke down the bank to allow of
our horses climbing it, I was struck with a wonderful bit of water. To
my right this tall bank was perforated by numerous holes, out of which
flowed an immense volume of water. It bounded forth between the matted
roots and welled up below from the sand, and, higher up the bank, had,
with its sweet moisture, bribed the ready mosses to build it numerous
green basins, out of which also it poured in prodigal flood.

At this point, Dead Indian, we at first decided to await the looked-for
scout, but on the next morning the major resolved to leave a note on a
tripod for Mr. T., still out hunting, and to camp and wait on top of
Cañon Mountain above us. So we left the noisy creek and the broken
tepees of Joseph and the Nez Percés, and the buffalo and deer-bones and
the rarer bones of men, and climbed some twenty-four hundred feet of the
hill above us: then passed over a rolling plain, by ruddy gravel-hills
and grasses gray- or pink-stemmed, to camp, on what Mr. Baronette called
Cañon Mountain, among scattered groups of trees having a quaint
resemblance to an old apple-orchard. Here we held counsel as to whether
we should wait longer for the scout, push on rapidly to Custer, or
complete our plans by turning southward to see the Black Cañon of the
Big Horn River. Our doubt as to the steam-boats, which in the autumn are
few and far between, and our failing provisions, decided us to push on
to the fort. Having got in all our parties, with ample supplies of game,
we started early next day to begin the descent from these delightful
hills to the plains below. We rode twenty-eight miles, descending about
thirty-seven hundred feet over boundless rolling, grass-clad foot-hills,
behind us, to the left, the long mountain-line bounding the rugged cañon
of Clarke's Fork, and to the right a march of lessening hills, and all
before us one awful vast gray, sad and silent plain, and in dimmest
distance again the gray summits about Pryor's Gap. The space before us
was a vast park, thick with cactus and sage-brush, lit up here and
there--but especially at the point where the cañon sets free the river
on to the plain--by brilliant masses of tinted rocks or clays in level
strata overlapping one another in bars of red, silver, pink, yellow and
gray. With a certain sense of sadness we took a last look at these snowy
summits rising out of their green crowns of pine and fir, and, bidding
adieu to the wholesome hills, rode on to the grim alkali plain with the
thermometer at 92°.

And now the days of bad water had come, each spring being the nastiest,
and the stuff not consoling when once down, but making new and
unquenchable thirst, and leaving a vile and constant taste of magnesia
and chalk. And thus, over sombre prairies and across a wicked
ford--where, of course, the captain and T. got their baggage wet--and
past bones of men on which were piled stones, and the man's breeches
thrown over these for a shroud or as a remembrance of the shrivelled
thing below being human, we followed the Nez Percés' trail, to camp at
four by the broad rattling waters of Clarke. Jack reported Indians near
by--indeed saw them: guessed them to be Bannocks, as Crows would have
come in to beg. Sentinels were thrown out on the bluffs near us and the
stock watched with redoubled care.

I think every man who has camped much remembers, with a distinct
vividness, the camp-fires. I recall happy hours by them in Maine and
Canada and on the north shore of Lake Superior, and know, as every lover
of the woods knows, how each wood has its character, its peculiar
odors--even a language of its own. The burning pine has one speech, the
gum tree another. One friend at least who was with me can recall our
camps in Maine,

    Where fragrant hummed the moist swamp-spruce,
      And tongues unknown the cedar spoke,
    While half a century's silent growth
      Went up in cheery flame and smoke.

The cottonwood burns with a rich, ruddy, abundant blaze and a faint
pleasant aroma. Not an unpicturesque scene, our camp-fire, with the
rough figures stretched out on the grass and the captain marching his
solemn round with utterly unfatigable legs, Jack and George Houston
good-humoredly chaffing, and now and again a howl responsive to the
anguish of a burnt boot. He who has lived a life and never known a
camp-fire is--Well, may he have that joy in the Happy Hunting-grounds!

The next day's ride was only interesting from the fact that we forded
Clarke's Fork five times in pretty wild places, where, of course,
Captain G. and the doctor again had their baggage soaked. The annoyance
of this when, after ten hours in the saddle, you come to fill your
tobacco-bag and find the precious treasure hopelessly wet, your
writing-paper in your brushes, the lovely photographs, a desolated
family presented on your departure, brilliant with yellow mud--I pause:
there are inconceivable capacities for misery to be had out of a
complete daily wetting of camp-traps. I don't think the captain ever
quite got over this last day's calamity, and I doubt not he mourns over
it to-day in England.

The ride of the next two days brought us again to rising ground, the
approach to Pryor's Gap. On the 13th I rode on ahead with George
Houston, and had an unsuccessful buffalo-hunt. We saw about forty head,
but by no device could we get near enough for effective shooting. I had,
however, the luck to kill a buck antelope and two does. Rejoining the
command in great triumph, I found Jump, to my amusement, waving over his
head a red cotton umbrella which some wandering Crow had dropped on the
trail. The umbrella being, from the Crow point of view, a highly-prized
ornament, it was not strange to find it on our trail. In an evil moment
I asked Jump to hand it to me. As he did so it fell, open, over the nose
of my cayoose. As to what happened I decline to explain: there have been
many calumnies concerning what Mr. Jump called "that 'ere horse-show."

On this day we rode through the last range of considerable hills, past a
vast rock which meant "medicine" of some kind for the Indian, as its
clefts were dotted with sacrificial beads, arrows and bits of calico. A
brief scramble and a long descent carried us through Pryor's Gap, and
out again on to boundless plains, thick with the fresh dung of the
buffaloes, which must have been here within two days and been hurried
southward by Crow hunting-parties. This to our utter disgust, as we had
been promised abundance of buffalo beyond Pryor's Gap.

A thirty-mile march brought us to a poor camp by a marshy stream. Man
and beast showed the effects of the alkaline waters, which seemed to me
more nasty every day. There is no doubt, however, that it is possible to
become accustomed to their use, and no lands are more capable of
cultivation than these if the water be sufficient for irrigation. The
camp was enlivened by an adventure of the major's, which revenged for us
his atrocious habit of rising at 3 A. M. and saying "Now, gentlemen!" as
he stood relentless at the tent-doors. C. and I had found a cañon near
by about one hundred feet deep and having a good bathing stream. As we
returned toward it at evening we saw the gallant major standing
barelegged on the edge of the cañon, gesticulating wildly, his
saddle-bags and toilette matters far below beside the creek. Still
suffering with the sunburn, he had been cooling his feet in the water
preparatory to a bath, when, lo! a bear standing on his hind legs eating
berries at a distance of only about fifteen feet! The major promptly
availed himself of the shelter offered by the bank of the stream; but
once there, how was he to escape unseen? The water was cold, the bear
big, the major shoeless. Perhaps a bark simulative of a courageous dog
might induce the bear to leave. No doubt, under such inspirations, it
was well done. The bear, amazed at the resources of the army,
fled--alas! not pursued by the happy major, who escaped up the
cañon-wall, leaving his baggage to a generous foe, which took no
advantage of comb or toothbrush. How the whole outfit turned out to hunt
that bear, and how he was never found, I have not space to tell more

All of twelve hours the next day we rode on under a blinding sunlight, a
cloudless sky, over dreary, rolling, dusty plains, where the only relief
from dead grasses was the gray sage-brush and cactus, from the shelter
of which, now and again, a warning rattle arose or a more timid snake
fled swiftly through the dry grasses. Tinted cones of red and brown
clays or toadstool forms of eroded sandstone added to the strange
desolateness of the view; so that no sorrow was felt when, after forty
miles of it, we came upon a picturesque band of Crows with two chiefs,
Raw Hide and Tin Belly.

It was an amazing sight to fresh eyes--the clever ponies,
these bold-featured, bareheaded, copper-tinted fellows with
bead-decked leggins, gay shirts or none, and their rifles slung in
brilliantly-decorated gun-covers across the saddle-bows. We rode down
the bluffs with them to the flat valley of Beauvais Creek, where a few
lodges were camped with the horses, twelve hundred or more, in a grove
of lordly cottonwood--a wild and picturesque sight. Tawny squaws
surrounded us in crowds, begging. A match, a cartridge, anything but a
quill toothpick, was received with enthusiasm. I rode ahead to the ford
of the Beauvais Creek, and met the squaws driving in the cayooses.
Altogether, it was much like a loosely-organized circus. Our own camp
being set, we took our baths tranquilly, watched by the squaws seated
like men on their ponies. One of them kindly accepted a button and my
wornout undershirt.

The cottonwood tree reigns supreme throughout this country wherever
there is moisture, and marks with its varied shades of green the
sinuous line of every water-course. Despised even here as soft and
easily rotted, "warping inside out in a week," it is valuable as almost
the sole resource for fuel and timber, and as making up in speed of
growth for a too ready rate of decay. Four or five years' growth renders
it available for rails, and I should think it must equal the eucalyptus
for draining moist lands. Many a pretty face is the more admired for its
owner's wealth, and were the now-despised cottonwood of greater
market-value it could not, I think, have escaped a reputation for
beauty. A cottonwood grove of tall trees ten to eighteen feet in
diameter, set twenty to forty feet apart, with dark-green shining leaves
spreading high in air over a sod absolutely free of underbrush, struck
such of us as had no Western prejudices as altogether a noble sight.
Between Forts Custer and Keogh the cottonwoods are still finer, and what
a mocking-bird is among birds are these among trees--now like the apple
tree, now like the olive, now resembling the cork or the red-oak or the
Lombardy poplar, and sometimes quaintly deformed so as to exhibit
grotesque shapes,--all as if to show what one tree can do in the way of
mimicking its fellows.

To our delight, General Sheridan's old war-scout, Mr. Campbell, rode in
with letters at dusk, and we had the happiness to learn that our long
absence had made ill news for none of us. By six next day we were up and
away to see the great Crow camp, which we reached by crossing a long
ford of the swift Big Horn River. There were one hundred and twenty
lodges, about one thousand Crows, about two thousand dogs and as many
ponies. I think it was the commissary who dared to say that every dog
could not have his day among the Crows, as there would not be enough
days to go round; but surely never on earth was such a canine chorus. It
gave one a respect for Crow nerves. Let me add, as a Yankee, my
veneration for the Crow as a bargainer, and you will have the most
salient ideas I carried away from this medley of dogs, horses, sullen,
lounging braves with pipes, naked children warmly clad with dirt,
hideous squaws, skin lodges, medicine-staffs gay with bead and feathers,
and stenches for the describing of which civilized language fails.

Crossing a branch of the Big Horn, we rode away again over these
interminable, lonely grass-plains; past the reaping-machines and the
vast wagons, with a dozen pairs of oxen to each, sent out to gather
forage for the winter use of the fort; past dried-up streams,
whitewashed with snowy alkaline deposits, cheating the eye at a distance
with mockery of foaming water. Still, mile on mile, across rolling
lands, with brief pause at the river to water horses, scaring the gay
little prairie-dogs and laughing at the swift scuttle away of
jack-rabbits, until by noon the long lines of Custer came into sight.

These three days of sudden descent from high levels to the terrible
monotony of the thirsty plains, without shade, with the thermometer
still in the nineties, began to show curiously in the morale of the
outfit. The major got up earlier and rode farther: our English captain
walked more and more around the camp-fire. On one day the coffee gave
out, and on the next the sugar, and everything except the commissary's
unfailing good-humor, which was, unluckily, not edible. Mr. T. rode in
silence beside the judge, grimly calculating how soon he could get a
railroad over these plains. Even the doctor fell away in the "talk"
line. Says Mr. Jump: "These 'ere plains ain't as social as they might
be." Some one is responsible for the following brief effort to evolve in
verse the lugubrious elements of a ride over alkali plains with failing
provender, weary horses, desiccating heat and quenchless thirst:

    Silent and weary and sun-baked, we rode o'er the alkaline grass-plains,
    Into and out of the coolies and through the gray green of the sage-brush--
    All the long line of the horses, with jingle of spur and of bridle,
    All the brown line of the mule-train, tired and foot-sore and straggling;
    Nothing to right and to left, nothing before and behind us,
    Save the dry yellowing grass, and afar on the hazy horizon,
    Sullen, and grim, and gray, sunburnt, monotonous sand-heaps.
    So we rode, sombre and listless, day after day, while the distance
    Grew as we rode, till the eyeballs ached with the terrible sameness.

By this time the command was straggling in a long broken line, all eyes
set on the fort, where, about 1.30, we dismounted from our six hundred
miles in the saddle to find in the officers' club-room a hearty welcome
and the never-to-be-forgotten sensation of a schooner of iced Milwaukee
beer. From Fort Custer we rode a hundred and thirty miles in ambulances
to Fort Keogh. This portion of our journey took us over the line to be
followed by the Northern Pacific Railroad, and gave us a good idea of
the wealthy grass-lands, capable of easy irrigation, bordering the
proposed line of rail. The river is navigable to Custer until the middle
of September, and in wet seasons still later. Already, much of the best
land is taken up, and we were able to buy chickens if we could shoot
them, and eggs and potatoes, the latter the best I have seen in any
country. The river is marked by ample groves of superb cottonwoods and
by immense thickets of the wild prairie-rose and moss-rose, while the
shores are endlessly interesting and curious, especially the left bank,
on account of the singular forms of the mud and sandstone hills, along
which, in places, lie for miles black level strata of lignite. At Fort
Keogh we took a steamer to Bismarck, whence we travelled by rail on the
Northern Pacific road, reaching home September 9th. We had journeyed
sixty-five hundred miles--on horses, six hundred; by ambulances, four
hundred; by boat, six hundred and seventy-five.



[A] Nicholas Biddle.

[B] A little valley--probably from the French _coulisse_, a narrow



Aunt Hepzibah's house stood well up the hill, far enough away from the
village to escape the hubbub and confusion which during the removal of
any considerable store of spirit were most certain to prevail.

Hidden away in the recesses of a tortuous valley, amid hills whose steep
sides bristled with tier after tier of bare, broken rocks, to reach or
to leave Polperro by any other mode than on foot was a task of
considerable difficulty. Wagons were unknown, carts not available, and
it was only at the risk of his rider's life and limbs that any horse
ventured along the perilous descents and ascents of the old Talland
road. Out of these obstacles, therefore, arose the necessity for a
number of men who could manage the drays, dorsals and crooks which were
the more common and favored modes of conveyance. With the natural love
of a little excitement, combined with the desire to do as you would be
done by, it was only thought neighborly to lend a hand at whatever might
be going on; and the general result of this sociability was that half
the place might be found congregated about the house, assisting to the
best of their ability to impede all progress and successfully turn any
attempt at work into confusion and disorder.

To add to this tumult, a keg of spirits was kept on tap, to which all
comers were made free, so that the crowd grew first noisy and
good-tempered, then riotously merry and quarrelsomely drunk, until
occasions had been known when a general fight had ensued, the kegs had
got burst open and upset, the men who were hired to deliver them lay
maddened or helpless in the street, while the spirit for which liberty
and life had been risked flowed into the gutters like so much water.

In vain had Adam, to whom these scenes afforded nothing but anger and
disgust, used all his endeavors to persuade his fellow-workers to give
up running the vessel ashore with the cargo in her. The Polperro men,
except under necessity, turned a deaf ear to his entreaties, and in many
cases preferred risking a seizure to foregoing the fool-hardy
recklessness of openly defying the arm of the law. The plan which Adam
would have seen universally adopted here, as it was in most of the other
places round the coast, was that of dropping the kegs, slung on a rope,
into the sea, and (securing them by an anchor) leaving them there until
some convenient season, when, certain of not being disturbed, they were
landed, and either removed to a more distant hiding-place or conveyed at
once to their final destination. But all this involved immediate trouble
and delay, and the men, who without a complaint or murmur would endure
weeks of absence from their homes, the moment those homes came in sight
grew irritable under control and impatient of all authority.

With a spirit of independence which verged on rebellion, with an
uncertain temperament in which good and bad lay jostled together so
haphazard that to calculate which at any given moment might come
uppermost was an impossibility, these sons of the sea were hard to lead
and impossible to drive. Obstinate, credulous, superstitious, they
looked askant on innovation and hated change, fearing lest it should
turn away the luck which they vaunted in the face of discretion, making
it their boast that so many years had gone by since any mischance had
overtaken the Polperro folk that they could afford to laugh at the
soldiers before their faces and snap their fingers at the cruisers
behind their backs.

Under these circumstances it was not to be supposed that Adam's
arguments proved very effective: no proposition he made was ever
favorably received, and this one was more than usually unpopular. So, in
spite of his prejudice against a rule which necessitated the sequence
of riot and disorder, he had been forced to give in, and to content
himself by using his authority to control violence and stem as much as
possible the tide of excess. It was no small comfort to him that Eve was
absent, and the knowledge served to smooth his temper and keep down his
irritability. Besides which, his spirits had risen to no common height,
a frequent result of the reaction which sets in after great emotion,
although Adam placed his happy mood to the credit of Eve's kind words
and soft glances.

It was late in the afternoon before the kegs were all got out and safely
cleared off; but at length the last man took his departure, the visitors
began to disperse, Uncle Zebedee and Jerrem disappeared with them, and
the house was left to the undisturbed possession of Joan and Adam.

"I shall bring Eve back when I come," Adam said, reappearing from the
smartening up he had been giving to himself.

"All right!" replied Joan, but in such a weary voice that Adam's heart
smote him for leaving her sitting there alone, and with a great effort
at self-sacrifice he said, "Would you like to go too?"

"Iss, if I could go two p'r'aps I should," retorted Joan, "but as I'm
only one p'r'aps I might find myself one in the way. There, go along
with 'ee, do!" she added, seeing him still hesitate. "You knaw if
there'd bin any chance o' my goin' you wouldn't ha' axed me."

A little huffed by this home-thrust, Adam waited for nothing more, but,
turning away, he closed the door after him and set off at a brisk pace
up the Lansallos road, toward Aunt Hepzibah's house.

The light had now all but faded out, and over everything seaward a
cloudy film of mist hung thick and low; but this would soon lift up and
be blown away, leaving the night clear and the sky bright with the
glitter of a myriad stars, beneath whose twinkling light Adam would tell
his tale of love and hear the sweet reply; and at the thought a thousand
hopes leaped into life and made his pulses quicken and his nerves
thrill. Strive as he might, arrived at Aunt Hepzibah's he could neither
enter upon nor join in any general conversation; and so marked was his
silence and embarrassed his manner that the assembled party came to the
charitable conclusion that something had gone wrong in the adjustment of
his liquor; and knowing it was ticklish work to meddle with a man who
with a glass beyond had fallen a drop short, they made no opposition to
Eve's speedy preparations for immediate departure.

"Oh, Eve," Adam exclaimed, giving vent to deep-drawn sighs of relief as,
having turned from the farm-gate, they were out of sight and hearing of
the house, "I hope you're not vexed with me for seeming such a fool as
I've been feeling there. I have been so longing for the time to come
when I could speak to you that for thinking of it I couldn't talk about
the things they asked me of."

"Why, whatever can you have to say of so much importance?" stammered
Eve, trying to speak as if she was unconscious of the subject he was
about to broach; and this from no coquetry, but because of an
embarrassment so allied to that which Adam felt that if he could have
looked into her heart he would have seen his answer in its tumultuous

"I think you know," said Adam softly; and as he spoke he stooped to
catch a glimpse of her averted face. "It's only what I'd on my lips to
say last night, only the door was opened before I'd time to get the
words out, and afterward you wouldn't so much as give me a look,
although," he added reproachfully, "you sat up ever so long after I was
gone, and only ran away when you thought that I was coming."

"No, indeed I didn't do that," said Eve earnestly: "that was Joan whom
you heard. I went up stairs almost the minute after you left."

"Is that really true?" exclaimed Adam, seizing both her hands and
holding them tight within his own. "Eve, you don't know what I suffered,
thinking you were caught by Jerrem's talk and didn't care whether I felt
hurt or pleased. I lay awake most of the night, thinking whether it
could ever be that you could care for me as by some magic you've made
me care for you. I fancied--"

But here a rustle in the hedge made them both start. Adam turned quickly
round, but nothing was to be discovered. "'Twas, most-like, nothing but
a stoat or a rabbit," he said, vexed at the interruption: "still, 'tis
all but certain there'll be somebody upon the road. Would you mind
crossing over to the cliff? 'Tis only a little bit down the other side."

Eve raised no objection, and, turning, they picked their way along the
field, got over the gate and down through the tangle of gorse and brier
to the path which ran along the Lansallos side of the cliff. Every step
of the way was familiar to Adam, and he so guided Eve as to bring her
down to a rough bit of rock which projected out and formed a seat on a
little flat of ground overhanging a deep gully.

"There!" he said, in a tone of satisfaction, "this isn't so bad, is it?
You won't feel cold here, shall you?"

"No, not a bit," said Eve.

Then there was a pause, which Eve broke by first giving a nervous,
half-suppressed sigh, and then saying, "It's very dark to-night, isn't

"Yes," said Adam, who had been thinking how he should best begin his
subject. "I thought the mist was going to clear off better than this,
but that seems to look like dirty weather blowing up;" and he pointed to
the watery shroud behind which lay the waning moon.

"I wish a storm would come on," said Eve: "I should so like to see the
sea tossing up and the waves dashing over everything."

"What! while we two are sitting here?" said Adam, smiling.

"No: of course I don't mean now, this very minute, but some time."

"Some time when I'm away at sea?" put in Adam.

Eve gave a little shudder: "Not for the world! I should be frightened to
death if a storm came on and you away. But you don't go out in very bad
weather, do you, Adam?"

"Not if I can help it, I don't," he answered. "Why, would you mind if I
did?" and he bent down so that he could look into her face. "Eh, Eve,
would you?"

His tone and manner conveyed so much more than the words that Eve felt
it impossible to meet his gaze. "I don't know," she faltered. "What do
you ask me for?"

"What do I ask you for?" he repeated, unable longer to repress the
passionate torrent which he had been striving to keep under. "Because
suspense seems to drive me mad. Because, try as I may, I can't keep
silent any longer. I wanted, before I said more, to ask you about
somebody you've left behind you at London; but it's of no use. No matter
what he may be to you, I must tell you that I love you, Eve--that you've
managed in this little time to make every bit of my heart your own."

"Somebody in London?" Eve silently repeated. "Who could he mean? Not
Reuben May: how should he know about him?"

The words of love that followed this surprise seemed swallowed up in her
desire to have her curiosity satisfied and her fears set at rest. "What
do you mean about somebody I've left in London?" she said; and the
question, abruptly put, jarred upon Adam's excited mood, strained as his
feelings were, each to its utmost tension. This man she had left behind,
then, could even at a moment like this stand uppermost in her mind.

"A man, I mean, to whom, before you left, you gave a promise;" and this
time, so at variance was the voice with Adam's former tones of
passionate avowal, that, coupled with the shock of hearing that word
"promise," Eve's heart quailed, and to keep herself from betraying her
agitation she was forced to say, with an air of ill-feigned amazement,
"A man I left? somebody I gave a promise to? I really don't know what
you mean."

"Oh yes, you do;" and by this time every trace of wooing had passed from
Adam's face, and all the love so late set flowing from his heart was
choked and forced back on himself. "Try and remember some fellow who
thinks he's got the right to ask how you're getting on among the country
bumpkins, whether you ain't tired of them yet, and when you're coming
back. Perhaps," he added, goaded on by Eve's continued silence, "'twill
help you if I say 'twas the one who came to see you off aboard the Mary
Jane. I suppose you haven't forgot _him_?"

Eve's blood boiled at the sneer conveyed in Adam's tone and look.
Raising her eyes defiantly to his, she said, "Forgotten him? Certainly
not. If you had said anything about the Mary Jane before I should have
known directly who you meant. That person is a very great friend of

"Friend?" said Adam.

"Yes, friend--the greatest friend I've got."

"Oh, I'm very glad I know that, because I don't approve of friends. The
woman I ask to be my wife must be contented with me, and not want
anything from anybody else."

"A most amiable decision to come to," said Eve. "I hope you may find
somebody content to be so dictated to."

"I thought I had found somebody already," said Adam, letting a softer
inflection come into his voice. "I fancied that at least, Eve, _you_
were made out of different stuff to the women who are always hankering
to catch every man's eye."

"And pray what should make you alter your opinion? Am I to be thought
the worse of because an old friend, who had promised he would be a
brother to me, offers to see me off on my journey, and I let him come?
You must have a very poor opinion of women, Adam, or at least a very
poor opinion of me."

And the air of offended dignity with which she gave this argument forced
Adam to exclaim, "Oh, Eve, forgive me if I have spoken hastily: it is
only because I think so much more of you--place you so much higher than
any other girl I ever saw--that makes me expect so much more of you. Of
course," he continued, finding she remained silent, "you had every right
to allow your friend to go with you, and it was only natural he should
wish to do so; only when I'm so torn by love as I am I feel jealous of
every eye that's turned upon you: each look you give another seems
something robbed from me."

Eve's heart began to soften: her indignation was beginning to melt away.

"And when I heard he was claiming a promise, I--"

"What promise?" said Eve sharply.

"What promise did you give him?" replied Adam warily, suspicion giving
to security another thrust.

"That's not to the point," said Eve. "You say I gave him a promise: I
ask what that promise was?"

"The very question I put to you. I know what he says it was, and I want
to hear if what he says is true. Surely," he added, seeing she
hesitated, "if this is only a friend, and a friend who is to be looked
on like a brother, you can't have given him any promise that if you can
remember you can't repeat."

Eve's face betrayed her displeasure. "Really, Adam," she said, "I know
of no right that you have to take me to task in this manner."

"No," he answered: "I was going to ask you to give me that right when
you interrupted me. However, that's very soon set straight. I've told
you I love you: now I ask you if you love me, and, if so, whether you
will marry me? After you've answered me I shall be able to put my
questions without fear of offence."

"Will you, indeed?" said Eve. "I should think that would rather depend
upon what the answer may be."

"Whatever it may be, I'm waiting for it," said Adam grimly.

"Let me see: I must consider what it was I was asked," said Eve. "First,

"Oh, don't trouble about the first: I shall be satisfied of that if you
answer the second and tell me you will accept me as a husband."

"Say keeper."

"Keeper, if that pleases you better."

"Thank you very much, but I don't feel quite equal to the honor. I'm not
so tired yet of doing what pleases myself that I need submit my
thoughts and looks and actions to another person."

"Then you refuse to be my wife?"

"Yes, I do."

"And you cannot return the love I offer you?"

Eve was silent.

"Do you hear?" he said.

"Yes, I hear."

"Then answer: have I got your love, or haven't I?"

"Whatever love you might have had," she broke out passionately, "you've
taken care to kill."

"Kill!" he repeated. "It must have been precious delicate if it couldn't
stand the answering of one question. Look here, Eve. When I told you I
had given you my heart and every grain of love in it, I only spoke the
truth; but unless you can give me yours as whole and as entire as I have
given mine, 'fore God I'd rather jump off yonder rock than face the
misery that would come upon us both. I know what 'tis to see another
take what should be yours--to see another given what you are craving
for. The torture of that past is dead and gone, but the devil it bred in
me lives still, and woe betide the man or woman who rouses it!"

Instinctively Eve shrank back: the look of pent-up passion frightened
her and made her whole body shiver.

"There! there! don't alarm yourself," said Adam, passing his hand over
his forehead as if to brush away the traces which this outburst had
occasioned: "I don't want to frighten you. All I want to know is, can
you give me the love I ask of you?"

"I couldn't bear to be suspected," faltered Eve.

"Then act so that you would be above suspicion."

"With a person always on the watch, looking out for this and that, so
that one would be afraid to speak or open one's mouth, I don't see how
one could possibly be happy," said Eve. "All one did, all one said,
might be taken wrongly, and when one were most innocent one might be
thought most guilty. No: I don't think I could stand that, Adam."

"Very well," he said coldly. "If you feel your love is too weak to bear
that, and a great deal more than that, you are very wise to withhold it
from me: those who have much to give require much in return."

"Oh, don't think I haven't that in me which would make my love equal
yours any day," said Eve, nettled at the doubt which Adam had flung at
her. "If I gave any one my heart, I should give it all; but when I do
that I hope it will be to somebody who won't doubt me and suspect me."

"Then I'd advise you not to give them cause to," said Adam.

"And I'd advise you to keep your cautions for those that need them,"
replied Eve, rising from where she had been sitting and turning her face
in the direction of home.

"Oh, you needn't fear being troubled by any more I shall say," said
Adam: "I'm only sorry that I've been led to say what I have."

"Pray don't let that trouble you: such things, with me, go in at one ear
and out at the other."

"In that case I won't waste any more words," said Adam; "so if you can
keep your tongue still you needn't fear being obliged to listen to
anything I shall say."

Eve gave a little scornful inclination of her head in token of the
accepted silence between them, and in silence the two commenced their
walk and took their way toward home.


Except the long surging roll of the waves, as in monotonous succession
they dashed and broke against the rocks, not a sound was to be heard.
The night had grown more lowering: the sprinkle of stars was hid behind
the dense masses of cloud, through which, ever and anon, the moon, with
shadowy face, broke out and feebly cast down a glimmering light. Below,
the outspread stretch of water lay dark and motionless, its glassy
surface cold and glittering like steel. Walking a little in the rear of
Adam, Eve shuddered as her eyes fell on the depths, over whose brink
the narrow path they trod seemed hanging. Instinctively she shrank
closer to the cliff-side, to be caught by the long trails of bramble
which, with bracken and gorse, made the steep descent a bristly wall.
Insensibly affected by external surroundings, unused to such complete
darkness, the sombre aspect of the scene filled her with nervous
apprehension: every bit of jutting rock she stumbled against was a
yawning precipice, and at each step she took she died some different
death. The terrors of her mind entirely absorbed all her former
indifference and ill-humor, and she would have gladly welcomed any
accident which would have afforded her a decent pretext for breaking
this horrible silence. But nothing occurred, and they reached the open
piece of green and were close on the crumbling ruins of St. Peter's
chapel without a word having passed between them. The moon struggled out
with greater effort, and, to Eve's relief, showed that the zigzag
dangers of the path were past, and there was now nothing worse to fear
than what might happen on any uneven grassy slope. Moreover, the buzz of
voices was near, and, though they could not see the persons speaking,
Eve knew by the sound that they could not be very far distant. Having
before him the peculiar want of reticence generally displayed by the
Polperro folk, Adam would have given much to have been in a position to
ask Eve to remount the hill and get down by the other side; but under
present circumstances he felt it impossible to make any suggestion:
things must take their course. And without a word of warning he and Eve
gained the summit of the raised elevation which formed a sheltered
background to this favorite loitering-place, at once to find themselves
the centre of observation to a group of men whose noisy discussion they
had apparently interrupted.

"Why, 'tis my son Adam, ain't it?" exclaimed the voice of Uncle Zebedee;
and at the sound of a little mingled hoarseness and thickness Adam's
heart sank within him.--"And who's this he's a got with un, eh?"

"Tis me, Uncle Zebedee," said Eve, stepping down on to the flat and
advancing toward where the old man stood lounging--"Eve, you know."

"Awh, Eve, is it?" exclaimed Zebedee. "Why, how long's t'wind veered
round to your quarter, my maid? Be you two sweetheartin' then, eh?"

"I've been all day up to Aunt Hepzibah's," said Eve quickly, endeavoring
to cover her confusion, "and Adam came to fetch me back: that's how it
is we're together."

"Wa-al, but he needn't ha' fetched 'ee 'less he'd got a mind for yer
company, I s'pose," returned Zebedee with a meaning laugh. "Come, come
now: 't 'ull niver do for 'ee to try to cabobble Uncle Zibedee. So you
and Adam's courtyin', be 'ee? Wa-al, there's nuffin' to be said agen
that, I s'pose?" and he looked round as if inviting concurrence or
contradiction.--"Her's my poor brother Andrer's little maid, ye knaw,
shipmates"--and here he made a futile attempt to present Eve to the
assembled company--"what's dead--and drownded--and gone to Davy's
locker; so, notwithstandin' I'd lashins sooner 'twas our Joan he'd ha'
fix'd on--Lord ha' massy!" he added parenthetically, "Joan's worth a
horsgead o' she--still, what's wan man's mate's another man's pison;
and, howsomedever that lies, I reckon it needn't go for to hinder me
fra' drinkin' their healths in a drap o' good liquor. So come along, my
hearties;" and, making a movement which sent him forward with a lurch,
he began muttering something about his sea-legs, the effect of which was
drowned in the shout evincing the ready satisfaction with which this
proposal for friendly conviviality was hailed.

Eve drew in her breath, trying to gather up courage and combat down the
horrible suspicion that Uncle Zebedee was not quite himself, didn't
exactly know what he was saying, had taken too much to drink. With
congratulatory intent she found herself jostled against by two or three
others near her, whose noisy glee and uncertain gait only increased her
fears. What should she do? Where could she go? What had become of Adam?
Surely he would not go and leave her amongst--

But already her question was answered by a movement from some one
behind, who with a dexterous interposition succeeded in placing himself
between Uncle Zebedee and herself.

"Father," and Adam's voice sounded more harsh and stern than usual,
"leave Eve to go home as she likes: she's not used to these sort o'
ways, and she will not take things as you mean them."

"Eh! what? How not mane 'em?" exclaimed old Zebedee, taken aback by his
son's sudden appearance. "I arn't a said no harm that I knaws by:
there's no 'fence in givin' the maid a wet welcome, I s'pose."

A buzz of dissatisfaction at Adam's interference inspired Zebedee with
renewed confidence, and with two or three sways in order to get the
right balance he managed to bring himself to a standstill right in front
of Adam, into whose face he looked with a comical expression of defiance
and humor as he said, "Why, come 'long with us, lad, do 'ee, and name
the liquor yerself, and see it passes round free and turn and turn
about: and let's hab a song or two, and get up Rozzy Treloar wi' his
fiddle, and Zeke Orgall there 'ull dance us a hornpipe;" and he began a
double-shuffle with his feet, adding, as his dexterity came to a sudden
and somewhat unsteady finish, "Tis a ill wind that blows nobody no good,
and a poor heart what never rejices."

Eve during this time had been vainly endeavoring to make her escape--an
impossibility, as Adam saw, under existing circumstances; and this
decided him to use no further argument; but, with his arm put through
his father's and in company with the rest of the group, he apparently
conceded to their wishes, and, motioning Eve on, the party proceeded
along the path, down the steps and toward the quay, until they came in
front of the Three Pilchards, now the centre of life and jollity, with
the sound of voices and the preparatory scraping of a fiddle to enhance
the promise of comfort which glowed in the ruddy reflection sent by the
bright lights and cheerful fire through the red window-curtain.

"Now, father," exclaimed Adam with a resolute grip of the old man's arm,
"you and me are homeward bound. We'll welcome our neighbors some other
time, but for this evening let's say good-night to them."

"Good-night?" repeated Zebedee: "how good-night? Why, what 'ud be the
manin' o' that? None o' us ain't agoin' to part company here, I hopes.
We'm all goin' to cast anchor to the same moorin's--eh, mates?"

"No, no, no!" said Adam, impatiently: "you come along home with me now."

"Iss, iss, all right!" laughed the old man, trying to wriggle out of his
son's grasp; "only not just yet a whiles. I'm agoin' in here to drink
your good health, Adam lad, and all here's a-comin' with me--ain't us,

"Pack of stuff! Drink my health?" exclaimed Adam. "There's no more
reason for drinking my health to-night than any other night. Come along
now, father: you've had a hard day of it, you know, and when you get
home you can have whatever you want quietly by your own fireside."

But Zebedee, though perfectly good-humored, was by no means to be
persuaded: he continued to laugh and writhe about as if the fact of his
detention was merely a good joke on Adam's part, the lookers-on abetting
and applauding his determination, until Adam's temper could restrain
itself no longer, and with no very pleasant explosion of wrath he let go
his hold and intimated that his father was free to take what course
pleased him most.

"That's right, lad!" exclaimed old Zebedee heartily, shaking himself
together. "You'm a good son and a capital sailor-man, but you'm pore
company, Adam--verra pore company."

And with this truism (to which a general shout gave universal assent)
ringing in his ears, Adam strode away up the street with all possible
speed, and was standing in front of the house-door when he was suddenly
struck by the thought of what had become of Eve. Since they had halted
in front of the Three Pilchards he had seen nothing of her: she had
disappeared, and in all probability had made her way home.

The thought of having to confront her caused him to hesitate: should he
go in? What else could he do? where had he to go? So, with a sort of
desperation, he pushed open the door and found himself within the
sitting-room. It was empty; the fire had burnt low, the wick of the
unsnuffed candle had grown long; evidently Eve had not returned; and
with an undefined mixture of regret and relief Adam sat down, leaned his
arms on the table and laid his head upon them.

During the whole day the various excitements he had undergone had so
kept his mind on the stretch that its powers of keen susceptibility
seemed now thoroughly exhausted, and in place of the acute pain he had
previously suffered there had come a dull, heavy weight of despair,
before which his usual force and determination seemed vanquished and
powerless. The feeling uppermost was a sense of the injustice inflicted
on him--that he, who in practice and principle was so far removed above
his neighbors, should be made to suffer for their follies and misdeeds,
should have to bear the degradation of their vices. As to any hope of
reclaiming them, he had long ago given that up, though not without a
certain disappointment in the omniscience of that Providence which could
refuse the co-operation of his valuable agency.

Adam suffered from that strong belief in himself which is apt, when
carried to excess, to throw a shadow on the highest qualities.
Outstepping the Pharisee, who thanked God that he was not like other
men, Adam thanked himself, and fed his vanity by the assurance that had
the Polperro folk followed his lead and his advice they would now be
walking in his footsteps; instead of which they had despised him as a
leader and rejected him as a counsellor, so that, exasperated by their
ignorance and stung by their ingratitude, he had cast them off and
abandoned them for ever; and out of this disappointment had arisen a dim
shadow of some far-off future wherein he caught glimpses of a new life
filled with fresh hopes and successful endeavors.

From the moment his heart had opened toward Eve her image seemed to be
associated with these hitherto undefined longings: by the light of her
love, of her presence, her companionship, all that had been vague seemed
to take shape and grow into an object which was real and a purpose to be
accomplished; so that now one of the sharpest pricks from the thorn of
disappointment came of the knowledge that this hope was shattered and
this dream must be abandoned. And, lost in moody retrospection, Adam sat
stabbing desire with the sword of despair.

"Let me be! let me be!" he said in answer to some one who was trying to
rouse him.

"Adam, it's me: do look up;" and in spite of himself the voice which
spoke made him lift his head and look at the speaker. "Adam, I'm so
sorry!" and Eve's face said more than her words.

"You've nothing to be sorry for," returned Adam sullenly.

"I want you to forgive me, Adam," continued Eve.

"I've nothing to forgive."

"Yes, you have;" and a faint flush of color came into her cheeks as she
added with hesitating confusion, "You know I didn't mean you to take
what I said as you did, Adam; because"--and the color suddenly deepened
and spread over her face--"because I do care for you--very much indeed."

Adam gave a despondent shake of his head. "No, you don't," he said,
steadily averting his eyes; "and a very good thing too. I don't know who
that wasn't forced to it would willingly have anything to do with such a
God-forsaken place as this is. I only know I'm sick of it, and of myself
and my life, and everything in it."

"Oh, Adam, don't say that--don't say you're sick of life. At least, not
now;" and she turned her face so that he might read the reason.

"And why not now?" he asked stolidly. "What have I now that I hadn't

"Why, you've got me."

"You? You said you couldn't give me the love I asked you for."

"Oh, but I didn't mean it. What I said was because I felt so hurt that
you should suspect me as you seemed to."

"I never suspected you--never meant to suspect you. All I wanted you to
know was that I must be all or nothing."

"Of course; and I meant that too, only you--But there! don't let's drift
back to that again;" and as she spoke she leaned her two hands upon his
shoulders and stood looking down. "What I want to say is, that every bit
of love I have is yours, Adam. I am afraid," she added shyly, "you had
got it all before ever I knew whether you really wanted it or not."

"And why couldn't you tell me that before?" he said bitterly.

"Why, is it too late now?" asked Eve humbly.

"Too late? You know it can't be too late," exclaimed Adam, his old
irritability getting the better of him: then, with a sudden revulsion of
his overwrought susceptibilities, he cried, "Oh, Eve, Eve, bear with me
to-night: I'm not what I want to be. The words I try to speak die away
upon my lips, and my heart seems sunk down so low that nothing can
rejoice it. To-morrow I shall be master of myself again, and all will
look different."

