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Title: Lippincott's Magazine, September, 1885
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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, September, 1885" ***

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LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE.

_SEPTEMBER, 1885._

Copyright, 1885, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.



ON THIS SIDE.


IX.

Among the inhabitants of the United States there are none that stand so
firmly on the national legs as the Virginians,--though it would be more
correct to contract this statement somewhat, substituting "State" for
"national," since it has never been the habit of Virginians to make
themselves more than very incidentally responsible for thirty-eight
States and ten Territories occupied by persons of mixed race, numerous
religions, objectionable politics, and no safe views about so much as
the proper way to make mint-juleps. When Sir Robert presented himself
one day at the door of a fine old house belonging to the golden age of
ante-bellum prosperity in Caroline County, he was received by two of the
most English Englishmen to be found on this planet, in the persons of
Mr. Edmund and Mr. Gregory Aglonby, brothers, bachelors, and joint-heirs
of the property he had come to look at. These gentlemen received him
with a dignity and antique courtesy irresistibly suggestive of bag-wigs,
short swords, and aristocratic institutions generally, a courtesy
largely mingled with restrained severity and unspoken suspicion until
his identity had been fully established by the letters of introduction
he had brought, his position defined, and his mission in Caroline
clearly set forth. An Englishman out of England was a fact to be
accounted for, not imprudently accepted without due inquiry; but, this
done, the law and traditions of hospitality began to alleviate the
situation and temper justice with mercy. The lady of the house was sent
for, and proved to be a wonderfully pretty old lady, who might have just
got out of a sedan-chair, whose manner was even finer and statelier than
that of her brothers (diminutive as she was in point of mere inches),
and who executed a tremendous courtesy when Sir Robert was presented.
"An English gentleman travelling in this country for pleasure, and
desirous of seeing 'Heart's Content,' Anne Buller," explained the elder
brother. Miss Aglonby's face, which had worn a look of mild interest
during the first part of this speech, clouded perceptibly at its close.
She murmured some mechanical speech of welcome in an almost inaudible
voice, and sat down in a rigid and uncompromising fashion, while her
heart contracted painfully. A gentleman to look at the place: there had
been several such in the last year, who had come, and seen, and objected
to the price, and ridden away again; but perhaps this one might not ride
away, and the uneasy thought tormented her throughout the conversation
that followed. The brothers, meanwhile, had quite accepted Sir Robert,
and had insisted, with a calm, authoritative air, on sending for his
"travelling impedimenta," which had been deposited at the hotel in a
neighboring town, and had expressed a lofty hope that he would do them
the honor to consider himself their guest.

"The _res angusta domi_ will not permit us to entertain you in a manner
befitting your rank and in consonance with our wishes," said Mr. Edmund
Aglonby, in his representative capacity as head of the family, "but,
that consideration waived, I need not say that we shall esteem it an
honor and a pleasure to have you domesticated beneath this roof as long
as you find any satisfaction in remaining."

"It was not my idea, certainly, to intrude upon you here, but rather to
treat with your solicitor in this matter; but if you find it more
agreeable to set him aside, which between gentlemen is usually
altogether more satisfactory, and will, in addition, allow me to become
your guest for a few days, I can only say that I shall be delighted to
accept your kind hospitality," replied Sir Robert.

"Brother Gregory, will you see that our guest's effects are at once
transferred to his room here?" said Mr. Aglonby, half turning in his
chair and giving a graceful wave with one of his long, shapely hands
toward the door, after which he bowed with dignified grace to Sir
Robert, and said, "Your decision gives us great satisfaction, sir." Mr.
Gregory Aglonby confirmed this statement in Johnsonian periods before he
left, and tiny Miss Aglonby expressed herself as became a lady who had
been receiving guests in that very room for fifty years with stiff but
genuine courtesy. The atmosphere was so familiar to Sir Robert that he
could scarcely believe himself to be in an American household. Could
this be the American type of his dreams? Was there ever a country in
which the scenes shifted so completely with a few hours or days of
travel? "If this goes on, America will mean everything, anything, to
me," he thought. "When I hear of a Frenchman, or German, or Italian, I
have some idea of what I shall find; but it is not so here at all. This
Mr. Aglonby is quite evidently a gentleman, and a high-bred one; but so
was Porter in Boston, and Colonel De Witt, and those Baltimore fellows;
yet how different they all are! These men remind me more of my
grandfather and my great-uncles than any Englishman of the present day.
Perhaps they are English. I'll ask. Who would ever suppose them to be
countrymen of Ketchum's?"

After dinner,--and you may be sure the dinner was a good one, for Miss
Aglonby was one of a generation of women whose knowledge of housewifely
arts was such that, shut up in a lighthouse or wrecked on a desert
island, they would have made shift to get a nice meal somehow, even if
they could not have served it, as she did, off old china and graced it
with old silver,--after dinner, then, a long and pleasant evening set
in, with no thought or talk of business-matters. Sir Robert was charmed
with his new acquaintances, and not less by the matter than by the
manner of their conversation. Did they talk of travels, Mr. Aglonby
"liked to read books of adventure," but had never been out of the State
of Virginia, and had no wish to go anywhere. He deplored his fate in
being compelled at his age to leave it permanently and take up his
residence in Florida, where his physician was sending him. He talked of
"Mr. Pope" and "Mr. Addison," quoted Milton and the Latin classics, and
had chanced upon "a modern work lately, by a writer named Thackeray,"
"Henry Esmond," which had pleased him extremely. On hearing this, Sir
Robert took occasion to ask him whether he liked any of the writings of
this and that New-England author of the day, about whom he had been
hearing a great deal since his arrival in the country, and Mr. Aglonby
replied, with perfect truth, that he had "never heard of them," though
he added that Irving and Cooper, the latest additions to his library,
were, in his opinion, "writers of merit." In politics Mr. Aglonby
declared himself the champion of a defunct party,--the "old-line
Whigs,"--and explained "the levelling, agrarian tendencies of Tom
Jefferson" and the result of his policy, which had been "to eliminate
the gentleman from politics." Mr. Gregory Aglonby spoke with regretful
emotion of that period of the history of Virginia in which her local
magistrates had managed county affairs in such a way as to secure her
"safety, honor, and welfare," when universal suffrage had not "cursed
the country with ignorance and incompetence, legally established at
present, indeed, but sure to be supplemented by a property or
educational test eventually." In religion they were what "the Aglonbys
had always been,--attached adherents of the Episcopal Church in this
country, as of the Establishment in England." Quite early in the evening
Sir Robert had propounded his question as to their nationality. "Are you
an American?" he had asked the elder of the two gentlemen, and both had
replied, "We are Virginians," in accents that were eloquent of love and
pride.

"Upon my word, if I were asked what your nationality was, I should say
that you were English," remarked Sir Robert, feeling that he was making
what they must see was a handsome concession. But he was not talking to
a Sam Bates now. Mr. Edmund Aglonby regarded him with a reserved air, as
if he had said something rather flippant.

Mr. Gregory said gravely, "You doubtless mean it kindly, but we would
prefer to be thought what we are,--Virginians. Not that we are ashamed
of our parent stock, but Anne Buller here is the seventh of the name
born in this country, and it is only natural that we should be
completely identified with it. Unworthy as we are to represent it, we
are Virginians." That anybody could be _more_ than a Virginian had never
crossed Mr. Aglonby's mind; but it should be said, in defence of what
many regard as an exaggerated State pride, that to such, men to be
_less_ than a Virginian (that is, an embodiment of the virtues
represented to them by the title) is equally impossible.

Whist was now proposed, and played by the light of two candles in
old-fashioned candlesticks, that towered high enough to allow mild
yellow rays to illuminate a vast expanse of bald head belonging to Mr.
Gregory, and made the dark sheen of the polished mahogany table dimly
visible beneath. An oil-lamp on the high mantel-shelf enabled Sir Robert
to get a ghostly impression of the large, bare room in which they were
sitting,--the high ceilings, the black-looking floors fading away into
grewsome corners, the spindle-legged furniture that had no idea of
accommodating itself to a lolling, mannerless generation, and loomed up
in some occasional piece in a threatening sort of way,--solid, massive,
dignified furniture, conscious of its obligations to society and ready
to fulfil them to the very end, however little a frivolous and
degenerate world might be worthy of such accessories. More than once in
the pauses of the game Sir Robert's eyes wandered to the pictures, of
which there were a number, all portraits, two being half discernible,--a
young matron in ruby velvet and pearls, with hair dressed in a pyramid,
a coach-and-six in court-plaster stuck on a snowy forehead, and eyes
that would have laughed anybody into a good humor; and, opposite, a
gentleman of the pursiest, puffiest, most prosperous description, the
husband of the young matron, and so evidently high-tempered, dull, and
obstinate, that he must have brought many a tear into the laughing eyes.

"A handsome woman, that," he said, after one of these moments of
inattention, "and a good picture."

"It is an ancestress of ours on the distaff side,--Lady Philippa
Vane,--and is accounted a Lely.--Brother Gregory, if you will have the
kindness to cut the cards we can proceed with our game.--The other is
her husband and cousin, a man of rank and large property but incurably
vicious propensities, to whom we are rather fond of attributing certain
follies and weaknesses in his descendants, and who we could wish had
laid to heart the maxim, '_Nobilitatis virtus non stemma character_.'
They were of the Vanes of Huddlesford," said Mr. Aglonby.

"Ah," said Sir Robert, "you suppose yourself to have some connection
with the Huddlesford Vanes?"

Mr. Aglonby's white tufted brows arched themselves in surprise above his
dark eyes at the question, and there was a little more dignified reserve
than before in his voice and manner as he said, "Descent and alliance
are not matters of _supposition_ in Virginia, but of record.--Anne
Buller, I beg your forgiveness for having inadvertently revoked. My
memory is really growing too treacherous to permit of my long enjoying
this diversion, however great the horrors of an old age without cards
may be."

The deferential courtesy paid to Miss Aglonby by her brothers was the
most remarkable feature of the game to Sir Robert, and, when it was
over, the first thought of both was to place a chair for her in the
corner she generally occupied. They were not in haste,--it was
impossible to associate the idea of hurry or flurry with either of
them,--but somehow there was a little collision between them in doing
this, followed by formal bows and elaborate mutual apologies, which were
broken in upon by Miss Aglonby's low voice, saying, "Brother Edmund, I
feared that you had slipped again.--He sustained a grave injury in that
way last winter" (this to Sir Robert), "and I am always afraid that the
disastrous experience may be repeated.--Brother Gregory, I thank you. I
am entirely comfortable, and I beg that you will be seated now. Perhaps
our guest will do us the favor to resume the very instructive and
entertaining discourse with which he was beguiling us earlier in the
evening."

Thus adjured, Sir Robert proceeded to instruct and entertain, with such
success that all three of his companions were charmed, though they gave
no frivolous evidences of it, such as laughing heartily, interrupting
him to interject phrases or opinions into the "discourse," or replying
in an animated strain. They listened with intelligent seriousness to
what he had to say, weighed it apparently, replied to it with gravity,
responded to some jest with a smile; but, although they were not people
to approve of crackling thorns under a pot, or any form of folly, they
were, in their way, appreciative of the culture, humor, and insight he
showed. Mr. Aglonby begged to be favored with his "observations" on
America, and added that "the dispassionate reflections of an intelligent
foreigner should be esteemed of the utmost value by all judicious
patriots and enlightened political economists, calling attention, as
they often did, to evils and dangers whose existence had not been
previously suspected." Mr. Gregory Aglonby wished to hear more of his
travels among "that God-forsaken people the French." Miss Aglonby was
eager to know more of the England of "Bracebridge Hall."

When bedtime came at last ("the proper season for repose," dear old Anne
Buller called it, when she rose to "retire"), another courtesy was
executed in front of Sir Robert by the châtelaine of "Heart's Content,"
who said, "How truly it has been remarked that we owe some of our
keenest pleasures in life to strangers! You must permit me to thank you
again for your improving and pleasing conversation, which I shall often
recall, and always with lively satisfaction. May your slumbers be
refreshing and your awakening devoid of all pain! I wish you a very good
night, sir." With this Miss Aglonby took up one of the top-heavy
candlesticks, and glided, like the shade she was and ghost of a past
period, up the stairs.

While Mr. Gregory was looking to bolts and bars, Sir Robert strayed
about the room with his hands behind him, looking at the pictures,
followed by Mr. Aglonby, who made no extensive comment on them, but gave
a word of explanation occasionally when his guest halted longer than
usual before a canvas, such as, "The First Edmund, who came here in
1654;" "Edmund the Second;" "Edmund the Third, in his Oxford cap and
gown;" "Gregory Aglonby, a colonel in the Revolutionary forces;"
"Red-haired Edmund, as we call him, because the others are all dark;"
"Colonel Everard Buller Aglonby, who represented this county in the
House of Burgesses for thirty years, and his wife, who was a Calvert,--a
great-aunt, a woman of extraordinary piety, who reduced herself from a
condition of affluence to comparative poverty by the manumission of her
three hundred slaves."

When he had shaken hands with his host at the door of his bedroom (which
was emphatically the room of a bed, a huge, be-stepped, pillared,
testered contrivance that waited at one end of the large apartment to
murder sleep), Sir Robert fell to winding his watch with what looked
like interest, but all his thoughts were with the Aglonbys.

"English gentlefolks of the eighteenth century preserved in Virginian
amber. What a curious survival! 'Gentlemen of a period of manners,
morals.' Remarkably interesting! Delightful types of a society as
extinct as the dodo," he was saying to himself. "There is but one mould
for the gentleman; but nature changes its shape with every century, I
suppose,--though I sometimes think she has gone out of the business
altogether in utter disgust. We have got a lot of plutocrats that are
tailors' blocks, and nobles that talk like stable-boys and act like
blackguards, and both fancy themselves gentlemen; but when I contrast
them with the men of my father's day even--And this dainty, charming old
bit of Chelsea-ware, Anne Buller! Her brothers treat her as though she
were a reigning princess. I wonder what she would say if she could see,
as I did the other day, a group of Nuneham girls calling each other by
their last names and smoking cigarettes with a half-dozen Cambridge men,
who chaffed them and treated them exactly as though they were so many
boys in petticoats. Well, well, the world moves, I know, and I am an
old fogy; but I shall not make myself hoarse shouting 'Huzza' until I
find out whether we are going to the devil or not. I hope I am not
getting as cynical as old Caradoc, who declares that he can always tell
a countess from an actress nowadays by the superior modesty and
refinement of--the actress."

In the next few days Sir Robert carefully inspected the rambling,
substantial old house, which, to Miss Aglonby's chagrin, he pronounced
"quite modern;" though he smiled when she informed him that "Heart's
Content" had been "refurnished quite recently,--in '48." He also went
over the land, only about four hundred acres, put the most searching
questions as to its practical value and uses, filled a tin box with the
earth, meaning to have it analyzed by "a respectable chemist," and went
into details generally with much energy. Nor had he anything to complain
of in the way of unfair dealing in Mr. Gregory Aglonby, who accompanied
him and gave him the fullest and frankest particulars about the
property, which he pointed out was going to rack and ruin, or rather had
gone there. Every broken gate and stony field was dear to his heart, and
it was a melancholy pilgrimage to him; but had not Mr. Aglonby said to
him that morning, "Brother Gregory, the place must go,--there is no help
for it,--and this gentleman seems likely to become a purchaser. Will you
see that the disadvantages of the property are set before him clearly,
especially such as a stranger would certainly overlook? I cannot
entertain a proposition of any kind looking to its ultimate purchase
until I know that this has been done, anxious as I am to have this
matter definitely concluded. I had thought to die here. But it has been
otherwise ordered by an overruling and all-wise Providence."

It did not escape Sir Robert that he was not likely to be overreached in
his bargain, however much he might repent of it; and when Mr. Gregory
pointed across the road and said, "The 'Little England' farm lies over
there, but produces less and less every year. The land is exhausted,"
Sir Robert thought, "The fellow is either quixotic or doesn't wish to
sell. I rather think the first: there has certainly been no shuffling
and pretending." Aloud he said, "The soil can't be exhausted. It is
virgin still compared to that of England, and all that it needs is
careful cultivation. It seems to me that what Virginia needs is
immigration."

Mr. Gregory looked displeased. It was as though Sir Robert had
criticised Anne Buller's dress. "On the contrary, we wish to keep
Virginia for Virginians," he said slowly. "We have no desire to see it
overrun by a horde of Irish and Dutch, and heaven knows what besides.
The proper place for that kind of people is the West and Northwest. If
we could get _the right class_ of English emigrants, that would be
another matter. But it is scarcely likely that they will come here in
any considerable number, now that the poor old commonwealth offers so
little remunerative return to the most honorable enterprise."

When Sir Robert had quite made up his mind that he would like to possess
the place, he telegraphed imperatively for Mr. Heathcote, who joined him
most reluctantly. Together they walked all over the county, saw a great
many people, and, having bought two hundred acres that marched with,
and, indeed, had formerly been a part of, the Aglonby estate, Sir Robert
made a liberal offer for Heart's Content, expressed his thanks for the
kind and honorable treatment he had received there, and, his terms being
accepted, paid the purchase-money, and begged that the family would suit
their own convenience entirely in giving it up. This settled, he went
his way to the Natural Bridge, which he considered should rank second
only to Niagara in this country in point of interest, and then went on
to Lexington, to visit General Lee's tomb, and from there to see
Stonewall Jackson's grave, which, to his intense astonishment and
indignation, he found half covered with visiting-cards,--the exquisite
tribute of the sentimental tourist to the stern soldier. He could do
nothing until he had cleared the last bit of pasteboard (with "Miss
Mollie Bangs, Jonesville," printed on it) away from the mound. This he
did energetically with his umbrella, after which he sat down quietly to
think of his favorite hero, who seemed to be "resting under the shade of
the trees over the river" rather than there, and fell to repeating
"Stonewall Jackson's Way,"--a very favorite lyric, which he knew by
heart. "'Appealing from his native sod In _forma pauperis_ to God,'
ought to be his epitaph. I think he would like that," he said. "I am
glad England can claim such a son, however indirectly. Fancy 'Miss
Mollie Bangs' leaving a card--and such a card--on old Blue-Light! A
decent one might do for Beau Brummel's grave, but Jackson's--!"

Mr. Heathcote was with him, and, after one careless glance, had strolled
up and down, absorbed in his own thoughts, which were not of war or
death. He only half listened to his uncle's praise of the great soldier,
and presently said, _à propos_ of nothing that had happened that day,
"Uncle, what would you say if I should ask you to let me live at
'Heart's Content'?"

"Eh? What's that?" asked Sir Robert, forgetting in his surprise to blow
out the lighted match he had just applied to the offending cards. "You
live in America? What idea have you got in your head, my boy?"

Mr. Heathcote could not tell his uncle that Edith had said that she
would never marry an Englishman, never! but that if she ever did, she
should insist upon his living in America, for to go away from mamma and
papa and the boys and everybody she cared for was a thing she could not
and would not do, not if she adored the man that demanded such a
sacrifice of her. What he did say was that he was tired of his aimless
life in London, and liked his uncle too well to look forward with any
pleasure to succeeding him, and that he should like to have a small
property to manage without aid of bailiff, steward, agent, or factotum
of any kind. "I could go over whenever I liked, or you needed me, and
you could come to me to see that I wasn't making ducks and drakes of the
property," he said. "And it is an experiment, I grant; but you have
always been awfully generous and kind to me, and I have something laid
by that would cover the possible losses my inexperience might cause, for
the first year at least. I am sure I can learn the trade, and am willing
to pay for my apprenticeship, if you will only let me try my hand at
farming."

"The boy is thinking of marrying," was Sir Robert's mental comment; but
he only said that he had bought the place with a very different idea,
but that he would think the matter over.

"You must remember that it will not be child's play," he said. "And if
you should grow attached to it and wish to stay, you will be practically
giving up your own country, you know. But America is hardly a foreign
country. It is the representative institutions, moral ideas, social
atmosphere, and mental habits that make a people, not the mere physical
features of the country, and in character the Americans are, as Mr.
Aglonby would say, 'Englishmen once removed'--across the Atlantic. You
might be quite happy and content among them. Just so."

"Oh, yes, I am sure I shall. You are quite in the right in what you say
of them," Mr. Heathcote eagerly replied.

And Sir Robert, who had purposely laid this trap for him, thought to
himself, "The boy is certainly in love. I must find out all about it,
unless he has the grace to tell me himself."

Much as she liked Niagara, Miss Noel was not sorry, after long delay, to
get a letter from Sir Robert, asking her to join him in Chicago, and
telling her of a delightful visit he had made to Richmond, where he had
been received "with particular kindness" and had met a great number of
agreeable people, most of them Virginians of the modern type and
scarcely so interesting, in a way, as the Aglonby family, who, as he saw
from other individuals, were survivals of a generation rapidly
disappearing, to be found only occasionally here and there now,--"a
class of aristocrats long a curious anomaly in a republican state,
hardly to be matched in Europe to-day outside of Austria, and never to
be reproduced."

It did not take Parsons long to do the necessary packing; but Miss Noel
consumed a whole day in putting up her carefully-labelled "specimens of
the flora of New York;" and Ethel had to settle with Mr. Bates, who
would doubtless rather have been rejected by an English-woman than
accepted by any American, and was not denied that luxury.

From Chicago the reunited forces went off almost immediately to Salt
Lake City, having only three days to give to a little hurried
sight-seeing in the "marvellous Sphinx city," as they called it in their
letters home.

At Salt Lake Mrs. Sykes was awaiting their arrival, and betrayed a
radiant satisfaction at the first glance.

"You can't think how busy I have been and what a lot I have
accomplished," she related exultantly. "I have found a whole village of
Thompsons with a _p_, and went and boarded there, and have got up a book
that Bentley will give me a hundred pounds for. And I have done a lot of
sketches to illustrate it, and, so far from being out of pocket, shall
have made by my American tour. It has been the greatest fun imaginable,
poking about in their houses and dishing them up afterward. And, only
fency, I've got a lock of Brigham Young's hair, _well authenticated_. I
palmed myself off on a person that I met as being a very great admirer
of his, and she gave me it. When I get home I'm going to have a ring
made of it, like the one Lady Bottsford has got made of King John of
Abyssinia's wool, which has been so talked of. People have taken to
noticing my rings very much ever since I had that tooth of darling
Bobo's polished and mounted in brilliants; and this will be
unique,--there will not be another like it in all England. I told the
person of whom I got it what I meant to do with it, and she said that I
must revere him deeply; and, do you know, I quite forgot my part that I
was playing, and said that I didn't care a fig for the old sinner, but
that it was a great curiosity. And she was so engry, quite fiawrious,
and wanted it back; but of course she didn't get it. When do we leave
this?"

They left as soon as Sir Robert had satisfied himself on certain points,
and Miss Noel bad been sufficiently shocked by a service in the
Tabernacle, and Mr. Heathcote had indulged in a bath in the lake, which
he persisted in taking, and in the course of which he went through any
number of antics in addition to his usual feats, in themselves
remarkable, for he was a vigorous and powerful swimmer. The
ex-Devonshire Elder (whom Mrs. Sykes had seen more than once slinking
about the streets, she said, but who had not come near her) was pleased
to be very polite to Sir Robert, or would have been if he had been
allowed; but, not wishing to conduct a Salt Lake campaign _à la_ Sykes,
Sir Robert was content to see the place in his own way, got a phial of
water from the lake, which Miss Noel said reminded her of Sodom and
Gomorrah and was "very suited to the odious place," looked at and into
such things as could be seen in a short stay, and made temperate,
careful records of the same in his note-book.

The next point of interest to the party was "'Frisco and the Yosemite,"
toward which they pushed as fast as steam could take them, Sir Robert
and Miss Noel being vividly interested in many things _en route_, Ethel
and Mr. Heathcote pleased by a few, Mrs. Sykes grumbling ceaselessly
about the length, monotony, bareness, aridity, stupidity, and general
hideousness of the journey. The only thing that really amused her was a
quarrel that she got up with a lady who sat near her. The acquaintance
promised to be friendly enough for a while, for the lady was an amiable
soul,--the wife of "a dry-goods merchant in Topeka," she told Mrs.
Sykes. The latter was pleased to ask her a great many questions and to
patronize her quite extensively in default of other amusement, so that
all went well at first. But the second stage of Mrs. Sykes's friendship
was not apt to be so pleasant as the first, and accordingly she much
astonished her neighbor one morning by saying to her curtly, "Why don't
you speak English?"

"Why, I do. I talk it all the time, don't I?" replied the lady.

"No, you don't. Just look here. I have made a list of the things you
say. They are not English at all. I don't know what you mean, often."

"Do you mean to say that you never heard anybody talk like me?" asked
the lady indignantly, as she fumbled in her bag for her glasses.

"Oh, I didn't say that. I've heard _some_ of the words among our
lodging-house-keepers; but you have invented others, and your
pronunciation is abominable. You should really mend it, if you can,"
replied Mrs. Sykes, with decision.

The list which had been so civilly put in the Topekan lady's hands was a
long one, and ran as follows: "Chawcolate, pawk, hawrid, cawd, squrl,
stoopid, winder, lemmy, gimmy, years (for ears), 'cute, edgercation,
conchienchous," etc., etc.

The fingers that held it trembled with rage long before it was finished,
for the Topekan lady had wealth and social aspiration, if not
"edgercation;" and when Mrs. Sykes broke in with, "Well, what do you say
to that?" she had a good deal to say, and said it very forcibly, in such
English as she could command, after which she swelled in speechless
anger opposite for the remainder of their journey.

"There it is again. If I say the least thing to these Americans they fly
out like that," complained Mrs. Sykes to Miss Noel.

But for sheer ill humor nothing could have surpassed her conduct when
they had "done" San Francisco, which she declared to be "a dull, dirty,
windy place, with a harbor of which entirely too much is
made,--ridiculously over-praised, in fact," and got under way for the
Yosemite. The roads, the rough vehicle, the country, could not be
sufficiently abused. However, when the spot was reached, she relented,
as she had done at Niagara, and, looking up at the giant trees,
graciously conceded that they also were "quite up to the mark."

It was a pleasant spectacle to see Sir Roberts enthusiasm. Such gazing
and neck-craning and measuring and speculating! Such critical inspection
of bark, leaves, soil, lichens! Such questioning of the guides! Such
keen delight, wonder, remeasuring, recraning, theories, calculations,
endless contemplation! The enjoyment of the others was as nothing,
compared to his,--for if there was a thing that he loved it was a fine
tree, and had he not some of the best timber in England, which he knew
as some generals have known their soldiers and some shepherds their
sheep? "Stupendous! Prodigious! Wonderful!" burst from his lips as he
walked slowly around them and rode between them as in a dream, perfectly
entranced. He could scarcely be dragged away, and at last was only moved
by the thought that there was so much that he "must positively see" in
the surrounding country which was waiting to be considered volcanically,
botanically, geologically, and otherwise. It was one of his vexations
that nature, art, science, history, commerce, were so long, and time and
a voraciously intelligent but mortal and limited baronet so fleeting. He
would have liked to spend several months on the Pacific coast, looking
into a thousand things with unflagging zeal and interest. It was really
afflicting to turn his back upon the early Spanish settlers, the Jesuit
missions, the grape and olive production, mining interests, earthquake
statistics, the Chinese problem, annual rainfall on the great plateau,
study of the Sierra Nevada range, and last, most alluring of all, that
of the Santa Barbara Islands, described by a companion of Drake as
densely populated by a white race with light hair and ruddy cheeks. When
Sir Robert thought of that people and of all the bliss of investigation,
he almost decided to make a winter of it in California and solve that
mystery or perish. But he had still much to accomplish, and he had fixed
the day for sailing before leaving England. So back the party came to
St. Louis, where they found a mountain of mail-matter from the four
quarters of the globe. There were five voluminous epistles from Mrs.
Vane to Miss Noel, and others from that household; a simple domestic
chronicle from Mabel, describing her daily round and stating her fears
and anxieties about "Boy," who was getting "sadly wilful and unruly,"
and, like a youthful Ajax, had lately "defied husband;" and one of Mr.
Ketchum's characteristic epistles:

     "I send you a letter of introduction to my friend Fry in New
     Orleans (to whom my double-and-twisted), since you will go
     there. He will put you through all right. But I warn you that
     you will be nobody and won't be able to hold up your head there
     at all. No one can after an epidemic, unless he has lost half
     of his relations and had the other half given up by the doctors
     and prepared for burial. This reminds me that Brown's
     scapegrace of a brother has turned up here with a handsome
     Mexican wife and a million, and has deodorized his reputation
     by giving large sums to the yellow-fever sufferers, while I am
     thinking of colonizing all the mothers-in-law of these United
     there before another season opens, unless business improves.
     Fairfield has a Benedicts' Club now, and I chose the motto for
     it, 'Here the women cease from troubling and the wicked are at
     rest:' so when you want a little peace and comfort you will
     know where to come. My wife will have nothing less than her
     love sent you; but I am all the same your friend, J. K."

Having seen a certificate that New Orleans was entirely free from fever,
"signed by all the medical men of eminence in the city," Sir Robert was
determined not to be frightened out of his visit there altogether. But
it was only November, and he did not wish to run any foolish risks, and
the ladies were very nervous on this score. He was still undecided what
course to take, when he one day picked up a paper and read an account of
the Indian Territory that interested him beyond measure. In an hour he
had got out his maps and time-tables and arranged to "put in a week" at
Tahlequah, the Falls of St. Anthony, and the Mammoth Cave. As none of
the party cared for the first except himself, he went there alone, and
felt fully repaid for the effort. Great was his joy at finding "a purely
Indian legislative body" and assisting at their deliberations, his
lorgnon glued now to one chief and now to another. And then to talk to
them, to get their "views," to sketch them, to have a copy of their
constitution and laws and a newspaper in their own tongue and characters
in which an affinity to the Egyptian, Arabic, Chinese, or any other
might perhaps be traced! And then how full his letters to his friends in
England were of his "visit to a Choctaw gentleman's plantation,--a most
deeply interesting, well-educated man;" "the first-fruits of the new
civilization;" "the opinion of a Seminole person on the Indian policy of
the American government;" "the beauty of a young Chickasaw female" whom
he had seen at one of the schools, and "the extraordinary progress made
by some of the other scholars, showing that there is absolutely no limit
to the intellectual development of the once-despised savage;" "the
crystal clearness of the beautiful rivers, the lovely, fertile plains,
framed by the Mozark Mountains, the balmy, delightful climate, and the
brutality and wicked greed of an American of the lower class," who had
told him that "the country was a million times too good for redskins,
who ought all to be exterminated, as 'Indians was p'ison wherever
found.'" And then, while the glow of this interest still flushed his
mind, he took up the Mississippi River, which was a career in itself and
beckoned him on to fresh conquests. He went up to the Falls of St.
Anthony, which, after Niagara and the Yosemite, was accounted "tame and
overrated" by Mrs. Sykes, but over which he pondered deeply. Before he
left there the river had got a strong hold on his imagination that grew
ever greater and greater. He spent all his time on the boat studying it.
He talked to the pilot about it,--or rather made the pilot talk, and
listened with all his ears; he took up the methods now practised for
preventing the banks from caving in and forcing the Great Father to lie
in the bed he has made, instead of driving honest folk out of theirs by
scurvy turns and bends that break up thousands of homes. He drew
diagrams of the pile-driving and wattling and willow mattrasses in the
diary, with the improvements he thought advisable, and some very
scientific suggestions by which the river could be made to checkmate
itself, like an automaton chess-player. He hung over the guards
continually, observing all that was to be observed, and recorded the
same under separate headings, such as "currents," "velocity,"
"flood-rises," with statistics without end showing that the
carrying-trade of the great water highway would amount in 1950 to
something so colossal that there is no room for it here, while a future
for the cities that stud its banks was predicted that would satisfy
their most ambitious citizens.

His heart was not in Louisville nor in the Mammoth Cave, though he went
over the first religiously and examined the latter carefully, collected
specimens, and even thrilled faintly over an eyeless fish, which aroused
considerable enthusiasm in Mr. Heathcote. He was not really himself
until he was again on the river, doing a little dredging and sounding on
his own account. At Cairo he expanded almost as much as his subject, and
for a long while afterward was never weary of tracing the blue and
yellow currents that fuse so reluctantly and imperfectly that out in the
Gulf of Mexico, it is said, one comes upon patches of the Missouri of
the most jaundiced, angry hue.

The sombre majesty of the stream was quite lost upon Mrs. Sykes, who saw
in it only "an ugly, wicked-looking river, with a lot of dirty-white
villages along its mud banks." Her attention was given to the passengers
and the clerk,--especially the latter. "A clerk that talks to the ladies
in the cabin about literature and the dramar! Only fency!" she said to
Miss Noel. "And such comical blackies, that the ladies call 'aunty,' and
that call me 'honey' and 'child.' As like as not you'll see a snag
coming up through the bottom of the boat presently, and you had better
try one of the life-preservers on and see how it works; though, after
all, we may be blown up instead. Of course we are racing. I am sure of
it."

"Dear, dear! How _very_ dreadful! How did you discover that? It should
really be made known. I shall speak to the captain. I really can't
consent to being _raced_ with," replied Miss Noel, who did not make
sufficient allowance for Mrs. Sykes's love of the sensational. "Robert
must call a meeting and protest, or something."

She went to look for Sir Robert, whom she found walking about on deck.
He had been reading all the afternoon, and his mind was full of La
Salle, and De Soto, and poor Evangeline, so cruelly near to Gabriel and
happiness once, only to drift away from both forever. So large was his
grasp of any subject that the imaginative phases of a situation appealed
to him as powerfully as the practical, and he was not the man to take
the Mississippi without its associations, any more than he would have
done the Hudson or the Sierras without Irving and Bret Harte. So now he
was pacing backward and forward under the stars, thinking of these
things, and in no mood for bearding the captain in his cabin; and,
having calmed Miss Noel's fears, he stayed on deck until very late,
enjoying his cigar and surroundings.

When they got low enough down to come upon levees and see that the river
was actually higher than the land, the questions of inundation,
protection, blue-clay banks, dikes, sluices, crevasses, water-gates,
sediment, currents, swept in upon Sir Robert, and he was still working
at them when they reached New Orleans. Fresh interests and employments
now awaited him, in which he was soon absorbed, head over ears. Like
olives, New Orleans has a flavor of its own, so decided that it is
impossible to be indifferent to it: one must either be very fond of it
or dislike it heartily. It was soon evident that Sir Robert belonged to
the first class and Mrs. Sykes to the second. Its brilliant blue skies,
and sunshine, and warmth, the lovely flowers, the good opera and better
restaurants, the infectious gayety of the people, as light about the
heart as the heels, with enough Gallic quicksilver in their veins to
give them a genius for being and looking happy, and, lastly, the warmth
of his reception, and a hospitality as refined as limitless, delighted
this most amiable of baronets. He had brought good letters, and was
admitted to that inner Creole circle which few strangers see, and in
which he found among the elders, as he said to Miss Noel, "the
atmosphere of the Faubourg Saint-Germain,--a dignity like that of the
period to which the Aglonbys belonged, with more grace and
_savoir-faire_. And such wonderfully pretty girls, my dear Augusta,
with eyes like sloes and skins like the petals of their own
magnolia-blossoms. And I observe a sort of patriarchal tribal state of
affairs among them,--grandparents, children, grandchildren, all living
together in great numbers and perfect amity, apparently." Among the
Americans of the city Sir Robert found much to interest him, and he went
to visit their "sugar-estates," took down in black and white the
astounding number of oranges that one tree is capable of producing, held
conversations with many gentlemen about the emancipated slaves, and with
many emancipated slaves about their late masters and present condition.
And then was there not cotton, the machinery employed on rice-, sugar-,
and cotton-plantations to "go, into"? to say nothing of the swamp-flora,
the possible introduction of olives into Louisiana, and Voodooism to
trace back to the Vaudois sorcerers of the fourteenth century and
connect with the serpent-worship of some parts of Italy, where he had
himself seen the peasants make their yearly procession with snakes
wrapped about their necks, waists, and wrists? And was there not, too,
serious business to be done? How could he secure and forward to England
a few things that he must have, such as a gar alligator, a pair of
mocking-birds, a Floridian flamingo, a ruby humming-bird, "a Texan
horned frog, with a distinctly-developed tail, crustaceous, probably
antediluvian, and credibly reported to live upon air," not to mention
other treasures, and collections previously made, which must be shipped
before he left? All this he finally accomplished, and was so pleased by
his success that not even a letter from his Kalsing "solicitor," saying
that his suit against the "Eagle" had been brought to trial and he had
been awarded fifty cents damages, could greatly cloud the content he
felt.

Mrs. Sykes, meanwhile, was looking at everything through her own bit of
yellow glass or London fog, and seeing only what her prepossessions
would let her see through a medium that distorted and magnified every
object. As the spittoons at the Capitol had seemed to her far bigger and
more striking than the dome, so now the gutters of New Orleans made an
immense impression upon her and affected her most painfully, although
the Mississippi failed to impress her at all. The climate she found
odious, the people spoke neither pure French nor good English, and many
a fault besides she found, chiefly with what she politely termed "the
Creowls," whom she was never tired of ridiculing as lazy, ignorant,
effeminate, and morbidly conceited. She was not an ideal companion when
they made an expedition into the lovely pastoral Tèche country, the
Acadia of exiled Acadians and Eden of Louisiana, but her lack of
enthusiasm did not damp the ardor of Sir Robert. Miss Noel thought it a
beautiful country, but added that it looked "sadly damp, and as if it
might be malarious," and insisted on "dear Ethel's" taking ten grains
of quinine daily during their stay and wearing a potato in her
pocket,--precautionary measures adopted by herself, and known to have
nipped jungle-fever in the bud repeatedly in India, so she said. It
seemed to Sir Robert's heated fancy that even Ethel praised this ideal
spot but tepidly, and when she had started out of a revery three times
with an "I beg pardon" while he was reading "Evangeline" to her under
the shade of one of those noble oaks "from whose branches garlands of
Spanish moss floated," fit monuments of the sorrowful maiden of
ever-green memory, he put down the book impatiently, saying, "It is only
the old that are young nowadays; I am boring you,"--a speech that made
her blush guiltily, since she did not care to explain where her thoughts
had wandered. He was not bored. The bayous were a fascinating novelty to
him, the trees and fields and glades were eloquent to him, the simple
French peasants who belong to the seventeenth century and by some
miracle lead its idyllic life in the nineteenth interested him, and he
could see Basil, Gabriel, and Father Félicien at every step.

The next week found them on a steamer bound for Havana and New York,
followed by friendly faces and good claret to the last, leaving three
baskets of champagne and about a ton of flowers out of account. For an
account of Havana, Matanzas, Spanish atrocities, Cuban exports, coolie
slavery, and the like topics, the reader is respectfully referred to the
book since published by Sir Robert,--"Eight Months in the United States,
Cuba, and Canada,"--a work pronounced in critical quarters "the best
book of travels in America ever published in England" (high praise,
surely), though it attracted less general attention than a very spicy,
entertaining volume by Mrs. Arundel Sykes, called "A Britisher among the
Yankees," (to quote from another English journal) said to contain "a not
very flattering picture of the life, society, and institutions of the
Great Republic, which must be a true one, since it is so universally
resented by the American press. People will cry out when they are hit,
as every one knows."

On arriving in New York our party went at once to Mr. Brown's, that
gentleman being established there for the winter and having urged them
to stay with him. Their idea was to sail for home almost immediately, as
soon as Sir Robert had seen his friend General Bludyer, with whom he had
some business and who was bringing out his two sons to establish them in
America. But an unexpected delay occurred. On the day after their
arrival, Mr. Heathcote ran up to his aunt's room to bid her good-by
before taking himself off to Baltimore,--he had made a full confession
to Sir Robert, and received much advice and counsel, together with a
qualified approval of his plans and hopes,--and he found Miss Noel still
in bed, although it was mid-day and she not the least punctual and
energetic of her sex. In reply to his playful reproaches she replied
that she was "feeling very, very queer," and he cheerfully assured her
that she "had best stop in bed a day or two and all would be well,"
after which he told her that he was not going back to England with the
party, and, with a further remark to the effect that she "was looking
awfully seedy," discovered that he was late for his train, was again
pleasantly sure that she would "be all right soon," and hurried off to
the station, well pleased to think that he should see Edith in a few
hours. It is not always possible, however, for a woman to fulfil the
optimistic predictions of her careless male relatives, and in a few
hours Miss Noel was feeling really ill. "Who is your doctor, my dear?"
she asked of Bijou, who had herself arranged and carried up a little
tray of delicacies with which to tempt her. "How very sweet of you to
trouble! Why did you not let Parsons do that? Do you know I am
making myself quite wretched lest I should be sickening with
something,--something serious? I must have a doctor at once. Would you
kindly send for one, or, rather, tell Parsons where to go? I can't rest
until I get the opinion of a medical man."

"Now, don't you worry about _that_," said Bijou, bestowing an embrace
upon her and then perching herself on the foot of the bed. "You are not
going to be ill; and if you are, why, you are with friends who will take
the best sort of care of you, that's all. I'll nurse you; and popper
says I am just a natural-born nurse, if there ever was one. You can see
the doctor if you want to, but most likely you will be a great deal
better to-morrow."