"I hope so," sighed Eve tremulously. "Things don't seem quite between us
as they ought to be. I sha'n't wait for Joan," she said, holding out her
hand: "I shall go up stairs now; so good-night, Adam."

"Good-night," he said: then, keeping hold of her hand, he drew her
toward him and stood looking down at her with a face haggard and full of

The look acted as the last straw which was to swamp the burden of Eve's
grief. Control was in vain, and in another instant, with Adam's arms
around her, she lay sobbing out her sorrow on his breast, and the tears,
as they came, thrust the evil spirit away. So that when, an hour later,
the two said good-night again, their vows had been exchanged and the
troth that bound them plighted; and Adam, looking into Eve's face,
smiled as he said, "Whether for good luck or bad, the sun of our love
has risen in a watery sky."


Most of the actions and events of our lives are chameleon-hued: their
colors vary according to the light by which we view them. Thus Eve, who
the night before had seen nothing but happiness in the final arrangement
between Adam and herself, awoke on the following morning with a feeling
of dissatisfaction and a desire to be critical as to the rosy hues which
seemed then to color the advent of their love.

The spring of tenderness which had burst forth within her at sight of
Adam's humility and subsequent despair had taken Eve by surprise. She
knew, and had known for some time, that much within her was capable of
answering to the demands which Adam's pleading love would most probably
require; but that he had inspired her with a passion which would make
her lay her heart at his feet, feeling for the time that, though he
trampled on it, there it must stay, was a revelation entirely new, and,
to Eve's temperament, rather humiliating. She had never felt any
sympathy with those lovesick maidens whose very existence seemed
swallowed up in another's being, and had been proudly confident that
even when supplicated she should never seem to stoop lower than to
accept. Therefore, just as we experience a sense of failure when we find
our discernment led astray in our perception of a friend, so now,
although she studiously avoided acknowledging it, she had the
consciousness that she had utterly misconceived her own character, and
that the balance by which she had adjusted the strength of her emotions
had been a false one. A dread ran through her lest she should be seized
hold upon by some further inconsistency, and she resolved to set a watch
on the outposts of her senses, so that they might not betray her into
further weakness.

These thoughts were still agitating her mind when Joan suddenly awoke,
and after a time roused herself sufficiently to say, "Why, whatever made
you pop off in such a hurry last night, Eve? I runned in a little after
ten, and there wasn't no signs of you nowheres; and then I come upon
Adam, and he told me you was gone up to bed."

"Yes," said Eve: "I was so tired, and my foot began to ache again, so I
thought there wasn't any use in my sitting up any longer. But you were
very late, Joan, weren't you?"

"Very early, more like," said Joan: "'twas past wan before I shut my
eyes. Why, I come home three times to see if uncle was back; and then I
wouldn't stand it no longer, so I went and fetched un."

"What, not from--where he was?" exclaimed Eve.

Joan nodded her head. "Oh Lors!" she said, "'tain't the fust time by
many; and," she added in a tone of satisfaction, "I lets 'em know when
they've brought Joan Hocken down among 'em. I had Jerrem out, and uncle
atop of un, 'fore they knawed where they was. Awh, I don't stand beggin'
and prayin', not I: 'tis 'whether or no, Tom Collins,' when I come, I
can tell 'ee."

"Well, they'd stay a very long time before they'd be fetched by me,"
said Eve emphatically.

"Awh, don't 'ee say that, now," returned Joan. "Where do 'ee think
there'd be the most harm in, then--sittin' comfortable at home when you
might go down and 'tice 'em away, or the goin' down and doin' of it?"

"I've not a bit of patience with anybody who drinks," exclaimed Eve,
evading a direct answer.

"Then you'll never cure anybody of it, my dear," replied Joan. "You'm
like Adam there, I reckon--wantin' to set the world straight in one day,
and all the folks in it bottommost side upward; but, as I tell un, he
don't go to work the right way. They that can't steer 'ull never sail;
and I'll bet any money that when it comes to be counted up how many
glasses o' grog's been turned away from uncle's lips, there'll be more
set to the score o' my coaxin' than ever 'ull be to Adam's

"Perhaps so," said Eve; and then, wishing to avoid any argument into
which Adam could be brought, she adroitly changed the subject, and only
indifferent topics were discussed until, their dressing completed, the
two girls were ready to go down stairs.

The first person who answered the summons to breakfast was Uncle
Zebedee--not heavy-eyed and shamefaced, as Eve had expected to see him,
but bright and rosy-cheeked as an apple. He had been up and out since
six o'clock, looking after the repairs which a boat of his was laid up
to undergo, and now, as he came into the house fresh as a lark, he
chirruped in a quavery treble,

    "Tom Truelove woo'd the sweetest fair
      That e'er to tar was kind:
    Her face was of a booty rare--

That's for all the world what yourn is," he said, breaking off to bestow
a smacking kiss on Joan. "So look sharp, like a good little maid as you
be, and gi'e us sommat to sit down for;" and he drew a chair to the
table and began flourishing the knife which had been set there for him.
Then, catching sight of Eve, whose face, in her desire to spare him,
betrayed an irrepressible look of consciousness, he exclaimed, "Why,
they've bin tellin' up that I was a little over-free in my speech last
night about you, Eve: is there any truth in it, eh? I doan't fancy I
could ha' said much amiss--did I?"

"Oh, nothing to signify, uncle."

"'Twas sommat 'bout you and Adam, warn't it?" he continued with a
puzzled air: "'tis all in my head here, though I can't zackly call it to
mind. That's the divil o' bein' a little o'ertook that ways," he added
with the assurance of meeting ready sympathy: "'tis so bafflin' to set
things all ship-shape the next mornin'. I minds so far as this, that it
had somehow to do with me holdin' to it that you and Adam was goin' to
be man and wife; but if you axes for the why and the wherefore, I'm
blessed if I can tell 'ee."

"Why, whatever put such as that into your head?" said Joan sharply.

"Wa-al, the liquor, I reckon," laughed Zebedee. "And, somehow or
'nother, Maister Adam didn't seem to have overmuch relish for the
notion;" and he screwed up his face and hugged himself together as if
his whole body was tickled at his son's discomfiture. "But there! never
you mind that, Eve," he added hastily: "there's more baws than one to
Polperro, and I'll wager for a halfscore o' chaps ready to hab 'ee
without yer waitin' to be took up by my son Adam."

Poor Eve! it was certainly an embarrassing situation to be placed in,
for, with no wish to conceal her engagement, to announce it herself
alone, and unaided by even the presence of Adam, was a task she
naturally shrank from. In the endeavor to avoid any direct reply she sat
watching anxiously for Adam's arrival, her sudden change of manner
construed by Zebedee into the effect of wounded vanity, and by Joan into
displeasure at her uncle's undue interference. By sundry frowns and nods
of warning Joan tried to convey her admonitions to old Zebedee, in the
midst of which Adam entered, and with a smile at Eve and an inclusive
nod to the rest of the party took a chair and drew up to the table.

"Surely," thought Eve, "he intends telling them."

But Adam sat silent and occupied with the plate before him.

"He can't think I can go living on here with Joan, even for a single
day, and they not know it;" and in her perplexity she turned on Adam a
look full of inquiry and meaning.

Still, Adam did not speak: in his own mind he was casting over the
things he meant to say when, breakfast over and the two girls out of the
way, he would invite his father to smoke a pipe outside, during the
companionship of which he intended taking old Zebedee decidedly to task,
and, putting his intended marriage with Eve well to the front, clinch
his arguments by the startling announcement that unless some reformation
was soon made he would leave his native place and seek a home in a
foreign land. Such words and such threats as these could not be uttered
to a father by a son save when they two stood quite alone; and Adam,
after meeting a second look from Eve, shook his head, feeling satisfied
that she would know that only some grave requirement deterred him from
immediately announcing the happiness which henceforth was to crown his
life. But our intuition, at the best, is somewhat narrow, and where the
heart is most concerned most faulty: therefore Eve, and Adam too, felt
each disappointed in the other's want of acquiescence, and inclined to
be critical on the lack of mutual sympathy.

Suddenly the door opened and in walked Jerrem, smiling and apparently
more radiant than usual under the knowledge that he was more than
usually an offender. Joan, who had her own reasons for being very
considerably put out with him, was not disposed to receive him very
graciously; Adam vouchsafed him no notice whatever; Uncle Zebedee,
oppressed by the sense of former good fellowship, thought it discreet
not to evince too much cordiality; so that the onus of the morning's
welcome was thrown upon Eve, who, utterly ignorant of any offence Jerrem
had given, thought it advisable to make amends for the pettish
impatience she feared she had been betrayed into on the previous

Old Zebedee, whose resolves seldom lasted over ten minutes, soon fell
into the swing of Jerrem's flow of talk; a little later on and Joan was
forced to put in a word; so that the usual harmony was just beginning to
recover itself when, in answer to a remark which Jerrem had made, Eve
managed to turn the laugh so cleverly back upon him that Zebedee, well
pleased to see what good friends they were growing, exclaimed, "Stop her
mouth! stop her mouth, lad! I'd ha' done it when I was your years twenty
times over 'fore this. Her's too sarcy--too sarcy by half, her is."

Up started Jerrem, but Adam was before him. "I don't know whether what
I'm going to say is known to anybody here already," he burst out, "but I
think it's high time that some present should be told by me that Eve has
promised to be my wife;" and, turning, he cast a look of angry defiance
at Jerrem, who, thoroughly amazed, gradually sank down and took
possession of his chair again, while old Zebedee went through the dumb
show of giving a long whistle, and Joan, muttering an unmeaning
something, ran hastily out of the room. Eve, angry and confused, turned
from white to red and from red to white.

A silence ensued--one of those pauses when some event of our lives seems
turned into a gulf to separate us from our former surroundings.

Adam was the first to speak, and with a touch of irony he said, "You're
none of you very nimble at wishing us joy, I fancy."

"And no wonder, you've a-tooked us all aback so," said old Zebedee. "'T
seems to me I'm foaced to turn it round and round afore I can swaller it
for rale right-down truth."

"Why, is it so very improbable, then?" asked Adam, already repenting the
abruptness of the disclosure.

"Wa-al, 'twas no later than last night that you was swearin' agen and
cussin' everybody from stem to starn for so much as mentionin' it as
likely. Now," he added, with as much show of displeasure as his cheery,
weatherbeaten old face would admit of, "I'll tell 'ee the mind I've got
to'ard these sort o' games: if you see fit to board folks in the smoke,
why do it and no blame to 'ee, but hang me if I can stomach 'ee sailin'
under false colors."

"There wasn't anything of false colors about us, father," said Adam in a
more conciliatory tone; "for, though I had certainly spoken to Eve, it
was not until after I'd parted with you last night that she gave me her

"Awh!" said the old man, only half propitiated. "Wa-al, I s'pose you can
settle your consarns without my help; but I can tell 'ee this much, that
if my Joanna had took so long afore she could make her mind up, I'm
blamed if her ever should ha' had the chance o' bein' your mother,
Adam--so there!"

Adam bit his lip with vexation. "There's no need for me to enter upon
any further explanations," he said: "Eve's satisfied, I'm satisfied, so
I don't see why you shouldn't be satisfied."

"Awh, I'm satisfied enough," said Zebedee; "and, so far as that goes,
though I ain't much of a hand at speechifyin', I hopes that neither of
'ee 'ull never have no raison to repent yer bargain. Eve's a fine
bowerly maid, so you'm well matched there; and so long as she's ready to
listen to all you say and bide by all you tells her, why 'twill be set
fair and sail easy."

"I can assure you Eve isn't prepared to do anything of the sort, Uncle
Zebedee," exclaimed Eve, unable to keep silence any longer. "I've always
been told if I'd nothing else I've got the Pascals' temper; and that,
according to your own showing, isn't very fond of sitting quiet and
being rode over rough-shod."

The whistle which Uncle Zebedee had tried to choke at its birth now came
out shrill, long and expressive, and Adam, jumping up, said, "Come,
come, Eve: we've had enough of this. Surely there isn't any need to take
such idle talk as serious matter. If you and me hadn't seen some good in
one another we shouldn't have taken each other, I suppose; and, thank
the Lord, we haven't to please anybody but our two selves."

"Wa-al, 'tis to be hoped you'll find that task aisier than it looks,"
retorted Uncle Zebedee with a touch of sarcasm; while Jerrem, after
watching Adam go out, endeavored to throw a tone of regret into the
flattering nothings he now whispered by way of congratulation, but Eve
turned impatiently away from him. She had no further inclination to talk
or to be talked to; and Uncle Zebedee having by this time sought solace
in a pipe, Jerrem joined him outside, and the two sauntered away
together toward the quay.

Left to the undisturbed indulgence of her own reflections, Eve's mood
was no enviable one--the more difficult to bear because she had to
control the various emotions struggling within her. She felt it was time
for plain speaking between her and Adam, and rightly judged that a
proper understanding come to at once would be the safest means of
securing future comfort. Turn and twist Adam's abrupt announcement as
she would, she could assign but one cause for it, and that cause was an
overweening jealousy; and as the prospect came before her of a lifetime
spent in the midst of doubt and suspicion, the strength of her love
seemed to die away and her heart grew faint within her. For surely if
the demon of jealousy could be roused by the sight of commonplace
attentions from one who was in every way like a brother--for so in Eve's
eyes Jerrem seemed to be--what might not be expected if at any time
circumstances threw her into the mixed company of strangers? Eve had
seen very little of men, but whenever chance had afforded her the
opportunity of their society she had invariably met with attention, and
had felt inwardly gratified by the knowledge that she was attracting
admiration; but now, if she gave way to this prejudice of Adam's, every
time an eye was turned toward her she would be filled with fear, and
each time a look was cast in her direction her heart would sink with

What should she do? Give him up? Even with the prospect of possible
misery staring at her, Eve could not say yes, and before the thought had
more than shaped itself a dozen suggestions were battling down the dread
alternative. She would change him, influence him, convert him--anything
but give him up or give in to him. She forgot how much easier it is to
conceive plans than to carry them out--to arrange speeches than to utter
them. She forgot that only the evening before, when, an opportunity
being afforded, she had resolved upon telling Adam the whole
circumstance of Reuben May and the promise made between them, while the
words were yet on her lips she had drawn them back because Adam had said
he knew that the promise was "nothing but the promise of a letter;" and
Eve's courage had suddenly given way, and by her silence she had led him
to conclude that nothing else had passed between them. Joan had spoken
of the envious grudge which Adam had borne toward Jerrem because he had
shared in his mother's heart, so that this was not the first time Adam
had dropped in gall to mingle with the cup of his love.

The thought of Joan brought the fact of her unexplained disappearance to
Eve's mind, and, full of compunction at the bare suspicion of having
wounded that generous heart, Eve jumped up with the intention of seeking
her and of bringing about a satisfactory explanation. She had not far to
go before she came upon Joan, rubbing and scrubbing away as if the
welfare of all Polperro depended on the amount of energy she could throw
into her work. Her face was flushed and her voice unsteady, the natural
consequences of such violent exercise, and which Eve's approach but
seemed to lend greater force to.

"Joan, I want to speak to you."

"Awh, my dear, I can't listen to no spakin' now," replied Joan hastily,
"and the tables looking as they do."

"But Tabithy always scrubs the tables, Joan: why should you do it?"

"Tabithy's arms ain't half so young as mine--worse luck for me or for

Having by this time gained a little insight into Joan's peculiarities,
Eve argued no further, but sat herself down on a convenient seat,
waiting for the time when the rasping sound of the brush would come to
an end. Her patience was put to no very great tax, for after a few
minutes Joan flung the brush along the table, exclaiming, "Awh, drabbit
the ole scrubbin'! I must give over. I b'lieve I've had enuf of it for
this time, 't all events."

"Joan, you ain't hurt with me, are you?" said Eve, trying to push her
into the seat from which she had just risen. "I wanted to be the first
to tell you, only that Adam spoke as he did, and took all I was going to
say out of my mouth. It leaves you to think me dreadfully sly."

"Awh, there wasn't much need for tellin' me," said Joan with a sudden
relax of manner. "When I didn't shut my eyes o' purpose I could tell,
from the first, what was certain to happen."

"It was more than I could, then," said Eve. "I hadn't given it a thought
that Adam meant to speak to me, and when he asked me I was quite taken
aback, and said 'No' for ever so long."

"What made 'ee change yer mind so suddent, then?" said Joan bluntly.

Eve hesitated. "I hardly know," she said, with a little confusion. "I
think it was seeing him so cast down made me feel so dreadfully sorry."

"H'm!" said Joan. "Didn't 'ee never feel no sorrow for t'other poor chap
that wanted to have 'ee--he to London, Reuben May?"

"Not enough to make me care in that way for him: I certainly never did."

"And do you care for Adam, then?"

"I think I do."


"Well, I am sure I do."

"That's better. Well, Eve, I'll say this far;" and Joan gave a sigh
before the other words would come out: "I'd rather it should be you than
anybody else I ever saw."

The struggle with which these words were said, their tone and the look
in Joan's face, seemed to reveal a state of feeling which Eve had not
suspected. Throwing her arms round her, she cried out, "Oh, Joan, why
didn't he choose you? You would have been much better for him than me."

"Lord bless the maid!"--and Joan tried to laugh through her tears--"I
wouldn't ha' had un if he'd axed me. Why, there'd ha' bin murder 'tween
us 'fore a month was out: us 'ud ha' bin hung for one 'nother. No: now
don't 'ee take no such stuff as that into yer head, 'cos there's no
sense in it. Adam's never looked 'pon me not more than a sister;" and,
breaking down, Joan sobbed hysterically; "and when you two's married I
shall feel 'zackly as if he was a brother, and be gladder than e'er a
one else to see how happy you makes un."

"That's if I _do_ make him happy," said Eve sadly.

"There's no fear but you'll do that," said Joan, resolutely wiping the
tears from her eyes; "and 'twill be your own fault if you bain't happy
too yourself, Eve. Adam's got his fads to put up with, and his fancies
same as other men have, and a masterful temper to keep under, as nobody
can tell better than me; but for rale right-down goodness I shouldn't
know where to match his fellow--not if I was to search the place
through; and, mind 'ee, after all, that's something to be proud of in
the man you've got to say maister to."

Eve gave a little smile: "But he must let me be mistress, you know,

"All right! only don't you stretch that too far," said Joan warningly,
"or no good 'ull come of it; and be foreright in all you do, and spake
the truth to un. I've many a time wished I could, but with this to hide
o' that one's and that to hush up o' t'other's, I know he holds me for a
downright liard; and so I am by his measure, I 'spects."

"I'm sure you're nothing of the sort, Joan," said Eve. "Adam's always
saying how much people think of you. He told me only yesterday that he
was certain more than half the men of the place had asked you to marry

"Did he?" said Joan, not wholly displeased that Adam should hold this
opinion. "Awh, and ax they may, I reckon, afore I shall find a man to
say 'Yes' to."

"That is what I used to think myself," said Eve.

"Iss, and so you found it till Roger put the question," replied Joan
decisively. Then, after a minute's pause, she added, "What be 'ee goin'
to do 'bout the poor sawl to London, then--eh? You must tell he

"Oh, I don't see that," said Eve. "I mean to write to him, because I
promised I would; and I shall tell him that I've made up my mind not to
go back, but I sha'n't say anything more. There isn't any need for it,
that I see--at least, not yet a while."

"Best to tell un all," argued Joan. "Why shouldn't 'ee? 'Tis the same,
so far as you'm concerned, whether he's killed to wance or dies by

But Eve was not to be persuaded. "There isn't any reason why I should,"
she said.

"No reason?" replied Joan. "Oh, Eve, my dear," she added, "don't 'ee let
happiness harden your heart: if love is sweet to gain, think how bitter
'tis to lose; and, by all you've told me, you'll forfeit a better man
than most in Reuben May."

_The Author of "Dorothy Fox._"



The Lady of Shalott, looking into the mirror which reflected the highway
"a bowshot from her bower-eaves," saw the villagers passing to their
daily labor in the barley-fields; market-girls in red cloaks and damsels
of high degree; curly shepherd-boys and long-haired pages in gay livery;
an abbot on an ambling pad and knights in armor and nodding plumes; and
her constant pastime was to weave these sights into the magic web on
which she wrought. I undertake, in a modest way, to follow her example,
and weave a series of pictures from the sights that daily meet my eyes.

The highway which runs a bowshot from _my_ bower-eaves is a
much-travelled road, leading from the farms of a prairie country into a
prairie town. It is a stripe of black earth fifteen or twenty feet wide,
the natural color of the soil, ungraded, ungravelled, and just now half
a foot deep in mud from the melting February snows. Looking in the
direction from which it comes, a mile or two of rolling prairie-land is
visible, divided into farms of one hundred, one hundred and forty or one
hundred and sixty acres. Just now it is faded yellow in hue, with
patches of snow in the hollows, and bare of trees, stumps or fences,
except the almost invisible wire-fences which separate the fields from
the road and from each other. Here and there, at wide intervals, a few
farm-houses can be seen, sheltered on the north and west by a
thickly-set row of cottonwood or Lombardy poplar trees, which serve in a
great measure to break the sweep of the pitiless Iowa winds. Most of the
houses are large and comfortable, and are surrounded by barns, haystacks
and young orchards, denoting a long residence and prosperity; but two or
three, far off on the horizon, are small wooden structures, set on the
bare prairie, without a tree or outbuilding near them, and looking bleak
and lonely. To one who knows something of the straitened lives, the
struggles with poverty, that go on in them, they seem doubly pitiful and

The town into which the highway leads lies straight before my window,
flat, unpicturesque, uninteresting, marked by the untidiness of
crudeness and the untidiness of neglect. The ungraded streets are
trodden into a sticky pudding by horses' feet, the board sidewalks are
narrow, uneven and broken, and the crossings are deep in mud. In the
eastern part of the town the dwellings are large, comfortable, even
elegant, with well-kept grounds filled with trees and shrubbery, and
there are a few of the same character scattered here and there
throughout the town; but the large majority of houses, those that give
the place its discouraged, unambitious look, are small wooden dwellings,
a story or a story and a half high, with the end facing the street and a
shed-kitchen behind. Those that are painted are white or brown, but many
are unpainted, have no window-shutters and are surrounded by untidy
yards and fences that need repair.

The centre of the town, both in position and importance, is "The
Square." This is an open space planted thickly with trees, which have
now grown to a large size and cast a refreshing shade over the crowd
that gathers there in summer to hear political speeches or to celebrate
the Fourth of July. It is surrounded by hitching-racks, and on Saturdays
and other unusually busy days these racks, on all the four sides of the
Square, are so full of teams--generally two-horse farm-wagons--that
there is not room for another horse to be tied. Facing the Square
and extending a block or two down adjacent streets are the
business-houses--stores, banks, express-office, livery-stables,
post-office, gas-office, the hotels, the opera-house, newspaper and
lawyers' offices. Many of the buildings are of brick, three stories
high, faced or trimmed with stone, but the general effect is marred by
the contiguity of little wooden shanties used as barber-shops and

Except in the north-east, where the land is rolling and densely wooded,
the horizon-line is flat and on a level with our feet. The sun rises
from the prairie as he rises from the ocean, and his going down is the
same: no far-off line of snowy mountains, no range of green hills nor
forest-crest, intercepts his earliest and his latest rays. Over this
wide stretch of level land the wind sweeps with unobstructed violence,
and more than once in the memory of settlers it has increased to a
destructive tornado, carrying buildings, wagons, cattle and human beings
like chaff before it. Just now, a sky of heavenly beauty and color bends
over it, and through the wide spaces blow delicious airs suggestive of
early spring.

Nearly every day, and often many times a day, farm-wagons drawn by two
horses pass along the highway in front of my window. The wagon-bed is
filled with sacks of wheat or piled high with yellow corn, and on the
high spring-seat in front sits the farmer driving, and by him his wife,
her head invariably wrapped in a white woollen nubia or a little shawl,
worn as a protection against the catarrh-producing prairie winds.
Cuddled in the hay at their feet, but keeping a bright lookout with
round eager eyes, are two or three stout, rosy children, and often there
is a baby in the mother's arms. When "paw" has sold his wheat or corn
the whole family will walk around the Square several times, looking in
at the shop-windows and staring at the people on the sidewalk. When they
have decided in which store they can get the best bargains, they will go
in and buy groceries, calico and flannel, shoes for the children, and
perhaps a high chair for the baby. Later in the day they rattle by
again, the farmer sitting alone on the spring-seat, the wife and
children, as a better protection against the wind, on some hay in the
now empty wagon-bed behind. So they jolt homeward over the rough, frozen
road or toil through sticky mud, as the case may be, well pleased with
their purchases and their glimpse of town, and content to take up again
the round of monotonous life on their isolated prairie farm.

Sometimes on spring-like days, when the roads are good, two women or a
woman and one or two half-grown children drive by in a spring-wagon,
bringing chickens, eggs, and butter to market. Heavy wagons loaded with
large clear blocks of ice go by every day, the men walking and driving
or seated on a board seat at the extreme rear of the wagon. The great
crystal cubes look, as they flash in the sunshine, like
building-material for Aladdin's palace quarried from some mine of
jewels, but they are only brought from the Skunk River, three miles
distant, to the ice-houses in town, and there packed away in sawdust
for summer use. On two days of the week--shipping days for
live-stock--farm-wagons with a high railing round the beds go by, and
inside the railing, crowded as thickly as they can stand, are fat black
or black-and-white hogs, which thrust their short noses between the
boards and squeal to get out. They are unloaded at the cattle-pens near
the railroad, and thence shipped to pork-packers at Chicago.

And sometimes half a dozen Indians, the roving gypsies of the West,
dressed in warm and comfortable clothing and wrapped in red or blue
blankets, ride into town on good horses. They belong to the Sacs and
Foxes, a friendly, well-disposed remnant of people who live half a day's
ride to the north-east of this place. They are better off than the
average of white people, for every man, woman and child owns a quarter
section of land in the Indian Territory, and receives an annuity of
money besides. Immediately after pay-day they visit the neighboring
towns, their pockets full of silver dollars, and buy whatever necessity
or fancy dictates. The women are generally neat and comely in
appearance, and the pappooses that peer from the bags hung on either
side of the ponies are bright-eyed, round-faced youngsters, who never
cry and seldom cause any trouble. They seem to be born with a certain
amount of gravity, and a capacity for patient endurance that forbids
them to lift up their voices at every slight provocation after the
manner of white babies. The Indian ponies too are models of endurance.
The squaws tie their purchases in blankets and hang them across the
backs of their ponies, swing their pappooses to one side and perhaps a
joint of fresh meat to the other, then mount on top astride, dig the
pony's neck with their moccasined heels and start off at a trot.
Sometimes a large party of Indians, men, women and children, camp on
Skunk River and fish. In the spring they make a general hegira to a
wooded section two or three days' journey to the northward for the
purpose of tapping the maple trees and boiling down the syrup into
sugar. As before mentioned, they are friendly and inoffensive in their
dealings with the white people, but their patience must be sorely tried
sometimes. The town-boys hoot at them, throw stones at their ponies, and
try in many ways to annoy them. I remember once seeing them pass through
another town on their annual spring excursion to the sugar-camps. Two of
the pack-ponies had strayed behind the train, and a squaw rode back to
drive them ahead. A number of town-boys, thinking this an excellent
opportunity to have some fun, threw sticks at them and drove them off on
by-streets and up back alleys. The squaw tried patiently again and again
to get them together and join the train, but it was not until a brave
turned back and came to her assistance that she succeeded. Neither of
the Indians uttered a word or betrayed by sign or expression that they
noticed the insults of the boys.

Often, when the mud is too deep for teams, farmers go by on horseback,
with their horses' tails tied into a knot to keep them out of the mud.
They have come to town to learn the price of wheat, corn or hogs, to
bargain for some article of farm use, or perhaps to pay the interest on
their mortgages. Many of them have not yet paid entirely for their
farms, and comparatively few are free from debt in some form. Some,
being ambitious to have large farms, have taken more land than they can
profitably manage or pay for in a number of years, and are what is
called "land poor:" others, though content with modest portions of sixty
or a hundred acres, have not yet been able, by reason of poor crops,
their own mismanagement or some other cause, to clear their farms of
debt. They work along from year to year, supporting their families,
paying the interest, and paying off the principal little by little. When
the last payment is made and the mortgage released, then the owner can
hold the land in spite of all other creditors. His store-bills or other
debts may run up to hundreds of dollars, but his homestead cannot be
taken to satisfy them by any process of law. This is the homestead law
of the State. A single exception is made in favor of one creditor: the
mechanic who has erected the buildings can hold what is called a
mechanic's lien upon the property until his claim is satisfied.
Advantage is often taken of this law for the purpose of defrauding
creditors. In one instance a merchant who owned a good residence in a
city and a valuable store-property, sold or transferred his residence,
moved his family into the rooms above his store, and soon afterward
failed. His creditors tried to get possession of his store-property, and
entered suit, but the testimony proved that it was his dwelling also,
and therefore exempt under the homestead law. The amount of land that
can be held in this way is limited to forty acres.

Beginning life in a new country with small capital involves many years
of hard work and strict economy, perhaps privation and loneliness. This
comes especially hard on the farmers' wives, many of whom have grown up
in homes of comfort and plenty in the older States. Ask the men what
they think of Iowa, and they will say that it is a fine State; it has
many resources and advantages; there is room for development here; the
avenues to positions of profit and honor are not so crowded as they are
in the older States; a good class of emigrants are settling up the
State: that, on the whole, Iowa has a bright future before it. But the
women do not deal in such generalities. Their own home and individual
life is all the world to them, and if that is encompassed with toil and
hardship, if all their cherished longings and ambitions are denied and
their hearts sick with hope deferred, this talk about the undeveloped
resources of Iowa and its future greatness has no interest or meaning
for them. In their isolated homes on the bleak prairie they have few
social opportunities, and their straitened means do not allow them to
buy books or pictures, to take papers or magazines, or to indulge in
many of the little household ornaments dear to the feminine heart. What
wonder, then, if their eyes have a weary, questioning look, as if they
were always searching the flat prairie-horizon for some promise or hope
of better days, something fresh and stimulating to vary the dull
monotony of toil?

"There's a better time coming," the farmer says. "When we get the farm
paid for we will build a new house and send the children to town to
school;" and so the slow years go by. If every new country is not
actually fertilized with the heart's blood of women, the settling and
development of it none the less require the sacrifice of their lives.
One generation must cast itself into the breach, must toil and endure
and wear out in the struggle with elementary forces, in order that those
who come after them may begin life on a higher plane of physical comfort
and educational and social advantages. They have not, like the settlers
of Eastern States, had to fell forests, grub up stumps, and so wrest
their farms from Nature; but they have none the less endured the
inevitable hardships of life in a new, thinly-settled country, far from
markets, railroads, schools, churches and all that puts a market value
on man's labor. I see many women who have thus sacrificed, and are
sacrificing, their lives. Their faces are wrinkled, their hands are hard
with rough, coarse work, they have long ago ceased to have any personal
ambitions; but their hopes are centred in their children. Their
self-abnegation is pathetic beyond words. Looking at them and musing on
their lives, I think truly

    The individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Must the old story be repeated over and over again? Must some hearts be
denied all their lives long in order that a possible good may come to
others in the future? Must some lives, full of throbbing hopes and
aspirations, be put down in the dust and mire as stepping-stones, that
those who come after may go over dryshod? Is the individual not to be
considered, but only the good of the mass? Can there be justice and
righteousness in a plan that requires the lifelong martyrdom of a few?
Have not these few as much right to a full and free development, to
liberty to work out their own ambitions, as have any of the multitude
who reap the benefit of their sacrifices? But peace: this little
existence is not all there is of life, and in the sphere of wider
opportunities and higher activity that awaits us there will be room for
these thwarted, stunted lives to grow and flourish and bloom in immortal
beauty. With our limited vision, our blind and short-sighted judgment,
how can we presume to say what is harsh or what is kind in the
discipline of life? The earth as she flies on her track through space
deviates from a straight line less than the eighth of an inch in the
distance of twenty miles. We, seeing only twenty miles of her course,
would declare that it was perfectly straight, that it did not curve in
the slightest degree; yet flying on that same course the earth makes
every year her vast elliptical journey around the sun. Could we see a
hundred million miles of the track, we should discern the curve very
plainly. Could we see a part of the boundless future of a life whose
circumstances in this little span of existence were limited and
depressing, we should discern the meaning of much that viewed separately
seems hard and bitter and useless.

The settlers of this State have chiefly emigrated from the older
States--Indiana, Ohio and the Eastern and Middle States. There are many
foreigners--Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Dutch and Irish--who generally
live in colonies. The German element predominates, especially in the
cities. In the south-western part of the State there is a colony of
Russian Mennonites, and at Amana, in the eastern part, there are several
flourishing German colonies where the members hold all property in
common. They preserve to some extent the quaint customs and costumes of
the Fatherland, and one set down in the midst of their homes without
knowing where he was might well believe himself in Germany. The Swedes
and Norwegians bear a good character for industry and sobriety: the
young women are in great demand as house-servants and command good

The emigrants from older States were many of them farmers of small
means, who came through in covered wagons with their families and
household stuff. In pleasant weather this mode of travelling was not
disagreeable, but in rainy or cold weather it was very uncomfortable. No
one could walk in the deep mud: the whole family were obliged to huddle
together in the back part of the wagon, wrapped in bed-quilts or other
covers, while the driver, generally the head of the family, sat on the
seat in front, exposed to the cold or driving rain. The horses slowly
dragged the heavily-laden wagon through the mud, and the progress toward
their new home was tedious in the extreme. The wagons were usually
common farm-wagons with hoops of wood, larger and stouter than barrel
hoops, arched over the bed and covered with white cotton cloth.
Sometimes, as a protection against rain, a large square of black
oil-cloth was spread over the white cover. The front of the wagon was
left open: at the back the cover was drawn together by a string run
through the hem. Before leaving his old home the farmer generally held a
public sale and disposed of his household furniture, farming utensils
and the horses and cattle he did not intend to take with him. Sometimes
this property went by private sale to the purchaser of his farm. He
reserved the bedding, a few cooking utensils and other necessaries.
These were loaded into the wagon, a feed-box for the horses was fastened
behind, an axe strapped to it, and a tar-bucket hung underneath. Flour
and bacon were stored away in a box under the driver's seat, or, if
they expected no chance for replenishing on the way, another wagon was
filled with stores. Then, when all was ready, the farmer and his family
looked their last upon their old home, bade good-bye to the friends who
had gathered to see them off, took their places in the wagon and began
the long, tedious journey to "Ioway." Hitherto they had had a local
habitation and a name: now, for several months, they were to be known
simply as "movers." Among the memories of a childhood spent in a village
on the old National 'Pike those pertaining to movers are the earliest.
It was the pastime of my playmates and myself to hang on the fence and
watch the long train of white-covered wagons go by, always toward the
setting sun. Sometimes there were twenty in a train, and the slow creak
of the wagons, the labored stepping of the horses, had an important
sound to our childish ears. It was

    The tread of pioneers
    Of nations yet to be.

Looking backward to that time, it seems to me now that they went by
every day. It was a common sight, but one which never lost its interest
to us. The cry of "Movers! movers!" would draw us from our play to hang
idly on the fence until the procession had passed. In some instances
nightfall overtook them just as they reached our village, and they
camped by the roadside, lighting fires on the ground with which to cook
their evening meal. Our timidity was greater than our curiosity, and we
seldom went near their camps. Movers, in our estimation, were above
"stragglers," the name by which we knew the vagrants--forerunners of the
great tribe of tramps--who occasionally passed along the road with a
bundle on a stick over their shoulders; but still, they were a vague,
unknown class, whose intentions toward us were questionable, and we
remained in the vicinity of our mothers' apron-strings so long as they
were in the neighborhood.

When the weeks or months of slow travel during the day and camping out
by night were over, and the new home on the prairie was reached, the
discomforts and privations of the emigrating family were not ended: they
were only fairly begun. There was no house in which to lay their heads,
no sawmill where lumber could be obtained, no tree to shelter them,
unless they had the good fortune to locate near a stream--nothing but a
smooth, level expanse of prairie-sod, bright green and gay with the
flowers of early summer or faded and parched with the droughts of
autumn. Sometimes they camped in the open air until lumber could be
brought from a distance and a rude shanty erected, but often they built
a turf house, in which they passed their first winter. These houses were
constructed by cutting blocks of turf about eighteen inches square--the
roots of prairie-grass being that long--and piling one upon another
until the walls were raised to the desired height. Slender poles were
then laid across from wall to wall, and on these other strips and
squares of turf were piled until a roof thick enough to keep out the
rain was formed. A turf fireplace and chimney were constructed at one
end; the opening left for entrance was braced with poles and provided
with a door; and sometimes a square opening was cut in the end opposite
the chimney and a piece of muslin stretched across it to serve as a
window. The original earth formed the floor, and piles of turf covered
with bedding served as beds. It was only when the family intended to
live some time in the turf house that all these pains were taken to make
it comfortable. Many of these dwellings were dark huts, with floors a
foot or two below the level of the ground and without window or chimney.
These were intended for temporary occupation. A few of this kind, still
inhabited, are to be seen in the sparsely-settled north-western part of
the State. I do not mean this description to apply in a general sense to
the early settlers of Iowa. Many parts of the State are heavily wooded,
and cabins of hewed logs chinked with mud are still to be seen here and
there--specimens of the early homes. In the regions where turf houses
were necessary prairie-hay was burned as fuel.

When his family was housed from the weather the farmer turned his
attention to his land. The virgin sod had to be broken and the rich
black soil turned up in ridges to the air and sunlight. When the ground
was prepared the stock of seed-corn was planted or wheat sown, and the
farmer's old life began again under new and quite different
circumstances. In the eastern and oldest-settled part of the State these
beginnings date back a generation: in the western part they are still
fresh and recent. In the old part well-cultivated fields, large barns,
orchards, gardens and comfortable farm-houses greet the traveller's eye:
in the new he may travel for half a day without seeing a single
dwelling, and may consider himself fortunate if he does not have to pass
the night under the lee side of a haystack.

After a foothold has been gained in a new country and a home
established, a generation, perhaps two, must pass away before a fine
type of humanity is produced. The fathers and mothers have toiled for
the actual necessaries of life, and gained them. The children are
supplied with physical comforts. Plenty of food and exercise in the pure
air give them stalwart frames, good blood and perfect animal health, but
there is a bovine stolidity of expression in their faces, a
suggestion of kinship with the clod. They are honest-hearted and
well-meaning--stupid, not naturally, but because their minds have never
been quickened and stimulated. They grope in a blind way for better
things, and wonder if life means no more than to plough and sow and
reap, to wash and cook and sew. I see young people of this class by the
score, and my heart goes out toward them in pity, though they are all
unconscious of needing pity. Perhaps one out of every hundred will break
from the slowly-stepping ranks and run ahead to taste of the springs of
knowledge reserved for the next generation, but the vast majority will
go down to their graves without ever attaining to the ripeness and
symmetry of a fully-developed life. Their children perhaps--certainly
their grand-children--will attain a fine physical and mental type; and
by that time "the prairies" will cease to be a synonym for lack of
society and remoteness from liberal and refining influences.

The land in this vicinity is largely devoted to wheat, corn and oats:
much, however, is used for pasturage, and several fine stock-farms lie
within a radius of five miles. Sheep-rearing is a profitable industry,
the woollen manufactory at this place affording a convenient and ready
market for the clip. But the statistics of Iowa show that the rearing of
hogs is a more prominent industry than any of these. The agricultural
fairs that are held at the county-seats in August or September every
year serve to display the growth of these and other industries and the
development of the resources of the country, as well as the advance in
material comfort. The fair-ground is generally a smooth plat of ground
several acres in extent just outside the city limits, and besides the
race-track and wooden "amphitheatre" there are sheds for cattle, stalls
for horses, pens for hogs and sheep and poultry, a large open shed for
the exhibition of agricultural machinery and implements, a long wooden
building--usually called "Farmers' Hall"--where fruits, grain and
vegetables are displayed, and another, called "Floral Hall," where there
is a motley display consisting of flowering plants and cut flowers,
needlework, embroidery, pieced bed-quilts, silk chair-cushions and
sofa-pillows, jellies, preserves, jams, butter, cake, bread--the
handiwork of women. There is generally a crowd of women from the country
around these exhibits, examining them and bestowing friendly comment or

The fair which is held here every year affords a good opportunity for a
study of the bucolic character. Farm-wagons, full of men, women and
children, come in from the country early in the morning, and by eleven
o'clock the halls are crowded with red-faced and dusty sightseers, who
elbow their way good-humoredly from one attractive exhibit to another,
and gaze with open eyes and mouth and loud and frequent comment. At noon
they retire to their wagons or the shade of the buildings to eat their
dinner, which they have brought from home in a large basket, and there
is a great flourish of fried chicken legs and wings and a generous
display of pies, pickles and ginger-bread. The young men and half-grown
boys have scorned the slow progress of the farm-wagons, and have come
into town early on horseback. They have looked forward to this occasion
for months, and perhaps have bought a suit of "store clothes" in honor
of it. They have already seen the various exhibits, and now that the
dinner-hour has arrived they seek refreshment--not from the family
dinner-basket, but from some of the various eating-stands temporarily
erected on the grounds--and buy pop-beer, roasted peanuts and candy of
the vendors, who understand the art of extracting money from the rural
pockets. Then in the afternoon come the races, and, having paid a
quarter for a seat in the "amphitheatre," they give themselves up to the
great excitement of the day. The incidents of fair-time will serve as
food for thought and conversation for weeks afterward. It is the
legitimate dissipation of the season.

What character shall I choose as a typical Iowan? Not the occupant of
the large brick house with tall evergreens in front which meets my sight
whenever I look toward the country. An old woman lives there alone,
except for a servant or two, having buried her husband and ten children.
She is worth a hundred thousand dollars, but can neither read nor write.
Her strong common sense and deep fund of experience supply her lack of
education, and one would not think while listening to her that she was
ignorant of letters. Her life has been one of toil and sorrow, but her
expression is one of brave cheerfulness. She and her husband came to
this place forty years ago. They were the first white settlers, and for
neighbors they had Indians and wolves. They entered most of the land on
which the town now stands, and when other settlers came in and the town
was laid out their land became valuable, and thus the foundation of
their fortune was laid. But as riches increased, cares also increased:
the husband was so weighed down by responsibility and anxiety that his
mind gave way, and in a fit of despondency he committed suicide. The
sons and daughters who died, with the exception of two or three, were
taken away in childhood. So the large mansion, with its richly-furnished
rooms, is shut up from the sunlight and rarely echoes to the patter of
childish feet. The mistress lives in the back part, but exercises a care
over the whole house, which is kept in a state of perfect order and
neatness. Not a speck of dirt is to be seen on the painted wood-work or
the window-glass, not a stain mars the floor--long as the deck of a
ship--of the porch which extends the length of the ell. The plates in
the corner cupboard in the sitting-room are freshly arranged every day,
the tins in the kitchen shine till you can see your face in them, and in
summer the clean flower-beds, bright with pansies, roses, carnations and
geraniums, that border the long walk leading to the front gate and adorn
the side yards, attest the care and neatness of the mistress. Though she
has lived on the prairie for forty years, yet the expressions that savor
of her early life in a densely-wooded State still cling to her, and if
you find her in her working-dress among her flowers she will beg you to
excuse her appearance, adding, "I look as if I was just out of the

But this character, though interesting, is not a typical one. Neither is
that of the pinched, hungry-looking little man whose five acres and
small dwelling meet my sight when I look toward the country in another
direction. His patch of ground is devoted to market-gardening, and from
its slender profits he is trying to support himself and wife and four
children and pay off a mortgage of several hundred dollars. He has
lately invented an ingenious toy for children, and is trying to raise
enough money to get it patented, hoping when that is done to reap large
profits from the sale of it. He is like a poor trembling little mouse
caught and held in the paws of a cruel cat. Sometimes Fate relaxes her
grip on him, and he breathes freer and dares to hope for a larger
liberty: then she puts her paw on him again, and tosses him and plays
with him in very wantonness.

Neither are the three old-maid sisters whose house I often pass types of
Iowa character, but I cannot forbear describing them. Their names are
Semira, Amanda and Melvina. There is nothing distinctive in their
personal appearance, but their character, as expressed in their home and
surroundings, is quite interesting. Their little low house is on a
corner lot, and as the other three corners are occupied by large
two-story houses, it seems lower still by contrast. It is unpainted, and
has a little wooden porch over the front door. The floors are covered
with homemade carpet, and braided mats are laid before each door and in
front of the old-fashioned bureau, which has brass rings for handles on
the drawers. A snow tree made of frayed white cotton or linen cloth
adorns the table in the best room; woolly dogs with bead eyes and
cotton-flannel rabbits with pink ears stand on the mantel; a bead
hanging-basket filled with artificial flowers decorates the window; an
elaborate air-castle, made of straw and bright worsted, hangs from the
middle of the low ceiling; and hung against the wall, between two
glaring woodcuts representing "Lady Caroline" in red and "Highland Mary"
in blue, is a deep frame filled with worsted flowers, to which a
butterfly and a bumble-bee have been pinned. Paper lacework depends from
their kitchen-shelves, and common eggshells, artificially colored,
decorate the lilac-bushes in the side yard. They are always making new
mats or piecing quilts in a new pattern.

As soon as the first bluebird warbles they begin to work in their flower
and vegetable garden, and from then until it is time to cover the
verbena-beds in the fall I rarely pass without seeing one or more of
them, with sunbonnet on head and hoe in hand, busy at work. Besides
keeping their little front yard a mass of gorgeous bloom and their
vegetable garden free from weed or stone, they raise canary-birds to
sell and take care of a dozen hives of bees. Last fall I frequently saw
all three of them in the yard, with a neighbor or two called in for
conference, and all twittering and chattering like blackbirds in March.
Finally, the mystery was solved. Going past one day, I saw a carpenter
deliberately cutting out the whole end of the house, and soon a large
bay-window made its appearance. When this was completed three rows of
shelves were put up inside close to the glass, and immediately filled
with plants in pots and tin cans. What endless occupation and
entertainment the watering and watching and tending of these must afford
the sisters during winter!

Neither does another neighbor of mine supply the type I seek--the old
Quaker farmer, who is discontented and changeable in his disposition,
having lived in Indiana a while, then in Iowa, then in Indiana again,
and who is now in Iowa for the second time. He rents some land which
lies just across the railroad, and in summer, when he is ploughing the
growing corn, I hear him talking to his horse. He calls her a "contrary
old jade," and jerks the lines and saws her mouth, and says, "Get over
in that other row, I tell thee!" Once I heard him mutter to her, when he
was leading her home after the day's work was done, "I came as near
killin' thee to-day as ever I did."

I will take for one type a man whom we met last summer in the country.
We had driven for miles along the country roads in search of a certain
little glen where the maiden-hair ferns grew waist-high and as broad
across as the fronds of palms, and having found it and filled our
spring-wagon with the treasures, we set out to return home by another
road. We lost our way, but did not regret it, as this mischance made
known to us the most stately and graceful tree we had ever seen--one
that was certainly worth half a day's ride to see. The road left the
treeless uplands, where the sunshine reflected from the bright yellow
stubble of the newly-cut wheat-fields beat against our faces with a
steady glare, and dipped into a cool, green, shady hollow where cows
cropped the rich grass or stood knee-deep in the water of a little
stream. Well they might stand in quiet contentment: a king might have
envied them their surroundings. Overhead rose a dozen or more of the
tallest and finest elms we had ever seen, stretching their thick
branches till they met and formed a canopy so dense that only a stray
sunbeam or two pierced through and fell upon the smooth green sward.
Peerless among them stood an elm of mighty girth and lofty height, its
widely-stretching branches as large around, where they left the trunk,
as a common tree, and clothed to the farthest twig with luxuriant
foliage. And all up and down the mossy trunk and around the branches
grew young twigs from a few inches to a foot or two in length, half
hiding the shaggy bark with their tender green leaves. It was a
combination of tree-majesty and grace that is rarely seen. In a tropical
forest I have beheld a lofty tree covered thickly all over its trunk and
branches with ferns and parasitic plants, but the sight, though
beautiful, was suggestive of morbid, unnatural growth. This royal elm
out of its own sap had clothed its trunk as with a thickly-twining vine.
When, after gazing our fill, we drove reluctantly out of the shady green
hollow into the sunshine, and began to climb a hill, we saw at the top a
small house surrounded by fruit trees and shaded in front by a
grape-arbor. On reaching it we stopped to ask our way of a man who sat
in his shirt-sleeves near the front door, fanning himself with his straw
hat. He seemed frank and inclined to talk, and asked us to stop and rest
a while in the shade. We did so, and his wife brought us some fresh
buttermilk to drink, the children gathering about to look at us as if
our advent was the incident of the month. In conversation we learned
that he was the owner of forty acres, which he devoted largely to the
cultivation of small fruits. The land was paid for, with the exception
of a mortgage of three hundred dollars, which he hoped to lift in a
season or two if the yield was good.

"We're doing well now," he said, "but when we started, eight years ago,
it was truly discouraging. There was no house on the place when we came
here. We put up the room we now use as a kitchen, and lived in it for
two years and a half. It was so small that it only held a bed, a table,
a cook-stove and two or three chairs, and when the table was drawn out
for meals my wife had to set the rocking-chair on the bed, because there
wasn't room for it on the floor. She helped me on the farm the first
year or two. We moved here late in the spring, and I only had time to
get the sod broken before corn-planting time. My wife had a lame foot
that spring, but I made her a sort of crutch-stilt, and with this she
walked over the ground as I ploughed it, making holes in the earth by
means of it and dropping in the corn. She also rode the reaper when our
wheat was ripe the next year, and I followed, binding and stacking. She
has helped me in many other ways on the farm, for she is as ambitious as
I am to have a place free from debt which we can call our own. We added
these two other rooms in the third year, and when we are out of debt and
have money ahead we shall put up another addition: we shall need it as
the children grow up. I have a nice lot of small fruit--strawberries,
raspberries, currants, gooseberries--and besides these I sell every
spring a great many early vegetables. The small fruits pay me more to
the acre than anything else I could raise. There is a good market for
them in the neighboring towns, and I seldom have to hire any help. My
children do most of the picking."

It is only a bit of personal history, to be sure, but it affords an
insight into the life of one who, like many others in this State, began
with only his bare hands and habits of industry and economy for capital.

Another typical illustration is supplied by a man whose home we visited
in the winter. His comfortable farm-house was overflowing with the good
things of life: a piano and an organ stood in the parlor, and a
well-filled bookcase in the sitting-room; a large bay-window was bright
with flowering plants; and base-burner coal-stoves and double-paned
windows mocked at the efforts of the wintry winds and kept perpetual
summer within. In the large barn were farm-wagons, a carriage, a buggy,
a sleigh--a vehicle for every purpose. The farmer invited us one morning
to step into a large sled which stood at the door, and took us half a
mile to his stock-yards. There we saw fat, sleek cattle by the dozen and
fat hogs by the score, great cribs bursting with corn, a windmill pump
and other conveniences for watering stock. Besides all these possessions
this man owns two or three other good farms, and has money loaned on
mortgages; in short, is worth about fifty thousand dollars, every cent
of which he has gained by his own exertions in the last twenty years. He
said: "When my father died and his estate was divided among his
children, each of us received eighty-three dollars as his share. I
resolved then that if thrift and energy could avail anything I would
have more than that to leave to each of my children when I died. It has
required constant hard work and shrewd planning, but I have gained my
stake, and am not a very old man yet," passing his hand over his hair,
which was thinly sprinkled with gray.

This man gave us a description of a tornado which passed over that
portion of the State a number of years ago. It was shortly after he was
married and while he was staying at his father-in-law's house. The whole
family were away from home that day, and when they returned they found
only the cellar. The house had been lifted from its foundation, and
carried so far on the mighty wings of the hurricane that nothing
pertaining to it was ever found except the rolling-pin and a few boards
of the yellow-painted kitchen-floor. Of a new farm-wagon nothing
remained but one tire, and that was flattened out straight. The trees
that stood in the yard had been broken off at the surface of the ground.
The grass lay stretched in the direction of the hurricane as if a flood
of water had passed over it. Horses, cattle and human beings had been
lifted and carried several rods through the air, then cast violently to
earth again. Those who witnessed the course of the tornado said that it
seemed to strike the ground, then go up in the air, passing harmlessly
over a mile or two of country, then strike again, all the time whirling
over and over, and occasionally casting out fragments of the spoils it
had gathered up. After passing east to a point beyond the Mississippi it

This part of Iowa has rich deposits of coal, and mining is a regular and
important business. The coal-mines lying a few miles south of this place
are the largest west of the Mississippi River. A thriving little town
has grown up around them, composed chiefly of miners' cottages, stores
and superintendents' dwellings. A creek winds through it whose banks are
shaded by elms and carpeted in spring and early summer with
prairie-flowers; and a range of wooded hills in whose depths the richest
coal-deposits lie lends a picturesque aspect to the scene, and partly
compensates for the dreary look of the town itself, the comfortless
appearance of many of the miners' houses and the great heaps of slag and
refuse coal at the mouth of the mines. Mules hitched to little cars
serve to draw the coal out of several of the mines, but the largest one
is provided with an engine, which, by means of an endless rope of
twisted wire, pulls long trains of loaded cars out of the depths of the
mine and up to a high platform above the railroad, whence the coal is
pitched into the waiting cars beneath. Sixty-five railroad cars are
sometimes loaded in one day from this single mine. The coal is soft
coal, and is sold by retail at from six to seven cents a bushel.

One April day, when the woods were white and pink with the bloom of the
wild plum and crab trees and the ground was blue with violets, we rode
over to this place, and, hitching our horses to some trees growing over
the principal mine, we descended to the entrance. A miner, an
intelligent middle-aged man who was off work just then, volunteered to
be our guide, and after providing each of us with a little oil lamp like
the one he wore in his hat-brim, he led us into the dark opening that
yawned in the hillside. The passage was six or seven feet wide, and so
low that we could not stand erect. Under our feet was the narrow track,
the space between the ties being slippery with mud: over our heads and
on either hand were walls of rock, with a thick vein of coal running
through them, braced every few feet with heavy timbers. The track began
to descend, and soon we lost sight of the daylight and had to depend
entirely on the feeble glimmer of our lamps. We occasionally came to
smooth-plastered spaces in the walls, the closed-up mouths of old
side-tunnels, and placing our hands upon them felt that they were warm.
Fires were raging in the abandoned galleries, but, being shut away from
the air and from access to the main tunnel, they were not dangerous. The
dangers usually dreaded by the miners are the falling of heavy masses of
earth and rock from the roof of the gallery and the sudden flow of water
into the mine from some of the secret sources in the hillside. After
penetrating about a quarter of a mile into the mine and descending one
hundred and twenty feet, we reached the end of the main tunnel and saw
the great wheel, fixed in the solid rock, on which the endless steel
rope turned. A train of loaded cars had passed out just before we
entered the mine, and on a switch near the end of the track stood
another train of empty cars. The air thus far on our dark journey had
been cool and good, for the main tunnel was ventilated by means of
air-shafts that pierced the hillside to the daylight above; but now our
guide opened the door of what seemed a subterranean dungeon, closed it
behind us when we had passed through, lifted a heavy curtain that hung
before us, and ushered us into a branch-tunnel where the air was hot and
stifling and heavy with the fumes of powder. At the farther end we saw
tiny specks of light moving about. As we neared them we found that they
were lamps fastened in the hat-bands of the miners at work in this
distant tunnel--literally, "the bowels of the earth." Some were using
picks and shovels, others were drilling holes in the solid coal and
putting in blasts of gunpowder. When these blasts were fired a
subterranean thunder shook the place: it seemed as if the hill were
falling in upon us. Little cars stood upon the track partly filled with
coal, and mules were hitched to them. The forms of these animals loomed
large and dark in the dim light: they seemed like some monsters of a
previous geologic age. The men themselves, blackened with coal and grimy
with powder-smoke, might have seemed like gnomes or trolls had we not
seen their homes in the plain, familiar sunlight above, and known that
they were working for daily bread for themselves and families. They are
paid according to the amount of coal they dig. Some have earned as high
as one hundred and thirty dollars a month, but half that sum would be
nearer the average.

As we left this shaft and came back into the main tunnel we saw a miner
sitting by the track with his small tin bucket open. It was noon and he
was eating his dinner. It might just as well have been midnight, so
dense was the darkness. We seemed to have been an uncomputable time in
the depths, yet, glancing at the bunch of wild flowers in my belt, I saw
that they were only beginning to wilt. Did poor Proserpine have the same
feeling when she was ravished from the sunshine and the green and
flowery earth and carried into the dark underground kingdom of Pluto?
Remembering her fate, I whispered to my companion, "We will not eat
anything while here--no, not so much as one pomegranate-seed."

There are many smaller coal-mines in this vicinity--hardly a hillside
but has a dark doorway leading into it--but they are not all worked
regularly or by more than a few hands.

On the road leading from town to the Skunk River one has glimpses of
another industry. Limekilns, with uncouth signs announcing lime for sale
at twenty-five cents a bushel, thrust themselves almost into the road,
and the cabins or neatly-whitewashed board huts of the lime-burners
border the way. Some have grass-plots and mounds of flowers around them:
others are without ornament, if we except the children with blue eyes,
red cheeks and hair like corn-silk that hang on the fence and watch us
ride by.

Skunk River is a broad, still stream, with hilly banks heavily wooded
with willow, oak, maple, sycamore and bass-wood. Here we find the
earliest wild flowers in spring: blue and purple hepaticas blossom among
the withered leaves on the ground while the branches above are still
bare, and a little later crowds of violets and spring-beauties brighten
the tender grass; clusters of diacentra--or "Dutchman's breeches," as
the children call them--nod from the shelter of decaying stumps to small
yellow lilies with spotted leaves and tufts of fresh green ferns.

The place is equally a favorite bird-haunt. The prairie-chicken, the
best-known game-bird of the State, chooses rather the open prairie, but
wild-ducks settle and feed here in their migratory journeys, attracting
the sportsman by their presence; the fish-hawk makes his nest in the
trees on the bank; the small blue heron wades pensively along the
margin; and the common wood-birds, such as blackbirds, bluebirds, jays,
sparrows and woodpeckers, chatter or warble or scold among the branches.
Sometimes the redbird flashes like a living flame through the green
tree-tops, or the brilliant orange-and-black plumage of the Baltimore
oriole contrasts with the lilac-gray bark of an old tree-trunk.

Besides the small wild flowers there are many shrubs and trees that
bloom in spring. The haw tree and wild plum put forth masses of small
creamy-white flowers, the redbud tree blooms along the water-courses,
the dogwood in the woods and the wild crab-apple upon the open hillside.
The crab trees often form dense thickets an acre or two in extent, and
when all their branches are thickly set with coral buds or deep-pink
blossoms they form a picture upon which the eye delights to rest. Spring
redeems even the flat prairie from the blank monotony which wearies the
eye in winter. There are few places in this vicinity where the virgin
sod has not been broken, consequently few spots where the original,
much-praised prairie-flowers grow; but a tender green clothes all the
plain, hundreds of meadow-larks sing in the grass, the tints and colors
of the sky are lovely beyond words, and the balmy winds breathe airs of

Even the town, whose ugliness has offended artistic taste and one's love
of neatness all winter, clothes itself in foliage and hides its
ungraceful outlines in bowery verdure. Lilacs scent the air, roses crowd
through the broken fences, the milky floss of the cottonwood trees is
strewed upon the sidewalks or floats like thistledown upon the air. To
one sensitive to physical surroundings the change is like that from a
sullen face to a smiling one, from a forbidding aspect to a cheerful
one. The constant bracing of one's self against the influence of one's
surroundings is relaxed: a feeling of relief and contentment comes
instead. Our thirst for picturesque beauty may not be satisfied, but we
accept with thankful hearts the quiet loveliness of spring. In this, as
in deeper experiences, we learn that

    At best we gain not happiness,
    But peace, friends--peace in the strife.



The pleasant agricultural village of Reading, in Fairfield county,
Western Connecticut, presents much that is charming and picturesque in
scenery, and is withal replete with historic incidents; but its chief
claim to interest rests on the fact that it was the birthplace of Joel
Barlow, who has decided claims to the distinction of being the father of
American letters. Nearly seventy years have passed since the poet's
tragic death, and the story of his life is still untold, while his
memory has nearly faded from the minds of the living; nor would it be
easy, at this late day, to collect sufficient material for an extended
biography if such were demanded. Some pleasant traditions still linger
in the sleepy atmosphere of his native village; a few of his letters and
papers still remain in his family; contemporary newspapers had much to
say both for and against him; the reviewers of his day noticed his
poems, sometimes with approbation, sometimes with bitterness. There are
fragmentary sketches of him in encyclopædias and biographical
dictionaries, and several pigeonholes in the State Department are filled
with musty documents written by him when abroad in his country's
diplomatic service. From these sources alone is the scholar of our times
to glean his knowledge of one who in his day filled as large a space in
the public eye as almost any of his contemporaries, and whose talents,
virtues and public services entitled him to as lasting a fame as theirs.

Not from any of these sources, but from the Barlow family register in
the ancient records of Fairfield, we learn that the poet was born on
March 24, 1754, and not in 1755, as is almost universally stated by the
encyclopædists. His father was Samuel Barlow, a wealthy farmer of the
village--his mother, Elizabeth Hull, a connection of the general and
commodore of the same name who figured so prominently in the war of
1812. There is little in the early career of the poet of interest to the
modern reader. He is first presented to us in the village traditions as
a chubby, rosy-faced boy, intent on mastering the Greek and Latin tasks
dealt out to him by Parson Bartlett, the Congregational minister of the
village, who, like many of the New England clergy of that day, added the
duties of schoolmaster to those of the clergyman. In a year or two he
was placed at Moor's school for boys in Hanover, New Hampshire, and on
completing his preparatory course he entered Dartmouth College in 1774.
His father had died the December previous, and, with the view probably
of being nearer his mother and family in Reading, he left Dartmouth in
his Freshman year and was entered at Yale.

Barlow's college career was marked by close application to study, and
won for him the respect and confidence of all with whom he came in
contact. During his second year the war of the Revolution broke out, but
the young poet, though an ardent patriot, clung to his books, resolutely
closing his ears to the clamor of war that invaded his sacred cloisters
until the long summer vacation arrived. Then he threw aside books and
gown and joined his four brothers in the Continental ranks, where he did
yeoman's service for his country. He graduated in 1778, and signalized
the occasion by reciting an original poem called the "Prospect of
Peace," which, in the quaint language of one of his contemporaries,
gained him "a very pretty reputation as a poet."

The next year found him a chaplain in the Continental army, in the same
brigade with his friend Dwight, later renowned as the poet-president of
Yale College, and with Colonel Humphreys, whom we shall find associated
with him in a far different mission. The two young chaplains, not
content with the performance of their clerical duties, wrote in
connection with Humphreys stirring patriotic lyrics that were set to
music and sung by the soldiers around the camp-fires and on the weary
march, and aided largely in allaying discontent and in inducing them to
bear their hardships patiently.

For four years, or until the peace of 1783, Barlow continued to serve
his country in the army: he left the service as poor as when he entered
it, and a second time the question of a vocation in life presented
itself. He at length chose the law, but before being admitted to
practice performed an act which, however foolish it may have seemed to
the worldly wise, proved to be one of the most fortunate events of his
life. Although poor and possessing none of the qualities of the
successful bread-winner, he united his fortunes with those of an amiable
and charming young lady--Miss Ruth Baldwin of New Haven, daughter of
Michael Baldwin, Esq., and sister of Hon. Abraham C. Baldwin, whom the
student will remember as a Senator of note from Georgia. After marriage
the young husband settled in Hartford, first in the study, and later in
the practice, of the law. In Hartford we find him assuming the duties of
lawyer, journalist and bookseller, and in all proving the truth of the
fact often noted, that the possession of literary talent generally
unfits one for the rough, every-day work of the world. As a lawyer
Barlow lacked the smoothness and suavity of the practised advocate,
while the petty details and trickeries of the profession disgusted him.
As an editor he made his journal, the _American Mercury_, notable for
the high literary and moral excellence of its articles, but it was not
successful financially, simply because it lacked a constituency
sufficiently cultured to appreciate and sustain it. His bookstore, which
stood on the quiet, elm-shaded main street of the then provincial
village, was opened to dispose of his psalm-book and poems, and was
closed when this was accomplished.

As a poet, however, he was more successful, and it was here that the
assurance of literary ability, so dear to the heart of the neophyte,
first came to him. Dr. Watts's "imitation" of the Psalms, incomplete and
inappropriate in many respects, was then the only version within reach
of the Puritan churches, and in 1785 the Congregational Association of
Connecticut applied to the poet for a revised edition of the work.
Barlow readily complied, and published his revision the same year,
adding to it several psalms which Dr. Watts had omitted. This work was
received with marked favor by the Congregational churches, and was used
by them exclusively until rumors of the author's lapse from orthodoxy
reached them, when it was superseded by a version prepared by Dr.

Two years after, in 1787, Barlow published his _Vision of Columbus_, a
poem conceived while in the army and largely written during the poet's
summer vacations at Reading. It was received with unbounded favor by his
patriotic countrymen, and after passing through several editions at
home was republished both in London and Paris, and made its author the
best known American in the literary circles of his day. There was in
Hartford at this time a coterie of literary spirits whose sprightliness
and bonhomie had gained for them the sobriquet of the "Hartford Wits."
Dr. Lemuel Hopkins was doubtless the chief factor in the organization of
this club: Barlow, John Trumbull, Colonel Humphreys, Richard Alsop and
Theodore Dwight--all of whom had gained literary distinction--were its
chief members. The principal publications of the club were the
_Anarchiad_, a satirical poem, and the _Echo_, which consisted of a
series of papers in verse lampooning the social and political follies of
the day. To both of these, it is said, Barlow was a prominent
contributor. He was also a prominent figure in the organization, about
this time, of the Connecticut Cincinnati, a society formed by
Revolutionary officers for urging upon Congress their claims for
services rendered in the Revolution.

In these varied pursuits and amid such pleasant associations three years
passed away, but during all this time the grim spectre of Want had
menaced the poet--first at a distance, but with each succeeding month
approaching nearer and nearer, until now, in 1788, it stared him in the
face. His patrimony had been nearly exhausted in his education; his
law-business was unremunerative; his paper, as we have said, was not a
success financially; and his poetry brought him much more honor than
cash. And thus it happened that at the age of thirty-four he found
himself without money or employment. At this trying juncture there came
from the West--fruitful parent of such schemes!--the prospectus of the
Scioto Land Company, furnished with glaring head-lines and seductive
phrases, and parading in its list of stockholders scores of the
best-known names in the community. This company claimed to have become
the fortunate possessor of unnumbered acres in the valley of the Scioto,
and was anxious to share its good fortune--for a consideration--with
Eastern and European capitalists. It was desirous of securing an agent
to negotiate its sales in Europe, and, quite naturally, its choice fell
on Joel Barlow, the only American having a reputation abroad who was at
liberty to undertake the mission; and, since the company bore a good
repute and offered fair remuneration, the poet very gladly embraced its
offer. He does not seem to have met with much success in England, but in
France his reception was much more encouraging. An estate in the New
World was a veritable _château en Espagne_ to the mercurial Frenchmen,
and they purchased with some avidity; but just as the agent's ground was
prepared for a plenteous harvest news came that the Scioto Company had
burst, as bubbles will, leaving to its dupes only a number of
well-executed maps, some worthless parchments called deeds, and that
valuable experience which comes with a knowledge of the ways of the
world. Barlow, being the company's principal agent abroad, came in for
his full share of the abuse excited by its operations; and yet it is
evident that he was as innocent of its real character as any one, and
that he had accepted the position of agent with full confidence in the
company's integrity. Its collapse left him as poor as ever, and a
stranger in a strange land, notwithstanding he was surrounded here by
conditions that assured him the generous and honorable career which had
been denied him in the New World.

Of the foreigners who then thronged cosmopolitan Paris, none were so
popular as Americans. Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, by their
courtesy and dignity, joined to republican simplicity, had provided
passports for their countrymen to the good graces of all Frenchmen:
besides, the name "republican" was a word of magic import in France at
that time. Barlow's reputation as a poet was also of great service to
him at a time when literature exercised a commanding influence both in
society and politics. He was presented at court, admitted to the
companionship of wits and savants, and was enabled, by the favor of some
financial magnates, to participate in speculations which proved so
successful that in a short time he was raised above the pressure of
want. But in less than a year after his arrival the Revolution broke
out, and involved him in its horrors. His sympathies were entirely with
the Girondists--the party of the literati, and the most patriotic and
enlightened of the rival factions. He is said to have entered heartily
into the advocacy of their cause, writing pamphlets and addresses in
their interest and contributing frequently to their journals: he is also
said to have figured prominently at the meetings of the Girondist
leaders held in the salon of Madame Roland. The atrocities of the
Jacobins, however, so shocked and disgusted him that he shortly withdrew
and went into retirement outside of the city. The greater part of the
years 1791-92 he spent in England, with occasional visits to France.
During one of these visits the privileges of French citizenship were
conferred on him--an honor that had been previously conferred on but two
Americans, Washington and Hamilton.

In 1795 a crisis in his fortunes occurred, and from this date the story
of his life becomes an interesting and important one. He had been for
some months on a business-tour through the northern provinces, and,
returning to Paris early in September, was surprised at receiving a
visit from his old friend Colonel David Humphreys, who had been American
minister to Portugal for some years, and was now in Paris on a political
mission. He was accompanied on this visit by James Monroe, then American
minister at the French court. They bore a commission from President
Washington naming Barlow consul at Algiers, and their object was to
induce him to accept the appointment. The post was one of extreme
difficulty and danger, and had Barlow consulted his own wishes and
interests he would undoubtedly have declined it. But by appeals to his
philanthropy, and by representations that from his knowledge of courts
and experience of the world he was well fitted for the performance of
the duties assigned to him, he was at length induced to accept the
commission. Preparations were at once made for the journey. His
business-affairs were arranged and his will made: then, bidding his wife
farewell, he set out with Humphreys on the 12th of September, 1795, for
Lisbon, _en route_ for the Barbary coast.

At the time of Barlow's mission Algiers was at the height of its power
and arrogance. Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden
and Venice were tributaries of this barbarous state, which waged
successful war with Russia, Austria, Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, Genoa
and Malta. Its first depredation on American commerce was committed on
the 25th of July, 1785, when the schooner Maria, Stevens master, owned
in Boston, was seized off Cape St. Vincent by a corsair and carried into
Algiers. Five days later the ship Dauphin of Philadelphia, Captain
O'Brien, was taken and carried into the same port. Other captures
quickly followed, so that at the time of Barlow's mission there were one
hundred and twenty American citizens in the Algerine prisons, exclusive
of some forty that had been liberated by death or ransomed through the
private exertions of their friends.

The course pursued by Congress for the liberation of these captives
cannot be viewed with complacency even at this late day. After some
hesitation it decided to ransom the prisoners, and proceeded to
negotiate--first, through Mr. John Lamb, its agent at Algiers, and
secondly through the general of the Mathurins, a religious order of
France instituted in early times for the redemption of Christian
captives from the infidel powers. These negotiations extended through a
period of six years, and accomplished nothing, from the fact that the
dey invariably demanded double the sum which Congress thought it could
afford to pay. In June, 1792, with the hope of negotiating a treaty and
rescuing the captives, the celebrated John Paul Jones was appointed
consul to Algiers, but died before reaching the scene of his mission.
His successor, Mr. Thomas Barclay, died at Lisbon January 19, 1793,
while on his way to Algiers. The conduct of Barbary affairs was next
confided to Colonel Humphreys, our minister to Portugal, with power to
name an agent who should act under him, and Mr. Pierre E. Skjoldebrand,
a brother of the Swedish consul, was appointed under this arrangement;
but the latter gentleman seems to have been no more successful than his
predecessors. Late in 1794, Humphreys returned to America, and while
here it was arranged that Joseph Donaldson should accompany him on his
return as agent for Tunis and Tripoli, while Barlow, it was hoped, could
be induced to accept the mission to Algiers and the general oversight of
Barbary affairs.

The two diplomats left America early in April, 1795, and proceeded to
Gibraltar, where they separated, Donaldson continuing his journey to
Algiers _viâ_ Alicant, and Humphreys hastening on to Paris in search of
Barlow, as has been narrated. Colonel Humphreys and Mr. Barlow did not
reach Lisbon until the 17th of November, and when the latter was about
prosecuting his journey he was surprised by a visit from Captain
O'Brien, who had been despatched by Mr. Donaldson with a newly-signed
treaty with Algiers. Mr. Donaldson, it was learned, had reached Algiers
on the 3d of September, and finding the dey in a genial mood had
forthwith concluded a treaty with him, considering that he had
sufficient authority for this under the general instructions of Colonel
Humphreys. It was found that some of the conditions of the treaty could
not be fulfilled, particularly one stipulating that the first payment of
nearly eight hundred thousand dollars should be made by the 5th of
January, 1796; and Barlow therefore hastened forward to Algiers to
explain the matter to the dey and make such attempts at pacification as
were practicable, while Captain O'Brien was sent to London in the brig
Sophia for the money. Of his life in Algiers, and of the subsequent fate
of the treaty, some particulars are given in a letter from Barlow to
Humphreys, dated at Algiers April 5, 1796, and also in a letter to Mrs.
Barlow written about the same time. The letter to Humphreys is as

"SIR: We have now what we hope will be more agreeable news to you. For
two days past we have been witnesses to a scene of as complete and
poignant distress as can be imagined, arising from the total state of
despair in which our captives found themselves involved, and we without
the power of administering the least comfort or hope. The threat of
sending us away had been reiterated with every mark of a fixed and final
decision, and the dey went so far as to declare that after the thirty
days, if the money did not come, he never would be at peace with the
Americans. Bacri the Jew, who has as much art in this sort of management
as any man we ever knew, who has more influence with the dey than all
the regency put together, and who alone has been able to soothe his
impatience on this subject for three months past, now seemed unable to
make the least impression, and the dey finally forbade him, under pain
of his highest displeasure, to speak to him any more about the
Americans. His cruisers are now out, and for some days past he has been
occupied with his new war against the Danes. Three days ago the Danish
prizes began to come in, and it was thought that this circumstance might
put him in good-humor, so that the Jew might find a chance of renewing
our subject in some shape or other; and we instructed the Jew that if he
could engage him in conversation on his cruisers and prizes he might
offer him a new American-built ship of twenty guns which should sail
very fast, to be presented to his daughter, on condition that he would
wait six months longer for our money. The Jew observed that we had
better say a ship of twenty-four guns, to which we agreed. After seeing
him three or four times yesterday under pretence of other business,
without being able to touch upon this, he went this morning and

"The novelty of the proposition gained the dey's attention for a moment,
and he consented to see us on the subject; but he told the Jew to tell
us that it must be a ship of thirty-six guns or he would not listen to
the proposition. We were convinced that we ought not to hesitate an
instant. We accordingly went and assented to his demand, and he has
agreed to let everything remain as it is for the term of three months
from this day, but desired us to remember that not a single day beyond
that will be allowed on any account.

"We consider the business as now settled on this footing, and it is the
best ground that we could possibly place it upon. You still have it in
your power to say peace or no peace: you have an alternative. In the
other case war was inevitable, and there would have been no hope of
peace during the reign of this dey....

"In order to save the treaty, which has been the subject of infinite
anxiety and vexation, we found it necessary some time ago to make an
offer to the Jew of ten thousand sequins (eighteen thousand dollars), to
be paid eventually if he succeeded, and to be distributed by him among
such great officers of state as he thought necessary, and as much of it
to be kept for himself as he could keep consistent with success. The
whole of this new arrangement will cost the United States about
fifty-three thousand dollars. We expect to incur blame, because it is
impossible to give you a complete view of the circumstances, but we are
perfectly confident of having acted right."

A few weeks later the long-expected ransom arrived: the prison-doors
were thrown open, and the captives came out into the sunlight. How
pitifully the poet-diplomatist received them, how tenderly he cared for
their wants, and how he exerted himself to secure for them a speedy
passage to their native land, may be inferred from the character of the
man. Having now accomplished the object of his mission, it was to be
expected that he would be free to give up his unpleasant post and return
to France. But in the adjacent states of Tunis and Tripoli there were
other prisons in which American citizens were confined, and until they
were liberated he does not seem to have considered his mission as fully
performed. Six months or more were spent in effecting this object, and
when it was accomplished he very gladly delivered up his credentials to
the government and returned to his home and friends in France.

The succeeding eight years were spent in congenial pursuits, chiefly of
a literary and philanthropic character. He purchased the large hôtel of
the count Clermont Tonnere, near Paris, which he transformed into an
elegant villa: here he lived during his residence in France, dispensing
a broad hospitality and enjoying the friendship of the leading minds of
the Empire, as well as the companionship of all Americans of note who
visited the capital. But at length, in 1805, after seventeen years of
absence, the home-longing which sooner or later comes to every exile
seized upon him, and, yielding to its influence, he disposed of his
estates in France and with his faithful wife embarked for America.

Great changes had occurred in his native land during these seventeen
years. Washington was gone, and with him the power and prestige of
Federalism; Jefferson and Burr had led the Republican hosts to victory;
Presbyterianism as a political force was dead; and everywhere in society
the old order was giving place to the new. This was more markedly the
case in New England, where the Puritan crust was being broken and
pulverized by the gradual upheaval of the Republican strata. Withal, it
was an era of intense political feeling and of partisan bitterness
without a parallel.

This will explain, perhaps, the varying manner in which Barlow was
received by the different parties among his countrymen. The Republicans
greeted him with acclamation as the honored citizen of two republics,
the man who had perilled life and health in rescuing his countrymen from
slavery. The Federalists, on the other hand, united in traducing him--an
assertion which may be gainsaid, but which can be abundantly proved by
reference to the Federal newspapers and magazines of the day. In
evidence, and as a curious instance of the political bitterness of the
times, I will adduce the following article from the _Boston Repertory_,
printed in the August after the poet's return:


     "In our last paper was announced, and that with extreme
     regret, the return of Joel Barlow, Esq., to this country.
     This man, the strong friend of Mr. Jefferson and
     confidential companion of his late warm defender, Tom Paine,
     is one of the most barefaced infidels that ever appeared in
     Christendom. Some facts respecting these distinguished
     personages may serve to show the votaries of Christianity
     what a band of open enemies (to the faith) is now assembling
     in this country.

     "Mr. Jefferson, in his famous _Notes on Virginia_, advances
     opinions incompatible with Mosaic history. This cannot be
     disputed, nor will Mr. Jefferson dare to deny that he has,
     since he has been President of the United States, publicly
     made the Eucharist a subject of impious ridicule. Tom Paine
     has written two books for the express purpose of combating
     the Holy Scriptures. His _Age of Reason_ is but too common,
     and his letter to the late Samuel Adams still evinces his
     perverse adherence to his infidel system.

     "Joel Barlow is said to have written the following shocking
     letter to his correspondent, John Fellows, dated Hamburg,
     May 23, 1805: 'I rejoice at the progress of good sense over
     the _damnable imposture_ of _Christian mummery_. I had no
     doubt of the effect of Paine's _Age of Reason_: it may be
     cavilled at a while, but it must prevail. Though things as
     good have been often said, they were never said in so good a
     way,' etc. Mr. Barlow can now answer for himself: if this
     letter be a forgery, let him inform the public. It has never
     yet been contradicted, though it has been four years
     published in America."

From which we gather that in the political code of that day the grossest
calumnies if uncontradicted were to be accepted as truth. There is not
the slightest evidence, however, in his writings or public utterances
that the poet ever renounced the faith of his fathers, although it is
not probable that he was a very strict Presbyterian at this time.