"But, my dear, suppose I should be worse? It would be too dreadful! I
can't be ill in your house, you know," said Miss Noel disconsolately.

"Why, why not?" queried Bijou, in surprise.

"Why not? Can you ask why? Think of all the trouble I should be putting
you to, the house upset, and the servants giving warning very likely,
and all that. Oh, no! I hope and trust it is nothing; but if it should
be serious I could not dream of putting you out like that," replied Miss
Noel, with emphasis.

"Why, do you mean to say that anybody would care for _that_, or think of
the _trouble_, with a friend lying sick in their house? I never heard of
such a thing," exclaimed Bijou, expressing the liveliest emotions of
astonishment and contempt in face and voice. "Of course we don't want
you to get sick, for your own sake; but if you do we'll do everything in
this world to make you comfortable and cure you. And the house won't be
upset at all; and we don't care a snap what the servants think. You must
put that perfectly ridiculous idea right out of your head, and turn over
and try to go to sleep."

When the doctor came he looked grave even for a doctor, and felt it his
duty to tell Miss Noel that she might have yellow fever. It was always
to be had for the catching in Cuba, and her symptoms were suspicious,
though he could not, of course, be positive. Here was a sensation. It
was curious to see the effect this declaration had on the different
members of the household. Sir Robert, after turning pale and saying "God
bless my soul! you don't mean it," to the doctor, rallied from the shock
as soon as he had left the house, and refused to believe anything of the
kind, talked about "the art conjectural," and did all he could to
impress this view on Miss Noel, who promptly gave herself up as lost,
told him that she had made her will "before leaving town for the North"
the year before, asked that her body might be "taken back to dear old
England," if this could be done without risk to others, and begged that
she might be "sent straight away to the hospital" and no one allowed to
come in contact with her meanwhile. Bijou, Ethel, and Parsons stoutly
refused to be hustled out of her room, declaring that they had already
been exposed to the danger, if danger there was, and protested that they
were ready to nurse her through anything. Mr. Brown, coming home to
dinner, was horrified as by some impiety to hear it proposed that Miss
Noel should go to a hospital. "Admitting, for the sake of argument,"
said this ever-judicial host, "that the doctor is right, what follows?
Why, that Miss Noel will require great care, and, humanly speaking, will
incur additional risk in leaving my house. I cannot dream of allowing
it. My married daughter has taken her children to see their grandmother;
there are only Bijou and myself to be considered, and neither of us has
any fear of the disease, or, indeed, any great belief in the reality of
the danger. I cannot think of letting a guest, and that guest a stranger
here, go to a public place of the kind and commit herself to hired
nurses. Oh, no! That is out of the question."

"I never heard of such a thing,--never. It would be perfectly shameful!"
protested Bijou afresh. And so Sir Robert was overruled, and, much
touched by this view of the matter, tried to express thanks on behalf of
Miss Noel, bungled out a few short phrases, very different from his
usually fluent utterances, shook Mr. Brown's hand heartily, sat down
with a very red face, and then started up and dismissed the carriage,
which, pending this decision, had been waiting at the door.

It chanced that Mrs. Sykes had been out for some hours that day, and had
then come back and gone into the library, where she spent some time in
writing to the friends who had entertained her in Central New York. She
had just finished putting up the morning paper for them containing a
full and carefully-marked account of the defalcation and disappearance
of a bank-president in Delaware in whom she recognized the brother of
her former hostess, when Ethel looked in at the door and said, "Oh, you
are here," and, coming forward, gave her the dreadful news. It was well
that this final mark of her gratitude and graceful interest was complete
down to the very postage-stamp, for after this Mrs. Sykes had no time
for delicate attentions.

"Stand off! good heavens! Don't come near me. Get away!" she shrieked,
and for once every particle of color left her face. The next moment she
rushed up-stairs to her room, put on her bonnet and cloak in a flash,
and, without farewells of any kind, or thought of so much as her darling
Bobo, left the house immediately. She went first, and that as fast as
her feet could carry her, to the nearest druggist's, where she invested
lavishly in disinfectants and hung innumerable camphor-bags about her
person. From there she went to the nearest hotel, from which she wrote
to the Browns, giving instructions about her luggage, which she said
must be packed by Parsons and sent over to England, to be unpacked at
Liverpool, for fear of infection, by "a person" whom she would engage.
She then took the first steamer leaving New York, and when she got on
board gave vent to a perfectly sincere and devout exclamation, "Thank
heaven, I have done with America!" From Liverpool she wrote back a
lively account of the passage, and expressed the deepest interest in
"dear Miss Noel," about whom she had been "quite wretched," but who she
"hoped was doing nicely by this time and would make a good recovery."
She also hoped, and even more earnestly, that "dearest Bobo was not
being neglected in the general hubbub, and given his biscuits without
their being properly soaked first, and his chicken in great pieces, not
carefully minced," and begged that every care should be taken of him,
imploring that everybody would remember that "_hot_ milk invariably made
the poor dear ill." She also sent Bijou a small and particularly hideous
pin-cushion, which she said had been made for the Ashantee Bazaar by the
Grand Duchess of Aufstadt.

The defection of Mrs. Sykes was not greatly deplored by anybody, but it
was deeply resented by Parsons, who it is to be feared was not as
devoted to Bobo as his mistress expected.

"I'm not one to run away,--not if it was lions and tigers,--like
_some_," she remarked; "but if hever I get back to the hold country I'll
go down on my bended knees, if it's in the very cab at Liverpool, and
thank 'eaven I'm at 'ome again; which I 'ope I may live to see it."

Happily, Miss Noel did not have yellow fever. Unhappily, she had _a_
fever, if not the dreaded one, and was ill for several weeks,--so ill
that it seemed at one time as though she had done with travelling-days.
Anxious weeks these for Ethel and Sir Robert and Mr. Heathcote, trying
ones for Bijou, who had at last found "a rational occupation." For it
was she who, with Parsons's help, nursed Miss Noel faithfully, tenderly,
efficiently, Ethel being a most willing coadjutress, but sadly out of
place in a sick-room. The skill, the self-reliance, and the
unselfishness that Bijou showed surprised even those who knew her best,
and quite endeared her to Sir Robert.

"That girl is one in a thousand," he said to Ethel more than once; "and
I was such a wiseacre that I thought her a useless, spoiled creature who
would never be anything but a domestic fetich. I shall ask her pardon,
when I get the chance, for having so shamefully underrated and
misjudged her. Could there be a kinder family? If Augusta had been a
near and dear relative they could scarcely have shown more solicitude.
Every luxury, every kindness that the most thoughtful affection could
have suggested has been lavished on her. Everything has been
subordinated to the one object,--her recovery,--and all their ordinary
pursuits, amusements, occupations, cheerfully laid aside, apparently as
a mere matter of course. At least, they disclaim the idea of sacrifice;
and in all that they have done there has been nothing perfunctory. If
they have merely been performing what they considered a duty, I must say
that they have had the grace and innate good breeding to make it appear
that it was a pleasure. Just so."

Miss Noel had been down-stairs on the sofa for three days, having been
officially pronounced convalescent, when who should walk in upon her but
the Ketchums,--Mabel serene and smiling, and Job in a state of evident
satisfaction and radiant good humor.

"Well, now, this is something like. Up and dressed, and looking
first-rate for an invalid," he called out from the door, and then,
advancing, took one of her thin hands with much gentleness, and said,
"Getting well, ain't you? That's right. I am so glad. Creepin' through
mercy, eh? as Father Root used to say."

Mabel slipped into a seat near Miss Noel, and, after some inquiries
about Sir Robert, Ethel, and the Browns, told her what concern they had
felt about her illness. "Husband telegraphed constantly to know how you
were going on; but the replies were often most unsatisfactory; and it is
so very nice to see you up again. You will soon be about, and the
sea-voyage will set you up wonderfully. That puts me in mind of--Tell
her, husband; show her."

Thus stimulated, Mr. Ketchum drew out an enormous pocket-book, stuffed
full of papers, and attacked it rather than looked through it, drew out
a handful of letters, bills, memorandums, tore up several, crushed
others back into his case, walked swiftly into the hall, and came back
triumphantly with his over-coat on his arm and a sheet of foolscap in
his hand.

"Dear, dear, husband, you should not mess about like this," said Mabel,
"littering up the carpet."

She would have picked up the bits of paper, but he interfered. "Here!
I'll do that, Daisy; sit down. Daisy's occupation in the next world,
Miss Noel, is going to be sweeping all the dirty clouds out of the sky,
and polishing up the harps and crowns, and telling the small angels not
to leave the ivory gates ajar, for fear of draughts, and to be sure and
put their buckets and spades away tidily when they have done digging in
the golden sands, and not to get over-heated and fall ill, because they
can't die and have got nowhere to go. Now, look at this" (getting up
from his knees and holding up the foolscap, which was covered with
drawings of some mechanical contrivance): "I got thinking about you one
day and your illness, and that you ought to stay on deck all you could,
and to have the right kind of chair, and suddenly this idea hit me right
on the head, and I got out my pencil and started in on it. And here it
is. This is only the rough draught, you understand."

With growing enthusiasm he explained all the details, while Mabel looked
intently and respectfully at the paper he held, and interjected admiring
comments: "Isn't it a most wonderful thing? and wasn't it clever of
husband to think of it?--but, then, he is always thinking of things.
Husband has got such a surprising talent for invention, and grasps an
idea at once."

"Oh, no, I haven't. I think I could have found out the way to my mouth
as soon as any other baby, that's all. But this is a lucky hit. I am
going to have it patented. It's a first-rate thing. This is the way you
lash it to the mast when you want to; and when you want to move about
you let down the rollers and fasten them with this hook, and go where
you please. Twenty-seven changes of position. Why, you can read, eat,
sleep, ride, get married, run for Congress, die, and be buried in that
chair, if you want to!" he said, by way of final recommendation.

"Thank you, but I don't wish to die. I would rather live," said Miss
Noel, laughing cheerfully for the first time since her illness. "And did
you really design it for me? How very kind! I must really try to get it
worked out, if you think it will answer, as of course you do."

"Oh, don't you bother your head about that," he replied. "I worked it
all out one night, and set a smart carpenter at it the next morning
before breakfast. And it's a perfect success. And I've got it down at
the hotel, ready for you. I'm coming up here to put you in it and take
you down to the steamer myself."

Sir Robert and Mr. Heathcote now came in (the latter having returned
from Baltimore an affianced man), and Ethel and Bijou followed, and
everybody was delighted to see everybody else; and they had so much to
talk about that Sir Robert almost forgot that he was engaged to preside
over a children's dinner-party at the house of an intimate friend of the
De Witts. He hurried off, though; and never had he "looked into" ten
more charming little faces than brightened on his arrival. The way in
which he radiated good humor, intelligence, benevolence, told stories
and jokes that kept the little company shouting with laughter, and
finally rose and got off an impromptu piece of doggerel with exactly ten
verses, and each child's name and some peculiarity brought out in a way
to convulse even mammas and the maids, was as indescribable as
delightful. I am not sure that he did not enjoy it more than any of the
grand entertainments that he had been asked to; and as for the children,
they remember it to this day, although they are on the verge of
young-ladyhood and at college now and have very serious demands made on
their memories.

After a pleasant little interval of reunion and various diversions, the
day came at last for our English people to leave the country. What they
felt about this necessity was well expressed for them by Sir Robert in
the last letter that he wrote before going on the steamer.

"I am glad to turn my face toward the old land, which must always seem
to me the best of all lands," he said; "but I take with me the
pleasantest memories of the new. It has been a constant surprise and
pleasure to me to find how like they are to each other in all
essentials, greatly as they often seem to differ on the surface. I have
had a most interesting and delightful tour. Such opportunities of
observation as have come in my way, and such authentic information as I
have been able to lay hold of, I have tried to make the most of; but in
so short a time I could not do more than glean in a field that offers a
rich harvest to more fortunate travellers. From the moment of landing
until now I have been made the recipient of a hospitality too generous
and too flattering to be appropriated to myself in my individual
capacity. I must either set it down to the good will which Americans
feel toward England when not irritated and repelled by the insolent and
overbearing among us,--who have done more to make a breach between the
two peoples than you would fancy, and inflicted wounds that all the
ambassadors and public-dinner fine speeches cannot heal,--or to that
true politeness which Americans observe in the most casual relations,
and the immense, apparently inexhaustible kindness which it is their
habit to show to strangers. I find in them a certain spontaneity and
affectionateness that has quite won my heart."

To the credit of Mr. Ketchum be it said that if Miss Noel had been made
of cobwebs she could have been safely transported in his invention to
the steamer. This feat was comfortably achieved, at all events, and Mr.
Ketchum, having superintended it, left Miss Noel in the chair on deck;
and there were kisses and embraces between the ladies, a hurried rush to
the wharf, and the steamer moved out, with Miss Noel crying softly, and
saying, "Dear, dear Bijou! Dear America! How good they have been to me!"
and Ethel and Sir Robert hanging over the side; and ashore the Browns,
the doctor, Mr. Heathcote, the De Witts, and Mr. Ketchum and Mabel
looking earnestly at them and waving their adieux.

"You'll find a couple of barrels of pecans at your place. I forgot to
tell you. Good-by! good-by! Call again!" shouted Mr. Ketchum. And then,
turning to his wife, he said, "Don't you wish you were going home, too?"

Mabel stopped to straighten little Jared Ponsonby's hat and settle his
curls, somewhat disordered by the wind from the river. Then she turned a
face full of sweet content toward her husband; her simple and serious
look met his twinkling, bantering one for a moment. "No, dearest," she
said, as she took his arm and walked away. "You know that I don't. You
are my home."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Ketchums went back to Fairfield, and spent the two years that
followed very happily and quite uneventfully in that simple round of
duties and pleasures which the foolish find so dull and the wise would
not exchange for any other. And not the least agreeable feature of this
life was what was known as "the English letters," although this really
included books, music, photographs, sketches, and a great variety of
things, from the J. pens that came for Mrs. Vane and the larding-needles
that housewifely Mabel had coveted that she might "set a proper fowl
before husband," up to packages of a disgraceful size and bulk addressed
to Mr. Ketchum in Sir Robert's hand. Sir Robert was a regular and
delightful correspondent; Miss Noel and Ethel were equally kind about
writing; Mrs. Sykes sent a very characteristic epistle or two to the
family after her return, and then let "silence like a poultice" come to
heal the blows she had inflicted.

"What do you hear from that idiotic young Ramsay?" "How is Ramsay
opening the American oyster?" "What of poor Mr. Ramsay?" "Is Mr. Ramsay
coming back to England?" were questions often asked by these
correspondents; and Mr. Ketchum was able to give some account of that
fascinating fortune-seeker.

Mr. Ramsay wrote to him occasionally, which was the more flattering
because he repeatedly said in these productions that he "hated doing a
letter most tremendously," and very truly remarked that "the worst of it
is that you've got to be thinking what to say, which is an awful bore,
and ten to one the pen is bad, and spelling takes a lot out of you if
you are not used to looking up the words." Whether, "not being a
literary chap," he would have written to Mr. Ketchum at all had not the
Ketchum and Brown properties marched and the two families been good
friends is one of those nice questions which it is hard to decide. His
letters were headed "Out in the Bush" at first, and were full of the
adventures and amusements that his novel surroundings afforded him. Then
came more sober epistles from "The Ranch," with a good deal in them
about "these dirty brutes of Mexicans and ignorant cowboys," the long,
dull days, the doubts that had begun to agitate him as to the
possibility of getting the millions that had seemed almost within his
grasp in London out of "old Brown's farm." Finally, after a long
silence, Job got a letter one day, written in pencil, that betrayed the
deepest depression and most utter disgust. He had "come an awful cropper
from a mustang," and been laid up for three months; his money was all
gone; he could get nothing to do. "I tried to get a clerkship in a
'country store' before I got my fall," he explained, "though if I have
got to that I had better go back to England, where those fellows get a
half-holiday on Saturdays and lots of bank holidays, and are in
civilization at least. Perhaps if the governor saw me with a quill
behind my ear, or riding down to the city on top of a 'bus, smoking a
pipe, he'd do something for me for the honor of the family. But he's in
a beastly humor now, and wouldn't send me a fiver to save my life. He
says that I'm not worth my salt anywhere, and that he washes his hands
of me. And Bill has taken to patronizing me so tremendously that I'd
starve rather than ask his help. So I must just stick it out here, I
suppose, unless you meant what you said when we parted, and will help me
to get back home, where I have friends, a brother-in-law especially, an
awfully good sort of fellow, that would stick to a fellow through thick
and thin, no matter what other fellows said of him. There's a lot of
'fellows' in this last sentence, but I never was a clever fellow--I had
better stop. I am getting worse mixed up than ever."

Mr. Ketchum's reply to this was a short, cordial, hearty note, enclosing
a check for five hundred dollars, telling Mr. Ramsay to draw upon him
for more if he needed it, bidding him keep "a stiff upper lip," and
advising him to stop at Fairfield _en route_ to England and see if there
wasn't some better way out of his difficulties. About two weeks after
this Mr. Ramsay walked into Mr. Ketchum's office and almost wrung his
hand off, "Awfully kind of you," "awfully glad to see you," "awfully
good news to tell you," was poured out as in one breath by the bronzed,
thin, but still beautiful Englishman, whose illness had given a last and
quite irresistible charm of spirituality to his handsome face.

"Sit down, man, and tell us all about it," said Mr. Ketchum, when he had
given him an embrace half real, half theatrical. "Delighted to see
_you_, if it comes to that."

"Here's that check you sent me," said Mr. Ramsay, going straight to his
point, as usual. "I never got it cashed, because I got by the very same
post good news from England. My great-aunt Maxwell is dead at Bath and
has left me all her money, twenty thousand pounds. Isn't it the luckiest
fluke that ever was? But all the same it is a kindness that I shan't
forget. You are an awfully good sort to have done it. Most fellows would
have seen me in Halifax first, you know. And if ever you want a friend
you'll know where to find him, that's all. Only fancy all this money
falling in when I hadn't a penny and was in perfect despair! Such luck!
And such a fluke, as I have said. You see, it was all to have been
Bill's. He has always been my aunt's favorite, though at first it was to
have been divided between us; only when I was a little chap I blew off
the tail of her parrot with a bunch of fire-crackers. Haw! haw! haw! I
was never allowed there afterward, and she hated the very name of me.
She and Bill have hit it off together so well that he never had the
least fear of me stepping in. But on last Valentine's Day it seems that
she got an awfully cocky, cheeky valentine of an old maid putting on a
wig and painting her face, and it had the Stoke-Pogis post-mark, and she
took it into her head that Bill had sent it, flew into a most awful
rage, and sent for her solicitor and changed her will. And then, most
fortunate thing, she died that night, and couldn't make another."

"Well, you are a doting nephew, upon my word," said Job.

"It is no use of me being a hypocrite and going about looking cut up and
pretending that I am sorry when I am not," replied Mr. Ramsay. "I
haven't seen her for years, and she was nasty to me even when I was a
child, and she was a regular old cat, and no good to herself or anybody
else. I don't see why I should pull a long face and turn crocodile
because she made me her heir to spite Bill, though it comes in most
beautifully for me. I don't mean to keep it all, though I could swell it
considerably if I did. It would be a dirty thing to do, for Bill has
been brought up to expect it and didn't send the valentine at all. I
shall go halves with him; that seems fair all round." Mr. Ketchum agreed
with him, and Mr. Ramsay went on to make further confidences, in which
it appeared that he still cared for Miss Brown, and had "thought an
awful lot about her," and now rejoiced to find himself in a position to
address her if she was still free. Tom Price, coming in, could scarcely
announce that the buggy was at the door for goggling at Mr. Ramsay. The
two men drove rapidly out to Fairfield, talking all the way, and Mr.
Ramsay stared very hard at the Brown mansion and grounds, and got a
pretty welcome from Mabel that warmed his heart not a little. What he
said to Bijou in an interview that evening of four hours is no business
of ours.

It began after quite formal greetings with, "Do you know that you are
looking most awfully well, Miss Brown?" on his part.

"You didn't dream that I cared for you, did you?" said Bijou toward its
close, anxious to reassure herself upon a point that had made the last
two years a bitterness to her.

"Oh, yes, I did. I twigged that long ago," replied he. "That is why I
cut my stick so suddenly. I couldn't support a wife then, and I wasn't
goin' to be thought a fortune-hunter, you know." It must have been that
he was forgiven the sentimental blunder that is worse than a crime,--a
want of frankness,--or how else could they have been married in six
weeks and sailed for England? Mr. Alfred Brown, being in California, did
not witness this ceremony, but Mr. Ketchum did, and "a large and
fashionable company of the _élite_ of Kalsing" (_vide_ the local paper).
And did not Mr. Ketchum give the groom a pair of trotting-horses that
afterward attracted much attention in Hyde Park? and did not Mr. Brown
present the bride with a considerable fortune on her wedding-day, which
her husband insisted should be set apart for her exclusive use and
control?

"Haven't you got any other name than Bijou?" he said to her. "That is a
most absurd name. Bijou Ramsay. What will my people say?"

"I was baptized Ellen," said she, "but I have never been called that."

"Ellen? A nice, sensible name. I shall call you that," he replied, and
kept his word.

And so the immigrant, who thought he had left England forever, went
home in a little while and is living there now in inglorious ease and
somewhat enervating luxury, while Mr. Heathcote, who thought that he was
coming out for a short visit and couldn't possibly live out of England,
is already more than half an American, a successful, practical farmer,
and, it may be added, a happy man. "Heart's Content" has been
renaissanced, papered, tiled, _portièred_, utterly transformed, and is
thought quite a show-place now and much admired; but there are some
persons who liked it better when it was only an old-fashioned Virginian
home, before their mahogany majesties the old furniture, and those
courtly commoners Anne Buller and her brothers, had been swept away with
all the other cumbering antiquities.

Sir Robert is now looking into the military, monastic, and baronial
architecture of the mediæval period on the Continent, and goes next year
to Japan to begin the exhaustive researches which are to culminate in
his next book, the "Lives of the Mikados."

    F. C. BAYLOR.

[THE END.]



THE TRUTH ABOUT DOGS.


I am about to do a very unpopular thing,--namely, to write realistically
about the dog and to protest mildly against the extravagant and
sentimental way of writing about him which has become so fashionable and
which threatens to make him a veritable fetich. The intolerance of his
worshippers has already attained a height of dogmatism (the pun is
hardly a conscious one) which is truly theologic. I have been made
aware, when expressing dissent or a low measure of faith, of an
ill-concealed scorn, such as curls the lip of a Boston liberal or lights
the eye of a "Hard-Shell" or a Covenanter when any one ventures to
differ from him.

The theory is gravely advanced of a dog heaven,--not confined to the
poor Indian, whose paradise consists of happy hunting-grounds, where, of
course, he will need his faithful hound to keep him company. The main
argument of white men is generally found to be the superiority of canine
virtue over the human. Whether the word "cynic" originates from a
similar source I will not undertake to say; but I have more than half a
suspicion that such talk proceeds rather from a prejudice against men
than a genuine enthusiasm for dogs. This was doubtless the feeling of
the Frenchman who said, "_Plus je connais l'homme, plus je préfère le
chien._" As to any argument drawn from the need of compensation
elsewhere for privation endured on earth, however it might hold
concerning the ancient dog, there is no foundation for the claim now;
for verily the modern dog hath his portion in this life,--and a double
one, too.

I am impelled by no fanatical zeal, and have no creed or cult of my own
to vindicate. I am influenced only by a noble love of truth and a
sublime sense of duty in arraying myself with the despised
minority,--perhaps I may say by a sense of fair play for the "under
dog." I do not ask the _kynolatrist_ to "call off his dogs" altogether:
I merely ask him to allow those who do not share his enthusiasm to pass
by on the other side without his setting the dogs upon them. I would
recall to the sentimentalist who goes on repeating his stock phrases
and, perhaps, like Mr. Winkle, pretending an enthusiasm which he does
not feel, the wholesome advice of Dr. Johnson, "Sir, free your mind of
cant." Canon Farrar tells of a gentleman who was seated in the
smoking-room of an English hotel when a dog entered. He became violently
agitated, so that a waiter had to bend over and whisper to him, "It's a
real dog." The poor fellow was subject to a form of delirium tremens
which caused him to see imaginary dogs. I fear the disease is epidemic
and is on the increase. I would kindly recall the public mind to the
real dog. At least, I would suggest that the other side be heard; for
those who have had most to say on the subject seem to me to exhibit a
one-sided habit of mind, analogous to the manner of running observable
in their favorites.

It is difficult to trace the origin of this new theology, the apotheosis
of the Dog. It is certainly altogether un-Biblical. The whole tenor of
Scripture is decidedly uncomplimentary to the species. It is even
proclaimed as a new commandment, "Beware of dogs." They are everywhere
presented as the symbol of all that is unclean, noisy, greedy, and
dangerous. The nearest to a compliment I can find is the saying that "a
living dog is better than a dead lion." The only good deed recorded of
them is that of licking the wounds of poor Lazarus. When Hazael would
express in the strongest terms his incapability of the most shocking
conduct, he asks, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?"
Job seems to have felt that he could say nothing more scathing of
certain persons who derided him than that "their fathers I would have
disdained to set with the dogs of my flock." Instead of a dog heaven, we
are told that one of the bright distinctions and blessed securities of
the New Jerusalem will be that "without are dogs."

Nor would it seem to be a religion of nature. I find little, if any,
more respect shown to the species in mythology,--the nearest to an
apotheosis being the assignment of the janitorship of hell to a dog with
three heads. Egyptian mythology found it convenient to have a dog-headed
man--Anubis--as the attendant of Isis and Osiris. The _cynocephali_
whom the Egyptians venerated were more properly baboons: so that their
dog heaven, one might say, was only such on its face.

Language is the amber which preserves the thought of man. We need not
dig far into the etymological strata to be impressed by the unenviable
place which the dog has made for himself in the tradition and experience
of our race. The name itself, and still more its variations, such as
cur, hound, puppy, and whelp, are anything but complimentary when
applied to mankind; and its derivatives, such as "dogged" and
"doggerel," are not of dignified suggestion. And, mark you, these
associations with the names do not seem to "let go," any more than the
dog itself from his bone.

The dog slipped into literature at a very early date after the Fall, but
slunk about with his tail between his legs, as it were, and was kicked
and cursed with entire unanimity. It is difficult to say just when his
dogship began to stand up on his hind legs in literature. He has little
or no classical standing. The dog of Ulysses is, I believe, a solitary
instance. Shakespeare's "view" comes out in Lear's climacteric
execration of his "dog-hearted daughters." Sir Henry Holland once lost a
bet of a guinea owing to his failure to find a dog kindly spoken of by
Shakespeare. Milton for the most part sublimely passes them by, except
to embellish his "portress at hell's gate" with a canine appendix.
Goethe's aversion to them is well known. Old Dr. Watts is an authority
on moral traits, and the best word he has for them is that "dogs delight
to bark and bite, for 'tis their nature to."

Let it not be supposed that I altogether endorse this apparent
conspiracy of the ages to give the dog a bad name,--always supposing
that he did not himself furnish the bad name to literature. I am not
impervious to advanced thought, and I like to see fair play. When a dog
is down, and everybody is down on him, he ought to be let up. It is no
wonder that a reaction set in, as will always be the case in extremes,
and, as usual, to the opposite extreme. English literature experienced
about the beginning of this century an invasion of shepherd kings, such
as Walter Scott, Christopher North, the Ettrick Shepherd, and the like,
who brought with them a great gust of outdoor air, and with it a
renaissance of the dog. But the great apostle of the new movement was
the late Dr. John Brown, of Edinburgh, whose famous "Rab and his
Friends" has inoculated the reading public with something which might be
called a species of _rabies_. This charming writer reminds me of certain
gentle inhabitants of the asylum, who have so identified themselves in
imagination with dogs that they greet you with a bark.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these amiable enthusiasts for their
demurrers to the one-sided verdict of history and for their discoveries
of exceptional dogs and of exceptional traits in the canine character.
For are we not bidden, "if there be _any_ virtue, and if there be any
praise," to "think on these things"?

We do think of them, and we are grateful. We do not, to be sure, find
ourselves starting off incontinently to the dog-fancier's in order to
present our wife with a poodle or to transform our quiet premises into a
howling wilderness, but we think better of the world as a place to live
in, and we have a higher sense of the charity and patience of human
nature. Nevertheless, while yielding to none in my tender feeling for
dear Dr. Brown and his gentle fellow-kynophilists, I am not prepared to
obey the new commandment which this new canine gospel inculcates, "Love
me, love my dog."

Probably my personal acquaintance with the species has been unfortunate,
but I have not happened to meet with these superhuman creatures. I once
tried, in my extreme childhood, to make a pet of a Newfoundland pup of
high degree; but the little brute sickened and killed himself one day by
eating a mess of the foulest refuse. In the village where I lived there
was a crabbed little hump-backed tailor, whose house and shop were on a
corner, and with him lived a vicious yellow bull-dog. It was a question
which was the most unpopular and the most obnoxious _bête noire_ with
the villagers. We boys took a fearful delight in stealthily approaching
the little tailor's back door in the evening, and then, with a sudden
shout, taking to our heels around the corner, whereat the yellow fiend
would burst out after us, with "Bunky" close behind.

The only other dog in our village of which I have any recollection was a
great animal, facetiously known as a watch-dog, whose mission it was to
lie in wait behind the house of the man he owned, and, as soon as he
heard a step upon the gravel walk or the tinkle of the door-bell, to
dart out upon the intruder with a howl and a spring. The result was that
one day my father, the most quiet and respectable of men, in attempting
to pay a friendly visit, was set upon, knocked down, throttled, and, but
for timely rescue, would probably have fallen a victim to the habits of
this hospitable mansion. And from that day he left his friends to their
preference of companions. My own experiences of the premises were such
that I followed for once the paternal example, in giving them a wide
berth.

My social footsteps have always been guided by a knowledge of the
kennel, as well as of the house. Even as the pastor of a human flock, I
confess that I have many a time stood at men's gates balancing the
question of duty or safety before I girded up a martyr spirit and
resolved to enter. Not that I loved the sheep and lambs less, but that I
hated their growling, leaping, four-footed favorites more.

It is not a mere question of wisdom or of taste, this prevalence and
idolatry of dogs. If it were only an amiable weakness, and a matter
affecting the person indulging it, some such form of image-worship as
the rage for bric-à-brac and old china, I should not take the trouble to
enter my protest. But hath not a dog teeth? Hath not a dog great, dirty
paws, a venomous and fiery tongue, and a throat which is the organ of
all discords? Hath he not feet which can carry his unpleasantnesses
into other people's presence, perhaps deposit them on your lap, or cause
you to stumble and be offended and made weak by standing in your way? An
ideal dog, a china dog, a dog behind a picture-frame, the dog of
literature, are not without their æsthetic side,--are certainly things
to be let alone. But the realistic, vigorously vital, intrusively
affectionate, or faithfully suspicious dog can no more be "let alone"
than could Mr. Jefferson Davis and his rebellious States once upon a
time, for the simple reason that he will not let us alone. It is as
curious an exhibition of human nature to note the surprise which always
seizes the owner when one of these "faithful" creatures bites any of his
friends and neighbors as is the proverbial incapacity of the householder
to admit the existence of malaria on his premises. A little friend of
mine who can hardly toddle, while visiting with his parents, was
recently sprung upon by a great house-dog and bitten seriously in the
cheek. And the philosophical explanation, which ought to have been
highly satisfactory, was, "The dog dislikes children, but has never been
known to hurt grown people"!

I have alluded to the testimony of Scripture concerning dogs. Herein, at
least, Science is in accord with Revelation. It tells us that there is
nothing in the osteology of this family (_Canidæ_) to distinguish the
domestic dog from the wolf or fox or jackal. His "brain-cavity is
small," his strong point being "his powerful muscles of mastication."
His "sense of taste is dull and coarse." He is "not as cleanly in his
habits as the cat." He is "not courageous in proportion to his
strength." Let me illustrate this last point by what I saw this
afternoon. A dog about as large and strong as a young lion was barking
vigorously behind a low fence at a cat, who sat serenely on the other
side, meeting his Bombastes Furioso plunges at the intervening pickets
with a contemptuous hiss and an occasional buffet with her claw upon his
muzzle. I have yet to see a dog that dares attack my goat of a year
old, except when he is harnessed to his wagon. They are not, however,
afraid of sheep. And they are much more clear in their minds about
attacking children than strong men with clubs. A man is safe before them
in proportion as he is not in fear. They know a coward at once, with all
a coward's instinct.

Another little peculiarity of this family in all its branches is the
hydrophobia, an accomplishment which they are very generous in
imparting, and which is to be taken into account in estimating their
usefulness.

Cuvier, however, puts forward the ingenious claim--worthy of the Buckle
and Taine type of scientific speculators, who are never so happy as when
they think they have accounted for the world without the hypothesis of a
God, and who naturally catch at an opportunity of reading that name
backward (or the name Dog backward, whichever you like)--that "the dog
was necessary to the establishment of human society." This startling
dogma of the new kynolatry is a good illustration of the way in which
this class of theorists persist in putting the cart before the horse.
The truth is that man was necessary to the establishment of canine
society. Except as human skill and patience subdued, trained, and
developed the dog, the latter was incapable of rising, and was one of
man's most dangerous foes,--the fox robbing his hen-roosts and
grape-vines, the wolf eating him and his children, and the jackal and
hyena picking his bones and rifling his grave. The same ridiculous claim
of being the corner-stone of human society has been made by some
wiseacre in behalf of the goat. The plain truth is that only one animal
can justly lay claim to such a distinction. At the threshold of human
society and civilization lies the slimy figure of the snake, who
persuaded man to purchase knowledge at the cost of innocence, a lesson
which has been learned by heart and been worked out in all the "history
of civilization," for verily "the trail of the serpent is over it
still."

Few persons realize the comparative un-worth of the dog. There is even a
hazy notion in most minds that he is to be classed with the horse, the
cow, the sheep, and the gentle swine, that he is entitled to lift up his
voice with the morn-saluting cock, or to roam with the mouse-disturbing
cat, or with that patient pair, the harnessed billy- and the lactiferous
nanny-goat.[A] Hence an enormous revenue is required for his support.
For example, we are told that "the dogs in Iowa eat enough annually to
feed a hundred thousand workmen, and cost the State nine million
dollars, or double the education of all its children." I should like to
know how many of these costly and pampered creatures earn their salt.
They toil not, they spin not, they contribute neither food nor wool nor
"power." There are extreme cases where they have proved serviceable for
defence and special purposes. The Laplanders are forced to make shift
with them in default of better draught-animals. There was a time when
the dogs of St. Bernard were a great convenience to the philanthropic
monks,--who, by the way, never received one-hundredth part of the credit
which has been lavished by the sentimentalists upon their half-automaton
assistants. The slave-hunters have found the race still more serviceable
for their ends. On great moors and lonely mountains and in the
exigencies of frontier-life, the shepherd, the hunter, and the pioneer
have turned them to account.

Far be it from me to disparage their assistance in these exceptional
instances and in others which might be named. The dog, like the bull or
the frogs of Egypt, is good in his place. But it does not follow that we
should have a bull in every door-yard, nor that it was an advantage to
the land of Egypt to be covered with frogs in-doors and out. The notion
that a dog is needful for defence in settled, civilized communities is
on a par with the delusion that a man is safer for carrying a loaded
pistol, more harm being done to honest people, and even to those of them
who resort to fire-arms, than to their enemies. One needs only to
consider the dogs of one's own neighborhood and compare the number of
burglars they have routed with the number of children or innocent
passers-by they have scared or bitten. My experience convinces me that
more houses and hen roosts are robbed where there are dogs than where
there are none. And it is easily explained. People who have a blind
trust in watch-dogs cease to watch for themselves. Moreover, the false
alarms of the dog are so numerous, and his barking so indiscriminating
of the difference between friend and foe, and even between real and
imaginary persons, that his owner soon ceases to take note of them. For
who is going to get up every time the dog barks in the night? The dog
is, of course, one of the conditions to be provided for in the burglar's
plan. But when he has silenced, overpowered, or eluded the watch, he has
turned the defence over to his own side, and proceeds with a special
sense of security.

At all events, I do not find that dogs are chiefly kept by those who
most need to be defended, but rather by the strong and by persons living
in closely-settled neighborhoods. Nor do I find that people affect dogs
at all in the ratio or for the sake of the protection, but for the
amusement which they afford, as something to be taken care of as pets
rather than to take care of them.

The watch-dog is an admirable protection from one's friends. What a
boon he is to the misanthrope! What an isolation reigns about the home,
especially in the evening, where a real savage beast stands guard,
roaming in the shadows or clanking his chain beside the path! The
ingenious Mr. Quilp turned this fact to fine account, as he escorted
Sampson Brass to the door of his counting-house on a dark night:

"Be careful how you go, my dear friend. There's a dog in the lane. He
bit a man last night, and a woman the night before, and last Tuesday he
killed a child; but that was in play. Don't go too near him."

"Which side of the road is he, sir?" asked Brass, in great dismay.

"He lives on the right hand," said Quilp, "but sometimes he hides on the
left, ready for a spring. He's uncertain in that respect. Mind you take
care of yourself. I'll never forgive you if you don't."

An exceedingly social institution, the watch-dog, and a delightful
attraction to one's visitors and would-be callers. A _watch_-dog indeed;
for is he not the one thing to be on the watch for, now that the day of
spring-guns and man-traps is past?

It is all very well for Byron to rhapsodize about "the watch-dog's
honest bark," and to think it "sweet" when it "bays deep-mouthed welcome
as we draw near home;" but when one has got inside of that home and gone
to bed, and wants to sleep off his fatigue, it is not always so sweet to
have some neighbor's watch-dog keeping up a dishonest bark at everything
and nothing half through the night. As to the moral quality of the
noise, the only honest bark is that of the mosquito, who is too sincere
either to attack you without warning or to give a false alarm. I have
thrown my share of boot-jacks and other missiles at the nightly cat, and
with some small measure of success; but what boot-jack will reach the
howling mastiff domiciled several doors off, and whose owner says in
effect, "Boot me, boot my dog," or the converse? And what an "aid to
reflection," which Coleridge never conceived of, is that wretched
little whelp that explodes under my study window at the critical moment
of intellectual inspiration, like a pack of animated fire-crackers! Who
shall pretend to set off the occasional service which the canine voice
has rendered to man against the long and varied agonies which it has
inflicted on our race? Emerson has a fine touch of nature, which will go
to many a heart, when he enumerates among the recollected experiences of
childhood "the fear of dogs." Goethe's aversion to dogs, already alluded
to, seems to have been based chiefly upon their noisiness at night.
Charles Reade had a habit of hitting the nail on the head, and never
showed it more pithily than when he answered "Ouida's" application for a
name for her new pet poodle: "Call it Tonic, for it is sure to be a
mixture of bark, steal, and whine."

As to poodles and pugs, it is difficult for the masculine "man of
letters" to write. Fortunately, no member of my family has thus far
evinced any symptom of the poodle mania, so akin to the singular malady
which reduced poor Titania to the abject adoration of ass-headed Bottom.
Therefore any repugnance (this is purely an _ex post facto_ pun) on my
part cannot be attributed to jealousy. I feel that I cannot be too
thankful not to be numbered among the unhappy husbands indicated by the
following recent incident:

"Hello, old man!" said a gentleman to a friend, "what's that you've got
under your coat?"

"That," was the sad reply, as he brought it forth, "is my wife's little
pug dog."

"What are you going to do with him? Take him somewhere and drown him?"

"I wish I might," earnestly responded the gentleman, fetching a sigh.
"No, I am not going to drown him. My wife is having a new spring suit
made to harmonize with Beauty, as she is pleased to call the disgusting
little brute, and I am on my way to a dry-goods store to match him for
half a yard more of material."

Ladies will pay as much as ten dollars a week for the board of a poodle
in summer. And here is a specimen order at the inn wherein his puppyship
is taking his ease:

"Room No. 122.--To the clerk of ---- Hotel: Please send to my room, for
the use of my little pet 'Watch,' a choice porter-house steak, cooked
rare, and two chicken-wings, and charge to account of Mrs. ----."

But it is not always practicable to take our "dumb companions" with us
in our travels. Accordingly, the following advertisement is said to have
been recently inserted in the papers:

"Wanted, by a lady, a careful man to look after the house and be company
for her dog during her absence in Europe."

I myself lately witnessed a suggestive scene in a drawing-room car at
the Grand Central Dépôt. A portly old gentleman of opulent appearance
was stepping aboard with his daughter (or wife?), a fine specimen of
Amazonian beauty, accompanied by a third member of the family, a yellow
and dirty-looking little pug with its hair in its eyes. But, alas! the
latter was arrested at the platform, according to rule, and was being
conveyed to the baggage-car. I have no power to picture the blazing
indignation of his devoted mistress, or the eloquent storm with which
she assailed the officials, or the undignified haste and distress of
mind into which the old gentleman was thrown in his part of negotiator
between the contending parties. The lady was inconsolable and
inexorable. She would not go without her beloved. She would _never_
subject him to the discomfort and indignity of the baggage-car. She
would "rather ride in the common car" herself. How the case was settled
I did not see. She left the hateful drawing-room car with her packages
and her papa(?). Whether she abandoned her tour, or went into the
baggage-car to share the shame and sorrow of her poodle, or whether a
compromise was effected in favor of the "common car," I never
ascertained, I trust she was not the lady of Baltimore who last summer
went insane and tried to kill herself on account of the death of her pet
dog.