Barlow seems not to have returned with any hopes of political
preferment: at least he made no attempt to enter the field of politics,
but after spending several months in travel took up his residence in
Washington and devoted himself to philosophical studies and the
cultivation of the Muses. He had purchased a beautiful site on the banks
of the Potomac within the city limits, and here he erected a mansion
whose beauty and elegance made it famous throughout the country. This
mansion he called Kalorama, and the wealth and correct taste of its
owner were lavishly employed in its adornment. Broad green lawns, shaded
by forest trees, surrounded the house, fountains sparkled and gleamed
amid the shrubberies, and gay parterres of flowers added their beauty to
the scene. Within, French carpets, mirrors, statuary, pictures and
bric-à-brac betokened the foreign tastes of the owner. In the library
was gathered the most extensive private collection of foreign books
which the country then contained. Kalorama was the Holland House of
America, where were to be met all the notables of the land, political,
literary or philanthropic. The President, heads of departments,
Congressmen, foreign ambassadors, poets, authors, reformers, inventors,
were all to be seen there. Robert Fulton, the father of
steam-navigation, was the poet's firm friend, and received substantial
aid from him in his enterprise. Jefferson, throwing off the cares of
state, often paid him informal visits, and the two sages had a pet plan
which was generally the subject of conversation on these occasions. This
was the scheme of a national university, to be modelled after the
Institute of France, and to combine a university, a learned society, a
naval and military school and an academy of fine arts. The movement had
been originated by Washington, and Jefferson and Barlow, with many other
leading men of the day, were its warm friends and promoters. In 1806,
Barlow, at Jefferson's suggestion, drew up a prospectus, which was
printed and circulated throughout the country. So great a public
sentiment in favor of the scheme was developed that a bill for its
endowment was shortly after introduced in Congress; but New England
exerted her influence against it in favor of Yale and Harvard so
successfully that it was defeated.

The chief literary work which occupied the poet in this classic retreat
was _The Columbiad_, which appeared in 1808. He also busied himself with
collecting materials for a general history of the United States--a work
which, if he had been permitted to finish it, would have proved no doubt
a valuable contribution to this department of literature. But in the
midst of this scholarly retirement he was surprised at receiving a note
from Mr. Monroe, then Secretary of State, offering him the position of
minister to France, and urging his acceptance of it in the strongest

Our relations with France were then (1811) in a very critical state,
owing to the latter's repeated attacks on American commerce, and it was
of vital moment to the government that a man so universally respected by
the French people, and so familiar with the French court and its circle
of wily diplomats, as was Barlow, should have charge of American
interests in that quarter. A man less unselfish, less patriotic, would
have refused the burden of such a position, especially one so foreign to
his tastes and desires; but the poet in this case, as in 1795, seems not
to have hesitated an instant at the call of his country. Kalorama was
closed--not sold, for its owner hoped that his absence would not be of
long duration--preparations for the journey were speedily made, and
early in August, 1811, Barlow, accompanied by his faithful wife, was set
down at the port of Annapolis, where the famous frigate Constitution,
Captain Hull, had been lying for some time in readiness to receive him.
In Annapolis the poet was received with distinguished honor: at his
embarkation crowds thronged the quay, and a number of distinguished
citizens were gathered at the gang-plank to bid him God-speed on his
journey. Captain Hull received his guest with the honor due his
station: then the Constitution spread her sails, and, gay with bunting
and responding heartily to the salutes from the forts on shore, swept
gallantly down the bay and out to sea. The beautiful city, gleaming amid
the foliage of its stately forest trees, and the low level shores, green
with orchards and growing corn, were the last objects that the poet
beheld ere the outlines of his native land sank beneath the waters.
Happily, he could not foresee the untimely death in waiting for him not
eighteen months distant, nor the lonely sepulchre in the Polish waste,
nor the still more bitter fact that ere two generations should pass an
ungrateful country would entirely forget his services and martyrdom.

Barlow's correspondence with Mr. Monroe and the duke de Bassano while
abroad on this mission forms an interesting and hitherto unpublished
chapter in our history. It has rested undisturbed in the pigeonholes of
the State Department for nearly a century, and if published in
connection with a brief memoir of the poet would prove a valuable
addition to our annals. The first of the series is Mr. Monroe's letter
of instruction to the newly-appointed minister, defining the objects of
his mission, which were, in brief, indemnity for past spoliations and
security from further depredations. The second paper is Mr. Barlow's
first letter from Paris, under date of September 29, 1811, and is as

"I seize the first occasion to announce to you my arrival, though I have
little else to announce. I landed at Cherbourg the 8th of this month,
and arrived at Paris the 19th. The emperor has been residing for some
time at Compiègne, and it unluckily happened that he set out thence for
the coast and for Holland the day of my arrival here. The duke de
Bassano, Minister of Foreign Relations, came the next day to Paris for
two days only, when he was to follow the emperor to join him in Holland.
General Turreau and others, who called on me the morning after I reached
Paris, assured me that the duke was desirous of seeing me as soon as
possible and with as little ceremony.

"On the 21st I made my first visit to him, which of course had no other
object than that of delivering my credentials. I expressed my regret at
the emperor's absence, and the consequent delay of such business as was
rendered particularly urgent by the necessity of sending home the
frigate and by the approaching session of Congress, as well as by the
distressed situation of those American citizens who were awaiting the
result of decisions which might be hastened by the expositions I was
charged to make on the part of the President of the United States. He
said the emperor had foreseen the urgency of the case, and had charged
him to remedy the evil, as far as could be done, by dispensing with my
presentation to His Majesty till his return, and that I might
immediately proceed to business as if I had been presented. He said the
most flattering things from the emperor relative to my appointment. He
observed that His Majesty had expected my arrival with some solicitude,
and was disposed to do everything that I could reasonably ask to
maintain a good intelligence between the two countries.... I explained
to him with as much precision as possible the sentiments of the
President on the most pressing objects of my mission, and threw in such
observations as seemed to arise out of what I conceived to be the true
interests of France. He heard me with patience and apparent solicitude,
endeavored to explain away some of the evils of which we complain, and
expressed a strong desire to explain away the rest. He said that many of
the ideas I suggested were new to him, and were very important--that he
should lay them before the emperor with fidelity and in a manner
calculated to produce the most favorable impression; desired me to
reduce them to writing, to be presented in a more solemn form; and
endeavored to convince me that he doubted not our being able on the
return of the emperor to remove all obstacles to a most perfect harmony
between the two countries."

In a letter dated December 19, 1811, he writes:

"Since the date of my last I have had many interviews with the Minister
of Foreign Relations. I have explained several points, and urged every
argument for as speedy an answer to my note of the 10th as its very
serious importance would allow. He always treats the subject with
apparent candor and solicitude, seems anxious to gain information, and
declares that neither he nor the emperor had before understood American
affairs, and always assures me that he is nearly ready with his answer.
But he says the emperor's taking so long a time to consider it and make
up his decision is not without reason, for it opens a wide field for
meditation on very interesting matters. He says the emperor has read the
note repeatedly and with great attention--that he told him the reasoning
in it was everywhere just and the conclusions undeniable, but to
reconcile its principles with his continental system presented
difficulties not easy to remove. From what the emperor told me himself
at the last diplomatic audience, and from a variety of hints and other
circumstances remarked among the people about his person, I have been
made to believe that he is really changing his system relative to our
trade, and that the answer to my note will be more satisfactory than I
had at first expected."

Several other letters from the poet to Monroe follow, all of the same
general tenor--complaining of delay, yet hopeful that the treaty would
shortly be secured. February 8, 1812, he writes to the Secretary of
State that the duke is "at work upon the treaty, and probably in good
earnest, but the discussions with Russia and the other affairs of this
Continent give him and the emperor so much occupation that I cannot
count upon their getting on very fast with ours."

Amid these delays the summer passed away, and the emperor, intent on
mapping out his great campaign against Russia, still neglected to sign
the important instrument. Early in the summer Napoleon left Paris for
Wilna to take command of the vast armies that had been collected for the
invasion, and from that place, on the 11th of October, the duke de
Bassano addressed the following note to Mr. Barlow in Paris:

"SIR: I have had the honor to make known to you how much I regretted, in
the negotiation commenced between the United States and France, the
delays which inevitably attended a correspondence carried on at so great
a distance. Your government has desired to see the epoch of this
arrangement draw near: His Majesty is animated by the same dispositions,
and, willing to assure to the negotiation a result the most prompt, he
has thought that it would be expedient to suppress the intermediaries
and to transfer the conference to Wilna. His Majesty has in consequence
authorized me, sir, to treat directly with you; and if you will come to
this town I dare hope that, with the desire which animates us both to
conciliate such important interests, we shall immediately be enabled to
remove all the difficulties which until now have appeared to impede the
progress of the negotiation. I have apprised the duke of Dalberg that
his mission was thus terminated, and I have laid before His Majesty the
actual state of the negotiation, to the end that when you arrive at
Wilna, the different questions being already illustrated either by your
judicious observation or by the instructions I shall have received, we
may, sir, conclude an arrangement so desirable and so conformable to the
mutually amicable views of our two governments."

Barlow could do no less than comply with this invitation, since, as he
remarked in a letter to Monroe under date of October 25, "it was
impossible to refuse it without giving offence." His letter accepting
the duke's invitation was probably the last ever written by him, and is
dated Paris, October 25, 1812:

"SIR: In consequence of the letter you did me the honor to write me on
the 11th of this month, I accept your invitation, and leave Paris
to-morrow for Wilna, where I hope to arrive in fifteen or eighteen days
from this date. The negotiation on which you have done me the honor to
invite me at Wilna is so completely prepared in all its parts between
the duke of Dalberg and myself, and, as I understand, sent on to you for
your approbation about the 18th of the present month, that I am
persuaded that if it could have arrived before the date of your letter
the necessity of this meeting would not have existed, as I am confident
His Majesty would have found the project reasonable and acceptable in
all its parts, and would have ordered that minister to conclude and sign
both the treaty of commerce and the convention of indemnities."

Barlow left Paris for Wilna on the 26th of October in his private
carriage, yet travelling night and day and with relays of horses at the
post-towns to expedite his progress. His sole companion was his nephew
and secretary of legation, Thomas Barlow, who had been educated and
given an honorable position in life through the poet's munificence.
Their route, the same as that pursued by Napoleon a few weeks before,
led across the Belgian frontiers and through the forests and defiles of
the German principalities. Once across the Niemen, they met with rumors
of the emperor's disaster at Moscow, and that portions of his army were
then in full retreat, but, discrediting them, pushed on to Wilna, which
they reached about the 1st of December. Wilna is the only considerable
village in Russia between the Niemen and Moscow: it is a quaint and
venerable town, capital of the ancient province of Lithuania, and played
an important part in Napoleon's Russian campaign, being the rendezvous
of his legions after crossing the Niemen and the site of his
army-hospitals. When our travellers entered it, it was filled with a
horde of panic-stricken fugitives, who made the town a temporary
resting-place before continuing their flight to the frontiers; nor were
they long in learning the, to them, distressing news that the French
army was in swift retreat, and that the duke de Bassano, so far from
being at leisure to attend a diplomatic conference at Wilna, was then on
the frontiers hurrying forward reinforcements to cover the retreat of
his emperor across the Beresina.

The perilous journey had been made in vain, and the treaty was doomed to
still further delay. It now only remained for Barlow to extricate
himself from his dangerous position and to reach the frontiers before
the fleeing army and the pursuing Cossacks should close every avenue of

Thomas Barlow on his return to America sometimes favored his friends
with vivid pictures of the sufferings and privations endured by the
travellers in their flight from Wilna. The passage of so many men had
rendered the roads well-nigh impassable; food, even of the meanest kind,
could only be procured with the greatest difficulty; and often the
travellers were mixed up with the flying masses, as it seemed
inextricably. Ruined habitations, wagons and provision-vans overturned
and pillaged, men dying by scores from hunger and starvation, and frozen
corpses of men and horses, were objects that constantly presented
themselves. At length they crossed the Niemen and pursued their journey
through Poland, still suffering terribly from the cold and from the
insufficient nature of the food obtainable; but on reaching Zarrow,[C]
an obscure village near Cracow, the poet was seized with a sudden and
fatal attack of pneumonia, the result, no doubt, of privation and
exposure. He was borne to a little Jewish cottage, the only inn that the
village afforded, and there died December 26, 1812. His remains were
interred in the little churchyard of the village where he died. It is
rarely that an American visits his grave, and the government has never
taken interest enough in its minister to erect a memorial slab above his
dust; but wifely devotion has supplied the omission, and a plain
monument of marble, on which are inscribed his name, age and station and
the circumstances of his death, marks the poet's place of sepulture.

The news of his death seems not to have reached the United States until
the succeeding March. The Federal journals merely announced the fact
without comment: the Republican papers published formal eulogiums on the
dead statesman. President Madison, in his inaugural of 1813, thus
referred to the event: "The sudden death of the distinguished citizen
who represented the United States in France, without any special
arrangement by him for such a conclusion, has kept us without the
expected sequel to his last communications; nor has the French
government taken any measures for bringing the depending negotiations to
a conclusion through its representative in the United States."

In France the poet's demise excited a more general feeling of regret,
perhaps, than in his own country. A formal eulogy on his life and
character was pronounced by Dupont de Nemours before the Society for the
Encouragement of National Industry, and the year succeeding his death an
account of his life and writings was published at Paris in quarto form,
accompanied by one canto of _The Columbiad_, translated into French
heroic verse. The American residents of Paris also addressed a letter of
condolence to Mrs. Barlow, in which is apparent the general sentiment of
respect and affection entertained for the poet in the French capital.

"In private life," says one of his eulogists, "Mr. Barlow was highly
esteemed for his amiable temperament and many social excellences. His
manners were generally grave and dignified, and he possessed but little
facility of general conversation, but with his intimate friends he was
easy and familiar, and upon topics which deeply interested him he
conversed with much animation."

Another thus refers to his domestic relations: "The affection of Mr.
Barlow for his lovely wife was unusually strong, and on her part it was
fully reciprocated. She cheerfully in early life cast in her lot with
his 'for better or for worse'--and sometimes the worst, so far as their
pecuniary prospects were concerned. In their darkest days Barlow ever
found light and encouragement at home in the smiles, sympathy and
counsel of his prudent, faithful wife. No matter how dark and portentous
the cloud that brooded over them might be, she always contrived to give
it a silver lining, and his subsequent success in life he always
attributed more to her influence over him than to anything else."

Barlow lived a dual life--the life of a poet as well as of a
diplomatist--and this paper can scarcely be considered complete unless
it touches somewhat on his literary productions. It will be the verdict
of all who study his life carefully that he was a better statesman than
poet, and a better philanthropist than either; yet as a poet he
surpassed his contemporaries, producing works that fairly entitle him to
the distinction of being the father of American letters. His _Hasty
Pudding_ would be a valuable addition to any literature, and in his
_Advice to the Privileged Orders_ and his _Conspiracy of Kings_ much
poetic power and insight is apparent. It was on his epic of _The
Columbiad_ that he no doubt founded his hopes of fame, but, though the
book was extensively read in its day and passed through several editions
on both continents, no reprint has been demanded in modern times, and it
long since dropped out of the category of books that are read.

Barlow's private letters from abroad would have possessed undoubted
interest to the present generation, but, so far as is known, none of
them have been preserved--with one exception, however. There is in
existence a long letter of his, written to his wife while he was in
Algiers in imminent danger from the plague, and which was to be
forwarded to her only in case of his death. It was found among his
papers after his death nearly sixteen years later. This letter has
already appeared in print, but it will be new to most of our readers,
and it is so remarkable in itself, and throws such light on the
character of the writer, that, in spite of its length, no apology is
required for inserting it here:

    "_To Mrs. Barlow in Paris_:

                                      "ALGIERS, 8th July, 1796.

     "MY DEAREST LIFE AND ONLY LOVE: I run no risk of alarming
     your extreme sensibility by writing this letter, since it is
     not my intention that it shall come into your hands unless
     and until, through some other channel, you shall be informed
     of the event which it anticipates as possible. For our happy
     union to be dissolved by death is indeed at every moment
     possible; but at this time there is an uncommon degree of
     danger that you may lose a life which I know you value more
     than you do your own. I say I _know_ this, because I have
     long been taught, from our perfect sympathy of affection, to
     judge your heart by mine; and I can say solemnly and truly,
     as far as I know myself, that I have no other value for my
     own life than as a means of continuing a conjugal union with
     the best of women--the wife of my soul, my first, my last,
     my only love. I have told you in my current letters that the
     plague is raging with considerable violence in this place. I
     must tell you in this, if it should be your fortune to see
     it, that a pressing duty of humanity requires me to expose
     myself more than other considerations would justify in
     endeavoring to save as many of our unhappy citizens as
     possible from falling a sacrifice, and to embark them at
     this cruel moment for their country. Though they are dying
     very fast, it is possible that my exertions may be the means
     of saving a number who otherwise would perish. If this
     should be the case, and _I_ should fall instead of _them_,
     my tender, generous friend must not upbraid my memory by
     ever thinking I did too much. But she cannot help it: I know
     she cannot. Yet, my dearest love, give me leave, since I
     must anticipate your affliction, to lay before you some
     reflections which would recur to you at _last_, but which
     ought to strike your mind at _first_, to mingle with and
     assuage your first emotions of grief. You cannot judge at
     your distance of the risk I am taking, nor of the necessity
     of taking it; and I am convinced that were you in my place
     you would do more than I shall do, for your kind, intrepid
     spirit has more courage than mine, and always had.

     "Another consideration: Many of these persons have wives at
     home as well as I, from whom they have been much longer
     separated, under more affecting circumstances, having been
     held in a merciless and desponding slavery: if their wives
     love them as mine does me (a thing I cannot believe, but
     have no right to deny), ask these lately disconsolate and
     now joyous families whether I have done too much.

     "Since I write this as if it were my last poor demonstration
     of affection to my lovely friend, I have much to say; and it
     is with difficulty that I can steal an hour from the fatigue
     of business to devote to the grateful, painful task. But
     tell me (you cannot tell me) where shall I begin? where
     shall I end? how shall I put an eternal period to a
     correspondence which has given me so much comfort? With what
     expression of regret shall I take leave of my happiness?
     with what words of tenderness, of gratitude, of counsel, of
     consolation, shall I pay you for what I am robbing you
     of--the husband whom you cherish, the friend who is all your

     "But I am giving vent to more weakness than I intended:
     this, my dear, is a letter of _business_, not of love, and I
     wonder I cannot enter upon it and keep to my subject.
     Enclosed is my last will, made in conformity to the one I
     left in the hands of Doctor Hopkins of Hartford, as you may
     remember. The greater part of our property now lying in
     Paris, I thought proper to renew this instrument, that you
     might enter immediately upon the settlement of your affairs,
     without waiting to send to America for the other paper.

     "You will likewise find enclosed a schedule of our property
     debts and demands, with explanations, as nearly just as I
     can make it from memory in the absence of my papers. If the
     French Republic is consolidated, and her funds rise to par,
     or near it, as I believe they will do soon after the war,
     the effects noted in this schedule may amount to a capital
     of about one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, besides
     paying my debts; which sum, vested in the American funds or
     mortgages equally solid, would produce something more than
     seven thousand dollars a year perpetual income.

     "If the French should fund their debt anew at one-half its
     nominal value (which is possible), so that the part of your
     property now vested in those funds should diminish in
     proportion, still, taking the whole together, it will not
     make a difference of more than one-third, and the annual
     income may still be near five thousand dollars. Events
     unforeseen by me may, however, reduce it considerably lower.
     But, whatever may be the value of what I leave, it is left
     simply and wholly to you.

     "Perhaps some of my relations may think it strange that I
     have not mentioned them in this final disposition of my
     effects, especially if they should prove to be as
     considerable as I hope they may. But, my dearest love, I
     will tell you my reasons, and I hope you will approve them;
     for if I can excuse myself to _you_ in a point in which your
     generous delicacy would be more likely to question the
     propriety of my conduct than in most others, I am sure my
     arguments will be convincing to those whose objections may
     arise from their interest.

     "_First._ In a view of justice and equity, whatever we
     possess at this moment is a joint property between
     ourselves, and ought to remain to the survivor. When you
     gave me your blessed self you know I was destitute of every
     other possession, as of every other enjoyment: I was rich
     only in the fund of your affectionate economy and the sweet
     consolation of your society. In our various struggles and
     disappointments while trying to obtain a moderate competency
     for the quiet enjoyment of what we used to call the
     remainder of our lives, I have been rendered happy by
     misfortunes, for the heaviest we have met with were turned
     into blessings by the opportunities they gave me to discover
     new virtues in you, who taught me how to bear them.

     "I have often told you since the year 1791, the period of
     our deepest difficulties (and even during that period), that
     I had never been so easy and contented before; and I have
     certainly been happier in you during the latter years of our
     union than I was in former years; not that I have loved you
     more ardently or more exclusively, for that was impossible,
     but I have loved you _better_: my heart has been more full
     of your excellence and less agitated with objects of
     ambition, which used to devour me too much.

     "I recall these things to your mind to convince you of my
     full belief that the acquisition of the competency which we
     seem at last to have secured is owing more to your energy
     than my own: I mean the energy of your virtues, which gave
     me consolation, and even happiness, under circumstances
     wherein, if I had been alone or with a partner no better
     than myself, I should have sunk.

     "These fruits of our joint exertions you expected to enjoy
     _with me_, else I know you would not have wished for them.
     But if by my death you are to be deprived of the greater
     part of the comfort you expected, it would surely be unjust
     and cruel to deprive you of the remainder, or any portion of
     it, by giving any part of this property to others. It is
     yours in the truest sense in which property can be
     considered; and I should have no right, if I were disposed,
     to take it from you.

     "_Secondly._ Of _my_ relations, I have some thirty or forty,
     nephews and nieces and their children, the greater part of
     whom I have never seen, and from whom I have had no news for
     seven or eight years. Among them there may be some
     necessitous ones who would be proper objects of particular
     legacies, yet it would be impossible for me at this moment
     to know which they are. It was my intention, and still is if
     I live, to go to America, to make discrimination among them
     according to their wants, and to give them such relief as
     might be in my power, without waiting to do it by legacy.
     Now, my lovely wife, if this task and the means of
     performing it should devolve upon you, I need not recommend
     it: our _joint_ liberality would have been less extensive
     and less grateful to the receivers than _yours_ will be

     "_Your own_ relations in the same degree of affinity are few
     in number. I hope I need not tell you that in my affections
     I know no difference between yours and mine. I include them
     all in the same recommendation, without any other
     distinction than what may arise from their wants and your
     ability to do them good.

     "If Colonel B---- or his wife (either of them being left by
     the other) should be in a situation otherwise than
     comfortable, I wish my generous friend to render it so as
     far as may be in her power. We may have had more powerful
     friends than they, but never any more sincere. _He_ has the
     most frank and loyal spirit in the world, and she is
     possessed of many amiable and almost heroic virtues.

     "Mary----, poor girl!--you know her worth, her virtues, and
     her talents, and I am sure you will not fail to keep
     yourself informed of her circumstances. She has friends, or
     at least _had_ them, more able than you will be to yield her
     assistance in case of need. But they may forsake her for
     reasons which to your enlightened and benevolent mind would
     rather be an additional inducement to contribute to her
     happiness. Excuse me, my dearest life, for my being so
     particular on a subject which, considering to whom it is
     addressed, may appear superfluous; but I do it rather to
     show that I agree with you in these sentiments than to
     pretend that they originate on my part. With this view I
     must pursue them a little further. One of the principal
     gratifications in which I intended, and still intend to
     indulge myself if I should live to enjoy with you the means
     of doing it, is to succor the unfortunate of every
     description as far as possible--to encourage merit where I
     find it, and try to create it where it does not exist. This
     has long been a favorite project with me; but, having always
     been destitute of the means of carrying it into effect to
     any considerable degree, I have not conversed with you upon
     it as much as I wish I had. Though I can say nothing that
     will be new to you on the pleasure of employing one's
     attention and resources in this way, yet some useful hints
     might be given on the means of multiplying good actions from
     small resources; for I would not confine my pleasure to the
     simple duties of _charity_ in the beggar's sense of the

     "_First._ Much may be done by advising with poor persons,
     contriving for them, and pointing out the objects on which
     they can employ their own industry.

     "_Secondly._ Many persons and families in a crisis of
     difficulty might be extricated and set up in the world by
     little loans of money, for which they might give good
     security and refund within a year; and the same fund might
     then go to relieve a second and a third; and thus a dozen
     families might be set on the independent footing of their
     own industry in the course of a dozen years by the help of
     fifty dollars, and the owner lose nothing but the interest.
     Some judgment would be necessary in these operations, as
     well as care and attention in finding out the proper
     objects. How many of these are to be found in prisons,
     thrown in and confined for years, for small debts which
     their industry and their liberty would enable them to
     discharge in a short time! Imprisonment for debt still
     exists as a stain upon our country, as most others. France,
     indeed, has set us the example of abolishing it, but I am
     apprehensive she will relapse from this, as I see she is
     inclined to do from many other good things which she began
     in her magnanimous struggle for the renovation of society.

     "_Thirdly._ With your benevolence, your character and
     connections, you may put in motion a much greater fund of
     charity than you will yourself possess. It is by searching
     out the objects of distress or misfortune, and recommending
     them to their wealthy neighbors in such a manner as to
     excite their attention. I have often remarked to you (I
     forget whether you agree with me in it or not) that there is
     more goodness at the bottom of the human heart than the
     world will generally allow. Men are as often hindered from
     doing a generous thing by an _indolence_ either of thought
     or action as by a selfish principle. If they knew what the
     action was, when and where it was to be done and how to do
     it, their obstacles would be overcome. In this manner one
     may bring the resources of others into contribution, and
     with such a grace as to obtain the thanks both of the givers
     and receivers.

     "_Fourthly._ The _example_ of one beneficent person, like
     yourself, in a neighborhood or a town would go a great way.
     It would doubtless be imitated by others, extend far, and
     benefit thousands whom you might never hear of.

     "I certainly hope to escape from this place and return to
     your beloved arms. No man has stronger inducements to wish
     to live than I have. I have no quarrel with the world: it
     has used me as well as could be expected. I have valuable
     friends in every country where I have put my foot, not
     excepting this abominable sink of wickedness, pestilence and
     folly--the city of Algiers. I have a pretty extensive and
     dear-bought knowledge of mankind; a most valuable collection
     of books; a pure and undivided taste for domestic
     tranquillity, the social intercourse of friends, study, and
     the exercise of charity. I have a moderate but sufficient
     income, perfect health, an unimpaired constitution, and, to
     give the relish to all enjoyments and smooth away the
     asperities that might arise from unforeseen calamities, I
     have the wife that my youth chose and my advancing age has
     cherished--the pattern of excellence, the example of every
     virtue--from whom all my joys have risen, in whom all my
     hopes are centred.

     "I will use every precaution for my safety, as well for your
     sake as mine. But if you should see me no more, my dearest
     friend, you will not forget I loved you. As you have valued
     my love, and as you believe this letter is written with an
     intention to promote your happiness at a time when it will
     be for ever out of my power to contribute to it in any other
     way, I beg you will kindly receive the last advice I can
     give you, with which I am going to close our endearing
     intercourse.... Submitting with patience to a destiny that
     is unavoidable, let your tenderness for me soon cease to
     agitate that lovely bosom: banish it to the house of
     darkness and dust, with the object that can no longer be
     benefited by it, and transfer your affections to some worthy
     person who shall supply my place in the relation I have
     borne to you. It is for the living, not the dead, to be
     rendered happy by the sweetness of your temper, the purity
     of your heart, your exalted sentiments, your cultivated
     spirit, your undivided love. Happy man of your choice should
     he know and prize the treasure of such a wife! Oh, treat her
     tenderly, my dear sir: she is used to nothing but kindness,
     unbounded love and confidence. She is all that any
     reasonable man can desire. She is more than I have merited,
     or perhaps than you can merit. My resigning her to your
     charge, though but the result of uncontrollable necessity,
     is done with a degree of cheerfulness--a cheerfulness
     inspired by the hope that her happiness will be the object
     of your care and the long-continued fruit of your affection.

     "Farewell, my wife; and though I am not used to subscribe my
     letters addressed to you, your familiarity with my writing
     having always rendered it unnecessary, yet it seems proper
     that the last characters which this hand shall trace for
     your perusal should compose the name of your most faithful,
     most affectionate and most grateful husband,


After her husband's decease Mrs. Barlow returned to America, and
continued to reside at Kalorama until her death in 1818.



[C] The name is variously written Zarrow, Zarniwica and Zarrowitch.



    If he should wed a woman like a flower,
    Fresh as the dew and royal as a rose,
    Veined with spring-fire, mesmeric in repose,
    His world-vext brain to lull with mystic power,
    Great-souled to track his flight through heavens starred,
    Upborne by wings of trust and love, yet meek
    As one who has no self-set goal to seek,
    His inspiration and his best reward,
    At once his Art's deep secret and clear crown,
    His every-day made dream, his dream fulfilled,--
    If such a wife he wooed to be his own,
    God knows 'twere well. Even I no less had willed.
    Yet, O my heart! wouldst thou for his dear sake
    Frankly rejoice, or with self-pity break?


    What could I bring in dower? A restless heart,
    As eager, ardent, hungry, as his own,
    Face burned pale olive by our Southern sun,
    A mind long used to musings grave apart.
    Gold, noble name or fame I ne'er regret,
    Albeit all are lacking; but the glow
    Of spring-like beauty, but the overflow
    Of simple, youthful joy. And yet--and yet--
    A proud voice whispers: Vain may be his quest,
    What fruit soe'er he pluck, what laurels green,
    Through all the world, for just this prize unseen
    I in my deep heart harbor quite unguessed:
    I alone know what full hands I should bring
    Were I to lay my wealth before my king.

                         EMMA LAZARUS.


I am only Pipistrello. Nothing but that--nothing more than any one of
the round brown pebbles that the wind sets rolling down the dry bed of
the Tiber in summer.

I am Pipistrello, the mime, the fool, the posturer, the juggler, the
spangled saltinbanco, the people's plaything, that runs and leaps and
turns and twists, and laughs at himself and is laughed at by all, and
lives by his limbs like his brother the dancing bear and his cousin the
monkey in a red coat and a feathered cap.

I am Pipistrello, five-and-twenty years old, and strong as you see, and
good to look at, the women have said. I can leap and run against any
man, and I can break a bar of iron against my knee, and I can keep up
with the fastest horse that flies, and I can root up a young oak without
too much effort. I am strong enough, and my life is at the full, and a
day's sickness I never have known, and my mother is living. Yet I lie
under sentence of death, and to-morrow I die on the scaffold: if nothing
come between this and the break of dawn, I am a dead man with
to-morrow's sun.

And nothing will come: why should it?

I am only Pipistrello. The people have loved me, indeed, but that is no
reason why the law should spare me. Nor would I wish that it should--not
I. They come and stand and stare at me through the grating, men and
women and maidens and babies. A few of them cry a little, and one little
mite of a child thrusts at me with a little brown hand the half of a red
pomegranate. But for the most part they laugh. Why, of course they do.
The street-children always laugh to see a big black steer with his bold
horned head go down under the mace of the butcher: the street always
finds that droll. The strength of the bull could scatter the crowd as
the north wind scatters the dust, if he were free; but he is not, and
his strength serves him nothing: the hammer fells him and the crowd

The people of this old Orte know me so well. Right and left, up and
down, through the country I have gone all the years of my life. Wherever
there was fair or festa, there was I, Pipistrello, in the midst. It is
not a bad life, believe me. No life is bad that has the sun and the rain
upon it, and the free will of the feet and the feel of the wind, and
nothing between it and heaven.

My father had led the same kind of life before me: he died at Genoa, his
spine broken in two, like a snapped bough, by a fall from the trapeze
before the eyes of all the citizens. I was a big baby in that time,
thrown from hand to hand by the men in their spectacles as they would
have thrown a ball or an orange.

My mother was a young and gentle creature, full of tenderness for her
own people, with strangers shy and afraid. She was the daughter of a
poor weaver. My father had found and wooed her in Etruria, and although
he had never taken the trouble to espouse her before the mayor, yet he
had loved her and had always treated her with great respect. She was a
woman very pure and very honest. Alas, the poor soul! To-day her hair is
white as the snow, and they tell me she is mad. So much the better for
her if she know nothing; but I fear the mad and the imbecile know all
and see all, crouching in their hapless gloom.

When my father died thus at Genoa my mother took a hatred for that
manner of living, and she broke off all ties with the athletes who had
been his comrades, and, taking the little money that was hers in a
little leather bag, she fled away with me to the old town of Orte, where
my grandmother still lived, the widow of the weaver. The troop wished to
keep me with them, for, although I was but five years old, I was supple
and light and very fearless, and never afraid of being thrown up in the
air, a living ball, in their games and sports.

Orte was just the same then as it is now. These very aged towns I think
never change: if you try to alter them you must break them up and
destroy them utterly. Orte has known the Etruscans: she can very well do
without modern folk. At Orte my mother and grandmother dwelt together in
one room that looked over the river--a large vaulted chamber with grated
casements, with thick stone walls--a chamber in what had once been a
palace. My mother was then still very young and beautiful--of a pale,
serious beauty, full of sadness. She smiled on me sometimes, but never
once did I hear her laugh. She had never laughed since that awful day
when, in the full sunlight, in the midst of the people, in the sight of
the sea, in Genoa, a man had dropped from air to earth like an eagle
fallen stone dead from the skies, struck by lightning.

My mother had many suitors. She was beautiful of face, as I say, like
one of the Madonnas of our old painters: she was industrious, and all
her little world knew very well that she would one day inherit the strip
of field and the red cow that my grandmother owned outside the gates of
Orte. All these pretty suitors of course made a great fuss with me,
caressed me often, and brought me tomatoes, green figs, crickets in wire
cages, fried fish and playthings. But my mother looked at none of them.
When a woman's eyes are always looking downward on a grave, how should
their tear-laden lids be lifted to see a fresh lover? She repulsed them
all, always. She lived, lonely and sad, as well as she could in our
great garret: we ate little, our bed was hard, and she and my grandam
labored hard to get a pittance. But when a rich bailiff sought her in
honest marriage, she kissed me and wept over me, and said again and
again, "No, no! To your father I will be faithful, let what will chance
to us."

The bailiff soon consoled himself: he married a big country wench who
had a fine rope of pearls and gold bracelets, and I continued to grow
up by my mother's side where the Tiber is gilded with the gold of the
dawns and rolls its heavy waves under the weeping boughs of its willows.
My boyish strength increased in the heat of the summers, and I grew like
a young brown stalk of the tall maize. I herded the cow, cut the rushes
and hewed wood, and I was always happy, even when my mother would send
me to the old priest to learn things out of books. She wished to make a
monk of me, but the mere idea made me shudder with fear. I loved to
climb the oaks, to swing in the maples, to scale the roofs and the
towers and the masts of the vessels. What had I to do with a monkish
frock and a whitewashed cell? _Ouf!_ I put my fingers in my ears and ran
away whenever my poor mother talked of the cloister.

My limbs were always dancing, and my blood was always leaping, laughing,
boiling merrily in my veins. A priest? What an idea! I had never wholly
forgotten the glad, bright days of childhood when my father had thrown
me about in the air like a ball: I had never wholly forgotten the shouts
of the people, the sight of the human sea of faces, the loud, frank
laugh of the populace, the sparkle of the spangled habit, the
intoxication of the applause of a crowd. I had only been five years old
then, yet I remembered, and sometimes in the night I cried bitterly for
those dead days. I had only been a little brown thing, with curls as
black as the raven's wing, and they had thrown me from one to the other
lightly, laughingly, like a ripe apple, like a smooth peach. But I had
known what it was to get drunk on the "hurrahs" of the multitude, and I
did not forget them as I grew up here a youth in old Orte.

The son of an athlete can never rest quiet at home and at school like
the children of cobblers and coppersmiths and vine-dressers. All my life
was beating in me, tumbling, palpitating, bubbling, panting in
me--moving incessantly, like the wings of a swallow when the hour draws
near for its flight and the thirst for the south rises in it. With all
my force I adored my pale, lovely, Madonna-like mother, but all the
same, as I trotted toward the priest with a satchel on my back, I used
to think, Would it be very wicked to throw the books into the river and
run away to the fields? And, in truth, I used to run away very often,
scampering over the country around Orte like a mountain-hare, climbing
the belfries of the churches, pulling off their weathercocks or setting
their bells a-ringing--doing a thousand and one mischievous antics; but
I always returned at nightfall to my mother's side. It seemed to me it
would be cruel and cowardly to leave her, for she had but me in the

"You promise to be sensible and quiet, Pippo?" the poor soul always
murmured. And I used to say "Yes," and mean it. But can a bird promise
not to fly when it feels in its instincts the coming of spring? Can a
young colt promise not to fling out his limbs when he feels the yielding
turf beneath his hoofs?

I never wished to be disobedient, but, somehow, ten minutes after I was
out of her sight I was high above on some tower or belfry, with the
martens and the pigeons circling about my curly head. I was so happy on
high there, looking down on all the old town misty with dust, the men
and women like ants on an antheap, the historic river like a mere
ribbon, yellow and twisted, the palaces and the tombs all hidden under
the same gray veil of summer dust! I was so happy there!--and they spoke
of making me into a monk, or, if I would not hear of that, of turning me
into a clerk in a notary's office!

A monk? a clerk? when all the trees cried out to me to climb and all the
birds called to me to fly! I used to cry about it with hot tears that
stung my face like lashes, lying with my head hidden on my arms in the
grass by the old Tiber water. For I was not twelve years old, and to be
shut up in Orte always, growing gray and wrinkled as the notary had done
over the wicked, crabbed, evil-looking skins that set the neighbors at
war! The thought broke my heart. Nevertheless, I loved my mother, and I
mended my quills, and tried to write my best, and said to the boys of
the town, "I cannot bend iron or leap or race any more. I am going to
write for my bread in the notary's office a year hence, for my mother
wishes it, and so it must be."

And I did my best not to look up to the jackdaws circling round the
towers or the old river running away to Rome. For all the waters cried
to me to leap, and all the birds to fly. And you cannot tell, unless you
have been born to do it as I was, how good it is to climb and climb and
climb, and see the green earth grow pale beneath you, and the people
dwindle till they are small as dust, and the houses fade till they seem
like heaps of sand. The air gets so clear around you, and the great
black wings flap close against your face; and you sit astride where the
bells are, with some quaint stone face beside you that was carved on the
pinnacle here a thousand years and more ago, and has hardly been seen of
man ever since; and the white clouds are so near you that you seem to
bathe in them; and the winds toss the trees far below, and sweep by you
as they go down to torment the trees and the sea, the men that work, and
the roofs that cover them, and the sails of their ships in the ocean.
Men are so far from you, and heaven seems so near! The fields and the
plains are lost in the vapors that divide you from them, and all their
noise of living multitudes comes very faintly to your ear, and sweetly
like the low murmuring of bees in the white blossoms of an acacia in the
month of May.

But you do not understand, you poor toilers in cities who pace the
street and watch the faces of the rich.

I was to be a notary's clerk--I, called Pipistrello (the bat) because I
was always whirling and wheeling in air. I was to be a clerk, so my
mother and grandmother decided for me, with the old notary himself who
lived at the corner, and made his daily bread by carrying fire and sword
where he could through the affairs of his neighbors. He was an old
rascal, but my mother did not know that: he promised to be a safe and
trustworthy guardian of my youth, and she believed he had power to keep
me safe from all dangers of destiny. She wanted to be sure that I should
never run the risks of my father's career: she wanted to see me always
before the plate of herb soup on her table. Poor mother!

One day in Orte chance gave me another fate than this of her desires.

One fine sunrise on the morning of Palm Sunday I heard the sharp sound
of a screeching fife, the metallic clash of cymbals, the shouts of boys,
the rattle of a little drum. It was the rataplan beating before a troop
of wrestlers and jugglers who were traversing the Marche and Reggio
Emilia. The troop stationed themselves in a little square burnt by the
sun and surrounded by old crumbling houses: I ran with the rest of the
lads of Orte to see them. Orte was in holiday guise: aged, wrinkled,
deserted, forgotten by the world as she is, she made herself gay that
day with palms and lilies and lilac and the branches of willow; and her
people, honest, joyous, clad in their best, who filled the streets and
the churches and wine-houses, after mass flocked with one accord and
pressure around the play-place of the strollers.

It was in the month of April: outside the walls and on the banks of
Tiber, still swollen by the floods of winter, one could see the gold of
millions of daffodils and the bright crimson and yellow of tulips in the
green corn. The scent of flowers and herbs came into the town and filled
its dusky and narrow ways; the boatmen had green branches fastened to
their masts; in the stillness of evening one heard the song of crickets,
and even a mosquito would come and blow his shrill little trumpet, and
one was willing to say to him "Welcome!" because on his little horn he
blew the good news, "Summer is here!" Ah, those bright summers of my
youth! I am old now--ay, old, though I have lived through only
twenty-five years.