And this leads me to make a point in favor of dogs, at least so far as
their claim to being "so human" is concerned. There has been supposed to
be nothing more distinctive of human nature than its propensity to
suicide, arising from its capacity, as it rises in civilization and
enlightenment, of finding out that life is not worth living. But a
number of well-authenticated cases have come to my observation which
show that the dog is rapidly learning this supreme accomplishment. A dog
at Warwick, New York, whose master had neglected him for a new-comer,
became morose and sulky, took to watching the railway-trains with great
interest, and one day threw himself under a passing car and was crushed
to death. Another, in Marseilles, whose owner had avoided him from fear
of hydrophobia, and which had been driven from the door of a friend of
his master, ran straight for the river and plunged in, never to rise
till he was dead. A Newfoundland dog on the relief-ship Bear, and two or
three of the Esquimaux dogs belonging to the relief expedition, drowned
themselves deliberately, after showing great depression for several
days. Dr. Lauder Lindsay, in his "Mind in the Lower Animals," tells of a
Newfoundland that, being refused an accustomed outing with the children
and being playfully whipped with a handkerchief, took it so deeply to
heart that he went and drowned himself by resolutely holding his head
under water in a shallow ditch.

But, seriously, it is a nice psychological question whether there is
something human about dogs, or something canine about men. At any rate,
it may well be asked whether it is really the dog-nature which attracts
us, and not rather a somewhat of the human in the brute. For when we see
the dog in the man we are repelled.

The above is undoubtedly the most honorable, if not the most obvious,
reason why the dog has succeeded in winning the companionship, and even
the affection, of so large a portion of mankind. Another reason lies in
the fact that, as a dog, he has been wonderfully improved. There is no
denying that he comes of a bad stock. As already intimated, his "family"
includes, besides himself, the wolf, the fox, and the jackal, with the
hyena as a sort of step-brother. But he has proved himself "the flower
of the family," and, like all flowers, he has been "cultivated" and
developed, differentiated in species, till a grand bench-show will
display all the varieties, from little fluff balls, "small enough to put
in your waistcoat-pocket," to the splendid deerhound, valued at ten
thousand dollars, with his "silver-gray hair, muscular flanks, and calm,
resolute eyes." I shall never forget coming suddenly, in the streets of
Montgomery, Alabama, upon one of the veritable bloodhounds which were
employed once upon a time in tracking fugitive slaves. His dimensions
were beyond all my previous conceptions of the canine race. He impressed
me rather as an institution than an animal. And as he stood across my
path in a statuesque repose, with his red tongue and massive jaws, and a
slumbering fire in his eye, I conceived a new idea and even admiration
of "brute force."

The intelligence of the dog has also been developed, notwithstanding the
smallness of his brain and his natural inferiority in this respect to
many other animals, until he has almost rivalled the feats of the
learned pig and the industrious fleas. His moral character must be
admitted to have shown itself capable of great development, despite the
recent effort of writers like Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson to prove that
he develops chiefly the worst and meanest traits of human nature. His
capacity for hero-worship and his patience under ill usage from the one
who has mastered him are conspicuous. He has a sublime indifference to
that master's moral character, however, being as subservient to Bill
Sykes or Daniel Quilp as to Leatherstocking or Dr. John Brown himself.
This fidelity to me does not imply that he may not be highly
treacherous to others, just as his protective value to me is in
proportion to his savage and perilous possibilities to the not-me.
Therefore I ought not to insist that my lovers must love my dog also. I
should rather estimate their steadfast affection for me all the more on
his account.

It is argued by the dog-haters that we must not judge the whole vast and
varied race of _Canidæ_ from a few exceptional individuals and
highly-cultivated breeds. But it may be retorted that neither are all
men Shakespeares and St. Augustines. The credit is so much the greater
to those of the species which have overcome the disadvantages of a low
and repulsive origin. None the less, however, will a strict veracity of
mind and speech be careful not to generalize too sweepingly from a few
particulars, and also not to make too indiscriminate and imperious a
demand upon other people's enthusiasm. Especially will it be unwise for
the friends of the dog to persist in their attempt to exalt him by
depreciating man, inasmuch as man is the party to be won over to their
way of thinking. Man has, unfortunately, been endowed by his Creator
with a notion of his superiority even to the hound and the terrier, and
naturally winces at the comparison, and is in danger of being thrown to
the other extreme. I myself am able to present these considerations thus
dispassionately as a friend of humanity rather than a foe to caninity;
but all are not favored with a judicial spirit.

I suspect, in fact, that this inclining of our race to these brute
servitors is largely due to the same cause which promotes the love of
"horse-flesh." Man must assert his dominion over the brutes. He wants
some tangible evidence, always beside him and running at his heels, of
his superiority to something. It is a great upholder of his
self-respect. It is so consoling, amid our conscious defeats and
snubbings by a proud and unmanageable world, to have at hand a
fellow-creature, strong enough to tear us in pieces, who will grovel at
our feet, and quail before our eye, and let us laugh at him while he
makes a fool of himself at our bidding. Even the most successful and
superior men find herein a grateful outlet for their surplus
masterfulness.

But I prefer to ascribe the tender and enthusiastic feeling which men
have for their dogs not so much to the merits of the latter as to an
overflowing and supererogatory goodness in the former. The human runs
readily into the humane. Man is, after all, a loving animal, and is
disposed to lavish his affection upon all who come into the right
relation and moral angle with himself. He loves to be munificent as well
as magnificent, and to be the patron of somebody or something. He has no
little magnanimity toward such as put themselves in an abject dependence
upon his honor and justice. He is ready to see all good in those who
come not in competition with himself. He has a fund of generous
enthusiasm which finds too little occupation in the world, and is glad
to find or create an object for it near at hand. So that his dog,
unconsciously to himself, is seen rather in the reflection of his own
light. He clothes him with those amiable qualities which superabound in
his own heart, and attributes to him a fidelity which is really far more
remarkable on his own side.

Dogs are remarkable for their dreaming capacity. A dog never seems to
sleep but he dreams, and very likely is quite unable to distinguish his
waking and sleeping impressions. And is it not altogether probable that
those who have much to do with them catch the infection, so that they
view the canine race through a dream-like medium and as slumbering dogs
are haunted by imaginary flies?

But I fear lest I shall be suspected of having caught at least one
quality of my subject and of following up this scent at a wearisome
length. And yet I have not begun to exhaust my theme, and have hardly
given a glimpse of its many lights and shades. Inasmuch as there is an
excessive tendency just now to show the lights only, it may have been
noticed that I have rather emphasized the shades. Perhaps I shall not
have written in vain if I have succeeded in moderating the present
_kynomania_, surpassing in virulence even the æsthetic craze. The dog is
having his day now,--that is clear. I presume it is the order of nature,
and that we must expect a season in human history when the dog-star will
rage. But it may not be unseasonable to recommend a slight muzzle to the
dog-bitten, especially of the literary _gens_.

    F. N. ZABRISKIE.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] By a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Maine, the judges
standing six to one, it was decided that dogs are not to be classed with
domestic animals. The learned Court affirms "that they retain in great
measure their vicious habits, furnish no support to the family, add
nothing in a legal sense to the wealth of the community, and are not
inventoried as property of a debtor or dead man's estate, or as liable
to taxation except under a special provision of the statute; that when
kept it is for pleasure, or, if any usefulness is obtained from them, it
is founded upon the ferocity natural to them, by which they are made to
serve as a watch or for hunting; and that while because of his
attachment to his master, from which arises a well-founded expectation
of his return when lost, the law gives the owner the right of
reclamation, the owner in all other respects has only that qualified
property in them which he may have in wild animals generally."



RENA'S WARNING.


"If anything be anything," said Frederick Brent, "the Pennsylvania
mountains are what Oscar Wilde called them."

"Oh, you miserable agnostic!" exclaimed his friend Professor
Helfenstein. "Can you not, in the face of this so beautiful landscape,
get rid of your eternal subjunctive mood? _If_, indeed!"

The two men had stopped at a high point on the road they had been
traversing, and were looking across a fair and fertile valley, flooded
by the summer-morning sunlight, to the mountains on its western rim.

A slight smile showed Brent's pleasure in arousing his companion's
indignation.

"Well," said he, "my ideas of natural beauty and those of the æsthetic
Wilde may be entirely false; or the whole scene may be an optical
illusion; or--_Rosenduft und Maienblumen_, observe me this lovely
maiden!"

"If anything be anything? You can be positive enough where a pretty girl
is concerned. She _is_ pretty, though, and as _deutsch_ as her ancestors
were a century or two ago, when they left the Rhineland and crossed the
sea. A pure blonde German type. Tacitus would have included her among
the Non-Suevi."

Their attention had been drawn from the scenery by the approach of a
young woman and a little boy. The former was above the medium height,
and was about twenty years old, but the infantile mould of her features
and the innocent look in her large blue eyes gave strangers a
bewildering impression that she was somewhere in the neighborhood of
five. She was charmingly pretty in her way, and her wide-brimmed hat of
dark straw set off to full advantage the pale golden hue of her braided
hair and the delicate purity of her complexion.

Brent could not resist the temptation to accost this mild and grave
young beauty. Stepping forward as she was passing, he lifted his hat,
and said, "Will you be good enough to tell me the way to the nearest
encampment of Indians?"

"Indians?" she repeated, with a timid wonder in the tones of her soft
voice.

"Yes. We are Europeans, travelling in this country, and we should like
to find some Indians who will help us to hunt buffaloes. Are there many
buffaloes near here? We haven't seen any sitting on the branches of the
trees as we came along."

"I don't think buffaloes _could_ get up in the trees," said the girl in
a meekly explanatory manner.

"Why, you don't mean to say that the buffaloes in this country can't
climb, do you?"

"I never saw a buffalo; but I don't _think_ they can."

She looked despairingly at her small brother, who, having not yet
reached the age of six years, was unable to afford any help in deciding
a question in zoology.

"This is very interesting," said Brent, turning toward his companion.
"It seems that American buffaloes are forced to spend all their time on
the ground."

"_Narrheit!_" growled the professor, beginning to walk away.

"Well, I'm very much obliged to you," said Brent. "Good-morning."

Then he followed his friend, who was already descending a hill in the
road.

"Sister Rena, what did that man want still?" asked the little boy.

"I don't know, love," said his sister faintly. Her ideas were in a
hopeless state of confusion, and she was troubled by a fear that a lack
of intelligence had made her seem disobliging.

When Brent overtook the professor, the latter said, "All Englishmen are
ridiculous; and you are a good specimen of the race. Why should you stop
on the public highway and talk nothingness to a harmless girl?"

"All Germans are prejudiced; and Professor Helfenstein is a true
_Deutscher_," answered Brent. "My remarks to the young Non-Sueve no
doubt interested her deeply, and I fancy she will reflect on them, as
Piers Plowman says,--

    With inwit and outwit,
    Imagynyng and studie."

They were both good walkers, and, though the heat became somewhat
oppressive at noon, they did not halt until they had reached the village
where they intended to pass the night. In this place Helfenstein heard
the Pennsylvania-German dialect spoken to his heart's content. After
dinner he sat on the porch of the inn for several hours, talking to a
number of the indigenes and making copious notes.

When Brent returned from a visit to one of the village stores, he found
him looking over the result of his investigations.

"Will the 'Allgemeine Zeitung' have the benefit of your researches?"
asked the Englishman.

"Most like. The people at home love to have tidings of shoots from the
old German lingual stock. The dialect of this locality is a truly
noteworthy one."

"I heard it spoken just now by the young blossom we met on the road this
morning."

"Does she live here?"

"No. She had driven in to the village to make some purchases. Her father
is one Reinfelter, who tills the soil of his ancestral demesne over
there near the mountains."

"From whom did you learn these facts?"

"From the tradesman with whom she had been talking."

"Will agnosticism let you be absolutely sure his statements are true?"

"No; and even less sure that they are untrue. It seems to me that a vast
amount of credulity is needed for positive unbelief. Do atheists ever
have doubts about anything?"

"We don't sit still and say, '_Quien sabe?_' like you agnostics. When
nobody shall believe or disbelieve, who will _act_?"

"I give it up."

With a look of profound disgust, the professor pocketed his note-book
and went to seek refreshment in the shape of beer.

Notwithstanding the difference in their ways of thinking, these two men
had something in common which furnished a strong bond of union between
them. Helfenstein sometimes said to himself, "Well, if he _is_ a
pitiable doubter, he at least doubts in earnest. This makes him better
than the miserable tric-trac men who are always ready to agree that
black is white, or deny that two and two make four, when it suits their
convenience or interest."

And, in fact, though Brent often paraded his agnosticism merely to draw
forth the professor's scornful comments, he really had a humble and
hopeless consciousness that if truth be visible to any human mind it was
hidden from his. The possession of an ample fortune and the lack of
family ties and active interests in life had fostered his tendency
toward introspection till it became morbid. Now, at the age of thirty,
he had no positive beliefs or aims, and felt the despairing
self-contempt which inspired Hamlet's cry, "What should such fellows as
I do, crawling between earth and heaven?"

Before retiring, the travellers agreed to spend the next day in making
an excursion on foot to the neighboring mountains. But when the hour for
starting arrived, Brent had not risen, and the professor, who allowed
nothing to interfere with his plans if he could help it, set out alone.

A little before sunset he returned, full of enthusiasm over the scenery,
and highly pleased with the people in the farm-houses where he had
stopped.

"They are a good, honest, _kreuzbraves Volk_," he said. "They have kept
the old German home-feeling all unchanged. There is a certain Bärnthaler
over there at the foot of the mountains who is worthy to be a native of
the Fatherland,--a noble-looking fellow, with the lion-front of a young
Marcomannic chief."

"The Marcomanni were a Suevic race, were they not?"

"Yes; I should have known his ancestors were dark-haired Swabians even
if he had not told me so. He is something of a scholar, I should say,
and he seems as true a gentleman as ever lived. What a shame it is that
his good South-German name should have been corrupted into Barndollar!"

"I heard this Barndollar's praises sounded about three hours ago."

"By whom?"

"By the father of Miss Reinfelter, the mild-eyed blonde who had her
doubts about the ability of buffaloes to climb trees. He was here this
afternoon, and we became intimate in five minutes. He told me his
ancestors came from the neighborhood of Heidelberg; and when he heard I
was there last summer his expansive face was illumined with joy. He
answered my questions about the old German settlers intelligently
enough; but he said nobody could tell me as much about such matters as
'Melker Barndollar,' of whom he spoke with 'bated breath. He also
invited me to visit him."

"Shall you accept his invitation?"

"I have fully made up my mind to go; but that doesn't make it certain
that I shall."

"Should you go if he possessed not a pretty daughter?"

"Probably not."

The next morning Brent rode over to the Reinfelter farm. The farm-house
interested him at the first view. It was a quaint old stone building,
with four gables and a slated roof, from the projecting windows in which
the mountain-line could be seen stretching away to the southwest and
growing more and more indistinct until their faint outlines were lost on
the far horizon. Ivy concealed more than half the gray stones from
sight, and fragrant pink roses were blooming against the southern wall,
while thick bushes of flowering jessamine grew on both sides of the
front door.

The visitor received a welcome which made him feel as if he had reached
his own home. He had grown so weary of wandering aimlessly around the
world, and had become so disgusted with conventional forms and
ceremonies, that the peaceful home-like and simple, kindly manners of
these unsophisticated people gave him an agreeable sense of rest and
freedom from restraint.

He allowed himself to be prevailed on to stay until late in the
afternoon; and before his visit ended he circumspectly inquired whether
they would receive him as a boarder. The promptness and pleasure with
which both the farmer and his wife agreed to his proposal showed him
that his fear of giving offence had been entirely groundless.

When he returned to the inn, the professor informed him that on the
succeeding day he was going on to the next county.

"I shall stay in this neighborhood some time longer," said Brent.

"So? What is the especial attraction? The young woman over there where
the mountains stand?"

"Perhaps; but my own motives are about the last things I should attempt
to analyze."

"Well, I expect to come back this way in three months, and, if I find
you here and ready to depart, we can return to New York together."

"Like nearly all other imaginable things, what you state is not
impossible."

Helfenstein went on his way the next morning, and Brent began his
sojourn at the farm-house on the same day.

The burdens of Rena Reinfelter's life immediately became very much more
numerous. The Englishman found an unfailing satisfaction in bewildering
and horrifying her, and tried systematically to find out whether there
was really any limit to her patience and gentleness. He induced her to
go with him to the mountains near at hand, and took every opportunity to
place himself in positions where he was in imminent danger of falling
some hundreds of feet and being dashed to pieces on the rocks. Her
dearly-beloved cat was suddenly lost to sight, and when it reappeared,
uttering meek appeals for sympathy and help, its personal adornments
were as striking as they were varied. He proved to her conclusively that
all cats are utterly incapable of affection, and that their characters
are vicious and treacherous to the last degree. His favorite method,
however, was to begin by asking her some trivial question and then
involve her in a net-work of apparent self-contradictions, which filled
her conscientious soul with anguish and dismay at her own
untruthfulness. Sometimes he felt a little ashamed of these amusements,
and determined to forego them; but the temptation was too great for his
powers of resistance, and he soon began transgressing again.

One morning Rena received a visit from her most intimate friend, Elsa
Barndollar, who was only fifteen years old, but, having spent the
preceding season at a city boarding-school, considered herself a grown
woman with an unusually wide experience. Although passionately devoted
to Rena, she was as fond of teasing her as Brent himself. Yet as soon as
the latter began indulging himself with that diversion, she became
highly indignant, and scornfully betook herself to the garden.

When Rena had followed her thither, she gave vent to her wrath without
restraint.

"That's the most hateful man I ever saw!" she exclaimed.

"Oh, no, Elsa!" said Rena deprecatingly.

"Yes, he is. He's perfectly horrid! What does he mean by teasing you as
if you were a little white kitten, or a green and yellow parrot, or some
other ridiculous thing? I suppose he thinks country-people are all
idiots. I never _did_ see the use of Englishmen, anyhow."

"Oh, he only does it for fun. He's always polite to father and mother,
and little Casper thinks he's the nicest man he ever saw."

"Oh, yes! If he's good to your relations you don't care how he treats
you. It's a shame, and he ought to be told so, too."

Rena tried to pacify her young friend, but the attempt was not
successful. The latter made her visit a very short one, and when she
reached home her anger and jealousy found expression in very vigorous
terms.

Her brother visited the Reinfelters a short time afterward. His interest
in the Englishman was evidently very strong, but if he shared his
sister's feelings toward him they did not prevent his treating him with
perfect courtesy.

"Helfenstein is right," thought Brent, as the young farmer rode away.
"He's as handsome a fellow as I ever saw. I wonder whether he's Sister
Rena's lover so bold."

But although Melchior Barndollar was far superior to the Reinfelters in
culture and in knowledge of the world, he did not interest Brent as much
as they did. The positiveness of their beliefs was a special source of
wonder to him. From the father, who had no doubt about the existence of
ghosts, to the little boy, who firmly believed in the reality of
_Belsnickel_,--hides, horns, and all,--they were the most frankly
credulous people he had ever known. But the superstition and
anthropomorphism mingled with their faith did not make him think it
less enviable. He would have been glad to believe anything as firmly as
they did the traditions which had come down to them from their
ancestors, unchallenged by doubt and unchanged by time.

One evening, after Rena had, as usual, sat beside her little brother's
bed until he was sound asleep, she joined her parents and Brent, who
were sitting in the garden behind the house.

The full moon was high above the mountains, and the whole landscape was
almost as distinct as it had been before the sun went down. A
whippoorwill's notes, mellowed by distance, resounded from the farthest
part of the orchard, and a tinkling chorus arose from the leaves and
blades of grass, where the myriads of nocturnal musicians were
disporting themselves after the heat and glare of the day. But the
sounds made by these performers were so regular and monotonous that they
seemed merely a part of the calm summer night.

Suddenly another sound came down from the lower part of the mountains.
It began with a deep, long-drawn, hollow cry, between a howl and a moan,
and then broke into a wild, piercing shriek.

The farmer started to his feet, and stood gazing in the direction from
which the cry had come.

"It's only a stray dog howling," said Brent.

Reinfelter turned toward his wife, and the moonlight showed that his
face was white with terror.

"_De warnoong!_" he said, in a low voice. "_D'r geishter-shray foon de
bairga!_"

The woman covered her face with her hands, and began trembling and
sobbing. Rena put her arms around her mother's neck and tried to comfort
her, as if _she_ had been the mother instead of the child.

The sound broke out again, and this time it was louder and more distinct
than before. As the melancholy echoes died away, Rena rose, and, taking
her mother's hand in hers, led her toward the house.

When they had gone, Brent said, "What do you think that sound is?"

"It's the warning still," said Reinfelter. "It's the warning of death."

"What is it made by?"

"A ghost. It goes up there in the mount'ins an' calls, an' the one it
calls is soon in the graveyard already. It's called the mother, or Rena,
or me, this night."

"Maybe I was the one it meant."

"No; it only calls the Reinfelters still. It's been so ever since the
Injun massacree, a long time ago."

"Did that happen here?"

"Yes. My great-grandfather an' his oldest son was up in the mount'ins,
and his wife was a-comin' back from there by herself once. Just as she
got where she could see her little children a-playin' in the yard, three
Injuns jumped out o' the woods that was nigh to the house then, an' run
into the yard an' killed the children right before her eyes. The men up
there heard her scream, an' they run down, an' found her a-layin' there
where she fell, an' they thought she was dead already. She come to
herself ag'in, but after that she just sort o' pined away, an' in less
than two months she died. It's her ghost that goes up there an' calls us
still."

"Did you ever hear the call before?"

"No; I never heard it myself. But the night my little girl died, nine
years ago, she rose up in bed once, an' she says, 'Who is that a-cryin'
up there in the mount'ins?' We couldn't hear nothin' still, but we knew
what _she_ had heard, an' after that we didn't have no more hope."

Brent did not think of the banshee as a positive reality, but he would
not have denied that its existence was possible, and he felt that it
would be useless for him to try to shake the farmer's faith in the
tradition which had such a strong hold on his mind.

After a brief silence, he said he would take a short walk before going
to bed. Leaving the garden, he strolled toward the mountains, which rose
like a vast wall above the foot-hills at their base.

As he drew near the rising ground which marked the verge of the valley,
the strange sound once more fell on his ear, and he walked in the
direction from which it came. Passing through a grove of chestnut-trees,
he reached an elevated open space, where the moonlight shone on the
almost level surface of large gray rocks. Near the middle of this clear
space he saw a black, shaggy object moving slowly about, with its
lowered head turned away from him. He stepped forward to get a closer
view of this creature, and as he did so it turned its head and looked at
him. The next instant it bounded away and disappeared among the nearest
trees.

"Just as I thought," said Brent to himself. "It _was_ a dog, and a
villanous-looking cur, too. Exactly the sort of brute to howl and shriek
at the moon on a night like this."

But, as he sauntered back to the house, various doubts entered his mind.
He reflected that he had seen the animal only for an instant, by
moonlight and at some distance, and that he could not be sure it was
really a dog. Neither could he be confident it had uttered the
mysterious cry, for while it was within his sight it had made no sound
of any kind. "Perhaps it went up there for the same reason I did,--to
find out what was going on," he thought.

As usual, he ended by informing himself that he was under no
responsibility to settle the question, and that, as far as he was
concerned, it would probably remain unsettled.

The next morning he found the farmer and his wife very much depressed,
but he had no hope of being able to convince them that they had heard
nothing supernatural, and thought it best to avoid the subject. He
passed the day in calling on some of the neighbors who had asked him to
visit them, and returned to the farm-house just before nightfall.

He found Rena standing at the door, and, while talking to her, he
mentioned his moonlight walk.

"I saw what I took to be a stray dog up there," he said. "Perhaps it
made the sound we heard."

"Was it a black dog, with rough, curly hair?" asked Rena.

"I think it was; but I couldn't see it very well. Do you know whose it
is?"

"No; but this morning when I came out of the dairy a dog that looked
like that was standing in the path, a little way off, and I was thinking
it might have been the same one."

As she looked away again, Brent said, "I didn't tell your father and
mother about the dog I saw, because I thought it would be well for them
to forget the whole matter as soon as possible."

"Thank you," said Rena, turning her face and looking at him gratefully.

He had lost the desire to tease her, and treated her as he had never
done before. Thinking of this, not long afterward, he wondered whether a
presentiment of what was coming had caused the change, or whether it
merely arose from a consciousness of the gloom which had already settled
on the household.

During his call on the Barndollars that morning, he had partly overcome
Elsa's unfavorable impression of him by treating her, to some extent,
"like a grown-up woman" and showing by his manner that he was not
unconscious of the handsome young brunette's personal attractions. On
her next visit, a little more than two weeks later, she noticed that he
had entirely given up the objectionable teasings; and this removed the
last obstacle in the way of her considering him extremely "nice." She
had mentally admitted, even at the first view, that he possessed the
degree of good looks and stylishness rigorously exacted from the male
sex by the canons of boarding school taste, and she now candidly
acknowledged to herself that his being an Englishman was, strictly
speaking, not his own fault.

When she was ready to go, she made her adieux with an agreeable sense of
having been both entertaining and instructive. She forgot to take leave
of her friend the aged and decrepit mastiff, which was sitting just
inside the hall; but he called attention to his presence by three raps
of his tail on the floor. Elsa laughed, and went through the form of
shaking his huge paw,--an attention which he acknowledged by a prolonged
caudal tattoo.

"Oh, Rena!" said Elsa, stopping on the topmost step, "I forgot to tell
you what happened to our Scotch shepherd-dog, Macbeth. You know Melker
and I made friends with him the first day, but we were the only ones
he'd be intimate with. Well, about two weeks ago an ugly old black dog
came prowling around the house, and when Mac went up to it it bit him
and then ran away to the mountains. Soon after that, we heard that a
black dog with the hydrophobia had been killed up there, and Derrick and
Jake said they believed it was the same one. Melker was in Philadelphia,
and before he came home Mac went mad. Derrick shot at him out of the
barn, and scared him so much that he ran off down the road, and we
haven't heard anything about him since."

Rena was bending over one of the jessamine-bushes, and seemed to be
absorbed in removing some dead leaves.

"Did your dog come this way, Elsa?" asked Mrs. Reinfelter nervously.

"No, indeed," replied Elsa. "He ran up the road to the village. Good-by,
Kuno. I won't forget you again."

Brent followed her down the steps to assist her in mounting, but she
sprang into the saddle without waiting for his help, and rode away at a
brisk canter.

The farmer and his wife conferred together anxiously about the two mad
dogs, while their little son stood near them, listening intently to all
they said. Unnoticed by them, Rena walked across the yard and passed
around the corner of the house in the direction of the garden.

Something in her manner caught Brent's attention, and in a little while
he followed her. He found her sitting in the garden; and, though she
tried to keep her face turned away from him, its death like pallor did
not escape his sight. He sat down at her side and asked her to tell him
what had happened. The sympathy in his voice went straight to her heart
and won her whole confidence.

"The warning was for me," she answered, "I'm not afraid to die; but
father and mother and my little brother--"

She did not sob or make any sound, but great tears welled from her eyes,
and she was unable to go on.

When she could speak again, she told him that on the day after the
warning, when she found a black, shaggy-haired dog standing near the
dairy door, she put out her hand, intending to stroke its head, but it
caught her hand with its teeth, and left a wound from which the blood
fell in large drops. The dog ran away in the direction of the Barndollar
farm, and she bound up her hand and managed to keep the wound from being
noticed while it was healing, for she was anxious to avoid increasing
the anxiety her parents already felt. Only a slight scar now remained;
but Elsa's account of the mad dogs left no doubt in her mind that she
was in imminent danger of a frightful death.

Brent had once witnessed a sight which rose before his eyes many times
afterward and would not be blotted from his memory. It all came back to
him now once more,--the agonized, horribly glaring eyes, the clinched
hands and quivering throat, and the convulsive sobbing and gasping which
would not cease tearing the wasted frame until death should bring the
only possible help. It made him sick at heart to think that the gentle
unselfish girl who was even then forgetting herself in her care for
others would be seized by those paroxysms of frightful madness.

He knew that many people who are bitten by mad dogs escape hydrophobia
entirely, but he could not doubt that when the teeth have entered the
bare flesh, and strong remedies are not instantly applied, there is very
little ground for hope.

"Was your hand entirely uncovered?" he asked.

"Yes; I never wear gloves."

With a desperate impulse to do something, he said, "I'll go to
Philadelphia and bring a physician. We can be here to-morrow."

"I'm afraid it's too late for that now," said Rena. "It would only
frighten father and mother. I want to keep them from knowing it as long
as I can."

"I won't bring anybody back with me if you are unwilling; but I must go
and find out what I can do to help you."

"Do you think anything can be done to keep me from hurting anybody
else?"

"I'm sure of that. I'll find out the best way to do it."

"Oh, thank you. You're so good to me!"

The earnestness of her gratitude made him think with sorrow and shame of
the time when his chief pleasure had been to make her unhappy. He could
hardly believe he had really been as selfish and heartless as he
appeared in the picture rising before him now out of the unchangeable
past. His dormant human interest was awakening, and his soul was
beginning to resist the tyranny of his mind.

He was so impatient to begin his journey that he proposed setting off
immediately and riding to the nearest railroad-station. But Rena was
afraid this would alarm her parents: so he agreed to wait until the next
morning and take the stage in the village.

That night Rena stayed longer than usual in the room with her little
brother after he had sunk into peaceful slumber in the midst of his
small confidences and grave interrogations.

Soon after she came down, her mother said, "Rena, sing us one of the
nice German songs Mr. Brent learned you once. Sing the one about the
lady that set up on the high rock an' combed her hair with a golden
comb. What did they call her still? 'De Lower Liar'?"

As Rena turned toward Brent and the lamplight fell on her face, he was
sure that if she tried to sing her voice would tell what she was trying
to keep unknown.

"I don't think 'Die Lorelei' is a very lively song, Mrs. Reinfelter,"
said he. "Maybe I can find some prettier ones in Philadelphia to-morrow,
if I have time. I must be sure to bring Casper something. What do you
think he would like best?"

This question introduced a topic which banished all others; and when
Brent looked at Rena again he saw he had come to the rescue in good
time. He was glad to think he could at least do this, and he determined
to be on the watch for such opportunities.

The result of his consultations the next day gave him very little ground
for hope. All he could depend on doing was to save Rena from suffering
and prevent what she feared most by making her insensible as soon as the
madness showed signs of taking an active form.

When he had gotten what was needed for this purpose and had been fully
advised as to his course of action, he went back with a heavy heart to
the farm among the mountains.

At the first opportunity he repeated to Rena all he had learned in the
city, and told her what he proposed doing. The prospect that was so
dispiriting to him removed her greatest care; but her eager thanks
humiliated him as he felt his utter helplessness in the hands of fate. A
sudden fear that she might hurt him before he could make her unconscious
brought back her anxiety; but he reassured her by promising to be
constantly on his guard and take every possible means to insure his own
safety.

Watching her closely as the days went by, he saw the full extent of her
calm and steadfast courage. She made no effort to hide from him her
grief at the prospect of separation from those she loved so dearly; but
of anguish or terror on her own account there was never any sign. He did
not doubt that this came from her perfect faith and trust in a higher
power, and, though he could not share her feeling, it comforted him to
know that she had such a strong support as she drew near to death.

Near the close of the fifth day after his return he and Rena were
standing together at the gate in front of the house. Deep shadows were
advancing up the sides of the mountains, but their summits were still
bright with the evening glow. Both of them watched the narrowing line
of light without speaking. Their minds were full of the same thoughts,
and there was a sympathetic communion between them which did not need to
be expressed in words.

Hearing footsteps on the road, they looked around, and saw Melchior
Barndollar coming toward them. A large and very handsome dog of the
Scotch shepherd breed was running along before him, and when he stopped
at the gate it came back and stood near him, with its intelligent brown
eyes fixed on his face.

"You have got another collie, I see," said Brent.

"No; this is the only one I've ever owned," replied Barndollar.

He had been surprised at the Englishman's remark, and he was entirely
unable to account for the effect of his answer on both the others. They
turned quickly toward each other with a look of eager interest, mingled
with something else which he could not understand.

"I thought your collie went mad," said Brent.

"Oh, you heard that report, then?"

"Yes. The last time your sister was here she mentioned it. Was there
nothing in it?"

"It wasn't even founded on an apparent fact," said the young farmer,
smiling and looking down at the dog, which immediately began wagging its
tail so forcibly that at least one-third of its body partook of the
motion. "The men on my mother's farm have regaled themselves so often
with stories about mad dogs that they have become their pet horror. When
I came home I found that their fire from behind intrenchments had driven
poor Mac off the place; though if he had been better acquainted with
their marksmanship he would probably have gone to sleep while they were
shooting at him. I went out to hunt for him, and found him at a house
near the village, as free from hydrophobia as I am. To make sure, I
traced the dog that bit him back to its owner's hut in the mountains,
and found it there, sneaking around the lot and looking as vicious and
mean-spirited as ever. Its master said the dog that was shot came from
the other side of the mountains, and was worth a dozen such curs as
his."

Rena stepped into the road and began stroking the dog's head and neck.
As she did so, her father came out of the house, and, seeing Barndollar
at the gate, he came down to speak to him.

While the two farmers were talking, Brent walked away to a grove of oaks
near the road and a short distance below the gate. Standing among the
trees as the twilight came on, he thought over the episode which had
just come to a close, and wondered at its effect on him. Instead of
pondering over the uncertainties of the case until it lost all reality
to him, he had been too much concerned to think of probabilities at all.
Sensibility had overcome his agnosticism, and he had forgotten that it
was possible to doubt. He knew he had not acted philosophically; but he
felt that philosophy, compared with sympathy and self-forgetfulness, is
of very slight account.

       *       *       *       *       *

Professor Helfenstein returned to the little Pennsylvania village at the
time he had indicated, which was about the middle of October. The
innkeeper told him his friend had not yet left the farm-house, and the
next morning he set out on foot to visit him there.

The mountain-woods, all arrayed in their autumn foliage, were glowing
with rich, warm color. Silvery cloud-banks heightened the deep blue of
the sky, and their slowly-floating shadows intensified the brightness of
the sunlight. "_Ueberall Sonnenschein!_" said the nature-loving German.
"_Ach, 's ist ein wunderschönes Land!_"

Brent saw him enter the yard, and came to the door to meet him. The
family had dispersed soon after breakfast, and, as there was no one in
the house for him to see, Helfenstein declined going in, but stood on
the door-step, describing his journeyings in the West.

"Well," said he at last, "are you ready to start with me for New York
to-morrow morning, and for Liverpool next Monday?"

"My starting for any place out of sight of these mountains," answered
Brent, "depends chiefly on the views of a certain young woman. At
present the indications are that no such pilgrimage will ever begin."

"_Alle Wetter!_ Are you married?"

"No; but I expect to be in two weeks."

"Is it the maiden who dwells in this house?"

"The very same."

For a few moments the professor gazed in silence at the prospective
bride-groom. Besides feeling a personal interest in the case, he
considered it a good subject for psychic investigation.

"My good friend," he said, with judicial calmness, "why do you wish to
espouse Miss Reinfelter?"

Brent knew this question was not meant to be offensive, but was
propounded in a spirit of critical analysis. He was about to answer it
with a pretence of deep gravity, when Casper came around the corner of
the house and asked him where "Sister Rena" was.

"She has gone to the village," replied Brent.

As the boy turned away, his disappointment was so evident that Brent
said, "Do you want her to do anything for you, Casper?"

"No, sir," said Casper dejectedly. "I just _want_ her."

Brent smiled, and turned to the professor again.

"I couldn't find a better answer to your question if I thought for a
week," he said. "I just _want_ her."

    W. W. CRANE.



MUSTER-DAY IN NEW ENGLAND.


Arms and the men we sing,--not those panoplied and helmeted according to
Virgil, nor those of our own day, armed with repeating rifles and
drum-majored into popular favor, but rather the heroes of the flint-lock
and the priming-wire in the New England of two or three generations ago,
the sturdy train-bands that have left scarce one John Gilpin to tell the
tale of their valor.

"Train-bands are the trustiest and most proper strength of a free
people," wrote Milton, and the colonists of Massachusetts Bay were of a
like opinion, from Miles Standish down to the humbler men of prowess. By
the law of 1666, all males in the colony were required to attend
"military exercises and service." Companies were exercised six days
yearly, prayer being offered by the captain at the beginning and at the
end of every "training." A regimental training was ordered once in three
years. Every company of foot was composed two-thirds of "musketeers" and
one-third of "pikemen," the pike of Connecticut being two feet shorter
than the rod-pike of England. Some of the lighter muskets were fired
with a simple match, but the greater number were supported by "rests,"
forked at the top and stuck into the ground. They were fired by
"match-locks," the "cock" being that part which held the burning match
aloft before it was applied to the powder in the pan. Hence "to go off
half cocked" originally meant that the burning fuse dropped into the
powder pan before it was wanted. Single charges of powder were carried
by the musketeers in wooden, tin, or copper boxes, and twelve of these
boxes, fitted to a belt and slung over the left shoulder, made the
"bandolier," which jingled like a band of sleigh-bells if the boxes were
metallic. The belt also secured the "primer with priming-powder," the
"bullet-bag," the "priming-wire," and the "match-cord." The soldier
being thus a slave to his weapon, we are not surprised to note that his
manual of arms was the following, from Elton's "Postures of the Musket:"

    Stand to your arms.
    Take up your bandoliers.
    Put on your bandoliers.
    Take up your match.
    Take up your rest.
    Put the string of your rest about
    your left wrist.
    Take up your musket.
    Rest your musket.
    Poise your musket.
    Shoulder your musket.
    Unshoulder your musket and poise.
    Join your rest to the outside of your musket.
    Open your pan.
    Clear your pan.
    Prime your pan.
    Shut your pan.
    Cast off your loose corns.
    Blow off your loose corns, and bring
    about your musket to the left side.
    Trail your rest.
    Balance your musket in your left hand.
    Find out your charge.
    Open your charge.
    Charge with powder.
    Draw forth your scouring-stick.
    Turn and shorten him to an inch.
    Charge with bullet.
    Put your scouring-stick into your musket.
    Ram home your charge.
    Withdraw your scouring-stick.
    Turn and shorten him to a handful.
    Return your scouring-stick.
    Bring forward your musket and rest.
    Poise your musket and recover your rest.
    Join your rest to the outside of your musket.
    Draw forth your match.
    Blow your coal.
    Cock your match.
    Guard your pan.
    Blow the ashes from your coal.
    Open your pan.
    Present upon your rest.
    Give fire breast-high.
    Dismount your musket, joining the rest to the outside of your musket.
    Uncock and return your match.
    Clear your pan.
    Poise your musket.
    Rest your musket.
    Take your musket off the rest and set
    the butt end to the ground.
    Lay down your musket.
    Lay down your match.
    Take your rest into your right hand,
    clearing the string from your left wrist.
    Lay down your rest.
    Take off your bandoliers.
    Lay down your bandoliers.
    Here endeth the postures of the musket.

The "Postures of the Pike" gave these orders: "Handle, raise, charge,
order, advance, shoulder, port, comport, check, trail, and lay
down,"--the words "your pikes" being given with every order.

Elton's "Instructions to a Company of Horsemen" were as follows:

    Horse,--_i.e._, mount your horse.
    Uncap your pistol-case.
    Draw your pistol.
    Order your pistol.
    Span your pistol.
    Prime your pistol.
    Shut your pan.
    Cast your pistol.
    Gage your flasque.
    Lode your pistol.
    Draw your rammer.
    Lode with bullet and ram home.
    Return your rammer.
    Pull down the cock.
    Recover your pistol.
    Present and give fire.
    Return your pistol.