This afternoon, on Palm Sunday, I ran to see the athletes as a moth
flies to the candle: in Italy all the world loves the saltinbanco, be he
dumb or speaking, in wood or in flesh, and all Orte hastened, as I
hastened, under the sunny skies of Easter. I saw, I trembled, I laughed:
I sobbed with ecstasy. It was so many years that I had not seen my
brothers! Were they not my brothers all?

This day of Palm, when our Orte, so brown and so gray, was all full of
foliage and blossom like an old pitcher full of orange-flowers for a
bridal, it was a somewhat brilliant troop of gymnasts which came to
amuse the town. The troop was composed of an old man and his five sons,
handsome youths, and very strong, of course. They climbed on each
other's shoulders, building up a living pyramid; they bent and broke
bars of iron; they severed a sheep with one blow of a sword; in a word,
they did what my father had done before them. As for me, I watched them
stupefied, fascinated, dazzled, drunk with delight, and almost crazy
with a torrent of memories that seemed to rain on me like lava as I
watched each exploit, as I heard each shout of the applauding

It is a terrible thing, a horrible thing, those inherited memories that
are born in you with the blood of others. I looked at them, I say,
intoxicated with joy, mad with recollection and with longing;--and my
mother destined me to a notary's desk, and wished me to be shut there
all my life, pen in hand, sowing the seeds of all the hatreds, of all
the crimes, of all the sorrows of mankind, lighting up the flames of
rage and of greed in human souls for an acre of ground, for a roll of
gold! She wished to make me a notary's clerk! I gazed at these men who
seemed to me so happy--these slender, agile, vigorous creatures in their
skins that shone like the skins of green snakes, in their broidered,
glittering, spangled vests, in their little velvet caps with the white
plume in each. "Take me! take me!" I shrieked to them; and the old king
of the troop looked hard at me, and when their games were finished
crossed the cord that marked their arena and threw his strong arms about
me, and cried, "Body of Christ! you are little Pippo!" For he had been
my father's mate. To be brief, when the little band left Orte I went
with them.

It was wickedly done, for my poor mother slept, knowing nothing, when in
the dusk before daybreak I slipped through the bars of the casement and
noiselessly dropped on to a raft in the river below, and thence joined
my new friends. It was wickedly done; but I could not help it. Fate was
stronger than I.

The old man did not disturb himself as to whether what he had encouraged
me to do was ill or well. He foresaw in me an athlete who would do him
honor and make the ducats ring merrier in his purse. Besides, I had cost
him nothing.

From this time life indeed began for me. I wept often; I felt the barb
of a real remorse; when I passed a crucifix on the road I trembled with
true terror and penitence; but I fled away, always. I drew my girdle
closer about my spangled coat, and, despite all my remorse, I was happy.
When I was very, very far away I wrote to my mother, and she understood,
poor soul! that there were no means of forcing me back to her. Children
are egotists: childhood has little feeling. When the child suffers he
thirsts for his mother, but when he is happy, alas! he thinks little and
rarely about her.

I was very happy, full of force and of success: the men kept their word
and taught me all their tricks, all their exploits. Soon I surpassed my
teachers in address and in temerity. I soon became the glory of their
band. In the summertime we wandered over the vast Lombard plains and the
low Tuscan mountains; in winter we displayed our prowess in Rome, in
Naples, in Palermo; we loitered wherever the sun was warm or the people
liked to laugh.

From time to time I thought of my mother: I sent her money. I shivered a
little when I saw a Madonna, for all Madonnas have the smile that our
mother has for our infancy. I thought of her, but I never went home. I
was Pipistrello the champion-wrestler. I was a young Hercules, with a
spangled tunic in lieu of a lion-skin. I was a thousand years, ten
thousand leagues, away from the child of Orte. God is just. It is just
that I die here, for in my happy years I forgot my mother. I lived in
the sunlight--before the crowds, the nervous crowds of Italy--singing,
shouting, leaping, triumphing; and I forgot my mother alone in the old
chamber above the Tiber--quite alone, for my grandam was dead. That I
have slain what I have slain--that is nothing. I would do the same thing
again had I to live my life again. Yes, without pause or mercy would I
do it. But my mother--she has lived alone, and she is mad. That is my

I was a tall, strong youth, full of courage and handsome to the eye of
women: I led a life noisy and joyous, and for ever in movement. I was
what my father had been before me. So they all said. Only I liked to
finger a book, and my father never had looked inside one, and out of
remembrance of the belief of my mother I uncovered my head as I passed a
church or saw a shrine, and to do this had not been in my father's
habits. In these years I made a great deal of money--a great deal, at
least, for a stroller--but it went as fast as it came. I was never a
vicious man, nor a great gambler or drinker, yet my plump pieces soon
took wing from my pocket, for I was very gay and I liked to play a
lover's part. My life was a good life, that I know: as for the life of
the rich and of the noble, I cannot tell what it is like, but I think it
is of a surety more gloomy and mournful than mine. In Italy one wants so
little. The air and the light, and a little red wine, and the warmth of
the wind, and a handful of maize or of grapes, and an old guitar, and a
niche to sleep in near a fountain that murmurs and sings to the mosses
and marbles,--these are enough, these are happiness in Italy. And it is
not difficult to have thus much, or was not so in those days. I was
never very poor, but whenever money jingled in my purse I treated all
the troop and half the town, and we laughed loud till daybreak.

I was never aught save Pipistrello--Pipistrello the wrestler, who jumped
and leaped, and lifted an ox from the ground as easily as other men lift
a child. No doubt to the wise it seems a fool's life, to the holy a life
impure. But I had been born for it: no other was possible to me; and
when money rained upon me, if I could ease an aching heart, or make a
sick lad the stouter for a hearty meal, or make a tiny child the gladder
for a lapful of copper coins, or give a poor stray dog a friend and a
bed of straw, or a belabored mule a helpful push to the wheels of his
cart,--well, that was all the good a mountebank could look to do in this
world, and one could go to sleep easy upon it.

When the old man died who had been my father's comrade the troop fell to
pieces, quarrelling over his leavings. The five brothers came to a
common issue of stabbing. In Italy one takes to the knife as naturally
as a child to the breast. Tired of their disputes, I left them
squabbling and struck off by myself, and got a little band together,
quite of youths, and with them made merry all across the country from
sea to sea. We were at that time in the south. I was very popular with
the people. When my games were done I could sing to the mandoline, and
improvise, and make them laugh and weep: some graver men who heard me
said I might have been a great actor or a great singer. Perhaps: I never
was anything but Pipistrello the stroller. I wanted the fresh air and
the wandering and the sports of my strength too much ever to have been
shut in a roofed theatre, ever to have been cooped up where lamps were

One day, when we were in dusty, brown Calabria, parching just then under
June suns, with heavy dust on its aloe-hedges and its maize-fields, a
sudden remorse smote me: I thought of my mother, all alone in Orte. I
had thought of her scores of times, but I had felt ashamed to go and see
her--I who had left her so basely. This day my remorse was greater than
my shame. I was master of my little troop. I said to them, "It is hot
here: we will go up Rome-way, along the Tiber;" and we did so.

I have never been out of my own land: I fancy it must be so dark there,
the other side of the mountains. I know the by-roads and the hill-paths
of Italy as a citizen knows the streets and lanes of his own _contrada_.
We worked and played our way now up through the Basilicata and Campania
and Latium, till at last we were right near Orte--dull, old,
gray-colored Orte, crumbling away on the banks of Tiber. Then my heart
beat and my knees shook, and I thought, If she is dead?

I left my comrades drinking and resting at a wine-shop just outside the
town, and went all alone to look for her. I found the house--the gloomy
barred window hanging over the water, the dark stone walls frowning down
on the gloomy street. There was a woman, quite old, with white hair, who
was getting up water at the street-fountain that I had gone to a
thousand times in my childhood. I looked at her. I did not know her: I
only saw a woman feeble and old. But she, with the brass _secchia_
filled, turned round and saw me, and dropped the brazen pitcher on the
ground, and fell at my feet with a bitter cry. Then I knew her.

When in the light of the hot, strong sun I saw how in those ten years my
mother had grown old--old, bent, broken, white-haired, in those ten
years that had been all glow and glitter, and pleasure and pastime, and
movement and mirth to me--then I knew that I had sinned against her with
a mighty sin--a sin of cruelty, of neglect, of selfish wickedness. She
had been young still when I had left her--young and fair to look at, and
without a silver line in her ebon hair, and with suitors about her for
her beauty like bees about the blossoms of the ivy in the autumn-time.
And now--now she was quite old.

She never rebuked me: she only said, "My son! my son! God be praised!"
and said that a thousand times, weeping and trembling. Some women are
like this.

When the bright, burning midsummer day had grown into a gray,
firefly-lighted night, I laid me down on the narrow bed where I had
slept as a child, and my mother kissed me as though I were a child. It
seemed to purify me from all the sins of all the absent years, except,
indeed, of that one unpardonable sin against her. In the morning she
opened the drawers of an old bureau and showed me everything I had sent
her all those years: all was untouched, the money as well as the
presents. "I took nothing while you did not give me yourself," she said.
I felt my throat choke.

It was early day: she asked me to go to mass with her. I did so to
please her. All the while I watched her bent, feeble, aged figure and
the white hair under the yellow kerchief, and felt as if I had killed
her. This lone old creature was not the mother like Raffaelle's Madonna
I had left: I could never make her again what she had been.

"It is my son," she said to her neighbors, but she said it with pain
rather than with pride, for she hated my calling; but Orte was of
another way of thinking. Orte flocked to see me, having heard of
Pipistrello, its own Pipistrello, who had plagued it with his childish
tricks, having grown into fame amongst the cities and villages as the
strongest man in all Italy. For indeed I was that; and my mother, with
dim, tear-laden eyes, looked at me and said, "You are the image of your
father. Oh, my dear, my love! take care."

She, poor soul! saw nothing but the fall she had seen that day at Genoa
of a strong man who dropped like a stone. But I fear to weary you. Well!
I had left my spangled dress and all insignia of my calling with my
comrades at the wine-shop, fearing to harass my mother by sight of all
those things which would be so full of bitter recollection and dread to
her. But Orte clamored for me to show it my powers--Orte, which was more
than half asleep by Tiber's side, like that nymph Canens whom I used to
read of in my Latin school-books--Orte, which had no earthly thing to do
this long and lazy day in the drought of a rainless June.

I could not afford to baulk the popular will, and I was proud to show
them all I could do--I, Pipistrello, whom they had cuffed and kicked so
often in the old time for climbing their walnut trees and their pear
trees, their house-roofs and their church-towers. So, when the day
cooled I drew a circle with a red rope round myself and my men on a
piece of waste ground outside the town, and all Orte flocked out there
as the sun went down, shouting and cheering for me as though Pipistrello
were a king or a hero. The populace is always thus--the giddiest-pated
fool that ever screamed, as loud and as ignorant as a parrot, as
changeful as the wind in March, as base as the cuckoo. The same people
threw stones at me when they brought me to this prison--the same people
that feasted and applauded me then, that first day of my return to Orte.
To-day, indeed, some women weep, and the little child brings me half a
pomegranate. That is more remembrance than some fallen idols get, for
the populace is cruel: it is a beast that fawns and slavers, then tears.

It was a rainless June, as I say. It was very warm that evening; the low
west was vermilion and the higher sky was violet; bars of gold parted
the two colors; the crickets were hooting, the bats were wheeling, great
night-moths were abroad. I felt very happy that night. With us Italians
pain rarely stays long. We feel sharply, but it soon passes. I had
drowned my remorse in the glory and vanity of showing Orte all I could
do by the sheer force of my muscles and sinews. We are not a very brave
people, nor a strong one, and so strength and bravery seem very rare and
fine things on our soil, and we make a great clatter and uproar when we
ever find them amidst us. I had them both, and the people were in
ecstasies with all I did. I put out all my powers, and in the circle of
red rope exerted all my might, as though I had been performing before
kings. After all, there is no applause that so flatters a man as that
which he wrings from unwilling throats, and I know Orte had been long
set against me by reason of my boyish mischief and my flight.

In real truth, I did nothing now in my manhood so really perilous as I
had done in my childhood, when I had climbed to the top of the cross on
the church and sat astride of it. But they had called that mischief and
blasphemy: they called the things I did now gymnastics, and applauded
them till the noise might have wakened the Etrurian dead under the soil.

At last I came to the feat which, though far from the hardest to me,
always looked to the crowd the most wonderful: it was my old master's
trick of holding his five sons on his shoulder. Only I outshone him, and
sustained on mine seven men in four tiers, and the topmost had on his
head little Febo.

The mite whom we called Phoebus, because we had found him at sunrise
and he had such yellow locks--yellow as the dandelion or the
buttercup--was a stray thing picked up on the seashore in Apulia--a
soft, merry, chirping little fellow, of whom we were all fond, and to
whom we had easily taught that absence of fear which enabled us to play
ball with him in our spectacles. He always delighted the people, he was
such a pretty little lad, and not, perhaps, more than four years old
then, and always laughing, always ready. To him it was only fun, as it
had been to me at his years. I never thought it was cruel to use him so,
I had been so happy in it myself. All at once, as I stood erect
sustaining the men on my shoulders, the topmost one holding on his head
our tiny Phoebus--all at once as I did this, which I had done a
hundred times, and had always done in safety--all at once, amongst the
sea of upturned faces in the glowing evening light, I saw one woman's
eyes. She was leaning a little forward, resting her cheek on her hand.
She had black lace about her head and yellow japonica-flowers above her
left ear. She was looking at me and smiling a little.

I met her eyes, full, across the dust reddened by the sunset glow as the
dust of a battlefield is reddened with blood. I felt as if I were
stabbed; the red dust seemed to swim round me; I staggered slightly: in
another instant I had recovered myself, but the momentary oscillation
had terrified my comrades. The seventh and highest, feeling the human
pyramid tremble beneath him, involuntarily, unconsciously, opened his
arms to save himself. He did not lose his balance, but he let the child
fall. It dropped as an apple broken off the bough falls to the earth.

There was a moment of horrible silence. Then the men leaped down,
tumbling and huddling one over another, not knowing what they did. The
audience rose screaming; and broke the rope and swarmed into the arena.
I stooped and took up the child. He was dead. His neck had been broken
in the fall. He had struck the earth with the back of his head; he was
rolled up on the sand like a little dead kid; his tiny tinsel crown had
fallen off his curls, his tiny tinselled limbs were crushed under him,
his blossom-like mouth was half open. It was horrible.

People spoke to me: I did not see or hear them. The crowd parted and
scattered, some voluble, some dumb, with the shock of what they had
seen. I lifted up what a moment before had been little Phoebus, and
bore him in my arms to my mother's house.

She was sitting at home alone, as she had been alone these ten years and
more. When she saw the dead baby in those glistening spangled clothes
she shuddered, and understood without words. "Another life?" she said,
and said nothing more: she was thinking of my father. Then she took the
dead child and laid him on her knees as if he had been a living one, and
rocked him on her breast and smoothed the sand out of his pretty yellow
curls. "The people go always in the hope of seeing something die," she
said at length. "That is what they go for: you killed the baby for their
sport. It was cruel."

I went out of the house and felt as if I had murdered him--the little
fair, innocent thing who had run along with us over the dusty roads, and
along the sad seashores, and under the forest trees, laughing and
chirping as the birds chirp, and when he was tired lifting up his arms
to be carried on the top of the big drum, and sitting there throned like
a king. Poor little dead Phoebus! It was true what my mother had said:
the people throng to us in hope of seeing our death, and yet when they
do see it they are frightened and sickened and sorrowful. Orte was so
this night.

"Could I help it?" I cried to my comrades fiercely; and in my own soul I
said to myself, "Could I help it? That woman looked at me."

Who was she? All through the pain that filled me for the death of the
child that wonder was awake in me always. She had looked so strange
there, so unlike the rest, though she was all in black and had the lace
about her head which is common enough in our country. All the night long
I saw her face--a beautiful face, with heavy lids and drooping hair,
like that marble head they call the Braschi Antinous down in Rome.

Little Phoebus was laid that night in my mother's house, with lilies
about him, while a little candle that the moths flickered into burnt at
his feet. As I sat and watched by him to drive away the rats which came
up in hordes at night from Tiber into the rooms that overhung the river,
I only saw that face. It had been a bad home-coming.

I would play no more in Orte, nor go with these men any more. I
disbanded my troop and let them pass their own ways. I had coin enough
to live on for months: that was enough for the present. I felt as if the
sight of the red rope and the spangled vest and the watching crowd would
be horrible to me--those things which I had loved so well. Little
Phoebus was put away in the dark earth, as the little Etruscan
children had been so many hundred years before him, and I buried his
little crown and his little coat with him, as the Etruscans buried the
playthings. Poor little man! we had taught him to make Death his toy,
and his toy had been stronger than he.

After his burial I began my search for the woman whose face I had seen
in the crowd. My mother never asked me whence I came or where I went.
The death of Phoebus had destroyed the trembling joy with which she
had seen me return to her: happiness came to her too late. When grief
has sat long by one hearth, it is impossible to warm the ashes of joy
again: they are cold and dead for ever. My time passed sadly; a
terrible calmness had succeeded to the gayety and noise of my life; a
frightful silence had replaced the frenzied shouts, the boisterous
laughter, of the people: sometimes it seemed to me that I had died, not

The constant hope of finding the woman I had seen but once occupied me
always. I roamed the country without ceasing, always with that single
hope before me. Days became weeks: I wandered miserably, like a dog
without master or home.

One day I saw her. Having on my shoulder my _girella_, which gave me a
pretext for straying along the river-side, I came to that part of
Etruria where (so I had used to learn from the school-books in my
childhood) the Etruscans in ancient times drew up in order of battle to
receive Fabius. The country is pretty about there, or at least it seemed
so to me. The oak woods descend to the edge of the Tiber: from them one
sees the snow of the Apennines; the little towns of Giove and Penna are
white on the Umbrian hills; in the low fields the vine and the olive and
the maize and the wheat grow together. Here one finds our Lagherello,
which I had heard scholars say is no other than the Lake Vadimon of
which Pliny speaks. Of that I know nothing: it is a poor little pool
now, filled with rushes, peopled with frogs. By the side of this pool I
saw her again: she looked at me. Like a madman I plunged into the water,
but the reeds and the lilies entangled me in their meshes: the long
grasses and water-weeds were netted into an impenetrable mass. I stood
there up to my waist in water, incapable of movement, like the poor
cattle of which Pliny tells, who used to mistake all this verdure for
dry land, and so drifted out into the middle of the lake. She looked at
me, laughed a little, and disappeared.

Before sunset I had learned who she was from a peasant who came there to
cut the reeds.

Near to the Lagherello is a villa named Sant' Aloïsa: about its walls
there is a sombre, melancholy wood, a remnant of that famous forest
which in the ancient times the Romans dreaded as the borders of hell.
The Tiber rolls close by, yellow and muddy with the black buffaloes
descending to its brink to drink, and the snakes and the toads in its
brakes counting by millions--sad, always sad, whether swollen by flood
in autumn and vomiting torrents of mud, or whether with naked sands and
barren bed in summer, with the fever-vapors rising from its shallow
shoals. The villa is dull and mournful like the river--built of stone,
fortified in bygone centuries, without color, without light, without
garden or greenery, all its casements closed like the eyelids of a
living man that is blind.

This was and is Sant' Aloïsa. In the old times, no doubt, the villa had
been strong and great, and peopled with a brilliant feudal pomp, and
noisy with the clash and stir of soldiery: now it is poverty-stricken
and empty, naked and silent, looking down on the tawny, sullen swell of
the Tiber--the terrible Tiber, that has devoured so much gold, so much
treasure, so much beauty, and hidden so many dead and so many crimes,
and flows on mute and gloomy between its poisonous marshes. Of Tiber I
have always felt afraid.

Sant' Aloïsa has always been a fief of the old counts Marchioni. One of
that race lived still, and owned the old grounds and the old walls,
though the fortunes of the family had long fallen into decay. Taddeo
Marchioni was scarcely above his own peasants in his manners and way of
life. He was ugly, avaricious, rustic, cruel. He was lord of the soil
indeed, but he lived miserably, and this beautiful woman had been his
wife seven years. At fifteen her father, a priest who passed as her
uncle, had wedded her to Taddeo Marchioni. She had dwelt here seven
mortal years, in this gloomy wood, by these yellow waters, amidst these
pestilential marshes. Her marriage had made her a countess, that was
all. For the rest, it had consigned her, living, to a tomb.

The lives of our Italian women are gay enough in the cities, but in the
country these women grow gray and pallid as the wings of the night-moth.
They have no love for Nature, for air, for the woods, for the fields:
flowers say nothing to them. They look neither at the blossoms nor the
stars. The only things which please them are a black mask and a murmur
of love, a hidden meeting, the noise of the streets, the bouquets of a
carnival. What should they do in the loneliness and wildness of the
broad and open country--our women, who only breathe at their ease in the
obscurity of their _palco_ or under the shelter of a domino?

The travellers who run over our land and see our women laughing with
wide-opened rose-red mouths upon their balconies at Berlingaccio or at
Pentolaccia can never understand the immense, the inconsolable,
desolation of dulness which weighs on the lives of these women in the
little towns of the provinces and the country-houses of the hills and
plains. They have the priest and the chapel; that is all.

In Italy we have no choice between the peasant-woman toiling in the
ploughed fields, and growing black with the scorch of the sun, and bowed
and aged with the burdens she bears, and the ladies who live between the
alcove and the confessional, only going forth from their chambers by
night as fireflies glisten, and living on secret love and daily gossip.
What can these do in their gaunt, dull villas--they who detest the sough
of the wind and the sight of a tree, who flee from a dog and scream at a
tempest, who will not read, and whose only lore is the sweet science of
the passions?

This I came to know later. All I saw that day, as I tramped around it
wet and cold, was the gloomy evil shadow of the great place that had
once been a fortress, the barred and shattered windows, the iron-studded
doors, the grass-grown bastions. She had made me kill Phoebus, and yet
I only lived to see her face again.

Sometimes I think love is the darkest mystery of life: mere desire will
not explain it, nor will the passions or the affections. You pass years
amidst crowds and know naught of it: then all at once you meet a
stranger's eyes, and never again are you free. That is love. Who shall
say whence it comes? It is a bolt from the gods that descends from
heaven and strikes us down into hell. We can do nothing.

I went home slowly when evening fell. I had seen her eyes across the
crowd in Orte once, and once across the pool that was the Vadimon, and I
was hers for evermore. Explain that, ye wise men, who in your pride have
long words for all things. Nay, you may be wise, but it is beyond you.

My mother and I spoke but little at this time. That home was a sad one:
the death of the child and the absence of long years had left a chill in
it. We ate together, chiefly in silence: it was always a pain to her
that I was but Pipistrello the gymnast--not a steadfast, deep-rooted,
well-loved citizen of Orte, with a trade to my hand and a place in
church and market. Every day she thought I should wander again; every
day she knew my savings shrank in their bag; every day she heard her
neighbors say, "And your Pippo? will he not quiet down and take a wife
and a calling?"

Poor mother! Other women had their sons safe stay-at-homes, wedded
fathers of children, peaceable subjects of the king, smoking at their
own doors after the day's work was done. She would have been so blessed
had I been like them--I, who was a wrestler and a roysterer, a mere
public toy that had broken down in the sight of all Orte. My father had
never failed as I had failed. He had never killed a child that trusted
in his strength: he had fallen himself and died. That difference between
us was always in her eyes. I saw it when I met them; and she would make
up little knots of common flowers and carry them to the tiny grave of
Phoebus, my victim. Once I said to her, "I could not help it: I would
have given my life to save him." She only replied, "If you had consented
to bide at home the child would be living."

Nay, I thought, if she had not looked at me--But of that I said nothing.
I kept the memory of that woman in my heart, and went night and day
about the lake and the river and the marshes of Sant' Aloïsa. Once or
twice I saw Taddeo Marchioni, the old count--a gray, shrunken, decrepit
figure of a man, old, with a lean face and a long hard jaw--but of her,
for days that lengthened into weeks, I saw nothing. There are fish in
the Lagherello. I got the square huge net of our country, and set it in
the water as our habit is, and watched in the sedges from dawn to eve.
What I watched for was the coming of the vision I had once seen there:
the fish came and went at their will for me.

One day, sick of watching vainly, and having some good fish in the net,
I dragged them out into the reeds, and pushed them in a creel, and
shouldered them, and went straight to the gloomy walls of Sant' Aloïsa.
There were no gates: the sedges of the low lands went along the front of
the great pile, almost touching it. Around it were fields gray with
olives, and there was neither garden nor grass-land: all had been
ploughed up that was not marsh and swamp.

The great doors were close fastened. I entered boldly by a little
entrance at the side, and found myself in the great naked hall of
marble, empty and still and damp. There was a woman there, old and
miserable, who called her master. Taddeo Marchioni came and saw the
fish, and chaffered for them with long hesitation and shrewd greed, as
misers love to do, and then at last refused them: they were too dear, he
said. I threw them down and said to him, "Count, give me a stoup of wine
and they are yours." That pleased him: he bade the serving-woman carry
the fish away, and told me to follow him. He took me into a vaulted
stone chamber, and poured with a niggard hand a glass of _mezzo-vino_. I
looked at him: he was lean, gray, unlovely. I could have crushed him to
death with one hand.

These great old villas in the lone places of Italy are usually full at
least of pleasant life--of women hurrying to the silk-worms and the
spinning and the linen-press, of barefooted men loitering about on a
thousand pleas or errands to their master. But Sant' Aloïsa was silent
and empty.

Passing an open door, I saw her. She was sitting, doing nothing, in a
room whose faded tapestries were gray as spiders' webs, and she was
beautiful as only one woman is here and there in a generation. She
looked at me, and I thought she smiled.

I went out with my brain on fire and my sight dim. I saw only that
smile--that sudden, momentary smile whose fellow had brought death to
little Phoebus. And I felt she had known me again, though she had seen
me but once, in my spangled coat of velvet and silver, and now I had my
legs bare to the knee, and was clad in a rough blue shirt and woollen
jacket, like any other country-fellow upon Tiber's side.

As I was going out the serving-wench plucked my sleeve and whispered to
me, "Come back a moment: she wishes to see you."

My heart leaped, then stood still. I turned back into the house, and
with trembling knees went into that chamber where the dusky tapestry
mouldered on the walls. She looked at me, sitting idly there herself in
the bare, melancholy room--a woman with the face of our Titian's Venus.

"Did the child die?" she asked.

I stammered something, I knew not what.

"Why did you tremble that day?" she said, with the flicker of a smile
about her lovely mouth: "you look strong--and bold."

How the words had courage and madness enough to leap to my lips I know
not, but I do know I said to her, "You looked at me."

She frowned a moment: then she laughed. No doubt she had known it
before. "Your nerves were not of iron, then, as they should be," she
said carelessly. "Well! the people wanted to see something die. They
always do: you must know that. Bring more fish for my husband to-morrow.
Now go."

I trembled from head to foot. I had said this bold and insolent thing to
her face, and she still bade me return!

No doubt had I been a man well born I should have fallen at her feet and
sworn a midsummer madness: I should have been emboldened to any coarse
avowal, to any passionate effrontery. But I was only a stroller--a poor
ignorant soul, half Hercules, half fool. I trembled and was mute.

When the air blew about me once more I felt as if I had been
drunk--drunk on that sweet yeasty wine of a new vintage which makes the
brain light and foolish. She had bade me return!

That day my mother ate alone at home. When night fell it found me by the
Lagherello. I set my nets: I slept in a shepherd's hut. I had forgotten
Phoebus: I only saw her face. What was she like? I cannot tell you.
She was like Titian's Venus. Go and look at it--she who plays with the
little dog in the Tribune at Pitti: that one I mean. With all that
beauty, half disclosed like the bud of a pomegranate-flower, she had
been given to Taddeo Marchioni, and here for seven years she had dwelt,
shut in by stone walls.

Living so, a woman becomes a saint or a devil. Taddeo Marchioni forgot
or never knew that. He left her in his chamber as he left the figures of
the tapestry, till her bloom should fade like theirs, and time write
wrinkles on her as it wove webs on them. He forgot! he forgot! He was
old and slow of blood and feeble of sight: she was scarcely beautiful to
him. There were a few poor peasants near, and a priest as old as Taddeo
Marchioni was; and though Orte was within five miles, the sour and
jealous temper of her husband shut her up in that prison-house as Pia
Tolomei was shut in the house of death in the Maremma.

That night I watched impatient for the dawn. Impatient I watched the
daybreak deepen into day. All the loveliness of that change was lost on
me: I only counted the hours in restless haste. Poor fools! our hours
are in sum so few, and yet we for ever wish them shorter, and fling
them, scarcely used, behind us roughly, as a child flings his broken

The sultry morning was broad and bright over the land before I dared
take up such fish as had entered my girella in the night and bend my
steps to Sant' Aloïsa. Fever-mists hung over the cane-brakes and the
reedy swamps; the earth was baked and cracked; everything looked
thirsty, withered, pallid, dull, decaying: in the heats of August it is
always so desolate wherever Tiber rolls. "Marchioni is out," said the
old brown crone whom I had seen the day before. "But come in: bring your
fish to Madama Flavia."

It was a strange, gaunt wilderness of stone, this old villa of the
Marchioni. It would have held hundreds of serving-men--it had as many
chambers as one of the palaces down in Rome--but this old woman was all
the servitor it had, and in the grand old hall, with sculptured shields
upon the columns of it and Umbrian frescoes in the roof, she spread
their board and brought them their onion-soup and their dish of _pasta_,
and while they ate it looked on and muttered her talk and twirled her
distaff, day after day, year after year, the same. Life is homely and
frugal here, and has few graces. The ways of life in these grand old
places are like nettles and thistles set in an old majolica vase that
has had knights and angels painted on it. You know what I mean, you who
know Italy. Do you remember those pictures of Vittorio Carpaccio and of
Gentiléo? They say that this is the life our Italy saw once in her
cities and her villas: that is the life she wants. Sometimes, when you
are all alone in these vast deserted places, the ghosts of all that
pageantry pass by you, and they seem fitter than the living people for
these courts and halls.

"Madama Flavia will see the fish," said the old crone, and hobbled away.

Madama Flavia! How many times has Tiber heard such a name as that
breathed on a lover's mouth to the sigh of the mandoline, uttered in
revel or in combat, or as a poisoner whispered it stealing to mix the
drug with the wine in the goblet. Madama Flavia! All Italy seemed in
it--all love, all woe! There is a magic in some names.

Madama Flavia! Just such a woman as this it needs would be to fitly wear
such a name--a woman with low brows and eyes that burn, and a mouth like
the folded leaves that lie in the heart of a rose--a woman to kneel at
morn in the black shadows of the confessional, and to go down into the
crowd of masks at night and make men drunk with love.

"Madama Flavia!" The name (so much it said to me) halted stupidly on my
lips: I stood in her presence like a foolish creature. I never before
had lacked either courage or audacity: I trembled now. I had been awake
all the night, gazing at the dim, dusky pile of her roof as it rose out
from the olives black against the stars; and she knew it--she knew it
very well. That I saw in her face. And she was Madama Flavia, and I was
Pipistrello the juggler. What could I say to her? I could have fallen at
her feet and kissed her or killed her, but I could not speak. No doubt I
looked but a poor boor to her--a giant and a dolt.

She was leaning against a great old marble vase--leaning her hands on
it, and her chin on her hands. She had some red carnations in her
breast: their perfume came to me. She was surrounded by decay, dusty
desolation, the barrenness of a poverty that is drearier than any of the
poverty of the poor; but so might have looked Madama Lucrezia in those
old days when the Borgia was God's vicegerent.

At the haul of fish she never glanced: she gazed at me with meditation
in her eyes. "You are very strong," she said abruptly.

At that I could do no less than laugh. It was as if she had said the ox
in the yoke was strong or the Tiber strong at flood.

"Why are you a fisherman now?" she said. "Why do you leave your arena?"

I shuddered a little. "Since the child fell"--I muttered, thinking she
would understand the remorse that made my old beloved calling horrible
to me.

"It was no fault of yours," she said with a dreamy smile. "They say I
have the evil eye--"

"You have, madama," I said bluntly, and then felt a choking in my
throat, fearing my own rashness.

Her beautiful eyes had a bright scorn in them, and a cold mockery of me.
"Why do you stay, then?" she asked, and smiled at the red carnations

"Because--rather would I die of beholding you than live shut out from
sight of you," I said in my madness. "Madama, I am a great useless fool:
I have done nothing but leap and climb and make a show. I am big and
strong as the oxen are, but they work, and I have never worked. I have
shown myself, and the people have thrown me money--a silly life, good to
no man or beast. Oh yes, that I know full well now; and I have killed
Phoebus because you looked at me; and my mother, who has loved me all
her life, is old before her time through my fault. I am a graceless
fool, a mountebank. When I put off my spangles and stand thus, you see
the rude peasant that I am. And yet in all the great, wide, crowded
world I know there does not live another who could love you as I
love--seeing you twice."

I stopped; the sound of my own voice frightened me; the dull tapestries
upon the wall heaved and rocked round me. I saw her as through a mist,
leaning there with both arms on the broken marble vase.

A momentary smile passed over her face. She seemed diverted, not angered
as I feared. She had listened without protest. No doubt she knew it very
well before I spoke. "You are very strong," she said at length. "Strong
men are always feeble--somewhere. If the count Taddeo heard you he
would--" Then some sudden fancy struck her, and she laughed aloud, her
bright red lips all tremulous and convulsed with laughter. "What could
he do? You could crush him with one hand, as you could crush a newt!
Poor Taddeo! did he not beat your fish down, give you watered wine, the
rinsings of the barrel, yesterday? That is Taddeo always."

She laughed again, but there was something so cruel in that laughter
that it held me mute. I dared not speak to her. I stood there stupidly.

"Do you know that he is rich?" she said abruptly, gnawing with her
lovely teeth the jagged leaf of one of her carnations. "Yes, he is rich,
Taddeo. That is why my father sold me to him. Taddeo is rich: he has
gold in the ground, in the trees, in the rafters and the stones of the
house; he has gold in Roman banks; he has gold in foreign scrip, and in
ships, and in jewels, and in leases: he is rich. And he lives like a
gray spider in the cellar-corner. He shuts me up here. We eat black
bread, we see no living soul: once in the year or so I go to Orte or to
Penna. And I am twenty-three years old, and I can read my own face in
the mirror." She paused; her breast heaved, her beautiful low brows drew
together in bitter fury at her fate: she had no thought of me.

I waited, mute. I did not dare to speak.

It was all true: she was the wife of Taddeo Marchioni, shut here as in a
prison, with her youth passing and her loveliness unseen, and her angry
soul consuming itself in its own fires. I loved her: what use was that
to her--a man who had naught in all the world but the strength of his
sinews and muscles?

She remembered me suddenly, and gave me a gesture of dismissal: "Take
your fish to the woman; I cannot pay you for them; I have never as much
as a bronze coin. But--you may come back another day. Bring more--bring
more." Then with a more imperious gesture she made me leave her.

I stumbled out of the old dark, close-shuttered house into the burning
brilliancy of the August day, giddy with passion and with hope. She knew
I loved her, and yet she bade me return!

I know not how much, how little, that may mean in other lands, but here
in Italy it has but one language--language enough to make a lover's
heart leap like the wild goat. Yet hope is perhaps too great a word to
measure rightly the timid joy that filled my breast. I lay in the
shepherd's hut wide awake that night, hearing the frogs croak from the
Lagherello and the crickets sing in the hot darkness. The hut was empty:
shepherd and sheep and dogs were all gone up to the higher grounds
amongst the hills. There were some dry fern-plants in a corner of it. I
lay on these and stared at the planets above me throbbing in the
intense blue of the skies: they seemed to throb, they seemed alive.

A mile away, between me and the stars, was the grand black pile of Sant'

Christ! it was strange! I had led a rough life, I had been no saint. I
had always been ready for jest or dance or intrigue with a pretty woman,
and sometimes women far above me had cast their eyes down on the arena,
as in Spain ladies do in the bull-ring to pick a lover out thence for
his strength; but I had never cared. I had loved, laughed and wandered
away with the stroller's happy liberty, but I had never cared. Now, all
at once, the whole world seemed dead--dead heaven and earth--and only
one woman's two eyes left living in the universe, living and looking
into my soul and burning it to ashes. Do you know what I mean? No? Ah,
then you know not love.

All the night I lay awake--the short hot night when the western gold of
sunset scarce fades into dark ere the east seems to glow luminous and
transparent with the dawn. Ah! the sunrise! I shall see it once more,
only once more! I shall see it through those bars, a hand's breadth of
it above Tiber, no more; and when again it spreads its rosy warmth over
the sky and reddens the river and the plain, I shall be dead--a headless
thing pushed away under the earth and lime, and over my brain and skull
the wise men will peer with knife and scalpel, and pour the plaster over
its bones to take a cast, and say most likely to one another, as I heard
them say once before a cast in a museum, "A good face, a fair brow, fine
lines: strange that he should have been a murderer!" Well! so be it.
Even though I lived for fourscore years and ten, the sun would nevermore
rise for me as it rose before Phoebus died.

At that time I lived only to see a shadow on the barred windows, a hand
open a lattice, a veiled head glide by through the moonbeams. I was
wretched, yet never had I been so happy. The bolt of the gods stuns as
it falls, but it intoxicates also.

I had been such a fool! such a fool! When she had said so much I had
said nothing: that last moment haunted me with unending pain. If I had
been bolder, if I had only known what to answer, if I had only seized
her in my arms and kissed her! It would have been better to have had
that one moment, and have died for it, than have been turned out of her
presence like a poor cowardly clod.

I cannot tell how the long hot days went on: they were days of drought
to the land, but they were days of paradise to me. The fever-mists were
heavy and the peasants sickened. Tiber was low, and had fetid odors as
its yellow shallows dried up in the sun, clouds of gnats hovered over
the Lagherello and its beds of rushes, and the sullen wind blew always
from the south-east, bringing the desert sand with it. But to me this
sickly summer was so fair that I continued to live in the absent
shepherd's empty hut. I continued to net the fish when I could, and now
and again I saw her. I lived only in the hope of seeing her face. She
had the evil eye. Well, let it rest on me and bring me all woe, so that
only I might live in its light one day! So I said in my madness, not

I must have looked mad at that time to the few scattered peasants about
the pool. I lived on a handful of maize, a crust of bread. I cast my
nets in the water, and once or twice went up to Sant' Aloïsa with the
small fish, and was sent away by the crone Marietta. August passed, and
the time drew nigh for the gathering of the grapes, ripe here sooner
than in the Lombard and the Tuscan plains. But the vintage of Sant'
Aloïsa was slight, for the ground was covered with olives in nearly
every part. When they were stripping what few poor vines there were I
offered myself for that work. I thought so I might behold her. There was
no mirth on the lands of Taddeo Marchioni: the people were poor and
dull. Fever that came from the river and the swamps had lessened their
numbers by death and weakened those who were living: my strength was
welcome to those ague-stricken creatures.

The day of the gathering was very hot: no rain had fallen. The oxen in
the wains were merely skin and bone: their tongues were parched and
swollen in their muzzled mouths. The grass had been long all burnt up,
and the beasts famished: the air was stifling, pregnant with storm.

Amidst the sere and arid fields, and the woods, black and gray, of ilex
and of olive, the great old square house rose before us, pale, solitary,
mysterious--a mausoleum that shut in living creatures: it terrified me.

Night fell as the last wagon, loaded with the last casks of grapes,
rolled slowly with heavy grinding wheels toward the cellars of Sant'
Aloïsa. With the wagon there were a few men enfeebled with fever, a few
women shivering with ague. I walked behind the wagon, pushing it to aid
the weary oxen. There was no moon: here and there a torch flickered in a
copper sconce filled with oil. The courtyard and the cellar were of
enormous size: in the old times Sant' Aloïsa had sheltered fifteen
hundred men. In the darkness, where a torch flared when he passed, I saw
now and then Taddeo Marchioni coming and going, giving orders in his
high, thin voice, screaming always, swearing sometimes, always
suspecting some theft. He did not see me. He was entirely absorbed in
his vintage and in the rebukes he hurled at his peasants. I drew back
into the shadow, leaning against the column of the gateway, a huge wall
blackened with time and damp. The bell of the old clock-tower sounded
the nineteenth hour of the night. All at once the servant Marietta
muttered in my ear, "Go in: she wants to speak with you. Go in to the
tapestry-room on the other side of the house: you remember."