Our fathers might have gone on in this lumbering way for many years if
they had seen nothing worth imitating in the red men. The Indians of
King Philip's War brought out their "snap-hances," or flint-locks, and
the colonists were not slow to see the improvement. Experimentally at
first, and afterward by a law of Massachusetts, the old pikes and heavy
match-lock rifles were replaced with lighter muskets bearing the flint.
The soldier ceased to be a slave to his weapon. Tactics were
revolutionized; and the newly-developed military spirit was met by "The
Complete Soldier," compiled from Elton, Bariff, and other authorities,
and published by Nicholas Boone, of Boston, in 1701. This, the first
military book in the British colonies, directed the soldiers to appear
"with their hair, or periwigs, tied up in bags, and their hats briskly
cocked." We hear also for the first time of the "powder-horn" and the
"cartouch-box." The "bagnets" that are mentioned were of little use
against the Indians, and they were scarcely known in America until the
wars with France. But with the appearance of the bayonet came also the
revival of the fife, which had been discarded in England in the time of
Shakespeare. The military experiences gained in the French wars were of
immense benefit when the Continentals and the volunteers formed
themselves in line for the American Revolution. And yet the _esprit de
corps_ was contemptible; for every movement contemplated and every order
given by a superior officer had to be discussed, approved, or
disapproved by the inferior officers and by the humblest privates. It
was years before the army ceased to be a great debating-society with a
sharp rivalry as to which regiment should have the handsomest silk
banner. But Steuben--the great drill-master--brought order out of the
turmoil with his "Regulations for the Discipline of the Troops of the
United States," although the evolutions in the field did not go much
beyond the old-time marching that clings to the Hartford Phalanx of
to-day. An Englishman who lived in Massachusetts during the Revolution
had this to say: "The females are fond of dress and love to rule. The
men are fond of the military art. But in Connecticut the men are less
so, while the women stay at home and spin."

The Revolution being over, the several States of the new republic
enacted military laws of their own. In New York every able-bodied male
between eighteen and forty-five was required to meet with his company
four times in each year "for training and discipline,"--once by brigade,
once by regiment, and twice by company,--for such length of time as the
governor might direct. Similar laws were in force in the New-England
States, and upon them was based the United States law of 1792 which
sought to establish a uniform militia throughout the country. The
attempt was a failure, because the President is commander-in-chief of
the militia only when it is in the actual service of the United States.
The several States, therefore, kept up their ununiformed militia until
it became a laughing-stock,--an army with broom-sticks, to evade serving
in which but fifty cents a year was required,--and then the present
uniformed militia arose from the ruins. Our present inquiry concerns the
militia of New England during the fifty years from 1790 to 1840. In
those days the "military duty" consisted of two "company trainings" of
half a day each in May and October, and one "general training" or
"regimental muster" of one day in October. While no uniforms were
required at the trainings, except to distinguish the officers, yet there
were usually enough public-spirited people in every town to furnish
uniforms to the crack company. The other company, the tatterdemalions of
the town, was called "the flood-wood." The regiment consisted of one
company each of artillery, grenadiers, light infantry, and riflemen from
adjoining towns,--the cavalry being recruited wherever a farm-house
could be found which was able to stand the shock of war. Then came the
flood-wood companies, outnumbering the uniformed companies almost two to
one.

The cavalry--it was before the days of Hackett and Poinsett and
McClellan saddles and Solingen sabres--appeared to treasure up the
memory of "Light-Horse Harry Lee" and Major Winston of the Legionary
Cavalry that helped Mad Anthony Wayne against the Indians of the West.
They had not heard of the valor of the elder Hampton or the daring rides
of Major Davies, of Kentucky. "Tone's Tactics" was unknown to them. And
yet they were admired in their black suits faced and corded with red
(the militia repudiated the colors of the regular army), and they were a
terror with their cutlasses and holsters for the brace of huge
horse-pistols that they were required to carry. The uniform of the
artillery and grenadiers differed little from that of the cavalry. The
latter were topped off with helmets of red leather. Upon the hats of the
flood-wood, tin or sheet-iron plates showed the name of the
company,--the L. I. standing for "Light Infantry,"--just as you know the
porter of your hotel by his badge. The riflemen wore gray spencers and
gray pantaloons. Their hats were stiff black beavers, for the comfort of
a soft felt hat had not yet been discovered. Most gorgeous of all were
the men of the infantry, in their white pantaloons and blue coats, the
latter covered by cross-belts of white, to which priming-wires, brushes,
and extra flints were chained. A cap of black leather, sprung outward at
the top, carried a black feather tipped with red. The musicians, when
there were any, followed the uniform of the company which they attended,
with some slight differences, like turned-over plates and tasselled
ends, to show that they were non-combatants. Altogether, as one looked
at the "fuss and feathers," the broad lapels, and the bob-tailed coats,
he might well recall Thoreau's description of the manner in which the
salt cod are spread out on the fish-flakes to dry: "They were everywhere
lying on their backs, their collar-bones standing out like the lapels of
a man-o'-war-man's jacket.... If you should wrap a large salt fish
around a small boy, he would have a coat of such fashion as I have seen
many a one wear at muster." Or, if we wish to go back still further, we
might exclaim, with Falstaff, "You would think that I had a hundred and
fifty tattered prodigals, lately come from swine-keeping, from eating
draff and husks.... No eye hath seen such scarecrows."

We are at the training "in the fall of the year,"--a far more important
occasion than that in the spring, because the annual "muster" is only a
week or ten days ahead. It is a private show. The uniformed infantry and
the flood-wood have met at Walton Centre, but they, and all the
spectators too, are from "our town," with its various outlying
settlements. Let the other towns boast, let Stormont show her
grenadiers, Leicester her riflemen, and Acton her artillery, but when
"muster-day" comes look out for Walton and her infantry. The law
requires every soldier to have a musket or rifle,--flint-lock of
course,--a bayonet, a priming-wire and brush, a knapsack, a
cartridge-box, and two spare flints. The lack of any one of these may
lead to a fine. The regular order of the manual is, open pan, tear
cartridge, prime, shut pan, ram down cartridge, ready, aim, fire. But
cartridges are not often to be had, and flasks must be used, with a
pause in the manual to allow the measuring of a charge. The lack of
cartridges leads also to the carrying of powder in bulk in the
pantaloons pocket, so that the soldier may move quickly when the order
is given to "load and fire as fast as possible." Still more quick in his
movements will the soldier be when, led on by the excitement of the
hour, he becomes careless of his pocket-magazine and allows it to
explode, with a great wreckage of hair, whiskers, and eyebrows, though
no one was ever known to lose his life thereby.

But the "evolutions" of the fall training-day make up its greatest
worth. It is not enough that squads of "our company" advance, fire, and
fall back, the drummer drumming his loudest all the while. It is mere
boy's play to march in single and double files or in platoons. We are to
meet the companies from the other towns at the muster, and they must be
forced to admit our superiority in spite of themselves, or else our town
will not come out ahead. Now, if there is any one manoeuvre on which
the Walton infantry prides itself, the "lock-step and sit-down" is that
one. The company is marched about in single file until a circle is
formed, care being taken that the captain shall be in the inside and the
musicians on the outside. Gradually drawing toward the centre, the
circle contracts to slow music, until the whole company is in lock-step,
like a gang of convicts. At the word of command, each man seats himself
in the lap of the man behind him, and the whole company is in the
attitude of frogs as they are ready to leap. The captain, raised aloft
in the middle by some convenient mackerel-keg, draws his sword, and the
tableau lasts while the music sounds the "three cheers."

Another "evolution," such as Darwin never dreamed of, is begun by facing
the company to the front in a single rank. The left hand of each man
resting on his next neighbor's right shoulder, space is taken until all
the men are an arm's length apart. At a given signal they all face to
the right. The captain, "with drawn sword," followed by the music, the
drum beating vigorously, runs at double-quick time in and out of the
spaces, like a very undignified performance of the Virginia Reel. As
each man is passed, he joins the rapidly-increasing file, until the
whole line expends its snake-like activity and marches off in "common
time" on a straight course, like this:

[Illustration]

Both of these "evolutions" are calculated to inspire the enemy with
terror, but the latter especially so. On beholding it, the enemy cannot
help giving applause, and in applauding he must necessarily drop his
arms. The Walton Light Infantry, equal to any emergency, may now show
their superior discipline by capturing the enemy before he can recover
from his surprise and admiration. Even the very boys on a training-day
seek to terrorize the enemy with broom-sticks and tin pans, until they
become a nuisance to the older folk and are sent off to some field to
play base-ball after the old method, the "Massachusetts game," which
allows the "plunking" of a batter when he is not on his base. But the
boys will claim their share of the extra cards of gingerbread that have
been laid in at the stores, and they will be on hand to see the
half-day's sport of training-day end before early tea-time with the
flashing of powder and the departure of the "sojers" for their homes.

A very different affair is the "muster-day" of the early fall, before
the cold days and nights have come to stay. The several adjoining towns,
that furnish each its own company or its quota of cavalry, take care of
the "regiment," by rotation, at such a time as this. No matter how
centrally located the town may be, the grenadiers must come a long way
over the hills from Stormont, and the riflemen must leave Acton soon
after midnight in order to obey the signal of the seven-o'clock gun,
which demands the presence of every company on the "parade-ground:" it
goes by the name of "the common" every other day in the year. The night
marches or rides are orderly, the more so in anticipation of what is to
follow. The sun rises upon a gala-day for the men and youth: the boys
had their time at the training. Now the crowd is greater, and there is
no room for the boys, except those who live in the town where the muster
is held. The field, at a respectful distance from the regimental
line, is covered with auctioneers' stands, peddlers' wagons,
refreshment-booths of rough boards, and planked platforms for dancing to
the music of the violin. It is the picture of a college town on
"commencement-day," magnified to ten times the proportions. As you
stand,--no seats are allowed,--you can partake of sweet cider, lemonade,
apples, gingerbread, and pies and buns of all kinds. If you call for it,
you can have New-England rum, or its more popular substitute,
"black-strap," one-half rum and the other half molasses. Awaiting the
inspection, soldiers on leave of absence mingle with the commoners,
partake of the refreshments, including the black-strap, and nod their
plumes or rattle their swords while they dance the "double shuffle" or
"cut a double pigeon-wing" on the platforms, to the great wonder of the
crowd.

When the regiment gathers itself together it is a sight to behold. There
are perhaps five hundred men, all told, in two ranks. A part of them
rejoice in gayly-colored uniforms, but the majority are "the
flood-wood," dressed in sheep's gray and blue jeans and armed with
rifles, muskets, and fowling-pieces of every pattern. This motley band
"toe the mark,"--a small trench that has been cut in the turf to save
their reputation for alignment. Then they break into platoons, and are
inspected, man by man, by the adjutant and his aides. The inspection
being over about eleven o'clock, the colonel appears, all glorious in
brass buttons, epaulets as large as tin plates, and a cocked hat of
great proportions. Once more the regiment forms in double ranks, with
presented arms. The colonel and his "staff" ride slowly down the line,
turn back, and take their stand for review. The music, just as it came
from every town contributing to the regiment, has been "pooled" and
placed in the charge of a leader. It is a strange medley of snare-,
kettle-, and bass drums, of fifes, clarionets, and piccolos, with an
occasional "Kent bugle"--the predecessor of the cornet--or some other
instrument of brass. It is poor music at the best, and it cannot go far
beyond marking time for the marching. But is it not better than the
simple drum and fife of a common training-day? The "full brass band," we
must recollect, is too expensive a luxury except for the most
extraordinary occasions, and even then we run the risk of hearing
"Highland Mary" repeated all day long, so scant is the _répertoire_. The
regiment, headed by the cavalry and the music, passes the colonel and
his staff. The music wheels out of the line, gives "three cheers," and
remains at the colonel's side till the regiment has returned to its
place. A hollow square is formed, in imitation of the great Napoleon at
Waterloo, and the colonel addresses his "brother-officers and
fellow-soldiers" in a few fitting words, and retires from the field.

And now comes dinner,--a most important feature of muster-day. No one
has had a bite since his breakfast at home by candle-light,--unless he
has patronized the refreshment-booths. Even then he will not allow his
appetite for the noonday meal to become impaired. By previous
arrangement, each company dines by itself, or it joins forces with some
friendly company and hires the services of a caterer. The hotel of the
village cannot begin to accommodate the public, whether martial or
civilian, and temporary sheds cover long lines of tables on which the
feast is spread. It is a jolly company, and the scrambling for the
viands and the vintages, if there are any, is done in a good-natured
way. As the repast draws to a close and dessert is in order, the caterer
appears at the end of one of the tables in shirt-sleeves that are more
than wet with perspiration. Under his arm he holds a pile of plateless
pies, just as the newsboy on the train secures a pile of magazines. The
caterer marches down the length of the table with the half-inquiring,
half-defiant announcement, "Pies, gentlemen! pies, gentlemen!" At every
step he reaches for a pie, gives it a dexterous twirl between his thumb
and finger, and sends it spinning to the recipient with a skill and
accuracy of aim which would have done credit to the disk-thrower of the
ancient Romans.

The "noon gun," fired after dinner, calls the regiment back to the
parade-ground. The real work of the day is over; and now come
recreation and amusement. The remarkable "evolutions" of the several
companies are shown, each town striving to outdo the others. Of course
the Walton Light Infantry will excel all the rest; but it may be no easy
matter to make every one think as we do. The newest evolution--that of
the snake on training-day--certainly "brings down the house," even if it
fails to carry an admission of its superiority. When this friendly
rivalry is over, the sham fight proceeds. A rough structure of boards
and boughs has been prepared to represent a fort, and one of the
companies is imprisoned therein, with little air or light, and with no
means of defence except to discharge their guns upward. The advancing
regiment fires by platoons, which wheel outward and retire to the rear
to load. The artillery fires blank charges from a neighboring hill. The
sweltering soldiers within the fort are only too glad to capitulate and
let some other company take their place; the new company, in turn, to
capitulate and march out with the honors of war. Meanwhile, the
cavalry--whose horses are more used to the plough than to the din of
battle--has retired to a distance, and indulges in a sham fight on its
own account. And yet, in spite of all this preparation and in spite of
the pains that have been taken to show the fancy movements of the
soldiers, you will seldom see a company that is really well drilled in
the most simple movements; for drill-masters are unknown.

The sham fight goes on till toward sunset, when the regiment is
dismissed at the signal of the evening gun. And now comes the hurry to
reach home. Such reckless driving, such wild racing over the hills and
along the rough roads and ledges, and such a desire to "take off
somebody's wheel," you never saw, unless you have been to a muster-day
before. This is a part of the fun; and if you do not take it as the
correct thing, and enjoy it too, you might as well have stayed away from
the muster altogether.

    FREDERIC G. MATHER.



THE STORY OF A STORY.


I.

THE HEROINE.

A horse-car, for all it is so common a sight, is not without its
picturesque side. To stand on a long bridge at night, while the lights
twinkle in the perspective, and watch one of these animated servants,
with its colored globular eye, come scrambling toward you, is to see a
clumsy, good-natured Caliban of this mechanical age. One of these days,
when the horse-car is superseded by some electric skipping wicker-basket
or what not, the Austin Dobson of the time will doubtless expend his
light sympathy of verse on the pathetic old abandoned conveyance.

Such picturesqueness, however, is rather for one who seeks, than a view
which thrusts itself upon the merely casual observer. At any rate,
another Austin,--Austin Buckingham,--who was engaged one winter evening
at the end of a long bridge in idealizing horse-cars, hit upon this way
of looking at the one he was waiting for, out of sheer desperation of
intellect. He was a young _littérateur_ who was out of work. He was not,
like other workmen in similar straits, going from one shop to another
looking for a job. Not at all. He recognized the situation. He had only
to write a clever story and he could quickly dispose of it. He had
written a good many stories in his short day. Now he wished to write
another. The pity of it was that he had no story to tell,--absolutely
nothing. He had been through his note-books, but they gave him no help;
he had kept his ears open for some suggestive little incident, but the
whole world seemed suddenly given over to the dreariest commonplace. He
had walked out this evening, slowly revolving in his mind the various
odds and ends which came upon demand of his rag-picking memory, and yet
nothing of value had turned up. He was tired, and determined to take a
horse-car for the rest of the way.

It was while he stood watching for the one which took him nearest to his
door, that he made the slight reflection with which this story opens.
"Could I make a horse-car the hero of my story?" he asked himself, with
a petulant tone, as he thought how dismally dull he was. The jingling
car came up, and he jumped upon the rear platform, wedged his way
through the men and boys who crowded the steps and platform, and so
pushed into the interior. He found half a dozen men in various attitudes
of neglect, but all hanging abjectly by the loops which a considerate
company had provided for its patrons. For his part, he preferred to
brace himself against the forward door, which gave him a position where
he could watch his fellow-prisoners.

His eye fell at once on a girl for whom he always looked. He did not
know her name, but, as the saying goes, he knew her face very well. She
lived on the same street where he had his lodging, so that when they met
in a horse-car they always got out together. From the regularity with
which she came out in a certain car, Buckingham had sagely concluded
that she was one of the multitude of girls who earned their living, for
whom as a class he had great respect, though he did not happen to know
any single member. He liked to look at her. She was shy and discreet in
bearing; she usually entertained herself with a book, which permitted
him larger liberty of eye; and she dressed with a neatness which had an
individuality: she evidently expressed herself in her clothes. That is
not all. She was undeniably pretty.

Now, our young friend had seen her in his horse-car a great many times,
but never under the conditions which existed at this time. People rarely
exclaim to themselves except in novels, but Buckingham did deliberately
shout to himself, "Why, this--this is my heroine! I have only to find a
hero and a plot. I know this girl very well. I am sure I can make a
story about her. Give me a hero, give me a plot, and there is my story!"


II.

MISS MARTINDALE.

When the horse-car stopped at the foot of Grove Street, Austin
Buckingham and the prospective heroine of his story got out so nearly at
the same time that when they reached the sidewalk they were side by
side. Beneath the gas-light stood a tallish man who was looking up to
read the name of the street upon the lamp. The light thus fell on his
face and brought it into distinctness; especially it disclosed a scar
upon his cheek. He caught sight now of these two people, and at once
addressed Buckingham:

"Can you tell me whereabouts Mr. Martindale lives?"

Buckingham hesitated, not because he knew and did not wish to tell, but
because he did not know, but wished to, if possible, out of courtesy. He
was trying to remember. The answer, however, came a moment after from
the girl, who had checked her walk upon hearing the name.

"I am going directly there," she said, and the two walked off together,
the young man lifting his broad-brimmed felt hat in acknowledgment of
her civility. He lifted it by seizing the crown in a bunch. It is
difficult to lift a soft hat gracefully. Buckingham followed the pair,
and when he had reached his own door-way he continued to follow them
with his eyes until they were lost at a bend in the street. Then he
entered the house where he lodged, and sat down in his study. He was
greatly pleased with this little turn in affairs.

"That is one step further in my story," he said to himself, for there
was no one else to say it to. "So she is Miss Martindale, and this young
man with a scar has come to see her father on business. He will stay to
tea. The father will--what will the father do or say? I must look out
the name in the directory, so as to get some solid basis of fact about
the father,--something to avoid, of course, when I arrange him in the
story. If he is a stone-cutter I must make him a house- and
sign-painter. I must disguise him so that his most intimate friend will
not detect him."

Austin Buckingham was in the most agreeable humor as he proceeded to
prepare his solitary tea, for he was a bachelor and yet he detested
restaurants and boarding-houses. His dinner he needed to buy, and eat
where he bought it, but his breakfast and tea he provided in the room
which served as study and dining-room. He did not wash his dishes, it
may be remarked, with the exception of a Kaga cup which was too precious
to be intrusted to his landlady.

He had set aside his tea-things, and, with a paper and pencil, was
proceeding to sketch a plot for his story, with Miss Martindale for the
heroine and the young man with a scar for a hero, when there was a knock
at the door, and the servant came in, bearing a card. It contained the
name of Henry Dale Wilding, a correspondent whom he had never met, but
who had begun with asking for his autograph, and had now ended, it
seems, with calling in person.

"Show him up," said the story-teller; and Mr. Wilding, who was two steps
behind the servant, instantly presented himself. His face was certainly
familiar. Ah! it was the scar upon the face which made the recognition
easy.


III.

MR. WILDING.

"This is very pleasant," said Buckingham cordially, as he bade the young
man lay aside his coat and take a seat by the fire. While his guest was
obeying him, the host said in an aside,--only the aside was inaudible,
contrary to the custom of asides,--"He does not recognize me. I will
draw him out."

"I was in town this evening,--in fact, in this very street," said Mr.
Wilding,--"and I could not resist the temptation to call on you."

"I am very glad you didn't," said Buckingham heartily. "It is evident
you were led into it. Have you many friends in town?"

"Not very many. I know one or two men in college. I thought at one time
of coming here to college myself. I gave that up, however, and now I am
thinking of taking a special course, perhaps in English. Indeed, that is
one reason why I came to town to-day."

"Well, the college is hospitable enough. It is a great hotel, with
accommodations for regular boarders, but with reduced tickets for the
_table-d'hôte_, and a restaurant for any one who happens in, where one
may dine _à la carte_."

"I have not had a classical education," said the young man.

"Very well: you can make a special point of that. Very few of our later
writers have had a classical education. Scholarship is no longer a part
of general culture. It is a profession by itself. It is scientific, not
literary."

"But you had a classical education, Mr. Buckingham?"

"Yes, I had once. I don't deny that I am glad I had; but I am forced to
conceal it nowadays."

"And you still read the classics," he went on, with a respectful glance
at a Greek book lying open on the table. Buckingham hastily closed the
book.

"Yes, when no one is looking. But tell me about your plans. Shall you
room in the college buildings?"

"I have come so late in the year that I cannot get any satisfactory
rooms."

"Why not try getting a room somewhere in this neighborhood? There are
students, I think, who live on this street. I am afraid there are no
vacant rooms in this house, or I would introduce you to my landlady."

"I am not sure but I shall. In fact, I have been looking at a room
farther up the street this evening."

"Indeed! What house did you find it in?"

"I found two or three houses that had rooms to let for students. They
were not boarding-houses. I don't care to board."

"Mr. Wilding, my opinion of you rises with each sentiment you express.
First you think of studying English in a scholarly fashion; then you
detest boarding. I am sure we shall be friends. I shall invite you to
take tea with me,--not to-night, for I have already had my tea, but when
you are settled in your room."

"Thank you; I accept with pleasure. I am glad you did not insist on my
taking tea with you to-night, for I have just come from tea."

"Oh! I remember you said you had friends in town."

"Yes; I have some cousins of an indefinite degree. They live on this
street, and they will make it pleasant for me. But they know very little
about the college, and I ventured to call to ask your advice about this
matter of a special course. Would you try for a degree?"

Mr. Buckingham had nothing to do with the college; he was not even a
graduate of this particular one; but he dearly loved to give advice. He
took down the college catalogue, and talked with great animation for
some time to his young friend, who confided to him that his ambition was
to be an author, and that he had already written several sketches of
character.

"Excellent," said Buckingham to himself. "You shall be my hero; only you
will write short poems. Then nobody will detect your likeness."

Wilding stayed an hour, and then made ready to leave.

"If you are going to take the car, you are just in time," said his host,
as they shook hands by the door of his room.

"I am going first to my cousin's," said the young man.

"Oh, are you? Wait a moment. I should like a little airing. I will walk
along with you." And Buckingham, with a sudden admiration for his prompt
seizure of the hour, put on his hat and coat.


IV.

THE PLAY MYSTERY.

Two young women were sitting over their worsted-work in the house
numbered 17 Grove Street.

"Twenty-five, twenty-six," said the elder. "Lillie, if I were you, I
would always carry one of his books with me in the horse-car, prepared
to open and read it whenever he chanced to hang by the straps over me.
He would be sure to try to read it upside down, and--"

"Nonsense, Julia! you speak exactly as if I were running after him."

"Not running, my dear, but waiting for him. Confess it; don't you make
up stories about this Mr. Buckingham? don't you call him Austin all by
yourself?"

"Julia, you are shameless! I have a great mind to roll up my work and go
up-stairs."

"Oh, no, Lillie. Stay here; for Henry will surely be back soon, and we
shall learn exactly how the lion looked in his den. What a singularly
good piece of fortune it was that Henry should have met you both!"

"Julia! you don't suppose that cousin of yours has been telling! You
don't suppose he has mentioned me to Mr. Buckingham!"

"It is impossible to say. You get two men talking together, and you may
be sure they forget all their promises of secrecy. Now, I shouldn't
wonder if Henry were at this very moment--"

"You are simply--"

"Hark! There's Henry now."

For the door opened, and Mr. Wilding entered, the remains of a smile
upon his face.

"I really should like to know, Julia," he said, "what you two ladies
have been talking about. We could almost hear. We certainly could see."

"We, Henry? Pray, who is we?"

"Why, Mr. Buckingham and I. You have certainly a most hospitable fashion
of leaving your shades up. He walked out with me after I had called on
him, and he seemed to have a good deal to say after we came to the door.
There is an excellent view of the interior from the door; and Miss Vila
and you were certainly animated."

"This is really dreadful! Lillie, do you suppose he saw us talk?"

"I don't know. I feel as if he heard every word.--Mr. Wilding, I hope
you didn't repeat any of the foolish speeches your cousin made at the
tea-table?"

"I was discreetness itself, Miss Vila."

"But why didn't you invite him in, Henry?" asked his cousin.

"Upon my word, this is reasonable! First I am made to promise solemnly
that I won't disclose Miss Vila's name, and then I am asked why I didn't
bring him in and introduce him. He wanted to come in, I know."

"He wanted to!"

"Yes; he tried to worm out of me who my cousin was, and he walked up
here on purpose to find out where you lived."

"How lucky there is no name on the door!" exclaimed the cousin.

"But he heard me ask for your husband's house,--did he not, Miss Vila?
And why on earth you should make such a mystery of it all I can't see."

"Do draw the shade, Julia. It makes me nervous. I feel as if he were
looking in now."

"Nonsense, Lillie! he's a gentleman."

"But why do you make such a mystery of it all?" persisted the young man.

"There is no mystery," said Miss Vila stiffly. And, gathering up her
work, she went up-stairs.

"It's only play mystery, Henry," said his cousin, when they were alone.
"You see, Lillie Vila has been coming out in the horse-car with him
every night for a long time; and she has seen him watching her. Of
course she has seen him, but he has not seen that she has seen him. Men
are so stupid. And she knows that he has tried in vain to find out who
she is. He saw her once go into the library. She was dreadfully afraid
he would come in and see her working behind the screen; but he evidently
fancied she went in to get a book. Then he is always managing to stand
or sit near her, and he peeks at her book when she is reading. He is
just dying, I know, to find out who she is."


V.

THE REAL MYSTERY.

Mr. Austin Buckingham found on his table, when he returned from his walk
with Henry Wilding, a scrap of paper. It had nothing on it but the words
"The Mystery." This was the heading which he had made for his story. He
had been interrupted by his caller just as he had written the words. He
had not the remotest notion when he set them down what the mystery was
which he meant to reveal. The title now seemed like a prophecy to him.
Instead, however, of jotting down an outline of his story, he took out
his note-book and wrote busily:

"I wish I knew just what I saw this evening. I had walked out with Henry
Wilding, who called, and who was going, he said, to his cousin's. Now, I
will not conceal from my faithful journal that I was moved by a desire
to know just who his cousin was and where he or she lived; for by a most
fortunate chance I have found out that my maiden without a name lives,
or probably lives, at a Mr. Martindale's, on this street. I tried to
draw Wilding out without betraying my own interest, but he was very
obtuse, and even seemed to be ashamed of his cousin. At any rate, he
parried my questions, and of course I could not push my curiosity.
However, I got the better of him, and walked out with him when he left.
As luck would have it again, the shades were drawn at the house where he
stopped, and the bright light within made the scene perfectly distinct.
I talked on the door-step about I know not what, half hoping that
Wilding would invite me in, but really absorbed in watching two ladies
who sat by a table. One was my fair unknown, the other a lady whom I
have occasionally seen, and whom I take to be Wilding's cousin,--though
this is all guess-work. Whether she is or not, she is evidently a very
unpleasant sort of body, for, whatever she said, the other was plainly
exceedingly vexed and mortified. She covered her face with her hands. At
one time she made a movement as if to leave. She looked earnest and
troubled. I could vow she was about to burst into tears. Her face was
very expressive. No one who shows such sudden changes can help being a
person of rare sensibility. I am almost out of conceit of making her the
heroine of my story, though, to be sure, I am not likely to interfere
with her personal rights, so long as I do not know either her name or
her history.

"To come back to the pantomime which I saw through the window. It was
probably by no means so mysterious in reality as it appeared to me. Yet
what could it have been? or, rather, how can I appropriate it for my
purposes? I have it! The very situation of looking through a window
shall serve as the critical point in my story, only it shall be the hero
of my story, and not an idle spectator like myself, who does the
looking. The young poet, Wilding in disguise, only walks out at night.
He is a shy fellow, who even in public holds his hat, as it were, before
his face. He keeps by himself in his garret, brooding over his poems,
and seeing no one, until he almost loses the power of ordinary
association with other people. When night comes, he walks, sometimes
through the night. But his loneliness has generated a desire for
companionship which he can satisfy only by ghostly intercourse. So,
instead of knowing people, he imagines them, and falls in love with his
imaginations. He observes that one house looking toward the sea always
keeps its curtains drawn. He falls into the way of stealing by every
night to catch a glimpse of a fireside. There he sees a fair girl,--and
I may as well draw her portrait like that of my unknown friend,--with
eyes that are downcast but when raised suddenly grow large and lustrous,
with hands that fold themselves when disengaged, with hair that peeps
shyly over the forehead, and with a figure that seems always to be
listening. She becomes the world to him. He has renounced all common
association with men and women, and he peoples the world which he has
thus brushed out with shapes caught from this one girl. The very silence
which separates them makes him more quick in his imagination to invest
her with the grace which her distant presence never denies."

"Bah! what superfine nonsense I am writing!" exclaimed Buckingham,
pushing his note-book aside, but continuing to sit before his fire in
revery.


VI.

THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE TAPESTRY.

Mr. Henry Wilding suited himself easily to a room in a house which stood
just beyond his cousin's. He wanted little to make him at home; for he
had only pitched his tent in this university town, and had no thought of
settling in it. His wish was to get what he came for and to go again as
little encumbered with baggage as he had come. Something of this sort he
had been saying, not long after his established routine had begun, in a
letter to the lady to whom he had the good fortune to be engaged. "I
never could feel settled so far from you," he went on gallantly; "and I
want only so much home at hand as will keep me from daily discontent. So
it is exceedingly convenient to have my cousin Julia next door. I feel
as one might who lived over a grocery-shop: there would be no fear of
starving, at all events. When my supply of family feeling runs low, I
drop in upon Julia and lay in enough to last a few days. Her friend, who
makes a home with her, of whom I wrote in my last, does not greatly
interest me. She says very little; but I am willing to grant that she is
uncommonly pretty. I don't know why I say this in such grudging fashion.
If some one else be fair to me, what care I how fair this 't other one
be? Julia admires her greatly; but I suspect she is one of the kind whom
one needs to marry ever to get at. Julia is as much married to her as
one woman can be to another; and that explains why she sees so much in
her. She sometimes reports scraps of conversations which she has held
with this Miss Lillie Vila. Unless Julia makes up both sides of the
conversation, her friend certainly is intelligent, and, I am afraid,
witty. I say this last because it piques me that I have never extracted
any witty remark from her.

"As for John, he is imperturbably good-natured. His profession keeps him
away a good deal; but when he is at home he seems to do nothing but read
a book by the fireside and chuckle to himself. Julia and Miss Vila both
admire him greatly; but I suspect it is necessary to reconstruct him out
of imaginary material before one can get to think very highly of him.
Women do this naturally. I can always make myself humble by thinking
that you do it with me.

"Buckingham is decidedly more interesting. I have not seen him since the
evening I called upon him; but as I recall him, his air, his
conversation, and the shell of a room which he has been forming about
him, I constantly find something new to enjoy. He has a good deal of
insight. I am not uncomfortable when I remember how steadily he looked
at me; for he is not cynical. Indeed, I should say that he had managed
to preserve an unusual amount of sentiment,--more than is generally
found in one at his time of life. I am convinced that he ought to marry;
and if he ever does, I am sure that he will give up writing stories. He
is just one of those men who will find such satisfaction in domestic
life as to become indifferent to imaginative experiences. I notice that
in his stories he always seems to be groping about for some agreeable
domestic conclusion. His room shows it. It looks as if a woman had been
in it, but had left before she had put the final touch to it. She ought
to come back."


VII.

MR. BUCKINGHAM MAKES A MOVE.

A week after Henry Wilding had called on Austin Buckingham, that
gentleman tried to return his call. It must be confessed that his motive
was not so much a commendable desire to get even socially with his new
acquaintance, nor to give him good advice, as it was to get a nearer
view of the heroine of his story. Candor compels me to say that every
evening for the week past Buckingham had taken an airing, and always in
the same direction. He had always found the shade drawn at No. 17, and
often he had caught a glimpse, as he sauntered past, of the figure which
he now knew so well. It is true that he had never again seen Miss Vila
in so dramatic a character as upon the first evening when he had
discovered her _en famille;_ but he had seen her, not as one sees a
portrait, which always looks in the same direction. In the horse-car she
had been such a portrait to him,--the "Portrait of a Lady Reading."
Behind the window of Mr. Martindale's house she had been a figure in a
_tableau vivant_, often animated, always disclosing some new grace of
attitude, some new charm of manner. He faintly told himself that these
views enabled him to form a more distinct impression of the character of
his heroine: whenever he should have his plot ready, his heroine would
in the various situations instantly appear to him with the vividness and
richness of reality.

He bethought himself that it was high time to see a little more of his
hero; and so he persuaded himself that in going to call upon him he was
engaged in a strictly professional occupation. If by any chance he
should hear the rustle of the heroine's dress, why, that could not
possibly injure any impressions which he might receive of his hero's
individuality. These two people had become important factors in his
story. He had not yet succeeded in sketching his plot. He felt it all
the more necessary that they should sketch it for him. He was sure that
he should readily catch at any hint which they might drop. He would
therefore go into the society of his hero--and heroine.

For, somehow or other, whenever he essayed to call up the image of his
hero and make it yield some distinct personality, the heroine would
gently come to the fore. It was like going to a party and finding the
eye glancing off from every black-coated figure to the richly-draped
presence which made the party different from a town-meeting.

He was so much under the influence of all this reflex sentiment that he
dressed himself with care before he went out, and so presented himself
at the door of Mr. Martindale's house. It did not occur to him that
Wilding lived anywhere else. He had taken it for granted that the young
man was still at his cousin's. So when the door was opened for him he
asked if Mr. Wilding were in, at the same time presenting his card. It
chanced that the maid-servant had that day entered Mr. Martindale's
service,--not a very rare chance in any household,--and, never having
heard Mr. Wilding's name, indeed, not now hearing it, but hearing
instead the name Miss Vila, cordially welcomed the distinguished-looking
visitor, and marched before him into the little parlor, where she
presented the card, on a salver which she had snatched on the way, to
Miss Vila, who was sitting with Mrs. Martindale. The two ladies were
playing backgammon.


VIII.

THE INTERRUPTED GAME.

"For me!" exclaimed Miss Vila, in a dismayed undertone. "Julia!"

Mrs. Martindale glanced at the card. She rose at once, just as Mr.
Buckingham entered the room with a little hesitation in his step. As the
two ladies held the backgammon-board in their laps, one effect of the
sudden movement was to send the men rolling in every direction about the
room. It was weeks before one of the men--a black one--was found.

Mr. Buckingham saw his card in Miss Vila's hands. He addressed himself
to her:

"Possibly your servant misunderstood me. I asked for Mr. Wilding."

"She is a new servant," said Mrs. Martindale, and then added, with
alacrity, as she seized the accident by its nearest horn, "her mistake
was probably one of the ear. She thought you asked for Miss Vila." Mrs.
Martindale had it in her to wave her hand toward the young lady, as if
showing off wax-works, and to explain, "This is Miss Vila," but Mr.
Buckingham was quick enough not to need the line upon line.

"I must beg Miss Vila's pardon. There certainly is a likeness in the
names, if you spell it with a _we_."

"I will speak to Mr. Wilding," said Mrs. Martindale, jerking an eyeful
of mysterious intelligence at Miss Vila and whisking out of the room.

"I hope you were just about to be beaten, Miss Vila," said Buckingham,
"for I see I have spoiled the game."

"It is nothing," said she.

She had said nothing, but she had said it with a singularly musical
voice, and, after all, it is not the significant words but the
significant tones which touch one.

"No. It is nothing," he repeated. "A game may always be interrupted,
because it is not the conclusion but the playing which gives it any
value. I suspect it is like the stories we read,--somebody comes in, and
we lay the book down before we come to the end. It is no great matter if
we never take it up again. We got our pleasure, not from knowing how
things turned out, but from knowing things." He blushed a little as he
said this. In fact, his own inchoate story came to his mind. Besides,
Miss Vila had his card. Since she read so constantly, it was odds but
she knew of him. He blushed a little more as this thought crossed his
mind.

"Do you think so?" she asked, and her downcast eyes were suddenly
up-turned in full, the look which he had often patiently watched for as
he had seen her in the horse-car. "I find the end necessary. If I stop
half-way I think I have done the story-teller an injustice. I have not
given him the chance to tell me all he intended to tell me. He lets out
the secret of his characters by degrees. He could justly say to me, 'You
do not know the heroine; you have not seen her in that scene which is
going to test her.'"

"You are quite right," said Buckingham, "if you really think you are
under any obligation to the story-teller."

"Why, of course I am," she exclaimed, with wide-open surprise. Then she
blushed in turn,--first a little color of half-indignant rebuke, then a
warm hue as she thought of her unnecessary earnestness, then a deep
crimson as there rushed over her the sudden recollection of the hours
she had spent in Buckingham's company, and the silent admiration which
she had bestowed from the shelter of ignorance upon this gentleman who
now sat composedly before her. It was by an effort of self-control that
she did not spring from her seat and leave the room. The effort blanched
her face. It was as she sat thus, her eyes cast down, her lips set, her
countenance pale, that Mrs. Martindale returned.


IX.

THE UNNECESSARY HERO.

"My cousin will be here presently," she said, as she entered the room.
And then her eye fell on Miss Vila and glanced quickly at Mr.
Buckingham, who was nervously fingering his stick. "Meanwhile," she
added, with a mischievous look, "I will ask you to remain with us, as
Mr. Wilding will be obliged to see you here. Lillie, you have the
gentleman's card. It seems awkward to wait for the formality of Henry's
introduction. Will you have the kindness to make us acquainted?"

Miss Vila gravely performed the ceremony.

"Your cousin is fortunate in finding friends in town, Mrs. Martindale,"
said Buckingham; "for a collegian coming here freshly, especially one in
a special course, is apt to be slow in breaking through the hedge which
divides the college from the town."

"Yes, he is quite fortunate," said his cousin. "I exercise an influence
over him. You know we exercise an influence over students, don't you?"

Buckingham laughed.

"I supposed that was what the town was for."

"When they are away from home and parents and all those refining
influences, we serve as substitutes. Henry is away, not so much from his
parents, who are dead, as from the lady to whom he is engaged. That is
why I feel bound to exercise an influence over him." Mrs. Martindale
made this explanation with a serious air, but Buckingham, whose eye
never stayed far from Miss Vila, detected that young lady casting a
reproachful, not to say indignant, glance at the speaker. Miss Vila,
indeed, made a motion as if to leave, but, with another quick blush, as
if she had betrayed a secret thought, settled again into her chair. To
tell the secret, she had a sudden misgiving that her reckless friend
might take it into her head to make ingenuous revelations concerning
her.

"I hope he finds his work agreeable," said Buckingham; not that he cared
a straw, but by way of keeping up his end of the conversation.

"Oh, I have no doubt he does, or he would come to see us oftener. I
mean," she explained hurriedly, "he would stay in his room less."

"He certainly takes his time now in coming down," thought the visitor.
There was, however, a movement in the passage, and Mrs. Martindale
darted out. She came back immediately, looking somewhat embarrassed.

"I am sorry," she faltered, "but I find I am mistaken. He is not in."

"I am afraid you are not exerting enough influence, Mrs. Martindale,"
said Buckingham pleasantly, but somewhat perplexed in his mind at the
length of time it had taken to make this discovery, and at the
hallucination which had seemed to possess his cousin's mind when she
announced him as about to appear. As for Miss Vila, she persistently
refused to look up. She scarcely looked up, indeed, when Mr. Buckingham
bowed himself out, though he looked eagerly at her, in hopes once more
of catching the full light of her eyes.

She did look up, however, when the door closed behind the visitor, and
she looked straight at Mrs. Martindale. That lady answered her look
with one tear and a good many words:

"Well, Lillie, if you knew how I felt at getting into such a scrape, you
wouldn't look at me as if you were an Avenging Conscience, or a Nemesis,
or any of those horrid furies. No; and you wouldn't look speechlessly
sorrowful, either. Of course I ought to have told him at once that Henry
did not live here, and I ought to have sent him next door instead of
sending Kate, and I ought not to have pretended that he was coming the
next moment; but of course I thought he was at home, and then when he
came I could have laughed it off; but he didn't come, and I was too
frightened to laugh it off. Oh, yes, I am a criminal of the deepest dye;
but he's introduced, Lillie, and you've introduced him to me, and we're
all--we're all introduced."


X.

THE REAL HERO.

When a pile of wood has been laid upon smouldering embers, a thin curl
of smoke crawls lazily up the chimney, another follows with like
indolence, and it looks after a while as if the wood would not burn at
all. Suddenly a little whiff of air enters the pile, when, presto! up
blazes the fire, and soon there is a famous glow.

It was somewhat thus with Mr. Austin Buckingham. He had been toying with
the fancy of his story, and especially of this maiden to whom his eyes
had become so wonted, and had allowed himself to look at her in so many
lights, that she had gradually come to be always before him. The figure
of the hero had as gradually disappeared: it was only by an effort that
he could revive it. Suddenly he had sat a long quarter of an hour with
the girl, he had heard her voice, he had seen her smile, he had felt the
graciousness of her near presence when he was not merely at hand, but
the direct object of her thought. What a world of difference there was
between sitting by her side in a crowded horse-car and sitting even
half a room-breadth's away, when they two were the only ones in the
room!

By all this experience, as much perhaps by what had gone before as by
what had followed suddenly after, Buckingham now stood revealed to
himself. He was ablaze with this new, tingling, searching ardor. When he
had entered the room and shut the door, he saw lying upon his table his
note-book, open as he had left it. He had been amusing himself, just
before he went out, with further suggestions for his story. He dipped
his pen into the ink and drew a bold, straight line across the page. He
stood looking at the leaf,--idle fancy above the line, a blank below it.

A knock at the door, and Henry Wilding entered. Buckingham greeted him
with a sudden excess of fervor which puzzled the young man.

"I was sorry to miss finding you," he began, and then checked himself.
"Not so very sorry either, since fortune made me acquainted with--your
cousin--and with Miss Vila," he added, after an embarrassed pause.

"I don't understand," said Wilding. "Have I missed a call from you?"

"Yes. I just came from your house. Your cousin at first thought you were
at home. Now I think of it, she--"

"But I don't live at my cousin's," said Wilding.

"Where do you live, then?"

"Next door to her house."

"Oh! then she sent out for you. That explains it." And so Mr.
Buckingham, intent on his own affairs, brushed away the duplicity of the
fair hostess. "But I was very glad to hear a piece of news about you
from her. Let me congratulate you. I did not know you were engaged." And
he shook Wilding's hand warmly. He was not so generous at the moment as
he appeared. In reality, he was shaking his own hand in anticipation.
Wilding responded with a good-natured laugh.

"I have sometimes wondered, Mr. Buckingham," he said, "how you, who
write stories of love and marriage, should remain unmarried."

"Let us put it the other way. How can I who am unmarried write such
stories? In truth, I have a dim sense that persons like you, who know
the matter by experience, must laugh inwardly at my innocent attempts at
realistic treatment."

"Why not, then, have the experience first?" said Wilding lightly.

"God forbid!" said Buckingham, with a somewhat unintelligible
seriousness. "If I were ever in love, it seems to me I should stop
writing love-stories."

Now, this was just what happened, for a time at least. To any one so
dead in love as Buckingham was at this time, all circumstances are
favorable. It needs but a given moment, and the hero is on hand ready to
seize it. The next night he could not ride out from the city; he must
walk. When he got beyond the bridge, he wondered that he saw no
horse-cars coming toward him. He remembered that he had seen none for
some time, but now he noticed a long line of them standing before him,
pointed outward. He heard the puff of a steam fire-engine, and saw that
travel by rail was stopped by a fire. The hose crossed the track, and
the incoming horse-cars were in a long line beyond it. He looked at the
cars which he had over-taken. Midway in the line stood the one he had
been accustomed to take. He caught sight of a familiar head bent over a
book. He stepped into the car and stood before Miss Vila. He bent
forward, and she looked up as he spoke:

"The cars are stopped by a fire. We may be delayed a long while. Why not
walk home from here? It is a fine night."

He spoke somewhat hurriedly. He did not know how appealingly he looked.
She did, however, and she closed her book and followed him.

The story, then, never was written, even though the heroine had been
found. Everything else had disappeared,--the hero, the mystery, the
plot. Nothing was left but the heroine and--love.

    HORACE E. SCUDDER.



SHADOWS ALL.


    Shadows all!
      From the birth-robe to the pall,
      In this travesty of life,
      Hollow calm and fruitless strife,
    Whatsoe'er the actors seem,
    They are posturing in a dream;
      Fates may rise, and fates may fall,
      Shadows are we, shadows all!

    From what sphere
    Float these phantoms flickering here?
      From what mystic circle cast
      In the dim æonian Past?
    Many voices make reply,
    But they only rise to die
    Down the midnight mystery,
      While earth's mocking echoes call,
      Shadows, shadows, shadows all!

    PAUL HAMILTON HAYNE.



ROSES OF YESTERDAY AND TO-DAY.


It always seemed to me, as a child, that the birds put their hearts more
wholly into their songs in that special little corner of Paradise on the
Hudson River than they did anywhere else. Not that it was really so very
little a corner, being small only in comparison with an entire Paradise,
composed of many such bits, that lines the shore of the beautiful
Hudson.

It was so great a delight to the child who knew little of country
pleasures to be called away from some task or commonplace "every-day"
pastime and to be told that there was an invitation to spend an
afternoon, or perhaps several days, at Professor Morse's place, "Locust
Grove."

There would be the drive, leaning back in the barouche (with a feeling
of easy importance lent by the consciousness of wondrous delights to
come) and looking up with a species of admiring awe at the herculean
form of the French coachman, who seemed to be concealing romantically
brigandish recollections behind his fiery black eyes and wide-spreading,
ferocious moustache. Along the dusty "South Road" we would go, under the
green lights and shadows of the maple-trees, over the two miles which
stretch between Poughkeepsie town and "Locust Grove,"--past "Eastman's
Park," with its smart decorations, past the small, unambitious houses,
draped with many-hued, old-fashioned roses, that straggled along the
dividing-line between the narrow restrictions of town and the fragrant
wideness of the country, where the air was cool with the breath of the
river, and the breezes brought suggestions of freshly-cut grass, just
blown locust-blossoms, and the thousand sweet, indefinable scents of the
woods.

On approaching the boundaries of "the Grove," the perfume of the
locust-flowers assumed due prominence, as the name of the place implies
they should, while their white clusters drooped from the heavily-loaded
branches till they fairly touched the high posts of the gate. And then
would come the drive up the dim avenue, flecked with patches of sunshine
that lay like fallen gold pieces in the dusk shadow, while if one
glanced upward or on either side one saw nothing save the arching
trees,--pines and locusts, and maples no less stately,--until a space
was reached where the grove was less dense and the view widened to a
stretch of velvet grass whitened with daisies lying soft on the tops of
the blades in a way to make one fancy a summer fall of snow. At the turn
of the avenue one caught a glimpse of the house, with its vine-wreathed
tower, generous piazzas, and hospitable _porte-cochère_, and in the
background, beyond the lawn, the river, with the blue hills on the
opposite shore veiled by a light, lace like haze, just enough of a haze
to lend mystery to the distance.

The loud clattering of the horses' shoes on the stone pavement under the
_porte-cochère_, which informed the occupants of the house that visitors
had come, seemed always to tell the youngest, most insignificant, yet
happiest of those visitors that the anticipated hour of many delights
had actually arrived. And of these delights there were to the heart of
the child a thousand and one such as could scarcely be realized or even
dreamed of at the home in town. There were the broad, shady piazzas to
be walked over with dainty footfalls, lest the grown people should be
disturbed. There was the mystic retreat within the circle of a group of
low-branching pines, the secret of which one penetrated by stepping down
from the front piazza at a certain place and there insinuating one's
self into a small opening, which only the initiated could discover,
among the trees. Here one had a little fragrant sanctum all one's own,
carpeted with pine needles, green and brown, and arched over by ceiling
and walls of thick branches, from out of which peeped startled robins,
who soon, finding that no harm was meant them, went on with their song.
Then there was the garden, fragrant and brilliant, which one might
explore when one had promised Thomas, the presiding genius, that one
would not touch his cherished sweets, for it "went to his heart" to see
a single blossom torn from its parent stem. And there were the
grape-houses, for which the place was famous far and near,--hot, and
odorous of moist soil and growing vines, among which white and purple
clusters hung temptingly heavy and low.

One especial pleasure was to walk along the gravelled path that skirted
the smooth, level stretch of lawn at the back of the house, and thus to
reach the brow of the hill overlooking the "farm" and the river. There
were seats on the edge of this bluff, and a large spring-board on which
one might ride and jump to one's heart's content. By following this path
still farther, and to the left, one soon deserted the well-kept lawn and
found one's self on a narrow, winding walk overhanging a deep, wooded
ravine, in the depths of which a little brook ran curving about among
the ferns and daisies; and presently, far out of sight of the house, in
shade so dense as to lend a certain pleasing enchantment, one came upon
a rustic summer-house, with odd, three-cornered-seats, and a table
surrounding the tree-trunk that supported the centre of the roof.

There were manifold other out-of-door enjoyments, such as visiting the
pigeon-house, and, as a rare favor, rioting in the scented hay in the
loft over the barn, visiting the gardener's wife (whose home was in that
part of the old Livingston mansion which its master and time had allowed
to stand), and being permitted to draw water from the ancient well,
about which hung so many stories of generations past. How exciting it
was, and with what delicious awe one listened, when the little lady who
was a fairy grandmamma instead of a fairy godmother in the household
told a certain story regarding this well! It was a story before the time
of her own birth, when two of her older sisters were very tiny girls.
One day, when the mother was busy in superintending some homely task
(such as the manufacturing of the "cream cheese," perhaps, for which she
was noted), the baby of two years toddled in and began to lisp over and
over the same broken words, "Tatie in 'ell, Tatie in 'ell." She had
repeated them many times, with increasing insistence, before the busy
mother realized that they possessed a meaning. "Tatie in 'ell, Tatie in
'ell," the little one said, pulling at her mother's gown, half crying as
she spoke; and then it dawned upon the latter that her baby had
something serious to tell. She yielded to the little importunate hands
upon her dress, and followed the child out of doors to the well and
there looked down. "Katie" was indeed in the well, as the lisping tongue
had tried to say, and, gazing into the darkness below, the mother could
see the frightened, pitiful little face turned up to her, while two
small hands convulsively grasped the edge of the great bucket. The
husband and father was away from home, all the men employed about the
place were working at a distance, and there was no time to lose: those
frail hands must soon relax their hold, and the child was sorely
terrified and begging to be saved. As the mother hesitated, in an agony
of doubt, out from the house came a stout, elderly serving-woman, who
had lived in the family for many years, and who was especially devoted
to little Kate. She had heard her mistress's cry, and, running to look
into the well, without even waiting to explain, she set about the
execution of a hazardous and original plan of rescue. Climbing over the
curb, she began to descend by striding the well and planting her feet
upon the rough, protruding stones of which the sides were formed. Not
one woman in a thousand could or would have done such a thing; but this
one was tall and strong, and brave as a lion with the might of her love
for little Kate. She saved the child, who had suffered no graver injury
than a thorough drenching and a fright which served as a warning for
herself and the children of her own and several generations to come.

Interesting as was this story and others told of the past, and
delightful as it was to play under the great trees, roaming at one's own
sweet will all about "the Grove," better than everything else was it to
be admitted into the "sanctum sanctorum" of the place,--Professor
Morse's study,--where the master sat among his books and treasures, his
kindly, clear-featured face and bright brown eyes, framed in by silver
hair and beard, shining out from the curtained dimness of the room.
There were many objects fascinating even to a child in that study, which
opened out of the family library with its store of books. The library
was very good, but the study was still better. There, under a glass
case, was the first telegraph-instrument that had ever been made. One or
two of Professor Morse's early paintings hung upon the wall, and
sometimes he would display a few sketches to the older members of the
party, who were naturally regardless of the fact that there was "a chiel
amang 'em, takin' notes." The crowning treat offered within the
study-walls, however, was to have the marvels of the Professor's immense
and powerful microscope displayed before our wondering gaze. There we
became acquainted with the rainbow-tinted plumes of the fly's wing and
the jewels that lie hidden from ordinary ken in the pollen and petals of
the simplest blossoms. And the master of it all, to whom the marvels
were as familiar as the common objects themselves, seemed to derive a
genuine pleasure from that which he bestowed upon his guests.

When Professor Morse purchased Locust Grove, before his second marriage,
he was not aware that it had belonged to the family of the lady who was
soon to become his wife. Indeed, it was not until some friend remarked,
"How delightful for you to take your bride to the old ancestral place
owned by her kindred for so many generations!" that he knew the home
would possess any associations, save those to be formed in the future,
for his _fiancée_. But no doubt at the beginning of their life there
Locust Grove was thus rendered doubly dear to both. The old Livingston
mansion was at that time standing, much nearer to the entrance-gates
than the more modern residence inhabited by the owner's family; and the
quaint well, with the stone curb, the water of which was so remarkable
for its purity that travellers came from a distance to ask the privilege
of drinking, formed an object of interest at least, if not of actual
beauty, before the old vine-grown porch. Gradually the house fell into
decay, and the greater portion was torn down, leaving but five or six
rooms, with their odd, hooded windows and strangely-fashioned fireplaces
and mantels, the porch, with its broad, shallow seats, and the
green-painted, "divided" front doors, to tell the tale of what once had
been the home of so much hospitality and happiness.

So all remained painted with unfading colors on the canvas of my memory,
each object as I had known and loved it when a child. And then the child
went far away and grew to womanhood, having looked on many places and
"things of beauty," but, while forgetting much that belonged to the old
days, never forgot Locust Grove. The scent of the new locust-blossoms,
the songs of the birds, and the beauty of the lights and shadows dancing
on the river were as vivid in recollection as they had been in
actuality; and after a severe and tedious illness it seemed that no
tonic could prove so effectual as a visit to that dear old place, not
seen for years, and which I had loved so well.

There is generally experienced a vague yet bitter disappointment in
returning to a spot hallowed by associations after an absence of any
appreciable length of time. It is wellnigh impossible for the reality to
equal what has through the filtering of fancy become scarcely more than
a remembered dream.

    Nothing can be as it has been;
    Better, so call it, only--not the same.

And yet Locust Grove in 1884 looked almost as unchanged as though it had
shared the slumbers of the "Sleeping Beauty" since 1871. Only, a certain
potent charm had fled with the presence of the departed master. It was
now but his pictured eyes and silver hair that lit up the dimness of the
room that had been sacred to him. The books and papers covering the desk
belonged to a later and more careless generation. The microscope stood
unused under its glass case, the sketches were lovingly laid away out of
sight, and altogether a subtile change could be detected in the
atmosphere. There were things, however, about the house which perhaps
had always been there, and yet which I looked upon now with a new and
keener appreciation. The picture of Professor Morse when a child of five
or six years, standing by his father, who is clad in the quaint robes
which then distinguished a Congregationalist divine, seemed to me one
that might interest others besides myself. Also the portrait of his
mother, with pearls in her puffed and powdered hair, and her beautiful
bare arms holding the older child, Sidney (a baby in oddly-fashioned
long robes), was charming to look at because of its intrinsic beauty as
well as the associations attached to it. And the life-size painting of
General Washington's mother,--said to be the only one of the kind in
existence,--which looked down from its broad frame over the dining-room
mantel, possessed a special fascination for me. One felt rather
insignificant with that scornful smile and those languid eyes brooding
over one as one sat engaged in the discussion of soup; and it was
impossible to keep from imagining that the stiff and stately dame in her
mathematically correct white and green draperies was drawing invidious
comparisons between the way one did one's hair and the way in which she
had considered it proper to arrange her abundant pale-brown locks.

About the place itself were more changes than at first would strike the
eye. The old Livingston homestead had been razed to the ground, and
smooth, emerald grass thrived upon its site, while the chief gardener,
Thomas, had been promoted to a new æsthetic cottage of the latest
approved colors and style. Even the famous well was no more; for a small
and inconspicuous pump had been put in its stead, to save unwary
children from instituting a too curious search for the "truth" popularly
supposed to lie within its depths. The graperies were gone, and in their
stead nourished rose-houses,--visiting the interior of which seemed
fairly to transport one into the famous "Vale of Cashmere." Roses of all
colors and all descriptions here found an ideal home, and with their
beauty served the purses of their two young masters, who superintended
their culture. It was in the early summer that I saw the place again
after my long absence, and the rose-houses of course could not be seen
at their best, as they can in winter. There are four large houses,
opening into a long, narrow frame building, at one end of which is the
office where the young gentlemen managers transact their business. Here
all was--and still is, no doubt--immaculately neat, the walls adorned
with colored prints and paintings of flowers, an array of books, papers,
and ledgers carefully arranged in their exact places on the desk, and
everything kept free from dust, swept and garnished. In the long, bare
room from which the office opens are stored gardening-tools,
watering-cans of all shapes and descriptions (some of which to an
untutored eye present a striking resemblance to coffee-pots such as the
Brobdingnag giants might have used), baskets for packing the roses, with
all their paraphernalia, earthen pots for plants great and small, and
many other utensils such as those unlearned in gardening lore would
consider uncouth in the extreme. On one side of the room stands the big
table upon which the baskets are set, and above this are ranged numerous
rows of shelves. Four doors open into the rose-houses, and at the east
end is the one devoted exclusively to the culture of Jacqueminots,--the
"Jack"-house it is irreverently, if not slangily, styled. Here the glass
roof stands open all the summer long, for the breezes to blow and the
soft rains to fall upon the petted plants; and here the sunshine holds
high revel, bronzing the intricate tracery of stem and branch and
turning half the leaves to shining emeralds.

It was in the "Jack"-house that I one morning found Thomas Devoy, the
gardener, at work with his great oddly-shaped shears or scissors, and
detained him long enough to make a little sketch of him among his
flowers; and while I worked with pencils and paper he told me divers
anecdotes of the twenty-eight years he had spent in Professor Morse's
service. "I entered service in the old country when I was very young,"
he said; "and even as a little boy I was fond of gardening. One time,
when I was a child, I was going through some splendid greenhouses with
the head-gardener who took care of them. There was one very rare plant
of which he was exceedingly proud, and I begged him for a tiny slip to
take home with me. But he refused; and so, in passing by, I quietly
broke off one little leaf. Some time afterward I was able to show him a
plant as fine as his own which I had raised from that one leaf, and then
I told him its story."

All the fine, large Jacqueminots in the "Jack"-house were raised from
one parent plant with cuttings made about four years or so before, the
gardener told me, while I, gazing in amazement at their high-reaching
branches, thought, with "Topsy," it was something to boast of that they
had "jest growed."

In the winter the rose-houses become things of beauty and a joy forever,
seeming to have imprisoned the very heart of summer within their walls,
while outside--shut away from the warmth and glowing tints of red and
pink, yellow and lustrous rosy pearl--lie the snow and the ice, and
through the bare branches of the trees the wind whistles drearily.

But in the summer the aspect of the rose-houses is very different. All
then is preparation and making over for the coming autumn and winter.
Some of the houses are planted with tiny cuttings just lifting little
tender sprays above the warm, moist soil. Men are at work here and there
with hammers and nails, repairing any slight damage that may have been
done in previous months. Hose-pipes coil over the floors, and one must
walk by them daintily. In other houses one would exclaim with pleasure
at finding one's self in a wilderness of roses, pink, yellow, and white,
only to be told, rather contemptuously, "_That_ is nothing. There are no
roses here now. You must wait till winter if you want something worth
seeing. We have roses as large as tea-saucers then, and any quantity of
them."

Outside the buildings, and fairly surrounding them, are large square
beds of hybrid roses of many varieties, each sort planted in separate
rows by itself. There are beds of cuttings also, and one long, narrow
bed of red hybrids running the entire length of the greenhouse.
"Catherine Mermet," "La Reine," "Adam," "Paul Neyron," the exquisite "La
France," "John Hopper," the "Duke of Connaught," "Niphetos," and "Perle
des Jardins" are here in profusion, with others of every shade and tint,
too numerous almost to count, and the perfume arising from beds and
hot-houses is intoxicating in its strength and sweetness. Some bushes
are merely set in earthen pots out of doors; and these are supposed to
be in a dormant state, undergoing the process of "drying off," or
"hardening," receiving very little water, and are to be so kept until
September, when they will be repotted and "started" for growing,--thus
illustrating the truth of the saying that there is a blessing for those
who only stand and wait. But one could not help pitying them, when one
thought how their more fortunate companions with their uncramped roots
were exploring underground passages and enjoying all the freedom and
moisture of the rich soil.

"During the fall and winter we are very busy in a different way," said
Thomas Devoy, as he displayed his treasures. And then he told me how
every day in the later months all hands are occupied in tending,
cutting, and packing the roses which are daily expressed to a certain
New York florist. The beautiful half-blown buds are carefully cut, with
long, leafy stems, and laid in the great market-baskets standing on the
table ready to receive them. Row after row and layer after layer are
laid in, sprinkled until leaves and petals sparkle with a diamond dew.
Only buds at a certain stage of unfolding are used, and the most
exquisite roses with their petals opening one pink or pearly crease too
far are discarded as unfit to send away. Tissue-paper covers the flowers
as they lie ready in their baskets, then oiled paper is placed on top,
and finally a thin red oilcloth is fastened over all.

Thus from two to four hundred roses of almost every variety are daily
put upon the New York train and expressed to the florist, at whose
establishment they arrive, after a few hours, as fresh, dewy, and
fragrant as when they left their parent plants.

And yet, with all these that are sent away, the home is not forgotten.
Gorgeous blooms in exquisite foreign vases adorn table, cabinet-shelf,
and mantel in every inhabited room in the house, where, among relics of
the old time, the roses of yesterday and to-day meet in a rivalry so
lovely that one is at a loss in deciding the merits of their separate
claims. The roses of to-day are freshest, and it may even be fairest;
yet there is a little poem which asks,--

    What's the rose that I hold to the rose that is dead?

And thus, to one who has known and loved the place in days gone by, when
what has become a mere association and memory now made its very life and
soul, there is something in the suggestion of that verse which at least
lets itself be readily understood.

    ALICE KING HAMILTON.



A HOOSIER IDYL.


It was a part of the Great West which in the past fifty or seventy-five
years has been transformed from unbroken forests, the home of the red
Indian and the deer, to a thickly-settled farming-country, dotted with
comfortable homes and traversed by railways and wagon-roads. Here and
there in retired districts the log cabins of the pioneers remained, and
wherever one looked an horizon of woods met his eye; but the numerous
towns and villages gave evidence of a higher and ever-increasing degree
of civilization.

It was a land of rich soil and lush natural growth, without rocks or
hills or swiftly-running streams, a region of corn- and wheat-fields and
orchards, of clover-pastures and melon-patches.

The human _physique_ showed good development and abundant nourishment,
but the dwellers along the sluggish creeks sometimes had a tinge of
yellow beneath the sunburn of their faces. Caste distinctions, pride of
station, were unknown here; all the people, whether their possessions
were great or small, drew their nurture from the soil, and greeted each
other with a friendly "Howdy?" when they met, conscious of perfect
equality. It was much better to be poor in a place like this than in a
great city,--to have at least physical abundance if one could not have
other advantages. Elvira Hill was not conscious of being poor, though
just now she was anxious to get a country school to teach. All her life
had been spent amid these familiar scenes, her condition in life was
neither worse nor better than that of her acquaintances, and it never
occurred to her to be discontented with her lot and rebel against fate.
She had been brought up on a farm, had known what it was to go after the
cows of an evening, to drive them to the barn-lot bars and milk them, to
catch a horse in the pasture and saddle and ride it, to hunt hens' nests
in the hay-mow, to churn, and wash dishes, and get vegetables from the
garden, and pick the raspberries and blackberries that ripened in the
fence corners along the fields and woods. But just now she was living
with her grandmother in a little brown house in the cluster of houses
called Hill's Station. There were two stores, a post-office, a
blacksmith's shop, and a mill; the mail-trains stopped here, and a daily
hack carried passengers northward two miles and a half to a larger
village, Sassafrasville, where there was an excellent academy. The
national pike ran through Hill's Station, and there was a great deal of
travel on this road,--local travel of various kinds, peddlers' wagons
which stopped in every town, and long rows of white-covered movers'
wagons going West to Illinois or Iowa or Kansas. What wonder, then, that
with all these advantages the people of Hill's Station thought
themselves centrally located, and watched with complaisant interest the
passing trains, the daily hack, and the teams going along the pike? That
they were pleasantly located there was no doubt. Tall beech- and
sugar-maple-trees, part of the original forest, stood singly here and
there and cast pleasant islands of shade upon the expanse of sunshine,
and from the fields which bordered the road came the scent of
clover-blooms.

Elvira Hill had gone to the little country schools, sometimes to the one
a mile west of town, sometimes to the one a mile east, and for the past
three years had attended the Sassafrasville Academy: so that now, at
seventeen, she was considered to have a good education, and expected to
follow the example of many of the young people of that section and go to
teaching. She talked it over with her grandmother, and decided that she
had better try a subscription school in the country first; then, if she
succeeded in giving satisfaction, she would apply in the winter for the
position of assistant in the Hill's Station school.

Her grandmother, placid and fair, with a cap of sheer white muslin
resting on her yet brown hair, and a pair of gold-bowed spectacles
pushed up on her forehead above her kindly blue eyes, was considered a
handsome old woman, and showed few traces of the life of toil through
which she had passed. She read a great deal in a New Testament with
large print, and often sat a long time in thought, with it open on her
knees. Another work which she frequently perused was Mrs. Ellet's "Women
of the Revolution," in two volumes, containing steel engravings of
stately dames in laced bodices and powdered hair.

Elvira borrowed a horse of one of the neighbors, put her grandmother's
much-worn red plush side saddle upon it, and started out in search of a
school. She rode east and she rode north; but in the first district they
had a teacher already engaged, and in the second they had concluded they
wouldn't have any school that summer. Did they know of any other school
where a teacher was wanted? she inquired. No, they couldn't say they
did; but she might hear of one by inquiring further, the honest district
trustees said. So she rode homeward again, in no wise discouraged, and
asked the postmaster to inquire of the farmers who came in from other
neighborhoods in regard to this matter.

He promised that he would, and a week later called her in as she was
passing, and said, "There was a man here yesterday from Buck Creek
district who said they wanted a teacher in their school this summer. You
might try there. His name is Sapp, and he lives right by the
school-house. You go two miles and a half south till you come to a mud
road, then two miles and a half east till you come to a pike. You can't
miss the place."

Elvira thanked him, and a little while later, when her accommodating
neighbor was not using his horse, she borrowed it again and rode forth
on her quest. It had been raining, the mud road was muddy, and clouds
still hung in the sky; but the country through which she passed was a
rich, fresh green, and the fruit-orchards were in bloom. From solitary
farm-houses big dogs and little dogs issued forth to bark at the sound
of her horse's feet, and bareheaded children at this signal ran out to
the gate to see who was passing.

The school-house of Buck Creek district, a neat wooden building, painted
white, stood in a grassy acre lot, bordered on two sides by thick woods,
on the other two by the roads which crossed here. In the corner
diagonally across from it stood a snug cabin, with a garden around it, a
well-sweep in the rear, and a log stable not far distant. She alighted
in front of it, and was proceeding to hitch her horse, when the door
opened, and a man stepped out, greeting her with a friendly "Howdy?"

She responded, and asked if Mr. Sapp lived here.

"My name is Sapp," he said, and, tying her horse, invited her in.

There she found the rest of the family,--the mother, a grown daughter,
and two half-grown sons: they seemed friendly, but a little shy, and
stood in the background while she transacted her business.

"Yes," Mr. Sapp said, in answer to her question, "they wanted a
three-months' school, but had no teacher engaged. Had she ever taught
before?"

No, she had had no experience in teaching; but she had attended the
Sassafrasville Academy several terms, and was qualified to teach the
common branches,--arithmetic, grammar, and geography, reading, writing,
and spelling.

Well, he would bring her application before the other two trustees, and
guessed they would elect her: there was no other applicant. Now, about
the terms: three dollars a scholar for the term of twelve weeks was the
usual rate. If she would draw up a subscription-paper, he would take it
round himself and get as many names as he could; thought he could get
twelve scholars signed, and knew that more would be sent. The children
had to be kept at home in busy times, and the farmers didn't like to
bind themselves to pay the full amount for all that they would send. He
himself would sign one and send two. Charley could go all the time; but
Jack would have to help about mowing and reaping and threshing, and
couldn't attend regularly.

So Elvira drew up the paper according to his dictation, and, leaving it
with him, rode home in the dusk of the evening, feeling happy over her
prospects.

Her grandmother had supper ready in the little kitchen; and it tasted so
good, the salt-rising bread and butter and hash, the little tea-cakes,
and the preserved pears. While the grandmother drank her cup of tea,
Elvira told her the incidents of the afternoon; and the night closed
around them as they sat secure and content in their humble home.

The great world was full of great problems which wearied and perplexed
men's brains and seemed wellnigh unsolvable, but she had solved her own
little problem in her own little way, and was at peace.

In a few days Mr. Sapp called with the subscription-paper. He had got
sixteen scholars signed,--more than he expected. That was a good
prospect for a summer school. They wanted her to begin on the following
Monday; which she promised to do. Then she asked him if she could board
at his house a week or two, until she could make some arrangements to
ride from home. Yes, she could; he guessed a dollar and a half a week
for board would be about the fair thing.

So, early Monday morning she bade her grandmother good-by, and, with her
books under her arm, set forth to walk to Buck Creek district. The
school-house door was locked when she got there, but a few timid
country-children were sitting on the door-steps or on the fence, with
their school-books and dinner-buckets. Mr. Sapp came over and unlocked
the door; then, as it was half-past eight, Elvira rang the little bell
which she found on the teacher's desk, and school began. After taking
down the children's names and ages and assigning desks to them, she
heard them read in their first, second, or third readers, and questioned
them about the progress they had made in other branches. Other children
came in from time to time, until there were twenty-two present. And when
Mr. Sapp went home at "little recess," as the intermission of fifteen
minutes in the middle of the forenoon was called, he told her that her
school opened very well. "Big recess" was the intermission from twelve
o'clock till half-past one. In that time the children ate their dinners
and then scattered to play in the large grassy yard or in the shade of
the adjoining woods. Elvira won their hearts by going out and playing
prisoners' base and two or three other games with them. When she rang
the bell again, the children said, "It's books now," meaning the time
allotted to study and recitation, came in red and panting, and, with the
energy generated by violent exercise, got out their books and turned to
their lessons as if they meant to learn everything there. But as their
blood cooled their efforts relaxed, and they were soon looking idly
around the school-room for some source of entertainment. When Elvira
called up a class to recite, the children at their seats looked and
listened with absorbed interest, till reminded by their teacher that
they had lessons of their own to learn. There was another "little
recess" in the afternoon; then, at half-past four, school closed, or
"broke," as the children called it, and they rushed forth with their
empty dinner-buckets in hand, laughing and shouting and chasing each
other as they started home. Some of the little girls waited to say
good-by to the school-ma'am and to kiss her, and one of them said, in a
shamefaced way, "I like you real well."

When all had gone, Elvira sprinkled and swept the floor and put her own
desk in order. Then, locking the door, she went over to Sapp's cabin,
which was to be her home for a while.

Mrs. Sapp rose up from the quilt she was quilting, and, greeting Elvira
cordially, invited her to lay off her things--meaning her hat and
cloak--and take a chair. Mary was in the kitchen, a small shed-room
attached to the cabin, getting supper. Elvira looked around her. The
hewn logs which formed the walls were well chinked in the cracks, and
neatly whitewashed. A home-made rag carpet covered the floor. Two beds
stood foot to foot in the back part of the room, and a third in the
corner by the fireplace. On the wall, over the beds, hung various
articles of clothing,--a dozen calico dresses, several pairs of
pantaloons, and coats, turned wrong side out. In the corner, between the
window and the fireplace, stood a bureau, covered with a white muslin
cloth, the borders ornamented with open-work made by drawing out the
horizontal threads in narrow strips and knotting the others together in
various patterns. Over the mantel hung an almanac, and two
highly-colored pictures representing a brunette beauty and a blonde,
named Caroline and Matilda. Mrs. Sapp, meantime, was giving a
biographical account of the school-children and their parents,--saying
how Mrs. Brown was bound her two little girls should get some schooling,
if she had to pay for it herself out of money she got by selling eggs
and butter, and how the Sanders children didn't have any clothes in the
world besides those they wore to school, except some old ragged ones,
and how they had to change them at night as soon as they got home.

"I saw 'Tildy White at school to-day," she continued, "but I guess she
won't get to come much. Her step-mother keeps her at home and makes her
work, while her _own_ children can go all the time. The three Mays
children were there too, but you needn't care whether they come regular
or not: Mr. Mays is mighty poor pay, and I suppose you won't ever get
your dues from him; but maybe Mr. Sapp can collect it off of him some
way. And Bert Mowrer was there: he's a sassy boy. His folks don't make
him mind at home at all, and 'most every teacher has trouble with him.
Mr. Redding, the teacher we had last winter, licked him with a beech
gad, and he behaved hisself after that. And there's Maggie Loper; her
mother needs her at home real bad, but she'll get to come all summer.
She's the only girl, and there are six grown boys; and the family set a
heap o' store by Maggie."

This stream of talk was interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Sapp and the
two boys; and soon after Mary called them all to supper. There was
hardly space to pass between the stove and the table in the kitchen, and
several splint-bottomed chairs had to be brought from the front room;
but at last all were seated, and, after Mr. Sapp said grace,
conversation began in a loud and cheerful tone. The plate of hot
biscuits was first passed to Elvira, then the platter of fried ham, then
the butter, the young radishes and onions, and later the blue bowl
containing stewed dried apples. Mrs. Sapp poured out the hot coffee,
saying, "Our folks want coffee three times a day, and want it pretty
strong." The sugar-bowl, containing brown sugar, was passed around, that
each one might sweeten his coffee according to his taste; then the
cream-pitcher, full of rich cream. Mr. Sapp drank three cups of coffee,
and ate in proportion, and frequently passed the meat and bread to
Elvira, hospitably urging her to eat more.

After supper, Mrs. Sapp invited Elvira to come out and see her little
chickens. She had sixty, all hatched within the last two or three weeks,
and another hen would come off next week with a brood. "I've got some
young turkeys, too," she said, "but they hain't done very well this
spring, because it was so rainy. Two died, and I have to look after the
others to keep 'em out of the wet grass." Then they looked at the
garden, and Mrs. Sapp remarked that the boys must stick the peas right
off, went on to the milk-house,--a log shanty beyond the well,--and
finally came back to the sitting-room, where, as there was yet an hour
of daylight, Mrs. Sapp sat down to the quilting-frame. Elvira borrowed a
thimble and assisted her, having only to ply her needle and listen. The
stream of talk ran on the subject of quilts, the various patterns in
which they were pieced and quilted, the Rising Sun, the Lion's Paw, and
the Star of Bethlehem being Mrs. Sapp's favorites. From the pile resting
on a chair between the two beds at the back of the cabin, quilts
representing these patterns were brought and unfolded for Elvira to
admire; and each one had reminiscences connected with it which she must
hear. One was pieced when Jack was a baby, one was Mary's work and
property, and another was quilted in one day by the neighbor women on
the occasion of a quilting-bee, which Mrs. Sapp proceeded to describe in
all its particulars.

As darkness settled down, the other members of the family came in from
their various chores, and, as the evenings were yet cool, a fire was
made in the fireplace. Then, seating himself by one of the jambs, Mr.
Sapp opened the spelling-book, and, calling Charley into the middle of
the floor, pronounced one row of words after another for him to spell,
until several pages had been gone over and not a single word missed,
greatly to the pride and admiration of the father. But by nine o'clock
the fire got low, and the family began to yawn. It was time to go to
bed, and, without saying good-night, the different members retired to
their allotted quarters,--Mr. and Mrs. Sapp to the bed by the fireplace,
Jack and Charley to one bed in the back part of the room, and Mary and
the school-ma'am to the other.

Thus, with few variations, the days passed until the first week of
school had gone. Elvira became better acquainted with her pupils, with
the Sapp family, and, through them, with the news and gossip of the
neighborhood. One evening she found Mary, who was a young woman grown
and older than herself, standing outside the back door, crying bitterly,
while her mother stood by, talking to her with the air of one who could
be liberal in some views and yield many points, but who felt that a firm
stand must be made somewhere. On explanation, it appeared that Mary
wanted to go to the nearest station on the railroad and ride to the next
station east, a distance of thirteen miles, for the purpose of making a
visit; but Mrs. Sapp was not willing that she should do so, giving as
her objection that there was so much danger in riding on the cars,
adding that if Mary would wait till corn-planting was over, her father
would take her through in a wagon. She had never been on the cars
herself, and could not give her consent for one of her family to enter
upon such risks. So Mary, with much disappointment, had to give up her
proposed visit for the time.

When Friday evening came, Elvira walked home to Hill's Station, feeling
that she had made a good beginning in her new work, and related to her
grandmother all the incidents of the week. On Saturday she went about
among the neighbors, who were most of them farmers, to see if she could
hire a horse for the summer. All the good horses, however, were in
constant use, and could not be spared by their owners. At last, one
farmer said that he had a horse which wasn't worth much at its best, and
just now had a sore head, so that he had put it out to pasture for the
summer on a farm several miles distant. She could have it to use, and be
welcome, if she would provide pasturage for it and give it now and then
a few ears of corn. Elvira accepted the offer gratefully, and he
promised to have it at Hill's Station for her by another Saturday. She
boarded at Sapp's another week, and after that rode from home every
morning and back every night. Her steed did not seem to have an arch or
curve in its whole body, but to be made up of straight lines and angles.
It reminded her of the corn-stalk horses she used to make when a little
girl. Its favorite gait was a slow walk, with its head in a drooping
dejected attitude, and sometimes it came to an entire stand-still, as if
it had reached its journey's end. When she was about to meet some one,
or heard wheels coming behind her, she tried to urge it into a spirited
trot, and to rein it in so that its neck would have some slight
appearance of a curve; but it only threw its nose into the air,
presenting a longer straight line than before, and, after trotting a
little way, it came to a sudden pause about the time the people passed
or met her. More than once she heard them laugh and felt her face burn.
If she had not known better days, she had at least known better horses,
and was aware that her steed presented a sorry appearance. The only time
it displayed any life was in the morning, when she came to catch and
saddle it. Then it trotted repeatedly around the pasture-lot,
occasionally sticking its head over the top rails, as if it had a notion
to jump the fence and run away. During the day it fed on the grass in
the school-house yard, and every day at noon she took it over to Sapp's,
drew water from their well, and gave it as many bucketfuls as it would
drink. Elvira carried her dinner, consisting generally of bread and
butter, cold meat, and pie, in a little basket hung on the horn of the
saddle, and sometimes, when she had been trotting, found on reaching
school that part of it had fallen out on the way.

The road over which she passed every morning and evening grew familiar
to her, even to the individual trees, the mossy old stumps, the
fence-corners over-grown with wild vines. The life of the farm-houses,
as daily presented to her, furnished perpetual entertainment. She came
to know every member of every family by sight, and to associate certain
traits of character with them. Some two-story white houses stood back
from the road in the retirement of fruit- and shade-trees, and seemed
reserved and dignified; other smaller houses were only a few steps
removed, and had their wood-piles on the side of the road. One little
new cabin in the corner of a strip of woods especially interested
Elvira. It was the home of a lately-married pair, young folks full of
energy and ambition. The husband chopped down trees, ploughed, or
ditched his land, as if he were working for a wager, and the wife was
equally active and industrious. Her bright tin milk-pans were out
sunning early every morning, her churning and ironing were done in the
cool part of the forenoons, her front yard was always neatly swept, and
the borders were bright with balsams, petunias, and other flowers.

Then the world of nature unfolded every day something fresh to the
solitary rider,--the blue depths of summer sky in which great masses of
dazzling white clouds were heaped, the thick beech woods, where it was
always cool and pleasant, the swamps, with their spicy fragrance, their
variety of growth, and their slow-running streams of clear brown water.
The blossoming blue-flags of May gave way in June to the fragrant wild
roses, and these were followed in July and August by ripe raspberries
and blackberries, which grew plentifully along the fence-corners and
could be had for the picking.

Toward the latter part of the term, Elvira was frequently invited by her
pupils to go home with them on Friday night and spend Saturday at their
house, now one girl, now another, saying, "Miss Hill, mother said ask
you to come home with us to-night." And when she went, she found that
the farmer's wife had prepared something extra for supper in expectation
of her coming,--fried chicken, and honey, and other home luxuries,--and
seemed glad of the little break in the monotony of farm-life which the
school-ma'am's visit afforded. The faded family photographs and old
daguerreotypes were brought out for her entertainment, and she was told
that "This is Aunt Lizzie Barnwell: she lives in Grant County, and this
is her husband, and these are her children. This is Grandpa and Grandma
Brown, and this is grandma's brother, ma's uncle. For a long time he
thought that was a cancer on his nose, but it turned out to be only a
wart. And this is Mr. and Mrs. Holmes: they used to live neighbors to
us, but now they have moved to Kansas. And this is Johnnie and Sarah and
Nelson Holmes. Nelson used to be real mean: he pulled our hair at
school, and threw clods of dirt at us when we were coming home of
nights, and we always thought he stole our watermelons, and we were glad
when he moved away; but we liked Sarah and Johnnie." And so on through
the list of relatives and acquaintances. On these visits Elvira
generally slept on a high feather bed in the best room, or in a little
bedroom opening from the parlor,--for not all the homes were as humble
as Sapp's,--and the oldest daughter of the family slept with her. On
Saturday forenoon she often went berry-picking with the children,
crossing the corn-fields in the hot sun, climbing fences, and so gaining
the thickets or woods where the blackberry-vines grew wild, with gallons
of ripe berries ready for nimble finders. "Look out for snakes!" the
children used to call to each other when deep in the bushes, but they
never saw anything more than a harmless garter-snake, or perhaps a
water-snake in the swamp. Saturday afternoons she sat and talked with
the farmer's wife, assisting in the sewing or quilting or whatever work
of this kind was on hand; and when she rode home in the cool of the
evening it was always with some little delicacy in her basket for her
grandmother,--a glass tumbler of honey, a cake, some pickles or
preserves, or a quart bottle of maple syrup, which her hostess had given
her at parting.