My blood bounded in my veins. I asked nothing better of Fate. I glided
along the old walls, leaving the central court and the master there
absorbed in his work, and I found with some difficulty the little
side-door by which I had entered the house before. I trembled from head
to foot, as in that hour. I felt myself all at once to be ugly, heavy,
stupid, a brute to frighten any woman--sweating from the labors of the
day, covered with dust, poor and frightful in my rough hempen shirt,
with my naked legs and my bare knees impregnated with the juice of the
grapes. And I dared to love this woman--I! Loved her, though she had
slain Phoebus.

My mind was all in confusion: I was no longer master of myself. I
scarcely drew breath; my head was giddy; I staggered as I went along
those endless galleries and passages, as I had done that day when
Phoebus had fallen on the sand of my arena. At last I reached--how I
knew not--the room of the _arazzi_, scarcely lighted by a lamp of bronze
that hung from the ceiling by a chain. In the twilight I saw the woman
with the fatal gaze, with the lips of rose, with the features of
Lucrezia, of Venus, the woman who in all ages has destroyed man.

Then I forgot that I was a laborer, a peasant, a juggler, a wrestler, a
vagabond--that I was clad in coarse linen of hemp--that I was dirty and
filthy and ignorant and coarse. I forgot myself: I only remembered my
love--my love immense as the sky, omnipotent as Deity. I fell on my
knees before her. I only cried with stifled voice, "I am yours! I am
yours!" I did not even ask her to be mine. I was her slave, her tool,
her servitor, her thing, to be cherished or rejected as she would. I
shivered, I sobbed. I had never known before, it seemed to me, what love
could be; and it made a madman of me.

All the while she said nothing: she let me kiss her gown, her feet, the
stone floor on which she stood. Suddenly and abruptly she said only,
"You are a droll creature: you love me, really--you?"

Then I spoke, beside myself the while. I remember nothing that I said:
she heard me in silence, standing erect above me where I kneeled. The
light was very faint; the lamp swung to and fro on its bronze chain; I
saw only the eyes of the woman burning their will into mine. She bent
her head slightly: her voice was very low. She said only, "I have known
it a long time. Yes, you love me, but how? How?"

How? I knew no words that could tell her. Human tongues never have
language enough for that: a look can tell it. I looked at her.

She trembled for a moment as though I had hurt her. Soon she regained
her empire over herself. "But how?" she muttered very low, bending over
me her beautiful head, nearly touching mine. "But how? Enough to--?"

She paused. Enough? Enough for what? Enough to deny heaven, to defy
hell, to brave death and torment, to do all that a man could do: who
could do more?

"And I love you--I." She murmured the words very low: the evening wind
which touches the roses was never softer than her voice. She brushed my
hair with her lips. "I love you," she repeated. "For you are strong, you
are strong."

Kneeling before her there, I took her in my arms. I drew her close to
me: I drank the wine of Paradise--the wine that makes men mad.

But she stopped me, drew herself away from me, yet gently, without
wrath. "No," she said, "not yet, not yet." Then she added, lower still,
"You must deserve me."

Deserve her? I did not comprehend. I knew well that I did not deserve my
joy, poor fool that I was, mere man of the people, with the trestles of
the village fair for all my royal throne. But, since she loved me, a
crowd of ideas confused and giddy thronged on my brain and whirled madly
together. Up above in the belfries and the towers in my infancy, with
the clear blue air about me and the peopled world at my feet, I had
dreamed so many foolish gracious things--things heroical, fantastical,
woven from the legends of saints and the poems of wandering minstrels.
When she spoke to me thus these old beautiful fancies came back to my
memory. If she wished me to become a soldier for her sake, I thought--

She looked at me, burning my soul with her eyes, that grew sombre yet
brilliant, like the Tiber water lighted by a golden moon. "You must
deserve me," she repeated: "you must deliver me. You are strong."

"I am ready," I answered. I was still kneeling before her. I had at my
throat a rude cross that my mother had hung there in my childish years.
I touched the cross with my right hand in sign of oath and
steadfastness. "I am ready," I said to her. "What do you wish?"

She answered, "You must free me. You are strong."

Even then I did not understand. "Free?" I repeated. "You would fly with

She gave a gesture, superb, impatient, contemptuous. She drew herself
backward and more erect. Her eyes had a terrible brilliancy in them. She
was so beautiful, but as fierce in that hour as the wild beast that I
saw once at a fair break from its cage and descend amidst the people,
and which I strangled in my arms unaided.

She murmured through her closed teeth, "You must kill him. You are

With a bound I rose to my feet. In the burning night an icy cold chilled
my blood, my limbs, my heart.

Kill him? Whom? The old man? I, young and strong as I was, and his
wife's lover?

I looked at her. What will be the scaffold to-morrow to me, since I have
lived through that moment?

She looked at me, always with her sorceress's eyes. "You must kill him,"
she said briefly. "It will be so easy to you. If you love me it will be
done. If not--farewell."

A horrible terror seized on me. I said nothing. I was stupefied. The
gloomy shadows of the chamber surrounded us like a mystic vapor; the
pale figures of the tapestries seemed like the ghosts arisen from the
grave to witness against us; the oppressive heat of the night hour lay
on our heads like an iron hand.

A phantom parted us: the spectre of a cowardly crime had come between

"You do not love me," she said slowly. She grew impatient, angered,
feverish: a dumb rage began to work in her. She had no fear.

I drew my breath with effort. It seemed as if some one were strangling
me. Kill him! Kill him! These ghastly words re-echoed in my ears. Kill
an old and feeble man? It was worse than a crime: it was a cowardice.

"You do not love me," she repeated with utter scorn. "Go--go!"

A cry to her sprang from my very soul: "Anything else, anything but
that! Ask my own life, and you shall have it."

"I ask what I wish."

As she answered me thus she drew herself in all her full height upward
under the faint radiance from the lamp. Her magnificent beauty shone in
it like a grand white flower of the datura under the suns of autumn. A
disdain without bounds, without limit, without mercy, gleamed from her
eyes. She despised me--a man of the people, a public wrestler, a bravo,
only made to kill at his mistress's order, only of use to draw the
stiletto in secrecy at the whim and will of a woman.

I was Italian, yet I dared not slay a feeble old man in the soft dark of
a summer night, to find my reward on the breast of his wife.

Silence fell between us. Her eyes of scorn glanced over me, and all her
beauty tempted me and cried to me, "Kill, kill, kill! and all this is

Then her eyes filled with tears, her proud loveliness grew humble, and,
a supplicant, she stretched out her arms to me: she cried, "Ah, you love
me not: you have no pity. I may live and die here: you will not save me.
You are strong as the lions are--you are so strong, and yet you are

I shook in all my limbs. Yes, I was afraid--I was afraid of her, afraid
of myself. I shivered: she looked at me always, her burning eyes now
humid and soft with tears.

"In open war, in combat, all you wish," I said to her slowly. "But an
old man--in secret--to be his assassin--"

My voice failed me. I saw the light in the lamp that swung above,
oscillating between us: it seemed to me like the frail life of Taddeo
Marchioni that swung on a thread at our will.

She drew herself upward once more. Her tears were burned up in the fires
of a terrible dumb rage. She cried aloud, "You are a coward. Go!"

I fell once more at her feet; I seized her by her gown; I kissed her
feet. "Any other thing!" I cried to her in my anguish--"any other thing!
But the life of a weak old man! It would be horrible. I am not a coward:
I am brave. It is for cowards to kill the feeble: I cannot. And you
would not wish it? No, no, you would not wish it? It is a dream, a
nightmare! It is not possible. I adore you! I adore you! I am a madman.
I am yours; I give you my life; I give you my body and my soul. But to
kill a feeble old man that I could crush in my arms as a fly is stifled
in wine! No, no, no! Any other thing, any other thing! But not that."

She thrust me from her with her foot. "That or nothing," she said

The sweat fell from my brow in the agony of this horrible hour. I was
ready to give my life for her, but an old man, a murder done in secret!
All my soul revolted.

"But you love me!" I cried to her; and a great sob rose in my throat.

"You refuse to do this thing?" she answered.


Then she threw me away from her with the strength of a tigress:
"Imbecile! You thought I loved you? I should have used you: that is

The lamp went out: the darkness was complete. I stretched my hands out,
to meet but empty air. If I were alone I could not tell: I touched
nothing, I heard nothing, I saw nothing. A strange giddiness came upon
me; my limbs trembled under the weight of my body and gave way; I lost
consciousness. It is what we call in this country a stroke of the blood.

When my senses revived I opened my eyes. It was still night about me,
but a pallid light shone into the chamber, for the moon had risen, and
its rays penetrated through the iron bars of the high windows. I
remembered all.

I rose with pain and effort: the heavy fall on the stone floor had
bruised and strained me. A great stupor, the stupor of horror, had
fallen upon me. I felt all at once old, quite old. The thought of my
mother passed through my mind for the first time for many days. My poor

By the light of the moon I tried to find my way out of this chamber--a
chamber accursed. I gained the entrance of the gallery. Silence reigned
everywhere. I could not tell what hour it was. The lustre from the skies
sufficed to illumine fitfully the vast and sombre passages. I found the
door by which I had entered the house, and I felt the hot air of the
night blow upon my forehead, as hot now as it had been at noonday.

I passed into the great open court. Above it hung the moon, late risen,
round, yellow, luminous. I looked upward at it: this familiar object
seemed to me a strange and unknown thing. I walked slowly across the
pavement of the courtyard on a sheer instinct, as you may see a wounded
dog walk, bearing death in him. My heart seemed like a stone in my
breast: my blood seemed like ice in my veins. All around me were the
walls of Sant' Aloïsa, silent, gray, austere.

My foot touched something on the ground. I looked at it. It was a thing
without form--a block of oak wood or a slab of marble?--yet I looked at
it, and my eyes were rooted there and could not look elsewhere. The moon
shed a sinister white light upon this thing. I looked long, standing
there motionless and without power to move. Then I saw what it was, this
shapeless thing: it was the body of Taddeo Marchioni--dead, horribly
dead, fallen face downward, stretched out upon the stones, a knife
plunged into the back of the throat, and left there. He had been stabbed
from behind.

I looked, I saw, I understood: it was her act.

I stooped; I touched the corpse; I turned the face to the light; I
searched for a pulse of life, a breath. There was none: he was dead. A
single blow had been given, and the blow had been sure. A ghastly
grimace distended the thin lips of the toothless mouth; the eyes were
starting from their orbits; the hands were clenched: it had been a death
swift, silent, violent, terrible.

I drew out the knife, deep buried in the bone of the throat below the
skull. It was my knife, the same with which I had slashed asunder the
boughs of the vines in the day just gone in the vintage-fields. She had
taken it, no doubt, from my girdle when I had fallen at her feet.

"I understand," I said to the dead man: "it is her work."

The dead mouth seemed to laugh.

A casement opened on the court. A voice cried aloud. The voice was hers:
it cried for help. From the silent dwelling came a sound of hurrying
feet: the flame of a torch borne in a peasant's hand fell red on the
livid moonlight.

She came with naked feet, with unloosed hair, as though roused from her
bed, beautiful in her disarray, and crying aloud, "An assassin! an

I understood all. She meant to send me to the scaffold in her place. It
was my knife: that would be testimony enough for a tribunal. Justice is

She cried aloud: they seized me, and the dead man lay between us,
stretched on the stones and bathed in blood. I looked at her: she did
not tremble.

But she had forgotten that I was strong--strong with the strength of the
lion, of the bull, of the eagle. She had forgotten. With a gesture I
flung far away from me, against the walls, the men who had seized me:
with a bound I sprang upon her. I took her in my arms in her naked
loveliness, scarcely veiled by the disordered linen, by the loosened
hair, and shining like marble in the glisten of the moon. I seized her
in my arms; I kissed her on her lips; I pressed against my heart her
beautiful white bosom. Then between her two breasts I plunged my knife,
red with the blood of her dead lord. "I avenge Phoebus," I said to

Now you know why to-morrow they will kill me, why my mother is mad.

Hush! I am tired. Let me sleep in peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

And on the morrow he slept.




"An' this one? Lord have mercy on her, an' forgive me for saying it the
way I do every time I look at her! It comes out of itself, an' there's
times when I could think for a minute that He will; an' then it comes
over me like a blackness on everything that her chance is gone. Look at
that one by her. Ain't he a rough? Ain't he just fit for the Rogues'
Gallery, an' nowhere else? And yet--Well, it's a long story, an' you
won't want to hear it all."

"Every word," I said. "For once, we are all alone, and the rain pours
down so nobody is likely to interrupt. Such a face as that could hardly
help having a story, and a strange one."

"The most of it happens often enough, but I'll tell you. You think it's
pretty, but that black an' white thing doesn't tell much. If you could
once have looked at her, you'd have wanted to do something, same as
'most everybody did when the time for doin' was over. Let me get my bit
of work, an' then I'll tell you."

It was in the "McAuley Mission-parlor." The street below, cleared by the
pouring rain, was comparatively silent, though now and then a sailor
swung by unmindful of wet, or the sound of a banjo came from the
tenement-houses opposite. Below us, in the chapel, the janitor scrubbed
vigorously to the tune which seems for some unknown reason to be always
a powerful motive-power,

    "I'm goin' home, no more to roam,"

the brush coming down with a whack at each measure. In my hands was the
mission album, a motley collection of faces, as devoid of Nature or any
clew to the real characteristics of the owners as the average photograph
usually is, but here and there one with a suggestion of interest and, in
this special case, of beauty--a delicate, pensive face, with a mass of
floating hair, deep, dark eyes, and exquisite curves in cheek and lip
and chin--the face of some gently born and nurtured maiden, looking
dreamily out upon a world which thus far, at least, could have shown her
only its tender, never its cruel or unfriendly, side, and not, as its
place would indicate, that of one who had somehow and at some strange
time found a home in these slums. Beauty of a vulgar, striking sort is
common enough there--vivid coloring, even a sparkle and light poverty
has had no power to kill--but this face had no share in such dower, and
the dark, soft eyes had a compelling power which made mine search them
for their secret,--not theirs, after all, it might prove, but only a
gift from some remote ancestor, who could transmit outline, and even
expression, but not the soul that had made them.

Mrs. McAuley slipped the picture from its place as she sat down by me
again. "I ought to have done that long ago," she said. "Jerry is always
telling me I've no business to keep it where everybody can look at it
an' ask about her; an' I hadn't, indeed, for it brings up a time I'd
hardly think or talk about unless I had to for some good. I'll put it
away with two or three more I keep for myself; an' Jerry'll be glad of
it, for he hates to think of her, 'most as much as I do.

"Her father and mother? Ah, that's it: if she'd had _them_! But, you
see, her mother was a young thing that wasn't used to roughing it, an'
this Nan only a baby then. They were decent English folks, an' he looked
like a gentleman; but all we know was that she died of ship-fever on the
passage over, an' was buried at sea; an' he had it too, an' came 'most
as nigh dyin', an' just had strength to crawl ashore with Nan in his
arms. He'd a cousin in the Bowery, a woman that kept a little store for
notions, but didn't make any headway on account of two drinkin' sons;
an' he went to her, an' just fell on the floor before he'd half finished
his story. She put him to bed, and, though the sons swore he shouldn't
stay, an' said they'd chuck him out on the sidewalk, she had her way. It
didn't take him long to die, an' he'd a good bit of money that
reconciled them; but when he was gone there was the baby, just walkin'
an' toddlin' into everything, an' would scream if Pete came near her. He
was the oldest, an' he hated her worse than poison, an' about once in so
often he'd swear he'd send her to the orphan asylum or anywhere that
she'd be out of his sight. Jack didn't care one way or another, but the
mother was just bound up in the little thing; an' she was, they said,
just that wonderful-lookin' that people stopped an' stared at her. Her
eyes weren't black, as they look there, but gray, with those long curly
lashes that looked innocent an' baby-like to the very last minute; and
her hair--oh, you never saw such hair! Not bleached out, as they do it
now, to a dead yellow, but a pure gold-color, an' every thread of it
alive. I've taken hold of it many a time to see it curl round my finger,
an' the little rings of it lying round her forehead; an' her face to the
last as pure-lookin' as a pearl--clear an' soft, you know--an', when I
saw her first, with a little color in her cheeks no deeper than the pink
in a pink rose.

"Now, it'll seem to you like a bit out of the _Police Gazette_ or those
horrid story-papers, but, do you know, when she wasn't three Pete came
home one night just drunk enough to be cunnin', an' he said, after he'd
had his supper, he wanted to take the child a little way, only round the
corner, to show her to some friends of his. Mrs. Simpson said
No--whoever wanted to see her could come there, but she shouldn't let
her be taken round. The shop-bell rang that minute, an' she went out. It
wasn't ten minutes, but when she came back Pete an' the child weren't
there. She ran to the door an' looked up an' down the street, but it was
twelve years before she ever saw that child again. Pete was gone a week,
an' when he come home not a word would he say but that the child was
safe enough, an' he'd had enough of her round under foot. They had high
words. She told him he should never have another cent till Nan was
brought back, an' he went out swearin' an' cursin', to be brought home
in half an hour past any tellin' in this world. He'd been knocked down
an' run over by a fire-engine, an', though there was life enough left to
look at his mother an' try to speak, speak he couldn't.

"Well, there was nothin' that woman didn't do, far as her money would
go. She'd a nephew was a policeman, an' he hunted, an' plenty more, but
never a sign or a word. She couldn't get out much on account of the
shop, but whenever she did there wasn't a beggar with a child that she
wouldn't stop an' look with all her eyes to see if it might be Nan. You
wouldn't think anybody would take a child that way to be tormented with,
when there's hundreds runnin' round loose that nobody claims; but, for
all that, it's done. Not as often as people think. There's more
kidnappin' in the story-papers than ever gets done really, but it _does_
happen now and then. An' New York's a better place to hide in than
anywheres out of it. I know plenty of places this minute where the
police couldn't find a man if they hunted a month.

"Pete Simpson took this child to a hole in the Five Points, rag-pickers
an' beggars an' worse, an' gave her to a woman that took children that
was wanted out o' the way. He paid her a dollar, an' said she could make
enough out of her to pay for the trouble, she was so fair-lookin'. She
was one of the women that sit round with a baby an' one or two children
close to her, mostly with laudanum enough to make 'em stupid.

"Nan was spirited, an' she screamed an' fought, but blows soon hushed
her. She remembered, she's told me. She didn't know where she'd come
from, but she knew it was clean an' decent, an' she wouldn't eat till
hunger made her. Then there was a long time she came up with three or
four that made a kind of a livin' pickin' pockets an' a turn now an'
then as newsboys, or beggin' cold victuals an' pickin' up any light
thing they could see if they were let in. Nan changed hands a dozen
times, an' she never would have known where she come from if Charley
Calkins hadn't kept half an eye to her. He was six years older, an'
nobody knew who he belonged to; an' he an' Nan picked rags together, an'
whatever trick he knew he taught her. They cropped her hair, an' dirt
hid all the prettiness there was, but by ten she'd learned enough to get
any bit of finery she could, an' to fight 'em off when they wanted to
cut her hair still. She'd dance an' sing to any hand-organ that come
along; an' that was where I saw her first--when she was twelve, I should
think--with a lot o' men an' boys standin' round, an' she dancin' an'
singin' till the very monkey on the organ danced too. I was in a house
on Cherry street then, with some girls that played at a variety theatre
on the Bowery, an' Nan by this time was so tall they'd made her a
waiter-girl in one of the beer-shops. It was there the theatre-man saw
her one day goin' down to the ferry. He thought she was older, for she
never let on, an' she was tall as she ever was, an' her hair floatin'
back the way she would always have it. She could read. She'd been to
school one term, because she would, an' she had a way with her that
you'd think she was twenty. So it didn't take long. The variety-man said
he'd make her fortune, an' she thought he would; an' next day she come
an' told me she had agreed for three years.

"She didn't know there was work in it, but she soon found there was just
as much drudgery as in the rag-pickin' or a beer-shop. But she had an
ambition. She said she'd started here, an' she would stay an' learn
everything there was, but she believed she should be an actress in the
Old Bowery yet. That seemed a great thing to me in those days, an' I
looked at her an' wondered if she knew enough, an' if she'd speak to us
when she got there. She was so silent sometimes that it daunted us, an'
then she'd have spells of bein' wilder than the wildest; but she said
straight enough, 'I'm not goin' to stay down in this hole: I'm goin' to
be rich an' a lady; an' you'll see it.'

"The time came when she did get to the Old Bowery, an' the manager glad
to have her too. The variety-man swore he'd kill her for leavin', for
she drew at the last bigger houses than he ever had again. How she
learned it all you couldn't tell, but the night we all turned out to see
her in _The Rover's Bride_ you'd have said yourself she was
wonderful--painted of course, and fixed off, but a voice that made you
cry, an' a way just as natural as if she believed every word she said.
An' when she came out the third time, after such a stampin' an' callin'
as you never heard, with her eyes shinin' an' _such_ a smile, I cried
with all my might.

"It was the very next day. Charley Calkins was bar-tender in a saloon,
but getting off whenever he could to see Nan act. That was another
thing. She wouldn't take any fancy name, but was Nan Evans straight
through--on the bills an' everywhere--an' every one she'd grown up with
went to see her, an' felt sort of proud to think she belonged to the
Fourth Ward. An' a strange thing was, that, though so many were after
her, she never seemed to care for anybody but this Charley, that had
knocked her round himself, though he wouldn't let anybody else.

"Well, the old woman that had taken her first was dyin'. She was
Charley's aunt, an' so she sent for him, for want of any other relation,
an' told him she'd a little money for him, an' was a mind to give a
little to Nan. Charley said, 'All right!' He knew she most likely had a
good bit, for they often do, but then he said, 'You've always kept to
yourself where you got Nan, an' I'm a mind to know.'--'Simpson's, up the
Bowery,' she said; an' that was the very last word she ever spoke. She
left thirteen hundred dollars in the Bowery Bank, an' it seemed as if
there were odd sums in every bunch of rags in the room, so that Charley
had enough to set him up pretty well. An' it didn't take him long after
he started his own saloon near the theatre to find out, among all the
Simpsons, the woman that had had Nan. She had her store still, an' a
young woman to help her, an' she cried a little when Charley told her.
But she was a member of the Mott Street Church, an' when she said,
'Where is she now? and why don't she come herself?' an' Charley said,
'She couldn't, because rehearsal's going on,' she looked at him.

"'Re-what?' says she.

"'Re-hearsal: she's an actress,' says he; an' she shut her eyes up as if
the sight of him after such words was poison.

"'I want nothing to do with her,' says she. 'I've had my fill of sorrow
an' trouble from wickedness. You can go, an' say no more.'

"This didn't suit Charley, for he knew how Nan kept herself sort of
respectable even when she was with the worst, an' he was bound to find
out all he could.

"Well, he hung on an' asked questions till he'd found out all there was,
an' that was little, as you know. But Nan had wondered many a time where
she came from, an' if she'd ever belonged to anybody, an' he wanted to
be the first one to tell her. He scared the old lady, for he wasn't long
from the Island, where he'd been sent up for assault an' battery, an',
do what you would to him, clothes nor nothin' could ever make him look
like anything but a rough. But he was bound to know, for he thought
there might be money belonging to her or folks that would do for her.
There wasn't a soul, though, that he could find out, an' the next thing
was to go to Nan an' tell her about it. They'd have been wiser to have
waited a day, till the old lady'd a chance to quiet down and think it
all over; but he went straight to Nan an' told her he'd found some of
her folks; an' she, without a word, put on her hat an' went with him. If
she'd been alone it might have been better, for Charley seemed worse
than he was. The old lady was in the room back of the shop, neat as a
pin, an' Nan looked as if she was looking through everything to see if
she could remember.

"An' when the old lady saw her there was a minute she cried again an'
took hold of Nan. 'It's her very look,' she said, 'an' her hair an'
all;' but then she stiffened. 'I've no call to feel sure,' she said,
'but if you are Nan, an' want to be decent, an' will give up all your
wickedness, an' come here an' repent, I'll keep you.'

"'Wickedness?' Nan says, sort of bewildered--'repent?'

"'I don't know as it would do, either,' the old lady said, beginning to
be doubtful again. 'A lost creature, that's only a disgrace, so that I
couldn't hold my head up, any more'n I can when I think how Pete went: I
couldn't well stand it.'

"'You won't have to,' said Nan, with her head high. 'I did think I'd
found some folks, but it seems not;' an' out she went.

"Charley shook his fist an' swore. 'Nice folks, Christians are!' he
said. 'I like 'em,----'em! I'd like to burn her shop over her head!'

"'Nonsense!' Nan said, as if she didn't mind a bit. 'I thought it would
feel good to have somebody I belonged to, but it wouldn't. I never could
stand anything like her shaking her head over me; but it's strange how
I've always been hoping, an' now how I don't care.'

"Then Charley told her she'd better go home with him: he'd got a
comfortable, nice place, an' he'd never bother her. They'd talked it
over many a time, but she'd held off, always thinking she might find her

"Marriage didn't mean anything to either of them. How could it, coming
up the way they had? though she'd never been like the other girls. You
can't think how they could be the heathen they were? Remember what
you've seen an' heard in this very place, an' then remember that ten
years ago, even, a decent man or woman didn't dare go up these alleys
even by daylight, an' the two or three missionaries were in danger of
their lives; an' you'll see how much chance they'd had of learning.

"Nan wasn't sixteen then, an' she didn't think ahead, though if she had
likely she would have done the same. She had her choice, but she'd
always known Charley, an' so it ended that way.

"Then came a long time when my own troubles were thick, an' I went off
to the country an' lost sight of her. It was two years before I came
back, an' then everything was changed. All that set I'd known seemed to
have gone to the bad together--some in prison and some dead. Jerry was
out then, an' we were married an' began together in the little room down
the street; an' now I thought often of Nan. They told me Charley was
drinkin' himself to death, an' that she was at the theatre still, an'
kept things goin' with her money, an' that he knocked her round, when he
was out of his head, the worst way. It wasn't long before I went to her.
She looked so beautiful you wouldn't think a fiend could want to hurt
her, an' her eyes had just the look of that picture. I told her how I
had turned about, an' how happy we both were, in spite of hard times an'
little work; but she listened like one in a dream, an' I knew enough to
see that I should have to tell her many times before she would
understand or care. But she seemed so frail I couldn't bear to leave her
so. An' the worst of it was, that she'd begun to wish Charley would
marry her, an' he thought it was all nonsense, an' swore at her if she
said a word about it. She'd been gettin' more and more sensible, an'
he'd just been goin' the other way, but she kept her old fondness for
him. I said nothing then, but one day I found her cryin', an' her arm so
she could hardly move it; an' it came out he'd knocked her down, an'
told her she could clear out when she liked, for he was sick of her pale
face an' her big eyes an' her airs, an' meant to bring a woman there
with some life in her."

"'Things don't come out as we plan,' she said. 'I was going to be a
lady, but I forgot that anybody had anything to do with it but myself.
An' now I can't go to any decent place, an' Charley doesn't want me any
longer. See how nice it all looks here, Maria. I've fixed it myself, an'
I've always been so glad that after the play was over I could come
_home_--not to somebody else's room, but my own place--an' I never
thought there was any reason why it wouldn't always be my place. Men
aren't like women. I was true to Charley, and I'll never think of
anybody else; but he says I must get out of this.'

"Well, I wanted her to understand that I knew plenty would help her, an'
I tried to tell her she could begin a different life; but she just
opened her eyes, astonished at me.

"'You think I'd go to one of those Homes?' she said. 'You're crazy. I
can make my livin' easy enough at the theatre, even if I'm not so strong
as I was. What have I done more than anybody, after all? Do you think
I'd be pointed at an' talked over the way those women are? I'd throw
myself in the river first! I've learned enough these years. I go to
church sometimes, an' hear men in the pulpit talk about things I know
better than they do. I've found out what the good people, the
respectable people, are like. I've found out, too, what I might have
been, an' that if I live a thousand years I never can be it in this
world; an' that's one reason I thought Charley might be willing to marry
me. But I shall never say anything more now, for, you see, it isn't
goin' to make so very much matter. I had a bad cold in the spring, an'
the doctor said then I must be very careful or I should go with
consumption. See my arm? They said the other day I'd have to do
something to plump up, but I never shall: I'm goin', an' I'm glad of

"'Then, if that's got to be, let it be goin' home,' I said. 'Nan,
there's everything waitin' for you if you'll only take it. Come down to
one of the meetin's an' you'll hear. Won't you?'

"'I don't understand it,' she said. 'Everything's in a twist. Years an'
years and never hear of God, an' not a soul come near you to tell about
Him, an' all at once they say He loves you, and always has. Bah! If He
loved, an' people think about it as they pretend, how dare they let
there be such places for us to come up in? If God is what they say, He
ought to strike the people dead that keep Him to themselves till it is
too late for us ever to be helped. There! I won't talk about it. I don't
care: all I want is quiet, an' I'll have it soon.'

"I saw there was no use then, an' I made up my mind. I'd seen this Mrs.
Simpson, for Nan had told me when it all happened, an' I'd gone to the
store on purpose; an' I went straight there. 'I've come from Nan,' I
said, 'but she doesn't know it. She's a dyin' girl, an' as you helped
the father I want you to help the daughter. You're a Christian woman,
an' the only soul belongin' to her, an' the time's come to do

"'The father was decent,' she said: 'I've nothing to do with

"'It's through your own son that she grew up to know no better,' I said,
for I knew the whole story then, though nobody did when she was down
there. 'It's for you to give her your hand now, an' not throw it up to
her, any more'n the Lord when he said, "Go, and sin no more." She's in
trouble an' sick, and doesn't know what way to turn, an' sore-hearted;
an' if you would go to her in the right way you might save a soul, for
then she'd believe people meant what they said.'

"'She's the same to me as dead,' she said. 'I mourned her sharp enough,
but it ain't in nature to take one again after they've been thought
dead; an' you know they're straight from corruption itself. There's
places for her to go if she's tired of wickedness, but I don't want to
see her bold face, an' her head high, as if she was respectable. An' I
don't want to be plagued no more. I don't deny I lotted on her before
she was took away, but I never want to think about her again; so you
needn't come nor send. I've said my say, an' I hope the Lord will save

"'It's good He's more merciful than His creatures,' I said; an' I went
away more angry than I ever want to get. I couldn't quite make it out--I
can't to this day--how she could mourn so over the child, an' yet never
have a thought for all the years she'd had to suffer.

"There came a month that everything crowded. I thought of Nan, but
couldn't go up, till one day Tom Owens came in--you know him--an' he
said, 'It's all up with Charley Calkins.'

"'How?' I said.

"'Smallpox,' he said, 'an' Nan's dropped everything to nurse him. She'd
left there, they said, an' the woman he brought in to take her place
cut the minute she found he had the smallpox. He won't live, they say.'

"This was before they were so particular about carrying them off to
hospital. The house was cleared an' the saloon shut up, but Nan was
allowed to stay because she'd been exposed anyway, an' it was no use to
send her off. He had it the worst way, an' he'd scream an' swear he
wouldn't die, an' strike out at her, though he couldn't see, his face
and eyes bein' all closed up. It didn't last but a week, and then he
died, but Nan hadn't taken off her clothes or hardly slept one instant.
He was stupid at the last, an' when she saw he was gone she fell on the
floor in a faint; an' when she come to the blood poured from her mouth,
an' all they could do was to take her off to the hospital. She didn't
take the smallpox, but it was a good while before she could be let to
see anybody. When they thought it was safe she sent for me, but it was
hard to think it could be the same Nan I'd known. Every breath come with
pain, and she was wasted to a shadow, but she smiled at me an' drew me
down to kiss her. 'You see, I sha'n't be troubled or make trouble much
longer,' she said, 'but oh, if I only could rest!'

"Poor soul! She couldn't breathe lyin' down, nor sleep but a bit at a
time, an' it was awful to have her goin' so, an' she not twenty.

"I knelt down by her. She had a little room to herself, for she had some
money yet, and I prayed till I couldn't speak for crying. 'Nan, Nan!' I
said, 'you're goin' straight to the next world, an' you've got to be
judged. What will you do without a Saviour? Try to think about it.'

"She patted my hand as if I were the one to be quieted. 'Don't bother,'
she said: 'I don't mind, an' you mustn't. If He's as good as you say
He'll see that it's all right. I'm too tired to care: I only want to get
through. There's nothing to live for, an' I'm glad it's 'most over. I
want you to come every day, for it won't be long.'

"'Let me bring Jerry,' I said, but she only laughed. She'd known him at
his hardest, an' couldn't realize he might be different; but after a
week or two she let him come, an' she'd lie an' listen with a sort of
wonder as she watched him. But nothing seemed to take hold of her. She
looked like a flower lyin' there, an' you'd think her only a child, for
they'd cut her hair, and it lay in little rings all over her head; an'
Jerry just cried over her, to think that unless she hearkened she was
lost. She liked to be read to, but you couldn't make her believe,
somehow, that any of it was real. 'I'd believe it if I could,' she said,
'but why should I? I don't see why you do. It sounds good, but it
doesn't seem to mean anything. Why hasn't anybody ever told me before?'

"'Try to believe, only try!' I'd say. 'Ask God to make you. He can, and
He will if you only ask;' but all she'd say was, 'I don't seem to care
enough. How can I? If it is true He will see about it.'

"That was only a day or two before the end. The opium, maybe, hindered
her thinkin', but she looked quiet an' no sign of trouble between the
coughing-times. The last night of all I stayed with her. They said she
would go at daybreak, an' I sat an' watched an' prayed, beggin' for one
word or sign that the Lord heard us. It never came, though. She opened
her eyes suddenly from a half sleep, and threw out her hands. I took
one, but she did not know me. She looked toward the east and smiled.
'Why! are you coming for me?' she said, and then fell back, but that
look stayed--a smile as sweet as was ever on a mortal face. An' that's
why I never can help sayin', 'Lord have mercy on her!' and do you wonder
even when I know better? But--"



    Under the sea my treasure lies--
    Only a pair of starry eyes,
    That looked out from their azure skies
    With innocent wonder, sweet surprise,
    That they should have strayed from Paradise.

    Under the sea lies my treasure low--
    Little white hands like flakes of snow,
    Once soft and warm; and I loved them so!
    Ah! the tide will come and the tide will go,
    But their tender touch I shall never know.

    Under the sea--oh, wealth most rare!--
    Are silken tresses of golden hair,
    Each amber thread, each lock so fair,
    Gleaming out from the darkness there,
    With the same soft light they used to wear.

    Under the sea--oh, treasure sweet!--
    Lies a curl-crowned head and tiny feet
    That in days gone by, when the shadows fleet
    Were growing long in the darkening street,
    Came bounding forth their love to meet.

    And I sometimes think, as down by the sea
    I sit and dream, that there comes to me
    From my darling a message that none may see,
    Save those who can read love's mystery
    By Nature written on leaf and tree.

    Strange things to my spirit-eyes lie bare
    In the azure depths of the summer air:
    Through the snowy leaves of the lily fair
    Gleams her pure white soul, and I compare
    Its golden heart to her sunny hair.

    The perfume nestling among the leaves,
    Or blown on the wind from the autumn sheaves,
    Is her spirit of love, my soul believes;
    And while my stricken heart still grieves
    That gentle presence its pang relieves.

    A shell is cast by the waves at my feet,
    With its wondrous music low and sweet;
    And in its murmuring tones I greet
    The voice of my love, while its crimson flush
    From her fair young cheek has stolen the blush.

    Mid white foam, tossed on the pebbly strand,
    I catch a glimpse of a waving hand:
    'Tis a greeting that well _I_ understand;
    But to those who see not the soul of things
    'Tis only the spray which the wild wave flings.

    The pearl's rare whiteness, the coral's red,
    From the brow and the lip of my beautiful dead
    Their soft tints stole when her spirit fled;
    And it seems to me that sweet words, unsaid
    By my darling, gleam through the light they shed.

    Thus down by the sea, in the white sunshine,
    While the winds and the waves their sighs combine,
    I sit, and wait from my love a sign;
    And a message comes to my waiting eyes
    From under the sea where my treasure lies.



The agitation for "reform" in English spelling continues, but, so far,
without involving anything that can be properly called discussion.
Discussion implies argument on both sides--a striking by twos. Most of
the appeals to the public on this subject, whether through the
newspapers and magazines or on the platform, have been made by the
advocates of the movement. The other side, if another side there be, has
been comparatively silent, uttering occasionally only words of dissent.
I presume this follows a law of Nature: those who favor movement move,
and those who desire peace keep it and are still. But it ought not to be
inferred that the noise made by the "spelling reformers" is
representative of the scholarship of the country, or that the silence of
the conservatives indicates acquiescence in all the propositions
suggested and urged by the radicals. There is much that can be said that
has not been said. Some late announcements on the part of those who
advocate the evisceration of the English language and literature are of
a kind to call for some reply. I have no desire, at present, to enter
into an elaborate discussion of the merits or demerits of the new
departure in literature. The present agitation is only a skirmish, and
ought not to be dignified by the title of a battle: whether we shall
have a battle on this skirmish-line remains to be seen.

In the January number of the _Princeton Review_ there appeared a paper
from the pen of Professor Francis A. March in commendation of the
"reform." The professor is one of the most active as well as able of
those who have spoken on that side, and, while he incidentally and
modestly crowns Mr. George P. Marsh as chief of the movement, his
fellow-soldiers, if they are wise, will bestow the crown upon him. In
the article referred to the professor emphasizes his earnestness by
securing the printing of his admirable paper in the peculiar orthography
he advocates. This orthography is practically the same as that advocated
and contended for by the American Philological Association and the
Spelling-Reform Association. Any criticism, therefore, of the peculiar
orthography of the professor's paper is a criticism of the adopted
orthography of the whole body of "reformers," so far as they are agreed,
for in some details they still disagree.

The readers of the professor's paper will notice that in a large number
of words the usual terminal _ed_ is changed to _t_. This is in
accordance with one of the rules recommended by the Spelling-Reform
Association and laid down authoritatively by the American Philological
Association. The phraseology of the rule is to make the substitution
where-ever the final _ed_ "has the sound of _t_." It is to the
professor's application of this rule that I now desire to call the
attention of the reader. The "reformers" write _broacht, ceast,
distinguisht, establisht, introduçt, past, prejudiçt, pronounçt, rankt,
pluckt, learnt, reduçt, spelt, trickt, uneartht_, and assert that they
write the words as they pronounce them. In the rule given by the A.P.A.
for the substitution of _ed_ for _t_, _lasht_ and _imprest_ are given as

All of us are undoubtedly aware of the ease with which the sound
represented by _ed_ can be reduced to a _t_-sound in vocalization. But
even if the sound of _t_ is given at the termination of the words named,
not much is gained by the "reform" in the actual use of the words. On
the contrary, it adds another tangle in the skein which children at
school must untangle. It either forms another class of regular verbs, or
swells the already almost unmanageable list of irregular verbs. In
either case it is shifting the burden from the shoulders of adults to
those of children, already, as the reformers tell us, overburdened and
overworked. When a man really and sincerely asks himself the question,
"Do I pronounce _lashed_ as though written _lasht_?" and tests his own
practice in that respect, it will not take him long to determine that he
does not know. It requires a very delicate ear to make the
determination. This may also be said of most of the words quoted above.
The terminal _ed_ means something: it means what it purports to mean
when used. The _t_ may have a meaning, but that meaning cannot accompany
it when it acts as a substitute for _ed_. The common-sense view would
be, in cases of doubt, to use letters with a significance you desire to
convey by their use.

In the paper to which I have referred Professor March informs us that
"what _the scholars_ want for historical spelling is a simple and
uniform fonetic system, which shall record the current pronunciation."
This assumption is not accidental, I think, nor is the spirit of the
Pharisee confined to Professor March. Nearly all of the advocates of
this special "reform" assume the prerogative of determining who are and
who are not "scholars." In the same paper the professor says: "The
_scholars proper_ have, in truth, lost all patience with the
etymological objection. 'Save us from such champions!' says Professor
Whitney: 'they may be allowed to speak for themselves, since they know
best their own infirmity of back and need of braces: the rest of the
guild, however, will thank them for nothing.'" Again: "In conclusion, it
may be observed that it is mainly among _half-taught dabblers_ in
filology that etymological spelling has found its supporters. _All true
filologists_ and filological bodies have uniformly denounçt it as a
monstrous absurdity, both from a practical and a scientific point of
view." The professor also quotes approvingly Professor Lounsbury as
saying that the "spelling reform numbers among its advocates _every
linguistic scholar_ of any eminence whatever." Of course, these
statements, whether made by Professor March or by the distinguished
scholars whom he cites, are strong arguments. That the professor so
considers them is attested by the logical conclusion drawn from them in
the very next paragraph after the one in which they are given. There he
says: "It may be taken, then, as certain, and agreed by all whose
judgment is entitled to consideration, that there are no sound arguments
against fonetic spelling to be drawn from scientific and historical

We always forgive something to enthusiasts and reformers. They are
expected to effervesce once in a while, and when they indulge in gush
and self-appreciation it is taken as a matter of course. Whether or not
it strengthens or weakens their arguments is yet to be determined. At
any rate, the exhibit that is made of them and of their intemperance is
furnished by themselves.

There is an illogical argument for the new spelling drawn from the
published facts of illiteracy. We are told that the last national census
reports 5,658,144 persons, ten years of age and over, who cannot read
and write, and this number is said to be "one-fifth of the whole
population." The census of 1870 reports a total population of
38,558,371, and a total of illiterates, ten years of age and over, of
5,660,074, which is only 14-1/2 per cent. of the total population. This
is nearer one-seventh than one-fifth. This "one-fifth" the professor
compares with the number of illiterates in other countries in order to
bring discredit upon the English language, showing by the comparison
that there is a larger percentage of illiterates where the English
language is spoken and written than in non-English Protestant countries.
He reports illiterates in England at 33 per cent. of the population. "In
other Protestant countries of Europe they are comparatively few. In
Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway there are none to speak of; in
Germany, as a whole, they count 12 per cent., but some of the states
have none." Professor March asserts that "one of the causes of the
excessive illiteracy among the English-speaking people is the difficulty
of the English spelling;" and his argument proceeds on the assumption
that this is in fact the main cause.

Even if assent be given to the statement that the difficulty attendant
upon the acquisition of correctness in English orthography is one of the
causes of English and American illiteracy, the next step is to determine
the force and efficiency of the cause in that direction; and this
determination cannot be had on the basis of bald, unguarded and
extravagant statements such as I have cited. The illiteracy of the
American people must not be judged by the bare figures given above. The
census returns furnish data for a more just discrimination. The
statistician must not forget the item of 777,864 illiterates of foreign
birth going to swell the grand total. This leaves 4,882,210 native-born
illiterates--a percentage of less than 13. Of the native-born
illiterates reported by the census returns, there are 2,763,991 reported
as colored. This number is more than one-half the colored population,
and also over one-half of the whole number of reported native
illiterates. I think none of the reformers would insist that the
illiteracy of the colored population ought to be charged to "the
difficulties of English spelling "--I hardly need to state why: the
reason will readily suggest itself to all.

Eliminating from the problem the foreign and colored factors, we find a
native white population in 1870 of 28,121,816, and native white
illiterates, of ten years of age and over, to the number of
2,102,670--less than 7-1/2 per cent. Of this number of native white
illiterates, 1,443,956--two-thirds of the whole--are reported from the
States lately known as Slave States. In these States, as is well known,
there are peculiar reasons for the illiteracy of the white as well as of
the colored native, outside of any consideration of the difficulty of
mastering English orthography. This survey takes no account of the
native children with foreign parents, as it would not materially disturb
the percentage, nor of the populations of New Mexico, Arizona, Southern
California and Colorado, all largely settled by Mexicans and Spaniards,
among whom there is doubtless a larger percentage of illiterates than
among the same number of native whites in the Northern States. If
account be taken of all these elements, I think the percentage of
illiterates proper to be charged up to the English language and American
institutions would be reduced to about 3-1/4 per cent.

The next consideration is as to the cause of this large percentage of
illiterates among the native white population of the United States.
Professor March ascribes it in part to "the difficulties of the English
spelling," and he adds: "We ar now having ernest testimony to this fact
from scholars and educators in England." He names Max Müller and "Dr.
Morell, one of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools," and quotes from
both of them. Dr. Morell states that in some examinations for the civil
service, out of 1972 failures, "1866 candidates were pluckt for
spelling; that is, eighteen out of every nineteen who faild, faild in
spelling." Max Müller, as quoted, bears testimony to the fact that in
the public schools of England 90 per cent. fail "to read with tolerable
ease and expression a passage from a newspaper, and spell the same with
tolerable accuracy." This is the substance of the "ernest testimony"
from "scholars and educators in England." All this testimony has been
previously given by the same "reformer" and by others without variation
or corroboration. The facts stated seem to be isolated ones, as well as
"grand, gloomy and peculiar." One swallow does not make a summer, nor do
one eminent philologist and one uneminent educator make "scholars and
educators." But when the testimony is carefully viewed, what does it
amount to? Some of the very elements necessary in the consideration of
the testimony are wanting. What was the extent of the failures by the
candidates for civil service? Did they miss one word or more? Were they
more deficient in spelling than in other branches? Of the 90 per cent.
of the public-school pupils who failed, what is the class composing
those pupils? Were they as deficient in other branches as in spelling?
What were the newspaper passages selected for trial? What is meant by
"tolerable ease and expression" and "tolerable accuracy"? According to
the testimony itself, the reference of Max Müller is to the "new
schools" established since the late extension of education in England.
Confessedly, then, this applies to classes of pupils who had formerly
been deprived of educational advantages and privileges. It is a wonder
that 10 per cent. were successful. The testimony furnished is more
"ernest" than valuable.

The state of education in Protestant countries where other languages
than the English are spoken is taken as a conclusive argument for the
efficiency of phonetic orthography. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and
Switzerland are named as shining exemplars in this regard. It is because
the languages of those countries are orthographic models that the people
are so highly educated. The general fact is incontrovertible that among
those people there is less illiteracy than among those who speak the
English language. As Switzerland has no national language, the Swiss
people should not have been named except in company with those others
whose languages they use. But the bare fact of the smaller percentage of
illiteracy among the people above named is not conclusive as to the
retarding and depressing influence which the "difficulties of English
spelling" have upon the spread of education among the American people.
In Denmark attendance upon school for seven years by every child of
school age is compulsory. The number of children of school age for 1876
was 200,761, while the number in attendance upon the public schools was
194,198, the attendance being 96 per cent. of the whole number of
children of school age. In addition to the attendance upon the public
schools, there were 13,994 in attendance upon private schools: some of
these evidently were above or below school age. We thus see how
efficiently the compulsory system is enforced. This system is not new to
that country, but has been in existence for many years, and the results
seem to justify the statement in the _Report of the Commissioner of
Education for 1871_, that "even among the lower classes a remarkable
knowledge of general history and geography, but more especially of
Scandinavian literature and history," is found.

In Norway, as in Denmark, from the eighth to the fifteenth year
attendance upon school is obligatory. In 1866, of a total of 212,137
country children of school age, 206,623, or more than 97 per cent. of
the whole, were in attendance at school. In the towns and cities less
than 1 per cent. failed to attend school. In Sweden compulsory
attendance upon school is the rule. In 1868, of the whole number of
children of school age, the average attendance amounted to 97 per cent.

There is no general or national system of common-school instruction in
Switzerland. Each canton regulates its own schools. There, as in
Denmark, Norway and Sweden, attendance upon schools is made compulsory.
In 1870 the attendance of children between six and thirteen years of age
was between 95 and 96 per cent. of the whole school population.

Now, what kind of a school system have we in the United States? Here, as
in Switzerland, there is no general or national system of school
instruction. Each State regulates its own schools in all details. In
1870 the total school population, excluding the Territories, in the
United States was 14,093,778; the number actually enrolled in the public
schools was 8,881,848, or 63 per cent. of the whole; and the average
daily attendance upon the public schools was 4,886,289, or a little over
34-1/2 per cent. of the school population. An inclusion of the
Territories in the computation does not vary the percentage in any
appreciable degree. In the Northern States only, excluding the
Territories, and excluding also Minnesota and Wisconsin, whose returns I
have not at hand, there were 8,364,841 school population, while the
average daily attendance was only 3,720,133, a trifle over 44 per cent.

In the United States there is practically no compulsory attendance upon
school. Schools are provided by the State, and the children attend or
refrain from attendance as suits the convenience or wish of the pupils
or their parents. That compulsory attendance upon school is productive
of a wider and more thorough diffusion of knowledge is probably conceded
by all. At least, educators so urge. What would Professor March have?
Does he expect to find education as thorough and general among a people
of whose school population less than one-half are in usual attendance at
school, and less than two-thirds even enrolled as occasional attendants
at school, as among a people with whom over 95 per cent. of the school
population are in constant and habitual attendance? When we consider the
published school statistics of this nation, it is no wonder that about
one-seventh of the whole are unable to read and write. Shall we give no
credit to compulsory systems of education, and still insist that the
illiteracy of the United States is caused in any appreciable degree by
the "difficulties of English spelling"?

Early in 1879, Professor Edward North assured us that the Italians and
Spaniards have discarded _ph_ for _f_ in _philosophy_ and its fellows.
Professor March gleefully records that "the Italians, like the
Spaniards, have returned to _f_. They write and print _filosofia_" for
_philosophia_, and _tisica_ for _phthisica_. Professor Lounsbury, in his
elaborate articles in _Scribner_ lately, commends the Italians for
writing _tisico_ and the Spaniards for writing _tisica_. These of course
are commendations of those peoples for the simplicity of their
orthography, and they are mentioned as worthy examples for us. Yet we
are not advised by either of the three professors named that the
Italians and Spaniards are for that reason gaining upon the English
people in intelligence, educational progress and culture. No statistics
are advanced disclosing the narrow percentage of illiteracy found in
Italy and Spain, and a comparison made between that narrow percentage
and the wide percentage already advertised as existing in
English-speaking states. If "the difficulties of English spelling" be a
serious cause of illiteracy in England and the United States, the
simplicity of the Italian and Spanish spelling ought to be a cause of
high proficiency in literary and educational attainments among the
people of Italy and Spain. A commendation of those two nations for their
taste in discarding "Greek orthography" to be effective ought to be
supplemented with some evidence of the usefulness of that operation.
Unless so supplemented, the commendation can have no weight as an
argument. The Anglo-Saxon race has not been accustomed to follow the
Latins in literary and educational matters. The past and present
condition of those two countries affords no guarantee that their
adoption of the so-called simpler spelling is commendable. There are
persons whose corroboration of a statement adds no weight to it with
their neighbors. It adds no force to the arguments of the "reformers"
that the Italians and Spaniards endorse them.

The demand for "spelling reform" is based upon the assumption that the
pronunciation constitutes the word--in other words, that the real word
is the breath by means of which it is uttered. In the word _wished_
philologists assure us that the letters _e d_ are remains of _did_, as
if it were written _did wish_; and it certainly has that sense. It is
proposed to substitute _t_ for the _ed_, because, we are told by the
"reformers," the _t_ represents the sound given to those two letters. Of
course the _t_ stands for nothing: it does not represent any idea. It is
only a character, and its pronunciation only a breath, without any
significance. The new word cannot mean _did wish_. The "reformers" must
contend that _wisht_ is the real word, or their position cannot be
maintained for an instant. If the word still remains _wished_--"_did
wish_"--though pronounced _wisht_, their proposition to conform the
spelling to the pronunciation is laughable. There can be no conformation
and the old words remain. Whenever a change is made in a single letter
of a word, the word is broken: it is no longer the same word. The new
form becomes a new word, and there can be no objection to any one giving
to it any significance he chooses. In a certain sense, and also to a
certain extent, letters are representative, and are not the real words.
Before the arts of writing and printing were invented the sound of
course constituted the representative of the idea sought to be conveyed.
The invention of the arts of writing and printing brought into use other
representatives of ideas. The cuneiform characters and the
hieroglyphics were representatives of ideas, though there could be no
pronunciation of them. Letters came into use as representatives merely.
In an age of printing it is hardly correct to say that they are only
used to signify sounds. They are now more than that: they have become
more important than the sounds even. They are now representatives of
ideas, and not of sound. Modifications of pronunciation are taking
place, and there are variations in the pronunciation of many words, but
the word as written and printed is the arbiter.

In the Sanscrit we find the verb _kan_ to see, and the later word _gna_,
to know, as the result of seeing. The words are practically spelled
alike, each beginning with a guttural sound. The latter could only have,
at first, the idea of acquiring or possessing knowledge by sight. It is
evident that the Greek [Greek: gignôschô] and the Latin _gnosco_ came
directly from the Sanscrit _gna_, after the vowel between the guttural
_g_, or _k_ and _n_, had been eliminated; and it is also evident that
the _g_, or guttural sound, with which _gna_ and its Greek and Latin
children began, was vocalized. The other branch of the Aryan family
retained the vowel between the guttural sound and the terminal _n_.
Hence we have the Gothic _kunnan, kænna_, Anglo-Saxon _cunnan_, German
_kennen_, to examine, to know. Hence, also, our _can_, to know, to be
able; _cunning_, knowing, skilful; and _know_, to perceive, to have
knowledge of. While we pronounce _know_ without the guttural sound, the
word itself and the significance it embodies necessitate the continued
use of the _k_. The sound of _know_, as we use it, gives no idea of
sight or of knowledge or of ability. When we hear it articulated, and we
understand that _know_ is the word meant, we then recognize the sense
intended to be conveyed. We are able to do this because of our ability
to construct and give arbitrary significance to new words, and to
transfer the sense of an old word to one newly formed. When any word is
used in speech of which the pronunciation does not correspond with the
letters with which the word is written, we instinctively image the
written or printed word in the mind, and others apprehend the sense
intended. I am aware of a certain answer that may be made to
this--namely, that illiterate persons are able to understand a word only
from its sound as it falls on their ears; but I am speaking now of a
civilized language as used by a civilized people, and illiterates and
their language do not come under this purview.

The movement inaugurated by Professor March and his associates
contemplates the displacement of the _k_ or guttural sound from _know_
and _knowledge_, both in writing and speaking. They say, in effect, if
not in so many words, that because there is no guttural sound in the
pronunciation, therefore there is none in the word. Some people say
_again_, pronouncing the word as it is spelled: others say _agen_, as, I
believe, Professor March does. These two classes mean the same thing,
but it is quite evident that they do not say the same thing. _Ai_ cannot
be the equivalent of _e_. To so hold would be to make "confusion worse
confounded" in English orthography. By one class of literary people
_neither_ is pronounced as though the _e_ were absent, and by another
class as though the _i_ were not present. No one, I think, will contend
for the identity, or even equivalence, of _i_ and _e_. If not identical
or equivalent, they must be different. If _ai_ is different from _e_,
then _again_ and _agen_ cannot be the same word, and if _i_ and _e_ are
neither identical nor equivalent, _nither_ and _neether_ are two
different words. The logic of the "reformers" would bring the utmost
confusion into the language. It would make two separate words identical
in significance. It would make into one word with four different
meanings the four words _right, rite, write, wright._ The words _signet_
and _signature_ are formed from the stem _sign_, and yet the stem when
standing alone has a different vocalization from what it has when used
in the derivative words. By the logic of the "reformers" the word _sign_
when used alone is not the same as the same letters, arranged in the
same order, when used in _signature, signet, resignation_ and the like.
The word is changed, but the original significance remains. When a
person responds, even in writing, "It is me," grammarians say he is
incorrect--that he ought to say "I." But he means the person and thing
he would mean if he said "I." He simply spells "I" in a different way.
Is he not just as correct as he who writes _no_ when he means _know_? or
he who writes _filosofer_ when he means _philosopher_?

But Professor March dogmatically says that "fonetic spelling does not
mean that every one is to write as he pronounces or as he thinks he
pronounces. There ar all sorts of people. We must hav something else
written than 'confessions of provincials.'" This may be understood as
modifying the idea expressed earlier in the same paper, that the proper
function of writing "is truthfully to represent the present speech." But
the difficulties to be encountered in an effort to make the present
speech homogeneous will baffle the wisdom of the reformers. I will not
answer the question now--I will only ask it: What is the present speech?
Who is to determine that? "The scholars formally recognize that there is
and ought to be a standard speech and standard writing." I do not quite
seize the idea embodied in the above-quoted sentences about writing as
we think we pronounce and about "confessions of provincials." We may
agree that there ought to be, probably, a standard speech, both spoken
and written. That we have the standard written speech must be confessed,
or did have until Professor March and his colaborers began the
publication of their ideas in "bad spelling." The spoken speech is far
from homogeneity. Some of the most pretentious scholars assume that we
have a standard of pronunciation. That the standard is not adhered to,
and is therefore, to all intents and purposes, no standard at all, is
evident. The learned or college-bred use one pronunciation, and for that
class that is the standard. Those who are deficient in education do not
follow that standard. As the educated seem to drift naturally to centres
of population, there is assumed to be a city standard and a country
standard of pronunciation. The professor tells us that the country
standard must be abolished, the city standard adopted, and then the new
era will open out in beauty. Or does he mean, as his words are open to
this meaning, that a spoken word is not _the_ word unless it is spoken
in accordance with the city or college-bred standard? But sound is
sound, by whomsoever uttered, and if the word is mere sound a provincial
can make words as well as any one else. The proposition is, _the_ word
is the word spoken and not the word written, unless the word is spoken
by a provincial. To be _the_ word, it must be intoned and articulated in
accordance with the intonation and articulation of the _literati_. If
this is the logical outcome of the position taken by the "spelling
reformers," then we know our soundings.

We speak of _progress_ in connection with intellectual, moral,
religious, social and political matters and civilization. In the use of
the word we discard its true meaning, "stepping forward" in a physical
sense. We cannot have an idea that the mind or the morals or the manners
take steps. So when we say we will consider a matter we do not
necessarily mean that two or more of us will _sit together_ about the
matter. When we meet for _deliberation_ there is no process of weighing
intended, no proposal to use the scales, in arriving at a conclusion in
the matter we have in mind. We _say_ "stepping forward," "sitting
together" and "weighing," but we _mean_ something else. When Professor
Whitney, in the quotation I have given in the early part of this paper,
says of the spelling conservatives, "They know best their own infirmity
of back," he has no idea that the back has anything to do with their
refusal to follow him in his chimerical ramble after an ideal
orthography. When Professor March, in the paper from which I have
quoted, says that "a host of scholars are pursuing the historical study
of the English language," he means something more than, and different
from, what his words indicate, and he certainly doesn't mean what his
words do indicate. The matter of pursuit is altogether one of physics.
These words of an intellectual significance which I have noted are so
used because we have no words in our language which have meanings such
as those we attach to them. We are obliged to take words of a physical
and material significance and use them as intimations of the sense we
wish to convey. As men take a material substance--gold, silver, ivory,
wood or stone--and use it as an image or symbol of the deity they
worship, so we use words of a material sense to express, in some faint
degree, the intellectual and moral ideas we desire to disclose.

The bald statement, expressed or implied, that the sounds we produce in
our attempts to utter a word constitute the true word, requires some
material modification, but to what extent it is not for me now to
discuss. When that necessity for modification is admitted by the
reformers, it is for them to survey its limits. They are the aggressors
in the contest that is precipitated. They must outline and define their
own case.

There are many considerations favorable to a modification of the present
spelling of several classes of words. A reform is needed, and must come,
but it will not come, and ought not to come, with the character and to
the extent desired by the "reformers." A reform that shall make the
spelling better, and not merely make it over, should be aided by all
admirers of the English language. The just limitations of that reform
have not been indicated yet by any of the "reformers." That those
limitations will soon be surveyed and marked I do not doubt.

M. B. C. TRUE.


Macaulay, in describing the rise of the two great parties which have
alternately governed England during the last two centuries, traces the
division to a fundamental distinction which "had always existed and
always must exist," causing the human mind "to be drawn in opposite
directions by the charm of habit and the charm of novelty," and
separating mankind into two classes--those who are "anxious to preserve"
and those who are "eager to reform." It seems to us extremely doubtful
whether this theory, so neat and compact, so simple to state and so easy
to illustrate, would suffice to explain all the struggles, great and
small, that have agitated society, varying in character and
circumstances, and ranging from fervent emulation to violent
collision--from the ferment of ideas which is the surest sign of
vitality to the selfish and aimless convulsions that portend
dissolution. Applied to that condition of things by which it was
suggested, the theory may be allowed to stand. The history of
parliamentary government in England, in recent times at least, presents
a tolerably fair example of a contest between two parties composed
respectively of men who desired and men who resisted innovation--of
those who looked forward to an ideal future and those who looked back to
an ideal past. That the former should triumph in the long run lay in the
very necessity of things; but, whatever may be thought of the changes
that have taken place, no one would venture to assert that the contest
has ever been conducted with purely selfish aims; that no great
principles were involved in it; that the general mass of the voters have
been the mere tools of artful leaders; that appeals to the reason, or at
least to the interests or the prejudices, of the whole nation or of
different classes have been wanting on either side; that at any crisis
there has been no discussion of measures, past or prospective, no talk
of any question concerning the honor or welfare of the country; or that
victory has ever been achieved or contemplated by the employment of
mere cunning or fraud. But in a state of things of which one might
assert all this without fear of contradiction the existence of two
parties, however evenly balanced, could hardly be accounted for by the
sway in opposite directions of the charms of habit and of novelty and
the natural antagonism between men who are anxious to preserve and men
who are eager to reform. That such a state of things may actually exist
there can be no doubt, since, if history had no example to offer in the
past, one which is equally undeniable and conspicuous is presented by
the United States at the present moment. Here is a people divided into
two great parties, neither of which is anxious to preserve what the
other would seek to destroy, or eager to reform anything which the other
would leave untouched; no principle involving any question or policy of
the present or the future is inscribed on the banner of either; no
discussions are held, no appeals are put forth, with the object of
convincing opponents, stimulating supporters, creating public opinion or
arousing public sentiment: a great struggle is at hand, and all that any
one knows about the nature of it is, that it concerns the possession of
the government, and that the chiefs of the winning faction will reward
as many as possible of their most active adherents by confirming them in
office or appointing them to office--this being the one feature of the
matter in which the "charm of habit" and "the charm of novelty" have a
visible influence.

We shall probably be told in reply that this state of things is only
momentary; that there is now a suspension of arms preparatory to the
decisive conflict; that on each side, while the great host of warriors
is at rest, the chiefs are in consultation, counting up their resources,
preparing the plan of battle--above all, selecting the generalissimo;
and that when these arrangements are completed and the time of action
draws near the trumpets will give forth no uncertain sound, banners
emblazoned with the most heart-stirring devices will be advanced, and
we shall fall into line according as our temperaments and sympathies
incline us to join with those who are "anxious to preserve" or with
those who are "eager to reform." It is of course certain that a few
weeks hence the aspect will have changed in some respects: we shall have
been told the names of the "candidates" whom we are to support or
oppose; we shall hear all that can be learned or imagined about their
characters and acts, and see them painted by turns as angels and demons;
we shall also be reminded of the traditions which they represent or are
figured as representing, and shall be assured that certain shibboleths
and watchwords should be the objects of our veneration and certain
others of our abhorrence, and that on our choice between them will
depend the ruin or salvation of the country. But we shall be no wiser
then than we are now in regard to any one measure or set of measures
affecting the welfare of the nation, and tending either to preserve or
to reform, which one party proposes to carry out and the other to
reject. The proclamations of each will be full of promises and
disavowals, but these, it is very certain, will not touch a single
principle of the least importance which will be disputed by the other.
Each party will parade its "record," its glorious achievements in the
past, when it carried the country triumphantly through dangers in which
the other party had involved it; but on neither side will any
distinctive line of policy be enunciated, for the simple reason that on
neither side has any distinctive line of policy been conceived or even
thought of. Finally, it is not at all certain that the battle will be
decided by the usual and regular methods of political warfare--that "the
will of the majority" will be allowed to express itself or suffered to
prevail--that fraudulent devices or actual violence may not ultimately
determine the result.

The inquiry naturally suggests itself how this state of things has been
brought about--above all, whether it is, as many intelligent persons
seem to suspect, an unavoidable outgrowth of democratic institutions.
This, indeed, is a question important not only to us, but to all the
civilized nations of the world, for there is nothing more certain in
regard to the present tendencies of civilization than that they are
setting rapidly and irresistibly toward the general adoption of
democratic forms of government. The oldest and greatest of the European
nations, after trying almost every conceivable system, has returned, not
so much from a deliberate preference as from the breakdown of every
other, to that which had twice before failed as an experiment, but which
now gives fair promise of successful and permanent operation--a republic
based on universal suffrage. In many other countries what is virtually
the same system in a somewhat different form seems to be firmly
established, and in these the ever-potent example of France may be
expected at some more or less remote conjuncture to bring about the
final change that shall make the form and the name coincide with the
reality. England, which at one time led the van in this movement, has
been outstripped by several of the continental nations, but its
constant, though somewhat zigzag, advances in the same direction cannot
be doubted, while community of race and former relations make the
comparison between its condition and prospects and those of the United
States more mutually interesting and instructive than any that could be
instituted between either and another foreign country.

We are aided in making this comparison by a lecture delivered recently
before the Law Academy of Philadelphia, and since published as a
pamphlet, in which form we hope it may obtain the wide circulation and
general attention which it well merits. In a rapid sketch of the
development and present working of the English constitution the author,
Judge Hare, shows how the government, which, in theory at least, was
originally a personal one, has come to be parliamentary and in the
strictest sense popular, that branch of the legislature which is elected
by the people having raised itself from a subordinate position "to be
the hinge on which all else depends, controlling the House of Lords,
selecting the ministers and wielding through them the power of the
Crown." Hence a complete harmony, which whenever it is broken is
instantly restored, between the executive and the legislature, the
latter in turn being the organ of the public sentiment, which acts
through unobstructed channels and can neither be defied nor evaded. In
America, on the other hand, to say nothing of those organic provisions
of the Constitution which render the executive and the two branches of
the legislature mutually independent, and sometimes, consequently, out
of harmony with each other, divergent in their action and liable to an
absolute deadlock, the method by which it was directly intended to
secure the result that has been fortuitously obtained in
England--namely, the selection of an executive by a deliberative
assembly chosen by the people--has been practically subverted and its
purpose utterly frustrated. The Electoral Colleges do not elect, but
merely report the result of an election. This, on the surface, is a
change in the direction of a more complete democracy. What was devised
as a check on the popular impulse of the moment has broken down, and the
people have taken into their own hands the mission they were expected to
entrust to a small representative body. But, while thus assuming an
apparently absolute freedom of choice, they virtually, and we may say
necessarily, surrendered to small, nominally representative, bodies the
designation of the persons between whom the choice must be made. These
bodies, unknown to the Constitution, not elected or convoked or
regulated by any processes or forms of law, have taken upon themselves
all the functions of the electors, except that it is left to the people
to throw the casting vote. Now, whatever may be thought of the actual
workings of this system, it seems to us to be in itself the result of a
change as natural and legitimate as any that has taken place in the
practice of the English constitution. The Electoral College was one of
those devices which are theoretically simple and beautiful, but which
have never worked beneficially since the world began; and we have
perhaps some reason to be grateful that it was virtually superseded
before it had time to become the focus of intrigue and corruption which
was otherwise its inevitable fate. Since the choice of a President could
not be remitted to one or both Houses of Congress--which would have been
the least objectionable plan--and has devolved upon the people, some
previous process of sifting and nominating is indispensable in order
that there may be a real and effective election; and we do not see that
any method of accomplishing this object could have been devised more
suitable in itself or more conformable to the general character of our
political system than that which has been adopted. Conventions
representing the great mass of the electors and various shades of
opinion might be counted upon to select the most eligible
candidates--eligible, that is to say, in the sense of having the best
chance amongst the members of their respective parties of being elected.
For a long period this system worked sufficiently well. If the ablest
men were not put forward, this was understood to be because they were
not also the most popular. If the mass of the voters were not
represented in the conventions, this was attributed to their own
indifference or negligence. If a split occurred, leading to the
nomination of different candidates by the same party, this was the
result of a division of sentiment on some great question, and might be
considered a healthy indication--a proof that the interests, real or
supposed, of the country or some section of the country were the objects
of prime consideration.

We do not, therefore, agree with those who hold that our institutions
have deteriorated, or with those who think that democracy has proved a
failure. On the contrary, we believe that a simpler democratic system,
with fewer checks and balances, would be an improvement on our present
Constitution. The framers of that Constitution had two apprehensions
constantly before their minds--one, that of a military usurper
overthrowing popular freedom; the other, that of an insurrectionary
populace overthrowing law and government. Experience has shown that
neither of these dangers could be realized in a country and with a
population like ours: the elements of them do not exist, nor are the
occasions in the least likely to arise. The two great evils to which we
are exposed are a breakdown of national unity and a decay of political
life. The former evil--resulting from the magnitude of the country, the
conflict of interests in its different sections, the State organizations
and semi-sovereignty, and the consequent lack of that strong
centralization of administrative powers and functions which, however
much of a bugbear to many people's imaginations, is indispensable to a
complete nationality--has threatened us in the past and may be expected
to threaten us in the future. The latter evil threatens us now.

If we turn to England, we see political life in its fullest vigor. The
recent election called forth nearly the entire force of the voting
population, and the contest was carried on with well-directed vigor and
amid almost unparalleled excitement. Questions affecting both domestic
and foreign policy, and felt to be vital by the whole community, were
ardently, persistently and minutely discussed in public meetings and at
the hustings; and the general nature of the issue indicated with
sufficient clearness the maintenance of the old division throughout the
bulk of the nation between a party anxious to preserve and a party eager
to reform. Men of the highest character and distinction in every walk of
life were among the most ardent participants in the struggle; but no
crowds of office-holders and office-seekers opposed each other _en
masse_ or were prominent in the struggle, the former having as a class
nothing to fear, and the latter as a class nothing to hope, from the
result. So far was the leader of the opposition from being suspected of
a mere selfish desire to grasp the position to which in case of victory
his pre-eminent ability and activity entitled him that it was altogether
doubtful whether he would be willing to accept it. He and all the other
men who marshalled or exhorted the opposing lines stood forth as the
acknowledged representatives of certain principles and public measures,
and in that capacity alone were they assailed or defended. The contest
was decided by strictly legal methods; no suspicion existed as to the
inviolability of the ballot-boxes or the correctness and validity of the
returns; and the cases in which corrupt or undue influence was charged
were reserved for the adjudication of impartial tribunals.

No one supposes that the impending struggle in the United States will be
of this nature. There is no question before the country involving the
policy of the government or the interests of the nation. There are no
leaders who are the representatives of any principle or idea. The ardor
of the contest will be confined to the men whose individual interests
are directly or indirectly at stake: the management of the contest will
be wholly in their hands, and no security will be felt as to the
legality of the result. Whatever display of popular enthusiasm may be
made will be chiefly of a factitious nature. Such excitement as may be
felt will be to a large extent of the kind which is awakened by a "big
show" or an athletic contest. The general mass of the voters will no
doubt fall into line in response to signals and cries which, though they
have lost their original meaning, still retain a certain efficacy, but a
great falling off from the old fervor and discipline will, we venture to
think, be almost everywhere apparent. More intelligent persons will
either stand aloof with conscious powerlessness or strike feebly and
wildly from a sense of embitterment. The energy put forth will indicate
disease rather than health; the activity exhibited will be not so much
that of a great organism as of the parasites that are preying on it.

It cannot be denied that there is in this country a natural tendency
toward political stagnation. With the exception of slavery and the
questions arising from it--which fill, it is true, a large space in our
history, but which must be considered abnormal in their origin--there
has never been any great and potent cause of dissension, such as rises
periodically in almost every country in Europe, setting class against
class, changing the form or character of the government and shaking the
foundations of society. In England a gradual revolution has been always
going on, and there have been several struggles even in the present
century where a popular insurrection loomed in the background and was
averted only by concession. Our institutions, on the contrary, have
undergone no change and been exposed to no danger in any fundamental
point. They were accepted by the whole people, and their stability was a
subject of national pride. There were two great parties, each of which
scented in every measure projected by the other a design to unsettle the
balance between the States and the general government, but both claimed
to be the guardians of the Constitution, and their mutual rancor was
founded mainly on jealousy. But for the existence of slavery, and the
inevitable antagonism provoked by it, there must have been a constant
decrease of interest in political questions as it became more apparent
that these could not affect the freedom and security which, coupled with
the natural advantages of the country, afforded the fullest scope and
strongest stimulant to industrial activity. The extinction of slavery
was the cutting away of an excrescence: the wound under a proper
treatment was sure to heal, and even under unwise treatment Nature has
been doing her work until only a scar remains. Painful, too, as was the
operation, its success has given the clearest proof of the health and
vigor of our system, thus increasing the tendency to political
inactivity and an over-exertion of energy in other directions. This in
itself seems not to be a matter for alarm: if the latent strength be
undiminished we can dispense with displays of mere nervous excitement.
And, in point of fact, the latent strength is, we believe, undiminished;
only, there is no general consciousness that it needs to be put forth,
still less any general agreement as to how it should be put forth.

What has happened is, that not only has the stream of political activity
been growing languid, but its channel is becoming choked. The noisome
atmosphere that exhales from it causes delicate people to avert their
nostrils, timid people to apprehend a universal malaria, and many people
of the same and other classes to assert that the sluices are not merely
defective, but constructed on a plan totally and fatally wrong. Some
bold and sagacious spirits have, however, taken the proper course in
such cases by examining the obstructions and determining their nature
and origin. According to their report, the difficulty lies not in any
general unsoundness of the works, but in the failure to detect and stop
a side issue from certain foul subterranean regions, the discharge from
which becomes copious and offensive in proportion as the regular flood
is feeble and low. In plainer words, we are told that the mode in which
places in the public service are filled and held has made the active
pursuit of politics a mere trade, attracting the basest cupidities,
conducted by the most shameless methods, and putting the control of
public affairs, directly or indirectly, into impure and incompetent
hands. This view has been so fully elaborated, and the facts that
confirm it are so abundant and notorious, that further argument is
unnecessary. It is equally clear that the state of things thus briefly
described has no necessary connection with democratic institutions. The
spread of democracy in Europe has been attended by a gradual
purification in the political atmosphere. The system of "patronage" had
its origin in oligarchy, and wherever it is found oligarchy must exist
in reality if not in name. Instead of being an inherent part of our
institutions, it is as much an excrescence, an abnormal feature, as
slavery was; but, unlike that, it might be removed with perfect safety
and by the simplest kind of operation.

Here, then, is a question worthy to come before the nation as an issue
of the first magnitude. Here is a thing affecting the interests of the
whole country which some men are anxious to preserve and which others
are eager to reform. It remains only to consider how it can best be
brought before the nation.

We shall perhaps be told that it is already before the nation; that the
account we have given of the nature of the approaching contest is
incorrect or incomplete; that on the skirts of the two parties is a body
of "Independents," carrying the banner of Reform and strong enough to
decide the contest and give the victory to whichever party will adopt
that standard as its own.

Now, we have to remark that the tactics thus proposed have been tried
twice before. Eight years ago the Reformers allied themselves with the
Democratic party, which accepted their leader--chosen, apparently,
because he was neither a Reformer nor a Democrat--and the result was not
only defeat, but disgrace, with disarray along the whole of the combined
line. Four years ago they adhered to the Republican party, having
secured, by a compromise, the nomination of Mr. Hayes. Apart from the
fact that Mr. Hayes was not elected, but obtained the position which he
holds through, we will say, "the accident of an accident," his
possession of the Presidency has not advanced the cause of Reform by a
hair's-breadth. We do not need to discuss his appointments or his views
or his consistency: it is sufficient to say that he has had neither the
power nor the opportunity to institute Reform, and that no President,
while other things are unchanged, _can_ have that power and opportunity.
The truth is, that there is a great confusion, both as to the object
they have to aim at and as to the means of accomplishing it, in the
minds of the Reformers. They talk and act continually as if their sole
and immediate object were to secure the appointment to office of men of
decent character and ability, and as if the election of a particular
candidate for the Presidency, or even the defeat of a particular
candidate, would afford a sufficient guarantee on this point. They are
"ready to vote for any Republican nominee but Grant," and, in case of
his nomination, to vote, we suppose, for any Democratic nominee but
Tilden--certainly for Mr. Bayard. It may be safely admitted that no
possible candidate for the Presidency enjoys a higher reputation for
probity and general fitness for the place than Mr. Bayard--one reason,
unhappily, why he is not likely to be called upon to fill it. But,
supposing him to be raised to it, what is one of the first uses he may
be expected to make of it if not to turn out the solid mass of
Republican office-holders and fill their places with Democrats? If Mr.
Hayes, with whom the Reformers have been at least partially satisfied,
had succeeded to a Democratic administration, can it be doubted that he
would have made a similar change in favor of the Republicans? Is not
every President bound by fealty to his party, consequently by a regard
for his honor and reputation, to perpetuate a system which the true aim
of Reform is to abolish?

Even if we should concede, what it is impossible to believe, that a
President personally irreproachable might be trusted to make no unfit
appointments, this would not reach the source of the evils of which we
have to complain, which lies in the _method_ by which appointments are
made and in the _tenure_ by which they are held. So long as the system
of "patronage" and "rotation in office" prevails, little real
improvement even in the civil service can be looked for. But improvement
of the civil service, important as it is in itself, is an insignificant
object of aspiration compared with the general purification of political
life, the elevation of the public sentiment, the creation of a school of
statesmanship in that arena which is now only a mart for hucksters,
bargaining and wrangling, drowning all discussions and impeding all
transactions of a legitimate nature. The class who fill that arena and
block every avenue to it cannot be dispossessed so long as the system
which furnishes the capital and material for their traffic remains
unchanged. It is a matter of demonstration that if the civil service
were put on the same footing as in England and other European countries,
the machinery by which parties are now governed, not led, public spirit
stifled, not animated, legislation misdirected or reduced to impotence,
and "politics" and "politician" made by-words of reproach and objects of
contempt, must decay and perish. We are not setting up any ideal state
of things as the result, but only such as shall show a conformity
between our political life and our social life, exhibiting equal defects
but also equal merits in both, affording the same scope to honorable
ambition, healthy activity and right purpose in the one as in the other.
We are not calling for any change in the character of our institutions
or one which they afford no means of effecting, but the removal by a
method which they themselves provide of an incumbrance which impairs
their nature and impedes their working. No partial measure will
suffice--none that will depend for its efficacy on the disposition of
those whose duty it will be to enforce it--none that will be exposed to
the attacks of those whose interest it will be to reverse it. The end
can be secured neither by the action of the President nor by that of
Congress. Reform, in order that it may endure and bear fruit, must be
engrafted on the organic law, its principles made the subject of an
amendment to the Constitution, in which they should have been originally

It may be urged in reply that the present action of those who desire
Reform is of a preliminary character; that they are simply grasping the
instruments with which the work is to be done; that the ultimate object
can be achieved only in the distant future, when the nation has been
aroused to a sense of its necessity. But the question arises, Is their
present action consistent with their principles and suited to advance
their purpose? When they stand between the opposite parties, dickering
with each in turn, ready to accept any candidate but one that either may
put forward, inciting people by the prospect of their support to violate
their pledges, are they introducing purer methods or giving their
sanction to those which are now in use? Will any nomination they may
obtain by such means bring the question squarely before the nation?
Would a President elected by their aid be recognized by the country as
the champion of Reform? Are they more likely to "capture" the party with
which they connect themselves or to be captured by it? If they give
their aid to the Democrats, will they expect the Democrats in return to
give aid to the cause of Reform? If they support a Republican candidate
satisfactory to themselves, will not the lukewarmness or disaffection of
large sections of the party ensure his defeat? If the "best man" on each
side be nominated, are the Reformers secure against a division and
melting away of their own unorganized and easily-disheartened ranks?
Will the victory, in any case, be other than a party victory, leaving
the fruits to be reaped and further operations to be planned by those
who have organized and conducted the campaign?

We know well that it is only in a distant future that Reform can hope
for a complete and assured success. But it is in a distant future that
the greatest need for it, and with that need its opportunity, will
arise. Serious as are the present effects of the virus that has stolen
into our system, its malignant character and fatal tendency are apparent
only to those who have made it the subject of a careful diagnosis. This
in part accounts for the apathy of the great mass of the people under a
state of things which in almost any other country would lead to a
profound and general agitation. Another cause lies in the consciousness
of a power to remedy all such evils by peaceful and ordinary methods;
and a third, in the present lack of any organization for applying those
methods. This lack will be supplied, and the first step toward a remedy
taken, when, instead of a body of "Independents" making no direct appeal
to the people, treating alternately with each of the two existing
organizations, and liable to be merged in one or the other, we have a
Reform Party standing on its own ground, assuming a distinctive
character, refusing any junction or compromise with other parties, and
trusting to the only means consistent with its aim and capable of
attaining it. Eight years ago there was a junction with the Democrats,
four years ago a compromise with the Republicans, and one or other of
these courses is the only choice presented now. This policy can lead
only to defeat or to an empty and illusive victory, worse than defeat.