Near the end of the term, Maggie Loper invited Elvira to go home with
her Friday night and spend Saturday. "Mother says for you to come. We're
going to thrash, Saturday, and we'll have a big dinner and lots of fun."
She meant that they were to thresh wheat, and it was the stir and
excitement of this event which she called fun. Elvira accepted the
invitation, and went home with Maggie at the time appointed. She felt at
home among these farm festivals, and enjoyed them, the work included,
for she had as yet acted only as assistant, and had not felt the
responsibility of "cookin' for thrashers" which weighs so heavily on
housewives. It is not alone the fact that they must provide dinner and
supper for fifteen or twenty hungry men, but the knowledge that their
viands will be compared, favorably or unfavorably, with those of other
women in the neighborhood. So they exert themselves to provide a
variety, and load their tables with rich food, insomuch that "goin' with
the thrashers" means to farm-workers in this section a round of
sumptuous living. The Loper family rose Saturday morning while the east
was red, and did the milking and despatched breakfast earlier than
usual. The threshers were coming at eight o'clock, and they hoped to get
the engine and threshing-machine in order and be well under way at nine.
Two neighbor women came over to help Mrs. Loper, and Elvira assisted
Maggie in all her tasks. Together they cleaned and scraped a tub half
full of potatoes, plucked the feathers of two fat hens, gathered a lot
of beets and summer squashes, and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes into
dishes of vinegar, adding pepper and salt; they brought eggs from the
barn, rousing a protesting cackle among the hens by scaring some of them
off their nests, and milk and butter from the spring-house.

In the mean time Mrs. Loper and her two assistants, warm and red, but
sustained by the importance of the occasion, were at work in the
kitchen, beating eggs and stirring sugar and butter together for cakes,
making pies, and roasting, baking, boiling, and stewing. When their
other tasks were done, Maggie and Elvira were deputed to set the table.
Two long tables were placed end to end in the shade of some maple-trees
which stood near the house, and covered with white cloths, then the
plates, knives and forks, and drinking-glasses were placed in order. The
Loper supply of dishes was not sufficient, but there were two large
basketfuls which had been borrowed from neighbors for the occasion, and,
by having recourse to these, the tables were furnished. Chairs were
brought from kitchen and parlor and every room in the house, but even
then two were lacking. "Never mind," said Maggie: "Joe and Will can sit
on nail-kegs," referring to two of her brothers.

The men and machinery and wagons had come early in the day, the engine
drawn by two oxen, the threshing-machine by four horses. The oxen swayed
hither and thither as they were driven through the gates and into the
barn-lot, and the driver cracked his whip and cried, "You Buck! You
Berry! Gee! Haw! Whoa!" till one was ready to wonder that the bewildered
animals did anything right. At last the engine was in the desired
position, and the oxen were released from their yoke, to stand with
panting sides in the shade of the barn. Then the threshing-machine was
stationed in its place, and the broad band put on which connected it
with the engine. In the mean time, those whose duty it was to haul water
from the creek had brought three or four barrelfuls to the boiler, fire
had been built in the engine, and the engineer "got up steam." Two
wagons were off to the field, where the wheat still stood in shocks, and
as soon as they returned, piled high with yellow sheaves, the work began
in earnest. Two men--cutters and feeders, as they were called--received
the sheaves tossed to them from the wagons, cut the withes of straw
which bound them, and pushed them evenly into the thresher. Farmer Loper
himself and one of his sons stood at the place where the grain ran out,
and as fast as one bushel-measure was filled another one was set in its
place and the wheat poured into a sack. When a sack was full it was tied
up and set back out of the way. Other laborers stood at the back part of
the thresher, where the straw came out, and, with pitch-forks in hand,
tossed it about until the foundation for a stack was formed. Then they
stood on the stack, rising higher as it rose, trampling the straw and
pitching it into place. The chaff and dust flew upon them until their
faces, their hat-brims, and the shoulders of their colored shirts were
covered, and the perspiration streamed from every pore. No wonder that
the wives and mothers of these farmers dreaded the wash-days after a
week of threshing. There was noise and excitement enough in connection
with the dust and work,--the puffing of the engine, the whir and shake
and rattle of the threshing-machine, and the raised voices of the men
calling to each other or giving orders. The engineer and the feeders and
cutters were conceded to have the most responsible positions, but the
duties of the other workers were also important. There must be water for
the boiler, and the wheat must be brought from the field fast enough to
keep a constant supply on hand, the straw must be stacked well, and the
grain accurately measured. At exactly twelve o'clock the engineer blew a
long loud whistle, the band was thrown off, the wheels of the thresher
ceased to revolve, and the work came to a stand-still. Comments were
exchanged on the progress made during the forenoon and the quality of
the wheat, then the tired horses were unharnessed and fed, and Farmer
Loper led the way toward the house. Here on a bench by the well were all
the wash-pans and wash-bowls the house afforded, and clean towels hung
on the roller and on nails outside the door. The men washed their hands
and faces, and, by the aid of a small looking-glass hung by the towels,
and a comb attached to a string, combed their hair. To the women it was
the most exciting moment of the day. They were dishing up the dinner and
putting the finishing-touches to the table. Finally all was ready. Mrs.
Loper spoke to her husband, and he said, "Come, men, dinner's ready,"
and led the way to the table. He took the chair at one end, his oldest
son that at the other, and the others ranged themselves at will between.

Mrs. Loper poured out coffee in the kitchen, the neighbor women carried
the cups and saucers, Maggie waited on the table, passing the bread
around first, and Elvira stood with a bunch of peacock's feathers in her
hand and kept off the flies. A boiled ham was at the head of the table,
a pair of roast fowls at the foot; between stood a long row of
vegetables,--potatoes, string-beans, squash, beets, and others,--and
near the large tureens were smaller dishes,--cold-slaw, tomatoes,
cucumbers, pickles and preserves of various kinds. A large cake stood on
a glass cake-stand in the middle of the table, flanked on one side by a
deep glass dish full of canned peaches, on the other by a similar one of
floating island, while all the available remaining space was occupied by
pies,--apple-pies, custard, berry-pies, cream-pies. To have a variety of
pies on a festal occasion was the ambition of every housewife, seven
different kinds of pies and three kinds of cake being not uncommon. If a
map of the region where pie prevails is ever drawn up and printed, this
section of the country will be shaded unusually dark. To have company to
dinner and not set pie before them would be considered a breach of an
ancient and well-grounded custom: the best of puddings or other forms of
dessert would be regarded only as an evasion. Pie was not out of place
at supper; and the instance of one family comes to mind where steamed
mince-pie for breakfast was eaten, and considered both appropriate and
delicious.

At Farmer Loper's harvest-table sweet milk and fresh buttermilk were
among the drinks, but most of the men preferred coffee, and drank it hot
out of the saucers. Some sets of dishes included tiny cup-plates, in
which to set the coffee-cups that they might not stain the table-cloth;
but Mrs. Loper had none, and the men scraped their cups on the edge of
the saucers before placing them on the clean white cloth. One man drank
six cups of coffee, then said he guessed he wouldn't take any more,
adding, "It's best to be moderate." At this all the men burst into a
roar of laughter, except one, who grew red in the face and ate his
dinner in silence. It seemed that while hauling that day one of his
horses had balked, and in his anger he had lifted one foot to kick it,
but missed it, lost his balance, and fell. He arose from the fall
somewhat ashamed, and remarked, "It's best to be moderate." This
incident had amused the others very much, and any allusion to it caused
laughter.

The women waited on the table, not in the sense of changing plates and
bringing fresh courses, for all the dinner was before them, but
replenishing cups and glasses when they were empty, refilling the
vegetable-tureens and bread-plates, cutting the pies and cake and
passing them around, and serving out the canned peaches and the custard
in small dishes. They were also careful to see that the pickles and
preserves were passed to every one.

With most of the men present Elvira was acquainted: they were the
patrons of her school, and found time in the midst of eating and general
conversation to ask how Johnnie was a-comin' on in his spellin', or if
Annie was gettin' along well in her 'rithmetic, adding, "I'll be wantin'
her to calkilate interest for me by and by." Bert Mowrer's father
inquired about his boy, then added cheerfully, "If he don't behave, lick
him,--lick him: that's what I tell every teacher."

Farmer Loper and the engineer fell to discussing how many bushels of
wheat to the acre the neighboring farms had produced, and how many this
would probably produce, with various comments on the weather and the
soil. A little farther down the table a young farmer was telling of the
speed made by his brown mare Kitty,--how she passed every team on the
road, and that he wouldn't take a hundred and fifty dollars for her; and
farther still, two or three were discussing the affairs of an absent
neighbor,--how he had bought the Caldwell place, but, not being able to
pay for it, had given a mortgage, and hadn't managed the farm very well,
had let the interest run behind, they had heard, so there was a prospect
of his losing it.

"I guess he won't have to give it up," said one: "the woman that raised
his wife has got plenty of money, and if he can't make it, she'll pay
for the place and let them live on it. She's helped them several times
already. If he wasn't so lazy and shiftless he might have everything in
good shape."

But a conversation which was going on at the lower end of the table
interested Elvira most of all. It was about birds, including some of
her favorites of the woods and fields which she had noticed a great deal
in her solitary rides that summer. The principal speaker was a young
farmer whom she had never seen before. He seemed to be acquainted with
the names and habits of all the birds which lived in that section,
besides many which merely passed through it on their way northward every
spring and southward every fall.

"I have kept a record of the time of each arrival," he said, "and notes
of rare birds. The bluebird came first, and the humming-bird last. And I
discovered two birds that were new to me. One is a Northern bunting. A
flock stayed one day in our orchard on their way northward to their
summer home, and I succeeded in killing and stuffing a pair. The
feathers of the male were a beautiful pink-red. The other strange bird
seemed to come with the scarlet tanager, and is much like a pee-wee in
shape and size, with feathers of a greenish yellow."

"When do you find time to learn so much about birds?" asked George
Loper, who knew only a few of the more common ones,--blackbirds, crows,
jays, hawks, and robins,--and had no eyes for the variety of feathered
life around him.

"I keep my eyes open as I work and as I go along the road," answered
young Farmer Worth; "then I look up their names and read something about
them in a book on birds which I have. You've no idea how much enjoyment
there is in it. I have quite a collection of birds which I have stuffed,
and more than a hundred different kinds of eggs, besides my cabinet of
mineral specimens. I nailed two ladders together, and climbed thirty
feet above these and got a crow's nest; and this spring we found a
hawk's nest in a high tree. We tied a stout twine to a small stone,
which we threw over the forks of the tree, and with this drew a large
rope over. Then I sat in the noose of the rope, and three boys pulled me
up sixty feet to the nest. It was rather scary, I can tell you, and I
was glad to get down to the ground again; but I got the hawk's nest."

Then Elvira asked him if he could tell her the name of the bird with a
yellow head, but otherwise black plumage, which she had noticed not long
before in a flock of common blackbirds; and they were soon in an
animated conversation on the subject of birds in general. Elvira had
noticed many that summer which she could describe, but whose names she
did not know.

Soon the men began to leave the table, for it was not the custom to wait
till all had done eating, but for each one to go when he was ready.
George Loper went away grumbling that he couldn't see any use in
learning about birds: all he wanted was for the crows and blackbirds to
keep away from the corn when it was first planted. But Elvira and young
Worth talked ten minutes longer, finding more and more that they were
interested in the same subjects. Then the women began to clear away the
plates and cups and knives, and Elvira turned to assist them, while her
new acquaintance joined his companions, who were resting in the shade of
the trees. There he encountered some good-natured chaff from the younger
members, who began by asking him if he was struck with the school-ma'am.
The responsibility of the threshers' dinner being over, Mrs. Loper and
her assistants sat down to the table, to eat their own dinner at ease,
and exchange remarks with each other, complimenting or criticising their
cooking.

"This chicken-stuffin' is real good," said one of the neighbors to Mrs.
Loper.

"Well, I don't know," said Mrs. Loper, tasting some of it on the end of
her knife: "'pears to me I put a leetle too much sage in it. But the
gravy you made, Mirandy, that couldn't be better. Didn't you see how the
men kept askin' for it to be passed? And they've et up all the summer
squash and all the cream-pie. Taste some of these plum preserves, Mis'
Brown, and don't let me forget to send some to your little girls: I
remember how well they like 'em. This cake is real light and good, but I
was afraid it would fall. This float would 'a' been better if I'd had a
little lemon flavor to put in it. But I guess, on the whole, the dinner
went off middlin' well." Then, seeing Elvira and Maggie sitting on the
opposite side of the table, some deeper thoughts were stirred in her
motherly heart, and she began to talk of the daughter she had lost years
before: "If Lucy had lived, she'd 'a' been seventeen this spring,--just
your age; and you remind me of her sometimes. She always had such red
cheeks, and was never sick a day till she was taken down with the
diphtheria."

For a while the affairs of the present were forgotten, as the old and
never-wholly-healed wound was opened afresh and she dwelt upon her
bereavement; but soon the round of work must be taken up, the dishes
must be washed, the victuals set away, and supper for the threshers must
be planned and prepared. It was best so. "Time, the healer, and work,
the consoler," enable us to bear many things which in the first keen
freshness of grief seem unbearable.

The threshers thought they would be done by six o'clock, so they decided
not to stop for supper at five, as was the custom, but wait for their
evening meal till the work of the day was completed. Elvira started home
before this time, and good Mrs. Loper not only filled her own little
basket, but made her take a larger one packed with remains of the feast.

There were three weeks more of her school, and during that time she saw
young Farmer Worth several times. Twice she met him in the road, and
once he stopped at the school-house to bring her Wilson's book on birds,
which he had promised to lend her. But the day before school closed he
came and helped Jack Sapp and some other boys make a platform in the
woods, on which the children could speak their declamations and sing
their songs, and on the afternoon of the last day of school was present
in the crowd of parents, brothers, sisters, and friends assembled on
that important and, to the children, most exciting occasion. There were
declamations from the third and fourth readers,--"How big was Alexander,
Pa?" and "He never smiled again," and "Lord Ullin's Daughter,"--and
Maggie Loper held the audience spell-bound by an entirely new one, which
Elvira had selected and copied for her out of a book of poems,--"The
Dream of Eugene Aram." Then there were songs, and dialogues, and two
compositions, one on "Rats" and one on "Planting Corn," which had been
produced by their respective authors after much wear of brain fibre and
much blotting of writing-paper. Last of all, Elvira read one of
Longfellow's poems, after which she said that the exercises of the
school were over, but that remarks from visitors would be gladly
received. Then one of the trustees arose, and said that education was a
great blessing, that he hoped the children of the present day would
appreciate their advantages and grow up to be useful men and women,
adding that all the schooling he had received was three winter terms in
a log school-house, one entire end of which was occupied by the
fireplace, and which had no glass windows, the light being admitted
through holes cut in the logs and covered with greased foolscap-paper.
No other remarks being offered, the audience was dismissed, and the
children began in an excited hurry to collect their possessions, and bid
their teacher good-by as if for a life-long parting. Some of them even
shed tears, and this occasioned the cynical remark from a by-stander,
"Them Mays children needn't to take on so: the school-ma'am will have to
call at their house often enough before she gits her money."

Soon the spot was deserted, and the squirrels came down from the trees
to retake possession of their old haunts, to scamper across the
platform, to sniff at the fallen rose-petals of the bouquets, and to
nibble the crumbs of cake and bread dropped from the lunch-baskets.

The next outing for the people of Buck Creek neighborhood was the
county fair, which occurred in September. They went in spring-wagons, in
farm-wagons, in buggies, and on horseback, starting early in the
morning, and taking an ample supply of provisions for themselves as well
as feed for their horses.

The sunshine poured down hot upon them, and there was much dust, but
they were happy. There were crowds of people from all the surrounding
country; there were displays of vegetables, fruit, honey, butter, in
tents and sheds,--in short, all the products of a farming region; there
were cakes, loaves of bread, glasses of jelly, and jars of pickles and
preserves, made by farmers' wives; and in the department allotted to
needle-work there were quilts of various patterns and various claims to
public notice: one had three thousand five hundred and forty-four pieces
in it, and was made by a great-granddaughter of Daniel Boone, the
pioneer; another was pieced by an old lady of eighty-one without the aid
of glasses. Among the live-stock were fat cattle and prancing
three-year-old colts, with red or blue ribbons fastened to their manes,
indicating that they had received the first or second prize, and fat
hogs; there were various breeds of poultry in coops, and before each
stall or pen or coop stood a group of spectators, admiring, commenting,
or asking questions of the owner; there were agricultural machines and
implements, and patent pumps for stock-yards, and improved cross-cut
saws, each strongly recommended to the public by a glib-tongued agent.
Then there were stands for the sale of ice-cream, lemonade, and peanuts
and candy; and no rural beau felt that he had done the polite thing
unless he took his girl up to the counter and treated her. When he had
strolled all over the ground with her, and perhaps taken her into one or
two side-shows, where there were negro minstrels or the Wild Australian
Children, he went and sat in a buggy with her, and they talked, and
waited for the horse-race, or balloon-ascension, or wire-walking, which
was the especial attraction of the afternoon.

"Why, who's that with Tom Worth?" asked one Buck Creek belle of her
escort as they were thus sitting together. "I didn't know that he was
goin' with anybody?"

"I didn't, either," was the response; then, after a little pause, "I'll
swan, it's Miss Hill, the school-ma'am. Who'd 'a' thought they would be
here together? I didn't know they were acquainted."

And this remark was echoed by other Buck Creek people as they saw the
couple walking together. But there is a law of affinity by which people
are drawn together as lovers or as friends, which is like some of the
hidden forces of nature: we cannot see their operation, we can only see
their results. Some one has made the paradoxical remark that we are
acquainted with our friends before we ever see them; meaning that our
tastes for the same pursuits or subjects, traits of character that
harmonize, views that coincide, have been ripening apart, and, when at
last we meet, that is sufficient; it does not require a long
acquaintanceship to reveal one to the other.

Young Farmer Worth was now in the habit of frequently calling to see
Elvira Hill, and of taking her out riding in his buggy, that being an
approved form of courtship in this section. They talked of their
favorite books and studies, their ambitions for the future as regarded
mental culture, and their individual plans.

Elvira had applied for the position of assistant in the Hill's Station
school, and had been engaged as first assistant instead of second, which
was better than she had hoped. She would have to hear some advanced
classes from the principal's room, and this would require her to study,
which would be a source of improvement.

Young Farmer Worth, whose father had died three years before, had bought
the home farm, and was now working to pay his older brothers and sisters
for their shares in it and to comfortably support his mother in her
declining years.

"There are eighty acres in it, well improved, and with good buildings,"
he said one day, while unfolding his plans to Elvira, "and I think I can
make a good home of it, and a happy one, where I can feel independent,
and no one's servant, as I could not at any other business. Farming is a
profession, and I intend to work with my head as well as my hands, to
read and study on the subject, to take the best agricultural papers, and
keep up with the times. My fondness for ornithology and mineralogy can
be indulged in connection with my work on the farm and without in any
wise interfering with it."

In the winter he came occasionally to take her to lectures at
Sassafrasville or another neighboring town, and they always found food
for thought in what they heard, and pleasure in discussing it afterward.

The gossips said, "There's a match;" but it was not until spring that
they were engaged. Then he took her to see his mother, and showed her
the old home, the farm, and the improvements he was making. The old lady
received Elvira with mingled dignity and cordiality, but, finding her
interested in all she heard and saw, warmed toward her more and more,
and told much of her own life, unfolding the store of memories on which
her thoughts chiefly dwelt nowadays, talking of her husband, the
children she had lost, and bringing forth their pictures, opening closed
rooms, and showing dishes, linen, and other household goods which dated
back to her own girlhood and early married life.

Elvira felt an attachment for Mrs. Worth which deepened when, in the
ensuing autumn, her dear grandmother died after a brief illness, and
she experienced the loneliness of bereavement and homelessness. The
little brown house in Hill's Station was sold, and Elvira went to board
with one of the neighbors: she was still teaching in the village school.

When June came round again, with its beauty of earth and sky, it brought
her wedding-day. A very quiet wedding it was; but the home-coming, or
the "in-fare," to use a good old-fashioned word, was the occasion of
much joy and merry-making. It seemed as if all the Buck Creek
neighborhood had assembled to welcome the bride. Two of the farmers'
wives had been at the Worth homestead all the preceding day, and many of
them brought cakes with them.

In the centre of the table stood a roast pig, with an apple in its
mouth, and around it were a great abundance of the substantial viands
and delicacies usually provided on such occasions. There were also many
presents for the bride from her old friends, not costly or fine, but in
keeping with their manner of living. Mrs. Loper brought a sheep-skin for
a mat, the wool combed out smoothly and colored crimson, Maggie a white
crocheted tidy as big as a cart-wheel, Mrs. Sapp a wooden butter-stamp,
Mary Sapp a picture-frame made of pasteboard, with beech-nuts glued
together thickly upon it and varnished.

So, amid good wishes and rejoicing, the young married pair entered upon
their new life together, contented, yet energetic, and happy in the fact
that their own lives afforded fulness and enjoyment, and that in their
own efforts lay the fulfilment of their ambitions.

    LOUISE COFFIN JONES.



INTO THY HANDS.


    Into thy hands, my Father, I commit
      All, all my spirit's care,
      The sorest burden this dim life can bear,
    The sweetest hope wherewith its paths are lit!
    Into thy hands, that hold so closely knit
      What our blind, aching heart
      Calls joy or grief,--we know them not apart!
    Into the hands whence leap
     The hurling tempest, and the gentle breath
    Kissing the babe to sleep,
     The flaming bolt that smites with instant death
    The giant oak, and the refreshing shower
    Whose balmy drops make glad the tender flower.

    What though, even as lent jewels passing bright,
      That crowned me happy king
      For one sweet revel of one night in spring,
    I must surrender in the morning light,
    That cold and gray breaks on my tearful sight,
      Youth, hope, and joy, and love,
      And--oh, all other gems, all price, above!--
    The deathless certainty
      Of the deep life beyond this pallid sun,
    That golden shore and sea
      Which to my youthful feet seemed wellnigh won,
    So fair, so close, so clear, methought I heard
    The trees' soft whisper and faint song of bird;

    What though this fair dream, too, fled long ago,
      And on my straining eyes
      There break no more visions of mellow skies
    'Neath which dear friends, called dead, move on in low
    Sweet converse through wide, happy fields aglow
      With heavenly flower and star,--
      What though, like some poor pilgrim who from far
    Sees, through a slender rift
      In the dark rocks that hem his toilsome way,
    The clouds an instant lift
      From countries bathed in everlasting day,
    I stand and stretch my yearning arms in vain
    Toward the blest light, too swiftly lost again?

    Into thy hands, my Father, I commit
      This dearest, last hope too,
      Old as the world, and yet forever new,--
    The hope wherewith our dimmest paths are lit,
    With life itself indissolubly knit!
      That too is well, I know,
      In thy eternal keeping. Ah! and so
    Let my poor soul dismiss
      Each fear and doubt, hush every anxious cry,
    Forget all thought save this,
      Some time,--oh, dream of joy that cannot die!--
    In those beloved hands, a priceless store,
    All our lost jewels shall be found once more!

    STUART STERNE.



A CHAPTER OF MYSTERY.


Science, as a rule, has avoided the subject of Spiritualism. Its results
are too much unlike the hard, visible, tangible facts of scientific
research to attract those accustomed to positive investigations. And its
methods and conditions are usually of a character to set a scientist
beside himself with impatience. Crucial tests do not seem acceptable to
spirits in general. They decline to be placed on the microscopic slide
or to show their ghostly forms in the glare of the electric light, and
prefer to haunt the society of those who do not pester them with too
exacting _conditions_. Thus they have been mainly given over to a class
of somewhat credulous and, in some instances, not well-balanced mortals,
whose statements have very little weight with the general public, and
whose strong powers of digesting the marvellous have originated a
plentiful crop of fraud and trickery sufficient to throw discredit on
the whole business.

It cannot be said, however, that all the adherents of Spiritualism are
of this character, or that science has completely failed to investigate
it. It has won over many persons of good sense and sound logic,
including several prominent scientists, to a belief in the truth of its
claims. Were its adherents all cranks or credulous believers, and its
phenomena only such common sleight-of-hand performances as suffice to
convince the open-mouthed swallowers of conjurers' tricks, it would be
idle to give it any attention. But phenomena sufficiently striking to
convert such men as Hare, Crooks, Wallace, Zöllner, and the like are
certainly worthy of some attention, and cannot be at once dismissed as
results of skilful prestidigitation.

In fact, it is evident to those who have taken the trouble to
investigate the question seriously, and who do not dismiss it with an _a
priori_ decision, that in addition to the fraudulent mediums who make it
their business to trick the public, and are ready to produce a new
marvel for every new dollar, and to call "spirits from the vasty deep"
of the unseen universe in form and shape to suit every customer, there
are some private and strictly honest mediums, and many phenomena which
no theory of conjuring will explain. To what they are due is another
question, in regard to which no hypothesis is here offered. It may be
said here, however, that the work of the Psychic Research Society has
demonstrated rather conclusively that certain hitherto unknown and
unsuspected powers and laws of nature do exist, and that man's five
senses are not the only means by which he gains a knowledge of what is
going on in other minds than his own. The facts of thought-transference,
of mesmeric control, of apparitions of the living, and the like, as
critically tested by the members of this society, seem to indicate
clearly that mind can affect, influence, and control mind through some
other channel than that of the senses, usually over short distances, but
in case of strong mental concentration over long distances. That some
psychic medium, some ethereal atmosphere, infiltrates our grosser
atmosphere, and is capable of conveying waves of thought as the
luminiferous ether conveys waves of light, is the theory advanced in
explanation of these phenomena. Spiritualists had long before advanced a
like theory in explanation of their phenomena, claiming that disembodied
as well as living minds have the power of influencing and controlling
other minds, through the agency of such a psychic atmosphere, and also
of acting upon and moving physical substances through a like agency. As
to the probability of all this, no opinion is here offered.

It is our purpose simply to select some of the more striking instances
of spiritualistic phenomena, as recorded by scientific observers. Those
placed on record by the numerous unscientific and unknown investigators
are not the kind of material to present to the general public.
Statements of an unusual character need to be thoroughly substantiated
before they can be accepted, and the remarkable phenomena adduced as
spiritual demand evidence of the most unquestionable character. There is
always the feeling that the observer may have been deceived by some
shrewd trickery, or have credulously accepted what others would have
readily seen through, or that the senses may have been under some form
of mesmeric control. Instances of such phenomena, therefore, need to be
attested by the names of persons of well-known honesty, judgment, and
discrimination, and attended with an exact statement of the tests
applied, before they can be accepted as thoroughly trustworthy accounts.
Some instances of this character may be here given.

The phenomena known under the general name of spirit-manifestations vary
greatly in different instances. In some cases they take the form of
strange dreams, in which some warning or information concerning coming
events is given that afterward proves true. In others they occur as
seeming apparitions of persons recently or long dead. In others, as in
the case of haunted houses, there are noises of great variety, moving of
objects, opening and shutting of doors, appearances of unknown forms,
and all the phenomena which might be produced by an invisible inhabitant
of the house who was able to become visible under certain circumstances.
More ordinary manifestations are rapping sounds and lifting of heavy
bodies, writing either with or without apparent human agency, and mental
communication of facts unknown to or forgotten by the persons present.
Other phases are those presented by professional mediums,--the tying and
untying of ropes, playing on musical instruments, the production of
luminous phenomena, slate-writing under tables, and the like.
Performances of this character are usually done in the dark, and the
fraud which may be present is therefore not easily detected. It is
impossible to apply tests under such circumstances, and nothing can be
accepted as positive that cannot be tested. Performances similarly
surprising are constantly offered by professional conjurers, and nothing
claiming the high origin of spiritual phenomena can be received in
evidence where trickery is possible or has not been rendered impossible
by the employment of adequate tests.

To the same class belong the cabinet performances and the so-called
materialization of spirit forms, which have been the favorite cards of
professional mediums of late years. So far as yet offered in public,
they may be dismissed in the mass as pure trickery. The fact that
stage-performers of sleight-of-hand tricks can repeat the cabinet
phenomena in every detail, and that the materialized spirit showmen have
been caught in numerous instances in the very act of fraud, throws utter
discredit on the business. No repetition by new mediums of other forms
of the exposed tricks carries any weight. In fact, in a matter of such
importance nothing can be accepted as settled until it has been
subjected to the strictest scientific tests and every possible
opportunity for deceit or trickery eliminated. We are not ready to
believe that the spirits of our departed friends are able and willing to
talk with or show themselves to us, or create disturbances in the
arrangement of our furniture, unless we are absolutely positive that our
eyes, ears, and nerves are not being cleverly fooled by some skilled and
unscrupulous show-man, or that we are not self-deceived by some
temporary vagary of our brains or senses.

In addition to the purely physical phenomena are others of a more or
less mental character. One interesting phase of the latter is that of
planchette-writing, which attracted so much attention a few years ago.
The planchette, a heart-shaped board moving easily on casters, and with
a pencil supporting it at one extremity, moves with great readiness when
touched by mediumistic fingers, and is responsible for acres of
communications purporting to come from the world of spirits, and
conveying the greatest variety of information, alike as to the thoughts
and deeds of particular spirits and the general conditions of
disembodied spiritual existence. In other instances the planchette is
dispensed with, and the writing done by a pencil held in the hand of the
medium, or occasionally, as some persons positively declare, by a pencil
that is held in no mortal hand. In still other cases the medium, either
awake or entranced, gives the communication by word of mouth. And this
is asserted to be the case not only in respect to brief messages, but in
long addresses, which are given every Sunday in our principal cities
before large audiences, and in the writing of books of considerable
length, but not, as a rule, of any great profundity or literary value.
To all these claims, however, we can simply record the verdict "not
proven." When a man writes or says anything we want more than his mere
assertion to prove that it does not come from his own mind. And, even if
we are satisfied that he is not consciously deceiving, the possibility
remains that he is affected by some unconscious mental action. We shall
certainly not accept his declaration that spirits of the dead are
talking through him unless he gives information that could not possibly
have been in his own mind, and could not have been received by
thought-transference from the mind of any other person present
or in _rapport_ with him at a distance. The discoveries in
thought-transference open possibilities of mental influence between
living persons which aid to explain many hitherto incomprehensible
phenomena.

Clairvoyant and clairaudiant mediums fall into the same category. They
profess to see forms which no one else can see, and to hear voices which
no one else can hear, and describe these forms, or repeat the words of
these voices, often with the effect of recalling the appearance or
character of deceased persons whom they could not possibly have known.
Yet the fact remains that the persons who recognize these descriptions
as accurate must have known the parties described, and it becomes
possible that the mental impression of the medium may have been received
by thought-transference from them. We do not assert that it has been so
received. We assert nothing. In fact, phenomena are claimed to occur
which it is difficult or impossible to explain on any such theory, or on
any other theory yet promulgated. Among these is the conveyance of
matter through matter, as of an object from the interior to the exterior
of a corked and sealed bottle, of other objects from a distance into
locked rooms, of writing by a sliver of pencil in the interior of a
double slate firmly screwed together, of the placing of close-fitting
steel rings in one solid piece around human necks, and their subsequent
removal, of writing and speaking in languages unknown to some or all of
the persons present, and a considerable variety of similar performances,
declared to have occurred under strict test-conditions. Yet if we cannot
explain we retain the right to doubt, and such statements cannot be
received as facts except on the strongest substantiation.

The phenomena whose main forms we have here given, but whose actual
variety we cannot attempt to give, are offered on the testimony of a
great variety of persons, many of whom are plainly too credulous for
their evidence to be of any value whatever, while others, who seem to
have exercised great caution and cool judgment, are unknown to the
general public, and therefore not likely to be accepted as witnesses in
such a critical case. Others, again, who are well known and highly
respected, have invalidated their testimony by clearly letting
themselves be deceived. Such was the case with Robert Dale Owen, one of
the main historians of spiritual phenomena, who permitted himself to be
pitifully humbugged in Philadelphia by the somewhat famous spirit of
Katie King, whose spirit face was afterward discovered on the sturdy
shoulders of a very decidedly incarnate young lady. This was one of the
first instances of that throng of materialized frauds with which this
country has ever since been well supplied.

But there have been numerous investigators of spiritualism who cannot be
placed in any such category, many of them men of high standing in the
scientific world, whose word is still taken as positive evidence in
support of very surprising scientific statements, since they are known
to examine and test phenomena with the closest and most accurate
scrutiny. This class of observers is particularly abundant in the London
scientific world, and includes in its list such noted names as Alfred
Russel Wallace, the celebrated naturalist, Dr. William Crooks, whose
discoveries in chemistry and physics have been of a remarkable
character, and Dr. Huggins, the equally celebrated astronomer. In
America the most noted scientific observer was the late Dr. Hare, of
Philadelphia, a chemist of world-wide fame. Of those who, if not
professed scientists, have been otherwise of high standing, Professor
Wallace names, in a recent communication to the "Times," Dr. Robert
Chambers, Dr. Elliotson, and Professor William Gregory, of Edinburgh,
Dr. Gully, a scientific physician of Malvern, and Judge Edmonds, one of
the best known American lawyers. Names of similar reputation in the
scientific and professional world might be adduced from Germany and
France, prominent among them the late Professor Zöllner, of Leipsic, a
well-known astronomer; but the above-given will suffice as evidence that
the investigation of spiritualism has not been confined to the unknown,
unlearned, and credulous, but has been pursued by men of the very
highest standing for probity, learning, sound judgment, and critical
discrimination.

The results reached by these men are therefore of great weight, and go
far to fix the status of the phenomena examined. We may say here that
several of them have become acknowledged converts to the spiritual
theory. More generally, however, they have declined to express positive
opinions as to the cause of these phenomena, while positively testifying
that they are not the result of trickery, but that they indicate the
existence of some power or energy in nature which is able to suspend or
overcome the operation of nature's ordinary forces. Only two prominent
scientists, who have made any pretence to examine these phenomena, have
declared that they are _in toto_ the result of fraud. These two are
Professor Faraday and Dr. Carpenter. But the investigations made by
these noted personages were too trivial to render their decision of any
value. Faraday briefly examined the phenomena of table-tipping, and
decided that it was due to involuntary muscular movement. Dr. Carpenter
reasserted the same, years after this explanation had been shown to be
entirely inadequate, and declared that the mental phenomena were due
only to _unconscious cerebration_, or the action of memories and ideas
long since stored in the mind, when the consciousness is otherwise
engaged and the person is unaware of the activity of his mental stores.
This theory, we may also say, is utterly inadequate to explain all the
phenomena, and only applies by a strained interpretation to the
instances which Dr. Carpenter gives in illustration.

One of the most striking of these instances we may here append. A
student relates that a professor had said to his class in mathematics,
of which this student was a member, "'A question of great difficulty has
been referred to me by a banker, a very complicated question of
accounts, which they themselves have not been able to bring to a
satisfactory issue, and they have asked my assistance. I have been
trying, and I cannot resolve it. I have covered whole sheets of paper
with calculations and have not been able to make it out. Will you try?'
He gave it as a sort of problem to his class, and said he would be
extremely obliged to any one who would bring him the solution on a
certain day. This gentleman tried it over and over again. He covered
many slates with figures, but could not succeed in resolving it. He was
a little put on his mettle, and very much desired to attain the
solution. But he went to bed on the night before the solution, if
attained, was to be given in, without having succeeded. In the morning,
when he went to his desk, he found the whole problem worked out in his
own hand. He was perfectly sure that it was his own hand. And this was a
curious part of it, that the result was attained by a process very much
shorter than any he had tried. He had covered three or four sheets of
paper in his attempts, and this was all worked out on one page, and
correctly worked, as the result proved. He inquired of the woman who
attended to his room, and she said that she was certain no one had
entered it during the night. It was perfectly clear that this had been
worked out by himself."

Instances of this kind are certainly very curious, and seem to show that
the mind, when set in any train of thought by intense concentration, may
pursue it after consciousness has been withdrawn. And the result
indicates that the mind acts with innate logic when not disturbed by
distracting considerations, and can be trusted to do more correct work
when thus set going and left to run of itself than when consciously held
to its work. Yet an examination of every recorded instance of this kind
strongly indicates that no such unconscious mental action ever takes
place except when the consciousness has been earnestly directed to the
subject in advance, that no marked instances of this activity ever occur
except in the unconsciousness of sleep or trance, and that it ceases
when the mental excitement that started it has gradually subsided. There
is not an instance on record to show that the mind ever originates
unconscious action, or that any of its remote stores or powers ever
spring into activity without being aroused by sensation or conscious
thought. Thus the doctrine of _unconscious cerebration_ has been carried
much further than the facts warrant. It need hardly be said that it is
utterly inapplicable as a theory to many of the facts adduced by the
Society for Psychic Research.

In the year 1869 the London Dialectical Society, an association of
cultured liberals, embracing many well-known personages, appointed a
committee to examine "the asserted phenomena of Spiritualism." The
committee divided itself into six sub-committees, each of which
submitted a report, and according to a general report, published in
1871, "these reports substantially corroborated each other." We may
therefore quote the more interesting points from the report of one of
the sub-committees:

"All of these meetings were held at the private residences of members of
the committee, purposely to preclude the possibility of prearranged
mechanism or contrivance. The furniture of the room in which the
experiments were conducted was on every occasion its accustomed
furniture. The tables were in all cases heavy dining-tables, and
required a strong effort to move them. The smallest of them was five
feet nine inches long and four feet wide, and the largest nine feet
three inches long and four and a half feet wide, and of proportionate
weight. The rooms, tables, and furniture generally were repeatedly
subjected to careful examination, before, during, and after the
experiments, to ascertain that no concealed machinery, instrument, or
other contrivance existed, by means of which the sounds or movements
hereinafter mentioned could be caused. The experiments were conducted in
the light of gas, except on the few occasions specially noted in the
minutes.

"Of the members of your sub-committee about four-fifths entered upon the
investigation wholly sceptical as to the reality of the alleged
phenomena, firmly believing them to be the result either of _imposture_,
or of _delusion_, or of _involuntary muscular action_. It was only by
irresistible evidence, under conditions that precluded the possibility
of either of these solutions, and after trials and tests many times
repeated, that the most sceptical of your sub-committee were slowly and
reluctantly convinced that the phenomena exhibited in the course of
their protracted inquiry were _veritable facts_. The result of their
long-continued and carefully-conducted experiments, after trial by every
delicate test they could devise, has been to establish _conclusively_,--

"First. That under certain _bodily_ and _mental_ conditions of one or
more of the persons present a force is exhibited sufficient to set in
motion heavy substances, without the employment of any muscular force,
and without contact or material connection of any kind between such
substances and the body of any person present.

"Second. That this force can cause sounds to proceed, distinctly audible
to all present, from solid substances not in contact with nor having any
visible or material connection with the body of any person present, and
which sounds are proved to proceed from such substances by the
vibrations which are distinctly felt when they are touched.

"Third. That this force is frequently directed by intelligence."

Of the many experiments described in this report we will quote here but
one:

"On one occasion, when eleven members of your sub-committee had been
sitting around one of the dining-tables above described for forty
minutes, and various sounds and motions had occurred, they, by way of
test, turned the backs of their chairs to the table, at about nine
inches from it. They all then knelt upon their chairs, placing their
arms upon the backs thereof. In this position their feet were of course
turned away from the table, and by no possibility could be placed under
it or touch the floor. The hands of each person were extended over the
table, at about four inches from the surface. Contact, therefore, with
any part of the table could not take place without detection. In less
than a minute the table, untouched, moved four times,--at first about
four inches to one side, then about twelve to the other side, and then,
in like manner, four and six inches respectively."

The committee further remarks that after this experiment "the table was
carefully examined, turned upside down, and taken to pieces, but nothing
was discovered to account for the phenomenon. Delusion was out of the
question. The movements were in various directions, and were witnessed
simultaneously by all present. They were matters of _measurement_, and
not of opinion or fancy. Your sub-committee have not collectively
obtained any evidence as to the nature and source of this force, but
simply as to the _fact of its existence_."