Had a different policy been pursued in the past, the situation at
present would, we believe, be a very hopeful one. It is impossible not
to see that the existing parties are undergoing a disintegration which
was inevitable from several causes, and which on one side at least would
be far more rapid if a third party stood ready to profit by it. One
cause of this disintegration is the natural tendency to decay of
organizations that have lost their _raison d'être_--that have ceased to
embody any vital principle and consequently to appeal to any strong and
general sentiment. Another is the disgust inspired by the base uses to
which they have been turned--a feeling shared by a far larger number of
voters than those who have already proclaimed their independence. A
third lies in the feuds among the leaders and managers of each party,
who, having no longer any principle to represent or any common cause to
contend for, have thrown away all pretence of disinterestedness and
generous emulation and engaged in a strife of which the nature is
undisguised and the effect easy to foresee. Thus it is that outraged
principles work out their revenge, making their violators mutually
destructive, and clearing a way for those who are prepared to assert and
maintain them. In the Democratic party the breach may possibly be
skinned over, though it can hardly be healed: in the Republican party it
must widen and deepen. The latter stands now in a position analogous to
that of the Whig party when it made its last vain attempt to elect its
candidate, and shortly after went to pieces, the mass of its adherents
going over to that meagre band which in the same election had stood firm
around the standard of Liberty. It is for the Reformers to say whether
they will contend for the inheritance which is legitimately theirs. With
a cause so clear they have no right to intrigue and no reason to
despair. They have on their side the best intelligence of the country,
and consequently at their command the agencies which have ever been the
most potent in the long run. What they need is faith, concert and



Everybody has heard of it, and those who have been in Switzerland have
seen in the shop-windows, if nowhere else, or in the hat of the man who
leads their horse over the Wengern Alp, the little irregular,
star-shaped flower with thick petals that look as if they were cut out
of white flannel. People may not be certain how its name is
pronounced--may call it _eedelwise_, or even _idlewise_--but as to its
habits every one is fully persuaded in his own mind; that is to say, if
one person believes that it grows on rocks, another is equally sure that
it blooms under the snow, while in either case there is apt to be an
impression that it is found only in regions where the foot of the
ordinary tourist may not venture. The writer has found it, however, in
various places perfectly accessible to good walkers or where a horse
could carry those not in that category. Edelweiss certainly likes to
grow among rocks, on the brink of a precipice or down the face of it,
and out of reach if possible; but it will also nestle in the grass at
some distance from the brink, and may be found even where there is no
precipice at all.

The village of Zweisimmen is a quiet summer resort in the Upper
Simmenthal, in the canton of Berne. The valley is green and peaceful,
with chalets dotted over all the mountain-sides: the rocks of the
Spielgarten tower on the one hand, the snow of the Wildstrubel closes
the view to the south, where the Rawyl Pass leads to Sion in the valley
of the Rhone, and, looking northward, the mountains grow more and more
blue and distant in the direction of Thun. From Zweisimmen, on four
excursions, the writer and others have had the pleasure of picking
edelweiss. First, at the Fromattgrat. Horses and saddles are forthcoming
when required, and the four legs go as far as the scattered chalets of
Fromatt, the wide mountain-pasture which is reached after a steady
ascent of two hours and a half. Across from the chalets rises the _grat_
or ridge where we have to seek our edelweiss. As we mount higher the
gray masses of the Spielgarten seem very near: a fresh vivifying wind,
the breath of the Alps, makes one forget how warm it was toiling up the
gorge. The clouds are drawing around in white veils and sweeping down
into the valley, quite concealing our destination at times, hiding even
the members of the party from each other if they separate themselves a
little. Our fine day takes on a decidedly doubtful aspect: nevertheless,
after the first cry, "Here's some!" nobody thinks of impending
discomforts. Here and there in the grass the soft white petals have
opened, but where the _grat_ sinks straight down for hundreds of feet it
grows more abundantly, on the edge, and, alas! chiefly over the edge;
and here a steady head and common prudence come in play. Furnished with
those requisites, we can collect a bunch of edelweiss, and go on our way
rejoicing even though the rain-drops begin to fall, the wind grows
wilder, and presently hail comes in cutting dashes anything but
agreeable to one's features. We go back along the ridge and descend to
the broad-roofed chalet that lies invitingly below. It goes by the name
of the Stierenberger Wirthschaft, and is known to all the cow-herds
round; but we want no doubtful wine, only fresh milk and thick cream in
a wooden bowl, and a brown fluid called coffee. Bread we brought with
us, not caring to exercise our teeth on last month's bake. In any case,
nothing more solid than bread and cheese is to be found here, tavern
though it is. A fire blazes in the first room, which has no window, and
might properly be styled the antechamber of the cow-house, into which
there is a fine view through an open door. Sixty tails are peacefully
whisking to and fro, for in the middle of the day the cattle are housed
to protect them from flies. All the implements of cheese-making--the
immense copper kettle, the presses, pails, etc.--are kept in the
antechamber. After trying to dry ourselves at the hearth, and
discovering that much hail comes down the great square chimney and very
little smoke goes up, we are shown into the "best room," the furniture
of which consists of a bed, a pine table and benches. In the adjoining
apartment are two beds, the gayly-painted chest in which our hostess
brought home her bridal outfit, and another table; while in both rooms
the knives and forks are stuck in the chinks of the beams over the
benches--a convenient arrangement by which one has only to stretch up an
arm and take down from the ceiling whatever implement is needed. In most
of these chalets a tall man might be embarrassed what to do with his
head: it is only necessary to go into their houses to perceive that the
Swiss mountaineers are short of stature. When the hail and rain have
ceased we start downward over the hilly pastures, through pine woods and
beside a rushing stream, into the valley, and so back to Zweisimmen.

Another excursion was to go up to the same inn, and thence to a little
lake at the foot of the Seeberg, where edelweiss is again to be found.
At Iffigen Lake it may also be had in abundance; and the fourth and last
occasion on which we picked it was on the Rawyl Pass. From Zweisimmen
one drives to Lenk, whence the fine glaciers of the Wildstrubel are in
full view, then through the village and up a steep ascent, but a good
carriage-road still, to the beautiful Iffigen Fall. The water descends
almost perpendicularly over picturesque rocks from a great height,
falling in long arrows that seem to hesitate and linger in mid-air, and
then take a fresh swoop down: a rainbow spans it at the foot, where the
mist rises. Here the carriage is left, and those who intend to ride take
to the saddle. The way goes up steeply to the broad Iffigen Alp, shut in
on either hand by Nature's towering gray battlements. Having reached the
chalets at the farther end of the pasture, we find ourselves facing the
solid rock and wondering what next. Over the brow of the lofty parapet
falls a little stream, looking like a white ribbon as it foams on its
dizzy way. "The path certainly cannot be there," we say; but, as it
happens, it is just there. It zigzags up, cut with infinite labor in the
face of the mountain, like the famous Gemmi road from Loèche-les-Bains,
only that it is not so smooth and more picturesque. The Rawyl, like the
Gemmi, is sometimes given the reputation of a dangerous pass, but in our
party a lady rode the whole way without feeling the least uneasiness.
The path goes up and up until it crosses the waterfall, where one is
showered with cooling spray: soon after we are over the top of the rock
and on plainer ground, but still mounting. A hut is passed where the
guide says travellers can spend the night should it overtake them. There
is indeed nothing to prevent their spending the night there, but also
nothing to aid them in so doing: the place is uninhabited and
unfurnished, the only sign that it is a shelter for human beings and not
for cattle being a tiny stove in one corner, with a pile of wood. Now a
small green lake lies beside the way, and then the chalet on the summit
is in sight, and a cross that marks the boundary between the cantons of
Berne and Valais. There the highest point of our journey is reached in
two and three-quarter hours from where the carriage was left, and we
walk nearly another hour on the level. Snow lies in wide fields in
several places across the path: the pass is never wholly free from it,
for what is rain in the valley is apt to be snow at seven thousand nine
hundred feet, the height of the Rawyl. During this part of the way the
scene is most wild and impressive: the dark masses of the Mittaghorn,
the Rohrbachstein and Rawylhorn, and the dazzling glacier of the
Wildhorn rise majestically into blue space, while from the granite
summits to the very path under our feet there is nothing but rock, rock,
rock! It is as if we were passing where the foot of man had never trod
before, so solemn is the stillness here in the midst of the "everlasting
hills." To see one solitary bird flitting fitfully from point to point
only makes the loneliness seem greater, and it is absolutely touching
to find in a place like this the lovely little _Ranunculus alpestris_
and _Ranunculus glacialis_ forcing a way between the shingly stones and
opening their delicate white petals to light and air. The purple
_Linaria alpina_ keeps them company, but it is only farther on, and as
we come to green again, that asters, pansies and gentians gem the grass.
Where the way begins to descend to Sion there is an enchanting view into
the valley of the Rhone, and for a background to the picture a superb
line of glaciers and snow-peaks, among them the Matterhorn. The path to
Sion can be traced for some distance down, but our party intended to go
back by the way it came; and while we still lingered, wandering among
the knolls and rocks, we discovered edelweiss, faded and gray, however,
for in these regions the latter part of August is too late to find it in

As American ladies have the reputation of being poor pedestrians, it may
be of interest to add that ladies walked on all these excursions.



It will always remain a mystery to sensible people why, when they are
held to a rigid consistency, compelled to face palpable and indisputable
facts, and to acknowledge that under all circumstances two and two make
four, and never five, there is another class who from childhood to old
age thrive on their mistakes, are never forced to pay the piper, and are
granted the privilege of counting the sum of two and two as four when
convenient, and five when they like, or a hundred if so it should please

These are the spoiled children of the world, whose fate it is to get the
best of everything without regard to their deserts. Others may be warm,
may shiver with cold, may be weary, may be ill, but they must not
complain. The burden of lamentation comes from those who were never too
warm or too cold, never weary or ill, but who tremble lest in some cruel
way they should be forced to suffer, and thus provide against it
beforehand. To these spoiled children the system of things in general
has no other design than to give them comfort in particular. And by some
subtle law of attraction the good things of the world are almost certain
naturally to gravitate toward them. They sleep well; they dine well;
they are petted by everybody; they have no despairs; they never suffer
from other people's mishaps.

A woman who marries one of these spoiled children may be sure of an
opportunity to practise all the feminine virtues. She is certain to have
been very much in love with him, for he was handsome, could dance and
flirt to perfection, and was the very ideal of a charming lover. The
little dash of selfishness in his ante-nuptial imperiousness and tender
tyranny pleased her, for it seemed to be the expression of a more ardent
love than that of every-day men. It depends very much upon her
generosity and largeness of heart whether she soon wakes up to the fact
that she has married a being destitute of sympathy, wholly careless and
ignorant of others' needs and requirements, full of caprices, allowing
every impulse to carry him away, and thoroughly bent on having his own
will and bending everybody about him to his own purposes.
Self-renunciation and absolute devotion and self-sacrifice are natural
to women of a certain quality of intellect and heart, and possess the
most powerful charm to their imagination, provided they can have a dash
of romance or a kindling of sentiment. Hence this form of martyrdom
offers the female sex the pose in which it has sat for its portrait all
the centuries since civilization began, and the picture stands out
impressively against a background we all can recognize. As a school for
heroism nothing can equal marriage with a spoiled child.

But, although probably quite as many instances may be found in one sex
as in the other, the characteristics of a spoiled child are distinctly
feminine, and in no measure belong to robust masculinity. Thus, for a
study, let us take a girl who from her cradle has found everything
subordinate to her princess-like whims, inclinations and caprices, and
has had her way by smiles and cajoleries or sobs and tears, as the case
may be. She finds out at an early age that it is pleasanter and more
profitable to be petted and pampered than to be forced to shift for
herself. She learns that an easy little pitiful curve of her coral lips
and upward glance of her baby orbs is answered by certain manifestations
of tenderness and concern: thus she "makes eyes," flirts, as it were,
before she can talk, and studies the art of successful tyranny. The
nursery--in fact, the entire house--rejoices when she rejoices and
trembles when she weeps. She wants everything she sees, and sulks at any
superiority of circumstances in another; but then she sulks
bewitchingly. Wherever she goes she carries an imperious sway, and keeps
her foot well on the necks of her admirers.

The spoiled child blossoms into perfection as a young lady. That is her
destiny, and to the proper fulfilment of it her family and friends stand
ready to devote themselves. It may be they are a trifle weary of her
incalculable temper, that her fascinations have palled a little upon
them, and that her mysterious inability to put up with the lot of
every-day mortals and bear disagreeables contentedly has worn out their
patience. They want her to marry, and, without wasting any empty wishing
upon a result so certain to come, she wants to marry herself. She is not
likely to have unattainable ideals: what she demands is a continuation
of her petted existence--a lifelong adorer to minister to her vanity and
desires, to find her always beautiful, always precious, and to smooth
away the rough places of life for her.

Nothing can be more bewitching than she is on her entrance into society.
Nothing could seem more desirable to an admirer than the possession of
the beautiful creature, who, with her alternations of sweetness and
imperiousness, tenderness, and cruelty, stimulates his ardor and appears
more like a spirit of fire and dew than a real woman. It seems to him
the most delightful thing in the world when she confesses that she never
likes what she has, but always craves what she has not--that she hates
everything useful and prosaic and likes everything which people declare
she ought to renounce. She is unreasonable, and he loves her
unreason--it bewitches him: she is obstinate, and he loves to feel the
strength of her tiny will, as if it were the manifestation of some
phenomenal force in her nature. Her scorn for common things, her
fastidiousness, her indifference to the little obligations which compel
less dainty and spirited creatures,--all act as chains and rivet his
attachment to her.

A few months later, when she has become his wife, and he is forced to
look at her tempers and her caprices, at her fastidiousness and
expensiveness, from an altered standpoint, her whole character seems to
be illuminated with new light. He no longer finds her charming when she
has an incurable restlessness and melancholy: her pretty negations of
the facts life present to her begin to seem to him the product of a mind
undisciplined by any actual knowledge that she is "a human creature,
subject to the same laws as other human creatures." He has hitherto
considered that her scorn for the common and usual indicated an
appreciation of the rarest and loftiest, but she seems to have no
appreciation for anything save enjoyment. She has no idea of the true
purposes of life: she likes everything dwarfed to suit her own stature.
It is not by compliance that her husband can give her more than
temporary pleasure. If she wants to see Europe, Europe will not satisfy
her. "Sense will support itself handsomely in most countries," says
Carlyle, "on eighteen pence a day, but for fantasy planets and solar
systems will not suffice."



Weekly prayer-meetings in New England villages offer a variety of
singular experiences to the unaccustomed listener, and it seems almost
incredible at times that they can furnish spiritual sustenance even to
the devout. There are apt to be two or three among the regular
attendants who being, according to their own estimate, "gifted in
prayer," raise their voices loud and long with many a mellifluous
phrase and lofty-sounding polysyllable. Mr. Eli Lewis is one of the most
eloquent among the church-members in the village of C----, and if left
to his own way would engross the entire evening with his prayers and
exhortations. Nothing is too large for his imagination to grasp nor too
small for his observations to consider. "_O Lord, Thou knowest!_" he
repeats endlessly, sometimes qualifying this statement by putting into
the next phrase, "_O Lord, Thou art probably aware!_" He is fond of
poetry too, and frequently interpolates into his petition and
thanksgiving his favorite verses. His fellow-worshippers are fully
conscious of his excellent intentions, but there is some jealousy of the
surpassing length of his prayers. The other evening he was standing, as
his custom is, with his long arms upraised with many a strange gesture.
He had been on his feet half an hour already, and there began to be
signs of restlessness among the bowed heads around him. Still, there was
no sign of any let up. He was engaged in drawing a vivid picture of the
condition of the universe in the abstract, the world in general and his
country and native village in particular, and required ample time fully
to elucidate his views regarding their needs, but proposed to illustrate
it by quotations. "O Lord," said he, "Thou knowest what the poet Cowper
says--" He paused and cleared his throat as if the better to articulate
the inspired strains of poetry, and began again more emphatically: "O
Lord, Thou art probably aware what the poet Cowper says--" but the
second time broke off. He could not remember what it was the poet Cowper
said, but with a view to taking the place his memory halted at, went
back to the starting-place and recommenced: "O Lord, Thou recollectest
what the poet Cowper says--" It was of no use: he could not think of it,
and with a wild gesture put his hand to his head. "O Lord," he exclaimed
in a tone of excessive pain, "_I cannot remember what the poet Cowper
says_," and prepared to go on with other matter; but Deacon Smith had
been watching his opportunity for twenty minutes, and was already on
his feet. "_Let us pray_," he said in a deep voice, which broke on
Brother Lewis's ears with preternatural power, and he was obliged to sit
down while the senior deacon held forth. No sooner, however, had Deacon
Smith's amen sounded than Mr. Eli Lewis started up. "O Lord," he cried
in a tone of heartfelt satisfaction, "I remember now what the poet
Cowper says;" and, repeating it at length, he finished his remarks.

It was Deacon Smith who one Sunday asked his pastor to put a petition
for rain into his afternoon prayer, as moisture was very much needed by
the deacon's parched fields and meadows. Accordingly, Dr. Peters, who
was something of a rhetorician, alluded in his prayer to the melancholy
prospects of the harvest unless rain should soon be sent, and requested
that the Almighty would consider their sufferings and dispense the
floods which He held in His right hand. After service, as the reverend
doctor left the church, he saw Mr. Smith standing rigid in the porch,
perhaps looking for a rising cloud, and remarked to him, "Well, deacon,
I hope our petition may be answered." He received only a snort of wrath
and defiance in reply. Rather puzzled as to what had vexed his
parishioner, Dr. Peters said blandly, "You heard my prayer for a shower,
Deacon Smith?" The deacon turned grimly: "I heard you mention the matter
of rain, Dr. Peters, but, good Heavens, sir! _you should have insisted
upon it!_"



This beautiful garden, one of the most attractive places in the world,
was established in the Bois de Boulogne in 1860. It was in the most
flourishing condition at the time of the breaking out of the war with
Germany. That war nearly ruined it. During the siege elephants and other
valuable animals were sacrificed for food. The carrier-pigeons that did
such noble service during the siege were mostly raised in this
establishment, and those that survived the war are kept there and most
tenderly preserved. "Many died gloriously on the field of honor," as we
read in the records of the society, which preserve a full account of
their wonderful feats. Some of them again and again dared the Prussian
lines, carrying those precious microscopic despatches photographed upon
pellicles of collodion--so light that the whole one hundred and fifteen
thousand received during the siege do not weigh over one gramme, a
little over fifteen grains!

The great greenhouse of these gardens for plants that cannot endure a
temperature lower than two degrees below zero centigrade (28.4° Fahr.)
would enchant even the most indifferent observer. The building itself is
one of the finest structures of its kind. It was once the property of
the Lemichez Brothers, celebrated florists at Villiers, at which place
it was known as the Palais des Flors. The Acclimatation Society
purchased it in 1861, and every winter since then there has been a
magnificent and unfailing display of flowers there. Masses of camellias,
rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses, _bruyères_, pelargoniums constantly
succeed each other. These are merely to delight the visitors, the great
object of the hothouse being to nurse foreign plants and experiment with
them. Among the rare ones are the paper-plant of the _Aralia_ family;
the _Chamærops_, or hemp-plant; the _Phormium tenax_, or New Zealand
flax; and the _Eucalyptus_ of Australia, that wonderful tree introduced
lately into Algeria, where it grows six mètres a year, and yields more
revenue than the cereals. This, at least, is what the official handbook
of the garden says. It may be that the famous "fever-plant" has lost
some of the faith accorded to it at first.

At the end of this great greenhouse there is a beautiful grotto where a
little brook loses itself playing hide-and-seek among the fronds of the
maiden-hair and other lovely ferns. At the right of this grotto is a
reading-room where visitors may find all the current periodicals--on the
left, the library of the society, rich in works upon agriculture,
_zootechnie_, natural history, travels, industrial and domestic economy,
etc., in several languages. The remarkable thing about this great
greenhouse is the ever-flourishing, ever-perfect condition of its
vegetation. Of course this effect must be secured by succursal
hothouses, not always open to visitors. No tree, no plant, ever appears
there in a sickly condition, but this may be said also of the animals in
the gardens. I shall not soon forget a great wire canary cage some
sixteen or more feet square, enclosing considerable shrubbery and scores
of birds. There I received my first notion of the natural brilliancy of
the plumage of these birds: its golden sheen literally dazzled the eyes.

The garden does excellent work for the French people besides furnishing
a popular school and an inimitable pleasure resort: it assures the
preservation of approved varieties of fruits, grains, animals. Whoever
questions the absolute purity of his stock, from a garden herb up to an
Arabian steed, can place this beyond question by substituting those
furnished by the Society of Acclimatation. Eggs of birds packed in its
garden have safely crossed the Atlantic, seventy-five per cent. hatching
on their arrival. So immensely has the business of the society increased
that more ground has had to be secured for nursery and seed-raising
purposes, and the whole vast Zoological Gardens of Marseilles have been
secured and turned into a "tender," as it were, to the Jardin
d'Acclimatation at Paris. This was a very important acquisition.
Marseilles, the great Mediterranean sea-port of France, is necessarily
the spot where treasures from Africa, Asia and the South Sea Islands
have to be landed, and they arrive often in a critical condition and
need rest and careful nursing before continuing their journey.

One of the functions of the garden is to restock parks with game when
the pheasants, hares, wild-boars, deer, etc. become too rare for good
sport: another is to tame and break to the harness certain animals
counted unmanageable. The zebra is one of these. The society has
succeeded perfectly in breaking the zebra and making him work in the
field quite like the horse. An ostrich also allows itself to be
harnessed to a small carriage and to draw two children in it over the
garden. Still another work of the society is to breed new species. A
very beautiful animal has been bred by crossing the wild-ass of Mongolia
with the French variety.

Among the rare animals of the garden may be mentioned the apteryx,
the only bird existing belonging to the same family as the
_Dinornis giganteus_ and the still larger _Epyornis maximus_ of
Madagascar--monstrous wingless birds now extinct. One of the eggs of the
latter in a fossil condition is preserved in the museum of the Garden of
Plants in Paris. Its longer axis is sixteen inches, I think. It is, for
an egg, a most wonderful thing, and on account of its size the bird
laying it has been supposed to be of very much greater size than even
the _Dinornis giganteus_, a perfect skeleton of which exists; but this
seems to be a too hasty conclusion, for the apteryx, a member of the
same family, has laid an egg or two in captivity, and one of these on
being weighed proved to be very nearly one-fourth the whole weight of
the bird, the bird weighing sixty ounces and the egg fourteen and a

The _Tallegalla Lathami_, or brush-turkey of Australia, is another rare
bird. It does not sit upon its eggs, but constructs a sort of hot-bed
for them, which it watches during the whole term as assiduously as a
wise florist does his seeds planted under glass or as a baker does his
ovens. As in the ostrich family, it is the male that has the entire care
of the family from the moment the eggs are laid--a fairer division of
labor than we see in most _ménages_. The interesting process of
constructing the hot-bed has been observed several times in Europe. It
is as follows: When the time arrives for the making of the nest the
enclosure is supplied with sticks, leaves and detritus of various kinds.
The male then, with his tail to the centre of the enclosure, commences
with his powerful feet to throw up a mound of the materials furnished.
To do this he walks around in a series of concentric circles. When the
mound is about four feet high the female adds a few artistic touches by
way of smoothing down, evening the surface and making a depression in
the centre, where the eggs in due time are laid in a circle, each with
the point downward and no two in contact. The male tends this hot-bed
most unweariedly. "A cylindrical opening is always maintained in the
centre of the circle"--no doubt for ventilation--and the male will often
cover and uncover the eggs two or three times a day, according to the
change of temperature. The observer, noting how intelligently this bird
watches the temperature, almost expects to see him thrust a thermometer
into his mound! On the second day after it is hatched the young bird
leaves the nest, but returns to it in the afternoon, and is very cozily
tucked up by his devoted papa.

One thing in the garden that used to greatly attract visitors was the
Gaveuse Martin, a machine for cramming fowls in order to fatten them
rapidly. The society considered Martin's invention of so much importance
to the world that it granted him a building in the garden and permission
to charge a special admission. The machine has since been introduced
into the artificial egg-hatching establishment of Mr. Baker at
Catskill-on-the-Hudson; at least, he has a machine for "forced feeding"
which must greatly resemble Martin's. Specimens fattened by the Gaveuse
Martin, all ready for the _broche_, used to be sold on the premises. The
interior of the building was occupied by six gigantic _épinettes_, each
holding two hundred birds. A windlass mounted upon a railroad enabled
the operator (_gaveur_, from _gaver_, to cram, an inelegant term) very
easily to raise himself to any story of the épinette. The latter was a
cylinder turning upon its axis, and thus passing every bird in review.
"An india-rubber tube introduced into the throat, accompanied by the
pressure of the foot upon a pedal, makes the bird absorb its copious and
succulent repast in the wink of an eye." Four hundred an hour have been
thus fed by one operator. Fowls thus fattened are said to possess a
delicacy of flavor entirely their own.

M. H.


     Christy Carew. By May Laffan, author of "The Honorable Miss
     Ferrard," etc. (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt &

The novels to which Miss Laffan gives a sponsor in affixing her
signature to the latest, _Christy Carew_, present two strong and
distinct claims to our notice in the vigor and realism with which they
are written, and the thorough picture they give of Ireland, politically
and socially, at the present day. They are no mere repetitions of
hackneyed Irish stories, no sketches drawn from a narrow or partial
phase of life, but the result of large and penetrating observation among
all classes, made in a thoroughly systematized manner, so as to form a
thoughtful and almost exhaustive study of a country which is more
dogmatized over than understood. Ireland has never been depicted with so
much interest and sympathy by any novelist since Miss Edgeworth wrote
her _Moral Tales_, and both the country and the art of novel-writing
have advanced since then, the latter possibly more than the former. Miss
Edgeworth, indeed, has been singularly unfortunate. She drew from life,
and her talent and observation were worthy of a more lasting shrine,
while the artificiality of her books has caused them to decay even
faster than those of some of her contemporaries. Her successors in Irish
fiction, with no lack of talent, have been too often careless in using
it, or have preferred story-telling to observation. Miss Laffan wields a
genuine Irish pen, graphic, keen of satire, with plenty of sharp
Hibernian humor, but she shows in its exercise a care and directness of
aim which are not the common qualities of Irish writers. In beginning
her career as a novelist she had the courage to refrain from the pursuit
of those finer artistic beauties which lure to failure so many writers
incapable of seizing them: she even put aside the question of plot, and
strove to give a sound and truthful representation of life and manners.

That end was gained with masterly success. No one reading the anonymous
novel _Hogan, M.P._, would have been likely to set it down from internal
evidence as a woman's book: it is one of the stoutest and most vigorous
pieces of fiction which have appeared for years. We can find no trace of
its having been reprinted in this country, and are at a loss to account
for the omission: its distinctively Irish character ought to form an
attraction. _Hogan, M.P._, is a political novel as realistic as Anthony
Trollope's, but more incisive in tone and wider in scope. Instead of
confining her energies to the doings and conversations of one set of
people, Miss Laffan looks at politics as they are mirrored in society,
sketching not alone the wire-pulling and petty diplomacies, but phases
of life resulting therefrom. In _Hogan, M.P._, we have a vivid _coup
d'oeil_ of Dublin society, with its sharp, irregular boundaries, its
sects and sets, its manner of comporting and amusing itself. The field
is a wide one, but Miss Laffan has the happy art of generalization--of
portraying a whole society in a few well-marked types. There is no
confusion of character, and though we seem to have shaken hands with all
Dublin in her pages, from great dignitaries to school-boys, the picture
is never overcrowded.

"A drop of ditch-water under a microscope" Hogan calls the society of
his native city--"everybody pushing upward on the social ladder kicking
down those behind." This zoological spectacle is not confined to Dublin,
but there appears to be a combination of strictness and indefiniteness
of precedence belonging peculiarly to that place. At the top of the
ladder, though not so firmly fixed there as before the Disestablishment,
is the Protestant set, regarding the Castle as its stronghold and
looking down on the Roman Catholic set, who reciprocate the contempt.
These grand divisions are separated by a strict line of demarcation,
even the performance of the marriage ceremony between Protestants and
Catholics being forbidden in Dublin. They contain an endless
ramification of lesser groups, whose relations we may attempt to
illustrate by quoting from the book before us an account of the mutual
position of Mrs. O'Neil and Mrs. Carew, the former the wife of a
tradesman shortly to become lord mayor, the latter a "'vert" from
Protestantism and the spouse of a Crown solicitor in debt to his future
mayorship. "The lady mayoress elect, conscious of her prospective
dignity in addition to the heavy bill due by the Carews, was the least
possible shade--not patronizing, for that would have been
impossible--but perhaps independent in manner. She did not turn her head
toward her companion as she addressed her; she put more questions to her
and in a broader accent than she usually did in conversation; and she
barely gave her interlocutor time to finish the rather curt
contributions she vouchsafed toward the conversation. On her side, Mrs.
Carew, mindful of her position and of her superior accent, which implied
even more, wanting to be condescending and patronizing, and half afraid
to be openly impertinent, was calm and self-possessed. She grew more
freezingly courteous as the other lady grew less formal."

We have said that Miss Laffan began with realism pure and simple.
_Hogan, M.P._, remains, so far, to our mind, her strongest book, but
there are finer and sweeter qualities in her other writings. We should
be inclined to rank _The Honorable Miss Ferrard_ as an artistic rather
than a realistic book, though it is based on the same soundness of
observation as its predecessor. It is an episode, suggestive, rather
analytic in treatment, with the freshness of a first impression--_le
charme de l'inachevé_. The heroine is a singularly original, fresh and
attractive conception. The book deals almost wholly with the outside
aspects of things, with picturesque rather than moral traits, though a
breath of feeling true and sweet is wafted across it and heightens its
fine vague beauty.

A deeper humanity is shown in the short story _Flitters, Tatters and the
Counsellor_, which made its first appearance in this magazine in
January, 1879. This sketch gained a quicker popularity than her longer
novels, and drew forth warm eulogies from critics so far apart in
standard as Ruskin, Leslie Stephen and Bret Harte.

_Christy Carew_, in its picture of two middle-class Catholic families in
Dublin, takes us back to the society described in _Hogan, M.P._, but its
range is narrower and its theme rather social than political. It is a
softer and more attractive book than _Hogan, M.P._, though, like that
novel, it is devoted to a realistic picture of life. Miss Laffan's
characters have the merit of being always real. They are often types,
but they are never mere abstractions. Whatever their importance or
qualities, they stand firmly on their feet, are individual and alive.
Her men are drawn with a vigor which ought to ensure them from the
reproach of being ladies' men. They may display traits of weakness, but
these are due to no faltering on the author's part. In _Christy Carew_
the men are in a minority as far as minuteness of portraiture goes, and
the most elaborate touches are bestowed on the two young girls who act
as heroines, for the one is as prominent as the other. Christy and her
friend Esther O'Neil present two types of girlhood. Esther, _dévote_ and
gentle, is a very tender, lovable figure, but there is perhaps more
skill shown in the more contradictory character of Christy, a pretty
girl addicted to flirting, keenly intelligent and impatient of the
restraints and inconsistencies of her religious teaching, yet with an
earnestness which makes her feel the emptiness of her life and vaguely
seek for something higher. When each of the friends is sought by a
Protestant lover their different ways of regarding the calamity are in
keeping with their characters, and though any reader will agree with
Christy that Esther was the more deserving of happiness, no one will be
sorry that her own love-story should find a pleasant dénouement. As an
argument in favor of mixed marriages the book would have been stronger
if Esther's lover had been separated from her only by prejudice, and not
by unworthiness as well, but the pathos of the story is in no way marred
by the neglect to clinch an argument. Like all Miss Laffan's novels, it
is simple in plot. Construction is not her strong point, and though
_Christy Carew_ has more story to it than her former books, it is by no
means technically perfect. There is a certain hurry about it: its good
things are not driven home, and effects upon which more skilful artists
would dwell at length are dropped in a concentration upon other objects.
The book, in the American edition, is also marred by numerous
typographical defects that betray a singular laxity in proof-reading.

_Hogan, M.P._, was published in 1876: Miss Laffan's career as a novelist
is therefore only four years old. We will not attempt to cast its
future: we have simply endeavored, as far as space would admit, to point
out the soundness of its foundation and the method by which it has been
laid. In all that she has written there is a reserved strength, a
sincerity and conscientiousness, which mark her work as unmistakably
genuine. A large store of observation lies behind all her writing, and
an intellectual power of a very high order is apparent throughout. What
she lacks is a mellowness and breadth of art which would enable her to
blend and concentrate her qualities--to bring the realism of _Hogan,
M.P._, into unison with the grace of _The Honorable Miss Ferrard_ and
the pathos and sympathy of _Christy Carew_--to give form and
completeness to her work. Then Ireland would have a great novelist.

     The Reminiscences of an Idler. By Henry Wikoff. New York:
     Fords, Howard & Hulbert.

The reminiscences of idle men are apt to be more entertaining than those
of busy men. The idler, passing his time in search of amusement, can
hardly fail to communicate it when he yields up his store of
experiences. Being disengaged, his mind is more observant and more
retentive of the by-play of life, which is the only amusing part of it,
than that of one of the chief actors can possibly be. Moreover, idlers
are the natural confidants of the busy: they are consulted, made useful
as go-betweens, entrusted with those little services which, being
transient and disconnected, are precisely suited to their disposition
and secure them a place in the economy of Nature. Mr. Wikoff has been a
model idler, with large opportunities of this description. From boyhood
he has, according to his own account, shirked all regular application
and devoted himself to the pursuit of pleasure, including the
gratification of an intelligent but superficial curiosity in regard to
men and manners. He has come in close contact with a great variety of
people, especially of a class whose private lives and public careers
react in the production of a piquant interest. These associations kept
his hands full of what only a very rigid censor would denominate
mischief. His intimacy with Forrest gained him a suitable companion in a
journey to the Crimea, and the tragedian a not less suitable negotiator
in the arrangements for his marriage and his professional engagements in
London. He aided Lady Bulwer in her fight with her husband's family and
the recovery of her stolen lap-dog. His friendly offices to Fanny
Ellsler were more important and fruitful. He had the chief share in
bringing her to America, smoothing away the difficulties, assuming the
responsibilities, and escorting her in person, while taking charge at
the same time of two other interesting and otherwise unprotected
females. It was, indeed, we need hardly say, in feminine affairs that
Mr. Wikoff was most at home. But his obliging disposition made him
equally ready to execute commissions for members of the Bonaparte
family, his relations with whom grew closer and more interesting at a
period subsequent to that which is embraced in this volume. Many other
notabilities, both American and European, have more or less prominence
in its pages. Some letters from Mrs. Grote are especially deserving of
notice. As long as it is confined to personal topics the narrative is
never dull. Without being distinguished for vigor or wit, it has the
graceful and sprightly garrulity characteristic of the well-preserved
veteran. Unfortunately, it betrays also the tendency to tediousness
which belongs to a revered epoch, much of it, being devoted to persons
and things seen only from a distance and without the powers of vision
requisite for penetrating their true character. But, in spite of this
defect, the book is exceedingly readable and enjoyable, and we trust to
have a continuation of it which may show a restraining influence
exercised with kindness and tact, such as were so often exerted by the
author for the benefit of his friends.

     The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg. By Anne
     Ayres. New York: Harper & Brothers.

There could not well be a stronger contrast than between the subject of
this book and that of the one just noticed. We have called Mr. Wikoff a
model idler, and with at least equal truth we may call Dr. Muhlenberg a
model worker, not because he was unremitting and methodical in labor or
because his work was his delight, but because it was consecrated by a
devoted singleness of purpose and crowned by the noblest achievements.
The life of the founder of St. Luke's Hospital and St. Johnland, as
exhibited in this faithful record, has the simplicity and grandeur of an
antique statue, and in the contemplation of it the marvel of its rare
perfection grows, till we are half inclined to ask whether it, too, be
not some relic of the remote past rather than a product of our own age.
Saintly purity, unbounded beneficence, intense earnestness and
great-hearted liberality of sentiment were never more symmetrically
blended than in the character of "the great presbyter," whose
ministrations were neither inspired nor confined by any narrower dogma
than "that love to man, flowing from love to God," which, as he himself,
with no lack of humility, said, "had been their impulse." It has been
justly observed that "he was eminently the common property of a common
Christianity," and not less truly that "there is, and ever will be, more
of Christian charity in the world because Dr. Muhlenberg has lived in it
as he did." He was perhaps not a man of extraordinary intellect, but his
singularly healthy mind, with its union of resoluteness and candor,
sound sense and lively fancy, gave the needed counterpoise to his moral
qualities, keeping his enterprises within the domain of the useful and
the practical, and thus saving him from the disappointments that too
often checker the career of the philanthropist. This biography, written
from long and intimate knowledge and admirable alike in spirit and
execution, will find, we may trust, a multitude of readers among members
of all sects and those who belong to none. Its interest is of a far more
absorbing kind than any that can be excited by gossip or anecdote. It is
that of a vivid portraiture, in which nothing characteristic is missing,
in which the details are all harmonious, and which awakens not only our
admiration, but our warmest sympathies.

_Books Received._

History of Political Economy in Europe. By Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui.
Translated from the fourth French edition by Emily J. Leonard. New York:
G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Pure Wine--Fermented Wine and Other Alcoholic Drinks in the Light of the
New Dispensation. By John Ellis, M. D. New York: Published by the

Shakespeare's History of King Henry the Fourth. Parts 1 and 2. Edited,
with Notes, by William J. Rolfe, A. M. New York: Harper & Brothers.

A History of New York. By Diedrich Knickerbocker. (New "Geoffrey-Crayon"
Edition of Irving's Works.) New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Card Essays: Clay's Decisions and Card-table Talk. By "Cavendish."
(Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.

William Ellery Channing: His Opinions, Genius and Character. By Henry W.
Bellows. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

The Virginia Bohemians: A Novel. By John Esten Cooke. (Library of
American Fiction.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

Nana: Sequel to "L'Assommoir." By Émile Zola. Translated by John
Stirling. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

The Hair, its Growth, Care, Diseases and Treatment. By C. Henri Leonard,
M. A., M. D. Detroit: C. Henri Leonard.

The Amazon. By Franz Dingelstedt. Translated from the German by J. M.
Hart. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Reminiscences of Rev. William Ellery Channing, D. D. By Elizabeth Palmer
Peabody. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Around the World with General Grant. By John Russell Young. Parts 19 and
20. New York: American News Co.

Proverbial Treasury. English and Select Foreign Proverbs. By Carl
Seelbach. New York: Seelbach Brothers.

The Princess Elizabeth: A Lyric Drama. By Francis H. Williams.
Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger.

A Foreign Marriage; or, Buying a Title. (Harpers' Library of American
Fiction.) New York: Harper & Brothers.

William Ellery Channing: A Centennial Memory. By Charles T. Brooks.
Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Rev. Mr. Dashwell, the New Minister at Hampton. By E. P. B.
Philadelphia: John E. Potter & Co.

History of the Administration of John De Witt. By James Geddes. New
York: Harper & Brothers.

Masterpieces of English Literature. By William Swinton. New York: Harper
& Brothers.

The Theory of Thought: A Treatise on Deductive Logic. New York: Harper &

The Logic of Christian Evidences. By G. Frederick Wright. Andover:
Warren F. Draper.

Modern Communism. By Charles W. Hubner. Atlanta, Ga.: Jas. P. Harrison &

Free Land and Free Trade. By Samuel S. Cox. New York: G. P. Putnam's

Only a Waif. By R. A. Braendle ("Pips"). New York: D. and J. Sadlier &

Life: Its True Genesis. By R. W. Wright. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Joan of Arc, "The Maid." By Janet Tuckey. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Mrs. Beauchamp Brown. (No-Name Series.) Boston: Roberts Brothers.

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