Mr. Sergeant Cox, a member of this sub-committee and a prominent member
of the English bar, relates that he experimented elsewhere in the same
manner as that above described, and with similar results, a heavy
dining-table being employed. Afterward, when all the party stood in a
circle round the table, holding hands, at first two and then three feet
distant, the table lurched four times, once more than two feet and with
great force, and moved to such an extent as to become completely turned
round. After the party had broken up, and were standing in groups about
the room, the table, which was about two feet from its original
position, swung violently back to its proper place and set itself
exactly square with the room, with such force as literally to knock down
a lady who was standing in the way putting on her shawl for departure.

Mr. Cox, after a close examination of these phenomena, offered a theory
in explanation somewhat differing from that already mentioned. He
believes that they are due to the action of some psychic force,
originating in the nervous system and analogous in character to magnetic
attraction. He relates several instances of heavy bodies moving toward
the mediums, as if attracted, and remarks, "In another experiment in my
own lighted drawing-room, as the psychic [the medium] was entering the
room with myself, _no other person being there_, an easy-chair of great
weight that was standing fourteen feet from us was suddenly lifted from
the floor and drawn to him with great rapidity, precisely as a heavy
magnet will attract a mass of iron."

Another phase of these phenomena, as observed by the committee, was the
sudden and considerable change of weight in the table, it becoming light
or heavy as desired. To prove this scientifically, a weighing-machine
was attached, and the change of weight clearly proved. "One instance
will suffice. Weighed by the machine, the normal weight of a table
raised from the floor eighteen inches on one side was eight pounds.
Desired to be light, the index fell to five pounds; desired to be heavy,
it advanced to eighty-two pounds. And these changes were instantaneous
and repeated many times."

The most remarkable evidence adduced by scientific observers is that
presented by Professor Crooks. He is a chemist of high reputation, the
editor of the "Chemical News" and for many years of the "Quarterly
Journal of Science," the discoverer of the metallic element thallium,
and of recent years noted for his remarkable discoveries in the
conditions of matter in highly-exhausted vacuum-tubes. In 1870 he
undertook the investigation of Spiritualism, with the full expectation
of exposing it as a compound of trickery on the one side and of
credulity and self-deception on the other. In January, 1874, he
published, in the "Quarterly Journal of Science," a brief compend of the
notes of his investigations during the four years preceding. Some of the
phenomena here recorded are so extraordinary that they would not be
worthy an instant's attention but for the attestation of a witness of
such standing, and one accustomed to the employment of the severest
scientific tests.

The phenomena recorded, as he declares, with few exceptions, all took
place in his own house and in full light, at times appointed by himself,
"and under conditions that absolutely precluded the employment of the
very simplest instrumental aid." In all cases only private friends were
present besides the medium. The mediums employed were the noted D. D.
Home and Miss Kate Fox, of Rochester-rappings notoriety. Of the simpler
phenomena observed were the movement of heavy bodies with contact, but
without mechanism or exertion, percussive and other sounds, etc. He
remarks,--

"I have had these sounds proceeding from the floor, walls, etc., when
the medium's hands and feet were held, when she was standing on a chair,
when she was suspended in a swing from the ceiling, when she was
enclosed in a wire cage, and when she had fallen fainting on a sofa. I
have had them on a glass harmonicon. I have felt them on my own shoulder
and under my own hands. I have heard them on a sheet of paper held
between the fingers by a piece of thread passed through one corner. I
have tested them in every way that I could devise; and there has been no
escape from the conviction that they were true objective occurrences,
not produced by trickery or mechanical means." Intelligence is
manifested by these sounds, "sometimes of such a character as to lead to
the belief that it does not emanate from any person present."

He records numerous instances of the movement of heavy bodies when not
touched: "My own chair has been twisted partly round while my feet were
off the floor. A chair was seen by all present to move slowly up to the
table from a far corner when all were watching it; on another occasion
an arm-chair moved to where we were sitting, and then moved slowly back
again (a distance of about three feet) at my request."

"On five separate occasions a heavy dining-table rose between a few
inches and one and a half feet off the floor, under special
circumstances which rendered trickery impossible.... On another occasion
the table rose from the floor, not only when no person was touching it,
but under conditions which I had prearranged so as to assure
unquestionable proof of the fact."

As to the power of overcoming gravity, he tested it by the use of a
weighing-machine specially constructed and very delicate in its
operation, being so arranged that its extremity could not possibly move
downward without external pressure. Yet it did so move downward when the
medium's fingers were held over it without touching it. This experiment
was conducted in a way that renders it absolutely certain that some
force beyond those visible to the persons present was in operation.

He also describes the lifting of human bodies without visible external
aid: "On one occasion I witnessed a chair, with a lady sitting on it,
rise several inches from the ground.... At another time two children, on
separate occasions, rose from the floor with their chairs, in full
daylight, under (to me) most satisfactory conditions; for I was kneeling
and keeping close watch upon the feet of the chair, and observing that
no one might touch them."

Among other strange manifestations, he positively declares that his
library-bell was brought into a room in which he was sitting with the
medium, with locked doors, both he and his children having seen and
handled the bell a short time before in the library. Also a piece of
China grass was taken from a vase on the table, and before his eyes
seemed to pass through the substance of the table. Observation showed
that there was a crack in the table through which it had apparently
passed. But this crack was much narrower than the diameter of the grass,
yet the latter showed no signs of abrasion or change of shape.

As to the intelligence manifested by this strange power he gives the
following instance. A lady was writing with a planchette. "I asked, 'Can
you see the contents of this room?' 'Yes,' wrote the planchette. 'Can
you see to read this newspaper?' said I, putting my finger on a copy of
the 'Times' which was on the table behind me, but without looking at it.
'Yes,' was the reply of the planchette. 'Well,' I said, 'if you can see
that, write the word that is now covered by my finger, and I will
believe you.' The planchette commenced to move. Slowly and with great
difficulty the word 'however' was written out. I turned round, and saw
that the word 'however' was covered by the tip of my finger. I had
purposely avoided looking at the newspaper when I tried this experiment,
and it was impossible for the lady, had she tried, to have seen any of
the printed words, for she was sitting at one table, and the paper was
on another table behind, my body intervening."

The most remarkable phenomena attested by Professor Crooks, however, are
those classed as luminous appearances, and particularly as luminous
hands. Some of the most striking of those may be here quoted:

"Under the strictest test-conditions I have seen a self-luminous body,
the size and nearly the shape of a turkey's egg, float noiselessly about
the room, at one time higher than any one present could reach standing
on tiptoe, and then gently descend to the floor. It was visible more
than ten minutes, and before it faded away struck the table three times
with a sound like that of a hard, solid body. During this time the
medium was lying back, apparently insensible, in an easy-chair."

"I have had an alphabetic communication given by luminous flashes
occurring before me in the air while my hand was moving about among
them. I was sitting next to the medium, Miss Fox, the only other persons
present being my wife and a lady relative, and I was holding the
medium's two hands in one of mine, while her feet were resting on my
feet. Paper was on the table before us, and my disengaged hand was
holding a pencil. A luminous hand came down from the upper part of the
room, and, after hovering near me for a few seconds, took the pencil
from my hand, rapidly wrote on a sheet of paper, threw the pencil down,
and then rose up above our heads, gradually fading into darkness."

"In the night I have seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a
side-table, break a sprig off, and carry the sprig to a lady; and on
some occasions I have seen a similar luminous cloud visibly condense to
the form of a hand and carry small objects about."

These hands he claims to have frequently seen, sometimes in darkness,
sometimes in light. On one occasion "a beautifully-formed small hand
rose up from an opening in a dining-table and gave me a flower; it
appeared and then disappeared three times at intervals: this occurred in
the light, in my own room, while I was holding the medium's hands and
feet."

The hand often seemed to form from a luminous cloud. "It is not always a
mere form, but sometimes appears perfectly life-like and graceful, the
fingers moving, the flesh appearing as human as that of any in the room.
At the wrist or arm it becomes hazy and fades off into a luminous
cloud.... I have retained one of these hands in my own, firmly resolved
not to let it escape. There was no struggle or effort made to get loose,
but it gradually seemed to resolve itself into vapor, and faded in that
manner from my grasp."

We should not venture to quote these most remarkable statements but for
the fact that they are made by a gentleman of such high standing for
accuracy of observation, who knew perfectly well that he was imperilling
his position in the scientific world and exposing himself to the
contumely and accusation of loss of sanity that followed. In regard to
this point it need only be said that his most valuable scientific work
has been done since that period, and that his statements on scientific
subjects are received everywhere to-day as unquestionably accurate and
important. That he saw what he believed to be luminous hands there can
be no doubt. Whether he was deceived is another question.

As to the producing cause of these manifestations Professor Crooks
offers no theory. Whether the power and the intelligence displayed came
from some one present or from some disembodied spirit he makes no
suggestion, but simply presents the facts as evidence that there are
mysteries in nature transcending any that have yet been weighed and
measured, and which must engage the attention of the science of the
future.

Of the other scientists named, Professor Wallace openly accepts the
spiritualistic explanation of these phenomena. He has not, so far as we
are aware, published any detailed statement of his investigations,
though we have been told that they consisted in part in what is known as
"spirit photography," or the taking of photographs of persons known to
be dead, by his own private apparatus and in his own private rooms. As
to the character of the results obtained by him, however, we are unable
to make any statement.

Professor Zöllner also became a believer in Spiritualism, mainly through
experiments with the American medium Mr. Slade. He published a work on
the subject, in which he advances the theory, which has of late
attracted so much attention, of a fourth dimension in space; that is,
that, in addition to length, breadth, and thickness, bodies may have a
fourth dimension, beyond the powers of human observation. The untying of
knots in sealed ropes, passage of matter through matter, etc., he
attempts to explain as possibly done by agents capable of working in
this fourth dimension of matter. Science, however, is as little inclined
to accept this theory as to accept that of spirit communication.

Of the American scientific observers Professor Hare is far the most
noted for his critical discernment, his accuracy of observation, and his
obstinate determination not to be convinced that there was anything
occult in these phenomena. He was remarkably skilful in the making of
scientific apparatus, and he tested the phenomena received by a series
of instruments of delicate construction and capable of exposing the
least attempt at fraud. Those who were present at the circles with him
declare that he would frequently make his appearance with a new
instrument and a face full of grim expectancy that he would now baffle
the powers that had baffled him on previous occasions, and that he would
retire with a countenance of settled despondency as the unseen
_something_ set at nought his deep-laid plans and secret hopes. It will
suffice to say here that his experiments ended in his accepting the
spiritual explanation of the phenomena and publishing a work on the
subject.

The same was the case with Judge Edmonds, from whose published work we
may make a few quotations, as his high standing as a jurist and
reputation for veracity and legal shrewdness make him a witness whose
word would be accepted without question on any ordinary subject. He
gives the following strange experience: "During the last illness of my
revered old friend Isaac T. Hopper I was a good deal with him, and on
the day when he died I was with him from noon till about seven o'clock
in the evening. I then supposed he would live yet for several days, and
at that hour I left to attend my circle, proposing to call again on my
way home. About ten o'clock in the evening, while attending the circle,
I asked if I might put a mental question. I did so, and I know that no
person present could know what it was, or to what subject even it
referred. My question related to Mr. Hopper, and I received for answer
through the rappings, as from himself, that he was dead. I hastened
immediately to his house, and found that it was so. That could not have
been from any one present, for they did not know of his death, nor did
they understand the answer I received. It could not have been the reflex
of my own mind, for I had left him alive, and thought that he would live
several days."

Of his statements in regard to physical phenomena the following may be
quoted: "I have known a pine table with four legs lifted bodily up from
the floor in the centre of a circle of six or eight persons, turned
upside down, and laid upon its top at our feet, then lifted up over our
heads and put leaning against the back of the sofa on which we sat. I
have seen a mahogany table, having only a centre leg, and with a lamp
burning upon it, lifted from the floor at least a foot, in spite of the
efforts of those present, and shaken backward and forward as one would
shake a goblet in his hand, and the lamp retain its place, though its
glass pendants rung again. I have seen the same table tipped up with the
lamp upon it, so that the lamp must have fallen off unless retained
there by something else than its own gravity; yet it fell not, moved
not. I have known a mahogany chair thrown on its side and moved swiftly
back and forth on the floor, no one touching it, through a room where
there were at least a dozen persons sitting; and it was repeatedly
stopped within a few inches of me, when it was coming with a violence
which, if not arrested, must have broken my legs."

Of the phenomena classed under the head of spiritualistic three
explanations have been offered. One is that they are purely the result
of fraud in the mediums and self-delusion in the believers. A second is
that they are due to some unknown law and force of nature, the physical
manifestations being ascribed to a psychic energy of nervous origin, the
mental to _unconscious cerebration_. A third explanation is that they
are due to the action of disembodied spirits, who are able to return to
the earth and make their presence manifest in all the methods above
recounted. Of these explanations the first is that given by the general
public, and particularly by those who know nothing practically about the
subject, but have reached their opinions by their own inner
consciousness and without troubling themselves to investigate the facts.
That it does apply, however, to much of what is known as spiritual
manifestations there can be no doubt. Of frauds under the name of
mediums there has been an abundance. Of dupes under the name of
Spiritualists there has been an equal abundance. And the tricks of false
mediums have been so often detected as to throw a shadow of doubt over
everything connected with the asserted phenomena. Yet that it is not all
fraud has been abundantly proved by the testimony of the men above named
and many others of equal powers of discrimination, and by the occurrence
of numerous phenomena under circumstances that absolutely precluded
deception, either in medium or audience. To these cases one or other of
the second and third explanations must be given. Acceptance of the
third, that they are really the work of spirits, would of course settle
the whole business and explain all the phenomena in a word. But the
great body of critical observers are disinclined to accept this theory,
for the reason that many of the scientific class doubt the existence of
any spirit beyond the earth-life, that many of the religious class
question the possibility of freed spirits returning to earth, and that
many of an intermediate class consider the manifestations too puerile
and the mental communications given too unsatisfactory and too far below
the mental calibre of the professed speakers to be worthy of assignment
to any such source. These communications seem usually painted by the
mind of the medium, and are often notably feeble, absurd, and valueless.

To the members of this class the second explanation is the only tenable
one,--namely, that there are certain extraordinary powers resident in
the nervous organism which are capable of acting in opposition to the
ordinary energies of nature; that an intangible material exists outside
the body and penetrates physical objects, through whose aid the
nerve-power somehow operates to produce sounds and motions of bodies;
that this nerve-power may act unconsciously to the person who possesses
it in even a highly-developed state; that its action may be controlled
by the mind, acting either consciously or unconsciously; that old and
long-forgotten stores of the memory may take part in this action; and
that other minds may act through the medium's mind and set in action his
psychic powers unconsciously to himself.

That there is such a supersensible substance, and that the human mind
has such hitherto unknown powers, is not easy to admit. And yet when we
consider all the facts bearing upon the case it becomes equally hard to
deny. The history of mankind is full of stories of occult operations and
so-called supernatural performances. Those recorded are, of course, but
the merest fraction of those that have been observed. At the present day
this world of mystery seems everywhere around us. Outside of what is put
on record, almost every person one meets can relate some such mysterious
occurrence which has happened to himself or some of his acquaintances.
That a very great proportion of this has been self-deception must be
admitted. But all mankind is not blind and gullible; and if we strain
these stories of the marvellous through the sieve of criticism, some
considerable residuum will remain, which must be accounted for by
another theory than that of delusion.

The theory above given accounts in some degree for most of the facts,
though there are others which it is not easy to make fit in. Such are
the instances in which information unknown to any person present has
been given. We may instance the writing of the word covered by Professor
Crooks's finger, and the answer to Judge Edmonds's mental question
concerning his dying friend. Other striking instances of the same
character might be given, some of which have happened within the
knowledge of the writer. We may give in illustration the case of one
gentleman, a prominent businessman of Philadelphia, who received from a
medium a statement of the date of the death of a child that had occurred
many years before. The gentleman denied the correctness of the date, and
gave what he believed to be the correct one. But the medium insisted on
the date given. On going home and consulting his family record, to his
surprise the gentleman found that the medium was right and he
wrong,--that the child had died on the date stated, not on that which
had been impressed upon his memory.

Taking the case of mentality as a whole, it is certain that we are yet
far from being acquainted with all the powers and mysteries of the human
mental and nervous organism, despite all the researches of late years.
Nor do we know all the conditions and capabilities of the world of
matter which surrounds us, or the possibilities of intercommunication
of minds without the aid of the senses. On the other hand, Spiritualists
assert that we are equally far from knowing all the possibilities of
spirit existence or of communication between embodied and disembodied
mind. As to all this, it is perhaps best to remain in a state of
suspended decision and await the results of accurate observation to
settle the question definitely on one side or other. The investigation
now being carried on by a committee appointed by the University of
Pennsylvania, under the conditions of a bequest from the late Mr.
Seybert, will, it may be hoped, tend to clear up the mystery.

    CHARLES MORRIS.



THE STORY OF AN ITALIAN WORKWOMAN'S LIFE.[B]


Si, signora, there are four of us,--Fausta, and Flavia, and Marc
Antonio, and I. La Mamma was left a widow when Marc Antonio was twelve
years old and Fausta ten, Flavia was eight, little Teresina (who died in
childhood) six, and I was only sixteen months old. All the rest can
remember Babbo [daddy], and many's the time, when I was a little one, I
have cried my eyes out with anger and jealousy because I couldn't
remember him too. Babbo was a good man, signora. Never an angry word, La
Mamma says,--not one,--in all the fifteen years they were married, and
_allegro, allegro_ (cheerful). He was a carrier, and he had only a
little time at home; but then he always played with the little ones and
made them happy. La Mamma loved him with all her heart; and often she
says, "Ah, if I ever come to Paradise, I pray our Lord to make me find
my Pietro again." Si, signora, I know our Lord said there was no
marrying or giving in marriage in heaven; La Mamma knows it too; but we
shall know each other, you know, up there, and our Blessed Lord is
merciful, and won't part those who love each other. La Mamma says so;
and I hope so, too. If ever I gain the rest of Paradise,--may our
Blessed Lord and the Madonna and all the saints grant it!--I want to
find my Luigi there too. Well, but I promised to tell the signora how
the Mamma brought us all up on only a franc a day. As I said already,
Babbo was a carrier. He did well, and sent Marc Antonio and Fausta and
Flavia to school, and me to a _balia_ in the country, and put something
by besides. La Mamma was a silk-weaver,--one of the best in Florence
then,--and she put by something too; for she worked hard every day.
Everything went well with them until the day that I came home from the
_baliatico_ (period of nursing in the country). I was well weaned, and a
strong, fine baby, and the _balia_ was proud of me; and Babbo was so
pleased to find me so well and lively that he gave the _balia_ two
francs more than he had agreed to do. But Babbo was always generous.
Well, the next day La Mamma took me in her arms and went to the
silk-shop where she had been at work, to see about selling her loom; for
the master of the shop was old and was giving up his business and
selling everything: it was just at that time that the silk-trade began
to go down in Florence. When the loom was sold, La Mamma put the money
in her purse, and then she went to put it in the bank, and then home.
When she got into the Borgo degli Santi Apostoli she saw several people
standing before our door; but she thought nothing of that, for we lived
on the top floor, and there were several other families in the house.
But when La Mamma came up to the door, she saw old Martia, her aunt, and
Miniato, her brother, there. They were both crying.

"Oh, _poverina, poverina_! here she is," says Miniato.

"_Madonna santissima_! how shall we ever tell her?" says Aunt Martia.

"For the love of God, tell me what it is!" said poor mamma, and her
heart died in her.

Well, in a few minutes, _adagio, adagio_, little by little, they told
her how it was. Near the Porta San Niccolò a heavy load of bricks had
been overturned, and poor Babbo, who was passing at the time, had been
badly hurt. His fine gray mule Giannetta was killed. So two troubles
came together. After a little the Misericordia brought Babbo home, and
they put him in bed, and one of the Brethren stayed to watch him that
night. He was badly hurt, and he never took a step again, though he
lived for six months. La Mamma did her best: the weaving was over,--she
could not have found much more weaving to do, even if Babbo had been
able to bear the noise of the loom,--but she knitted, and sewed, and did
what she could. Still, the money melted away. Babbo might have been put
into a hospital, but La Mamma couldn't bear to part with him, even
though he said often, as the days went on and he got no better, that he
would rather go into a hospital than lie there and feel that he was
eating up the little money he had put away for his wife and children.
"_Povera_ Leonora," he used to say,--"_povera_ Leonora, who must work so
hard while I lie here and play the signore!" And once or twice he cried
a little. But for the most part he was cheerful and bore his pain with
patience.

All the time _la povera Mamma_ kept up her courage, and made Babbo
believe that the money went three times as far as it did. But it melted
away; and, the day before Babbo died, when she counted it over she knew
that she had a hard struggle before her. She did not let him know it,
however. He thought she had money to last for two or three months. So
Easter came round, and still Babbo lay helpless and full of pain. The
priest came to confess and communicate him, as he does all the bedridden
at Easter-time, and that afternoon Babbo had less pain than for many a
day. He kissed and blessed us as usual at bedtime, and then he told La
Mamma to call him in the morning, so that he might light the lamp for
her. This was because the table with the lamp stood by his side of the
bed, and often La Mamma, who had to get up early, used to strike the
light without waking him. "But now that I have no pain," says Babbo,
"I'll strike a light for you, _cara mia_, so that you may have that
comfort." Easter fell early that year, in March, and the weather was
cold and stormy. When La Mamma woke up at four o'clock, the bells were
ringing for first mass, but it was cold and dark, and a storm was
raging. She could not bear to wake Babbo up, but she had promised to do
so, and she had a long day's work before her and no time to lose. So she
called him, very gently at first, and then louder. There was no answer,
and she touched his shoulder and shook him a little. Still there was no
answer, and, being frightened, she leaned over and touched his face.
_Povera mamma!_ it was cold as ice, and stiff. Then she put her hand on
his heart, but it was still. She jumped up quickly, but, in her fright
and grief, she could not find the matches. At last she did so, and then
she saw that he was dead. Little Teresa slept between them, and he had
her hand in his, clasped so tightly that it was many minutes before La
Mamma could set it free. She did so without waking the child, and then
she put her into bed with Flavia and Fausta, and woke Marc Antonio and
sent him for the doctor. When he was gone she lighted the fire and did
what she could to warm Babbo and bring the life back, though her heart
told her, as did the doctor when he came, that all was over. By and by
the children woke and cried, and La Mamma wondered that she could find
words to quiet them, and yet she did. When everything was over and the
house quiet, the poor soul felt her heart die in her breast, and would
have been glad to lie down and die too; but no, she could not. She had
to take out the purse and count the money again, and then she found that
after buying a reserved grave for Babbo at the Campo Santo at Trespiano
she would have just enough to pay the rent for the next six months. You
know, signora, that if a reserved grave is not bought at Trespiano the
bodies are put into the _fossa comune_, and that is the end. The graves
are not marked. La Mamma could not bear the thought of that, and so she
bought a reserved grave. Then came the funeral; and she called the
children together and told them that if they each wanted to carry a
taper for Babbo they would have to go without their supper that night.
They were very hungry, every one, for, what with the trouble, and the
care, and the sorrow of that last day, La Mamma had not been able to
cook the dinner, and they had had nothing all day but a piece of bread.
Ah, they were hungry! They had cried until they were tired out, and they
were as empty as organ-tubes. Marc Antonio has told me many a time about
it. "God forgive me," says he, "but when La Mamma said that, I felt the
hunger grip me like a tiger, and the devil tempted me, and I said to
myself, 'Babbo's gone to the world over there, and what good will a
taper do him? He was never the one to want us to go to bed hungry as
well as with a sore heart.'" But even while he thought the wicked
thoughts the love for Babbo came into his heart again. He burst out
crying and sobbing, and cried out, "Mamma, mamma, I don't want any
supper to-night; I don't! I don't!" _Poverino_! he was growing and
strong, and so hungry. Fausta and Flavia and little Teresa said the
same, but it hurt them less, and they did not cry. And then little
Teresa spoke up,--she was always as wise as a little angel:

"Mamma," says she, "the baby must have her supper, mustn't she?"

"_Poverina!_ what would you have?" says La Mamma. "Yes, the poor baby
must have her supper, indeed. She knows nothing, poor little one, of the
sorrow in the house, or she would not grudge Babbo a taper any more than
the rest of you."

Little Teresa smiled, "Then, mamma, I've baby's supper for her," says
she. "I did not eat my bread all day, and you can have it now to make a
_pappa_ for her."

So La Mamma took me in her arms and went into the kitchen, and then Marc
Antonio held me while she and Fausta and Flavia and Teresa made the
_pappa_; and then each one took it in turn to feed me. You cannot know,
signora, how often I have lain awake and cried to think that I should
have been the only one of us all to eat like a pig that night, while
dear Babbo lay dead in the house and the rest were sad and hungry.
_Pazienza_! we need patience in this world, even with ourselves
sometimes.

When the funeral was over, La Mamma put the house in order, and then she
took out all her papers and accounts and counted over all she had. Just
a little of the money that Babbo had saved was left,--enough, if she
never touched it, to bring in seventy-three francs a year,--that is,
twenty centimes [four cents] a day. She made up her mind that she would
never touch it, so that each day, as long as we lived, we might have at
least a piece of bread bought with Babbo's money. Then there was the
parish, which gave her some help. The guardians of the poor widows
appointed a guardian for us,--the Conte Bertoli, a good man, God rest
his soul,--and he applied to the poor widows' fund for La Mamma and got
her an allowance of fifty centimes [ten cents] a day until Marc Antonio
should be fifteen and able to work; and then the Signor Conte himself
added to that twenty centimes more, so that altogether La Mamma had a
franc a day. But there were six of us. Thankful enough she was to have
the franc; but still, as you may suppose, signora, she had to think a
good deal and work hard to keep us. The elder children had all been put
to a school near by, a nice school, but where Babbo had had to pay for
them; now that was changed. Fausta and Flavia and Teresa were sent to
the convent of the Doratei Sisters, and Marc Antonio to the Frate
Scalopi. There was nothing to pay at either place, and the children were
taught well and taken good care of. The convent of the Doratei is in the
Via dei Malcontenti, and that of the Frate Scalopi in the Piazza Santa
Croce. Marc Antonio and Fausta and Flavia and Teresa used to set off at
seven every morning, winter and summer, and La Mamma walked with them,
carrying me in her arms. She gave all the children a good breakfast of
hot _pappa_ before they set out for school, and some bread and apple, or
bread and onions, in a basket, to eat at dinner-time. At night, when
they came home, they had a good supper of _casalingo_ [household,
_i.e._, black] bread and milk. Then they were washed and put to bed; for
La Mamma was very strict, and never allowed any one out of bed after
eight o'clock. As soon as I was two years old I was sent to the Doratei
too; and the big dark convent, with the great garden behind, is the
first thing I ever remember. The good sisters were very kind to us. They
taught all the older girls to read and write, and sew and knit, not only
plain sewing, but fine stitching, and open-work, and fine darning, and
button-holes, and lace-work, and so on. They also taught them to make
beds, and sweep, and dust, and cook a little,--that is, how to make
broth, and _pappa_, and such simple things. From twelve to two every day
there was recreation. At twelve all the children, big and little, sat
down to dinner in the refectory with the nuns. The nuns had their own
dinner,--a very plain one always, for their rule is severe,--and the
children had whatever they brought with them. If anything was brought
that could be warmed over and made more nourishing, Sister Cherubina
never grudged the trouble. When dinner was over we sang a grace, and
then we all ran into the garden and had a good game of play. Of course
the very little ones did nothing all day but play and sleep. Sister
Arcangela took care of them. Sometimes on fine days the sisters used to
take us all out for a walk in the country. Twice every week we had
religious instruction. Padre Giovanni, our confessor, taught us
everything, our Credo and Pater Noster, and our holy religion, and the
holy gospel, and all the beautiful stories in the Bible, and the legends
of the saints. Which of our Lord's miracles does the signora think the
finest? For myself, I always liked the story of the night in which our
Blessed Redeemer came to his disciples walking on the water. And then of
the older stories I liked the one of poor Joseph and his brethren. What
bad devils the brothers were! But God brought good out of evil, and
rewarded poor Joseph, who was an angel, by making him a great king.
Well, still I am babbling on and telling you about our school, and
forgetting La Mamma. I told you she had a franc a day. Our rent cost a
hundred francs a year. That was a little more than twenty-five centimes
a day, and that left La Mamma about seventy centimes a day for food, and
clothing, and lights, and so on. La Mamma worked day and night. Whenever
she could, she used to sit up at night with sick people, for that was
paid well,--a franc a night; sometimes in grand houses as much as two
francs,--and then she could rest in the day-time when we were at school.
But, whatever she did, or wherever she went, she always managed to be at
the convent gate every evening at half-past five to bring us home. If by
any chance she could not do that, Marc Antonio always waited for us and
brought us home very carefully. He was a good, steady boy, and never
stopped to play when we were with him, and always shut himself in with
us at home and did his best to take care of us until La Mamma came back.
God forgive me! but I used to think La Mamma very hard in those days.
She would never let us go the length of a yard alone; and once when she
caught me running out on the stairs to play hide-and-seek with some
girls and boys who lived on the floor below us, she gave me such a slap
that my ears rang again. Well, to tell truth, we had so much playing in
the convent garden, and such a long walk home in the evening, that we
were generally rather tired and glad to get quickly to bed as mamma bade
us. She, _poverina!_ always sat up, patching and darning, long after we
were in bed, so that we might go decently to school.

I remember well the first real dolls we ever had. It was at the Feast of
the Assumption, and there was a fair outside the Roman gate. Marc
Antonio was to be apprenticed the next day to a very decent _vetturino_,
and he had begged La Mamma to treat us all to some fried dumplings. We
were all day at the fair, though of course we bought nothing; but it was
a great pleasure to us to walk about and look at the booths full of gay
things. We were nearly ready to come home, when Teresina spied some
dolls and began to beg for one. She was such a sweet, good, gentle child
that La Mamma could not bear to refuse her, especially as she scarcely
ever asked for anything. And she seemed to have a passion for that doll,
so pretty it was, all in pink and spangles. At last, as she begged so
hard, La Mamma gave her ten centimes, and told her that if she could get
it for that she might have it; and Teresina bargained so well that she
got it for eight centimes; and then nothing would satisfy her but that
we all should have dolls. It was in vain that La Mamma said no; Teresina
would have her way. And so at last we all had dolls, and La Mamma, poor
soul! spent thirty-six centimes! It seemed a mortal sin to her; and she
has told me many a time how she lay awake that night and cried, and
prayed to God and the saints to forgive her for that wicked
extravagance. And yet she could not but feel glad to see how happy we
all were with our dolls. And she was glad afterward for another reason,
which I will explain presently. Little Teresina never went out again
after the Feast of the Assumption. She was the first to fall ill, but
before ten days were over we were all (all the girls, I mean,--Marc
Antonio was not at home) struck down with smallpox. Teresina suffered
most. I remember it well, how strange it seemed to me to hear her
calling constantly for water and other things,--strange, because she was
always the one who waited on the others, and never before thought of
herself. La Mamma did everything for her that could be done, but she
grew daily worse. Once mamma brought her doll and put it in her hands. I
can see now--my bed was opposite to hers--how mamma watched Teresina,
and how Teresina looked at the doll. In my own heart I thought, "Surely
she will get better, now that she has her pretty doll." It seemed to me
that she must do so. But in a moment she heaved a deep sigh, and said,
"Too tired! too tired!" And then she threw the doll away from her and
closed her eyes. _La povera Mamma_ picked up the doll and put it away in
a drawer, and then she sat still and looked at Teresina, with the tears
rolling down her face. Whenever I woke up in the night it was always the
same, mamma fanning Teresina or putting bits of ice in her mouth, and
never moving her eyes from her, and Teresina no longer restless, but
quite still,--so still that I had never seen anything like it. Quite
early the next day the archbishop came to confirm her, and while I was
looking at the grand robes he wore, and at the priests who came with
him, and watching the lighted tapers blow about in the wind, for the
window was open and there was a strong draught, suddenly I felt a pain
in my head which was worse than anything I had felt before,--a dreadful
pain, which made me feel giddy and confused. I felt myself sinking, and
I suppose I must have cried out, for I remember that some one lifted me
and put a wet cloth on my head. The last thing I saw was Teresina's
pale, quiet face, with the white and gold confirmation ribbon bound
about her brows. I never saw her again. When I came to myself, days
afterward, the corner where her bed used to stand was empty, and I knew,
without asking, that she was in Paradise.

Flavia and Fausta and I got well over it, but much disfigured, as you
see; and yet God is good, and has sent me as kind and loving a husband
as if I had been the most beautiful person in the world.

Well, the time went on, just as before, until Flavia was old enough to
be apprenticed to Madama Castagna, the grand dressmaker. She had always
been a good, steady, hard-working girl, and, thanks to the good Doratei
Sisters, she sewed so beautifully that very soon Madama allowed her
twenty centimes a day. She had to work from eight till eight; but of
course she could not expect more than twenty centimes while she was
learning.

Fausta was not so fortunate. She was a good girl, and the cleverest and
quickest of us all,--yes, indeed, cleverer than I am, although the
signora does think so well of me,--but she changed too often. First, she
wanted to learn how to bind shoes (I forgot to say that they taught that
in the convent), and so, while the rest of us were learning to sew and
knit, she was binding shoes. Then, suddenly, she thought she would like
to learn to weave, and she went to her godmother, the Contessa Minia,
and told her so. The contessa was good and generous, and she gave her a
loom, and Sister Annunziata taught her to weave. But just at the time
that Fausta ought to have been apprenticed, the silk-trade, which, as I
said before, had been going down for several years, failed altogether,
and Fausta had to sell her loom for what it would bring. Then she
thought that she would like to learn lace-mending: so the contessa got
her a lace-cushion, and apprenticed her to a lace-mender for four years.
Just as her time was out, poor Fausta had a bad fall, broke her right
arm and injured her leg, so that for many months she was confined to her
bed, and was unable to walk for more than a year. Then, as if the poor
girl were destined to trouble, she must needs fall in love, and with a
bad, good-for-nothing fellow. La Mamma would not consent, and we all
begged and prayed her not to have him, but Fausta was obstinate, and
married him. _Poverina!_ she has had one trouble after another, and will
have to the end.

As soon as I had passed my fourteenth birthday I was apprenticed to
Madama. Flavia was one of her best workwomen then, as she has been ever
since. After the first six months I received twenty centimes a day, and
at the end of the first year thirty centimes. We went away from home
every morning at seven o'clock. La Mamma gave us a good breakfast of
black bread and coffee before we set out, and black bread and onions or
apples for our dinner. Sometimes, instead of onions or apples, she would
give us ten or fifteen centimes; and that we liked better, because then
we could make a bank. Making a bank we called it when we put all our
money together. Madama had then twenty-five apprentices, and at
dinner-time we used to put all our money together and send out and buy
something. One would buy anchovies, another ham, another olives, another
cheese, and so on. There was one apprentice who always did the marketing
for us. Then we used to clear the work-table and set out our food, and
dine merrily enough. I was an apprentice at Madama's for five years, and
then began to work for myself. If Madama had been willing to pay me a
franc a day and give me my dinner besides, I dare say that I might have
been there now; but she would not, and so I plucked up my courage and
tried my hand alone. For some time before I left her I had been working
so well, at cutting out and fitting, finishing, and so on, that she used
to give me all the finest and most difficult work to do; but still she
never did and never would pay me more than eighty centimes [sixteen
cents] a day. None of us got more than that. What we always liked to do
was to carry the dresses home, because then the ladies usually gave us
something. And at Christmas, when we went to wish our patrons all
happiness, we got very nice presents. One Christmas we received thirty
francs. When we carried dresses home we generally got twenty or thirty
centimes. That made fifteen centimes for each of us, because we always
did errands in couples. One night at ten o'clock we had to go quite
across Florence in a driving rain to carry a lady a ball-dress. We were
dripping wet when we reached her palace, but the dress was in good
order, and we hoped, considering the lateness of the hour, and the bad
weather, and so on, that the lady would give us something handsome,
perhaps as much as half a franc. Well, she was very glad to see us, and,
after putting on the dress, she said that she must give us something.
And so she did,--five centimes [one cent] to each of us! I swallowed my
anger, and put the coin into my pocket, but my companion fitted hers
nicely into the key-hole of the hall door as soon as it was closed
behind us. "There!" says she; "now my lady miser will have to send for a
locksmith, and that will teach her not to be so stingy another time." So
we both ran home laughing, in spite of our disappointment. But we were
not so fortunate as to get off without a scolding. The next day the lady
came to Madama and complained of our impertinence. Madama scolded us a
little; but when she heard what a pitiful _buona mano_ the lady had
given us, she could not help laughing herself.

Still, she never thought of raising our pay, and as I improved, and felt
myself quite mistress of my trade, I began to work over hours, at one or
two houses where La Mamma had patrons, and in that way I got on very
quickly. It was a proud day for me, signora, when I first began to give
La Mamma something toward the housekeeping. I wanted to give her
two-thirds of all I earned, but she would not let me. When I began to
earn a franc and a half a day, she accepted half a franc, but she made
me put away the franc for my _dote_. La Mamma always walked with me to
the houses where I went to work, and in the evening either came for me
herself or sent Marc Antonio. And she bade me be very careful and
watchful and keep myself to myself. Often I thought her severe and
suspicious, but now I thank God for the mother he gave us. We owe all
the happiness of our lives to her.

I had been working for myself, as I have said, for more than five years.
I had plenty of patrons, and was well thought of. Plain as I am,
signora, I had not wanted for opportunities to go wrong; but, thank God,
I never did. Once, too, I had thought of being married, but, happily for
me, I found out in time that I had set my love on a bad man, so I broke
off my engagement, and put the thought of marriage away from me. Fausta
had been married a long time, and so had Marc Antonio. Flavia said that
she never would leave La Mamma, and I thought that I would do the same.
But it was not to be. One morning La Mamma, who had been sitting up with
a sick baby at the Albergo della Stella, came home and told me that I
was born to good fortune,--that Signorina Teodora, the landlord's
daughter, was going to be married, and that I was wanted to work at the
_trousseau_. It was all to be made at home, and the signorina engaged me
for three months. It was the first time that I had ever gone to an hotel
to work; and La Mamma gave me a great many counsels about my behavior.
Signorina Teodora was very kind, and the work was just exactly what I
liked to do. I used to sew in the _guarda-roba_ (linen-room), where the
linen-keeper, a very respectable woman, was busy all day, mending and
arranging the linen. That was all well enough, but at meal-times I was
very uncomfortable. I used to go down to the servants' dining-room, and
there the talk, and the manners too, were coarse and rude. I did not
like to complain, but my position was a very hard one. I had taught the
men to keep their distance, and they did so, but they were cross and
disagreeable to me, and nicknamed me "La Superba" (the proud one). The
women-servants all said that I gave myself airs, and if they could do
anything to annoy me they did. At last I proposed to Signorina Teodora
that I should be allowed to take my meals in the _guarda-roba_, so that
I might be nearer my work. But she said no, that would not do, but that
I might have them in a little room next the padrone's dining-room, and
that she would say that this was because I was wanted for trying on her
dresses just at the time that the servants' dinner was served. The first
time I went down to dinner alone I felt very much frightened; but my
dinner was put on the table very nicely, and one of the men-servants,
whom I had never spoken to before, waited on me. He did so just as
politely as if I had been a lady, but he was very quiet. The next day he
began to talk a little, and told me about his mother (who was dead), and
about his childhood, and the customs of the Abruzzi, because he came
from that part of Italy. We used to talk together so, day after day,
while he waited on me, and we became very good friends. At last, when
the time of my engagement was nearly run out, Luigi--that was the
waiter's name--became very silent, but he served my dinner as nicely and
carefully as ever. I was a little afraid that I had offended him,
because every evening he used to say, as I rose from the table, "Are you
coming back to-morrow?" And every time I said yes, he would answer,
"Well, then, I can say what I have to say to-morrow," At last one night,
when he said as usual, "Are you coming back to-morrow, _sarta_
[dressmaker]?" I answered no,--that my work was over. "Well, then," says
Luigi, "I must find courage to tell you to-night, _sarta_, that I love
you, and I want you to be my wife!"

I sat still a moment, quite thunder-struck, and then I jumped up and ran
out of the room. "I can say not a word," I said, as I passed him, "You
know you ought to have spoken to La Mamma first."

"If that's all," says he, following me to the foot of the stairs, "I can
speak to La Mamma to-morrow night."

"And then I may say no," I called out as I ran up-stairs.

Well, the next night he came to see La Mamma, and brought his uncle with
him. This uncle was a very decent man, who had been gardener for thirty
years in Count Gemiani's family. He was the only relation Luigi had in
the world, and he gave him an excellent character. But I would not say a
word. I told Luigi I could not tell whether I liked him or not until I
saw him _in borghese_ [_i.e._, dressed in ordinary clothes], because you
know, signora, I had only seen him dressed in black, with a white
cravat. Well, he was very patient, and, as soon as he was at liberty, he
came again, dressed _in borghese_, and then he pleased me, and I made up
my mind to have him.

But then came another trouble. The match was not well looked upon by La
Mamma and my brother and sisters, because Luigi was a person in service,
and that had never happened in our family before. Babbo, as I have said,
was a carrier; Mamma, a silk-weaver; Marc Antonio had married a
_cucitrice di bianco_ [shirt-maker]; Fausta, a candle-maker,--but, to be
sure, her marriage did not matter, because her husband was a bad man.
However, I was obstinate, and La Mamma liked Luigi in her heart, and so
at last we were engaged. He used to come and see me two evenings in the
week. Sometimes La Mamma sat with us, and sometimes Flavia. When it was
Flavia's turn Luigi used to laugh and say the sentinel was changed. We
had to keep our engagement very quiet, because you know that the
men-servants at Italian hotels are not allowed to marry, and, though
most of them are in reality married men, they always pretend to be
bachelors. Gradually we made our preparations. Luigi had nearly eight
hundred francs saved, and I had about four hundred. We spent about three
hundred in getting our furniture and linen and so on, and Luigi took an
apartment in the Borgo Santo Jacopo. I chose the house because it is
directly opposite the Albergo della Stella, and I knew that I should
feel happier if I could look across the river to the hotel lights and
think that my Luigi was there. We were married on the morning of the
30th of August, and when we had been _promessi sposi_ for six months.
The religious marriage was just after the early mass [five o'clock], and
we all walked over together to the church. I felt quite calm,--not
frightened at all; but when, four hours later, we had to go over to the
Palazzo Vecchio for the civil marriage, I was all tears and trembling.
However, that passed, like other things. We had quite a fine wedding
breakfast. Marc Antonio had brought a friend of his, a nice, quiet man,
who was a very good cook. He was out of place just then, and he had
offered to cook for us if we would give him his breakfast. We had a
mixed fry, and macaroni, and _ravaioli_, and a melon, one course after
another, just like signori. Everybody had a good appetite, except Luigi
and me, and La Mamma said that it did her soul good to hear the sound of
frying in the house. _Poverina!_ she did not often hear it. Well, after
breakfast we all took a walk in the country, and when we came home again
Flavia began to prepare supper, but Luigi said no, _we_ must go home,
that our supper was waiting for us there. So I put my bonnet on, and
then, when we were ready to say good-by, every one burst into tears,--La
Mamma, and Flavia, and Fausta, and Marc Antonio and his wife, and I, and
even Luigi, though he said afterward he was sure he did not know why.
And how we all embraced! The signora would have thought that we were
going over the sea, instead of just across the Ponte Vecchio. At last we
went away arm in arm, and when we got to our own home there I found that
Luigi had arranged the table so nicely, just as he used to do at the
_albergo_, and had put a bunch of flowers in the centre. So we sat down
to supper, and pretended to be signori just for that one evening.

The next day, being Sunday, we all went to high mass at the Duomo, and I
wore my new wedding-gown of black cashmere. In the afternoon we went
out to Certosa; and that was the end of my wedding-journey, for the next
morning Luigi had to go back to his work at the _albergo_, and I had to
take up my sewing again. It seemed so strange to be sitting down to work
in my own house, and to look across the Arno at the great _albergo_ and
think that I had a husband there. Luigi could not come home as often as
he longed to do, because he had but two free nights in the week. And he
dared scarcely look out of the window, for fear some one should suspect
that he was married, and then he would have lost his place. However,
everything went well. We have been married eight years now, and, what
with Luigi's fifty francs a month, and the _incerti_ [_pour-boires_] and
my work, we do pretty well. Luigi, thank God, is a good man, faithful
and true and kind. I have never heard an angry word from him yet. And
then he has no faults,--he does not smoke, or drink wine, or gamble; and
regularly every month he brings me all his money to take care of. He is
such a good son to La Mamma, too. He would never take a mouthful of food
until he had helped her; and if a famine came to Florence, and there was
but a piece of bread between Luigi and La Mamma, he would make her eat
it, I know. Si, signora, we all live together now; La Mamma takes care
of our little boy, and Flavia is head-woman in Madama Castagna's
workroom, while I go out by the day, as I always did. It is a little
harder for us this winter than usual, because there are so few
_forestieri_. It really seemed as if the _alberghi_ would never open.
Luigi said that every evening there would be a crowd of people--waiters,
and _facchini_, and so on--waiting at the door of the _albergo_ and
begging for work. And the _padrone_ [landlord] used to say, "Find me the
_forestieri_, and I'll find you the work." My Luigi is such a good
servant that the _padrone_ keeps him employed all the year round; but he
felt very anxious this winter when he saw how few _forestieri_ there
were, and tried to save in every possible way. But, thank God, he never
grudges La Mamma anything, and she often says that these are her
happiest days. She still works at knitting stockings, and braiding
straw, and such light work; and she takes our baby boy out to walk twice
a day, and every day at noon, rain or shine, she goes to mass. Many a
quiet hour she has now in church to pray for Babbo, whom she never
forgets, and for all of us. Then when we all come home from our work we
have such pleasant evenings. I tell about the fine gowns I make for my
ladies, and Luigi has so many stories about the grand _forestieri_ and
all their strange caprices, and then Marc Antonio and his wife come in,
and he tells us about the ladies and gentlemen he drives out in his
_vettura_, and she describes the fine linen she makes for her ladies.
Well, if signori live for nothing else, they give us a great deal of
pleasure.

Si, signora, we still live in the same apartment in the Borgo Santo
Jacopo, on the south side of the Arno. I would not go away, because when
my husband is at the _albergo_ I can look across the river and think
that he is there. Very often when I sit up late at my work, and all the
rest are asleep and Luigi at the _albergo_, I look over the river, and
the lights at the "Stella" seem to keep me company. Luigi, too, watches
my light. I always sit by my window and keep my lamp there, so that he
may know how late I work. Well, here is the signora's gown quite
finished, and the end of my poor story. So good-night, signora, and may
the good Lord send the signora a happy New Year!

    MARIE L. THOMPSON.

FOOTNOTES:

[B] This true history--a picture, in its general features, of thousands
of lives--is given, as nearly as possible, exactly as it fell from the
lips of the narrator.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.


Tourgéneff's Idea of Bazaroff.

A volume containing several hundred of Tourgéneff's letters was
published last winter in St. Petersburg by the "Society for Assisting
Impecunious Authors and Scholars." It is to be followed by a second, and
the proceeds are to be devoted to the foundation of a "Tourgéneff
Memorial Fund." The whole collection will, we may hope, be translated
into English. The following extracts relate chiefly to the character
which is considered by many readers his finest creation, but which, as
is well known, made him for a time very unpopular in Russia:

                                      BOUGIVAL, August 18, 1871.

DEAR A. P.,--Although you do not ask me for a reply, and do not seem to
wish for one, yet the confidence which you have reposed in me and the
feeling of sympathy and respect which you have awakened in me make it my
duty to say a few words to you about your letter.... What? You say, too,
that I meant to caricature the youth of Russia in Bazaroff? you repeat
this--pardon the frankness of the expression--nonsensical accusation?
Bazaroff,--this is my favorite child, for whose sake I quarrelled with
Katkoff, upon whom I used all the color at my command. Bazaroff, this
fine mind, this hero, a caricature? But it seems that there is nothing
to be done in the case. Just as people accuse Louis Blanc to this day,
in spite of all his protestations, of having introduced the national
workshops, they attribute to me a wish to represent our youth as a
caricature. I have long regarded the slander with contempt: I did not
expect the feeling to be renewed on reading your letter.

Now to turn to your "elderly lady,"--that is, to current criticism, to
the public. Like every elderly person, she holds fast to preconceived
ideas, however preposterous they may be. For example, she is perpetually
asserting that since my "Annals of a Sportsman" my works are weak,
because, having lived abroad, I cannot know Russia. But this accusation
can touch only what I have written since 1863; for until then--_i.e._,
until my forty-fifth year--I lived almost uninterruptedly in Russia,
except in 1848-49, when I wrote the "Annals of a Sportsman," while
"Roudine," "A Nest of Nobles," "Ellen," and "Fathers and Sons" were
written in Russia. But all that means nothing to the "elderly person:"
_son siège est fait_.

The second weakness of the elderly one is that she persistently follows
the fashion. At present the fashion in literature is politics.
Everything non-political is for her rubbish and nonsense.

It is somewhat inconvenient to defend one's own works; but--fancy it!--I
cannot even admit that "Stuk-Stuk" is nonsense. "What is it, then?" you
will ask. It is this: it is a study of the Russian suicide epidemic,
which rarely presents anything poetic or pathetic, but almost always
results, on the contrary, from ambition, narrowness, with a mixture of
mysticism or fatalism. You will object that my study is not successful.
Possibly not; but I wished to point you to the right and fitness of
investigating purely psychological (non-political and non-social)
questions.

The elderly person reproaches me further with having no convictions. As
an answer to that, my thirty years of literary activity will suffice.
For no line which I have written have I had cause to blush, none have I
had occasion to repudiate. Let another say this of himself. However, let
the elderly person babble. I have not heeded her hitherto: I shall not
begin now.

I do not know whether I shall write my novel; and I know in advance that
it will have many defects.... But, permit me, dear A. P., why do not the
oncoming young people take this task upon themselves? The old ones
would gladly yield them place and honor, and would be the first to
rejoice at the accession of new forces. But in the literary arena there
figure the contributors to the "Djelo"[C] such as H.

You see, dear A. P., that you are not alone in being able to speak the
whole truth, regardless of consequences. I hope you too will not be
angry because of it, and will at least take notice of what I am saying.

I am still suffering from gout,--have reached Bougival, but still go
about upon crutches, and shall hardly reach Paris within a month. You
may be sure that I shall return the portfolio safely.

                                      BOUGIVAL, September 11, 1874.

Your letter is so sweet and friendly, dear A. P., that I shall not delay
answering it. You began with Bazaroff; I will begin with him too. You
look for him in real life, and you do not find him. I will tell you why,
at once. The times are changed; Bazaroffs are not needed now. For the
social activity that is before us neither extraordinary talent nor even
extraordinary mental power is needed; nothing great, distinguished, very
individual. Industry and patience are required. Men and women must be
ready to sacrifice themselves without fame or glory, must be able to
conquer, having no fear of petty, obscure, necessary, elementary work.
What, for instance, can be more necessary or elementary than teaching
the peasant to read and write, helping him to get hospitals, etc.? Of
what use are talents, even learning, for such work? One needs only a
heart that can sacrifice its own egotism. You cannot even speak of a
profession in the case (much less of our friend Blank's star). A sense
of duty, the magnificent feeling of patriotism in the true sense of the
word,--that is all that is needed. Bazaroff was the type of "one sent
with a message," a great figure, gifted with a definite charm, not
without a certain aureole. All that is not needed now, and it is
ridiculous to speak of heroes and artists of work. Brilliant figures in
literature will probably not appear. Those who plunge into politics will
only destroy themselves in vain. This is all true; but many cannot
reconcile themselves at first to the fact, to the uncongenial _milieu_,
to this modest resolve, especially such responsive and enthusiastic
women as yourself. They may say what they please, they want to be
charmed, carried away. You yourself say that you wish to bow in
reverence; but before _useful_ people one does not bow in reverence. We
are entering an era of _merely useful_ people; and these will be the
best. Of these there will probably be many, of beautiful, charming
workers very few. And in the very search for a Bazaroff--a living
one--is perhaps unconsciously betrayed the thirst for beauty, naturally
of a single peculiar type. All these illusions one must get rid of.

I should not have reproached your acquaintances with a want of talent if
they had not made pretensions. If they were plodding workers, they would
leave nothing to be desired; but when they loom up and claim admiration,
one cannot pass on without reminding them that they have no right to our
admiration.

Ah, A. P.! we shall see no typical characters, none of those new
creations of whom people talk so much. The life of the people is
undergoing a process of development and--throughout the whole mass--of
decomposition and recomposition: it needs helpers, not leaders, and only
at the end of this period will important, original figures appear. I
have just said that you will not see them. You are still young. You will
live to see the day: as for me, that is another thing.

For the present, let us learn our A, B, C, and teach others, do good
gradually, in which you are already making progress. The letter from
your son, which I herewith return, is warm and good. May he, too, enter
the ranks of the useful workers and servants of the people, as we once
had servants of the Czar!

                                      PARIS, January 3, 1876.

TO M. E. SALTIKOFF:[D]--I received your letter yesterday, dear Michael
Jefgrafowitch, and, as you see, I do not delay the answer. Your letter
is by no means "dull and blunt," as you say. On the contrary, it is very
good and sensible. It gave me pleasure. There hovers about it some power
and better health, in sharp contrast with its immediate predecessor,
which was an extremely gloomy production. Besides, I am by no means
cheerful myself at present: this is the third day in bed with gout.

Now a line or two as to "Fathers and Sons," seeing that you have
mentioned the subject. Do you really believe that all that you reproach
me with never entered my own mind? For this reason I wish not to vanish
from the scene before I finish my comprehensive novel, which I think
will clear up many misunderstandings and place me where and as I belong.
However, I do not wonder that Bazaroff has remained a riddle for many
persons: I cannot understand clearly how I conceived him. There was--do
not laugh--something more powerful than the author himself, something
independent of him. I know only this,--there was no preconceived idea in
me then, no "novel with a purpose" in my thought: I wrote naïvely, as if
I myself wondered at what came of it....

Tell me, on your conscience, whether comparison with Bazaroff could be
an affront to any one. Don't you perceive yourself that he is the most
congenial of all my characters? "A certain fine perfume" is an invention
of the reader's; but I am prepared to admit (and have already admitted
in print in my "Recollections") that I had no right to give our
reactionary mob an opportunity to make of a nickname a name. The author
ought to have sacrificed himself to the citizen; and I therefore
recognize as justified the estrangement of our youth from me, and all
possible reproaches. The question of the time was more important than
artistic truth, and I ought to have known this in advance.

I have only to say once more, wait for my novel, and, until then, do not
be indignant that, in order not to grow unaccustomed to the pen, I write
slight insignificant things. Who knows?--perhaps it may yet be given to
me to fire the hearts of men.

An entertaining writer in the sense of G----wa I shall never be. I would
rather be a stupid writer.

But now--_basta_!

I greet you and press your hand most cordially.

                                      IVAN SERGEWITCH TOURGÉNEFF.


Old Songs and Sweet Singers.

    I cannot sing the old songs now:
      It is not that I deem them low,
    But that I have forgotten how
        They go,

wrote Calverley in his delightful drollery about the advances of old
age. Nevertheless he made a mistake, for old songs cling tenaciously to
the consciousness; and memory, are retained when everything else in
heart and mind has been blurred over, and of all the magic mirrors which
reflect back our lives for us the most effective is a melody linked to
words which moved us in our youth. When an orchestra stops playing its
waltzes and mazourkas of the latest fashion and takes up the strains of
"Kathleen Mavourneen," "Oft in the Stilly Night," or "Robin Adair," one
may readily observe a change come over the older part of the crowd who
listen. The familiar air is like a shell murmuring in their ears sweet,
far-off, imperishable memories of youth, and that special epoch of youth
best described as "_les heureux jours où l'on était si malheureux!_" It
is an experience worth having to have heard the great singers, but it is
not of the great singers that I wish to speak here. I fancy that it is
with others as with myself, and, in my early days at least, music
wrought its chief enchantments and most perfectly allied itself with
the great world of fantasy and imagination when I heard it in my own
home, or at least quietly and privately, and when its influence was of a
constant and regular kind. Why is it that literature, which enshrines so
much of what is personal and actual and a part of ideal autobiography,
says so little of singers, although the song which moves us, rummaging
among our old memories and, to our surprise and delight, bringing back
clear pictures, is generally linked to the sweet singer who sang it, who
interpreted it for us and made it a part of our imaginative possessions?
Heroines of novels are rarely singers, or, if they sing, abstain from
effective music, and have soft, soothing voices, "as if they only sang
at twilight." Heroines of course have to be heroines and nothing else.
"Soothing, unspeakable charm of gentle womanhood," wrote George Eliot,
"which supersedes all acquisitions, all accomplishments. You would never
have asked at any period of Mrs. Amos Barton's life if she sketched or
played the piano. You would perhaps have been rather scandalized if she
had descended from the serene dignity of _being_ to the assiduous unrest
of _doing_." However, when he recalls the female singers he has known,
any man will grant that they have been almost without exception very
charming women. A really good singer must possess in absolute equipoise
ardor and calm. But the first singer I ever heard who made me feel
upborne by the music and floated as by the sweep of wings was a man with
a high, melancholy, piercingly sweet tenor voice. He had a pale,
striking face, with a mobile mouth, intensely brilliant blue eyes, a
lofty forehead, and his fine, scanty brown hair hung low on his neck. As
he sang with lifted head and eyes which gazed steadfastly before him, he
seemed rapt and inspired. Were I to paint an angel I should try to seize
his lineaments and the glory shining on his pale face. The song I loved
best to hear him sing was Schubert's "Erl-King," which thrilled me with
a sense of terror and mystery and made me tremble like a harp-string in
response to his piercingly clear tones. Ever and anon, as I listened to
the child's cry of "Oh, father, my father!" I was clutched by the icy
hand of the awful phantom he had invoked. Does anybody sing Schubert's
songs nowadays, or are they invariably left to the violins, which can
interpret their "eternal passion, eternal pain," so thrillingly? I
never, I regret to say, heard the "Serenade" sung in a way which seemed
to me adequate,--not to compare with the way in which Remenyi plays it.
Those wonderful lyrical instruments the violin, the 'cello, and the
flute have an almost exclusive right nowadays to some of the greatest
songs. Few singers attempt the "Adelaïde" or "Che faro?"

I like to recall the first time I ever heard "Che faro senza Eurydice?"
A musical _matinée_ was given to an elegant elderly woman, Mrs. P----,
who had had a wide social reputation as an accomplished singer. She was
still mistress of all the technique of her art, but her voice was worn
and it was not easily conceded that she was a delightful vocalist. Many
of her songs seemed like the ghosts of the blissful happy songs she had
sung in her youth. There was something half painful in their jocund
gayety and archness. I went far away from the piano and seated myself
with a group of young people, paying little attention to the music.
Presently, however, a strain sought me out, a sweet, passionately
reiterated strain: it seemed to be supplicating, imploring; it filled me
with a restless pain. That cry of "Eurydice!" "Eurydice!" so beseeching,
so passionate, so exhausted by longing, drew me with an irresistible
power. Gluck certainly achieved the effect he attempted, and showed us
what the fabled power of Orpheus was.

Certain songs of indifferent worth often gain charm to us, although it
is only the greatest music which has the supreme power of expressing the
highest thoughts of man and the most ardent longings of his soul. But
there was a time when I found inconceivable sweetness in certain
ballads of Abt, and the like. Sara X----, a lovely youthful creature,
with a frank, beautiful smile, used to sing them, sitting down at the
piano and going on from one song to another, generally beginning with
"The Bells are Hushed," which silenced the room when twenty people were
buzzing flirtation and gossip. One line of that song, as she sang it,
draws the heart out of me still as I remember it:

    Sleep well, sleep well,
    And let thy lovely eyelids close.

The sentiment such songs arouse is soft but poignant. Some songs--the
"Adelaïde," for example--are songs to make one commit suicide. But this
sort of music stirs and delights while it mocks with the sweetness which
soothes us not. "She kept me awake all night, as a strain of Mozart's
might do," Keats wrote of his Charmian. There was no song this special
songstress sang which she did not make her own by a peculiar and
powerful effort. Her instinct was to rouse, charm, fascinate her little
audience. Not to move her hearers was to her not to sing, and when she
sang as she wished she could sweep away his world of ideas from her
listener and recreate a new one. In one song, an Italian composition
called "The Dream," she always seemed to be carried beyond herself. In
reading Tourgéneff's description of Iakof's singing I could only think
of Sara X----: "Iakof became more and more excited; completely master of
himself, he gave himself up entirely to the inspiration that had taken
possession of him. His voice no longer trembled; it no longer betrayed
anything but the emotion of passion, that emotion that so rapidly
communicates itself to the hearers. One evening I was by the sea when
the tide was coming in; the murmur of the waves was becoming more and
more distinct. I saw a gull motionless on the shore, with its white
breast facing the purplish sea; from time to time it spread its enormous
wings and seemed to greet the incoming waves and the disk of the sun.
This came to my mind at that moment." And as I read these words of
Tourgéneff's, Sara X---- singing "The Dream" came to my mind.

A less dramatic singer, but an incomparable singer of Scotch ballads,
and indeed of all ballads, at the same period of my life made an
imperishable impression upon my mind. Nothing can surpass certain Scotch
ballads for the faculty of quickening into susceptibility the elementary
poetry which underlies human nature. Every man and every woman becomes
again an individual man, an individual woman, who is moved by "John
Anderson, my Jo, John," or "Auld Robin Gray." Never was so sweet a voice
as this singer's, never did woman have a higher gift of rescuing the
soul from every-day use and wont and giving it glimpses from the
mountain-summit and the thrill and inspiration which come from the wider
view and the purer air. She gave her gift, she enriched the world, and
her songs are still incorporate in the hearts and souls of those who
loved her.

We do not hear songs enough in our every-day life; and even from the
singers on the boards the best songs are rarely heard. There are many
songs I should like to repeat the mere name of, so much it means to me;
but it might not carry the same music to others. Dr. Johnson said of a
certain work, "There should come out such a book every thirty years,
dressed in the words of the times." So there should appear at least
twice in every decade of each man's and woman's life an unsurpassed
singer of old songs, who should give us not only the "Adelaïde," but
"Mignon," "The Serenade," the "Adieu," and all the many-colored ballads
on love,--plain, fantastic, descriptive, sad, and sweet,--so that we
might enjoy an epitome of our life-long musical pleasures, and not have
to cry, like Faust, but in vain, "Give me my youth again."

    L. M.


A Chess Village.

The all-pervading influence of chess observable in that peculiar region
described in "Through the Looking-Glass" is hardly less perceptible in
the little, antiquated German village of Ströbeck, not far from
Halberstadt. In the eleventh century this village was noted for the
devotion of its people to chess, and they have kept this characteristic
feature down to the present day. All the inhabitants, except the very
small children, are chess-players of more or less skill, and the game is
to them what the world-renowned Passion-play is to the Oberammergauers.

A great many notable men have visited Ströbeck at various times on
account of its reputation as a chess-playing community. The
council-house contains numerous memorials of these visits, which the
villagers take pride in showing to strangers. Among the most highly
prized of these memorials are a board and chessmen which were presented
to the village in 1651 by Kurfürst Frederick William of Brandenburg.

In June, 1885, the chess societies of the Hartz districts held a
"_Schachcongress_," or chess convention, at this appropriate place.
Besides the regularly-appointed delegates, a large number of visitors
came from various parts of Germany, many of whom were players of wide
repute. Among the latter was Herr Schalopp, well known as one of the
best chess-players of Berlin. While at Ströbeck, Schalopp played games
with thirty-seven persons at the same time. He won thirty-four of the
games, and two of the three opponents whom he did not defeat were an old
woman of the village, and her grandson, a boy of thirteen.

The convention lasted several days, and the villagers won a large
proportion of the silver-ware, chess-boards, and other prizes offered
for victory. Every house contains prizes which had been won in such
contests on former occasions. The visitors were very much surprised at
the fine playing of the village children, who, before the convention
adjourned, gave a special exhibition of their skill in the game. The
time characteristically chosen for this juvenile tournament was Sunday
afternoon. Of course the early development of these small chess-players
must have been caused principally by frequent practice and constant
study of the game; but students of psychology might find in it an
instance of transmitted tendency and the inherited effect of a certain
habit of thought.

Such a rustic society as Ströbeck could hardly exist anywhere but in
Germany. The Italian peasants, who give so much of their time to _loto_,
are generally too lazy to make the mental exertion required for chess,
while in most other European countries the rural population of the lower
class entertain themselves chiefly with fights between dogs, cocks, or
men who are but little superior to either. Here in the United States
there are, no doubt, lovers of chess in nearly every village or small
town, as well as in the cities; but in comparison with that of base-ball
or roller-skating its popularity is nowhere great enough to be taken
into account as an indication of mental tendencies or characteristics.

    W. W. C.

FOOTNOTES:

[C] A review of which the belles-lettres department is feeble, but which
publishes excellent articles in other departments.

[D] Known in Russian literature as Tschtedrin, one of the ablest
satirists, editor until last year of the leading scientific literary
review, now suppressed on account of its radical tendencies.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY


     "The Congo, and the Founding of its Free State: A Story of Work
     and Exploration." By Henry M. Stanley. Two Volumes. New York:
     Harper & Brothers.

It is not as the geographical discoverer and explorer--except
incidentally and to a limited extent--that Mr. Stanley appears in these
volumes. It is as Bula Matari,--"Breaker of Rocks,"--making roads and
bridges, establishing stations, pushing the outposts of civilization
into the heart of Africa. He no longer fights his way through hostile
tribes or seeks to avoid their notice, anxious only to penetrate an
unknown region, secure his own safety and that of his followers, and
report his achievements, leaving no trace behind except a recollection
as of some fiery meteor that had vanished without its portents being
apprehended. He returns to make the signification clear, a harbinger not
of disasters, but of a wonderful new era of peace and prosperity. He
bestows lavish gifts, negotiates treaties, purchases territorial rights,
and devotes himself to the task of opening avenues to trade and
preparing the way for colonization. The same energy and pluck, the same
spirit of persistence, that triumphed over the obstacles and dangers of
his earlier enterprises are again called into play, combined with the
suavity and patience demanded for the attainment of the present object
and permitted by the ample means at his disposal and the freedom from
any necessity for impetuous haste or hazardous adventures. Experience,
counsel, and the sense of higher responsibilities have brought a calmer
judgment and greater steadiness of action, but the boyish temperament
has not lost its sway, and more than one crisis is brought to a happy
issue by methods in which a love of fun mingles with sagacity and
foresight and renders their measures more effective.

The work undertaken by the Association of which Mr. Stanley was the
agent is of a purely initiatory character. The acquisition of territory
and of certain rights of sovereignty under treaties with local chiefs
constitutes the "founding" of the "Congo Free State," which has obtained
the recognition of the European powers and become one of the contracting
parties to the articles adopted by the recent Conference at Berlin for
regulating the commercial and political status of the river-basins of
Central Africa. Under these articles absolute freedom of trade,
intercourse, and settlement is secured to the people of all nations
throughout a region of vast extent and unsurpassed fertility, rich in
natural products, not so densely peopled as to resist or restrict any
conceivable schemes of colonization, yet offering in its numerous
village populations material sufficiently available for the needs of
industry and commerce and amenable to philanthropic influences. The
preparatory labors, which leave no room for doubt on this point, have
been already accomplished, with the exception of what Mr. Stanley
regards as the sure and indispensable means of opening up the resources
of the country,--viz., the construction of a railway around the rapids
that impede the navigation of the Congo. That this crowning enterprise
would be highly and immediately remunerative he considers easily
demonstrable. "To-day," he writes, "fifty-two thousand pounds are paid
per annum for porterage between Stanley Pool and the coast, by native
traders, the International Association, and three missions, which is
equal to five and one-half per cent. on the nine hundred and forty
thousand pounds said to be needed to construct the railway to the Pool.
But let the Vivi and Stanley Pool railroad be constructed, and it would
require an army of grenadiers to prevent the traders from moving on to
secure the favorite places in the commercial El Dorado of Africa." It
is, of course, to European capitalists that Mr. Stanley addresses his
appeal; and when it is remembered that their least profitable
investments have not been those which aided in the development of
barbarous countries, it seems not improbable that at no remote period a
sufficient portion of the riches that so continually make themselves
wings and fly away to distant quarters of the globe may seek the banks
of the Congo in preference to those of the Hudson or the Wabash.

While holding out this tempting bait to merchants, manufacturers, and
the moneyed classes generally, Mr. Stanley declines to dilate upon the
advantages of the Congo basin as a field for immigration. That portion
of it which in his view "is blessed with a temperature under which
Europeans may thrive and multiply" is at present inaccessible to
settlers. It is "the cautious trader, who advances, not without the
means of retreat," who is to act as the pioneer and the missionary of
civilization, stimulating and directing the industry of the natives. The
suppression of the internal slave-trade is another object to be aimed
at,--one which Mr. Stanley, in an address recently delivered in London,
held up as capable of accomplishment by an outlay of five thousand
pounds a year. What rebate should be made, on this point and on others,
from the anticipations which a sanguine temperament, that has enabled
its possessor to struggle with so many difficulties and to achieve so
many enterprises, would naturally tend to heighten and render glowing,
is a question that may be reserved for those whom it directly concerns.
Equatorial Africa is not likely ever to become the home of a white
population, but it need not for that reason be left to "stew in its own
juice." On the contrary, it offers on that very account a fit subject
for the experiment, which has nowhere yet been adequately tried, of
developing latent capacities for progress in races that have raised
themselves above the level of absolute savagery without attaining to
those ideals which, never wholly realized, are essential to continuous
improvement. It has been found easy to enslave, to debase, to
exterminate races in this condition, while the ill success of efforts to
enlighten and elevate them has led to the inference that this is
impracticable. The trial, however, will not have been made till the
counteracting influences have ceased to act, or at least to predominate,
and time has been allowed for hidden forces that may possibly exist to
be called into play. As Mr. Stanley observes, "It is out of the
fragments of warring myriads that the present polished nations of Europe
have sprung. Had a few of those waves of races flowing and eddying over
Northern Africa succeeded in leaping the barrier of the equator, we
should have found the black aboriginal races of Southern Africa very
different from the savages we meet to-day."

It was the spirit in which Mr. Stanley labored--the ardor and
hopefulness, the unfailing patience and good temper, with which he
applied himself to the task of cultivating the good will and securing
the co-operation of the natives--that made his enterprise a success.
With some exceptions, for which he gives ample credit, his European
subordinates seem to have been a constant source of embarrassment.
Possibly there may have been on his own part a lack of that
administrative ability which, acquired through discipline, imparts the
skill and power to enforce it. At all events, it is the sympathy and
humor with which he portrays his innumerable "blood-brothers"--greedy,
cunning, and capricious, but untainted with ferocity, and consequently
manageable, like children, by a judicious blending of severity and
indulgence--that give interest and charm to his narrative. It has many
faults and deficiencies which in a work of greater literary pretensions
would be inexcusable. The grammatical blunders with which it abounds
are the least annoying, since their grossness makes it easy for the
reader to supply mentally the needed correction without effort or
consideration. Looseness of diction, repetitions and redundancies of all
kinds, and, above all, a frequent lack of clearness and vividness both
in statement and description, are more serious impediments to the wish
to gain comprehension and instruction. Like most untrained writers, Mr.
Stanley imagines that, with a sufficiency of matter, it is only
necessary to refrain from striving after picturesque effects or ornate
embellishments in order to attain the qualities of clearness and
simplicity. Happily, the impulsiveness that betrays itself in his style
seems to have been kept well under control in the management of his
enterprise. It is always, indeed, apparent as a leading characteristic,
but it breaks loose only on occasions when it may be safely and not
unattractively displayed.


     "Life of Frank Buckland." By his Brother-in-Law, George C.
     Bompas. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Philadelphia: J. B.
     Lippincott Company.

There is a story told of Sir Edwin Landseer's being presented to the
King of Portugal, who impressively greeted the famous painter with, "I
am rejoiced to make your acquaintance, Sir Edwin Landseer, _I am so fond
of beasts_." An equally ardent sympathy with Frank Buckland's specialty
was necessary to his friends while he was alive, and is required by
those who read this delightful, bizarre, and admirable history of a man
whose fellow-feeling for all creatures endowed with life was as broad
and comprehensive as Dame Nature's for all her children. He had, it
might seem, no antipathies. Everything excited his interest, curiosity,
and tenderness. Bears, eagles, vipers, jackals, hedgehogs, and snakes
roomed with him. He not only lived on intimate terms with his zoological
curiosities, petting them, training them, studying them, but he finally
ate them. As Douglas Jerrold said of the New Zealanders, "Very
economical people. We only kill our enemies; they eat 'em. We hate our
foes to the last: while there's no learning in the end how Zealanders
are brought to relish 'em."

It had been the elder Buckland's habit to try strange dishes. While he
was Dean of Westminster, hedgehogs, tortoises, potted ostrich, and
occasionally rats, frogs, and snails, were served up for the
delectation of favored guests, and alligator was considered a rare
delicacy. "Party at the Deanery," one guest notes: "tripe for dinner;
don't like crocodile for breakfast." Thus freed, to begin with, from the
trammels of habit and prejudice, there was little in the way of fish,
flesh, or fowl which Frank Buckland did not sooner or later try, with
various results. For instance, to quote from his diary:

"March 9. Party of Huxley, Blagden, Rolfs. Had the lump-fish for dinner;
very good,--something like turtle.

"March 10. Rather seedy from lump-fish."

And again:

"B---- called: had a viper for luncheon."

He held a theory that from popular ignorance and superstition much
wholesome material is wasted which might be made useful not only in
satisfying hunger, but in cheapening the prices of the foods which new
control the market. The "Acclimatization Society" was formed by his
influence, at the inaugural dinner of which everything that grows on the
face of the earth and under the waters was partaken of, from kangaroo
hams to sea-slugs. These various studies and experiments, all entered
into with unequalled spirit and audacity, led up finally to the great
work of Frank Buckland's life, which was the restocking of the
watercourses of his own and other countries with the trout and salmon
which had once teemed in them, but had been driven away by man's
encroachments. The success of his system of fish-culture is too well
known to require comment, having had the happiest results in all
countries in which it has been introduced. But the perils and
vicissitudes encountered in procuring the ova are little realized by
most people. "Salmon-egg collecting," Frank Buckland wrote in 1878, "is
one of the most difficult, and I may say dangerous, tasks that fall to
my lot." And it was, indeed, the frightful exposure attending this
search for spawn on a bitter January day in the icy waters of the North
Tyne that shortened his bright, useful career.

The biography is most instructive and valuable, besides being highly
interesting. And Frank Buckland's life was by far too rich and too
many-sided to allow anything less than his full history to give an
adequate idea of his patience, his fidelity of purpose, his love of
work, and his joy in accomplishment. The birthday entries in his diary
almost invariably disclose his satisfaction and comfort in his own life
and endeavors: "December 17, 1870. My birthday. I am very thankful to
God to allow me so much prosperity and happiness on my forty-fourth
birthday, and that I have been enabled to work so well. I trust he may
spare me for many more years to go on with my work."

The book abounds in droll stories, some quite new, and some already
given in his lectures and natural-history papers. He generally travelled
with some curious collections in his pockets or in bottles; and, whether
these were rats, vipers, snails, or frogs, by some strange fatality they
were certain to get loose and turn up among his fellow-passengers in car
or diligence. To twine snakes around the necks and arms of young ladies
playing quadrilles was another harmless joke. "Don't be afraid," he
would say: "they won't hurt you. And do be a good girl, and don't make a
fuss." He possessed an easy gift of adapting scientific theories and
deductions to popular interest and comprehension, and his "Curiosities
in Natural History" and other writings undoubtedly gave a strong impulse
to the tastes of this generation, of which the many out-of-doors papers
on birds, game, and the habits of all living creatures are the result.


     "George Eliot's Poetry, and Other Studies." By Rose Elizabeth
     Cleveland. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

Miss Cleveland's book shows wide reading, study, painstaking
discrimination, enthusiastic zeal, and, above all, the never-failing
impulse of an individual idea. It reveals on every page a healthy,
well-poised womanly nature, and the opinions advanced are a part of the
conscience and moral being as well as of the intellect. The author has
fed her mind and heart with high dreams and lofty ideals, and it is not
only a pleasure to her to disclose them, but a sacred duty as well.

"When a high thought comes," she writes in "Reciprocity," "we owe that
thought to the world. A great deal of this interment of our best
thought-life is justified to ourselves by the plea that such thoughts
are too sacred for utterance: a wretched sophistry, a miserable excuse
for what is really our fear of criticism." There is nothing trivial or
false about the critical and ethical views which Miss Cleveland gives
bravely, although they are not invariably rendered with the felicity and
pointed phrase which come from a careful selection of words and symbols.
She is a little dazzled by the flowers and fruitage of a fancy which
most of us are compelled to curb and prune to meet the requisitions of
time and space. These papers were prepared chiefly, the dedication tells
us, for schools and colleges, and a little of the pedantry and ample
leisure of a teacher who has his audience safe under his own control is
apparent in them. Little goes without saying; the whole story is told;
yet it is always easy to put aside the parasitical growth and get at the
solid and useful idea. The book was not written for critics who desire
to have everything summed up in a single sentence, and who are apt to
praise the volumes which encumber the book-seller's shelves rather than
those which run through seven editions in as many days.

Like most other American essayists, she has couched many of her phrases
and ideas in the Emersonian mould. Her sentences are short; she uses a
homely illustration by preference. "Independence," she says, "in an
absolute sense is an impossibility. The nature of things is against it.
The human soul was not made to contain itself. It was made to spill
over, and it does and will spill over, always as _quid pro quo_,
wherever lodged, to the end of time."... "There is a vast amount of
thinking which ought to be in the market. We hold our best thoughts and
give our second best."... "We do a good deal of shirking in this life on
the ground of not being geniuses. The truth is, there is an immense
amount of humbug lurking in the folds of those specious theories about
genius. Let a man or woman go to work at a thing, and the genius will
take care of itself."

Miss Cleveland has gathered a large audience, and it is a satisfaction
to feel in reading her book that she holds her place before them with
invariable good sense, high faith, and a dignity which commands respect.


     "Aulnay Tower." By Blanche Willis Howard. Boston: Ticknor & Co.

There is a good situation in "Aulnay Tower," but the book may be said to
be all situation, with little movement, no development, and the very
slightest free play of character and motive. The scene is laid at the
château of the Marquis de Montauban, not far from Paris, at the moment
in the Franco-German war when Sedan had been fought, the emperor was a
prisoner, and the Germans were investing the capital. The marquis, his
niece the Countess Nathalie de Vallauris, and his chaplain the Abbé de
Navailles, in spite of orders from General Trochu, have remained at this
country-seat, apparently indifferent to passing events. Thus it is a
rude awakening when they find the Germans knocking at the castle doors
and demanding entertainment for the officers of the Saxon grenadiers,
who are quartered upon them during most of the time occupied by the
siege of Paris.

Here, then, is the situation. The Countess Nathalie, a widow of
twenty-three, "a beautiful woman, young, pale, fair-haired, stately and
forbidding," confronts these invaders of her private peace and enemies
of her country, intending to freeze them by her haughtiness, her
indifference, her disdain, but carries away even from the first
encounter a haunting and rankling recollection of a tall man in blue;
while the tall man in blue, Adjutant von Nordenfels, "from the moment
she stood before the officers in her cold protest and unrelenting
pride," was madly in love with the countess. The feelings of these two
young people being thus from the first removed from the region of doubt
and conjecture, what few slight obstacles contrive to separate them for
a time carry little weight with the reader. There is a dearth of
incident which the side-play of the coquettish maid, Nathalie's
_femme-de-chambre_, fails to relieve. The marquis and Manette are the
traditional nobleman and soubrette, and flourish before us all the
adjuncts of the stage. We give a fragment from a soliloquy of Manette's
which suggests the foot-lights and an enforced "wait" in a comedy during
a change of dress for the principal actors: "I adore Countess Nathalie,
and am thankful for my blessings. And yet I have my disappointments, my
chagrins. To-day, for example, what a field for genius! what a chance
for never-to-be-forgotten impressions! A dozen officers! Not a woman in
Aulnay but madame and me. Oh, just heaven, what possibilities! My rich
imagination dressed us both in the twinkling of an eye. For the
Countess Nathalie gentle severity was the key-note of my
composition,--heavy black silk, of course. There it lies. Elegance and
dignity in the train. Happy surprises in the drapery. Fascination in the
sleeves. Defiance, pride, and patriotism in the high collar, tempered by
regret in the soft ruche.... She would have been a problem and a poem;
while I, in my cheerful reds, my dazzling white, my decisive short
skirts, my piquant shoes, my audacious apron, am a conundrum, a
pleasantry, an epigram." This would be very pretty on the stage, but a
waiting-maid who calls herself an "epigram" passes our imagination under
any other circumstances. In fact, Miss Howard seems to us to be
altogether on a false tack in this novel,--to have utterly abandoned
realism, and in its place to have imposed upon us scenes, characters,
and actuating motives which have figured over and over again in book and
play, and to which she has not succeeded in imparting any special
vivacity or charm. The novel falls far below "Guenn," in which the
author riveted and deepened the impression of her first clever little
book, "One Summer."


     "Married for Fun." Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

The title of "Married for Fun," and the plot of the book itself, might
easily suggest its being a screaming farce; and that may actually have
been the intention of the author, although she is at times painfully
serious. A young lady who, after going through a form of marriage to an
utter stranger in a stupid charade, believes herself to be legally his
wife, seems to be practically unfitted for the position of heroine in
anything except a farce. But there is no fun in the book, and a whole
series of absurd and incoherent incidents fail to produce any effect
upon the reader save one of deadly ennui. The narrative, if such a host
of incongruities and imbecilities can be called a narrative, is
perpetually adorned by choice reflections of the author's own, and the
itinerancy of an extended European tour is condensed and added to the
other attractions.





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